Around 1500 to 2000 BCE, somewhere in the north-eastern region of Iran, was born a Divine Child. He was a unique child – he smiled the moment he was born! All the good creations of Dadar Ahura Mazda rejoiced exclaiming, “Fortunate are we that the Teacher is born, Spitman Zarathushtra!” At the same time, the wicked and the evil trembled with fear.
Zarathushtra founded the first monotheistic religion in the world – Zoroastrianism, which influenced not just the Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam; but even great thinkers and philosophers like Plato, Heraclitus, Aristotle, Nietzsche and many others. Zoroaster encouraged the increase and spread of knowledge, hence there is no obscurantism or suppression of knowledge.
Countess miracles have been attributed to many great prophets, saints and seers. Unfortunately, many such miracles might have been the result of superstitious minds or pure inventions; or maybe even easily explained by modern science. Often, whatever started as ordinary occurrence, down the passage of time, must have been ensconced in a cocoon of golden web, of what we term miracles. One feels such ‘miracles’ tend to diminish the real appreciation of truly great minds and their everlasting teachings.
Wilhelm Friedrich Nietzsche, the great German thinker and philosopher, says in his book, ‘Ecce Homo’: “He chose Zarathustra as the voice for his philosophy because Zarathustra was the first to see the battle between good and evil, the essence of many other arguments and for upholding truthfulness as a supreme virtue.”
Asho Zarathushtra has been called the ‘Happy Prophet’, even the ‘Dancing Prophet’. His is not a dark philosophy. He did not approve of any form of mea culpaism – neither fasting nor self-flagellation. He held married life in high esteem. Working hard and creating wealth was not a sin. It is how man earns his fortune and how he uses his wealth, a the realms of the ordinary understanding of the word. It is an ideal concept that Ahura Mazda had in mind, of the perfect existence in an ideal form, that God revealed to Zarathushtra.
The concept of ‘Asa’ is highly nuanced and only vaguely translatable. It forms the very base of all Zoroastrian doctrines. ‘Truth’ comes first to mind, also righteousness, conformity, ethics, cosmic, moral and social order, and a lot more. It is the relation between all things so that absolutely nothing exists at the cost of the other. In more earthly terms, ‘there is no benefit, gain or enrichment at the cost of someone else’s injury’. ‘Asa’ – the truth goes far beyond transactional or contractual concepts.
The antithesis of ‘Asa’ is ‘Druj’. Zarathushtra describes human life as a constant mental conflict between the truth – Asa, and falsehood – Druj. We find the existence of dualism in Zoroastrianism, the good and the evil; yet there is total separation between these. This dualism can be interpreted or understood in two ways – cosmic and moral.
Pak Dadar Ahura Mazda is the epitome of everything good, and constantly battles Angra Mainyu, the evil force within the universe. This, in no way, can be interpreted as the battle of two equals. Angra Mainyu is the destructive force and forever strives to bring down the creative force of God, the Spenta Mainyu. Many jump to the conclusion that Angra Mainyu is God’s equal, as an opposing force. This can never be. Angra Mainyu is impure and reigns over sickness, diseases, aging, natural catastrophes, famine and all things negative.
Zoroaster’s teaching help us understand that Paak Dadar Ahura Mazda’s greatest gift to mankind is ‘Free Will’ – we have the choice to choose the path of righteousness, the path of ‘Manashni, Gavashni, Kunashni’, i.e. live life along the path of Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds… or choose the path of Druj – evil and deceit.
Zoroaster presented to the world the 21 Nasks or volumes of ancient wisdom and philosophy. A songster himself, He composed and sang 5 hymns, what we today revere as our 5 Gathas, from which our religious visionaries have derived the knowledge and essence and composed our holy text – the Khordeh Avesta.
Many answers we seek in life lie in the glorious heritage left behind, that which we have largely ignored or overlooked, our Manthravani, the holy vibrations, which our prophet Asho Zarathushtra bequeathed us. In his deep knowledge and wisdom, he knew that only these vibrations would transcend time and space, outlive war and evolution, because vibrations as powerful as the ones gifted to us are eternal, they can never fade or die out.
It is through the power of those vibrations that He vibes with all elements of nature, creating a balance which is delicate, but whose strength will tide us through the crisis we face today. It will bond man to man and once again man will learn to live in conjunction with nature, instead of against it. Our prayers have the power to heal all of nature and man himself, there is nothing that cannot be achieved by them – and that is perhaps one of Asho Zarthosht’s greatest gift and legacy to mankind.
Khordad Sal, which marks the birth of the greatest Prophet ever – Asho Zarthost, is an auspicious day for our community, following close on the heels of Navroz or the Shahenshahi Parsi New Year. Zoroastrians around the world celebrate it with vigour – Jashans are performed and families get together to commemorate this holy day.
Whilst western philosophy has highly regarded Zoroaster’s teachings and has sung his praises, the art world has also expressed much gratitude, as many famous artists have used Zoroaster’s teachings and his likeness in their work. In fact, did you know that it is not just Zoroastrians, but also academics and people are in tune with His philosophy, that celebrate Khordad Sal!
As we complete paying our respects to these most holy days of Muktad, Pateti, Navroz and Khordad Sal, may our great Prophet continue to bless us and Mother Earth with harmony, fullness and fertilility, and keep all His creations in symbiotic happiness.