From: "Dara Wadia"
Date: 10 Feb 2016 03:25
Subject: FW: [ilmeKhshnoom] IS THE ZARATHUSTRIAN RELIGION UNIVERSAL?
Subject: [ilmeKhshnoom] IS THE ZARATHUSTRIAN RELIGION UNIVERSAL?
IS THE ZOROASTRIAN RELIGION UNIVERSAL?
(Based on a thesis by Late Roni Khan)
[ Late Roni Khan, an eminent scholar of our Mazdayasni Zarathustri religion, wrote a very thought provoking thesis which was published in the year 2001 entitled: 'Is The Zarathustrian Religion Universal?' by Marzban J. Giara.
When Roni Khan writes, he writes with authority based on a well researched and in depth study of the subject matter. Moreover, there is absolute sincerity, intellectual integrity and frankness in all that he emphasizes. He has brought enlightenment to lay Zarathushtris who are eager to know the truth. His insightful study of our religious scriptures, which transcends the confines of a scholarly inquiry, sheds a new and meaningful light on our beliefs as to our race and faith. Being a Mazdayasni Zarathustri is more than professing our religion; it also means belonging to our illustrious group of people which has distinguished itself as the faithful carrier of a unique culture.
His timely foresight is a clarion call for our awakening. There is a propaganda let loose particularly in the West and to a certain extent in India too, where our race and religion are simultaneously diluted. "What both, Alexander and the Arabs, tried but failed to do, we may yet accomplish by our own hands - God forbid!" he warns. He elaborates, "We are talking survival. A few more calculated shoves by the heterodox hands and we'll go over the brink!"
He has dedicated the thesis to 'the scared memory of countless generations of our righteous fore-bearers whose faith and fortitude through thick and thin has made it possible for us to exist as a living race and with a living religion.'
There is a saying in English: 'Speak the truth. And speak it forever. Cost it what it will. He who hides the wrong he did; does the wrong thing still!' This upholding of moral conduct is well reflected in Asho Zarathushtra's precept: 'Who lets Untruth exist without protest; himself becomes supporter of Untruth.' (Gatha YasnaXLVI: 6).]
The first and foremost fallacy propagated by the heterodox group in the Western world and India too, is that our pristine Mazdayasni Zarathustri religion, complete with all its unique religious practices, is universally applicable to all; and any one is free to join it. This is an absolute unscrupulous misguidance and must be vehemently opposed. It seems the heterodox group in our community has exploited the expression: 'freedom of choice' to implant the seed of such an erroneous presumption in the minds of lay Zarathushtris.
The concept of freedom of choice expounded in Yasna 30-2 relates to the choice between the two paths: 'Mazdayasna' and 'Daevayasna' i.e. the good and evil ways of life. It refers only to moral choice between the good and the evil and is neither a permit to relinquish our religion nor a licence to invite others to join it.
From Hadokht Nask (3-20 etseq.) it appears that towards the end of the Se-shab (the inter-life period of 57 years) each soul liable to take birth again chooses the religion for its next birth (Yasna 49-11). Hence, once a particular religion is chosen by an incarnating soul, it would be spiritually very wrong on its part to become a convert to some other religion during the course of its life on this earth.
What is, therefore, divinely ordained cannot be set aside by the so called 'freedom of choice' concept unscrupulously professed by the heterodox group.
All religions have unfolded in a steady sequence on the world stage as a part of the divine plan of Ahura Mazda (Gatha Yasna 45-9). Accordingly, all religions have inexorably come into existence as divine instruments in order to execute God's master plan for spiritual evolution of various groups of humanity. No single religion has ever been followed by all mankind and there is no religion which is 'universal' in its scope and suitability.
The ultimate goal of mankind is to reach the union with the Divine. Different religions prescribe different disciplines to reach this goal depending upon the spiritual composition of different forms of humanity. In which group a soul will be born is determined in advance and the corresponding divine fields are established in it. Every religion is sent by God to humans with its respective divine fields which MUST be adhered to. It is ordained and we humans have no authority to alienate it or convert one born in a particular religion to other.
If we go deeper in the spiritual aspect, we may find that souls vary in character from one another and accordingly the type of spiritual guidance required for their salvation varies. A soul belonging to a particular group would have a particular spiritual requirement which only a particular religion having the necessary forms of discipline can satisfy. This is the very reason why the religion a soul needs to belong to is determined before it incarnates. Any later disturbance in this ordained arrangement by human choice is obviously prohibited by the divine law to prevent hindrance in the spiritual advancement of the soul.
To preserve the classification of creatures living on this earth, intercourse between different species is not encouraged in nature. This concept is well documented particularly in medical science. Our biological genes are irrevocably linked to the parentage of our birth. It is the same with our 'spiritual' genes which are irrevocably linked with the religion of our birth. Skipping across from the ordained religion on to other is a betrayal of the sacred allegiance owed to one's own religion and disrupts nature's orderly process for the organized spiritual evolution of souls towards frashokereti (Union with the Divine).
It is unfortunate that the heterodox group has failed to comprehend that any religion has to be, and indeed is, more than just a philosophy dealing with the abstract metaphysical concept of HAKIKAT ( i.e. moral precepts, philosophies, concept of God and His creations etc. Our GATHAS form the essential part of this concept of Hakikat). A functional religion intended for practical implementation is always a complete spiritual system with ALL the four integrated and inseparable components of 1) HAKIKAT 2) MAAREFA (i.e. the channels, agencies, mediums for communion with the higher spiritual realms. Examples: The consecrated holy Fire, the talismanic spiritual instruments of Sudreh and Kashti, the maanthric prayers etc.) 3) TARIKATS (i.e. disciplines of rituals – e.g. performance of the Kashti ritual, conducting various rites and ceremonies, ablutions of Bareshnoom, Padyaab and Nahan etc.) and 4) SHARIAT (i.e. rules of behavior and injunctions e.g. do's and don'ts which we are enjoined to obey like Sudhreh and Kashti to be worn next to our body at all times, disposal of the dead by Dokhmenashini wherever the dokhma facility is available, marrying only within the community, not polluting the elements of nature - earth, water and air etc.)
It may be emphasized that although the moral precepts and philosophy of Zarathushtra contained in the GATHAS are vital components of our religion, they are not the sum total of our religion. We have to realize that 'religion' is something more than a mere course in moral science. It is a complete spiritual system for furthering our evolution. Accordingly, the above mentioned four components of our religion are interrelated, interacting and indispensable. They collectively range from the abstract to the concrete, from the conceptual to the tangible, from the philosophical to the practical and from the general to the specific. A fully functional religion is always an integral whole comprising of all these four elements together.
Other fallacy is the presumption that the GATHAS are the be all and end all of our religion. The heterodox group propagates that the GATHAS alone are the sole authentic texts and they comprise the whole of our pristine religion. This is often accompanied by the pompous pretension that the philosophic profundities and metaphysical mysteries contained therein can be penetrated merely with intellectual ability, rational thought and academic expertise. Roni in his book aptly points out: "When arrogance subdues devotion, when ego obstructs humility, when absolute perfection of VOHU MANAH (the divine mind) is claimed by ordinary mortals, when degrees and diplomas replace self-realization, when doubt suffocates faith, when ignorance passes for wisdom, when licence is confused with freedom, when self-interest subverts obedience, when defiance destroys discipline, when progress excludes the wisdom of the ages, when the eternal is confused with the ephemeral, when prejudiced perceptions are promoted through artful twisting and misinterpretation of the scriptures, and when individuals scramble to justify their acts of heterodoxy and try to coerce the religion into being redefined for their own purposes; all these are lethal combinations with the potential to sink the ship of our pristine religion altogether."
In the heterodox hands even the pristine philosophy of righteous living enshrined in the three spiritually uplifting words: Humata (good thoughts), Hukhta (good words) and Hvarshta (good deeds) is not spared the ignominy of becoming a pawn in their false propagation of the alleged universal nature of our religion and instigating conversion. It is one thing to say that righteous living determines whether one is a good Zarathushtri but it is quite a different thing to suggest that merely leading a righteous life would qualify one to be called a Mazdayasni Zarathushtri. Good thoughts, good words and good deeds are not something unique and special to Parsees only. They form the basis of moral teachings of ALL religions. Even an atheist who neither follows any religion nor believes in God would say that these are good for mankind and a guide to righteous life.
There is a vast difference between the intellectual rational mind and the spiritually illumined mind. (Soochaa mananghaa – Gatha Yasna 30-2). The ultimate truth of God and His creations can be comprehended only in the temple of purified souls and not in the temple of worldly academia.
(For better manifestation of the concepts expounded in this article readers are directed to write to Mr.Marazban J. Giara, Dhunmai Building, 667, Lady Jehangir Road, Dadar, MUMBAI 400014 for a copy of Late Roni K. Khan's book: IS THE ZARATHUSHTRIAN RELIGION UNIVERSAL? )
Posted by: Dara Wadia