The luminous vision, the eye, and the sun in the gathic poetry


The Váršt.mánsar commentary of Yasna 28 talks about the “eyes of excellence,” and “luminous vision of higher truth” ašəm through the “sublime words of the Brilliant, Auspicious Immortals.” 

Áiš in the Avestan original is understood/read as a variant of ašî “eyes, vision.” The ancient commentary connects the word for “eyes, vision” in verse 11 with ərəšuuáiš uxδáiš “sublime, truthful words” of the Omniscient Godhood in verse 6.

(Tocharian ak/ašãm, Vedic ákśî, Lithuanian akis, Old Norse auga, German auge, English eye are cognates.) 

Our lives are a reflection of our held beliefs, and perceptions. In many ways, our perceptions create our reality. In the Poetic Gathas, we shall see the worlds entire through the luminous vision, and the fiery eye of “excellence, higher truth, and superb order of Immortals.” 

In the Zoroastrian sacred lore or Avesta, Sun is the eye of Ahura Mazda. The fiery eye not only see everything, but gives life to, and creates anew the worlds entire in boundless light, and wondrous truth. It is the wisdom, and inspiring words of the Mindful Lord, Mazda, and his Brilliant Immortals that endow us with the gift of foresight, luminous vision, and powers of a higher, marvelous perception.   

The analogy of sun and eye finds various expression in Indo-European languages. In Norse skaldic verse “suns of the forehead” (ennis sólir) is a kenning for the eyes. The Armenian aregakn “sun” means literally “eye of the sun.” a compound of the genitive of arew ‘sun’ with akn “eye” harkening to a time that Armenian were Zoroastrians. 

Euripides, a tragedian of classical Athens propounds a cosmogonic theory by which the divine Aither created living creatures, endowed them with sight, and made the eyes in imitation of “the sun wheel.”  

A Homeric epithet of Zeus is ε􏰘ρ􏰙οπα, “with wide vision.” The Greek poet Hesiod whose works describe the genealogies of the gods, warns unjust rulers of Zeus immortal watchers, clothed in darkness, traveling about the land on every road, who watch over mortal men every ruling, judgment, and wickedness. In the Iliad it is the Sun who oversees everything, and for that reason the Sun is invoked, together with Zeus, as a witness to oaths and treaties. 

In the Vedas, the eye, the wide vision, and the myriad immortal watchers that the ancient Greeks ascribe to Zeus, are ascribed to Varuna, or the pair Mitra–Varuna, that are wide of eye (urucáksas-, 1. 25. 5, al,) and who have watchers who come hither from heaven.  

ardeshir

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Yasna 28 and the heaven of songs/music


The Poetic Songs/Gathas of Zarathustra start with Yasna 28, with the word ahyá (self, essence.) The last word of the Gathas is vahyö, (better, more excellently.) 

In the ancient Mazda Worship, ahuras are “primeval god powers” who continuously strive to better themselves. Zoroastrianism sees eternal journey towards “continuous betterment, more excellence” as the essence of Godhood, and union with the Hallowed Immortals through xratü “wisdom, creativity splendid craftsmanship/skill,) as the fundamental purpose of mortals life.

The váršt.mánsar commentary of Yasna 28 states that Zarathustra as model/source of emulation  for mortals has come to the supreme heaven, the abode of songs (referring to méṇ gairæ in the Avestan original.) 

In the Zoroastrian creation account, the supreme god, Ahûrá Mazdá has created the worlds by his “melodious songs, power of mind/imagination, and great music.” It shall be added that the Avestan word for “song, melodious poetry” gairæ here has Celtic “Bard” as cognate. 

The váršt.mánsar commentary identifies the abode of songs with the heaven of “good, superb mind, bright ideas” of vohü man.aŋhá. It is said that in the realm of “good, wondrous mind, creative imagination” of vohü.man, the wisdom (vîduš) of all that has been done in the physical dimension as well as all that will be done, though may be hidden to us here, are readily apparent. Also, that good works have their optimal prospering (áyaptá.)  

And from wondrous qualities of the supreme heaven of songs/music is the indestructibility (aγžaônvamnəm) of all those who have their genesis in good thoughts, and bright ideas. Furthermore, at the splendid, fresh, new creation of the worlds (Farš.kard,) the supreme “heaven of songs/good mind, creative imagination” descends to the star station, and the earth is lifted up there. 

(The Indo-European form of Avestan aγžaônvamnəm is dhgwhei-.)

In the Avesta or the Zoroastrian sacred lore, before the supreme heaven, there are the star, moon and sun stations. These three stations respectively represent the abodes of good thoughts, inspiring words and great deeds.  

The idea here is to restore paradise, supreme joy here on earth, and restore the numinous beauty and excellence that is inherent in the pristine creation. 

It is this realm of good mind, superb ideas that needs to be consulted and asked always. 

Ardeshir

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Yasna 28 and the magical wisdom, craftsmanship of the creator


The ancient váršt.mánsar commentary of the first song of the Gathas (Yasna 28) starts with the discussion of yánîm manö formula. Yánîm manö is a short preface to the first sacred song. Accordingly, the ancient seer/prophet of the Indo-Europeans, Zarathustra, is the model for mortals. Zarathustra is worthy of exquisite goodness because of his wonderful  thoughts, words, and deeds. Good thoughts, good vibes, good words, and good deeds translates into a good, wonderful life. 

We are the illuminators of our own happiness. We create our own heaven and/or our own hell. Godhood, goodness, light, and happiness shall be our choice, and the wondrous focus of our thoughts, words, and manifestation in our lives.   

The commentary then focuses on the word paourvîm “first, foremost, earliest, incomparable in excellence,” a cognate of Old Church Slavonic prьvъ, and from Indo-European prH-uo. 

The ancient commentary then discusses the foremost position of Ahûrá Mazdá, the incomparable excellence of the very self of Ahûrá Mazdá, the prime importance of the spirit of communion/prayer, and homage to the Hallowed Immortals. About performing all the good works as part of the homage to the Hallowed Immortals. About accepting the superiority of a virtuous, wise man, bringing gifts of good offerings to fire, upholding the beautiful religion (Zoroastrianism,) the innate mind-power, magical craft of the Creator (xratü,) and the measure of each act according to his desire (kám,) recognition of the life-giving powers or what is sacred/auspicious (speñtá) in signs of nature/creation, grasping the auspicious, life-giving teachings, lessons, adapting of the self to the luminous vision from the earliest ages to finished completion, and the passion/heat of Zarathustra in communion with, and prayer to Hallowed Immortals was truly unique.  

The first three words of the Gathas are ahyá yásá nəmaŋhá. 

The first word ahyá (Vedic asyá) refers to the very “self/essence”of Ahûrá Mazdá, and is compared to the last word of the Gathas vahyö “better, more excellently, surpass.” 

The second word yásá means “to worship, to yearn for, hallow.” Yásá refers not only to “pristine worship, adoration” but to “Hallowed Immortals,” the pure, adorable yazatás.  

Nəmaŋhá originally refers to “nodding of the head,” but the meaning is more like wondrous presence of Godhood through communion, prayer and homage. Nəmaŋhá has become namáz and niyayesh in Persian. 

The idea of Latin numen, and numinous beauty are almost the same. Greek nљmoj [n] Latin nemus [n] “holy forest” are other cognate examples. 

The “spirit of homage, prayer” in the ancient commentary refers to the gesture of “raising hands upwards” during prayer or us.tána zastö in the Avestan original  

The innate mind-will power, magical craft of the Creator (xratü) is a cognate of Greek kratЪj [adj] “skillful, magically powerful.” Old Norse horskr [adj] “clever, fast, courageous” could also be related. 

Spəṇtahyá/Spəṇtá is a term of the greatest significance in the Gathas and Zoroastrianism. This is the word represented by Old Slavonic svętŭ (Russian svjatój), Lithuianian šventas. Avestan Spǝntá which is translated by “sanctus” has a fundamental importance in the religious vocabulary of the Avesta. With another adjective amǝrǝta (amǝša) “immortal,” it constitutes the title amǝša-spǝnta, the “Auspicious Immortals” of the supreme god Ahûrá Mazdá.  The primary sense, meaning of spǝnta is “to swell in life giving powers, to grow in strength and prosperity.” The notion of “the sacred” is invested with a power of auspiciousness, and effectiveness which has the property of increasing, augmenting. The translation and the commentary of the Avesta in middle Iranian translates spǝntá by afzönīk “increasing, prosperous,” rune fehu entertains the same concept in Old Norse poetry. 

The ancient commentary of Váršt.mánsar translates rafəδrahyá from the root raf/rap as garmuki literally “warmth, passion heat.” The word refers to  passion of Zarathustra in praying to Hallowed Immortals and joyously accept the beauteous presence of Godhood.  The word according to most linguist scholars is uniquely Indo Iranian, but Tocharian rapurne “passion, strong emotions” seem to convey the very same idea.

ardeshir

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yeŋhæ-hátám, Hallow the Immortals


According to the varšt-mánsar ancient commentary, yeŋhæ-hátám is about the words of Ahûrá Mazdá to Zarathustra of the Spitaman (white) Clan: ‘ Utter the hallowed words of prayer for us who are the Brilliant, Auspicious Immortals, since you have hallowed the waters, and plants, since you have hallowed the excellent, virtuous, prototypes, and what has been established/created in the realm of the “spirit/ideas/mind” as well as the physical creation. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra: I will utter the words of Ahûrá Mazdá that are against harm, and suffering, the good judgment/law of the Ahûrás, words that hallow, and are prayer to the Brilliant, Auspicious Immortals, (In the original hátám “those who are,” refers to the “Brilliant, Auspicious Immortals” of the supreme god Ahûrá Mazdá.) 

The word “hallow” is “yaz” in the original Avetsan, a cognate of Greek házomai, hágios “purify, honor as holy.” The idea of worship in Zoroastrianism is “invocation of the pristine Godhood, and restoration of the worshipper to pristine vigor and health.” 

  

ardeshir 

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Praise of Ingenuity, the truth of Immortals, second holiest mantra


According to the varšt-mánsar ancient commentary, aṣ̌em-vohü, the second holiest mantra of Zoroastrianism is about counsel to praise and worship aṣ̌á, “excellence, right order, truth.” 

(Avestan aṣ̌á or arthá is the “ingenuity, artistic skill,” to arrange into the “right order,” and establish the “effective rites and formulas.” aṣ̌á or arthá comes from reconstructed Proto-Indo-European *h₂er– “to fit precisely, put into right order, and proper sequence.” The ancient commentaries translate the term as ahrái: “godly virtues-powers, luminosity, authentic, and true nature of the Immortals.” In Zoroastrian vernacular ašöi refers to “excellence, goodness.” Aṣ̌em-vohü, mantra is also a wordplay on what is “superb, good, and the best,” vohü, vahištem, vahištái.) 

Accordingly, the quality of “excelling” is the true awe of Ahûrá Mazdá, 

The creation of the best existences, 

(existences here refer to astî, “what is,” in the original poetry,) 

The best state of wishes or prayers, 

(wishes refer to uštá “fulfillment of wishes” in the Avestan original, uštá comes from the root vas, “wish, desire,”) 

The great fellowship of “excellence, truth,”

Procreation of good offspring, and good family lineage, 

(offspring, lineage here refers to napát in the Avestan original. Old Norse nefi, Old English nefa, Old Persian napá, Modern Persian navæ are cognates,)  

Good passage into the realm of minö, “spirit, mind, ideas,” 

Evermore Joyfulness, 

(Again, “delight, great joy in what one desires” alludes to uštá in the Avestan original,)

Ease, comfort, and radiance of the soul, 

(Word play is common in Avestan poetry. Here uštá “fulfillment of wishes” is compared to radiance of dawn ušá, Indo European áusōs.)

Also, aṣ̌á “ingenuity, truth of Immortals” is the qualifying virtue of a ratü whose “task” is to be a wise counsel, 

(“task,” varez in Avestan, Old Norse verk, Old English weorc, English work are cognates.)   

aṣ̌em-vohü is the adoration and prayer to the ménos, “spirit, mind power” of “excellence, truth, and superb order.”

ardeshir 

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Ancient Váršt-mánsar commentary on the holiest formula of Zoroastrianism


Váršt-mánsar literally “most efficient mantras, mind formulas,” is the title of one of the 3 most ancient commentaries of the Poetic Gathas.  In the following series of articles, I will discuss the Váršt-mánsar commentary of each gathic, sacred song beginning with yathá-ahü-vairyö, the holiest formula of Zoroastrianism, the “will to become godlike.” 

According to this ancient commentary, yathá-ahü-vairyö teaches that whoever upholds the “godhood” of an ahü and “wisdom, counsel” of a ratü becomes worthy of the exquisite blessings of the physical worlds, and delights of the realms of the spirit/mind. 

Those deserve the “lordly mastery” of an ahü/ratü who in their very nature have “ingenuity, skill, vigor, and spirit.” Whom their inner selves correspond to the “godliness” of an ahü, and the “exceptional knowledge/right formulations” of a ratü, those who themselves uphold Godhood as a Model to imitate. 

(The ancient Avestan commentaries translate ahü as khodái “godhood.”Avestan ahü comes from the same root as the standard word for the old pagan deities in Norse literature áss, plural æsir. Ahü corresponds to Old English ōs “god, lordship,” and to the title ans(us) with which the Goths exalted their victorious Godkings. The rune *ansuz “titan, first gods” has the same meaning and connotation. Other cognates include Avestan ahûrá, aηhu, and Middle Iranian/Pahlavi öhr, Greek ἤϊος (êïos) “godly, lordly” (epithet of Phoebus,) Armenian այս (ays) “spirit,” Vedic असुर (ásura-) “titan, original gods,” and Hittite hassus “king.” See Didier Calin, Dictionary of Indo European poetic and religious themes.)

Love Me Zarathustra, (referring to vairyö “strongly desire, will” in the Avestan original,) as your supreme ahü “god,” and the “wellspring of sage advice” ratü, for you have the superb virtues of an ahü, “god,” and the “good judgment, right formulas,” of a ratü. Thus mortals shall uphold you as a Model.  

(In the Zoroastrian sacred lore, Ahûrá Mazdá is the highest ratü Model/Prototype of the celestial gods, and Zarathustra is the highest ratü Model/Prototype of the mortal men, See Vispered 2.4 as one such example. 

The term ratü is derived from Porto Indo European ∗h2er “to fit, discover the right formulation, proportions.” The ancient Avestan commentaries translate ratü as dastür “wise counsel.” Dastür is also the spiritual title for high-ranking Zoroastrian theologians, and expert jurists who are models/sources of emulation, and to whom Zoroastrian laity turn for authoritative advice and counsel. Dastürs provide religious interpretations on matters of law and rituals. Both in Ancient Avestan poetry, and Old English rune poems there is a clear connection between godhood and ōs “mouth, magic of speech, power to interpret, discover the right formulas.” We read in an Old English rune poem: Os byþ ordfruma ælere spræce//wisdomes wraþu ond witena frofur// eorla gehwam eadnys ond tohiht. The mouth is the source of all language// a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men// a blessing and a joy to every knight. Courtesy of Didier Calin.

To this day in Persian literature, the term dastür is used in the sense of “instruction, prescription, model, master copy, right formula, rule, order of the day.” Interestingly, the term dastür was borrowed into Arabic as “constitution, pillar, rule, regulation.”)

As diabolic forces, and those who sow chaos face off with you in battle, you shall prevail, since you are a “wise counsel, well versed in right formulas.” For Not Upholding a ratü,” and Not grasping a “brilliant essence” is the law of demons. 

Ahûrá Mazdá upheld the Auspicious Immortals as Gods, and Prototypes/Models, (referring to the dominion of the ahûrás in the Avestan original.) 

For the Godhood of Ahûrá Mazdá is one and the same with his dátári, “creativity, use of imagination and brilliant ideas.” 

(This refers to dazdá man.aηhö “establish, create through mind power” in the Avestan original. *dheh1 is an ancient Indo-European verb for divine creation which means “to set in place, lay down, or establish.” The phrase dazdá man.aηhö is also a masterful wordplay on the name of the Supreme God, Mazdá from the ancient Indo European root *mens–dheh “power of mind, imagination, ideas, to create and establish.” In the Avestan lore, The Auspicious Immortals of Mazdá are called vohü.nám dátárö, Giver of all good things.)

This too, that through “creative ingenuity/excellence,” a ratü fulfills desire, is lordly, and has god powers, is a creator, and is a restorer, and cleanser of the dispossessed (drigü.) 

Also, all who have embraced the wisdom/vision of Zarathustra belong to the supreme heaven, the house of music/songs, (garöthman.) 

ardeshir

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Nauvrooz and Spring Equinox of 2020


We read in the the 27th chapter of Bün-dahishn, literally “the basis of Creation/Establishing of the Worlds,” that for each day of the month there is a flower that is appropriate for Ahûrá Mazda, and one of his Auspicious Immortals.  The list names the white jasmine as the flower for Vohü Manö, “Good Mind, Prosperous thinking,” and Jasmine flower as Öhrmazd‘s very own designated flower. The list continues for each of the  Immortals. This beautiful rite of worship reminds us that we shall invoke the powers of growth, renewal, life, and spring into our lives everyday. The most beautiful and holiest of Zoroastrian sacred holidays is the Spring Equinox. Nauv Rouz, “New Light or New Day” refers to first dawn after Vernal Equinox that signifies the triumph of life giving powers, victory of the spirit of the sun, and the boundless lights manifested in verdure and growth. For Zoroastrians the celebration of spring equinox signals the victorious coming of an eternal age of Immortals, an age of boundless growth and life giving powers, an everlasting spring without end, that will make the creation and the worlds splendid and newly fresh forever, “ frashö-kart.” But among the first rites to prepare for Nauvrooz is a thorough House Cleaning and a Personal Pätat or “going back or return” to Ahûrá Mazda and his Immortals. Our souls, homes, and lives must first be purified and cleaned before the life giving powers of life and the Gods can prosper and bless us. This Spring Equinox of 2020, the world entire is going through an unprecedented tribulation, the likes of which the history has not seen before. May this trying times be an opportunity to purify and cleanse our lives and the world, may healing come with triumph, victory and purity for all the good across the seven climes of this good earth. Ardeshir

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