McKenzie Journey
World Religions 160
10/26/16


Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism or natively known as, Mazdayasna, is one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions. It stemmed from ancient Asian countries and continued to spread across the nation. With only about 200,000 followers today, and 80% of them living in India, Zoroastrianism is a complex and intellectual religion.
The ancient history of Zoroastrianism is very important when trying to understand the religion. Zoroastrianism is believed to of began around 600 to 650 CE. It started in central Asia and began to spread to other colonies and tribes. It next was spread across the Iranian plateau, here it was adopted by two Iranian tribes, the Medes and Persians. This religion was then colonialized and spread to nearby areas for hundreds of years under the Persian dynasties, Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sassanid. During 900 CE the Zoroastrians split off into two groups, the Iranis, who stayed in Iran, and the Parsis, who left and established in India. Here, it began to flourish and be practiced continuously.
Religion is much more than just believing in a god or higher power. There is an origin and the start of worship from a single being who believed in a particular deity. The Zoroastrian religion contains both monotheistic and dualism when obtaining to their god. This can be traced back to the prophet Zarathustra. When Zarathustra called Zoroastrianism the good religion. Zarathustra worshiped Ahura Mazda, Ahura Mazda's revelation was recorded in the scared writing of the Avesta. Zoroastrianism is also said to come from an older Aryan tradition that is formed on the foundation of the Vedic religion in India. The people who worship Ahura Mazda are called the Mazdeans or Zoroastrians. Ahura Mazda is called the Wise Lord, and is the ultimate principle of worship in the Zoroastrian religion.
The very start of the religion began by Ahura Mazda bringing together two worlds, the menog, world or thought, and the getig, world of bones or living beings. These worlds are often called the spiritual and the physical worlds. Menog is apprehended by thought and getig is apprehended by the senses. Together, these worlds make up the order of the universe. The Wise Lord is said to be the eternal source of light for the two worlds. This is why the Zoroastrians pray in front of a source of light, it activates the connection between the getig and the menog. Getig is where fire exists and menog is where illumination arises. Since Ahura Mazda means Wise Lord, there is a close connection between wisdom, symbolized by light, and worship, centering on light. Fire worship is said to enhance human wisdom, if you are invested with wisdom, you then can freely choose to act by the Good Religion. Meaning, thinking good thoughts, speaking good speech, and doing good deeds. This will help maintain the order in the worlds, it also spreads Wise Lord's illumination.
When Ahura Mazda made the two worlds, two forces came into existence, the Holy Entity and the Hostile Entity. These forces are called the cosmic twins: Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu. In Getig, the world of bones, these cosmic twins represent truth and lie. The twins are always in constant battle with one another. Angra Mainyu is the force of darkness in Getig while Spenta Mainyu is the force of illumination, the religious followers of Zoroastrianism are always free to choose which twin they would like to associate themselves with. Spenta Mainyu has helper entities, holy immortals and also called, Amesha Spentas. The Amesha Spentas distribute positive forces through the spiritual world of thought and physical world of the living. Zoroastrians try to develop the qualities of the Amesha Spentas. While Angra Mainyu also has helper entities called Daivas. The Daivas are related with desire, wrath, bad thoughts, idolatry, and pollution. Followers who choose to fight on the side on Angra Mainyu are pursued as being confused. The Good Religion wants everyone to gain wisdom, and eventually ally themselves with Spenta Mainyu, the life giving twin, instead if Angra.
Religion can be practiced and exercised in many different ways. Here are a few ways Zoroastrianism is expressed. There are four Zoroastrian values that are very important to the religion.