Airyana Vaeja & Neighbouring Lands in the Avesta.....The homeland of the Aryans, or Aryan lands was called Airyana Vaeja or Airyanam Dakhyunam in the Avesta and Arya Varta in the Vedas. ....The books of the Avesta as well as the Middle Persian Pahlavi texts such as the Lesser Bundahishn, tell us that Airyana Vaeja, the Aryan homeland, was where Zarathushtra's father lived (20.32) and where Zarathushtra first expounded his beliefs (32.3). ......In addition to mentioning Airyana Vaeja, the Zoroastrian scriptures, the books of the Avesta, also mention neighbouring nations or lands.
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King Vishtasp of Bakhdi / Balkh...Among the Farvardin Yasht's list of Zarathushtra's first "hearers and teachers" is Kavoish Vishtaspahe (Kava Vishtasp) (13.99). In the Yasht, Kava Vishtasp has a special place having a verse devoted to him. The common extrapolation is that Kava Vishtasp is the Kai Gushtasp (Gushtasp is a later form of Vishtasp) mentioned in later texts which also state that King Vishtasp's / Gushtasp's capital was Bakhdhi or Bakhdi, i.e. present day Balkh in Northern Afghanistan.
.....Bakhdi is listed as a nation in the Vendidad but not in the Farvardin Yasht. These later texts also tell us that Zarathushtra died in Bakhdi/Balkh, killed by a Turanian. ......Balkh is directly south of Samarkand over an eastern spur of the Pamir mountains. The predecessors of present day Samarkand and Balkh are among the first nations listed in another (and later) book of the Avesta - the Vendidad.
"Of all the patterns the Swastika pattern is also used. Many consider it to be a Hindu symbol. However the Swastika is an ancient Aryan symbol of the sun, and Zoroastrians we revere the sun as a form of fire energy."....http://tenets.zoroastrianism.com/pcustm33.html
"Buddhism's Kalachakra uses the Hindu Vedic legend of Mount Meru (Avestan Hara Berezaiti) and surrounds Mount Meru with the mythic kingdom of Shambhala, a Sanskrit word meaning the land of peace. Shambhala, also spelt Shambala or Shamballa, is said to be the land of the Living Fire and Gyanganj, the home of immortal wisdom and the omniscient wise god of time (descriptions some use for Ahura Mazda, God, in Zoroastrianism). The concept, description and qualities of Shambala coincide with those for Arya Varta / Airyana Vaeja, the Aryan homeland, and help provide us with added information on its possible location. ....http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/aryans/location.htm
"Location of Airyana Vaeja, the Aryan Homeland.....These observations, together with observations throughout this web site, point to a location for Airyana Vaeja, the ancient Aryan homeland, in the general vicinity of Tajikistan, southern Uzbekistan, northern Afghanistan, and south-western Turkmenistan.....More specifically, the observations point to the strong candidacy of the Pamir-Badakhshan region (the areas neighbouring Balkh to the east and north: the upper Amu Darya basin and the Wakhan Valley of eastern Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan), the Hindu Kush to its eastern extremity south of Balkh and bordering the Murgab and Harirud valleys, the Yagnobi , Zerafshan and Fergana valleys, as well as the Alai mountain environs in Western Kyrgyzstan."......http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/aryans/location.htm
Identification of Indo-Iranians original home....As per the Iranian tradition preserved in the Vendidad, Fargard I of the Zend -Avesta, there is reference to 16 good lands created by Ahura Mazda one after another whose names in order of creation are:
1. Airyyana Vaejo or Iranvej: The first god chosen land for which the word ‘Iranvej’ has been used. It means ‘the seed of the Iranians.’ Therefore, it may be equated with the cradle of Iranians and first created in the Vendidad as the good land. The research by Ernst Herzfeld says in this regard: ‘’From time immemorial, at least from the third millennium down to the middle of the second, the Aryans inhabited, as an undivided ethnical group, the vast plains of the Oxus and the Jaxtartes, the land of Eranvej of the two rivers Vahvi-Datiya and Ranha.” [cited from Iran in the Ancient East, , p. 190 by Misra, D.P. , op cit., p.32]. However, Pithawalla says that Iranvej lay in the valley of Syr Darya."......http://www.jatland.com/home/General_History
Airyana Vaeja as Paradise. Shambhala / Shangri-La......Buddhist thangkas show Shambhala with Mount Meru & a temple in the centre.....The two circular mountain ranges remind us of the description of the Hara and Zeredaza Mountains.....in the Avesta's Zamyad Yasht "lying all around" - the Zeredaza being the outer range.....Zoroastrian texts describe Airyana Vaeja as being mountainous with fertile meadows and valleys. In addition, the opening words of the Avestan Vendidad's chapter listing the sixteen nations, states that if God had not made other countries beautiful in some manner, all the world would have swarmed into Airyana Vaeja on account of its great beauty and - as mentioned elsewhere in the Avesta - because of its wise king and good government, law and order, noble people and serenity. Airyana Vaeja was a paradise on earth - a land of peace and serenity, the best place to live and raise a family.....The heavenly nature of Airyana Vaeja during the Jamshidi era reached mythic proportions in Yasht 19.33, the Zamyad Yasht. Then, the weather was neither cold nor hot, there was no untruth and envy, people were undying, water and plants never drying. All because King Jamshid ruled wisely and the people lived honestly. However, when the king lost his grace and the people lost their noble ways, Airyana Vaeja became a paradise lost.
Tibetan Buddhism's book of Kala-Chakra, the Time-Cycle, and Tibetan Buddhism's predecessor religion, Bon, built on and popularized this concept of a lost and hidden paradise on earth, now known to the world as Shangri-La.
[The founding of the Bon religion is ascribed to Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche who was born - by some estimates 18,000 years ago - in the land of Tagzig Olmo Lung Ring. Tagzig, is believed to be a form of the name Tajik. (The name Shenrab sounds Iranian as well.) The doctrine taught by Tonpa Shenrab was spread by his disciples and their student-translators to adjacent countries such as Zhang-Zhung (also Zhangzhung, Shang Shung or Xang Xung - a land north of the Himalayas, which contained Mount Kailash in today's Western Tibet), India (northern Indus valley), Kashmir, China and eventually Greater Tibet. Tonpa Shenrab is reputed to have visited present-day western Tibet once. On that visit he found the people unprepared to receive the entire body of his teachings, but he prophesied that his teachings would flourish in Tibet in the coming ages. The students of his disciples continued his mission and Tibetan Bon scriptures were translated from texts in the language of Zhang-Zhung.
"Bon claims to have spread south to the Indian subcontinent and to have influenced the development of Vedic Hinduism. Perhaps pre-Tibetan Bon was a form of the primordial Aryan religion before Zoroastrianism and Vedic Hinduism. Buddhism in turn evolved out of Vedic Hinduism (c. 400 BCE). Completing a full circle, today's Bon is so heavily influenced by Buddhism that it sounds like a Buddhist sect. Perhaps some scholars may take it upon themselves to try and isolate the precepts of the pre-Buddhism Bon.
It may be of interest to those studying the weather change in Airyana Vaeja, that pollen and tree ring analysis indicates the Chang Tang plateau in Northern Tibet had a far more liveable environment than it has today - one that supported a primordial civilization - until the climate become colder and drier starting around 1500 BCE, a climate change that caused the population to migrate out of the northern plateau. This authors also feels that the ancient Aryan and Zoroastrian link to western Tibet is further exemplified by the common tradition of exposing the dead to birds.
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At the centre of the land of Tagzig (called Shambhala in the Kalachakra) was Olmo Lungring which had at its centre, Yungdrung Gutsek, a four-sided mountain similar to Mount Meru / Sumeru (see above). The mountain is surrounded by temples, cities and parks. To the mountain's south is the Barpo Sogye palace, where Tonpa Shenrab was born. The complex of palaces, rivers and parks with Mount Yungdrung Gutseg in the centre constitutes the inner region (Nang-gling) of Olmo Lungring. The intermediate region (Bar-gling) consists of twelve cities, four of which lie in the four cardinal directions. The third region includes the outer land (mTha'-gling). These three regions are encircled by snow-capped mountains and an ocean.
The mountain Yungdrung Gutsek has nine Yungdrungs (swastikas) ascending like a staircase. It is not without significance that the swastika plays an important symbolic role in both the Bon and Vedic Hindu religions. In Bon, The nine swastikas represent the Nine Ways. The swastika (Yungdrung) itself is a symbol of permanence and indestructibility of the mind-stream, the wisdom of Bon. The full name of Bon is Yungdrung Bon meaning Everlasting Truth.
The four sides of the mountain faced the four cardinal directions. From the four corners, each of which represent four archetypal thought forms, flow four rivers:
- From the thought form of a snow lion flows the river Narazara to the east,
- From the thought form of a horse flows the river Pakshi to the north,
- From the thought form of a peacock flows the river Gyim Shang to the west, and
- From the thought form of an elephant flows the river Sindhu (In Persian: Hindu which later became Indus) to the south.
A few concepts emerge from the description of Tagzig's terrain within which lies the four-sided mountain, Yungdrung Gutsek. First, while our translation states the singular, a four-sided mountain, a mountain in all the related ancient Avestan, Vedic, and Bon texts frequently refers to a group or range of mountains with several peaks. For instance Hara Berezaiti contained two thousand, two hundred and forty four mountains peaks (see above). Next, from the four-sided Yungdrung Gutsek mountain(s) arose several rivers flowing in all the cardinal directions. In addition, this region was north of the northern Indus region. (Also see our section on the four-sided topography of the Pamirs. It is unreasonable to expect the geographic descriptions in the ancient texts to align perfectly on a modern map. The ancients used approximations formulated from the accounts of travellers over several generations and good examples of this contention are the maps drawn by classical Western authors such as Ptolemy.)
Tibetan Buddhism's Kalachakra uses the Hindu Vedic legend of Mount Meru (Avestan Hara Berezaiti) and surrounds Mount Meru with the mythic kingdom of Shambhala, a Sanskrit word meaning the land of peace. Shambhala, also spelt Shambala or Shamballa, is said to be the land of the Living Fire and Gyanganj, the home of immortal wisdom and the omniscient wise god of time (descriptions some use for Ahura Mazda, God, in Zoroastrianism). The concept, description and qualities of Shambala coincide with those for Arya Varta / Airyana Vaeja, the Aryan homeland, and help provide us with added information on its possible location.
According to the Buddhist Kalachakra, Shambhala, presently hidden to the rest of the world, is a paradise of peace, tranquility, honesty and wisdom. It is home of the primordial and highest spiritual teachings, a tantra of the cycle of time now hidden from us but one that will eventually save the world from evil. Before it adopted Buddhism, the people were followers of the Mlechha, a Yavana or western, religion, some of whom worshiped the sun. Emulating the time periods in Zoroastrian eschatology which uses a cycle of time, as well as emulating the Zoroastrian concept of a final struggle between good against evil, the Buddhist legend states that as time progresses, the world around Shambala will succumb to evil. However, three millennia after ancient Shambhala king first travelled to India and adopted Buddhism, the Shambhalians will emerge to save the world. There will be a epic battle between the righteous Shambhalians and the surrounding evil forces - a battle in which the righteous Shambhalians will prevail and defeat evil forever. As we have noted, this legend closely parallels Zoroastrian legends that presage a final struggle between the forces of good and evil in which the good, the ashavan, will prevail, transforming the world to a paradise, a heaven, on earth - the vahishtem anghuim - the transformative event being frasho-kereti.
Shambhala has both an outer temporal and an inner spiritual meaning. In the outer meaning, Shambhala is a land that is only accessible to the pure in heart. Those with impure motives will lose their way in the intervening deserts and mountains, blinded by storms. Representing the inner meaning, some thangka paintings of Shambhala depict the kingdom surrounding Mount Meru as an eight-petal lotus - a symbol for the heart chakra and an indication that Shambhala is to be found in a person's heart.
This author therefore proposes that since Shambhala, the land surrounding Mount Meru, is identified as the Vedic Arya Varta, and since the Vedic Arya Varta in turn corresponds to the Avestan Airyana Vaeja (which contains Mount Hara), that the land surrounding Shambhala, Mount Meru and Airyana Vaeja are intimately linked if not the same land. If this author's association is correct, what all four traditions, Zoroastrian, Hindu, Bon and Buddhist, have preserved, is the topography of ancient Airyana Vaeja - a land of fertile valleys and alpine meadows ringed by high snow-capped high mountains."
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"It will be of interest to those studying the weather change in Airyana Vaeja, that pollen and tree ring analysis indicates the Chang Tang plateau in Western and Northern Tibet had a far more liveable environment than it has today - one that supported a primordial civilization - until, starting around 1500 BCE, the climate become colder and drier. The climate change would have caused the population to migrate out of the northern plateau. This type of climate change from temperate to cold, and the resulting changes in the environment from comfortable and verdant to harsh and rocky, is similar to the Zoroastrian stories of a climate change during the reign of legendary King Jamshid."....http://zoroastrianheritage.blogspot.com
Click on the map to enlarge........http://takshasila.wikidot.com/article:sixteen-lands-of-ahuras
John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….December 2012