For too long those who follow the faith of Zarathustra have been maligned and misunderstood, to the point where both people who claim to practice the faith of Zarathustra and outsiders get confused as to what it means to be Zoroastrian and follow the teachings of Zarathustra. Yet despite the fact that many who claim to believe in Zarathustra have been polluted they forget that the faiths/religions of the World all have been influenced by Zarathustra. With two heretical spoofs of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam, fighting it out and Iranians around the world suffering now is a perfect time to revive the pure faith of Zarathustra.
There are two ways to define what a Zoroastrian/Zarathustri is. The first is to define it by what is is, i.e. the faith of Zarathustra comprised of those who follow and believe in the teachings of Zarathustra. The second is to define it by what it is not. It is not a faith of Aryan/white supremacists which Nietzsche promogulated. It is not a magical cult as some fiction writers would have people believe.. It is not some namby-pamby hippie faith as many who have met with the parsis have assumed, or those who are obsessed with fagass freddie mercury, who had done much during his lifetime to malign his heritage, assume.
The parsis and freddie mercury are excellent places to start with when defining what Zorostrianism is not. In fagass freddie’s case if he were really a Zoroastrian he never would have engaged in homosexual intercourse, as it is strictly forbidden for all Zoroastrians. The parsis, the descendants of Zoroastrians who fled the Muslim invasion of Iran in the 7th century and who mostly settled in what is now India, have allowed the practices of Zarathustra to be corrupted. For instance, most of them practice veganism, which is alien to the teachings of Zarathustra and was adopted by contact with Hindus. The same is similarly true for the navjote ceremony, which was influenced by contact with Judaism and Hinduism. Though Zoroastrian teachings have influenced Judaism, such as kashrut dietary law which is based on Zoroastrian nasau dietary laws and the refusal to encourage converts, the jewish bar/bat mitzvah helped to form the navjote, whereas contact with hindus and their upanayana ceremony helped to cement the practice among parsis. As stated above a Zoroastrian is one who follows and believes in the teachings of Zarathustra. Throughout history as Iran expanded along with Iranian civilization and culture spread the teachings of Zarathustra travelled with it as well. Along with successes many failures and catastrophes occurred, diluting the Iranian community abroad and causing many to abandon the faith. As many have chose to return to the pure faith of Zarathustra such ceremonies are superfluous.
The texts of Zoroastrian faith, the Avesta, Yasna, Gathas, etc, while they are true documents, only now exist in written form because of the threat Christianity posed because of their use of the bible. Up to that point the teachings of Zaratustra were transmitted orally, with those lying killed. As Christians used this against Zoroastrians, claiming their faith was false because it was orally transmitted, the teachings of Zarathustra were written down in the third century by a Zoroastrian ratu named Tansar. Here I use the title ratu instead of mobed, for the title mobed came about in the third century when Tansar helped establish Zoroastrianism’s power base as the state religion of Iran when Ardashir came to power as Shahanshah in 224. Up until that point Zoroastrianism never had any hierarchy, simply was a community of believers of the faith with no hierarchical structure, and the title mobed was based on the priests of Judaism. Therefore anyone who claims to be a mobed is not a proper Zoroastrian. Just as controversial is the method of prayer.. While Zoroastrians must pray five times a day in front of fire many can’t decide whether to do the Kusti prayers or to recite Ahunavar, the greatest prayer and act of devotion. As the Ahunavar is the greatest prayer reciting it five times daily before fire is proper. The kusti, while taught by Zarathustra, is superfluous, as there are times when one does not have access to a kusti.
Many ask can Zoroastrianism be revived today, and I say yes. The biggest impediment is the laziness of people to take a hard look at the teachings of Zarathustra and to apply them to their lives, thus becoming a proper Zoroastrian. Consider how both Christianity and islam copy off of Zoroastrianism. In the case of Christianity they mention in the Gospel how the three “wise men”, who were Zoroastrian ratu visited jesus at his birth, as they predicted he would be born, calling him Ushedar, the first world savior who would be born 1,000 years after the birth of Zarathustra and who would fail in his work. The teaching of the unforgivable sin of denying one the right to pray mentioned in the Gospel is Zoroastrian in origin, the Christian wedding vows are of Zoroastrian in origin, the catholic concept of purgatory comes from the Zoroastrian Hammigistan, the protestant belief in a community of believers is also Zoroastrian in practice. Yet mainstream Christianity continues to ignore and marginalize Zoroastrians. Islam copies off of Zoroastrianism most of all. The five daily prayers are Zoroastrian, the Halal dietary laws are Zoroastrian in origin, and the concept of Jihad is Zoroastrian in origin, just to name the most obvious. Even many Muslims have considered Zoroastrianism a sect of Islam, which though false has allowed Muslims to minister to Zoroastrians in prisons where often Zoroastrian worship is forbidden. Therefore Zoroastrian concepts are familiar, the only thing left is to apply them more vigorously to allow people to revert or convert.
Consider the benefits of the Zoroastrian way. For one if a mass reversion occurred in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries once under Iranian rule the horrors of sharia law would disappear, such as cutting off hands for stealing a loaf of bread, or honor killings of unmarried couples having sexual relations or killings of people who use alcohol, as Zoroastrian teachings do not condone this, yet those who complain about sharia law do not even examine Zoroastrianism as an alternative or encourage reversion. The horrors of pedophile priests in Christianity, notable demonstrated in the catholic church but which have also occurred in Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, and other sects, and other Christian and muslim abuses of clerical authority would never have occurred had there been mass reversion and had Zoroastrianism remained a force.
It would be very easy to put the teachings of Zarathustra into practice today and revive the Pure faith he taught. The real question is what are we willing to do to put it into use?