Zám.yaad, the Avestan hymn to country or homeland

Zám.yaad refers to the Avestan hymn to country or homeland. (Compare with Russian Zemlya “earth, land, soil.) It is the 19th hymn in the Avestan Yasht Collection. And the 28th day of each month in the Zoroastrian calendar is dedicated to Zám; country or homeland. Zám.yaad shows astounding similarity to Norse, Germanic and also Celtic mythology; many themes presented in the Wagner, Der Rings des Niebelungen and Tolkien, Lord of the Rings can also be found in this ancient Avestan hymn.

Zám.yaad is also the original source of shahnámé, the epic national poetry of the iranian people and represents a compendium version of it. The hymn is a tale of god-men, an account of seer-poets/kavis and ancient aryan divine seers. It is noteworthy to add that shahnámé was originally derived from literary middle iranian sources called Khoodáy.námé; or the tale of god men; a more accurate description of the original Avestan account.

Zám.yaad  is divided into 2 sections. The first section deals with lofty mountains. All these sacred mountains are situated in the towering pamir mountains of central asia, afghanistan high hindu kush range, and eastern ranges of the lofty alborz in Iran. The number of all the sacred mountains is said to be 2244. ( look at verse 7 of the hymn to homeland.)

I should add that mountains are the meeting place of heaven and earth and symbolize ascent, ambition and challenge. The mountain could be seen as a point of departure from mundane existence; mountain climbing as an ascent toward higher knowledge/loftier existence. It is said that the presence of GD is more manifested in the lofty mountains. Hence, the connection of immortals, heroes, god men and seer/prophets with the mountains.

The second part of the hymn is dedicated to khvarenö, “brightness, light, lucky star, charm, fortune, glory.” Compare khvarenö with Proto Indo European saewel “to shine, the sun;” swegl “sky, heavens, the sun.” This glory, fortune or lucky brilliance is said to be a-garetæ “beyond power to grab, grasp, seize or reach.”

Several mythic heroes struggle for possession of khvarenö, to overcome their limitations, and this quest drives much of the action in the hymn. khvarenö is the power to brilliantly make or transform a world. Ahúrá mazdá manifested it at the time of creating all that is good, bright, shining, and brilliant. This brilliance or good fortune attached itself to the great seer-heroes of antiquity, and is essential for causing the formation of a much more advanced physical form, at the end of the this world and the dawn of a new, more brilliant universe. About this new, amazing world, a much better tangible body and fresh, brilliant universe, which is a genuine Zoroastrian doctrine, we find in this Yasht very interesting passages, which are almost identical (Yt. xix. ii, 12 and 89, 90) and serve as  a beautiful elucidation on Yasna 30.9 and Yasna 34.15.

The brilliance of khvarenö attaches itself to the hero (who is to rise ‘out of a number) of visionaries, wise seer/prophets (called Saöshyánts) and to ‘his/her companions, in order to make life better, more progressive, undecaying, forever fresh, vigorous, full of power and creative energy. The brilliance of khvarenö comes to those who become co-creators of a brilliant new world, just like ahúrá mazdá.

The hymn also deals with the hubris and arrogance of Yima, the first god-king. (Compare Avestan Yima with Norse Ymir and Sanskrit Yama.) The downfall of Yima and departure of light/brightness from him not only is a great key in understanding Yasna 32.8, but also teaches a great lesson: In life we all have different khvarenö or fortunes; what we have to decide is what to do with the light, talents and fortune that is given to us and make the world a better, happier and brighter place.


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