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(i.e. people of Pars, or Fars, the name of ancient Persia) are a remnant of the old inhabitants of Persia, who to this day continue faithful to the ancient Persian religion as reformed by Zoroaster (q.v.). They are also called Atesh Perest, or fire-worshippers; Majus, from their priests the Magi; and by themselves Beh-Din, "Those of the excellent belief;" or Mazdaasnan, worshippers of Ormuzd; by the Turks Ghiaur or Ghaur, which is commonly, but against all linguistic laws, derived from the Arabic Kafir (a word applied to all non-Mohammedans, and supposed to have been first bestowed upon this sect by their Arabic conquerors in the 7th century), but which is evidently nothing more than an ancient proper name taken from some pre-eminent tribe or locality, since the Talmud (Jebam. 63 b, Gitt. 17a, etc.) already knows them only by this name (Chebor); and Origen (Contra Cels. 6:291) speaks of Kabirs or Persians, asserting that Christianity has adopted nothing from them.
What the pre-Zoroastrian religion of Persia was is not yet determined, and in all likelihood will not soon be definitely settled. By philological research it has been made clear that in primeval or pre-historic times the religious faith of the Persians and Hind Û s was identical; in other words, that Parseeism is but an outgrowth of Brahminism (q.v.). It appears that in consequence of certain social and political conflicts between the Iranians and the Aryans, who afterwards peopled Hindostan proper, an undying feud arose, in the course of which the Iranians foreswore even the hithertocommon faith, and established a counter faith (Ahura). The ancient but now hostile gods were transformed into daemons, and the entire Deva religion was branded as the source of all mischief and wickedness. The founder and organizer of this new religion is reputed to be Zarathustra (Greek, Ζαραστράδης , Ζωροάστρης ; Latin, Zoroaster; mod. Persian, Zerdosht, Zerdusht ) , and he is usually distinguished from his successors in the priesthood of like name to the addition of his family name, Spitama. (For a summary of what is known and speculated about the person and time of this great reformer, see the article ZOROASTER (See Zoroaster) .
We shall here confine ourselves to the merest essentials of Parseeism.) Zoroastrianism, as the new religion is sometimes called, is of uncertain date. The Zend-Avesta, the Parsee Bible, is ascribed to Zoroaster, but its varieties in doctrine make it evident that it was composed in different ages. Thus the dualism, which is now a characteristic of Parseeism (see below), is not found in the most ancient sections of that book and there are very early chapters. that contain traces even of a polytheistic nature-worship, in which the gods have no personal existence, but are mere powers, such .as the sunshine, the wind, the:earth, and fire. Hardwick takes the ground that the modifications in the religion of Indo- Persian heathenism, that give it the shape in which we now encounter it, began in the 7th century B.C., and continued until the Sassanian revival in the time of Artaxerxes, or the 3d century of the Christian aera (A.D. 226). le also holds that the Avesta was not given its present shape any earlier than the last-named period (Christ and other Masters, 2:374).
Whatever the date of the origin of Parseeism, the principles of Zoroaster's theology are easily accessible, and we now turn to a consideration of these. In the article PERSIA (See Persia) we give the early religious history of its people. Taking for granted that such a prophet as Zoroaster flourished at some time in Persian history, we encounter him as the reformer of the Persian religion. From the too-sensuous Aryan system the Iranians had developed a distinct recognition of deities, who are real persons, possessed of self-consciousness and intelligence. But the attempt to subordinate one power to another, in order to establish the supremacy of one God, was first conceived by the author of Zoroastrianism. Its especial glory it is to have established as the principle of its theology a monotheism as pure as ever the followers of the Jehovistic faith enjoined. The supposed Zoroaster first taught the existence of but one deity, the Ahura, who is called Mazda, (See Ormuzd), the Creator of all things, to whom all good things, spiritual and worldly, belong. Zoroaster's conception of the Supreme Deity is sublime. All the highest attributes, except that of Fatherhood, are assigned to him. He is the Creator of all earthly and spiritual life. He is the Holy God, the Father of all truth, the "Best Being of all," the Master of purity. He is supremely happy, possessing every blessing, health, wealth, virtue, immortality, wisdom, and abundance of every earthly good. All these he bestows on the good man who is pure in thought, word, and deed, while he punishes the wicked. All that is created, good or evil, fortune or misfortune, is his work.
He is to be served by purity, truth, and goodness in thought, word, and deed, by prayers and offerings. The works of agriculture are especially pleasing to him. No images of him were allowed. In spite of some mixtures of physical ideas, such as the ascription to him of health, and the conception of him as in some sense light, the notion of Ahura-Mazda is truly spiritual. Under the Supreme Being are the genii, who stand between God and man; Sraosha, the instructor of the prophet, the friend of God, and the protector of the faith; and Armaiti, the genius of the earth and the guardian of piety, and perhaps some others. The existence of evil was accounted for by the supposition of two primeval causes, which, though opposed to each other, were united in every existing being, even in Ahlura-Mazda himself, and by their union was produced the world of material things and of spiritual existence. The cause of good is VohuMano, the good mind, from which springs Gaya, or reality; to it,all good, true, and perfect things belong. The evil cause is Akun-Mano, "naughty mind," from which springs non-reality (Ajyaiti); to it all evil and delusive things belong. But, as united in Ahura-Mazda, the two principles are called Spento-Manyus, the dark. spirit. No personal existence is ascribed to these; they both exist in Ahura-Mazda. but they are opposed to one another as creators of light and darkness, of life and death, of sleep and waking. In the course of time, through the operation of the principle whereby attributes become personified, this primeval doctrine became corrupted into a systematic dualism.
Thus the two causes appear as distinct and opposed personal beings, Ahura-Mazda or Ormuzd, of whom Spento- Manyus is a title, and Angro-Manyus or Ahriman. These two existed separately and independently from all eternity, each ruling over a realm of his own, and' constantly at war with and striving to overthrow the other. All the good and pure creations of Ormuzd are defiled and spoiled by those of Ahriman, who cannot create independently, but only brings evil into being to counterwork, ruin, and destroy the good works of Ormuzd. Under each principle is a hierarchy of ministers, personal beings created by these respective lords, whom they serve and obey in every way. The first created and chief of these to Ormuzd are his six councillors, in later times made seven by including Sraosha or Ormuzd himself. They are all called "immortal saints," and each rules over a special province of creation. These are in their origin personifications of abstractions, representing the gifts of Ormuzd to his worshippers. Ahriman has also a council of six (later seven) evil beings, the counterparts of Ormuzd's councillors, who work evil in the spheres over which the latter preside. Under these, on each side, are hosts of other spirits. Those of Ormuzd are the "good spirits," headed by Sraosha and the Fervers, invisible protectors of all created beings. Ahriman has the Devas or Divs, the exact contraries to these.
The two principles are considered as co-equal and co-eternal in the past; neither is absolutely victorious as yet. Their strife extends throughout all creations; every existing thing is ranged on one side or the other; nothing can be neutral. But at the last three prophets sprung from Zoroaster will appear, who will convert all mankind to Zoroastrianism; evil will be conquered and annihilated; Ahriman will vanish forever, and creation will be restored to, its primitive purity. A later development still was made to save the unity of the Supreme. It was therefore held that the two principles emanated from a being called Zarvan-Akarana time without bounds, into whom they will again be in the end absorbed. This doctrine rests on a misinterpretation of texts in the Avesta (see Haug, Essay, p. 20 sq., 264). It is, however, still held by the Parsees in India as well as in Persia. Man is represented as created by Ormuzd in purity and holiness; but through the temptation of the Divs he fell, and became exposed to sin and evil, Every man is bound to choose whether he will serve Ormuzd by good deeds, industry, and piety, or Ahriman by the contrary vices. According as he chooses, so is he rewarded or punished in another world. For Zoroaster had taught the hope of a future life. According to him, there are two intellects, as there are two lives — one mental and the other bodily; and, again, there must be distinguished an earthly and a future life. There are two abodes for the departed — Heaven (Garo-Demana, the House of the Angels' Hymns, Yazna, 28:10; 34:2; comp. Isaiah 6, Revelat., etc.) and Hell (Draj- Demana, the residence of devils and the priests of the Deva religion). Between the two there is the Bridge of the Gatherer or Judge, which the souls of the pious alone can pass. There will be a general resurrection, which is to precede the last judgment, to foretell which Sosiosh (Soskyans), the son of Zoroaster, spiritually begotten (by later priests divided into three persons), will be sent by Ahura-Mazda. The world, which by that time will be utterly steeped in wretchedness, darkness, and sin, will then be renewed; death, the archfiend of creation, will be slain, and-life will be everlasting and holy.
The Zoroastrian creed gradually became corrupted, until, in the time of Alexander Severus, Ardshir "Ariainos" (comp. Mirkhond, ap. de Sacy, Memoires surn div. Aut. de la Perse, etc., p. 59), the son of Babegan, called by the Greeks and Romans Artaxerxes or Artaxares, who founded the Sassanide dynasty, caused the complete restoration of the partly lost and partly forgotten books of Zoroaster, which he effected, it is related, chiefly through the inspiration of a Magian sage, chosen out of 40,000 Magians. The sacred volumes were then translated out of the original Zend into the vernacular, and disseminated among the people at large, and fire temples were reared throughout the length and the breadth of the land. The Magi -or priests were all-powerful, and their hatred was directed principally against the Greeks. "Far too long," wrote Ardshir, the king, to all the provinces of the Persian empire, for more than five hundred years, has the poison of Aristotle spread." The fanaticism of the priests often found vent also against Christians and Jews. The latter have left us some account of the tyranny and oppression to which they as unbelievers were exposed — such as the prohibition of fire and light in their houses on Persian fast-days, of the slaughter of animals, the baths of purification, and the burial of the dead according to the Jewish rites — prohibitions only to be bought off by heavy bribes. In return, the Magi were cordially hated by the Jews, and remain branded in their writings by the title of daemons of hell (Kidushin, 72 a). To accept the instruction of a Magian is pronounced by a Jewish sage to be an offense worthy of death (Shabb. 75 a, 156 b). This mutual animosity does not, however, appear to have long continued, since in subsequent times we frequently find Jewish sages (Samuel the Arian, etc.) on terms of friendship and confidence with the later Sassanide kings (comp. Moed Katon, 26 a, etc.).
From the period of its re-establishment, the Zoroastrian religion flourished uninterruptedly for about four hundred years, till, in A.D. 651, at the great battle of Nahavand (near Ecbatana), the Persian army, under Yezdezird, was routed by the caliph Omar. Under Mohammedan rule, the great mass of the inhabitants were converted to the religion of Islam. A very small number, still clinging to the ancient religion, were for many centuries the victims of constant oppression. Malimmud the Ghiznevide, Shah Abbas, and others, were conspicuous by their untiring persecution of them; and the manner in which they were held up to general detestation is best shown by the position assigned them in most popular Mohammedan tales as sorcerers and criminals. They were hunted down with such ferocity that they became nearly exterminated, and after untold suffering for two hundred years a colony found its way to India. Those that remained in Persia, being permitted to reside only in one district and under the most mortifying restrictions, gradually sank into ignorance and degradation, and procured a precarious living by performing menial labor; but, notwithstanding all this oppression, they have always maintained the character of holest, chaste, and industrious citizens. At present there are, according to the very latest information, about eight thousand Guebres (as they are now called) scattered over the vast dominions of their ancestors, chiefly in Yezd and twenty-four surrounding villages. There are a few at Teheran, a few at Ispahan, at Shiraz, and some at Baku, near the great naphtha mountain.
During those fierce persecutions of the 7th century many of those who still cleaved to the religion of their forefathers found a refuge in the mountainous districts of Khorassan, where, for about a hundred years, they lived in the free and undisturbed exercise of their religion. At length, however, when the sword of the persecutor overtook them even in these remote districts, and they were again compelled to seek safety in flight, a considerable number emigrated to the. small island of Ormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Here, however, they remained only a short time, when, finding that they were still within the reach of their Moslem persecutors, they went out to seek an asylum in Hindostan," where, concealing the true nature of their religion, they partly conformed' to Hind Û practices and ceremonies. At length, after a long series of hardships, which they endured with the most exemplary patience, they resolved to make an open profession of their ancient faith, and accordingly they built a fire-temple in Sanjan, the Hind Û rajah of the district kindly aiding them in the work.
The temple was completed in A.D. 721, and the sacred fire was kindled on the altar. For three hundred years from the time of their landing in Sanjan the Parsees lived in comfort and tranquillity; and at the end of that period their numbers were much increased by the emigration of a large body of their countrymen from Persia, who, with their families, located themselves in different parts of Western India, where they chiefly engaged in agricultural pursuits. Being a peaceable and industrious people, the Parsees lived in harmony with the Hind Û s, though of different and even opposite faiths. Nothing of importance, indeed, occurred in their history until the beginning of the 16th century, when they were called upon to aid the rajahl under whom they lived in resisting the aggressions of a Mohammedan chief residing at Ahmedabad. On that occasion they distinguished themselves by their valor and intrepidity, contributing largely to the success which at first crowned the arms of the Hind Û s. Ultimately, however, the Moslems were victorious, and the Hind Û government was overthrown. The Parsees, carrying with them the sacred fire from Sanjan, now removed to the mountains of Baharut, where they remained for twelve years, of the end of which they directed their course, first to Bansda, and afterwards to Nowsaree, where they speedily rose to wealth and influence. Here, however, a quarrel arose among the priests, and the sacred fire was secretly conveyed to Oodwara, a place situated thirty-two miles south of Surat, where it still exists; and being the oldest fire-temple in India, it is held in the highest veneration by the Parsees. Nowsaree is the city of the priests, members of whom are every year sent to Bombay to act as spiritual instructors of their Zoroastrian fellow worshippers. It is difficult to ascertain the precise time at which the Parsees arrived in Bombay, but in all probability it was in the latter half of the 17th century, somewhere about the time that the island passed into the hands of the British, having been given by the king of Portugal as a dowry to his daughter Catharine when she became the wife of Charles II. Ever since this remarkable remnant of antiquity has maintained its footing in Hindostan. chiefly in Bombay, and in some of the cities of Gujerat, and a few are also to be found in Calcutta, and other large cities in India, in China, and other parts of Asia.
The Parsees of India, who, according to the latest census, form a population of 110,544, or twenty per cent. of the whole population, are recognised as the most respectable and thriving portion of the community, being for the most part merchants and landed proprietors. They bear, equally with their poorer brethren in Persia, with whom they have of late renewed some slight intercourse for religious and other purposes such as their rivayets or correspondences on important and obscure doctrinal points — the very highest character for honesty, industry, and peacefulness, — while their benevolence, intelligence, and magnificence outvie those of most of their European fellow-subjects. Their general appearance is to a certain degree prepossessing, and many of their women are strikingly beautiful. In all civil matters they are subject to the laws of the country they inhabit; and its language is also theirs, except in the ritual of their religion, in which the holy language of Zend is used by the priests, although, as a rule, these have no more knowledge of it than the laity.
These are the leading fundamental doctrines as laid down by their prophet. Respecting the practical side of their religion, we cannot here enter into a detailed description of their very copious rituals, which have partly found their way into other creeds. Suffice it to mention the following points. They do not eat anything cooked by a person of another religion; they also object to beef, pork, especially to ham. Marriages can only be contracted with persons of their own caste and creed. Polygamy, except after nine years of sterility and divorce, is forbidden. Fornication and adultery are punishable with death. The Parsees stand alone in their treatment of the dead. At a certain stage of every funeral a dog is introduced to look at the corpse; and without this preliminary no spirit is presumed to rest in peace. But the dead are neither burned nor buried.
However well this fact is known, it is not equally well known that the motive which deters alike from cremation and from sepulture is a fear of doing dishonor to the elements of fire and earth. Their dead are exposed on an iron grating in the Dokhma, or Tower of Silence, to the fowls of the air, to the dew, and to the sun until the flesh has disappeared, and the bleaching bones fall through into a pit beneath, from which they are afterwards removed to a subterranean cavern. The Parsees having so long mingled with the Hind Û s have naturally adopted many of their customs and practices, which for centuries they have continued to observe; and though the punchayet, or legal council of the Parsees, about twenty-five years ago endeavored to discourage, and even to root out all such ceremonies and practices as had crept into their religion since they first settled in Hindostan, their attempts were wholly unsuccessful. So recently, however, as 1852 steps have been taken for the accomplishment of the same desirable object which are more likely to bring about the restoration of the Zoroastrian religion to its pristine purity. In that year an association was formed at Bombay, called the "Rahnumai Mazdiasna," or Religious Reform Association, composed of many wealthy and influential Parsees, along with a number of intelligent and well- educated young men. The labors of this society have been productive of considerable improvement in the social condition of the Parsees.
The state of the priesthood calls for some change in that body. Many of them are so ignorant that they do not understand their liturgical works, though they regularly recite the required portions from memory. The office of the priesthood is hereditary, the son of a priest being also a priest, unless he chooses to follow some other profession; but a layman cannot be a priest. That the priests may be incited to study the sacred books, an institution has been established called the "Mulla Firoz Mudrissa," in which they are taught the Zend, Pehivi, and Persian languages. On the whole, the Parsee community in India appears to be rapidly imbibing European customs and opinions, and rising steadily in influence and importance. Liberal as is the adoption by the Parsees of social improvements suggested by Englishmen, it is too recent in origin to be yet any thing like complete. The family is still essentially shut off from the outer world; and we must refer to those who have been behind the scenes if we would know the people thoroughly under their social or domestic aspect. Here, too, marks of the influence of the Hind Û s meet us at almost every turn. Noticeably is this the case as concerns astrology. Whether it be a birth or a marriage, or anything else of critical moment, the stars are to be interrogated for their reading of its future. The notion of a baby without. a horoscope is quite foreign to all Parsee associations. In fact, the very naming of a child is looked upon as an impossibility without the intervention of a star-gazer. While alchemy has come to be discredited in India nearly as much as it is in Europe, astrology and palmistry are to this day gravely reckoned among Parsees in the category of rational sciences. At the early age of seven a child must be betrothed, and the wedding follows not long after. Its rites are in a large measure symbolical; but their original signification has been forgotten. Many of them are evident grafts from Hind Û ism; but one of them, at least, is foreign. When the bridegroom first reaches the abode of his father-in- law, some lady of the house waves over his head several times a metallic vessel containing rice and water, flings its contents at his feet, and also an egg, and finally admits him through the door, with his right foot forward. To a Hind Û nothing — unless it be an onion — is more utterly impure than an egg. A priest is always employed to solemnize marriage. A Parsee, if true to the traditions of his race, can be only a monogamist. Nuptial festivities, even to the poorest Parsee, are very expensure, and often, besides exhausting his earnings of many past years, entail a heavy load of debt. But the long-established submission to this unremunerative folly is now gradually yielding to common-sense; and the Parsees, year by year, are coming more and more to conduct their espousals on a scale of outlay soberly correspondent to the real requirements of the occasion. Towards bringing about this improvement, the counsel — and the example of Englishmen have doubtless been of important influence.
The traditions of the Parsees teach that the sacred fire which Zoroaster brought from heaven has been kept continually burning in the consecrated temples, and is fed with choice wood and spices. The Parsees claim to have brought that fire from the temple in Persia, and for ages to have kept it alive and burning. They are called Fire-worshippers, but they call themselves "Those of excellent belief." Their, temples contain no idols, but are entirely plain, and contain nothing that they regard as sacred but the fire which is burning on the altar, and which they assert has not only been kept burning through all the ages, but will be kept burning to the end of the world. All intelligent Parsees, however, spurn the imputation that they worship the sun or fire. Ahura-Mazda being the origin of light, his symbol is the sun, with the moon and the planets, and in default of them the fire, and the believer is enjoined to face a luminous object during his prayers. Hence also the temples and altars must forever be fed with the holy fire brought down, according to tradition, from heaven, the sullying of whose, flame is punishable with death. The priests themselves approach it only with a half-mask (Penom) over the face, lest their breath should defile it, and never touch it with their hands, but with holy instruments. The fires are of five kinds; but however great the awe felt by Parsees with respect to fire and light (they are the only Eastern nation who abstain from smoking), yet they never consider these, as we said before, as anything but emblems-of Divinity. They assert that they worship the one true spiritual God alone, but revere the sun and fire as the highest manifestation of God. The ignorant Parsees, however, do not so discern in their worship, and pay adoration to the sun and fire as divinities; and the intelligent excuse them because, say they, if so ignorant as to be unable to comprehend the true God, they may as well be suffered to adore His brightest manifestations. The intelligent ones claim that when they look up to the sun, they look beyond to the great Author of all good, and worship only Him. "We see them," says Graves (in a letter from India to the Northern Christian Advocate, 1875), "in the street, on the docks, or anywhere that they may happen to be at the time of the going down of the sun, apparently in adoration. We have seen them in their carriages stop on the terrace and put themselves in a position of worship. They gather on the shores of the sea as the sun goes down, and raise their hands and bow with the most profound reverence. From their beautiful homes on Malabar Hill the ladies gather with their children to reverence and adore the setting sun as it sinks into the sparkling sea."
The Parsees practice also five kinds of "sacrifice," which term, however, is rather to be understood in the sense of a sacred action. These are, the slaughtering of animals for public or private solemnities; prayer; the Damns sacrament, which, with its consecrated bread and wine in honor of the primeval founder of the law, Hom or Heomoh (the Sanscr. Soma), and Dahman, the personified blessing, bears a striking outward resemblance to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; the sacrifice: Expiation, consisting therin flagellationor in gifts top the priest; and, lastly, the sacrifice for the souls of the dad. The purification of physical and moral impurities is effected, in the first place, by cleansing with holy water (Nirang), earth, etc.; next, by prayers (of which sixteen, at least, are to be recited every day) and the recitation of the divine word; but other self-casitigations, fasting, celibacy, etc., are considered hateful to the Divinity. The ethical code maybe summed up in the three words — purity of thought, of word, and of deed; a religion" that is for all, and not for any particular nation," as the Zoroastrians say. It need hardly be added that superstitions of all kinds have, in the course of the tribulations of ages, and the intimacy with neighboring countries, greatly defiled the original purity of this creed, and that its forms now vary very much among the different communities of the present time.
There are two sects of Parsees in India, the Shensoys and the Kudinis, both of whom follow in all points the religion of Zoroaster, and differ merely as to the precise date for the computation of the aera of Yezdegird, the last king of the ancient Persian monarchy. The only practical disadvantage which arises from this chronological dispute is that there is a month's difference between them in the time at which they observe their festivals. The Kudmis are few in number, but several of the most wealthy and influential of the Parsees belong to this sect. About thirty years ago a keen discussion, known among the Parsees by the name of the Kubisa controversy, was carried on in Bombay, and though argued. with the greatest earnestness and acrimony on both sides, the contested point in regard to the sera of Yezdegird has not yet been satisfactorily settled. The difference was first observed about two hundred years ago, when a learned Zoroastrian, named Jamasp, came from Persia to Surat, and while engaged in instructing the Mobeds, or Parsee priests, discovered that there was a difference of one full month in the calculation of time between the Zoroastrians of India and those of Persia. It was not, however, till 1746 that any great importance was attached to this chronological difference. In that year the Kudmi sect was formed, its distinguishing tenet being an adherence to the chronological view imported by Jamasp from Persia, while the great mass of the Parsees in India still retained their former mode of calculation. At first sight this might appear a matter of too small importance to give rise to a theological dispute, but it must be borne in mind that when a Parsee prays, he must repeat the year, month, and day on which he offers his petition, and this circumstance leads to an observable difference between the prayer of a Kudmi and that of a Shensoy, and the same difference of course exists in the celebration of the festivals which are common to both sects.
Something like a very serious schism has lately broken out in the Parsee communities, and the modern terms of Conservative and Liberal, or, rather, bigot and infidel, are almost as freely used with them as in Europe. The sum and substance of these innovations, stoutly advocated by one side and as stoutly resisted by the other, is the desire to stop early betrothal and marriage, to suppress the extravagance in funerals and weddings, to educate women, and to admit them into society, and especially to abolish the purification by the Nirang — a filthy substance in itself — as well as to reduce the large number of obligatory prayers. The task of the pious Parsee in prayer is certainly no small one. He has to repeat his devotions sixteen times at least every day. First on getting out of bed, then during the Nirang operation, again when he takes his bath, again when he cleanses his teeth, and when he has finished his morning ablutions. The same prayers are repeated whenever, during the day, a Parsee has to wash his hands. Every meal — and there are three — begins and ends with prayer, besides the grace, and before going to bed the work of the day is closed by prayer. Two counter alliances or societies — the "Guides of the Worshippers of God" and the "True Guides" respectively — are contending for the objects of their different parties.
The literature of the Parsees will be found noted under PERSIA (See Persia) and ZEND-AVESTA (See Zend-Avesta) . Besides the latter, which is written in ‘ ancient Zend, and its' Gujarati translation and commentaries, there are to be mentioned, as works essentially treating of religious matters, the Zerdusht-Nameh, or Legendary History of Zoroaster; the Sadder, or Summary of Parsee Doctrines; the Dabistan, or School of Manners; the Desatir, Sacred Writings, etc. All these have been translated into English and other European languages. The Guebres had lost all knowledge of the literature connected with their religion, and were altogether steeped in the grossest ignorance, until the recent efforts for their elevation. As we have said above, the Parsee merchants of India sent a member of their denomination to Persia, with the view of ameliorating the condition of their poor brethren residing in that kingdom.. The emissary of his people bore the name Manokji Limdji Sahab. This worthy man, being a British subject, enjoyed in his' mission all the privileges which that mother-country of liberty so bountifully confers. Manokji visited the several settlements of the poor Guebres, and acquainted himself with their wants and burdens. Backed by his constituents in India, he made himself responsible to the Persian government for the punctual discharge of the annual poll-tax that was to be levied on the Guebre subjects of the realm. By this measure he put himself in direct connection with all the communes of Persian Guebres, and, moreover, became the medium of their political complaints to government. He thus liberated them at once from the endless troubles to which they had hitherto been subjected. He at the same time took care to establish schools for religious and secular instruction. We are informed. that his success has been .so complete in this undertaking as to induce Mohammedan fathers to send their children to the excellent Guebre school at Teheran.
Of works treating on the subject of this article, we mention principally, Hyde, Veterum Rel. Pers. Historia (Oxon. 1760, 4to); Ousely, Travels in the East (Lond. 1819); Anquetil du Perron, Exposition des Usages des Parses; Haug, Essays on the Sacred Language, Writings, and Religion of the Parsees (Bombay, 1862, 8vo), especially essay 4; Rawlinson, Five Great Monarchies, 3:93-136; 4:328-347; Bunsen, God in History, bk. 3, ch. 6, and Appendix, notes D, E; Egypt, 3:474 sq.; Muller, Chips from a German Workshop, 1:158 sq.; also 79 sq., 115, 126 sq., 140 sq.; Narroji, Manners and Customs of the Parsees (Liverpool, 1861); id. The Parsee Religion (ibid. 1861); Framjee, The Parsees (Lond. 1858); Hardwick, Christ and other Masters, 2:361 sq.; Clarke, Ten Great Religions, ch. 5; Theol. Rev. Jan. 1871, p. 96-110; Spiegel's art. "Parsismus," in Herzog's Real-Eneyklopidie, 11:115 sq.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia 
E . inhabitants of Pars or Persia), a name given to the disciples of Zoroaster or their descendants in Persia and India, and sometimes called Guebres; in India they number some 90,000, are to be found chiefly in the Bombay Presidency, form a wealthy community, and are engaged mostly in commerce; in religion they incline to deism, and pay homage to the sun as the symbol of the deity; they neither bury their dead nor burn them, but expose them apart in the open air, where they are left till the flesh is eaten away and only the bones remain, to be removed afterwards for consignment to a subterranean cavern.