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Title: Zoroastrians
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Autumn_Heather
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Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:41 AM)
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Zoroastrians

Very little is known of the ancient Iranian prophet Zarathustra, known as Zoroaster in the West and its many scholars. equally, their faith, revealed nearly 3500 years ago, Zoroastrianism , is not widely known outside of Iran and India, home to the largest group of its adherents.

Zoroaster was born around the time of the Iranian Bronze Age, 1400 BCE, possibly in the region of ancient Areana Vaeja, north of Caspian and Aral Sea where Kazakhstan is today. However other places such as Ragha or Ray south of Tehran in Iran, Balkh the capital of ancient nation of Bactria in present Afghanistan, as well as Sogdia, Chorasmia and Margiana, places south of present day Turkmenistan and Tajikistan also lay claim to be his birthplace. The exact location is unknown as is the exact date of his birth.

Scholars are still divided on the exact date of Z's birth, Aristotle places him some 6000 years before the death of Plato.

A loose concsensus among scholars today places his birth between 1500 and 1200 BC.

It is said that Zarathushtra laughed and not cried at his birth. Many of the priests of the then animistic and other ritualistic beliefs attempted to impede his growth, as they knew that he would bring forth a new faith and religious belief. Attempts to kill the infant Zarathushtra as well as to hinder him proved futile.

Tradition has it that Zarathushtra trained as a priest of the ‘religion’ of his time. He then left home in search of truth, meaning and purpose of life and the inequalities that perturbed him. A series of revelations were received in his thirtieth year and Vohu Manah, the good mind appeared as a bright being and led him to Ahura Mazda and Amehsa Spenta, His Bounteous Immortal Souls.

Zarathushtra’s, fervent and deep discourses with Ahura Mazda, recorded in the Gathas, a divinely inspired work is filled with spiritual and esoteric truths. Believing he had the one God’s message for the then known world, he embarked on a long journey of preaching to the people of his region. He struggled for twelve years to convince the various tribal societies to accept his findings and divine message.

It was after he performed a miraculous cure of king Vishtapa’s horse, that his teachings began to get audience and finally became the faith of the realm. Thereafter his teachings spread among the peoples of the Iranian plateau and gained followers far and wide in the Central Asian region.

Ultimately it became the religion of the great Persian Empire the largest empire of its time.

Among the modern day followers are the Parsis, who formally lived in Iran but about 1300 years ago, when they were exiled, they moved to and settled in India.

The Parsi Zoroastrians are a small ethnic group, about 300,000 world wide and 2000 live in Australia.
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