Zoroaster


Introduction

Some time in the history of the universe, no one is quite sure
when, there was born a man. This man would eventually be the first to
found a monotheistic religion. The name of this man is Zoroaster; the
name is actually a corruption of Zarathushtra. Zoroaster’s birth date,
along with whether his religion is actually monotheistic, is a subject
of great debate. The opinions concerning his birth, and consequently
about the beginning of this great religion, range from as early as 6000
years before Plato to as late as 500 B.C.E. In any case he was born
somewhere in Iran, although whether in the East or West is also
arguable. In the early writings the people belonging to this religion
are called Zarathustris; the system he taught is called Mazdaism. The
present day followers are called Parsees. Zoroaster removed the
multiplicity of deities from religion and created a faith in which
there were two, or perhaps, one God. All other higher beings were
regarded as demons, or evil spirits. No one knows for sure the
different stages of popularity that Zoroastrianism experienced. We do
know that at the time of Darius I, 558?-486 B.C.E., it was protected by
royalty. Later, however, Zoroastrians were continually chased by the
members of the Islamic religion through Kathiawar in India, and Surat,
and finally they settled again in Bombay. The universe is the
battleground. The opponents are Mazda Ahura, later to be known as
Ahura Mazda, and Anra Mainyu, later call ed Ahriman. Ahura Mazda is
the good force and the bad is Ahriman. The battle will last till Ahura
Mazda defeats Ahriman in the year 12,000 (we are now presumably around
11,500). This is the world and its future in accordance with
Zoroastrian beliefs.
Zoroaster

Zoroaster had a very non-conforming mind and was forced to flee
his parents’ house without his parents’ consent because of the rebuking
he gave to those who sacrificed cattle or drank intoxicating haoma. He
fled to the mountains and gave himself to God. Sometime between the
ages of thirty and forty an angel appeared to him and brought him to
the throne of the highest God, Ahura Mazda. After this occurred, the
prophet tried for twelve years to convert people, but to no available.
During this period many visions were revaled to him. A milestone in
the progression of the religion occurred when Zoroaster converted
Vishtaspa,the king of Persia. He also converted the king’s son,
brother, counsellor, and grand vizier. Zoroaster married, along with
two other women, the counsellor’s daughter. Zoroaster was killed at
the age of seventy-seven by Ardshataspa, a neighboring prince, who
invaded Vishtaspa’s capital. According to the Parsees, Vishtaspa is
the father of Darius, who reigned from 521-485 B.C.E. Another view
holds that Zoroaster lived 258 years before Alexander the Great; he
would have therefore lived between 570 and 500 B.C.E. The Greeks tend
to place him six thousand years before Plato. Ahura Mazda, while not
necessarily discovered by Zoroaster, was found on an inscription dating
around 714 B.C.E. In ancient Persia, before Zoraoster’s reforms,
religion was polytheistic. Zoroaster objected to these dieties and
referred to them as demons. Many of the rituals and Gods that he
removed were later reinstated due to the fact that the people were
still emotionally attached to them. We can see this from the fact that
on the epigraphs of Artaxerxes II Mnemon (404-358 B.C.E.) the Mithras
and Anahita, ancient gods, are mentioned. Temples and images of God
were also introduced into the religion at a later date.

Zoroastrian Beliefs

The Zoroastrian religion is based on the fundamental concept of a
constant battle of good against evil. The good is represented by Ahura
Mazda while the bad is represented by Ahriman. Ahura Mazda created this
world as a trap for Ahriman. Human beings draw Ahriman into this
world; he will jump at any chance to cause others to do evil. He will
then be entering Ahura Mazda’s world, and when people choose good over
evil voluntarily this will weaken Ahriman to the point where he can be
destroyed. It is hard to reconcile the two opposing views on the
dieties in the Zoroastrian religion. The claim is made that the
religion is monotheistic; it is also alleged that the