söndag 29 juli 2012
How to translate "asha"
Contrary to you, dear Mr Delavega, I have actually bothered to learn Avesta myself. So I don't have to depend on hundreds of "authorities" to make up my own mind as to what I believe, Asha means "that which fits" or "how things work". The concept of "objective truth" did not exist in neither Iranian or Indian philosophy but is a Babylonian concept built into the Abrahamic faiths. Zarathushtra is interested in how we deduct what is true, what is correct, from what we LEARN about the world we live in. Otherwise his RELATIVIST ethics would be impossible. It is consequently wrong and misleading to translate asha as "truth". If asha was truth, Zarathushtra and not the Judaists would have thrown the weight of The Ten Commandments on the world. But then again, yours was always a Judeo-Christian form of Zoroastrianism. The problem is Zarathushtra predates the Abrahamic faiths with at least 700 years. Ushta Alexander 2012/7/29 Park East Security
If you have not heard of scholars translating Asha as truth in the last 20 years then you have not read enough :) If you have not met a scholar in the last 20 years as truth then you have not met enough scholars :)
If you mean to say that, in the past twenty years, scholars with new translations have not translated Asha as truth, you are still wrong, but more in line with what has happened.
Unfortunately since Insler has concentrated in Sanskrit, and his expected revision or new version has not come forth as of yet, one of the best translators has been mute on the point since then. And the only translator worth his salt to have made a major translation, in the past 20 years is Humbach, who supports right for Asha.
However, if you dig around his notes, you will find that he does concede that Asha could have a secondary meaning of truth I am now about to acquire the lattest Gatha translation (By an European ) 'The Hymns of Zoroaster: A New Translation by Professor ML West, and I am told, (the caveat is that I have not yet read the book) he openly advocates for an understanding of Asha that contains all the following meanings What is correct, that is what is right and true, the Universal Law of Creation and Maintenance of Existence immanent in everything that exists.
Christian thinking, in the translation of Asha, has very little to do with translating it as Truth. It is far more present in the frequent translation of Asha as Holyness and or Holy by many early European translators. There is no so much emphasis on a truth as an independent or even immanent part of God in the Bible Yeshua ( The Salvationor Savior of/from Yah or God) presumably states I am (which literally means Yah) the truth the way and the life no ones comes to the father but through me.
That is the main and 1 of the few statements as truth being a part of God in the Bible . The God is the Bible is first holy, then supposedly righteous and love. The God of the the Gathas Is a Supremely Wise Creator and Good Lord of Existence. .Asha is Her/His "son' ('Pta' means father in the original) so is Vohumanah Good Loving Thinking ( The Vo I believe with Taraporewalla, comes from a Sanskrit root meaning desire love, an Aarmaity Her/His daughter. This can more clearly be seen by Anglophone in the feminine of vo which is van and is a cognate of want)
But the Bible never affirms that Truth is an imamnent part or Aspect of God, nor that there is an opposite deception/illusion chaos that opposes Truth/Right/Order. It merely says that Yah is truth and that the Salvation of Yah (that is Jesus, the Anointed) is the only way to the "Father". The Bible sees the world as 'fallen' the Gathas see the world as Joy Bringing. Early Xian influenced or Xian practicing scholars tended to more direct and crass errors thatn this, like Holy for Spenta and missing the connection between mainyu and mind.
However some of them like, Maria Wilkins Smith, saw this connections Insler saw the conection to truth as well, The Greeks which were the most directly influenced my Medan-Achamenian era Zoroastrianism almost universally refered to Asha as truth. If it were a wrong definition of Asha, something that is not quite certain by far, then the blame would go to the Greeks not to Xian scholars.
Then, it is important to know that Gathic has other words that mean right. Arta, for example, is a direct cognate of both English right and Sanskrit Rta. So if Zarathushtra wanted to say right, and only right or even right law, why on earth will he not use the word that is most closly related to right in Gathic, which is Arta instead of its derivative, Asha?
Furthermore, when the Achaemenians found themselves with an Empire that extended from Ethiopia to China, they need a 'lingua franca', and they chose Aramean as such a language ,because as in English today, it was the most common language of international commerce. Well the word for truth, certainly, verily is amen. it cannot be denied that amen did not enter the Bible untill after the Persian period. Now if an Aramean speaker (and jews at that time were Aramean speakers) were to hear at least 5 times a day (the 5 Gahs) many re[petitions of Ashem Vohu, would it not then Amen which, at least according to the Greeks, meant almost the same as Ashem, become a prayer word for them?
Finally, any Parthian-Sassanian era scholar worth his salt would know two things Pahlavi used a great deal of Aramean words and it used Amen ( called it mostly amin) and it used it as truth.
So no I don't think we live in different worlds Alex I think that you are ignoring the linguistics because you think they might disagree with your ideas. THat is your choice, ,but if you cared to pay attention to them you will find many cases in which they could (interpretatively speaking) agree with you.
What we disagree on is methodology , that leads us to different conclusions. However, neither you nor I can claim to posses the objective Truth; since that can only be known in the other side of the Chinvat. Or as the quasi Zarathushtrian ( in his better more spiritual moments) Paul said : ":...But when the Complete comes (disregard translations that say the Perfect, the Greek word means Complete) then, we will see as we are seen we will kno as we are known ..." The Complete, by the way, is a literal translation of Haurvatat.