Zoroastrianism: The Oldest Religion in the World

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Zoroastrianism: The Oldest Religion in the World

"Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed world-religions, and it has probably had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith." Mary Boyce, a scholar in Zoroastrian Studies.

The Zoroastrian Religion was founded in Ancient Iran 3500 years ago by the prophet Zarathustra. Zarathustra was born in 660 BC and died in 583 BC. Zoroastrianism was one of the most powerful religions in the world from 558 BC to 650 AD. The persecution of the Zoroastrians in Iran by the Muslims from the 7th Century made many of them flee and migrate to India and other parts of the world.

The Zoroastrian Religion survived through the rise and fall of many civilizations. It was the official religion of the three Iranian Empires: The Achaemenian, The Sassanian and The Parthians for over 1000 years. One of Zarathustra’s first followers was Iranian King Vistashpa. The Religion spread through Persia and was followed by Cyrus the Great in 558 BC. Cyrus brought Zoroastrianism to all the people he conquered but didn’t force them to convert. He controlled parts of Greece and Egypt along with the Middle East. Cyrus’ son Cambyses who conquered Egypt in 525 BC continued to introduce Zoroastrianism into the world. Cambyses son, Darius the Great, reigned from 522 – 486 BC. Darius extended the Persian Empire the furthest, all the way up to Macedon in Greece. His Empire encompassed Asia Minor, parts of Greece, Egypt, Persia, Afghanistan, Northern Arabia, Palestine, Syria, Turkestan, parts of Russia and Pakistan. Cyrus and Darius were liberal and tolerant rulers, allowing their people to worship their own God, speak their own language and retain their own culture. The Persian Empire survived many revolts for another 150 years. It was only in 340 BC when Alexander the Great managed to drive out the Persians from Greece, and in fact conquered parts of Persia. According to the New York Times, “While Zoroastrians once dominated an area stretching from what is now Rome and Greece, to India and Russia, there Global Population has dwindled to 190,000 at the most and perhaps as few as 124,000.”

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The Zoroastrian religion has two main teachings. The first is “Humata, Hukhta, Huvarashta” – when translated into English stand for “Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds”. The second is “Happiness unto him who gives Happiness onto others”. Zoroastrians believe that Ahura Mazda (God) is: Omniscient (knows everything), Omnipotent (all powerful), Omnipresent (is everywhere), the creator of life and the source of all goodness and happiness. The sacred fire in the Zoroastrian Temple symbolises the body of Ahura Mazda. Zoroastrians believe that God is formless, and so is the fire. Fire, sun, earth and water are the four sacred ...

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