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The Venezuelan Experience with the Zarathushtrian Teachings[1]

Gathic Illustration


Abreu, Jose Luis

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  • Who deserves to be taught the Zarathushtrian teachings?
  • Which organizations deserve to receive the Zarathushtrian teachings and which do not?
  • Are there any persons or organizations that should not be offered the teachings of Zarathushtra?
  • If given organizations are perceived as evil, should one stay away and not teach to them the Zarathushtrian message? Can a Zarathushtrian meet with them?
  • If meeting certain people affects my image … even in that case, should I meet them to teach the good religion?
  • Who chooses the person or organization that can have access to the Good Religion?
  • …By the way… What is evil?
  • How should I react before a different opinion if that opinion comes from a Zarathushtrian person and I think the person is very wrong?
  • I am right…He/She is very wrong… How do I teach what is right? By being serene and understanding, or by being offensive?

Lately I have dedicated my life and efforts to propagate the teachings of Zarathushtra in an environment that is completely different to the environment in the place in which Zarathushtrianism was born. This has been a unique experience and I thank Ahura Mazda because both the experience and having a wonderful family have made my life valuable.

The treasure of knowledge that I am given by the writings of Zarathushtra has opened the door to a new dimension of understanding and love for my companions on this beautiful planet. I have learned that hate should not have a place in my heart under any condition. If it tries to enter my life, I have the power to expel it. Such a power is inside me: It is the power of Good Mind (Vohumana), Serenity (Aramaity) and Righteousness.

Zarathushtra did not just speak of a message. Rather, his own actions, conduct and behavior provided the greatest message. In this same way, with our actions, we can give our messages. Thus, we may teach more people through our behavior than by reading the Gathas to them. Our behavior is sometimes the most powerful motivation that leads people to be curious and take up reading the message.

According to my own vivid experience in Venezuela, a person does not become a Zarathushtrian instantly. Of course not…! And I do not think anybody does! I think that to become a Zarathushtrian is a life-long commitement. What often happens is that we decide to become Zarathushtrians, and then our “training” takes all the years of our lives.

So, how do we choose the person who can become a Zarathushtrian?

I personally do not choose anybody. My belief is that no one chooses anyone. For me, everybody is born with freedom of choice. Regardless of what they believe, in all cases I love my parents, my family and my friends just the same. Every person has the right to choose his own thinking. This reminds me of a passage in the Gathas:

“…each man and woman, for his or herself, selects either of the two principles.” (Song 3.2)

Suppose hypothetically the world were divided in two: Zarathushtrians and non- Zarathushtrians (or Righteous and Not-Righteous). Even in this case, Zarathustra would alert us so,

“...I, whom the Wise Lord knows, come to you all as the leader of the two parties, so that we may all live in accordance with righteousness”. (Song 4. 2)

The Gathas state with clarity the condition of free-will as established since the beginning of creation:

"O Wise One, at the beginning, You, through Your mind, fashioned for us the living world, conceptions and intellects, put life in the physical frame, and gave deeds and words, so that one makes his choice through free will". (Song 4.11)

In Venezuela, if not elsewhere as well, the foundation for the propagation of Zarathushtrianism is being built on respect for the freedom of choice of Venezuelans. Based on this freedom, the traditions, the culture, the values, the customs, the beliefs and the feelings of every person are treated well and with respect. Zarathushtrian values should never be imposed on a people or persons because these values are cultivated internally by the individual. Without this internal cultivation, a person would immediately reject the imposition. Externally, we can only give guidance to a person. This is the reason that made Zarathushtra say these words to Ahura Mazda:

"... Do enlighten my inner-self with this doctrine". (Song 11.7)

The person who is propagating the seeds of Zarathushtrianism will find different types of people, different profiles. He/She should be ready to plant the seeds under favorable conditions and also with adverse conditions. Planting the seeds should be a natural process instead of an aggressive one. The seeds of propagation lie in our words and actions. If our external behavior, our words and actions, are wise; some seeds will find a place in the mind of the people surrounding us.

To respect other religions and doctrines, I will not mention their names in this writing. But let’s say that one of our friends belongs to another religious group. What do we do to encourage his/her interest in Zarathushtrianism? Well, the first thing is to act righteously (Asha), with a good mind (Vohumana) and with serenity (Aramaity), and of course reflecting radiant happiness. With these ingredients taught by Zarathushtra as necessary for our mission, people will have an open mind and open hearts to listen to what we have to say. Let’s see how God considers a good mind and serenity give people their freedom of choice, and give us a simple formula for propagation:

“… Serenity is Yours, … wisdom of mind is Yours, which has given the world the choice (freedom of choice) to go either to a settled person, or to the one who is not”. (Song, 4. 9)

It is necessary to first accomplish an inner-propagation. By cultivating Zarathushtrian seeds with success within ourselves; then only after that can we move on to propagating the message to others. Once we realize and respect the laws that govern the universe, then we can learn to transmit our insight to others by using the right means (good communication, for example). It is in the Gathas, and it is not a strategy we need to invent:

“Lord, one who listens and realizes the truth, becomes a life-healing wise person. He controls his tongue to express the right words when he wills. He, O Wise One, through Your radiant light, proves good to both parties”. (Song 4.19)

Thus, from song 4.9, we may infer that we realize the truth ourselves first, and then we can heal other people’s lives, using good and gentle words, and without bias.

In the message of Zarathushtra, we can find a plan for the propagation of the good conscience, and also the means to accomplish the plan are shown. This is revealed by the Gathas in a beautiful stanza:

Indeed, Wise One, this reward is given to those, who, in their choice of physical life, truly serve the community of the fruitful world with their deeds of good mind, and God, promote Your plan of wisdom through communal righteousness”. (Song 7.14)

The stanza can be complemented by another stanza that explains the means for promotion:

“Wise God, You grant good to both these parties through the progressive mentality by means of fire -- light, warmth and energy -- because with the growth of serenity and righteousness, it shall convert many a seeker”. (Song 12.6)

There is more information about the means of promotion in the following stanzas, where the three principles of good mind, serenity and righteousness are considered important:

“The person of good intellect says that the deeds of good mind must be maintained. He knows that progressive serenity is the true product of righteousness. All these, Lord Wise, are means of promotion in Your dominion”. (Song 7.10)

The person who belongs to progressive serenity, promotes Righteousness with his intellect, words, deeds, and conscience”. (Song 16.21)

It has been asked: To whom should the propagation of Zarathushtrianism be addressed?  And… how should it be done? At least in Venezuela, we just simply follow the teachings of Zarathushtra himself on how to promote the message.

However, the mission is not easy because many obstacles are found. Among obstacles are:

  • A lack of literature in Spanish
  • Insufficient funds
  • A lack of time dedicated to propagation by the first missionaries.
  • The fear of people to change, and
  • The absence of an adequate infrastructure.

When I get to the matter of obstacles, I always remember what Ahura Mazda told Zarathushtra, and it is just as if I were hearing it from ancient times:

I realized You, God Wise, to be progressive when I was encircled by it through good mind, and when I first learned from Your words that it would be difficult for me to teach people the devotion to practice what You told me is the best”. (Song 8. 11)

Regardless of obstacles, as Zarathushtrians we have a responsibility for rehabilitating the world, for rescuing the world from wrong dimensions. This is the justification for our work in the promotion of the message.

It is necessary to stress that violent behaviors and polemical discussions will lead nowhere in our promotion of the good conscience. No one will listen to the message if we try to deliver information in an aggressive way. It is amazing to see how Zarathushtra also warns us on this delicate point:

Put down fury, check violence, you who wish to strengthen the promotion of good mind through righteousness, because a progressive man is associated with this…”. (Song 13.7)

In Venezuela, we do not look at the name of people or the name of their former organizations. Instead, we start to promote the Good Conscience. We look at the people as human beings, and we look at the human side of organizations. We look at the people in their organizations, and we look at their eyes, hug them and call them friends. When this authentic friendship is established among us, then we introduce our friends to another fine friend: “Zarathushtra”.

We do not look at another’s traditions, cultures, values, and beliefs as obstacles. We look at a person’s infinite potential to become great Zarathushtrians and universal citizens in a lifetime.

The Venezuelan experience has tried to use the model or plan formulated in the Gathas. We have a small, solid and growing community, which is expanding in several states. We have social and academic programs that are modest in comparison to the needs of our entire society. A few children and some old people are given help and assistance to get food, medicine or toys. Some young people are granted scholarships to attend school. Some people are studying Zarathushtrian values at academic levels. Surely, in the future, our dreams of building a more ideal society will come true. At least, we are going to give a try to participating in God’s Plans. Perhaps some day we will even have a Venezuelan Fire Temple, a place where Venezuelans, Latin Americans, and people from everywhere and without distinctions of cultures or traditions, will meet.  Another of our dreams is to have a solid educational institution where we can teach the universal values of the doctrine of wisdom. As stated in the Gathas:

Let those, who have joined You in action, assemble to hear You, because You are the Lord of true speech with words of good mind. Of these words, Wise One, You are the foremost promulgator”. (Song 16. 3)

By the way … whoever is evil, he/she still has the potential to become a Zarathushtrian…!  This statement was not formulated by Venezuelans, it was the very Zarathushtra who said:

Mazda, they shall be taught how to deliver the wrong into the hands of righteousness”. (Y 3.8)


[1] Appeared in the Winter 2002 issue of the FEZANA journal under the overall heading “Zarathushtrian Education: Zarathushtra’s vision in a life time’s learning”, guest edited by Dr.  Mehrborzin Soroushian, and Dr. Natalie Vania