Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest relgions of the world founded by Prophet Zoraster which is probably monotheistic (religion which believes that there is only one god) which considers the spirit, ‘Ahura Mazda’ as the only god. The people who practice this religion are called ‘Zoroastrians’. ‘Avestan Gathas’ is the religious texts considered as sacred which was written by the prophet himself.
While, ‘Parsi’ is the name of a ethnicity or a community who all are Zoroastrians migrated to the Indian Subcontinent between 636 AD and 630 AD due to perceution in their homeland (now Iran).
The History (in form of timeline)
Around 1500 BC, Prophet Zoraster was born in either present-day’s Iran or Afghanistan (the birthplace is quite debatable). His parents were a part of Spitama Clan.
Since childhood, he was really observant and intellectual. It is believed that he was active and keen to indulge in social work. He was born in the clan which followed polytheistism (worship of more than one god).
After 1485 BC, he was married to two women who later gave birth to three sons and three daughters (six kids in total). While his last wife (the third wife) did not give birth to any child.
Since a really young age, he found out that polytheistism is not a good concept and it was lame to worship and believe in more than one god. He started debating people and started teaching them that this was not up-to the mark.
Around 1,470 BC, he was a 30 year old man who was full of wisdom and intellect. He gained divine vision of god and discovered ‘Mithra’ with six divine entities called ‘Amesha Spentas’. Mithra is the holy spirit The six entities are:
|1.||Vohu Manah||He represents the quality of good mind or good thoughts and righteous thinking.|
|2.||Asha Vahishta||He represents the qualities of truth, fairness and justice.|
|3.||Kshatra Vairya||He symbolizes strength, power and the hard quality of metals.|
|4.||Aramaiti||She is referred as the daughter of god, Ahura Mazda. She represents the qualities of service, kindness, faith, devotion, and serenity.|
|5.||Haurvatat ||She representing qualities of wholeness and perfection in the spiritual world.|
|6.||Ameretat||She represents the quality of immortality.|
(Reference: Zartomithraism UK)
This is not a proven fact that these elements exist as humans or not, but yes, these are surely the abstract qualities and elements which the mankind should follow and abide with. We can assume that these elements are made to teach and guide human beings, especially Zoroastrians.
As soon he discovered these elements, he started teaching others about polytheism which refers to worship and belief of only one god. He also opposed animal sacrifices and harmful substances to worship the god and practice the culture. At this age only, he underwent ritual purification rite which transformed him a lot.
He wrote ‘Avestan Gathas’ in which we can find very limited story of his life. There are hymns to teach people about the philosophy and principles of humanity. The hymns also talk about the ways to worship and connect with the almighty god.
This led many people around him across Iran and Afghanistan convert to Zoroastrianism and practice the same.
Around 1423 BC, he might have died at the age of 77 or so due to unknown causes. Though, it is said that he was murdered by a priest of the culture followed by people before Zoroastrianism was discovered. This murder must be because of losing old culture and the feeling of jealously.
Even after his death, the population of Zoroastrians kept growing until the conquest of their land by some Arab kings and spread of Islam during 651 AD. Many Zoroastrians migrated to the Indian Subcontinent between 636 AD and 630 AD due to perceution in their homeland (now Iran and Afghanistan). They are now known as ‘Parsis’ in India and Pakistan.
Important facts about Zoroastrian
- People who follow ‘Zoroastrianism’ are called ‘Zoroastrians’.
- The ‘Faravahar’ is the official symbol of Zoroastrianism. It shows a bearded man with a ring-shaped thing and having wings. It is not confirmed but the bearded-man can be Prophet Zoroaster himself.
- ‘Avestan Gathas’ is the sacred scripture written by Prophet Zoraster.
- According to the religion, ‘Ahura Mazda’ is a spirit which is the one and only god.
- There is no evidence of the world’s first Zoroastrian fire temple as the remains could not be located. Though, ‘Mount Khajeh’ located in Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran is considered to be the oldest Fire Temple of the world.
- Fire along with water are seen as symbols of purity. Hence, we find these two things in fire temples near which Zoroastrians worship.
- Zoroastrians follow ‘sky burial’ method to conduct the funerals for the other dead Zoroastrians. Under this, they build circular and flat-topped towers called ‘dakhmas’. Then, the corpse is kept on the top of the tower so that the vultures can eat the dead. Later, the bones of the dead are collected and stored in a box or a container called ‘ossuary’.
- According to Zoroastrian priests and commitees, one cannot actually convert his/her religion in order to accept ‘Zoroastrianism’. In order to be a ‘Zoroastrian’ we need to born in a Zoroastrian family where both the parents should be ‘Zoroastrians’ (inter-religion parents won’t work). While, a non-Zoroastrian mother might be accepted. (Reference: Pyracantha)
- Non-Zoroastrians are strictly prohibited to enter Zoroastrian fire temples due to the cultural beliefs. (As per the committees , priests and guidelines set by Zoroastrian authorities)