Hail! Born for us is the priest Spitama Zarathushtra!
The cheer of the beneficient creations reverberated through the universe. The world was bathed in golden light for days before and since, as Zarathushtra, he of the golden coloured camel, made his entry into this world with a chuckle. Legend would have us believe that Zarathushtra in fact laughed out loud at the moment of his birth and that this laughter so unusual in a new born babe and therefore considered miraculous, foretold the destruction of all darkness, evil and misery in this world. A much anticipated saviour had been born.
The life and times of Zarathushtra go back to what is considered the prehistoric past. This was a time when the hitherto nomadic tribes of the central Asian steppes were just beginning to lead a more settled existence. Farming and pastoral communities were being established and the settlers were beginning to realize the need for long term care of their environment if they were to reap the benefits of a settled lifestyle. These were tough and dangerous times too, as there was the ever imminent danger of marauding nomads looting and pillaging these settlements in their seasonal migrations across the steppes.
What we do know about Zarathushtra comes to us enshrouded in myth and legend, the stories having been transmitted through an oral tradition for generations before finally being committed to writing. The core of these legends do have a sound basis in fact as they can be corroborated by Zarathushtra’s own words and in the faithfully preserved religious literature of his followers. Unfortunately no definitive information is available to us with regard to the place and the time of his ministry. What can be stated with any degree of certainty is that he lived in the north-eastern part of Iran and at a time no later than 1500 BC.