philosophy and way of life
by V. HAMMERTON
At the heart of all great religions and philosophies lies Fundamental Truth. Philosophers and prophets endeavour to express this according to the conditions of the period in which they live, and the understanding of the people to whom they speak.
Stripped of all imagery they all speak of a Supreme Intelligence - God, Allah, Buddha, Yahveh, Mazda etc, which governs everything in the universe, and is immanent in all forms of matter, animate and inanimate. This is the source of all Good, and is manifest in the movement of the stars and planets, in the laws that govern all the forces of nature causing the growth of plants and animals and their evolution. In Man (male and female) is a spark of that intelligence, which prompts him to ask questions 'How, When, Where and Why?' of Life, and to find the answers. This 'Divine Spark' has been given many names - it is the God-within, the Abba (beginningless and endless One), the Christ-within, the Still Small Voice, and in the ancient Zend 'Spenta Mainyus'. This should be one's guide through life, and through the inspiration received one becomes aware of his purpose in life. This Spark never dies - it is eternal.
Those who say 'There is no God' should think again: the fanciful image of an all-seeing 'Grand Old Man Sitting on a Cloud' belongs to the nursery. Compare the above concept of God as an Intelligence whose Thought created all things with the following quotations from scientists.
Sir James Jeans - 'The universe more closely resembles a great thought rather than a machine'.
James Murphy in his introduction to Erwin Schroedinger's 'Science and the Human Temperament': - 'The theory of wave mechanics reduces the last building stones of the Universe to something like a spiritual throb that comes as near as possible to our conception of pure thought'. Einstein and others had similar views which somewhat dispel the often-voiced concept that science and true religion are opposed. They are surely different facets of the same thing.
Of the great Teachers, one whose name is only vaguely known in the West is Zarathustra (Zoroaster to the Greeks), who lived in that land known as the cradle of western civilisation. According to Dr. Ottoman Zar-Adusht Hanish (1844-1936) he was born about 6900 BC at a place called Rhaga, near present day Teheran. In youth he spent much time communing with nature, observing natural law in operation and experimenting with plants; he developed wheat from grasses, the apple tree from the rose-bush, and the artichoke from the thistle. During this period he received great inspiration - that a great Intelligence was the cause of all creative and evolutionary processes, working always for good, for progress. Furthermore he realised that Man was the instrument through whom and by whom the work of evolution was to be continued in order to bring about a state of perfection in all things - the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, as Christ also taught later.
Zarathustra then began to spread this message which was embodied in the Zend Avesta, the Scriptures of the Zarathustrian people, this was destroyed in the temple at Persepolis by Alexander the Great. The text now in use was prepared from fragments that were saved together with portions remembered by the priests, and is unfortunately only a fraction of the original whole. It is treasured today by the Zarathustrians of the Middle East and by the Parsee community in India - descendants of those who fled from Persia at he time of the Moslem invasion in 644 AD. Anquetil du Perron brought such a copy to Europe in 1762. Translations unfortunately have not done justice to the true teaching contained therein. Nevertheless many scholars have recognised their quality including the orientalist Max Mueller, who declared Zarathustrianism to be 'the religion back of all religions'.
Dr. Hanish was responsible for the restatement of this noble teaching in modern terms. His main work however was the founding of the Mazdaznan Association in 1902. Besides philosophical and religious teaching Dr. Hanish gave very practical guidance to help us in attaining a high standard of physical, spiritual and intellectual wholeness and balance, that we might be better equipped as instruments to carry out the designs of Mazda - the Infinite Intelligence on earth. The practical teaching is divided into five subjects which are interdependent, as follows: -
THE POWER OF BREATH
Mazdaznan teaches that breath is dual in function: the Spiritual Breath (Ga-Llama in the Zend, Prana in Indian philosophy, the Holy Spirit of the New Testament) is the link between the Divine Spark and the Universal, and through this we receive inspiration in the spiritual sense. The Physical Breath maintains the body.
Through breathing exercises of various kinds, using different postures, reciting prayers on one long exhalation, humming and singing etc, not only the circulatory system is stimulated, but the nervous and glandular systems are brought into operation to a higher degree. The brain cells become more active, even those that are dormant will stir. The senses become more alert including those referred to as 'Paranormal'. Besides seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, feeling and intuition, we should be able to develop transmission of ideas, telepathy, spiritual discernment, clearsight and realisation.
Enables one to recognise one's own type: Material, Spiritual, or Intellectual with their sub-divisions. The aim is to balance these three facets of life.
The Science of Dietetics
Guidance is given in the selection of food with regard to individual needs, seasonal changes and so on. How best to combine title foods and how to cook them is dealt with. Raw fruit and vegetables are recommended as major items in one's diet throughout the year. Naturally animal and fish corpses are not regarded as food for man, and are excluded for reasons of health and ethics. Though dairy products are used there is a marked tendency as one progresses towards a minimal use of them.
The endocrine glands are important not only to our physical well-being but to our higher development both spiritual and intellectual. Dr. Hanish devised a series of exercises to be used daily. The use of the voice in singing, humming and whistling produces vibrations in the body, which, combined with movements of the various parts and frotations with fists and fingers, stimulates the endocrines, bringing about a more harmonious state within the system. They are dual in activity; their hormones emptied into the bloodstream are essential to our physical well-being, while volatile substances rise to the brain cells.
When Dr. Hanish spoke of the glands at the beginning of the century, very little was known about them. For example, it was thought that the thymus was only active in childhood, atrophying at about seven or eight years of age; today it is known to be part of the immune system, the prolonged acitivity of which into the later years of one's life can prevent the worst effects of the ageing process, keeping one youthful in mind and body. In Mazdaznan we have been taught that it is the 'gland of youth' enabling one to have 'faith, confidence and assurance'. The pineal gland, now the subject of considerable study, was regarded by the wise ones of old as the 'Inner Eye', the 'seat of the mind'. We could perhaps think of it as our own radio/television/radar station for the transmission and reception of messages from outside and within the body. Current research into bat 'radar', bird and fish homing and extra-sensory perception in Man may well confirm this.
Is badly needed today, for sexual 'freedom' is encouraged and self-control is no longer regarded as a virtue. The natural attraction between male and female is a powerful force for good - or evil when misused. Like electricity, when controlled and used with wisdom and understanding it is a wonderful thing, a manifestation of the Life Force. Misured, it is destructive.
To choose a life partner who is in harmony with oneself with whom a stable relationship can be formed is no light undertaking; to prepare a home and then to 'invite' a child to share it needs thought and preparation. For this reason we regard eugenics as a vital part of education. The subject includes regeneration of the individual, choice of a life partner and preparation for marriage, the marriage relationship, conception, gestation, prenatal education of the child through the mother's thought, care of the child through the early years.
Woman as Mother has the greater part to play in the care, ethical guidance and primary education of the child - who is the citizen of the future. Good homes in which the mother fulfils her educative role, lovingly caring for her children, will produce fine healthy men and women with high ideals and love towards their fellows. The family is the unit of which the fabric of society is made. The destruction of the atom can destroy all matter - in like manner the destruction of the family unit can destroy society and civilisation.
We who have elected to follow this way of life call ourselves Mazdaznan Associates. There is no membership or membership fees; we are free of all obligations except those that we voluntarily undertake and all work is voluntary. There are centres in most continental countries and in the USA, and there is close international co-operation. Every year there are international schools and gatherings in one or more countries, our objective being to promote peace and understanding between nations and to help to lay the foundations of a social order where the Law of Love in human relations prevails and where the observance of Nature's laws ensures health and abundance for all.