Avestan Titans and the Vedic Gods


The Primeval God-powers or Ahûrás/Titans of ancient Zoroastrianism do NOT correspond directly to Vedic deities themselves but are identifiable with the formidable powers/brilliant qualities of the Vedic Gods. In cases, that there is a direct connection to a Vedic deity, the Vedic God at hand is mostly a fading, marginal, almost forgotten god being in the Vedas.

In the poetic Gāθās/Songs of Zarathustra, Mazdá Ahûrá is the supreme ahûrá, the source of Godhood, and the progenitor of of all the Primeval Titanic energies.                                   

Mazdá is Ahûrá par excellence in Zoroastrianism, because he is “the genius power of mind to create, establish, summon into being.”

Mazdá Ahûrá of the Gāθās/Poetic Songs of Zarathustra have become Ahûrá Mazdá of later Zoroastrianism. Vedic Varuna has often been equated with Ahûrá Mazdá but the ancient Várshtmánsar commentary of the Gāθic Songs (in Yasna 32,) strongly contradicts any such comparison between Ahûrá Mazdá and Varuna.

However some of the superb qualities  that make Varuna, “ásura/god- power par excellence” in the Vedas are interchangeable with Mazdá Ahûrá of the Gāθās.

For example in Rig Veda 8.6.10, we read that Varuna is medhām “intelligent, mindful, insightful” as to r̥tá “rhythms, and formulas of the cosmic order, ”r̥tásya jagrábha. The epithet of Varuna here, Medhā “intelligent, mindful, wise,” is a cognate of Mazdá.

In Rig Veda 7.087.04a, Varuna is also called medhira “full of intelligence, mind-power and wisdom.” The epithet medhira corresponds to Gāθic hû-mánzdrá in Yasna 30.1, 3rd rhymed verse line.

There is NO ásura medhā in the Vedas, however the closest term to Avestan Ahûrá Mazdá is the ásurasya māyáyā in RV 5.63.7 namely the “magic of the ásuras, the magical substance, mind stuff of the Gods,” namely the power of mind to create, establish, manifest into reality.

Among the other Primeval Titanic energies in the Gāθās, known as the “Auspicious Immortals” in later Zoroastrianism, are aṣ̌á/arthá (right fit, precise order, excellence,) and vohü manö (good, genius mind, creative thinking.)

Aṣ̌á/Arthá (right fit, precise order, excellence,) is etymologically and semantically related to Vedic ṛtá.  Both aṣ̌á/arthá and ṛtá are intimately linked with brilliance, illumination and fire. But unlike Avestan aṣ̌á/arthá, Vedic ṛtá does NOT appear as a primordial god being or primeval titanic power in the Ṛgveda.                                                                                                                                 

Also, the distinct opposition between aṣ̌a and druj (Truth/Right Order verses deceit, lie; Vedic drúh,) that is of fundamental importance in the Gāθās, is absent from the Vedas. So is the opposition between the followers of right order, excellence (aṣ̌avan) and the followers of duplicity, falsehood (drәgvaṇt,) and the distinct contrast between the primordial gods/titans, ahûrás, and the daævas, which, contrary to their Vedic cognates (deva), appear as anti-gods/diabolic powers in the Avestan Lore.

The Vedic Vasus or Vásavah (the Good, Brilliant Ones, Wealth Givers) that are a class of deities headed by Indra, correspond in very general terms to the Primordial Titanic Energy of vohü manö (good, genius mind, brilliant, creative thinking) in the poetry of the Gāθās.

Indra, however is an arch demon in the Zoroastrian texts starting with the Avestan Vīdēvdād (10.9; 19.43). Interestingly, it is the Avestan “Good, Superb Order” (Aša Vahišta), who is assigned with the task of annihilating Indra. The annihilation of Indra at the hand of “superb order/artistry of the Immortals, asha vahishta” is mentioned in the Gāθic Várshtmánsar commentary of Yasna 48.1.  In the Várshtmánsar commentary of Yasna 32,  Indra is the arch demon that “freezes the minds of the creatures from living in “excellence, right fit, precise order of ashá.”                         

Among the other Primordial Titanic powers or Auspicious Immortals, Ármaiti (perfect focus, serene contemplation/meditation) has a Vedic Cognate, arámati. However, arámati is already a fading goddess in the Vedas.

Old Avestan/Gāθic Ameretát is the Titanic energy of “Immortality, Deathlessness,” and corresponds to Vedic term Vishve Amritás, “All the Immortals.” However, a powerful, personal, primeval Titanic energy embodying “ deathlessness, agelessness, becoming forever vigorous, and Immortal like the Gods” is not present in the Vedas, nor is there a connection between Immortality and sacred trees in the Vedic texts.

The Old Avestan/Gāθic primeval titanic power Haurvatát, “source of every healing, wholeness,” is compatible with minor Vedic deity Sarvátāti, “intactness, perfection.”

The major Gāθic god-force of “harkening, listening to the melody of the Immortals,” Sraôšá, corresponds to the Vedic concept of Shruti, (listening, hearing wisdom of the Gods.) But here again, Avestan Sraôšá has a colorful, personal aspect that is entirely absent in the Vedas.

In the Avesta or the sacred literature of Zoroastrianism, it is Sraôšá that reveals, and communicates the Gāθic manθrás, “powerful poetry/most effective mind formulas” to Zarathustra.

Avestan Miθra and Vedic Mitra both personify “friendship/love” for the Immortals, “our duty toward, and reciprocal contract with the God powers.” Yet, the Avestan Miθra has a much more colorful, formidable, personal, and heroic aspect to him than the Vedic Mitra.

Furthermore, the relation/reciprocity between man and Immortals/titanic energies (personified as Miθra in the Avesta) is much more “personal, immediately present, and mutual” in the Gāθās and the rest of the Avestan lore.                                           

Powerful epithets of Miθra such as “having strong arms and carrying a wondrous club” can not be found in Vedic Mitra. However, same epithets appear as virtues/powers of the The Vedic Indra.                                                           

Gāθic Vәrәthra-Jan (Yasna 44,) the later Avestan Vәrәthragna is the god-force of VICTORY, TRIUMPH, and the SMASHER OF OBSTACLES.  The Great Yazata of “Victory, Triumph,”  is highly revered in Zoroastrianism. Vedic Vṛtrahán (Smasher of Obstacles) is a cognate.

Yet again, we clearly see that the great Zoroastrian god force of “Victory, Triumph” Vәrәthragna, corresponds to a very powerful attribute of Indra rather than to the Vedic Deity himself.

Avestan Vata, “Wind, air, atmosphere,” also called Vaiiu (Vāyu,) has domains and functions in common with the Vedic deity of Wind. Yet, the dual nature of “air, wind, atmosphere” in the Avesta is entirely absent from the Vedas nor does the Vedic deity of “atmosphere, wind” partake in any great eschatological battles between good and evil.           

The Gāθās conclude with the “ideal of noble fellowship,” Airyemá Išyö. The Avestan Airyaman personifies “Nobility, Honor, Restoration to Life.” In the Várshtmánsar commentary of the concluding hymn to the Gāθās, the eschatological importance of Airyaman, “noble fellowship” is highlighted.  While the Vedic Aryaman is a cognate, but again the great eschatological role of the Avestan god-force of “honor, nobility,” is absent in the Vedas. It seems that Avestan Airyaman shares much more in common with the roles and functions of the Old Norse Irmingot  and the Irish Éremón.                                                   

The god beings that share most the cognate functions and roles in both Vedas and the Avesta are “the water-titan” Apąm Napāt, the “messenger of the Immortals,” Avestan Nairiiö-saŋha, Vedic Narāśaṃsa, the god-hero of healing Θrita (Trita), the goddess of dawn Ušah (Usạs.)

To the top of the list shall also be added Ātar and Agni, the god beings of fire, or Arәdvī Sürā Anāhitā “Mighty Lady of Pure Waters,” and Sarasvatī, who both confer rain, fertility, and eloquence.

The hymn to FIRE lies at the heart of the most sacred Yasna ceremony. Yasna consists of 72 sacred hymns, and the hymn to FIRE is right in the middle or at hymn 36. 

Yasna means literally “to yearn, long for,” and are hymns in praise of the fire, the waters, and Haoma “elixir of forever, eternal life,” that are placed around the Old Avestan core of the most powerful Gāθic manθrás. 

Haoma is the “elixir of forever/eternal life.” Vedic Soma, “Drink of the Gods” is a cognate. The status of Haoma in the Gāθās is disputed among scholars. But based on tradition and many scholarly views, it is CLEARLY NOT Haoma that Zarathustra reviles in his sacred poetry but the bloody sacrifices and killing of innocent animals that accompanied the Haoma preparation ceremonies before the dawn of Zoroastrianism.

The original  Haoma plant was most likely Peganum harmala [Flattery & Schwartz, 1989,] but later in ritual practice it was  replaced by ephedra (very similar to Mormon Tea.) During Yasna ceremony a sacred drink is prepared by the priests reciting powerful manθrás in honor of Haoma and other god beings. During the ceremony the ephedra twigs are mixed with pomegranate twigs, holy water, and milk/ cream. 

The early first part of the Yasna ritual and its preparatory service (where the sacred drink is not mixed with milk/cream) consists of pounding the consecrated liquid, and filtering the mixture.  

Compared with Vedic Soma, the Avestan Haoma has no direct relation to the legitimacy of the sovereigns and rulers, and symbolizes “nectar of Immortals, and life drops.” 

In the Avestan sacred lore, it is xvarәnah (fiery glory, divine charisma or good fortune) that gives legitimacy to rulers and sovereigns. However, this fiery glory of xvarәnah must be EARNED or captured, and is not an entitlement. The divine charisma of xvarәnah resides in depth of the oceans, and is cast on earth for the benefit of the living world by the Invincible Sun.

ardeshir 

 

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