Zoroaster, also known as Zartosht, Zarathustra or Zaratustra (Rhages, Iran in 628 BC – ibid., 551 BC). Prophet and religious leader of Persian origin, known to have been the founder of Zoroastrhe or Mazdeism, ancient monotheistic religion, which became one of the first monotheistic religions assumed as official faith by some Persian kingdoms.
In literature, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzche takes the name Zaratustra to baptize the character of his work Thus I speak Zaratustra, however it is a referential name, which has no solid ties to this Persian prophet of the 6th century BC due to the influence that he Zoroaster came to have in the Persian kings, causing them to convert to monotheism and also declare Mazdeism as an official religion, this spiritual leader is considered one of the most important prophets in history.
Identity and origins
As with the historical character of Homer, author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, as to Zaratustra’s identity there are also differences as to whether he is a historical prophet or a group of prophets.
In this sense, some researchers claim that Zaratustra corresponds to a series of four masters, while Zoroaster is the last of this series, and the best known, which is why its name is associated with that of the group.
Based on Zoroastrian’s life, very little is known about her. According to tradition, Zoroaster may have been born in 628 BC, a date estimated from the biographical data that places him at forty years old in 588 BC, at which point he converted Vishtaspa, possible king of Chorasmia.
As for the precise geographical location where Zoroaster came into the world, it is believed that he may have been born in Rhages, a city located near Tehran, Iran, within a family of Knights of modest origin, known as Espitama. Although other sources place their birth in Kazakhstan or Afghanistan.
Likewise, according to legend, Zoroaster would have been predestined for his mission, a sign that according to Pliny The Elder manifested himself at the time of his birth, when he became the first man to be born smiling, as a mark of his future wisdom.
Revelation and teachings
Likewise, based on traditional sources, it is thought that Zoroaster may have been formed as a priest, who at some point in his life, before adulthood, had a vision of an entity called Ahura Mazda, considered by Zoroaster as the only wise Lord, who gave him the mission to preach the Truth about his existence.
Obeying his command, Zoroastrian devoted himself to preaching a religion based on belief in a God, all powerful and unique worthy of worship, called Ahura Mazda, who lived in the midst of a kingdom of Justice, to which only human beings who followed the light, good, and righteousness, thus gaining happiness and eternal spiritual life.
According to the Zoroastrian, Ahura Mazda is also the creator of heaven and earth, that is, of the material and the spiritual.
From the center of his kingdom is accompanied by the Spentas Amesha, six entities known as the beneficial immortals, also created by Ahura Mazda (although they are also perceived as inherent qualities of this God) whose names are Spenta Mainyu ( Holy Spirit), Vohu Manah (Righteous Thoughts), Asha Vahishta (Justice and Truth), Khshathra Vairya (Desired Domain), Ameretat (Immortality) and Hauvarat (Plenitude).
These deities or qualities constitute the way of bonding of the world of the supreme God with the world of his followers, known as ashavan. However, Ahura Mazda has a rival, which would give Zoroaster’s conception of the universe a dual character.
This spiritual enemy is named after Ahriman, who would be the twin brother of Ahura Mazda, who nonetheless at the time of the initial meeting, in which they were to choose between the words “life” or “no life”, their choice began at the beginning of evil, becoming the owner of the Druj, Kingdom of Lies, where the daevas, ancient evil spirits of Indo-Iranian culture, live.
Beyond this dualism, however, Zoroastrianism insists on monotheism, as these two principles come from Ahura Mazda. Likewise, it is predestined for the supreme God, in the company of the Amesha Spentas, to definitively defeat Ahriman. In relation to men, they are also free to choose their actions, building with them their destiny, winning the Kingdom of Light, together with Ahura Mazda or in the Druj with Ahriman.
The Gathas and the legacy of Zoroaster
Zoroaster’s teachings are contained in the Avesta, which was transmitted orally, until the 4th or 6th century A.D., when they were recorded in writing in the Sassanid Empire. The most important hymns in this book are those known as the Gathas.
Around 588 BC, Zoroaster succeeded in converting King Vishtaspa, ruler of an Afghan tribe, who assumed Mazdeism as an official religion. Zoroaster exerted strong opposition to polytheistic religions, while forbidding animal sacrifices to other deities such as daevas.
According to tradition he lived to the end of his days in the court of King Vishtaspa, and it is even believed that one of his daughters came to marry one of his ministers.
Zoroaster is believed to have died at the age of seventy-seven, around 551 BC. After his death, his religion spread widely, becoming the official religion of the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid kingdoms, until well into the Middle Ages.
His beliefs also influenced Judaism, and through him christianity and Islam. The latter religion indicated the practice of zoroastrhe in the Persia territory, remaining only its ancient scriptures.
Image source: escuelapedia.com
July 31, 2019