|18 February 2002||
29 Bahman 1380
What Is The True Aryan Religion? - by Dr. Javan Daragan
[Note: This is the first in a series of articles which were written as part of a study conducted by the Anthropological Society of Iran. We hope to have the translation of the rest of this article and the entire series completed soon.]
I. Zoroastrianism Exposed
It is a common misconception amongst many Iranians that the original pre-Islamic religion of Iran was Zoroastrianism. This was also commonly accepted by many scholars in Iran and the West, until coming under serious scrutiny in recent years.
The fact is, Zoroastrianism as it exists today officially became the religion of the Persian Empire during the reign of the Sassanid Dynasty, and only after the Zoroastrian clergy had organized sufficient power to intimidate the Emperor. Before the establishment of the Zoroastrian clergy and the rise of the Sassanids, the various Aryan kingdoms of the Persian Empire all practiced different forms of the primordial Aryan faith, which the Zoroastrians later were effective in destroying completely through violence and bloodshed and enforcing their own universalist faith.
It should also be remembered that most of the Zendavesta, the great religious epic of the ancient Aryans, was destroyed before and during the time Zarathustra had begun his spiritual mission to purify the Aryan faith of foreign and corrupt elements brought in from the non-Aryan territories. Only tiny fragments of the original Zendavesta survive today, and even those are suspect. After thousands of years, it is hard to believe that they too have not been altered.
The Zendavesta that we have today was mostly codified during the Sassanid era and modifications continued to be made many centuries later, when Zoroastrianism had effectively become a dead religion for the majority of Iranians, who had long ago converted to the Islamic faith and had begun to establish the Shi'a branch of Islam, "Aryanized" Islam.
The reason for the conversion to Islam is not difficult for us to deduce. The Zoroastrian religion was not founded upon the teachings of Zarathustra, but upon the lies of the established clergy, whose only desire was to maintain their power and wealth through the forceful deception of the masses. The realization that the clergy had been deceiving them after all these years resulted in the desire for spiritual truth and freedom, which they saw in the Islamic faith, and which they proceeded to make their own.
While the Zoroastrians had spent much of their tenure destroying the last remnants of the Aryan religion throughout the empire and violently persecuting religious minorities such as the Manicheans, the followers of the Persian prophet Mani who was executed by the Emperor under pressure from the ruling Zoroastrian clerics, as well as attempting to force the violent conversion of the Christian populations of Armenia to Zoroastrianism, an attempt which failed miserably, the Islamic period inspired a total regeneration of Iranian art, literature, and philosophy and a much renewed interested in the pre-Zoroastrian history of Iran. This regeneration brought forth such great poets as Hafez and Ferdowsi, the rebirth of the ancient spiritual traditions and the reestablishment of the Persian Empire as a massive force to be reckoned with.
It is little wonder that Zoroastrianism today is very much a dead and dying religion in Iran and has been for many centuries. It is also quite interesting that the Zoroastrian clergy of old and the modern Islamic clergy of Iran share quite a bit in common - both mixed religion with politics, both were obsessed with greed and the abuse of power, and both were viciously hated by the majority of Iranians who longed for freedom and independance from the oppression of organized religion. Some would even go so far as to speculate that the very seeds of the 1979 revolution which catapulted the clergy into power were sown long ago after the fall of the Zoroastrian clergy, who desired to rule once again, and this time in the guise of a very different religion. And yet, they share more in common than one would generally believe.
So, now that we have exposed Zoroastrianism for the fraud that it was (and still is), where do we search for the true religion of the Aryans, if one even existed? For the answer, we must go back to the Parthian period of the Empire, before the rise of the Sassanids and the establishment of orthodox Zoroastrianism, when Mithraism (not to be confused with Roman Mithraism) was the established religion of the people.
II. The Parthians & The Mithraic Religion: The Second Golden Age of Iran
[The translation of Part 2 will be completed soon.]