Zoroaster’s Life and Verses
(Translated by Dr. Zurab Aloian)
I appreciate the fact that the Kurdish Institute in Berlin, for the first time in history, organized an academic conference dedicated to the interaction between Zoroastrian heritage and Kurdish tradition. I support the view of those participants who characterize the pure and glorious religion of Zarathustra as an indispensable constituent of our national existence. I intend to contribute to this initiative by presenting my findings concerning Zarathustra and his hymns widely known as Gathas. In line with modern European spelling, I shall use his name as Zoroaster, although he can also well be referred to with more precise variants, that is, Zarathustra and Zerdesht (in Kurdish). With regard to the name of the religious community, I shall sometimes apply their self-description as Behdini, while mostly using the widely accepted term Zoroastrian(ism). I shall also follow the Kurdish geographic and historical terminology while referring to the occupied parts of our homeland: North Kurdistan instead of Turkish Kurdistan and East Kurdistan instead of Iranian Kurdistan.
The Kurds and Religion
The Aryan homeland in general and Mesopotamia in particular has been the birthplace of various material and spiritual values which are nowadays shared and used by the entire mankind. Apparently, being the country of beauty and love of Ahura Mazda, it represents the very Paradise - fertile, mysterious and desired – revealed in Semitic religions.
Throughout the whole human history this country, abundant in numerous water sources, has been a place where people found refuge and safety. The generous fountains of cold drinking water and refreshing rivers and lakes revived, edified and consequently purified the souls of human beings. Apparently, this might be a reason why the legends and fairy-tales from the region, now spread all over the world, gladden our hearts and accompany us in our search of wisdom and beauty.
Likewise, in the Mesopotamian plains and mounts, through sufferings, joy and permanent cultural renewals, the proto-Arian community and an Arian man have been shaped. In their fine and colourful homeland, which would acquire the name of Kurdistan, the Kurds developed their religious beliefs and delivered their spiritual findings to others. Certainly, it will be no exaggeration to state that Kurdistan became one of the main world centres of intellectual life and self-imposed sense of helpfulness.
It is generally accepted that every religious system is largely based on both natural conditions and social relationships within a group. Therefore, the gods and goddesses differ so much in their personality and actions. Logically, we have to adjust this idea to the reality of Kurdistan: the regal beauty of its nature and a simple - up to purity - social system of the ancient Kurds would necessarily have contributed to their glorious cosmic beliefs.
If we look at the religious cults, prior to the Behdini religion, better known as Zoroastrianism, we observe frightening proofs of darkness of mind and natural miseries of the peoples. The unlimited desire to rule, to order and to abuse the needs of the suppressed and impoverished groups, horrible treatment of the prisoners of war together with the practice of human sacrifices – all this became hallowed by awkward superstitions. As a result, the divinities of pre-Zoroastrian traditions were seen as devious, malicious, sometimes anxious and often aggressive beings. Therefore, one has to recognise the value of the revolution in mind made by Zoroaster who denied power ambitions to the wicked imaginary divinities.
Zoroaster’s personal experience, his wide-range knowledge and tireless activities led to the idea that fire is sacred. For there are both material fire and fire as a symbol of destruction of darkness. Apparently, it was an imperative of his age to enlighten the people, to make them free of dark or rather mistaken thoughts and deeds and to give them back their natural right of being pride and creative. Thus, the appearance of the new religion paved a way to a happy and vivid life, the life without anger and oppression, the life which has no need of human sacrifices.
The Characteristic of the Age of Zoroaster
It is of utmost importance to emphasise Zoroaster’s goodwill and ability to resist the unfavourable circumstances. In order to understand or even analyse Zoroaster’s revolt for a better life one has to take into consideration the fact that he had been perfectly aware of the characteristics of his age and his contemporaries. He was personally acquainted with Mithraistic magicians and priests. One observes that Zoroaster and his priestly followers endeavoured to remove the chain of oppression from the necks of peasants, shepherds and hired workers. Evidently, these economic and social elements must be involved into discussions about Zoroaster’s preaching, who was a prophet both as a man of religion and as a social reformer.
We are all badly influenced by the centuries of material values, money and social inequality. However, in order to approach Zoroaster’s ideology, we must go at least four thousand years back and imagine ourselves without the material objects including the most modern ones such as watches, TV and radio broadcastings and mobile phones. Let us pretend to live in a world consisting of the Sun, Moon and stars, cold and warm weather, days and nights, hunger and delicious natural meal, health and illness, people and animals, desert and fertile soil. With regard to the people, they would have no identity documents and nationality adherence, they would feel a mixed sense of the native soil and abroad. They were surrounded and governed by the gods and goddesses, some of them helpful, some hostile and some indifferent. In a word, people have been living within and dependent on the nature. And the nature was reflected in their spiritual life.
The products of the tireless work of the oppressed groups would not benefit them. Neither would it help the ill and disabled people. Everything what they grow, produce and build would be eventually possessed by those in power, those who did not hesitate to view themselves as half-divinities. The priests and cult figures, because of their personal dividends, would strengthen the ideological premises of the social inequality. The majority has been abused and that led to the wide spread of fear. And fear ruled over human minds and souls. Fear seemed to have been overwhelming and lasting.
By definition, socially motivated fear must unavoidably have been reflected in the popular understanding of divinities. It is no surprise therefore why the gods and goddesses were often viewed as destructive, malicious and hostile even to each other. Believing that there have been heavenly battles between supernatural beings, the poor indigent men and women were trembling and agreeing with their earthly fate. Otherwise, as they perceived the things, they would get more troubles, illnesses and punishment if they dared to interfere into cosmic ordeals. It is such a psychological climate that enabled the mighty representatives of the priests and oppressors to sacrifice people during the horrible rituals aimed at satisfying imagined demands of the imagined deities.
Is it not a miracle that against such a depressive background a person like Zoroaster would preach and change the whole way of evolution? Is it not an evidence of his greatness?
The Time of Zoroaster’s Arrival
There is one common point in all the great world-wide religions: they have already been researched and events in their history have been largely reconstructed. Thanks to the academic and literary books, masterpieces of art and movies, the religious inspiration has embraced hundreds of millions of people. As sad as it can be, the Zoroastrian primary sources have been subjected to burning and total annihilation. Needless to say, this fact alone negatively affected the correct understanding of Zoroastrian religious culture and values. As a result, even the scholars professionally dealing with Zoroastrianism cannot agree about basic points. One of them is the period of Zoroaster’s life and preaching. The divergent opinions can be grouped in the following way:
1) around 700 BC;
2) between the years 2000 and 1800 BC;
3) earlier than 2000 BC.
There are even believers maintaining that Zoroaster lived 30,000 years ago.
Naturally, there are people who negatively approach the subject. Otherwise they would have to accept that Zoroaster has been the first prophetic figure preaching monotheistic principles and clearly stating that Virtue and Evil are both different and interdependent. One has to understand – but not to justify - their opposition to the fact that Zoroaster was the first and most glorious prophet in the history of the mankind and that he laid the grounds later developed by the younger great religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Moreover, Zoroaster’s world outlook preceded that of the famous Greek philosophy in general and Socrates in particular.
The earliest reliable sources passed to us are the notes of the ancient Greeks who believed that Zoroaster had lived around the year 2000 BC. Remarkably, the first Greek author who had mentioned Zoroaster, Xantus, lived in the 5th century BC. In 215 AD, Diogenes Lartius, made two references about Zoroaster’s life. On the one hand, he referred to Xantus and thus traced Zoroaster’s life 2000 years back. On the other hand, he mentioned a disciple of Platon called Hermodors, who believed that Zoroaster had lived 5000 years before the Trojan War. In doing so, Diogenes Lartius based his calculation on the date of the arrival of the army led by Xashayarsha, which had been 580 BC. If so, then we must add 2000 years to the date of Xashayarsha’s campaign. However, if we take the established date of the Trojan War, that is, 1184 BC, then we can conclude that Hermodoros had had a knowledge of Zoroaster’s time and that had been 6184 BC. That would somehow correspond to the year of 6500 BC, as some believe. In other words, it might be stated that Zoroaster had lived 8500 years ago.
The Dates presented by Platonic, neo-Platonic and Later Authors
The great ancient Greek philosopher Platon was born in 429 BC and died in 347 BC. In the book entitled “Alkibiades” his disciples expressed their personal views and, amongst other things, referred to Zoroaster who is said to have lived 2000 years before Platon’s death. To prove the solidness of their opinion one has to name the above-mentioned disciples of Platon: Aristotle, Euduxus and Hermodoros.
Later, the Roman author Plinius (23 BC- 79 AD) in his famous “Naturalis Historial” would also state the calculation of Aristotle and Euduxus about Zoroaster’s life as 6000 years before the death of Platon. Remarkably, Plinius adds that the prophet Moses lived thousands of years after Zoroaster.
Another Greek author, Plutarkhos, known as Plutarch (46 - 125 AD) speaks about Zoroaster as having lived 5000 years before the Trojan War.
The French historian C. De. Harleze on the page 20 of his book “A Preface to Avesta”, translated into English by P.A. Wadiya, mentions a certain Theopompus, a native of Khios. The latter also spoke of Zoroaster’s life as 6000 year before Platon and agreed with Aristotle in that Zoroastrianism HAD preceded ancient Egyptian religion.
Later on, in 970s AD; a neo-Platonic author Suidas composed a dictionary of the famous people, which refers to two individuals named Zoroaster: the first one being a Median scholar (5000 years before the Trojan War) and the second one being an astronomer and a contemporary of Ninos. As we know from a fairy-tale “The Princess of Assyria”, Ninos was the spouse of Semiramis of Babylon.
The German scholar Baron Bunsen in his book entitled “The Place of Egypt in Universal History”, translated into English by Charles H. Cattrells in 1859, estimated Zoroaster’s time as 6500 BC.
Furthermore; the French thinker Volter showed a great respect towards Zoroaster, who, as Volter stated, had lived 6000 years before King Cyrus of Persia.
H. S. Spencer, the author of the book “The Aryan Ecliptic Cycle”, published in 1965 in Bombay (India), concluded his research on astronomy by presenting the date of Zoroaster’s life as 7129 BC.
However, there is a Chinese historical sources referring to the Zoroastrians. Around 571 and 545 BC, or in the year 21 of the reign of Ling Wang, a book “Se i Pien-Pao” writes: Zoroaster, a great scholar of Median Empire, succeeded to organize his religion into a school of thought. It is interesting that it was the period of Ling Wang’s reign which coincided with the activities of the great thinker of China Confutsius. The Behdini, or Zoroastrian, religion has been first referred as Pai Houo meaning “the religion of fire” and later would change to Tao Koan (“the sky religion”).
In order to compare one has to remember that Buddha lived between 650/563 and 480/483 BC. In addition, we may repeat the dates established by the Jewish writers and theologians: Moses was born in 1392 BC to reach the prophetic mission at the age of 80; Abraham lived around 1815 BC and even Noah lived not earlier than 2705 BC. In other words, Zoroaster’s activity took place 4000 years before Noah, who is revered by all the monotheists.
It must be noted that Gerardo Gnoli, an Italian expert in Zoroastrianism, dedicated his study “Zoroaster’s Time and Homeland” to the various sources and came to the similar conclusion: Zoroaster lived well before other great prophets of the East.
Another student of Zoroaster and his religion, the Persian author Zabij Behruz in his book “Iranian History and Calendar” made a serious research on the subject. According to him, Zoroaster was an astronomer and laid the grounds of mathematical calculations. Zabij Behruz thinks that Zoroaster was born in 1767 BC
Zoroaster’s Birthplace and Migration
The issue of Zoroaster’s birthplace is rather complicated. Regrettably, amongst the hundreds of the studies on the subject there is no single one in the Kurdish language. Here we can sum up the known facts.
Zoroaster was born under the names of Dwghada and Purvashasp to a noble family of Spentman which could be translated as White Race or White Origins (“Spi Regez” in Kurdish). The Kurdish author from Kermanshah (East Kurdistan) Amadaddin Dewletshahi deciphers his name as Zarathavashtarai with Zara” (“zer” in Kurdish) meaning “gold” or “golden ray”, Thavianta implying “shining”, Vashatar for “falling” and Ai (“hatin” in Kurdish) for “coming”. It perfectly corresponds to the word describing “the falling golden rays of the Sun” to be found in the Kurdish dialect of Hewraman (Avraman) in Eastern Kurdistan.
It is widely believed that Zoroaster left his birthplace for a region in the East of Iranian homeland. Not surprisingly, here again we have two major views. One group of the scholars, comprising many Persian experts, maintain that Zoroaster had been born nearby the lake Urmiya (Western Iran and Kurdistan) and later moved to the city of Balkh (nowadays in Afghanistan).
Another group holds the opinion that the east Iranian region of Khorasan is Zoroaster’s birthplace, from where he would move to Balkh in Afghanistan and die at the age of 77. It must be noted that in writing so, the second group of the scholars lack sound evidence and therefore apply indirect historical and logical constructions. However, this opinion has for a long time been one of the grounds of the Persian-led political and intellectual movement known as pan-Iranism.
Both groups refer to the Younger Avesta which provides us the name of Balkh as the place where Zoroaster must have migrated to. Yet, let us look at the material precisely. Zoroaster is said to have found refugee in the valleys described as Ushidareno. This term is used to designate Avidar in the district of Sinne in East Kurdistan. The Younger Avesta also mentions the mountains called Huger, which may well correspond to the mountains of Hajir in Dinavar, East Kurdistan. There, Zoroaster must have created his hymns known as Gathas. Furthermore, the sacred fire place in Bakterita, founded by Zoroaster, is nothing else than the thousand-years old Parsina, later Bakhtar, located around the city of Kermanshah in the above-mentioned Dinavar of East Kurdistan.
I personally came to the conclusion that Zoroaster was born in the city of Shiz, which has always been playing the role in Zoroastrian religion similar to Vatikan in Catholicism or Mecca in Islam. Shiz is located in East Kurdistan, between the cities of Seqez, Tikab and Sayen-Qela. It is better known under the name of Takht-e Sulayman.
With regard to Balkh or Belkhe, I am almost convinced that it refers to the village of Belkhe (Balkha) in the valley of Shahrezur in Kurdistan, politically located on the border between Iraq and Iran. It used to be a big cultural centre, demolished first during the Arab conquest and recently by the Baathist regime in Iraq. If the Kurds had a power over their fate, they would undoubtedly find the ways to recover their cultural heritage.
Avesta and its Language
There exists even greater divergence of viewpoints concerning the language or languages in which Avesta has been composed. The overwhelming majority of the Western and Persian authors share the opinion that Avesta is written in an extinct language, once spoken or used within the Iranian cultural orbit. Nevertheless they do not or rather cannot deny the existence of some Avestan words and expressions amongst the living Iranian languages and dialects. Since the absence of the Kurdish independence and consequently free Kurdish intellectual and academic life, no consideration has been given to the facts linking the Kurdish dialects with the Avestan language.
First of all, it is undeniable that the Kurdish language is a very rich one with a long oral and literary tradition. Perhaps, no direct proof can be presented that the Avestan language is still alive amongst the Kurds. Nonetheless, very many words and grammatical elements traced back to Avesta can be detected in Kurdish, especially in its archaic dialects. I would suggest the experts compare those linguistic and grammatical elements in Avesta and Hewrami and Dimili (or Zaza) dialects.
Certainly, the major problem arises from the fact that virtually all the Avestan texts have been burnt and otherwise destroyed. Nowadays, the scholars came to the conclusion that only one of the four texts of Avesta has survived. But even the existing Sasanian texts demonstrate the above-mentioned parallels between the Kurdish dialects and the Avestan language. Moreover, the language of the Sasanid empire may be rightfully described as Hewrami.
Another critical point needs to be made here: Avesta is not a religious text only. It is also a scholarly Encyclopaedia of its age. It must have a reason why 21 volumes originally possessed by the priests (Mobeds) were equally divided into three parts of 7 volume each.
The first part, Gathas, are the hymns of Zoroaster himself. The second one, Dadas, deal with justice, laws, issues of power, art and economic issues of that period. Remarkably, the word “Dad”, used to describe the second part of Avesta, in both Avestan and Kurdsih imply justice. The third part explains prayers as well as respectful and disrespectful behaviour and things.
Out of this great text only six and half volumes survived centuries of oppression and hidden religiosity of the Zoroastrian communities world-wide. The most interesting pages describing astronomy, medicine and other branches of science are either lost or have been intentionally destroyed by the Arab-Muslim authorities. Certainly, the process of obliteration of the Avestan scientific material took some time, during which the Arab elite groups succeeded to borrow and exploit the material in the way that made Arabic and Islamic civilization intellectually attractive.
The Gathas, Zend and Pazend
The proper Avesta consists of two parts. The first one is a collection of the Gathas, otherwise known as the Old Avesta, which are hymns of Zoroaster himself. The second part is known as the Younger Avesta comprising texts of Zoroaster’s disciples, later theologians and writers up to the arrival of Islam. I am primarily committed to the Old Avesta, itself consisting of 17 Gathas (parts, volumes) divided into 238 hymns to Ahura. These are 896 lines in a poetic form, which in turn comprise 5560 words.
It would be rightful to divide the Gathas into 5 books:
- Ahnawagatha (hymns 28-34); these 5 hymns are also entitled Yasht Gahan;
- Ashtwadagatha, 4 hymns (hymns 43-46);
- Spentumegatha, 4 hymns (47-50);
- Wahukhshatarugatha and Waheshtuahisht, both composed at the same time (hymns 51-53).
During thousands of years of spread of the Behdini (Zoroastrian) religious culture, it had to adapt to the changing language and new ethnic groups. That is why the composition of the Younger Avesta became necessary. The word Zend used to describe the part of the Younger Avesta means in both Avestan and Hewrami Kurdish “commentary”. Reasonably, Zend was intended to help those believers who could have had difficulties with understanding the original text. The root of the word Zend is the Old Avestan Zanty meaning “knowledge” and “awareness”. It must be stressed that today only Kurdish preserves this word in its original meaning. Another word in the Younger Avesta – Pazend – is in turn designated to interpret Zend.
We may hope that objective scholarly analyses of the texts and words together with drawing linguistic parallels between Avesta and the modern Kurdish dialects of Hewrami and Dimili (Zaza) will lead us to a better understanding of the Zoroastrian phenomenon.
The Gathas as Zoroaster’s Prophecy
One of the decisive issues in researching Zoroaster’s legacy is the current fate of the Kurds and their intellectual freedom. The Kurds are deprived of self-determination and therefore cannot enjoy the depth of Zoroaster’s world outlook. Indeed, the second determines the first: the inability of the Kurds to stay in line with Zoroaster’s teaching prevents them from obtaining political liberties.
Zoroaster is justly viewed as the first monotheistic preacher who largely pre-destined the human perception of the world. But more than that: he was a political figure with a very clear vision of freedom. That is why he laid legal and religious grounds for future achievements of people in their liberation and emancipation from powers of nature and social injustice. Zoroaster’s role in the shaping of the future of mankind was that in the age of fear, slavery, human offerings and deification of both foreign and domestic oppression, he showed that the Arians were equal by birth and were entitled to count religion as a promoter of their dignity. The main principle to achieve that was, in Zoroaster’s view, adherence to the Truth. Indeed, he elevated the Truth to the cosmic level and blamed the Lie for human misfortunes.
Zoroaster gave the Arians the feeling of personal self-respect, self-trust and self-commitment. According to him, every man and woman is able to organise his or her life independently. Only thus life brings happiness and opens the way to eternity. I believe that even today everybody can profit from Zoroaster’s philosophical views beautifully elaborated in the Gathas.
The hymns of the Gathas are composed in a transparent and divinely simple language. As nowhere else here we observe his talent and ability to reach out human soul. Consequently, if we tend to comprehend what Zoroaster meant and wanted, we have to concentrate on the Gathas. Actually, the Gathas are the primary material for Zoroastrian ethics and aesthetics. Despite some opposing views, I maintain that all the researchers must first of all be well aware of the Gathas and take them as a far more important source than, for instance, the Younger Avesta. In claiming this, I join such outstanding scholars as Lawrence Heyworth Mills who gave pre-eminence to the Gathas over other surviving texts.
I might sum up my observation about the Gathas in the following way:
1. Zoroaster believes that a human being can choose between Virtue and Evil and bares responsibility for that choice (31.9).
2. Zoroaster’s own desire for wisdom enabled him to know Ahura Mazda (31.8).
3. Zoroaster gave significance to one’s feelings (44.7).
4. Zoroaster claimed the Oneness of the Creator and His omnipotent abilities (31.7).
5. Zoroaster realised that there are eternal and unchangeable laws laid by Ahura Mazda with the Truth - Asha – being the basic cosmic principle (28.2).
6. Zoroaster acknowledged the existence and struggle of the two major cosmic powers (30.1).
7. According to Zoroaster, the acceptance of One religion is an important task for a man whose soul reflects the two opposing powers and who nevertheless is obliged to make the right choice (30.3).
8. Everyone, in Zoroaster’s view, is personally responsible for differentiating Virtue and Evil (31.20).
9. Zoroaster defines the best way to follow a decent life as making good things; likewise, the worst life is based on wrong actions of a man. The Just Creator prepared neither Paradise, nor Hell for a person and the only way to enjoy afterlife is to act in accordance with the Truth (30.4).
10. The deeper goal of creating a man, in Zoroaster’s view, was to wage a better fight against the Lie, which is the cosmic opponent of the Truth. Every single person must feel that staying away from the Lie brings us eternal joy (30.5).
11. Zoroaster describes the people who lie and avoid saying the right things as those who weaken the Truth (31.15).
12. Zoroaster’s judgment is that every person must fight oppression and wrong actions (30.10).
13. Zoroaster identifies two ways for a person to fight the Lie: alone and with the community (30.11).
14. Therefore Zoroaster thinks that the Last Judgement deals with a community. Thus, only a joint action by the members of the community will eliminate social injustice and thus strengthen the Truth (31.16).
15. Zoroaster defines Ahriman differently from Jude-Christian and Islamic definition of Satan. Ahriman is the personification of negative, wrong and untrue thoughts. The original name of Ahriman was Angra Maniu which traces back to the words Angara (“bad”, “unpleasant”) and Minu (“circulation”, “moving around”) (30.6).
16. Zoroaster maintains that nobody is born bad, but a person acquires negative features in a society that does not promote knowledge and the Truth (31.17).
17. In Zoroaster’s view, happiness is personal and it is based on knowledge, which leads to the respect towards intellectuals and enlighteners (31.6).
18. Zoroaster proposes proper education in order to help people to avoid bad thoughts and deeds (30.8).
19. Consequently, Zoroaster give a special importance to the wise and experienced men who reached a necessary degree of comprehension how this world functions. Such wise men must be honoured in the society and play a role of instructors and advisers in the religious matters. This would help every single person to find his or her way to the Truth (31.3).
20. Zoroaster sees freedom of thought as a natural right. Every person must be free to shape his or her views and choose the right way (31.12).
21. Zoroaster uses a highly respectful and careful language to warn people from following the Lie and making a choice for the Truth (28.5).
22. Despite some cases of involuntary engagement in wars, Zoroaster shows his hope that friendship and brotherhood between the human groups will inevitably solve difficult problems (29.3).
23. Zoroaster denies the necessity of giving offerings to God and portrays this tradition as empty and lacking wisdom (32.14).
24. Zoroaster finds self-constraint and spiritual well-being to be essential to reach “the Truth and Justice” (33.14).
25. Zoroaster elevates sensible and positive job to the level of one of the main grounds to build Virtue world-wide (49.1).
26. Zoroaster warns against bad teachers who mislead and destroy human desires (32.10).
27. The first step, according to Zoroaster, is that one must understand himself or herself (43.12).
It is crucial to stress that God, in Zoroaster’s view, is never angry, jealous and deceptive. He embodies joy, peace and just laws. That must have had a big influence on the people of Mesopotamia and Kurdistan. Not coincidentally, this philosophical principle is reflected in Kurdish fairy-tales, traditional values and beloved heroes of our epic stories.
Even Judaism, Christianity and Islam agree that North Kurdistan is the primordial Paradise where Adam and Eve have been created. Unfortunately, during the Arab and Islamic conquest of Kurdistan, our nation lost many elements of its material culture as well as its spiritual freedom. The ancient texts which had been guiding us were destroyed in fire with remaining knowledge became unlawfully owned by later religious cultures. Geography, Medicine, Philosophy, History, Astronomy, Music, See-Exploration and Theology – we have been deprived of this heritage to have it translated in Arabic and to glorify Islam.
As if all this were not sufficient, the Islamic authors on the one hand destroyed Zoroastrian temples and monuments together with eliminating the most loyal Zoroastrians and on the other hand draw a very negative picture of our priests and knowledgeable men. Certainly, Islam brought glory to the Arabs, but to us, the Kurds, it meant cutting the cultural thread with our glorious past.
In order to understand the tragedy our forefathers had experienced, one has to read the Arab historians and geographers. Thus, Ibn Khaldun (732-808) wrote that after the fall of the Sasanian Empire many books and libraries became possessed by the conquerors. Ibn Khaldun mentions a correspondence between Sa’ad Ibn Waqas and Umran al-Khattab: the latter found Zoroastrian writings not in line with the Quran and for that reason thousands of years of intellectual life had to be destroyed without any benevolence.
Therefore it must surprise nobody to learn that the Kurds today are so distanced from their heritage. I believe that the most significant difference between our culture and the values brought by the Semitic religions is how we perceive God. For the Jews, Christians and Muslim, God may become angry, He must be pleased, His heart must be gladdened, He is able to punish and take revenge. For Zoroaster and his followers, God is always full of positive desires and He delivers them to the humans without blackmailing them and without showing His dissatisfaction with our mistakes.
A Short Reference to Studies
Andar Hawezi. Avesta. Namey Meynewi Ayni Zerdesht [Avesta. Essential texts of the Zoroastrian religion].
Jelal Amin Beg. Avesta.
Z. Zaehner. Pokhteyek le bir u baweri Zerdesht [A glimpse to Zoroaster’s religiosity], translated by Azad Heme Ali.
Reshad Miran. Rewshi ayni u neteweyi le Kurdistan da [The religious and national factor in Kurdistan].
Mohammad Amin Hewramani. Zimani Avesta [The language of Avesta].
Abdullah Qeredakhi (Mela Ali). Zertesht [Zarathustra].
Ahmad ash-Shantawi. Zerdesht [Zoroaster], translated by Shakir Fettah.
Friedrich Nietzsche. Zerdesht away got [Also spoke Zarathustra], translated by Reuqi Ahmad Alani.
Friedrich Nietzsche. Wehay got Zerdesht [Also spoke Zarathustra], translated by Ali Nanwazade.
Hashim Razi. Zerdesht u amozhkari yekani [Zoroaster: a unique teacher], translated by M. Gomayi.
Hashim Razi. Ayne mehr Mitraizm [Mithraism as the religion of love].
Hashim Razi. Watdidad (Qanun-e zidde dew) [Laws against demons].
J. Duchesne-Guillemin. Zerdesht u cihani Khorawa [Zoroaster and the Western World], translated by Jemal Ahmad-Zade.
Nivezhen Ezdiyan [Yezidi prayers].
Mehrdad Mehrin. Ashawhishta ya peyam Zerdesht [Ashawhishta as Zoroaster’s prophecy].
Abulqsim Ismail-Pur. Ayne ginusi u manewi [Gnostic religion and Manichaenism].
Raqiye Behzadi. Bendehesh Hindi [The Indian Bandahishta].
Masud Mirshahi. Bijuhash dar farhang-e bastani o shenakht-e Awesta [Bijuhash in Avestan culture].
Diakonov. Tarikh-e Mad [A history of Media], translated by Karim Keshawroz.
Mohammad Ali Khanji. Tarikh-e Mad o mansha-e nazaria Diakonov [Diakonov’s theoretical premises on the history of Media].
Kamran Fani. Zerdesht siyasetmedar ya jadokar [Was Zoroaster a politician or magician?].
Mohammad Said Hanay Kashani. Zertesht niche kist? [Who is Zarathustra?].
Keykhosrow Kashawrozi. Zaman-e Zertesht [Zarathustra’s epoch].
Ali Dehqan. Serzemin-e Zertesht razaye [The holy birthplace of Zarathustra].
Katayun Mazdapur. Shayast-e nashayast [A disrespectful respect].
Mehreban Mehr Khawdati. Shanasi-ye Zertesht. Goftarhai be Farsi o Inglizi [Zarathustra’s Knowledge. Articles in Persian and English].
Srush Srushiyan. Ferheng-e Behdinan [Zoroastrian-Behdini culture].
Pur Dawud. Majmu’a-ye Awesta (Gathaha) sirudaha-ye Zertesht [Avestan Gathas as hymns of Zarathustra].
M. Ardashir Azerkashasp. Marasem-e mazhabi o adab-e Zerteshtiyan [The faith of the Zoroastrians].
Dr. Zabihollah Safa. Mazdaparasty dar Iran-e qadim [Mazda-worshipping in the ancient Iran].
Ved Kaj Bar and Jes Asmussen. Avesta.
Mircea Eliade, ed. “Politikens Bog Om de Store Filosoffer”. De religiose ideers Historie, volume 1.