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Zarathushtra’s Vision:
The Individual Making The Difference
from Within and from Outside


Presented at 7th World Zoroastrian Congress, Houston, December 2000  

Ervad Dr. Jehan Bagl



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In the history of mankind, man of wisdom and vision have emerged from tribal bands, to alleviate humanity from oppression and domination.

One such voice of wisdom, arose from among the ancient Indo-Iranian tribes, scouring the Russian Steppes of Asia Minor.

It was a voice that rose against bondage, domination, and tyranny.

It was the voice that hailed freedom in bondage, sovereignty of choice in domination, and moral justice for all mankind.

The voice that fully understood the goodness of absolute truth in the face of evil, was the voice of Asho Spitama  Zarathushtra.   

Zarathushtra proclaimed, in that infancy of human evolution, the way to harmonize human existence through truth in  its  moral significance.

It was the first time in the history of mankind, that this Holy Manthran, crossed the immense void, between the bloodstained sacrificial rites and the true form of worship through spiritual ideals.  

He succeeded in his quest, through realization of the vision of that ‘Supreme Intellect’, Ahura Mazda.

This he proclaims to the adherents in Ys 45.6:

Now I shall proclaim the greatest one of all
I shall praise him through righteousness
May the wise lord hear through his holy mentality

With the declaration of the moral and spiritual nature of divinity Asho Zarathust freed the religion from the confinement of the tribal god and offered the concept of Wise Lord  to the universal man. The God of Zarathushtra, transcends the borders of race, color, or creed bringing together all humanity under a single banner of spiritual union.

It is under this single purpose, that Zarathushties  should find the bases, of their unity in the new millenium.

Zarathushtra  prays for that unity in the following words in Ys 31.3:

Mazda vidvanoi vaocha
hizva thwaya aongho
ya jvanto vispeng vaurya

Reveal unto us O Wise One
With Thy words of wisdom
Help me guide all the living to choose the right

His, was a sacred mission to disseminate the concept of Asha. A mission that carried with it a heavy responsibility to define the absolute Truth and Moral Justice.

Not the truth that can be manipulated through facts and reason, but the truth that flashed unto him from his spiritual consciousness, 

The Truth that was revealed to him  by the divine source of wisdom, and carried with it, the burden of proclaim it to the people of the world.

He addresses the issue in Ys 31.4:

Yada   ashem
zevim anghem  mazdaoscha
Ahuraongho   ashicha   aramaiti

May the wise lords  reward
when we invoke Righteouness
with sincere devotion

In relating the message, he unambiguously puts across, the burden of accountability, to all those who commit, to understand his proclamation.

To all the true followers  he addresses as Saoshyants:

The repeated use of the term Saoshyant in the Gathas, is particularly  relevant to the theme of this session.

Ys 34.13, he says “Ahura has revealed to me the religion of saoshyant whose life is a role model through righteousness”.

Ys 45.11 “to the enlightened saoshyants who acknowledge Ahura Mazda, the God is a friend , a brother and a father.

Ys 46.3  when will the days dawn, that will promote the spiritual life of righteousness through the wisdom of the Saoshyants..” 

Ys 48.12 “Saoshyant of the world will be those who shall follow the teachings of the wise lord”   (also Ys 48.9), and finally in Gatha Vahishtoishti (Ys  53.2) he proclaims the names of king Vishtasp, Frashaoshtra and himself who succedded as saoshyant, through their Righteous  thoughts, words  and deeds.

The word Saoshyant literally means  “one who will brings benefit” – a benefactor. the gathic message clearly defines, that those enlightened man and women, who extol the virtues of righteousness, using  their good mind, emerge as  the benefactors among  mankind. It is to them, that mazda is a companion and a friend (Ys 45.11).

It is important to qualify, that the familiar later tradition myth, of coming of the three saoshyants, emerged  in the Achaemenian time, more than a thousand years after the time of Zarathushtra.

The legend speaks of the coming of 1) Ukhshyat-ereta -he who makes Righteousness grow, 2) Ukhshyat-nemah - he who makes Reverence grow and 3) Astvat-ereta  - he who embodies righteousness, (Ys 43.16). All three we are told, will be born from the seeds, of Asho Zarathusht, preserved miraculously, in lake Kasaoya.

This is documented  in Bundahisn, Ch. 33 and 34 (Bd. 33.28, 34.2,3,18,19) of a text composed more than 2000 years  after  the era of Zarathshtra.

The term saoshyant uttered by Asho Zarathusht in his Gathic hymns, is unrelated to these mythical personalities. The prophet is oblivious to the myth.

The message of the prophet is crystal  clear,

The righteous human beings, by using their Good mind (Vohu Mano) must succeed to seek out the path of Asha and be the Saoshyant, be the saviour of the creation in general and of the less  fortunate mankind in  particular.

It is an undisputed fact, that Zarathushtra was the first savior in the history of mankind.  But the challenge he presents to humanity is to be like him, to be like his God.

How can an average human measure up to fulfill this immense task?

The prophet in the his  guiding hymns, outlines  a path to that goal, for his followers. 

Let me briefly retrace it for you.

In his vision of human creation, he proclaims, “the divine wisdom has incorporated intellect and ability to innovate, by implanting vital life-breath in the physical frame. The creator  has also  granted humans, the freedom of expression as they wish”- ( Ys 31.11)

It is this freedom, that reflects  in the diversity of good and bad in the physical world.

In the very next verse (Ys 31.12) this divinely  ordained teacher, invokes  upon the basic spiritual attribute of peace and tranquility -Spenta Aramaiti..

Zarathushtrian theology recognizes Spenta Aramaiti  as holy tranquility   of mind,  Complete Mindfulness  or Will”, as mentioned in Dinkert (Bk IX).

 This is the character, that tends, to the peace and serinity of human mind.

This is the attribute of devotion, that frees the human spirit from the fetters of the material world, preservs the clarity  of  mind, to provides the key, that opens the door to the path of Righteousness.

Spiritual wisdom  is  attainable, only, to a mind, free of earthly chaos, and carnal instincts, where tranquility and peace  prevails. This is the order of devotion, that must prevail, in the compassionate thinking of  prayer and in actions,

That aids, to harmonize

The human mentality with spenta mainyu  - Holy mentality, 

The human will with the will of God- the Path of Asha 

That is the fulfillment of  the spiritual manifestation. 

In the opening verses  of Ys 32.1, 2  Zarathushtra leads the family , the community and the entire fellowship in a prayer,  reaffirming,  that  the noble path Asha be rvealed, to those who fulfill the spiritual dedication, through Spenta  Aramaiti.

As we reach, Ys 33.14 we see Asho Zarthushtra as a primal invoker,  a zaotar,  fervently  in devotion, as he perceives the Wise Lord.

And in a spectacular gesture of profound attunment this great Manthran, dedicates

His physical body, tanvaschit khkhaiyao,

His spiritual life –breath ushtanem dadaiti, 

His first  thoughts  of the good  mind, paurushtatem  managhascha   vangheush,

His deeds and words of righteousness shyothannahya ashai yacha ukhdhakhyacha, 

He dedicates all these - to the Wise Lord - Mazda.

Through these devotional act, Zarathushtra resiprocates  to mazda the benevolent gifts he received from the creator. This sequence of prayers   clearly  demonstrate that, a communion with the divine through peaceful mind is a communion through Vohu Manah -the Good Mind.

That is the path to revelation. 

That, it is in this revelation, that one discovers the path of serving.

That, it is in giving,  in serving the creation,

That one realizes the true experiences  of benevolence of Mazda.

Creation of humans in Zarathushtrian theology occupy the pivotal position in the  creative progression. Divinity in this Getig world manifests itself, through the divine  actions of humanity.

It is the sacred duty of humanity, to be the steward, and to watch over the physical and moral well-being, of the less fortunate mankind, and the other creation. That defines a benefactor-

That is what last line of Ahuna Vairya prayer reminds us

khshthremcha ahurai a yim dregubyo dadat vasta rehem.

Ahura empowers  him, who
Rehabilitate the less  fortunate
That is what last line of Ashem Vohu  prompts us to do

ushta ahmai  hyat ashai vahishtai ashem.

That is what the opening line of Ys 43.1 tells us

ushta ahmai yahmai ushta kahmaichit
Radient Happiness to him who radiates happiness to others


The overall message is loud and clear. True happiness  of receiving is vested in giving, that brings to life, fulfillment of a Saoshyant.

It is through total dedication, that Asho Zarathusht, repeatedly chants in Ys 43  (verses  7, 9, 11, 13, 15) 

“I have realized thee, Wise Lord,
to be holy  when you revealed
unto me in the good mind…” 

It is the conditioning of the mind through Rightmindedness that determines, the perception of the Divine

It is here, that we perceive a saoshyant, whose human will is in full consonance with the Will of God.

The spirit of God is the formative principle the life-giving power, that pervades mankind. It is in the realization of this extra dimension of spirituality that one begins to experience first hand the thinking, feeling and willing of the humanity at large.

Recognition of this extra dimension of spirit permits one not only, to shape ones own life but to touch and affect that of mankind in  its  day  to day existence.

This spiritual dimension deepens, as one continues to transcends beyond ones self, bringing the person closer and in likeness to Ahura Mazda.

As the Gatha says in the opening verse of Ys 34.1

Ya shyothana ya vachangha,ya yasna ameretatem….mazda
aeshanm toi ahura ehma pourutemaish daste

The actions, words  and the worship by which
you   attain  immortality….Mazda
These we offer to you lord, as  much as  possible      

 In plain language, it tells us, that emulating the thoughts, words and actions of Mazda, that  humans will reveal the existence of divinity,

That they will  experience the glow of the divine enlightenment.

The good mind that experiences  Holy Aramaiti  is the one, that is able to commune. The mind that can commune, is the one that will attune with the divinity. 

This experience of existential spirituality, is  the realization, of the way we are with our selves, the way we are with humanity, and that is a reflecttion of  the way we are with our God.

The human personality, experiences a remarkable transformation in this spiritual odyssey, as a human being transcends in life, to likeness of god.

It is only then, that their  Good thoughts, words and deeds are transformed to their Best thoughts, words and deeds for the betterment of the world. 

We read that in the opening line of Spenta Mainyu Gatha.

Spenta Mainyu vahistacha managha
Hachat ashat shyothnacha vachanghacha…..
mazdao khshthra aramaiti ahuro

One attains  best thoughts, words and actions
in  harmony with the holy spirit
The rule of wise one, through Aramaiti 


Most religious traditions perceive human as “more than” just physical self. The earthly environment as “more than” the physical universe. If divine spirit is understood as “more than” physical, it is not somewhere in the world beyond, but in this Getig world, and  in each one of us.

The post-gathic Ys. 55.1 that reveres, the holy Gathas, dedicates the spiritual and physical elements  of a human being, to these hymns. The divine elements mentioned there, are ushtana - the vital life -breath, keherpa -  the astral form, urvan - the soul and fravashi. - the Divine essence.

Irregardless of the terms, one identifies with the divine spirit of Mazda, humans are the only  creations that has the ability to perceive the divine within and through that perception, relate to the omnipresent nature of the divinity without. It is only through the recognition of the innate divinity in our daily pursuits, that humans can link to generate a true vision of the wise lord in this world of actuality.


I like to conclude this with the words of the great Hindu philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, who said, “The best in people works for long obscure ages…till it finds a voice which can never again be silenced. For that voice becomes the voice of mankind, no longer confined to a particular time or people…. 

Zarathushtra’s voice is still a living voice, not a mere matter of academic interest    for  historical   scholar…  It is not a voice   to guide  a  small   community   of  man  He declared that the sun of truth is for all, that its light is to unite the far and the  near.

It sends  its call to the men to work together, with   the eternal   spirit   of good, in spreading and maintaining the kingdom of righteousness… 

This ideal gives us our place as collaborators with God in distributing his blessings over the world”.  

Presented at 7th World Zoroastrian Congress, Houston, Texas
December 27 2000 to January 1 2001