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وبلاگ خلیج همیشه پارس - Zoroastrian Philosophy
 
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Zoroastrian Philosophy

Zoroastrianism is the earliest known monotheistic religion, which originated in Iran. Zoroastrianism has a dualistic nature (Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu), with an additional series of six important angel-like entities called the Amesha Spentas. In modern Zoroastrianism they are interpreted as aspects or emanations of Ahura Mazda (the Supreme Being), who form a heptad that is good and constructive. They are opposed to another group of seven who are evil and destructive. It is this persistent conflict between good and evil that distinguishes Zoroastrianism from monotheistic frameworks that have only one power as supreme. By requiring its adherents to have faith and belief in equally opposing powers Zoroastrianism characterizes itself as dualistic. Zoroastrianism may also be known as Mazdayasna ("Worship of Wisdom") by some of its followers after the Zoroastrian name of God, Ahura Mazda ("Divine Wisdom"). A modern Persian form is Behdin ("Good Religion/Law," see below for the role of daena Law). Zoroastrians may refer to themselves as Zartoshti ("Zoroastrians"), Mazdayasni ("Wisdom-Worshippers") and Behdini ("Followers of the Good Religion"), and Zarathustrian.

The historic city of Yazd in central Iran is home to a Zoroastrian temple built nearly 1,500 ago. The holy fire which the Zoroastrians hold sacred is ritualistically preserved in the temple. Its flames have been kept alive for years, the worshippers fastidious in their care to keep the fire burning. The main building of the temple sits on a raised platform in a spacious courtyard surrounded by old evergreen trees. A large, circular and shallow pool, situated in front of the building, greets visitors on entering the compound, lending an air of grace and beauty to the surroundings. The holy fire is kept alive within a spacious and dimly-lit inner room of the temple. The room is surrounded by a series of chambers in which worshippers have carried out for centuries the ancient rituals of the Zoroastrian faith.

Zoroaster (Latinized from Greek variants) or Zarathushtra (from Avestan Zara?u�tra), also referred to as Zartosht (Persian: ?????), was an ancient Iranian prophet and religious poet. The hymns attributed to him, the Gathas, are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism.

The importance of the Gathas to Zoroastrianism cannot be emphasized enough. They are the centerpiece of scripture and inspiration, like the Tao Te Ching is to Taoism. The Gathas are also quite enigmatic and obscure, and other scriptures contain lengthy commentaries. As Helmut Humbach notes, "Zarathushtra did not compose the Gathas to teach people, but to invoke and glorify Ahura Mazda in a predominantly psalmodic way, very far from any dogmatic systematizing" (Gathas I, 1991, pg. 81.). Thus we must look to the rest of scripture for help in understanding both the Gathas and Zarathushtras teachings in general. The Gathas are also filled with word plays and deliberate ambiguities, and they were likely intended to be used by initiates as meditative instruments to enlightenment (ibid pg. 86-7). As an example of the incredible sophistication of the Gathas, see Prof. Martin Schwartz' analysis of the parallel clusters of lexic, semantic, and phonic data which occur in concentric rings ('Sound, sense, and "seeing" in Zoroaster: The outer reaches of orality', in K.R. Cama Oriental Institute International Congress Proceedings, 1989, pp. 127 ff.). According to Mary Boyce, "their poetic form is a very ancient one, which has been traced back (through Norse parallels) to Indo-European times. It seems to have been linked with a mantic tradition, that is, to have been cultivated by priestly seers who sought to express in lofty words their personal apprehension of the divine; and it is marked by subtleties of allusion, and great richness and complexity of style. Such poetry can only have been fully understood by the learned; and since Zoroaster believed that he had been entrusted by God with a message for all mankind, he must also have preached again and again in plain words to ordinary people." - Zoroastrians, Their religious beliefs and practices, London, 1979, pg 17.

Here is a link to the full text of the Gathas.

Although Ahura Mazda is accepted to be the conceptual equivalent of a proto-Indo-Iranian divinity, the details are a matter of speculation and debate. Scholarly consensus identifies a connection to the prototypical *vouruna and *mitra, but whether Ahura Mazda is one of these two, or both together, or even a superior of the two has not been conclusively established. One view is that the proto-Indo-Iranian divinity is the nameless "Father Asura", that is, Varuna of the Rigveda. In this view, Zoroastrian mazda is the equivalent of the Vedic medhira, described in Rigveda 8.6.10 as the "(revealed) insight into the cosmic order" that Varuna grants his devotees. It has also been suggested that Ahura Mazda could be an Iranian development of the dvandvah expression *mitra-*vouruna, with *mitra being the otherwise nameless 'Lord' (Ahura) and *vouruna being mazda/medhira as noted above. In this constellation, Ahura Mazda is then a compound divinity in which the favorable characteristics of *mitra negate the unfavorable qualities of *vouruna. In another view, Ahura Mazda is seen as the Ahura par excellence, superior to both *vouruna and *mitra, and the nameless "Father Asura" of the RigVeda is a distinct divinity (see etymology above) to whom Ahura Mazda may or may not be related. In a development of this view,the dvandvah expression *mitra-*vouruna is none other than the archaic 'Mithra-Baga' of the Avesta. But while in the Vedas Bhaga is a minor divinity in its own right, in proto-Indo-Iranian times this was an epithet of *vouruna's concept and in Greater Iran continued to be a cult title for *vouruna and eventually replaced it. It has also been noted that on Persepolis fortification tablet #337, Ahura Mazda is distinct from both Mithra and the Baga.

Zoroastrianism is the earliest known monotheistic religion, which originated in Iran. Zoroastrianism has a dualistic nature (Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu), with an additional series of six important angel-like entities called the Amesha Spentas. In modern Zoroastrianism they are interpreted as aspects or emanations of Ahura Mazda (the Supreme Being), who form a heptad that is good and constructive. They are opposed to another group of seven who are evil and destructive. It is this persistent conflict between good and evil that distinguishes Zoroastrianism from monotheistic frameworks that have only one power as supreme. By requiring its adherents to have faith and belief in equally opposing powers Zoroastrianism characterizes itself as dualistic. Zoroastrianism may also be known as Mazdayasna ("Worship of Wisdom") by some of its followers after the Zoroastrian name of God, Ahura Mazda ("Divine Wisdom"). A modern Persian form is Behdin ("Good Religion/Law," see below for the role of daena Law). Zoroastrians may refer to themselves as Zartoshti ("Zoroastrians"), Mazdayasni ("Wisdom-Worshippers") and Behdini ("Followers of the Good Religion"), and Zarathustrian.

The historic city of Yazd in central Iran is home to a Zoroastrian temple built nearly 1,500 ago. The holy fire which the Zoroastrians hold sacred is ritualistically preserved in the temple. Its flames have been kept alive for years, the worshippers fastidious in their care to keep the fire burning. The main building of the temple sits on a raised platform in a spacious courtyard surrounded by old evergreen trees. A large, circular and shallow pool, situated in front of the building, greets visitors on entering the compound, lending an air of grace and beauty to the surroundings. The holy fire is kept alive within a spacious and dimly-lit inner room of the temple. The room is surrounded by a series of chambers in which worshippers have carried out for centuries the ancient rituals of the Zoroastrian faith.

Zoroaster (Latinized from Greek variants) or Zarathushtra (from Avestan Zara?u�tra), also referred to as Zartosht (Persian: ?????), was an ancient Iranian prophet and religious poet. The hymns attributed to him, the Gathas, are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism.

The importance of the Gathas to Zoroastrianism cannot be emphasized enough. They are the centerpiece of scripture and inspiration, like the Tao Te Ching is to Taoism. The Gathas are also quite enigmatic and obscure, and other scriptures contain lengthy commentaries. As Helmut Humbach notes, "Zarathushtra did not compose the Gathas to teach people, but to invoke and glorify Ahura Mazda in a predominantly psalmodic way, very far from any dogmatic systematizing" (Gathas I, 1991, pg. 81.). Thus we must look to the rest of scripture for help in understanding both the Gathas and Zarathushtras teachings in general. The Gathas are also filled with word plays and deliberate ambiguities, and they were likely intended to be used by initiates as meditative instruments to enlightenment (ibid pg. 86-7). As an example of the incredible sophistication of the Gathas, see Prof. Martin Schwartz' analysis of the parallel clusters of lexic, semantic, and phonic data which occur in concentric rings ('Sound, sense, and "seeing" in Zoroaster: The outer reaches of orality', in K.R. Cama Oriental Institute International Congress Proceedings, 1989, pp. 127 ff.). According to Mary Boyce, "their poetic form is a very ancient one, which has been traced back (through Norse parallels) to Indo-European times. It seems to have been linked with a mantic tradition, that is, to have been cultivated by priestly seers who sought to express in lofty words their personal apprehension of the divine; and it is marked by subtleties of allusion, and great richness and complexity of style. Such poetry can only have been fully understood by the learned; and since Zoroaster believed that he had been entrusted by God with a message for all mankind, he must also have preached again and again in plain words to ordinary people." - Zoroastrians, Their religious beliefs and practices, London, 1979, pg 17.

Here is a link to the full text of the Gathas.

Although Ahura Mazda is accepted to be the conceptual equivalent of a proto-Indo-Iranian divinity, the details are a matter of speculation and debate. Scholarly consensus identifies a connection to the prototypical *vouruna and *mitra, but whether Ahura Mazda is one of these two, or both together, or even a superior of the two has not been conclusively established. One view is that the proto-Indo-Iranian divinity is the nameless "Father Asura", that is, Varuna of the Rigveda. In this view, Zoroastrian mazda is the equivalent of the Vedic medhira, described in Rigveda 8.6.10 as the "(revealed) insight into the cosmic order" that Varuna grants his devotees. It has also been suggested that Ahura Mazda could be an Iranian development of the dvandvah expression *mitra-*vouruna, with *mitra being the otherwise nameless 'Lord' (Ahura) and *vouruna being mazda/medhira as noted above. In this constellation, Ahura Mazda is then a compound divinity in which the favorable characteristics of *mitra negate the unfavorable qualities of *vouruna. In another view, Ahura Mazda is seen as the Ahura par excellence, superior to both *vouruna and *mitra, and the nameless "Father Asura" of the RigVeda is a distinct divinity (see etymology above) to whom Ahura Mazda may or may not be related. In a development of this view,the dvandvah expression *mitra-*vouruna is none other than the archaic 'Mithra-Baga' of the Avesta. But while in the Vedas Bhaga is a minor divinity in its own right, in proto-Indo-Iranian times this was an epithet of *vouruna's concept and in Greater Iran continued to be a cult title for *vouruna and eventually replaced it. It has also been noted that on Persepolis fortification tablet #337, Ahura Mazda is distinct from both Mithra and the Baga.





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