Moreover, since the one life, which they believed lives in all, is everlasting, the wise put themselves in accord with all its intermeshing rhythms and participate, here and now, in its eternity. Even during the inevitable terminal ages, virtue and well-being lie not in resentment or resistance but in the knowledge that, whether in life or death, joy or pain, “all rests well in the everlasting.” For as the wheel turns round and round, there is nothing to gain, nothing to lose; all returns anew, and the experience of eternity, for those in accord with the measure of the round, is Now.
An altogether contrary mythology is the one that we, in this later West, have inherited. We tend to see life as the arena of struggle between two powers, one “good,” and the other “evil.” The earliest formal statement of this view appeared in the first millennium B.C., in the teachings of the Persian prophet Zoroaster. He developed the notion of an originally “good” creation, designed by the Lord of Light and Truth, Ahura Mazda, which in time was corrupted by the malice of the Lord of the Lie and Darkness, Angra Mainyu. Life and the universe are the corrupted products of that fall.
The moral teachings of Zoroaster the Savior, however, provide for victory of good over evil. The individual is not bound to the misery of corruption: immaculate in his origin, he may choose of his own “free will” – then a new idea- to stand free of corruption and give battle to the powers of Darkness. And ultimately he will win.
Instead of a never-ending cycle of declining and renewing world ages, bringing nothing but reappearances, history will culminate in a terminal season of universal war, and then, with the “Second Coming” of the Savior in the form of Saoshyant, unfold into restitution: Angra Mainyu and his infernal hosts will be annihilated, all creation purified, and perfect peace re-established.
(see link at end)…Zoroaster was likely the first recorded prophet to teach that all humankind had one covenant to one God, to which all people would be held accountable on a Judgment Day. All would be judged, not by their variety of personal oaths, but by one standard, which Zoroaster revealed as the law of Ahura Mazda. All people on earth would be judged by their conformity to this particular code of life, when the Messiah Saoshyant came at the end of days. As in older beliefs, the trial of faith to this covenant would be an ordeal by fire from heaven. According to the Zoroastrian Greater Bundahishn, “for him who is righteous it will seem like warm milk, and for him who is wicked, it will seem as if he is walking in the flesh through molten metal”. On that Day of Judgment, after a final cosmic battle between good and evil, all lawbreakers would suffer their appropriate punishments. Those who followed the true laws would receive life everlasting, with bodies and souls reunited in resurrection.
This concept of a universal law was of course a giant stride toward one world community. But the single legal standard of Zoroaster was not quite a universal code transcending all limited cultures. It was a standard of morality built on the base of Indo-Iranian tradition. We can see the ethnic distinctiveness of the supposedly universal code, by looking at the crimes and punishments expected from God. And here we have a marvelous guide, a Persian equivalent of Dante named Arda Viraf, to guide us on a pre-medieval tour of the Zoroastrian universe. In The Vision of Arda Viraf we journey through the realms of hell below, and the levels of paradise above. The sights which Arda Viraf finds in hell are perhaps slightly more horrific than those recorded by Dante. Read More:http://mythlover.multiply.com/journal?&page_start=20