Zoroastrianism: Things to Think About

*Disclaimer: I am ignorant and do not know Avestan or any Iranian language, these are only things to think about, not things I know about!*

The distinction between dualism and a mere emphasis on a duality

In dualism, one or more of the Supreme Being’s qualities are split between Him and something else. Unlike ordinary polytheism, the association of divine qualities is limited primarily to one false god. This is characteristic of many Zoroastrian and Manichaean theologies, yet it can also be found among some Abrahamists when they adamantly insist that God and His creation are completely and absolutely separate, yet both entirely real.

Four Types of Zoroastrian theologies

There is Dualism, which says there are two completely independent principles/powers originally having nothing to do with each other.

Then there is Zurvanism, which says that Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu are both creations of the true Supreme Being, Zurvan or Time.

Then there is an alternate version of seemingly the same Zurvanite doctrine, where it is Ahura Mazda who created Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu.

And lastly there is the view that Angra Mainyu is the personification of nonexistence, unreality (« pure darkness ») or illusion.

The meaning of ‘worship’

Zoroastrians are often known as fire-worshippers. This is an accepted self-description for some Zoroastrians, while others do not worship fire at all and reject the label. The Avestan word most commonly translated as ‘worship’ is Yazamaide, which has also been translated as ‘praise’, ‘honor’, ‘revere’, and ‘celebrate’. I believe it is meant to designate a kind of reverential contemplation done for the sake of Ahura Mazda, but I haven’t found a way to prove this yet. It does not at all appear that Yazamaide is synonymous with the Arabic a’bud. The other words translated as ‘worship’ such as Yasna probably are not either. So far as I can tell, none of these words have the crucial connotations of slavehood or exclusive servitude that define the Arabic concept of worship. So while some Zoroastrians may engage in all manner of polytheism, this is not condoned by the true Avesta and is not as inherent in Zoroastrian prayers as some translations would have you think.

René Guénon on Zoroastrianism

Guénon, in one of his early writings compiled in Miscellania, mentions Zurvanism as the correct and esoteric understanding of Zoroastrianism.

In The Crisis of the Modern World, he makes the extraordinary claim that Zoroaster does not designate an individual person, but rather represents a prophetic and legislative function, which he thinks may have been a collective function representing the whole priestly caste.

In The Symbolism of the Cross, he expresses the opinion that the concept of ‘Universal Man’ seems to be represented in Zoroastrianism by Vohu Mana.

In Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, he mentions that the Parsis exist.

In a letter to Julius Evola, he says that no regular initiatic organization seems to exist among the Parsis, “who moreover have conserved only rather incomplete fragments of their tradition”, whereas the Zoroastrians of Central Asia “have quite other knowledge, even if they keep it hidden.”

Why do traditions go extinct; what keeps them alive?

Allah takes His Truth and Guidance away from nations as they desire Truth and Guidance less and less, becoming deluded hyprocrites.

Why aren’t Parsis reproducing?

Contraceptives?

Rumors of many converting to Zoroastrianism vs. claims that the religion is dying

Maybe traditional Zoroastrianism is dying, while liberal Protestant-style Zoroastrianism is rising.

Are Zoroastrians tied together by any single doctrine? On what does the Zoroastrian identity rest?

My impression is that Zoroastrians are not tied together by any single doctrine, and that the main things holding them all together are their name and a general appreciation of the Gathas. There is the maxim “good thoughts, good words, good deeds”, but is this a single doctrine in the absence of a single metaphysics?

Those Magians who visited Jesus (as)

What about them?

Politics

Why America is so Great

American culture has a beneficial effect on Zoroastrians that makes them more tolerant and understanding of other faiths than Indian or Iranian Zoroastrians.

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