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Interesting Module


Text By Ratu A. A. Jafarey

 

Chapter 5:
The Gathic Era

Module 13

Birth of Zarathushtra

While Kavi Aurvataspa ruled in the Helmand valley in the south, up in the north, probably Chorasmia
(Old Persian Hvarazmi, Neo-Persian Khvarazm) on the lower bank of the Oxus, a large family called the
Spitamas lived. They were livestock farmers and were known for their horses. A family branch known as
Haechataspa had, among others, one Patiraspm (avestan form not determined). Patirasp had two sons:
Pourushaspa and Arasti. At some days' distance from them lived another family with a daughter named
Dughdav. She was a thinking and outspoken young maid. She expressed her doubts about the Aryan cult
and its complicated rites. This enraged the priests, and as prompt inquisitors they condemned her as a
heretic and had her banished. Her father took her away and entrusted her to his old friend Patirasp, who
had quite an open mind and enough courage to accept her into his household. Soon thereafter, Dughdav
and Pourushaspa were married. They begot a son whom they named Zarathushtra. Tradition says, that
the baby laughed at birth---a very rare phenomenon. This recollection of a broad smile on the very first
day has become a metaphor for his “laughing” message to the world.

Scholars over the years has pushed back considerably the year of Zarathushtra's birth, yet it still remains
controversial. New evidence puts it between 1080 and 1700 BCE. Linguistically, he should be
contemporary with some of the Rig Vedic rshis to whom he makes passing allusions. This would place
him around 1700 B.C.E. The Gathas mention bronze but not iron; this again confirms the Vedic age.
Astronomical calculations by certain Iranian scholars, with the late Zabih Behruz at the head, place
Zarathushtra's birth in the early spring of 1767 B.C.E. This conclusion has not been accepted by
Western scholars who have hardly ever given a serious thought to astronomy. In eulogy, the earliest
known for a human being, the Avesta confirms that his birth was in early spring. Tradition says, it was on
vernal equinox, perhaps a conventional date. At present Zoroastrians celebrate it five days later—March
26—also conventional, like the birth dates of almost all the sages and teachers .

Zarathushtra was a very inquisitive boy. He asked and learned much from his broadminded mother and
later from his father. His mother entrusted him to a good teacher. At the early age of seven his increasing
queries about religion led his father to bring him to the high Karapan and his colleagues. Steeped in their
won superstitions and groping in gloom, the prejudiced priests could neither change the boy's mind nor
could they, because of his father's high position, convict him. On another occasion when the high priest
was invited to talk to the boy and also share a meal; The boy was bold enough to refuse to join them in
the pre-meal rituals. The outraged old despot left the house, and rode off in his chariot, and “dropped
dead on his way home”--perhaps because of a heart attack.

Points to ponder || Module Summary || Glossary || Quiz

 

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