What do we think of when we say the name Zarathustra? Any more or less Humanities-savvy person will call Nietzsche, and when thinking about it, add Hitler. Is this correct? Partially, Yes. It is to Zarathustra that we owe the actualization of the mysterious nation of the Aryans, or Aryans (here memory obligingly screws something from the life of Stirlitz: “True Aryan, Nordic character”). The Aryans really were. And even historically recorded somewhere in Central Asia, within Iran, – places are quite southern, Eastern. There was nothing Nordic about it. But why did Zarathustra captivate the restless Nietzsche with his idea of a Superman? Big question!
Birth of the prophet Zarathustra
The birth of Zarathustra was predestined even before the creation of the material world. According to the legend, staying in eternity, the God of good Ahura Mazda (Ormuzd) and the God of evil Angro-Mainyu (Ahriman) for some time did not assume the existence of each other. But Ahura Mazda (literal meaning: the Lord the Wise) was the first to learn of the power that opposed him. To defeat evil, it, like good, had to be materialized and thus limit their collision in time.
This is why Ahura Mazda created the entire visible world. Everything was predetermined: the appearance of any creature, and the birth of a man – everyone came to this world for a reason, but to fulfill a great mission, which, however, no one imposed on him. The world was about to have a great game of chess, and everyone was free to take a place on the other side of the Board that would be to their liking.
So Zarathustra had to appear in the world at a certain hour to tell all this, as well as many other things. The sacred texts of Zoroastrianism are collected in the Avesta, the oldest book that has partially come down to us. It is obscure and incomprehensible to the modern reader, not for nothing did its first translator Anquetil-Duperron, who in 1771 puzzled Europe with the French version of the Holy book, gain neither fame nor understanding.
In later texts, which bring together both the teachings of Zarathustra and the vicissitudes of his fate, the prophet is already completely mythologized and we are talking about his spiritual essence.
And yet many scientists recognize the legendary prophet as a real person, although no one can say for sure exactly when the prophet lived. We can only say with more or less certainty that this happened long before the rise of Buddhism and the appearance of most of the biblical prophecies, somewhere in Eastern Iran or Central Asia.
In different languages, his name sounds different: Zarathustra (ancient Iranian), Zoroaster (Greek). For a long time there was debate about what it meant. Some saw in it the sublime – “Golden Sirius”, others the prosaic – “possessing an old camel”.
The ancient Arians worshipped Sirius, a star that they believed was responsible for the water cycle in nature. It may be added that the teaching of Zarathustra is the Foundation of the foundations. Without water, all life is threatened with physical death, and without the word of the prophet – spiritual.
The vernacular interpretation of the name of Zarathustra is also not devoid of meaning: deliberately nondescript, it was a talisman for the prophet. That was the subtle Aryan calculation: the unattractiveness of the name from children diverted the machinations of hostile forces.
“The light of the resurrecting power…”
Three days and three nights before the birth of Zarathustra, an unprecedented celestial glow burned over his settlement. People lived in anticipation of a miracle, not knowing what was going to happen. No one paid any attention to Dukdaub, a woman in labor, who was suffering during these days.
Experienced only her husband Pourushaspa. She was giving birth to her third child, and none of the older ones had ever caused her mother such agony. Her life hung in the balance. According to Aryan beliefs, a woman who gave birth to a dead child was considered defiled, because death itself came out of her womb.
The unfortunate woman was to die alone, confined in a narrow crypt. But Duckdown safely resolved from burden. A boy was born. However, the midwives and the happy father never heard the baby’s cry. Instead of crying, he laughed. A moment later, he spoke in verse. None of the dumbfounded listeners realized that they were hearing “Ahuna Vairya”, the main prayer of the Zoroastrian religion. Even before the creation of the world, Ahura Mazda created this great hymn, and then put it into the mouth of the infant, whose name is Zarathustra.
Pourushaspa long puzzled why his child is so different from the others. Deciding to consult with a sorcerer Durachrom who lived next door, the father brought his son to him. He wanted to destroy the baby, but could not even touch it. Then he inspired Pourushaspa fear of the boy and ordered him to be killed. My father obeyed the wizard’s will, or rather, tried…
Zarathustra was put on the fire, but the fire smouldered barely, warming the baby.
It was taken to dangerous paths where oxen and horses went to drink. But each time the animals turned off the road, avoiding the place where the child lay. Even the she-wolf into whose lair Zarathustra was thrown did not tear him to pieces. Nor did she touch the sheep that came to give the prophet his milk.
One ill-fated father couldn’t help but overhear the conversation of the witches gathered at Durarara. Only then did he realize that his son was being protected by Ahura Mazda himself.
The way of the prophet Zarathustra
At the age of seven, the precocious boy was sent to study with the clergy. It consisted not only in memorizing well – known hymns – a kind of prayer to various deities-but also in improvising. Each student had to compose his own poems. Zarathustra had no great difficulty in doing this, for he had been speaking in verse since his birth.
Having completed the prescribed teaching, Zarathustra, at the age of fifteen, went on a journey. For many years, the young man wandered around his native land in search of the truth. He asked the old men and the priests what deity they believed in, what prayers they offered, what they considered good and what evil. These reflections were a kind of preparation for the most important event in the life of Zarathustra. When he was 30 years old, Ahura Mazda himself appeared to him.
The Creator revealed all his names to the inquisitive wanderer, and told him that there are not many gods and deities, but only one, and people must make their choice – whether to serve the truth or, being mistaken, play into the hands of the dark forces.
After the revelation, Zarathustra took the rite of initiation: he passed through the raging flames, a Cup of molten metal was poured on his chest, and his body was cut open with sharp daggers. But there was not even a trace left on the prophet’s body. The firmness of his newfound faith made him invulnerable.
“I open my arms to you…”
Now Zarathustra felt ready to return home, to show the true path to those who were dear to him. But, as you know, there is no prophet in his homeland: he was rejected by the community, and through the efforts of the wizard Durashrab, he was declared such a dangerous person that he thought it best to hide as soon as possible.
The spirit of darkness Angro-Mainyu tried to kill or tempt Zarathustra with promises of great power. The spirits of hunger and thirst, of cold and beggary, surrounded him on all sides. But the prophet resisted.
At the age of forty Zarathustra was in Drangiana – edge, where the king rules Vishtaspa. (Many scientists believe that this land corresponds to modern Iran and Afghanistan.) It was he who became the first follower of Zarathustra.
On the day when Vishtaspa accepted the true faith, a hitherto incredible miracle occurred: all domestic and wild animals suddenly started dancing. For people, this was proof enough. That Zarathustra is God’s messenger. And it was from that time that the Zoroastrian faith, which affirms monotheism, began to spread widely.
In a foreign land, at the age of forty-two, Zarathustra finally found recognition, universal respect and worship. He was married twice: once to a widow, and once to an innocent girl (it was believed that only a virgin would remain with her husband after death, while a widow would belong to her first husband). The first wife of the prophet gave birth to two children, the second of four.
Surrounded by love, reverence, and children, Zarathustra lived to a very old age. All these years, he created the Avesta. Vishtaspa created the most skilful scribes and instructed them to write down everything that Zarathustra said in Golden letters on ox skins. In all, it took twelve thousand of these skins. This was the first and most complete record of the Holy book. Vishtaspa considered it the greatest treasure of his state. What did the prophet say?
On his personal of the elect, the end of the world, that is not far off, that the victory of Ahura Mazda predetermined and inevitable, but everyone has and is free to take his place in the eternal struggle between good and evil and, moreover, each is responsible to the highest and only God, not only for themselves but also for all the living. To put it bluntly, the ideas that are relevant now were first heard thousands of years ago.
Endowed with the gift of foresight, Zarathustra told people about what awaits them in the future. This is how he described the coming of Christ in detail: from the star of Bethlehem and the adoration of the Magi to the last days of the earthly life of the Son of God. After Jesus, two more saviours must come to the world. With the arrival of the last Ahura Mazda will begin its decisive battle with evil. Angro-Mainyu with the Devas will be defeated, and all the creatures of the Good spirit will finally find eternal life. And then comes the day of judgment, the description of which in the Avesta is very similar to the”Revelation of John the theologian”.
In addition to the Avesta, Zarathustra composed a great many verses, which were also written on ox skins. But, alas, we are not able to read them. According to traditional Pahlavi chronology, 258 years after the birth of the prophet, Iskander, Alexander the great, was born.
We owe much to his triumphant March through Central Asia, including the disappearance of the texts of Zarathustra. They were destroyed thoughtfully, purposefully, with a blissful sense of accomplishment. Everything that has come down to us was recorded again later and for many centuries was preserved only in the oral tradition. Hence the confusion in chronology: the sacred texts were Willy-nilly added their own, modern words that previously did not make the weather, and now give scientists so much headache.
“Woe to those who do not know the light!»
Of course, Zarathustra could not have been unaware of his painful death. Like Jesus, he trembled for a moment and tearfully begged the Creator to pass over this Cup. But Ahura Mazda told him that the evil will remain undefeated, and the mission of Zarathustra will fail.
All these years the story was getting old “buddy” Durasraya, warlock Tour and Brutallus. Already in his old age, he found a famous old man. When the evil one got into the prophet’s house, he found him praying. The sorcerer approached Zarathustra from behind and, not daring to look at the victim’s eyes, plunged a sharp-edged sword into his back. As predicted by the prophet, his death did not bring the killer happiness: he fell as if knocked down and immediately expired.
“Woe to those who embrace sorrow”
Today, we can treat the prophecies of Zarathustra in different ways. And his very name, as we mentioned at the very beginning, is now unfairly tainted. Yes, Zarathusra was raised on a shield by the effeminate and restless sons of the Silver age (not for nothing did we quote Gumelev’s poems); it was corrupted by Nietzsche, who could think well and write well, but did not bother to read the prophetic texts available to him. Why did he need this prophet?
Perhaps he wanted to “sanctify” his “gospel” with the authority of a respected but very distant sage. Many were shocked, and some were captivated by the Nietzschean apology of Superman, but could anyone reproach him with incorrect references to Zarathustra? After all, in fact, the preacher of the new morality only borrowed from the prophet the idea that man is free, but the opportunity to dispose of this freedom gave not the most laudable.
Is Zarathustra guilty of this? Does he have anything to do with it? Probably not. No one would think of blaming Christ for the zealous activity of the Holy Inquisition, would they?
We are talking about the freedom of the human will. The subject is, of course, dangerous. And yet we have seen the manifestation of this freedom not only in the deeds of Hitler, but also in the countless ascetic destinies of many saints and quite secular, but great people. Everyone chooses what they want and what they can do. You can go to the right, or you can go to the left: it all depends on you. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Author: Elena Saveleva