Inception of both the Religions :

Both Zoroastrianism and Vedic Aryans have similar origins, pay homage to the same spiritual seers, venerate the same gods and even have the same verses throughout the early scriptures. Mazdaen scholars Zubin Mehta and Gulshan Majeed had noted a similarity of Kashmiri customs with Zoroastrian ones. In the modern era, some Mazdaen clerics had visited Kashmir, who include Azar Kaiwan and his dozen disciples, and Mobad Zulfiqar Ardastani Sasani who compiled the Dabistan-e Mazahib.

Zarathustra was definitely a Kashmiri Brahman from India as he was an Atharvan, who called himself a zaotar, manthran and datta. He was referred to as an erishi and ratu. He also wore the sacred thread and dressed like a traditional Kashmiri Pandit, compiled Gathas containing Vedic verses, worshiped Varun (Ahura Mazda) and venerated other holy Vedic Asurs. He lived as an ascetic in a cave for some time and also had other traits similar to that of an Indian Brahman, not to mention other customs similar to those of Kashmiri Aryans. Linguistically, not only were some verses he wrote direct excerpts from the Veds but the closest languages to his own, Avestan, are Sanskrit and Kashmiri. Both, the Vedic geography of Yam's domain and the Mazdaen geography of Yim's domain correspond to an area in central Kashmir. The geographical description of Zarathustra's birthplace in the Mazdaen scriptures match Kashmir's Diti (Daitya) and Indus (Veh) rivers and Urni Jabbar (Jabr) Mountain within Baramulla district. In addition, the descriptions of neighboring regions adjacent to Airyanem Vaeja, such as Ataro-Patakan, Kohistan, Kangdez and Panjistan match those of places surrounding Kashmir. Apart from these places in Mazdaen scriptures being in conformity with places in and around Kashmir, the birthplace of Tonpa Shenrab is also adjacent to Zarathustra's. (That makes sense because the religions of the 2 saints are similar in their concepts dualism, cimeration, and customs such as wearing of white turbans for sages.) Ancient scholars, such as Clement of Alexandria and Ammianus Marcellinus, connecting Zarathustra to Brahmans can definitely be seen, and even in modern times Godfrey Higgins had called him "Zerdusht the Brahmin."

It is definitely not hard to imagine Brahmans in an Afghan king's court as there have been throughout history, and even during Zarathustra's time he converted at least 2 other Brahmans of the court, Changragach and Byas. Zarathustra also mentions having dealt with the Angiras, and Nodha.

Similarities :

Zoroastrianism originated in India :

Although some western depictions falsely show him as European-looking with brown hair and eyes, and white skin, the Bahram Yasht declares Athravans are black-haired

Zarathustra's name :

"Avesta Y.XIX. named a hierarchy of five leaders, the supreme being called Zarathustrotema." - Duncan K. Malloch.

Just as the pseudonyms Gautam Buddh, Vardhman Mahavir, and Guru Nanak are reflective of the sages' names and titles, so too is the case of Zarathustra Spitama. 'Zarathustra' is a name that relates his devotion to Ahura Mazda.

"There are the master of the house, the lord of the borough, the lord of the town, the lord of the province, and the Zarathustra (the high-priest) as the fifth".

- Avesta Yasna 19.18.50

Zarathustra' as a class of 'ustras' is alluded to in the Atharv Ved.

"Three are the names the ustra bears, Golden is one of them, he said. Glory and power, these are two. He with black tufts of hair shall strike".

- Atharv Ved 132.13-16

The ustras referred to in this passage are definitely humans because elsewhere too Atharvans with black hair (i.e., implying theur youth) are praised. In Mazdaen scriptures too, Athravans with black hair are praised.

"O Zarathushtra! let not that spell be shown to any one, except by the father to his son, or by the brother to his brother from the same womb, or by the Athravan to his pupil in black hair, devoted to the good law, who, devoted to the good law, holy and brave, stills all the Drujes".

- Khorda Avesta 2.4.10

There was "the Armenian Zoroaster, grandson of Zostrianus" ("Zostriani nepos"), who was the Pamphylian friend of Cyrus the Great. There was also a "Zoroaster" of Babylon whom Pythagoras had written of meeting. Further, the Changragach-Nameh and the Zarathusht-Nameh were written by Zarathusht Behrairi Pazdu, while Zaratusht Bahram was an important Mobed. Thus, this explains that the 'Zoroaster' written about after 6th century BCE wasn't always necessarily Zarathustra Spitama, and we can also cancel obscure regions as his supposed birthplace.

Zarathustra's surname 'Spitama' comes from his ancestor Spiti. This name traces its roots to the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, just south to Kashmir. This is also supported by the fact that Zarathustra had taken solitude at age 15 to Mt. Ushidaran which the Greater Bundahishn identifies as Mt. Kaf. Today is a village in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh named Kaf.

'Spitama' itself has the Vedic Sanskrit attribute of containing 'tama', like the gotra patronyms of Gautama, Asvattama, Padmottama, Ratnottama, and Dirghtama(s), as well as the titles of hiranya-vasi-mat-tama, rathi-tama, ratna-dha-tama, and sasvat-tama.

Background of Rishis :

According to the Rig Ved, Vashishth Rishi was the son of Mitra-Varun by Urvashi. Aitareya Brahman mentions this of Brhaspati, and Gopath Brahman to that of Atharvan.

Athravans of India :

"These were probably at first identical with the Vedic Atharvans (fire-priests), as indeed Zoroastrianism is merely an advanced stage of Brahmanism." - Chambers' Encyclopedia

Bahram Yasht declares Athravans are black-haired.

Zarathustra was of the Athravan (Atharvan) priestly caste. The Avesta declares that Zarathustra was an Athravan.

Hail to us! for he is born, the Athravan Spitama Zarathustra. Zarathustra will offer us sacrifices with libations and bundles of baresma with libations and bundles of baresma and there will be the good Law of the worshipers of Mazda come and spread through all the seven Karshvares of the earth.

- Avesta 24.94

The Atharvans are associated with fire symbolizing it to be as sacred to them as it was to the later Athravans. Bharadvaj says to Agni that Atharvan has churned Agni out from the lotus, from the head of everything. Vitahavya also says that the Atharvans have brought Agni from the "dark-ones" (i.e., nights.)

Angras are Angirasas :

Further, Zarathustra in his Gathas alludes to "old revelations", and praises the Saoshyants (fire-priests), and even exhorts his party of attendees to praise the Angras. Aryan scriptures know the Angirasas (descendants of Rishi Angiras) as the composers of the Atharv Ved, or as the "Atharvangiras" and the Ved is also known as the Angiras Ved. (Angras are in no way connected to Angra Mainyu, the opposer of Ahura Mazda whose name means Dark Spirit.) Hence, those Angras mentioned by Zarathustra are also Vedic rishis. He is referred to by some rishis in the Rig Ved as their "father". Angira is a son of Varun, as are Bhargav and Vashishth. Angirasas are sacerdotal families with ceremonial practices in the Atharva Ved. Their connection to the sacred fire is such that the Rig Ved also names Agni as Angiras, and that the sons of Angiras were born of Agni. In the RV, Angirasas were called "Sons of Heaven, Heroes of the Asur."

The fact that Bhargavs are, like their subgroup Angirasas and the Athravans, also descendants of Vashishth is established in Purans. Hence, Kava Usan (Shukra Acharya the Bhargav) is venerated and included as one of the holiest sages in Mazdayasna because he was also from Vahista (Vashishth).

Sraosha of the Avesta is Brhasa (Brhaspati) of the Veds who was the son of Angiras, so Sraosha is also of the category of Angras mentioned in the Avesta.

Zarathustra was of Vashishth Gotra :

The Denkard scripture specifically mentions that Zarathustra was a descendant of the law-giving immortals (Amesha Spentas, to which the Vahistas belong), as well as of "King Jam" Mazdaen scriptures mention Vahista (Vashishth) within the Avesta, wherein he is an Amesha Spenta mentioned as Asha Vahista. In Mazdayasna, Asha Vahista is a divine lawgiver and guardian of the Asha. Vashishth is a law-giver sage in many instances within the scriptures and is even quoted by other rishis, such as Bhrigu and Manu, when they prescribe societal laws. Asha Vahista is also closely associated with the sacred fire in several Avestan passages, just as Vashishth is. Vashishth would have been a popular gotra in Kashmir especially because a major ashram of his was here, Vangath.

The Atharvans are descended from Vashishth Rishi. Vashishth's dedication to Atharvan is demonstrated in the Rig Ved wherein after being filled with anger, he calms himself by reading the Atharv Mantra. Vedic scholar Mallinatha writes in his commentary of the Kiratarjunya that the Sastras declare that the mantras of Atharv Rishi are preserved by Vashishth. Just as there are several Vashishths within the community, the Avesta acknowledges that there are several Vahistas, and refers to them as the "Lords of Asha." Even in the Vahistoistri Gatha, Francois De Blois notices that it consists of verses with a variable number of unstressed syllables.

Avestan as a dialect of Sanskrit :

"Slowly and gradually, it dawned upon them that the language of the Gatha and Zendavesta has very great kinship with the Sanskrit language; when the grammar of Panini, Katyayana, and Patanjali was applied then the Gathas and Zendavesta came to be understood by the westerners. The lesson from this amazing fact is clear that once the Iranians of the Gatha and Zendavesta and the Indo-Aryans of the Veds formed one single race, speaking language akin to Samskrta." - Yaqub Masih

It is known that both Vedic Sanskrit and the Zhand Avestan languages were very close. In fact, some scholars have even stated that "the Parsi was derived from the language of the Brahmans" like various Indian dialects. This view point was supported by "Zend language was at least a dialect of the Sanskrit." Max Muller, William Jones and Nathaniel Brassey Halhed put forward this viewpoint.

Erskine Perry also was in the view that Avestan was a dialect of Sanskrit and was exported to ancient Persia from India but was never spoken there and his reasoning for this is that of the seven languages of ancient Persia mentioned in the Farhang-i-Jehangiri, none of them is referring Avestan language. Another scholar perpetuating the viewpoint of Avestan being a Sanskritic/Prakritic dialect was John Leyden.

"Zend is a Brahmin language." - J.G. Cochrane

List of some Sanskrit and Avestan words :

gold hiranya zaranya
army séna haena
spear rsti arsti
sovereignty ksatra khshathra
lord ásur ahura
sacrifice yajńá yasna
sacrificing priest hótar zaotar
worship stotra zaothra
sacrificing drink sóma haoma
member of religious community aryamán airyaman
god dev dev
demon rákshas rakhshas
cosmic order rta arstat/arta

List of some Sanskrit and Avestan names for gods :

Status within Mazdayasna
Apam Napat Apam Napat Yazata Son of water, a god
Aramati Armaiti Amesha Spenta Archangel of immortality
Baga Bagha Yazata A sun god
Ila Iza Yazata Goddess of sacrifice
Manu Manu(shchihr) Ancestor Son of Vivanhvant
Marut Marut Yazata Cloud god
Mitra Mithra Yazata A sun god
Nabhanedista Nabanazdishta Ancestor Name of Manu
Narasansa Nairyosangha Yazata A fire god
Surya Hvara Yazata A sun god
Trita Thrita Yazata God of healing
Twastra Thworesta Yazata Artificer of the gods
Usha Ushah Yazata The Goddess Dawn
Varun Varuna Ahura Mazda (one of his 101 names) The Wise Lord, creator of all
Vayu Vayu Yazata A wind god
Vivasvant Vivanhvant Yazata A sun god
Vritrahan Verethragna Yazata Slayer of Verethra
Vashishth Vahista Amesha Spenta Archangel and lawgiver to humanity
Yam Yima King A pious king of Airyanem Vaeja

Zarathustra portrayed on a pillar of the Shakt-Vaishnav Birla Mandir, Jaipur, Rajasthan. Aryanism's pluralistic tradition recognizes the pious sage as a saint in the list of the world's spiritual gurus

Zarathustra portrayed on a mural of the Shree Saibaba Satsang Mandal, Surat, Gujarat. He is shown next to Jalaram (left) and Vivekanand

Apart from the gods that are common to both Zoroastrianism and Aryanism, names of some other Aryan gods are carried by even modern day Persian speakers. For example, the names 'Shiv' (Charming) and variations of 'Ram' (Black) are used by Iranic speakers, such as Persians and Pashtuns. King Ram is also added in names such as 'Shahram' (King Ram) and 'Vahram'/Bahram' (Virtuous Ram), which was the other name of Verethragna mentioned in the Bahram Yasht of the Avesta. The Sassanian kings took the Vahram title, such "Vahram I" (ab. AD 273-276.) Toponyms as well include 'Ram'/'Raman' in their syntax, such as Ramsar in Iran.

Daeva does not mean Dev :

"The term daeva as synonym with rakshash and distinct from dev survives in Kashmir." - Ashvini Agrawal

Whereas the root of the Avestan word 'daeva' is "dae" meaning god, of 'dev' it is "div", which means light. Zarathustra wrote in his Gathas, "daenae paouruyae dae ahura!". Hence, the word for religion in Avestan is daena.

That dev carries positive connotations is seen in Gatha 17.4 Yasna 53.4 wherein Ahura Mazda is said to be a "devaav ahuraaha."

As Airyanem Vaeja is in Kashmiri, the Avestan and Kashmiri vocabulary are similar. 'Dai' is still used by Kashmiris to refer as god.

Many Avestan verses are from Veds :

The Rig Ved is believed to have been the oldest scripture in the world. In it are verses that are identical to ones within the Zhand Avesta, except the dialect of the Avesta is in Avestan. Ahura Mazda, whom the Mazdaens worship as the Supreme Lord is the Avestan equivalent to Vedic Sanskrit's Asur Medhira or Asur Mada. These terms mean "Wise Lord" and in the Rig Ved this phrase appears in a few places, in one verse being "ksayannasmabhyamasur".

Zoroastrianism and Aryanism With bending down, oblations, sacrifices, O Varun, we deprecate thine anger:
Wise Asur, thou King of wide dominion, loosen the bonds of sins by us committed.

- Rig Ved 24.14

There are several passages in the Veds (especially the Atharv Ved) and Avesta that are identical, with the only difference that they are in the different dialects, Avestan and Vedic Sanskrit.

There are two sets of Mazdaen scriptures; the Zhand Avesta and the Khorda-Avesta. The Zhand contains 3 further sets of writings, known as the Gathas compiled by Zarathustra, and the Vendidad, and Vispered. (Not surprisingly, Vedic Aryan scriptures also have collections known as Gathas, such as the Vasant Gatha and Theragatha.) The Khorda contains short prayers known as Yashts. They are written in a metre much like the Veds. Normally they contain 15 syllables known in Sanskrit as Gayatri asuri) like hymns of the Rig Ved, or Ushnih asuri such as in the Gatha Vohu Khshathrem or of 11 syllables in the Pankti asuri form, such as in the Ustavaiti Gatha.

Some scholars also note that there is a connection between Bhargav Rishi and Zoroastrianism, as the Atharv Ved portion composed by him is known as Bhargav Upasth and the latter word is the Sanskrit version of the term 'Avesta'.

"The Avesta is nearer the Ved than the Ved to its own epic Sanskrit." - Dr. L. H. Mills

Some identical verses from Veds and the Avesta :

Rig Ved (10.87.21) /
Zhand Avesta (Gatha 17.4 Yasna 53.4)
mahaantaa mitraa varunaa samraajaa devaav asuraaha sakhe

sakhaayaam ajaro jarimne agne martyaan amartyas tvam nah

mahaantaa mitraa varunaa devaav ahuraaha sakhe ya fedroi vidaat

patyaye caa vaastrevyo at caa khatratave ashaauno ashavavyo

O Ahura Mazda, you appear as the father, the ruler, the friend, the worker and as knowledge.

It is your immense mercy that has given a mortal the fortune to stay at your feet.

Atharv Ved 7.66 /
Zhand Avesta (Prishni, Chapter 8, Gatha 12)
yadi antareekshe yadi vaate aasa yadi vriksheshu yadi bolapashu

yad ashravan pashava ud-yamaanam tad braahmanam punar asmaan upaitu

yadi antareekshe yadi vaate aasa yadi vriksheshu yadi bolapashu

yad ashravan pashava ud-yamaanam tad braahmanam punar asmaan upaitu

O Lord! Whether you be in the sky or in the wind, in the forest or in the waves.

No matter where you are, come to us once. All living beings restlessly await the sound of your footsteps.

Rig Ved /
Zhand Avesta (Gatha 17.4, Yasna 29)
majadaah sakritva smarishthah madaatta sakhaare marharinto Only that supreme being is worthy of worship.
Atharv Veda / Zhand Avesta (Yasna 31.8)
vishva duraksho jinavati vispa drakshu janaiti All (every) evil spirit is slain.
Atharv Veda / Zhand Avesta
vishva duraksho nashyati vispa drakshu naashaiti All (every) evil spirit goes away.
Atharv Veda / Zhand Avesta
yadaa shrinoti etaam vaacaam yathaa hanoti aisham vaacam When he hears these words.

Why Zarathustra's teachings are called Zhand Avesta :

The Avesta is also known as the Zhand Avesta. Zhand is the Avestan equivalent of 'Chhand'.

Zoroastrianism and Vedic Aryans O Kshatriya, the verses that were recited by Atharvan to a conclave of great sages, in days of old, are known by the name of Chhandas. They are not be regarded as acquainted with the Chhands who have only read through the Veds, without having attained to the knowledge of him who is known through the Veds. The Chhands, O best of men, become the means of obtaining Brahm (Moksh) independently and without the necessity of anything foreign.

- Mahabharat Udyog Parv Chapter 43:4

The word 'Avesta' comes from Sanskrit 'Abhyast', which means Repeated. Hence, the Avesta (Abhyast) is basically a repetition of Zarathustra's teachings.

Zarathustra was born in Kashmir :

A close-up of Airyanem Vaeja and the neighbors in the time of Zarathustra

Airyanem Vaeja and its adjacent areas the neighbors in the time of Zarathustra

The continents of Arezahi and Khvaniratha. These are the ethnic realms that writers of the Bundahishn describe. They saw Airyanem Vaeja as essentially the cradle-land of their culture (i.e., Iranian languages) so included it within Pars

These are the continents that the Indians and Iranians saw dividing the eastern world island

Same continents with Sanskrit names

Zarathustra is usually shown wearing a dhoti, (Indian-fashioned garment), unlike the Balkhans to whom he preaches

The birthplace of Zarathustra has been a subject of dispute ever since the Greek, Latin and later the Muslim writers came to know of him and his teachings. Cephalion, Eusebius, and Justin believed it was either in Balkh (Greek: Bactria) or the eastern Iranian Plateau, while Pliny and Origen thought Media or the western Iranian Plateau, and Muslim authors like Shahrastani and al-Tuabari believed it was western Iran. While Zarathustra's place of birth has been postulated in various places even in modern times, including within areas not historically included by authors, such as in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, a few scholars have believed that he was born in Kashmir. Shrikant G. Talageri and T. Lloyd Stanley were proponents of this Kashmiri Airyanem Vaeja viewpoint. Mazdaen scriptures mention repeatedly that Zarathustra was born in Airyanem Vaeja, also known as Airyanam Dakhyunam. However, Zarathustra moved from there to Balkh, where he was given sanctuary by its king and he had become a royal sage. The Mazdaen scriptures further say that many other people of Airyanem Vaeja had moved out with the dramatic climate change whereby snow and cold weather became much more frequent. Zarathustra was regarded as a pious Godman for the Balkhan administrators of his time and India was recognized as a center of spiritual and scientific wisdom. This is why Mazdaean scriptures show that King Vishtasp's court was already familiar with the Indian Brahman adviser Changragach who was teacher to minister Jamasp, even before Zarathustra's arrival to Balkh. The Brahman Byas was also welcome in King Vishtasp's court and met and had become a disciple of Zarathustra. King Vishtasp (Greek: Hystaspes) was the father of King Darius I of the Balkh Kingdom and he had studied astronomy amongst the Brahmans of India.

There are similarities noticed by scholars such as Subhash Kak and Zubin Mehta which are described by them between Mazdaen practices of Kashmiri Aryans. These include the sacred thread for women (called aetapan in Kashmiri) and the sacred shirt (sadr.) The festival of Nuvruz in commemoration of King Yim is known as Navreh in Kashmir which is celebrated by Kashmiri Aryans. Furthermore, the folklore of Kashmir too has many tales where devs are antagonists to both devs and Asurs. As the title Zarathustra has many variations, such as 'Zartust' and 'Zardost', the Sanskrit equivalent of his title is 'Haritustra Svitma'. The 'p' in 'Spitama' corresponds to a 'v' in Sanskrit just as Avestan 'Pourusarpa' is 'Purusharva' is Sanskrit. Whereas the consonant 's' of many Sanskrit words becomes 'h' in Avestan, 'Svitama' maintains its letter because it is followed by a 'v', just as how the 's' in Sanskrit 'ashva' (horse) becomes 'aspa' (i.e., 'Dhruwaspa' means She who possesses strong horses, and animals within names were more common, such as Yuvanashva and Vindhyashva.) As 'Spitama' means white, the Sanskrit word for the color-based name is 'Svitama'. Svita is a metaphorical characteristic associated with purity and normally associated with Brahmans in the Veds. For example, the Rig Ved describes the Vashishth Rishis as 'svityam' (white), 'svityanco' (dressed in white) and white-robed. Zarathustra dresses in white as well Mazdaen priests also dress up in white. The connection between Vashishth Rishis with Atharvan Rishi is a very close one.

Identification of Avestan sacred places in Kashmir.

Kashmir itself has taken on various endonyms and exonymns, which can make pinpointing whether an author is talking about the region. In this case, the Mazdaen scriptures refer to it as Airyanem Vaeja and Anu-Varshte. In addition to these, the region has been called Kashmar, Kashir, Kashrat, Kasherumana, Khache-yul, Kasperia, and Kipin, Vitastik, and it together with Balawaristan is known as Hari-varsh, Naishadha-varsh, Uttara-Path, and Dev-Kuru. It has symbolic and historic association with rishis, and has been known as Rishivaer/Rishi-wara (Land of Rishis.) Even Persian literature has mentioned the words Reshi, Reshout, and Rea-Shivat when speaking about Kashmir. Firdaus (Paradise) is another Persian word that has been used to describe Kashmir. The word Airyanem within the phrase Airyanem Vaeja means Of the Aryans. Jain mantras use the term in the salutations, such as "Namo Airiyanam" in the Namokar Mantra, and "Om Hreem Namo Airiyanam" as an astrological mantra for Jupiter.

Why Airyanem Vaeja is also called Anu-Varshte :

The Avesta mentions 'Anu-varshte daenayai', meaning "religion of Anu-land." This prayer requests the help of Ardvisura to help Zarathustra able to convince King Vishtasp to accept the 'religion of Anu-Varshte.' The Anu tribe, also known as Anavas in many Aryan scriptures, were based in Kashmir. There's even a village called Ainu Brai after them within Pahalgam tehsil of Anantanag in Kashmir. That they later annexed nearby lands, including Balkh in Afghanistan, is evident from scriptures such as that of Panani's that tells us of Anava settlements.

In the Anava lineage, 7th in descent from Anu were brothers Usinar and Titikshu. The territories gained by the Anavas was split by these brothers wherein Usinar had grasped Kashmir and the Punjab while Titikshu gained rulership over eastern territories of Ang (Bihar), Vang (Bengal), Suhma, Pundra, and Kaling (Orissa.)

Because Kashmir has prehistorically been the Anava stronghold, even during the Dasarajna War as the Rig Ved mentions, it is acknowledged as such both in Aryan scriptures (i.e., Atharv Ved) and in the Mazdaen Avesta.

One of the reasons why historically Balkh and some other regions of modern Afghanistan were Indianized (and hence, referred to as Ariana) is because the Anavas also held areas of Afghanistan under their suzerainty. In Vrtlikar, Sage Panini (from Afghanistan himself) mentions that there are 2 Anava settlements of the Usinar called Ahvajal and Saudarshan. Even scholarly Chinese visitors to ancient India, Fa Hien and Yuan Chwang describe the story of a certain King Usinar told at Udyan (modern Swat Valley where people are mostly ethnically Afghans) that sacrificed his life to save that of a dove's.

To little surprise the Kurma Puran mentions Anava being 1 of the 7 sons (Saptrishis) of Vashishth, meaning that Vashishth had married within the royal family. Within the same Manavatar era another son of Vashishth was Shukra or Kavi Usan (Kava Usan of Mazdaen scriptures), meaning that Vashishth had likely married multiple women.

Jabr Mountain is Urni Jabbar Mountain :

Zarathustra's birthplace Urni Jabbar (Avesta's Jabr Mountain) and his city of residence Raihan Bag (Avesta's Rai)

Zarathustra was said to have been born in the village of Raji by the Darej River near the Jabr Mountain. In Vendidad 1.16 where the city of Ragha is referred to the Pahlevi commentators add that it is in Ataro-Patakan. In Kashmir, there is a village of similar name, Renji in Sopore district. There are other villages and towns bearing 'Rai' in their names. These are Raipura, Raika Gura, Raika Labanah, Raika Mahuva, Rainawari, and Rai'than. Kashmir bears the villages Raj Pora Thandakasi Dareja is also mentioned to be where Zarathustra's father lived hence, Zarathustra lived there too. Today in Kashmir there are the 2 rivers Darga Burzil and Darga Rattu that merge to form the larger Astore River.

Amui (Amar) is Amartnath in Kashmir :

The sorcerer (Zandak), who is full of death, founded a city of Amui (Amar), and Zardusht, descendant of Spitama, was of that place.

- Satroiha-i Airan 59

This verse is saying that Zarathustra was of this place, meaning he likely spent a significant portion of his life there. This is also the opinion Carl Bezold and Louis Herbert Gray.

Amarnath pilgrimage is Anantanag district, bordering Baramulla district, where Zarathustra was born.

Rai is Raihan Bag in Kashmir :

Zarathustra was of that place (Rai.)

- Vendidad

This village is very close to the Urni Jabbar mountain, it is in Khag tehsil in the Badgam district.

Daitya River is the Jhelum :

Arapath (Diti) rises in Hairbal Ki Galli and flows southward until it merges with Bring, which in turn merges with Lower Jhelum near Danter village

Scriptures mention the original homeland of the religion and of Zarathustra, but due to placename changes, the exact location has been hard to pinpoint. Daityas are also mentioned (as are Danavs) in ancient Mazdaen texts as good beings. It is believed that the homeland of the Aryans is located by the Daitya River as said in this Avesta quote, "Airyanem Vaejo vanghuydo daityayo", which Darmesteter translates as "the Airyana Vaejo, by the good (vanghuhi) river Daitya." In later scriptures, the river is known as 'Veh Daiti' wherein the Veh refers to the Daiti being its tributary. Veh in the Bundahishn is mentioned as the Indus River. Bundahishn mentions that Veh is also called Mehra by Indians, and surely enough Mehra is a town along the Indus. Veyhind (Udabhandapur, modern Hund) is also a town reflecting Indus' Veh-name. Further, Vahik was the name of a kingdom around the Indus and its meaning is Land of the River. (Here was Arattdesh or Panchanad.) Kashmir has a river named Diti which is said to have been an incarnation of Diti, mother of the Daityas. The connection between the Diti River of Mazdaen scriptures and the patriarch Diti of Aryan scriptures has been observed by James Hewitt. Daityas have been mentioned in Aryan Epics as staunch Asurs. This river is also popularly called as Chandravati, Arapath or Harshapath. The Arapath Valley begins where the Arapath (Diti) stream stems out of Jhelum. Because the Diti becomes the Jhelum at their stem, the Mazdaen scriptures just call the entire Jhelum as Daitya River. They also refer to it as the Veh Daiti because the Jhelum itself merges into the Indus, which the Bundahishn calls 'Veh'. (The entire Jhelum is certainly known by many names in India.) Just as the Bundahishn calls the Daitya "the chief of all streams", scholars note the Jhelum has more streams than any other Indus tributary.

Zarathustra used to bathe in the Dareja affluent of the Daitya. In the same way, Aryans are encouraged to bathe in it among rivers of Kashmir.

After that on the 14th of the dark-half of the month, one should take bath, before sun-rise, in the cool water of the Vitasta or the Visoka or the Candravati or the Harsapatha or the Trikoti or the Sindhu or the holy Kanakavahini or any other holy river or the water-reservoirs and the lakes.

- Nilamat Puran, verses 501-503

King Vishtasp used to perform sacrifices along the Dareja. In the same way, Aryans are encouraged to perform execute the Rajasuya ceremony along the Diti.

By bathing in Harshapath, one is honoured in the world of Sakra and by bathing in Candravati one gets the merit of (giving) ten cows.

Holy is the river Harshapath and so also is Candravati. The wise say that there accrues (the merit of the performance of) Rajasuya at the confluence of these two.

- Nilamat Puran, verse 1349-1350

Dareja is an affluent of Daitya River :

The (Dareja) Lower Jhelum River coming out of Wulur Lake

The Dareja is the lower Jhelum from which stretches from Hairbal Ki Galli to Muzaffarabad to join the other part of the Jhelum that stretches Mangla Reservoir to Muzaffarabad. Today this stream is known as the Lower Jhelum.

For the occurrence of the seventh questioning, which is Amurdad's, the spirits of plants have come out with Zaratust to a conference on the river Dareja's high ground on the bank of the waters of the Daiti.

- Zadsparam 22.5.12

Of those eighteen principal rivers, distinct from the Arag river (Amu Darya) and Vêh river (Indus), and the other rivers which flow out from them, I will mention the more famous: the Arag river, the Vêh river, the Diglat river (Yarkhun) they call also again the Vêh river, the Frât river, the Dâîtîk river (Jhelum), the Dargâm river, the Zôndak river, the Harôî river (Harirud), the Marv river, the Hêtûmand river (Helmand), the Akhôshir river, the Nâvadâ river, the Zîsmand river, the Khvegand river, the Balkh river (Balkhab), the Mehrvâ river they call the Hendvâ river (Indus), the Spêd river, the Rad river which they call also the Koir, the Khvaraê river which they call also the Mesrgân, the Harhaz river, the Teremet river, the Khvanaîdis river, the Dâraga (Jhelum's stream Lower Jhelum) river, the Kâsîk river, the Sêd ('shining') river Pêdâ-meyan or Katru-meyan river of Mokarstân.

- Bundahishn, Chapter 20.7

Bundahishn's Kohistan is Kohistan of Karakoram Range :

Gurjistan is 1 of the ethnic regions of Kashmir, and is mentioned in Mazdaen scriptures as possessing the Daitya River. Here, Gurji is the predominant language

The Daitik river (Datya) rises in Airan-vej and flows through Kohistan.

- Bundahishn 20.13

Kohistan is also referred in the Pazhand transcription of the Bundahishn as Gurjistan. The Gurjistan that is referred to is the Gurez Valley in Kashmir. Gurez is acknowledged by V. R. Raghavan as to have come from 'Gurj' and 'Gurjur'.

Gopat, also known as Gopistan is another name for Kohistan.

The land of Gopat has a common border with Eran Vez on the banks of the river Datya.

- Bundahishn 11.A.7

Subdastan is also a toponym of Kohistan.

The river Datya comes from Eran Vez and goes to Subdastan.

- Bundahishn

Bundahishn's Panjistan is Panjistan of Punjab :

Haro River has 2 streams. Zend is its northern branch

Panjistan is mentioned as possessing the Zend River. The name in present-day is used to refer to a region of northeastern Punjab region. Even the language spoken there is called Panjistani.

The Pahlavi word 'Zend' (referring to a city, not the Zhand Avesta) is the translation of local 'Jand' within the Punjab. There are cities and towns throughout the region named Jand. Hence, the river is called Jand (Zend.)

Zoroastrianism and Aryanism The Zend River passes through the mountains of Panjistan, and flows away to the Haro River.

- Bundahishn 20.15

Hara Mountains are Himalayas and the river Aravand is Sarasvati :

Mountains across the northwestern Himalayas contain 'Hara' within their names, such as Haramukh Mountain and Haramosh Mountain nearby in Gilgitstan. Hara is the shortened form of the mountain range's name Hara-Berezaiti.

Hara's most sacred peaks are known as Us-Hindava (Pahlevi: Usindam) and the Hukairya (Pahlevi: Hugar.) In the Avesta, Us-Hindava Mountain (which means Upper Indian Mountain) is also spoken of as Usindam and Usinda Mountain and it receives water from a "golden channel" from Mt. Hukairya (Of good deeds.)

Hari is the name for a series of mountains as well as villages that have "Hara" as their names. Today Hara Parvat is revered by Aryans as a sacred mountain.

Further, the Ardvi Sura River that the Avesta writes about, is the Sarasvati River of the Rig Ved is said to flow from Hara into the Vourukasha Sea (Indian Ocean.) Sarasvati flowed from Hardikun Glacier (West Harhwal Bandarpanch Masif) and took its coarse into the Indian Ocean. To further, that Avestan Ar was in Kashmir is that it mentions god Sraoesa (Avestan name of Brhaspati) living in the Hukairya mountains. There is a prasasti dedicated to Sarasvati inscribed in Madhya Pradesh, which states that Sarasvati lived in heaven together with Brhaspati.

Also, the Avesta speaks of the Aravand River, which is another name for Ardvi Sura, and it is the Avestan translated name of Amaravati River, Sarasvati's other name.

Mount Kaf is Mount Meru :

Mt. Kaf is the same mountain that Zarathustra is believed in legends to have gone into recluse. In Mazdaen sources it is usually called Ushidarena. In Aryan sources a Kashmiri mountain called Ushirak (also referred to as 'Darva' and 'Abhisar') is mentioned as a place where people are sent for solitude. It is also mentioned in Buddhist texts as Ushiraddhaj and Ushira-giri, and as Ushinar-giri in the Kathasaritsagar.

Al-Biruni mentioned that this is the same mountain that Indians call Lokalok.

The modern K2 mountain is Mt. Meru. It is in the boundary between the Karakoram and the Himalayas. The Karakoram (Black Mountains) are also known as Krishnagiri (Black Mountains) in Sanskrit. As a lot of places around Kashmir and Balawaristan contain 'giri' or 'gir' within their names.

Scholars like Charles Hamilton Smith and Samuel Kneeland had identified that the Kaf mountain or mountains are just north of the Indus River. The K2 is just north of Indus River.

Mount Cinvat is Mount Crngvat :

A mountain mentioned in Mazdaen scriptures is Cinvat. In Aryan texts there is a mountain associated with Meru because the latter's waters flow through the Crngvat (also known as Tri-Crnga.)

The meaning of the Sanskrit word 'Crngvat' is summit peak, and 'Crngi' is used in general for the placenames of peaks of the Himalayas and of Sringaverpur (modern Allahabad), Srisring, Chirtasring, and Hiranyasring.

Outer versus Inner Kashmir :

The Bundahishn divides Kashmir into 3; inner, central, and outer. Inner it calls "Kashmir-e andaron." Other scholars, such as Al-Idrisi, Dimashqi, Ibn Khaldun, and Shariyar b. Burzurg, have noted this distinction as well when writing of the region. Geographer Al-Mas'udi wrote that Inner Kashmir was founded by Kai Kaus. Historically in India, Kashmir has been written of as 3; Kamraz (Kramarajya or Kamraj), Yamraz (Yamrajya or Yamraj), and Maraz (Madvarajya or Maraj.)

Included in the latter are other regions, such as Kangdez, the country of Saokavastan, the desert of the Arabs, the desert of Peshanse, the river of Navtagh, Eran-vej, the var made by Yim and Inner Kashmir.

- Bundahishn

This passage distinguishes Airyanem Vaeja (Eran-vej) from Yima's var and Inner Kashmir. That then leaves the question: If this Bundahishn verse covers all lands from the Arabian Peninsula to Inner Kashmir, then where is 'Outer Kashmir'? Historically the Kashmir Valley had been divided into 3 regions; Kamraj (ruled by Kamran), Yamraj (ruled by Yama or Yima), and Maraj (ruled by Maran.) Because the passage mentions Eran-vej, the Yama's var, and Inner Kashmir in that consecutive order it aligns with the sequence of Outer Kashmir or Kamraj, Central Kashmir or Yima's vat, and Maraj or Inner Kashmir. Further, Kamraj includes Baramulla district which contains the Veh, Daitya, and Dareja rivers as well as Mt. Jabr. Hence, the Bundahishn's author of the excerpt purposely mentioned these regions in that order.

Kashmir lies on a plateau surrounded by high inaccessible mountains. The south and east of the country belong to the Aryans (Indians), the west to various kings, the Bolar-Shah and the Shugnan-Shah, and the more remote parts up to the frontiers of Badakhshan to the Wakhan-Shah. The north and a part of the east belong to the Turks of the Khota and Tibet. - Al-Biruni.

More identifiers of Kashmir :

"If India were the original home of Indo-Europeans, it must also be the birth place of Zarathushtra. If the Zoroastrians had migrated out of India, they would have carried memories of the geography they left behind. Avestan literature is not familiar with the Indus. In fact, it believes Indus and Oxus to be the same. In contrast, Avesta itself refers to the features in Afghanistan." - Rajesh Kochhar

Rajesh Kochhar's statement that Zarathustra would have had to have been born in India for it to have been the Indo-European homeland holds true, because the Avesta indeed mentions toponyms of features in northern India, mainly from Kashmir. The reason why most places in the Avesta are of Afghanistan is because Zarathustra, who was not from the Balkh Kingdom and had migrated there as most scholars agree, had only composed the Gathas of the Avesta, whereas the rest of it was composed by his converts in Balkh. It is believed that the time gap between the Gathas and the rest of the Avesta are centuries. Scholars believe that this can be seen from "the poor grammatical condition of the language" of the Vendidad portion of the Avesta. Kochhar also says Mazdaens who migrated would have to carry the memories of India with them, because the first Mazdaens were Zarathustra's family including his cousin Maidhyomaongha, also known as Maidhyoimah or Medhyomah, brother-in-laws Frashaoshtra and Jamaspa, wife Hvovi, his daughters named Freni, Thriti and Pourushista, and his three sons which migrated with him, Zarathustra was the only compiler of the Avesta out of them. Apart from Zarathustra and his family, the first community of adherents was founded by King Vishtasp. Interestingly enough, the king converts after recognizing Zarathustra's holyness, when the prophet healed his paralyzed horse just like the Sant Kabir and Sant Namdev brought back a cow to life to earn the faith of kings. So because Kochhar asserts that India must be the Indo-European homeland by meeting his criteria, then India is Airyanem Vaeja.

India in general is overlooked by modern scholars who study the Mazdaen scriptures. Of importance is Mithra, who is associated with the Indian Subcontinent. His dominion is geographically described in the Mihir-Yasht as extending from eastern India and the Hapta Hindava to western India and from the Steppes of the north to the Indian Ocean. The Avesta mentions Four Waters, which are four rivers of paradise. Kashmiri poets have written of "four rivers of paradise" in their works. The Four Waters of paradise according to the Avesta are :

1. The Azi

2. The Agenayo

3. The Dregudaya

4. The Mataras

The water of these has a trait that they contain honey or honey-sweet water: "Two crossing canals that joined in a pond and which symbolized the four rivers of Paradise where milk, honey, wine and water flow." This same bed of four rivers is the one referred to in the Rig Ved. The Ved mentions waters filled with honey-sweet water as the greatest work of nature: "The noblest, the most wonderful work of this magnificent one (Indra) is that of having filled the bed of the four rivers with water as sweet as honey." The river of Kashmir which has four streams is the Jhelum and its four branches are Arapath (the Diti River), Vishau, Rimiyara and Lidar. As Airyanem Vaeja is said to have been the birthplace of the first set of humans, the Kashmiris too state the human origin story about Kashmir.

"Aryana Vaeja has been placed in Media by inhabitants of Persia and Media. But this is only a transfer...which has nothing primitive and has only originated in consequence of the real site being forgotten."

Zoroastrianism's scholars have written about the origins of the Mazdaens from India. Max Muller had said that, "The Zoroastrians were a colony from northern India." M. Michel Break wrote, "The Zoroastrians were a colony from Northern India."

Also identified in the Mazdaen scriptures are people such as Yim (Yam) and Manushchihr (Manu), who have traditionally been strongly associated with Kashmir. Manushchihr in the Avestan Yasht is mentioned as "the holy Manushchihr, the son of Airyu."

Zardasht is said to have planted, under auspicious circumstances, two cypress-tress, one in Kashmir and the other in Farumad-tus, and the Majusi (Magi) believe that he brought the cypress from paradise when he planted it in those places.

- Farhang-i-Jehangiri

Both the Farhang-i-Jehangiri and the Shahnameh mention that Zarathustra had planted a cypress tree at a place named Kashmar. This place in the prior text is named also as Kashmir. The composers of the Rehbar-i-Din-i-Zarthoshti (Dastur Erachjee Sorabjee Meherji Rana) and Dabistan (Mohsan Fani), believed this to be the Kashmir in India. Though the Kashmar/Kashmir in the story is actually a town in Khorasan, one can see that the etymological derivation of 'Kashmar' is from the more ancient region of Indian Kashmir. It's quite possible that the seeds to grow the tree came from Kashmir. Certainly, cypress tress exist in Kashmir, and the local species is known as Cupressus cashmeriana.

Zarathustra learning from and preaching to other Vedic scholars :

Ancient Greek scholars, such as Clement of Alexandria and Ammianus Marcellinus, had written that Zoroaster had studied with the Brahmans of India. We know from Mazdaen literature that in his youth, Zarathustra's preceptor's name is Burzin Kuru(s), and the Kurus were a dynasty that had then dominated in parts of North India and in Afghanistan. Kashmir of course, is historically known as a part of Dev-Kuru. Further, even today there is the Burzahom Neolithic site next to Baramulla district in Kashmir, and the Draga Burzil stream in Kashmir, only further showing that the name Burzin has a connection to Kashmir. Ammianus had written that the Magi derived some of their most secret doctrines from the "Indian Brachmans" (i.e., Brahmans.) Arabian writers have given a lot of information concerning the learning which Zoroaster acquired from the Indian Brahmans. Ammianus also states in his 23rd Book of History that Prince Gushtasp (King Vishtast's brother) went deep into the secluded areas of northern India and having reached a forest for retreat of the most exalted Brahmans, he learned spiritual knowledge from the Brahmans there and then returned back to his domain to preach this newly acquired wisdom to the Magi. Par Thomas Maurice believed and wrote that Zarathustra had studied with Brahmans in India. Kashmiri Brahmans are known synonymously as Kashmiri Pandits or simply as 'Pandits' (Scholars) and Anquetil du Perron believes that the Mazdaen scripture the Dhup Nihang mentions Mazdaen Pandits. The 8th century CE scripture refers to three Dasturs called 'Pandits' whose names were Bio Pandit, Djsul Pandit and Schobul Pandit. Their names appear in the prayers of that scripture. Interestingly enough, the word 'Dastur' is used in Kashmiri to mean custom. Furthermore, Ibn al-Athir too and written that Zarathustra had been in India at one point.

According to the Canda's Persian text, the Changragach Nameh, an Indian Brahman was called to King Gushtasp's palace to discuss with Zarathustra the Mazdaen religion. The Brahman after his discussion had became a preacher of the religion and went back to India where he established followers and temples. Changragacha's name bares similarity to a placename, 'Chandrabhaga'. Another known Brahman that was a disciple of Zarathustra was a sage from India named Byas (in the lineage of Vyas), and likely Naidyaongh Gautam (a sage in the lineage of Nodhas Gautam.) According to the Bhavisya Puran, the Magi had first settled on the Chandrabhaga. This account also coincides with Timur's finding "fire-worshipers" in Punjab. Further, Aristoboulos, when visiting Taxila, had stated that the dead were "thrown out to be devoured by vultures." This practice is still observed in parts of western Tibet. Even Buddhist scriptures mention the great charnal fields near Simhapura in Kashmir wherein corpses were fed to wild animals for disposal. Further, within Taxila had existed a great Jandial fire temple mentioned by Philostratus. In the 1079 CE century, Sultan Ibrahim the Ghaznavid had attacked a community of Mazdaens at Dehra (probably Dehra Dun.) Then from Timur's invasion of India, among his captives of both Mazdaens and Aryans from Tughlikpur, some were Mazdaens who offered fierce resistance. In 1504 CE, Bedauni mentioned that Sultan Sikander destroyed fire-altars.

Relationship between the Magi and Indian Aryan Priests :

The Magi being Athravans were accepted as Brahmans and they settled in Punjab first when they were brought by Samba (son of Krishna) and they spread from there to other parts of the Indian Subcontinent including Karnatak and Nepal which are also known as the Magacharya or Maga Brahman today.

Where nations speak Avestan-like languages today :

As Zarathustra had spoken Avestan, the language likely would have been spoken in a place where it was popular. Today, Kashmiri (Koshuri) is closest language to Sanskrit and hence to Avestan that is spoken by a linguistic group very similar to Rig Vedic Sanskrit. In addition, languages very close to Sanskrit which are also spoken in regions adjacent to Kashmir, showing only that the Sanskritic-Avestan homeland would at least include Kashmir. The neighboring nations which speak Sanskrit-like languages are the Kalashi, Shina, Gawar Bati, Dameli, Pashayi, Kohistani, Palula and Nuristani. Just as in Avestan, 'zarat' means golden and 'ustra' refers not only to camel but also to wild animals such as cows and sheep in general, as well as buffalos. 'Ustra' is used a few times in the Atharv Ved), displaying the point that camels and buffalos were very familiar and common amongst where the Ved's compilers and where Zarathustra lived.

Why Zarathustra left for Balkh :

Map from Aelianus' De natura animalium

"That this Magian language was Zend is surely no forced hypothesis, since from those Brahmins seated in Bactria, we long after find Zoroaster bringing the same religious system and employing their Zend terms for it: a fact which no one can deny." - John George Cochrane

Map of the ancient Silk Route, which connected major cities and peoples of the ancient world

In ancient time, Indian Brahmans had a great amount of influence over the kingdoms adjacent to India or ones that extended from India to other places like Gandhar, Kakeya, and Kamboj. The fact that Athravans are the chief priests of Mazdaean in Afghanistan implies that Brahmans were already established in the region before Zarathustra's arrival there. In the Vedic Era, King Atyarati Janamtapi conquered Uttara-Kuru, thus bringing more Indian influence to Central Asia and it shows the level of influence that India had. In the 3rd century BCE it was Asoka who had it under his dominion, and in the 8th century CE, it was Kashmiri king Lalitaditya Muktapida that had suzerainty over it. Balkh was known to have a Brahmans within the court of its king as well. Historically in India, Brahmans and other spiritual teachers have sought royal patronage to institutionally aid their religions such as in preaching beliefs to society and building temples. They would become rajyagurus (royal teachers) or rajpurohits (royal sacerdotal priests.) Zarathustra had become the chief spiritual adviser of the Balkhan court and his family members who were the first Mazdaens and also had similar positions within the court. Ancient Greek historian Aelianus in De natura animalium, also mention that there were "Indian Arianians" and there is some suggestion that control of Ariana fluctuated between Indian and Arian Arianians. This infers that Indians in Ariana had political influences.

"A Rishi went to another country, to try and get his name famous there as a Rishi, but he got less celebrated than before (in his own country.) O Rishi, you left your home without a cause." - A Kashmiri Proverb

Kashmir being Land of Rishis was abundant in rishis and it was normal for a monarch of ancient Balkh and other regions of Afghanistan to have Brahman teachers or ministers from India. For example, Nagsen (another Kashmiri) had become the preceptor of the Balkhan King Menander, while Ashvaghosh and Nagarjun (another Kashmiri) of Balkhan King Kanishk who after his conversion held the Fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir. Buddhayasas was a Kashmiri and had become the preceptor of Dharmagupt the king of Kashgar in 5th century CE. Gunvarman was a prince of Kashmir but was missionary for much of his life and became the royal adviser to the kings of East China, Java, and Sri Lanka in the 4th century CE. Shakyashri Badhra, Ratnaver, and Sham Bhatt were Buddhist missionaries to Tibet and East China. Bilhan was a royal sage of Panchal's King Madanbhiram in the 9th century CE. Even the Aryan Shahi Dynasty was established in the 9th century CE by the Turki Shahi Dynasty's Brahman minister Kallar. King Minar Dhitika was converted to Buddhism by Sangbhadra. King Seve Salbar of Afghanistan was converted to Bonpo by Namse Chyitol.g. Kashmir was influential to both Indian and adjacent regions. In ancient history, Kashmir has been part of various kingdoms that had included regions of Afghanistan. Even in the Buddha's time, Gandhara was a Mahajanpad and in many periods of history, Kashmir was a part of the Gandharan Kingdom.

The presence of Indian Brahmans in various places, including neighboring ones, such as Gandhar and Balkh, was recorded in ancient times; Edict 13 of the 14 'Rock Edicts of King Ashok' reads, "There is no country, except among the Greeks, where these two groups, Brahmans and ascetics are not found and there is no country where people are not devoted to one or another religion..." Along the ancient Silk Route the Kashmiri gateway is at Kunjerab Pass and the Balkhan gateways on the pathway are Balkh and Shahrisabz.

Areas of Afghanistan being under the influence of Indian dynasties made Balkh a friendly place for Zarathustra to be a Brahman priest in.

Identification of other places in India :

Ataro-Patakan of the Avesta is not the Azerbaijan of Caucasus

Ataro-Patakan means Keeper of the Fire, which Sanskrit scriptures have used as 'Pathak Pitt'. Pathakam is Sanskrit has meant to be a canton wherein spefically priests live.

Ataro-Patakan is in Dardistan and Swat. It is known for having the Asnavand Mountain and the city of Rak from where Zarathustra's mother was from. In modern Gilgitstan exists the Rakaposh Range where bears the title Rak. The Avestan Vendidad, it is Rak, whereas in Pahlevi scriptures it's Rag or Arak.

Arrian, Strabo, Pliny and Justin had stated that Atropatene in Media was named after its Satrap Atropatos declared independence after Alexander's death. He ruled the region under Alexander of Macedon from 328-327 BCE.

Because the Avesta predates Satrap Atropatos, the region of Atropatene is not the Avestan Ataro-Patakan (Protector of the Fire.) The Avestan Ataro-Patakan is in Persian known by 'Adar-bigan'. Hence, when the kingdom of lower Media took on the name Atropatene, it's Persian-equivalent name also began being used, and in the predominant Turkic language there it became known as Azerbaijan.

That Ataro-Patakan borders Airyanem Vaeja is seen in multiple sources, including the Bundahishn.

Zarathustra's father was of the region Adarbaijan; his mother whose name was Dughdo came from the city of Rai.

- Shaharastani

Aredvisur (Sataves) River is Sutlej :

And Sataves itself is a gulf (var) and side arm of the wide-formed ocean, for it drives back the impurity and turbidness which come from the salt sea, when they are continually going into the wide-formed ocean, with a might high wind, while that which is clear through purity goes into the Aredvisur sources of the wide-formed ocean.

- Zadsparam 6.16

Sataves' fluvial properties are also elaborated when Bundahishn and Vendidad Fargard state that Sataves controls the tides of Vouru-Kasha.

Just as how the Daiti being a tributary of the Indus is called Veh-Daiti, so too is the Aredvisur called the Veh-Aredvisur as the Sutlej is also an Indus tributary.

Gaokern is Gokarn :

Mazdaean scriptures mention the Gaokern tree of immortality, which is the same as the Aryan Gokarn.

There are said to be 2 Gokarn places; A northern and a southern.

The Varah Puran refers to Gokarn, as a region where the shrine of Lord Gokarn was installed at the confluence of the Sarasvati and the Yamuna.

Kangdez is Gangdise (beside Kashmir) :

Detailed map of Tibet showing the mountainous Gangdise region and Mt. Lionbo Kangri A.K.A. Kangdez

From the geography of Mazdaen scriptures it is easy to determine the location of Airyanem Vaeja in Kashmir because the regions around Airyanem Vaeja are mentioned too. The part of Tibetan Plateau west of the Indus River and Brahmaputra is even today called Gangdise. Mazdaen scriptures and the Shahnameh mention Kangdez.

In the Dadestan-i-Menog-i-Khrad, the location of Kangdez is described as "Kangdez is entrusted with the eastern quarter, near to Satavayes on the frontier of Airan-vego." Since Kangdez is the Gangdise region, this excerpt also supports Kashmir being Airyanem Vaeja.

Turkish historian Al-Biruni writes that he cannot locate Kangdez and that both Yamakoti and Tara are cities there. Yamakoti is also mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

It is said that Bhadrasva-varsa extends from the city of Yamakoti up to the Malyavat Mountain.

- Srimad Bhagavatam

The prominent mountain associated with this continent is Malyavat Mountain. It is the modern-day Muztag (7,282m) because the Mahabharat identifies Meru as being between the Malyavat and Gandhamadan.

Apart from the Mt. Meru (Mazdaen Hara), Mt. Kailash is also revered in Mazdayasna as "Kangri". It is the abode of Peshotan (Chitro-maino), son of King Vishtasp, and Khwarsheed-chihr (Khursheed-chehr), son of Zarathushtra, who will gather their righteous army there before the final battle against Ahriman and his creatures, according to the Bundahishn, Denkard, Zand-i-Wahman Yasn.

Kangdez means "Fortress of Kang." In Ferdowsi's epic Shahnameh, Kangdez is named as Gangdez.

Kangdez's name is related to Kangha mentioned in the Avestan Yasht 5.54, the Aban (Ardvisur) Yasht. Antar Kanga is part of a list of mountains in Yasht 19.4. Antar Kang is the chief mountain on which Kangdez bases its name, and is the largest mountain in the Gangdise, Mt. Kailash.

Kangdez is Rasatal :

Just as Vasuki is mentioned as the ruler of Rasatal, the children of Vaesak are mentioned in the Shahnameh as rulers of Kangdez. Just as Vasuki is of a serpent tribe, Vaesaks are written of as worshiping serpents.

To her did Yoista, one of the Fryanas, offer up a sacrifice with a hundred horses, a thousand oxen, ten thousand lambs on the Pedvaepa of the Rangha.

- Aban Yasht 20.81

Pedvaepa river, an affluent of the Ranha is the Pedak-miyan of the Bundahishn.

The Pedak-miyan, which is the river Katru-miyan, is that which is in Kangdez.

- Bundahishn 20.31

Ranha is Rasa :

The Avesta mentions Ranha (Sanskrit: ' Rasa', another name for Rasatal), which is the "sixteenth of the best lands created by Ahura Mazda." This land is based around the sources of the Ranha River which is the Rig Vedic Rasa River. This river is identified with the modern-day Brahmaputra River because the scriptural traits of the Rasa mentioned align with those of the Brahmaputra. Rasatala, being populated by many Daityas (i.e., Ahuras) would be of significance to Mazdaens and it always appears on the lists of 7 main abodes of the Asurs. Here a major battle between Asur and Dev took place, the battle of Hiranyaksa and Varah. The Markendaya Puran even mentions the Rasalaya as a peoples in Bharat-varsh as it does the Sarasvats.

Two Avestan Fragards mention that Ranha is the largest river that they know. This is true because Ranha (Brahmaputa) is 3,848km while Veh (Indus) is 3,610km.

Three affluents of the Ranha are named in the Yashts; Aodhas, Sanak, and Gaudh. The Brahmaputra passes through Gaud (Bengal) region and hence, a Ranha tributary would be named Gaudha. This is likely the Jamuna River.

We sacrifice unto Mithra, the lord of wide pastures, ....sleepless, and ever awake;

Whose long arms, strong with Mithra-strength, encompass what he seizes in the easternmost river and what he beats with the westernmost river ("Aryan"), what is by the Sanaka of the Rangha and what Is by the boundary of the earth.

- Khorda Avesta 27.104

Frazdanav is Lake Rakshash Tal :

The Frazdanav contains the word Danav, implying its connection with the "Danavo" whom are mentioned as villainous. It is also where King Vishtasp performs spiritual ceremonies. Danavs in many cases of Indian history were Rakshashs.

This area was sacred for ceremonies not just for King Vishtasp, but also Indians since it is in the Indian Subcontinent and because rishis lived here.

Vaisampayana said,--"Then Maya Danav addressed Arjun, that foremost of successful warriors, saying,--'I now go with thy leave, but shall come back soon. On the north of the Kailash peak near the mountains of Mainak, while the Danavs were engaged in a sacrifice on the banks of Vindu lake, I gathered a huge quantity of delightful and variegated vand (a kind of rough materials) composed of jewels and gems.

- Mahabharat Section 3

Avestan Mainakha is Vedic Mainak :

As the names are almost identical they are the same mountain. The Mahabharata claims it was north of Mt. Kailash. It is known as Mt. Kangrinboqe Feng (6,656m) in Tibet, north of Mt. Kailash (7,694m.)

Vouru-Kash is Indian Ocean :

Its other names in Mazdaen scriptures are the Frakhvkard and Varkash. Both the names Vourukash and Varkash are reflective of the other name for Indian Ocean city Bharuch, Varukaksh.

Just as the Indian Ocean in Aryan scriptures is referred to as the "Sea of Salt" so to the Khorda Avesta calls the Vourukash, the "deep sea of salt waters."

Practice of similar customs :

Sathya Sai Baba with a Mazdaen priest during a child's Navjot ceremony (left), and a Mazdaen priest with a child performing the Navjot ceremony (right)

There are customs that are typically unique to the Mazdaens, but were practiced in India. Some of the customs within the Mazdaen community are similar to those of the Aryan Brahmans. For example, the Navjot and vegetarianism.

Spiritual initiation :

"The investure with the Kosti, as described in the Yesht Sade, and alluded to in several places of the Vendidad, appears to be nothing more than the Kaksha, or girdle of the Aryans, blended with some notion of the cord, or Upavita." - The Quarterly Oriental magazine, review and register.

Navjot which means new birth is the initiation of a Mazdaen and they are given a sacred thread to wear similar to that of the Yajnopavit ceremony for many Aryans.

Just as the Mazdaen ceremony marks a 'new birth', the Aryan one also does the same. Hence, anyone who receive the Aryan ceremony is called a 'dwija' (twice-born.)

Vegetarianism :

A medieval painting of Gayomard and living beings, displaying that humans and animals lived in harmony

I allow the good spirits who reside on this earth in the good animals to go and roam about free according to their pleasure. I praise, besides, all that is offered with prayer to promote the growth of life.

- Yasna 12.3, Gathas, Zhand Avesta

A large section of Parsis are vegetarian and during weddings/navjyots, there is always a "Parsi vegetarian" menu. There are four days in a month where all Mazdaens, even the non-vegetarians are expected not to eat meat in a practice called parhezi which means abstinence. They are Bahman, Mohar, Ghosh, and Ram roj. Meat is also not eaten for three days after a relative passes away.

Be plant-eaters ('urwar khwarishn', i.e., vegetarian), O you people, so that you may live long. And stay away from the body of useful animals. As well, deeply reckon that Ohrmazd the Lord, has for the sake of benefiting useful animals created many plants.

- High Priest Atrupat-e Emetan (Adarbad, son of Emedan) who officiated after the Arab invasion states in the 11th century CE, Book 6, Denkard

Third century CE Greek biographer, noted in the prologue to his Biography that the Magi priests of Persia "dress in white, make their bed on the ground and have vegetables, cheese and coarse bread..."

The modern Ilm-i Khshnum movement in India advocated vegetarianism too.

Dr. Kenneth S. Guthrie believed that Zarathustra promoted vegetarianism.

Usage of plants in worship :

Both Mazdaens and Aryans use plants in their worship. During group and individual praying, Mazdaens hold a plant. Also, in the Haoma ceremony of Mazdaens, they use the ephedra in the ritual.

Venerating the same persons :

In Mazdayasna, Ahura Mazda is the Supreme Lord and the other supernatural beings are yazatas. As there are several with a similar name in both Mazdayasna and Aryans, there are also others whose names are different but are the same persons, such as Sraoesa, who is Brhasa of Aryans.

Varun :

"Ahura Mazda has created asha, purity, or rather the cosmic order; he has crested the moral and the material world constitution; he has made the universe; he has made the law; he is, in a word, creator (datar), sovereign (ahura), omniscient (mazdao), the god of order (ashavan). He corresponds exactly to Varun, the highest god of Vedism." - Arthur Lenormant

In the Rig Ved, though Varun remains a god, his influence lessened as many gods took the side of Indra as their king and many humans took him as their chief god.

Many a year I have lived with them; I shall now accept Indra and abjure the Father Varun, along with his fire and his soma (haoma) has retreated. The old regime has changed. I shall accept the new order.

- Rig Ved 10.12.4

The Vendidad is called in Pahlevi the Zhand-I Jvit Dev Dat. Here the 'Dev Dat' portion of the title refers to the conch of Ahura Mazda. The Dev Dat is mentioned in Aryan scriptures as the conch of Varun.

There is a strong connection in Aryan scriptures between Varun and Asurs. For example, the Mahabharat mentions that he receives homage in his palace by Asurs. He is also said to live in the sea (any body of water other than a river) with Nagas, and his residence there is known as Asurnam Bandhanam. Then according to the Valmiki Ramayan, Ravan had invaded Rasatal where lived Varun, his sons, Nags, and Daityas. According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, Hiranyaksh visted Varun to seek his advice on whether to fight Vishnu or not (in which Varun advised the Daitya king to do so to earn Vishnu's grace by being slain by him.) Hiranyaksh there had called Varun "Adhiraj" (Supreme Lord!) The Mahabharat claims that Varun governs Rasatal, 1 of the major strongholds of the Asurs. Hiranyapur, another stronghold (where Prahlad Maharaj governed from) was also affiliated with him. Further, Varun is the one of the few gods that have Asurs as administrators. Varun's are Meghavasas in his assembly, and another named Sunabha.

O Yudhishthir, without anxiety of any kind, wait upon and worship the illustrious Varun. And, O king, Vali the son of Virochan, and Narak the subjugator of the whole Earth; Sanghrah and Viprachitti, and those Danavs called Kalakanj; and Suhanu and Durmukh and Sankh and Sumans and also Sumati; and Ghatodar, and Mahaparswa, and Karthan and also Pithara and Viswarup, Swarup and Virup, Mahasiras; and Dasagriva, Vali, and Meghavasas and Dasavar; Tittiva, and Vitabhut, and Sanghrad, and Indratpan--these Daityas and Danavs, all bedecked with ear-rings and floral wreaths and crowns, and attired in the celestial robes, all blessed with boons and possessed of great bravery, and enjoying immortality, and all well of conduct and of excellent vows, wait upon and worship in that mansion the illustrious Varun, the deity bearing the noose as his weapon.

- Section 9, Mahabharat

While the Rig Ved directly calls gods out as Asurs, it also indirectly refers to Varun as an "Asur of heaven" and latter verse heaven itself is called 'Asur'. Also in a verse in which Asur is mentioned, it reads, "our father pours down the waters." Further, the RV says that Agni is born from his (the Asur's) womb. This is important in showing that Agni is a child of Varun just as the Holy Fire (Atar) is mentioned as the son of Ahura Mazda in the Avesta.

Ahura Mazda's connection to Vahista goes back to Varun's relation to Vashishth from Aryan scriptures. For example, The Ramayan mentions that Vashishth was a son of Varun through Urvashi born at Varunlaya (modern Barnala, Punjab.) He was also said to have turned his son Vahista into a scholar by simply accompanying him on a boat trip. Varun had taught what is called "Bhrgu-Varuni Vidya" to his son Bhrgu of which the essence was "Brahm (God) is nothing but joy."

The name 'Zarathustra' means Golden buffalo, which is because the animals involved in sacrifices to Varun were usually buffaloes. This is akin to Aryans being named after a vehicle of god, such as Basava or Nandi, the bull of Shiv. These names reflect devotion and subordination as servants of gods.

Kavi Usana :

An Ahura of Mazdayasna is known as an Asur in Aryanism. It is then no surprise that we also find Sukra Acharya or Kavi Usana, the Guru of the Asurs, being venerated as one of the most holy beings. His connection to Varun in Vedic scriptures is that he is Varun's devotee in many instances as seen in Sahatpath Brahman. In the Avesta he is known as Us and later in the Bahram Yasht as Kavi Usa.

This one is known to me here, who alone heard our precepts: Zarathustra, the Holy, he asks from Us, Mazda, and Asha, assistance for announcing, I will make him skilful of speech.

- Yasna 29, Zhand Avesta

Kavi Usa is also called Kava Usan and Ashvarechao, which means full of radiance just like how his Aryan name Sukra means radiant and how scriptures like the Yog Vashishth describes him as "radiant young Sukra", or Ramayan describes "Sukra, radiant as the sun, departed."

The Avesta doesn't refer to him as Sukra because that name is reserved as an epithet for Ahura Mazda, who is invoked as, "athra sukhra Mazda" (Kavi Usana has many titles.)

Usana is also given importance because he descends from Angiras. Mahabharat reads that Kavyas descendants from Kavi. Manu Smriti establishes a Kavi as a descendant of Angiras. Like how Usana is a regent constellation in Aryan astrology, he is a star included among the Great Bear constellation, in the Hapto-iringas of the Avesta.

King Ram :

Mazdaen scriptures mention a righteous monarch named Ram, whom it addressed Ram Khshatra. Though it doesn't dive into details about the yazata, it usually mentions him together with Mithra. In Aryans, he is known a Raja Ram, a noble king, "Arya that cared for the equality of all", descendant of Mitra.

Ram, descendant of the sun ("Mitra"), became friends ("mitra") with Sugriva, son of the sun ("Mitra.")

- Ramayan, 15.26

There is even one passage in the Avesta that mentions Ram together with Vahista, which is symbolic of the relationship in the Ramayana that Ram has with his guru Vashishth. It also shows the relationship between Mithra and yazata Ram.

We sacrifice unto Mithra, the lord of wide pastures; we sacrifice unto Ram Hvastra.

We sacrifice unto Asha-Vahista and unto Atar, the son of Ahura Mazda.

- Khorda Avesta 2.7

Sacredness of the sun :

The sun is like fire, a holy symbol of Ahura Mazda. The Avesta declares :

This Mithra, the lord of the wide pastures, I have created as worthy of sacrifice, as I, Ahura Mazda, am myself.

- Avesta

Mitra is a god often paired with Varun in Vedic hymns. There are many Aryans today who worship God Almighty in the form of the sun and they are known as Sauras. The Maga Brahmans are very closely associated with the sun-worship in Aryans.

Just as the Rig Ved declares that the sun is the "Eye of Varun", the Avesta it also declares that Mitra is the eye of Ahura Mazda.

Prayer terminology :

Just as Aryans include the word namo in their mantras, such as 'Namo Varunya' or 'Namo Jinanam', Mazdaens too apply the term in the phrases 'Namo Ahurai Mazdai', 'Namo Zarathushtrahe Spitaamahe', 'Namo Amesha Spenta' and 'Namo Heomae'.

'Nemase-te' is another term used by Mazdaens which is the equivalent of Sanskritic Namaste.

'Neueediem' has the Sanskritic equivalent 'niVedyami', which has been used in Aryan verses like "Om Owing Saraswatai niVedyami."

Praying ceremony for departed ancestors :

Both Mazdaens and Aryans offer prayers for their ancestors, and the procession meant solely for their well-being is known as the 'Dhup Nirang' (Gujarati for ritual of offering of frankincense) or 'Nirang-e Rawan-e Guzashtagan' (Persian for Ceremony for the souls of departed ones) amongst Mazdaens and as 'Sraddha' amongst Aryans.

Corresponding festivals of Mazdaens and Kashmiri Aryans :

Just as Mazdaens celebrate Ahura Mazda (Varun) and King Jamshed, so too do Kashmiri Aryans. The Mazdaen calender new year, celebration Nuvruz, is the same festival as that of the Kashmiri Aryans, Navreh.

During the festivity of Tararatrih, on the 14th of the dark half of Magha, King Yam is worshiped. On Varun Panchami, Varun is worshiped. Varun is worshiped again on the 5th day of the festivity of Yatrotsava, whereby Aryans are encouraged to visit his 'abodes' or temples.

Celebrating god Mitra has historically also been a part of Kashmiri culture. Till the 11th century CE, the Kashmiri Pandits celebrated Mitra (Mithra) Punim, on the fourteenth or full moon night of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksh) of the Aryan autumn month of Ashvin or Ashwayuja. Similarly, the Mazdaens celebrate Yalda as the birth of Mithra.

Usage of fire in ceremonies :

Ateshgah of Baku fire temple in Baku, Azerbaijan which was utilized by Aryan priests from India

Jwalamukhi fire temple in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh

Fire is used in processions of both Mazdaens and Aryans. Their temples use fire altars for performing the rituals. Fire altars have been discovered in the Indus Valley city of Kalibangan in northern Rajasthan state, showing that even the ancient society then revered fire as sacred.

Fire Aryan temples also exist in the Himalayas wherein flames are constantly burning.

3 significant fire-temples :

1. Jawalaji Bhagvati (Khrew, Kashmir)

2. Jwalamukhi (Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh)

3. Jwala Mai (or Salamebar Dolomebar Gomba or Mebar Lhakang Gomba in Muktinath, Nepal)

Ceremonies :

"Although sacrifices are reduced to a few rites in the Parsi religion now-a-days, we may discover, on comparing them with the sacrificial customs of the Brahmans, a great similarity in the rites of the two religions." - Martin Haug.

In addition to the ceremonies of Navjot and praying for ancestors, there are other similar ones for the Mazdaens and Aryans.

Vedic Aryan
Afrigan Apri
The ceremony is meant to invite persons; during Afrigan a deceased person or an angel, and during the Apri a god.
Darun Darsh Purnam
During the Darun, sacred bread is offered, whereas on the Darsha Purnama the sacrificial cakes are offered.
Gahanbar Chaturmaas Ishti
Gahanbar involves offering sacrifices 6 times a year, whereas the Chaturmasya entails sacrifices given 4 times.
Yajishn (Ijashne) Jyotishthom
The both, the twigs of sacrificial plant ('Hom'/'Soma') itself are brought to the sacred spot where the procession occurs and the juice is extracted during the recital of prayers. The Yajishn (Ijashne) implements a plant that grows in Iran whereas the Jyotishthoma implements the Putika.

Mouth covering of priests :

Mazdaen priests wear the padam over their mouth just as many Jain monks wear the mohapatti. The purpose of the Mazdaen clad is to prevent pollution through the products of the mouth when handling the sacred fire.

Purification before worship :

Because yazatas (venerable spirits) are pure, to pray to them it is encouraged that the worshiper be clean, and so devotees wash their hands and faces.

Aryans, although they pray in several occasions and environments, normally they perform puja in the morning after having bathed.

Footwear removal before entering temples :

Mazdaens are in most temples required to remove their footwear because the temple is very sacred and because of its sanctity it is not to be contaminated with either spiritual or material filth.

Aryan temples too require the visitor to remove footwear for the same reason.

Astrology :

Zarathustra has been written in Mazdaen scriptures of having practiced the science and the Kitab al-mawalid (also known as the Kitab Zardusht), an astrological scripture, is attributed to a 'Zardusht' in the scripture itself, and certain modern scholars believe that this Zardusht may in fact be the original Zarathustra.

Just as several Brahman (Aryan) priests of India have historically practiced astrology, and to this day many still do, the priests in Zarathustra's time applied the science too. When Zarathustra was in the womb, his mother had a frightful dream, so she consulted an astrologer that assured her she had no reason to fear for his birth and he predicted the baby's glorious future.

Aryan astrological similarities to that of Mazdaen texts translated by Theophilus have been noticed by Pengree who believe this was likely because Aryan Brhadyatra and other works by Varahamihira were translated into Persian, which were the ones Theophilus had read.

Sky burials :

In one period of history, even feeding corpses to vultures as opposed to either cremating them or burying them was the norm in parts of the Punjab region. Aristoboulos, when visited Taxila, had stated that the dead were "thrown out to be devoured by vultures." This practice is still observed in parts of western Tibet which is modern-day Avestan Ranha or Vedic Rasatal.

Raghunath Rai discusses that leaving corpses for birds and beasts was historically one way that Indians since ancient times had disposed of the dead. He also leads to the conclusion that this was practiced by Indus Valley Civilization residents of Mohenjo Daro because skeletons have been found in public places and within a room.

In the Mahabharata King Astaka mentions three different kinds of corpse-disposal; cremation (dahyate), burial (nikhanyate), and decay (nighrsyate). Vidur then mentions 2 modes; cremation on a funeral pyre or the body is left for birds to consume. King Virat of the Matsya Dynasty of Punjab, after he was slaughtered by the Kauravs had his corpse offered to vultures by Dronacharya.

Even in South India, decomposition by vultures wasn't unheard of in certain places. The author of the Manimekalai writes of exposure of the corpse to be devoured by vultures and jackals as 1 of 5 decomposition methods.

Zarathustra as a cave mendicant :

Ancient Greek writers Eubulus, Porphry and Dio Chrysostom had written of Zarathustra's time living in a mountainous cave wherein he is said to have lived for ten years. The way in which he lived is of a similar description to that of Brahmans of that time. This was "Mount Kaf [which is the] mountain Usihdatar,..."

The Vessantar Jatak gives this description of Brahman ascetics: "looking like a Brahman with his matted hair and garment of animal skin with his hook and sacrificial ladle, sleeping on the ground and reverencing the sacred fire".

Why Zarathustra wore knotted-hair and a turban :

Kashmiri Pandits in traditional white phiran (tops), shall, and turban wear sporting a beard. This strikingly resembles Zarathustra's fashion

The turban is mentioned in the Atharv Ved as an ushnish.

Vashishth is associated with the turban more than other Vedic sages. In the village of Vashisht in Himachal Pradesh during the birthday of Vashishth his statue in the main temple of the village is adorned with a white dhoti and turban.

In the Rig Ved and Kathaka Grhya Sutra, Vasis?ha wears a kapardin or knotted-hair.

Applying ash to forehead :

Mazdaean many times in their ceremonies apply Rakhya ash from a ceremonial fire on their foreheads just as Aryans many times in rituals mark foreheads with tilaks of either ash or paint.

Bull statues in front of temples :

Some Mazdaean temples have Bahman Ameshaspand winged-bulls at temple entrances just as many Aryan temples have Nandi (or Vasava) bulls at entrances.

Depicting figures as animal-headed :

Lion-headed Zurvan from Mithraic Mazdaen temple, similar to a depiction of Narasimha

Like many Aryan icons, in Mazdaen ones too, gods are depicted as animal-headed sometimes.

Social classification :

Whether castes in any Mazdaen society, apart from the Brahman one (Athravan), existed or not is certain. However, we know that the laborforce of society in Mazdaean scriptures is categorized like the one that exists in India; Athravan/Sodalen (Priest), Rathaestar/Ritter (Warrior), and Vastrya-fsuyant/Varazana/Dragu/Driyu (Agriculturalist.) In fact, Zarathustra's 3 sons were said to be the heads of these classes ('pistra') — Isatvastra of the priests, Urvatatnara of the warriors, and Khvarechithra of the agriculturalists. Eventually, a Huiti (Artisan) class came to be recognized. Further, Zarathustra is praised as the prototype of the non-artisan castes.

The Mahabharat mentions that in Shakdwip (Iranian Plateau and Central Asia but more specifically, Balkh) there are four castes; "They are the Mrigs (Brahmans), the Masaks (Kshatriyas), the Manas's (Vaishyas), and the Mandagas (Shudras.)"

Symbolisms :

Dualism :

Mazdayasna views the universe as a place of mingling between Asha (good) and Druj (evil.) Known in Sanskrit as Dvaita, it relates to how the universe is divided into matter and spirit. Matter is ignorance and an illusion (Maya) and corrupts souls, while spirit is holy and true.

Some modern scholars have compared this dualism in Mazdayasna to the ideas of Purush and Prakriti wherein the former is spirit and the latter is matter. S. Taraporewala for example, in the early 20th century had used the terms Purusha and Prakriti to explain the dualism of good and evil.

Spenta and Spanda :

While Mazdayasna writes of holy spirits as Spenta Maniyus, the word 'spenta' itself means energy, and the Sanskrit equivalent is 'spanda', meaning energy or motion.

In Kashmiri literature the term Spanda has been used more frequently than everywhere else, even producing 2 scriptures called the Spanda Sutras and Spanda-nirnaya.

Four ages of humanity :

There are 4 ages according to Zoroastrianism, much like Aryanism's 4 yugas, with the first being the most righteous of times in both religions and then as the ages succeed, they become worse than the preceding age. Finally in the last age, a godly figure arises and vanquishes the most evil people of the world. In Zoroastrianism, the messianic figure is Shaosyant, while in Aryanism it is Kalki.

Ahura as Buddh :

Ahura Mazda has many names. In the Khordeh Avesta he is given 101 names, including Varun.

Ahum cha daenam cha Baodhas cha.

- Khordeh Avesta

The translation is that Ahura Mazda declares that he is religion (Mazdayasna) and Buddh. Buddh is used here because it means that Ahura Mazda and his religion are perfect, as Buddhhood is the state of perfection.

This ties into the concept of Moksh, which is the state of perfection and is what any Buddh (Awaken person) attains upon death.

Interestingly, Ahura Mazda has also been called Buddh Mazda, specifically in Afghanistan where Buddhism was a major religion.

Reincarnation :

Reincarnation is mentioned in Zarathustra's Gathas.

"But evil-rulers, evil-doers, evil-speakers, those of evil-egos, evil-thinkers, and followers of falsehood, the souls of all such, because of the fouling of their original lustre, will return (or go forth — "paiti yeinti") to the Abode of Falsehood (Drujo Dgmane) where, in truth, their existence shall be."

- Yasna 49.11

In the passage above, "will return" refers to impure souls having to take rebirth because inability to attain heaven due to their sins. This means, like any Brahman spiritualist, Zarathustra was propounding Moksha.

Sangelaji in his Eslam va Mousiqi writes that the Ghollat class of religious scholars from Iran believed in reincarnation. This means that the knowledge of reincarnation was passed down to the Ghollats by the early Mazdaens.

Some Mazdaen scriptures refer to rebirth as tanasokh. 'Farhangsar' is from a transmigration from a human body to another human body, 'nangsar' is from human to animal, and 'tangsar' is from human to plant. Sometimes 'sangsar' is referred to where a soul goes from a human body to that of a mineral.

The Magi were reported by Porphyry in 3rd century to be vegetarian because they believed in reincarnation[246] (i.e., harming an animal leads to rebirth as a animal.)

Interestingly enough, an indirect usage of 'rebirth' is applied for the Navjot (new birth) ceremony.

Symbolic representation by figures :

Apart from the persons, such as gods and sages, what they represent in Zoroastrianism is similar in Aryanism. Just as in Aryan scriptures there are 33 gods (Traytrimsha Devs) that uphold the universe, so too are there is a group of 33 gods in Zoroastrianism.

And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to all those who are the thirty and three lords of the ritual order, which, coming the nearest, are around about Hâvani, and which (as in their festivals) were inculcated by Ahura Mazda, and were promulgated by Zarathustra, as the lords of Asha Vahista, who is Righteousness the Best.

- Yasna 1.10, Zhand Avesta

Dharmachakra :

Four-armed Anahita sitting on lion while holding the sun in the form of a chakra in her right hand. (A 4th century Sassanian Dynasty silver bowl)

The wheel is a sacred symbol in Zoroastrianism as in Aryanism. The Avesta speaks of "turning of the wheel", which Max Muller himself thinks "smacks of Buddhism" as he writes.

Religion referred to 'Law' :

Both Mazdaens and Aryans refer to religion as 'Law'; 'Daena' for Mazdaens and 'Dharma' for Aryans.

The Mazdaens also call Mazdayasna 'Daena Vanghui' (Good Religion) while Aryans call their's Arya Dharma (Noble Religion.)

Fire trial :

Taking the "test of fire" is an allegory in both Mazdayasna and Aryanism for proving one's innocence through penances. According to the Valmiki Ramayan, Sita had taken an Agni Pariksha to prove her fidelity to Ram. In the Shahnameh Siyavash had passed through fire to prove he was truthful.

"It is added, that he passed twenty years in the desert and the love of wisdom and justice obliged him to retire from the world to a mountain where he lived in solitude; but when he came down from thence there fell a celestial fire upon it, which perpetually burned; the king of Persia accompanied with the greatest lords of his court, approached it for the purpose of putting up prayers to God; that Zoroaster came out from these flames unhurt;..."

Piousness of fire :

Fire is used in both Mazdaen and Aryan ceremonies as it is believed to be holy by both the communities. It is invoked and prayers exist wherein fire itself it adorated even when fit is not physically not being venerated. Ceremonies that involve fire are of initiation and sacrifices.

Sacredness of cows :

Yea we worship the Creator Ahura Mazda and the Fire, Ahura Mazda's son, and the good waters which are Mazda-made and holy, and the resplendent sun of the swift horses, and the moon with the seed of cattle...and we worship the soul of the cow of blessed endowment.

- Gatha Yasna 16.4, Avesta

The cow is very sacred in Zoroastrianism - the most sacred of all animals. 'Geush urvan' is a metaphorical term to describe souls of animals wherein 'geush' by itself just means cow.

"Here am I, one who has touched the corpse of a man, and who is powerless in mind, powerless in tongue, powerless in hand. Do make me clean." If they will not cleanse him, he shall cleanse his body with gomez and water; thus he shall be clean.

- Fargard VIII.104, Avesta

The Avesta declares that Gomez (Vedic 'Gomedh') is an important sacrifice, which involves cow urine. In the 9th chapter of the of the Vendidad of the Avesta, the purification power of cow urine is dilated upon. It is declared to be a panacea for all bodily and moral evils. It is drunk as well as applied externally just like the Aryans also. Urine of the bull, called "nirang" is brought to the house of an orthodox Parsi every morning and is applied to the face, hands and feet like the cow's milk.

Sacredness of the environment :

Both Mazdaens and Aryans regard the environment as an important resource like animals which cannot be abused. Yasna Haptanghaiti declares, "apo at yazamaide" or "We worship the waters." Mazdaens often offer libations to the rivers just as they do to the sacred fire, similar to how Aryans do by placing oil lamps or flowers into a river sometimes during their worship.

Apart from the Mt. Meru (Mazdaen Hara), Mt. Kailash is also revered in Mazdayasna as "Kangri". There are also many other mountains that are considered sacred, and they are mentioned in the Avesta.

Humans born from sacrifice of a super being :

According to Mazdaen stories, Gayomard was a great being, upon whose self-sacrifice were born the first pair of humans and vegetation. This story is similar to the Rig Vedic lore of self-sacrifice of the cosmic Puru?a from whose sacrificed body came all the parcels of the universe.

Immortality of souls and souls of animals :

Mazdayasna believes that animals have souls and the phrases used for describing an animal's soul are 'pasu urvan' and 'geush urvan' (cow soul.) Geush urvan is another phrase for the souls of animals, because the cow here is used as a metaphor for animals in general just as in Aryan societies a 'goshala' refers to animal shelters.

Days of the week relating to gods and planets :

The gods and planets which represent the days of the week are the same for the Mazdaens and Aryans.

Planet Sun Moon Mars
Vedic Aryan
Ravi Som Mangal
Mazdaen deity Mithra   Vrarayna

Planet Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn
Vedic Aryan
Buddh Guru Shukra Shani
Mazdaen deity Tiriya Ahura Mazda Ardvi Anahita Sura Kayvanu

Scriptural verses and styles :

As Zarathustra was a Brahman, he was familiar with the Veds and wrote Vedic verses to be revered. This portion of the Avesta is known as the Gathas meaning Songs, just as Aryans scriptures are often either Gathas or Gitas.

The Brahman scriptures refer to 'gathas' and 'abhiyajnagathas' as the verses of the Veds.

Incarnations :

An incarnation is known as an avatar. The Avesta reads that there were ten forms of Verethraghna, whose equivalent Sanskrit name is 'Vritrahana', which appeared to Zarathustra, similar to the ten major forms :

Vedic Aryan
Wind Vayu
Bull Rsabha (the ascetic whose name means Bull)
Horse Hayagriva (whose name means Horse-headed)
Boar Varah (whose name means Boar)
Youth Vaman (the child avatar)
Raven Garud
Man Ram, Krshna, Parshuram, etc.

In modern times Mazdaen scholars have inquired more into the idea of incarnations, and some have written of Zarathustra himself to have been one of an angel. The Ilm-i Khshnum occult movement belief was that Zarathustra was an avatar of an Amesha Spenta.

Division of Earth into seven continents :

These are the continents that the Indians and Iranians saw dividing the eastern world island.

Same continents with Sanskrit names.

According to the Avesta the world consists of seven continents wherein the one in which Zarathustra lived is Khvaniratha with Mt. Hara at the center just as Aryan scriptures mention Jambudvipa as the Indian Plateau and some adjacent regions with Mt. Meru at its center.

The reason Khvaniratha or Rattling Chariot is another name of Jambudwipa is because Jambudwipa is said to have been shaped like a chariot.

Zoroastrianism and Aryanism On its (Mt. Sumeru's) outside is the Iron Wall, which measures 3,602,625 miles. On its south side is Zambuling [Jambudvip, the continent we live on, essentially our world]; it has the shape of a chariot. Magadh is the Middle Country of this Zambuling; it is the place Buddhas of the Three Times appear.

Note : Few changes have been done this page from the original source.

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