Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 60
Publication Date: 1905
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This short book is comprised of selected teachings of Zoroaster (Zarathustra). The author himself was a member of the Indian Zoroastrian community. The teachings in the book cover Commandments for the Body and Soul, the Soul's destination, a Gatha hymn, prayer of Kem Na Mazda, prayer of Ormuzd Yast, the creation of the world and God's warning to Yima.
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"I WILL now tell you who are assembled here the wise sayings of Mazda, the praises of Ahura, and the hymns of the Good Spirit, the sublime truth which I see rising out of these flames. You shall therefore hearken to the Soul of Nature. Contemplate the beams of fire with a most pious mind! Every one, both men and women, ought today to choose his Dread. Ye offspring of renowned ancestors, awake to agree with us." So preached Zoroaster, the prophet of the Parsis, in one of his earliest sermons nearly 3,500 years ago.
Imbued from his infancy with deep philosophical and religious thoughts for the welfare and well-being of mankind, this ancient prophet of Bactria derived his holy inspiration after thirty years of divine meditation on a secluded and inaccessible mountain-top of "Ushidarena." Thus fortified in communion with Ahura-Mazda, "Spitama Zarathustra" proceeded to the city of Balkh, at the time the capital of the King of Iran, Kava Vishtaçpa.
Clothed in pure white flowing vestments, bearing with him the sacred fire, "Adar Burzin Mehr," and a staff or sceptre made of a cypress tree, this sage of antiquity appeared before the court of Kava Vishtaçpa. By persuasion and argument he unfolded his religious mission; and proclaimed the mandate of Ahura, in order to elevate the ancient faith of the Aryas to its lofty and intellectual purity of monotheism.
Somewhere in the region washed by the eastern shires of the Caspian Sea, on the fertile soil of Atropatene, the primeval Aryas toiled and laboured in peaceful pastoral pursuit. In the early days of Zoroaster homage was paid and prayers were offered to the Supreme Being, usually through the recognized symbols of the Deity. The heavenly firmament, tinted with cerulean hue—one limitless vault of refulgence and indescribable splendour—the resplendent orb of the rising sun, the ethereal gentleness of the beaming moon, with her coruscating companions, the planets and the stars, the verdant earth, the swift-flowing river, murmuring in sweet cadence of eternity and bliss, the roaring sea of life and death, and the glorious fire of Empyrean,—all these, in the days of the primitive Aryan religion, were believed to be so many manifestations of the Almighty God, and were accordingly symbolized. Things, which were originally manifestations of God's good work, became in course of time personified; assumed shapes of deities in the frail imagination of the devotees; and finally came to be adored in lieu of the Great Architect of the world. Thus, a religious system, in itself philosophically sublime, degenerated into a system of polytheism, having for its object adoration of idols and visible forms of good and evil spirits, reflective of human imagination. This was the great evil, the crime of ignoring the Creator for the created, which our prophet Zarathustra laboured to remedy; and to restore the then ancient faith to its pristine purity of Ahura worship was his chief object.
This led to a schism amongst the Indo-Eranians. One branch of the ancient Aryas, powerfully supported by the State, became Mazdayasnians (Monotheists), and the other of the same stock remained staunch to the worship of material gods, and were known as Daêvayasnians (Polytheists). Inevitable war of creed and faith resulted in the migration of the weaker and polytheistic branch to the fertile plains of India, where it took root and blossomed into the absolute Brahminism of the modern Hindoos. The other remained on the native soil, flourished for centuries, built up an empire, and finally in its turn gave place to the Moslem hordes of Arabia. It migrated, and by the irony of Fate, sought and obtained shelter with religious toleration among the banished sister branch of the primeval stock.
The appearance of Zoroaster, to teach his excellent religion before King Gushtasp and his wise and learned courtiers, may be well compared to that of St. Augustine before King Ethelbert in the sixth century of the Christian era. It is a curious historical coincidence that in both oases extreme piety, religious convictions, eloquent and persuasive arguments, prevailed. England received the blessings of Christianity through the Saxon King Ethelbert, and rose in its might to be a great Christian nation, whose empire in the twentieth century of the Christian era extends over land beyond the seas; and under whose sceptre are folded together vast millions of most loyal subjects of His Britannic Majesty King Edward VII. So, 3,500 years ago, did the mighty Gushtasp of Iran espouse the cause of Zoroaster and spread the Mazdayasnian religion to all the corners of his vast empire. He was the first founder of the doctrine of the State religion. Under the renowned and mighty warriors Cyrus and Darius of Persia, the national flag of State and Zoroastrianism, welded together in unity, proudly floated over untold millions, who claimed protection and paid homage to the Persian Court. Thus, through generations and generations, flourished Zoroastrianism, to be ultimately shattered and almost annihilated by the Arabs of the Khaliph Omar at the battle of Nehâvand, A.D. 642.