Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Zoroastrianism and the Baha'i Faith

The New York Times ran a really interesting, if rather sad story about the decline of the Zoroastrian community world wide. In the article, a priest in Chicago comments:

“We were once at least 40, 50 million — can you imagine?” said Mr. Antia, senior priest at the fire temple here in suburban Chicago. “At one point we had reached the pinnacle of glory of the Persian Empire and had a beautiful religious philosophy that governed the Persian kings.

“Where are we now? Completely wiped out,” he said. “It pains me to say, in 100 years we won’t have many Zoroastrians.” (Read the entire article here)

It was nice to see an article about a religion that few people, particularly in the West have heard anything about and at least some acknowledgement that Iran has contributed something other than Islamic fundamentalism to the world.

Recently, a new collection of Writings of Baha'u'llah has been published that are addressed to the followers of Zoroaster (or Zarathustra). The Baha'i World New Service ran an article on this exciting to new publication:

HAIFA, Israel, 31 July 2006 (BWNS) -- A new volume of selected writings by Baha'u'llah, entitled "The Tabernacle of Unity," has been recently translated and published in English.

This latest publication of the Baha'i World Centre contains five "tablets" - letters - written by Baha'u'llah to individuals of Zoroastrian background in the 1800s. As such, these tablets provide important insights into the interrelatedness of religion. (Read the whole article here)