Rapithwin, the lord of brightness, and radiance


Rapithwin is the the “lord of brightness and radiance,” the source of sustenance, strength and abundance.”  In traditional Zoroastrian terminology, Rapithwin is an idyllic time when the invincible sun is at the zenith of her power, the time of highest radiance from noon till 3 o’clock.                                                    It was at Rapithwin that Ahûrá Mazdá first manifested the material creation from the realm of ideas/thoughts through a “heartfelt desire,” and it will again be Rapithwin when another Yasna, “yearning, burning desire” will set in the splendid, fresh, new creation of the worlds, Farshökart. 

It is “true, heartfelt desire,” Yasna, that purifies, hallows, and brings about manifestation. The root of the word Yasna is reconstructed Indo-European Hieh2g-nô. 

Rapithwin comes from ancient Indo-European peitu-/pitu, and is a cognate of Lithuanian pietis. The word means “food, sustenance, energy,” and referred originally to “midday or afternoon meal.”            In the sacred Avestan lore, the connection between “brightness/light” and “sustenance“ is evident in the Avestan formula/blessing for food in Yasna 37.1.                                                 During the Ayāθrima thanksgiving festival in mid October when the cattle are beautifully decorated, and brought back home to their shelters, the warmth and radiance of Rapithwin is believed to go underground to give energy to the roots of plants and waters during cold winter months. It is with coming of vernal equinox/spring that Rapithwin symbolically returns. At every “Victorious Fire,” Ātaš Vahrama yasna is solemnized in honor of asha, “excellence, genius composition, ahüric art, truth” at high noon or time of Rapithwin, on the day of Vernal Equinox, and Yasna Celebrations are continued at midday for the next two days.

The ultimate goal of rapithwin yasna celebration is to unleash the miraculous force of menög, “the invisible realm of mind power, spirit, imagination, ideas,” and thereby transmute the imperfect reality into wondrous and ever better. 

The sacred Avestan verses of Yasna are most significant for their mąθric power, for they not only unleash the “luminous disposition, mind energy, spirit” of the god powers/god beings and f the subconscious dimension on the patron of the Yasna celebrations, and his/her wider community, including the departed souls, but also reveal the creative will/wisdom of the pristine manifestation, and splendid renewal of the worlds, and eternal betterment. 

Ardeshir

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Festival of Waters in Zoroastrianism


October 26 is the festival of waters in the Zoroastrian seasonal calendar. The waters in the Zoroastrian sacred poetry are closely associated with pristine spirits, brilliance, and the vital, female god force known as Ahûránî. The name Ahurānī is derived from Ahûrá with a feminine suffix -ānī: “female titan or goddess (of the waters.)” Ahûránî denotes the god force in the waters from lakes, to springs, from rivers to snow, and rain (See Yasna 68.6). The invoker priest “zaôtar or züt“ in the Zoroastrian most sacred yasna rite, offers Ahûránî milk and butter (Y. 68.2). Milk and butter are mixed with the fragrant essence of flowers, and are offered to the waters. Making the offering of the holy water is the culminating rite of the most sacred Yasna ritual in Zoroastrianism. The preparation and consecration of holy water is at the center of the rituals of the second part of the Yasna ceremony. Yasna literally means “yearning, longing.” The twigs and the sap of fresh pomegranate leaves are pounded in a mortar together with milk and spring water. The belief that by making an offering to the waters which give life to all living things, the waters themselves are made “stronger,” purer and more abundant, and are invested with great power and god energy, hence the designation āb-zöhr. Yasna 68 is dedicated to the veneration and praise of waters in the Zoroastrian sacred hymns. But the most powerful formulas relating to Ahûránî are Yasna 38.3-5, where the waters are invoked as source of abundance, and worthy of worship. Similarly, the beautiful, long hymn to the Undefiled, Mighty Lady of waters,” Arədvī Surā Anāhitā” is dedicated to the praise of the waters. Ardeshir

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Tolkien and Zoroastrianism


In a remarkable letter, Tolkien writes: “I was from early days grieved by the poverty of my own beloved country: it had no stories of its own, not of the quality that I sought, and found in legends of other lands. There was Greek, and Celtic, and Romance, Germanic, Scandinavian, and Finnish (which greatly affected me); but nothing English, save impoverished chap-book stuff. Of course there was and is all the Arthurian world, but powerful as it is, it is imperfectly naturalized, associated with the soil of Britain but not with English; and does not replace what I felt to be missing.“

By his own criteria, Tolkien was determined to create a mythology for England,  inspired by Old English and Old Norse mythological accounts.  A most interesting, subtle, link between Tolkien’s mythology and that of the of the ancient  Indo-Europeans, can be seen in an early version of the tale of the awakening of Men appearing in the outlines to “Gilfanon’s Tale” in The Book of Lost Tales specifically as regards to Ermon, Avestan Airyaman, Vedic Aryaman. Tolkien was utterly immersed in ancient Indo-European mythology in all its forms. He noticed the great similarity specifically between Norse mythology and ancient Zoroastrianism. Gaps that existed in Old English and Old Norse tales, he has subtly filled with Zoroastrian themes. He was very familiar with Franz Cumont works. Cumont pointed out many similarities between the Old Norse Mythology and ancient Zoroastrianism. Cumont correctly pointed out that the Vedas depict a world very similar to Greek myths while ancient Zoroastrianism and Norse mythology remarkably show identical themes and world views. Tolkien also held the Rawlinson and Boseworth of Anglo Saxon Studies Professorship till the end of his life. Thus, he must have been particularly familiar with Rawlinson works when it came to Avestan studies. Tolkien seem to be not just thinking of Old Norse mythology as inspiration for his recreated mythology but complimented it with ancient Zoroastrianism as the purest form of ancient Indo-European worldview as it was firmly believed by the likes of Pike, Rawlinson and Cumont. Tolkien specifically calls Gandalf Mithrandir. Was he thinking of Mithra as Arbiter of the Gods when he was giving Gandalf this name? Also the cosmic battle of light and the brilliant gods against deformation and evil seem to have a very clear source in the Zoroastrian tradition. No other Indo European faith equates evil with deformation, clumsiness and stupidity as Zoroastrianism does. We see this in Tolkien depiction of orcs and their tortuous existence. Tolkien was also fascinated with Finnish mythology, and Finnish Great epic poetry of Kalevala. Although he never visited Finland, he learned Finnish and incorporated a lot of themes from Kalevala into his reconstructed mythology. It is very likely that Tolkien knew of the influence of Uralic and Uralic mythology on ancient Indo Iranians and Zoroastrianism. An influence that is more evident than in any other Indo-European ancient religion and language. Tolkien was a devout Catholic but the Catholic themes that run in his stories/reconstructed mythology, themes like the fall of men and elves clearly go back to the dawn of the Indo-European religious poetry specifically ancient Zoroastrianism. So in conclusion, Tolkien tried to recreate a mythology for English people. But his fascination with Finnish/Uralic Mythology, and his backdrop of Old Norse Motifs made him compliment it with inspirations from ancient Zoroastrianism that resembled Old Norse greatly, and had substantial borrowed elements from Ancient Uralic that fascinated him. Ardeshir

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The great autumnal festival of Mehregan


Zoroastrian festival of Mehregaan is an autumnal harvest festival dedicated to Mithra. It is a six days, most joyous holiday that starts on October 2nd, and concludes on October 8th. The festivities of Mithra are closely associated with autumnal equinox.                                                                                                                                                                                 The close association is due to the fact that autumnal equinox is linked to the concept of reciprocity and harvesting. In the sacred lore of the Zoroastrians, the Avesta, Mithra is hailed as the “Lord of the wide pastures and meadows.” The Avestan Mithrá-, Vedic Mitrá- comes from reconstructed Indo-European root *meit- and is cognate with Latin mūtō, Gothic maidjan, Latvian mietot.. 

Mithra appears in the Poetic Gathas, Yasna 46.5, 2nd rhymed verse line in the form of mithrö.ibyö in the sense of “reciprocity, mutual friendship, camaraderie.” Mithrá is reciprocating the Immortals kindness by fulfilling our duty/destiny. The festival of Mithra is known as Mehrgān/Mehregān in modern Persian. We must pay our debts, return the favors, fulfill our promises, and make sure we have a clean record during this holiday.                                                                                                                                              

 The Zoroastrian autumnal celebrations were once so joyous and elaborate, with festive lights, banquets, and music that the word Mehrgān/Mehregān has been borrowed into Arabic as Mehrajān referring to “joyous festivity” in general.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

  The celebrations of Miθra were also held around the autumnal equinox in the 7th month of the Achaemenian calendar known as  Baga.yadi “hallowing of the  god.”  The ancient Iranian word Baga for “god, giver of good fortune,” is a cognate of Slavic Bog, “god/God.”                                                                                                                                                                             

In the Zoroastrian sacred rites, the celebration of equinoxes is connected with partaking of parahöm, “the consecrated elixir of life.” The ritual is symbolic of receiving life force and much vitality.  The rite symbolically re-enacts the time when the blessed spirits will partake of parahöm (elixir of life,) prepared from the all healing plant “White Höm.” All blessed spirits also join in a mystical communion meal prepared from the fat of the mythical bull, Haδayans. The sacred elixir/wine and communion meal shall confer deathlessness on resurrected bodies at the time of Frašō.kərəti, the “splendid recreation of the worlds.”                                                                                                                                                                               Mehregan is the only time of the year that we are allowed to indulge in wine without moderation. Zoroastrian jurisprudence considers wine making and wine consumption a great virtue when is done in moderation. But during Mehregan we can be slightly drunk. According to Greek Historians, this was the only holiday among ancient Persians that rulers and judges could appear slightly drunk in public.                                                                                                                                                    The special foods of the autumnal celebrations are: a hearty pomegranate soup, a stewed meat dish known as khoresh sib made with apples, another hearty stew made with quince and dried apricots, also the iconic zereshk polo, sweet rice with barberries, saffron, pistachios and almonds, and Persian Marzipan shaped into the shape of mulberries.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 On the thanksgiving table of Mehregan we shall offer wine, pomegranate fruit, other seasonal fruits dried nuts, fried sweet bread, and candles and incense as an offering.

Ardeshir

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Veneration of Immortals, and the Concept of Intercession in Zoroastrianism


The concept of making an appeal to the “Auspicious, Brilliant, Immortals,” “hallowed god powers,” “pristine archetypes,” and “luminous blessed spirits,” to INTERCEDE on behalf of mortals is among the prominent beliefs of the Zoroastrian faith. 

In Zoroastrian worldview, there is a boundless, bright realm of “creative ideas, powerful mind energies, pristine archetypes, blessed, luminous spirits, known as the world of ménög. The ancient Avestan commentaries define ménög as an “enchanting world of “Celestial Melodies, God Songs/Gathas, (gāhānīg,) and most brilliant ideas,” (See ancient commentaries of Yasna,28.1.)  

The brilliant realm of spirit/mind, ménög, and“pristine archetypes” is where the fate of the material manifestations, gétîg, is decided. Ménög, precedes the universe of manifestations, gétîg, and serves as the original model for the latter’s creation. Ménög is the root and source of gétîg, and gétîg is its fruit. 

However, as ménög reflects the changes brought about in gétîg, the “realm of thoughts, mind powers, ideas,” ménög, becomes dependent on the “realm of manifestations,” gétîg. This makes the material world of gétîg, the perfect place to trap, and overcome the flaws and imperfections of the broken spirit, ahriman, and his diabolic deities.  Since, gétig is a place of mixture, fiery trial, and removal of imperfections.   

The diabolic deities and the broken spirit are trapped within the world of mortal men, and are manifest in malformations in the physical. It is said regarding the battle against ahriman, the “broken, evil spirit,” and his demon-gods, there will never be a time in which mortal men will not exist in the material universe. Since, both the continued existence of evil, and the final overcoming of it depends on mortal men. When mortal men evolve into higher, spiritual, supermen; the “broken, evil spirit,” ahriman, and his demon-gods will cease to exist.

Everything that exists in the manifested universe has a ménög “ideal, spiritual,” as well as a gétîg “physical aspect.” Hence, the Yazatás, god powers that ought to be “hallowed/worshipped,” exist both in ménög and in gétîg, and INTERCEDE to ménögán ménög, “the highest, most sublime mind/spirit of all,” (a term that designates the Supreme God, Ahûrá Mazdá,) on behalf of mortal warriors of light. 

The word for INTERCESSION in the Middle Iranian Zoroastrian literature is jádag-göwîh. It appears in the ancient commentaries of Yasna 27.13c, 28.1 a, 34.2c, 45.6d, 49.6a, 51.2c of the Poetic Gathas. 

The Avestan terms associated with the concept of INTERCESSION are vahmæ “to venerate, revere as the source of all good,” and nəmaŋhá “praise/bow to unleash the spiritual/god powers hidden in the world appearances.” 

Prods Oktor Skjaervo derives vahmæ from the root vaf “to weave sacred poetry/praise.” While Almut Hintze derives vahmæ from vohü “superb, good.” 

The idea is to see the “boundless, infinite, superb” in the mundane, and venerate it as sacred, and source of all good. When we revere the “ideal, spiritual, divine archetype” in the world of transient forms, we awake the Titans within, and unleash their hidden powers, and powerful pleas on our behalf. The concept is very similar to Old Norse Vé and making natural shrines to the original gods. 

ardeshir 

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Pætat, Fravarti, and Parsi New Year


The last 10 days before the Zoroastrian new year are dedicated to “the spirits of valiant warriors/ancestors,” known as fra.varti. According to Bernfried Schlerath, the word is derived from the root √var- “choose,” with *fravarti being an acclamation—a “choosing forth—” of “pristine archetypes, heroic ancestors” who are specially honored during these 10 days.  

Alexander Lubotsky of Leiden University, in his “Indo-Iranian Lexicon” considers an etymological connection between fra.varti, and the Old Norse Valkyrja “chooser of the slain/heroic dead.”  In Yašt/hymn 13 (verse 70) the valiant spirits of fravarti are conceived as Valkyrie-like beings who are said to “swoop down like an eagle.” 

These “valiant, hero ancestors,” in the “hymn/yašt” dedicated to them, are conceived as “pristine archetypes,” supporting Ahûrá Mazdá in times of yore to brilliantly order the worlds, and still having great powers in perpetuating the creations, prospering the waters and plants, and protecting sons/descendants in the womb (verses. 1-11). Fra.varti are said to be a vast host of “many hundreds, many thousands, many tens of thousands” (Yašt. 13.65,) whose bravery and power to help in battle are particularly celebrated, (verses 49-52, 96-144.)

Zoroastrians believe that “archetypes/heroic ancestors” visit our earthly realm during these most auspicious 10 days. Hence, these sacred days become a period of pætat, or a time to “return to one’s roots.” 

Pætat comes from the verb paitî- whose literal meaning is “go back (to), step, move towards.” Pætat is a time to make amends with god-powers, archetypes, ancestors, and set right the wrong. These most auspicious days of Pætat are a time to CHOOSE, and sincerely confess the noble faith (ērīh,) and it supreme magnificence/greatness mehīh. The Zoroastrian religion is equated with érîh, Avestan airyá, as the pristine, noble faith of the ancient Indo Iranians, and even older ancient Indo-Europeans.

To honor the valiant spirits of archetypes/ancestors during Pætat, a thorough house cleaning is performed. More importantly we are instructed to purify our hearts, and make amends to family, friends, community and our neighbors. The most elaborate treatment of this subject appears in chapter 8 of the Šāyist nē Šāyist (literally suitable and not suitable.)  In this respect, Šāyist nē Šāyist admonishes “pure intent, honest admission, rejection of the wrong, and a strong will/commitment not to do the injurious offense again.”

We read throughout the Zoroastrian literature  “to do the worship and invocation of the Yazad/Gods with pure intent/vision (pad nigerišn.) According to Šāyist nē Šāyist the “pure thoughts/ideas” (pad menišn) suffice in and of themselves to render the wrongdoer righteous (8.13.) In Zoroastrianism, mental activities are considered injurious or auspicious in and of themselves, even when actions are not involved. Numerous Middle Persian, Zoroastrian texts command the Zoroastrian faithful to “never think an evil/negative thought.”

Zoroastrian tradition maintains that the boundless lights of Ahûrá  Mazdá shine more brightly on these holy days. Hence, they are a great time for “showing excellence, charity” ashö-dád. It is a time to generously help the less fortunate. Wealthier Zoroastrians establish “charitable trusts, foundations” during this time. It is traditional to perform Gáhán.bár “religious thanksgiving celebrations” for 30 years at any such donated land or established charitable foundation or trust. 

Each Zoroastrian family prepares a beautiful table/banquet decorated with candles, wine, sugar cone, fruits, hearty fried bread “sirög,” eggs, milk, a bowl of fresh water with some dried oregano, and incense. Prayers shall be done at this table of “offerings and libations.”

Presently, Zoroastrian also decorate their table with picture of their beloved departed ones. Some invite Priests to do the prayers for them at their home. Another most important ritual is kindling seven or nine bonfires on rooftops, in alleys or in courtyards.

Currently the Parsi new year is celebrated on August 16, and the ten most auspicious days start at August 6th. Nauv.rooz Bal Celebrations on August 17, in the lush Caspian mountains are extremely similar. After the Arab conquest, and following  Zoroastrian decline 3-4 centuries after the invasion, Surviving Zoroastrian communities in remote mountains, and high deserts slowly lost track of leap year calculations, and their new year ceremonies over few centuries moved to mid-summer instead of the Avestan appointed Spring Equinox celebrations.

ardeshir    

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Old Avestan riddle poems and the essence of the Immortals


The Váršt-mánsar commentary of Yasna 28.7 states that through the melodious songs of mąθrá “poetic thought, sacred word,”  Zarathustra, ( and those who follow his luminous vision,) connect to the “very own/self” of Mazda, the “Lord of Mind, Inspiring Creativity, and Wisdom. The ancient commentary above reminds Me of this quote: “I saw the power of the word (poetic thought) solid and indescribable. As its feet lapped the waves of ages past.”

Hence, Godhood is inextricably linked — even incorporated within mąθrá “mind formulas of the realm of bright thoughts/ideas.” Lordship of Mazdá, and the Goodwill of the Gods, may best be experienced through the “poetic thought” mąθrá, and the “power of vision, discovery and learning,” daæná, that are bound together for all eternity.

The “effective wisdom” of ḵratü expressed through “sacred verse” mąθrá becomes the “power” of the spirit, of ardor, inspiration, which animates the prophet- poet, and the noble believer/warrior of light. 

The riddle poems of the Old Avestan Songs/Gathas are the very objects and subjects which express Mazda’s “creative will” ḵratü.  Gathas/Songs are meticulously concise, powerfully expressive, and have a sacred rhythm or profound beat to them. They are one of the best known examples of using enigma in ancient Indo-European sacred poetry. 

Gathic or Old Avestan is a sonorous, imposing, melodious language well suited to poetry and effective oration. Spoken rhythm is all-important to its poetic form.

Old Avestan mąθrás are enigmatic “meditations/reflections” on the wondrous nature of Mazda, the Supreme Titan/God of Mind Energies, inherent brilliance of the Auspicious Immortals (Mazda’s Titans or Ahûras,) their magic and superb skills, the splendid creating anew, and brilliant end destiny of the worlds, battle against diabolic deities who are the forces of chaos, limitation and obstruction in present creation, and mortal mens’s role in the colossal battle to bring about the Eternal Spring of the Titans/Primeval God Powers.    

The belief underlying all of Old Avestan poetic verse/mąθrá, is that the slightest details of these sacred poem riddles have a meaning that is both profound and significant. Every detail is noteworthy, and is capable of being discovered by further insight. The ancient Zoroastrian methods of exegesis espouse the fundamental belief that every letter, word, or other detail in the Gathas/Poetic Songs has a decipherable meaning, and vast depth. The enigmatic style of the Old Avestan sacred verse has served as an additional proof to their omni-significant interpretation.

The Gathas/Old Avestan sacred verse is considered to be complete and self-sufficient, and therefore contain the answer to every inquiry that can possibly be raised. Their Zand (literally Gnosis, “Insightful Knowledge”)  exercises the method of inclusiveness, whereby the original meaning of the poetic thought is expanded by word and sound play to include matters that are not explicitly expressed.

In Yasna 57.8 Zarathustra is said to have recited the Gathas/Sacred Songs  “together with their insightful knowledge/gnosis, together with answers to questions” (maṯ.āzaiṇtīš maṯ.paiti.fraså.) 

The popular term Kashf-ul-Asrar among early and later Moslem theologians, (literally “Revelation of The Divine Secrets,”) seem to be a verbatim translation of “Avesta and Zand,” the sacred lore of the ancient Zoroastrians. The literal meaning of Avesta (Pahlavi abesta􏰎g) seem to have to do with the “wisdom and praise” of the GodPowers, with Zand referring to the “gnosis/insightful wisdom” of the sacred poetry. 

The Zoroastrian sacred tradition divides Avesta into 3 parts: The poetic thought or enchanting “Gathic Songs” (gáhánīg), “legal” (dádīg), and “Young Avestan quotations of Old Avestan mąθrás” for utmost efficiency in prayers/ritual” (hádá-mántrīg.) 

In conclusion, I shall add that according to Holy Denkart, Zoroastrian jurisprudence could be reinvented according to the exigencies of the age. Also, according to Yasna 28.7 ḵšajā.”kingship” is reserved for masters of mąθrá or the Philosopher Kings.

ardeshir

 

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The Zoroastrian Midsummer celebrations, and the sacred Three-Star


This year, the Zoroastrian mid-summer festival “maidhyö-sham” started on June the 29th, and was concluded on July 3rd. The Zoroastrian midsummer festivities are closely associated with  Tištriia, literally the “three-star”(the “triangle constellation of Canis Major,) or more specifically ”the brightest star in the night sky, known as the “dog star, Sirius.” According to Forssman, Tištriia or Sirius is named as “the one who belongs to the three stars.”

Tištriia, is an astral god-being/power in Zoroastrianism, and the eighth hymn, Yašt of the Avesta (sacred lore of the Zoroastrians) is dedicated to Sirius. Interestingly, Sirius (Arabic shiaara) appears as the only sacred star mentioned in the moslem Qur’an, 53: 49.

The Avestan hymn to Tištriia contains two themes. The first theme deals with rain, and prosperity. The Brilliant Tištriia “three-star” attacks draught, in the form of a white, celestial horse. But after three days and nights, the brightest star is defeated, because the astral yazata “hallowed god-being,” was not sufficiently worshipped by the Aryans (see Yt. 8.24). 

Only after an auspicious yasna-“heartfelt desire” offered by Ahûrá Mazdá, the light, brilliance of Tištriia defeats drought, and releases the rains/waters (Yt. 8.25.) The Persian Proverb stating that waters are light, and have their seed in the light/brilliance of the stars, is rooted in the same Avestan hymn to Tištriia. 

The second theme deals with the fight of Tištriia with the Pairikās, the “bad fairies” which correspond to shooting stars (stārö.kərəmā, literally  star-worm showers.) The mischievous fairies are led by duž.yāirya (bad, difficult year;) and are supported by the Yātus (sorcerers.) 

Most Interestingly, the second theme of the Avestan hymn to Tištriia also has a parallel in the moslem Quran. In Chapter 15 Surah Hijr verse 16-18, we read: “And we have guarded the celestial heavens from every outcast Shaitan (diabolic being). Henceforth, diabolic beings who try unlawfully to listen to celestial heavens are pursued by flaming shooting stars.”

 The Indo-European theme of the “god” holding an “arrow” in his hand, is strongly present in the Avestan hymn to Tishtriia which was shot by the arches of Tri-Star himself. According to the Avestan hymn the three-star, flies in the sky as the ARROW shot by the most valiant archer of the Aryans, the hero araḵš or ereḵšö. According to the Avesta, ereḵšö “of the swift arrow,” shot an arrow from Mount Airyö.ḵšaôθa to Mount Xᵛanvant.

Avestan ereḵšö Old Iranian araḵš, is cognate with Latin ursus, Greek arktos, “bear.” Names such as Ursula come from the same root, so is the Persian male name Áraš. In Greek Mythology the name of Artemis, “the Mistress of Animals” is derived from arktos or “bear.” 

The epic story of araḵš, the champion archer of the Aryans, is about sacred duty, heroism and selfless sacrifice. In Zoroastrianism, life is an epic battle, mortal man must choose the Gods, goodness and nobility throughout the ages of this world, not because of fear or in hope of favors, but for the sake of virtue, wisdom, and light alone.

In the Zoroastrian tradition, it is customary to sprinkle each other with water, and play water games during this joyous holiday. Zoroastrians also wear an colorful band on their wrist during this holiday. The band shall resemble the colors of rainbow. The rainbow band is worn for 9 days.  This ancient Zoroastrian custom reminds one of the burning rainbow bridge that reaches between Midgard (Earth) and Asgard, (the realm of the primeval gods/the Æsir,) in Norse mythology.

ardeshir

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Zoroastrian Wáj and Indo-European *Wékwos 


Wáj or Báj, is an “Avestan formula of benediction,” which serves to invoke Gods/Immortals favor upon life activities via sacred speech.  Wáj/Báj must be recited in the words of the Avestan language that exude great power. 

The term wáj is derived from Old Iranian wăk, Avestan vač “voice, word, language, speech.” Wáj goes back to Indo-European *Wékwos “word, speech.” Old Norse vátta “voice, word,” Greek épos “epic poem” are cognates. 

Ancient Zoroastrians, and Indo-Europeans in general, believed that “words” have their unique magical power, and that “sacred words/speech” are the blueprint of the creation of the worlds. In Old Norse we read of songsmith, and spellsmith “poet.” In the poetic Gathas/Songs, the lordly ahuras, forge/fashion the poetic thought (mánthra.) 

Wáj formulae consecrates the earthly acts with sacred spiritual power, and must be recited gracefully.  Once the initial portion of the wáj preceding the action has been recited, quiet has to be maintained till the wáj is concluded by the recitation of the concluding portion.  For example after the initial wáj for breaking bread (eating,) or wáj for bathing is recited no other words may be pronounced, complete silence must maintained until the concluding wáj formulae is spoken after the meal and/or bathing. If any other communication becomes necessary during the silent period, it must be done so inarticulately, and not via spoken word. 

During Zoroastrian sacred rituals, Priests take wáj between themselves in order to make more effective the rite about to be performed, and maintain the full magic of the ritual. 

The term wāj is also used for invocation formulae at the beginning and the end of long Avestan prayers. The term Wāj Yašt Srösh is a beautiful prayer dedicated to Sraôša, the Lord of Sacred Speech and Inspiration.” 

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Sraosha, heeding and being inspired by the brilliant god powers


We read in the Várštmánsar commentary of Yasna 28 that the“Auspicious, Brilliant Immortals” come for assistance/help through Seraôša, or “readiness to listen, and be inspired by the life increasing god-powers.”  Seraôša is derived from srū- “to hear,”  Greek κλ􏰂ο􏰃 “fame, report,” Church Slavonic slovo “word,” Old Irish clú “fame,” Tocharian A klyu, B kälywe “fame” are cognates.  

In Zoroastrianism, mortal men come into possession of eternal fame, and glory by hearkening to, and living in the songs and melodies of the “brilliant, life increasing god-powers.” Like the other  Aməṣ̌a Spəṇtas or “Auspicious, Brilliant Immortals,” Seraôša appears both as an abstraction, and as an individual god force, and is a major yazatá “hallowed, god being” in Zoroastrianism. The first appearance of Seraôša is in Yasna 28 in the form of “səraôšəm mazdái.”

The supreme god of Zoroastrianism Mazdá, and the ancient Greek Muses who inspire with creative ideas, and wisdom, both have their linguistic roots in *men(s)-dh(e)h1, the word for “learning, discovery, to place in the mind/memory.” 

The ancient Greek poets claim to derive their knowledge from the Muses whom the poets “only HEAR their fame/glory” (κλ􏰂ο􏰃). In ancient Zoroastrianism, it is Seraôša who makes the wondrous wisdom of the Immortals HEARD, and inspires with higher knowledge/superb wisdom of the Mindful Lord, Mazdá. 

Ahûrá Mazdá has revealed his luminous vision/wisdom through Seraôša, and made him the teacher of revelation/vision (Yt. 11.14: daænö.disö.) 

It is Seraôša who first recites the Poetic Gâthâs, and reveals their meaning/mystery in the realm of thought/mind. Seraôša is the lord of the sacred speech, the magical language of the Gods, the Gâthâs, who are the melodic model (pristine prototype) of the original ideas, creative music of the ahuras, a kind of blueprint of the creation of the worlds, and protector against chaos/evil. 

Seraôša plays a crucial role in combating the forces of chaos, darkness, and other diabolic beings in the camp of stagnation, evil. In the Váršt.mánsar commentary of Yasna 28, it is the Inspiring Wisdom of Mazdá that tears apart the enmity, hatred of the diabolic forces daibišuuatö duuaæšáv tauruuaiiámá. It is Seraôša or Sröš who helps Zarathustra restore the pristine religion of the ahûrás, and cleanse the faith of the Aryás from impurities of the diabolic powers. 

In the sacred Avestan lore, Zarathustra RESTORES the purity of the ancient wisdom of the noble ones to the Pristine Worship of the Inspiring, Wise Lord Mazdá, and his Ahurás. Thus, in ancient Zoroastrianism, Zarathustra is never considered a reformer but a brilliant restorer. 

In his warrior/priestly function, Seraôša’s victorious weapons are the Ahüna Vairya prayer, “Will to become one with the primeval ahûrás,” Yasna Haptaŋ.háiti, the Seven Sacred, Blessed Chapters, and the Fšüsö.mąθra “Thought formula of Prosperity.” 

Seraôša is associated with harkening to mąθrá, “the creative thought formulas,” and is the master of wondrous wisdom, hymns, charms, and sacred rites. His association with Mithrá “allegiance to the Immortals” is mentioned in the Várštmánsar commentary of Yasna 28. 

In the Avestan sacred lore, “Mithrá drives the frightened troops of chaos hither, Rašnü drives them thither, Seraôša aṣ̌ya chases them everywhere” (Yt. 10.41). Seraôša possesses high/lofty wisdom bərəziδī, and shares with Mithrá the epithet tanu.mąθra, he “who embodies the sacred speech, thought formulas of the original ideas.”. 

Because of Sröš’s prowess in combating the diabolic forces, he is invoked to protect the soul of the deceased for the first three days after death. Sröš is the lord and ruler (xwadāy ud dahibed) of gētīg, the living world, holds and protects the material creations against the forces of chaos, and disintegration.

Seraôša or Sröš is the god force presiding over the unfailing glory, and is a source of rewards.  Seraôša has the standing epithet aṣ̌ya, a derivative of aṣ̌i, the goddess of reward, fortune. The epithet aṣ̌ya in the sacred Zoroastrian literature can be traced back to səraôšö aṣ̌ī  mąza.rayá hacimnö in the gathas. The middle Iranian epithet Sröš Ahláy is preserved in Manichean srwšrt which could be a historically more correct form.  

ardeshir 

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