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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Zoroastrian Faith (DAY-NA) Summarized

The Zarathushti Faith- Summarized.

History has always been written by Victors and no other community has had its origins and philosophical concepts shrouded in so much confusion as that of the Zarathushtis.

The faith, originating in Greater Ariana is very ancient. So ancient in fact, that scientific opinion is still divided over the times of Zarathustra, our Saviour whose religious philosophy is known in the west as Zoroastrianism. The scriptures, being phonetic in nature, were memorized by the priesthood for millenniums and codified in writing only during relatively modern historical times.

Following a philosophical split, as documented in the Vedas, and the Vandidad, the Iranian tribes are pushed northward and north-westward from their homelands shown above and consolidate themselves in the regions currently identified as BMAC (Balkh-Margiana  Archaeological complex). As the Saka (or Saoka) tribe is repeatedly praised in the scriptures, one can safely assume that, although cosmopolitan in nature, the Saka/Saoka empire represented the first Zarathushti empire.

Over centuries, the political and religious center of gravity shifted under the Achaemenian Empire to Persepolis in todays' south eastern Iran.

Codification of history and rituals took place during the glorious age of its emperor Kur-ush (known to the western world, by his Greek name: Cyrus) the Great; author of the first charter of human rights and identified in the Bible as the anointed one for freeing the Jews from captivity.

The Achaemenian Empire and its libraries were destroyed by the marauding armies of Alexander a few centuries later. Whereas the fragments of the philosophy were recovered through the following centuries by the Sassanian Empire, this signified a further westward movement to what is now eastern Iraq and its capital Baghdad.

Lack of unity and apathy of the multi-racial, multi-religious populace saw ignominious defeat of the vibrant and culturally sophisticated Persian Empire at the hands of Arab hordes. 
Radical  Islamization of the holy lands ushered in the appropriation of the places of worship, destruction of the scriptures,  and outright genocide, first of the priests, the heritage bearers and then of the devotees. 
This holocaust, stretching over 1500 years reduced the teeming millions of Zarathushtis to about 5000 souls as counted by Maneckji Hataria in the 1800s. 

This bigotry continues even today.
As published by CNN by Dr Jamsheed K. Choksy, 
"When the Islamic revolution occurred in 1979, fundamentalist Shiites stormed the fire temple at Tehran. There, Zoroastrians worship in front of a blazing fire, as a symbol of God's grace, just like Christians face a cross and Muslims turn to a qibla pointing toward Mecca. The portrait of Zoroaster was tossed down, a photograph of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was put up in its place, and the congregation was warned not to remove the image of Iran's new leader".
" In November 2005, Ayatollah Ahmed Jannati, chairman of the Council of Guardians of the Constitution, disparaged Zoroastrians and other religious minorities as "sinful animals who roam the earth and engage in corruption." When the Zoroastrians' solitary parliamentary representative protested, he was hauled before a revolutionary tribunal. There, mullahs threatened execution before sparing his life with a warning never to challenge their declarations again. A frightened community subsequently declined to re-elect him."

Ancient Iran, the bastion of democracy and religious freedom in the ancient world became a mere footnote in history. Its massive victories over the Greeks and later the Romans were all but forgotten. Military victory, allowed the invaders and local traitorous turncoats to claim Persian scientific and spiritual advances as their own; not much unlike the scientific fillip received by the West with the augmentation of the ranks of their scientists from those of Germany after the Second World War and those of USSR after the end of the cold war. The ancient Iran, extending from Afghanistan to Turkey and incorporating most of the present CIS countries, south to Sindh on the Indian ocean is today just a footnote in history and its history and philosophy would have been lost had not some of our ancestors, identified in India, as  Parsis decided to lift anchor and emigrate to India, the land which afforded them freedom to live and work in peace, free from religious genocide and bigotry.

Scholarship of the last century, using the meager resources salvaged by Parsis and Iranian Zarathushtis, had attempted to translate the ancient scriptures, only to be caught in a web of European bias  [1] and Christian preconceptions [2].

[1] Max Müller. A paid employee, who translated the Rigved in a demeaning style. The hidden secrets of his life.Copyright © 1999 - 2001 H.D. Swami Prakashanand Saraswati

[2]  The Bible dating the earth at 4500BC  is a big mental block for Christian scholars faced with older chronologies.

Historical baggage in the form of the Christian Church arbitrarily choosing the contents of 4 gospels (which even between themselves, differ in content) while discarding the other 26; caused a predisposition towards a flawed theory that the message of Zarathushtra was similarly usurped and contaminated with foreign ideas by his followers.

Confusion about the scriptures’ message has thus crept in often due to meagre available resources salvaged after the jihadist holocaust, and translations that have not been updated to meet the latest advances in language studies.  

Avesta, the language of the original scriptures after all is a phonetically based language that has come down to us as a verbal heritage and has ceased to be a spoken language since a few thousand years.
Conjectural meanings based on these preconceptions were arbitrarily built into Gathic verses and Avesta scriptures, resulting in historical traditions of the Avesta being disparagingly referred to as barbaric sacrificial liturgy. Facts ended up as poor relations to fantasies; whether in dating of the times and geographic location of Zarathushtra, and the archeological sites in Balkh, or the translations of the scriptures; through efforts that can only be defined in statistical terminology of  “forcing data to fit a predetermined curve”.

Since the times of Kanga, Jeevanji Modi, Macdonell, Mary Boyce and Taraporewalla, limited effort has gone into original translation and Philology; with scant regard for the giant strides made in the language studies of the Avesta as well as its sister Aryan dialect known as Rig Vedic Sanskrit.

To correct this situation I have chosen to reference the scriptures themselves using the Avesta language itself as a guide and let readers draw their own conclusions.

This concise compilation, inspired by the tireless and selfless work done by Dasturjee Minochehr Homjee,  therefore represents an effort at truthfully and without preconceptions, drawing conclusions from collated facts regarding the Indo_Iranian roots of this, our Great civilization; shed some light on its philosophy and show how its basic original glorious concepts have influenced humanity from time immemorial.


The Zarathushti faith, is traditionally called Mazda-Yasni Za-rath-ush-tr-ish.  It means that form of worship (Yas-ni) of that supreme immortal being (Ahura), who rules solely and exclusively through Wisdom (Mazda)  and whose strength is based exclusively on Love. 

As the Zarathushti philosophy was propounded by our saviour Za-rath-ush-tra[1]; this term “Zarthush-trish” , added after “Mazda Yasni”, identifies him as the author of this divine revelation; which reformed the discrepancies that had crept into the ancient faith.   
[1] ZA-RATH-USH-TRA: Za/Zar/Har=  glorious/hallowed; Rath= chariot; Ush= light (knowledge); tra= concentration of. 

Zarathushtra is addressed as Pai-gam-ber  पैगम्बर [1], or the messenger from Divinity and given the designation of Khordad-the only man/mortal who achieved perfection within his lifetime.

[1] Pai = Pure/Divine; Gam = that challis  that crucible that holds the hallowed essence/concentrate. Ber/Bar = Carrier/transporter.

Addressed as AHURA MAZDA, this immortal (always existing and self-sustaining) creator oversees the universe, in general and mankind in particular, exclusively through Wisdom.  

Ahu means that divinity that has always been in existence; that Life Force which has neither beginning nor ending and Ra means glorious, radiant divinity.  MAZ-DA derived from Maz and Da means the Great (Maz) Wise Dispenser/Ruler (Da).
Ahura Mazda’s rule is exclusively through Wisdom and his strength derived from Love. He is a gentle, patient educator (not instructor), a teacher and guide. 

Also addressed as Vohu Manah,  (वोहूमनाह) the beloved (Vohu/Vohoo), mind (Man/Mun-मन ) that knows no limits or boundaries, the Creator has been referred to as "Ocean of Love".

Yasna 28.2:
Yey Vaao Mazda Ahu-ra
     I fully comprehend Thee, O  Almighty Creator, who rules exclusively through Wisdom,

Pairi Jasai Vohu Man-angha
                  Who encompasses (covers) limitless (infinite) expanses with Love 

Mai-byo Daa-voi: Ah-vaa-o
                May this blessed desire of mine, be granted in both my existences

As-tva-tas-cha Hyat-chaa Manangho
Steady improvement-Evolution of my defect ridden, imperfect  physical (material) self, to the higher, purer spiritual self.

Ayaptaa Ashaat Hacha
  Achieving that prosperity, that realization of Truth, that removes all doubt, in the inherent unity of all entities (life forms) that populate the Universe

 Yaish Ra-pan-to Dai-deesh Khu-aa-threy
   That knowledge that removes all ignorance and baser tendencies, empowering this devotee to be ushered into thy lustrous abode of light.
Yey: For
Vaao: enlightenment/doubtless comprehension
Mazda: Maaz: Great + Da/Dha: who dispenses through intellect
Ahu-ra: Creator of Life, the self created the Life force.
Pairi: surrounding, all encompassing
Jasai: reach, merge, achieve (cognate with the proper nouns “Jasi”)
Vohu: Beloved. 
Man-an-ghaa = mentality-mindset. (the crucible that holds the reasoning power)
Mai-byo: to me
Daa-voi: be granted
Ah-vaa-o: of both selves (material and spiritual, higher and lower)
As-tva-tas-cha: of Corporeal (material)
Hyat-chaa: and that of
Man-an-gho: Enlightened discerning mind (intellect) higher mentality/ethical nature
Ayap-taa: prosperity- that frees the mind from concerns
Ash-aat:  Path of asha/rta uprightness, integrity, through knowledge. In harmonious symphony with nature
Hacha: that
Yaish: whereby
Ra-pan-to: the faithful (devotees)
Dai-deesh: would lead to
Khu-aa-threy: the lustrous abode of light (knowledge)

Ahura Mazda is thus conceived of, not as having a mortal body structure but rather as an “self propelled energy” that encompasses unimaginable distances-like an ocean. This characteristic of the Creator being an ocean of love, who rules exclusively through wisdom (Truth, Justice and Logic)  stands in sharp contrast to some ideologies that require devotees to obsessively seek "mercy" from a tyrannical God  whose wrath can be manifested by the smallest transgression.  

The uniqueness of this faith is thus its emphasis on free individual choice through reason and responsibility, not compulsion or submission. Education, a process of learning through practice, of recognizing earlier mistakes and making corrections is the guiding principle to wisdom. Instruction,compulsion or indoctrination that requires blind submission to dogma is considered unintelligent or foolish.
Zoroastrianism thus identifies its philosophy as “DAY-NA”, (देना) meaning the “Pathway to Excellence” or the pathway of Continuous improvement through self-introspection or self-correction and practice of deeds which are productive and do not negatively affect others.

It’s the positive action plan of transforming what we view as failed experiences, into valuable fodder for or stepping stones to future success

Psychologists agree that we can benefit tremendously if we apply lessons learned from experience.

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”-Albert Einstein.

This introspection is called Pat-et, (पतेत) or continuous improvement of the self through recognizing and analyzing the results of previous actions. Pat-et is that methodology that protects  from spiritual bankruptcy. Here the root word (Pat [1]) means protector.  
[1] Pronounced as in “putt” त, and cognate with Petra, Petru, Patrick, the westernized Peter and Patel; all of which mean "protector".

From: "Asha Vahishta" by Dastur N.D. Minochehr Homji (Union Press, Mumbai)
Ahura Mazda Khodaai, Az Hamaa gunah, patet pashemaanum; Az harvaspin, dush-mata, duz-ukhta, duz-varshta; mem paa geti manid; oem goft, oem kard, oem just, oem boon bood ested; Az aan gunak, Manashni, Gavashni, Kunashni, tani ravani, geti mino-aani; Okhe awaaksh, pasheman, pase gavashni, pa patet Hom.

Ahura Mazda, From all bad thoughts, unkind words and misdeeds; that during this present time, I have thought, uttered or done; that have sporadically come from me, that have become rooted in my being; 
From all these lapses, pertaining to this body in the physical world; pertaining to the soul, in the sphere of mind and spirit; Do I repent, with a penitent heart, and with the triple pledge of having Good-Pure intentions ( Thought), having Pure, malice-free expression (Speech-Word) and carrying out Deeds that are ethical; while resolving not to commit the same mistake again.

The goal is to consciously  take the pathway of Light-Knowledge and reach a higher spiritual state called Ha-urva-tat, meaning Perfection (Self Realization).
Life is a do-it-yourself project. Your life tomorrow, that is your destiny will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

The Day-na's main scriptures, consists of Man-tr-as (inspiration catalyzers) composed, by our Savior  Zarathushtra;   in times , referred to in the West, as Prehistory

When Zarathustra Spoke: The Reformation Of Neolith&hellip by Mary Settegast
 When Zarathustra Spoke: The Reformation Of Neolithic Culture And Religion (Bibliotheca Iranica:  by Dr Mary Settegast 

This collection of Mantras composed in the Avesta language (a sister language of Vedic Sanskrit), is called the Gathas. These are hymns, made up of syllables (sound-packets) composed in a very specific meter. Each verse constitutes a unit of meter and a unit of condensed, concentrated thought. It combines a philosophical idea with scientific, analytic logic, and encloses it into a sound packet. These set of sounds when put together, vibrate harmoniously. Just like sympathetic resonance or sympathetic vibration affects inanimate objects or structures, these vibrations affect the mind and inspire mankind to higher spiritual levels.

This religious philosophy is uniquely in consonance with science. The String Theory or the universal theory postulates that the shape of that infinitesimal, fundamental building block of life (and the universe), is that of a `string'. These strings, which can be open, closed, or looped, (like DNA) “vibrate” with a unique identity, a fingerprint of sound and color   depending on the nature of the particle. One mode of vibration, or musical note', makes the string appear as an electron, another as a photon. 

According to James Newton Powell (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)
“Modern metaphysicians are rediscovering the fantastic powers released through spoken words. By certain arrangements of words, such as in Mantras, a tremendous vibratory force could be set upon in the invisible mode, which profoundly affects physical and metaphysical substance in the body of man.”

These Mantras form the foundation of this knowledge based and science aligned philosophy. The Dayna or the pathway to excellence is postulated through a Continuous improvement cycle.  A Self Improvement Pathway that involves actively and purposefully forging ones’ own destiny through a lessons learned (learning from past mistakes) methodology; a process of  innovation, of self-correction as opposed to enforcement.
Business process optimization recognises this process as PDCA or Plan-Do-Check-Act. That is a plan is formulated and actions carried out. A check is then initiated to document the results. Based on these results the next course of action is decided.

The emphasis is on Ethics. Actions to be planned and carried out, correcting previous errors and putting into place a preventive action plan that ensures previous mistakes are not repeated.

Zoroastrianism proposes, therefore, that a Man has to proceed intelligently and logically in the light of his own conscience, through choices which are reasoned, independent, informed, responsible and enlightened.
Yasna 31.11: Ya-thraa  Ver-neng Vaa-saa-o daa-yey-tey
With Responsible Choice and Free will, at our command.

 This advisory  to make intelligent, ethical choices, in one’s life, is meant to promote individual responsibility. It puts the individual man in control of his/her own destiny, through actions which are logical, pure (ethical) and selfless. 

This ability to make an informed and free choice is based on mankind’s unique ability to Reason, to analyze and innovate. This mental ability, the logic mechanism or MUN-YU (मन्यु ) of mankind to logically and intelligently choose and plan a future course of action, is what separates or distinguishes mankind from animals. 

Yasna 28.1: Man-ye-ush Maz-da pouru-veem
That Primal, innate ability, endowed in us, to reason, to analyze, to deliberate.

Whereas a Man is capable of acting analytically, devising and innovating on an action plan; an animal, with its limited mental ability can only re-act to say hunger, happiness or danger. An animal can at best imitate, but can never logically plan out a course of action. 

The theological advisory (as opposed to enforced instruction) is for the “mun-yu”, or power of reason to be used responsibly, independently and ethically. That is consciously making choices which are aligned to Truth or Fact and Justice, without reliance on fate or succumbing to fear of retribution from a wrathful or egotistical man or God.

This concept of “VAI-RYO[1]वैर्यो) is that intelligent choice, based on the Truth, facts (knowledge) and a positive intention. Opposition to and discounting of blind belief, or without reference to facts (reality) is thus one of the main philosophical components that distinguishes the Zarathushti faith from other religions and ideologies.

[1] Derived from the root  Vr = to choose; with Vai = Light and Ryo = radiance(glory); meaning enlightened choices made that are aligned to Light -Truth, Knowledge, positive intention

Yasna 27.13.:  Ya-thaa A-hoo Vai-ryo:
I pledge alliance to Thee consciously, O Almighty Creator of all Life, through reasoned, intelligent Choice. 

A  Zarathushti  thus “chooses” of his own volition to worship our Creator, Ahura Mazda .
There is no compulsion or submission through coercion to anyone’s’ dictates, under threats, duress or promises of future rewards.

For a man to surrender himself to the dictates of another, by fascination or compulsion is considered annihilation (total destruction) of all morality and negation of all virtue.

The whole idea of the freedom to choose (Vai-ryo), with responsibility, flows from our Saviour Zarathustra’s unique concept of a Loving, caring God, who is addressed as a true and loving friend and patient teacher (not instructor) and educator (See-sha )

Yasna 28.11Tu-vem Mazda Ahura; Fro-maa See-sha thwa-mat Vao-chang-hay
Educate me O master of Wisdom, remove my doubts and misconceptions.

Ahura Mazda's  formula for defeating evil, is not by codified instructions, incitement to violence,  threats of damnation to hell or prescription of horrific punishments, but by educating (channeling minds constructively), through lessons learned from our own (earlier mistakes) life experiences.

Mankind is thus advised, to deliberate intellectually with due diligence and choose his/her line of action which is ethical and positive. There is no dire threat of fire and brimstone to discipline him. Genuine disciple (and corrective action) must come from the self.

In effect the right choice is not cheapened by dangling a future reward, but considered the enlightened preference to do the right thing. After all Ahura Mazda rules through Wisdom; based on a foundation of Love; not brute force. 
Access to Paradise [1] or heaven is the consequence of one’s’ own actions, not on a set of beliefs or superstitions, or magical rites. Superstitions are in fact referred to as mental infirmities.

[1]   The word ‘Paradise’  derived from the Greek  ‘Paradeisoi’, is in turn derived from the Avestan word ‘Pairi-day-za’. Here Pairi=all encompassing/enveloping. “Day”= the glorious (Light)  path  to excellence. Za=blessed (vedic Ha).  In later Achaemenian times, Pairi-dayza came to mean an enclosed garden, orchard or park surrounded by walls; referencing an ancient land of perfection, a Shangrila, called Era (Avestic) or Ela (Vedic).

Destructive actions, such as malice, fomenting hate and violence, are considered intrinsically Evil and belonging to the realm of the Druj.
The Avestic word Druj (द्रुज), or the Vedic Druh/Drugh/Dhroga-(ध्रोगा)  occurs throughout the Gathas and Rig-Veda as that common demonic enemy that revels in death and destruction. The Druj is personified as outright evil, who is deceptive, violent, strikes surreptitiously like a snake, hiding its/their intentions till the last moment and who lack conscience, pity or remorse.

Zarathushti philosophy, postulates that Ahura Mazda designed the Universe to operate on the reality of Truth and Justice. This algorithm or mechanism controlling both the physical movement and Reality of the universe, as well as the teaching mechanism to reach spirituality is called Ash-a (अशा ). Here Ash means that which exists, that which is True and always Just.

This natural mechanism of life, called A-sha, becomes the Law of logical Consequences in mankinds life.

In line with Newton’s 3rd law; "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction"; a Zarathushti therefore lives by the dictum:
"My destiny is merely the consequence of my present actions, or my acquiesce to the actions of others".

Our lives are thus not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens. Not by what life brings to us, but by the Choices (Vai-ryo) we make and the mental attitude (Mun-yu) we bring to life.

The universe and Life or Mortality is said to be formed by the combination of opposites (much like the proton and electron) or opposing forces or energies. 
These opposite forces are identified as Spenta Man-yu and Angra Man-yu.

See the Creation Hymn.

At the physical-material level, the combination of opposing forces, such as the centrifugal and centripetal forces regulate the movement of the planets and the stars.
At the spiritual level, Spenta Man-yu becomes the ethical, pure, constructive mentality. while Angra Man-yu. becomes the un-ethical deviant, egotistical, destructive mentality

It is this mentality or mental attitude of positivity and negativity, that like opposites such as pleasure and pain, fame and ignominy; combine together to form life’s experiences, as no living person can be purely one or the other.

At the individual level these 2 forces or attitudes are said to reside in the mind as nature/temperament. Depending upon ones inclination to “feed” either; (through positive or negative actions) stronger becomes that particular force within oneself.
Strengthening the Spenta Manyu in oneself, by conscious, considered, acts of goodness, and starving Angra Manyu (selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger and ego), through knowledge and intelligence, results in cessation of mental disturbances (doubts) created by these pair of opposites
A good, positive (Spen-ta) attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary productive results. The root word “Sp”(Vedic “Sv”) means pure, positive, constructive. “En” or “An” = breath; the combination meaning that entity whose sustenance (breath) is pure, pristine, positive, constructive. 

The Ideal Existence:  Yasna 47.1

Spenta munyoo Vahishta-chaa mananghaa
That Pure mentality/attitude that brings out the Best in Man

Hacha Ashaat Shyoth-naa-chaa Vachangha-chaa
Through Words telescoping into deeds/actions dedicated to expanding the cause of Righteousness

Ahmai daan ha-urva-taa amerey-ta-ta
Being granted that prosperity of perfection; Self Realization and Immortality 

Maaz-daao Kshth-raa Aa-raa-maiti Ahuro
By Thee, O Great Intellect, that Strength, that Energy, who we address as The Creator

Spenta: Pure, Positive, Divine, shining bright
Man-yoo: mentality, attitude
Vah-ishta-chaa : of the Best
Man-an-ghaa: Man (discerning/intelligent judgment) + an (breath) +ghaa (treasure trove)
Ha-cha: through
Ash-aat: The Expanding /increasing Path of A-sha. Uprightness, integrity, through knowledge, in harmonious symphony with the rhythm of the ever expanding Universe.
Shy-oth-naa-chaa: Of Deeds/actions
Vach-angha-chaa: of Words/Speech
Ahmai : Unto Us, Upon us
Daan: give/gift/grant
ha-urva-taa: perfection/self realization; Vedic Saraswat.
amerey-tata: Immortality
Maaz-daao: Great Intellect
Ksh-thraa: Power/will/strength of purpose/kingdom
Araa-maiti: Energy (Shakti) steadfast devotion to purpose
Ahu-ro: Creator

The ideal purpose of human existence therefore is the attainment of perfection /self realization of the higher self through concrete actions. (As opposed to material fixation)
The ideal becomes more and more explicit as man rises higher in the scale of being.

The desires of a man being different from that of a beast, so too that of a wise man are different from that of a fool. The highest desire belongs to the highest self.

The end or ideal in morals is not to be conceived of as some far off divine event, but to  be realized daily and hourly  in the good act itself.
To do the right thing, because it is right, and not for any other cause, or expected reward.

Duty for duty's sake is the advisory of  Zarathushti philosophy. If one takes to righteousness for the sake of a future reward, we are paying homage not to righteousness, but to the future reward. For then the God of Righteousness has been substituted by the mirage of the reward; and religion has degenerated into realm of unrealistic expectations and a skewed world-view.

Yasna 43.1: Ushta ahmai ya ahmai ushtai kamhai cheet
The ideal actions (deeds) are for that outcome, which is good for everyone concerned.

This sentiment is a critical distinguisher of the Zarathushti philosophy from others. Ones actions should bear good results (bring joy) for others. Violence to enforce a point of view, that which leads to suffering and destruction of fellow mankind or their possessions, or mute animals is considered degenerate (Druj-ic)  behaviour attributed to a deformed, degenerate mind (attitude), and lack of conscience.

Ideologies that promote mind control (suppression of individual reasoning) , indoctrination, focus on inciting and institutionalizing violence, spreading mayhem to enforce their world view are thus said to corrode the moral fiber of mankind and just like cancer, eat away at the soul; till that internal spark of light (Rtu रतु ) of conscience, that ability to experience remorse; flickers and is then extinguished.

Overall the actions must be Good (Progressive, Productive) for all of Mazda’s creation. It places a responsibility on mankind to act as an honest trustee protecting animals and the rest of nature. Mistreatment of animals and Animal sacrifices are therefore rejected outright, as a genuine sacrifice comes from the self, not in taking the life of another.
All Life (not just human) is considered important and mankind is exhorted to: Eat to live, not live to Eat. Moderation is the key. Gluttony is to avoided.
From the Farvardin Yasht: "We revere the Fravashi (soul) of the man who withdraws his hand, before his stomach is full".
According to Moulton (Teachings of Zarathushtra, P7) : "No asceticism, no morbid depreciation of the creators’ work enters into the optimism of Zarathushtra. The devotee is not commanded to forswear the innocent enjoyment of life, as something that is inherently evil. He is to enjoy it, but with unflagging self control".

Like the spiral shape of the Milky Way and our own genetic structure, the Zarathushti philosophy prescribes a pathway to utopia via a continuous improvement cycle of man through a steady, progressive elimination of imperfections of the self. 

Ys. 27.13: 
Yim dre-gub-yo, da-daat Vaa-staa-rem 
That path, which guides me away from the dregs of ignorant, violent, egotistical, un-ethical, malicious behavior and towards successful acquisition of thy postulated (spiritual) riches. 

This is possible only through an optimistic mindset, fueling corrective actions based on previous experiences (mistakes). Note the emphasis on deeds (actions) as opposed to an expression of regret without a corrective follow up action.
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."- Albert Schweitzer

The moral benchmark is therefore the perfect person (Khor-dad or Nara-yana-the only mortal-our Spita-man Zarathushtra- who achieved perfection and immortality in one life time).
One needs to aggressively seek it , because failure is due to ones own imperfections.

In summary, the Zarathushti faith postulates that the ascent of man (to a higher spiritual state) is possible only through self generated, steady, continuous removal of material (physical, emotional, mental) limitations and imperfections. 

Ahuna Vairya
(the First and Foremost, the Greatest protection affording Mantra: The Mantra Maz-ish-tem[1]- the Mantra that summarizes the faith principles.

Ya-thaa A-hoo Vai-ri-yo:  
                  I pledge alliance to Thee consciously, O Almighty Creator of all Life,
                  Through reasoned, responsible, fact based, intelligent Choice.

A-thaa Rt-ush A-shaat-chit ha-chaa          
 Likewise I consciously seek guidance from that divine flame[2], that master of my sub-conscience (Rt-ush), aligned to Truth and Reality; for solutions to the challenges I face in life. 
Van-gay-ush daz-daa Ma-nang-ho        
                      Treading that victorious path, of Love, Compassion and Patience,                       

Shyaa-o-thaa-naa-naam an-geush Maz-daai   
                             Through conscious, enlightened actions of selflessness ===============================================

 Ksha-threm-chaa A-hoo-raai aa    
As it is only through the strength of conviction to follow this path (Actions based on knowledge and faith),   O Creator of all life

Yim dre-gub-yo da-daat Vaa-staa-rem[4]       
That guides me away from the dregs of ignorant, egotistical un-ethical Behaviour and towards acquisition of thy postulated riches[5].

[1]  Maz-ish-tem , (“tem” being a word ending) . Maz = Mah = Great; Ish = Esh = wish fulfillment. 
[2] Atarsh- the holy flame is called Pu-thraa—the purifying communicator with Divinity.
[3] The blessed Law of Consequences. My destiny tomorrow is the result of my actions today.
[4] Yasna 31.9
Vaas-tri-yaat vaa aa-i-tey             
 Spiritual wealth accumulation is what matters. It is the only wealth that extends beyond mortality         
Yey vaa noit ang-haat vas-tri-yo   
Blindly Coveting material wealth risks  ending up spiritually unclothed.

[5] Spiritual wealth is accumulated by the soul, as opposed to the material wealth left behind by the mortal .  

Word Break-up and Explanatory Notes:
Yatha: Just as
Ahu: Vedic Asu, Life force, The self created Creator
Vai-ryo: from root Vr: to choose with intelligence 
Atha:  First and foremost.
Ratush[6]   :Ratush (Rt + Ush) is the Divinity within ones-self; the seed of the Almighty Creator within ones-self, ones inner soul. Rt  = ruler who regulates the functioning of the Universe through knowledge and wisdom. Ush= to burn (invigorate), to shine bright, to enlighten. Rt-ush is therefore that infinitesimal portion of the Creator----Ahu-ra, in each one of us, guiding us to acts of righteousness aligned to the rhythm of the Universe (Asha). 
Ash-aat: The Expanding /increasing Path of asha/rta uprightness, integrity, through knowledge. In harmonious symphony with the rhythm of the ever expanding Universe.
Chit: pure (like in blazing fire) mind; where knowledge  dispels all doubt; that which separates the corn from the chaff. Doubt Dispelment.
 Ha-cha: of
Van-gay-ush: Winning Soul; “winning hearts through Love”...binding Love (Van : Win/Victorious + Gay-ush: Cow, representing mother earth; whose selflessness, binds devotees to her with Love
Daz-da:  prescribed/postulated (path)
Man-an-gho: (Man: discerning + An = breath) Enlightened, aware discerning mind (intellect)
Shyoth-ana-naam: Deeds/actions
An-ge-ush: An + Geush, where An = breath and Geush = Universe: The Living World
Mazdai: Maz = great, vedic Maah; and dai=dh = intelligent discernment: enlightened judgment
Ksha-threm-cha[7]:  of  (will) Power (strength of conviction, not compulsion)
The Kshthraa of Ahura Mazda, is both his Kingdom and Power/Strength; Kingdom in material sense and will power in the spiritual sense. 
Yim: Vedic Yam: which Guides
dre-gub-yo : driving the druj/droha/drogha or  demonic deceivers away.
These terms occur throughout the Gathas and Rigveda in the sense of “demonic deceiver”; the ones who are devoid of conscience; who revel in death and destruction. Drigu (in this case) refers to the poverty of the un-enlightened soul, representative of the baser faculties of man; to be removed.  Enlightenment removes this[8].
Da-daat: Grant (spiritual riches/ enlightenment)
Vaasta-rem: Vaastr-em: Derived from the root word “Vas-tra”; meaning “Vas” –riches that can be stored/accumulated, where they would be concentrated-“Tra”).These riches (spiritual currency) are the only riches that remain beyond mortality)

   [6]  Yasna1.10 identifies 33 Ratushs’. 32 Powers/Rulers that operate the universe + Zarathushtra (the 33rd and only mortal to ever be elevated to the designation of Rt-ush- a force of nature). 
  •  In the Vedas the Rtu is identified as one dwelling in the heart, who destroys with the shining, radiant lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.
[7] Will Power translates to conquest of the mind (the 5 ethical practices, to control and subdue the 5 negative (Aeshma) emotions: envy, greed, anger, sloth, and ego); by conviction in the cause of righteousness, not through compulsion

[8]  This idea of “removal of the poverty (perversity) of the soul” is also reflected in:

Ys28.6:  (My Life's Companion, The Ahunavaiti Gatha by Dasturji N D Minochehr-Homji)
Becoming Wise, Virtuous and Loving,
May I ever feel thy welcome presence within.
Grant me the boons of righteous living-: gifts of long enduring light and truth.
As attested to in the holy scriptures; to Zarathushtra and the faithful,
Grant, Peace, Bliss and Joy, with inner strength,
           -to overcome malice and hatred, the filthy slime of the soul, harbored by those gone astray.

In Vendidad: 8.21: Paato-no thbish-yan-taat pairi, Mazdaa-oscha, Aara-maith-cha, Spentas-cha…………………….(last verse Kemna Mazda)
Protect my mind against enticement to malice, removing the filthy slime that sticks to the soul; through use of thy triple weapon: Knowledge and Wisdom, energetic perseverance and Pure, positive ethical Intention.

(Note: Paata and Paiti (Vedic Pati) are designations of Ahura Mazda, referred to as the Protector)

The tools to achieve Self-Realization are the 5 sovereign, immortal principles; or timeless principles that never get out of date. The final goal is to achieve prosperity, that perfection, that spiritual higher state of self realization called Ha-urva-tat and consequent merger with the infinite or Amer-e-tat.

This 5 Fold, scientific and fact (Truth-Integrity) based path of continuous improvement cycle of self to Utopia are also represented as Sovereign (Independent), Immortal (Timeless-always existing) Principles of the Universe, or Amesha Spentas .

A-sha: Truth (Reality-Knowledge) and Justice
Vohu Manah: Love Patience and Compassion (that which is Beloved-Vohu[1])

      [1]  Cognate with “bahu” or wife/beloved in daughter languages
Ksha-tra: Focused Power, Will, self confidence, strength of purpose (commitment to the cause).
Ara-maiti: Energetic devotion, Persistence. A focused visualization of the goal. Clear prioritization of Purpose
Sra-osh: Divine Inspiration.

These 5 steps lead to:
Ha-urva-tat: State of Perfection (Self Realization) ; 
Amer-e-tat: Immortality (Merger into the divinity)

This religious philosophy is thus called “DAY-NA ” or pathway (of Light) to excellence.


zaneta said...

There is much to be learnt from reading this wise text-to take it to the heart will enable one to live a better life and be a better person-to understand better the wisdom that is embedded in the Gathas-thank you so much!

Vyoman said...

Thanks Zaneta,
will be following up with elaboration on the topics discussed.