MAH ADAR, FASAL SAL, 1370
At ve staota,
+aojai Mazda aonghahacha:
aredat vohu mananghaha:
Verily, as the Singer of Thy Glory
Oh Mazda, I have been known and so I shall be known:
As long as Thy Righteousness
and Sway and Command last.
Oh Creator of this World,
do Thou enlarge the Good Mind;
Of the Doers of Righteous Deeds,
so that they may fulfill their Desire for Renovation.
(Spentamainyu 4.11 :
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ZOROASTRIAN MYSTICISM AND
Mysticism is the science of discovery of truth and recognition of God (1)
(2) There are two ways of fulfilling this goal, one through illumination
of the mind and reason, the other, by the means of spiritual refinement of vices
and attainment of virtues that lead one to the state of illumination. The
impetus for treading this path is not reward of heaven or hell, but merely the
love of God. The goal is to envision the Beloved and unite with Him as Saadi
spells out: (3).
Man can reach the point
To see the Divine entity
Note how eminent is
There is no mediation or ceremony in this path; the only line of
communication with God is Love.
Mystical words are often analogical and allegorical and in such cases should not
be inferred in physical and mental vocabulary; rather, they must be construed in
spiritual and abstract terms with a wide range of connotations. For example,
‘fire’ may denote fire of love, mind, truth and divine light. An ordinary poem
may have a profound meaning and broad range of interpretation:
Every thread divided, then united by a knot
is one again, but at the
middle has a knot.
It refers to a restored
friendship that still carries indignation (the knot)
Zarathushtra in the Gathas,
alludes to the divine mystic lore (Ys.48.3) (5) (6) (7) and longs for
the acquisition of divine knowledge (Ys.50.9). He teaches that the attainment of
wholeness and immortality leads to one to the illumination whereby God is
realized (Ys.34.11). Relation between man and God is based on love (Ys.46.2,
44.1). One should review the words of Zarathushtra repeatedly to
perceive the true love of man for his God: “I am longing for your vision and
communion (Ys.33.6), come to me in person and in sight (Ys.33.7) rise within me
One should note that the mysticism of the Gathas is devoid of asceticism and hermitage since in practical life, God is realized by service to humanity and active participation in the promotion of the living world:
“How a munificent man who
strives for promoting the power of house, district or land with righteousness,
can be like You, God “(Ys. 31.6) (8)
“By the deeds performed in
God’s service through righteousness and wisdom, the meek and oppressed persons
of God are protected.” (Ys.34.5) (6) (7) (8)
“The reward of happiness is
given to those who serve the community with their deeds of good mind and promote
the divine plan of wisdom through communal righteousness.” (Ys.34.14)
in this process is by willingness and freedom of choice since even the Divine
Dominion is a chosen one. (Ys.51.1). (8)
During the life of nations,
various concepts have been developed which over the generations, have been
expanded. They are rooted in the national and psychological aspects of life.
Examples are concepts of mind reading in India and illumination of mind in Iran,
but the difference is that the latter like many Persian mystical concepts stems
from the Gathas of Zarathushtra. Illumination
is a power of mind that can be attained through meditation (Ys.43.15) and
profound concentration, but it may not be attainable by everyone. Zarathshtra
defines it in the best term as “vision through the mind’s eye, in Ys. 45.8.It
can also be viewed as “inner conception” (9) Hatef, an eighteenth
century Persian poet in his famous mystical poetry, reflects of
illumination when he says:
Look through the heart’s eyes, to see Existence
To envision what is the
Sohravardi, in this context contends “After I have made my discoveries through illumination, I search form reasons to explain them, and even if those reasons were discounted, I have no doubt about the accuracy of my findings.” (9)
In the teachings of Zarathushtra, illumination can be attained through mental strength and spiritual excellence; in this set up, fire is the means of illumination for the discovery of God, which in the Persian mysticism, is the fire of love. In the Gathas, although the impetus is love, fire indicates the bright mind whereby God is realized. Here, it is imperative to clarify Ys. 29.8 by quoting Jafarey: (10) “In the west (Abrahamic religions), God discovers man and appoints him prophet; in the east (Zoroastrianism and Buddhism), it is man who discovers God and Truth,” and in Ys.29.8, it is Zarathushtra who through Vohu Manah (bright mind) realizes God. This is quite contrary to the efforts of several authors who have presented this Yasna as Ahura Mazda appointing Zarathushtra as prophet. Even Ys. 44.11 which often has been translated as Zarathushtra having been chosen as the first teacher, literally means the prophet recognizes God first and denies others. (5) Only in Ys. 31.2 the prophet declares that he as a teacher is ordained (5) or known (9) by the Wise Lord to teach the hitherto unheard words (Ys.31.1)
‘Fiery Test’ is a spiritual refinement process by which the righteous and wrongful are differentiated, (11) and those who pass have attained wisdom, strength and serenity and belong to God (Ys.30.7) (8). This is very hard undertaking in which one requires laborious work, tolerance and perseverance. As in alchemy, gold stone is purified in the oven, in the words of Shams: (12) “the lover too should reside in the fire of oven, as gold.” (13). The process is called by Zarathushtra the ‘Fiery Testy’ in which vices are refined and virtues attained as a ‘molten metal’.
REFERENCES: (1) Maollen, M., Persian Mysticism, Pardis, Persian Paper ,No.70, Vol.2, p 7. (2) Farrokh, R.H., Sufism and Mysticism, Rahavard Persian Magazine, No. 30, p. 24, 1993. (3) Translation by D. Jahanian. (4) Mirabadi of Washington University, Department of Persian Literature, offers another version: In the philosophy of mysticism, the follower is looking for this kind of indignation because this is a process of knowing more about the creator of Love, God. This indignation is not animosity between beloved and lover, actually it is a pleasure for the followers to get closer to his Deity.” In mystical terms when a severed thread is united by a knot, the two ends come closer together. (5) Taraporewala, I. S., The Religion of Zarathushtra. (6) Bode, F. A., Songs of Zarathushtra (7) Azargoshasb, F. Gathas, The Songs of Zarathushtra, (in Persian). (8) Jafarrey, Ali A., Gathas, Our Guide. (9) Vahidi, H. A Research in Zoroastrian Culture (in Persian). (10) Jafarey, Ali A. Zoroastrianism and its Influence in Other Religions, Lecture in Kansas City, November 1990. (11) Here, fire represents the Divine Wisdom who differentiates the two groups and as the means of justice determines their rewards by delivering Asha (truth and justice). (12) Shams Tabrizi, Persian poet. (13) Razi, H., Ghotbeddin Ashkevari, bi-monthly ‘Fravahar’, No. 334, (in Persian)
MUSIC, SOUND & HEALING
Many cultures believe that sound is a link between all things and their creator. Ancient philosophers believed music’s healing influence greatly affected health and behavior. Western musical healing philosophy, ideas and writings go back to the Greek philosopher Aristotle and Plato. In eastern philosophy, the ides goes back to Saravati, the Hindu goddess of music and the sciences as well as god of the ancient Egyptians.
Sound And Music Focus on the Earth Creation Stories.
According to Hindu myths, the universe remained dark, quiet, and mysterious until mankind’s first movement created an audible sound Ohm from eternal stillness.
Australian aboriginal cultures believe earth was sounded into existence through the music of a didgeridoo (a wind instrument).
Native American Anasazi believed their ancestors followed flute sounds across the great expanse and to the southwest canyons of Arizona, where they established civilization..
Kumulipo, the story of the Hawaiian creation, can only be expressed and received through the power of music or chanting, Music and sound link Po, the darkness world, to the light world, Ao, coupling the past to the present and giving insights into the future.
In Japan it was said the sun goddess retreated into a cave and there was darkness and stillness and no life upon the earth. When the first sounds emerged from the fringes of creation, the sun goddess came out of the cave and all life was thus brought into existence.
Indonesian cultural belief proclaimed the striking of a giant gong, created by the god of gods, bridged the creator and his people.
Music’s powerful creative and healing force can transform body, mind, and spirit affecting people in profound ways, including bringing tears, invoking memories, or giving us pleasure. As our bodies are made of mostly water, every cell in our body can be envisioned as a sound resonator enabling a separate pattern and pulse for every organ and cycle in our bodies. These various systems in our bodies respond to sound/music vibrations, mental, and emotional consciousness.
Music’s sensory and intellectual stimulation may increase or maintain a senior adult’s level of physical, mental, and social/emotional functioning, helping to maintain a high quality of life. A child’s first development and learning experience may be enhanced through the addition of music.
general, music alleviates pain when used with anesthesia and pain medications.
Music in the operating theater relaxes the autonomic nervous system, quieting
involuntary muscle spasms. Music is also used to elevate patient’s mood and
counteract depression, promote movement for physical rehabilitation, calm or
sedate, induce sleep, counteract apprehension or fear, and reduce muscle
tension. (Source Exploration Place, Wichita)
“God, we give thanks for the many senses that you have given us. The variety of flavors and the gift of taste, the gift of sight and many colors the gift of hearing and the range of sounds; and the ability to feel. For all these, we give thanks. Amen”
HEROINES OF ANCIENT IRAN
The Marchioness of Winchester
Story of Tahmina
This is the tragic story of Tahmina, the fair Princess of Samangan,* who fell madly in love with Rustam, the son of Zal and Rudaba, when he paid a chance visit to her father’s court.
Rustam had one day been engaged in the chase in the province of Samangan. Becoming weary, he dismounted and dropped off to sleep. When he awoke, Rakhsh, his favorite horse, had disappeared, which left him no alternative but to make his way on foot to the palace of Samnagan, the nearest place at which to seek shelter. A youth, possessed of remarkable valor and distinction, he instantly found favor with the King, who entertained him lavishly and made much of him. That evening, when he was about to retire to rest, he was suddenly confronted by the Princess Tahmina, who made no secret of her admiration for him, of whose heroic deeds she had heard so much, and vowed she would bestow her hand on none other than the strongest and most handsome warrior in the world. Rustam instantly fell a victim to her beauty and charm, and, having imbibed a large quantity of wine, flung prudence to the winds, and forthwith obtained permission of the King that he might wed his daughter without delay. In the clear, cold night, of dawn however, he saw his act as a piece of mad and reckless folly. Much as he loved Tahmina, the spirit of adventure had the greater hold upon him, and so, with many bitter tears and heartaches, the lovers parted. As a souvenir of their love, Rustam gave to his bride an armlet, with instructions that, if she became the mother of a son, she should bind the token on the boy’s left arm, if a girl were born, she should twine in her daughter’s hair. At this moment the King entered, bearing the news that Rakhsh had been found, so, with a last fond embrace, Rustam took leave of Tahmina and journeyed to his home in Zabulistan, making no mention of this episode to anyone.
Months passed by and Tahmina gave birth to a son, upon whom she bestowed the name Suhrab. As the child grew, his resemblance to his father became more and more pronounced; of exceptional height and girth, he was far in advance of his playfellows, and for daring and courage, displayed great prowess. Upon reaching manhood, he became restless to discover the whereabouts of his father, having learned from his mother’s lips the pathetic little story. He resolved to spare no effort in his determination to bring the two together once more. Selecting a horse, one of the breed of Rakhsh, he gathered an army, and announced his intention of proceeding to Iran to fight King Kai Kaus, discover his father and make his mother Queen. Tahmina, though sadly loth to part with her son, felt her heart warm towards the brave, impetuous boy, and could but give him every encouragement. In order to aid him, she procured for him the services of Zhanda Razm, a man who knew Rustam by sight, and could, therefore, point him out to Suhrab as soon as he saw him.
When King Afrasiyab, the rival ruler of Turan, heard about Suhrab, he feared that, should the father and son unite, they would invade Turan. He, therefore, dispatched a large army to Suhrab, in order that Kai Kaus might be obliged to call Rustam to his assistance. He instructed the chiefs that, when Rustam came on the battlefield, they should not let Suhrab know that it was his father whom he would meet. In this way, he hoped, the son might fall by the father’s sword. Unaware of evil designs of Afrasiyab, Suhrab gladly accepted the leadership of the large army, thinking it would only serve to further his cause. He thus set forth towards Iran, and captured the White Castle, which was the first strong outpost on the frontier between Turan and Iran. When this came to the ears of Kai Kaus, the King of Iran, he summoned Rustam from Zabul, and asked him to take command of the army and fight against the army of Turtan.
That night a catastrophe occurred. Rustam, disguised as a Turkman, was walking round the army’s camp, when he happened to catch sight of Zhanda Razm, whom he promptly slew, without giving him a chance to speak. Hence the opportunity for identification, as hoped for by Tahmina, was tragically lost.
It was arranged that Rustam and Suhrab should meet in single combat. In the first fight Rustam was defeated, but in the second, Suhrab was mortally wounded. With his dying breath he gasped out the story of his hopeless quest for his father who, he vowed, would take vengeance upon his son’s destroyer. With a sudden sickening of the heart, Rustam bent over the young man, and discovering the armlet, realized the terrible truth, and he cried in anguish, “O my brave son, approved by all and slain by me.” In the overwhelming agony of mind, he swooned, but, upon his regaining consciousness, Suhrab had but kind words for him to stay his grief and make no attempt upon his own life. “It is but the ruling of the destiny,” said the lion-hearted hero, his breath growing fainter each moment, “that which was foredoomed hath come to pass.” But Rustam, as he watched the passing of his son, almost beside himself with misery and despair, continued to lament bitterly; nor did the wound heal so long as he lived.
When the news reached Tahmina that Suhrab had fallen by Rustam’s sword, she became demented. She smote her beautiful face, tore her hair and rushed about the palace wailing and shrieking, and weeping wildly she cried, “O my son, my son, whom shall call upon to take thy place? To whom impart my pain and misery?”
She then collected all her wealth and jewels and distributed them amongst the poor, and died within a year of a broken heart, to join her warrior son.
(Samangan is also referred
to as ‘Saminkan’ or ‘Siminjan’ and is situated east of Balkh in modern
CHARLES DARWIN: “For my own part I would soon be descended from that heroic little monkey, who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper; or from that old baboon, who, descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs---as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticides without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.”
John Paton brought Christianity to the people of the Pacific Islands and taught them about the love of God. Years later when communists arrived, they told the islanders, “There is no God. You have listened to fables and lies”. “Well,” retorted the Chief, “You should thank God, you did not believe in, for if you have arrived before Paton, we would have eaten you”.
By Shahrokh Mehta
Thinkers and enlightened teachers (prophets) may have taken some thoughts and teachings from their predecessors and/or contemporaries throughout the course of history.
ZOROASTRIANISM: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself. – Dadiistan-i-dinik 94.5.
BUDDHISM: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. – Udanavarga 5.18.
BRAHMANISM: This is the sum of duty. Do naught unto others, which would cause you pain if done to you. – Mahbharata 5.1517
CHRISTIANTY: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so unto them: for this is the law and the prophets. - Matthew 7.12.
TAOSIM: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. – T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien
JUDAISM: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law; the rest is commentary. – Talmud, Shabbat 31a.
CONFUCIANISM: Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness. Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you. – Analects 15.23.
ISLAM: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. – Sunnah.
What is Life
Life is about who you love and who you hurt.
It’s about who you make happy or unhappy.
It’s about keeping or betraying trust.
Life is about not starting rumors and adding to pretty gossip.
It’s about stopping all jealousy, fear. Ignorance, and revenge.
Most of all, though, Life is about spreading true friendship
PERMISSION TO GRIEVE
By Carla Davidson
Experts agree that eventually there comes a time though when the survivor needs to begin reconstructing his or her life
A loved one dies. A favorite aunt is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. A good friend divorces. What is similar about these situations is that they all involve a certain amount of grieving.
Grief is defined as a reaction to a loss. There are as many styles of grieving as there are people. Experts say men and women grieve differently. Women often feel more comfortable expressing their sorrow while men often keep their feelings inside. However, you grieve, it is a difficult process to experience for many reasons. Often, feelings of grief are so intense it is frightening to those in mourning. Someone in the throes of this experience may be afraid of what will happen next. They retreat. Others may not be able to tackle in the numerous tasks associated with loss. And, the grief itself can result in depression and emotions that feel out of control.
Realizing that grief is a natural response to loss and giving oneself permission to mourn is important. The intensity may lessen but the grief may not ever completely go away. Don’t be afraid to show your feelings. The severe symptoms of grief such as depression are highly treatable. Seek professional help. When you are ready, venture out and try new things. Some suggestions include taking up volunteer work, beginning a hobby, joining a discussion or therapy group and getting spiritual help.
Grief and mourning involve intense
feelings. It can mean managing affairs that were always taken care of by someone
else. It can also mean making decisions that are painful and learning to be
alone. Working one’s way through grief can mean making friends and finding the
joy in some small things of life. It can mean learning to rely on oneself.
Hopefully, it will result in steps out into the sunshine of life again.