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Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion of Iran, was founded about 3500 years ago by the prophet Zarathushtra. He preached that Ahura Mazda, meaning “Wise Lord,” is the only omnipotent and omniscient God (Hay, 2007). Zarathushtra has been known in the West as Zoroaster, from the Greek transliteration of his name, thus the name Zoroastrianism. After the Arab’s invasion of Iran, the once popular religion was replaced by Islam and a handful follower of Zarathushtra fled from Iran to India to escape the persecution. They are known today in India as Parsis.
Currently, there are approximately 250,000 people practicing Zoroastrianism, of which 80% live in India and the rest in various parts of the world including United States (Rivetna, 2002). Although Zoroastrianism lost its status as a popular world religion, its study and knowledge are very useful in our understanding of the development of religious thought in the ancient world and how some of its important beliefs and practices have parallels in other religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Keywords: Zoroastrianisn, Ahura Mazda, sadre, kusti

Basic tenets of Zoroastrianism

Jayaram (2000) discussed the Zoroastrian religion in his article “Main Beliefs of Zoroastrianism.” While Zoroastrians believe that Ahuramazda is the supreme, omniscient and omnipotent God (monotheism); they also believe in the existence of a number of divinities (polytheism) who represent His good qualities and who assist Him in containing the evil in the material world. They believe human beings are essentially divine in nature and share the spiritual nature of God so they are not born as sinners nor there is a compulsion to be a sinful. Performance of sacrificial rituals called Yasnas and ritual chanting are important part of their religious observance as the best means to communicate with God and His...

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