Sky made of Precious Stones, and the Heavenly abode of Immortals in the Zoroastrian Sacred Lore


We read in the Zoroastrian sacred lore that every mortal’s duty is to know these five things; One is this: “What am I, a man or a demon? Where have I come from, from Heaven or from the abyss? What do I stand by, by the virtues of the Gods or by the vices of the demons? Whom do I follow, the Good or the wicked? Where shall I go back, to HEAVEN or to hell?” 

To Fiery Heaven or the Stony Skies (Ásmán) is dedicated the 27th day of the Zoroastrian month. The substance of the heavens is described as made of “precious stone” asénö, also almást “solid diamond,”(See Pahlavi  Yasna 30.5, Dēnkard, p. 829.15; Dādistān ī dēnīg, question 90.)

We also find in ancient Greek poetry reference to Akmon, as the father of Ouranos, (the personified Heaven/Sky.) If Greek κμων was an old word for HEAVEN, like Ásmán in the Avestan speech, it might have been that Akmon and Ouranos (as personifications of “Heaven/Sky”) were harmonized by making Akmon the father of the Ouranos, with both  terms either preceding or substituting for *Dyēus (Sky/Day.) 

It appears that the notion of “stony sky made of precious stones, and a solid, shinning firmament” was part of the Indo-European world view. Many scholars have concluded that reconstructed Indo-European *h2emōn meant both “stone” and “heaven/sky.” The source of the idea may have been the observation of fiery meteorites falling from the sky.

All cognate words for Avestan Ásmán in other languages mean either “heavenly stone or  Sky:” Vedic ásman, Lithuanian akmuõ are such examples. The Vedic ásman– “thunderbolt” is used among others of Indra’s weapon, and in Lithuania the Baltic God of Thunder Perkūnas’ thunderstone is called Perkūnas’ akmuõ. In the Zoroastrian sacred Lore Ásmán is also a mighty weapon of the Gods/Titans against diabolic forces.   

In view of some scholars, Germanic *hemena– (from which come Gothic himins, Old English heofon, HEAVEN, German HIMMEL) derives from the same ancient root. 

Zoroastrian sacred literature relates that Öhrmazd (Middle Iranian for the supreme God/Titan of ancient Zoroastrianism, Ahûrá Mazdá) formed his creatures out of “endless light” and kept them in his own body for 3,000 years, where they developed and were excelled by him. Finally he manifested each creature, in its proper right order, in the external universe. Accordingly the supreme God/Titan brought forth the HEAVENS from his HEAD.  

In the Avestan cosmographical account found in the hymn to the God/Titan of “Righteous REIGN,” RAŠN Yašt, the LEVELS páyag (literally footsteps,) of HEAVENS are as follows: the star station (stárö,) the moon station (mávn,) the sun station (hvaré,) then comes “the realm of the boundless lights” (anaγra.raôcā.) The realm of Boundless lights are the beginning point of “the most wondrous mental existence” or PARADISE, (vahištem manö, also vahištem ahüm);  the step above is the Highest Heaven or the House of Music/Songs of the Gods, (garö nmánæ.)

According to the accounts of Bün.dahišn (Basis, Foundations of Creation,) From the point of fixed stars in the star station, Heavens are impervious to the attacks of the “beaten, evil spirit” ahriman, and his host of diabolic demons. 

We read in the Poetic Gathas of seer/prophet Zarathustra: “Excellence chose the most brilliant, auspicious mind power, and the hardest, most precious stones/heavens, as his garb/vesture, ašem mainyüš spéništö//ýé ɦraoždištéñg asénö vastæ. 

Concerning the above verse in the Poetic Gathas (Yasná 30.5, 2nd rhymed verse line,) we read in the Varšt.mánsar commentary: that Ásmán the SKY is my garb/ancient vesture, which was established as the stone above all stones that is, every precious jewel is set in it; good thoughts, good words, and good deeds are my fuel, and I love those who are there in Brilliant Heaven through good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.

ardeshir

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