We, the elder, immigrant generation, finding
ourselves now living in our adopted land, can discover in the Gathas,
Zarathushtra’s Message which helps us to fully understand and appreciate
our role within the context of the North American experience.
Out of necessity, our focus has been survival
and adaptation in a new land, and thus we have focused on the basic
physiological and safety/security needs (Mazlow’s Hierarchy). We can now
attend to the “growth needs”, which include perfection, justice, order,
meaningfulness, truth, goodness, beauty, individuality, order, simplicity,
and the self-actualization at the peak of Mazlow’s hierarchy. With that in
mind, we will look at certain concepts of Zarathushtra’s message and see
that there is practical application to daily life and great value for our
continued life education.
In every developmental stage of life, there
are some tasks. What is our task as the elder immigrant generation? What
are we to do in this part of our lives? The following are examples of
tasks found in our Gathas. This is not meant as all inclusive but as an
example of how we can find out WHAT IT IS THAT WE ARE TO DO and HOW ARE WE
TO DO? The means of accomplishment, naturally, is by GOODNESS OF THOUGHTS,
WORDS AND DEEDS.
VIEWING TASKS AND CONTINUING OUR EDUCATION
FRASHO KERATI: The first of these tasks is To
make our individual contribution in the progress towards Frasho Kerati,
the refreshment and progression of the world. The world progresses towards
perfection and we are collaborators with Ahura Mazda in bringing about
this state of the world. This certainly is a beautiful and inspirational
thought - to think that each day we are charged with the mission, to make
a contribution towards bringing our world to progress and perfection, by
thought, word and deed.
DO GOOD/FIGHT EVIL: The second task is To
collaborate to bring about Goodness and to Fight Evil as co-workers with
Ahura Mazda. Sometimes, we hesitate to become involved in the fighting of
evil. Conflict is not pleasant, some people view these actions as “being
political” and being involved in controversy. We would rather have others
do the fighting. However, as Zarthushtis, if we ignore evil or turn from
it, we are turning away from our responsibility. Dr. Dhalla states that we
are called to adjust social wrongs, regenerate society, and that we are to
do it individually and collectively. Actively working for righteousness
and fighting against wickedness, is absolutely one of our guiding
principles and so one of our tasks.
GROW IN WISDOM: The third task is, To Grow in
Wisdom. According to Dr. Jehan Bagli “Aging is a harvesting time of
wisdom”. He says that, “We work in partnership with the source of wisdom,
Ahura Mazda.” It is our duty to become wise and to act through that
wisdom. We can all think of times when we have gone to elders of our
community to seek advice and gain insights to dilemmas or to have a
dialogue about the important questions of life. As Zarthushtis, we are
charged with the responsibility of growing in wisdom through our thought,
word and deed. We attain this wisdom through righteousness (Yasna 51.16)
and the words of Zarathushtra, prayer, contemplation, and actively seeking
enlightenment and wisdom from Ahura Mazda.
With our tasks in mind, we consider ways and
means for continuing life education, conceptualizing within a chart,
Task/ Global Objective:
Reference for task:
Practical Approach to Task:
To collaborate with Ahura Mazda in bringing about continued
refreshment and progression of the world, through goodness of
thoughts, words, and deeds.
So may we be like those making the world progress toward perfection;
May Mazda and the Divine Spirits help us through Truth; For,
a thinking man is where Wisdom is at home.
Yasna 30.9 - D.J. Irani
* Strengthen the world with righteousness
* Work for the welfare of creation
* Be among those who make life fresh
* Volunteer time, talents for the betterment of humanity
* Be munificent
* Spread Ahura Mazda’s Blessings
awareness of goodness
To contribute to bringing about the Victory of Good and defeat of
evil, through the Good-ness of thoughts, words, and deeds.
“Resist evil is the clarion call of Zarathushtra to humanity.”
Dr. M.N. Dhalla
“Man’s duty is to commend good and cooperate with it; to condemn
evil and enter into conflict with it.”
Dr. M.N. Dhalla
* Be a leader of the lawful
* Act through righteousness & Vohumana
* Work for the betterment of others
* Struggle to remedy the wrong and evil
* Seek to comfort others
* Rescue the helpless
* Crusade against superstition and
bigotry (According to Dr. Dhalla, this is to combat mental evil)
* Fight and rout
the forces of evil
To seek ways to grow in wisdom and to share and use that wisdom and
experience for the progress and renovation of house-hold, village,
province, country, and all the land (world).
The person who belongs to Progressive Serenity, promotes
righteousness with his intellect, words, deeds, and conscience. The
Wise God grants him dominion through good mind.
Yasna 51.21- A. A.Jafarey
* Acquire and promote wisdom
* Be ever wise in dedication
* Be ever wise in action
* Enlighten and inspire
* Ennoble and uplift mankind
* Teach others the righteous path of truth and happiness
* Be a generous, enlightened helper
* Direct teachings based on Gathas
* Strive for the
elimination of darkness of the mind
In closing, as Dastur Dhalla said, “Free minds
are communicating with the great minds, uniting with living minds to form
community of minds upon earth. Knowledge knows not national
frontiers, nor recognizes difference of caste, creed.” So true now more
than ever as we communicate electronically, in a matter of seconds.
Progress is a fact and, it is Ahura Mazda’s plan. It is our duty to
collaborate with Him ethically, mentally, socially, physically,
responsibly, individually and collectively. We can do it with the BEST
SERENITY USING THE GATHAS AS OUR GUIDE.
“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.” Yasna 31.14 (Jafarey)
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
Bagli, Jehan. Lecture, The 12th
North American Congress, Chicago, Illinois, 2002.
Dhalla, Dr. M.N. History of
Zarathushtrianism New York: Oxford University Press, 1938.
Dhalla, Dr. M.N. Our Perfecting World.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1930.
Irani, D. J. The Gathas The Hymns of
Zarathushtra. Newton, MA: The Centre for Ancient Iranian Studies,
Jafarey, Ali A. The Gathas, Our Guide.
Cypress, CA: Ushta Publications, 1989.