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Rigveda and Avesta Comparison? Evidence Of India, Persia Relationship!

Rigveda and Avesta

Rigveda is the most established of the Vedas. The various Vedas depend on it and comprise to a vast level of different songs from it. It comprises of a thousand such psalms of various soothsayers, each song averaging around ten verses. The Rig Veda is the most established book in Sanskrit or any Indo-European dialect. Its date is begging to be proven wrong. Numerous incredible Yogis and researchers who have comprehended the cosmic references in the songs, date the Rig Veda as before 4000 B.C., maybe as right on time as 12,000. Current western researchers tend to date it around 1500 B.C., however late archeological finds in India (like Dwaraka) now seem to require a considerably prior date. While the term Vedic is frequently given to any layer of the Vedic lessons including the Bhagavad Gita, in fact it applies principally to the Rig Veda.

Rigveda & Avesta, Evidence Of India & Persia Relationship

Scholars have traced out the relations between India and Persia to very ancient times. After a comparison of the Rigveda and Avesta, it is

Rigveda and Avesta

There are many common gods in the Rig Veda and the Zend Avesta. The Iranian gods Mithra, Yima and Verethragna have their counterpart in the Indian Mitra, Yama and Indra Vritra Han.

The Rigvedic gods Rudra and Nasatya become the Zoroastrian demons Saurva and Naonhaitya plotted the destruction of Zoroaster and were, therefore, condemned as evil spirits.

These gods of the Vedas become demons in the Avesta and the very words for gods and demons came to have a contrary meaning.

Rigveda and Avesta Evidence

  • The Vedic word ‘Deva’ has its counterpart in the Avesta as ‘Daeva’. The Vedic word ‘Asura’ has its counterpart in the Avesta as ‘Ahura’.
  • The Vedic ‘Yama’ has its counterpart in the Avesta ‘Yima’. Not only these names are similar but the same applies to their fathers.
  • Yama is the son of Vivasvat and Yima is the son of Vivanghvat. Yama is conceived as the first man or the ‘sole existing mortal.’
  • Yima is the first among men with whom ahura Mazda conversed and commanded him to further and increase the world.
  • This latter aspect occurs in the Rigveda where Yama is called ‘Lord of races, the father.’ Both are connected with death.
  • Yama is actually called Death in Rigveda. Yama occurs largely in a human capacity in Vedas as Yima does in the Avesta.
  • There is a link between the dogs of Yama described as four-eyed watchers who guard the pathway to the underworld and the two dogs each having four eyes who guard the Chinvat Bridge leading to the next world in the Avesta.
  • It is also possible to show close and striking-parallels between the Vedic Mitra and the Avesta Mithra. Mithra gives light just as the moon does.
  • Varuna and Mitra give that like the moon. Mithra goes driving each day in a chariot with one golden wheel drawn by four immortal horses having gold and silver shoes.
  • Mitra and Varuna mount the gold-hued car at break of morning or ascend their sun chariot into the heavens. Mithra makes the plants grow and waters move.
  • Mitra and Varuna cause plants to flourish and rains to spread. Mithra is worshipped with Haoma juice after spreading Barsom grass, Mitra and Varuna are invoked by worshippers with invitation to sit on Barhi grass and drink Soma juice.
  • Mithra punishes contract-breakers and his eight friends watch the contract-breakers like spies from high places.

Mitra and Varuna have species who visit every spot and watch unceasingly. The word for spies in the Avesta is Spaso and in Sanskrit it is Spas.

There are certain common religious and mythological notions. The Vedic word ‘Yajna’ meaning sacrifice has Yasna as its counterpart in the Avesta. Likewise, the counterpart of Hotar meaning priest is Zaatar, that  of Apah meaning waters is Apo, of Vayu meaning wind is Vayu, of Apam Napat meaning son of waters is Apam Napat and of Gandharva meaning a deity connected with songs is Gandarewa. There are also pointed out that “not only single words and phrases but even whole stanzas may be transliterated from the dialect of India into the dialects of Iran without change of vocabulary or construction.”

Rigveda and Avesta-Yajna

  • The gods Indra, Vayu, Mitra, Naonhaithya and Verethragna of the Avesta are compared to the gods Indra, Vayu, Mitra, Nasatya and Vritra respectively of the Vedas.
  • we have passages in the Avesta which can be compared with those in the Vedas. The Vedic god Varuna is stated to correspond to the Avestan god Ahuramazda and Yamato Juma.
  • Some of the references in the Rigveda are stated to refer to Persia or Persian connection in the days gone by.
  • The Parthavas are stated to refer to Persians. It is mentioned in the Avesta that Hapta-Hindu (India) was the fifteenth of the 16 lands created by Ahura.
  • There is also a reference to a mountain called Us-Hindutva which may be Hindukush or the Himalayas.

The Boghaz-Koi inscriptions of about 1400 B.C. refer to certain contracts made between the King of the Hittites and the King of Mitani.

  • In those inscriptions some gods are mentioned as the protectors of those contracts. The names of those gods are considered to correspond to the names of the following Rigvedic gods: Mitra, Varuna, Indra and the Nasatyas.
  • As these gods were also known to the Avesta, it is the opinion of some scholars that they were the common gods of the undivided Aryan people prior to their separation as Indians and Iranians.
  • It is pointed out that the spellings of the names in the above inscriptions point out to their Rigvedic origin.

The famous letters from Tel-el-Amarna refer to some Mitani princes with names of Sanskrit from, e.g., Sutarna, Tushratta, Artatama, etc.

  • Some princes of the Kassites ruled over Babylonia and they had Sanskrit names like Martha’s (Marutas), Shurias (Surya), etc.
  • A list of the deities worshipped in Assyria in about 700 B.C.  was found in the library of Assurbanipal.
  • That list includes the name of Assara-Mazas which is equivalent to the Ahura-Mazda of the Avesta.
  • However, the form Assara is nearer the Sanskrit word Asura than Ahura of the Avesta.

Rigveda and Avesta links Between India and Persia

Afghanistan and Baluchistan were the links between India and Persia. Vedic scholars and the scholars of the Avesta maintain that the common territories referred to in the Rigveda were in the districts indicated by the river Kumbh (Kabul), Krumu (Kurram) and Gomati (Gomal). There are also references to Gandhara.

Thrita-Trita Asvins-Aspina, Ushangh. Usas, Druh-druj and other minor deities such as Armaiti, Aryaman, Farohars and Pitris, Yatu and others for whom the parallelisms in name and functions have been drawn by  S. K. Hodivala in his book entitled Indo-Iranian Religion.

rigveda - India Persia Relations

  • The word ‘Sapta Sindhu’ in the Vedas has its counterparts as Hapta Hindu in Avesta. The world ‘Soma’ in the Vedas has its counterpart as Haoma in the Avesta.
  • There is a detailed resemblance between plants in the Vedas and the Avesta. From the Avesta, it appears that the Airyas of Iran divided themselves according to their professions. There they are listed as the Athravans or priests, Rathaeshtars or warriors, Vactrya or agriculturists and the Huiti or the artisans class.
  • These correspond to the Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras in India. Trade and commerce between India and Babylon was carried through the Persian Gulf before the seventh century B.C. There seems to have been a very close relationship between the two countries.

Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenian domain was established by Cyrus I who ruled from 558 B.C. to 530 B.C. He vanquished Bactria, Assyria, Babylonia and Media.

He even progressed towards India through Gedrosia (Mekran), yet to surrender the undertaking, getting away with seven men as it were.”

Rigveda and Avesta Cyrus I

  • It gives the idea that he couldn’t build up his power past the Kabul valley where, as per Pliny, Cyrus wrecked the renowned city of Kapisi.
  • Cyrus I was succeeded by his son Cambyses but the latter was completely busy in the affairs of Egypt and consequently no advance was made in the required directions.
  • Daryavesh or Darius was the third sovereign of the Achaemenian dynasty and he ruled from about 522 to 486 B.C.
  • Three of his inscriptions throw some light on the relations between India and Persia. In the Behistun Rock inscription dated 520-18 B.C.
  • Gandara or Gandhara is mentioned in the list of his subject countries. His Persepolis inscription of 518-515 B.C.
  • Clearly mentions the Punjab as a part of the Persian empire. His third inscriptions of Nakshi-Rustam also refers to the Punjab as a part of his empire.

It is clear from above that the Indus Valley was conquered by Darius. This fact is also supported by Herodotus who states that out of the 20th Satrapies of Darius, the twentieth division was in India.

  • He also says that the Indians paid a tribute which was larger than all the rest. The amount was fixed at 360 talents of gold dust which is equivalent to a million pounds sterling Herodotus also tells us that in about 517 B.C.,
  • Darius sent a naval expedition under Scylax, a Greek adventurer, to explore the Indus.
  • Skylax equipped a fleet upon the upper waters of the Punjab rivers in the province of Gandhara and in the thirteenth month reached the sea.
  • Thus, the Indus Valley was annexed by Darius and a fleet was sent into the Indian Ocean.

As per Herodotus, Darius kept up an extraordinary Indian drive which took noticeable part in the wars amongst Greece and Persia.

The Indian unexpected comprised of infantry, mounted force and chariots and was directed by a Persian general called Pharnazathres.

Its troopers battled with stick bows and iron-tipped bolts. Its chariots were drawn by wild asses. Herodotus was awed by the cotton dress of the Indian fighters.

  • The control of Persia over the Indian satrapy appears to have kept amid the rule of Xerxes of Khshayarsha.
  • This is adequately demonstrated by an engraving of Xerxes from Persepolis. In that engraving, Gandhara and Sindhu are said as his Satrapies.
  • It is additionally demonstrated by the nearness of Indian powers in his armed force which was utilized by him to attack Greece. Herodotus has given the accompanying portrayal of the Indian troops: “The Indians, clad in articles of clothing made of cotton, conveyed bows of stick and bolts of stick, the last tipped in iron.”
  • It is conceivable that the control of Persia over the above Indian regions proceeded up to the season of Darius III who, as indicated by Arrian, utilized Indian troops in the clash of Arbela of 330 B.C. against Alexander.

With respect to degree of Persian domain in India, V.A. Smith watches: “In spite of the fact that the correct furthest reaches of the Indian Satrapy (under Darius) can’t be resolved, we realize that it was particular from Aria (Herat), Arachosia (Kandahar) and Gandhara (N.W. Punjab).

It more likely than not contained, in this manner, the course of the Indus from Kalabagh to Sea, including the entire of Sindhu, and maybe incorporated a significant part of Punjab, east of the Indus.”

It is possible that by the time of Darius III, the control of Persia over the Indian provinces must have grown weak and the whole of North-Western India was parcelled out into innumerable kingdoms and republics who were fighting against one another.

No wonder, they could not present a united front against Alexander. The Nandas of Magadha also did not try to bring the regions under their control.

Persian Influence on India

  1. The contact between India and Persia must have influenced India in many ways. In the first place, Persian coins were current in the Indian dominions. The standard gold coin of Persia was Daric. The silver Persian coin was called Sigloi or Shackles. Both gold and silver coins were imported into India.
  2. The Kharosthi script was introduced by the Persian officials in the north-western frontier and this continued to be in use till the fourth century A.D. The Kharosthi script was derived from the Aramaic script of Persia.
  3. The mainstay of Asoka with round ringer molded abact and bull or lion capital are of unadulterated Persian source. The utilization of winged creatures as capitals of columns was obtained from Persia. The style of the decrees of Asoka appears to have been obtained from Persia. An engraving from Taxila is in Aramaic script and that demonstrates the hold of the Persian dialect.
  4. Indian dealers conveyed their merchandise to the different parts of the incomprehensible Persian realm and that additional to the business thriving of the nation. Indian researchers and thinkers moved openly in the Persian domain and that prompted nearer relations with Western nations all in all and Greece specifically. Indian logicians have been alluded to as putting inquiries to Socrates. They doubted Socrates about the question of his reasoning and his answer was that it was an investigation into human undertakings. The answer of the Indian thinkers was that “nobody could ask into human undertakings on the off chance that he was insensible of heavenly ones.”
  5. The Persian nobles were utilized by Mauryan rulers. This is adequately demonstrated by the specify of Tushpa, a Persian, as the Governor of Kathiawar in the rule of Chandragupta Maurya.
  6. Chandragupta Maurya acquired the hair-washing function from the Persian rulers. In like manner, the custom of consuming hallowed fire in the room where the gatherings of the Council of priests were held, was presumably additionally obtained from Persia.
  7. Persian women (Yavanas) were employed by Indian rulers as their bodyguards and that must have brought many families from Persia to India in search of fortune.
  8. The Persians taught the Indians the technique of giving lustrous polish to stone. Hellenistic influence on Indian art was received through Persia.
  9. The example of the great empire of Persia must have given birth to the idea of the unification of Northern India.

 

Also Read:

Four Sacred Sanskrit Vedas in English

Indo Europeans And Aryans

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