By Dr. Shernaz Baji Avari
Vakshure vakshuran means the prophet of prophets who is born just once in a cycle of nature for a long long time. Ramazgo means one who is aware of the core information of the universe.
A Prophet is a divine messenger of God bearing a very high soul who reveals God's commandments to mankind. He is an exemplary being advanced in spiritual insight and comes to the world inspired by God (whom we call Ahura Mazda) and the celestial beings like the Ameshaspentas (Arch Angels) and Yazads (angels) to wean away the negative thoughts and negative karmas of the people, releave them from misery and wipe out the evil designs of the wicked to once more establish the faith of the people in Universal goodness.
Zarathushtra was the first prophet to reveal religion to the people on Earth. His birth some 9,500 years ago believed to be around the North and East of the Caspian Sea or in Western Iran was a result of Ahura Mazda’s divine plan initiated ages ahead. When the soul of the Mother Earth cried to its Creator, the abuses heaped upon it, the Creator in consultation with the Divine Beings came to the conclusion that there was only one remedy to eradicate the evils of the world and that was to send a high spiritual power of a prophet. The appointment of Zarathushtra was thus confirmed. The birth of Spitman Zarathushtra is an amazing tale of divine spiritual inter¬vention when arrangements for his birth were made. 'Spitman’ means 'whitest and pure' derived from the family clan of the 9th ancestor and Zarathushtra means 'the golden shining star’.
Baby Zarathushtra was born to father Pourushaspa and Mother Dogdo. The divine energy of Zarathushtra was sent to his mother Dogdo through the hearth fire in her grandmother's house with the result that Dogdo radiated divine energy since her birth. The wicked and the evil ones simply fled away when attempts were made to kill her.
Dogdo was sent to the house of her father's cousin Peterasp whose son was Pourushaspa. Together they grew up and later married as per the divine plan of Pak Dadar Ahura Mazda. Ordained to be the blessed father of Asho Zarathushtra, Pourushasp was apprised of his son’s birth by angel Sarosh Yazad who is a collaborator between God and man and the consciousness of God. He was asked to get up early at dawn and in a clean state of the body and mind pray devotedly so that Ahura Mazda’s aura would enter into him. Then he was asked to look into his wife Dogdo’s eyes with immense love so that the divine element would transfer into her. This resulted in a sparkling radiance of aura which emanated through Dogdo till the auspicious birth of a smiling child’s cheerful and joyful face emerged at the lap of Dogdo. A smiling child just born is a rarity beyond imagination because he was free from the Karmic laws of Nature. Yes, Vakshure Vakshuran Spitman Asho Zarathushtra Saheb saw the light of the day with the 'khoreh' or aura of Dadar Ahura Mazda in the morning on Roj (day) Khordad Mah (month) Farvardin. This day is also known as KHORDAD SAL.
It is said that for 3 days no darkness prevailed in any part of the earth as the earth was filled with Divine Glory to proclaim HIS birth. Neither a child was born nor death occured on this day. The Creations of Ahura Mazda were overjoyed to see the divine pure light but the wicked persons were terrified as they felt that their wicked ways and practices would be put to an end. All attempts to kill baby Zarathushtra went in vain as he was divinely protected. He was thrown into the fire, put under flocks of wild animals but came out unaffected. The devil's malefic effect nullified as it came closer to him as none other than Vakshure Vakshuran is destined to do the same. He created the 'Minokarko’ Fire a connecting force between 'Nisti’ the mortal world and 'Hasti’ the eternal one.
The devil tried to offer him and make him the Superforce of the whole world - known as ‘Hafte Keshwar’ covering the 7 continents of the world. Vakshure Vakshuran Spitman Asho Zarathushtra turned him down saying, “even if my bones turn to ashes and wisdom vanish and meet death, under no circumstances would he ever be disloyal to Ahura Razda's 'Din’.” ‘Din’ meaning the most exalted and noble religion of Ahura Mazda.
When Zarathushtra was 20 years old, he left his house in search of Truth, a preparation to reach the domain of Ahura Mazda. He travelled towards East and was guided to a place underneath a mountain. It was a secluded place where he could, without disturbance devote himself into prayers, meditation and communion with the Divine Beings without interference. During his 10 year stay he only subsisted on goat's milk and water from the nearby streams. Due to his divine aura he instructed the mountains not to open up the path without his consent. After prolonged prayers Archangel Bahman Ameshaspand and Sarosh Yazad initiated to escort him, the mountain honoured Zarathushtra's word and gave way to them. Celestial gifts of majestic 'khoreh' (aura) were conferred upon Zarathushtra enabling him to enter the Kingdom of Ahura Mazda. He had several conferences with Ahura Mazda and the 7 Archangels who instructed Zarathushtra to guide and help mankind , teach them the right path and totally shun the path of Ahreman- the evil one.
His struggles and his teachings and his direct communionwith Ahura Mazda are recorded in his own words in Five ‘Gathas’, the holiest of the holy days before the Parsi New Year. The Gathas are celestial hyms glorifying the divinity of our religion. The profundity of thought and shear beauty of the loftiest of all religions as revealed by Dadar Ahura Mazda to Zarathushtra embodies harmony with man, animals and plants, spiritual growth and goodness, truth divine justice, reverence to the Ameshaspentas and the Yazads, love, devotion and prayers but far above all FAITH & COMMITMENT in the glorious Mazdayasni Religion of the Parsis and the Iranis. In our religion we do not pollute anything, as polluting or misusing any of God's elements is a direct affront to that divine being. Thus ecology and conservation are directly linked to theology and divinity in our religion. Protection, preservation and non-wastage is an integral part of living a Zoroastrian life.
At the age of 30, Zarathushtra returned to his people and started preaching his religion - the Mazdayasni Religion. He purified the religious system by removing the evil that had crept in. In the initial stages he had to struggle hard to spread his message. For 10 years he had no followers till he reached Bactria. It is a place where today the borders of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan come together.
He was again threatened by evil forces but he chanted the Ahunavar Prayer (Atha Ahu Vairyo, the same prayer that was recited when a handful of Zoroastrians faced a terrible storm after leaving Iran before they landed on the shores of Sanjan in India). The evil fled on listening to the prayer terrified by the spiritual power of the Prophet. He fearlessly went ahead with his divine mission and was determined to fight evil till the very end of his life.
When Zarathushtra was 40, his cousin Maidyomah became his first disciple. He was the son of Arasp, the grandson of Peterasp. In the Court of King Gustasp, Zarathushtra expounded his religion with spiritual discussions and philosophy with other learned men in the Court. As Zarathushtra's stature grew, he was given great respect by the King and was made to sit on a special throne next to the King. But jealous men in the King's Court defamed him by planting false evidence against him. The King imprisoned Zarathushtra for 7 days. It was during this time that the King's favourite horse Aspe-shia was afflicted with an incurable illness. The 4 legs of the horse got embedded in his stomach with the result that he could not get up. Zarathushtra by his divine powers cured the King's horse. The spiritual significance of this tale is that the horse of King Gustasp signifies the soul of King Gustasp where there were 4 main questions to be answered at the soul level which none of his courtiers were able to answer. For that he was dejected and pleaded to Mother Earth to help him out of his predicament. So Mother Earth helped him by sending Paigambar Asho Zarathushtra in his Court who solved all his queries.
Thus the soul of Gustasp was again enlightened and started moving forth to fight against evil.
Zarathushtra spent the later part of his life with Kae Lohrasp, the father of King Gustasp. His fame had now spread over the Globe and wise men from all over the world came to see him, instantly convinced of his greatness.
Zarathushtra married Havovi and had 3 sons and 3 daughters. Thus Prophet Zarathushtra laid the foundation ofthe glorious Mazdayasni Religion of the Parsis and the Iranis. His religious teachings, rituals and practices in every day life are contained in 21 Nasks containing religious scriptures and literature in Avesta language. Zarathushtra stayed on Planet Earth for a period of 77 years. The day of his passing away is known as 'Zarathos No Diso’. It is on Khorshed Roj in the month of Dae.
Zoroastrianism will never ever perish from the world as is proclaimed by some religious scholars, due to our dwindling numbers. It is a religion based on Nature and can Nature ever die? We are part of Nature not apart from Nature. From Nature to Nature's God, Yes, it's a fact that we are just one in a population of 20,000 which means we are just about 5 in a population of 1,00,000 people. While people in Mumbai and India may feel insecure at these miniscule numbers, Zoroastrianism is gaining popularity and momentum in Iran, Kaghistan, Uzbekistan and round and about the place where Zarathushtra, was born.
The statue of Zarathushtra exists in the main Fire Temple of Hormuzd City, the Capital of Demavand. It stands on a personified symbol depicting the
radiantly glowing Fire held by Him in his hand and his beard appears to be moving 1 A full fledged photograph reveals 4 arcs on his robe indicating the other religions derived after Zoroastrianism - Christianity, Jewish, Mohammedans and Hindus. May we all live with unflinching faith, commitment and belief in our beautiful religion. HAPPY NEW YEAR.