Ancient Religion of Iran and Reforms by Prophet Zarathustra

of 19
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Information Report
Category:

Gadgets

Published:

Views: 34 | Pages: 19

Extension: PDF | Download: 0

Share
Description
Ancient Religion of Iran and Reforms by Prophet Zarathustra
Tags
Transcript
  “The Ancient Religion of Iran and Reforms by Prophet Zarathustra.” in “  A Golden Chainof Civilizations: Indic, Iranic, Semitic and Hellenic (from c. 600 Bc to c. AD 600 ” Vol.I. Pt. 5 Section !: C"lt"ral Contacts and #ovements  !dited by ".#. Pande$P%I&P# #entre for &tudies in #i'ili(ations )e* +elhi , -R-/ 0120 pp. 0340I&6)7489929859:555 The Ancient Religion of Iran and Reforms by Prophet Zarathustra Abhay Kumar Singh Head, Depttof Ancient History and !ulture, "#P Rohil$hand %ni&ersity, 'areilly (India)abhay*++-yahoocom $%o &hat land to t"rn' ae, &hither t"rnin) shall I )o* +n the art of a -insman rince, or allied eer, none, to conciliate, )ive offerin)s to me to hel m ca"se   Ho& then shall I esta/lish &ell the faith, and th"s conciliate %h )race, + ord* %herefore I cr to %hee' /ehold it, ord1 Desirin) helf"l )race for me, as friend, /esto&s on friend declare and teach to me the Good #ind2s &ealth.3 (SB4, 555I, asna 7lvi.!.8 The ob;ecti'e of the present article <  is to e=plore into the religious situation of  Airano 9aeo  or ancient Iran *hen the Prophet incarnated as Zarathustra born to the &pitama family as son of Pourushaspa and +ughdho'a in the se'enth century 6.#. Circa  :>2 6.#. 2   This itself suggests that Zarathustra found the conditions far from satisfactory and he searched for truth *hich *as re'ealed to him by the "od Aurama(da in the form of the  Avesta . Prophet Zarathustra preached the A'estan faith no* a reformed belief 0  to ?ing Vishtaspa of 6actria. The  Avesta  is said to ha'e comprised of 02 )os@s or 6oo@sB. In the e=tant  Avesta  >  as happens *ith religious literature much has been added and altered *hich is Cuite natural to a li'ing religion. 6ut *ithin dynamism there occurred changes *hich seem to go against the reforms of the Prophet as 'oiced and propounded in the earliest portions i.e. the hymns or Gathas  contained in the asna, 3  These are composed in a dialect more archaic and ancient than the rest of the  Avesta . Although D. <   Ac@no*ledgement E The author gratefully ac@no*ledges the encouragement by Professor " # Pande *ho summoned this article and directed interest to A'estan &tudies 2  For date of Prophet see present authors article Prophet Zarathusthra the A'esta and the VedasB in this 'olume. 0  A. D. #arnoy aptly says “ZoroasterBs doctrine is a reform and an epurtion.” $  4;4, GII 9:0/. >  The  Avesta contains the 9endidad *hich is a collection of religious la*s and of mythical tales the 9iserad   is a collection of litanies for the sacrifices and the fi'e Gathas  or hymns. 3  Amidst the Gathas  the asna Hatan)haiti  *ritten in prose form in ancient Gathic  dialect $consists of  prayers and praise for  Ah"ramazda, Amesha Sentas  souls of righteous fire *ater and earth/ seems to  be a later addition. Four sacred prayers 'i(. Ahuna'airya Ashem'ohin Henghe %atam and Airyaman Ishya are also included in the Gathas  +armesteter 5   belie'ing that all sacred *riting *ere lost after Ale=anderBs in'asion  proposed that the Gathas  though more older part in form represent the latest de'elopment of Zoroastrian spirit of about first century A.+. the general accepted 'ie* is that the Gathas  are the oldest part of  Avesta  in form and substance and date bac@ to the early period of the religion $if not to Prophet Zoroaster himself/. Thus the study of the "athic pronouncements are a cutting line *hich suggests the contribution of Prophet Zarathustra in transforming the ancient faith and beliefs and that *hich e=ists in the other A'estan scriptures li@e the Hounger  Avesta  the Pahla'i te=ts *here'er differs from the "athic days of the Prophet should be considered as later de'elopments in the religion of  Avesta .According to A.V. Jilliams Dac@sn the metrical Gathas  $&ongs psalm/ differ from the other parts of  Avesta  in language metre and style of diction $The fi'e "athas compose 28 hymns arranged according to their metre and named  Ah"navaiti  <shtavaiti  Sentas #ain"  9oh" =hshathra  and 9ahishtoishti / “These Zoroastrian psalms contain the teaching e=hortations and rele'ations of the Prophet Zoroaster himself *ho seems a more distinct personality here than else*here in the  Avesta ” :  The fact is that there is a conspicuous absence of any mention of the cult of %aoma the concept of  >ravashis  and the daivas of naturalistic pantheon and the azatas  in the "athic poetry. There is little reference to the ceremonies and rituals too. 8  The tiresome uniformityB and the barren reiterationBfound in other portions of the  Avesta  is missing in the Gathas, although the cardinal tenetsB 9  find recurrent mention.The cardinal tenetsB ascertained and propounded by the Prophet as *e understand from the poetic Gathas 4 are $i/ monotheism  *here in -a(da Ahura is the sole god and creator and *hose characteristic attribute is  senta  $beneficence and holiness/ and *isdom and $ii/ loft moral code  21  *hich -a(da Ahura being the god of supreme asha  e=pects human beings to follo* by *ay of good *ords good deeds good 5  D. +armestester belie'ed that it is a remnant sacred literature under the last Achaemenid ?ings $ SB4   IV. ===ii/ but the 'ie* is strongly opposed that the “tradition of the *isdom of Zoroaster li'ed on during the long period bet*een Ale=ander and the rise of the house of &asan in > rd  #entury A.+.” A.V.J. Dac@son $  4;4   II 081/. :  $  4;4   II 0:9/ 8  “either because the $i.e. Gathas / present the religion in an easier and loftier form or more probably  because they are concerned chiefly *ith the ProphetBs teaching regarding the conflict bet*een Krma(d and Ahriman the relation of human indi'idual to that conflict its ultimate outcome in the routing of the forces of e'il and the final 'ictory of Krma(d the last ;udgement and the longedfor ?ingdom of Krma(d.” A. V. Jilliams Dac@son  I/id. 9    I/id. 4  “It is not theology proper that *e find in the Gathas  but the soteriological aspect of the doctrine of "od. It is not his transcendence and absoluteness but his immanence and relati'ity *hich are here emphasi(ed.”  4;4   VI 040 21  A. D. #arnoy  4;4   L 5:8.  thoughts. The truth and purity not only in *oods and deeds but in mind and heart necessary for re;ecting the *ords of the mendacious spirit $ dr" .The religion of Zarathustra *as ritualistic and missionary both and the Prophet ga'e attention to all aspects. 6efore *e study the reforms by the Prophet Zarathustra *e should halt to discuss in outline the nature of the Iranian religion before the Zarathusthrian reforms. Pre . Zarathustra Religion of Iran Religion of ancient Iran had streams of beliefs *hich included the dominant IndoIranian religion deri'ed from the Indo!uropean elemental cults centering in +yeus 22  sacrificial in ritual 20  *ith elemental gods of nature and moral deities and primiti'e ancestral *orship 2>  besides the cult of the -agi *hose religion also “deri'ed from the same source as that of the Indian Rishis that is L the IndoIranian religion.” 23  The -agi  priests *ere acti'e in the religious life of those times and conducted the sacrificial rituals.%erodotus $313 E 305 6#/ noted that the Persians ascend the highest pea@s of the mountains and offer sacrifice to Zeus calling the *hole 'ault of the s@y Zeus and they also sacrifice to sun moon earth fire *ater and *indsLB 25  %erodotus confused as Zeus the Persian s@y god +yaus Pitar upon the a@inness to the t*o deities. Kne scholar suggested that %erodotus might ha'e used the nati'e name +yeus instead of Zeus and that the astral and elements adored *ere in fact di'inities belonging to circle of hea'enly ones. 2: There seems to ha'e been elemental gods of nature and moral deities in the old Iranian religion. The elemental gods of the s@y *ere in'ol'ed on account of their might. Jhile +yeus *as surrounded by gods embodying forces of nature another god *ho *as 22    I/id. 20  %erod. $I.2>2/ 2>    4;4, VII  , 324 23  D. +armesteter SB4   IV l'i E l'ii. The scholar summari(ed  #a)ism as reflected in  Avesta  as “The *orld such as it is no* is t*o fold being the *orld of t*o hostile beings Ahura -a(da the good  principle and Angra -ainyu the e'il principle all that is good in the *orld comes from the former all that is bad comes from the latter. The history of the *orld is the history of their conflict ho* Angra -ainyu in'aded the *orld of Ahura -a(da and marred it and ho* he shall be e=pelled from it at last. -an is acti'e in the conflict his duty in it being laid before him in the la* re'ealed by Ahura -a(da to Zarathusthra.” 25  “L and a goddess *ho has been called the hea'enly AphroditeB” $I2>2/ 2:  “dei'os” E see  4;4, VII 324. The scholar further elaborated that the people in general *ere *orshipping the daivas  $*ho *ere elemental deities/ and among *hom the light godB $@at έ ξοxήv /   that is -ithra became a deity too.  essentially the guardian of moralityB 'i(. -a(dah *as superseding the pantheon. -a(dah had no material personality and *as essentially god of light. 6ut -a(dah *as head of the personified moral entities or moral hypostases. 28  The de'elopment *as Cuite a@in in the rise of Adityas for maintenance of moral order in the Vedic system. The cultus of -a(dah 29   became prominent in the fifteenth century 6# and the Assyrians had  borro*ed. 6y :51 6# Assara -a(ash *as a di'inity 24  and associated *ith Igigis. It seems that in ancient Aryan $Indo !uropean/ concept the *ord Asura meant a hero  $of "ree@ concept/ or anses  $  semidei / of "erman concept. 01  Fa'oured by nobles and in !astern Iran Ahura *as ele'ated abo'e other rude elemental po*ers by association *ith *ise E *isdom. 02  Thus -a(dah Ahura already *as e=alted in old Iranian religion long  before Zarathustra.A prominent association e=isted in the nature of the gods E Ahura -a(da and Varuna $of the Vedas/ in their control of moral order and arta ? rta . Interestingly Varuna *as un@no*n in Iranian te=ts but there *ere latent similarities as Varuna *as  as"ra  racheta B $  ;9  . I. ==i'. 23/ and Ahura -a(dah is the @no*ing oneB. $etymologically omniscient/ also closely deri'ed from &ans@rit  #edhas  $&cience/. The concrete name 9arana *as lost in Iran but continued as 9ar"na in Vedic religion. 00  Varuna meant the all embracing s@yB and s@y *as the abode of Ahura -a(da.In the same pre Zoroaster period the IndoIranian deity -ithra *as gaining significance and prestige. The tablets from the library of Assurbanipal sho*s -ithra as the same as &hamash. The 6ogha( E ?eui Inscription mentioned -ithra as a god *hose conception in the earliest times seems to be an ethical one. -ithra in A'estan means compactB and in &ans@rit friendshipB and e'ol'ed as a deity forging the concepts of friendship and contract and *as *orshipped as daiva . 0> . %o*e'er as the &upreme "od the Ahura -a(da absorbed the other deities the s@y "od +yeus due to his Cuality of  brightness and the -ithra as a moral deity also dissol'ed into -a(da Ahura.  03  In the C*ords of D. +harmesteter Ahura -a(da “slo*ly brought e'erything under his 28    4;4   5:8. 29    4;4   VII 324. 24    4;4   VIII 850. , !R! 5:8. #arnoy. Assyrian god list published in 298> by Vincent &cheil 01    4;4   II 25. 02    4;4,  VII 324 00  VaranaB remained name of the material hea'en and VarenaB *as the mythical region *hich *as the seat of a mythical fight bet*een a storm god and a storm fiend $ 9endidad  . I 29/. &ee D +armesteter SB4.  IV l'iii l=iii about the Varuna7 Ahura -a(da associates. 0>  &ee !R! VIII 850 and VII 324. 03    4;4   VII 34. L 5:8. In ancient IndoIranian religion se'eral gods had e=isted li@e Vayu M 9  ata Atar M Agni Verethraghna M Vritrahan etc as also many abstractions li@e good thought $Vohu mano M &umati/ e=cellent holiness $Asha M  ; ta/ the perfect so'ereignty $?hshathta 'airya M ?shatra/ perfect righteousness health E immortality $%aur'atat  A meretat/ and di'ine piety $&penta Armaiti M Aramati/ *ere superseded by Ahura -a(da. $ ast  . GIG. 2:/  unCuestioned supremacy and other gods became not only his sub;ects but his creatures.” e.g. -ithra. 05  This mo'ement *as completed as early as the fourth century 6#.6esides the e=istence of the elemental gods of the Indo E Iranian pantheon there *as the peculiar religion of the -edes that influenced the Iranians of the age. Among the -edian tribes *as one priestly class @no*n as the -agi *ho officiated as priests at sacrifices and certain of them *ere interpreters of dreams. 0:  A. D. #arnoy interpreted the name -agi as meaning the helpful the curers or a'erters of e'il spirits $NO=O'   NQ=O NQ=S'Q/.   They *ere astrologers physicians and magicians. 08  According to %erodotus $I 2>0/ no sacrifice could be offered *ithout the -agis *ho said a hymn at the sacrifice. The sacrificial element *as Cuite prominent in the early religion although there *ere no altars no fire nor any libations. 09  There *ere no images of gods no temples or altars considering the use of them a sign of folly. $I. 2>2/. %o*e'er the e=istence of yadanB $prayer chapels/ *hich are mentioned as temples of the godsB in the 6abylonian translation of the 6ehistun Inscription of +arius suggests that ?ing #yrus and ?ing #ambyses had follo*ed the polytheism of &usa and conformed to the ancient *orship of 6abylonia. The -agi *ere also introduced into Persia by ?ing #yrus himself 04  from -edia a nonPersian land.The -agi *as a sacerdotal tribe according to &trabo. -arcellinus $IV cent. A+/ *rote that the -agi *ere taught in magic science by ?ing %ystaspes and they li'ed in unfortified to*ns according to their o*n la*s protected by religious a*e. The -agians *ere a best organised priesthood and so could create a hegemony in the Persian empire. The -agi might ha'e been hated as -edes but they *ere respected and feared as priests. 05  D. +armesteter SB4   IV li=. In IndoIranian religion of the old -ithra the god of the hea'enly light often accompanied Asura of hea'en in in'ocation $li@e Vedic in'ocation of -itra Varuan/. Asura let -ithra share his uni'ersal so'ereignty but in  Avesta  -ithra became one of the creature of Ahura -a(da. This -ithra the ord of *ide pastures I ha'e created as *orthy of sacrifice as *orthy of glorification as I Ahura -a(da am myself.B $l=i/. In Persia from god of hea'enly light ord of 'ast luminous space of *ide pastures $-ithra/ became later the god of the &un $U-ihr/. As light and truth are one and the same thing became god of truth and faith. $see further  >ar)  . IV. 53/ 0:  %erod. I 212 I 231 I 218. In %erodotusB accounts of the -agian religion the concept of +ualism is conspicuous by its absence so is no reference to doctrine of resurrection. A. %. &ayce  4;4   VIII :23 E :25. The -edian tribes *ere 6usal Paraeta@eni &trouchates Ari(anti 6udii and -agi. 08  #arnoy  4;4   GII 9:0. According to %erodotus $I 218/ a -agi *as consulted by Astyages as oneiromancer. 09   %erod $I 2>0/. The animal flesh *as spread on softest herbage trefoil $ τριφυλλον)  *hich is a fodder crop. 6arsom stre*ing is found in )irangistan $-ary 6oyce  BS+AS, 2481 05 n.2:/ The -agian chanted the theogony and the animal flesh *as eaten up. The -agian libations are @no*n from Plutarch and from %erodotus $VII. 223/ about the bloody sacrifices li@e of Amestris the ueen of Ger=es. 04  Genophon Croaedia  VIII i 0>
Recommended
View more...
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks
SAVE OUR EARTH

We need your sign to support Project to invent "SMART AND CONTROLLABLE REFLECTIVE BALLOONS" to cover the Sun and Save Our Earth.

More details...

Sign Now!

We are very appreciated for your Prompt Action!

x