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Zoroastrianism

ZOROASTRIANISM
 
Zoroastrianism was expounded by the prophet Zoroaster. A small community called the Parsis follows this religion. The Parsis came from a region called Fars in Iran, hence the name, which was derived from the term Farsi. They migrated from Iran about 1400 years ago, following persecution by the Arab rulers, who disallowed them from practicing their own religion. The Parsis landed on the shores of Gujarat, India. Thus the language spoken by most Parsis in India is very similar to Gujarathi.  

Zoroaster which is the Greek name for Zarathushthra as he is also called, propounded the teachings of Ahura Mazda, who is the Lord of Wisdom. He is also the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Creator.

The prophet Zoroaster 's teachings are embodied in the Gathas. They contain the revelations that Zoroaster received from Ahura Mazda himself. Khordad Sal is the birthday of Zoroaster, which follows on the sixth day after the Parsi New Year. The Parsi New Year is known as Jamshedji Navroz and prayers are offered at the Fire Temple or agiary. This New Year falls sometime in September according to the English calendar. On this day, Parsis greet each other a happy new year, and feasting follows. Unlike other religions however, there is not much fanfare in Parsi festivals.

The Parsi child is initiated between the ages of 7 and 11, in what is popularly known as the Navjot ceremony. On this day, he is given his sadra and kusti.which he must wear always so that he is  protected from evil.

The Parsis are an extremely pure community, which is perhaps what is leading to the dwindling of this community. If a Parsi lady marries outside her community, she is no longer a Parsi, and her children cannot follow the Zoroashtrian faith. In order to preserve the purity of the faith, many Parsis marry their first cousins. Thus, the children borne off such marriages may not always be in perfect health or form.  

At the time of death, Parsis do not cremate or bury the body. The bodies are placed into an open well, where vultures can feed on them. In fact, the Guinness Book of Records has documented this event as the greatest act of charity! 
 

TEACHINGS OF ZOROASTER

Zoroaster preaches that there are forces of Good and Evil operating within us. All that is good comes from Ahura Mazda and evil emits from Ahriman. These two forces are always in conflict and we must strive towards the good.

Zoroaster preaches that one should learn to be happy and propagate this happiness to others. This comes by committing good deeds that will eventually lead to immortality. Zoroaster does not advocate asceticism, on the contrary he advocates that one must lead a good worldly life, and create wealth that is to be used for the service of the community. This is why most Parsis are benevolent and driven to charity. Most of them are philanthropically inclined. 
 

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