Seventh World Zarathushtrian Congress, Houston, December 2000
has survived for over 3 thousand years, and while we have come to various
crossroads in our history, it seems that now is the time for us to re-assess and
capture its essence once again!
a world, not just a small community, where the use of one’s good mind, Vohu
Mana, leads humankind to the path of righteousness. Is this not Zarathushtra’s vision, Our Vision?
Can we work to fulfill it, and if so, how do we get there?
vision is something that transcends ethnic, geographic, and generation
boundaries. It is at the ‘core’
of Zoroastrianism, that which ties us together, and needs to be explored and
maintained in order for the religion to survive.
understand that because of our history of persecution, we have had to keep the
religion within our own walls, to protect the flame as best we could - isolation
our only measure of hope…
as much as this was a means of survival, in ways, it has proved detrimental to
the growth of Zoroastrianism, and this may be why the mentality of exclusiveness
the worst of circumstances, we and our forefathers and mothers kept the flame
alive - we kept it alive in the hopes that one day, we would be blessed with the
opportunity to openly practice our religion, to see it thrive, not just survive,
for the betterment of all humankind! That
time is NOW! No longer are we in
danger...After thousands of years of preserving and protecting the religion, we
are free! Let’s rejoice and
continue to carry out Zarathustra’s vision!
we as a community, know that the inevitable forces of change are upon us, but we
don’t quite know what to do or how to go about channeling this change in a
positive way. What is the goal of
our Zoroastrian community? What do
we want our future to look like? Do
we even want to make a difference?
we are afraid to take the first step in what may result in change.
This is understandable, but I view change as a welcome enhancement, and
not something to be feared. After-all,
change is inevitable - and change is a tool to open our minds and progress
towards the future, a very Zoroastrian concept.
In fact, re-assessing the religion and re-awakening the vision, will do
us some necessary good. What better
way to clarify our minds and to revitalize our collective conscience than to
come together and re-educate ourselves and others on the ‘core’ elements of
the religion?! Surely, we may
differ on what the vision is, but I hope that we can agree that Zarathushtra’s
message is a universal one, one which grants each and every one of us the good
mind, despite ethnicity.
envisioned an eventual perfect world, a state of Hauvertat, which may be
achieved through the conscious decisions of the Good Mind to choose the
righteous path. Zarathushtra did not
limit the use of the religion to his first followers - his vision was to be
spread to all of humanity!
his vision is universal, we, alone, can not reach that eventual utopian state
without sharing his message with those who choose to accept it.
fact, to keep Zarathushtra’s vision alive, it is our obligation to educate,
encourage, and welcome into the religion, all who have made a conscious decision
to embrace it.
think for a moment - What are the benefits of isolating Zoroastrianism from the
rest of the world? I couldn’t
think of any, either! Some think
that the religion will not remain "pure" if people from other ethnic
groups practice it.
if one Chooses, Accepts and Lives by Zarathushtra’s message, that person is
one step closer in bringing the world towards “perfection” - that is quite
the opposite of "impurity", and more importantly, is in conjunction
with Zarathushtra’s vision….for he states in the Gathas in one of many
long as I have power and strength, I shall teach all to seek for Truth and
a Zoroastrian is founded on personal choice.
As I view it, ethnicity does not even become an issue.
We can not rely on intra-faith marriages alone to preserve our faith.
Eventually, with ethnically mixed marriages on the rise, it would be wise
to explore other ways to increase the Zoroastrian population.
in my opinion, is not an option. While
our ethnicity may not flourish in the future, Zoroastrianism can and will!
be excited that so many people are interested in our religion, and that families
of ethnically mixed marriages want to raise their children as Zoroastrians.
Look around you - I know that many, if not all, know someone who was not
born into the faith, but is carrying out Zarathushtra’s universal message far
more than many of us who were born into the religion are.
Let that be an example to all, esp. to the youth.
think the vision is what the Zoroastrian youth find comfort in, today.
This is what we feel needs to be preserved.
It’s not that we don’t believe in practicing the ritualistic aspects
of the religion, but the connection becomes weak if the message is being lost.
With the influence of both Indian and North American cultures, for
example, I find that I have to go further back to our roots in Iran in
discovering who I am. In the same
way, I look to Zarathushtra’s early teachings in the Gathas, where he clearly
communicates a universal vision!!
find comfort in your own faith, not because you were born into it, but because
it gives you meaning in life, is a truly wonderful thing.
Unfortunately, while we may not be able to preserve our ethnicity, we
have enough knowledge and enthusiasm to let Zoroastrianism live on and encourage
the lives of many!
unite and attempt to re-establish the core elements of the religion - The Vision
- not only for ourselves, but for humanity!
is no easy task, but I believe that truth will triumph in the end, whether or
not we as a community decide to embrace it at this time.
vision represents this truth and will survive, must survive - why not nurture
the evolution of the vision, while we still have a chance to shape it?