Zoroaster

Founder of Zoroastrianism

Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra or Zartosht, was the prophet of the Zoroastrian religion. It is now thought that he lived in eastern Iran or in central Asia around 1000 BC. The Gathas are hymns held by believers to have been written by Zoroaster.

Truth is best (of all that is) good.

QuotesEdit

 
Hearken with your ears to these best counsels,
Reflect upon them with illumined judgment.
 
No guide is known who can shelter the world from woe, None who knows what moves and works Thy lofty plans.
 
He who upholds Truth with all the might of his power,
He who upholds Truth the utmost in his word and deed,
He, indeed, is Thy most valued helper, O Mazda Ahura!

The GathasEdit

Translation by Dinshaw Jamshedji Irani, in K. D. Irani, Rabindranath Tagore, The Gathas: the Hymns of Zarathushtra, K.R. Cama Oriental Institute, 1999, 96 p. at Zarathustra.com.
  • Truth is best (of all that is) good. As desired, what is being desired is truth for him who (represents) the best truth.
    • Ahunuvaiti Gatha; Yasna 27, 14.
  • Unto Thee, O Lord, the Soul of Creation cried:
    "For whom didst Thou create me, and who so fashioned me?
    Feuds and fury, violence and the insolence of might have oppressed me;
    None have I to protect me save Thee;
    Command for me then the blessings of a settled, peaceful life."
    • Ahunuvaiti Gatha; Yasna 29, 1.
  • Thus to the Lord doth Asha, the Truth, reply:
    "No guide is known who can shelter the world from woe,
    None who knows what moves and works Thy lofty plans."
    • Ahunuvaiti Gatha; Yasna 29, 3.
  • Hearken with your ears to these best counsels,
    Reflect upon them with illumined judgment.
    Let each one choose his creed with that freedom of choice each must have at great events.
    • Ahunuvaiti Gatha; Yasna 30, 2.
  • In the beginning there were two primal spirits,
    Twins spontaneously active,
    These are the Good and the Evil, in thought, and in word, and in deed.
    • Ahunuvaiti Gatha; Yasna 30, 3.
  • For a thinking man is where Wisdom is at home.
    • Ahunuvaiti Gatha; Yasna 30, 9.
  • By Thy perfect Intelligence, O Mazda
    Thou didst first create us having bodies and spiritual consciences,
    And by Thy Thought gave our selves the power of thought, word, and deed.
    Thus leaving us free to choose our faith at our own will.
    • Ahunuvaiti Gatha; Yasna 31, 11.
  • He who upholds Truth with all the might of his power,
    He who upholds Truth the utmost in his word and deed,
    He, indeed, is Thy most valued helper, O Mazda Ahura!
    • Ahunuvaiti Gatha; Yasna 31, 22.
  • He who abhors and shuns the light of the Sun,
    He who refuses to behold with respect the living creation of God,
    He who leads the good to wickedness,
    He who makes the meadows waterless and the pastures desolate,
    He who lets fly his weapon against the innocent,
    An enemy of my faith, a destroyer of Thy principles is he, O Lord!
    • Ahunuvaiti Gatha; Yasna 32, 10.
  • A reflective, contented mind is the best possession.
    • Ushtavaiti Gatha; Yasna 43, 15.
  • The resolute one who moved by the principles of Thy Faith
    Extends the prosperity of order to his neighbors
    And works the land the evil now hold desolate,
    Earns through Righteousness, the Blessed Recompense
    Thy Good Mind has promised in Thy Kingdom of Heaven.
    • Spenta Mainyu Gatha; Yasna 50, 3.
  • A righteous government is of all the most to be wished for,
    Bearing of blessing and good fortune in the highest.
    Guided by the law of Truth, supported by dedication and zeal,
    It blossoms into the Best of Order, a Kingdom of Heaven!
    To effect this I shall work now and ever more.
    • Vohu-Khshathra Gatha; Yasna 51, 1.
  • Satisfaction linked with dishonor or with harm to others is a prison for the seeker.
    • Vahishto-Ishti Gatha; Yasna 53, 6.

Quotes about ZoroastrianismEdit

  • News arrived from Estakhan that the fire of the chief temple of Persia, which had burned for a thousand years, had become extinguished [at the time of the birth of Muhammad].
    • Rauzat-us-Safa, or Garden of Purity by Muhammad bin Khavendshah bin Mahmud translated into English by E. Rehatsek, first published 1893, Delhi Reprint 1982, Quoted in in Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Vol. II

Quotes about ZarathustraEdit

  • If we carefully trace the terms nazar, and nazaret, throughout the best known works of ancient writers, we will meet them in connection with “Pagan” as well as Jewish adepts. Thus, Alexander Polyhistor says of Pythagoras that he was a disciple of the Assyrian Nazarrt, whom some suppose to be Ezekiel. Diogenes Laertius states most positively that Pythagoras, after being initiated into all the Mysteries of the Greeks and barbarians, “went into Egypt and afterward visited the Chaldeans and Magi;” and Apuleius maintains that it was Zoroaster who instructed Pythagoras. (p. 140)
  • Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Epicharmus, Empedocles, Kebes, Euripides, Plato, Euclid, Philo, Boethius, Virgil, Marcus Cicero, Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, Psellus, Synesius, Origen, and, finally, Aristotle himself, far 'from denying our immortality, support it most emphatically. (p. 251)
  • The laws of Manu are the doctrines of Plato, Philo, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, and of the Kabala. The esoterism of every religion may be solved by the latter. The kabalistic doctrine of the allegorical Father and Son, or Xlarrjp and Aoyos is identical with the groundwork of Buddhism. Moses could not reveal to the multitude the sublime secrets of religious speculation, nor the cosmogony of the universe ; the whole resting upon the Hindu Illusion, a clever mask veiling the Sanctum Sanctorum, and which has misled so many theological commentators. (p. 271)
  • Zarathustra (Zend). The great lawgiver, and the founder of the religion variously called Mazdaism, Magism, Parseeїsm, Fire-Worship, and Zoroastrianism. The age of the last Zoroaster (for it is a generic name) is not known, and perhaps for that very reason. Xanthus of Lydia, the earliest Greek writer who mentions this great lawgiver and religious reformer, places him about six hundred years before the Trojan War. But where is the historian who can now tell when the latter took place? Aristotle and also Eudoxus assign him a date of no less than 6,000 years before the days of Plato, and Aristotle was not one to make a statement without a good reason for it. Berosus makes him a king of Babylon some 2,200 years B.C.; but then, how can one tell what were the original figures of Berosus, before his MSS. passed through the hands of Eusebius, whose fingers were so deft at altering figures, whether in Egyptian synchronistic tables or in Chaldean chronology? Haug refers Zoroaster to at least 1,000 years B.C.; and Bunsen (God in History, Vol. I., Book iii., ch. vi., p. 276) finds that Zarathustra Spitama lived under the King Vistaspa about 3,000 years B.C., and describes him as “one of the mightiest intellects and one of the greatest men of all time”.
  • It is with such exact dates in hand, and with the utterly extinct language of the Zend, whose teachings are rendered, probably in the most desultory manner, by the Pahlavi translation—a tongue, as shown by Darmsteter, which was itself growing obsolete so far back as the Sassanides— that our scholars and Orientalists have presumed to monopolise to themselves the right of assigning hypothetical dates for the age of the holy prophet Zurthust. But the Occult records claim to have the correct dates of each of the thirteen Zoroasters mentioned in the Dabistan. Their doctrines, and especially those of the last (divine) Zoroaster, spread from Bactria to the Medes; thence, under the name of Magism, incorporated by the Adept-Astronomers in Chaldea, they greatly influenced the mystic teachings of the Mosaic doctrines, even before, perhaps, they had culminated into what is now known as the modern religion of the Parsis.
  • Like Manu and Vyâsa in India, Zarathustra is a generic name for great reformers and law-givers. The hierarchy began with the divine Zarathustra in the Vendîdâd, and ended with the great, but mortal man, bearing that title, and now lost to history. There were, as shown by the Dabistan, many Zoroasters or Zarathustras. As related in the Secret Doctrine, Vol. II., the last Zoroaster was the founder of the Fire-temple of Azareksh, many ages before the historical era. Had not Alexander destroyed so many sacred and precious works of the Mazdeans, truth and philosophy would have been more inclined to agree with history, in bestowing upon that Greek Vandal the title of “the Great”.
  • “there is no evidence for thinking that the Zoroastrian message was meant for the Iranians alone. On the-contrary, history suggests that the exact opposite is likely, and there are also indisputable facts … which show clearly that Zoroaster’s teaching was addressed, earlier on at least to all men ... whether they were Iranians or not, Proto-Indoaryans or otherwise…”
    • G. Gnoli. Zoroaster’s Time and Homeland: A Study on the Origins of Mazdeism and Related Problems by Gherardo Gnoli, Instituto Universitario Orientale, Seminario di Studi Asiatici, (Series Minor VII), Naples, 1980. Quoted in Talageri, S. (2000). The Rigveda: A historical analysis. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • Among the Chaldeans the most famous name is that of Zoroaster, who is held to have been the author of their religion, their civil policy, their sciences, and their magic. He taught the doctrine of two great principles, the one the author of good, the other of evil. He prohibited the use of images in the ceremonies of religion, and pronounced that nothing deserved homage but fire, and the sun, the centre and the source of fire, and these perhaps to be venerated not for themselves, but as emblematical of the principle of all good things. He taught astronomy and astrology. We may with sufficient probability infer his doctrines from those of the Magi, who were his followers. He practised enchantments, by means of which he would send a panic among the forces that were brought to make war against him, rendering the conflict by force of arms unnecessary. He prescribed the use of certain herbs as all−powerful for the production of supernatural effects. He pretended to the faculty of working miracles, and of superseding and altering the ordinary course of nature.—There was, beside the Chaldean Zoroaster, a Persian known by the same name, who is said to have been a contemporary of Darius Hystaspes.
  • But Zarathustra made it clear in which direction the answer lay; it is towards the artist-psychologist, the intuitional thinker. There are very few such men in the world's literature; the great artists are not thinkers, the great thinkers are seldom artists.
  • Zarathustra was the first to see in the struggle between good and evil the essential cycle in the working of things. The translation of morality into the realm of metaphysics, as force, cause, as end in itself, is his work. But the very question presents its own answer. Zarathustra created this most fateful of all errors—morality; therefore he must be the first to recognize it.
  • Since the classical Greeks already, it has been common to date Zarathuštra to the 6th century BC, hardly a few generations before the Persian wars. In popular literature, this date is still given, but scholars have now settled for an earlier date: “The archaism of the Gāthās would incline us to situate Zarathuštra in the very beginning of the first millennium BCE, if not even earlier.” (Varenne 2006) But how much earlier? According to leading scholar SkjaervØ, “Zoroastrianism (…) originated some four millennia ago”.
    • (Varenne 2006:43) and SkjaervØ (2011:350), quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2018). Still no trace of an Aryan invasion: A collection on Indo-European origins.

See alsoEdit

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