Zarathushtra - (Zoroaster)

 

 

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Conversion

 

The issue of conversion and active proselytization is perhaps the most controversial and contested issue within the Zoroastrian community. Instead of debating and interpreting in ways that agree with our own personal beliefs and inclinations, let us refer directly to the words of Zarathushtra:

First we come to the legendary Yasna 30:2 which says:

 

Listen with your ears the highest truth, consider them with illumined minds carefully and decide each man and woman personally between the two paths, good and evil. Before ushering in of the great day, or the day of judgment, arise all of you and try to spread Ahura's words (Zarathushtra's message).

Mobed Firouz Azargoshasb

 

Hear with your ears the Highest Truths I preach,
And with illumined minds weigh them with care,
Before you choose which of two Paths to tread,
Deciding man by man, each one for each;
Before the great New Age is ushered in
Wake up, alert to spread Ahura’s Word.

Irach J.S. Taraporewala

 

Hearken with your ears to these best counsels,
Reflect upon them with illumined judgement.
Let each one choose his creed with that freedom of
         choice each must have at great events.
O ye, be awake to these, my announcements.

D. J. Irani

 

Hear with your ears that which is the sovereign good;
With a clear mind look upon the two sides
Between which each man must choose for himself,
Watchful beforehand that the great test may be accomplished in our favour.

Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin
(translated from French by Mrs. M. Henning)

 

Hear the best (truth) with your ears and decide by your pure mind. Let everybody judge for his ownself and find out what he ought to do. Before the great trial let all wake up to this my counsel.

T. R. Sethna

 

Hear the best with your ears and ponder with a bright mind. Then each man and woman, for his or her self, select either of the two. Awaken to this Doctrine of ours before the Great Event of Choice ushers in.

Ali A. Jafarey

 

Listen with ears to the best (then) reflect with your unbiased mind – man by man – before deciding between the two choices, before ushering of the great event, (so) with knowledge (let) each one announce.

Pallan R. Ichaporia

 

Next is Yasna 31:11-:

 

Since, O Mazda, from the beginning, Thou didst create soul and body; mental power and knowledge and since Thou didst place life within the corporeal body and didst bestow to mankind the power to act, speak and guide, you wished that everyone should choose his or her own faith and path freely.

Mobed Firouz Azargoshasb

 

Since for us, Mazda, Thou didst make from first
Bodies with Souls within that can perceive,
Out of Thy Thought didst give us Power to think;
Since Life within the Flesh Thou didst encage,
Yet Strength to act and Words to guide didst grant,
So that we freely choose the Path we tread;-

Irach J.S. Taraporewala

 

By Thy perfect Intelligence, O Mazda
Thou didst first create us having bodies and spiritual consciences,
And by Thy thought gave our selves the power of thought, word, and deed.
Thus leaving us free to choose our faith at our own will.

D. J. Irani

 

Since thou, O Wise One, at the first didst create for us by thy mind
Beings and consciences and wills,
Since thou didst give a body to the soul of life,
Since thou didst create deeds and words, that man may decide freely,-

Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin
(translated from French by Mrs. M. Henning)

 

Since O Mazda from the beginning you fashioned for us physical bodies, discerning souls and directive intelligence through your own mind. Since you infused life breath into mortal bones, since you granted us capacities to act and true doctrines to guide so that one could choose beliefs at will.

T. R. Sethna

 

O Wise One, at the beginning, You, through Your mind, fashioned for us the living world, conceptions and intellects, put life in the physical frame, and gave deeds and doctrine, so that one makes his choice through free will.

Ali A. Jafarey

 

At the beginning, O Mazda (Wise One), Thou has fashioned for us bodies and religious views, and through Thy mental intellect put life into the flesh and blood, and power to act, and words for guidance so one is free to choose what he prefers.

Pallan R. Ichaporia

 

Likewise in Yasna 31:9 and 49:3 Zarathushtra clearly spells out the choice between following the good leader or the false one, as well as the consequences of making good or evil choice. He puts the responsibility squarely on one’s own shoulders, since each one of us has the freedom to choose.

He continues in Yasna 49:6 by saying:

 

Earnestly do I urge Ye, O Mazda, to declare to me your Holy Plan, so that I may know the truth and reveal to the world that religion which has been inspired to me, O Ahura, by Thee..

Mobed Firouz Azargoshasb

 

To Mazda and to Asha I do pray,
That Ye reveal to me Your Holy Plan,
That in Your Wisdom Ye have made for us;
That we may choose and go forth to proclaim
What Faith, O Lord, should be Thy Devotees'.

Irach J.S. Taraporewala

 

I beseech Thee, O Mazda, reveal Thy Holy Plan,
Let Truth declare Thy Divine Wisdom,
So that we may ever choose and act aright
And make the truths of Thy Faith widely known.

D. J. Irani

 

I entreat you, O Wise One, together with Righteousness,
To make known the purpose of your will,
That we may decide rightly
And teach it to all consciences devoted to such as you, O Lord!

Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin
(translated from French by Mrs. M. Henning)

 

Mazda I beseech you, tell me about righteousness which in duty to you is to be done with the mind. Let me know correctly that religion which is yours, O Ahura, so that I may be able to preach it.

T. R. Sethna

 

I urge You, Wise One, and Righteousness to tell us what You have in Your wisdom of mind so that we rightly choose how to proclaim, Lord, the religion which belongs to a godlike person..

Ali A. Jafarey

 

Pallan R. Ichaporia has not translated the Spenta Mainyu Gatha

 

Zarathushtra takes this even further in Yasna 53, saying that his wish is not only to reach the good people, but to also have the followers of evil , and even his enemies understand and choose the right path:

 

Every wish of the prophet Zarathushtra Spitama have been fulfilled in the best possible manner and Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Life and Wisdom, has granted him the best blessings, i.e. a happy, prosperous and holy life through all Eternity. Even those who have opposed him have learnt to pay him reverence and follow the good religion in every word and action.

Mobed Firouz Azargoshasb

 

Fulfilled has been the Prophet's every wish,
O Spitama Zarathushtra, for on Him
Is Mazda Ahura's best Gift bestowed-
A Holy Life through all Eternity;-
Those who opposed Him, even they have learnt
To reverence the Teachings of His Faith,
And follow this Good Creed in every act.

Irach J.S. Taraporewala

 

The highest aspirations of Zarathushtra Spitama
        attain fruition, O Mazda,
When thou dost grant him for his righteousness
Blissful existence enduring for all times;
When all, at last, turn to him
To accept and practice the principles of the Good Religion!

D. J. Irani

 

The best possession of Zarathushtra Spitama has been revealed:
It is that the Wise Lord has granted, through the Right, eternal bliss
To him and to all those who have observed and practised
The words and deeds of his good religion.

Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin
(translated from French by Mrs. M. Henning)

 

The highest wish of Spitama Zarathushtra has been fulfilled. For Ahura Mazda on account of his righteousness has granted him blessings of holy life for all eternity. All those who had opposed him, even they have learnt the good religion in theory and in practice..

T. R. Sethna

 

The best wish of mine, Zarathushtra Spitama, has been fulfilled, because the Wise God has, on account of my righteousness, granted me blessings, both mental and material, and a good life for ever. Those who hurt me have also learned the words and deeds of the Good Conscience.

Ali A. Jafarey

 

The best wish of Zarathushtra Spitama has been achieved, as Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord) has granted him the request of good existence in harmony with Truth, and (also the same) to those who accepted the words, and actions of his good religion.

Pallan R. Ichaporia

 

As for his own role, responding to the various challenges that we face in the world, and how we are tempted to choose the way of expedience and destruction, in Yasna 31:2 Zarathushtra identifies himself as a Teacher and Guide to both the righteous and the misguided, to all the people of the world, in choosing the righteous path, where he says:

 

Since deluded by these lures, you are unable to realize the right path clearly and choose the same, therefore, Mazda Ahura appointed me as your teacher, so that both parties of good and evil may live in accord with Asha.

Mobed Firouz Azargoshasb

 

Deluded by these lures ye see not clear
The Higher Path, that should become your choice,
So to ye all, sent by Ahura, I
Am come as Teacher; Mazda hath ordained
That I should teach both parties how to live
Their lives in best accord with Asha’s Law.

Irach J.S. Taraporewala

 

As you realize not the eternal truths, and recognize not the better life,
I come to you all to guide you in the right selection between the two sides.
That we may thence live in accordance with Truth and right.

D. J. Irani

 

Because the better way to choose of the two is not therefore in sight,
To you all I come the judge of the two sides,
-Such as the Wise Lord knoweth me-
That we may live according to Righteousness.

Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin
(translated from French by Mrs. M. Henning)

Since the better path is not clearly seen by the soul for her choice, because of evil attractions, I have come to you all as the prophet ordained by Ahura Mazda to guide the people between these two mentalities, so that they, one and all, live in harmony and righteousness.

T. R. Sethna

 

Since it is not easy for the soul to find the better course, I, whom the Wise Lord knows, come to you all as the leader of the two parties, so that we may live in accordance with righteousness.

Ali A. Jafarey

 

As the better way is not clear in sight for the soul, I come as the Teacher to you all, appointed by Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), mindful of the two parties (i.e. truthful and deceitful) so that we may live in harmony with Truth.

Pallan R. Ichaporia

 

 

In conclusion, while it may be an issue of contention to debate whether "path" or "faith" refers to choices of religion or simply ways of living, it would be safe to assume that if we asked Zarathushtra himself, his response would be something along these lines:

"I am not interested in what labels you wish to give yourselves or others. Nor am I interested in the social pigeonholes or sociological categories you wish to create. What I care for is to increase the Good in the world and ultimately eliminate Evil altogether. My most sincere wish and desire is to see even the very last misguided and lost individual converted from ignorance to wisdom, from hatred to love, from fear to faith, and from evil to Goodness."

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver Canada
December 25, 1998


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