“A man’s enjoyment of all good things is in exact proportion to the pains he has undergone to gain them.”
- Cyrus the Great
In Zoroastrianism, the ancient Aryan religion of Persia founded by a sage from the Caucasus Mountains named Zarathustra; there exists a philosophy of “Vairya”, which translates to “Desirable Dominion”. This comes from taking the principle of Asha, which is thinking and understanding that is in alignment with Cosmic Order and applying it to a justly governed society. This principle was promoted by figures like the legendary Persian emperor, Cyrus the Great.
Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, was renowned for his extraordinary humanitarianism. Unlike most other imperial conquerors, Cyrus never plundered or had mass-executions, and would actually improve the living conditions of the subjugated populations. His reputation proceeded him to such an extent that in some cases when Cyrus would come through, the soldiers of targeted area would lay down their arms as they knew Cyrus was going to improve their living conditions and treat them better than the despot that currently ruled.
While Cyrus the Great is often referred to as the founder of human rights, this idea becomes conflated when comparing it to our modern definition of the term. Cyrus’ policy was very much rooted in the Zoroastrian ethos and worldview, which was essentially a demand for improvement and pressure for the human being to strive for greatness and even godliness. This idea contrasts the modern notion that you are entitled certain things regardless of the effort one puts into self-improvement and service- i.e. you “get” without having to “give”. When Cyrus worked to better the lives of the peoples he conquered, it was with the understanding that he was giving these people the tools to help embody the principle of “Spenta Mainyu” in themselves.
“Spenta Mainyu” in Zoroastrianism is said to be the main essence of their primary deity, Ahura Mazda (whose name translates to ‘Titan of Wisdom’) and is represented by the eternal flame. This flame is understood to be Promethean in nature and is the fire of innovation and the creative principle. Zoroastrian practitioners seek to embody this Spenta Mainyu through the conscientious free choice to champion the progressive advancement of cosmically-aligned wisdom and knowledge on the Earth. This philosophy is ultimately about taking personal responsibility for the ascension of humanity and giving humans the tools they need to do that.
The idea here is that we look to “raise up” others by giving them the tools they need to raise up themselves, as there is an obligation to cultivate this consciousness of Spenta Mainyu and create the utopia of the Desirable Dominion where we have a society of sages dedicated to living according to Natural Law Principles. Again, this idea is completely removed from the modern conversation around rights and welfare, where people are “owed” without the obligation to contribute anything more than finance through taxation.
There was also the understanding that the justly governed empire was akin to a walled garden, and required “weeding”, i.e. the removable of incompatible or subversive elements that were incongruent to the values espoused by Spenta Mainyu and Its Six Rays which were Cosmic Order, Best Thinking, Desirable Dominion, Wholeness, Ever-Deepening Serenity, and Vitality. In other words, there was only a “right” to live within the Desirable Dominion if you lived in accordance with its Principles- you do not have “rights” to the fruits of the Dominion simply because you exist.
It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom, but we do not just get it bestowed upon us without some amount of effort and striving on our part.
Namaste and WRA-ALDA’S Blessings