Yoga of Zarathustra

One of the most beautiful of many contributions that the Mazda-yasnian communities have made to India has been to set an ideal of co-existence with cultures in such a manner that all cultures in a land benefit and feel mutually inspired.

It is a matter of delight to see how so many Zarathushtrians ( popularly called Parsees)? study the ‘Hindu’ scriptures like the Bhagavad-gita. Many not only practice different forms of yoga but have become renowned yoga teachers. They have wholeheartedly accepted the doctrines and practices that do not infringe on their traditional faith. The unfortunate counterpart of this positive fact is the negative exhibited by the most ‘Hindus’ who know nothing of the inspiring teachings of Zarathushtra. It is time to correct that imbalance. This needs to be done in two ways :

The ‘Hindu’ teachers need to make all effort to make the Zarathushtrian teaching widely known to the general population of India. Even though the ‘Parsee’ community itself is a closed one in the sense that those not born in it cannot join it, yet the teachings of its founder are universal and can greatly benefit the humanity at large.

The teachings of Zarathushtra need to be understood in theor universe context and interpretation from the point of view of pure spirituality that is beyond religion.

The effort towards the first point above has been initiated by Swami Veda Bharati, disciple of Swami Rama of the Himalayas who was a renowned universalist. For the first time an Ashram headed by a Swami is offering courses on the Zarathushtrian teaching.

Here we elaborate on the second point a little.

The essential core of all religion begins with the great founders’ personal experience of some form of Divinity even though some may prefer not to call It God. [ Please read Swami Veda Bharati’s book titled God and Swami Rama’s Enlightenment without God.

This experience, conferred through Grace, constitutes spirituality beyond formal religion. The yogis, the Sufis, the mystic saints of all religions belong in this category and it is incorrect to label them as ‘Hindu’ etc. The yogis only channel the consciousness of al towards this nameless and formless spirituality.

So long as the Spirit abides in the body, the body remains a personal being. The Spirit returns to Its disincarnate state and the body withers as drop like a dead leaf. So it is with religious traditions and communities. It is the presence of spiritual experience that gives them life. Without it, they begin to dwindle and wither away. This has been the fate of many religions of very high worth in the past. Lest such a fate befall the God’s precious gift to humanity, the Mazda-yasnian teaching and community, it is time to explore the possibilities of adding a further charge of spiritual energy to its followers.

This is what the yogis, those of nameless spiritual path, have done with all religions and communities. When Swami Veda Bharati visits Buddhist countries he gives the initiates Buddhist mantras. The yogi makes a mantra become ‘live’ whereas it remains like a dead electric wire if it mere words written in a book. (Please read Swami Veda Bharati’s Mantra and Meditation as well as booklets on the topic)?. To the Christians he teaches from the Holy Bible. His mandate from his Gurudeva is to

    strengthen the faith of all in their own chosen path and religion,
    and empower it with an impetus of fresh spiritual energy.

A yogi gives mantra, and other spiritual practices that are in accord with the tradition of the initiate. Even the heads of many denominations have been given the spiritual initiation (not to be confused with the forms of ritual initiations)?.

Another example of the attitude of the yogis what has been followed by them when visiting Christian countries. At a time when the force of Christian belief is dwindling, many ex-Christians join the meditation classes to gain entry into a personal spirituality. After some time of practising meditation they are often heard to say : we now understand what the priests were doing and saying in the Catholic Mass. They are then encouraged by the meditation guides to go back to the Church and participate in its ritual as a deep spiritual contemplative and meditative experience. Thus the spirit in the community is revived and the hidden meaning of the Holy Bible is understood. This is also what the Sufis have done with the Holy Quran; presented it as a source of personal spiritual experience.

It is in deep divine silence that one grasps the thread (the sutra)? that runs through the hearts of all devotees no matter to what doctrine they adhere. It is through this that the teachings of the doctrine become personal.

It is also in this divine silence that the guides of personal spiritual experience meet each other and nod in agreement with each other. When a meditation master reads the scripture of any religion, which s/he reads as his/her own, s/he understands what was the experience behind the words and longs to pass on that experience.

Let us take a few examples of where the teachers of the Zarathushtrian doctrine and the yogis may meet and where the yogis may enrich the adherents of the doctrine.

The yogis not only speak of the human being as a configuration of energy fields, they grant capacity – through different practices – to know oneself to be such. In the Mazda-yasnian tradition we are told that when the midwife held the head of the new born Zarathushtra, the energy field emanating was so strong that her hand shot off when touched by its force. The Himalayan yogis can revive this energy in the community – within the context that is in accord with the teachings adhered to.

The Yogis spend decades and life times in mountain caves. (Read Swami Rama’s Living with Himalayan Masters)?. It Mazda-yasnian tradition tells us that the great Zarathushtra spent ten years in a cave before his final revelations came from Ahura Mazda and the entire scripture is a dialogue between the prophet and, as it were, the Divine Fire. Let us remember that the first word of Rg-veda is agni, Fire.

The Zarathushtrian scriptures speak of an Inner Fire. The yogi will strengthen this view by granting the meditations on this Inner Divine Fire. An agni-mantra or an Atish-mantra alone will not suffice; the initiate must be prepared to learn how to worship this Divine Fire within while performing the external worship. In our Ashram the practice of the mantra by the divine fire constitutes an major method of elevating the spiritual energies within.

The Amesha Spentas, in the scripture, have been called mantra-tanu – they whose bodies are mantras. This is absolutely identical to the view held by the yogis and Swami Veda Bharati wrote several decades back that mantras are the sonar bodies of divinity. The yogi will explain HOW is it that such powers exist in the form of mantras, how they may be awakened to manifest themselves within a devotee so that the devotee experiences the force of a given Amesha Spenta. The Zarathushtrian mantra will be given to an initiate in accordance with the initiator’s intuitive perception as to the force of which Amesha Spenta needs to be strengthened in the current stage and state of life of the would-be initiate.

In the Vendidad section of the Avesta, to paraphrase, we are taught :

There are three kinds of healers :
    Those who cut with the surgical knife;
    Those who cure with plants and herbs;
    Those who heal with the mantras.
Of these the ones who heal with the mantras are the true healers.
It is the mantras that are the true healing cures of all the healing cures (bahaeshajanam bahaeshajam)?.

For thousands of years mantras have been used in India for healing and curing the physical and mental ailments. Here the tradition of the Vedic yogi and of the Mazda-yasnian is one. How are mantras to be used for healing; which mantras for what ailment? The yogi may choose to explain the details of the science that has been developed in the Traditions and will thus strengthen the understanding of the passage in the Vendidad.

The yogi in the Rishikesh Ashram – is not to be mistaken for a usual ‘Hindu Swami’ but a teacher of spirituality beyond religion that will enrich the religion. Receiving a personal mantra within the Mazda-yasnian tradition is the first step but to awaken the inner sacred fire of energies much more of the science of meditation needs to be learnt.

The courses and lectures at the Ashram will go into the details of these deeper levels of understanding. The ‘Parsee’ practitioners and teachers of yoga need to find within their own intellect,with the help of the meditation guide, the points where the Mazda-yasnian and the Yoga tradition may meet. It is time that they begin to teach the Yoga of Zarathushtra.