Vendidad has 22 chapters and covers topics as geography of the ancient Aryans,history of king Jamshed of the peshdadian dynasty, five kinds of different places producing joy and sorrow, instructions to keep away from nasaa or decomposing matter, Barshnum ceremony, different species of dogs and their care, qualifications of the priests etc.
A Yasht is a prayer in praise of a divinity.Some of the Yashts contain valuable information about the history of ancient Iran. There are 22 Yashts in all.
Khordeh Avesta means Smaller Avesta.It contains short prayers to be recited daily such as five Gaahs,Five Nyaaishs,some smaller Yashts,Stum prayer and one or two Monaajaats.
The sacred literature of the Zoroastrians and its language are called Avesta The word is variously derived by different scholars, but the most probable derivation seems to be from he stem vid to know so Avesta means 'What is known'. It is generally acknowledged that Avesta was the language of east Iran.
Avesta and Sanskrit are sister languages, having much in common. Not only is there a close relationship between the words of the two languages but at times even the whole sentences are found identical. In particular there is a close affinity between the Vedic sanskrit and the Gathic Avesta, and by applying some rules of phonetics entire Gathic stanzas can be changed into sanskrit.
When Avesta language ceased to be properly understood, translation and commentary were made in another language viz Pahlavi, by the learned for the use of the general public in the Sasanian times, that is, from 3rd century A.D. onwards.
Pahlavi language was he language current in Iran in the Sasanian times from 226 A.D. onwards. It is a polyphonous language as the letters of its alphabets are variously pronounced. There are some words of Semetic origin in Pahlavi because ancient Iran was under Semetic influence at different periods in its history. Pahlavi is also called Middle-Persian because it stands midway between the old Persian and Modern Persian.
Pahlavi being a curious admixture of Iranian and Semetic elements was difficult to be understood. Hence,to simplify the language all the Semetic words were banished from Pahlavi and substituted by their Iranian equivalents. Hence a new and simplified language viz.Pazand came into being. It is written in Avestan characters.
It is not certain when exactly Zarathustra lived. Greek and Roman writers place his age in a very remote past. Aristotle, Pliny and Plato place his age at 6000 B.C. and Hermippus at 7000 B.C. Some have attempted to place him between 2500 to 1000 B.C. and still others after 1000 B.C.
They were Kavis and Karapans or the willfully blind and the willfully deaf who refused to embrace his teachings which aimed at moral and spiritual uplift.
Zarathustra's greatest contribution to spiritual philosophy is the Gathas. They are the prime-utterances of the prophet and forms the quintessenee of his religious faith. They are five in number Ahunavaiti, Ushtavaiti, Spentamainyu, Vohukhshatra and Vahishtoisti, composed in archaic metres. Spiritual element preponderates in the Gathas.
Anger, robbery, rapine and all kinds of wickedness stalked the face of the earth at the time of Zarathustra's birth and mankind was plunged into the darkness and gloom of materialism.
Zarathustra traced the origin of evil to one of the twin spirits who differ in thoughts, words and deeds, one being better and the other evil(Yasna 30-3) Further it is said that the two spirits produced life(gaya) and non-life.(ajyaaiti).
Any form of life can be produced but what about non-life? How can it be produced? The implication is that life (gaya) refers to positive life-force, and non-life (ajyaaiti) to negative force of decay and destruction which acts against life. And it is a fact that all life-force in existence meets with resistance which seeks to stifle it.
Spenta and Angra are the two spirits instrumental in the administration of the affairs of the universe.Spenta means increasing or benificient, and Angra means destroying or straitening.
No. The two spirits in the Gathas, are personified. But the gathas are composed in poetic form and personification is the characteristic feature of poetry. This personification does not endow the two primeval causes with real personality, but it is apparent in poetry.
Zarathustra carried on a constant crusade against evil arising out of magic,sorcery and materialism which in his days were rampant in those days. The propagators of evil creed in his days were known as Daevas whom Zarathustra has singularly denounced.
Mankind according to the Zoroastrian religion may generally be divided into two categories - I) ashavan or those who are on the path of rectitude and II) dravant or those who detract from that path. All kinds of evil in society emanate, for the most part, from the second category of people and it is the bounden duty of every Zoroastrian to exert himself to resist and stem the tide of evil.
A true Zoroastrian is expected to lead a life of active virtues and must always be on his feet to rise against any injustice or oppression done to the righteous or the downtrodden. He should under no circumstances, be a party to injustice tyranny or wickedness.
No. According to Zoroastrian teachings struggle against evil should proceed hand-in-hand with the zeal to reform. Not only to strike a blow in the teeth of wrong but also to improve and rehabilitate the wicked on the path of virtue should be ideal of a crusader against evil. Druj should be handed over to Asha, that is the wicked should be reinstated on the path of rectitude.