måndag 14 december 2009

Zoroastrianism and the Greeks

Dear Friends

Regarding the ancient Greek philosophers, we should keep in mind that they were extremely divided.
Plato for example was a strict dualist whose philosophy really has nothing in common with Mazdayasna. Plato rather was an Egyptian thinker whose influence on Christianity and Islam was enormous.
But the Stoics and especially Heraclitus were the forebearers of process philosophy and definitely deeply inspired by Iranian philosophy. This also explains why Stoicism was enormously popular and the dominant philosophy in the Hellenistic empire. It also explains why Mithraism spread so easily and had such success later in the Roman Empire. Mithraism was ethically speaking a Zoroastrian religion with its focus on ethics rather than moralism, and a monistic worldview.
The irony of course being that although Alexander the Great conqeuered everything east of Greece all the way to the Indus Valley (including Persia) his Hellenistic Empire was then dominated by Persian culture and philosophy.
It should rather have been called the Hellenistic-Persian Empire instead...


2009/12/14 ardeshir farhmand

Dear Fariborz,

as i said in the beginning, there is nothing personal here. i provided an in-depth study of the gathic poems, with comparative study of both the literature and etymology. my objection was over certain passages, that could have not been possibly justified by the actual text.

now concerning varsht-manthar being a greek product per ur allegation, i have to strongly object and emphasize that the brightest of the greek philos were proud to call themselves disciples of zarathushtra, and while their philos share a number of crucial points with zoroastrian philosohy, their views had hardly much in common with the native greek religion. so it is more the other way around.

anyway, i fully inderstand that we have different views on the true meaning of the gathas, but whatever i said about the subject, i fully backed it up by a number of sources and allowed the reader to draw his/her own conclusions without my own specualtions.

being an iranian zoroastrian myself, and quiet familiar with the culture, i have a feeling how u view my rebuttal. To me the Gathas are just ADORABLE, hence i feel very strongly about the subject.

furthermore, "nar" and "nair-ik" mean valiant originally, and applies to both sexes. in fact, nairi-ka used to be a female name among zarthushtis of not a too long past. the is still used among the armenians.

my best wishes for ur success and radiant happiness


PS. "yan," is the same as "yanim manoe, yanim vachoe.... formula" in the beginning of the gatha intro. and does mean gain, profit, blessing. i have provided some etymology on the word and it has been translated as such by even Dr. Jaffary.

On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 9:03 PM, Fariborz Rahnamoon wrote:

Dear Ardeshir

The Persians (Achemanians) were the only ones that understood the Gathas correctly and followed it. That is why they did not leave behind any temples but instead they joined the Red Sea to the Mediterranean built an highway between Sush and Sardis, measured the depth of the ocean to have safe passage for the boats etc. They were for progress here on earth.

After their defeat by Alexander the mind set of the world has been based on Greek religion and the anthropomorphic God.

It is the choice of words that change the whole concept of the Gathas from being a practical earthly book to being a heavenly one where one has to wish and pray to get the blessing of some higher power to succeed.

The "varsht-manthar gathic commentary book" fall into the Greek category.

In the Gathas Zarathushtra tells us in very clear earthly terms to use our mind fully in the good way, understand the Wisdom in Creation, and use it to make good rules to guide our path toward perfection. Thereby converting this planet Earth into a Paradise where everyone lives a full life in peace and heavenly tranquility.

Zarathushtra says it is you and your deeds not the will of Ahura Mazda that brings evil or good.

Perfection is what Zarathushtra professes. The aim in life should be Perfection. He says, use your Vohumana, your good mind, understand the wisdom in creation and go hand in hand with it, not against it. The aim should be perfection in whatever profession you are. That is what will make our lives worth living on this planet; we can either create a heaven or a hell right here on this Earth. Zarathushtra’s Heaven and Hell are right here on this planet. There is no need for any bridge for we don't have to go anywhere.

Remember he speaks even of Ahura Mazda only eight times.
Nothing to do with the brilliant spirit or Superb Vouhuman or the blessings of the higher truth/ashâ.

When you have these concepts then the need for rituals to evoke these spirits also do arise.

Thanks any ways

And BTW " Nar" even today means male. So I don't know how correct it is to say worthy men and worthy women.

That is why I prefer Person by Person.

With Regards & Best Wishes
Fariborz Rahnamoon


--- On Sun, 12/13/09, ardeshir farhmand wrote:

From: ardeshir farhmand
Subject: [Ushta] Ardeshir's Rebuttal to Fariborz translations of Yasna 30.2 and Yasna 28.9

To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Cc: "mehrdad farahmand"
Date: Sunday, December 13, 2009, 3:08 PM

Dear Fariborz and other fellow Zoroastrians

I like to start my rebuttal by emphasizing that there is nothing personal in my constructive criticism. my whole point is an OBJECTIVE and COMPARATIVE STUDY of the HIGHLY POETIC songs/ melodies of the seer/prophet Zarathushtra. The Enchanting Manthras or GATHAS are not scriptures in the biblical sense, but INSPIRED VISIONS of AHURA MAZDA, his AMAZING SPIRIT, VIRTUES and POWERS. i ask all u to read my study carefully. fariborz have translated Yasna 30.2 and 28.9, here is my rebuttal to insertion of personal speculations and invalid conclusions.

Enchanting Gathas – Yasna 30.2; the original goes as follows:

Let there be a listening (gêushâish)
to what is HEARD/ to what is INSPIRED (sraotâ)
as what is the best/the most beautiful (vahishtâ)
( the ancient commentary adds a word play and says: "as what is prospering growth/increase/vakhsh.")

in other words: "listen to inspiration, as what is the best and most beautiful growth,"

fariborz translation: "Listen with your ears to the best" --very close

i need to add that "gêushâish" here is related to Spanish "escuchar" sometimes pronounced as esguchar; "to listen with ears." it could also be said that it simply means "ears" as in modern Persian. Yet, it appears that the ancient word meant both.
Hence "a listening by the ears to what is heard," seem to be closer to the original.

"en-vision with a brilliant spirit and glowing awareness,"
have a vision (..-vaêna-..) with sûcâ manañghâ,

fariborz translation: "Consider with open mind" --somehow close

manañghâ is NOT quiet the same as mind, it is really more accurate to call it: SPIRIT, UNDERSTANDING, AWARENESS. this is true of the usage of the word in rigveda, old norse myths and eddas, in addition to all other ancient indo-germanic languages. let us remember that many words change their original meaning over time, and what "mind" means today is NOT EXACTLY what it meant 3700 years ago.

Also sûcâ is O.E. scinan "shed light, be radiant," from P.Gmc. *skinanan, O. H.G. skinan, O.N. skina, Ger. scheinen, Goth. skeinan "to shine, appear"), from PIE base *skai- "to gleam, shine, flicker. The beautiful prayer of Yasna 68.4 has been written as a footnote/commentary to the above verse.

our desires/wills (â-var-e-nå) are to be discerned with foresight (vîchi)
"vichi" to discern, is from the same root and meaning as of O.Ger. wikken, wicken " to use foresight," wikker, wicker "soothsayer").

fariborz translation: "Among the paths before deciding" --distant

"worthy men and worthy women, each for own selves (khva) and bodies (tanuyê,)" It is very important to realize that Zarathushtra talks both about "self" and "physical embodiment" here. Compare (tanuyê) with L. textura "web, structure," from stem of textere "to weave.

fariborz translation: "Person by person for his own self " --close enough

prior to the great contest/activity/ major event (mazê yåñghô)

"mazê yåñghô" or "great activity," "major event," comes from the root "yah," struggle, strong effort, to make room, progress." compare with weiden "to MAKE ROOM" and O.N. and PIE *wei "to strive after." The word refers to a "great battle" and "widening of consciousness" or "new vast horizons" at the time of the renovation of the existence. This is extremely similar to the nordic idea of Ragnarök, a series of "major events," including "a great battle" foretold, which will result in the ultimate resurfacing of a new and amazing existence. the same phrase "mazishtâi yåñghâm" comes again in Yasna 36.2, where the seer/prophet asks for the "flame of joy and growth," to come to him prior to this "major event." The ancient commentary translates this as "mas kar," opus work and adds that it refers to the future, evolved physical body or "tan-e-passin." Note that the emphasis is on amazing progress and new unimagined physical possibilities.

fariborz translation: "Before greatness of this message" ---?????!!!! !!

awaken (baodantô) to the prize of our foresight/teachings (sazdyâi.)

baodantô comes from PIE base bh(e)udh- "to be aware, make aware" (Skt. bodhati "awake, watchful, observant," buddhah "awakened, enlightened;" O.C.S. bljudo "to observe;" Lith. budeti "to be awake;"

fariborz translation: "Is truly spread understand each one" --somehow approx.

the "varsht-manthar gathic commentary book" says concerning the poetic Yasna 30.2: It is "About the choice of will (var) by the brave (nar,) and the existence of a way to "amazing progress" (mazê ýånghô) through foresight (vichi and baoda)."

the "baghan gathic commentary book" concerning the third line of Yasna 30.2 says is about: "the great progress "mazê ýånghô" of the will "â-varenå "of the adorable beings, from the great progress of the will of the adorable beings arises widening/awakening of the teachings of the beautiful religion in the worlds." The avestan commentary further adds concering the second line; This, too, that by him who possesses virtuous will-power "â-varenå," foresight "vîcithahyâ" as to the performance of opus work is taught to mankind; even for this reason, because the possessor of virtuous will-power is a person who becomes a decider and ruler, and mankind thus learn and practice to exercise the disposition, habits, and custom of god-rulers. Notice, how the ancient exegesis beautifully demonstrates that by exercising our will-power and foresight, by choosing our higher wills/desires, we become god-rulers and masters of our own destiny and not victim of circumstances and events.

I STRONGLY DISAGREE with the following claim or rather WISHFUL THINKING by Dr. Farhang Mehr; "Zoroastrianism may have contributed to the world, the theory of Heaven and Hell and the Creation of the World etc, that scholars claim, but none of these are the contribution of the person of Zarathushtra. For the simple fact that if he had done that the Mobeds would not have commissioned Mobed Arda Viraf to write about heaven and hell." this is nothing but FANTASY. This is simply an injection of the outdated ideas of the 50's into objective gathic studies.

Those who expose such BASELESS assertions should ask instead, if the "gathic heaven and hell" are rather states of "superb awareness and creativity" verses fragmented and stricken inconscience! The APOLOGISTS should instead ask if "zoroastrian angels" are rather luminous manifestations of the ahuric will power, virtues and superb, ingenious qualities; rather than benign divine bureaucrats! People who invent such EXCUSES should really consider, if the gathic "major event" is a time/day of "amazing manifestations" and "opus achievements" for the material universe, or instead a day/time of destruction and gloom!

Furthermore, the suggestion about "Mobed Arda Viraf" suggests a real lack of familiarity with his story. THE STORY goes; that the council of sassanid priests chose "arda viraf" to travel via "chinvat bridge" to a questioning/ conference with "Vohumanoe." It is a STORY, yet asserts the gathic concept of accessing higher knowledge/levels of awareness through the chinvat passage. i wrote an article on the subject on FB and its connection to the "nordic bridge of the aesir," which i will post here later.

Furthermore, in my article on the true meaning of "ahura mazda," i explained clearly the brilliant idea behind this zoroastrian divine concept. i showed that based on detailed linguisti c evidence, and comparative vedic and norse literatures, as well as established zoroastrian exegesis, that Zarathushtra saw "intuitive wisdom, vision, and all the brilliant possibilities that have to be realized as MAZDA," and declared MAZDA to be the "true power supreme or AHURA."

Hence, i absolutely disagree with your following quote: "What I understand about creation (and I may not be right) is that Ahura Mazda created Mazda Ahura in other words The Creator of Wisdom (Ahura Mazda) created The Wisdom in Creation (Mazda Ahura) that wisdom which is everywhere."

Now, let us examine the original version of the Enchanting Gathas of Yasna 28.9:

As regards NOT coming "anâish," to You Ahurmazd, this i could not "nôit" do,

"anâish" throughout gathic exegesis has been translated as "not coming," it occurs twice in the "rig vedas," and could alternatively mean "these." in this context, "these" refers to ahurmazd, asha, and vohumanoe.

Fariborz translation : These, you, not Ahura Mazda, ---very vague

I will not waste away "zaranaêmâ" the blessings "yânâish"of the higher truth/ashâ.

"yânâish" from the root "yân," means "gain," and could possibly be related to the O.Fr. gaaigne, from gaaignier "to gain," also "cultivate land." The original O.Fr. sense enfolds the notions of "profit from agriculture." Hence, i think "blessing' would be a close translation.

"zaranaêmâ" from the root "zarn" is a cognate of german "zorn," "rage," and the persian "azordan." In its ancient avestan form it means: "a wasting away," "withering," "decay," "weaken," "to make old," harm."

Fariborz Translation: "Asha also brings fury" --?????????? ??!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!! !

and the Superb Vouhuman,
It could also be alluding to "the most beautiful and superb (vahishtem,) state of consciousness (manas-châ.)"

Fariborz translation: "Mind also is the best," --somehow close

who gives your praisers "stûtãm," energy/activity "yôithemâ" or in better english: who energizes your praisers to activity.

"yôithemâ" is from the root "yat/yah," activity/energy/ work is identical to the third line of Yasna 30.2. Ancient exegesis adds that this line refers to the conference of Vohuman with the 3 saviors to come and their act of manifesting ever better worlds. Also, of great interest is the connection between "stûtãm/stû" to praise, in the enchanting gathas and the idea of bringing to existence, CAUSE TO STAND, appear, which is inherent in the word.

Fariborz translation: "which strives' to give good guidance" --approx

For You are the most worthy of invocation and beoved "zevîsht-yånghô,"

"zevîsht-yånghô" is from the avestan root "zu" to invoke. it might be very interesting to add that from the same root, comes the word for "God," O.N. guð, Goth. guþ, from PIE *ghut- "that which is invoked" (Skt. huta- "invoked," an epithet of Indra), from root heu(e)- "to call, invoke. the ancient zoroastrian exgesis has added another word/sound play here with "zaosh/zush" lovely, pleasing, good. The persian word dusti/love is from the same root.

Fariborz translation: "For you are to be worthy'--- distant

toward the wish and prayers of those who use their powers (khshathrem-châ) for weal and happiness (sava.)

Avestan "Khshatrem," to wield power, to master, is cognate with Skt. kšatra "dominion;"
Gk. krasthai "to acquire, get," kektesthai "to possess." The line above is related to the avestan commentary of the first half, of the third line of ahun-var.

Fariborz translation: "Mighty, satisfied, also worthy of praise---??? !!!"

The Gathic Varsht-manthar book of commentaries says concerning Yasna 28.9 : About the laudation of Zartosht there is this, too, that is: 'Thou art not astray from us, neither in life, nor in inquiry, nor in openly announcing, even when demonstrating the religion to others, nor in anything whatever, O Spitaman.

With best wishes


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