ToThe Editor, Sunday Times of India, Mumbai, India. E-mail: email@example.com
I am amazed that you have printed a letter "Parsi inter-marriage is legitimate" in your Times of India, written by one Mr. Bhot, from the Association of Inter-married Zorostrians, Mumbai. I would request you not to give credence to such anti-establishment organizations which are closely allied to Gatha-alone cults headed by Muslim radicals in North America. Such modern organizations and North American based cults have absolutely no credence and authority in our ancient established Mazdayasni Zarathushtri religion.
I am also surprised that the editorial team has chosen to "close" the correspondence at this point, thus shutting the doors on the true Zarathushtris to reply. An anti-religious organization cannot speak with moral authority on the behalf of any religion, hence I request the editors to publish this final reply, since it carries the weight of the established Zarathushtri religion in India, Pakistan and Iran.
This reply will also be carried and distributed on the internet and placed on the Traditional Zoroastrianism Home page at http://www.ParsiZoroastrianism.com which is visisted by tens of thousands of visitors.
The title of Mr. Bhot's letter is ""Parsi Inter-marriage is legitimate". On which authority does Mr. Bhot care to make this action legitimate, is it HIS own authority or the authority of the anti-establishment organization? Please pardon the analogy, but if there were to be an association of criminals in the future, and that association were suddenly to declare that common criminality is legitimate, would that indeed make it so? If blind people were to form an association and declare that blindness is the only legitimate thing and the whole world should be blind, would that truly make it so?
Religious legitimacy in our case is only decided by our High Dastoors of the established religion in India, based on a deep understanding of our Avestan scriptures and on our tradition. In the case of inter-marriage, it is expressly prohibited in our Holy scripture the Avestan Vi-Daevo-Dat ie. the "Law against evil that was given", wherein any inter-marriage between Zarathushtri and non-Zarathushtri is severely forbidden and is said to be a gross religious sin. This reminds us of Krishna's declaration in the Hindu scriptures that varna-shankaran or inter-marriage is an evil sign of the evil age.
The inter-married association is obviously highly biased in this entire issue, since they have personal motives and personal aims that they are trying to force on the religion. They are not unbiased, as we are. Their pronouncements therefore have no validity.
The inter-married association's spokesperson says: "Zarthushtra's pristine message was by no means confined to Iran. Zarthushtra's own ministry covered Eastern Iran, Central Asia and his followers took his message as far afield as China and north India."
This common liberal premise is based on the fact that Zoroastrian artefacts have been found in these areas, including China and North India. This is a shaky premise, since the artefacts do not necessarily mean that conversion had taken place, but only indicate that groups of Zoroastrians had migrated to these areas. Indeed, our tradition indicates that our ancestors migrated in "TOLAS" or groups around the world, and thus these Zoroastrian artefacts in far away places like China, but slowly die to inter-marriage their entire community was lost and what was left was just these hollow shells of artefacts. Exactly the type of situation we are trying to avoid in India, and which the misguided inter-married association is trying to hasten.
The inter-married association's spokesperson says: "A study of the gathas clearly indicates the Prophet intended his message for all mankind". The Prophet indeed addresses his message to "choose the righteous path" to all men, but the inter-marrieds conveniently forget to mention that at that ancient pre-historic age, when countries were hardly in contact and probably around 8000 years ago, "all men" were indicative of all men in the Aryan country of Iran. If Zarathushtra had indicated conversion, he would have travelled to China and addressed his message to "all men" there, but he didnt.
We believe that Prophets only arrive in specific lands to take the people of that land closer to God, and are not interested in "converting" the people of other lands. Even Jesus says clearly in the Bible, "I am sent only for the Jews".
The inter-married association's spokesperson says: "Zoroastrian history contains a long line of conversions - first of the Medes of western Iran, then of Sogdiana under the Parthians, then of the subject people of the Sassanian empire." In all these cases, the inter-marrieds conveniently forget to mention that these were internal parts of ancient Iran, so there was no question of "conversion" since the ancient Iranians belonged to the Mazdayasni Aryan faith since the days of the Ancient Aryans. Zarathushtra was the promised Saviour who revived the faith.
As an analogy, the Jews today are waiting for the Messiah, and when the Messiah arrives, they will not cease to be Jews. The Hindus are waiting for the 10th and final incarnation of Vishnu, who is known as Kalki Avatar. When Kalki arrives, the Hindus will not cease to be Hindus. Likewise, when our Prophet Asho Zarathushtra arrived around 8000 years ago, the ancient Iranians did not cease to be Mazdayasnis. There was no "conversion", in the sense of the modern conversion idea of Christians and others.
Conversion as a concept only started with St. Paul, a disciple of Christ who first decided, after Christ had passed away, to start converting the Gentiles (non-Jews) into Christianity.
The inter-married association's spokesperson says: "While our Avesta does include the Gathas, Yashts, Vendidad and other tomes, the Gathas alone can be considered to be the work of Zarthushtra himself." This is another common fallacy of the liberals, and the blame for this can be laid at the door of so-called Western "scholars" who studied our scriptures. Using their dodgy modern science of "philology", they convinced some rich modern Parsis in the last century that the Gathas were the most ancient work, therefore they had to be Zarathushtra's work and all the rest was the work of the disciples and therefore false.
Using this absurd argument, it could be argued by the same scholars that the entire Bible is the work of the disciples and not the word of Christ Himself, and therefore should not be believed in. But this is absurd. The Bible is still a holy scripture, so are the Yashts, Vendidad and the Gathas.
The inter-marrieds should realize that such statements demoting our sacred scriptures are an affront to the religious feelings of thousands of Parsi/IraniZarathushtis in India, Pakistan and Iran, since we believe that all the Avestan scriptures are the work of Asho Zarathushtra Himself, and we pray them daily in our fire temples. Our forefathers had similar faith for thousands of years.
Unhappily, the inter-marrieds seem to be aping the foreigners and their unhappy practice of believing that "nothing is sacred".
The inter-married association's spokesperson says: "The statement that Zarthushtra's freedom of choice is nothing more than the choice between good and evil is simplistic in the extreme. Zarthushtra's freedom is far more profound. In a famous quote from the Gathas, he urges his followers to listen to the sages and obtain all points of view on any subject and then determine a course of action."
These words of the Prophet have been twisted by the inter-marrieds to signify conversion, but there is no word in the Gathas which could mean a switch of religions. Indeed there was only ONE religion in Iran during Zarathushtra's time - the ancient Mazdayasni faith, which was sanctioned by the Prophet Himself and continued.
It is also very wrong and unZoroastrian to suggest that the Prophet's choice between good and evil meant a choice between religions, since that would suggest other religions in the world today are "evil". That is NOT a Zoroastrian teaching, the Zoroastrians respect all religions as good and teaching the way to God.
Unhappily, the inter-marrieds prefer to switch religions as if they were ice-cream cones, indeed such is the practise in the modern world today. But the inter-marrieds forget that religion is far too serious and sacred to change at will.
The inter-married association's spokesperson says: "No issue splits our community apart as does that of inter community marriage. It is looked upon by its opponents as a dilution of the purity of the Parsi race, as an affront to the teachings of Zarthushtra, and - worst of all - as the road to the eventual extinction of the religion." True. I am glad the inter-marrieds know what they are doing.
The inter-married association's spokesperson continues: "But these opponents confuse the Parsi race with the Zoroastrian religion. The connotation of the Parsis is social and anthropological. Its survival should not be at the expense of the survival of Zoroastrianism on the global scale."
There is no confusion. Traditionally, the Parsi-Irani Aryan race is SYNONYMOUS with the Aryan Zoroastrian religion. The Parsis-Iranis are the Preservers and Custodians of this proud Aryan religion handed to them by their fore-fathers. Destroy the Parsis-Iranis and their Aryan identity through inter-marriage, and you will destroy the ancient Aryan religion of Mazdayasna Zarathushtri. God forbid that such a thing would ever happen.
The inter-married association's spokesperson says: "Further there is not a single line in Zarthushtra's Gathas - his own words - that opposes mixed marriages." Another fallacy. The Avestan Vi-Daevo-Dat (Vendidad) contains the actual conversation between Ahura Mazda and Asho Zarathushtra. Our Indian freedom father Lokmanya Tilak, also a great Vedic scholar, called the Vendidad the "most ancient historical scripture known to mankind", since it also contains the story of the origins of the Aryan race. This ancient scripture of the Zoroastrians clearly mentions that when the seed of a Zoroastrian is mixed with that of a non-Zoroastrian, it is a great affront to Ahura Mazda and the forces of Righteousness.
The inter-marrieds forget that inter-marriage is frowned upon in many religions, including Hinduism and Judaism - even the Jews are asked by God "not to pollute the Holy race through inter-marriage".
Of course the Holy scriptures of all religions are no longer respected in the modern world, especially in many modern countries outside India which have become a mecca of inter-marriage. The inter-marrieds have taken the bait of the modern hook, line and sinker - first when they were told that the Holy scriptures are not Holy, by the Western "scholars", and now when they are told by their modern peers that all inter-racial marriage is okay, and that religious scriptures should not be believed in, that modern man is too "advanced" to even believe in religion.
But we all know the way the modern world is going.
Porus H. Havewala
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