Principles of Zoroastrianism: Usefulness
“Ahura Mazda, indeed, does not allow us to waste anything of value that we may have, not even so much as an Asperena’s weight of thread, not even so much as a maid lets fall in spinning.”
~Max Muller’s Sacred Books of the East
[Edit and note to all: It is assumed that the reader understands the important role that Zarathustrians have played in the history of both the Jews and the Christians. First, in the Old Testament, the Persian King Cyrus issued the decree that allowed many of the people who had been removed from their lands by the Babylonians to return to their homelands. That is what the Book of Ezra is about. Next, in the New Testament, it is probable that the Wisemen who visited the newborn baby named Y’shua (Jesus) with rich gifts were Zarathustrians. The astonishing fact is, they knew more than the Judeans themselves about the greatness of this event. At Christmas time we all enjoy images of the Zarathustrians traveling the dangerous route through the desert on their camels, and kneeling by the manger. Often, our Nativity sets include the Wisemen and several cows, which were properly respected by the Zarathustrians. These are just two reasons why I enjoy studying the Gathas and the Bundahishn. If I had my way, people would say, “The three great monotheistic religions are Judaism, Zarathustrianism, and Christianity.”]
Comment on the quote: The parallels between the teachings of the New Testament and the teachings of Zoroaster are worthy of study. Since excellent translations into English of the primary texts are available, it is possible to compare the two and make modest progress understanding the similarities of the principles and the most basic teachings, without a deep knowledge of the original languages.
Zoroaster’s teachings are written in Gathic Avestan, a language whose only existing texts are the Gathas of Zoroaster himself. Mary Boyce assigns an early date for the life of Zoroaster (c. 1400-1200 BC) based on the similarity of the Gathic Avestan language to the more ancient Vedic writings. He lived in present-day Iran.
In this parallel passage from the New Testament, there is a gathering of people numbering more than 5,000 on a hill in Judea, or modern-day Israel. They are mainly curious about the miracles, and they have also listened to Yeshua teach. He expresses his desire to feed the people who attended his teaching.
[Andrew] said to Him,“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
Then Yeshua said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Yeshua took the loaves, and when he had given thanks he distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
So when they were filled, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
These passages, one from the Zand Avesta and the other from the New Testament, are clearly both teaching that uses can be found even for small and easily overlooked items.