Zoroaster real name was Zurathushtra Spatima. The word Zoroaster was an interpretation of the Greek. His timeline and age in history is not yet clear and some historians believe that he existed before the age of Alexander the great other predict him living at about 6000 BC (Sivananda, 2004 para.1). His name Zurathushtra suggested that he was the possessor of yellow and old camel, while his family name Spitama meant white. White is normally associated with purity and holiness, which may be taken to mean that may be he was destined to be a messenger of god (prophet) and a magician as many believed.
He was born in the present day Iran, in Takht-e-Suleman in Azerbaijan district. His parents were Purushaso (father) and Dughdho (mother). He had two elder and two younger brothers. He married three times and had many children (Sivananda, 2004 para.8). His life was filled by miracles as a child, and had no passion for worldly things. He also had no passion for mundane (worldly) pleasures and rose above sensual cravings. The cravings of the flesh as many religions would call it, is mainly associated with ungodliness and evil. It requires the strong and staunch people in religion to overcome such cravings especially the youth.
This paper gives the life of Zoroaster and his introduction of Zoroastrianism to the world, through sacrifice and devotion. It explains the doctrines that govern the religion of Zoroastrianism, which were practiced by Zoroaster by his principles, and living. It relates it to the recent life and the significance of his life and teachings. Zoroastrianism is also discussed at its significance to the current life, in ethics and morality.
Zoroaster and Zoroastrianism
He was a descendant of the royal family of Manushcihar, an ancient king of Iran (Sivananda, 2004 para.3). He was founder of the Zoroastrian religion and was known as a wise prophet of the East, and his teachings were known as Zoroastrianism. He established the worship of Ahura Mazda as the Supreme Lord of the Universe, to change people from worshiping many gods of the Indo-Iranian religion. The Gathas were believed to be his own writings and form the opening part of the Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism. Other materials used by Zoroaster in the introduction of Zoroastrianism were letters and documents e.g. the pahlavi texts (Sivananda, 2004. para. 4).
The whole story is about the creation of Ahura, He created a pair of twin spirits as his sons, Spenta Mainyu, and Angra Mainyu. Spenta chose truth, light, and life, while Angra chose deceit, darkness, and death. The supreme chose to be with his son Spenta who chose life, truth, and light. The impact of Zoroaster was not only on the part he lived but he is known internationally, by those who practice Zoroastrianism. A role model of many and a wise man, he is seen as the force that drives truth and good ethics in society (Beyer, 2009 para.6).
With his introduction of Zoroastrianism, he impacted many evil doers to turn their ways to truth, light, and life. The best part is that making a positive change in another person life is a big achievement and a big blessing. The role of religion is to shape the society in to a moral upright manner, to avoid social irresponsibility and to harmonize the people so as to be compatible always. Zoroaster has been involved in the formation of a religion. He persuaded people to follow good traditions and practice positive behavior in society. This explains his bravery in approaching people to leave traditions and believe in someone or a being that they do not know.
The balance of a society can only be found in religion. Zoroaster’s life to historians is mixed between history and myth, but they agree he was a historical figure (Beyer, 2009 para.7). Zoroaster in his 30’s was in seclusion to seek religious insight. He received it as a divine revelation from Ahura Mazda, known as the lord of wisdom. He spent many years in the wilderness before his first revelation. The revelation focused on him as being a preacher for the Zoroastrianism. He managed to convert Prince Kavi Vishtapa, who allowed Zoroastrianism to spread and grow. The major converts were supposed to follow Ahura Mazda as the only god and only he was to be worshiped, follow the new god of wisdom and change from the traditional gods of nature defined by strength and power, be righteous i.e. correct living and genuine living.
This is the main aim of the religions of the world to convert society to proper people. To break away from traditions that cannot bring civilization or change to a dynamic society free from social evils. The Zoroaster apply to the youth who normally move from righteous ways to end up in drugs, indulging in sexual activities, and worldly pleasures that make society loose its meaning of good and perfect. The youth who follow such doctrines will further the development of a society with power to say no to drugs and alcohol, no to indulge in early sex, and better social living (Beyer, 2009 para11).
The establishment of this religion never came easy and it came with various trials and temptations but Zoroaster rose above the odds to establish what he believed in and accepted was the truth. Many people of today never stand for the truth, they are afraid to be seen and backward or not as the others. Zoroaster’s life is about courage suffering and standing by his principals. These are the attributes that should be seen in the modern person. It teaches good ethics of humanity and selflessness. Zoroaster was pious, noble, and compassionate. He emphasized on high morality in life so as to achieve immortality and eternal bliss. The doctrine is based on the god of righteousness, who love the righteous, practices compassion for the morally, spiritually, and physically distressed (Kapadia, 1998 p.46).
People have learned from his life and many practice his ethics. People have known that it takes time, sacrifice, commitment, and courage to establish a good idea, and without the maker or god around, then it can be worthless. The building of an upright moral society is the basis of his teaching which aims in changing the society’s attitudes and perception towards any behavior.
In this era of society rotten ethics and morality, if someone would rise above the evils and preach with a dedicated passion to change the minds of few, then it would help to a great extent (Kapadia, 1998 p.56). Zoroaster was never divine, he was human; he was divinely gifted with inspiration from his god Ahura Mazda. This makes his life a perfect example of the present world, and inspired many. He was renowned for his innovation, loving relationship with god, and courage.
Zoroaster was opposed by civil and religious authorities in the area he preached. But he never kept the fire down he kept preaching to all nations without fear and boldly. This is an inspiration that every human should embrace. There should be no relenting until we fulfill our vision, mission, goals, and objectives. The high morale, courage and relentless efforts should continue until we achieve our goals and dreams.
Zoroaster also taught of three beings that are said to personify Ahura Mazda’s qualities and attributes. They are known as the Khshathra Vairya (desirable dominion), Haurvatat (wholeness), and Ameretat (immortality). The qualities of these creatures of Ahura Mazda are to be replicated in his followers (Cave, 2008 p.15). These are the qualities of building a social upright and moral society free from crime and embracing of brotherhood at all times. This binds mankind and god to have same ethics and principles. Man has been given wisdom by god to be able to live harmoniously.
If Amesha Spentas has shown the working of the deity, and same time having the works of combining the Wise Lord, then the living of the lord and the living of his followers (the ashavan) are manifested to be bound to each other. The most significant ethical aspect of Zoroastrianism is well illustrated by the concept of Khshathra (Dominion), which is emphasized by the word Desirable; it is belief of a kingdom that is to come (Kapadia, 1998 p.58).
Zoroastrianism teaches that once one dies, the soul must pass the Bridge of the Requiter (Cinvat); this makes everyone have fear and anxiety. Judgment is also awaiting everyone and after judgment by Ahura Mazda, the good and the righteous enter the kingdom of everlasting peace, joy and light, the bad and unholy are taken to horror and darkness. Zoroastrianism goes to explain the end phase for the visible world, "the last turn of creation." This last phase will involve the destruction of Ahriman, followed by a wonderful renewal of the world, which will be inhabited by the holy and good, and they will live in paradisiacal joy, and everlasting peace (Cave, 2008 p18).
In the light of the religion of Zoroastrianism then Zoroaster made a positive impact in the lives of the followers who are staunch believers of the faith. The impact of a positive society and the life and values of society which recently have been eroded by western cultures, are very addressed in the Zoroastrianism. With the religion moving throughout India and Persian countries then a better society is encouraged. Values of positive change include; courage, perseverance, good morals, selflessness, and self control.
All in the faith should be seen practicing all doctrines that go with the faith. Zoroaster in his quest to please his god never relented to preach the good faith. This message of hope and courage should be an example of most people today that are set down due to small petty issues of discouragements, to forfeit what they started. Many are fearful even to start anything good in fear of failure. No amount of persecution is equal to the success on enjoys at the end of every successful effort. What one sows is what he/she reaps. Zoroaster is a motivation to many since his is a life of sowing in perseverance and enjoying the great grown religion that transforms mankind.
Everyone should aim at sowing good but not evil. A better society can only be created by everyone uniting, and practicing immortality where the good of everyone is the goal of everyone, where society is not expressed in a capitalist way, but in a communist way. Zoroaster is a perfect example of a life lived to its fullest and everyone should aim to do so, in not forsaking his/her believes. Self sacrifice, and persistence in all situations is always to establish anything and that is the true teaching fro Zoroaster’s life. Zoroaster went against all odds to give the message to all people, in our modern day people should learn to forsake all things for the sake of doing well and living a holy, righteous life. People should not aim at accumulating material things that end but should live a life which is fruitful in helping the needy, and assisting the less fortunate in the society giving them hope and a purpose to live. One should aim at transforming lives positively so that the society can be a better place for everyone. Thanks to Zoroaster everyone can get the perfect example.