Zarathustra , also known as Zarathustra Spitama or Ashu Zarathustra is the charismatic ancient prophet of Iran. It is believed that he was born into a humble peasant family at eastern Iran and lived between 1500 BCE to 500 BC. He underwent priestly training at the age of seven and was ordained as priest at the age of fifteen. It was predestined that Zarathustra would bring divine order into the Persia. When Zarathustra was thirty years old , he saw a vision while taking ritual bath of purification at river. He saw the sky opened up and a luminous being called Vohu Mana (an angel) revealed to him about Ahura Mazda , the Supreme Being (the God).
This vision changed his worldview forever. He began to preach to the lay people about Ahura Mazda , the Supreme Being , the only one worthy of worship. He established the doctrine of Oneness of God. At that time , the Persians worshipped a pantheon of gods and goddesses. Zarathustra thus changed the practice polytheism to monotheism , shifting their focus on one God. He also challenged the oppressive caste system , causing uproar from the priestly order. Zarathustra was then a prophet of God and a social reformer.
He received further revelations from Ahura Mazda about the virtue of living a righteous life. His teachings consist of three core tenets : good thoughts , good speech and good acts. He proposed that human beings has inbuilt freewill to choose good and a discerning power between Asha (truth) and Druj(falsehood). At these crucial time , there were certain people whom worshipped the Hostile Spirit known as Angra Mainyu. They also consumed intoxicating drinks which led them to immorality. Zarathustra forbade them from taking intoxicant. He admonished the worship of daevas (deities) , revealing that they’re none other than evil spirits thirty for war and strife.
Zarathustra’s teachings are compiled into Holy Scriptures called Yasna and Gathas , written in Avestan language. It became the first divinely revealed religion on earth. His teachings is the precursor of three great monotheistic religions ; Judaism , Christianity and Islam. Zarathustra preached righteousness as the way towards salvation. He taught those whom choose the good are in the way of God , and therefore they would be in heaven after parting with their bodies at death (resurrection). Those whom ignored the rule of God and did evil would face judgement.
The Zoroastrian religion molded the Persian society. From there rose great righteous kings , the King Cyrus and King Darius. A pertinent clash happened between early Judaism and the Zoroastrians when the Hebrews were freed from captivity in Babylon by King Cyrus. His successor , King Darius sent back the Hebrew refugees and funded the rebuilding of Jerusalem temple. The Hebrew prophets , Nehemiah and Ezra renewed the religious order of Judaism consistent with the Zoroastrian doctrines of monotheism.
An old Pahlavi book consist of a Zoroastrian story of Arta Viraf whom went into trance and travelled to one world to another , accompanied by an angel named Sarosh. There Arta met Ormazd , the great Being and the happy residents of heaven. Ormazd commanded Arta and his people to pray five times a day. This story has parallel with hadith which details the travels of prophet Muhammad on the steed of buraq and his meeting with Almighty Creator. Islamic prayer timings are similar to those observed by Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrians are required to perform five times prayers a day ; Havaan at dawn , Rapithwan at afternoon , Uziren at noon , Aiwisuthrem at evening and Ushaen at night. Before prayers , they must wash their hands and feet. They worship at Atash Bahram , facing the Holy Fire as how Muslims face the Qiblah during prayers.
THE GREAT PROPHECY
The Old Testament contains Biblical theology ingrained by a messianic figure in Zoroastrian prophecies , called Sashoyant , the Saviour. Sashoyant would save the human race from the darkness on the dissolution of the world. Sashoyant would defeat Ahriman in the end. Zarathustra prophesied that there would be end time battle between good and evil , between Ahura Mazda (the God) and Ahriman (the Satan). The Book of Revelation written by apostle John is a vivid apocalypse in close semblance of Zoroastrian prophecies as testified by Dead Sea Scrolls.
We are endlessly debating what is the true religion of God or who is truly worshipping the God in reality. There are debates on how to establish and safeguard religious doctrines from the violations from followers of another faith. But do we realise how much we have in common? Do we have to launch warfare to defend our religion? Should the human beings slaughter each other in the name of religion?