Paragraphs on Zoroastrianism!
The founder of Zoroastrianism was the Persian prophet Zarathustra, who probably lived around 6th or 7th century BC. At the heart of Zoroastrianism is the belief in a struggle between good and evil.
There is one eternal God, Ahura Mazda, wholly wise, just and good. Angra Mainyu, the spirit of evil, is wholly wicked.
Followers of Zoroastrianism believe that good will ultimately triumph over evil, and that the last day will come. Fire plays a central part in Zoroastrian worship. Indeed, earth, fire and air are all regarded as sacred, while death is the result of evil.
Dead matter pollutes all it touches, therefore where there is suitable space, dead bodies are placed in the open to be eaten by vultures (as at the Towers of Silence in Mumbai). However, burial and cremation are common nowadays.
Zarathustra composed 17 gathas (sacred songs) and the Athuna Vairyo (a sacred chant) which are now studied as writings in an ancient language, Old Avestan. Other later writings form the collection of Zoroastrian holy texts called the Avesta. Translations of Avestan texts with glossaries and commentaries are called the Zend.
The first Zoroastrians arrived on the west coast of India in AD 936 on being persecuted and forced out of their native Iran by invading Islamic Arabs. They became known by their now much more familiar name, the Parsis.
Although a minority even in cities where they are concentrated and religiously conservative, the Parsis have been a prominent economic and social influence. They adopted westernised customs and took advantage of the economic opportunities offered by colonial industrialisation. In India they have made eight Atash Bahram—major fire temples.