Creation in the Poetic Gathas, and Ancient Zoroastrianism


Unlike the Book of Genesis, which is the religious sourcebook of Judeo-Christian Civilization, in the Poetic Gathas of Zarathustra, the Cosmos has already been made, and consists of the world of “thoughts, imagination, mind energy” mainyü, and the world of “physical form” called literally the world of “bones and flesh” astvatö.

The process of “manifestation” into physical form involves: “power of thoughts/mind,” “focusing,” “establishing,” and “fitting into the right place.” This “perfect fitting, work of art” is called apa in the archaic Avestan, and is a cognate of Vedic ápas, Latin opus, Old Norse efna “work.”

In the Poetic Gathas, hvapa “Superb Artisan,” fashions Cosmos out of mind stuff, (See Yasna 37.2, 2nd rhymed verse line, Yasna 44.5, 2nd and third rhymed verse lines, Yasht 5.85.)

The supreme God Ahûrá Mazdá, at the primordial yasná “desire, yearning,” thinks the realms of light, and superb order (See 31.7, 1st rhymed verse, and Yasna 31.19, 1st rhymed verse line.)

The ahûrás “Artisan Gods” formulate the mind formulas (See Yasna 29.7, 1st rhymed verse line,) and set in place the pristine existence.

The word for “Creator” Avestan dátár, Vedic dhátár, comes from the ancient root dheh “to set, establish.” Cosmic Order is “set in place, established” through ašá/arthá “excellence, right fit, truth of the Immortals.”

In Zoroastrianism, this artistic power “to establish, set in the right place” is a splendid, wondrous God force, and universe is a battleground between the forces of Excellence/Order of the Brilliant Immortals, and chaos of the diabolic forces.

In this world of physical forms, the battle is fought between the warriors of light, and those who follow drûj “lies, darkness, deception” that distorts the cosmic quest for excellence/order.

The climatic battle is fought between those who bring out the invincible sun, the powers of light, virility and life, and the creatures of darkness who try to prevent the sun/dawn from rising, (See Yasna 32.10, 2nd rhymed verse line, Yasna 43.16, 4th rhymed verse line, Yasna 46.3, 1st rhymed verse line, Yasna 50.2, 3rd rhymed verse line, Yasna 50.10, 3rd rhymed verse line.)

The splendid remaking of the cosmic order after periods of chaos is according to ratü “right formulae” or “blueprint” of the pristine manifestation ahûna vairiia (will to become godlike.)

The “right formulas of mind/consciousness” are taught by Ármaiti, “Perfect Calm/Meditation,” (See Yasna 43.6, 4th rhymed verse line.) The marvelous regeneration of the worlds by Ahûrá Mazdá is achieved through the combined efforts of the Gods, and righteous men supporting the quest for eternal excellence, cosmic order, and truth.

In conclusion, it be shall emphasized that Creation in Zoroastrianism is NOT ex nihilo, or creation out of nothing. All the words that come in connection with “creation” refer to “cutting, sculpting, fashioning, forging, and fitting into the right place.”

Avestan thwöreštar “creator” is the superb artificer who cuts/hews, and creates works of art. Another common term for Creator tašan means “artisan, builder carpenter.” Avestan tašan combines the notion of “weaver” with that of “builder.” Greek tékton is a cognate. Cosmos has already been there, Godhood only fashions cosmos into ever more splendid excellence.

ardeshir

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Ayāθrima (coming to shelter,) the Zoroastrian autumnal thanks giving festival


In the Zoroastrian sacred calendar there are 6 great festivals. These 6 festivals that mark the “proper or propitious points in time” are called yáirya ratvö (right or advantageous times of the year) in the Avestan lore. The autumnal thanksgiving festival or Ayáθrima is celebrated from October 12-October 16.

Ayáθrima literally means “coming to home/shelter.” The first part of Ayáθrima comes from a root that mean “get to a place, come,” and the second part comes from the root thrá “protection/shelter.” This 4th of the great thanksgiving festivals celebrates the “coming home of livestock,” every autumn, from their lush mountain pastures to their shelters.

Ayáθrima goes back to the ancient Indo European nomadic, pastoralist traditions. Animals are beautifully decorated, milk, cheese and other refreshments are offered to the needy or simply to onlookers.

Very Similar traditions still exist among the rural populations of Eastern Europe. The Bavarian festivals of Almabtrieb and Verschied, celebrated in the alpine region of Allgäu are almost identical to Ayáθrima. Verschied and its close partner Almabtrieb celebrate the return of the prodigal cows, every autumn from the their lush mountain pastures, high in the Alps.

Among the 6most favorable times the year,” the 3rd festival Paitiš.hahya (bringing in the harvest, fruits) and the 4th Ayāθrima (homecoming of the livestock to their shelter,) celebrate times important for ancient Indo European pastoralists and farmers, while the other festivals mark the solstices, and equinoxes. The fact that the winter solstice festival is called Maiδ.yaar “midyear” shows that these festivals belonged originally to a calendar in which the year was reckoned from the summer solstice.

The auspicious holidays are celebrated with religious services, communal banquets at which the consecrated food are shared, with drinking of lots wine and much merrymaking. The lavish banquets suppose to bring rich and poor together, renew fellowship, with forgiveness of wrongs and charity to the poor. The Sassanid kings are known to have given lavish banquets for their citizens during these auspicious festivals. In Islamic times, down to the 20th century, the Iranian Zoroastrians have regularly endowed these festivals as times of great charity.

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Autumnal equinox, Mehregan, a time to reaffirm our allegiance and friendship with the Immortals,


The Avestan*Miθra-kāna, modern Persian Mehrägān is an ancient Zoroastrian Autumnal festival, closely connected to the equinox, and dedicated to Miθrá (reciprocity, mutual bond, friendship with the Gods.)

The celebration of Baga Miθrá in the 7th month of the Achaemenid calendar Baga-yadi– also coincided with celebrations for the autumnal equinox.

Equinox is the astronomical phenomenon most clearly linked to the concept of “equity, balance, duty, fidelity, and genuine friendship.”  Zoroastrian religiosity is allegiance to the Gods, commitment to virtue and wisdom, and having unshakeable faith in a higher destiny or mission.

In Zoroastrianism, mortal man is a friend of the Gods, a charioteer of the Invincible Sun, a bridge between the primal, and the boundless ideal of the Immortals.

Zoroastrian religiosity is NOT rooted in any kind of fear of hell or slavery to an all-powerful Despotic God. Instead Zoroastrian religiosity is about believing in Gods as Friends/Allies Miθrá. The Mazda Worshipping Religion teaches commitment to a luminous vision, and faith in a higher mission, destiny.

To believe in the Gods as allies/friends means that Immortal Gods, and men are bound together through “wisdom, virtue, an eternal quest for excellence, light and truth.” Mehrägān is a time to re-examine our allegiance to the Immortal Gods, to see if we are committed to our higher destiny or Not, to see if we are Loyal to the Powers of light/the Invincible Sun, and finally if we are fulfilling our contract/duties toward the Brilliant Immortals.

Mehrägān has a dominant solar warrior aspect, and marks the triumph of Justice over usurpation, and imposter. The victory of the epic healer hero of the ancient Aryans thraætaoôna over the Mesopotamian tyrant dragon Żaḥḥāk is celebrated during Mehrägān. The moral message of Mehrägān is that Dominion and Power will go back to its rightful heirs, and at last Kingship will be for the downtrodden noble ones, the true allies, friends of the Gods.

Ancient Zoroastrian Sovereigns marked Mehrägān as an official occasion in which the king assigned “duties and assignments. We have to fundamentally understand that Zoroastrianism is not about a false sense of entitlements, BUT about Duties toward the Brilliant Immortals, and fulfilling our higher destiny/contract with the Gods.

Ancient Greeks attributed the epithet mesítēs to Miθrá (according to Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, 46,) and understood Mithrá to act as an arbitrator/mediator on the cosmological, eschatological, and anthropological levels (Belardi, pp. 32-45.)

The importance of Mehrägān was not lost to early Persian converts to islam. For example the first Persian covert to islam, Behrouzán later called Salman the Persian has said that “In Magi times we used to say that Gods have created an ornament for mortals, of rubies on Nowruz, of emeralds on Mehrajān. Therefore these two days excel all other days in the same way as these two jewels excel all other jewels” (cf. similar point in Ps-Jāḥeẓ, Maḥāsen, p. 361).

Thus the two poles of the religious Zoroastrian year were understood to be the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. Mehrägān is a time for exchanging gifts, drinking great amounts of red wine, and holding lavish banquets in honor of the Immortals.

I like to conclude by the following words from Counsels to PŌRYŌTKĒŠĀN, the “counsels of the foremost or ancient sages.” The passage is also a commentary to the first three words at.čá töi vaæm “may we be like you” in Yasna 30.9 of the Gathas; “I have come from the unseen world, I belong to Öhrmazd, I belong to the Gods, not to the demons, to the good, not to the wicked. I am a man, not a demon. My mother is Spandarmad, (the Earth), and my father is Öhrmazd. My humanity is from Martyæ and Martyánæ.  I belong to the Auspicious Brilliant Immortals. I have no bonds to the Lord of flaws, and his demons of darkness and gloom.

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The Myth of the overnight islamization of the ancient Zoroastrian Iran


Modern revisionist Moslem historians, and scholars such as the late Ayatollah Motahari, have attributed the fall of the mighty Sassanid Empire, the last native, Zoroastrian Empire of ancient Iran to the “simplicity, clarity and class equality of the monotheistic Islam.”

According to contemporary Moslem revisionists, “the great unpopularity of the Zoroastrian Priesthood of the late Sassanid period combined with the arrogance selfishness, and cruelty of an elitist, Sassanid nobility, gifted victory to the invading Moslem Arabs.” The myth states that the invading Moslem armies were met with little or virtually NO resistance from a disgruntled population who almost immediately embraced the superior ideology of Islam!!!

Unfortunately for the modern Moslem revisionists, their fairly recent account of islamization of ancient Persia DOES NOT AT ALL AGREE with EVEN ONE SINGLE early Islamic historian or chroniclers, such as Balāḏorī’s Fotūḥ (Conquests,) chronicles of Al Ṭabarī, and histories of Masʿūdī, Morūǰ.

(Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ (Conquests) is the main authentic moslem source for the islamic take over of the Iranian plateau. The narration of arab moslem conquests is divided topically by each geographical region of the Iranian Plateau, See pp. 68-94, 105-13, 241-89, 301-431.

See also the chronicles of Al Ṭabarī, I, p. 1528 to III, p. 2. Yaʿqūbī, II, pp. 54-410, and Masʿūdī, Morūǰ (ed. Pellat) III, p. 29 to IV, p. 83.)

All the early Islamic sources attribute the fall of the Sassanid Empire to Moslem resolve to establish the POLITICAL and MILILTARY DOMINATION of Islam, greater mobility/flexibility of Bedouin armies, Sassanid dynastic instability after Ḵosrow II Parviz, great discord among the Sassanid nobles thereafter, and complicity of the Persian local nobles and rulers with the invading Moslem armies for their short-term Political and Economic expediency.

According to ALL the early Moslem early sources, the main concern of the invading Moslem armies was to establish the Political and Military Domination of the Islamic religion, and impose Islamic taxation or jazziya on the conquered non- Moslem populations. For example after the battle of Qādesīya, a decisive victory for the Moslems which opened the Mesopotamian rich territories of the Sassanid Empire to the Arabs, the Arab commander Saʿd approached al-Madāʾen (“apex of all cities” Arab term for the Sassanid seat of Power Ctesiphon,) slaughtered the Sassanid garrison near Ctesiphon, captured most of the royal treasure, accepted the surrender of the people in the White Palace and at Rūmīya in return for tribute/treasures, and quartered the Muslim army there.

The Moslem arrangement was tributes in return for nominal security of the local populations. Also, Jazziya or Tribute paid by Non Moslems was substantially raised after each rebellion.

We read in Qur’an 9:29—“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizzyah (heavy tribute/poll tax) with submission, and feel themselves subdued and humiliated.

Moslem invaders drew upon hadith “sayings” attributed to the Prophet of Islam, and the first Shi‘ite Imām “religious leader ” ‘Ali b. Abi Tālib (598-661) for incorporating Zoroastrians into the ahl al-ḏhimma “communities enjoying blood protection guarantee.”

The Zoroastrians were not given full status like Christians and Jews but the dhimmi status provided nominal safety for the conquered Zoroastrian masses. The dhimmi or the “blood protection guarantee” for Zoroastrians was halfheartedly recognized by Omar the second Caliph, and the Umayyad (661-750) and the ‘Abbasid (750-1258) Caliphates.

Zoroastrianism clearly represented the Dominant faith numerically, though NO LONGER politically in the Mountainous Iranian Plateau, Caucasus, and Central Asia for FEW CENTURIES after the Islamic conquest.

The conversion to Islam by the native Iranian populace has been narrated by the early Islamic sources, as very slow, gradual, and at times very violent. The overnight adoption of Islam by the oppressed masses is a false myth that is entirely ABSENT from all the early Moslem accounts.

Places such as Hamadān and ancient City of Ray, were taken and retaken several times. Ḥoḏayfa b. al-Yamān accepted the surrender of the town and district of Nehāvand from its lord, called Dīnār; he arranged to pay tribute in return for protection for the walls, property, and houses of the people there.

Hamadān was taken over on similar terms. The territory of Ray was taken from the marzbān with the help of a local noble called Faroḵān, on terms similar to Nehāvand. A tribute of 500,000 dirhams was imposed on Ray and Qūmes; in return the fire temples were not to be destroyed nor the people killed or enslaved.

Ḥoḏayfa b. al-Yamān marched west to Azerbaijan, where he defeated the marzbān, took the capital of Ardabīl, and imposed a tribute of 100,000 dirhams. According to the terms made by Ḥoḏayfa, the people were not to be killed or taken captive; and their fire temples would not be destroyed.

The people of Šīz were allowed to keep their fire temple and to perform their dances at religious festivals.   

After the death of the second Caliph ʿOmar in 23/644, all the places in Azerbaijan, the Highlands, and the Heartland of Pārs withheld tribute and had to be retaken.

While the Muslims were preoccupied with their own first civil war (35-41/656-61), most of ancient Zoroastrian Iran slipped out of their control, and there were numerous popular revolts all over the conquered territories.

The Hephthalites of Bāḏḡīs, Herat, and Pūšang withheld tribute, as did Nīšāpūr; the people of Zarang overthrew their Muslim garrison, when the third Caliph ʿAlī was busy with Kharijite revolts in Iraq, widespread tax revolt broke out in the Highlands, Highland of Pārs, and Kermān in 39/659; the tax collectors were driven out, and Zīād b. Abīhi was sent to bloodily suppress/crush rebels at Eṣṭaḵr Pārs and Kermān. The third Calipf ʿAlī also managed to send a military force that retook Nīšāpūr in the northeast. Eastern Iran had to be re-conquered under Moʿāwīa.

The outbreak of the second Muslim civil war at Moʿāwīa’s death in 61/680 ended expansion in the east for twenty-five years, and after the death of Moʿāwīa’s son, Yazīd in 64/683, Moslem rule collapsed in Khorasan and Sīstān.

The lush mountains of Northern Iran, and the breadbasket of Zābolestān in the East, were never permanently controlled by the Moslem, except through their elite proxies. It took the Moslem armies over 100 years to fully control/conquer all the Mountainous Iranian plateau, and the Sassanid territories east of Mesopotamia.

To ensure the conquered population paid their jazziya or Islamic taxation, Arab garrisons were established at key former Sassanid urban administrative centers, and in frontier regions of the ancient Persian Empire. The countryside was controlled indirectly through local nobles and landlords dihqans who were willing to collaborate with the Moslem Arab invaders.

An agricultural reform during Ḵosrow I Anôshirvan allowed local landlords and nobles to switch production to cash crops, such as cotton or sugar cane. This led to a substantial increase in local economies and wealth. However Ḵosrow II Parviz used this new economic boom to fund his wars of expansion with Byzantium. The local nobles and landlords wanted to keep their own land and increased wealth for themselves, and saw collaboration with Arabs much more lucrative than staying loyal to the Sassanid Empire, and financing the Empire’s war machine with Byzantium.

The collection of tributes/Jazziya by the local nobles in their own districts or little, autonomous kingdoms had the effect of establishing protectorates by the Arab Moslems. The new Moslem overlords by using collaborative local rulers and installing Arab garrisons, secured most of ancient Iran under their rule. However, after numerous popular rebellions, tribute arrangements had to be constantly re-imposed.

ACCESS TO POWER meant adopting Arabism and Islam. The ELITE adopted the new Islamic ideology, and gained positions of authority by doing so, from the eighth through tenth centuries, two or three centuries AFTER the Islamic conquest. Arabic became the language of religion, literature, and science thereafter. No scientific work could be published and no scientist could be recognized unless they adopted Islam as religion and Arabic as the sacred and scientific language.

A good many among the Zoroastrian priests became early interpreters of the canonical beliefs of the Islamic religion. The conversion of the Persian elite to Islam around this time period has contributed if not wholly but substantially to the rise of the Islamic Golden Age, for over 90% percent of Moslem scientists and scholars of this golden age era are Persian.

We read in the Preface to Greater Bundahishn (the Zoroastrian account of Creation, finally put down in writing around 10th or 11th century,) Owing to the coming of the Arabs to the realm of the Aryans, and their promulgation of heterodoxy and ill-will, orthodoxy has vanished and fled from the magnates, and respectability from the upholders of religion; deep wonderful utterances, and the proper reasoning of things, meditation for action, and word of true reason, have faded from the memory and knowledge of the populace.

On account of evil times, even he of the family of nobles, and the magnates upholding the religion, have joined the faith and path of those heretics; and for the sake of prestige, they have defiled, with blemishes, the word, dress, worship and usages of the faithful.

He too, who had the desire to learn this science and secret, could not possibly appropriate them, from place to place, even with pain, trouble and difficulty. 

Islam spread among native Zoroastrian rural folk from the tenth through thirteenth centuries. According to tradition, the dastūrān dastūr, the “ Zoroastrian supreme high priest” moved to the desolate and rugged central Iranian village of Torkābad, north of Yazd in the late twelfth century, after Zoroastrianism was no longer the majority religion.

After the late 12th century the Zoroastrians steadily moved to the out-of-the-way locales into rugged, and desolate Mountains of Central Iran.

The Safavid period (1501-1736), and the institutionalization of Shi‘ism, marked a horrific time for the followers of the ancient faith in Iran. Up to the Safavid period, Zoroastrians constituted a substantial minority similar to the Copts in Egypt that make up about 20% of the population.

Forcible conversion of Zoroastrians to Shi‘ism, execution of Zoroastrians who refused to comply, coupled with destruction of their fire temples and other places of learning and worship was decreed by Solṭān Ḥosayn (r. 1694-1722; Lockhart, pp. 72-73; for the Shiʿite religious context, see also MAJLESI, MOḤAMMAD-BĀQER.)

During the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I (1587-1629), Zoroastrians had been forcibly relocated to the capital city Isfahan as skilled, slave labor (Pietro della Valle [1586-1652], tr., II, p. 104; Garcia de Silva y Figueroa [1550-1624], tr., p. 179.)

Shah ʿAbbās even had a high priest or dastur dasturān executed together with other Zoroastrian notables for failing to deliver to the royal court a magical manuscript that the Zoroastrians were thought to have possessed (John Chardin [1643-1713], II, p. 179.).

In the mid-1650s, among the harsh measures undertaken during the reign of ʿAbbās II (r. 1642-66), mass expulsion of Zoroastrians from Isfahan’s city center took place—on account of their presence being deemed UNCLEAN, detrimental to the orthodox Moslem beliefs, ritual purity, and day-to-day safety of Moslems. See chronicler Aṙakʿel of Tabriz (tr. in Bournoutian, pp. 347-61.)

The Ritual Uncleanliness of Zoroastrian was justified based on the following Verse, Qur’an 9:28—O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean.

Similarly, after Zoroastrians sided with the more religiously tolerant Zand dynasty (1750-94), which made overtures to ancient Iranian tradition, Zoroastrians were designated as traitors and were most cruelly punished by Āḡā Moḥammad Khan Qājār.

The Miraculous Socioeconomic Success of the Parsi Zoroastrians under the British Raj, and their coming to the aid of their Iranian brethren was the only thing that saved Zoroastrians in Iran during the Qajar rule.

I shall conclude this article by addressing the last false myth regarding the collapse of the Sassanid Dynasty, namely the overreaching and corrupt power of the Zoroastrian Priesthood at the end of the Sassanid dynasty.

Khosrow II Parviz and some of the Late Sassanid kings after him, EXCEPT the noble Yazdgerd III were all known for making public overtures to the Mesopotamian Christian communities of their Empire. Khosrow II Parviz (r.591-628), the quintessential last-Sassanid king of kings, married an Armenian Christian wife, and had a Christian chief minister. Likewise, in the course of gathering support for his campaigns against Byzantium, Khosrow Parviz supported the Nestorian Christian community in present day Syria.

The same Khosrow Parviz, upon conquering, and entering Jerusalem, moved the True Christian Cross from Jerusalem to Khuzistan in the South-West of Iran in order to provide prestige for the Christians of his empire. Christians, in fact, were the dominant population in Mesopotamian territories of the Sassanid. In all reality, the Sassanid dynasty ended with Khosrow II in 628.

There is NO EVIDENCE of a state sponsored, all-powerful Zoroastrian Priesthood at the end of the Sassanid era. Rather all the evidence suggests that during the reign of, and after Khosrow II Parviz, Orthodox Zoroastrianism was increasingly disassociated from the late Sassanid State.

ardeshir

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Ancient Zoroastrianism, Dialectical or Dualistic Monism


Dialectical monism, also known as dualistic monism, holds that all reality consists ultimately of one substance, and that this one substance expresses itself in terms of dialectical or opposing forces.

The sacred poetry/songs of Zarathustra teach that the magic substance of all reality is “mind-energy,” and that “mind, imagination, visions and ideas” are the prime force.

Accordingly, “mind energy, imagination, consciousness, spirit,” creates and determines all manifestation or reality. In other words, universe is ultimately dependent, and composed of the energy of “mind or spirit.”

The most pertinent Old Avestan/Gathic passages that assert “imagination, mind-power and ideas” to be the origin of all reality are Yasna 30, Yasna 31.7, Yasna 31.11 and Yasna 45.

Godhood in Zoroastrianism is the “odyssey of consciousness, the endless adventures, and the progressive journey of healthy, vibrant and energetic mind or spirit.” The Supreme God of Zoroastrianism Mazdá is the very definition of this eternal journey of the “vibrant energy of healthy mind/spirit to establish, and create ever better, and more splendidly.”

Mazdá is the “Boundless Will to learn, discover, innovate and create,” and is the essence of Godhood. What the Rig Veda calls ásurasya māyáyā (See RV 5.63.7 “magic of the ásuras,) is the closest description to the supreme god of Zoroastrianism Ahûrá Mazdá.

For Mazdá “powers of mind to summon into being” is the magic stuff of the ahûrás, æsir, the Titans, and the very essence of Godhood according to the poetic Gathas/Songs of Zarathustra.

Ancient commentators of the most sacred verse in Zoroastrianism ahünvar “will to become godlike,” use a magic word play on the meaning of the name of the supreme god Mazdá.

According to Yasna 19.13 daz.dá man.aη “establishing, creating through mind energy,” in the second rhymed verse line of the holiest formula, is a play on the name of Mazdá who is pristine “mind, spirit,” para îm iδa man.aηhæ činasti.

While Godhood in Zoroastrianism is the endless adventures of the “vibrant mind power, passion of the spirit to overcome limitations, and brilliantly create; the diabolic/evil is the diseased, stagnated, broken spirit.

The heaven or abode of Immortals is in the “Vibrant, Energetic Spirit/Disposition, or the “Good Mind,” that gives mortal men a connection to the realm of “creativity and brilliant imagination.” In Zoroastrianism, this adventurous, healthy “Good Mind/Spirit” is the pathway to the Gods.

The Gathas/Songs of Zarathustra teach about a “progressive dialectical or plural monism.” Accordingly, the flow of change, consciousness tends toward a “spiral-shaped progression” rather than a perpetual non-progressive (repetitive) circling of history. The wheel of time moves in circles but always forward with an adventurous spirit, toward endless betterment, (See Yasna 44.17.)

In Zoroastrianism, “mind energy, consciousness, Godhood, and the universe” are marked by an increasing progress. What stagnates and begins to rot though is the anti-God, the diabolic.

This “dialectical or plural monism” taught by the Zoroastrian sacred lore recognizes the existence of a multiplicity of God entities/beings, which in the Avestan text are called “the ten thousand Immortals.”

The number of the Immortals of Mazdá has been cited as 7 (eternity, infinity) 33 (infinite wisdom,) 50, 100, 1000, 10,000, and “beyond reckoning” in the Avetsa, (See Vispered 8.1 for example.)

The Old Avestan gathic formula mazdávs.čá ahûráηhö “Mazdá and his ahûrás,” is a reference to the 10,000 Immortals or Immortals beyond reckoning in the Avestan sacred lore. Darius worship of Auramazdā together with all the other gods (baga) is a reflection of the same concept.

The gathic formula of mazdávs.čá ahûráηhö “Mazdá and his ahûrás,” reminds one of the Old Norse Skáldskaparmál 41: Óðni ok öllum ásum “to Odin and all the æsir,” Skáldskaparmál 23: Óðins ok ása “of Odin and the aesir,” Hávamál 143: Óðinn með ásum “Odin with the Æsir,” also Baldr” Gylfaginning 49: Baldrs ok asana, (See Didier Calin, Dictionary of Indo European Poetic and Religious Themes page 139.)

Scottish Evangelist, John Wilson attacked the Zoroastrian reverence of the Brilliant Immortals Amertá/Amešá Spenta and the Hallowed God Beings Yazatas as a clear form of polytheism claiming that Zoroastrians are worshipers of ahûras and elements of nature, such as of fire, waters, sun, the moon and the heavenly lights.

Zoroastrian Litanies to fire, water, the moon, sun, and Mithra “friendship with the Immortals” compromise the daily Zoroastrian worship. The conservative (or traditional) view of the gathas, and ancient Zoroastrianism is indeed a dualistic worldview. All reality is mind energy and mind independent.

The origins of Monotheism must be traced back to Pharaoh Akhenaten and his cult of Aton, and not to ancient Zoroastrianism, for nothing in the gathas, the Zoroastrian sacred lore or age old tradition can substantiate anything other than a dialectical or dualistic monism.

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Ancient Iranian Agriculturists, Hittite DNA remains, and the earliest Indo European languages


An extensive research by David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard University, strongly suggests that there was a migration of AGRICULTURALISTS into northwestern India from what is now Western Iran/Zagros Mountains, around 4000BCE.

This migration was followed two millennia later around 2000BCE, just before the Vedic Age—by a large influx from the area between the Black and Caspian Seas, North of Caucasus Mountains. These newcomers appear to have shared the same ancestry with the populations of the European peninsula/continent.

But who were these earlier, ancient Iranian Agriculturists??? For one, the Neolithic, Iranian Agriculturists shared same ancestry with Old Hittite DNA remains, (the earliest speakers of Indo European Languages,) and with some Assyrian/North Mesopotamian Lineages (See Genetic studies of Damgaard et al. 2018.)

They lived in the Zagros Mountains, where some of the earliest evidence of wine making/production has been discovered. Zagros mountain range begins in northwestern Iran, South of Caucasus, and creates a geographic barrier between the Mesopotamian flat deserts, and the towering Iranian Plateau/Mountains. It has a total length of 1,600 km (990 miles.) The highest point is Mount Dena at an elevation of 4,409 meters (14,465 feet.)

Remnants of the originally widespread oak-dominated woodland can still be found in Zagros Mountains. The ancestors of many familiar foods, including wheat, barley, lentil, almond, walnut, pistachio, apricot, plum, pomegranate and grape can be found growing wild throughout Zagros.

Ancient DNA tests have revealed that the majority of Early Neolithic farmers who colonized Europe belonged to Y-haplogroup G2a. However, the Iranian Agriculturists had a higher frequency of T1a Y-DNA lineages than G haplogroup. Interestingly, during the Copper and Bronze Ages, haplogroup T appears to have been an important paternal lineage among the ruling elites of ancient peoples such as Sumerians, and the Assyrians.

Within Europe the frequency of Y-DNA T lineages is most common in the mountainous parts of the southern Balkans, the central and southern Apennine Mountains in Italy, Auvergne Mountains in France, and mountain pasturelands of southwestern Iberia.

All the aforementioned mountainous regions share many features with Iranian Zagros Mountain Range in Northwestern Iran, South of Caucasus.

The Paternal T lineage is also believed to have been closely associated with maternal HV haplogroup.

HV is the most successful maternal lineage in Europe today. Over half of the female European population descends from a single female, HV lineage progenitor who lived at least 25,000 years ago. Most Europeans belonging to the HV lineage descend from a branch that was renamed haplogroup H.

The modern distribution of mtDNA HV is particularly reminiscent of hotspots for Y-DNA haplogroup T. This strongly suggests that maternal HV and paternal T lineages spread together from a spot in modern day Northwestern Iran, South Caucasus, and Iraqi Kurdistan, to the Fertile Crescent, notably Northern Mesopotamia, as well as to Central and Eastern Europe.

The distribution of HV maternal haplogroup today is as follows:

HV2: found among Zoroastrians, Kurds, and in Slovakia
HV5: found around Lithuania, Belarus and Poland
HV6 : found in Iran, Russia, Slovakia and Britain
HV7 : found in Russia, Ukraine and Sicily
HV8 : found in southern Russia and Slovakia
HV9 : found in Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Scandinavia and Britain
HV10 : found around the Alps
HV11 : found in Italy
HV12 : found in Iran
HV13 : found in Iran

Today, about 20% of Iranian Zoroastrian priests belong to Y-DNA haplgroup T1a, a lineage that goes back to Neolithic Iranian Agriculturists. Also after mtDNA U4, mtDNA HV2 is the most common Zoroastrian maternal lineage.

However, 80% of Iranian Zoroastrian priests belong to Y-DNA lineages I* and I2*. Both I* (I M170) and I2* (I P215) are associated with Cro Magnon/Early European Robust humans, and are exceedingly rare among modern populations.

I* (M170) is the Paleolithic lineage from which all subclades of Y-DNA I derive. I* (I M170) is My Personal Y-DNA marker.

About 86% of the Parsi Zoroastrian Priests belong to R1a1a1 Y-DNA marker, a proto Indo European marker that goes back to ancient Yamnaya culture, and hails from the regions surrounding Dnieper river in modern day Ukraine, and what is now Southern Russia.

Another 14% of Parsi Zoroastrian Priests belong to haplgroup L. According to Dr. Spencer Wells, Haplogroup L-M20 originated in the rugged and mountainous Pamir Knot region in Tajikistan of Central Asia. This haplogroup was found in remains attributed to an elite member of the Hun tribes in Hungary.

In conclusion, I shall add that Pre-historic people in northern Caucasus, Southern Caucasus and Zagros Mountains would have adopted farming and exchanged goods and languages for thousands of years. These Neolithic Iranian Agriculturists of Zagros Mountains soon merged with proto Indo Europeans, and became one people with them.

There is also the great likelihood that the first speakers of an Indo-European language could have hailed from south of the Caucasus Mountains, perhaps in present-day Iran or Armenia.

ardeshir

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Vərəthra.ghna, The “Victorious Lord” of Zoroastrianism, and the 4th incarnation of the god of victory in the form of an aurochs/camel, celebrating “untamable strength and virility.”


In the living, folk traditions of the Zoroastrians, the worship of the great Yazatá of “Victory” Vərəθra.ghna/Vərəθra.γna plays a most prominent role. The Avestan name of the “Victorious Lord” has evolved into Vahrám in middle Iranian, Bahrám in modern Persian, and Behrám among Parsi Zoroastrians.

There is a tradition of praying to the god-force of “Victory,” by reciting his Avestan hymn continuously for 40 days to overcome all sort difficulties, and achieve great success/victory in every material as well as spiritual sphere.

Among Iranian Zoroastrians, sacred shrines are dedicated to the Yazatá of “Victory.” One such very popular shrine known as Shaw Varhrám Izad is located in southern Tehran, the capital of Iran.

More Importantly, the most sacred grade of fire in Zoroastrianism, átash vahrám/bahrám “Victorious fire,” is dedicated to the yazatá of victory, the one who shatters all obstacles.

Vərəθra.ghna/Vərəθraγna is the personification of a “victorious god being” that shatters and overcomes any difficulty or obstacle, and is an unstoppable force established, and set in motion by the ahûrás, Titans (ahûra.δátö.)

Among the Brilliant, Auspicious Immortals, the “Victorious Lord” is a co-worker” ham-kár “of Ašá/Arthá, “power to excel, create a new order/reality.

Vərəθra.ghna also joins forces with Vanaintî Uparatát “Winning, Upper Force” (Yt. 14.0, 64,) and Ama “Mighty Attacking Power.”

The “Victorious Lord” is venerated as yazata.nąm zayö.tə̄mö “the most armed of the gods” (Yt. 14.1,) ama.vas.təmö “the most mighty,” (Yt. 14.3), and xarən.aŋu.has.təmö “the most endowed with xarəna, fiery glory or magical charm” (Yt. 14.3.)

In the Avestan hymn, Yašt 14.28-33, the god, is closely linked to magical elements, and the “magic of the feather,” i.e., oracles based on the falling or flying of a falcon’s feather (vv. 34-46.)

According to the Avestan hymn, Yašt, the “Victorious Lord” transmits his “untamable strength and virile powers” to the Airya “the noble ones,” and confounds all their enemies.

The gift of Vərəθraγna “Victorious Lord” on the seer/prophet Zaraθuštrá was “Victory in thought, Victory in word, and Victory in deed,” as well as “impassioned speech,” in conformity with the Indo-Iranian practice of verbal contest/retort (See Kuiper, “The Ancient Aryan Verbal Contest,” pp. 243, 246.)

In the poetic gathas/sacred songs of Zaraθuštrá, the god-being/force of victory that shatters and overcomes any difficulty or obstacle is invoked in the most venerated Ké Vərəθrəm-já sacred formula.

Likewise, the 14th Avestan hymn dedicated to the Yazatá of “Victory” belongs to the most ancient sections of the Younger Avesta, and is one of the better preserved Avestan Yašts “odes of praise.” The hymn contains a wealth of archaic elements, which point to a more ancient Indo-Iranian era (P. Thieme, “The “Aryan” Gods of the Mitanni Treaties,” pp. 312-14.)

The hymn starts by enumerating the ten physical incarnations of the “Victorious Lord,” and gives a very vivid and virile picture of the unstoppable, warrior god.

Vərəθra.ghna/Vərəθraγna takes the physical form of a relentless, powerful wind (Yt.14.2-5); a bull with horns of gold (v. 7); a white horse with ears and muzzle of gold (v. 9); an aurochs/camel in sexual excitement/heat (vv. 11-13); a boar (v. 15); a youth at the ideal age of fifteen (v. 17); a falcon várəγna– (vv. 19-21); a ram (v. 23); a wild goat (v. 25); and an armed warrior (v. 27.)

The material incarnations of the Yazatá of Victory show some very interesting resemblance to the Chinese Zodiac symbolism.

We read of his fourth physical form/manifestation as an aurochs/camel in verse 11 of the hymn: ahmái. tüiryö. ájasat̰ vazəmnö vərəϑraγnö ahûraδátö uštrahæ kəhrpa vaδaryaôš dadán.saôš aiwi.tačinahæ urvatö fras.paranahæ gaæϑáuš mašyö vaŋhahæ.

The word for any large cattle from “aurochs, to buffalo, and/or camel” in the original Avestan is uštrahæ. The Avestan term for “large, powerful cattle” appears also in the second part of the name of Zaraθuštrá. Rune uruz is a very likely cognate.

Avestan kəhrpa is the word for “bodily form,” (German körper.) The word vaδaryaôš denotes “sexual excitement, feverish energy, passionate life-force.”

The word dadán.saôš or dadąsaôš (also appearing as vakąsaôš) refers to “devouring, tearing into small pieces, biting.”

The first part of the compound word dadán/dadą means“denture/teeth.” The second part kánsaôš or kąsaôš “biting off” appears also in the beautiful Zám-yaad Yašt the “hymn to the good earth.” The word appears in the 3rd verse of the 19th Yašt, in relation to the “biting frost of the snowy peak where the legendary falcon Simôrgh (Avestan saæna,) nests, upáiri saæna kánsö tafəδra varafa.

The Avestan poetic imagery clearly shows that Zoroastrianism highly celebrates sexuality, untamable strength and great virility.

ardeshir

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