Zoroastrianism: Beliefs and Practices
The Zoroastrianism religion was founded by Zoroaster in the 6th century BC. Zoroaster is the Prophet and is meant to be followed, not worshipped. The belief is that there is one God, Ahura Mazda. This God is considered omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, unchanging, the creator of everything and the source of all things good and happy. Ahura Mazda is the Supreme God. Ahura Mazda is known for His goodness, but along with the good comes God’s adversary, Angra Mainyu, the spirit of evil. With this concept it is believed that there is both evil and good on earth and that each human has a choice between the two. This is the idea of Dualism on earth.
Communication between God and humans is done by a number of attributes, called Amesha Spentas. It is only by knowing these immortals that man can know God. These immortals include:
- Vohu Manah: Having both a good mind and goal
- Asha Vahishta – Truth and righteousness
- Spenta Ameraiti – Having a Holy devotion
- Khashathra Vairya – Power and just rule
- Hauravatat – Wholeness and health
- Ameretat – Long life and immortality
The afterlife is determined by the good and evil deeds that has been done while alive. It is believed that if one has been good most of their life and the good deeds and actions outweigh the bad, then they will be allowed into Heaven. For those that has done more evil then good in their lifetime, they will go to Hell. The people that have equal deeds will go to an intermediate stage between Heaven and Hell.
Zoroastrians have many practices. This religion does not accept converts, because their faith and practices are kept extremely private. One very important practice is praying every day, at least five times a day. Fire, such as a candle is usually used during the prayer, because fire symbolizes Ahura Mazda's everlasting light. They have the option of going to a temple to pray, or praying at home. It is also a very popular concept that the prayer book, Khordeh Avesta is kept in each Zoroastrian home. This religion believes in a three-fold path. This path is, “Good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.”