Friday, March 16, 2007

ARZ advertisements - religious "conversions" do bring a lot of harm

Dear Zarathushtis,

[ cc: Vada Dasturjis, Ervad Sahebs, Bombay Parsee Punchayat (BPP), Zoroastrian Studies, Religious Anjumans, Priestly Madrassas, Traditional Zoroastrian Home page moderators, TMYZ officials, prominent Zarathushtis, etc ]

We are fortunate that we have knowledgeable writers in our community who continue to guide us from hidden dangers.

In last week's Jame of 11-2-2007, in a paid advertisement, ARZ - Association of 'Revival' of Zoroastrianism, had asked to be shown one instance where religious conversion has harmed a religion.

It seems the over-enthusiastic people at ARZ have not done their homework.

In another well-researched posting, Mrs. Pervin J Mistry, has given several instances, which show clearly how much damage any religious movement can cause in the world, if they believe that their religion is superlative and it should herald a campaign of spreading it to believers of other religion.

This spreading of a religion to people who are already born in another great religion is mischief at the least, and down-right arrogance at its worst. "Come and see how great my religion is", "Your religion is nothing compared to mine", "Our Prophet has more depth than yours", "Leave your old religion, come and join us" "Our Prophet has himself said in our books that our religion is to be spread across the seven seas", etc etc - these are the common allurements offered to a confused person by people who wish to convert others belonging to another religion.

As we have highlighted, the sad part is that ARZ have not only have made the above mistake, but they are doing it to try and gain a backdoor entry into our community for Parsis who have married outside the fold, and for children of such intermarriages. The Vada Dasturjis and many scholars have clearly told us that what ARZ are doing is wrong, but still ARZ, take "moral" support from individuals like Dina Mcintyre, who is herself married to a non-Zoroastrian.

Let us read what Mrs. Mistry has to say on the false messages propounded by ARZ.

Fellow Zararthustis, do not be mislead by such tempting and over-simplified advertisements by ARZ and their partners AIMZ - which not surprisingly, stands for Association of Intermarried Zoroastrians.

We enclose the latest report by Mrs. Pervin Mistry.

Do read it and share it with other Zoroastrians in India and overseas too, especially in North America, where many Zoroastrians have fallen in the "Gatha Only" trap promoted by non-Zoroastrians like Ali Jafarey.


TZML Admins

(encl report from Mrs. Pervin J Mistry)

Dear Friends,

In last Sunday's issue of the Jam-e (11-2-2007), the weekly advertisement for the A"R"Z appears. Under the heading, "Zoroastrianism is for all mankind", it is stated: "Show us one instance in history where the spread of a religion has harmed that religion."

It is surprising that the Association for "Revival" (read "Ruination") of Zoroastrianism has departed from the usual scriptural misinterpretation. Perhaps, wishfully thinking, they have learnt something of the Sacred Scriptures and now they wish to learn the lessons of history!

1) First of all, bigger is not better! We do not look to quantity, rather quality. This is especially true when it relates to a human being. We do not appreciate a person for his wealth or looks. We appreciate a person for his qualities! A wealthy person can be immoral, a din-dushman, but a poor person can have a heart of gold and even be a saint (all saints are poor)! Our Religious community has preserved certain traits through preserving our "tokham". We do not wish to dilute these traits by accepting non-Zarthushtis in our fold. We believe in quality, obedience and faith that a Zarthushti is made of!

2) Secondly, look at what happened when Islam spread. Their numbers increased but they divided into factions. Today, although they follow the teachings of the same prophet, they are killing Muslims of rival factions and destroying even the mosques! This is just one instance in history where the spread of a religion has harmed that religion.

3) Prophet Mohammed asked his disciples not to convert those who already followed a revealed religion; but the zealots looked to expansion, more numbers and disregarded not only the spiritual revelation of their Prophet but plunged all of Europe into religious wars, the Crusades! These religious wars still go on. In the Balkans, many lives were and still are being destroyed due to conversion.

4) In India, most of the population was Hindu. When the Moghuls came, they converted some Hindus to Islam. Does India experience peace? On the contrary, hatred among the different religions is a matter of concern to all.

5) In Iran itself, the Arabs converted the Zarthushtis to Islam. The Iranian Muslims soon separated from mainstream Islam and started the Shi'i sect. Converts from various religions also started the Bahi religion which is a mixture of many religions. There was bloodshed in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in 1979 when thousnads of Bahi were killed due to convertion activities.

6) Christianity expanded through the conversion first propagated by Paul. The Jews and the Christians were religious enemies. Today they share some common concerns due to common political agenda and not due to religious issues.

7) When Christianity spread to India, some Hindus were converted. This created ill feelings among the two religions. Additionally, in India, the Christianity followed by the Indian Christians in villages is far removed from the Christianity followed by the Catholic or other Christian groups. It is a newer version, Indo-Christianity. The same applies to Afro-Christianity. The old customs and traditions of the proselytes still survive.

8) When Christianity spread and multiplied, did it also grow spiritually? No! There are as many factions and rival groups within Christianity as there are religions. These groups fight among themselves and kill their own Christian brothers! Ireland is but one example. The Message of the Prophet is lost due to quantity. The quality suffers!

9) If you increase milk by adding water what will you achieve? More milk? No! It will neither be pure milk nor simply water. It will be a diluted concoction.

10) Who converts? The disenchanted, the heretics, the unwanted in their own individual religions! Remember, the other side is never greener. It is not the name of a religion that makes an individual a better person. As Asho Zarathushtra has emphasized, it is the conversion of the Angre Mainyu within that makes a person spiritually enlightened. Conversion is not an answer but it is a problem that has led to religious wars and hatred among mankind!

11) We have practiced boonak pasbani or the preservation of our tokham, seed or spiritual gene since millennia. Certain moral virtues and spiritual disciplines are ingrained in us since generations. Even Tansen, after Dasturan-e Dastur Meherjirana visited Emperor Akbar's court, has written (sung) that a Parsi's face can never be hidden or mistaken in a crowd! After the Arab conquest, during the worst days the Zarthushtis faced in Iran, the Din-Dasturs of the time have described us as "tokhmak-paspan". If we want to learn from history we should learn how our great Achaemenian Kings ruled over their vast Empire by giving religious freedom to all their subjects in stead of converting them! The Mazdayasni Zarthushti Religion is not a universal religion but its teachings are! Truth is eternal and it does not belong to one particular religion. All religions teach Truth and moral virtues. It is a matter of obedience to follow His Will by respecting the commands of the Religion in which He has placed us by virtue of birth or become rebellious and choose a different religion as one chooses shoes and apparel.

12) I repeat, when religions increased their numbers through conversion, they split! Have they benefited spiritually or are they experiencing hatred and fights among their own groups and also among different religions? Today, Zarthushtis are safe and respected in India, Iran and throughout the world because we do not proselyte and do not increase our numbers through intermarriage either. Religiously, according to our scriptural tenets, we abstain from conversion and interfaith marriage. Historically, this is the way to find peace and brotherhood among nations, communities, religions and mankind!

Hope these explanations will suffice! What is more, the A "R" Z ends their advertisements with "Khshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdao"! By going against the religious mandates, do they believe Ahura Mazda is pleased? They are going against His Din and then have the expectation that HE will be pleased? It is only their myopic vision that cheats them into believing all kinds of things.

The answer to A"R"Z's question is: Look at history. The lessons of history will prove how the spread of religions has led to wars and spiritual dilution!

Thank you.


Pervin J Mistry

ARZ - Mumbai Mirror and the Wadia Brothers

Dear Zarathushti humdins,

we are pleased that a senior of our community, Mrs. Pervin J Mistry has continued to highlight the dangers which ARZ - Association of "Revival?" of Zoroastrianism impose on our community and religion.

Predictably, ARZ has paired with Ali Jafarey and others, we just saw a letter from Ali Jafarey yesterday on the internet, praising the move of ARZ. Well, that has always been Jafarey's forte - to divide the Zoroastrian community.

Mrs. Mistry clearly mentions: "Our religion does not accept proselytes or permit entry to juddins in our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams."

In hitting the nail on the head, we read that : "As a distinct Religious Community we may not stop the ARZ legally from building a place of their own where they admit juddins but we certainly can and must prevent them from using the name "Parsi-Irani Mazdayasni Zarthushti" in their title and also prevent them from calling their place of meeting for the so-called prayers as an "Agiary". "

ARZ also talk about "converting" juddins and juddin spouses.

What more of a mess they can create.

Please see Mrs. Mistry's letter below and spread it amongst all sincere Zoroastrians in India and overseas.


TZML Admins

( Mrs. Pervin Mistry's letter follows below)

Dear Friends,

The ARZ has done it again! That is, they have put their foot in their mouth when one of the Wadia brothers, Kerssie, is reported in the Mumbai Mirror (8th February, 2007) as saying that the new proposed cosmopolitan Agiary near the Nirlon Colony on the Malad-Goregaon stretch of the Highway will permit entry to juddin spouses. Kerssie admits the ARZ will permit juddins to enter their proposed so-called consecrated Agiary but he denies that the ARZ will admit converts! The Wadia brothers desperately need some lessons in logic. No sane person will understand what they have in mind when they pompously state that they will permit entry to juddins (that is, to non-Zarthushtis) but not to converts! When will these two stop amusing the community with their gaffes? There is no difference between a juddin and a non-Zarthushti. Converts are non-Zarthushtis!Our religion does not accept proselytes or permit entry to juddins in our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams. Additionally, what Kerssie Wadia has omitted in this recent statement is the fact that the two brothers maintain they will first "convert" the spouse and then accept these "converts" into our Religious Community and in our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams.

First of all, who are the Wadia brothers to challenge the authority of the Din-Dasturs and "permit" juddins admission into our Agiaries? Even in remote times, there is evidence that we did not permit juddins to enter our consecrated places of worship such as Agiaries and Atash-Behrams. In addition to taking some lessons in basic logic the brothers should read and study our scriptures; alternately, if too busy with their ill-conceived plots against the religion, they should at least read what Kisseh Sanjan narrates. In case they cannot get hold of Kisseh Sanjan they should at least first educate themselves by reading Dasturji Hormazdyar Dastur Kayoji Mirza's book, "Outlines of Parsi History", Bombay 1987, page 233. Dasturji briefly cites from the Kisseh Sanjan that after the Parsis landed at Sanjan, the Dastur appeared before the Rana and requested for some land where the new Zarthushti immigrants could consecrate a Holy Fire (which they named "Iranshah"). The Kisseh Sanjan states, "The land must be cleared 3 fursangs (leagues), so that the sacred ceremonies may be properly performed there. No stranger should have access to that place, and none should approach it except the people of the faith. Not a single one of a different faith should come to that spot, Then only our (work) ceremony with the fire can be correctly observed." (Emphasis is added.)

If the building the ARZ proposes to build is going to be called, by them, an "Agiary", they are sadly mistaken! According to our scriptural tenets, our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams have notices posted that juddins are not permitted to enter! It is clearly stated that except for Parsis no one else can enter! The Wadia brothers are not divinely appointed Prophets to take matters into their own hands and go against what our time-honoured traditions, scriptures and rituals decree.

As a distinct Religious Community we may not stop the ARZ legally from building a place of their own where they admit juddins but we certainly can and must prevent them from using the name "Parsi-Irani Mazdayasni Zarthushti" in their title and also prevent them from calling their place of meeting for the so-called prayers as an "Agiary". This group cannot be called "Zarthushti" or "Zoroastrain" because they have nothing in common with the teachings of our Paigambar Saheb as revealed in the Sacred Avesta.

As a Religious Community we cannot follow different rites and traditions whether we live in different parts of the world or within India itself. Different groups cannot follow different doctrines and yet claim to be "Zarthushti". Asho Zarathushtra did not reveal different doctrines to different groups of his followers. His message is pure, straight and simple. His teachings are revealed in the 21 Nasks which are elaborated in the Pahlavi commentary, the Dinkard. The injunction in the Vendidad, Husparam Nask, Dinkard, Gathas, Chithrem Buyat and Patet against proselytism and interfaith marriage is mandatory for a Zarthushti to obey. We are religiously enjoined to abstain from proselytism and interfaith marriages.

A Zarthushti, a follower of Asho Zarathushtra will naturally obey and follow Asho Zarathushtra's teachings with faith and devotion. No follower ever accepts a teaching through negation, disobedience or disregard of the Teacher's authority. One cannot arbitrarily change the teachings which are Divinely Revealed and corrupt them to suit personal whims or the degrading moral standards of society. A Zarthushti NEVER justifies, rationalizes or accepts wrong as "right". A morally wrong act stems from angre-mainyu, and Zarthushtis actively condemn and speak out against wrong/evil whenever and in whatever form it exists. Din-dushmani is described as one of the worst sins. Religion is, above all else, a Divine Message from God brought by His Divine Messengers; it is a matter of FAITH. We cannot, as a microscopic community, accept changes and practises which are detrimental to our survival and which are religiously untenable.

It is logical to accept that we CANNOT have two Mazdayasni Zarthushti Dins! If the heterodox wish to act against the religious teachings and accept proselytes, intermarry, do away with some or all rituals, change the prayers and the language of the prayers, alter time-honoured traditions they are free to convert themselves to any other "progressive" religion of their choice. They are free to even set up a so-called "religion", a cult of their own. But! They cannot disobey the religious teachings and practices of the Mazdayasni Zarthushti Religion and yet be called "Mazdayasni Zarthushtis" or simply "Zoroastrians!" If "boonak-pasbani" is a scriptural injunction, then, no group or individual who disobeys this religious mandate has the right to be called Zarthushti or "Zoroastrian". None of the renegades have the Divine Authority to alter our traditions and religious mandates.

It is easy to find temporary peace by maintaining that as a community, now, after countless millennia, we split into two groups. As stated we cannot have two groups, each calling itself "Mazdayasni Zarthushti" or simply "Zoroastrians" following two divergent customs and ritual practices in our Agiaries. The better choice is for the ARZ to move out of the religious community and establish their own cult which they may call "Wadiaism" or any other "ism". As Zarthushtis, we emphasize the importance of preserving "tokham" or "boonak-pasbani". To safeguard our religion and our religious identity we sealed our fate in blood and came to India thirteen centuries ago. It was to preserve the RELIGION and not only the ethnic identity that we arrived at the shores of India and established our Agiaries, Atash-Behrams and Dakhmas; preserved our rituals; practised "boonak-pasbani"; and continued wearing our dini-alaat: the sudreh-kusti. Because we preserved our RELIGIOUS IDENTITY, we have survived for millennia through massacres and intense persecution. After arriving in India we did not discard or alter our religion the way the ARZ, AIMZ and other heterodox groups are doing.

So far we have escaped the hatred other religious communities experience within their rival groups. The different factions that exist within a particular religion such as the Christians and the Muslims kill individauls of rival groups and burn Mosques and Churches. The Sunnis burn the holy Mosques of the Shi'its; the Protestants kill the Catholics and destroy their Churches. Are the Wadia brothers under the banner of ARZ starting similar outbursts within our community that is united till now? They are not Prophets having established Divine Communion but they have proven themselves to be Leaders of Din-dushmans and disunity. After thousands of years of existence, our Religious Community now faces separation into different groups! Only One Group, the One that adheres to the time-honoured Teachings, has the righ to be called, "Zarthushtis"!

Our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams are a product of consecration that involve many hours, nay years of daily rituals performed according to the prescribed written rules. These rules are followed by the mobed sahebs in the consecration of every Agiary and Atash-Behram. Through the processes of consecration and through constant recitation of manthra (energy of sound), keeping the sacred Atash perpetually burning (energy of light), through rituals and the bui ceremonies, a magnetic "kash" or defined spiritual boundary is established within the marked area (within Agiaries and Atash-Behrams) in which non-Zarthushtis cannot enter. Our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams create a powerhouse of spiritual energy that houses the resonant vibes of our specific manthras and our rituals. Why should we let non-Zarthushtis enter our sacred consecrated places of worship which are only meant for Parsi-Irani Zarthushtis who are able to actually partake of these beneficent influences and help to enhance the power of this spiritual powerhouse through their own involvement through rituals and manthravani that a juddin is not entitled to and cannot participate in? Before a Zarthushti enters our places of worship, the first requirement is to perform kusti-padyab which non-Zarthushtis CANNOT perform! Hence, the question does not even arise whether or not juddins are permitted to enter our places of worship. The Wadia brothers may build their own structure but they cannot call it an "Agiary" because it does not meet with the religious requirements!

Thank you.


Pervin J Mistry

Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 7 - by Roni K Khan

From: TZML Eductn & Information Committee <>
Date: Mar 16, 2007 3:55 PM
Subject: Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 7 - by Roni K Khan

Dear fellow Zarathushtis,
in this penultimate part of the series so far, we see how Roni catches the "conversion" bull by the tail and exposes the favourite catch phrase of the "conversion lobby".
The conversion missionaries, who no doubt work with a missionary zeal, tell us that since in our religion we have "Freedom of Choice", we should use the freedom to 'convert' others. This is so absurd, since the "freedom" and "choice" spoken about in the Gathas Yasna 30-2 is nothing but freedom to choose between the Good Mentaility (Spenta Mainyu) and the Evil Mentality (Angre Mainyu). On top of it, Prophet Zarathushtra says we have to choose the Good Mentality, so really speaking there is no choice left with us at all.
Even this simple truth has been twisted to push something very un-Zarathushtrian, ie. convert someone born in an established religion to another. The idea of converting someone from one religion is not only un-Zarathushtrian in nature, it is also very un-Godly in nature, since how can a Wise, All-Knowing God give us birth in one religion and later allow us to reject His wise choice.
In Roni's words: "Man's freedom to choose is not a licence, for the non-illumined mind is more than likely to make the wrong choices, especially in our materialistic, hedonistic times. This is precisely why Asho Zarathushtra warns that along with the freedom to choose, man has to simultaneously accept the responsibility of shouldering the consequences of his wrong choices too ("akem akaai"; Gatha Yasna 43-5)."
Roni makes the important distinction of "Freedom of Moral choice" (which appears in the Gathas) as opposed to "Freedom to chose one's religion", which is not mentioned in any of the Gathas.
This then, dear friends, is your true and sublime Zarathushti religion and its teachings.
Let us now hand over control to Roni's penetrating article on this topic and we wish that writings like these guide us to withstand the "convert anyone and everyone'" and "the Freedom of choice" onslaught we face not only from non-Zoroastrians, but also from some of our own Parsi brothers who are confused themselves.
You may go to  to view many more articles of Roni, and also other traditional topics in the world of Zoroastrianism.
With best wishes,
from the TZML Education & Information Committee
Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 7
by Roni K Khan


(4) "Free Choice Unlimited"

The engine of the Great Heterodox Fallacy would cough, sputter and stall, were it not kept constantly lubricated by an oil called "Free Choice Unlimited." Ecologists, however, express concern that this engine violates pollution standards, and also point out that the situation is exacerbated by the quality of the oil, which laboratory tests show is an adulterated and repackaged product mixed with kerosene.

The genuine Free Choice as first revealed to mankind by Asho Zarathushtra in the holy Gathas (Yasna 30-2), has been transmuted by some mysterious experiment of heterodox alchemists into a licence for "Free Choice Unlimited," which encourages people to do anything their unrestrained instincts and uninhibited free will may dictate, including "choosing" to convert from their own religion to another; this also provides limitless scope to chop and change the religion of Zarathushtra in any way convenient to heterodox ideology.

Hand in hand with this "carte blanche" goes the facile argument that man can easily exercise his free choice correctly. As simplistically explained by a champion of heterodoxy: "How to make a correct choice? Ahura Mazda has put in each and every one of us vohu manah, the faculty of right mind."

Vohu Manah is the "Good Mind" ("vohu" = good; "manah" = mind), one of the Amesha Spentas (literally, the "Holy Immortals"). These exalted spiritual Entities personify the divine qualities of Ahura Mazda, and they may also be envisaged as the six divine "Rays" or Aspects of God, emanating directly from the Supreme Godhead. VohuManah is thus the Divine Mind of Ahura Mazda Himself. It smacks of arrogance and ignorance to attribute the purity-perfect Divine Mind to the puny and imperfect mind of mortal man, or to fancy that Vohu Manah is always awake and active there. Man is made in the image of God, but man is not as yet God!

Yes, the human mind has the potential to attain the perfected divine state of Vohu Manah, but only after eons of spiritual evolution when man reaches Perfection, achieves Union with God, and becomes One with Him. Yes, the seeds of Vohu Manah lie in man's mind, but they do not sprout until man uplifts his spiritual consciousness and showers them with the waters of Piety and Righteousness. Yes, man must constantly strive to work towards and cultivate Vohu Manah as a goal of evolution, but he cannot yet dare to flatter himself that he has made the Divine Mind his own.

Yes, man must exercise his mental faculties, but without claiming infallibility. No, Vohu Manah does not appear at every beck and call of the unillumined mind, and cannot be conjured up by the non-saintly mortal with just a snap of the fingers.

This is precisely why all religions, including our own, provide a whole catalogue of commandments, laws, maxims, prescriptions, proscriptions, rules and regulations, as guides to making the right choices. These ready-made guidelines would not be provided at all if our minds were capable of divine levels of discrimination to make the right decisions, or if Vohu Manah were to come to our rescue every time we called.

Unfortunately for us all, heterodox "ratus" included, Frasho-kereiti is still far, far away.

For the present, we must accept that our mortal minds and our rational thinking are bogged down in the world of duality, with a mixture of the dual mentalities of good and evil. The potentiality of Vohu Manah, the Good Mind, co-exists with the potentiality of Aka Manah, the Evil Mind (see Gatha Yasna 32-3, 33-4, & 47-5). This is why, when he offers the Freedom of Choice to mankind, Asho Zarathushtra advises that the mind should FIRST be illumined ("soochaa mananghaa"; G.Y. 30-2) BEFORE the act of choosing takes place -- ONLY THEN can the right choice ("ereshveeshyaataa"; G.Y. 30-3) be made. If our heterodox friends can insure that all of us act with "soochaa mananghaa" all of the time, we would be quite willing to concede the point of "Free Choice Unlimited."

Man's freedom to choose is not a licence, for the non-illumined mind is more than likely to make the wrong choices, especially in our materialistic, hedonistic times. This is precisely why Asho Zarathushtra warns that along with the freedom to choose, man has to simultaneously accept the responsibility of shouldering the consequences of his wrong choices too ("akem akaai"; Gatha Yasna 43-5).

What makes our heterodox friends so sure that for every flash of Vohu Manah, there will not be two of Aka Manah? The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. Just look around you.

Take a good hard look at the appalling state of the world in our own time. Almost never before in history has there been such a horrific and profligate century. The happy result of our "Free Choice Unlimited," yes? 9.8 million battle deaths in the First World War, and 15.6 million in the Second: but that is the tip of the iceberg -- please add 39.2 million civilian deaths to the latter alone. Entire races sought to be wiped out. Hatred, brutality, greed. Our "correct choices," yes? Hundreds of million men, women and children allowed to live in abject misery at sub-human levels, racked by hunger and ravaged by disease. An entire planet put into jeopardy, with its ecology damaged and the continued existence of life itself seriously in question. Our "right free choices," yes? Look closely at the qualitative standard of living.

Morality dying, strangled by Licence. Evil doing. Vice. Corruption. Roguery. Depravity. Homosexuality, lesbianism, AIDS, child pornography, single parenthood, "free love." All approaching epidemic levels. "Free Choice Unlimited," yes? Religion under attack, abandoned by the faithless, or twisted by the self-interested for personal convenience and self-justification. Our own lustrous ethno-religious heritage, preserved by untold generations with untold sacrifice and untold faith, brought to a pass where our very identity and survival now hang by a thread.

This is not cynicism. It is realism. Just pick up your newspaper and count how many "wrong choices" you can spot, compared to "right choices." Judge whether man's mentality is soaring towards divinity or sinking into bestiality. And then assess the claim that modern man's mind is in active communion with the Divine Mind.

Conversion is the breaking of consecrated allegiance with one's own religion. In the heterodox doctrine, however, it is considered the epitome of "right choice." And pulling an ace from the sleeve in a remarkable sleight of hand, the doctrine's cardinals flash it in the face of the world, broadcasting that Asho Zarathushtra himself has provided mankind with a "freedom of religious choice" in his Gathas. We have briefly touched upon this blockbuster in an earlier section, and now, after examining it more closely, we shall demonstrate how quickly the ace turns into a joker.

Absolutely NOTHING like a "freedom of religious choice" exists anywhere in the holy Gathas, and there is no reference, direct or indirect, to a "choice of religion." Even a nodding acquaintance with the Gathas should bear this out. Besides, the question cannot even arise, because the other great religions of the world had not yet seen the light of day in the remote era of Asho Zarathushtra. To call a spade a spade, it is all purely and simply a fiction of heterodox enthusiasts, manufactured and marketed with surpassing subtlety and professional packaging in order to willy-nilly canvass credibility for their conversion mania. Though it is said that an untruth repeated often enough assumes the garb of truth, it is hard to believe that one of our most eminent and respected jurists, known for his insight and integrity, seems to have been taken in by the heterodox hoax of "free religious choice."

What does exist in the holy Gathas is the pristine Freedom of Moral Choice. This first appears in the second verse of Gatha Yasna 30. For an appreciation of this Choice within its correct Gathic context, it will be enough to examine, either in whole or in part as may be relevant, just the first four verses from the eleven contained in Chapter 30. (Note: Literal translation from Dr. Irach Taraporewala's magnum opus, The Divine Songs of Zarathushtra, Bombay 1993 reprint. Emphases mine.)

(1) In the first lines of the first verse, Asho Zarathushtra indicates the overall scope and context of Chapter 30 to be an exposition of the epochal doctrine of THE TWO SPIRITS OF CREATION, THE ANTITHETICAL "TWIN MAINYUS": "Now to those eager shallI speak of the Two, who are created by Mazda --all this teaching is for the wise ... " ( G.Y. 30-1).

(2) In the second verse, Asho Zarathushtra reveals THE FREEDOM OF CHOICE: "Listen with your ears to the highest Truths, consider them with your mind illumined, before deciding between the Two Paths; man by man, each for his own self ..." ( G.Y.30-2).

(3) In the third verse, it becomes evident that the Choice has nothing at all to do with choosing between one religion and another, because Asho Zarathushtra DEFINES THE TWO SPIRITS AS THE MORAL OPPOSITES OF GOOD AND EVIL AND MAKES IT VERY CLEAR THAT THE CHOICE IS BETWEEN THESE TWO ONLY: "Now, in the beginning were these Two Spirits ... these Two show themselves as Good and Bad; and of these Two the Wise rightly do choose, but not so the Unwise" ( G.Y. 30-3).

(4) Likewise, in the fourth verse it becomes evident that the Choice has nothing at all to do with the followers of one religion as opposed to those of another, because Asho Zarathushtra makes it very clear that he is referring to ONLY THE FOLLOWERS OF UNTRUTH ("DREGVANTS") AGAINST THE FOLLOWERS OF TRUTH ("ASHAVANS"), WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE TWO OPPOSING SPIRITS: "And now when these Two Spirits together did foregather, they created first of all Life and Not-Life; and thus Creation's purpose shall be fulfilled -- the worst for the Followers of Untruth, but for the Follower of Truth the Best state of Mind" ( G.Y. 30-4).

Can it be any the clearer that the Choice between the "Two Paths" is set wholly and solely within the ethical context of the "Two Spirits" of Good and Evil, Spanyaa Mainyu and Angra Mainyu? Or that the "Two Paths" are the Path of Good and the Path of Evil, and that mankind must "choose" between "these Two" only? Or that the genuine Freedom of Choice is exclusively a MORAL choice?

It is man's first duty to choose wisely between the eternal ethical alternatives of Righteousness and Unrighteousness, Right and Wrong. These diametric opposites are represented in the Zarathushtrian doctrine by the mutually exclusive pair of Spanyaa and Angra, the primordial Mainyus, Spirits, Mentalities, Forces or Energies of Creation. These Two are the basis for morality, and for the functioning of the cosmos as well.

Asho Zarathushtra exhorts each and every one of us to make the right moral decision between the Path of Truth ("Life") and the Path of Untruth ("Not-Life") asdelineated by the Two Spirits, through the exercise of our own free will; while simultaneously cautioning that this requires an "illumined mind." By making man aware of this Freedom of Choice, Asho Zarathushtra made him the architect of his own destiny, for the first time in human history. But at the same time, our holy Prophet reminds man that Freedom and Responsibility go together -- man must be ready to bear the consequences of his chosen mode of life: "the worst for the Followers of Untruth, but for the Follower of Truth the Best state of Mind."

It is unimaginable that so pristine an ethical conception could be TWISTED and DEBASED into an argument for religious floor-crossing. By what mental jugglery or tortured argument can Asho Zarathushtra's sublime Freedom of Moral Choice be torn out of its unshakable ethical context of the Two Mainyus and repackaged as an unrecognizable Freedom of Religious Choice? Where is the ambiguity? Where does the matter of religion enter the picture? Where does the question of conversion arise?

The jugglery may be sought to be justified on the plea that Gatha translations differ. But that is just eyewash. No translation can ever change the utter clarity and firmness with which Asho Zarathushtra sets the Choice in its moral context of the Two Mainyus. Such being the overriding premise, any deductions that conflict with it have to be taken as misinterpretations or fabrications. One can establish this in no better way than by allowing a heterodox "ratu," a scholar and an exponent of conversion, to paint himself into a corner with his own published words.

"Hear the best with your ears and ponder with a bright mind. Then each man and woman, for his or her self, select either of the two (the better and bad mentalities). Awaken to this doctrine of ours before the Great Event (of Choice) ushers in." (Note: Emphasis mine.) This is the translation of Gatha Yasna 30-2 as provided by the scholar himself, brackets included.

We take special note of the specific indication, given by him in brackets, that the selection is to be made between the "better and bad mentalities," in what is a clear and correct allusion to the Two Spirits or Mainyus of Good and Evil. We shall not quarrel with the scholar's translation, despite a reservation or two which do not materially affect our present discussion. We take it as correct. So far so good.

But we gasp in amazement when we find that in the same breath this scholar informs his readers that Gatha Yasna 30-2 is "the famous stanza of the `choice of religion'"! And we take another gasp when he proceeds to talk about people "who make the right choice and join the Good Religion"! (Note: Emphases mine.)

There is a wild leap of imagination between the scholar's objective translation and his subjective comments -- an obvious case of inconsistency. What on earth does "making the right choice and joining" the Zarathushtrian religion have to do with anything, when, according to his own translation of our Prophet's Gathic verse, the only thing possible is to join either the "better mentality" or the "bad mentality"?

But it is not our job to sort out these inconsistencies on behalf of the scholar, we being aware of the heterodox maxim: "Consistency is the bugbear of little minds." Our job is to take the inconsistencies as they are, and see where they logically lead.

After having correctly admitted that the Choice of selection given by Asho Zarathushtra is between the "better and bad mentalities," if you still insist on calling this a "choice of religion" and invite people to "make the right choice and join the Good Religion" of Zarathushtra, one and only one logical conclusion follows:- the other religion from which you are converting to Zoroastrianism is BAD.

The Gathic Syllogism that destroys the "Free Religious Choice" hoax is simple:- If you declare that you can switch over from Religion `X' to Zoroastrianism under the authentic Gathic terms of reference (viz., the mutually exclusive Two Mainyus of Goodand Evil), those very same terms of reference would simultaneously compel you to make the BLASPHEMOUS and absurd declaration that Religion `X' is EVIL.

Thus the heterodox ace turns into a joker; the swan's white paint wears off and reveals the ugly duckling. Insulting other religions by brazenly claiming that the "right choice" consists in converting to Zoroastrianism, and insinuating that other religions are in the grip of the "bad mentality," is utterly reprehensible and ALIEN to the Zarathushtrian ethos, and a wanton slur on the holy name of Zarathushtra. Such odious misinterpretations or fabrications are the inevitable result of tinkering with the holy scriptures and trying to twist the genuine Freedom of Moral Choice into a fake Freedom of Religious Choice in a bid to ride the lame hobby-horse of conversion.

The Gathic Freedom of Choice is man's MORAL choice between the two Paths of Right and Wrong. It is neither a "Free Choice Unlimited" to cater to one's instincts and do whatever one likes, nor is it a "Free Religious Choice" for floor-crossing between religions. The Choice is a matter of Morality; the holy Gathas of Asho Zarathushtra are the supreme expression of Supreme Ethics.

5) "Universal Religion"

This is the last of our five selected aspects of the Great Heterodox Fallacy. Though it is also probably the most wishy-washy aspect with even less substance than the other four, it has been pumped into life by strategic repetition. The very expression "universal religion" is attractive and alluring, with a certain emotive appeal of its own; and when it is bolstered by a few plausible arguments, it percolates into undiscriminating circles and then gradually seeps into community folklore.

In earlier sections of this article we have thoroughly examined the expression "universal religion" in the "universally applicable and accessible" meaning that is assigned to it by heterodoxy, and we have also pointed out that this is nothing but another heterodox "research discovery" aimed at conversion. For fundamental spiritual reasons pertaining to the soul and to the structure of religion, there can never be anything like a blanket universal religion suited to everyone. Indeed, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Never in the history of the world has there been a single religion followed by all mankind -- not even the oldest religion, Zoroastrianism, which heterodox theoreticians now position as "universal" in a ploy to prop up the conversion cult. If Zoroastrianism, the very first revealed religion, was really meant to be universally applicable to all mankind, it would be the only religion on the face of the earth, instead of one among many other religions promulgated by other saviours. God does not play dice, and neither does He indulge in senseless duplication.

No propaganda machine can do without slogans, and the less the substance in the arguments, the greater is the use of slogans to sway the masses, in the hope that ultimately the slogan will be taken as the truth upon its face value alone. The captains of heterodoxy are no strangers to such tactics in their campaigns; in fact, they have demonstrated a talent for this Goebbelsian technique of influencing others.

"Universal Religion" is the latest buzzword in the heterodox dictionary. Please let us take early warning before the distorted connotation of this noble expression is allowed to infiltrate the Zarathushtrian dictionary.

End of Part VII