MYSTERIOUS BRIDGE TO CROSS AFTER DEATH IN HINDU AND PARSI RELIGION (Post.10,665)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 10,665

Date uploaded in London – –    16 FEBRUARY   2022         

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MYSTERIOUS BRIDGE TO CROSS AFTER DEATH IN HINDU AND PARSI RELIGION

SAMSARA SAGAR (Kural 10)  is the word used in Tamil Veda Tirukkural and Sanskrit Bhagavad Gita (4-36)

In the Bhagavad Gita it is the sea of sins which one can cross by the boat of wisdom (4-36)

Tamil poet Tiru Valluvar says,

“None but those who have meditated constantly on the feet of god can cross the ocean of births by swimming” –Tirukkura 10

Tamil words Neenthuvar ‘will cross by swimming’ Neenthaar ‘will be unable to swim to cross are used by Valluvar. This Sea of Births and Deaths is used in umpteen verses by Alvars, Nayanmars, Paripatal poet of Sangam literature. Most of us imagined it as a sea. This is only a symbolic way of saying. Since South India is surrounded by the sea on three sides it will be easy to make it understandable by using water and boat. But if it is a land locked country or a vast country where sea is several hundred miles away, poets may not use sea to cross but a bridge to cross. This is what happened in Ancient Iran (Persia or Paraseekam) and India.

xxx

CINVAT BRIDGE

The Cinvat Bridge (Bridge of the Gathers) also spelt Chinvad Bridge is the bridge to paradise. All good people will be allowed to cross over this bridge (Gatha Ushtavaiti in Zend Avesta) to reach paradise. It is in Parsi book .

Earth and heaven are separated by a space, empty except for the wind. In order to go from the earth to heaven one must pass through this intermediate space. Only the soul is capable of such an act, so that except for special cases like that of Arda Viraf,  it must take place after death. The old Hindu views are very similar.

The path by which one can cross over this empty space is the bridge (in the Rig Veda and Atharvana Veda the space is mentioned as sea in Sanskrit, probably both looked blue in colour). The wind may help or harm anyone according to their good and bad actions. If someone is neither very bad nor very good will remain in the windy area and suffer. Good souls go to heaven and bad souls go to hell.

Primitive people used other symbolism- one can cross the chasm or a stream with a rope. Old Teutons imagined a rain bow by which they can climb and cross. Earlier scholars explained that the Cinvad Bridge is the Rainbow.

XXX

IN HINDU SCRIPTURES

In the Rig Veda, the bridge occurs only once (9-41) as a figure of speech but not as a path into the other life. But we find this idea in the Yajur Veda -Kathaka Samhita 28-4,

“By means of the mid-day (soma) pressing the gods entered into the world of heaven. Their steps and ladder were the Daksinas. If one offers Daksinas (fees), one crosses a bridge and enters into the world of heaven. One has as many breaths in that world as one gives breath (Prana dhana rite?) here. On that account much must be given here. therefore they praise what is generously given here as better bridge for him who crosses over (read Tirtvaa and Tirate instead of Kirtvaa nd Kirate)

Compare Maitrayani Samhita (4-8-3)

The mid-day pressing is the world of heaven if  Daksinas were given by mid day pressing.   You must give much in order to ascend into the world of heaven; indeed you must make abridge for yourself with your gifts in order to attain the world of heaven.

(It may mean Dhana on earth, i.e. doing charity, will make it easier to go to heaven; Dhaana= Dontions)

And compare also Taittiriya Samhita 6-5-3-3,

Verily the sacrifice makes himself a ladder and bridge to attain the world of heaven.

Another reference is also worth noting. Satapatha Braahmana 14-7-2-27 (Brhad Aranyaka Upanishad 4-4-24),

This one (the Atman) is the bridge, which holds the worlds apart, so that they cannot be confused.

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MAGIC BRIDGE !!!

 A similar passage is in the Chandogya Upanishad 8-4-1 where in addition  to a statement  as above, it goes on to say,

Neither day nor night can cross the bridge, nor death nor suffering , neither good nor evil deeds. All evils turn back from there; for this Brahman world as banished all evil. Therefore if a blind man goes over the bridge, he receives his sight, if a wounded man , he is healed, if a sick person , he is cured. Therefore if the night crosses the bridge , it is turned to day; for this Brahman world is ever luminous.

In Kathopanishad -2 we read

We care solicitously for Naciketas fire, the bridge of the sacrificers to the eternal highest Brahman, the saving shore for those, who wish to cross.

In Svetasvatara Upanishad 6-9

God himself is called the highest bridge to immortality (also Mundakopanishad 2-2-5)

The Cinvat Bridge  in later literature is translated as Bridge of Separator. It is assumed God is the separator, who as a judge of the pious and the wicked discriminates between hem and sets them apart.

Xxx

YOUR ANCESTORS COME AND GREET YOU!

Another interesting similarity is about the spirits of ancestors come to greet you when you die.

When the soul arrives in the world beyond, the other souls come to meet and greet. Zarathustra himself says so, only with reference to perdition (Y.49-11). The same thing is told later with reference to paradise( Had.N.Yast) and we are reminded of the benign words with which Ahura Mazda protects the new arrival.

Strangely similar is the report in Kausitaki Upanishad 1-3 of what Brahman says upon the arrival of a deceased person in that other world:

“Run to meet him for through my glory he has attained to the ageless stream, truly he shall not grow old”.

According to Zarathushtra, the souls go to meet the liar arriving in hell with bad food (Y 49-11; comp. Y 53-6 and 31-20) . This again is supplemented by the Hadokht Nask with the report that in the paradise heavenly food and drink are brought to the virtuous.

We can compare this with Kausitaki Upanishad,1-4

Five hundred Apsaras go to meet him, , one hundred with fruits in their hands, one hundred with wreaths, one hundred with raiment, one hundred with fragrant powder in their hands.

According to Rig Veda 10-154-1

Ghee , among other things is eaten in heaven which corresponds to the ‘raoghna -zaramaya’, the spring butter.

In the same way we can compare with the sweet scent which blows from the Southern quarters to the soul of the pious on the third morning after death (Had N.2-18)- ie. shortly before his arrival in the world beyond– the agreeable and beneficent winds which according to Atharva Veda 18-2-21 the fathers and Yama waft toward the deceased.

(South is the direction of the departed souls in Sanskrit and Tamil books).

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TWO DOGS OF YAMA

In the Zoroastrian scriptures we see Daena appearing as a damsel (V.19-10) who looks like Apsaras in the Cinvat Bridge with two dogs. We have the two dogs (with four eyes) in the Vedas.

There are other interesting comparisons:-

In both Hindu  and Parsi religions , body parts are compared in similar way :

Eye- Sun;

Blood and Semen – Water

Dog’s Sense of Smell – go to Water Source

Another parallelism ,

Rain water = semen

Kausitaki Upanishad says,

The moon lets the soul which cannot answer its questions satisfactorily, turn to rain and fall upon the earth from which animals are born.it coincides with the Iranian. According to Chandogya Upanishad 5-10-6 rice and barley , herbs and trees, sesame and beans originate in this way.

In the Zoroastrian Bundahis 9-2,

Amerodad , the arch angel , as the vegetation was his own, pounded the plants small, and mixed them up with water which Tistar seized and Tistar made that water rain down upon the whole earth. Plants grew up from them. Birds mix them with water and Tistar seize them and rain them down. This cycle goes on

Source book –

DR MODI MEMORIAL VOLUME, BOMBAY, 1930, with my inputs

Tags- Bridge to heaven, Cinvat , Cinvad, bridge, Parsi, Hindu, Upanishad, Zend Avesta

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