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What is Zoroastrianism?



What is Zoroastrianism?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.3

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    rosewater, torment, fruitful, conversion, righteous, meditate, enlightenment, lifetime, founded, preach, religion, revolutionary, ancient, basis, wine, convince
     content words:    Prince Spitama, Ahura Mazda, King Vishtaspa, Spentu Mainyu, Angra Mainyu, Only Zoroastrians, No Ruz


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What is Zoroastrianism?
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion founded by a man named Zarathustra. He was born into a royal family in Persia long ago. His parents named him Spitama when he was born. No one seems to agree on his birthday! Some people think he was born around 1,000 B.C. and still others say he was born between 1,400 and 1,200 B.C.
 
2     All the ancient legends say that prince Spitama was special. A bright light shown around the palace on his birthday. Spitama was a fat baby. He had a loud, bubbly laugh. Even the gods were jealous of the jolly boy. Disaster struck the young prince four times. A huge fire destroyed the palace. A stampeding herd of cattle almost ran over the baby. Galloping horses nearly trampled him. Hungry wolves once cornered the boy. Spitama escaped each time. He seemed destined to survive and grow up to be a king.
 
3     However, Spitama decided that he didn't want to be a king. Prince Spitama decided to give up his royal duties at age 15. He had many questions about life. He left home to meditate, and even the king could not convince him to stay home. He spent the next fifteen years searching for enlightenment. According to legends, spirits attacked him. Spitama stayed strong, and one day he was rewarded.
 
4     Spitama waded into a stream, and when he got back to shore, he had a brilliant vision. Spitama saw seven glowing beings. Their light was so bright that Spitama couldn't even see his shadow! One being named Ahura Mazda gave Spitama the answers to his questions. He also gave Spitama a new name. His new name had two parts: Zaratha, which meant golden, and Ustra, which meant light. The Greek name for Zarathustra was Zoroaster. Ahura Mazda's message became the basis of Zoroastrianism.

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