Written by London swaminathan
Date: 19 APRIL 2017
Time uploaded in London:- 6-55 am
Post No. 3831
Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.
In the first part titled “Who was Zoroaster? Why did Parses Return to India, I gave 20 points listed by Dattopant Thengadi and what Kanchi Paramacharya (1894-1994) told us about Zoroaster (Please see at the end for the details)
Today I give below some interesting points discussed by Professor Herman Lommel:
1.It is a well known fact that old India and Iran have in common many related traditions, mythical conceptions, tales and legends. We need mention only such names as Soma, Mitra, Vrtrahan, Yama, Apam Napat, Vayu, Trita Aptya in order to recall the memory of those versed in these things a much debated domain of associations.
(all the above are in Rig Veda and Persian scriptures; I add Usana Kavi, the great poet of Rig Veda and Varuna which are also found in Persian)
2.We see some other Vedic concepts in the teachings of Zarathushtra (Zoroaster). i.e. principall ythose in the Gathas. We can again suggest correlatives with a few catch words:
Rta in the Vedas= asa in Gathas
aramati = armaiti
Purandhi = Parendi
3.There is a systematic connection in the Zarathushtrian doctrine between Asa as a spiritual and heavenly power and FIRE as its earthly corporeal counterpart. And this has parallel I the Vedic religion in the relationship between Agni, the God of Fire and Rta.
4.The chief point to be discussed here is the Cinvat Bridge. Earth and heaven are separated by a space, empty except for the wind. In order to go from the earth to the 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 Vira, it must take place after death. So far these ideas are not Iranian singularities, but are rather widely spread. The old Indian views are at any rate very similar. The path by which one can cross this empty space is the bridge. The wind will help the good people to go to heaven and the bad people will be made to fall into hell.
5.In the Rig Veda the bridge occurs only once (RV.9-41) as a figure of speech and not at a as a path into the other life. We find this conception however in the Yajur Veda. Kathakam 28-4: “By means of the midday pressing the gods entered into the world of heaven. Their steps and ladder were the ‘dakshinas’. If one offers dakshina, one crosses a bridge and enters the world of heaven.
This is found in Maitrayani Samhita (4-8-3), Taittiriya Samhita (6,5 3-3) and Satapata Brahmana (13-2-10-1).
Upanishads also (Brh14-7-2-27; Chando 8-4-1; Kathaka 3-2) talk about the bridge.
More often than to crossing of a bridge occur references to steps or rungs of a ladder which one must climb. The symbol of the bridge is used in a sense which corresponds to the philosophy of the Upanishads; one reaches the Brahman world through recognition of Atman and faithfulness to him.
- I search for the meaning in another direction. In the language of the Avesta for instance Apam Napat (Vedic God) means the crossing of the water. In the sense the crossing, the ford or the bridge over the water. Cinvat Bridge can therefore mean the crossing over that which is Cinvat.
7.When the soul arrives in the world beyond, the other souls come to meet it. Zarathushtra himself says so only with a reference to perdition (Y-49-11). Later it is told with reference to paradise. 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 through my glory he has attained to the ageless stream, truly he shall not grow old”.
8.According to Rig Veda (10-154-1) ghee among, other things is eaten in heaven which corresponds to the raoghna zaramaya, the spring butter (Had.N.2-18).
- 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) – i.e. shortly before his arrival in the world beyond – the aggregable and beneficent winds which according to the Atharva Veda (18-2-21) the fathers and Yama waft toward the deceased (not the wind which blows them thither, as Whitney translates).
10.According to old Hindu belief the heavenly courtesans receive the deceased, while to the Zoroastrian his own Daena appears and the pleasures are spiritualised. That the Daena appears as a glorious damsel is in V.19.30 (but not in the Gathas).
11.I need mention only the well-known fact that the two dogs which accompany the Daena (V.19-33) and which guard the bridge (V.13-9) originate in the Hindu mythology.
12.I might also observe that the locality of the Cinvat Bridge and the sojourn of the souls, which are neither good nor bad, “in wind” remind us somewhat of the numerous references in India to the belief of the “self” (atman RV 10-16-3) or its vital breath or spirit goes to the wind when it dies.
13.Every reader of the Veda is acquainted with the references to the rain as semen engenders life on earth. This is very clearly expressed, but also embellished with the idea of metempsychosis, in the passage mentioned in the Kausitaki Upanishad (1-2). 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 is probably an earlier idea, at any rate it coincides more nearly with the Iranian. (according to Chandogya Upanishad 5-10-6 which says all plants originate in this way). Compare with this Bundahis (9-2).
I do not know whether the primitive natural science theory common to old Indians and Iranians that the plants spring from the rain-water, can be found by other peoples or not.
(Summary of the article “Some corresponding conceptions in old India and Iran” written by Prof.Herman Lommel in the Dr.Modi Memorial volume, published in 1930)
From my old article posted in 2013
“Why Did Parsees ‘Return’ to Gujarat?”
By London Swaminathan; Post No 759 dated 25th December 2013
Who was Zoroaster?
The date and the birth place of Zoroaster are not yet settled. He is placed between 6th and 10th centuries BC. Two interesting details point out that he was born in Saurashtra area in Gujarat. Kanchi Paramacharya (Shankaracharya) Swamikal said in one of his talks that Zoroaster was from Saurashtra. The reason for Parsees coming back to Gujarat after the persecution by Muslims in Iran also confirms they were from Gujarat. Kanchi Paramacharya Swamikal on Zoroaster Kanchi Shankaracharya in his talk in Chennai in 1932 says: “Now Parsees are worshipping Agni (fire). Their scripture is called Zend Avesta. It is Chando Avasta.Their Acharya (teacher) was Zoroaster. This is the distorted form of Saurashtrar. Their country was called Iran. This is the distorted form of Arya Desa.” Sri Shankaracharya repeated the same in a talk again on 17-11-1932.
There is another interesting story of Parsees migration into Gujarat when Yadhava Rana (Jadi Rana) was ruling. His date was not known. He might have ruled in 10th century. When the Parsees were persecuted by the Muslims in Iran, they came to India. Why did they come to Gujarat in India? Because it was their original home .There was an interesting meeting between the Parsee priests. When Yadhava Rana was informed about the new immigrants he came with a glass of milk. The milk was filled to the brim. He showed it to the priests to convey the message that the area was full and no place for the new people. The wise priests put some sugar into it meaning we won’t displace any of you, but mingle with your people like sugar in milk. To this day the Parsees kept their word. Their contribution to the development of India was great in all fields from Nuclear reactors to big Steel industries. They are a peace loving community.
I think Zoroaster was a rebel and went to another country to start a rival group. That justifies their scriptures calling Devas of India as Asuras and vice verse. But yet they did not differ on basic issues. They still praised Varuna and Mithra. I reproduce Dattopant Thengadi’s article below which gives a good comparison of Hinduism and Zoroastrianism:
Zend Avesta—A Neglected Hindu Scripture By D B Thengadi written on 22-2-67 (From his book The Perspective, page 32) “ The Vishva Hindu Parishad is trying to bring together Hindus all over the world on a common platform. Hence it is necessary and useful that a thorough research is conducted into our many neglected scriptures. If these scriptures continue to be neglected the blame lies squarely on our own shoulders. The scriptural text of our Parsi brethren- Zend Avesta—falls into this category. There searches made by Prof. Max Muller, Dr Hang, L.H.Mills, Sir William Jones and others throw on that scripture much light which reveals some important facts:
1.Zend Avesta is a corrupt form of Chhanda Avastha. 2.At least sixty percent of the words in Zend Avesta are of pure Sanskritic origin. 3.There is grammatic similarity in the language of the Vedas and the Avesta. 4.The corruption of Sanskrit words has followed a particular pattern.For example, Sanskritic ‘ta’ has changed into ‘tha’ in the Avesta; ‘swa’ into ‘sya’, ‘ha’ into ‘ja’ and ‘sa’ into ‘ha’. Even in Arabic, the Sanskrit ‘sa’ has becpme’ha’.
5.Aryamana in Sanskrit means both a ‘friend’ and ‘God’. In the Avesta also Airyamana means the same. In Sanskrit ‘Mitra’ has three meanings—Sun, Friend ad God Mithr in the Avesta also means the same three things. Gau has the same two meanings—cow and earth—in both the languages. 6.The Vedic and Avesta language are two forms of the same language. 7.Many prosodies of the Vedas such as Gayathri, Trishtup, Anustupha, Asuri, Ushati etc. are to be found in the Avesta. 8.The institution of Yajna, its different types and tools ae treated similarly in both. They give the same importance to Soma and Homa. 9.Both deal with the significance and worship of Agni (Fire). 10.Both refer to the importance of the Gau (cow) and Gomutra (Urine of the cow).
11.The Parsis are described as Arya and Aryatva is praised in the Avesta.
12.There is surprising similarity in the views of both about metaphysics, cosmology, the process of the evolution of the universe etc.
- The Thirty Three Gods in the Vedas resemble the Thirty Three Rathus in the Avesta. 14.The Avesta recognises the concepts of rebirth and Karma. 15.The Cow is considered as the representative of the entire society in the Avesta.
16.There is a reference to ancient metaphysics in the Avesta. 17.The Parsis also have the Sacred Thread ceremony. It is called Kushati. 18. The social order described in the Avesta is similar to Chaturvarnya. 19.The Brahmin is referred to as ‘athrva’, ‘atharvana’ and the Kshatriya as rathesto, ratheshta in the Avesta. 20.Dr. Hang concludes that Brahmins and Prsis are two different types of the same caste.
Against the background of all these facts, it is our duty to consider Zend Avesta as a neglected Hindu scripture and conduct proper research into it. (From the book THE PERSPECTIVE by D.B.Thengadi, 1971) Contact firstname.lastname@example.org; pictures are used from other websites; thanks. Pictures are taken from Wikipedia and other websites;thanks.