|Recently received from Sweden and is being sent on to you guys!
My dear Shirin
I have finally translated what was written in my old encyclopedia fro 1934 about Parsism.
Since it was that old, a lot of words and expressions are out of date and I had some difficulties in translating a few things.
My oldest dicitionary was from 1957 but I think I have managed to get it correct.
Parsism (or Mazdaism after Ahara Mazda.), the old Persian religion, which still counts about 100 000 followers in India and about 8000 in Persia.
The main contents of the faith is in their holy documents, Avesta. An important document is Bundehesh.
Parsism whose essence goes back to Zoroastra is a try to break with the oldest Persian religions polytheism and gather all worship of God around one single God, Ahura Mazda, “The wise Lord. He is described as the creator of heaven and earth, the King of light, purity and truth, from which all good in life comes.
He is surrounded by a great heavenly hierarchy of angels and servants, among which, above all, the 6 Ameshas Spentas and Saroscha , The Spirit of Obedience, Reushurvan, The Spirit of the Cattle and Atar, The God of the purifying fire are noticed.
In the later Parsism again a lot of the from the oldest religion elbowed out Gods appeared, above all Mithra , the watergodess, Anahita and Haoma, the personification of the Haoma juice, which was the foremost sacrifice. Together with the endeavour towards monotheism , Parsism is characterized by a pronounced strongly expressed dualism.
Against Ahura Mazda (or Muzd) is the Prince of Evil, Angra Mainyu(Ahriman) who created all the unclean, the taint and evil in life.
These two were found since the beginning of the existence and will fight each other till the end, when the good power will conquer and the evil will be defeated.
Angra Mainuys evil hordes of demons will try to force themselves upon the bright world of Ahura Mazda. But here they will meet his good angels, above all The Angel of Truth who is trying to force them away.
But the fight is not only a fight between the spiritual powers in space.
In the center of the fight is man.
Man must join the fight on one side and after death man has to give accountance before Ahura Mazda in which way he or she has lived their lives.
There are two ways in which he or she can help the good to victory.
The first is, above all, by taking part in the religion, the service, which in itself is an act of purification.
The center of it is the Holy Fire, which originally was burning on altars under the open sky, but later was turned into the most holy thing, which was never allowed to go out and kept in Fire Tempels.
When the Parsis migrated to India during the 6th century, they brought their Holy Fire which is still burning in their temples there.
The second way is for man to promote the good in daily life, partly by being on guard for all evil and infected, partly by positive useful work.
If you got in touch with something unclean, above all disease and death, detailed purifications must be done.
Even the “clean” elements, earth, fire and water must be protected from contamination. Hence the bodies must not be burned nor buried but be put on high stands or towers where they will be eaten by vultures.
All useful work is considered as good deeds and Parsism is the first religion which consider the daily vocational work as a sermon.
Finally Parsism is charaterized by a strongly developed escatology.
The whole worldspan is 12000 year, divided in four periods. During the first the spiritual powers are resting side by side, during the second the fight in the spiritual world starts and in the beginning of the third earth and man are created.
The final period starts with Zoroaster being called upon as a prophet.
A thousand years after him a new prophet will come and after another thousand years yet another and finally a third saviour will come, Saoshyant, who like his predecessors is born by a maiden through Zoroaster´s holy semen, which has been kept in a holy pond.
The arrival of Saoshyant is the start of the final fight in which the evil spirits are finally conquered. A meteor falls down on earth and melts the metals hidden in the mountains, which then spread over the surface of the earth as a floating gel.
For the pious this is felt like mild milk while the evil ones are severely tormented by it but are purified from their sins.
Finally the gel is floating down into hell where the devils and such people who didn´t want to convert to being good are annihilated.
A new earth arises where only the good is ruling.
Some of you may find all this of some use.
Shirin J. Mistry