ToThe Editor, Sunday Times of India, Mumbai, India. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to draw your attention to certain erroneous information that has been carried in The Sunday Times of India, Mumbai dated 10th January, 1999, about our Zarathushtri religion, under the title: "A tribe, a faith and an festering controversy".
The information your paper has carried is grossly erroneous, presents the one-sided liberal and irreligious point of view, and is against the religious beliefs of the majority of the Parsi and Irani population in both India and Pakistan.
In the article, one Dr. Irani, a visiting "US-based scholar of philosophy" says "Zoroastrian texts contain specific injunctions that emphasise that it is a universal religion, open to anyone willing to receive instruction."
This is UNTRUE because the words in the Gathas that say "every man", were intended for everyone in the Aryan land of Iran, for in our Prophet Zarathushtra's time, Iran WAS the known world. In those ancient days, about 8000 years BC, there were almost no non-Iranians in Iran, and Zarathushtra did not travel out of Iran.
A Prophet like Zarathushtra would naturally address his message to "every man" around him, but what is normally glossed over by these modern exponents of conversion, is that in those days, EVERY MAN AROUND ZARATHUSHTRA WAS A MAZDAYASNI ie. belonging to the ancient religion of Iran, Mazda-Yasna - worship of Ahura Mazda. Zarathushtra re-revealed the ancient religion that had fallen from its glory, and consequenty we Parsis and Iranis today call ourselves "Mazdayasni Zarathushtris".
As such, the Zarathushtri community in India, Pakistan and Iran does NOT believe in the Christian/Muslim concept of "conversion". One of our High Priests, Dasturji Mirza of Mumbai has rightly said "Conversion does NOT exist either in the Avesta scriptures or in ancient Iranian history". This is an authorative statement by a sacred High Priest of our religion, and this is believed in by 99% of the Parsis and Iranis in India and Pakistan.
Dr. Irani said : "The Parsis of Mumbai need to realise they aren+t the keepers of the faith." The fact is that the Parsis/Iranis in India/Pakistan ARE the keepers of the faith. The Parsis left their home country of Iran in order to preserve their ancient faith from the ruthless Arabs, and if they had not been the keepers of the faith, there would by no rich Zarathushtri religion and tradition alive today in India and Pakistan, making these lands richer by their presence.
Dr. Irani said: "Zarathustra asked people to listen, then individually make a choice whether to accept it or not. He said, Ahura Mazda gave us a mind and consciousness so that we make a free choice and be held responsible for it."
This "free choice" in the Gathas is often touted by the liberals as an okay for conversion. In reality, it is a choice between the good path and the evil path and is not a choice between religions. Every man is free to choose between good and evil in his life, and is rewarded in heaven if he chooses good, or punished in hell if he chooses evil. That is the message of Zarathushtra, not "conversion".
There was no "conversion" in the days of Zarathushtra, when the people of the world lived peacably. Conversion only started less than 2000 years ago when St. Paul, a disciple of Christ, decided to start "converting" gentiles to his sect of Christianity. This was after the death of Christ, and before this change by St. Paul, only Jews had been admitted into the new sect.
Since then, the practise of "conversion" has resulted in endless religious wars and suffering and extermination of native cultures the world over, and is NOT one of the ancient ways of life, but rather a sign of the evil age we live in.
Dr. Irani says: "The priests introduced a fake passage into the Avestas, claiming that Ahura Mazda asked Zarathustra to worship these divinities. If He did, why aren+t they mentioned in the Gathas ? he questions."
First we like to PROTEST at this statement that says parts of our holy scriptures are "fakes". This is a GROSS INSULT of the religious scriptures we believe in as sacred, and which we pray daily in our fire temples. We like to request your paper NOT to print such attacks on religious scriptures of ANY religion in your columns.
We believe that the ENTIRE Avesta is holy scripture such as the Gathas, Yashts, and Vendidad, and are all the work of our Prophet Asho Zarathushtra. Asho Zarathushtra understood and appreciated the forces of Good which are the Divinities, and he advocated their worship. The Gathas are songs of praise to God, much like the Psalms, and as such cannot mention all the beliefs of our religion. When a poet writes a poem appreciating God who has created the moon, sun and stars, he may not mention his own mother, but that does not mean he does not believe in or appreciate his mother. This analogy at once exposes the FALSE logic of the liberals.
Dr. Irani says: "Purity rules, inherited as a social practice, now permeated religious ritual."
The Zarathushtri religion is a pure religion, with cleanliness and non-pollution of the physical world as one of its main aims, striving to make the world we live in a better and clean place. Everyone in India and Pakistan appreciates our cleanliness and admires our clean Baugs and Colonies. The laws of spiritual cleanliness means we do not allow menstruating women and bleeding men/women to go near the Holy Fire. The Hebrew religion has remarkable similar laws of cleanliness and non-pollution, some say they were influenced by us. Even the Brahmin Vedic rituals are performed with great cleanliness and purification.
Dr. Irani has therefore disparaged three major religions of the world, ie. Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Hinduism, due to his dislikes of purity.
Dr. Irani says: "Today, it is these regulations that form a major obstacle for the women belonging to organisations like AIMZ, who have been reviled for marrying outside the faith."
Inter-marriage is one of the worst sins possible in our religion. Our scriptures have strong injunctions against inter-marriage. For scriptural evidence, I would refer your readers to the related articles on the Traditional Zoroastrianism Home page at http://www.ParsiZoroastrianism.com.
We believe that inter-marriage can dilute and destroy a small community such as ours, and the Sunday Times can hardly support this genocide. Even the Jews, who are millions strong in the USA are worried about the effects of inter-marriage on their community and feel it is a worse danger than the Nazi holocaust. We are hardly 70,000 or so in India and Pakistan and the danger is compounded in our case, due to our small numbers.
Dr. Irani said: "Can people not understand that it is not the actual white bull+s urine (used in ritual) that introduces purity but consciousness that does ?"
Using Gomez and Nirang are a part of our ancient Aryan heritage, even today in Europe village doctors prescribe bull's urine as a cure for certain disorders, a sure sign of their Aryan ancestry. In our case Gomez undergoes a transformation into the pure spotless germfree "Nirang" by a mighty ancient ceremony known as the "Nirangdin", a ceremony in which the Avestan Mathravani is prayed by spiritually advanced priests and which has immense spiritual power because the Nirang is absolutely germ-free.
This ceremony can only be performed by advanced holy fire priests. The transformation of gomez to Nirang by a holy ceremony is nothing short of a miracle. The Nirang then forms the cornerstone of other religious ceremonies and is used to consecrate our fire temples and dakhmas.
Is Dr. Irani so against ancient culture and ancient spiritual wisdom that he advises throwing away this ancient wisdom and merely play "mind" games, as is the vogue today in the USA where he comes from? Is a great miracle to be discarded and substituted by dry "philosophy"? This would be akin to advising the Brahmin priests to stop performing their ancient Fire Yagnas, which they have performed since the beginning of the ages, and instead merely sit and theorize about the Fire God they worship. This would be akin to asking the Sun to stop shining and instead merely talk about its light and warmth.
Dr. Irani says: "Dont pick up a book and read a line and say I will live by this. Look at the context. Is it still applicable today ?"
The religion is sacred and has been revealed by Almighty God to our Prophet, hence it is immutable and its rules and regualtions apply from age to age. Perhaps the liberals find it hard to apply the religion in the atheistic modern world they live in, but that is no reason to attack the religion as "not applicable today". Thousands of Zarathushtris devoutedly follow the religion in India and Pakistan, and it is definitely very applicable today.
The rules of Right and wrong, the rules of righteousness are immutable and do not change down the ages. Respecting one's parents and teachers was the right thing to do twenty thousand years ago, and it still is right now. Homosexuality and pornography were considered wrong then and still are considered wrong now.
If the modern world thinks that rules of right and wrong have changed with the times and no longer respects parents and teachers, and also freely allows homosexuality and pornography, then it is the problem of the modern world, it is the problem of Dr. Irani who in his modern world has been led to believe that right and wrong can change. In reality, it is Dr. Irani and his liberal modern world who must divert from their erroneous paths, not us.
Porus H. Havewala
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