Reviving Zoroastrianism, is possible or not ?
Zoroastrianism was the state religion for three Persian Empires, the Achaemenid, the Parthian and the Sassanid Empire. The religion’s history is dotted with heydays and downfalls. Today, its devotees are scattered across the globe, with the two main groups residing in Iran and India. From what we know of the religion’s history, what is the possibility of its revival in this day and age? The answers to this question are disputable and people’s opinions will surely vary.
Firstly, one can easily claim that a revival of Zoroastrianism is imaginary, a dream, or a fairy tale. Why? Some would say that there are simply not as many numbers as there had been to revive the religion in the past. This is true because prior to the Parthian and Sassanian Empires, the majority of Iran and Greater Iran’s population belonged to the Zoroastrian faith. Most people would probably think that at this day and age there is absolutely no chance of any religion going through a revival as it is unheard of in modern times. Furthermore, in Zoroastrianism’s case, most would think that it is impossible that the Muslim clerics would leave Iran and let the country be predominantly Zoroastrian once again as they are an Islamic Republic and strictly follow Islamic law. The validity of these arguments is only contradicted by the sheer scale of the task of reviving a religion tapered by the ravages of history and the passage time.
Conversely, the possibility of renewal rests in the restoration of Zoroastrianism at its roots. Many readers of blogs on websites such as Frashogard and followers of the late Minocher Nusserwanji Pundol are usually quite convinced of what they have heard and read. According to the late Behramshah Nowroji Shroff, Shah Behram Varzavand is a Raenidar (a sort of a saviour) who is expected to come sometime between 2030 and the latter half of the 21st Century. A prediction was also made on his whereabouts. Behram Varzavand is expected to appear in India where there will be a monarchy which is ruling the country at the time. Then Behram Varzavand will take the help of India and China to liberate Iran from Muslim rule and replace Islam with Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism has been the predominant religion in Iran for a longer period of time than Islam has. It is highly likely that the Arab Spring could inspire the people of Iran to protest and revolt against the government. It is known that youth in Iran are becoming increasingly aware of Zoroastrianism’s history in their country and are keen on returning to their roots. Unfortunately, Islamic tenets forbid the denunciation of the religion. Iran’s youth represent the country’s future which shall remain bleak as long as its government and legal arbiters maintain their regressive stance, impeding the progress of a conflicted nation. This is not the case in places such as Tajikistan, which according to many scholars, is the birthplace of Zoroastrianism. The majority of Tajikistan’s people are poor but a large amount of people are keen on learning about the religion i.e. learning prayers in the Avesta, the rituals and the history. Over fifty people in Tajikistan have willingly said that they want to revive their cultural heritage and convert to Zoroastrianism. The Zoroastrian College in Sanjan has made tremendous efforts to build fire temples and perform navjotes of those who wish to be initiated into the religion. The organisation has also helped the Zoroastrians living in poverty in Central Asian countries like Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.