Esoteric Insights into Zoroastrianism

Zarathustra, Zoroaster, Zoroastrianism, Parsi Philosophy

“(1.) To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, colour, or creed. (2.) To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World’s religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies. (3.) To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially. These are, broadly stated, the three chief objects of the Theosophical Society.”

~ H.P. Blavatsky, “The Key to Theosophy” p. 39 ~

Zarathustra (Zend). The great lawgiver, and the founder of the religion variously called Mazdaism, Magism, Parseeism, Fire-Worship, and Zoroastrianism. The age of the last Zoroaster (for it is a generic name) is not known, and perhaps for that very reason. . . . But the Occult records claim to have the correct dates of each of the thirteen Zoroasters mentioned in the Dabistan. Their doctrines, and especially those of the last (divine) Zoroaster, spread from Bactria to the Medes; thence, under the name of Magism, incorporated by the Adept-Astronomers in Chaldea, they greatly influenced the mystic teachings of the Mosaic doctrines, even before, perhaps, they had culminated into what is now known as the modern religion of the Parsis. Like Manu and Vyasa in India, Zarathustra is a generic name for great reformers and law-givers. The hierarchy began with the divine Zarathustra in the Vendidad, and ended with the great, but mortal man, bearing that title, and now lost to history. There were, as shown by the Dabistan, many Zoroasters or Zarathustras. As related in the Secret Doctrine, Vol. II., the last Zoroaster was the founder of the Fire-temple of Azareksh, many ages before the historical era.”

~ H.P. Blavatsky, “Theosophical Glossary” p. 384-385 ~

Ormazd or Ahura Mazda (Zend). The god of the Zoroastrians or the modern Parsis. He is symbolized by the sun, as being the Light of Lights. Esoterically, he is the synthesis of his six Amshaspends or Elohim, and the creative Logos.”

~ H.P. Blavatsky, “Theosophical Glossary” p. 242 ~

“Tradition points to a grotto, a vast cave in the deserts of Central Asia, whereinto light pours through its four seemingly natural apertures or clefts placed crossways at the four cardinal points of the place. From noon till an hour before sunset that light streams in, of four different colours, as averred- red, blue, orange-gold, and white – owing to some either natural or artificially prepared conditions of vegetation and soil. The light converges in the centre around a pillar of white marble with a globe upon it, which represents our earth. It is named the “grotto of Zaratushta.””

~ H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 464 ~

~ * ~

As can be seen from the above quotes, Zoroastrianism – particularly the Zoroastrian philosophy – is something which is intended to receive due attention and import in the work and literature of the Theosophical Movement.

Since the time of H.P. Blavatsky, however, this has rarely been the case and the ancient Theosophy of Zoroastrianism has been quite sorely neglected by Theosophists at large. It is hoped that this article may help to change this.

It consists of a compilation on the subject from HPB’s articles “Zoroastrianism in the Light of Occult Philosophy” and “The Devil’s Own: Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman” along with excerpts from the small book “The Zoroastrian Philosophy and Way of Life” by B.P. Wadia.

Mr Wadia was an influential Indian Theosophist who played a major role in the establishment of the United Lodge of Theosophists around the world following the passing of Robert Crosbie, the founder of the ULT. He was himself from a Zoroastrian (i.e. Parsi) family.

Today the Zoroastrians – divided mainly between North India (where they are generally known as Parsis) and Iran – number less than 190,000. What was once one of the most powerful and influential world religions has become one of the smallest and most seemingly insignificant. Yet it contains great promise and potential for the future, if only it can be revivified along its inherent esoteric lines, some of which are pointed out, clarified, and referred to, in these following passages.

~ * ~

HPB: “No more philosophically profound, nor grander or more graphic and suggestive type exists among the allegories of the World-religions than that of the two Brother-Powers of the Mazdean religion, called Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu, better known in their modernized form of Ormuzd and Ahriman. Of these two emanations, “Sons of Boundless Time” – Zeruana Akarana – itself issued from the Supreme and Unknowable Principle, the one is the embodiment of “Good Thought” (Vohu Mano), the other of “Evil Thought” (Ako Mano). The “King of Light” or Ahura Mazda, emanates from Primordial Light and forms or creates by means of the “Word,” Honover (Ahuna Vairya), a pure and holy world. But Angra Mainyu, though born as pure as his elder brother, becomes jealous of him, and mars everything in the Universe, as on the earth, creating Sin and Evil everywhere he goes. . . .

“The real order would be: the Supreme or the One Light, called the Eternal; then Zeruana Akarana (compare Vishnu in his abstract sense as the Boundless pervading All and Kala, Time), the Fravashi or the Ferouer of Ormuzd (that eternal Double or Image which precedes and survives every god, man and animal), and finally Ahura Mazda Himself.”

“The two Powers are inseparable on our present plane and at this stage of evolution, and would be meaningless, one without the other. They are, therefore, the two opposite poles of the One Manifested Creative Power, whether the latter is viewed as a Universal Cosmic Force which builds worlds, or under its anthropomorphic aspect, when its vehicle is thinking man. For Ormuzd and Ahriman are the respective representatives of Good and Evil, of Light and Darkness, of the spiritual and the material elements in man, and also in the Universe and everything contained in it. . . . The Parsis may have lost most of the keys that unlock the true interpretations of their sacred and poetical allegories, but the symbolism of Ormuzd and Ahriman is so self-evident, that even the Orientalists have ended by interpreting it, in its broad features, almost correctly. . . .

“. . . about half a century ago, at Bombay . . . the Rev. Dr. Wilson, the Orientalist, debated the subject with the Parsi high-priests, the Dasturs. The latter very philosophically denied his imputation, and demonstrated to him that far from accepting the texts of their Sacred Books literally, they regarded them as allegorical as far as Ahriman was concerned. For them he is a symbolical representation of the disturbing elements in Kosmos and of the evil passions and animal instincts in man (Vendidad).”

HPB: “Thus, Angra Mainyu, being confessedly, in one of its aspects, the embodiment of man’s lowest nature, with its fierce passions and unholy desires, “his hell” must be sought for and located on earth. In occult philosophy there is no other hell – nor can any state be comparable to that of a specially unhappy human wretch. . . . Ahura Mazda alone, being the divine, and therefore the immortal and eternal symbol of “Boundless Time,” is the secure refuge, the spiritual haven of man. . . . Ahura Mazda stands here no longer as the supreme One God of eternal Good and Light but as its own Ray, the divine EGO which informs man – under whatever name. . . . the beneficent ray of Ahura Mazda, the radiant EGO-SUN . . . Angra Mainyu is only a periodical and temporary Evil. He is Heterogeneity as developed from Homogeneity. Descending along the scale of differentiating nature on the cosmic planes, both Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu become, at the appointed time, the representatives and the dual type of man, the inner or divine INDIVIDUALITY, and the outer personality, a compound of visible and invisible elements and principles. As in heaven, so on earth; as above, so below. If the divine light in man, the Higher Spirit-Soul, forms, including itself, the seven Ameshaspends (of which Ormuzd is the seventh, or the synthesis), Ahriman, the thinking personality, the animal soul, has in its turn its seven Archidevs opposed to the seven Ameshaspends.

“During our life cycle, the good Yazatas, the 99,999 Fravashi (or Ferouers) and even the “Holy Seven,” the Ameshaspends themselves (“The gods of light, the “immortal seven,” of whom Ahura Mazda is the seventh. They are deified abstractions.”), are almost powerless against the Host of wicked Devs – the symbols of cosmic opposing powers and of human passions and sins. Fiends of evil, their presence radiates and fills the world with moral and physical ills: with disease, poverty, envy and pride, with despair, drunkenness, treachery, injustice, and cruelty, with anger and bloody-handed murder. Under the advice of Ahriman, man from the first made his fellow-man to weep and suffer. This state of things will cease only on the day when Ahura Mazda, the sevenfold deity, assumes his seventh name or aspect. Then, will he send his “Holy Word” Mathra Spenta (or the “Soul of Ahura”) to incarnate in Saoshyant (Sosiosh), and the latter will conquer Angra Mainyu. . . . As an occult teaching says: During each of the seven periods (Races) the chief ruling Light is given a new name; i.e., one of the seven hidden names, the initials of which compose the mystery name of the Septenary Host, viewed as one.”

BPW: “There are two Occidental volumes which have misled Western readers these many years – Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, and Samuel Laing’s A Modern Zoroastrian. The former has deceived only the bourgeois mind into believing that Nietzsche’s Zoroaster was anything else but an imaginary figure of the German writer. The latter has done more serious damage; the author, a materialistic rationalist of repute, but a poor philosopher and a worse metaphysician, harnessed his badly digested reading on the religion of the Parsis (reading presumably done in his capacity as a globe-trotter) to adorn his thesis on the dualism of matter-polarity. . . . The book has misled even Parsis, especially those unfamiliar with the real metaphysics and philosophy of their own religion. Orientalists began speaking of the religion of Zoroaster as dualism, and Laing, the scientist, confirmed the theory – so, it became canonical! . . .

“In Zend tradition Ahuramazda and Angramainyu are not two opposing beings. . . . The two primeval spirits, Spento and Angro, are impersonal, universal and omnipotent forces – centripetal and centrifugal. Out of them emanate the seven hierarchies of spiritual intelligence and the seven material kingdoms of nature. Spento and Angro are like the Purusha and Prakriti of Indian philosophy. Just as “Light and darkness are the world’s eternal ways” (Gita, VIII) so do Spento- and Angro- Mainyus commence, sustain, and renovate the cycle of necessity, Ahuramazda himself being the primal expression thereof. . . . These two, the centripetal and centrifugal forces, are the basis of the universe. They cause manifestation and dissolution.”

HPB: “The Magian knew not of any Supreme “personal” individuality. He recognized but Ahura, the “Lord” – the seventh Principle in man – and “prayed,” i.e., made efforts during the hours of meditation, to assimilate with, and merge his other principles, that are dependent on the physical body and ever under the sway of Angra Mainyu (or matter), into the only pure, holy and eternal principle in him, his divine monad. To whom else could he pray? Who was “Ormuzd” if not the chief Spenta Mainyu, the monad, the god-principle in us? . . . Does not this show that Ahura-Mazda is something which can be explained and defined only by the Occult Doctrine? And wisely does it explain to us that Ahura Mazda is our own inner, truly personal God and that he is our Spiritual light and the “Creator of the material world,” i.e., the architect and shaper of the Microcosm, Man, when the latter knows how to resist Angra-Mainyu, or Kama – lust or material desires – by relying on him who overshadows him, the Ahura-Mazda or Spiritual Essence.”

BPW: “The aspect of the dual powers which persists with such tenacity in Zoroastrianism is the psychologic-human one, and while Ahriman has been personified and has become, like Satan, a living entity for the superstitious, for the cultured he is but a force within man, his own lower nature.”

HPB: “Ahura-Mazda is also the father of Tistrya, the rain-bestowing god (the sixth Principle) that fructifies the parched soil of the fifth and fourth, and helps them to bear good fruit through their own exertions, i.e., by tasting of Haoma, the tree of eternal life, through spiritual enlightenment. Finally and undeniably Ahura-Mazda being called the chief and father of the six “Amesha Spentas,” or of the six principles of which he is the seventh, the question is settled. He is “Ahura” or rather Asura, the “living spirit in man,” the first of whose twenty different names he gives as “Ahmi,” “I am.” . . . Ahriman is the allegorical representation of the lower human principles, as Ahura-Mazda is that of the higher.”

BPW: “Omnipresent Deity, a Living Nature, are the central truths of Zoroastrianism. The physical and visible Nature is energized by the psychical and both are ensouled and enveloped by the spiritual. Ahuramazda, the Sovereign Spirit, is the Universal Power, one with his manifestation. Of course he is personified and the latter has become an object of prayer and worship with the ignorant. The Ahuramazda Yasht is highly reminiscent of the 9th, 10th, and 11th discourses of the Bhagavad-Gita. Like Shri Krishna, Ahuramazda in answer to his favourite disciple, Zoroaster, describes his own nature. He gives his own many names characteristic of that nature and starts with “Ahmi – I am.””

~ * ~

BPW: “Zoroastrianism is widely known as the religion of fire-worship. Fire, however, is a symbol, certain phases of which are commonly accepted. It is not grasped that in Zoroastrianism Fire as a symbol-emblem is intended to show the identity of nature between the macrocosm and the microcosm. The variety of fires mentioned; the mode of building up fire (1) in home, (2) in small temples, and (3) in big temples; the custom of never allowing these fires to be extinguished or polluted; and other matters have to be understood as parable-tenets of the science of esoteric psychology.

“In numerous places Fire is named the “Son of Ahura-mazda,” whose Sanskrit equivalent is manasa-putra – the mind-born son of Brahmā. The Fire is the reincarnating ego and has two aspects, one stationary, immovable, the other changing and growing. The non-moving is the Divine Ego whose ray is the other. The former sits, the watching spectator, saying, “What does he who comes and goes bring to him who is motionless?” But this motionless Fire is “the purifier,” “the maker of prosperity,” is “strong and immortal” and is named “the warrior.” He is also designated “the cook who cooks the day and night meals of mortals,” i.e., he is the supplier of experiences in waking and sleeping conditions, as also in life and death.”

~ * ~

BPW: “Though Reincarnation as a doctrine is not clearly and explicitly taught in the fragments now extant, there are numerous passages . . . which clearly indicate that it was well known.”

~ * ~

BPW: “We will outline here two schemes of human constitution to be found in the Avesta:

“I. An eightfold being composed of (1) Fravarshi – the triple Atma, the Individual Ray of the Impersonal Deity; (2) Urvan – the Soul, the Buddhi and Manas, the Discriminator and Thinker, the dual Power-Shakti of Atma-Ishvara or Fravarshi; (3) Bodhas, the faculty of the Urvan whereby he chooses, selects and devises ways and means of his own growth; (4) Tevishes, the Desire-Kama which inclines towards Bodhas or gravitates towards (5) Keherpas, which is Persian Kaleb Aerial form or mould, Linga Sharira; (6) Ushtanas is the Vital-heat or prana; (7) and (8) are the Bony structure and the Body, symbolic representatives of the immortal and mortal constituents of the body whose true import the esotericist is familiar with.

“II. A fivefold being composed of (1) Ahu – the Self, the Personality in incarnation, the lower self with its quaternary principles; (2) Daena, its ever-present and watchful holy insight, its pure and wise spouse who stores away all that is worthy in the myriad experiences of the first, and who alone can enable it to understand the tenets of the True Faith (Din); she forms the link between the first and the higher triad and after the death of the personality appears to it – objectivized form of its own experiences . . .; (3) Bodhas; (4) Urvan; (5) Fravarshi are the same as in the first classification.”

BPW: “The doctrine of Fravarshi is of special interest to the student of Theosophy. Every creature, whatever the body may happen to be, has its spiritual counterpart which is Fravarshi. To begin with, Ahuramazda himself has his Fravarshi and he recommends Zoroaster to invoke his Fravarshi and not himself, i.e., the impersonal and true essence of Deity, one with Zoroaster’s own atman (or Christos), not the false and personal appearance. The seven Amesha-spentas, all the religious teachers like Zoroaster, all warrior-souls, all evil-doers, animals, plants, minerals, everything has a Fravarshi. The coming into manifestation of these Fravarshis, their evolution and ultimate destiny are all described in Zend, Pahalvi and Persian books. As H.P.B. points out, this doctrine influenced Church-Christianity, and Ferouer is but a corrupted concept-word of the Zend Fravarshi.”

~ * ~

BPW: “That brings us to the doctrine of the seven Karshvares – globes – of our earth planetary chain, about which H.P.B. writes:

On page 6 of his Introduction IV to Part I of the Zend-Avesta – the Vendidad, Mr. J. Darmesteter has the following remark: “The Ancestors of the Indo-Iranians had been led to speak of seven worlds, the Supreme God was often made sevenfold, as well as the worlds over which he ruled . . . . The seven worlds became in Persia the seven KARSHVARE of the earth: the earth is divided into seven KARSHVARE, only one of which is known and accessible to man, the one on which we live, namely, ‘hvaniratha’: which amounts to saying that there are seven earths.” The latter belief is attributed, of course, to ignorance and superstition. Nor do we feel quite certain that this opinion will not be shared by those of our readers who neither are Chelas nor have read the “Fragments of Occult Truth.” But we leave it with the “lay Chelas” and others to judge whether this sevenfold division (see Farg. XIX) is not the ABC of the Occult Doctrines.”

The Secret Doctrine (Vol. II, pp. 757-59) treats fully of this subject and explains the mystery. Space forbids our quoting in full the important passage, with the explanatory diagram, but the subject will remain incomplete if the reader omits to peruse it at this point.”

[Below is the diagram referred to and an excerpt from this passage in “The Secret Doctrine” by H.P. Blavatsky.]

“It was mentioned elsewhere that the belief in the septenary constitution of our “chain” was the oldest tenet of the early Iranians, who got it from the first Zarathustra. It is time to prove it to those Parsis who have lost the key to the meaning of their Scriptures. In the Avesta the earth is considered septempartite and tripartite at one and the same time. . . . The Avesta has not borrowed the idea from the Rig-Veda, but simply repeats the esoteric teaching. The “three strata or layers” do not refer to our globe alone, but to three layers of the globes of our terrestrial chain – two by two, on each plane, one on the descending, the other on the ascending arc. Thus, with reference to the six spheres or globes above our earth, the seventh and the fourth, it is septempartite, while with regard to the planes over our plane – it is tripartite. The meaning is carried out and corroborated by the text in the Avesta and Vendidad, and even by the speculations – a most laborious and unsatisfactory guess-work – of the translators and commentators. It thus follows that the division of the “earth,” or rather the earth’s chain, into seven Karshvars is not in contradiction with the three “zones,” if this word is read “planes.” As Geiger remarks, this septenary division is very old – the oldest of all – since the Gathas already speak of the “septempartite earth.” (Bumi haptaiti, Yasna, xxxii., 3.) . . . Now Qaniratha is not, as believed by Geiger and his translator, “the country inhabited by the Iranian tribes,” and the other names do not mean “the adjacent territories of foreign nations in the North, South, West, and East” (p. 132), but our globe or Earth. For that which is meant by the sentence which follows the last quoted, namely, that “two Vorubarshti and Voru-Zarshti lie in the North; two, Vidadhafshu and Tradadhafshu in the South; Savahi and Arzahi in the East and West,” is simply the very graphic and accurate description of the “chain” of our planet, the Earth, represented in the book of Dzyan (II) thus:

Planetary Chain, Zoroastrianism, The Secret Doctrine, H.P. Blavatsky

“The Mazdean names given above have only to be replaced by those used in the Secret Doctrine to become an orthodox tenet. The “Earth” (our World), therefore, is “tripartite,” because the chain of the worlds is situated on three different planes above our globe; and it is septempartite because of the seven globes or spheres which compose the chain. Hence the further meaning given in Vendidad XIX. 39, showing that “Qaniratha alone is combined with imat, ‘this’ (earth), while all other Karshvares are combined with the word ‘avat,’ ‘that’ or those – upper earths.” Nothing could be plainer.”

~ * ~

HPB: “And now, if we are asked, as we have been repeatedly, if there are indeed men in whose power it is to give the correct version of true Zoroastrianism, then why do not they do so? – we answer, “because very few will believe it in this our age.” Instead of benefiting men, they would but hurt the devotees of those truths. And as to giving to the world more information about the locality known as Airyanam Vaego, we need point but to the sentence in Fargard I, in which we find Ahura Mazda saying to Spitama, “the most benevolent,” that he had made every land – even though it had no charms whatever in it – dear to its dwellers, since otherwise the “whole living world would have invaded the Airyanam Vaego” (v. 2). Hence unable to satisfy our readers, we can say but very little. . . . Why do we find Zoroaster in the Bundehesh offering a sacrifice in “Iran Vej” – distorted name for Airyanam Vaego – and where or what was this country? Though some Orientalists call it “no real country,” and others identify it with the basin of the Aras, the latter has nothing to do with Airyanam Vaego. The last Zarathust may have chosen, and he has so chosen, the banks of the Aras for the cradle of his newly reborn religion; only that cradle received a child reborn and suckled elsewhere, namely, in Airyanam Vaego (the true “seed of the Aryas,” who were then all that was noble and true) which place is identical with the Shamballah of the Hindus and the Arhats, a place now regarded also as mythical. In Fargard II Ahura Mazda calls together “a meeting of the celestial gods,” and, Yima, the first man “of the excellent mortals,” in the Airyanam Vaego – “in the far-off lands of the rising sun,” says the Book of Numbers of the Chaldees, written on the Euphrates. Those of the Parsees who have ears, let them hear, and – draw their inferences; and perchance it may be also found that the Brahmans who came from the North to India bringing with them all the learning of secret wisdom, came from a place still more northward than Lake Mansarovar.”

HPB: “The origin of the Brahmans and Magi in the night of time is one, the secret doctrine teaches us. First, they were a hierarchy of adepts, of men profoundly versed in physical and spiritual sciences and occult knowledge, of various nationalities, all celibates, and enlarging their numbers by the transmission of their knowledge to voluntary neophytes. Then when their numbers became too large to be contained in the “Airyanam Vaego,” the adepts scattered far and wide, and we can trace them establishing other hierarchies on the model of the first in every part of the globe.”

HPB: “Indeed, Bunsen places Zoroaster in Baktria and the emigration of the Baktrians to the Indus at 3,784 B.C. And this Zoroaster taught, not what he had learned “from,” but with, the Brahmans, i.e., at Airyanam Vaego, since what is identical with Brahmanical symbology is found but in the earlier Vedas, not in any of the later Commentaries, that it may be even said of the Vedas themselves, that though compiled in the land of the Seven Rivers, they existed ages before in the north.”

~ * ~

HPB: “If we had to describe broadly the origin of this religion from the standpoint, and upon the authority of the Occult teachings, we would call it by its original, primitive name, that of Magianism. Locating its first development in those vast regions which would have to be described as the whole area between the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Okhotsk in its length, and that which stretches through the unexplored deserts between the Altai and the Himalayan mountains in its breadth, we would place it back at an epoch, undreamt of by modern science and, therefore, rejected by all but the most speculative and daring anthropologists.

“We have no right to give out in this journal the correct number of years, or rather of ages upon ages, since – according to the doctrines of the Secret Science – the first seeds of Magianism were sown by the hand of the BEING to whose duty it falls to rear, nurse and guide the tottering steps of the renascent human races that awake anew to life on every planet in its turn, after its periodical “obscuration.” It goes as far back as the days of our local Manvantara, so that the seeds sown among the first “root-race” began sprouting in its infant brain, grew up, and commencing to bear fruit toward the latter part of the second race, developed fully during the third into what is known among Occultists as the “Tree of Knowledge” and the “Tree of Life” – the real meaning of both having been, later on, so sadly disfigured and misinterpreted by both Zoroastrians and Christians.”

BPW: “Now, Occult Records claim to have the correct dates of each of the 13 Zoroasters. According to the said Records, Zoroastrianism as a distinct religio-philosophic school is of early Atlantean origin, i.e., before spiritual sinfulness overtook that race.”

~ * ~

HPB: “The Zend-Avesta represents now only the general system, the dead letter, so to say, of the dictates of Zoroaster. . . . As well expressed by Darmesteter, the Parsee “sacred books are the ruins of a religion.” . . . the Avesta of modern Parseeism, with its numberless interpolations and arbitrary commentaries . . . the [original] Zend text is simply a secret code of certain words and expressions agreed upon by the original compilers, and the key to which is but with the Initiates. The Western scholars may say, “The key to the Avesta is not the Pahlavi, but the Vedas“; but the Occultist’s answer is, “Aye; but the key to the Vedas is the Secret Doctrine.” The former assert correctly enough that “the Vedas come from the same source as the Avesta“; the students of Occultism ask: “Do you know even the A B C of that source?””

HPB: “The first Zara-Ishtar was a Median, born in Rae, say the Greeks, who place the epoch in which he flourished five or six thousand years before the Trojan war; while according to the teachings of the Secret Doctrine this “first” was the “last” or seventh Zarathushtra (the thirteenth of the Desatir) though he was followed by one more Zuruastara or Suryacharia (later, owing to a natural change of language transformed into Zuryaster and again into Zarathushtra), who lived in the days of the first Gushtasp (not the father of Darius, though, as imagined by some scholars). The latter is very improperly called “the founder” of modern Monotheistic Parseeism, for besides being only a revivalist and the exponent of the modern philosophy, he was the last to make a desperate attempt at the restoration of pure Magianism. He is known to have gone from Shiz, to the Mt. Zebilan in the cave whither proceeded the Initiates or the Magi; and upon emerging from it to have returned with the Zend-Avesta re-translated and commented upon by himself. This original commentary, it is claimed, exists till now among other old works in the secret libraries. But its copies – now in the possession of the profane world, bear as much resemblance to it as the Christianity of today to that of its Founder.”

HPB: “For the Sacred Books of the Mazdeans, as all the other sacred Scriptures of the East (the Bible included), have to be read esoterically. The Mazdeans had practically two religions, as almost all the other ancient nations – one for the people and the other for the initiated priests. . . . the whole meaning of which can be obtained only by the study of occult philosophy.”

BPW: “Originally the Vendidad was pre-eminently an Occult treatise; it has passed through innumerable vicissitudes and distortions during these thousands of years, as through scores of editions in the course of the evolution of languages; in its present form it is but a fragment, and a patched-up one at that – put together mostly from memory and surviving documents, some of doubtful authenticity from the occult point of view, after the exploits of the vandal Iskander, whom the West knows as Alexander and calls “Great”! . . . The original treatises – codes of law like Vendidad, or hymns like the five Gathas, or litanies like the Yasna – are almost all extinct. The sparse fragments we now possess are worse than fragmentary, for interpolations have taken place. All the same they are full of high philosophy, noble ethics, and not altogether devoid of Occult lore and esoteric teachings, though they are rightly called “the ruins of a religion.” The extant Zoroastrian texts and documents will not be appreciated till all this is kept in mind. What we now possess is the residue of centuries of trials and tribulations through which Iranian Culture came to birth, culminated, declined and from all appearances is becoming extinct – this last is one phase of the communal Karma which the modern Parsis, only some 95,000 strong, are facing today.”

HPB: “Prodicus and some of the early Gnostics were the last who had in their possession some of the secret books of Zoroaster. That those “secret” books were not the Avesta in its present form, can be proved by the non-attractiveness of its texts which have nothing in them, as explained now, to fascinate the mystic. Prodicus had the secret code as well as the key to it. A few of the adepts of ancient Magianism existed and were known publicly in those days, since Clement Alexandrinus speaks of those who follow the heresy of Prodicus and “boast of possessing the secret books of Zoroaster.” (Strom I).”

HPB: “It is very likely, as Darmesteter thinks, that “Herodotus may have heard the Magi sing, in the fifth century B.C. the very same gathas which are sung nowadays by the Mobeds in Bombay,” but it is most unlikely that, sung as they are now, they are anything better than the “shells” of the old gathas, the animating spirit having fled from them, never to return unless forcibly recalled by the resurrecting potentiality of the “Occult Sciences.””

BPW: “Rich in metaphor, profusely symbolic, but to the student of Theosophy and esotericism very clear, are all the Avesta fragments. There is enough of the ancient Wisdom extant in them to make them more than interesting; they provide important proofs of the existence of the Universal Wisdom Religion from which all religions and philosophies sprang.”

HPB: “The subject is of tremendous interest to every thinking Parsee, but he has to help himself if he would learn more. His religion is not dead yet; and under the lifeless mask of modern Zoroastrianism the pulse of the Magi of old still beats. We have endeavoured as briefly as possible to give a correct, though a very superficial, view of the purport and spirit of true Magianism. There is not a sentence in this for which authority cannot be shown.”

~ * ~

BPW: “If the spirit of Vedanta singing through the Gita endeavours to bring the world to Dharma-Duty, the theme which Zoroastrianism recites for humanity is of Ashoi-Purity. The very words with which Ahuramazda rejoiced Zoroaster as given in the Vendidad (V. 21) are: “For man purity is the greatest good even from his birth.” This code of purity contains an exhortation profound in its simplicity (IX. 19).

Make thyself pure, O righteous man! Anyone in the world here below can win purity for himself, namely when he cleanses himself with good thoughts, words and deeds.

“The first, the shortest, but regarded as the most efficacious of prayers is Ashem-Vohu, which translated is:

Purity is the noblest blessing. Happiness it is – happiness to him who is pure for the sake of noblest purity itself.” . . .

“This Law of Ahuramazda is clear to the wise and the discriminating who by its aid acquire the power of righteous thought and deed and obtain control over the tongue (Yasna XXXI. 19 and 22). Manasni – Gavasni – Kunasni – Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds, according to the righteous law of Ahura is reiterated in numerous places in the Avesta. It is insisted that man should consult the righteous Law of Wisdom. His own good inclinations or noble aspirations are not sufficient; his mental and verbal expressions and especially his deeds should be in conformity with the Code of Wisdom.”


This article may have raised more questions about various things. Please make use of the site search function (the magnifying glass symbol at the top of the page) and visit the Articles page to see the complete list of over 300 articles covering all aspects of Theosophy and the Theosophical Movement.

~ ~