A Zarathushtri youth wrote:
"i am a zoroastrian male...i have been born and brought up in India in a traditional zoroastrian family."
Nice to know you, young man.
"i have tried to get answers to my questions of the zoroastrian ways of life and have not been too successful probably because i have not been tapping the right sources and my parrents dont have enough knowledge of the religion."
I was like you when I was young - it was difficult to get knowledge of the religion. I read a German philosopher's book "Thus spake Zarathushtra" and was disgusted with the nonsense therein. I didnt know that that book had nothing to do with our religion.
"they tell me things which should be done and not be done but they do not have satisfactory answers to my questions. i am not a person who just takes things, or rather listens to them and followes them without adequate explanation, enough to convince myself."
I understand, but some faith is necessary to begin with. The rest is upto the Vohu Mano (Good Mind) which is developed within yourself, but we must always be guided by the Scriptures and our Elders to develop it in the first place.
"so now....i look upon to you to clarify my innumerable doubts. i hope you shall be able to give me adequate clarification."
I will try. I also advise the classes by Dr. Jeannie Bharucha of Zoroastrian Studies in Mumbai (opp Lion Gate). These classes explain our religion in detail over 6-8 weeks and give a lot of knowledge. I attended these classes when I was young and I was amazed at the great beauty in our religion. Almost all my doubts and questions were answered.
"to start of with, i would like to know why a zoroastrian cannot marry a non zoroastrian."
I know, there is a lot of peer pressure in India where the modern educated Indians often tell us to marry non-Zoroastrians. I have had my college friends tell me that too. By the Grace of God, I was saved in those days from doing this.
First of all, we seek to marry only Zarathushtri girls so that the religion of both the father and mother is the same, and they can both teach the same religion to their children. The chances of the children practising Zoroastrianism are greatest if both the parents practise Zoroastrianism. If the religion of the father and mother is different, there is often a conflict of interest. The child is taught two religions and his interest in each is lesser. Sometimes, in inter-marriage, the child is taught no religion at all which is the worst thing, since the child grows up with no roots, with no religion to call his own, and belongs neither here nor there.
Secondly, we believe that our religion is part and parcel of our ethnic identity ie. race. In the past before the "modern" religions like Christianity and Islam, the ancient religions were practised by unique groups of people who did not "convert" other people into their religion. One example is the Hebrews, who believed in Judaism, or the ancient Egyptians who believed in their own religion, or the Aboriginies of Australia who had a system of sacred beliefs dating back thousands of years.
We are one such ancient people who did not believe in conversion. This means that only a Parsi/Irani can be a Zarathushtri, and no other. Thus, to preserve our race and corresponding religion, we should marry only within the community. We are a very small minority in a vast sea of other races, hundreds of millions of others compared to our 70 thousand or so. A small community has to be very careful of intermarrying with other races, since that is the one sure way of destroying its identity. Anthropologists (scholars who study the beliefs and practises of ancient peoples) often say that inter-marriage is the greatest destructor of ancient peoples. In our case, it is a question of preserving our sacred religion as well which only the Parsis/Iranis have preserved - no one else has. If the Parsis/Iranis start to intermarry with other races and loose their identity as a distict people, it must follow that the Zarathushtri religion will disappear as well (God Forbid).
In the USA, there are more than 2 million Jews. Their young have started inter-marriage with the white Christians on a large scale and the children mostly become Christians. The Rabbis (priests) of the Jews in the USA have said openly, that inter-marriage could destroy the Jewish religion in the USA and have a far worse effect than the Nazi holocaust.
If the Jews, who are 2 million strong in the USA are worried about the destruction of their religion by large-scale inter-marriage, then we, who are only 70,000 strong, should be even more careful about the destructive effects of inter-marriage.
Thirdly, in our scriptures, the Avestan Vendidad has clear injuctions against inter-marriage. Ahura Mazda revealed the religion to Zarathushtra, and in the Vendiad He reveals to Zarathushtra that when the seed of a Zoroastrian is mixed with that of a non-Zoroastrian, then Ahura Mazda is saddened. Another Holy book, the Dinkard in its summary of the Husparam Nask, states that intercourse with non-Zoroastrians is a grieveous sin that is punished on the Chinwad Bridge (the bridge that all souls cross after their stay on this earth). Elsewhere, we are also asked to follow "Boonak Pasbani" ie. preservation of our forefather's proud lineage. Inter-marriage with a non-Zoroastrian means we destroy the proud lineage of our forefathers with one stroke.
For further reading material, I would ask you to study the following articles on the Traditional Zoroastrianism Home Page at http://www.ParsiZoroastrianism.com
1. A Zarathushtri lady Mrs. Pervin Mistry writes on inter-marriage
2. The Bane of Mixed Marriages by Ervad Jal N. Birdy.
3. SAVE OUR SOULS: Prohibition on Mix marriage from a Spiritual perspective by Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha
4. THE HUSPARAM NASK'S PROHIBITION ON MIXED MARRIAGES BY RONI K. KHAN
5. PAK VENDIDAD ON MIXED MARRIAGES BY RONI K. KHAN
6. THE PROBLEM OF INTERMARRIAGE SUMMARIZED BY RONI K. KHAN
7. LETTER TO OUR YOUTH # 1 DOES THE "FREEDOM OF CHOICE" APPLY TO INTERMARRIAGE - BY RONI K. KHAN
8. Article Against Mixed Marriage Among Parsis by Homi P. Ranina
Read these articles slowly. The writers (except for the writer of 8) are on the Traditional Zarathushtris Mailing list so you can clarify anything in these articles. You can also ask me about these or any other questions.
I also like to invite you to put your entry up on the Zoroastrianism Matrimonial Page where there are a number of Zarathushtri young men and women seeking to marry. Quite a few have been happily married already, by God's Grace.
"i prefer to leave no stone unturned and do not want to take steps as in getting married to a non zoroastrian by being in the dark and not understanding our religion thoroughly."
That is always the best step. I advise the study course I spoke of as well.
"my next qestion is what is religion, but a way of life......cant one teach his kid a way of life without external stimuli or information."
No, religion is more than a way of life. It is what God has revealed to His Prophets for the Good of mankind. It shows man the path to God, it teaches him what is right and wrong. Without religion, man deteriorates rapidly - we see that happening in the modern world. In the modern world where I live, people do not teach religion to their children but only teach a "way of life" as you suggest. We are seeing the effects of that now - charity is at an all time low, the young are more self-seeking then their grandparents who believed in religion, and immorality is at an all time high - many school girls have as many as 20 male sex partners before they are 20. Violence is at an all time high - the young in schools in North America use guns and kill one another. All this because religion is not being taught to children by their parents in the modern world.
"many remember god only when in difficulties or when things are not been able to be explained. in the ancient age man used to think lightning and thunder used to be caused when the gods were angry....until....man proved it wrong scientifically.
That is again the Western view, that is not the Eastern view. The West looks on their ancestors as "barbaric" and religion as the result of barbaric beliefs. We Aryans of the East do not believe that. We have the highest regard for our Aryan Ancestors - Zarathustra calls them the "PouryoDakeshan" in the Gathas, meaning "The Ones Who first followed the Law of Righeousness". We believe that our religion is divine and was revealed by Ahura Mazda to the Prophet Zarathushtra. We do not believe that our religion was due to ignorance or barbarism, indeed we would be unworthy to call ourselves Aryans if we despised our forefathers in the same manner that the modern people do.
"so i am seeking for knowledge and i need your assistance."
May you find the utmost spiritual satisfaction in the pure Zarathustri religion you are born in. Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami, May it be so as we wish.
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