Zarathushtra calls himself in the poetic gathas, in the second line of Yasna 31.5, an “ereshish.” The Avestan “ereshish” is the same as Sanskrit “rishi” and O.E. arisan/risan, O.S. arisan, Goth. urreisan, P.Gmc. us-risanan, O.N. risa; Ger. reisen “to travel,” originally “to rise for a journey. “ereshish” comes from a root which means “to rise/raise, ascend, excel.”
The ancient rishis were the seers of the manthras, the forefathers/ancestors of the aryan people. Among ancient indo-europeans the universe is a melody, a music, a song. The divine brings forth the existence through the sound of manthras, charms or enchanting melodies. The divine consults the mind/spirt of the manthra, and by uttering its words brings forth the phenomenal world. Hence the phenomena of the world consists of vibrations at various frequencies and amplitudes.
The power of the prophet/rishi derives from his/her special status as an ELEVATED MIND/SPIRIT who has EXCELLED in the original knowledge and wisdom by means of which the creation itself was brought forth.
Through his/her “rise in consciousness,” the “rishi” gains access to the mysteries of creation and the phenomenal world. This is a process occuring within the depths of the individual seer’s consciousness. The importance is given above all to the status of the rishi himself as a “being of highly developed consciousness” capable of fathoming the deepest levels of reality where the manthras/divine melodies abide.
Hence “prophecy” is an active “journey/travel” in which knowledge and wisdom are acquired. Zarathushtra is an “ereshish/rishi,” the emphasis is on the INITIATIVE of he himself who has “ASCENDED” to the realm of the divine and EXCELLED in melodious knowledge and enchanting wisdom that brought forth each new cycle of creation.
Here the Prophet does not assume the role of a passive recipient. Rather, the prophet/seer is actively seeking to “cognize” by taking his awareness to the higher abodes of spiritual wisdom.
It is a travel, a journey, an ASCENSION to ever higher peaks of consciousness/mind/spirit. Zarathushtra initiates the discovery by establishing his awareness in the “heart,” (second line of Yasna 31.12.,) in the innermost depths of his consciousness, which is the abode of GD. Having opened his awareness to the luminous regions, the seer invokes superb wisdom to promote his vision and understanding.
Zarathushtra ASCENDES to the Transcendent and calls upon GD to aid him in his cognition. Zarathushtra is seeing with the mind’s eye, with the eye of spirit; the essence of reality/the most luminous regions of consciousness, the fundamental rhythms at the basis of all creation and the origins of all things.
Although the visual aspects of his experiences as a seer are emphasized, the oral-aural dimensions are given distinct priority, for that which the prophet saw and heard was preserved orally through divine speech and not through the visual medium of writing.
The prophet is the knower of the manthras, as well as the vehicle through which the manthras find poetic expression. His primary role is not only to preserve the accuracy of the divine melody and the oral explanations of its higher meanings, but to EXCEL in discovering the new frontiers of consciousness, wisdom and knowledge.