Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Vedas, Upanishads, the Avesta & Proto-Indo-Iranic Languages (2100 BC)


Click Here to View the Main Index


"Grammatically there is little difference between the languages of the Avesta and the Vedas. Both languages underwent systematic phonetic change. However, according to Thomas-Burrow, in his book, The Sanskrit Language: ' It is quite possible to find verses in the oldest portion of the Avesta, which simply by phonetic substitutions according to established laws can be turned into intelligible Sanskrit.' ....The languages of the Avesta and the Vedas shared some vocabulary that is not shared with the other Indo-European languages....."...

"The Vedas are perhaps the oldest written text on our planet today. They date back to the beginning of Indian civilization and are the earliest literary records of the whole Aryan race. They are supposed to have been passed through oral tradition for over 100,000 years. They came to us in written form between 4-6,000 years ago......The Vedas are divided into four groups, Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. Each group has an original text (Mantra) and a commentary portion (Brahmana).....The Brahmana again has two portions, one interpreting ritual and the other the philosophy. The portions interpreting the philosophy of the original texts constitute the Upanishads......There are also auxiliary texts called Vedangas. Vedic literature refers to the whole of this vast group of literature. The whole of Rgveda and most of Atharvaveda are in the form of poetry, or hymns to the deities and the elements......Samaveda is in verses that are to be sung and Yajurveda is largely in short prose passages. Both Samaveda and Yajurveda are concerned with rituals rather than philosophy - especially Yajurveda."....

"The Vedic forms of belief are one of the precursors to modern Hinduism. Texts considered to date to the Vedic period are mainly the four Vedas, but the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and the older Upanishads as well as the oldest Shrautasutras are also considered to be Vedic.....The rishis, the composers of the hymns of the Rigveda, were considered inspired poets and seers (in post-Vedic times understood as "hearers" of an eternally existing Veda, Śrauta means "what is heard")."

"The Upanishads are regarded as part of the Vedas and as such form part of the Hindu scriptures. They primarily discuss philosophy, meditation, and the nature of God; they form the core spiritual thought of Vedantic Hinduism. Considered as mystic or spiritual contemplations of the Vedas, their putative end and essence, the Upanishads are known as Vedanta ("the end/culmination of the Vedas"). The Upanishads do not belong to a particular period of Sanskrit literature. The oldest, such as the Brhadaranyaka and Chandogya Upanishads, may date to the Brahmana period (roughly before the 31st century BC; before Gita was constructed), while the youngest, depending on the canon used, may date to the medieval or early modern period......The word Upanishad comes from the Sanskrit verb sad (to sit) and the two prepositions upa and ni (under and at). They are sacred tests of spiritual and philosophical nature. Vedic literature is divided into karmakanda containing Samhitas (hymns) and Brahmanas (commentaries), and gyanakanda containing knowledge in the form of the Aranyakas and Upanishads. Thus each Upanishad is associated with a Veda, Isha-upanishad with Shukla Yajurveda, Kena-upanishad with Samaveda, and so on.......The earliest Upanishads may have been composed between B.C. 800 and 400.........There have been several later additions, leading to 112 Upanishads being available today. But the major Upanishads are ten, Isha, Kena, Kattha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Shwetashwatara, Chhandogya and Brihadaryanyaka. The teachings of the Upanishads, and those of the Bhagavat Gita, form the basis of the Vedanta philosophy......The Isha-upanishad emphasizes the identity of the human soul with the divine soul. The Kena-upanishad discusses the qualities of the divine essence (Brahman) and the relationship of the gods to the divine essence. The Katha-upanishad, through the story of Nachiketa, discussed death and the permanence of the soul (Atman). The fairly long Chhandogya-upanishad develops the idea of transmigration of souls. The rihadaryanaka -upanishad, the longest of the Upanishads, bears the message of the completeness of the divine essence, and the associated peace. As literary remnants of the ancient past, the Upanishads - both lucid and elegant - have great literary value. ".....

“Avesta” is the name the Mazdean (Mazdayasnian) religious tradition gives to the collection of its sacred texts. The etymology and the exact meaning of the name (Pahlavi ʾp(y)stʾk/abestāg) can not be considered established...... The twenty-one nasks “books” of the Avesta, which were created by Ahura Mazdā, were brought by Zaraθuštra to king Vištāspa....... The Avestan texts can not be dated accurately, nor can their language be located geographically.....Avesta is the collection of texts in Avestan, and Zand their translation and commentary ..... The interest of the book of Avesta is twofold; on the one hand, it transmits to us the first Mazdean speculations and, on the other hand, it contains the only evidence for Avestan, an Old Iranian language which together with Old Persian constitutes the Iranian sub-division of the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European. The Avesta is a compilation of ancient texts, which we owe to the collaboration of the Mazdean priesthood and the Sasanian political power, but of which, unfortunately, only a fraction has been transmitted to us by the Parsi communities of India and Iran, which still remain true to the old religion. The corpus which Western scholarship has reconstituted is found in manuscripts that all date from this millennium; the most ancient dates from A.D. 1288."....

"The languages of the two scriptures, the Zoroastrian Avesta and Hindu Rig Veda, are similar but not identical, indicating that at the time of their composition, the people of the Avesta and the Rig Veda were related and close neighbours - in a fashion similar to two provinces within one country - provinces where the people spoke two dialects of the same language.....The following is an example of the closeness of the Avestan Old Iranian and Rig-Vedic (Sanskrit) languages:
Old Iranian/Avestan: aevo pantao yo ashahe, vispe anyaesham apantam (Yasna 72.11)
Old Indian/Rig Vedic: abade pantha he ashae, visha anyaesham apantham
Translation: the one path is that of Asha, all others are not-paths.
...At the time the earliest sections of the Avesta and Rig Veda were composed, the Aryans were residents of the Aryan lands or Aryan nation, called Airyana Vaeja or Airyanam Dakhyunam in the Avesta and Arya Varta in the Hindu scriptures. In the Avestan and Hindu texts, Airyana Vaeja or Arya Varta was a beautiful but mysterious mountainous land..... While the precise location of the original Aryan homeland is lost to us, we have been left with ample clues which allow us to draw reasonable conclusions about its likely location, the mountain regions of Central Asia.......The name Airyana Vaeja was contracted over the years to Airan Vej, Iran Vej (in Middle Persian texts) and finally to Iran.......The two Indo-Iranian Aryan groups eventually ceased to be close neighbours. They separated and migrated to present day India and Iran, becoming Indians and Iranians in the process.".......

"Indo-Iranian migrations.......The Indo-Iranian language and culture emerged in the Sintashta culture (c. 2100–1800 BCE), where the chariot was invented. The Indo-Iranian language and culture was further developed in the Andronovo culture (c. 1800–1400 BC), and influenced by the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (c. 2300–1700 BC). The Indo-Aryans split off around 1800–1600 BC from the Iranians,[ whereafter Indo-Aryan groups moved to the Levant (Mitanni), northern India (Vedic people, c. 1500 BC), and China (Wusun)..... Thereafter the Iranians migrated into Iran.."....Anthony, David W. (2007). The Horse The Wheel And Language. How Bronze-Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped The Modern World. Princeton University Press.

Mipham's commentary on the Shambhala sections of the Kalachakra Tantra......Page 9......

"The Rigdens other than Rigden Raudrachakrin are of the Asura family because of bestowing fear. If one thinks this explanation is not suitable, Palden Raudrachakrin having a short spear bestows fear in the asura family. So it is taught.... The linguistic history indicates that the Aryans ("Indo-Europeans"....."Iran") originally formed a single people until the beginning of the 2nd millenium BC when the Deva worshipping Indian Aryans and the Asura worshiping Iranian Aryans went separate ways....... ... The Kalachakra discusses the expulsion of the Deva worshippers from Shambhala and refers to the Rigden kings as Asura." (Ehsan Yarshater: 684..... Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. III/2, 1987. ) .....Ehsan Yarshater is the founder and director of The Center for Iranian Studies, and Hagop Kevorkian Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at Columbia University. He is one of the 40 editors of the Encyclopædia Iranica.

"Sir William Jones reveals his admiration for the eldest son of Shah Jahān, the scholar prince Dārā Šokōh, who had inherited the syncretic mantle of his great-grandfather, Akbar, composing a Persian text entitled Majmaʿ al-baḥ-rayn (The Mingling of the Two Oceans) that maintained that the fundamental tenets of Hinduism were essentially monotheistic and identical with those of Islam. Jones also followed Dārā Šokōh’s lead in being drawn to the late Vedas, the Upanishads. Dārā Šokōh had assembled a team of pandits from Benares to translate the Upanishads into Persian, producing in 1657 the Serr-e akbar (The Great Secret). Jones also loved revealing great secrets and, although Anquetil-Duperron had translated four of the Upanishads from the Serr-e akbar into French in 1787, and later published the influential Oupnek’hat (1802) which included the entire fifty-one Upanishads of the Serr-e akbar, Jones’s Isa-Upanishad was the first direct translation of an Upanishad from the Sanskrit into a Western language....." Sir William Jones (1746-1794), orientalist and judge, noted for his enduring commitment to a syncretic East-West synthesis and unshakeable belief in cultural pluralism.

"The Vedic period (or Vedic age) (ca.1750–500 BC) was the period in Indian history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed.....During the early part of the Vedic period, the Indo-Aryans settled into northern India, bringing with them their specific religious traditions. The associated culture (sometimes referred to as Vedic civilization) was initially a tribal, pastoral society centred in the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent; it spread after 1200 BC to the Ganges Plain, as it was shaped by increasing settled agriculture, a hierarchy of four social classes, and the emergence of monarchical, state-level polities.....The end of the Vedic period witnessed the rise of large, urbanized states as well as of shramana movements (including Jainism and Buddhism) which challenged the Vedic orthodoxy.".....Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press

"Stephanie W. Jamison and Michael Witzel in Arvind Sharma, editor, The Study of Hinduism. University of South Carolina Press, 2003, page 65: "... to call this period Vedic Hinduism is a contradiction in terms since Vedic religion is very different from what we generally call Hindu religion - at least as much as Old Hebrew religion is from mediaeval and modern Christian religion. However, Vedic religion is treatable as a predecessor of Hinduism."

"Rishi (Sanskrit: ṛṣi, Devanagari: ऋषि) originates from the ancient Hindu culture of the Indus region earth-based cultures. Rishis were the scribes of the large body of nature hymns and spiritual science known as the Vedas….A Rishi (or rishika, when referring to female rishis) is a sage of insight, one who practices self-cultivation as a Yogini or Yogi and attains asamprajñata Samadhi. ....…In the Kalachakra…..there is an event which shows that this country was not entirely free of historical conflict. This concerns the protest of a group of no less than 35 million (!) Rishis (seers) led by the sage Suryaratha ("sun chariot”). As the first Kulika king, Manjushrikirti, preached the Kalachakra Tantra to his subjects, Suryaratha distanced himself from it, and his followers, the Rishis, joined him. They preferred to choose banishment from Shambhala than to follow the “diamond path” (Vajrayana)…….The Rishis worshipped only the sun. For this reason they also called their guru the “sun chariot” (suryaratha). But the Kulika king had as Kalachakra master and cosmic androgyne united both heavenly orbs in himself. He was the master of sun and moon." ….. (Bernbaum, 1980, p. 234).

Map of northen India in the later Vedic Period

"The Upanishads are sometimes referred to as Vedanta, variously interpreted to mean either the "last chapters, parts of the Veda" or "the object, the highest purpose of the Veda". The concepts of Brahman (Ultimate Reality) and Ātman (Soul, Self) are central ideas in all the Upanishads......The Upanishads are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions. Of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads are at the spiritual core of Hindus.......More than 200 Upanishads are known, of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main (mukhya) Upanishads. The mukhya Upanishads are found mostly in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas and were, for centuries, memorized by each generation and passed down verbally. The early Upanishads all predate the Common Era, some in all likelihood pre-Buddhist (6th century BC), down to the Maurya period. Of the remainder, some 95 Upanishads are part of the Muktika canon, composed from about the start of common era through medieval Hinduism. New Upanishads, beyond the 108 in the Muktika canon, continued to being composed through the early modern and modern era, though often dealing with subjects which are unconnected to the Vedas."....

"The Upanishads (Sanskrit: उपनिषत्, IAST: Upaniṣat, IPA: [upəniʂət̪]; plural: Sanskrit: उपनिषदः) are a collection of texts in the Vedic Sanskrit language which contain the earliest emergence of some of the central religious concepts of Hinduism, some of which are shared with Buddhism and Jainism."

"Avestan language.....Avestan /əˈvɛstən/, formerly also known as "Zend", is an Iranian language of the Eastern Iranian division, known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name. Its area of composition comprised ancient Arachosia, Aria, Bactria, and Margiana, corresponding to the entirety of present-day Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The Yaz culture of Bactria-Margiana has been regarded as a likely archaeological reflection of the early Eastern Iranian culture described in the Avesta.....Avestan's status as a sacred language has ensured its continuing use for new compositions long after the language had ceased to be a living language. It is closely related to Vedic Sanskrit, the oldest preserved Indo-Aryan language.".....Witzel, Michael. "THE HOME OF THE ARYANS" Harvard University. "Since the evidence of Young Avestan place names so clearly points to a more eastern location, the Avesta is again understood, nowadays, as an East Iranian text, whose area of composition comprised -- at least -- Sīstån/Arachosia, Herat, Merw and Bactria."

Click on the map to enlarge


May 2015

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico


No comments:

Post a Comment