Religions - Zoroastrianism



Zoroastrianism began about 600 BC in ancient Iran.


Spenta Zarathustra.


Portions of the Zend Avesta (Persian).


125,000, mostly near Bombay, where they are called Parsis.


The present-day sects are two, having split over a question of calendar.


Two principles form the basis of Zoroastrian ethics: the maintenance of life and the struggle against evil. In order to maintain life, one must till the soil, raise cattle, marry and have children. Asceticism and celibacy are condemned; purity and avoidance of defilement (from death, demons, etc.) are valued. In order to combat evil, one must at all times oppose the forces of evil and people who side with them. Zoroastrianism stresses monotheism, while recognizing the universal sway of two opposite forces. The powers of good are led by Ahura Mazda (the Wise Lord) and the forces of evil by Angra Mainyu or Ahriman (the Evil Spirit). Each side has an array of warriors; bands of angels and archangels on ones side and host of demons and archfiends on the other. Good will eventually triumph on Judgment Day, when a Messiah and Savior named Sayoshant will appear to punish the wicked and establish the righteous in a paradise on Earth. A central feature of the faith is the sacred fire that is constantly kept burning in every home, fueled by fragrant sandalwood. Fire is considered the only worshipful symbol, the great purifier and sustainer, of the nature of the sun itself.

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