Zarathustra Said What?
Herodotus the historian of the Greco-Persian Wars, wrote around 500 BC. that:
“The Persians offer sacrifice to: “the sun and moon, to the earth, to fire, to water, and to the winds. These are the only gods whose worship has come down to them from ancient times. The Persians have no images of the gods, no temples nor altars, and consider the use of them a sign of folly. This comes, I think, from their not believing the gods to have the same nature with men, as the Greeks imagine.”
Zoroaster a.k.a. Zarathustra was a philosopher who lived around 500 BC he believed there was one God spirit that created the universe called Ahura Mazda (meaning ‘Wise Lord’). Ahura Mazda. Zoroastrians believe that everything Ahura Mazda created is pure and should be treated with love and respect. This included the natural environment, so Zoroastrians traditionally do not pollute the rivers, land or atmosphere. This has caused some to call Zoroastrianism ‘the first ecological religion’.
The ultimate purpose in the life of a practicing Zoroastrian is to become an ashavan (a master of Asha) and to bring happiness into the world, which contributes to the cosmic battle against evil.
The core teachings of Zoroastrianism include:
- Following the threefold path of ‘good thoughts, good words, good deeds’
- Practicing charity to keep one’s soul aligned with Asha and thus with spreading happiness.
- The spiritual equality and duty of men and women alike.
- Being good for the sake of goodness and without the hope of reward .
Ahura Mazda (meaning ‘Wise Lord’) is:
- Omniscient (knows everything)
- Omnipotent (all powerful)
- Omnipresent (is everywhere)
- Impossible for humans to conceive
- The Creator of life
- The Source of all goodness and happiness
Ahura Mazda, who is perfect, abides in Heaven, whereas Angra Mainyu dwells in the depths of Hell. When a person dies they will go to Heaven or Hell depending on their deeds during their lifetime.
It is generally accepted that the Zoroastrian concepts of Heaven and Hell, the Devil, Angels, Free Will and judgement after death, among other, may have influenced other religious and philosophical systems, including the Abrahamic religions and Gnosticism, Northern Buddhism, and Greek philosophy.
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