Tradition is the means to preserve immortal truths and express it in the mortal world. Tradition begins with the one and only historical event that qualitatively changed the universe, an event brought about by God. Mazda Yasna is the tradition based on prophet Ashoo Zarathustra's revelation, which he received from Ahura Mazda and passed on to all good people.
Besides religious texts, tradition includes the following elements:
- Initiatory succession and hierarchy of priests;
- Religious practice;
- Religious doctrine and law;
- Written and oral legends;
- Moral and social norms.
Initiatory succession is a special way of passing divine knowledge and power from one person to another. This passing takes the form of initiatory rituals. The ritual has to involve a person who has gone through a stage of preparation and has the necessary qualities. The main Zoroastrian initiatory ritual is the Sedreh-Pooshi, in which the newly converted person puts on the sedreh, or sacred robe, ties the Koshti belt, and proclaims the Zoroastrian faith. There is detailed information about the Mazda Yasna acceptance ceremony in the "Conversion" section. People with divine power, knowledge, and necessary qualification carry out the initiation. These people are Moobeds, or Zoroastrian priests. There is detailed information about Moobeds and the hierarchy of priests in the «Priesthood» section.
The central part of Zoroastrian religious practice, is the worship of divine beings. These beings are: Ahura Mazda (God), the Seven Immortals or Amshasepantas, the Yazats or good creations of Ahura Mazda like Sraosha, Mitra, Varahram, Rashn, Anahita, patrons of the various universal phenomena, and the divine protectors, i. e. the Fravahrs. Also, observing the purity of soul, body, and the environment, fighting against untruth, injustice, and filth, and creation and imagination. In Zoroastrianism worship is done through prayer (Manthra) and good deeds.
Zoroastrian religious duties include wearing the sacred garments (sedreh and koshti), the fivefold everyday prayer, the celebration of religious holidays (Gahanbars and Jashans), and following the principles of good thoughts, words and deed in life. Zoroastrians who follow all of these requirements are considered righteous Behdins.
Zoroastrians have to observe both the purity of soul and body. If defilement occurs, Zoroastrians have to repent and go through a cleansing ritual. Defilement is not only bad deeds but also despair, fear, suffering, and depression.
Tradition includes written works and oral knowledge that expose the meaning and significance of the various aspects of Good Faith and works that were created in different time periods by the good followers of Ashoo Zarathushtra who were respected by generations of believers. The written legends of Zoroastrian Faith, based on the revelation of Ashoo Zarathushtra, are integral to Good Faith. They can be separated by language and historical period into Pahlavi (Sasani Persian) and New Persian texts.
Traditional text written in Pahlavi reflect the great legacy of the Sassanian dynasty (III-VII centuries) - a period when Good Faith flourished. Many of the original religious works have been destroyed during the invasion of the Arabs, Mongols and Turks. Dasturs and Moobeds, the greatest authority of the religion in VIII-X centuries, wrote the majority of what remains. They strove to leave a written record of their vast religious knowledge in Pahlavi and Persian and act as apologists of Good Faith after the religion, and then, Iran received the colossal blow. However, there are also some works remaining of the Sassanian period itself.
It is hard to overestimate the value of Pahlavi tradition. Among the Pahlavi sources we can find not only a recount of Avesta, including its lost parts, but also the great spiritual continuation of the Good Faith tradition.
Zoroastrian texts written in Persian are part of the new post-XI century tradition. Religious thought that thrived in the VIII-X centuries as intellectual opposition to forced arabization and islamization of Iran has ended by then. Good Faith began to suffer under Arab persecution. Pahlavi tradition stopped developing, although educated Zoroastrians were able to read the texts. Parsi (Persian), widespread in all non-Arab Asian part of the Islamic world, became the written language. New Persian texts are for the most part essentially prescriptions offered by Dasturs and Moobeds, who tried to keep the tradition ongoing and wholesome, as well as strengthen Zoroastrian communities in trying circumstances. Equally widespread are Rivayats (sayings): correspondence between separate communities, where authoritative figures answer the various questions pertaining to Good Faith and daily life of Zoroastrians.
The social and moral conduct norms have their roots in the Mazda Yasna. General norms are honesty, modesty, hard work, kindness, and generosity.
Marriage, childbearing, and remembrance of ancestors are considered as important Zoroastrian responsibilities. Marriage is praised by the prophet himself as the holy union that fills dives with horror. Through children we can overcome death in the mortal world. Our children expand the ranks of God's army and carry the light of life through time toward the last battle. Our ancestors' souls participate in the mortal deeds and protect their descendants in an invisible battle with evil spirits.
Zoroastrians are not allowed to smoke, use drugs, and deform the body with piercing or tattoos. Zoroastrians must take care of their health both mental and physical. They should not risking their lives in vain, be ready to defend themselves, their family and the Zoroastrian community.
Guardians of religion and tradition are priests i.e. Dasturs, Moobeds and Hirbads. The supreme authoritative body in Zoroastrianism is the Zoroastrian Priests Association of Iran (Anjoman Moghan Iran).