Life of Lord Zarathustra :

This is the life-story of our holy Prophet Zarthustra, the first divine soul of our Mazdayasni Religion, who showed us the correct path of life.

The meaning of the word Zarthustra is Zar = driver or mover arth = of usthra = camel.

The Greeks had very high regards for the writing of Zarathustra they named him father of all philosophers and called him Zoroaster which means shinning star.

The times when he lived is being put from around 7000 BC to even A.D. An attempt is being made to put the date from geographical as well as linguistic evidence. Before coming to Iran people belonged to Indo Iranian stock and spoke the language known as Indo-Iraninan. Later that stock split one going towards Iran and the other going towards India. The language also split one becoming Avestan and the other Sanskrit. As our prayers are in Avestan language i.e. older Avestan so that was what the spoken language of those times. The oldest Ved is Rig ved the date on which is put at around 1800 BC. The Avestan language being also of the same time is put at 1500 BC and the Prophet is also believed to have been around at that time. Gathas also talk about metals, chariots, weapons etc. so Zarathustra was not a stone age man which he would be if the date is pushed back. In 6000 BC the Indo Iranian stock had not yet split.

Different people claim the place of birth of the Prophet in their own home town. But considering the language of the times, it cannot be western Iran. It would be around North East Iran. The place of birth is put around modern day Kazakhastan. It was an integral part of Iran in olden times.

The information on our Prophet is available through the following sources :

1. Younger Avestan and Pahelvi texts

2. Chirdar and Spend Nasks

3. Zadsparam Chapter 21

4. Zarathustinameh

5. Denkard

The legend :

Before the birth of Zarathustra, the magicians and wicked people knew that a person who would teach the people the true worship of Ahura Mazda was to be born to Dughdova. They wanted to kill her so that the people would not turn to Zarathustra for help from their wickedness. They told Frahimurva the father of Dughdova to let them kill her. Fearing for his daughter he sent her to live at the house of friend Paitarasp. Paitarasp had a son whose name was Pourushaspa. Dughdova married Pourushaspa and they were the parents of Zarathustra.

They had a dream that they would have a child which would change the world. Pourushaspa took the twigs of homa tree, milked the cow mixed the milk with homa twigs in front of hearth fire, drank the milk, for the Khorena, Fravashi and Tanu, to come together. Dry wood, Frankenstein and fat were offered to fire.

Before Zarathustra was born, a very bright light shone all around the house. His birth was a very special event. Most babies cry at birth but baby Zarathustra laughed at birth. This was an indication of the birth of a divine person.

Zarathustra was born in a priestly Spitaman family. The Spitamans had 5 sons in all. Rathushtar, Rangushtar, ZARATHUSTRA, Nodariga and Nivedis.

Soon after his birth an evil man named Durasarun planned to kill Zarathustra. He had heard that Zarathustra was sent by Ahura Mazda to get rid of evil.

The evil men put baby Zarathustra into burning fire, but the angel Asha-Vahishta which look after the fire i.e. Adibest Amesaspand caused the fire to get cold.

Next they placed him in a lane frequented by cattle, with the intention that he would be trampled to death. But Bahman Amesaspand the angel that protect the cattle, came to the rescue by inspiring a cow to stand over him and protect him from the stampede. A similar attempt made by placing him in a passage of horses also failed.

Durasarun continued his efforts to kill Zarathustra. He took him to a wolf cave to be eaten by wolves. Angels Meher Yazad and Sarosh Yazad came to the baby's rescue in the form of goats who suckled the baby, until he was rescued by his parents.

In the end Durasarun tried to carry out the murder himself. He entered Zarathustra's house when all were asleep and was going to strike him with his deadly dagger, when angel Behram Yazad permanently paralysed and twisted his hands so that he could never ever use them again.

Zarathustra grew up to be a good and happy boy. He was kind and always tried to make other happy. Once he saw a starving dog. He lifted it, fed some bread and water and nursed it to good health.

When there was famine in Iran, Zarathustra and his family shared food with hungry people making them happy.

Zarathustra spent many years studying the faith of Ahura Mazda. When he became 20 years old he felt the need to get closer to God. He left home and spent ten years in prayer and meditation on the mountains. Satan offered Zarathustra the entire world if he would forsake his worship of Ahura Mazda the Lord of Wisdom. When he refused, Satan threatened to destroy him.

One day when Zarathustra was 30 years old, something very special happened to him as he was wading through the river Daitya. He had vision of God, in the form of glowing light. The glowing entity was Bahman Ameshsaspand. Bahman Ameshaspand led him to the Court of Ahura Mazda where he beheld the Lord Supreme and the luminous Amesha Spentas. They revealed to Zarathustra what each of them protected i.e.

1. Spenta Mainyu or Dadar Ohrmazd which means the good spirit which looks after the man.

2. Vohu Manah the Good Mind or Bahman Amesaspand which looks after the cattle, and helps man to think and understand correctly.

3. Asha Vahishta or Adibehest Amesaspand which look after fire and stands for The Best Truth and Order and helps man to be truthful and to live in order.

4. Kshathra Vairya or Shahrevar Amesaspand which looks after the sky meaning desirable power and helps man to be powerful and strong so that he can do more good.

5. Spenta Armaiti or Spendarmad Amesaspand which looks after the earth meaning Devotion and helps man to be dutiful and hardworking.

6. Hauravatat or Khordad Amesaspand which looks after the water meaning perfection and helps man to be very good in his work.

7. Ameretat or Amardad Amesaspand which looks after plants. It stands for immortality and helps to preserve God's good creations.

Zarathustra saw Ahura Mazda as a "Manthran" or One who created and spelt out the Holy Word. He realized that it was with the vibrationary power of the 'Pak Avesta Kalaams" that creations which were formerly inanimate were brought to life. Thus, the Prophet made the Holy Word his own weapon to fight evil with, and through the power of this Holy Word, light would spread throughout this world. He requested Ahura Mazda to bestow him with the knowledge of the twenty-one Nasks. The seeker was now the Enlightened One. Ahura Mazda also gave Zarathustra a Haoma tree (representing wisdom and peace born of the good Mazdayasni religion). Most importantly Ahura Mazda gave Zarathustra the spiritual fire, Adar Burzin Meher, or the "Exalted Fire" which burned without fuel and emitted no smoke whatsoever. This was like the spiritual scepter of the spiritual monarch.

Zarathustra was then commanded by the Ahura Mazda to instill into the minds of the people the Divine Thought, that in the world of men where life is brief, those that act unrighteously find in the spiritual realm not happiness but grief, discontentness, and pain of mind, for such is the abode of their soul.

Zarathustra revealed all the messages he received from Ahura Mazda, in a series of 5 Hymns called the Gathas. The names of the 5 Gathas are Ahunavaiti, Ushtavaiti, Spentomad, Vohukhshathra and Vahishtoisti.

The essence of the religion is Humata, Hukhta and Huvarashtra, Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds given to us by Zarathustra which every child knows. and other important prayers which relieve us from the influences of evil people and planets and help us to achieve peace and prosperity.

Zarathustra left the mountains and went forth to preach the Mazdayasni religion. Maidyomah, his cousin was his first disciple.

Zarathustra went to the court of King Vistasp of Bactria. The King was interested in his teachings, but the courtiers were evil and framed Zarathustra. He was imprisoned. While in prison, he heard that the king's favourite horse Aspa-Siha was paralysed and very ill. In despair, the king turned to Zarathustra for help.

Zarathustra agreed to help, but only on the following four conditions. That :

1. The king should follow his teachings

2. The queen would follow the religion

3. The prince would protect the faith, and

4. The king should punish those who framed him

As each condition was fulfilled, each leg of the horse was freed from paralysis.

Mazdayasni Zarathustri religion spread across the world from China to Europe.

Zarathustra had three wives but they may have been one after another. Their names were Orwiz, Arniz and Havovi.

The children of Aurvij were Isatavastra, Thrity, Freny and Pouruchisti Arniz had Urvatanara, Hvarechithra. Havovi was childless and will bear three posthumous sons: Hoshedar, Hukshatnama, Asvatereta

Zarathustra lived a long and good life. One day at age of 77 years and 40 days, when he was praying, an evil man named Bradres, crept up behind him and stabbed him in the back. Zarathustra threw his prayer beads at him and forgave him, but the assassin dropped dead as soon as Zarathustra died. Sarosh Yazad took Zarathustra to heaven.

Zoroaster / Zarathustra :

Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra, Avestan :? Zara?uštra), Zarathushtra Spitama or Ashu Zarathushtra was an ancient Iranian spiritual leader who founded what is now known as Zoroastrianism. His teachings challenged the existing traditions of the Indo-Iranian religion and inaugurated a movement that eventually became the dominant religion in Ancient Persia. He was a native speaker of Old Avestan and lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau, but his exact birthplace is uncertain.

There is no scholarly consensus on when he lived. However, approximating using linguistic and socio-cultural evidence allows for dating to somewhere in the second millennium BCE. This is done by estimating the period in which the Old Avestan language (as well as the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian and Proto-Iranian languages and the related Vedic Sanskrit) were spoken, the period in which when the Proto-Indo-Iranian religion was practiced, and correlation between the burial practice described in the Gathas with the archeological Yaz culture. However, other scholars still date him in the 7th and 6th century BCE as a near-contemporary of Cyrus the Great and Darius I. Zoroastrianism eventually became the official religion of Ancient Persia and its distant subdivisions from the 6th century BCE to the 7th century CE. Zoroaster is credited with authorship of the Gathas as well as the Yasna Haptanghaiti, hymns composed in his native dialect, Old Avestan, and which comprise the core of Zoroastrian thinking. Most of his life is known from these texts. By any modern standard of historiography, no evidence can place him into a fixed period, and the historicization surrounding him may be a part of a trend from before the 10th century that historicizes legends and myths.

Name and etymology :

Zoroaster's name in his native language, Avestan, was probably Zara?uštra. His English name, "Zoroaster", derives from a later (5th century BCE) Greek transcription, Zoroastres, as used in Xanthus's Lydiaca (Fragment 32) and in Plato's First Alcibiades (122a1). This form appears subsequently in the Latin Zoroastres and, in later Greek orthographies, as Zoroastris. The Greek form of the name appears to be based on a phonetic transliteration or semantic substitution of Avestan zara?- with the Greek zoros (literally "undiluted") and the Avestan -uštra with astron ("star").

In Avestan, Zara?uštra is generally accepted to derive from an Old Iranian *Zaratuštra-; The element half of the name (-uštra-) is thought to be the Indo-Iranian root for "camel", with the entire name meaning "he who can manage camels". Reconstructions from later Iranian languages—particularly from the Middle Persian (300 BCE) Zardusht, which is the form that the name took in the 9th- to 12th-century Zoroastrian texts—suggest that

*Zaratuštra- might be a zero-grade form of *Zarantuštra-. Subject then to whether Zara?uštra derives from

*Zarantuštra- or from *Zaratuštra-, several interpretations have been proposed.

If Zarantuštra is the original form, it may mean "with old/aging camels", related to Avestic zarant- (cf. Pashto zo? and Ossetian zœrond, "old"; Middle Persian zal, "old") :

• "with angry/furious camels": from Avestan *zarant-, "angry, furious".

• "who is driving camels" or "who is fostering/cherishing camels": related to Avestan zarš-, "to drag".

• Mayrhofer (1977) proposed an etymology of "who is desiring camels" or "longing for camels" and related to Vedic Sanskrit har-, "to like", and perhaps (though ambiguous) also to Avestan zara-.

• "with yellow camels": parallel to younger Avestan zairi-.

The interpretation of the -9- (/0/) in Avestan zarathuštra was for a time itself subjected to heated debate because the -9- is an irregular development: As a rule, *zarat- (a first element that ends in a dental consonant) should have Avestan zarat- or zarat?- as a development from it. Why this is not so for zarathuštra has not yet been determined. Notwithstanding the phonetic irregularity, that Avestan zarathuštra with its -9- was linguistically an actual form is shown by later attestations reflecting the same basis. All present-day, Iranian-language variants of his name derive from the Middle Iranian variants of Zar?ošt, which, in turn, all reflect Avestan's fricative -9-.

In Middle Persian, the name is Zardu(x)št, in Parthian Zarhušt, in Manichaean Middle Persian Zrdrwšt, in Early New Persian Zardušt, and in modern (New Persian), the name is Zartosht.

Place :

Painted clay and alabaster head of a Zoroastrian priest wearing a distinctive Bactrian-style headdress, Takhti-Sangin, Tajikistan, Greco-Bactrian kingdom, 3rd–2nd century BCE.

The birthplace of Zoroaster is also unknown, and the language of the Gathas is not similar to the proposed north-western and north-eastern regional dialects of Persia. It is also suggested that he was born in one of the two areas and later lived in the other area.

Yasna 9 and 17 cite the Ditya River in Airyanem Vaejah (Middle Persian Eran Wej) as Zoroaster's home and the scene of his first appearance. The Avesta (both Old and Younger portions) does not mention the Achaemenids or of any West Iranian tribes such as the Medes, Persians, or even Parthians. However, the Atharvan caste, to which Zoroaster belonged, is mentioned, along with other Vedic persons, such as Vashishth and Yam (Yima), the ancestors of sage Atharvan. The Farvardin Yasht refers to some Iranian peoples that are unknown in the Greek and Achaemenid sources about the 6th and 5th century BCE Eastern Iran. The Vendidad contain seventeen regional names, most of which are located in north-eastern and eastern Iran.

However, in Yasna 59.18, the zara?uštrotema, or supreme head of the Zoroastrian priesthood, is said to reside in 'Ragha' (Badakhshan). In the 9th- to 12th-century Middle Persian texts of Zoroastrian tradition, this 'Ragha' and with many other places appear as locations in Western Iran. While the land of Media does not figure at all in the Avesta (the westernmost location noted in scripture is Arachosia), the Bundahišn, or "Primordial Creation," (20.32 and 24.15) puts Ragha in Media (medieval Rai). However, in Avestan, Ragha is simply a toponym meaning "plain, hillside."

Apart from these indications in Middle Persian sources that are open to interpretations, there are a number of other sources. The Greek and Latin sources are divided on the birthplace of Zarathustra. There are many Greek accounts of Zarathustra, referred usually as Persian or Perso-Median Zoroaster; Ctesias located him in Bactria, Diodorus Siculus placed him among Ariaspai (in Sistan),[6] Cephalion and Justin suggest east of greater Iran whereas Pliny and Origen suggest west of Iran as his birthplace. Moreover, they have the suggestion that there has been more than one Zoroaster.

On the other hand, in post-Islamic sources Shahrastani (1086–1153) an Iranian writer originally from Shahristan, present-day Turkmenistan, proposed that Zoroaster's father was from Atropatene (also in Medea) and his mother was from Rey. Coming from a reputed scholar of religions, this was a serious blow for the various regions who all claimed that Zoroaster originated from their homelands, some of which then decided that Zoroaster must then have then been buried in their regions or composed his Gathas there or preached there. Also Arabic sources of the same period and the same region of historical Persia consider Azerbaijan as the birthplace of Zarathustra.

By the late 20th century, most scholars had settled on an origin in eastern Greater Iran. Gnoli proposed Sistan, Baluchistan (though in a much wider scope than the present-day province) as the homeland of Zoroastrianism; Frye voted for Bactria and Chorasmia; Khlopin suggests the Tedzen Delta in present-day Turkmenistan. Sarianidi considered the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex region as "the native land of the Zoroastrians and, probably, of Zoroaster himself." Boyce includes the steppes to the west from the Volga. The medieval "from Media" hypothesis is no longer taken seriously, and Zaehner has even suggested that this was a Magi-mediated issue to garner legitimacy, but this has been likewise rejected by Gershevitch and others.

The 2005 Encyclopedia Iranica article on the history of Zoroastrianism summarizes the issue with "while there is general agreement that he did not live in western Iran, attempts to locate him in specific regions of eastern Iran, including Central Asia, remain tentative".

Life :

Zoroaster is recorded as the son of Pourušaspa of the Spitamans or Spitamids (Avestan spit mean "brilliant" or "white"; some argue that Spitama was a remote progenitor) family, and Dugdow, while his great-grandfather was Haecataspa. All the names appear appropriate to the nomadic tradition. His father's name means "possessing gray horses" (with the word aspa meaning horse), while his mother's means "milkmaid". According to the tradition, he had four brothers, two older and two younger, whose names are given in much later Pahlavi work.

The training for priesthood probably started very early around seven years of age. He became a priest probably around the age of fifteen, and according to Gathas, he gained knowledge from other teachers and personal experience from traveling when he left his parents at age twenty. By the age of thirty, he experienced a revelation during a spring festival; on the river bank he saw a shining Being, who revealed himself as Vohu Manah (Good Purpose) and taught him about Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord) and five other radiant figures. Zoroaster soon became aware of the existence of two primal Spirits, the second being Angra Mainyu (Destructive Spirit), with opposing concepts of Asha (order) and Druj (deception). Thus he decided to spend his life teaching people to seek Asha. He received further revelations and saw a vision of the seven Amesha Spenta, and his teachings were collected in the Gathas and the Avesta.

Disciples of Zoroaster centered in Nineveh :

Eventually, at the age of about forty-two, he received the patronage of queen Hutaosa and a ruler named Vishtaspa, an early adherent of Zoroastrianism (possibly from Bactria according to the Shahnameh). Zoroaster's teaching about individual judgment, Heaven and Hell, the resurrection of the body, the Last Judgment, and everlasting life for the reunited soul and body, among other things, became borrowings in the Abrahamic religions, but they lost the context of the original teaching.

According to the tradition, he lived for many years after Vishtaspa's conversion, managed to establish a faithful community, and married three times. His first two wives bore him three sons, Isat Vâstra, Urvatat Nara, and Hvare Chithra, and three daughters, Freni, Thriti, and Pouruchista. His third wife, Hvovi, was childless. Zoroaster died when he was 77 years and 40 days old. The later Pahlavi sources like Shahnameh, instead claim that an obscure conflict with Tuiryas people led to his death, murdered by a karapan (a priest of the old religion) named Bradres.

Influences :

In Islam :

A number of parallels have been drawn between Zoroastrian teachings and Islam. Such parallels include the evident similarities between Amesha Spenta and the archangel Gabriel, praying five times a day, covering one's head during prayer, and the mention of Thamud and Iram of the Pillars in the Quran. These may also indicate the vast influence of the Achaemenid Empire on the development of either religion.

The Sabaeans, who believed in free will coincident with Zoroastrians, are also mentioned in the Quran.
Muslim scholastic views

An 8th-century Tang dynasty Chinese clay figurine of a Sogdian man (an Eastern Iranian person) wearing a distinctive cap and face veil, possibly a camel rider or even a Zoroastrian priest engaging in a ritual at a fire temple, since face veils were used to avoid contaminating the holy fire with breath or saliva; Museum of Oriental Art (Turin), Italy.

Like the Greeks of classical antiquity, Islamic tradition understands Zoroaster to be the founding prophet of the Magians (via Aramaic, Arabic Majus, collective Majusya). The 11th-century Cordoban Ibn Hazm (Zahiri school) contends that Kitabi "of the Book" cannot apply in light of the Zoroastrian assertion that their books were destroyed by Alexander. Citing the authority of the 8th-century al-Kalbi, the 9th- and 10th-century Sunni historian al-Tabari (i.648) reports that Zaradusht bin Isfiman (an Arabic adaptation of "Zarathustra Spitama") was an inhabitant of Israel and a servant of one of the disciples of the prophet Jeremiah. According to this tale, Zaradusht defrauded his master, who cursed him, causing him to become leprous (cf. Elisha's servant Gehazi in Jewish Scripture).

The apostate Zaradusht then eventually made his way to Balkh (present day Afghanistan) where he converted Bishtasb (i.e. Vishtaspa), who in turn compelled his subjects to adopt the religion of the Magians. Recalling other tradition, al-Tabari (i.681–683[64]) recounts that Zaradusht accompanied a Jewish prophet to Bishtasb/Vishtaspa. Upon their arrival, Zaradusht translated the sage's Hebrew teachings for the king and so convinced him to convert (Tabari also notes that they had previously been Sabis) to the Magian religion.

The 12th-century heresiographer al-Shahrastani describes the Majusiya into three sects, the Kayumarthiya, the Zurwaniya and the Zaradushtiya, among which Al-Shahrastani asserts that only the last of the three were properly followers of Zoroaster. As regards the recognition of a prophet, Zoroaster has said: "They ask you as to how should they recognize a prophet and believe him to be true in what he says; tell them what he knows the others do not, and he shall tell you even what lies hidden in your nature; he shall be able to tell you whatever you ask him and he shall perform such things which others cannot perform." (Namah Shat Vakhshur Zartust, .5–7. 50–54) When the companions of Muhammad, on invading Persia, came in contact with the Zoroastrian people and learned these teachings, they at once came to the conclusion that Zoroaster was really a Divinely inspired prophet. Thus they accorded the same treatment to the Zoroastrian people which they did to other "People of the Book".

Though the name of Zoroaster is not mentioned in the Qur'an, still he was regarded as one of those prophets whose names have not been mentioned in the Qur'an, for there is a verse in the Qur'an: "And We did send apostles before thee: there are some of them that We have mentioned to thee and there are others whom We have not mentioned to Thee." (40 : 78). Accordingly, the Muslims treated the founder of Zoroastrianism as a true prophet and believed in his religion as they did in other inspired creeds, and thus according to the prophecy, protected the Zoroastrian religion. James Darmesteter remarked in the translation of Zend Avesta: "When Islam assimilated the Zoroastrians to the People of the Book, it evinced a rare historical sense and solved the problem of the origin of the Avesta." (Introduction to Vendidad. p. 69.).

Ahmadiyya view :

The Ahmadiyya Community views Zoroaster as a Prophet of Allah and describe the expressions of the all-good Ahura Mazda and evil Ahriman as merely referring to the coexistence of forces of good and evil enabling humans to exercise free will.

In Manichaeism :

Manichaeism considered Zoroaster to be a figure (along with Jesus and the Buddh) in a line of prophets of which Mani (216–276) was the culmination. Zoroaster's ethical dualism is—to an extent—incorporated in Mani's doctrine, which viewed the world as being locked in an epic battle between opposing forces of good and evil. Manicheanism also incorporated other elements of Zoroastrian tradition, particularly the names of supernatural beings; however, many of these other Zoroastrian elements are either not part of Zoroaster's own teachings or are used quite differently from how they are used in Zoroastrianism.

In the Bahá'í Faith :

Zoroaster appears in the Bahá'í Faith as a "Manifestation of God", one of a line of prophets who have progressively revealed the Word of God to a gradually maturing humanity. Zoroaster thus shares an exalted station with Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh. Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Bahá'í Faith in the first half of the 20th century, saw Bahá'u'lláh as the fulfillment of a post-Sassanid Zoroastrian prophecy that saw a return of Sassanid emperor Bahram: Shoghi Effendi also stated that Zoroaster lived roughly 1000 years before Jesus.

Philosophy :

Detail of The School of Athens by Raphael, 1509, showing Zoroaster (left, with star-studded globe).

In the Gathas, Zoroaster sees the human condition as the mental struggle between aša and druj. The cardinal concept of aša—which is highly nuanced and only vaguely translatable—is at the foundation of all Zoroastrian doctrine, including that of Ahura Mazda (who is aša), creation (that is aša), existence (that is aša), and as the condition for free will.

The purpose of humankind, like that of all other creation, is to sustain and align itself to aša. For humankind, this occurs through active ethical participation in life, ritual, and the exercise of constructive/good thoughts, words and deeds.

Elements of Zoroastrian philosophy entered the West through their influence on Judaism and Platonism and have been identified as one of the key early events in the development of philosophy. Among the classic Greek philosophers, Heraclitus is often referred to as inspired by Zoroaster's thinking.

In 2005, the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy ranked Zarathustra as first in the chronology of philosophers. Zarathustra's impact lingers today due in part to the system of religious ethics he founded called Mazdayasna. The word Mazdayasna is Avestan and is translated as "Worship of Wisdom/Mazda" in English. The encyclopedia Natural History (Pliny) claims that Zoroastrians later educated the Greeks who, starting with Pythagoras, used a similar term, philosophy, or "love of wisdom" to describe the search for ultimate truth.

Zoroaster emphasized the freedom of the individual to choose right or wrong and individual responsibility for one's deeds. This personal choice to accept aša and shun druj is one's own decision and not a dictate of Ahura Mazda. For Zoroaster, by thinking good thoughts, saying good words, and doing good deeds (e.g. assisting the needy, doing good works, or conducting good rituals) we increase aša in the world and in ourselves, celebrate the divine order, and we come a step closer on the everlasting road to Frashokereti. Thus, we are not the slaves or servants of Ahura Mazda, but we can make a personal choice to be co-workers, thereby perfecting the world as saoshyants ("world-perfecters") and ourselves and eventually achieve the status of a Ashavan ("master of Asha").

Iconography :

Although a few recent depictions of Zoroaster show him performing some deed of legend, in general the portrayals merely present him in white vestments (which are also worn by present-day Zoroastrian priests). He often is seen holding a baresman (Avestan; Middle Persian barsom), which is generally considered to be another symbol of priesthood, or with a book in hand, which may be interpreted to be the Avesta. Alternatively, he appears with a mace, the varza—usually stylized as a steel rod crowned by a bull's head—that priests carry in their installation ceremony. In other depictions he appears with a raised hand and thoughtfully lifted finger, as if to make a point.

Zoroaster is rarely depicted as looking directly at the viewer; instead, he appears to be looking slightly upwards, as if beseeching. Zoroaster is almost always depicted with a beard, this along with other factors bearing similarities to 19th-century portraits of Jesus.

A common variant of the Zoroaster images derives from a Sassanid-era rock-face carving. In this depiction at Taq-e Bostan, a figure is seen to preside over the coronation of Ardashir I or II. The figure is standing on a lotus, with a baresman in hand and with a gloriole around his head. Until the 1920s, this figure was commonly thought to be a depiction of Zoroaster, but in recent years is more commonly interpreted to be a depiction of Mithra. Among the most famous of the European depictions of Zoroaster is that of the figure in Raphael's 1509 The School of Athens. In it, Zoroaster and Ptolemy are having a discussion in the lower right corner. The prophet is holding a star-studded globe.

• Zoroastrian devotional art depicting the religion's founder with white clothing and a long beard

• Depiction of Zoroaster in Clavis Artis [it], an alchemy manuscript published in Germany in the late 17th or early 18th century and pseudoepigraphically attributed to Zoroaster

• An image of Zoroaster on display at the Yazd Atash Behram (Zoroastrian fire temple) in Yazd, Yazd province, Iran

• An image of Zoroaster on mirrored etched glass at the Zoroastrian fire temple in Taft, Iran

Western Civilization :

The School of Athens: a gathering of renaissance artists in the guise of philosophers from antiquity, in an idealized classical interior, featuring the scene with Zoroaster holding a planet or cosmos.

The Greeks—in the Hellenistic sense of the term—had an understanding of Zoroaster as expressed by Plutarch, Diogenes Laertius, and Agathias that saw him, at the core, to be the "prophet and founder of the religion of the Iranian peoples," Beck notes that "the rest was mostly fantasy". Zoroaster was set in the ancient past, six to seven millennia before the Common Era, and was described as a king of Bactria or a Babylonian (or teacher of Babylonians), and with a biography typical of a Neopythagorean sage, i.e. having a mission preceded by ascetic withdrawal and enlightenment. However, at first mentioned in the context of dualism, in Moralia, Plutarch presents Zoroaster as "Zaratras," not realizing the two to be the same, and he is described as a "teacher of Pythagoras".

Zoroaster has also been described as a sorcerer-astrologer – the creator of both magic and astrology. Deriving from that image, and reinforcing it, was a "mass of literature" attributed to him and that circulated the Mediterranean world from the 3rd century BCE to the end of antiquity and beyond.

The language of that literature was predominantly Greek, though at one stage or another various parts of it passed through Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic or Latin. Its ethos and cultural matrix was likewise Hellenistic, and "the ascription of literature to sources beyond that political, cultural and temporal framework represents a bid for authority and a fount of legitimizing "alien wisdom". Zoroaster and the magi did not compose it, but their names sanctioned it.". The attributions to "exotic" names (not restricted to magians) conferred an "authority of a remote and revelatory wisdom."

Among the named works attributed to "Zoroaster" is a treatise On Nature (Peri physeos), which appears to have originally constituted four volumes (i.e. papyrus rolls). The framework is a retelling of Plato's Myth of Er, with Zoroaster taking the place of the original hero. While Porphyry imagined Pythagoras listening to Zoroaster's discourse, On Nature has the sun in middle position, which was how it was understood in the 3rd century. In contrast, Plato's 4th-century BCE version had the sun in second place above the moon. Ironically, Colotes accused Plato of plagiarizing Zoroaster, and Heraclides Ponticus wrote a text titled Zoroaster based on his perception of "Zoroastrian" philosophy, in order to express his disagreement with Plato on natural philosophy.

With respect to substance and content in On Nature only two facts are known: that it was crammed with astrological speculations, and that Necessity (Ananké) was mentioned by name and that she was in the air.
Pliny the Elder names Zoroaster as the inventor of magic (Natural History 30.2.3). "However, a principle of the division of labor appears to have spared Zoroaster most of the responsibility for introducing the dark arts to the Greek and Roman worlds." That "dubious honor" went to the "fabulous magus, Ostanes, to whom most of the pseudepigraphic magical literature was attributed." Although Pliny calls him the inventor of magic, the Roman does not provide a "magician's persona" for him. Moreover, the little "magical" teaching that is ascribed to Zoroaster is actually very late, with the very earliest example being from the 14th century.

Association with astrology according to Roger Beck, were based on his Babylonian origin, and Zoroaster's Greek name was identified at first with star-worshiping (astrothytes "star sacrificer") and, with the Zo-, even as the living star. Later, an even more elaborate mythoetymology evolved: Zoroaster died by the living (zo-) flux (ro-) of fire from the star (astr-) which he himself had invoked, and even, that the stars killed him in revenge for having been restrained by him.

The alternate Greek name for Zoroaster was Zaratras or Zaratas/Zaradas/Zaratos. Pythagoreans considered the mathematicians to have studied with Zoroaster in Babylonia. Lydus, in On the Months, attributes the creation of the seven-day week to "the Babylonians in the circle of Zoroaster and Hystaspes," and who did so because there were seven planets. The Suda's chapter on astronomia notes that the Babylonians learned their astrology from Zoroaster. Lucian of Samosata, in Mennipus 6, reports deciding to journey to Babylon "to ask one of the magi, Zoroaster's disciples and successors," for their opinion.

While the division along the lines of Zoroaster/astrology and Ostanes/magic is an "oversimplification, the descriptions do at least indicate what the works are not"; they were not expressions of Zoroastrian doctrine, they were not even expressions of what the Greeks and Romans "imagined the doctrines of Zoroastrianism to have been" [emphases in the original]. The assembled fragments do not even show noticeable commonality of outlook and teaching among the several authors who wrote under each name.

Almost all Zoroastrian pseudepigrapha is now lost, and of the attested texts—with only one exception—only fragments have survived. Pliny's 2nd- or 3rd-century attribution of "two million lines" to Zoroaster suggest that (even if exaggeration and duplicates are taken into consideration) a formidable pseudepigraphic corpus once existed at the Library of Alexandria. This corpus can safely be assumed to be pseudepigrapha because no one before Pliny refers to literature by "Zoroaster", and on the authority of the 2nd-century Galen of Pergamon and from a 6th-century commentator on Aristotle it is known that the acquisition policies of well-endowed royal libraries created a market for fabricating manuscripts of famous and ancient authors.

The exception to the fragmentary evidence (i.e. reiteration of passages in works of other authors) is a complete Coptic tractate titled Zostrianos (after the first-person narrator) discovered in the Nag Hammadi library in 1945. A three-line cryptogram in the colophones following the 131-page treatise identify the work as "words of truth of Zostrianos. God of Truth [logos]. Words of Zoroaster." Invoking a "God of Truth" might seem Zoroastrian, but there is otherwise "nothing noticeably Zoroastrian" about the text and "in content, style, ethos and intention, its affinities are entirely with the congeners among the Gnostic tractates."

Another work circulating under the name of "Zoroaster" was the Asteroskopita (or Apotelesmatika), and which ran to five volumes (i.e. papyrus rolls). The title and fragments suggest that it was an astrological handbook, "albeit a very varied one, for the making of predictions." A third text attributed to Zoroaster is On Virtue of Stones (Peri lithon timion), of which nothing is known other than its extent (one volume) and that pseudo-Zoroaster sang it (from which Cumont and Bidez conclude that it was in verse). Numerous other fragments preserved in the works of other authors are attributed to "Zoroaster," but the titles of those books are not mentioned.

These pseudepigraphic texts aside, some authors did draw on a few genuinely Zoroastrian ideas. The Oracles of Hystaspes, by "Hystaspes", another prominent magian pseudo-author, is a set of prophecies distinguished from other Zoroastrian pseudepigrapha in that it draws on real Zoroastrian sources. Some allusions are more difficult to assess: in the same text that attributes the invention of magic to Zoroaster,[clarification needed] Pliny states that Zoroaster laughed on the day of his birth,[citation needed] although in an earlier place, Pliny had sworn in the name of Hercules that no child had ever done so before the 40th day from his birth.

This notion of Zoroaster's laughter (like that of "two million verses" also appears in the 9th– to 11th-century texts of genuine Zoroastrian tradition, and for a time it was assumed that the origin of those myths lay with indigenous sources. Pliny also records that Zoroaster's head had pulsated so strongly that it repelled the hand when laid upon it, a presage of his future wisdom. The Iranians were however just as familiar with the Greek writers, and the provenance of other descriptions are clear. For instance, Plutarch's description of its dualistic theologies reads thus: "Others call the better of these a god and his rival a daemon, as, for example, Zoroaster the Magus, who lived, so they record, five thousand years before the siege of Troy. He used to call the one Horomazes and the other Areimanius".

In the post-classical era :

Zoroaster was known as a sage, magician, and miracle-worker in post-Classical Western culture.[citation needed] Although almost nothing was known of his ideas until the late 18th century, his name was already associated with lost ancient wisdom. Statements by Sir Thomas Browne as early as 1643 are the earliest recorded references to Zoroaster in the English language.

Enlightenment writers such as Voltaire promoted research into Zoroastrianism in the belief that it was a form of rational Deism, preferable to Christianity. Zoroaster was the subject of the 1749 opera, Zoroastre, by Jean-Philippe Rameau. With the translation of the Avesta by Abraham Anquetil-Duperron, Western scholarship of Zoroastrianism began.

An early 19th-century representation of Zoroaster derived from the portrait of a figure that appears in a 4th-century sculpture at Taq-e Bostan in south-western Iran.

In E. T. A. Hoffmann's novel Klein Zaches, genannt Zinnober (1819), the mage Prosper Alpanus states that Professor Zoroaster was his teacher.

In his seminal work Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) (1885) the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche uses the native Iranian name Zarathustra which has a significant meaning as he had used the familiar Greek-Latin name in his earlier works. It is believed that Nietzsche invents a characterization of Zarathustra as the mouthpiece for Nietzsche's own ideas against morality. Richard Strauss's Opus 30, inspired by Nietzsche's book, is also called
Also sprach Zarathustra.

Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) and his wife reportedly claimed to have contacted Zoroaster through "automatic writing".

A sculpture of Zoroaster by Edward Clarke Potter, representing ancient Persian judicial wisdom and dating to 1896, towers over the Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State at East 25th Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan. A sculpture of Zoroaster appears with other prominent religious figures on the south side of the exterior of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago.

The protagonist and narrator of Gore Vidal's 1981 novel Creation is described to be the grandson of Zoroaster. Zarathustra, the mythic hero in Giannina Braschi's 2011 dramatic novel United States of Banana, joins forces with Shakespeare's Hamlet.