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Zoroastrianism dates back thousands of years and some say it is actually one of the oldest prophetic religions.

Zoroastrianism was founded by the Persian philosopher and prophet Zarathustra (also known as Zoraster) and operates on the belief that there are two equal and opposite powers at work in the universe (good and evil). Zoroastrians believe that the conflict between these two powers will always ultimately affect mankind. According to the Zoroastrian faith there are two deities or gods that are perpetually at war with each other Ahura Mazda (also known as Ohrmazd or Ohrmuzd) the good God and Ahriman the evil God.

Zoroastrians are taught to live well and prosperously enjoying everything that the world has to offer in moderation. Zoroastrians don’t believe in things like fasting, celibacy and monasticism because these things are seen as weakening the mind and the body making a person less able to combat evil. Instead of depriving the body of what it needs Zoroastrians are encouraged to reject pessimism and despair and embrace an industrious, active, honest, happy and charitable lifestyle.

In his teachings Zarathustra eludes to the fact that all events of the world occur on a cause and effect basis and therefore he highlights the importance of three principles: good reflection, good word and good deed. In this way it seems that Zarathustra was trying to teach his followers to treat others as they would like to be treated in return.

The Zoroastrian scripture is called the Avesta and the text was written in Old Iranian. The Avesta consists of four major sections: the Yasna (which includes the Gathas which are songs that most Zoroastrians consider to be the oldest part of the Avesta written by Zarathustra himself), the Yashts, The Vispered and the Videvdat.

Zoroastrians consider light and fire to be the two cleanest phenomena on earth so these phenomena have been chosen to represent the good God Ahura Mazda. Fires burn continuously in the temples where Zoroastrians go to pray and share communion. These places of worship are often referred to as ”fire temples”.

The largest Zoroastrian communities are now concentrated in and around Mumbai, India. These Zoroastrians are known as the Parsis (people of Persian descent).