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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The great Zoroastrian Winter Festival of Sadæ


Sadæ is the great Zoroastrian-Iranian winter festival that heralds the coming of spring, and the gradual warming of the waters, the earth and plants. Sadæ is celebrated forty days after winter solstice, on or about January 30th. 

The festival of Sadæ is celebrated by making huge bonfires near running water or a sacred spring, and by drinking red wine with noghl or sugar coated almonds. Noghl is made by boiling sugar in rose water, and coating roasted almonds in the mixture. 

The festival of Sadæ has been forgotten among the Parsi Zoroastrians of India, but Iranian Zoroastrians are still celebrating Sadæ as a major part of their religious observances. 

It is believed in folklore that on the night of Sadæ the winter comes out from hell (Biruni, Āṯār, tr. Sachau, p. 226; Qazvini, p. 80) and, according to Biruni, in the City Karaj this night is called šab-e gazina (the biting night).

The etymology of the word sadæ is generally derived from the numeral sat (one hundred). Interestingly, the Indo European languages are divided into “satem” languages, from the Avestan word satəm “hundred,” and “centum” or westerly languages after Latin word for hundred or centum. 

The memory of the 150-days or 5 months of winter divided by sadæ in two unequal parts of  100 days celebrated on sadæ, and 50 days from Sadæ Spring Equinox can still be found in popular sayings, such as “ṣad bae Sadæ, panjāh be Nauvrooz (One hundred days that is Sadæ, from here 50 more days left to Nauvrooz or Spring Equinox.) 

Since Sadæ is considered to be the coldest night of the year, and on Sadæ night the frost and freezing cold suppose to come out from hell, it is possible that sadæ is etymologically related to Avestan çared “cold.” Sadæ night is also called  šab-e gazina (the biting/frost night.) 

The great scholar Mary Boyce mentions a major fire festival still observed by Iranian Zoroastrians which falls hundred days before Nauvrooz or Spring Equinox. This festival is named Sadæ in Kermán and Hīrômbáii in Yazd. Mary Boyce (1968, pp. 201-12; Idem, 1983, pp. 800-1) concludes that  Sadæ festival honors of the Zoroastrian yazata/god being of Rapiṯwin, the lord of Summer and Mid-day, who rules over the warm part of the year (that is, the seven summer months) and then descends under the ground in order to reappear on the first day after Spring Equinox. The ceremonies of Rapiṯwin farewell and welcome are observed by the Zoroastrians. Rapiṯwin is believed to make the plants grow and the fruit ripen, and, while underground, Rapiṯwin heats the roots and the underground waters from beneath, thus protecting the plants from cold. Accordingly, the bonfires festival of Sadæ help Rapiṯwin “the Lord of Mid-Day” to heat the earth and plant roots during the most severe cold bites and freezes. That is why Zoroastrians light their Sadæ bonfires near running water, sacred spring or over an underground canal (qanāt). 

This practice is confirmed by a description of fire reflected in water as part of the literary pattern, as can be seen in the poems by Manṣuri-Samarqandi (Jašn-e Sada, pp. 58-59),. The ancient Sadæ festival poems provide an exquisite description of fire, which  frequently compares the energy of fires to a plant, a flower, a fruit tree, a stack of corn, or a garden blossoming in a winter landscape. This imagery seems to go back to even older mythological concepts connecting the plant life with fire energy, (See the Poetic Gathas Yasna 48.6 and Yasna 49.8 for example.)  

Point is that the folkloric motif of Winter-and-Spring combat, and of the return of an energetic god power is predominant in Sadæ bonfire rituals. Simone Cristoforetti (1995) also stresses the dragon-killing motif of the Sadæ mythology and its broadly understood “ambrosian” aspects as conceived by G.Dumézil in his early works (1926, 1929).

ardeshir

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The dual nature of “wolves, fairies, and mortal men in the Zoroastrian sacred lore, and tradition


The traditional accounts of Zarathustra’s life are contained in the 7th book of holy Denkart (Denkart literary means “explanatory works on the revealed wisdom/vision.” Denkart is the largest, and most ancient commentary work on the Avestan sacred lore. While Avestá is the poetic, revealed wisdom/vision of the Titans, Denkart is the cornerstone in understanding the Avestá, and traditional Zoroastrianism.) 

The 7th book of holy Denkart provides several accounts of noble animals protecting the seer/prophet Zarathustra during his infancy. We read specifically in Denkart 7.3.8ff  that a noble she-wolf vǝhrkąm took the young Zarathustra along with her own cubs, and protected him from all harms. 

This most ancient account of Zarathustra’s legendary infancy clearly hints at a dual nature for wolf vǝhrká in the Zoroastrian sacred literature. Wolf is not just a symbol of thievery, thieves taiiüm…vǝhrkǝm or vicious, two-footed mortals, but wulf also has a noble warrior nature, and embodies bravery and honor. 

In Shah-námæ (The Great Persian Epic Poetry rooted in the Avestá, and Zoroastrian Mythology,) GURG.IN (Modern Persian for Wulflike,) is the name of one of the heroes during the reigns of Kay Kāvus and Kay Ḵosrow. GURG.IN is the head of the warrior Milād clan, and is also one of the eleven, fierce warrior-heroes in the story of the Davāzdah roḵ (twelve citadels, towers,) where he kills his Turanian adversary. 

The ancient, enchanted forests of northeastern Iran are also named after wolves and the area is known as land of the wolves, called Gurgān/Gorgán .

The statement of Greater Bün.dahišn (Basis of or Primal Creation book) in chapter 23.1 that wolf is a creation of the evil spirit, seem to be a later accretion, and not part of the original material. Wulf simply does not meet the definition of ḵrafastar or “reptilian monsters.” 

We come across the same dual nature reserved for fairies in the Zoroastrian sacred lore or the Avestá. Fairies pairikás often appear at the end of the formula daæva.nąm mašiiá.nąm.ča yáθvąm pairikan.ąm.ča that is “diabolic deities, mortal men, sorcerers, sorceresses, and fairies.”

According to Vendī.dád or the “Anti-demonic Law,” Fairies, pairikás must be fought, for they are the opponents of Fire, Water, Earth, Ox, and Plant.  It is also said that fairies pairikás fled when Zarathustra uttered the most sacred and powerful ahüna vairya formula. The latter account reminds one of the jinns’ response upon hearing bismillāh in the later Islamic lore (Donaldson, 1930, p. 186.)

Yet, despite this mostly negative background the term fairy parîg, appears as a benign, proper noun in Yašt 11.6 of the Avestá. 

Also, in the Pahlavi Vendī.dád (viii.31, 35; xiii.48) and Nērangestān (pp. 39v.15; 178r.8), Fairy, parî is the name of a venerable, female commentator of the Avesta. Such a name is a rare evidence for the existence of female commentators among Zoroastrian theologians.

To this day compound names of fairy parî, are very popular among Female Zoroastrians in names such as Parîzád, born from a fairy, parîvaš like a fairy, parîčehr, have the appearance of a fairy, and many other compound names containing parî. 

Other benevolent appearance of fairy occurs in the Pāzand Ayādgār ī Jāmāspīg (Messina, 1939, p. 40), where a noble woman from the legendary line of Hôšang is compared to a Fairy, parî (čūn parî.). 

In the Great Epics of Shah-námæ (rooted in the Zoroastrian Mythology and the Avestá) fairies, parî are always charming and pleasant figures. Fairies appear in several stories such as the “Reign of Jamšîd,” “Zál and Rūdāba,” and the story of “Bîjan and Manîjæ.”

In the Zoroastrian folklore, fairies parîs are referred to as az mā behtarān “they who are better than us” which reminds one of “the good people” of European fairydom.

The often repeated Old Avestan formula of daæváiš.čá

 mašiiáiš.čá that groups “mortal men” right after the “diabolic deities” points to a dual nature for mortal men as well. While men suppose to be the allies of the Titans ahûrás, and join in their struggle to manifest an age of eternal spring and splendid, pristine creation, the race of men have often been the instrument of the diabolic forces throughout their history on this good earth.   

I shall conclude by the following beautiful verse from The Persian Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám who was himself a big fan of the ancient Zoroastrian religion of his forefathers: 

I sent my Soul through the Invisible,

Some letter of that After-life to spell

And by and by my Soul return’d to me,

And answer’d, “I Myself am Heaven and Hell.

This verse appears at the beginning and end of a film/novel unlike any other, one in which beauty, wit and horror are intermingled in a unique cautionary tale, the movie and masterpiece DORIAN GREY.

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Hearth Fire in Zoroastrianism


The 9th month of the Zoroastrian sacred calendar, that is the last month of fall/autumn is dedicated to “hearth fire, and altar,” áθar/áthar. The great festival of fire ADAR.GAAN literally “singing hymns of praise to áthar/fire,falls on November 24th of the seasonal Zoroastrian calendar. 

Veneration of the “hearth fire, and altar” goes back to early Indo-European/Aryan times. Yet, the veneration of fire seem to be much more prominent, and play a more central role in Zoroastrianism than any other Indo-European faith. 

The chief duty of áθar.ván/átharván priests is/was to keep the flame of the clan, and the spark of the Titans alive and thriving. Remains of “fire altars,” or elevated fire-holders of the Zoroastrian type, are known from Pasargád from the time of Cyrus the Great; and it is very likely that one of these altars was the Achaemenid dynastic, hearth fire, (Achaemenids were the First Ancient Persian Imperial House.) 

The Letter of Chief Priest Tansar (ed. M. Mīnovī, Tehran, 1936, p. 22, tr. M. Boyce, Rome, 1968, p. 47) establishes that the Parthian dynasty, (The ancient Persian Imperial dynasty following the Achaemenids) allowed their vassal kings to found dynastic fires; and that the Arsacids’ own dynastic fire was most likely the one mentioned by Isidore of Charax (Parthian Stations 11) as burning at Asaak in northeastern Iran. A general term attested for a fire temple in the Parthian language was átaröšan (preserved in Armenian as atrušan.)

The Yasná Haptaŋ.háiti liturgy, (Literally “Seven Chapters of prayers/yearnings, and joyous blessings”) is a most ancient Zoroastrian celebration of all the good, material creation which consists of priestly offerings to fire and waters. 

Strabo (Geography 15.3.15) writes of “temples of the magi” in Cappadocia in his day (around the beginning of the Christian era). Some were “temples of the “Airyan Gods” and “pyratheia,” i.e., fire temples, “noteworthy enclosures; in the midst of these there is an altar, on which there is a large quantity of ashes and where the magi keep the fire ever burning. And there, entering daily, they make incantations to the Gods for about an hour, holding before the fire, their twig bundles (barsôm.)

Avestan áθar/áθarš is a cognate of Old Irish áith “fireplace,” Welsh odyn “oven,”  Umbrian atru “open fire,” English atrium (from Latin,) and Persian átaš “fire.” 

In the Zoroastrian sacred lore Avestá, fire is a yazatá-, that is, “an adorable god” as well as a visible means for worshipping Godhood. Fire’s twin function in the Zoroastrian worship is mentioned at the beginning of the Vispa.ratü “all the right formulas, rites” as follows:

átrəm.ca ia ahûrahæ mazdā̊ puθrəm yaza.maidæ 

átarš.ciθrə̄s.ca yazatə̄ yazamaidæ

Fire, the prodigy, son of Ahurá Mazdá, we adore, 

Fire, the visible yazatá/adorable god, we adore.

In one Avestan hymn, fire is invoked as “the magnificent, great god” (mazištayazata-):

nəma.sə tē ātarš mazdā̊ ahurahe hu.ā̊ mazišta yazata.

Homage/Bow to you fire of Ahura Mazdā, the discerning, magnificent god.

Hearth Fire shares this title of “being great, magnificent” only with Miθra (Yt10.142 mazišta yazata, “magnificent, great god”) and Ahûrá Mazdá (Yt10.76 yō mazištö yazata.nąm, “the greatest, most magnificent of all the Gods.”) 

In the poetic gathas/songs of the seer, prophet Zarathustra, fire is the visible sign of ašá/arθá, “excellence, right order, higher truth.”In the Gathas/Poetic Songs, fire illuminates, clarifies, and is in ceaseless fight against all that is opposed to ašá/arθá, “excellence, truth.” This warrior nature of the fire, and its ceaseless fight against all that is opposed to “higher order/truth” is symbolized by the enthronement and consecration of the “Victorious Fire” or Átarš Vahrám the highest grade of earthly fires in the Zoroastrian ritual. The priests escorting the Victorious Fire carry swords and maces; and after the ceremony some of the weapons are hung on the sanctuary walls of the fire temple to symbolize the victorious battle of light against darkness. 

The other Zoroastrian god of Fire, nairiiö.saŋha literally means “Manly, Brave, Teachings.” Avestan nairiiö.saŋha is the messenger of the Titans/Gods, and corresponds with Prometheus (The god of forethought in Greek mythology,) as well as with the Vedic samsa narya, See (RV 1.185.9a.) 

The Gathas/Poetic Songs of Zarathustra also talk of “judicial ordeal with fire” (Yasna 47,) and the “fiery flood of molten metal” which will cleanse the worlds at frašö.kereitî “the splendid, fresh new creation of the worlds,” (See Yasna 51.9.) Zoroastrian Frašö.kereitî, the Splendid, fresh, new Creation” is the more ancient version of Ragnarök in Norse mythology.

In the Zoroastrian sacred lore, (See Avestá, Yasna 17,) Five fires are invoked.  First is the fire called bərəzi.sava “fire of ascending weal, good fortune,” (Avestan bərəzi is a cognate with German Berg.) Second is the fire of vohü friyána the fire of passion, love that burns in the bodies of men and animals. Vohü friyána means literally “good friendship, love.” Third is the ûrvāzišta “the most joyful,” fire that is in “trees, plants” ûrvar (Compare with arbor;) fourth is the lightening fire that is in the clouds called vazišta “forceful, full of vigorous energy,” and lastly spə̄ništa “the most auspicious fire, the holiest, most sacred fire” which burns in the presence of Öhrmazd (middle Persian for Ahûrá Mazdá, the supreme God and source of Godhood himself.) 

The Zoroastrian vazišta “fire of lightening that is in the clouds” corresponds closely with the Old Norse gold fire of the sea and the fire of waters See Old Norse Skáldskaparmál 41. Also we read in Beowulf “it is by night a weird wonder to see fire on the flood fyr on flode …..I shall reward you with winding gold, (See Didie Calin Dictionary of Indo European Poetic and religious Themes page 96.)

ardeshir 

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