The religion was revealed to Zarathushtra (Zoroaster to ancient Greeks) around 1,400 BCE in eastern Persia. Zarathushtra’s vision of the world and way of life therein is enshrined in highly poetic hymns – the Gathas. The Gathas are part of a larger holy book, the Avesta. Acknowledged as one of the earliest monotheistic faiths, Zarathushtis (Zoroastrians) embrace the worship of One God, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord) through Vohu Manah (Good Mind).
The fundamental tenet Zarthushtis commit to is a morally and ethically excellent way of life through the three-fold path:
- Good Thoughts (Humata)
- Good Words (Hukhta)
- Good Deeds (Huvareshta)
In the Zarathushti way of life; first there is moral perception where one becomes aware of the moral nature of a situation one is confronting or anticipating. One’s mind is capable of recognizing to what degree it is in accord with or fails to be in accord with Asha (Ideal Truth). One now ought to actualize the situation according to Asha and come to a rational and morally worthy decision. This reflective activity is called Humata (Good Thoughts). One now presents this thought, with reasons, to those persons who might be affected by the proposed actions and listen to their thoughts on the proposed action. This communication is called Hukhta (Good Words). Then, taking all rational consideration into account, one performs the act which maximizes Asha. Such an act derived from a moral decision and willed into action is called Huvareshta (Good Deeds). Not only is this tenet the central ethical imperative of the faith, it is the central religious offering one makes to Ahura Mazda.
As an ethical religion, there is no concept of redemption, intercession or plea for mercy for wrongdoing. Each person is divinely endowed with a free will to choose right from wrong; arrive at the one decision and face the appropriate ultimate consequences thereof. Thus, determining the ethical thing to do becomes the responsibility of the individual under requirement of Good Thoughts.
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