Western scholars Wilson and Haug

Their Detrimental influence on our religion

By Khojeste Mistree

Fellow Traditional Mazdayasni Zarathushtris,

I draw your attention to what a Parsi scholar in Mumbai, KHOJESTE MISTREE wrote in the Jame-Jamshed newspaper, Naoroz edition, 1995. He wrote that the Western scholars Wilson and Martin Haug have had a DETRIMENTAL influence on the Zoroastrian religion. (These were Western scholars who studied our religion in the 19th century.) Khojeste's title is "Detrimental influence of Wilson and Haug." I quote from his article: (emphasis mine)

"What Wilson and Haug independantly did to the psyche of the community during their work in India. Clearly, Wilson did his DAMAGE by attacking the doctrine and practices of the Zoroastrian faith. Wilson attacked the precept-practice paradigm of the Zoroastrain faith. Dr. Wilson published "The Religion of the Parsees" in which he DENIGRATED the Zoroastrian religion. Furthermore, Wilson wrote "... we believe that the Christian religion is that alone which has the truth on its side, and we wish all men to come to CHRIST and be saved...there is only one religion which brings man to knowledge and civilization, all other religions keep him in darkness." Later he (Wilson) wrote: " The Vendidad is not only both in style and substance destitute of all claims...but that it is from beginning to end, most singularly DESPICABLE as a human composition." (Reverend Wilson, Religion of the Parsees.)

Khojeste Mistree continues:

"What Wilson wrote, slowly started taking root in the minds of the Parsi reformists, who thereafter started ATTACKING the contents of the Vendidad, A PROBLEM THAT PLAGUES THE COMMUNITY TO THIS DAY. After Wilson's missionary work within the community, Christianity and specifically Western PROTESTANTISM of a "LOW RITUAL" church became an attractive pallative amongst the next generation of Zoroastrians. Reformist Zoroastrians saw no harm in going to the chapels or in singing hymns or indeed, reading the Bible with greater zest then their own texts.

"... A few decades later, Martin Haug in his work concluded that rituals were not an essential part of the religion as they are not mentioned in the prophet's hymns. ...All these statements were welcomed by the reformist caucas and was music to their ears. Haug... stated:

"The two primeval causes emerged in both matter and spirit ie. (where) Angra Mainyush is no separate being opposed to Ahura Mazda... where Ahura Mazda mentions his two spirits who are inherant in his own nature." (Haug's Essays on the Parsis, by E.W. west.)

"These beliefs are CLEARLY NOT SUPPORTED in the Pahlavi tradition as Mardan Farokh, a genius of his time, so ably illustrated in his 9th century treatise the Shkand Gumanig Vizar."

- By Khojeste Mistree,

Zoroastrian Studies,
K. R. Cama Oriental Institute Building,
Ground Floor, 136 Bombay Samachar Marg,
Mumbai - 400 023 INDIA.

Thus Khojeste, a widely respected Zoroastrian educator and scholar shows that this lack of faith in the Vendidad is actually a British-India period ILLNESS that persists with us even today. Martin Haug and the Reverend Wilson were the two outsider scholars who actually started this poison.

Just think about it: Reverend Wilson actually wrote in his book "The Religion of the Parsees" that the *Christian* religion was the only religion that afforded light to man, all other religions kept him in darkness! It was such a zealous Christian scholar who then denigrated the Vendidad totally, saying it was the worst composition ever written by humans. Martin Haug was another scholar who said there were no rituals in the Gathas, so apparently, according to him Parsees should not believe in rituals. As if he had the authority of a Prophet and a sanction from God to tell the Zoroastrians what to believe in!

We find the views of such arrogant Western scholars today reflected in the words of the Gatha-only cult in Mehrdad's "zoroastrians" list and in the "creating awareness" liberal list, specifically in the words of Muslim outsiders like ali. Just like their predecessors the Christian scholars viciously attacked the Vendidad to help in converting the Zoroastrians whole-scale into Christianity, these modern "scholars" are similarly scornful of the Vendidad and would like to see Zoroastrians become more and more modernized, and loose their ancient Zoroastrian culture, tenets and tradition described in the Vendidad.

For eg. they abhor the Dakhma, and would have us bury the dead, as the modern people do. They abhor the rituals, and would have us discard them, as the modern people do. They abhor the Sudreh-Kusti, and would have us go about without them, as the modern people do. They abhor our Avestan Mathravani, and would have us pray in English, as the modern people do. They abhor our purification rites and God-given cleanliness, and would have us freely pollute the whole world with our dead and our women's menses, as the modern people do. In all, the GATHA-ONLY CULT followed by these people smacks of modern influence, in particular that of Anglican and Protestant Christianity, more than anything else. It is a MIXTURE of the Gathas and Anglo-Protestant Christian practices, and is *not* the pure religion.

The only place the pure Zoroastrian religion is being practised is in India and Pakistan, particularly Bombay and Gujarat and Karachi, and in a few secluded, hidden communities in Iran. These "traditional" people have kept our religion going for thousands of years - I bow to these righteous souls, who are strong in their faith. May God give them strength, in this evil age.

Please, be careful, my young friends. Stand by your religion in it's dark hour of need, when outsiders unjustly attack it with their propaganda, in this group. Have a faith so strong that all their ranting and screeching will be of no avail. In the end, these outsiders will realize the futility of their actions when they denigrate a great religion and a great people, and they will ultimately be called to ANSWER for their unrighteous actions, before God Almighty. There is no escape for these people, from the justice of God, Who sees all and knows all; and will judge ALL for their actions, know this to be the truth.

"Ahura Mazda is the Creator, the evil one ahreman the destroyer" - this is in the Zoroastrian scriptures. To the Gatha-only cult who is trying to destroy our religion, culture and scriptures, this is indeed something to think about.

A young, staunch Zoroastrian man has this to add:

"My fellow Parsi-Irani brothers and sisters, be strong in your faith. Study our scriptures with patience, they contain the wisdom not only of this material world, but also of the unseen spiritual world. The Gathas are holy and should not be ridiculed, but the same applies to the other Holy books. The Gathas and their wisdom have to be used in the proper context. They beautifully co-exist with other Zoroastrian literature. Gathas contain the metaphysics of our religion, the books like the Vendidad contain the liturgy and purification part of our religion, the Bundahishn deals with our Creation story. Each of these books are sacred by themselves and when combined they are really potent in implementing Ahura Mazda's will in both the material (getig) and spiritual (menog) worlds. Commandments from each of these books contain something which enrich the devout Zoroastrian. The sincere Zoroastrian doesnt rebel for the sake of rebelling, he is patient, he understands the wisdom found in traditions."

Well said, young man! While there are people like you in our faith, our religion will stand strong.

So, study, understand the real meaning, and then defend your scriptures, with pride, as your forefathers did for thousands of years, in Iran and India. It is your birthright, and your sacred duty to do so.



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