Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is one of the world’s oldest continuously practiced religions, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster. Zoroastrians believe that there is one universal, transcendent, all-good, and uncreated supreme creator deity, Ahura Mazda, or the “Wise Lord” (Ahura meaning “Lord” and Mazda meaning “Wisdom” in Avestan).
Evolution and general aspects associated with the religion
- It is one of the world’s first monotheistic religion.
- Zoroastrian refugees, called Parsis, escaped Muslim persecution in Iran by emigrating to India.
- Fire is an important symbol of Zoroastrianism, as it represents light, warmth and has purifying powers. Some Zoroastrians also recognize the evergreen cypress tree as a symbol of eternal life.
- Fire—along with water—is seen as symbols of purity in Zoroastrian religion.
- Zoroastrian places of worship are sometimes called fire temples. Each fire temple contains an altar with an eternal flame that burns continuously and is never extinguished.
- Zoroastrians give their dead “sky burials.” They built circular, flat-topped towers called dakhmas, or towers of silence. There corpses were exposed to the elements—and local vultures—until the bones were picked clean and bleached. Then they were collected and placed in lime pits called ossuaries.