Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest religions in the world. Zoroastrianism roots in a pastoral Iranian tribal community, which by 500 B.C. became the leading faith in Persia and Medea (now modem Iran). As a result of forced islamization of lran there was amass exodus of Zoroastrians into other regions of the world. In India Zoroastrianism was introduced in the eighth century A.D. The religion’s supreme God is known as “Mazda” or Ahura Mazda (wise lord). Fire is worshiped as a symbol of ‘Ahura Mazda’. The fire temple at Udvada is looked upon as the most sacred temple of Parsis, as the Zoroastrianian immigrants in India are known as Gujarati is their official language. Most of the Indian Parsi population lives Maharashtra especially Bombay.
Starting as a small mercantile community in India, the Parsis excelled in trade and commerce, especially ship-building and textile industry. The early growth of the modem shipping industry in India is associated with a Parsi family the Wadias. Tatas were the pioneers of the steel industry in India. Gradually the Parsis established themselves in several areas and became successful entrepreneurs, merchants, social reformers, lawyers and so on. Many Parsis derive their family from the occupations their ancestors pursued. Some of the examples are Batliwala (bottle-dealer), Jhaveri (jeweller), Unwala (wool dealer), Kapadia (cloth dealer).
TENETS OF ZOROASTRIANISM.
Zoroaster is the founder of Zoroastrianism who preached monotheism (belief in one supreme God). The basic tenets of the religion was encompassed in the two main texts Zend Avesta and Gatha. The former contains texts written between fourth and sixth century A.D. The latter are five in number with the first four being ethical, philosophical and the last is a hymn on the occasion of Zoroasters daughter’s marriage.
While Ahura Mazda is the supreme God, Angra Mainyu is the evil spirit. Zoroastrians believe that a man has to choose between leading a good life or leading an evil life. The primary task of a man is to live a righteous life. They believe that the soul continues to live after death. Zoroatrianism does not favor celibacy, renunciation, asceticism.
As earlier pointed out, fire is worshiped and it is a symbol of purity, of Ahura Mazda. There are fire temples which are of three grades Atash, Behrams, Agiaris and Dadgahs in that order of sacredness. Apart from the sacred fire in the temple Parsis have a sacred flame burning constantly in the house. Like the priest in the temple, a Parsi is expected to pray five times a day.