ZOROASTRIANISM, the Spiritual Doctrine of the
There is an Iranian tradition, which states that Zarathustra founded a missionary school. As a matter of fact several of the teachers at this school are mentioned. This missionary school was supposed to be active for some 300 years after the Manthran's death. At that time some catastrophe, possibly the fall of the Kayanian dynasty, closed the school. According to the tradition, many missionaries were sent to all corners of the world to spread the Manthra. Whether this tradition is true or not, we have no way of ascertaining today.
However, we do know of similarities and influences, that the Path of Loving Good Thinking shares, or has had on other paths. In the East it seems to be more a case of similarities, some uncanny, between TheTeaching ofThe Saviors.and the Oriental religions. Early Hinduism and the old Aryan pre Zarathushtian religion are practically the same. Afterwards, they did part ways, but they share a set of similar cultural assumptions. There is Rta and its almost duplicate, Asha. There is Karma and there is the Principle of Return in Ashi, which is a part of Asha. Both religions highly value Fire and both use the Kushti (girdle or cord). In fact, a food case can be made that the latter Hindu doctrine of reincarnation comes from the Gathas, it certainly does not exist in the Rig Veda. See a historical overview here
Buddhism, having sprung from a Hindu society, has some of these similarities plus a few of its own. The similarity between Asha and Dharma and between the Eight-Fold Path and the Essences of Ahura Mazda are uncanny, both in name and meaning. Recently this author has made discoveries that link Buddhism, and even later Indian developments, even more strongly to Zarathushtra and his teaching and, specifically, to the missionary activities of the Path of Vohumanah. Again a state elsewhere, more would be studied in the Daena Institute, which awaits our remodeling of this site.
Taoism, while not Aryan, does share two very important similarities, with Mazdayasna. The Tao is almost exactly the same thing as Asha, except that Asha is a creation of the Absolute (God) and Tao is the Absolute. The other similarity is the Mainyus and the Ying and the Yang, both being opposites, although the Mainyus are discernments or mentalities and the Ying and Yang are more like aspects of nature. In the next we should note that the case in the West is one of CLEAR influence.
The case in the West is one of influence. When scholars study the Old Testament, they find a disparity between the Jewish doctrines in pre-exilic and Jewish doctrines in post- exilic Judaism. Pre-Exilic Judaism was a minority religion in the Northern Kingdom and maybe also in Judea, since most Israelites and large numbers of Judeans were either totally Pagan or semi Pagan.
Outside some Psalms and Job (believed to be post- exilic), pre-exilic Judaism is missing some important doctrines that are cardinal in Post-exilic Judaism. Satan, the Resurrection, Hell and Heaven. What change came over the religion in the exile years and where did this change originate? There are some rather large hints in the Bible itself and in the Gathic and post Gathic Persian literature.
It is a known fact that king Nebuchednezar exiled the Jews to Babylon, after his conquest of Jerusalem in 587 BC. This was a traumatic experience for the Jews. They could understand the exile in terms of Yahweh's judgment of His people, but what of the future? Were the Jews to be abandoned? And why did the God of Israel let foreigners destroy them? They could understand Yahweh's wrath, but why use the Gentiles and their gods to punish Israel?
Those Jews who had not been seduced by the Baals, had always believed Yahweh to be exclusively 'their' God. Now faced with disaster, the beliefs of Jews were shaken. Through their years in exile, they became exposed to other belief systems and in a process of spiritual catharsis, they came to reform and adopt some of them. Because of their situation as an enslaved people, this process was inevitable and might have resulted in their eventual assimilation. It is at this, their most trying moment, that they came into contact with a civilization and a religion that was to shape their destiny, both as a national entity and as a religion.
In 539 BC, Cyrus The Great, Emperor of Persia, conquered Babylon. The effect of this conquest on the Jewish captivity was to have monumental repercussions in world history.
Cyrus was a practicing believer in the Zoroastrian religion. His exceedingly kind and farsighted rule has been attributed the result of his religious beliefs. For the Jews accustomed to harsher Babylonian rule, this leniency showed by Cyrus must have come as a surprise. Cyrus was not content with being a benevolent ruler, driven perhaps by his religious beliefs, perhaps by an uncommon political wisdom, Cyrus set about righting the wrongs committed by the Babylonians upon their defeated victims. It was the Jews that were to make this policy of Cyrus famous. But listen to the Bible:
"And He (Yahweh) says of Cyrus; He is my shepherd, and he will accomplish everything that I want, he will say to Jerusalem You shall be built, and her ruins I shall rebuilt. So does Yahweh say to His anointed, to Cyrus, I have taken you by your right hand, that you might submit nations before you and undo the sustenance of kings; to have doors open in front of you, which doors shall not be closed. I will go before you, and I will straighten all the crooks on your paths; I will smash to pieces bronze doors (for you) and (for you) I shall shatter locks of iron. I shall give you the hidden treasures, and the most guarded secrets..." Isaiah 44:28 - 45:3. (NRSV)
To understand, the import of the above passage we must understand its meaning in the Jewish context. For the Jews, the Gentiles were impure; they were not to associate with them outside business or casual contact. Now there is a prophet of God, extolling the virtues of a Gentile king, and conferring upon him, specific Jewish religious titles! When a prophet of Yahweh calls Cyrus His shepherd, the religious implications had to be mind-boggling. A shepherd in this context is a religious and political leader of Israel, a national hero like David. One that was appointed by Yahweh Himself!! This amounts to installing Cyrus and through him all the following Persian emperors as super kings and priests over Israel.
There is no questioning Cyrus for he has "...been taken by his right hand..." by Yahweh Himself!! In addition Yahweh calls Cyrus "my anointed". This is a very specific and technical Jewish religious term. The 'anointed' in Jewish religion were the kings of Israel, their prophets and the high priests (Lev. 8:12, 1 Sam. 9:16, 10:1, 16:13, 2Chr 23:11, 1Kings 1:39 etc.); this verifies our interpretations of the term 'shepherd'. But this is not the only implication here, anointed in the Hebrew is Messiah. Messiah in turn is the Jewish word translated into Greek as Christos or in English Christ. Yahweh has anointed Cyrus as king, priest and savior over Israel; this gives Cyrus total authority over Israel in all matters, political as well as religious.
If we include the fact that Cyrus, according to Zarathushtrian theology would, as head of state, also be the protector of the latter day version of Zarathushtra's teachings, we can begin to appreciate Yahweh's statement. For with this statement Judaism comes under the authority (by God's stated will) of the Persian Empire and religion. This is confirmed when Judaism goes on to adopt many doctrines of Zoroastrianism. The Devil, the after life, "good" people go to a "heaven" and "evil" doers go to a place of punishment. These are places which are identical to the "Best" and "Worst" Existences of the latter day version of Zarathushtra's teachings in the Gathas.
Doctrines belonging to Zarathushtra´s followers, such as resurrection of the dead, were accepted at this time, at least by the Persian faction, which came to be known as Pharisees (from Persians, Pharsees). More doctrines such as the coming savior became part of Judaism. All these doctrines were to pass from Judaism into Christianity and Islam.
It is interesting to point out that the Qumram sect, responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, was a Zoroastrian heretic group, as can be seen by studying the sect's documents. Specifically their doctrines of the two spirits and the two ways. Other influences on Christianity and Islam include, but are not limited to, Islam's 5 prayer times, Muhammad's Night Journey to Jerusalem and Heaven and the Sarat Bridge. In Christianity we have among others the Lake of Fire and titles such as King of Kings.
Pau,l who is the writer of most of the New Testament, seems to be heavily influenced himself beyond mere Jewish influence. His treatment of Love in 1st Cor. includes the famous discourse on the Complete, which is the literal meaning of the Greek, which is mostly translated as the Perfect The Complete of course is the literal meaning of Haurvatat. His idea of the charismas looks suspiciously close to the Amesha Spentas. His discourse on the armor of a Christian, includes a description eerily similar to the tying of the Kushti. And many of his sayings betray Z influence,
It is important to note that Cilicia, his birth province and Taurus his birth city, were both hot beds of Zoroastrian Non-orthodox, but definitely Zoroastrian activity, with a large population of believers and several Fire temples. In fact, 100+ years later, the Sassanians and the Eastern Roman Empire fought at least 1 war over the rights of these Zoroastrians.
Yeshua himself betrays Z influence especially in his doctrine of the Kingdom, which is totally unheard of in Judaism, and, since he was a rabbi, he knew this so ...
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