AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ON ZOROASTRIAN STUDIES – Compiled by Asha Gupta 1998
It gives me much pleasure to write a brief foreword to this annotated Bibliography compiled by Asha Gupta. It is a unique compilation giving cross reference to books and articles on Zoroastrian themes found in Libraries and institutions in and around Delhi. The interested reader will be greatly helped by the guide lines provided here.
A further compilation on an all-India basis would augument the present work and lead to fruitful research in the future. May that day dawn soon.
My grateful thanks to the Librarian and staff of the Centre for their unfailing courtesy and ready help to me in my capacity as Adviser in this particular project.
P. N. Jungalwalla
History tells us that around 4,000 B.C. due to some catastrophe not known to us, the Aryan tribes living in the region north of the Caucasus mountains, forsook their homeland and spread out in different directions. The South-bound hordes headed for the Iranian tableland and settled there and others slowly found their way through the Hindu kush Mountains into India. This split of the tribes appears to be due to Zoroaster’s teachings of just one supreme God Ahura – Mazda, Lord of Life and Wisdom, who controls the universe, in contrast to the many Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism.
Two great national disasters were responsible for the destruction of Zoroastrian texts. The first was the invasions of Iran by Alexander in 323 B.C. when religious texts and Fire Temples were destroyed and learned priests put to death.
The second great national disaster was even worse than the first. This was due to Iran being conquered by the Islamic tribes in the 7th century A.D. Fire temples and religious texts were burnt and learned priests killed. Arabic replaced Persian. It is a miracle that any text survived.
Eventually, around 950 A.D, a small group of Iranian Zoroastrians found asylum in India where they have lived peacefully with other communities ever since.
Contemporary researches have shown how Zoroastrian religious ideas, such as, heaven and hell, rewards and punishments, a last judgement, the coming of a future saviour (Saoshyant), have influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam*. Even Amitabh, the Dhyani Buddha of light and love, is based on the Zoroastrian concepts of everlasting light (Anagra Raochao) and love and devotion (Armaiti).
At the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), an attempt to compile ‘An Annotated Bibliography on Zoroastrian Studies’ has been made to facilitate scholars to conduct research on comparative aspects of different religions of the region. These 165 entries are based on selected material available in libraries and personal collections of scholars in and around Delhi. Lists of Parsi Dharamshalas and Parsi Anjumans of India are added as supplements.
We are extremely grateful to Prof. A.S. Desai, Mrs. Shernaz Cama and Mrs. Piloo N. Jungalwalla for guidance and also donating some valuable publications to the IGNCA library. Efforts will be continued to cover more relevant literature in other parts of the country in the subsequent editions.
It is hoped that this maiden work will interest all research workers in the religious studies, in particular Zoroastrianism.
New Delh, December 8, 1998