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Current time:0:00Total duration:7:56

Video transcript

on any discussion of ancient Persia we quickly talk about the faith of the Achaemenid Empire and that's Xaro astron ism and it's popularized by Cyrus the Great when he establishes the Achaemenid Empire takes over the median Empire the babel the neo-babylonian empire the Lydians his son canvases takes over the Egyptians and their faith is based on the teaching of Zoroaster and so aster is the Greek name for Zarathustra and sometimes the religion is referred to as Zarathustra anism and it's one of the oldest religions we have and it's an existing religion people still practice Zoroastrianism in terms of when it started there's some debate a lot of accounts have it starting as early or even earlier than 3,500 years ago so around 1500 BCE and some accounts put it a little bit closer to Cyrus the Great maybe 700 or 600 BCE and the accounts or the beginning of our religion is really around the teachings of Zarathustra and his teachings really established one of the first often viewed as monotheistic religions of the world this idea that there is one God and that God in the Zoroastrian faith is Ahura Mazda who are a Mazda and it's bully it's viewed that Ahura Mazda does not take a human form and is even you cannot even conceive of a you know fully conceived the human mind can't fully conceive of a Mazda but it who a Mazda is the in the Zoroastrian faith the one and only God but in conjunction with the idea of a who are Mazda a lot of people refer to as or Astron ISM as a dualistic fate a dualistic faith a dualistic faith means that there's this kind of interest in in counterbalancing forces for example light versus dark and of course good versus evil and one of the main ideas or words here are the ideas of Asha and ruj so asha these are the ideas of being prince pulled honest ordered and ruj is the opposite the Rouge is the idea of being unprincipled dishonest chaotic and so there's a lot of talk and and kind of inside or trying to get a better understanding of these dualistic natures in the world and trying for humanity beyond the sight of the good the light the ordered the principled the honest now right over here is a key symbol of Zoroastrianism that you might see it's called the fire of AHA I'm probably mispronouncing it para bajar and there's a lot of symbolism here it shows the connection of the universe to humanity you see the depiction of a human being here and the three layers of the wings depict these three very important ideas in Zoroastrianism the first layer is is good thoughts the second layer right over here of the wings are good words and then the third layer here is good actions good actions and it makes sense you kind of imagine this idea that good thoughts lead to good words and that combined they can lead to good actions and on the tale here and these are the things you should avoid these are the bad thoughts the bad actions or the bad thoughts the bad words and the bad actions along lines this idea of dualism especially the fascination with the ideas of light fire is a very important element of the Zoroastrian faith in fact if you visit a Zoroastrian temple you will see an eternal fire and they feed that fire five times a day another very important element of the faith is water and the sacred texts for the Zoroastrians is called the avesta and the Avesta is written in a language called avestan and it's called Avastin because it's the language that the Avesta was written in but it's written in a religion in a language that is closely related to ancient Sanskrit and so there's probably some connections or for sure there are some connections between ancient Hinduism and the the progenitor or some of the pre-existing ID is that mite that Zarathustra developed or might have built on top of now one of the really interesting things about Zoroastrianism that even though today it's a it's a relatively small faith on the order of less than two hundred thousand people around the world practice it and most of them are in India and the United States at one time it was you could view it as the state religion of ancient Persia but eventually in the 7th century CE II when / when Persia or Iran became Islamic you have a Zoroastrian Diaspora especially moving to Indiana and eventually places like the United States although there are still practicing zoroastrians in Iran but above and beyond the continuing legacy of the Zoroastrians they've had a lot of influence on some of the major religions of the world and what you have on this timeline here I've made some of the major religions you see up here in in blue you have Judaism and the reason why I draw the dotted line is these are periods and it's not exactly these language these religions are evolving and they're forming and they're getting more and more of tradition over time so you hear Judaism and of course Christianity is in a lot of ways built on top of Judaism Jesus was a was Jewish you have Islam right over here which of the major world religions is one of the newest in a lot of ways built or related to Christianity and Judaism and even though the Zoroastrianism is related and it kind of comes out of a similar kind of kind of early Arian people type of religion it has a lot of influence on some of these other traditional or these mainstream religions that we have in the world today as we mentioned it's it's viewed as a monotheistic religion and it's also had a direct influence on for example Christianity so right over here this is from John Baker who's a famous Christian theologian he wrote in his book world religions that angels the end of the world a final judgment the resurrection and heaven and hell received form and substance from Zoroastrian beliefs in in Christian tradition the three wise men the three kings the Three Magi that visit the baby Jesus Magi this is referring to Zara streon priests who are visiting the baby Jesus and the word magic comes from the word Magi because the johast the Zoroastrian elite the priests they were very well they were very capable in the sciences of astronomy and they were also we're very well known for their astrology and so some people associated them with magical capabilities also has close ties to Islam the the sacred fire in Zoroastrianism is fed five times a day Zoroastrians or Astra UNS pray five times a day and before prayer they go through a ritual around washing themselves for to cleanse themselves where they wash themselves three times before each prayer that is something that we see in Islam so Zoroastrianism it's the the faith of ancient Persia popularized by Cyrus the Great and it's a living religion even today although it's a much smaller population that practices it but as we've seen it's had a lot of influence on many of the major world religions