Tag Archives: Zarathustra

Mystical Path of Zoroastrianism

20 Sep

The teachings of one man influenced Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism, Christian and Jewish Gnosticism, Pythagoras, Plato, and the Essenes. And all of us who pursue the mystical path today. Yet, very little is known about him.

His name was Zarathustra and he was the founder of Zoroastrianism. He started a revolution of Light against Darkness that is ongoing today.

Zarathustra was a prophet, a mystic who spoke to his God face to face. Unfortunately most of Zarathustra’s writings and the records of his life were lost or destroyed.

Mary Boyce, Emeritus Professor of Iranian Studies at the University of London, points out:  “Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed world-religions, and it has probably had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith.” <1>

Who was Zarathustra?

According to R. C. Zaehner, former Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University, Zarathustra was “one of the greatest religious geniuses of all time….[He] was a prophet, or at least conceived himself to be such; he spoke to his God face to face….[Yet] about the Prophet himself we know almost nothing that is authentic.” <2>

Zarathustra lived in a nonliterate society, whose people did not keep records. His teachings were passed down by oral tradition, and much of what was later written down about his life and teachings has been lost or destroyed.

What scholars have been able to piece together about him comes from three sources–the study of the historical milieu prior to and during the time Zarathustra is believed to have lived, tradition, and seventeen sacred hymns called Gathas. Scholars concur that Zarathustra composed these hymns. The Gathas are recorded in the Avesta, the sacred scriptures of Zoroastrianism.

It is not clear where or when Zarathustra was born. It is believed he was born in what is now east central Iran, but that is not certain. Zarathustra’s date of birth is even more difficult to establish. Scholars place it sometime between 1700 b.c. and 600 b.c. The consensus is that he lived around 1000 b.c. or earlier.

Tradition holds that at the age of twenty Zarathustra left his father, mother and wife to wander in search of Truth. Ten years later he had the first of many visions. See how long God tries your soul. So keep on allowing him to try you.

Boyce writes:  “According to tradition Zoroaster was thirty, the time of ripe wisdom, when revelation finally came to him. This great happening is alluded to in one of the Gathas and is tersely described in a Pahlavi [Middle Persian] work. Here it is said that Zoroaster, being at a gathering [called] to celebrate a spring festival, went at dawn to a river to fetch water.” <8>

Now, at dawn tomorrow be sure you’re at the Mol Heron Creek!  Wait till you hear what happened to Zarathustra:

  He waded in to draw [the water] from midstream; and when he returned to the bank…he had a vision. He saw on the bank a shining Being, who revealed himself as Vohu Manah ‘Good [Mind]’; and this Being led Zoroaster into the presence of Ahura Mazda and five other radiant figures, before whom ‘he did not see his own shadow upon the earth, owing to their great light’. And it was then, from this great heptad [or group of seven beings], that he received his revelation. <9>

We can conjecture that the seven beings of this great heptad were none other than the Seven Holy Kumaras.

Ahura Mazda means “Wise Lord.”  Zarathustra recognized Ahura Mazda as the one true God, the creator of the universe. The significance of this cannot be overstated. Zarathustra may have been the first monotheist in recorded history. Zaehner points out, “The great achievement of the Iranian Prophet [was] that he eliminated all the ancient gods of the Iranian pantheon, leaving only Ahura Mazdah, the ‘Wise Lord’, as the One True God.” <10>

Some scholars assert that Zarathustra was not a strict monotheist but a henotheist, that is, one who worships one God but does not deny the existence of others. This is a technical distinction. As David Bradley, author of A Guide to the World’s Religions, notes, “[Zarathustra] was a practicing monotheist in the same way that Moses was.” <11>  Bradley thinks that Moses knew of the existence of lesser gods but insisted on the necessity of siding with the true God against all other gods. <12>

Shortly after his first vision, Zarathustra became a spokesman for Ahura Mazda and began to proclaim his message. According to Simmons, Zarathustra instituted a religious reform that was more far-reaching and more radical than Martin Luther’s challenge of the Roman Catholic Church. <13>

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Zoroastrianism facilitates your soul-development on the eighth ray through the secret chamber of the heart.