On these pages you will find the rough works of
Raham Asha رهام اشه
concerning the Perso-Aryan world. The material on this site is constantly corrected and, hopefully, improved. If you want to cite anything here, please check with the author first.
A revised edition of the Pārsīg version of
The Memorial of Jāmāspa
Nēmvaštag-dibīrīh is one of the different types of writing used by the Persian scribe class to write treatises on astronomy, medicine, and philosophy, etc. –and not the Avesta and its Zand. The word nēmvaštag-dibīrīh means, according to Ḥamza, ‘half-changed handwriting’ . According to Dādveh this form of writing, called nēmvaštag, had twenty-eight letters and was used for medicine and philosophy.
The aim of the present note is to throw light on a “Persian” word gabr, applied by the Muslims to the Parsis. A western linguist , who seems to have consulted a Persian dictionary, gives, in his book, the Persian meaning of the word gabr thus: ‘ass; arse-hole’ .
Ḥamza of Spāhān
An account of the scripts and languages of the Persians
Ḥamza of Spāhān quotes Zardušt son of Ādurfarrōbay as his authority for an account of the scripts and languages of the Persians (“Perso-Aryans”)
Dedicated to the children and women of Kobānē
A Gurānī poem in « Pahlavi » script
There exists a short Gurānī poem, in four couplets, each of ten syllables with a caesura between two rhyming hemistiches. We learn from a note of B. P. Nikitine (1932) that it was engraved on an amulet (according to the testimony of a Kurdish prince, Sureya Bedr Khan); however, according to the testimony of another Kurdish personality, Saʿīd Khan Kurdestāni, it was written in “Pahlavi” script on a piece of parchment, and was found in Suleymanieh.
We are in ignorance about the author and also the date of the poem. For this reason, any speculation to classify it as a forged literary piece is absurd. Indeed, the text is a true Gurānī poem; and the content also reflects the spirit of a large part of the Perso-Aryans in the difficult period of defeat.
Ērān and Ērānšahr
The Pārsīg term ērān means ‘the Aryans’, and ērānšahr was the name of the Persian kingdom in the Sasanian period. Šābuhr in his great inscription presents himself as the ‘ruler of Ērānšahr’ .
The medicine for contentment
dārūg ī hunsandīh
The dārūg ī hunsandīh is a prescription for preparing the medicine of contentment.
The treatise Xusrō son of Kavād and a Page
The treatise husrav ī kavādān ud rēdak-ē (HKR) relates the story of a princely orphan from the district of Ēranvinārdkavād. The main part of it consists of questions and answers between king Husrō I (531-579 A.D.) and the Page.
From the original text only an incomplete Pārsīg version is extant. There exists an Arabic version based on our treatise which however places the story in the time of Husrō II (590-628 A.D.). There exists also a Persian version based on the Arabic version.
The coming of the King Vahrām Varzāvand
The present short text expresses the hope of the advent of Vahrām, the Aryan hero who will come in a future period and will restore the Aryan kingdom –in the Jāmāspīg he is the king of Pedišxvārgar. J. C. Tavadia established that it is a poem with rhyme (according to Bahar it is a verse-text with a series of twelve-syllable verses ), and called it “a rhymed ballad”.
There exists another text concerning the coming of King Vahrām. In fact, his compiler has interpolated some glosses in the original (above) text. Edgar Blochet found it in a manuscript which once before was at his disposal. Another copy is found in the manuscript R 591 (K.R. Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai), 49v-50 v.
The Wèi-shū and the Persian calendar
The Wèi-shū, or the Annals of the Wèi (dynasty), was written by Wèi shōu (506-572 A.D.), a high-ranking civil servant of the dynasty of the northern Qi (北齊). The account of Persia in the sixth century is found in chapter 102 of this book. It is almost identical with another Chinese account, the Běi shǐ (北史), or the book of the History of the dynasties of the North, completed by Lǐ yánshòu (李延寿) in 659 A.D., chapter 97.
Wèi shōu gives a few Persian dates, not according to the Persian “royal” calendar, but according to the Chinese lunar calendar. If we try to use his information by searching in the possible range of years to find one in which the 1st day of the 12th Chinese month was the 16th day of the Persian month Mihr (i.e., the feast day of Mihragān), and the 20th day of the 1st lunar month was one of the five additional days of the Persian year, we notice that these two dates correspond best to the fifteenth year of the reign of Xusrō Anōšervān (≈ 545-546 A.D.) –note that Wèi shōu completed his annals in 554 A.D.
Fortune the god
An old Aramaic inscription on a small silver plaque engraved around the representation of a fire-altar flanked by two big birds of prey
The Doubt-removing book of Mardānfarrox
Introduced, translated, and edited by
© Alain Mole, 2015
नाम्ना सर्व्वांगशक्त्याच साहाय्येनच स्वामिनो अहुरमज्दस्य महाज्ञानिनः सिद्धिः शुभा भुयात् प्रवृत्तिः प्रसिद्धिश्च उत्तमदीनेर्माज्दईअस्न्या वपुषिच पाटवं दीर्घं जीवितंच सर्व्वेषां उत्तमानां उत्तममनसां ॥
इदं स्कंदगुमानीगुजारनाम पुस्तकं मया नयरिओसंघेन धवलसुतेन पहिलवीभाषायाः संस्कृतभाषायामवतारितं विषमपारसीकाक्षरेभ्यश्च अविस्ताक्षरैलिखितं सुखप्रबोधाय उत्तमानां शिक्षाश्रोतृणां सत्यचितसां ॥
प्रनामः उत्तमेभ्यः शुद्धमतेभ्यः स्तयजिव्हेभ्यः सत्यसमाचारेभ्यः ॥ ॥
‘In the name and through the omnipotence and by the favour of the Lord Ahura Mazdā, may there be success, prosperity and fame of the Good Mazdayasnian Religion, health and long life of all the good (and) benevolent. This book, called +Šak-ud-Gumānīh-vizār, is translated by me, Nairyōsang son of Dhaval, from the Pahlavi language into the Sanskrit language, and transcribed from the hard [to decipher] Pārsī writing into the Avesta writing, for the easy understanding of the good hearers of the teaching, the right-minded. Salutation to the good, the pure-thinking, the true-speaking, the just-acting!’
The Lady of Ḥaṭrā and her alter-ego
Nanay of Ḥaṭrā
The divine triad of Ḥaṭrā, like that of Assur, consists of Māran ‘our lord’, Mārtan ‘our lady’, and Bar Mārēn ‘the son of our lord and lady’. The divine lord of Ḥaṭrā is called Šmeš ‘sun’. We find the legend “Ḥaṭrā da-Šmeš” and the image of the sun-god in some coins of this fortified settlement which became a small kingdom in the Parthian period. The Fortune (gaddā) in the shape of an eagle (nešrā) is possessed by the lord and, in some texts (H 79, H 88, H 155, and H 232) the lord is labelled “the eagle”: Māran Nešrā. These two aspects of the lord, Fortune (/ eagle) and Sun, are mentioned in the text H 74: Māran w-gaddeh wa-Šmeš. A Latin text from Ḥaṭrā describes the dedication of a statue by a Roman military tribune to Deo Soli Invicto ‘the god, the unconquered sun’, the (great) god of the religion of the city.
Texts from Ḥaṭrā
(Aramaic, Greek, and Latin)
The Cupola of the Earth
The central point on the dividing line between east and west of the inhabitable world, Xvaniraθa (Pers. Xvanirah), drawn from the North Pole to the South Pole, was called, by the Persian astronomers, gumbad ī zamīg/ gētīg ‘Cupola of the Earth’ (rendered by Arabic [1, and the Persian royal observatory was placed on that line. The Persian astronomical tables also gave a longitude of 90° E to the Castle of Kaŋha (Pers. Kangdiz) listed as the easternmost point; and, at the same time, some astronomers reckoned longitude west from the eastern prime meridian. Abū-Maʿšar of Balx (Bactria) measured longitudes west from Kangdiz, and some early astronomical tables in Arabic imply a base meridian in the Persian Cupola. But the later tables in Arabic placed the base meridian in the west, the Fortunate Isles (Arab. الجزاير العامرة, الجزاير الخالدات), or Ujjayinī (Arab. ارين). Ujjayinī was considered as the Cupola (and it was even called قبة ارين ‘the Cupola of Arīn’) and the point 90° west of Uajjayinī was equated with Ptolemy’s prime meridian of the Fortunate Isles. Then the issue of the Persian Cupola of the Earth became obscure, and endeavors to clarify it vain. For example, Bērōnī, in spite of having some acquaintance with the Royal (Persian) astronomical tables, states that: “I do not know whether this (concept of the cupola of the earth) is an expression or opinion of the Persians, or others; since the Greek books do not mention it.”
The Indo-Persian Divine Calendar
The so-called Tārīkh i Ilāhī
The Divine Era (تاريخ الهی / yazdīg māhrōz) was established by the order of the Indian king Akbar in the 29th year of his reign, A.H. 992/ A.D. 1584.
The architect of the sacred calendar was a Persian scholar, Šāh Fatḥullāh Šīrāzī.
The epoch of the sacred calendar, according to the Framān, was the date of the vernal equinox just after the accession of the great king Akbar, that is, 1 D. Y. (divine year) began on Tuesday
1556 A. D., March 10 = 28 Rabīʿ II, A.H. 963
The Colophons of Mihrābān Kayxusrō
About some corresponding dates of Pārsī and Hindū eras
Mihrābān Kayxusrō, a Pārsī teaching priest, at the instance of a Pārsī notable of Cambay (Guj. ખંભાત), Čāhil Sangan, came to India (probably in A. Y. 690/ A. D. 1321), and wrote several Avesta and Pārsīg manuscripts at Cambay, Thana (Mar. ठाणे), and Navsari (Guj. નવસારી). He also copied there the manuscripts copied by his great grand uncle Rustam Mihrābān. His literary activities are recorded up to the Pārsī year 720 (+ 20?) of Yazdegird.
The Lunar Hijra Calendar
Conversion of the Hijri and Yazdegirdī dates
In some Pārsī texts and colophons we encounter the years, months and dates of the Hijri date coupled with Pārsī months and days. Therefore we require knowing the corresponding dates of these two eras.
The dates in the Pahlavīg and Pārsīg
inscriptions of Durā (Europos)
Among the Perso-Aryan texts found in Dura –a city located on the west bank of the Upper Euphrates, re-founded by Macedonian invaders as a military settlement in about 303 B.C., and given the name Εύρωπός, flourished in the Parthian period since the end of the second century B.C., seized by the Romans about A.D. 165 who held it for some ninety years and made it a Roman garrison, and baptized it Colonia Europaeorum, and ultimately fallen into the hands of the Persian king Šābūr – eleven texts indicate dates: one, Parthian (pahlavīg), a graffito on the wall of the temple of Zeus Megistos; and ten, Persian (pārsīg) dipinti (painted texts) on the synagogue frescoes.
The Codex TD 26
In March 2011 I had an opportunity of visiting Mumbai, and seeing and reading some of the manuscripts of the library of the K.R. Cama Oriental Institute. Mrs. Dr. Nawaz Mody, Mr. Muncherji N. M. Cama and the librarians very kindly made all special arrangements required for an access of the manuscripts which were not yet listed. Out of twenty-four manuscripts I could page through I found two manuscripts of a special interest. I wrote by hand some fragments of them. Here is a brief survey of the contents of the codex TD 26, along with the transcription and translation of two texts of it.
Journal of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute,
N° 72, 2012, 9-21.
There exists a compilation of different fragments, written in Gujarati with interlinear Persian versions, on cosmography. The text of the treatise is found in the end of one manuscript of the Xvardag Abestāg.
Sentences of the Spiritual Wisdom
dādestān ī mēnōg xrad
The dādestān ī mēnōg xrad (also called the dānāg ud mēnōg xrad ‘The Wise and the Spiritual Wisdom’) is a Pārsīg book in form of the questions of a wise (dānāg) from the Innate Wisdom who is with Ahura Mazdā. The word mēnōg xrad means ‘spiritual wisdom’ or ‘wisdom in the world of thought’ (or, as understood by Nairyōsangh, paralokīyā buddhiḥ ‘the other world’s wisdom’). The book was transcribed into Pāzand and translated into Sanskrit by Nairyōsangh. It was translated into Persian and Gujarati by the Parsi priests of Persia and India. There are also at least two versions of it in Persian verse.
The Ẓafar-Nāma of Buzurgmihr
The Ẓafarnāma ‘book of victory’ is a short collection of moral and political maxims written in Pārsīg by Buzugmihr (Vazurgmihr), the wise counselor of the Persian king Husrō Anōšervān, and translated into Persian, as stated in Ḥājī Ḫalifa’s Kašf al-ẓunūn (‘The Removal of Doubt’), by Avicenna.
Indeed two different tracts exist under the title of “ Ẓafarnāma”. The framework of both texts is the question-and answer, i.e., the questions are put by Vazurgmihr to his master, together with the answers of the latter. The first version does not give the name of his master, while the second version calls him Aristotle. The second tract departs from the spirit of Vazurgmihr and is rather a mystical text.
The month of Spendārmed, the day of Spendārmed
On the day of the festival of the women, called Mizdgīrān
On the 5th day (or Spendārmed rōz) of the Persian month Spendārmed, there was the feast of Spendārmed (Av. Spәṇtā Ārmaiti), a holy Immortal (or, a goddess) that represents the earth. On this day the Yasna ceremony was performed, and the draona of Seven Amәṣa Spәṇta consecrated.
It was a day on which the wives made requests of their husbands and claimed the satisfaction of their wishes and extravagant demands, and the men used to make the women liberal presents. It was known among the Persians (and Parthians) as the Jašn ī Mizdgīrān (/ Jašn cē Miždgīrān), i.e., the ‘present-taking feast’. Bērōnī described it as the annual women’s day festival (عيدالنساء), and stated that this custom was still flourishing in his time at Spāhān, Ray, and in the other districts of Pahlav.
This day was also famous for the charm written on paper pieces, or on the skin of a deer, with saffron water, to ward off the stings of scorpions. According to Bērōnī the Persians fixed three such paper pieces on three walls of the house; and according to a Persian “Rivāyat” the charm was posted on the front door of the house. They also fumigated the house with five things: storax, the horn of a small cattle, frankincense, wild rue, and cotton-seeds. Before inscribing the charm or fumigating the house the Vāz of Aṣa Vahišta was performed. On this day, the special formula of gravel (Nīrang ī Sangrēzag) was consecrated, and gravel or sand was sprinkled in all the corners of the household to repel noxious insects and reptiles.
The Lady and the eight-pointed star
On the cylinder seals and tablets of Elam we find the representation of stars, moon and sun from the third millennium B.C. For example, a seal cylinder from Susa, from around 2500 B.C., shows the figure of a goddess seated on lion(s), and next to her the representation of crescent moon, sun-disc and eight-pointed star.
A yet older artefact, a vase from Jīruft, shows the representation of the crescent moon and the star with eight points surrounding a central dot. We find the representation of the eight-pointed star with crescent moon on the coins of the Parthian and Elymaean kings.
In these examples the star symbol may represent the third-brightest object in the night sky, after the moon, i.e. the planet Venus; and it is possible that it bore the name of the Lady of Elam, Pinigir, and that of the Lady of Jīruft, and in the Parthian period that of the Lady Anāhīd.
The book of the crown of Husrō
تاجنامهء خسرو انوشروان
بس پند که بود آن گه بر تاج ِ سرش پيدا
سد پند ِ نو است اکنون در مغز ِ سرش پنهان
A number of manuscripts in Arabic and Persian give some information about the crown of Husrō Anōšervān and mention some sayings inscribed on. There is a text in Persian which gives the translation of each saying first in prose and then with a comment in verse. The text was compiled by a Zoroastrian (at least, by heart) who lived in the twelfth century. There exist other texts with additional sayings which probably come from other sources and do not reflect the original text.
A fragment in Turkic runic script from Toyok
About the virtues of the seven planetary bodies and the five kinds of amulets and stones
There exists a fragmentary text concerning the terrestrial properties and patronages of the planets, found in Toyok (Turfan), from the ninth century. It describes the colour of stones corresponding to the planets, and the colour of the “water” of these stones. The order of the planets is not the order in the “Chaldaean” model, but that of the planetary week. However, two planetary bodies, Sun and Mars, are lacking.
The Treatise of Thirty Days
In the Vizargird dēnīg, there is a hemerology in which each of the thirty days of the month and each of the five days of the epact is given a number of activities to be undertaken or avoided: mādayān ī sīh rōzag (MSR).
Suhravardī and Āδar Kēvān
The “Parsi” School of Āδar Keyvān
The “Parsi” School of Āδar Keyvān
يک انگليسی، ادوارد استراک نام، راهنامه ای نهاده است از ايورز ِ خويش به ايران به سال ِ 1881. او به راه ِ خود از فيروزآباد به لار يک دو روز ِ ماه ِ مارس به آبادی ِ کاريان پايد. کاريان ميان ِ سه گريوة سنگی گنارده است. استراک آن جای اويرانة دزی بيند پروسته به ديوار؛ امروزه آن دز "چاه تشی" (چاه ِ آتشين) خوانند. او افسانی اباز گويد از زبان ِ پادرم ِ کاريان
The Story of Me˓īn of Šiggar
آزند ِ معين
The story of Me˓īn is a good piece of propaganda for converting to Christianity the people of Mesopotamia.
The topics of the story are: Me˓īn, the general of the Persian Army; Benjamin, the messenger, who goes to Šiggar to convert Me˓īn; Me˓īn’s conversion and baptism, Christianism and the eulogy of death; Me˓īn, described as being previously a chief Magian; the pantheon of the Magi ; the missionary work of Me˓īn “the healer”; the Persecution of the pagans ; the festival of Nabû.
From Mullā Fērōz
Some comments on Dastur Aspandiārjī Kāmdīn’s work on “the kabīsa”
In 1195 A.Y./ 1826 A.D. the Pārsī Dastōr Aspandiārjī Kāmdīn of Broach published a book, in Surat, to offer a historical account of the ancient leap-year of the Pārsīs, that is, the truth of the kabīsa (“intercalation”) in the ancient Zoroastrian calendar. Mullā Fērōz began writing a series of letters in the Pārsī newspaper, the Bombay Samācār (સમાચાર), to refute his thesis. Dastōr Aspandiārjī had used for the support of his view a Persian book called the Zīj i Jalālī. Mullā Fērōz suspected that the above book was composed sixty or seventy years ago by a Pārsī Dastōr (Aspandiār’s father?) to confuse the common Pārsīs. Indeed the Zīj i Jalālī (or, Malikšāhī) had been written by Xayyām in the 11th century; but the absence hitherto of any manuscript of that zīj enhances the doubt of Mullā Fērōz. Notice that, during the same period of the kabīsa controversy, another Pārsī Dastōr, Edaljī Navrōjī, used the treatise attributed to Cāndā (16th century) to prove the practice of intercalation in the ancient Pārsī ritual calendar. In the thick of the calendar controversy, and some months after the printing of his book, Dastōr Aspandiārjī passed away. Mullā Fērōz’ request as regards the text of the above zīj met no response.
سخن يکچند در: انجمن ِ فرهنگ ِ ايران، پاريس 25 ژانويه 2013 / خور روز ِ مهر ماه ِ 1382 يزدگردی
مرگی ِ بيزمان به بينش ِ ايرانی و گرمنی
جز مرگِ اَچار ِ بيبازگشت که اندر اَئوگمديچا ازش سخن رفت ايستد –و اندر افسان ِ سومری و اکدی گيلگمش نيز يابيم–، اندر ايادگاران ِ ايرانی و گرمنی (/ اسکانديناوی) پَرمانة مرگی يابيم کی آرايش و راستی بر هم زند و گشوبش و دروغ بدش چير گردد. آن آزند از بند ِ زندگی به زمان گويد، ای هر زنده را زمانی بخت ايستد، و چون پيمان ِ زمان پُر بوِد، تيغ يا داس ِ زمان آن بند به برّد. و اين از مرگ ِ بيزمان گويد.
La mort de Baldr et la mort de Syāvaršan et Spəṇtōδāta
La mort de Baldr, dans la religion des Germains, révèle, non pas l’avènement sans retour de la mort inévitable de l’homme dans le monde matériel –le thème qu’on trouve dans le texte avestique Aogәmadaēcā –, mais la mort inattendue, comme on voit dans une série de légendes perso-aryennes qui mettent en scène la mort inattendue du héros qui dérègle ainsi l’harmonie cosmique, et propage la guerre, la famine et le mensonge. Alors la légende prend la forme de la « réparation ».
An example of the « Persian Royal Calendar »
Some chronological data in Aphrahat’s Demonstrations
Aphrahat (Pers. Frahād), a Jew before his conversion to Christianity, who lived within the Persian kingdom (Ērānšahr) in the fourth century, who expected (and possibly collaborated with) Constantine to be successful in his preparation to invade Persia, who is ironically known to us as the “Persian Sage”, has given, in his Demonstrations, these chronological data.
نامهء خورتاب رسا بر سه پرتو
The book Xvartāb ‘sunshine’ is written by Syāvaxš ī Ohrmazdyār, a Parsi/ Irani belonging to the school of Āδar-Kēvān, in 1860 A.D. It describes a calendar (called Humāyōn ‘fortunate’) inspired by the Persian “Royal” calendar based on a 33-year arithmetic cycle with 8 leap years which dates back to the eleventh century.
The 33-year cycle consists of seven leap years of 366 days after three ordinary years of 365 days, and one leap year after four ordinary years. Each year has 12 months of 30 days. At the end of the 12th month, Spendārmed, five additional days (panja) are added in the ordinary years, and six additional days (šaša) in the leap years. The average year length in such a scheme equals 365.242424…
The epoch of Humāyōn calendar was Wednesday, the first day of the first month, Fravardīn, corresponding to March 21, 1860 A.D. –notice that the vernal equinox of that year was on Tuesday, March 20, 09:05 U. T. When seven cycles will be completed, the first day of Fravardīn will be again a Wednesday. Thus, this period of 231 years forms a complete period.
(to learn and teach, to write and read)
The education of the ancients (Av. aēθra- ‘teaching’) was intended to form the student (aēθrya- ), typically an Aθravan or Magian , in a particular function or office: First, that of aēθrapaiti ‘teaching priest’ ; then, that of zaotar ‘officiating priest’ ; and, finally, that of a perfect scholar by whom the Truthful Wisdom is rescued from collective oblivion, and the Religion from doubt.
The scholars of old were called paoirya t̰kaēša ; later on, a perfect scholar –priest or layman– received the title of “the wise one” .
هيربدستان کردن ابَر شمردن ِ مَهرهای دين را و نيز برای آثرون گشتن بود. آثرون مغی بود که با آذر و هوم سر و کار داشت. آثرون نام ِ پيشة نخست، آن ِ مغان، گشت؛ و هر کی اندر اين پيشه زاده بود، آثرون توانستی گشتن، اگر او به آموزش پرداختی. اين آموزش برای مغ گشتن و به پارسی هيربدستان کردن خوانند. فريزة آموزگار اباز سپردن ِ "دانش" ِ خويش بود، و نه گروانيدن ِ کسان. با اين همه مغانی بودند که برای پيکار با جُددينان، و يا پذيرانيدن ِ چاشته ای اندر کسان، و گاه اندر ديگر مغان، به روستاها و کوستها ء ديگر همی شدند
سه يک ِ شبانروز
بخشش ِ يزشی ِ شبانروز، بخشش ِ چهری ِ شبانروز، بخشش ِ دخشه مند ِ شبانروز
گوهر و فرهنگ
چيست آن سنگ ِ ناديدنی و ناگرفتنی که پارسيان "گوهر" خوانند، آن گوهر کی آسن (ع. فطری) است و نه گوشسرود (ع. اکتسابی)؛ زايشی است و نه آموزشی؟