Iran News ...


News and Truth


By Roya Monajem, Tehran


Usually we think the News say the truth; in the same way that we think what is written in our history books is the truth about the past. But is it really so? How much can we assume that the News say the truth?  


It is said, "Truth is one, yet there are infinite ways of reaching it." Gurdjieff, whose teachings can be described as the modern contemporary version of, if not the most ancient, at least one of the most ancient teachings of Truth, compares the relationship between truth and the infinite ways of reaching it to the relationship of the center of a circle and its radii; the closer they get to the center, the closer they get to each other.


Now if we take the truth as the center of the circle of Knowledge, like the radii of a geometrical circle, the closer the ways to truth get to this center, the closer they will be to each other. The closer the paths of Truth to the source, the greater are their similarities. Therefore, in cases where truth has been covered by many veils, we can use different systems to reveal it. This is in fact what comparative studies in any fields of knowledge attempt to do, and here in order to reach an answer to the above questions we will take an example from an old belief found almost everywhere in the world and see how it has been transformed and 'veiled' with the passage of time.


The fact that once upon a time feminine worship had most probably been the norm, would sound quite logical to us. Femininity is the symbol of fertility and fertility means both life and continuation of life. Everything starts from an egg, a womb, which can thus be compared to a carrier of knowledge. Therefore, it is not surprising that according to the overwhelming majority of extant mythological and mystical cosmologies, the guardian of the truth or knowledge is a feminine figure. In Greece and Persian Mythology, this feminine figure is called Sophia and Diana respectively, in Persian Mysticism of Molavi (unfortunately known as Rumi in the West)[1], divine knowledge or hekmat is also feminine.


Now considering the fact that it is the Truth and Knowledge that brings us out of darkness of ignorance, then the sun, the source of light, can be the best figurative symbol here for two reasons. The first is that the sun is apparently the source of life on earth and secondly, as the source of knowledge, it sheds light on the vast dark ocean of ignorance.


So no wonder that sun worshipping also makes a significant part of any ancient religious system, one being the ancient Persian cult of mehr or Mithraism which is the cult that until the third century of Christian calendar was very popular in Europe, particularly in Roman Empire. Today, there are enough unquestionable documents that show how much Christianity of the Church owes to Mithraism for many of its symbols, rituals and believes. Just to mention one example, Mithra was called "son of god" and resurrected from his dead body three days after his burial. Three centuries after Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, He receives all these important attributes of Mithra or Mehr meaning Love in Persian which is indeed what characterizes Jesus Christ's teaching. All of a sudden, he becomes "Son of God" who resurrected from his body three days after his death. Another important coincidence is that he is crucified, and cross is a very old symbol signifying "the wheel of Sun". Isn't this enough to hint how Constantine, the Roman Emperor, a Mithraist did to Christ's teaching which had become a threatening power in Europe?


The threat that Mithraism experienced in Europe during the early ages of Christianity, was not new. This is exactly what happened to it in its birth-place, Persia. The new religion that threatened Mithraism and forced its followers to escape Persia and get scattered throughout Europe was Zoroastrianism. In such cases, the historical norm has been more or less the same throughout the world. When a new religion finds power and tries to establish itself, one of its first measures is to persecute the followers of previous popular faiths who thus are forced to seek asylum in far lands. There are certain other common measures that also happen during such times, that is when a new faith strives to establish itself and prove to be a 'better' faith. Not only it starts making life difficult for the followers of previous faiths, it begins to destroy their records, books and documents. So many great libraries have been burnt down with the same intention as the historical records show. Thus it is not surprising that original sources on Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, for example should be sought in myths, symbols, literature and other artistic creations of their time.


Now let's go back to our main discussion of how Truth can be distorted by the passage of time mainly as the result of the above-mentioned measures.


 In Persian mehr means both sun and compassion, and we have the term khorshid khaanum, meaning Mrs. Sun. And the name Mithra is usually a feminine name. Yet, according to the existing documents largely found in Europe, Mithra is a masculine figure. In Persia, the most authentic existing source on the subject is the Holy Book of Zoroastrians, Avesta with no clear reference to Mehr's or Mithra's sexuality.[2]


By what has been said so far, Mehr and its figurative symbol the sun, should have been a feminine figure. But after the rise of masculine power throughout the world and the brutal persecution and execution of 5 million women during the European Dark Ages and other killings in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose most characteristic preaching is 'love' or mehr turned to the masculine figure of Mithra.


History, as the source of 'truth' about the past is full of such distortions as beautifully expounded and illustrated in History: What and Why?[3]


News as the major source of history can be of the same nature. Look at how 'Moslem world' and Moslems, for example are now being introduced to the world or how America and Americans were presented (and still are to some extent) particularly during the first few years of Islamic Revolution here in Iran. Perhaps the Great Satan (the designation given to America in those days) is now 'retaliating' by calling the same country as a major member of "the Axis of Evil!!!"


Throughout history, one of the major and effective rules of domination is to prevent unity and solidarity among people through evocation and provocation of religious, racial, class antagonisms. This is what ruling politicians need in order to run and maintain their game of power which is a very typical masculine 'natural' tendency and characteristic, equally found in women only in different, more subtle forms.


It is not important whether Mehr, Sophia, Diana were masculine or feminine figures. This belongs to the past. Similarly, it is not important what our politicians call and describe other countries or religions.


The question is:

"Is there any hope for the human beings to learn from the past and stop acting like 'sheep,' all over the world and put an end to this 'inhuman' course of history witnessed in the past 2000 years?"


As an individual, we can't do anything as our life is totally dependent on outside. The most any of us can do is to become aware of how little we can do even with our own self. You disagree? Well, let us think of our common goal which is feeling happy, healthy and satisfied in life. It is said that happiness is the ratio of the reality over our expectations. In other words, the more expectations we have, the less we will feel happy. So the more we manage to reduce our expectations, the happier we will feel. But how can we stop having expectations from ourselves and especially from others?


According to a very old truth found in all cultures in different forms only, we get what we give, we harvest what we cultivate. On this basis, the first step toward feeling happier, healthier and more satisfied in life is to try to remind ourselves that we can only expect what we give. If we expect mehr love and sincerity from others, we should 'give' love and sincerity.


Do you think we can act according to this simple truth that none of us can deny? Can we 'love our neighbor as we love ourselves?' as Jesus Christ advises us. Can we act according to Zoroaster's motto "good thoughts, good speech, good deeds" as the most effective guideline in life for reaching the Truth? Can we constantly remember as the Prophet of Islam teaches us that 'we should not surrender to anybody and anything except to our Most Gracious Creator, God?"


Can we see how Truth is One, despite its infinite different manifestations and expressions?


[1] I say unfortunately, because the word Rumi in Persian means Roman and although I might sound nationalistic in this way, but it is really getting suffocating to see how there has been a wide-spread serious attempts to wipe away the role that Persia played in the history of Humankind. This is really getting a bugging question which I am dying to find some 'objective' reason for it. I am even tired of my pride for my Persian blood or collective unconscious which makes me irritated whenever I hear Molavi being called Roman, or how the great Persian Empire was defeated by Arabs.

[2] My source of reference here is an unpublished book by Pejman Fakharian, the young Persian documentary film director and researcher.

[3] Sorry, although I have translated and published this book, I don't remember the name of the author and at the moment have no access to the English or the Persian version. I hope all of you and particularly the author of this great book forgives my 'old age dementia' and my laziness.


... Payvand News - 7/28/05 ... --

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