Friday, November 29, 2013

Fravashi & Persian Drala


Click Here to View the Main Index


"Origins of Farr….. At its inception, the xᵛarənah seems to have been a tribal concept, variants of which existed among many tribal societies of the steppes (Gnoli; Soudavar, 2006, pp. 170-73). Its very association with the myth of Jamšid suggests that it was first elaborated for kingly ideology, before its 'appropriation' by Zoroastrianism." ….

"In his 1998 study The Arrow and the Spindle, Karmay traces several antecedents for the windhorse tradition in Tibet. First, he notes that there has long been confusion over the spelling because the sound produced by the word can be spelt either klung rta (river horse) or rlung rta (wind horse)--the first letter is silent in both cases. In the early twentieth century the great scholar Ju Mipham felt compelled to clarify that in his view rlung rta was preferable to klung rta, indicating that some degree of ambiguity must have persisted at least up to his time.[34] Karmay suggests that "river horse" (klung rta) was actually the original concept, as found in the Tibetan nag rtsis system of astrology imported from China. The nag rtsis system has four basic elements: srog (vital force), lu (wylie: lus, body), wangtang (wylie: dbang thang, "field of power"), and lungta (wylie: klung rta, river horse)."….Karmay, Samten G. The Arrow and the Spindle: Studies in History, Myths, Rituals and Beliefs in Tibet. Mandala Publishing: 1998 pg. 413-15

"The Epic of the Poet Ferdowsi…..The Shahnameh, Book of Kings, is an epic composed by the Iranian poet Hakim Abul-Qasim Mansur (later known as Ferdowsi Tusi), and completed around 1010 AD…[Ferdowsi means 'from paradise', and is derived from the name Ferdous (cf. Avestan pairi-daeza, later para-diz then par-des or par-dos, arabized to fer-dos)….. Tusi means 'from Tus'. In the poet's case, the name Ferdowsi Tusi became a name and a title: The Tusi Poet from Paradise……The epic chronicles the legends and histories of Iranian (Aryan) kings from primordial times to the Arab conquest of Iran in the 7th century CE, in three successive stages: the mythical, the heroic or legendary, and the historic."..

"FARR(AH) ii. ICONOGRAPHY OF FARR(AH)/XᵛARƎNAH….The core myth that reveals the characteristics of farr, and its function, is the myth of Jamšid as reflected in the Avesta. Empowered by his farr, Jamšid rules the world, but loses it when he strays from the righteous path. After two preliminary encounters, his farr is taken by a falcon……In terms of iconographic representation, there is perhaps no more dominant a theme than farr in pre-Islamic imagery. Farr not only portended auspiciousness, but was also perceived as a necessary source of power, and ultimately a source of authority. In a court culture, which placed a high premium on adulation, well wishers naturally wanted to project a maximum of farr for the object of their praise. The desire to maximize farr….termed farrah afzun (may farr be increased)…..was iconographically achieved through multiplicity and repetition: the greater the number of the symbols of farr, the more powerful became the projection of auspiciousness and power. Numerous symbols and devices were thus created for this purpose."……

"A glazed brick panel from Persepolis admirably reflects this myth in respect to the various states of farr….. At the bottom level, farr is underwater and encapsulated in a spherical container, most probably a pearl. Its rise from the waters is achieved through stacked lotuses, which transfer it to an emerging sunflower that bursts onto the sky. The Bundahišn recognizes the sunflower (hamišeh-bahār) as the symbol of Mithra, the penultimate purveyor of farr in the Avesta, and the lotus as the symbol of aquatic deities (Ābān), among whom Apąm Napāt was paramount until he was gradually supplanted by Anāhitā (see ANĀHĪD). Consequently, the sunflower and lotus were both perceived as symbols of farr (Soudavar, 2003, pp. 56-59). In addition, brick panels from Susa confirm the aquatic nature of the spherical capsules, or pearls, by showing them engulfed in whirling sea waves; by extension, the pearl too became a symbol of farr (ibid, pp. 98-101)"….

"Farr’s earliest symbolism in Iran can be traced back to late seventh century BCE, at a time when the Medes had annihilated the Assyrians, subjugated Urartu, and ruled over a sizeable empire. As befits such an empire, a kingly ideology was developed to convey its grandeur. According to Yt. 13.95, it was based on the dual support of Mithra and Apąm Napāt, the former as the deity presiding over daytime, and the latter over night-time (Boyce; Soudavar, 2003, pp. 52-53, 87-88; Idem, 2010, pp. 126-28). Since one was a solar and the other an aquatic deity, it made sense to attribute to them the sunflower and the lotus, two Egyptian symbols long associated with water and sun that had entered Median iconography by way of Assyria and Mesopotamia. But in choosing them, their symbolism was adapted to Iranian mythology, in which these two flowers could be regarded as two states of the xᵛarənah, the active and the dormant. Objects from this period suddenly manifest an otherwise inexplicable strong linkage between these two symbols. It continues well into Cyrus’s reign, as his tomb displays a gigantic combination of lotus and sunflower (Stronach, p. 157)"….…..

Tripartite cycle of the xᵛarenah. Glazed brick panel, Persepolis, 6-5th century BCE. (Courtesy of the Oriental Institute, Chicago. Photo no. P 58470).

"The advent of Darius, and the rise of Ahura Mazdā to supremacy at the expense of other deities, required a major shift in kingly iconography. Darius’ new super-deity had to be portrayed as both omnipresent and omnipotent. To project the first, he chose a symbol of Ahura Mazdā modeled after that of the Assyrian god Ašur: a bearded man within a flying ring. It was a symbol readily understood within his empire because Babylonians, Urartians, Elamites, and Hittites had used similar ones for their deities. And to project the second, he chose a modified version of the Egyptian “winged-disk” (actually a winged sphere) to convey the presence of the xᵛarənah"…….

Symbol of Ahura Mazdā with added solar emblem of Šamaš, Bisotun. (Soudavar, 2003, fig. 85)

"Shamash (Akkadian Šamaš "Sun"), was a native Mesopotamian deity and the sun god in the Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian pantheons. Shamash was the god of justice in Babylonia and Assyria, corresponding to Sumerian Utu. Akkadian šamaš is cognate to Syriac ܫܡܫܐ šemša or šimšu Hebrew שֶׁמֶשׁ šemeš and Arabic شمس šams…..The two chief centres of sun-worship in Babylonia were Sippar, represented by the mounds at Abu Habba, and Larsa, represented by the modern Senkerah. At both places the chief sanctuary bore the name E-barra (or E-babbara) "the shining house"—a direct allusion to the brilliancy of the sun-god. Of the two temples, that at Sippara was the more famous, but temples to Shamash were erected in all large centres – such as Babylon, Ur, Mari, Nippur, and Nineveh."

The Shahnameh or Shah-nama (Persian: شاهنامه‎ Šāhnāmeh, "The Book of Kings") is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 CE and is the national epic of Iran (Persia) and the Persian speaking world. Consisting of some 50,000 verses, the Shahnameh tells mainly the mythical and to some extent the historical past of the Persian empire from the creation of the world until the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century. Today Iran, Persian speakers of the neighboring nations such as Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and the greater region influenced by the Persian culture celebrate this national epic. The work is of central importance in Persian culture, regarded as a literary masterpiece, and definitive of ethno-national cultural identity of Iran. It is also important to the contemporary adherents of Zoroastrianism, in that it traces the historical links between the beginnings of the religion with the death of the last Sassanid ruler of Persia during the Muslim conquest and an end to the Zoroastrian influence in Iran."….

"In the Persian mythology, once a king possesses the divine xwarrah, he is invincible……Khvarenah or khwarenah (xᵛarənah) is an Avestan language word for a Zoroastrian concept literally denoting "glory" or "splendour" but understood as a divine mystical force or power projected upon and aiding the appointed. The neuter noun thus also connotes "(divine) royal glory," reflecting the perceived divine empowerment of kings. The term also carries a secondary meaning of "(good) fortune"; those who possess it are able to complete their mission or function….In 3rd-7th century Sassanid-era inscriptions as well as in the 9th-12th century texts of Zoroastrian tradition, the word appears as Zoroastrian Middle Persian khwarrah, rendered with the Pahlavi ideogram GDE, reflecting Aramaic gada "fortune." Middle Persian khwarrah continues as New Persian k(h)orra. …..Avestan khvarenah is probably derived from Proto-Avestan *hvar "to shine," nominalized with the -nah suffix. Proto-Avestan *hvar is in turn related to Old Indic svar with the same meaning. Other proposals suggest a linguistic relationship with Avestan xᵛar- "to eat".

"The hymn to Mithra speaks of the divinity as the "dispenser of khvarenah" (Yasht 10.16, 10.128, 10.141). Other texts describe Mithra as "most endowed with glory" (Yasht 19.35, Vendidad 19.15)….

"The Shahnameh chronicles the legendary history of the pre-Islamic kings of Iran from Keyumars to Yazdegerd III. Ferdowsi spent over three decades (from 977 to 1010) working on the Shahnameh, which became one of the most influential works of Persian literature….

"Yazdegerd III or Yazdgerd III (also spelled Yazdiger or Yazdigerd, Persian: یزدگرد سوم, "made by God") was the thirty-eighth and last king of the Sasanian Empire of Iran. His father was Shahryar and his grandfather was Khosrau II (590–628). Yazdegerd III ascended the throne on 16 June 632 when he was 8 years old after a series of internal conflicts….Yazdegerd III was almost the last living member of the House of Sasan. The Muslim conquest of Persia began in his first year of reign, and ended with the Battle of Oxus River. Yazdegerd III sought an alliance with Emperor Heraclius, who was an old rival of the Sasanian Empire…..When Yazdegerd arrived in Merv he demanded tax from the Marzbān of Merv, losing also his support and making him ally Nezak Tarkan, the Hephthalite ruler of Badghis, who helped him defeat Yazdegerd and his followers. After his defeat, Yazdegerd was killed by a local miller for his purse while he was trying flee from Merv in 651.….Yazdegerd's son Peroz III and Bahram VII fled to China.....

Tus (Persian: توس or طوس‎) also spelled as Tous, Toos or Tūs, is an ancient city in the Iranian province of Razavi Khorasan, near Mashhad. To the ancient Greeks, it was known as Susia (Ancient Greek: Σούσια). It was captured by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE…..The city was almost entirely destroyed by Genghis Khan's Mongol conquest during 1220-1259…..the most famous resident was the poet Ferdowsi, author of the Persian epic Shahnameh. His mausoleum, built in 1934 in time for the millennium of his birth, dominates the town……,_Iran

Click on map to enlarge

"The khvarenah is the archetype of the person one can grow to if allowed to grow to the limit of her or his capacity in grace, that is, in keeping with the fravashi….The khvarenah is also a person's higher calling - their meaning in life…A spenta mainyu - a brilliant, positive, constructive, and beneficent spirit - allows a person to perceive their higher calling and enables a person to choose asha, the path of goodness, and pursue her or his calling without expectation of reward….To lose oneself is to lose one's khvarenah…..In mythology, the khvarenah is like a bird that hovers over a person, and one that can fly away…A person's realization of her or his khvarenah is evidenced by a halo (farr in Persian), glowing brightly over her or his head - radiant as the sun…..A person's realization of her or his khvarenah cloaks that person with the aura of charisma and grace, the kind possessed by Zarathushtra and King Cyrus the Great…..Khvarenah and the resulting charisma enable leadership that does not rely on authority…..

"Farohar / Fravahar….The rock engraved image is called a fravahar or farohar (also spelt faravahar). It is an image found on rock inscriptions and carvings commissioned by the ancient Persian Achaemenian kings. The image is usually portrayed above the image of a king, and the figure in the farohar is identical to the king below in features as well as clothing. In his 1913 book Early Zoroastrianism, J. H. Moulton followed by J. M. Unvala, a Parsi scholar, in 1925, identified the image as a representation of the fravashi of the king or king's ancestor. In 1928, Dr. Irach Taraporewala (together with several Western scholars) identified the image as a representation of the king's khvarenah or farr. Since then, the farohar has become the principal symbol of the Zoroastrian faith and is displayed on the facade of many fire temples The symbol of the fravahar or farohar therefore has three meanings nowadays: As a general symbol of the Zoroastrian faith: a symbol of belonging to the Zoroastrian community and of being a Zoroastrian (a symbol in a manner similar to the Christian cross). As a fravahar or farohar: a general symbol of the united fravashi or a guardian angel. As a symbol used by a Persian Achaemenian king: a personal symbol of the king's khvarenah or farr, his kingship in grace, or his fravashi.

"The Role of Farr in Firdowsi's Shahname….The word farr, used in the contemporary Persian and Tajiki languages, was employed for the first time by Abu Mansur Muhammad Ibn-i Ahmad Daqiqi at the end of the 10th century AD. This word is originally derived from the Avestan word khwarnag. Its Pahlavi form is khwar. Other names for the farr in the ancient literatures of the Perso-Tajik peoples include farr-i izadi (glory of God), farr-i shahanshahi (the king of kings' glory), farr-i Ariya'i (the glory of the Aryans), and farr-i kayani (the glory of the Kayanian dynasty). 2 The farr plays three major roles in Firdowsi's Shahname. First, it distinguishes the peoples who inhabited Central Asia and Iran in ancient and medieval times. The major groups thus distinguished were the Iranians, the Turanians, and the Turks. Using the concept of farr, Firdowsi separates the Aryan Iranian and Turanians from the Uralic-Altaic Turks. He states that the Iranians have been in possession of the farr from the beginning of their history and that farr remains in their possession throughout the Shahname era. Firdowsi recognizes the Turanians as Iranians who had lost their farr after the reign of King Fereydun, who divided his kingdom among his sons. In subsequent periods of Iranian history, Firdowsi says, the Turanians sought to recapture their lost farr, often at the expense of the Iranians. Indeed, the first ten times that the name of Tur, the eponymous ancestor of the Turanians, is used in the Shahname (i.e., before Fereydun's tripartite division of the realm) it is blessed with the attribute of a farahmand. The third group, the Turks, according to Firdowsi, had never been associated with the concept of the farr. Their participation in the wars that occur between Iran and Turan on the subject of the farr is for reasons other than those of their Turanian overlords…" …..

"The third and the most germane role of the farr in the Shahname is guidance of the king in worldly affairs by providing him with a pre-ordained and sacred example of divine rulership. In this role, the farr puts the king in contact with the "perfect mind," especially when the king embarks upon epoch-making decisions (i.e., decisions that would affect the lives of many Iranians throughout centuries). Fereydun and Kaykhusrau, as it will be shown, are prime examples of epoch-making monarchs of the Perso-Tajik peoples. King Fereydun, by taking refuge in the power of kin (vengeance) distanced his descendants from Ahriman's harm. He also guided his successors, Iraj, Kayka'us, Siyavosh, and others, to recapture the spiritual unity that Iran had lost after the fall from grace of King Jamshid. Kaykhusrau, after a great deal of deliberation and study of the events of the past, rejected the concept of kin as an effective weapon against evil and sided with din (religion shorn of superstition and dogma) for the future of a unified Iran and Turan….Din, kin, and farr are inseparable aspects of the life of the ancient Iranians...

Kay Kāvus (Persian: كيكاوس‎; Avestan: Kauui Usan); sometimes Kai-Káús or Kai-Kaus, is a mythological shah of Iran and a character in the Shāhnāmeh…. Kāvus rules Iran for one hundred and fifty years……The Flying Throne of Kay Kāvus was a legendary eagle-propelled craft built by Kay Kāvus, used for flying the king all the way to China…."….ád

"The windhorse ceremonies are usually conducted in conjunction with the lhasang ("smoke offering to the gods") ritual, in which juniper branches are burned to create thick and fragrant smoke. This is believed to increase the strength in the supplicator of the four nag rtsis elements. Often the ritual is called the raising lungta, the "fumigation offering and (the throwing into the wind or planting) of the rlung ta high in the mountains." The ritual is traditionally "primarily a secular ritual" and "requires no presence of any special officiant whether public or private." The layperson entreats a mountain deity to "increase his fortune like the galloping of a horse and expand his prosperity like the boiling over of milk ….The Tibetan Buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa incorporated variants of many of the elements, particularly windhorse, drala, the four animals (which he called "dignities"), wangtang, lha, nyen and lu, into a secular system of teachings he called Shambhala Training."….


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….November 2013


No comments:

Post a Comment