The Mazdaznan Message
A Brief Outline
by Dr. Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha'nish
Mazdaznan is an educational and religious system and not a sect. It is a religion because it comprises all of the essential interests of life, from philosophy to dietetics. Mazdaznan contains nothing dogmatic in its teachings. Its keystone is education, and not instruction by coercion.
The name Mazdaznan means Master Thought, expressed in the language of its origin, the ancient Persian or Zend tongue. The name denotes perfectly that the Mazdaznan system is essentially the religion of Zarathustra organized to meet modern demands. It is not Parseeism nor is it Magianism. Neither is it a mystical, pseudo-occult order whose precepts include the worship of sun and fire. That is the common idea of Zarathustrianism, but Zarathustra taught no such thing.
Mazdaznan has a long history. Evolved on the highlands of Iran in prehistoric times, its progress can be distinctly traced in the great systems of philosophy and religion down to the present day. The expressed views of our greatest orientalists and ethical teachers serve well to illustrate the great esteem in which Mazdaznan is held. The Orientalist is not the only criterion of Mazdaznan, the oriental part of the system is simply its origin, its genesis. The universal appeal which it has made is due to its unlimited interests. Through its technically religious side it appeals to the spiritually minded individual; by means of its philosophical teachings the thinker, the intellectual man, is attracted, and lastly - the thing of greatest importance to many of us - the dietetics and the general physiological doctrines of Mazdaznan hold the attention of the physical type of person. Consequently, we readily see that Mazdaznan stands alone in its field. Dogmatic religions we have in abundance; there are innumerable clubs and societies which study life from the purely intellectual standpoint; physical culture clubs, vegetarian societies, and health associations we have galore, but a systematic combination of all these is to be found only in one institution -Mazdaznan.
Mazdaznan as an organized movement has a very brief history. For centuries teachers of Mazdaznan have exercised their influence upon the various religions and philosophical systems. Their intention was to bring about unity of belief among the different peoples through their accepted media of instruction. These attempts were frustrated again and again by the opposition of clerical authority. Realizing at last the hopelessness of the idea, the complete system of Mazdaznan was organized as an independent institution in 1902. Since that time men and women of professional, industrial and commercial ability have made efforts to bring and keep Mazdaznan before the world.
To touch briefly upon the teachings of the system, we shall begin with Breath, the basic physical principle of the whole philosophy. To us "God is Life", again the manifestation of life is breath. Then the conclusion of the syllogism is that breath is the physical process related to the spiritual or God. This evidently makes breath the foundation of all physical, mental and spiritual development and unfoldment. Consequently, Mazdaznan has a well developed and tested system of breathing exercises, which contains a specific exercise for every particular need.
Next in order of importance is the Science of Dietetics. Mazdaznan coincides with Platonic philosophy that Man is a diminutive but complete counterpart of the universe. "Man, know Thyself", as inscribed above the temples of ancient Hellas, speaks volumes to the Mazdaznan. The man who knows himself knows the operations of the universe. But if the body is imperfect and filled with disease, the mental propensities of the individual are naturally hampered and crippled proportionally by the law of correlation of parts. The axiom to be derived from this is simply that in order to be mentally and spiritually capable of higher things the body must be in as nearly perfect a condition as possible. This leads to the question of diet, since there is nothing which affects our bodies so much as that which we put into them.
Mazdaznan most strongly advocates vegetarianism. Without delving into the arguments pro and con, which are numerous suffice it to say Mazdaznan shuns animal flesh products of every description for four principal reasons: first, meat is considered a stimulant and not a food. Second, meat is disintegrating matter and contains poisonous ingredients such as ptomaines and leukomaines which infect the system. Third, all the elements required by the body for nourishment and growth can be obtained in a purer and just as concentrated a state in the form of cereals, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Finally, Mazdaznan believes that "Thou shalt not kill", and makes no exception in the case of dumb (speechless) animals.
In religious thought Mazdaznan is extremely liberal. Although identified with Zarathustrianism, Mazdaznan does not dogmatically cling to that faith. The saints, saviours and prophets of all other religions are recognized as praiseworthy contributors to the world's progress. The principles and teachings of the various churches readily blend with Mazdaznan philosophy. Because of this, no one need sever relationship with his or her church when becoming a Mazdaznan. Mazdaznan does not proselytize; it does not attempt to win adherents. The teachings are free to all and the principle prevails which says, "Take that which appeals to you and leave the rest". Mazdaznan points the way.