Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism,[n 1] or more natively Mazdayasna, is one of the world's oldest religions that remains active. It is a monotheistic faith (i.e. a single creator god), centered in a dualistic cosmology of good and evil and an eschatology predicting the ultimate destruction of evil.[1] Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra),[2] it exalts a deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), as its Supreme Being.[3] Major features of Zoroastrianism, such as messianism, judgment after death, heaven and hell, and free will have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam.[4] Following the Iranian Revolution and the arrival of the Islamic theocracy in Iran, Zoroastrianism is having a strong revival amongst many Iranians who want to express discontent towards the dictatorial theocratic regime.[citation needed]

With possible roots dating back to the second millennium BCE, Zoroastrianism enters recorded history in the 5th-century BCE.[3] Along with a Mithraic Median prototype and a Zurvanist Sassanid successor, it served as the state religion of the pre-Islamic Iranian empires for more than a millennium, from around 600 BCE to 650 CE. Zoroastrianism was suppressed from the 7th century onwards following the Muslim conquest of Persia of 633–654.[5] Recent estimates place the current number of Zoroastrians at around 190,000, with most living in India and in Iran; their number is declining.[6][7][8][circular reference][3][n 2] In 2015, there were reports of up to 100,000 converts in Iraqi Kurdistan.[9] Besides the Zoroastrian diaspora, the older Mithraic faith Yazdânism is still practised amongst Kurds.[n 3]

The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, which includes the writings of Zoroaster known as the Gathas, enigmatic poems that define the religion's precepts, and the Yasna, the scripture. The full name by which Zoroaster addressed the deity is: Ahura, The Lord Creator, and Mazda, Supremely Wise. The religious philosophy of Zoroaster divided the early Iranian gods of Proto-Indo-Iranian tradition, but focused on responsibility, and did not create a devil per-se. Zoroaster proclaimed that there is only one God, the singularly creative and sustaining force of the Universe, and that human beings are given a right of choice. Because of cause and effect, they are responsible for the consequences of their choices. The contesting force to Ahura Mazda was called Angra Mainyu, or angry spirit. Post-Zoroastrian scripture introduced the concept of Ahriman, the Devil, which was effectively a personification of Angra Mainyu.[10][11]

Zoroastrianism's creator Ahura Mazda, through the Spenta Mainyu (Good Spirit, "Bounteous Immortals")[12] is an all-good "father" of Asha (Truth, "order, justice"),[13][14] in opposition to Druj ("falsehood, deceit")[15][16] and no evil originates from "him".[17] "He" and his works are evident to humanity through the six primary Amesha Spentas[18] and the host of other Yazatas, through whom worship of Mazda is ultimately directed. Spenta Mainyu adjoined unto "truth",[19] oppose the Spirit's opposite,[20][21] Angra Mainyu and its forces born of Akəm Manah ("evil thinking").[22]

Zoroastrianism has no major theological divisions, though it is not uniform; modern-era influences having a significant impact on individual and local beliefs, practices, values and vocabulary, sometimes merging with tradition and in other cases displacing it.[23] In Zoroastrianism, the purpose in life is to "be among those who renew the world...to make the world progress towards perfection". Its basic maxims include:

  • Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta, which mean: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.
  • There is only one path and that is the path of Truth.
  • Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and then all beneficial rewards will come to you also.

Terminology

The name Zoroaster is a Greek rendering of the name Zarathustra. He is known as Zartosht and Zardosht in Persian and Zaratosht in Gujarati. The Zoroastrian name of the religion is Mazdayasna, which combines Mazda- with the Avestan language word yasna, meaning "worship, devotion". In English, an adherent of the faith is commonly called a Zoroastrian or a Zarathustrian. An older expression still used today is Behdin, meaning "The best Religion | Beh < Middle Persian Weh (good) + Din < Middle Persian dēn < Avestan Daēnā". In Zoroastrian liturgy the term is used as a title for an individual who has been formally inducted into the religion in a Navjote ceremony.

The term Mazdaism (əm/) is a typical 19th century construct, taking Mazda- from the name Ahura Mazda and adding the suffix -ism to suggest a belief system. The March 2001 draft edition of the Oxford English Dictionary also records an alternate form, Mazdeism, perhaps derived from the French Mazdéisme, which first appeared in 1871.

Zoroastrian philosophy is identified as having been known to Italian Renaissance Europe through an image of Zoroaster in Raphael's "School of Athens" by Giorgio Vasari in 1550. The first surviving reference to Zoroaster in English scholarship is attributed to Thomas Browne (1605–1682), who briefly refers to the prophet in his 1643 Religio Medici,[24] followed by the Oxford English Dictionary's record of the 1743 (Warburton, Pope's Essay). The Oxford English Dictionary records use of the term Zoroastrianism in 1874 in Archibald Sayce's Principles of Comparative Philology.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Zoroastrisme
Alemannisch: Zoroastrismus
العربية: زرادشتية
aragonés: Zoroastrismo
asturianu: Zoroastrismu
azərbaycanca: Zərdüştilik
تۆرکجه: مزدیسنا
Bân-lâm-gú: Zoroaster-kàu
башҡортса: Зороастризм
беларуская: Зараастрызм
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Зараастрызм
български: Зороастризъм
bosanski: Zoroastrizam
brezhoneg: Zoroastregezh
català: Zoroastrisme
Чӑвашла: Сăртăш
Cebuano: Sorowastrismo
čeština: Zoroastrismus
Cymraeg: Zoroastriaeth
Deutsch: Zoroastrismus
ދިވެހިބަސް: ފާރިސީދީން
Ελληνικά: Ζωροαστρισμός
español: Zoroastrismo
Esperanto: Zaratuŝtrismo
estremeñu: Zoroastrismu
euskara: Zoroastrismo
فارسی: مزدیسنا
Fiji Hindi: Zoroastrianism
français: Zoroastrisme
galego: Zoroastrismo
हिन्दी: पारसी धर्म
hrvatski: Zoroastrizam
Bahasa Indonesia: Zoroastrianisme
interlingua: Zoroastrismo
íslenska: Sóróismi
italiano: Zoroastrismo
Kiswahili: Uzoroasta
kurdî: Zerdeştî
Кыргызча: Зороастризм
Ladino: Zoroastrizmo
latviešu: Zoroastrisms
lietuvių: Zoroastrizmas
Limburgs: Zoroastrisme
македонски: Зороастризам
Malagasy: Zoroastrisma
مازِرونی: مزدیسنا
Bahasa Melayu: Majusi
Mirandés: Zoroastrismo
мокшень: Зороастризма
Nederlands: Zoroastrisme
नेपाल भाषा: जोरोआस्तर धर्म
norsk nynorsk: Parsisme
occitan: Zoroastrisme
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Zardushtiylik
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਪਾਰਸੀ ਧਰਮ
پنجابی: پارسی
Piemontèis: Zoroastrianism
Plattdüütsch: Zoroastrismus
português: Zoroastrismo
română: Zoroastrism
русиньскый: Зороастрізм
русский: Зороастризм
саха тыла: Зороастризм
sicilianu: Zoruastrismu
Simple English: Zoroastrianism
سنڌي: زردشتي
slovenčina: Zoroastrizmus
slovenščina: Zaratustrstvo
српски / srpski: Зороастризам
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zoroastrizam
Basa Sunda: Zoroastrianisme
svenska: Zoroastrism
татарча/tatarça: Зәрдөштлек
тоҷикӣ: Маздаясно
Türkçe: Zerdüştlük
українська: Зороастризм
اردو: زرتشتیت
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: زەردۇشتىلىك
Tiếng Việt: Hỏa giáo
文言: 祆教
吴语: 拜火教
Zazaki: Zerduştiye
žemaitėška: Zuoruoastrėzmos
Lingua Franca Nova: Zoroastrisme