Zoroastrianism,[n 1] or more natively Mazdayasna (Persian:
مَزدَیَسنا یا دین زرتشتی), is one of the world's
oldest extant religions, "combining a cosmogonic dualism and
eschatological monotheism in a manner unique [...] among the major
religions of the world". Ascribed to the teachings of the
Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), it exalts a
deity of wisdom,
Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), as its Supreme Being.
Major features of Zoroastrianism, such as messianism, judgment after
death, heaven and hell, and free will have, some believe, influenced
other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism,
Christianity, and Islam. Following the
Iranian Revolution and the
arrival of the Islamic theocracy in Iran, the religon had a revival
among many Iranians who wanted to express disobedience towards their
With possible roots dating back to the second millennium BCE,
Zoroastrianism enters recorded history in the 5th-century BCE.
Along with a Mithraic Median prototype and a Zurvanist Sassanid
successor, it served as the state religion of the pre-Islamic Iranian
empires for more than a millennium, from around 600 BCE to 650 CE.
Zoroastrianism was suppressed from the 7th century onwards following
Muslim conquest of Persia
Muslim conquest of Persia of 633–654. Recent estimates place
the current number of Zoroastrians at around 190,000, with most living
India and in Iran; their number is declining.[n 2] In
2015, there were reports of up to 100,000 converts in Iraqi
Kurdistan. Besides the
Zoroastrian diaspora, the older Mithraic
Yazdânism is still practised amongst Kurds.[n 3]
The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta,
which includes the writings of
Zoroaster known as the Gathas,
enigmatic poems that define the religion's precepts, and the Yasna,
the scripture. The full name by which
Zoroaster addressed the deity
is: Ahura, The Lord Creator, and Mazda, Supremely Wise. The religious
Zoroaster divided the early Iranian gods of
Proto-Indo-Iranian tradition, but focused on responsibility, and did
not create a devil per-se.
Zoroaster proclaimed that there is only one
God, the singularly creative and sustaining force of the Universe, and
that human beings are given a right of choice. Because of cause and
effect, they are responsible for the consequences of their choices.
The contesting force to
Ahura Mazda was called Angra Mainyu, or angry
Zoroastrian scripture introduced the concept of Ahriman,
the Devil, which was effectively a personification of Angra
Ahura Mazda, through the
Spenta Mainyu (Good
Spirit, "Bounteous Immortals") is an all-good "father" of Asha
(Truth, "order, justice"), in opposition to
deceit") and no evil originates from "him". "He" and his
works are evident to humanity through the six primary Amesha
Spentas and the host of other Yazatas, through whom worship of
Mazda is ultimately directed.
Spenta Mainyu adjoined unto "truth",
oppose the Spirit's opposite,
Angra Mainyu and its forces born
of Akəm Manah ("evil thinking").
Zoroastrianism has no major theological divisions, though it is not
uniform; modern-era influences having a significant impact on
individual and local beliefs, practices, values and vocabulary,
sometimes merging with tradition and in other cases displacing it.
In Zoroastrianism, the purpose in life is to "be among those who renew
the world...to make the world progress towards perfection". Its basic
Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta, which mean: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good
There is only one path and that is the path of Truth.
Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and then all
beneficial rewards will come to you also.
3.1 Classical antiquity
3.2 Late antiquity
3.3 Decline in the Middle Ages
4 Relation to other religions and cultures
4.1 Indo-Iranian origins
4.3 Present-day Iran
5 Religious text
5.2 Middle Persian/Pahlavi
6.1 Vision of Zoroaster
7 Principal beliefs
7.1 Creation of the universe
7.2 Renovation and judgment
7.3 Head covering
8.1 In South Asia
8.2 Iran, Iraq and Central Asia
8.3 Western world
9 See also
12 External links
Zoroaster is a Greek rendering of the name Zarathustra. He is
known as Zartosht and Zardosht in Persian and Zaratosht in Gujarati.
Zoroastrian name of the religion is Mazdayasna, which combines
Mazda- with the
Avestan language word yasna, meaning "worship,
devotion". In English, an adherent of the faith is commonly called a
Zoroastrian or a Zarathustrian. An older expression still used today
is Behdin, meaning "The best
Religion Beh <
Middle Persian Weh
(good) + Din <
Middle Persian dēn <
Avestan Daēnā". In
Zoroastrian liturgy the term is used as a title for an individual who
has been formally inducted into the religion in a
The term Mazdaism /ˈmæzdəɪzəm/ is a typical 19th century
construct, taking Mazda- from the name
Ahura Mazda and adding the
suffix -ism to suggest a belief system. The March 2001 draft edition
Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary also records an alternate form,
Mazdeism, perhaps derived from the French Mazdéisme, which first
appeared in 1871. In older English sources, the terms Gheber and
Gueber (both deriving from Persian for infidel, compare giaour) were
used to refer to Zoroastrians; however, these terms are considered
offensive and have fallen out of use.
Zoroastrian philosophy is identified as having been known to Italian
Renaissance Europe through an image of
Zoroaster in Raphael's "School
of Athens" by
Giorgio Vasari in 1550. The first surviving reference to
Zoroaster in English scholarship is attributed to Thomas Browne
(1605–1682), who briefly refers to the prophet in his 1643 Religio
Medici, followed by the Oxford English Dictionary's record of the
1743 (Warburton, Pope's Essay). The
Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary records
use of the term
Zoroastrianism in 1874 in Archibald Sayce's Principles
of Comparative Philology.
This section contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often
accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should
be clarified or removed. (April 2016)
Zoroastrians believe that there is one universal, transcendent,
Ahura Mazda, or the "Wise Lord". (
Ahura means "Being" and
Mazda means "Mind" in a sacred Old Iranian language called
Zoroaster keeps the two attributes separate as two
different concepts in most of the
Gathas and also consciously uses a
masculine word for one concept and a feminine for the other, as if to
distract from an anthropomorphism of his divinity.
Ahura Mazda is almighty, though not omnipotent.
Other scholars assert that since Zoroastrianism's divinity covers both
being and mind as immanent entities, it is better described as a
belief in an immanent self-creating universe with consciousness as its
special attribute, thereby putting Zoroastranism in the pantheistic
fold where it can be easily traced to its shared origin with Indian
Brahmanism. In any case,
Ahura Mazda's creation—evident is
widely agreed as asha, truth and order—is the antithesis of chaos,
which is evident as druj, falsehood and disorder. The resulting
conflict involves the entire universe, including humanity, which has
an active role to play in the conflict.
Zoroastrian tradition, the "chaotic" is represented by Angra Mainyu
(also referred to as "Ahriman"), the "Destructive Principle", while
the benevolent is represented through
Ahura Mazda's Spenta Mainyu, the
instrument or "Bounteous Principle" of the act of creation. It is
Spenta Mainyu that transcendental
Ahura Mazda is immanent in
humankind, and through which the Creator interacts with the world.
Zoroastrian cosmology, in articulating the Ahuna Vairya
Ahura Mazda made His ultimate triumph evident to Angra
Mainyu. As expressions and aspects of Creation,
Ahura Mazda emanated
the Amesha Spentas ("Bounteous Immortals"), that are each the
hypostasis and representative of one aspect of that Creation. These
Amesha Spenta are in turn assisted by a league of lesser principles,
the Yazatas, each "Worthy of Worship" and each again a hypostasis of a
moral or physical aspect of creation.
Zoroastrian theology includes a duty to protect nature. This has led
some to proclaim it as the "world's first ecological religion."
Scholars have argued that, since the protections are part of a ritual,
they stem from theology rather than ecology. Others have responded
that, since as one of its strongest precepts the scripture calls for
the protection of water, earth, fire and air it is, in effect, an
ecological religion: "It is not surprising that Mazdaism ... is called
the first ecological religion. The reverence for Yazatas (divine
spirits) emphasizes the preservation of nature (Avesta: Yasnas 1.19,
Yashts 6.3–4, 10.13)." 
Tang dynasty Chinese clay figurine of a Sogdian man (an
Eastern Iranian person) wearing a distinctive cap and face veil,
possibly a camel rider or even a
Zoroastrian priest engaging in a
ritual at a fire temple, since face veils were used to avoid
contaminating the holy fire with breath or saliva; Museum of Oriental
Art (Turin), Italy.
The religion states that active participation in life through good
deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay. This
active participation is a central element in Zoroaster's concept of
free will, and
Zoroastrianism rejects all forms of monasticism. Ahura
Mazda will ultimately prevail over the evil
Angra Mainyu or Ahriman,
at which point the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time
will end. In the final renovation, all of creation—even the souls of
the dead that were initially banished to "darkness"—will be reunited
Ahura Mazda, returning to life in the undead form. At the end of
time, a savior-figure (a Saoshyant) will bring about a final
renovation of the world (frashokereti), in which the dead will be
Zoroastrian tradition, life is a temporary state in which a mortal
is expected to actively participate in the continuing battle between
truth and falsehood. Prior to being born, the urvan (soul) of an
individual is still united with its fravashi (guardian spirit), which
has existed since Mazda created the universe. During life, the
fravashi acts as a guardian and protector. On the fourth day after
death, the soul is reunited with its fravashi, in which the
experiences of life in the material world are collected for the
continuing battle in the spiritual world. For the most part,
Zoroastrianism does not have a notion of reincarnation, at least not
until the final renovation of the world. Followers of
India believe in reincarnation and practice vegetarianism, two
principles unknown to Orthodox Zoroastrianism, although Zoroaster
was himself a vegetarian.
In Zoroastrianism, water (apo, aban) and fire (atar, azar) are agents
of ritual purity, and the associated purification ceremonies are
considered the basis of ritual life. In
Zoroastrian cosmogony, water
and fire are respectively the second and last primordial elements to
have been created, and scripture considers fire to have its origin in
the waters. Both water and fire are considered life-sustaining, and
both water and fire are represented within the precinct of a fire
temple. Zoroastrians usually pray in the presence of some form of fire
(which can be considered evident in any source of light), and the
culminating rite of the principle act of worship constitutes a
"strengthening of the waters". Fire is considered a medium through
which spiritual insight and wisdom is gained, and water is considered
the source of that wisdom.
A corpse is considered a host for decay, i.e., of druj. Consequently,
scripture enjoins the safe disposal of the dead in a manner such that
a corpse does not pollute the good creation. These injunctions are the
doctrinal basis of the fast-fading traditional practice of ritual
exposure, most commonly identified with the so-called Towers of
Silence for which there is no standard technical term in either
scripture or tradition.
Ritual exposure is only practiced by
Zoroastrian communities of the Indian subcontinent, in locations where
it is not illegal and diclofenac poisoning has not led to the virtual
extinction of scavenger birds. Other
Zoroastrian communities either
cremate their dead, or bury them in graves that are cased with lime
While the Parsees in
India have traditionally been opposed to
proselytizing, probably for historical reasons, and even considered it
a crime for which the culprit may face expulsion, Iranian
Zoroastrians have never been opposed to conversion, and the practice
has been endorsed by the Council of Mobeds of Tehran. While the
Iranian authorities do not permit proselytizing within Iran, Iranian
Zoroastrians in exile have actively encouraged missionary activities,
with The Zarathushtrian Assembly in
Los Angeles and the International
Zoroastrian Centre in
Paris as two prominent centres. As in many other
faiths, Zoroastrians are encouraged to marry others of the same faith,
but this is not a requirement.
Painted clay and alabaster head of a
Zoroastrian priest wearing a
distinctive Bactrian-style headdress, Takhti-Sangin, Tajikistan,
Greco-Bactrian kingdom, 3rd–2nd century BC
See also: Western Perceptions of Zoroastrianism
Farvahar. Persepolis, Iran.
The roots of
Zoroastrianism are thought to have emerged from a common
prehistoric Indo-Iranian religious system dating back to the early 2nd
millennium BCE. The prophet
Zoroaster himself, though
traditionally dated to the 6th century BCE, is thought by many modern
historians to have been a reformer of the polytheistic Iranian
religion who lived in the 10th century BCE.
Zoroastrianism as a
religion was not firmly established until several centuries later.
Zoroastrianism enters recorded history in the mid-5th century BCE.
Herodotus' The Histories (completed c. 440 BCE) includes a
description of Greater Iranian society with what may be recognizably
Zoroastrian features, including exposure of the dead.
The Histories is a primary source of information on the early period
of the Achaemenid era (648–330 BCE), in particular with respect
to the role of the Magi. According to
Herodotus i.101, the
the sixth tribe of the Medians (until the unification of the Persian
empire under Cyrus the Great, all Iranians were referred to as "Mede"
or "Mada" by the peoples of the Ancient World), who appear to have
been the priestly caste of the Mesopotamian-influenced branch of
Zoroastrianism today known as Zurvanism, and who wielded considerable
influence at the courts of the Median emperors.
Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent was the
largest ancient empire in recorded history at 8.0 million km2 (480
Following the unification of the Median and Persian empires in 550
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great and, later, his son
Cambyses II curtailed the
powers of the
Magi after they had attempted to sow dissent following
their loss of influence. In 522 BCE, the
Magi revolted and set up a
rival claimant to the throne. The usurper, pretending to be Cyrus'
younger son Smerdis, took power shortly thereafter. Owing to the
despotic rule of
Cambyses and his long absence in Egypt, "the whole
Medes and all the other nations" acknowledged the
usurper, especially as he granted a remission of taxes for three years
Herodotus iii. 68).
Darius I and later Achaemenid emperors acknowledged their devotion to
Ahura Mazda in inscriptions, as attested to several times in the
Behistun inscription, and appear to have continued the model of
coexistence with other religions. Whether Darius was a follower of
Zoroaster has not been conclusively established, since devotion to
Ahura Mazda was (at the time) not necessarily an indication of an
adherence to Zoroaster's teaching. A number of the
that today are part of the greater compendium of the
Avesta have been
attributed to that period. This calendar attributed to the Achaemenid
period is still in use today. Additionally, the divinities, or
yazatas, are present-day
Zoroastrian angels (Dhalla, 1938).
According to later
Zoroastrian legend (
Denkard and the Book of Arda
Viraf), many sacred texts were lost when Alexander the Great's troops
Persepolis and subsequently destroyed the royal library there.
Diodorus Siculus's Bibliotheca historica, which was completed circa 60
BCE, appears to substantiate this
Zoroastrian legend (Diod.
17.72.2–17.72.6). According to one archaeological examination, the
ruins of the palace of Xerxes bear traces of having been burned
(Stolze, 1882). Whether a vast collection of (semi-)religious texts
"written on parchment in gold ink", as suggested by the Denkard,
actually existed remains a matter of speculation, but is unlikely.
Given that many of the Denkards statements-as-fact have since been
refuted by scholars, the tale of the library is widely accepted to be
fictional (Kellens, 2002).
Alexander's conquests largely displaced
Hellenistic beliefs, though the religion continued to be practiced
many centuries following the demise of the Achaemenids in mainland
Persia and the core regions of the former Achaemenid Empire, most
notably Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and the Caucasus. In the Cappadocian
kingdom, whose territory was formerly an Achaemenid possession,
Persian colonists, cut off from their co-religionists in
continued to practice the faith [Zoroastrianism] of their forefathers;
and there Strabo, observing in the first century B.C., records
(XV.3.15) that these "fire kindlers" possessed many "holy places of
the Persian Gods", as well as fire temples.
relates, were "noteworthy enclosures; and in their midst there is an
altar, on which there is a large quantity of ashes and where the magi
keep the fire ever burning." It was not until the end of the
Parthian period (247 b.c.–a.d. 224) that
receive renewed interest.
As late as the Parthian period, a form of
Zoroastrianism was without a
doubt the dominant religion in the Armenian lands. The Sassanids
aggressively promoted the
Zurvanite form of Zoroastrianism, often
building fire temples in captured territories to promote the religion.
During the period of their centuries long suzerainty over the
Caucasus, the Sassanids made attempts to promote
with considerable successes, and it was prominent in the pre-Christian
Caucasus (especially modern-day Azerbaijan).
Due to its ties to the Christian Roman Empire, Persia's arch-rival
since Parthian times, the Sassanids were suspicious of Roman
Christianity, and, after the reign of Constantine the Great, sometimes
persecuted it. The
Sassanid authority clashed with their Armenian
subjects in the
Battle of Avarayr
Battle of Avarayr (a.d. 451), making them officially
break with the Roman Church. But the Sassanids tolerated or even
sometimes favored the
Christianity of the Church of the East. The
Christianity in Georgia (Caucasian Iberia) saw the
Zoroastrian religion there slowly but surely decline, but as late
the 5th century a.d.it was still widely practised as something like a
second established religion.
Decline in the Middle Ages
See also: Persecution of Zoroastrians
A scene from the
Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib
Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib Burns
Zarthust’s Chest and Shatters the Urn with his Ashes
Most of the
Sassanid Empire was overthrown by the Arabs over the
course of 16 years in the 7th century. Although the administration of
the state was rapidly Islamicized and subsumed under the Umayyad
Caliphate, in the beginning "there was little serious pressure"
exerted on newly subjected people to adopt Islam. Because of their
sheer numbers, the conquered Zoroastrians had to be treated as dhimmis
(despite doubts of the validity of this identification that persisted
down the centuries), which made them eligible for protection.
Islamic jurists took the stance that only Muslims could be perfectly
moral, but "unbelievers might as well be left to their iniquities, so
long as these did not vex their overlords." In the main, once the
conquest was over and "local terms were agreed on", the Arab governors
protected the local populations in exchange for tribute.
The Arabs adopted the
Sassanid tax-system, both the land-tax levied on
land owners and the poll-tax levied on individuals, called jizya,
a tax levied on non-Muslims (i.e., the dhimmis). In time, this
poll-tax came to be used as a means to humble the non-Muslims, and a
number of laws and restrictions evolved to emphasize their inferior
status. Under the early orthodox caliphs, as long as the non-Muslims
paid their taxes and adhered to the dhimmi laws, administrators were
enjoined to leave non-Muslims "in their religion and their land."
(Caliph Abu Bakr, qtd. in Boyce 1979, p. 146).
Under Abbasid rule, Muslim Iranians (who by then were in the majority)
increasingly found ways to taunt Zoroastrians, and distressing them
became a popular sport. For example, in the 9th century, a deeply
venerated cypress tree in Khorasan (which Parthian-era legend supposed
had been planted by
Zoroaster himself) was felled for the construction
of a palace in Baghdad, 2,000 miles (3,200 km) away. In the 10th
century, on the day that a
Tower of Silence
Tower of Silence had been completed at much
trouble and expense, a Muslim official contrived to get up onto it,
and to call the adhan (the Muslim call to prayer) from its walls. This
was made a pretext to annex the building. Another popular means to
distress Zoroastrians was to maltreat dogs, as these animals are
sacred in Zoroastrianism. Such baiting, which was to continue down the
centuries, was indulged in by all; not only by high officials, but by
the general uneducated population as well.
Ultimately, Muslim scholars like
Al-Biruni found little records left
of the belief of, for instance, the Khawarizmians, because figures
Qutayba ibn Muslim
Qutayba ibn Muslim “extinguished and ruined in every possible
way all those who knew how to write and read the Khawarizmi writing,
who knew the history of the country and who studied their sciences.”
As a result, “these things are involved in so much obscurity that it
is impossible to obtain an accurate knowledge of the history of the
country since the time of Islam...”
Though subject to a new leadership and harassment, the Zoroastrians
were able to continue in their former ways. But there was a slow but
steady social and economic pressure to convert. The nobility
and city-dwellers were the first to convert, with
Islam more slowly
being accepted among the peasantry and landed gentry. "Power and
worldly-advantage" now lay with followers of Islam, and although the
"official policy was one of aloof contempt, there were individual
Muslims eager to proselytize and ready to use all sorts of means to do
Two decrees in particular encouraged the transition to a
preponderantly Islamic society. The first edict,
adapted from an Arsacid and
Sassanid one (but in those to the
advantage of Zoroastrians), was that only a Muslim could own Muslim
slaves or indentured servants. Thus, a bonded individual owned by a
Zoroastrian could automatically become a freeman by converting to
Islam. The other edict was that if one male member of a Zoroastrian
family converted to Islam, he instantly inherited all its property.
In time, a tradition evolved by which
Islam was made to appear as a
partly Iranian religion. One example of this was a legend that Husayn,
son of the fourth caliph Ali and grandson of Islam's prophet Muhammad,
had married a captive
Sassanid princess named Shahrbanu. This "wholly
fictitious figure" was said to have borne Husayn a son, the
Shi'a imam, who claimed that the caliphate rightly
belonged to him and his descendants, and that the Umayyads had
wrongfully wrested it from him. The alleged descent from the Sassanid
house counterbalanced the Arab nationalism of the Umayyads, and the
Iranian national association with a
Zoroastrian past was disarmed.
Thus, according to scholar Mary Boyce, "it was no longer the
Zoroastrians alone who stood for patriotism and loyalty to the
past." The "damning indictment" that becoming Muslim was
Un-Iranian only remained an idiom in
With Iranian (especially Persian) support, the
Abbasids overthrew the
Umayyads in 750, and in the subsequent caliphate government—that
nominally lasted until 1258—Muslim Iranians received marked favor in
the new government, both in
Iran and at the capital in Baghdad. This
mitigated the antagonism between Arabs and Iranians, but sharpened the
distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims. The
persecuted heretics, and although this was directed mainly at Muslim
sectarians, it also created a harsher climate for non-Muslims.
Abbasids were deadly foes of Zoroastrianism, the brand of
Islam they propagated throughout
Iran became in turn ever more
"Zoroastrianized", making it easier for Iranians to embrace Islam.
The fire temple of Baku, c. 1860
Despite economic and social incentives to convert, Zoroastrianism
remained strong in some regions, particularly in those furthest away
Caliphate capital at Baghdad. In
Bukhara (in present-day
Uzbekistan), resistance to
Islam required the 9th-century Arab
commander Qutaiba to convert his province four times. The first three
times the citizens reverted to their old religion. Finally, the
governor made their religion "difficult for them in every way", turned
the local fire temple into a mosque, and encouraged the local
population to attend Friday prayers by paying each attendee two
dirhams. The cities where Arab governors resided were particularly
vulnerable to such pressures, and in these cases the Zoroastrians were
left with no choice but to either conform or migrate to regions that
had a more amicable administration.
The 9th century came to define the great number of
that were composed or re-written during the 8th to 10th centuries
(excluding copying and lesser amendments, which continue for some time
thereafter). All of these works are in the
Middle Persian dialect of
that period (free of Arabic words), and written in the difficult
Pahlavi script (hence the adoption of the term "Pahlavi" as the name
of the variant of the language, and of the genre, of those Zoroastrian
books). If read aloud, these books would still have been intelligible
to the laity. Many of these texts are responses to the tribulations of
the time, and all of them include exhortations to stand fast in their
religious beliefs. Some, such as the "Denkard", are doctrinal defenses
of the religion, while others are explanations of theological aspects
(such as the Bundahishn's) or practical aspects (e.g., explanation of
rituals) of it. About sixty such works are known to have existed, of
which some are known only from references to them in other
Fire temple in Yazd
Museum of Zoroastrians in Kerman
In Khorasan in the northeastern Iran, a 10th-century Iranian nobleman
brought together four
Zoroastrian priests to transcribe a Sassanid-era
Middle Persian work titled Book of the Lord (Khwaday Namag) from
Pahlavi script into Arabic script. This transcription, which remained
Middle Persian prose (an Arabic version, by al-Muqaffa, also
exists), was completed in 957 and subsequently became the basis for
Firdausi's Book of Kings. It became enormously popular among both
Zoroastrians and Muslims, and also served to propagate the Sassanid
justification for overthrowing the Arsacids (i.e., that the Sassanids
had restored the faith to its "orthodox" form after the Hellenistic
Arsacids had allowed
Zoroastrianism to become corrupt).
Among migrations were those to cities in (or on the margins of) the
great salt deserts, in particular to
Yazd and Kerman, which remain
centers of Iranian
Zoroastrianism to this day.
Yazd became the seat of
the Iranian high priests during Mongol Il-Khanate rule, when the "best
hope for survival [for a non-Muslim] was to be inconspicuous."
Crucial to the present-day survival of
Zoroastrianism was a migration
from the northeastern Iranian town of "Sanjan in south-western
Khorasan", to Gujarat, in western India. The descendants of that
group are today known as the Parsis—"as the Gujaratis, from long
tradition, called anyone from Iran"—who today represent the
larger of the two groups of Zoroastrians.
The struggle between
Islam declined in the 10th and
11th centuries. Local Iranian dynasties, "all vigorously Muslim,"
had emerged as largely independent vassals of the Caliphs. In the 16th
century, in one of the early letters between Iranian Zoroastrians and
their co-religionists in India, the priests of
Yazd lamented that "no
period [in human history], not even that of Alexander, had been more
grievous or troublesome for the faithful than 'this millennium of the
demon of Wrath'."
Further information: Parsi, Irani (India), and Zoroastrians in Iran
Zoroastrian fire temple in Western India
Sadeh in Tehran, 2011
Zoroastrianism has survived into the modern period, particularly in
India, where it has been present since about the 9th century.
Zoroastrianism can be divided in three different sects or
dominions: restorationists, progressives and traditionalists (or
isolationists). Traditionalists or isolationists are almost solely
Parsis and accept, beside the
Gathas and Avesta, also the Middle
Persian works called 'Nasks of the Sassanians'. They generally do not
allow conversion to the faith. Therefore, for someone to be a
Zoroastrian, they must be born of
Zoroastrian parents. Some
traditionalists recognize the children of mixed marriages as
From the 19th century onward, the Parsis gained a reputation for their
education and widespread influence in all aspects of society. They
played an instrumental role in the economic development of the region
over many decades; several of the best-known business conglomerates of
India are run by Parsi-Zoroastrians, including Tata, Godrej, Wadia
families, and others.
Though the Armenians share a rich history affiliated with
Zoroastrianism (that eventually declined with the advent of
Christianity), reports indicate that there were
Armenia until the 1920s.
A comparatively minor population persisted in Central Asia, the
Caucasus, and Persia, and an expatriate community has formed in the
United States (some from India), and to a lesser extent in the United
Canada and Australia. Many of these are titled
restorationists, progressives or "reformists". Progressives generally
Yashts and the
Visperad texts of the
Avesta as obligatory,
along with the Gathas. Restorationists refer only to the compositions
of Zoroaster, and thus only consider the Gathas, the other texts only
having value as far as they elaborate on some Gathic point and do not
contradict the Gathic teaching.
At the request of the government of Tajikistan,
UNESCO declared 2003 a
year to celebrate the "3000th anniversary of
with special events throughout the world. In 2011 the
Anjuman announced that for the first time in the history of
Zoroastrian communities worldwide, women had been ordained in
North America as mobedyars, meaning women mobeds (Zoroastrian
priests). The women hold official certificates and can
perform the lower-rung religious functions and can initiate people
into the religion.
Relation to other religions and cultures
Achaemenid Empire in the 5th century BCE consisted of the largest
empire in history by percentage of world population.
Some scholars believe that key concepts of
and demonology influenced the Abrahamic religions. On the
Zoroastrianism itself inherited ideas from other belief
systems and, like other "practiced" religions, accommodates some
degree of syncretism.
See also: Indo-Iranians, Proto-Indo-Iranian religion, and
The religion of
Zoroastrianism is closest to Vedic religion. Some
historians believe that Zoroastrianism, along with similar
philosophical revolutions in South Asia were interconnected strings of
reformation against a common Indo-Aryan thread. Many traits of
Zoroastrianism can be traced back to the culture and beliefs of the
prehistorical Indo-Iranian period, that is, to the time before the
migrations that led to the
Indo-Aryans and Iranics becoming distinct
Zoroastrianism consequently shares elements with the
historical Vedic religion that also has its origins in that era. An
example is the relation of the
Ahura Mazda") and
the Vedic Sanskrit word
Asura ("demon; evil demigod"), and Daeva
("demon") and Deva ("god"). They are descended from a common
Proto-Indo-Iranian religion. Vedic religious texts are replete with
people from far flung countries practising or leaving Aryan
Zoroastrianism is often compared with Manichaeism. Nominally an
Iranian religion, it has its origins in Middle-Eastern Gnosticism.
Superficially such a comparison seems apt, as both are dualistic and
Manichaeism adopted many of the Yazatas for its own pantheon. Gherardo
Gnoli, in The Encyclopaedia of Religion, says that "we can assert
Manichaeism has its roots in the Iranian religious tradition and
that its relationship to Mazdaism, or Zoroastrianism, is more or less
like that of
Christianity to Judaism".
They are however quite different.
Manichaeism equated evil with
matter and good with spirit, and was therefore particularly suitable
as a doctrinal basis for every form of asceticism and many forms of
mysticism. Zoroastrianism, on the other hand, rejects every form of
asceticism, has no dualism of matter and spirit (only of good and
evil), and sees the spiritual world as not very different from the
natural one (the word "paradise", or pairi.daeza, applies equally to
Manichaeism's basic doctrine was that the world and all corporeal
bodies were constructed from the substance of Satan, an idea that is
fundamentally at odds with the
Zoroastrian notion of a world that was
God and that is all good, and any corruption of it is an
effect of the bad. From what may be inferred from many Manichean texts
and a few
Zoroastrian sources, the adherents of the
two religions (or at least their respective priesthoods) despised each
Many aspects of
Zoroastrianism are present in the culture and
mythologies of the peoples of the Greater Iran, not least because
Zoroastrianism was a dominant influence on the people of the cultural
continent for a thousand years. Even after the rise of
Islam and the
loss of direct influence,
Zoroastrianism remained part of the cultural
heritage of the Iranian language-speaking world, in part as festivals
and customs, but also because
Ferdowsi incorporated a number of the
figures and stories from the
Avesta in his epic Shāhnāme, which in
turn is pivotal to Iranian identity.
Avesta is the religious book of Zoroastrians that contains a
collection of sacred texts. The history of the
Avesta is found in many
Pahlavi texts. According to tradition,
Ahura Mazda created the
twenty-one nasks which
Zoroaster brought to Vishtaspa. Here, two
copies were created, one which was put in the house of archives, and
the other put in the Imperial treasury. During Alexander's conquest of
Avesta was burned, and the scientific sections that the
Greeks could use were dispersed among themselves.
Under the reign of King Valax of the Arsacis Dynasty, an attempt was
made to restore the Avesta. During the
Sassanid Empire, Ardeshir
ordered Tansar, his high priest, to finish the work that King Valax
Shapur I sent priests to locate the scientific text
portions of the
Avesta that were in the possession of the Greeks.
Under Shapur II, Arderbad Mahrespandand revised the canon to ensure
its orthodox character, while under Khosrow I, the
translated into Pahlavi.
The compilation of these ancient texts was successfully established
underneath the Mazdean priesthood and the Sassanian emperors. Only a
fraction of the texts survive today. The later manuscripts all date
from this millennium, the latest being from 1288, 590 years after the
fall of the Sassanian Empire. The texts that remain today are the
Visperad and the Vendidad. Along with these texts is
the communal household prayer book called the Khordeh Avesta, which
Yashts and the Siroza. The rest of the materials from the
Avesta are called "
Middle Persian and Pahlavi works created in the 9th and 10th century
contain many religious
Zoroastrian books, as most of the writers and
copyists were part of the
Zoroastrian clergy. The most significant and
important books of this era include the Denkard, Bundahishn, Menog-i
Khrad, Selections of Zadspram, Jamasp Namag, Epistles of Manucher,
Rivayats, Dadestan-i-Denig, and Arda Viraf Namag. All Middle Persian
texts written on
Zoroastrianism during this time period are considered
secondary works on the religion, and not scripture. Nonetheless, these
texts have a strong influence on the religion.
Main article: Zoroaster
Zoroastrianism was founded by
Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), later deemed
a prophet, in ancient Iran. The precise date of the founding of
Zoroastrianism is uncertain.
Zoroaster was born in either Northeast
Iran or Southwest Afghanistan. He was born into a culture with a
polytheistic religion, which included animal sacrifice and the
ritual use of intoxicants, quite similar to early forms of
India. Zoroaster's birth and early life are little documented. What is
known is recorded in the Gathas—the core of the Avesta, which
contains hymns thought to be composed by
Zoroaster himself. Born into
Spitama clan, he worked as a priest. He had a wife, three sons,
and three daughters.
Zoroaster rejected the religion of the Bronze Age Iranians, with their
many gods and oppressive class structure, in which the Karvis and
Karapans (princes and priests) controlled the ordinary people. He also
opposed animal sacrifices and the use of the hallucinogenic Haoma
plant (possibly a species of ephedra) in rituals, but held the rooster
as a "symbol of light" and associated it with "good against
evil" because of his heraldic actions.
Vision of Zoroaster
Zoroastrian belief, when
Zoroaster was 30 years old, he
went into the Daiti river to draw water for a
Haoma ceremony; when he
emerged, he received a vision of Vohu Manah. After this, Vohu Manah
took him to the other six Amesha Spentas, where he received the
completion of his vision. This vision radically transformed his
view of the world, and he tried to teach this view to others.
Zoroaster believed in one creator God, teaching that only one
worthy of worship. Some of the deities of the old religion, the Daevas
(Devas in Sanskrit), appeared to delight in war and strife. Zoroaster
said these were evil spirits, workers of Angra Mainyu.
Zoroaster's ideas were not taken up quickly; he originally only had
one convert: his cousin Maidhyoimanha. The local religious
authorities opposed his ideas, considering that their faith, power,
and particularly their rituals, were threatened by Zoroaster's
teaching against over-ritualising religious ceremonies. Many did not
like Zoroaster's downgrading of the
Daevas to evil spirits. After 12
years of little success,
Zoroaster left his home.
In the country of King
Vishtaspa in Bactria, the king and queen heard
Zoroaster debating with the religious leaders of the land and decided
to accept Zoroaster's ideas as the official religion of their kingdom.
Zoroaster died in his late 70s. Very little is known of the time
Zoroaster and the
Achaemenian period, except that
Zoroastrianism spread to Western Iran. By the time of the founding of
the Achaemenid Empire,
Zoroastrianism was already a well-established
Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta (Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds) are
the basic tenets of the religion.
Faravahar (or Ferohar), one of the primary symbols of Zoroastrianism,
believed to be the depiction of a
Fravashi (guardian spirit)
Ahura Mazda is the beginning and the end, the
creator of everything that can and cannot be seen, the Eternal, the
Pure and the only Truth. In the Gathas, the most sacred texts of
Zoroastrianism thought to have been composed by
Zoroaster himself, the
prophet acknowledged devotion to no other divinity besides Ahura
Daena (din in modern Persian) is the eternal Law, whose order was
revealed to humanity through the Mathra-Spenta ("Holy Words"). Daena
has been used to mean religion, faith, law, and even as a translation
for the Hindu and
Buddhist term Dharma. The latter is often
interpreted as "duty" but can also mean social order, right conduct,
or virtue. The metaphor of the "path" of Daena is represented in
Zoroastrianism by the muslin undershirt Sudra, the "Good/Holy Path",
and the 72-thread
Kushti girdle, the "Pathfinder".
Daena should not be confused with the fundamental principle asha
(Vedic rta), the equitable law of the universe, which governed the
life of the ancient Indo-Iranians. For these, asha was the course of
everything observable—the motion of the planets and astral bodies;
the progression of the seasons; and the pattern of daily nomadic
herdsman life, governed by regular metronomic events such as sunrise
All physical creation (geti) was thus determined to run according to a
master plan—inherent to
Ahura Mazda—and violations of the order
(druj) were violations against creation, and thus violations against
Ahura Mazda. This concept of asha versus the druj should not be
confused with the good-versus-evil battle evident in western
religions, for although both forms of opposition express moral
conflict, the asha versus druj concept is more systemic and less
personal, representing, for instance, chaos (that opposes order); or
"uncreation", evident as natural decay (that opposes creation); or
more simply "the lie" (that opposes truth and righteousness).
Moreover, in his role as the one uncreated creator of all,
is not the creator of druj, which is "nothing", anti-creation, and
thus (likewise) uncreated. Thus, in Zoroaster's revelation, Ahura
Mazda was perceived to be the creator of only the good (
the "supreme benevolent providence" (
Yasna 43.11), that will
ultimately triumph (
Parsi Wedding, 1905
In this schema of asha versus druj, mortal beings (both humans and
animals) play a critical role, for they too are created. Here, in
their lives, they are active participants in the conflict, and it is
their duty to defend order, which would decay without counteraction.
Throughout the Gathas,
Zoroaster emphasizes deeds and actions, and
accordingly asceticism is frowned upon in Zoroastrianism. In later
Zoroastrianism, this was explained as fleeing from the experiences of
life, which was the very purpose that the urvan (most commonly
translated as the "soul") was sent into the mortal world to collect.
The avoidance of any aspect of life, which includes the avoidance of
the pleasures of life, is a shirking of the responsibility and duty to
oneself, one's urvan, and one's family and social obligations.
Zoroastrianism is the emphasis on moral choice, to choose
the responsibility and duty for which one is in the mortal world, or
to give up this duty and so facilitate the work of druj. Similarly,
predestination is rejected in
Zoroastrian teaching. Humans bear
responsibility for all situations they are in, and in the way they act
toward one another. Reward, punishment, happiness, and grief all
depend on how individuals live their lives.
In Zoroastrianism, good transpires for those who do righteous deeds.
Those who do evil have themselves to blame for their ruin. Zoroastrian
morality is then to be summed up in the simple phrase, "good thoughts,
good words, good deeds" (Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta in Avestan), for it
is through these that asha is maintained and druj is kept in check.
Through accumulation, several other beliefs were introduced to the
religion that, in some instances, supersede those expressed in the
Gathas. In the late 19th century, the moral and immoral forces came to
be represented by
Spenta Mainyu and its antithesis Angra Mainyu, the
"good spirit" and "evil spirit" emanations of
respectively. Although the names are old, this opposition is a modern
Western-influenced development popularized by
Martin Haug in the
1880s, and was, in effect, a realignment of the precepts of Zurvanism
Zurvanite Zoroastrianism), which had postulated a third deity,
Zurvan, to explain a mention of twinship (
Yasna 30.3) between the
moral and immoral. Although
Zurvanism had died out by the 10th
century, the critical question of the "twin brothers" mentioned in
Yasna 30.3 remained, and Haug's explanation provided a convenient
defence against Christian missionaries, who disparaged the Parsis for
their "dualism". Haug's concept was subsequently disseminated as a
Parsi interpretation, thus corroborating Haug's theory, and the idea
became so popular that it is now almost universally accepted as
Zoroastrianism developed the abstract concepts of heaven and hell, as
well as personal and final judgment, all of which are only alluded to
in the Gathas.
Yasna 19, which has only survived in a
([–650 CE] Zend commentary on the
Ahuna Vairya invocation),
prescribes a Path to
Judgment known as the Chinvat Peretum or Chinvat
As-Sirāt in Islam), which all souls had to cross, and
judgment (over thoughts, words, and deeds performed during a lifetime)
was passed as they were doing so. However, the
judgment is not final. At the end of time, when evil is finally
defeated, all souls will be ultimately reunited with their Fravashi.
Zoroastrianism can be said to be a universalist religion with
respect to salvation.
In addition, and strongly influenced by Babylonian and Akkadian
practices, the Achaemenids popularized shrines and temples, hitherto
alien forms of worship. In the wake of Achaemenid expansion, shrines
were constructed throughout the empire and particularly influenced the
role of Mithra, Aredvi Sura Anahita, Verethregna and Tishtrya, all of
which, in addition to their original (proto-)Indo-Iranian functions,
now also received Perso-Babylonian functions.
Creation of the universe
According to the
Zoroastrian creation myth,
Ahura Mazda existed in
light and goodness above, while
Angra Mainyu existed in darkness and
ignorance below. They have existed independently of each other for all
time, and manifest contrary substances.
Ahura Mazda first created
seven abstract heavenly beings called Amesha Spentas, who support him
and represent beneficent aspects, along with numerous yazads, lesser
beings worthy of worship. He then created the universe itself in order
to ensnare evil.
Ahura Mazda created the floating, egg-shaped universe
in two parts: first the spiritual (menog) and 3,000 years later, the
Ahura Mazda then created Gayomard, the archetypical
perfect man, and the first bull.
Ahura Mazda created the universe and humankind, Angra Mainyu,
whose instinct is to destroy, miscreated demons, evil yazads, and
noxious creatures (khrafstar) such as snakes, ants, and flies. Angra
Mainyu created an opposite, evil being for each good being, except for
humans, which he found he could not match.
Angra Mainyu invaded the
universe through the base of the sky, inflicting Gayomard and the bull
with suffering and death. However, the evil forces were trapped in the
universe and could not retreat. The dying primordial man and bull
emitted seeds. From the bull's seed grew all beneficial plants and
animals of the world, and from the man's seed grew a plant whose
leaves became the first human couple. Humans thus struggle in a
two-fold universe trapped with evil. The evils of this physical world
are not products of an inherent weakness, but are the fault of Angra
Mainyu's assault on creation. This assault turned the perfectly flat,
peaceful, and ever day-lit world into a mountainous, violent place
that is half night.
Renovation and judgment
Main article: Frashokereti
Zoroastrianism also includes beliefs about the renovation of the world
and individual judgment (cf. general and particular judgment),
including the resurrection of the dead.
Individual judgment at death is by the Bridge of Judgment, which each
human must cross, facing a spiritual judgment. Humans' actions under
their free will determine the outcome. One is either greeted at the
bridge by a beautiful, sweet-smelling maiden or by an ugly,
foul-smelling old woman. The maiden leads the dead safely across the
bridge to the
Amesha Spenta Good Mind, who carries the dead to
paradise. The old woman leads the dead down a bridge that narrows
until the departed falls off into the abyss of hell.
Zoroastrian hell is reformative; punishments fit the crimes, and souls
do not rest in eternal damnation.
Hell contains foul smells and evil
food, and souls are packed tightly together although they believe they
are in total isolation.
Zoroastrian eschatology, a 3,000-year struggle between good and
evil will be fought, punctuated by evil's final assault. During the
final assault, the sun and moon will darken and humankind will lose
its reverence for religion, family, and elders. The world will fall
into winter, and Angra Mainyu's most fearsome miscreant, Azi Dahaka,
will break free and terrorize the world.
The final savior of the world, Saoshyant, will be born to a virgin
impregnated by the seed of
Zoroaster while bathing in a lake.
Saoshyant will raise the dead – including those in both heaven and
hell – for final judgment, returning the wicked to hell to be purged
of bodily sin. Next, all will wade through a river of molten metal in
which the righteous will not burn. Heavenly forces will ultimately
triumph over evil, rendering it forever impotent.
Saoshyant and Ahura
Mazda will offer a bull as a final sacrifice for all time, and all
humans will become immortal. Mountains will again flatten and valleys
will rise; heaven will descend to the moon, and the earth will rise to
meet them both.
Humanity requires two judgments because there are as many aspects to
our being: spiritual (menog) and physical (getig).
The Zarathushtri also practice traditional head covering ritual
similar to that of Judaism. It is vital to the practice, and according
to Hoshang Bhadha,[year needed][unreliable source?]
A Zarathustri is enjoined to cover his head at all times. It is one of
the basic disciplines for a Zarathustri. If you have ever looked at
the pictures of Zarathustris from the past, you will recognize them
simply because they were wearing cap or turban covering their head. If
you read the description of Parsees from the past... it is
emphatically described that whether a child, female or male they all
had their head(s) covered. It is unfortunate that our own community
people laugh on us for wearing cap, which is the foundation of all our
religion practices. Needless to say, today a Zarathustri wearing cap
will get strange glances; he/she will evoke giggles and some people
even consider them as one belonging to the Stone Age. However, such
reactions are seldom seen when a Zarathustri will observe a Muslim or
Jew demonstrating their practice of covering head during and out of
their prayer area. It is a common sight to see a Zarathustri coming
out from the Agiary with one hand over his head, not as a respect but
to prepare himself/ herself to remove the cap/scarf before he/she
reaches the main gate. Some people feel embarrassed to wear in public
whereas some remove it to protect their hairstyle. My dear
Zarathustris, wearing cap is not imposed upon us but it is a remedy to
protect oneself from destructive thought process[es]...
Zoroastrian Atash Behram of Yazd, Iran.
Further information: List of countries by
Zoroastrian population and
List of Zoroastrians
Zoroastrian communities comprise two main groups of people: those of
Zoroastrian background known as Parsis (or Parsees), and
those of Central Asian background. According to a survey in 2004 by
Zoroastrian Associations of North America, the number of
Zoroastrians worldwide was estimated at between 124,000 and 190,000.
The number is imprecise because of wildly diverging counts in
Iran. India's 2011 Census found 57,264
Zoroastrian communities may be found all over the world, with a
continuing concentration in Western India, Central Iran, and Southern
Pakistan. Zoroastrians of the diaspora are primarily located in Great
Britain and the former British colonies, particularly
Australia, as well as in the American state of
California where they
form part of the
Iranian American community.
In South Asia
Parsi and Irani (India)
Navjote ceremony (rites of admission into the
India is considered to be home to the largest
in the world. When the Islamic armies, under the first Caliphs,
invaded Persia, those locals who were unwilling to convert to Islam
sought refuge, first in the mountains of Northern Iran, then the
Yazd and its surrounding villages. Later, in the ninth
century CE, a group sought refuge in the western coastal region of
India, and also scattered to other regions of the world. Following the
fall of the
Sassanid Empire in 651 CE, many Zoroastrians migrated.
Among them were several groups who ventured to
Gujarat on the western
shores of the Indian subcontinent, where they finally settled. The
descendants of those refugees are today known as the Parsis. The year
of arrival on the subcontinent cannot be precisely established, and
Parsi legend and tradition assigns various dates to the event.
In the Indian census of 2001, the Parsis numbered 69,601, representing
about 0.006% of the total population of India, with a concentration in
and around the city of Mumbai. Due to a low birth rate and high rate
of emigration, demographic trends project that by 2020 the Parsis will
number only about 23,000 or 0.002% of the total population of India.
The Parsis would then cease to be called a community and will be
labeled a "tribe". By 2008, the birth-to-death ratio was 1:5; 200
births per year to 1,000 deaths. In Pakistan, they number fewer
than 1,700, mostly living in Karachi.
Iran, Iraq and Central Asia
Main article: Zoroastrians in Iran
Iran's figures of Zoroastrians have ranged widely; the last census
(1974) before the revolution of 1979 revealed 21,400 Zoroastrians.
Some 10,000 adherents remain in the Central Asian regions that were
once considered the traditional stronghold of Zoroastrianism, i.e.,
Bactria (see also Balkh), which is in Northern Afghanistan; Sogdiana;
Margiana; and other areas close to Zoroaster's homeland. In Iran,
emigration, out-marriage and low birth rates are likewise leading to a
decline in the
Zoroastrian groups in
their number is approximately 60,000. According to the Iranian
census data from 2011 the number of Zoroastrians in
Communities exist in Tehran, as well as in Yazd,
Kermanshah, where many still speak an Iranian language distinct from
the usual Persian. They call their language Dari (not to be confused
with the Dari of Afghanistan). Their language is also called Gavri or
Behdini, literally "of the Good Religion". Sometimes their language is
named for the cities in which it is spoken, such as Yazdi or Kermani.
Iranian Zoroastrians were historically called Gabrs, originally
without a pejorative connotation but in the present-day derogatorily
applied to all non-Muslims.
More recently the
Zoroastrian faith has gained strength among the
Kurds in Iraq and claims to have 100,000 followers. Zoroastrians
currently seek official status for their religion in Iraqi
North America is thought to be home to 18,000–25,000 Zoroastrians of
South Asian and Iranian background. A further 3,500 live in
Australia (mainly in Sydney). In recent years, the
United States has
become a significant destination of
Zoroastrian populations, holding
the second largest population of Zoroastrians after India.[citation
Ancient Near East portal
^ Less frequently known as Mazdaism or Magianism from the
Zarathustraism from an alternate name of Zoroaster.
^ The change over the last decade is attributed[by whom?] to a greater
level of reporting and open self-identification more so than to an
actual increase in population; however, precise numbers remain
difficult to obtain in part due to high levels of historic persecution
in Middle Eastern regions.
^ As a kind of proto-Zoroastrianism, both worship "Seven Angels"
alongside the primary deity and have a high regard for the concept of
^ Boyd, James W.; et al. (1979), "Is
Zoroastrianism Dualistic or
Monotheistic?", Journal of the American Academy of Religion,
Vol. XLVII, No. 4, pp. 557–588,
^ "Zarathustra - Iranian prophet". Retrieved 9 June 2017.
^ a b c Gerardo Eastburn (2015-02-20). The Esoteric Codex:
Zoroastrianism. Books.google.com. p. 1. Retrieved
^ Hinnel, J (1997), The Penguin Dictionary of Religion, Penguin Books
UK ; Boyce, Mary (2001), Zoroastrians: their religious beliefs
and practices, Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd
^ Hourani, p. 87.
^ "Zoroastrians Keep the Faith, and Keep Dwindling". LAURIE GOODSTEIN.
6 September 2006. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
^ "The Last of the Zoroastrians". Deena Guzder. Time. 9 December 2008.
Retrieved 25 September 2017.
^ "LIST OF COUNTRIES WITH ZOROASTRIAN POPULATION". /zoroastrians.net.
Retrieved 25 September 2017.
^ Fatah, Lara. "The curious rebirth of
Zoroastrianism in Iraqi
Kurdistan". Projects21.org. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
^ "Zarathushtra's Philosophy : Basic Overview". Zarathushtra.com.
^ Boyce 1979, pp. 6–12.
^ Avesta.org http://www.avesta.org/dhalla/dhalla1.htm#chap6. Retrieved
2017-06-14. Missing or empty title= (help)
Retrieved 2017-06-14. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ Iranicaonline.org http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ahura-mazda.
Retrieved 2017-06-14. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ Iranicaonline.org http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/druj.
Retrieved 2017-06-14. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ Iranicaonline.org http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ahura-mazda.
Retrieved 2017-06-14. Missing or empty title= (help)
Zoroaster gave a wholly new dimension to his worship, however, by
hailing him as the one uncreated
God (Y. 30.3, 45.2), wholly wise,
benevolent and good, Creator as well as upholder of aša (Y. 31.8)".
Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2017-06-14.
^ "AMƎŠA SPƎNTA, an
Avestan term for beneficent divinity, meaning
literally "Holy/Bounteous Immortal"... Among
Zoroastrian priests today
the term is frequently applied to the "calendrical" divinities, that
is, to all those who have received dedications of the days of the
month, together with extra three, Burz Yazad, Hōm, and Dahmān
Āfrīn... The term is, however, more often used in a restricted sense
for the greatest of the spənta beings, that is, for the great Heptad
who belong especially to Zoroaster's own revelation, namely Ahura
Mazdā himself (sometimes together with, or represented by, his Holy
Spirit, Spənta Mainyu) and the six whom he first evoked among the
yazatas". Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2017-06-14. [permanent
^ ""Since the Aməṧa Spəṇtas represent the totality of good moral
qualities, it is easy to understand why, by analogy with the inherited
opposition between *ṛtá- 'truth' and *drugh- 'lie,' the other
Aməṧa Spəṇtas were similarly assigned their evil
counterparts."". Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2017-06-14.
^ ""The better one of the two spirits told the evil one that they were
by nature opposed to each other in their thoughts and teachings,
understandings and beliefs, words, and deeds, selves and souls – in
nothing could they twain ever meet."". Avesta.org. Retrieved
^ "In the
Angra Mainyu is the direct opposite of Spənta
Mainyu". Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2017-06-14.
^ ""The daēvas are said (Y. 32.3) to be the offspring, not of Angra
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311) estimates 32 million 6. Scheidel (2009, p. 99) estimates 35
million 7. Zeinert (1996, p. 32) estimates 40 million 8. Rawlinson and
Schauffler (1898, p. 270) estimates possibly 50 million 9. Astor
(1899, p. 56) estimates almost 50 million 10. Lissner (1961, p. 111)
estimates probably 50 million 11. Milns (1968, p. 51) estimates some
50 million 12. Hershlag (1980, p. 140) estimates nearly 50 million 13.
Yarshater (1996, p. 47) estimates by 50 million 14. Daniel (2001, p.
41) estimates at 50 million 15. Meyer and Andreades (2004, p. 58)
estimates to 50 million 16. Pollack (2004, p. 7) estimates about 50
million 17. Jones (2004, p. 8) estimates over 50 million 18. Safire
(2007, p. 627) estimates in 50 million 19. Dougherty (2009, p. 6)
estimates about 70 million 20. Richard (2008, p. 34) estimates nearly
70 million 21. Mitchell (2004, p. 16) estimates over 70 million 22.
Hanson (2001, p. 32) estimates almost 75 million 23. West (1913, p.
85) estimates about 75 million 24. Zenos (1889, p. 2) estimates
exactly 75 million 25. Cowley (1999 and 2001, p. 17) estimates
possibly 80 million 26. Cook (1904, p. 277) estimates exactly 80
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original edition, written by Mani in the Syriac language
^ Zaehner 1956, pp. 53–54.
^ Bromiley 1995, p. 124.
^ Boyce (1979), p. 26
^ The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism By Colin Spencer –
May 15, 1995 page 60
^ The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism By Colin Spencer –
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^ Boyce (1979), pp. 30–31
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