Interview of Adyan News with Mobed Ardeshir Khorshidian on the Occasion of the National Day of Zoroaster
Ashu Zarathushtra teaches us the same lesson that virtually all religions teach. Religion is a science. Zoroaster’s message several thousand years ago was that God is omniscient, and knowledge flows in the universe.
What follows is a conversation between Adyan News (RADNA) and Mobed Ardeshir Khorshidian, a member of Tehran Mobed association, on 6th of Farvardin, the birthday of Ashu Zarathushtra, a prophet of Iran.
6th of Farvardin was the most important celebration for ancient Iranians. On Farvardin Day of the Zoroastrian calendar, in the reign of Lohrasp, Ashu Zarathushtra was born to his mother, Dugdōw, in the house of his father, Pouršasp, near the Darji River, which flowed into the Chichast Sea. Because his father’s family name was Spitaman (Avestan spit mean “brilliant” or “white”), he was named Zarathushtra Spitaman.
On this same day Zarathushra Spitnam was chosen as a messenger by Ahura Mazda (God) during the reign of Kay Guštāsp at the age of 30. When Zarathushtra Spitaman invited his followers to think well with logic, say nothing but good, and strive for good deeds. Zoroastrians of Iran also call this day the celebration of Hafdro. From 1400 SH, the birthday of Zarathustra Spitaman, the Iranian messenger, the national day of “Zoroaster” has been registered on the country’s official calendar.
RADNA (Religions News) – Mohammad Ali Khorami Meshkani:
What message does the teachings of Zarathushtra give to today’s world, which is facing serious challenges such as war and the threat to human health?
Ashu Zarathushtra teaches us the same lesson that virtually all religions teach. Religion is a science. Zoroaster’s message several thousand years ago was that God is omniscient, and knowledge flows in the universe and that is why his name is Ahura Mazda. Ahura means existence, da means wise, and Mazda means great; Ahura Mazda means the super-intelligent creator. Knowledge flows throughout the universe. You hear me when I talk to you. All the molecules in our brain know what to do. Their knowledge is also perfect.
Man is the only being that has consciousness; which means he/she has an independent personality, he/she thinks and speaks, and he/she can change his “consciousness.” No other creature has such an ability. All beings die as they are born. They are captive to their instincts. God has given them a plan, and they are acting on that plan. You cannot change a lion to an elephant by teaching him. But man has consciousness or the power to think and has freedom of choice. He can elevate his mind and soul. In Zoroastrianism, this movement towards spiritual evolution is called “hu-man.” If it goes higher than this stage, it becomes “vohuman,” and in the higher stage, it becomes “sepanta man.” It means to make a white character and get closer to God. This God can be Ahura Mazda or Allah or Jehovah or God; vocabulary and names are different, but we all read the same meaning. We say Khorshid, and the Arabs say Shams, and the Europeans say the sun.
The knowledge of religion is the same as the knowledge of ophthalmology or other sciences. Part of it is discovering the truth of nature. Zoroaster has made the law of discovering the truth of nature “Asha.” A few years after Islam, the word became “love.”
Man is the creator of morality. He can grow and become a human being, and he can go downwards and become an “enemy” or an “Akoman” or “Evil.” Angel and Evil are both human beings. God has given man wisdom so that he can choose to build or destroy the world. The world’s misery is in the hands of the people of the devil, and the happiness is in angels’ hands.
Hu-man or “Hu” should be protected by all of us. Everyone who is born has intellect or, as we say, the mind. The mind wants everything for itself. All human beings have a God-given conscience, which is the same as religion. The prophets have come to teach conscience. The work of faith is to grow conscience through reason.
With these divine teachings we must tell right from wrong, based on wise and dynamic wisdom, and decide between good and evil, based on a conscious and awakened human conscience, and chose to do what is the best. Let us seek nothing but righteousness and nothing but what is good.
The only way to save man is to seek nothing but the truth and do everything he does based on the latest knowledge of the day and not on information. Awareness is the same as information, and it is not clear whether the information is valid. Awareness is Knowledge. We must achieve science. We should all learn to turn our information into knowledge, separate right from wrong, and achieve knowledge. When we reach this knowledge, we will disperse lies and illusions and promote the truth based on ethics and based on human rights.
Human ethics demand that whatever we think is right for ourselves we should also think the same for others. Walking the path of truth is the same in all religions. When a Muslim prays, he says “اهدنا الصراط المستقیم,” or he says “هی علی خیرالعلم.” Many people read this but do not follow its meanings. Prayer is the pillar of the religious building. The structure of religion is the truth of religion, good thoughts, and good words and deeds.
The goal is the worship of God. We must protect what God created. Worship is about nursing. That is, we must take care of our bodies, our families, our society, our environment, and live in a such a way that our interests are at least not in conflict with others’ interests. Zoroaster says to seek happiness in others’ happiness; not only do we not harm anyone, but we also create entrepreneurship and production and do something that can make others happy. Not only paddle our own canoe, but also help the others.
The truth of religion is the same in all religions. In different religious methods and doctrines were formed according to the society they lived in. Thus, a religion divides into 70 or 80 religious sects. What is the difference between Muslims? They all have a single book called the Quran. But the problem is that some of them have stuck to the doctrines and abandoned the truth of religion. The truth of faith is that we must learn good morals to get close to God and create a God worshiping atmosphere. When we get there, we will respect the laws and doctrines of others. One wants to stand towards Mecca, and I want to stand towards the light and pray to God. When the principle is to reach God, we should not value them more than the principle. We must have our religion “think humanely, work nationally, and practice our religious traditions and customs accordingly.”
To reach this goal we should first practice the concept of our prayers. The language of the prayers are different but the truth hidden in them is the same. A human being should reach such a state of goodness that she/he is able to benefit others. Let us respect individual freedom up to the extent that social justice is not violated. Their freedom means anyone can do anything he/she wants. But social justice means that this individual freedom does not take away others’ freedom. Which means only truth should prevail; we bring to words whatever is in our mind and act on whatever we say. All prophets teach us to go on the right path. Lying is wrong in all religions, and a liar is the enemy of God. The teachings of Ashu Zarathushtra, like the teaching of all other prophets everlasting. These teachings are the true teachings of all religions. When we talk about truth of religions, it means whatever is written in our holy books, not what religious leaders later interpreted or analyzed. We now know that the Mobads wrote part of the Avesta throughout history. They are also respected and valued. But we know that they are the Zoroastrian way and religion, and the truth of the faith is in our sacred book, the Gathas, Which is compiled in our Zoroastrian prayers. Therefore, prayer is not just about bending and standing, and we must act on the concepts of prayer so that we do not seek anything but the right and do not seek anything but well.
Ashu Zarathushtra first made this statement because he is known as one of the first prophets. And then comes Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, and since they have all been chosen as prophets by one God, they all tell the same truth. The language of God is the language of science. When we discover what language or laws nature uses and discover those laws, these become our basic sciences. The religious teachings and the doctrines are applied sciences. These applied sciences should be based on basic sciences and should not deviate from the right path of benevolence. When we realize the truth of religions, we try to be like God. We do not become God, but we can become God-like and work. We Zoroastrians and Shiites believe in the unity of existence. It means we see God everywhere. I see you when I look at the sea. So we try to reach Him or “Hu,” which is the ultimate achievement of human superiority and the one God.
What is the most critical obstacle to the realization of the truth of religions?
Not acknowledging the truth of religions and also certain interests is the main obstacle to realizing the truth of faith. Let us not forget that man is the creator of morality, whether good or bad. Unfortunately, in most societies, 5% of the population take power and 5% who are educated are employed by them. And the rights of the remaining 90% is ignored. Hence, we should control our carnal desires through religion and conscience and we should want for others what we want for ourselves. Human beings, wherever they are working and whatever responsibilities they have, should be careful to spread truthfulness and stay away from lies and deception and avoid cheating. The religious person always feels responsible toward God and the rest of the people, lives in a way that does not violate others’ rights, and if someone violates his rights, he does not fight with anyone. Instead, according to the law, he files a lawsuit in the judicial authorities and defends his rights. We must try to be full of humanity and good morals.
What role do religious leaders play in achieving this goal?
The job of religious leaders in all religions is to teach culture. Culture is the power that gives us human harmony like a colonel coordinating men to stand in the same direction. A group of 50 people, led by the colonel, are defending an important place. In the same way culture harmonizes the power of human being to move towards the ultimate power that is God. We say that there is an energy from God put in human beings by the name of ‘farre’ (divine driving power). It is Farvardin right now, meaning that we should try our best that our religion, or in other words conscience, wins. Faravah(a)r, means the divine driving power. We should adorn our divine farre with truth and goodness, so that our souls join the ultimate farre, which is the God, and this is the work of culture. The higher the nation’s culture, the more it avoids lies and practices the truth, which leads to its highest power. The clergy’s job is to teach the people under his influence culture and guide them towards the ultimate energy and divine power, which is God. We are clergy, and our job is to teach. Our work is not civilization. Culture is the foundation of civilization, and civilization is the work of politicians. Of course, if the clergy were a politician, his job would be more challenging. If a clergy becomes a politician he should become an example in abiding by this same culture of religion and conscience and give himself the same right that he would give others and not take away others’ right. A clergy’s job is to upgrade culture in human societies. The goal does not justify the means. The one who believes that the goal justifies the means is not religious. (I do not understand this sentence “Insincerity and duplicity are eliminated and realized by winning the truth”. Maybe we should skip this sentence) we should fight with darkness; destroy darkness with the power of light, ignorance with the power of knowledge and poverty with the power of wealth and light. This war is meaningful and justified.