Zoroastrians in Ancient China

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Introduction 

Brief summary from upcoming book -Zoroastrians and Zoroastrianism in Ancient China

Zoroastrianism is an ancient Iranian religion, founded by Zarthushtra who  lived and taught in the first millennia BC, in the east of the Caspian Sea. From his Gathas,   we know about his personal history.

Zarathushtra replaced  numerous gods of the traditional Indo-Iranian beliefs with just one supreme God, Ahura Mazda.

According to Avesta (the holy book of Zoroastrians  A significant portion has been lost), the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, No evil comes from Him., Ahura Mazda created a perfect world but when it actualized there arose a vector of opposition called as Angra Mainyu, roughly translated as  Evil Spirit  It  tries to destroy and spoils Mazda’s creations  To neutralize the evil , Mazda’s Good Spirit we know as Spenta Mainyu manifested at the beginning of life. to  sustain it. Human beings always struggle between these eternal opposites.

Zarathushtra brings forth one  practice of the Indo-Iranians, which is reverence  to sacred fire — the symbol of truth.  Zoroastrianism was the main religion of the Persian Kings for two centuries]until  they were conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. The Greeks tolerated the other religions and so did the succeeding rulers the Parthians.

Zoroastrian reached its zenith in the Sassanian dynasty (the 3rd-7thcenturies) and the main features of ritual were established. Elaborate ceremonies are carried out to ensure the purity of sacred flame of Ahura Mazda, which is the most important duty of the priests. The faith spread into India and all the way to China.

When West Asia was conquered by the Arabs around 650 AD, most people gradually converted to the religion of the Arabs, Islam. Almost a million of Zoroastrians went to China under Prince Phiroze, the son of the last Sasanian Emperor Yezdegird the 3rd  The minority Zoroastrians moved to India (known as the Parsees, the ‘Persians’), while some still remain in remote desert cities in Iran

(No part is to be reproduced – without the permission of the author of the book).

 

Best wishes,

Dr. Pallan Ichaporia

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