Blog Home Zoroaster's Death

DEATH OF ZOROASTER (Unknown source)

Jackson has given detailed accounts of Zarathushtra’s death gathered from various sources:

1. Early Greek tradition says that Zoroaster was perished by lightning or a flame from heaven. Latin tradition states that an angry star emitted a stream of fire in vengeance for his conjuring up the stars and burnt him to ashes.

2. Gregory of Tours (A.D. 538-593) records etymology of Zoroaster as ‘living star’ stating that the Persians worshipped him as a God because he was consumed by fire from heaven.

3. Chronicon Alexandrinum (A.D.629) states that while praying to the Orion, he was slain by a heavenly shaft and that his ashes were carefully kept by the Persians.

4. Suidas of Tenth century A.D. briefly records the prophet’s death by fire from heaven.

5. Orosius (A.D. 5th Century) informs that Ninus conquered Zoroaster and killed him in the battle.

6. Iranian tradition informs that the prophet died at the age of 77 years and 40 days and ascribes the death it to a Turanian named Bratrokresh. The name of the murderer occurs several times in the Avestan scriptures.

7. Datistan – I- Dinik, 72.8, states that among the most heinous sinners “one was Tur – e- Bratarvaksh, the Karap and heterodox wizard, by whom best of the man (i.e. Jharatusht) was put to death.” The similar account is given by Bundahishn naming the above cited assassin.

8. Dinkard III, chap. 343 lists the best and worst of men, naming Yam as the best of kings, and Zardušt as the best of priests, and Tūr ī Brātrōkrēš, the karb “who made the body of Zardušt perish,” as the worst of heretics. (Karb stands for Old Avestan Karapan, despised priests of the enemy. The assassin in question in all probabilities was a priest-warrior.)

Apart from Greek and Latin, Pahlavi-Parsi tradition is unanimous that the Zoroaster perished at the hands of Tur-i- Bratrokresh. Shahname, too, confirms the account of the assassination of the Prophet by Turanian raiders, led by Arjaspa, at the fire-temple.

“During the ritual service, Hyaona insurgents stabbed the 77-year-old Zarathushtra, slew his priests and burned the Avesta.” Thus states Mary Snodgrass. (Hyaona was the part of Turanian clan which was led by Zarathushtra’s staunch enemy Arjaspa.)

What we learn from above is Zarathustra’s death was not natural. Most of the accounts agree that he was killed in the fire or he along with his priests was killed and later burnt in a fire temple, while he was praying. The assassin was a Turanian named Bratrokresh, may be a General, leading Turanian raiding party to Balkh. The news of the killing of the prophet must have spread across the adjoining regions adding imaginary details to it for they could not have possibly known the exact account of the Prophet’s death. Hence, some traditions, such as Greek, attributed the death to the ‘fire’ from heaven. Let us not forget here that the Greeks knew Zarathushtra as magician and astrologer or even a sorcerer.

However, Zoroastrians did not commemorate martyrdom of their Prophet because in all probability, the old tradition was more interested in his life and teachings than his physical death.

(Sanjay Sonawani)
==================================================
Common personalities in Rigveda and Avesta!
Sanjay Sonawani
https://sonawanisanjay.blogspot.com/2017/08/common-personalities-in-rigveda-and.html
Image result for rigveda avesta personalities
In fact, what we have at hand to discuss overwhelmingly the IE linguistics is the scriptures of Vedic and Avestic religions. We find close similarities, in ritualistic practices as well as the language of both the religions. However, the dissimilarities on both the grounds, too, are not negligible. The common understanding among migrationist scholars has been that the Indo-Iranians were a major branch of the Indo-European language family. The two wave theory of Burrow , which is supported by Parpola, suggests that the first wave of the Indo-Aryans dispersed to Anatolia and India about 1500 BC and the later, by around 800 BC, the wave came to be called as ‘Iranian wave’. Indian Vedicist scholars like Talageri has another suggestion. According to him, Iranians (Anu tribe) and Vedic Aryans (Bharata/Puru tribe) migrated from India towards Iran and that Avesta began to be composed after the time of middle Rig Vedic era. Hodivala postulates that both the scriptures are contemporary, dating back to 2,500 BC. J Harmatta suggests that at the end of second phase, proto-Indians had left for the south-east. She further states that “…On the basis of what has been said, it becomes clear that the migrations of the Proto-Indo-Iranians may have taken place in at least three successive periods and that they were of very different character.”
In short, there is no agreement among the scholars of the past or present about the original homeland of the so-called PIE speakers, their exact time of the dispersals, the exact phases or waves they decided to migrate, its reasons and on when and where the Avesta and the Rig Veda were composed. The hypotheses merely are based on the imagined migrations from either direction. Almost all scholars have devised their theories to adjust supposed timelines and that, too, seems to be from the imaginary date of domestication of the horses, i.e. 3,500 BC, to explain migrational directions of the so called PIE people. We have seen in the last chapter that there could not have been such a case, i.e., existence of PIE language speaking, closely-knit community and spread of their proto-language because of their subsequent migrations.

Besides linguistics, normally the stress of the scholars has been to consider Rig Veda being elder than Avesta, presuming the language of the Rig Veda being more archaic. But what is the proof to decide which language is archaic? If the language of Rig Veda is carefully studied, it appears that notwithstanding the claim that the Vedas have been preserved as it were from the date of its first composition, the Rig Veda has gone through substantial linguistic modifications.
Witzel explains that the old Avesta of Zarathushtra is more archaic than the Rig Veda simply because the Iranian lacks the many innovations that characterise the language of Veda. This does not at all mean that the date of Avesta is anterior to the Rig Veda. Rather, we will see in due course that both the scriptures, in their originality, were contemporary though the language and arrangement of the Rig Veda was modified, with new additions, to ssuitnew environments in far later times.
Therefore, the myth that the Rig Veda has faithfully been preserved by oral tradition for generations, till it was committed to writing, needs a rethinking. The compositions of Rig Vedic hymns, too, continued for centuries before it was finally codified. We do not know for sure when exactly it was first codified and committed to writing. The dates are very vague and often have no more credence than being mere guesswork that extends for several centuries to millenniums. It does not conclusively occur that the Vedas were written in South India for first time in the second half of the 14th century AD. Even if we suppose the moderate period of Rig Vedic compositions from 1,500 to 1,000 BC, and that of it’s being reduced to written form after lapse of about 1,000-1,500 years without any change, it certainly remains a myth that needs serious reconsideration.

On the contrary, the facts with Avesta are altogether different. There is proof of its being written and later translated to Pahlavi to avoid any violent destruction. KE Edulji states that the first report of the written Avestan text comes from the Middle Persian language (Pahlavi) writer Arda Viraf, in his book, the Arda Viraf Nameh (3rd or 4th century CE). In it, as he writes that the Persian Achaemenian kings (c. 600 - 300 BCE) commissioned the commitment of the Avesta to writing on hides and deposited the texts in the royal library at Ishtakhr. "...the entire Avesta and Zand, written on hides with gold ink, were deposited in the archives at Stakhar Papakan (Ishtakhr, near Persepolis and Shiraz in Pars province)." Masudi gives the number of hides as 12,000.

“This written version of Avesta would have been available for others to read and Martin Haug states that Hermippus, the philosopher of Smyrna (ca. 250 BCE), "…is reported by Pliny (Historia Naturalis XXX., 1) to have made very laborious investigation into all Zoroastrian books, which were said to comprise two million verses, and to have stated the contents of each book separately." Regrettably, Hermippus' work has since been lost.”

The mention of ‘two million verses’ is nothing but exaggeration. However, Pliny (AD 23-79) certainly was aware about the existence of written texts of Avesta. It seems that the Avesta was translated in other languages like Arabic, Pahlavi, too, using various scripts including cuneiform. We do not find such attempts or contemporary records about the existence of Rig Veda in the written form. Indeed, we do not find Vedas being known to the western or eastern world, simply because there is no explicit mention of it in any record or later epigraphs. Megasthanese (3rd Century BC), too, does not mention the existence of Vedas, though he describes social structure of that time at great length.

Oral tradition was not unknown to the Avestans. However, we see the difference between the language of Gathas and later works which can be classified as early, middle and younger. The language of the Rig Veda cannot be classified this way because it has undergone substantial phonetic, syntactical and morphological modifications over the course of time after its original composition. However, such stages of chronological development in the language are almost absent, barring the instances of later interpolations, making one wonder that whether such modifications were done sometime later at once to make it more intelligible to contemporary generations? No language can remain uniform for such a vast span of the time as the Rig Vedic language does.

However, leaving above enigmas aside for a while, let us investigate both the scriptures on account of whether the historical events and characters find place in both the books and determine whether the people following distinct religious practices knew each other or not!

ZARATHUSTRA: Various attempts have been made to locate the name of the prophet in Rig Veda. Although the name ‘Jarutha’ appears thrice in the bulk of the Rig Veda, some scholars seem inclined to reject the identification. However, let us not forget here that Zarathustra is spelled differently in other languages, such as ‘Zoroaster’ in Greek. The other Iranian versions spell the same as Zarathrost, Zaradust or Zaradrust etc. In Sanskrit, Zarathushtra is spelled as Jarathuśtra (in Neriyosangh’s Sanskrit translation of the Avesta). The etymology of the name given is Zarath (old) +Ustra (camel) or Zarath (driving or moving) + Ustra (Camel). Similarly, the word Zarath denotes the priest or singer.

Let us not forget here that the phoneme Z finds loss in Vedic language, turns to J, Zarath will thus come to be spelled as Jarath. With phonetic changes, while shortening the name Zarathustra, the name can come to be spelled as Jarutha in Vedic dialect. Another supportive information we get as, “The name Jarutha is derived by Sayana from Vgr, to 'sing, saying; it means one who makes loud sound. ... form in its own way simply copied it from Vedic, for the Avestan Gen. form of hartr would, on the analogy of datr, be zarthro or zarithro.”

Let us have a look at the Rig Vedic verses where Jarutha is mentioned and in what context.
“Burn up all malice with those flames, O Agni, wherewith of old thou burntest up Jarutha, And drive away in silence pain and sickness.” (RV 7.1.7 Trans. By Griffith)

“Vasistha, when enkindling thee, O Agni, hath slain Jarutha. Give us wealth in plenty. Sing praise in choral song, O Jātavedas. Ye Gods, preserve us evermore with blessings.” (RV 7.9.6 Trans. By Griffith)

“Agni rejoiced the car of him who praised him, and from the waters, burnt away Jarutha. Agni saved Atri in the fiery cave and made Nrmedha rich with troops of children.” (RV 10.80.3, Trans. By Griffith.)

However, Macdonell defines Jarutha to denote a demon that was slain by Agni. He also referees to the Griffith and Ludwig those see in him (Jarutha), a foe slain in the battle in which Vasishtha was the priest. Hodivala after examining all the three verses states, “From the third passage, it is clear that Jarutha must have been some demon who lived in waters.” However, Hodivala examines further to conclude that Zarathustra is mentioned in the Rig Veda as ‘Dasyu’ because he was frequently called as ‘Dakhyuma’ (equivalent to Rig Vedic Dasyu) and wherever, the word is used in plural form, i.e. Dasyus, it is addressed to his followers.

Let us examine the verses mentioned above to find what they mean. All the three verses laud the deed of Agni for killing ‘Jarutha’ in fire. There is no mention anywhere in Rig Veda that Jarutha denotes a demon or foe. Rather, it seems odd to find mention of Jarutha’s thrice to describing only event of his death in the fire.

Some scholars have associated Jarutha of Rig Veda with Zarathushtra of Avesta. Indian scholar PR Deshmukh states, “…From the above Richa we learn that Jarutha was killed by Vashishthas by crossing water…..The word Jarutha means a priest…..Jarutha may be a short form of Zartustra.”

Apart from above two references, Jackson has given detailed accounts of Zarathushtra’s death gathered from various sources; some are listed briefly as below:

1. Early Greek tradition says that Zoroaster was perished by lightning or a flame from heaven. Latin tradition states that an angry star emitted a stream of fire in vengeance for his conjuring up the stars and burnt him to ashes.

2. Gregory of Tours (A.D. 538-593) records etymology of Zoroaster as ‘living star’ stating that the Persians worshipped him as a God because he was consumed by fire from heaven.

3. Chronicon Alexandrinum (A.D.629) states that while praying to the Orion, he was slain by a heavenly shaft and that his ashes were carefully kept by the Persians.

4. Suidas of Tenth century A.D. briefly records the prophet’s death by fire from heaven.

5. Orosius (A.D. 5th Century) informs that Ninus conquered Zoroaster and killed him in the battle.

6. Iranian tradition informs that the prophet died at the age of 77 years and 40 days and ascribes the death it to a Turanian named Bratrokresh. The name of the murderer occurs several times in the Avestan scriptures.

7. Datistan – I- Dinik, 72.8, states that among the most heinous sinners “one was Tur – e- Bratarvaksh, the Karap and heterodox wizard, by whom best of the man (i.e. Jharatusht) was put to death.” The similar account is given by Bundahishn naming the above cited assassin.

8. Dinkard III, chap. 343 lists the best and worst of men, naming Yam as the best of kings, and Zardušt as the best of priests, and Tūr ī Brātrōkrēš, the karb “who made the body of Zardušt perish,” as the worst of heretics. (Karb stands for Old Avestan Karapan, despised priests of the enemy. The assassin in question in all probabilities was a priest-warrior.)

Apart from Greek and Latin, Pahlavi-Parsi tradition is unanimous that the Zoroaster perished at the hands of Tur-i- Bratrokresh. Shahname, too, confirms the account of the assassination of the Prophet by Turanian raiders, led by Arjaspa, at the fire-temple.

“During the ritual service, Hyaona insurgents stabbed the 77-year-old Zarathushtra, slew his priests and burned the Avesta.” Thus states Mary Snodgrass. (Hyaona was the part of Turanian clan which was led by Zarathushtra’s staunch enemy Arjaspa.)

What we learn from above is Zarathustra’s death was not natural. Most of the accounts agree that he was killed in the fire or he along with his priests was killed and later burnt in a fire temple, while he was praying. The assassin was a Turanian named Bratrokresh, may be a General, leading Turanian raiding party to Balkh. The news of the killing of the prophet must have spread across the adjoining regions adding imaginary details to it for they could not have possibly known the exact account of the Prophet’s death. Hence, some traditions, such as Greek, attributed the death to the ‘fire’ from heaven. Let us not forget here that the Greeks knew Zarathushtra as magician and astrologer or even a sorcerer.

However, Zoroastrians did not commemorate martyrdom of their Prophet because in all probability, the old tradition was more interested in his life and teachings than his physical death.

Now, if we reread the Rig Vedic verses, we easily can correlate them with the other legends associated with the Zarathushtra’s death in fire, in all probability, an outcome of a war with Turanians to whom we have identified with Turvasas of Rig Veda, who were sometimes friendly with Rig Vedic tribe. It just cannot be a coincidence that most of the accounts in relation with Zarathushtra’s death approximately match with the Rig Vedic verses.

Turanians, too, were friendly with Zarathushtra in the beginning which is evidenced by Zarathushtra himself in the Gathas as under:

“Since through righteousness, the powerful children and grandchildren of the Turanian Fryana have risen to promote their world through serenity with zeal, Wise God has united them with good mind, in order to teach them what concerns their help.” (Gathas: 11-12)

It just shows that the inter-tribal and inter-faith relationship bonds were not permanent. Turvasas had fought against Sudasa in Battle of Ten Kings though many a times they have shown intimate friendly relations with Vedics.

However, we cannot of course, attribute the death to Vasishtha, as no Rig Vedic verse suggests that the assassination of Zarathushtra was committed by Vasishtha. In the verses composed by him, he attributes the death to ‘Agni’, fire. In fact, in the verse RV 7.9.6, he seems to be rejoicing the death of enemy Jarutha. Looking at the rivalry between Rig Vedic and Avestan people, becoming Vasishtha overjoyous and reflecting it in the verses composed by him (or his family members) can be understood. Vasishtha seems to have recorded the incident in the peculiar Vedic style. The verse 10.80.3 seems to be of far later times which have added confusing element of Atri in it.

As Hodivala’s inference that Zarathushtra is mentioned in Rig Veda as Dasyu is thus undoubtedly correct as during Zarathustra’s life time, for sake of the rivalry, Vedic seers must have called him not by his personal name but contemptuous form of his epithet, Dasyu (Dakhyuma). There is other proof, too, to confirm beyond doubt that Zarathushtra was contemporaneous to the Rig Vedic seers which we will confirm further in the present chapter. To sum up conclusively, in all, Jarutha of Rig Veda can be none other than Zarathushtra of Avesta.

Vishtaspa: The first disciple of Zarathushtra after revelation was the king of Balkh (Greek version Bactria) Vishtaspa, a.k.a. Kavi Vishtaspa. Vishtaspa became the first disciple of Zarathustra who not only patronised the resurrected religion but fought many wars for it. The legends go that Vishtaspa built many fire temples in his kingdom. Prior to adapting Mazdayasni religion, he must be adherent of one of other religions which existed and was practiced in those times. From Avestan accounts, it seems that though the Turanians helped Zarathustra to reach Vishtaspas royal court, turned out to be foes as Vishtaspa abandoned old faith and became a disciple of Zarathushtra.

In the Rig Veda, he is mentioned as ‘Istasva’ (1.122.13). Hodiwala notes that, as a rule the V followed by a vowel drop the V in Vedic language. Following this principle, and Sayanas translation, Hodivala translates the verse as:

“The despicable Vishtaspa of the family of Vishtarashma (=Gushtaham), (and) these conquering chiefs harass the people.” The next verse, according to Hodivala, makes it clear that he was a wealthy prince or king whose wealth was sought by the composers of the hymn i.e. Kakshivan, Dairghatamas Ausijya etc. Talageri, too, agrees with the identification of Vishtaspa with Rig Vedic Istasva.

Since Rig Vedic seers in all probability knew the patron of Zarathushtra, it makes obvious that they knew Zarathushtra as well!

Pashotan: The youngest son of Vishtaspa, also known as Chitro-mino ((because he was living in the vicinity of the River Chitru-mian-rud) according to Bundehishn Ch. 29 and Dadestan.

On verification of Bundehishn (ch. 29, verse 6), it seems Chitro-Mino is spelled as ‘Chatru-man-icha’ in Pahlavi. The verse while informing the Peshotan, son of Vishtaspa tells us that Chatru-man-icha was his other name.

The Rig Veda verse 4.30.17 states, “Arna and Citraratha, both Aryas, though, Indra slewest swift, on yonder side of Sarayu.” (Trans. Griffith) From this stanza, we get account of a war on the banks of river Sarayu (identified with Haroyu/Hari-rud) in which Arna and Chitraratha were killed. Chitraratha seems to be clearly corrupt Sanskrit form of Chitra-mino or Chatru-man-icha.

Although, the identity of Arna remains uncertain, according to Hodivala, he could be brother of Vishtaspa. The verse makes it clear that both the slain enemies were Aryas and that Arna was someone of high rank, if not brother of Vishtaspa. The account of this war, Hodivala informs, is confirmed by Shahname.

Hence, the identity of Peshotan is thus clear that he was contemporary to Rig Veda and that he was at enemy side of not the Vedic people, but Turvasas and Yadus, which is clear from the verses describing the event, i.e. “So sapient Indra, Lord of Might, brought Turvasa and Yadu, those Who feared the flood, in safel o'er” (RV 4.30.16 )

“Arna and Citraratha, both Aryas, though, Indra slewest swift, on yonder side of Sarayu.” (RV 4.30.17)

Both the verses clearly show that Turvasas and Yadus crossed the flooded river with the assistance or blessings of Indra to the side where Chitraratha and Arna were slain in the war. The Avestan account, too, supports this as sworn enemies of the Vishtaspa were Turanians alias Turvasas and not the Rig Vedic tribe.

Also, it proves our hypothesis that the Yadus of Rig Veda couldn’t have been Yadus of Mathura, because to become friendly tribes and have common enemies and friends, they must be located in the close vicinity.

Baetas: Also known as Jamaspa Baetas, son-in-law of Zarathushtra (Yast 13.127) a master of Astrology of those times. Rig Veda mentions Baetas as Vetasu in relation with a skirmish in the following verse.

“The crafty Vetasu, the swift Dasni, and Tugra speedily with all his servants, Hath Indra, gladdening with strong assistance, forced near as it were to glorify the Mother.” (RV 6.20.8, Trans. Griffith)
Hodivala suggests from previous and later verse of the above of Rig Veda that the Vetasu (Baetas) was defeated by Rjrasva (Arjaspa). Though, Tugra remains unidentifiable, it certainly is an Iranian name. The term ‘Dasni’ applied for Vetasu is either for his 10 servants or he being possessor of 10 magical powers (crafty) or is addressed to 10 sons of Vistaspa those who participated in this war.

Arjaspa (Alternatively spelled as Arejat-aspa): He was chief of one of a Tribe Hyaona, delving in Turan or its bordering region to Balkh (Bactria). He was a sworn enemy of Vishtaspa after his conversion to Zoroastrian faith. Arjaspa fought many wars against Vishtaspa and killed many of his family members. Middle Persian text Ayādgār ī Zarērān (66, 67, 112, 113) states that Arjaspa was captured later, was mutilated and then was released. Shahnama informs us that Arjapa had managed to flee after his capture.

Arjaspa of Avesta is identified by many scholars as Rjrasva of Rig Veda. Rjrasva seems to be a close ally of Vedic people whose victories has been rejoiced and memorised by Rig Veda. First, the name of both persons, though spelled slightly different, mean one and the same i.e. one who has swift horses. Second, many of the battles those involve Rjrasva are also recorded in the Avestan texts. Also, his allies and close relations, too, find mention in both the texts.

Rig Vedas major mention of Rjrasva is about Varsagira battle which Rig Veda recounts as:

“The red and tawny mare, blaze-marked, high standing, celestial who, to bring Rjrasva riches, / Drew at the pole the chariot yoked with stallions, joyous, among the hosts of men was noted. “(RV 1.100.16)

“The Varsagiras unto thee, O Indra, the Mighty One, sing forth this laud to please thee, Rjrasva with his fellows, Ambarisa, Suradhas, Sahadeva, Bhayamana.” (RV 1.100.17, Trans. Griffith)
Apart from the identity of protagonist of this war Rjrasva, names of his companions, too, have been identified. Sahadeva is identified with Hushdiv who is mentioned by Shahnama as assisting Rjrasva from the rear in the war. Hodivala states that Avesta mentions Humayuka (RV Somaka) instead of Hushdiv, i.e. Sahadeva.

The verse of Yast in the regard goes like this:

'He begged her of a boon, saying: "Grant me this, O good, most beneficent Ardvi Sura Anahita! That I may overcome Pesho-Changha the corpse-burier, Humayaka the worshipper of the Daevas, and the wicked Arejat-aspa, in the battles of this world.’ (Aban yast, 5.113)

Here, the verse suggests the above prayer was made before the war. Hence, in all probabilities, he did not know who would be the participants of the war but seems to have mentioned those who were expected.

Another participant in the war that Rig Veda mentions is Ambarisha, to whom Hodivala identifies, but little doubtfully, with Avestan Vidarafshnik, brother of Arjaspa as both the names mean one and the same, ‘one with beautiful garments’. Bhayamana is identified with Vandaremaini, father of Arjaspa, because both the terms mean ‘the fearless one’. Varsagira, since the term is applied to all the family members of Rjrasva, it is possible that it was Rjrasva’s family name.

Although Talageri seems satisfied with the identifications for his need to push his theory, he forgets Somaka and Sahadeva do not at all belong to the race of Sudasa for there is no corroborative proof.
Let us see the verses of Yast those seem to have been composed prior to the war.

“5.108. 'Unto her did the tall Kavi Vishtaspa offer up a sacrifice behind Lake Frazdanava, with a hundred male horses, a thousand oxen, ten thousand lambs.

5.109. 'He begged of her a boon, saying: "Grant me this, O good, most beneficent Ardvi Sura Anahita! that I may overcome Tathravant, of the bad law, and Peshana, the worshipper of the Daevas and the wicked Arejat-aspa, in the battles of this world!"

5.113. 'He begged of her a boon, saying: "Grant me this, O good, most beneficent Ardvi Sura Anahita! that I may overcome Pesho-Changha the corpse-burier, Humayaka the worshipper of the Daevas, and the wicked Arejat-aspa, in the battles of this world.

5.116. 'Unto her did Arejat-aspa and Vandaremaini offer up a sacrifice by the sea Vouru-Kasha, with a hundred male horses, a thousand oxen, ten thousand lambs.”

For the sake of readers’ convenience, I have put names in questions in bold letters. It is quite clear that these are prayers and offerings prior to the expected war. The enemies are condemned because they are following Deva faith. Humayuka (Somaka) and Vandaremaini (Bhaymana) in the above verses have not been distinguished from the race of Arjaspa (Rjrasva). Though the Hushdiv (Sahadeva) is mentioned in Shahnama, he, too, does not show that the Hushdiv belonged to different tribes other than of Arjaspa.

Even if the fact is proven from the Rig Vedic and Avestan accounts that the war and the participants of it were historical, it nowhere suggests the war included any tribe other than of Arjaspa (Rjrasva). The actual conflicts on religious issues that Avesta mentions mostly were between Turanians and Zoroastrians. The Avesta is clear on the fact that Turanians were Deva worshipers and hence, were wicked.

Most importantly, what we clearly see from the above is that the Somaka alias Humayuka and Hushdiv alias Sahadeva were not the descendants of King Sudasa as some scholars like Talageri likes to believe they were! In the list of Puru kings, he includes Somaka and Sahadeva as descendants of Sudasa and places Varsagiras battle after the battle of ten kings.However, Rjrasva, the main protagonist of the war, is not named in the bloodline of Sudasa at all because he did not have that origin! Looking at these facts, Aban Yast proves beyond doubt that the people mentioned as an enemy belonged to the family of Arjaspa and none of the Sudasa’s descendants or contemporaries led the war.

Most probably, Talageri is associating Somaka and Sahadeva with Sudasa dynasty on a guess that since the Seer Vamadeva in Danastutis (RV 4.15.7-10) mention Somaka as son of Sahadeva and that in the same hymn are mentioned Devavata and his son Srinjaya, it must formed a bloodline. However, the purpose of the hymn should be noted. The hymn is composed in praise for the gifts received by Vamadeva for his performing sacrifices or prayers for ailing prince Somaka. While praising the donor prince Somaka, Vamadeva also is recounting Devavata and his son Srinjaya in relation with a myth that the “He who is kindled eastward for Sṛñjaya, Devāvata's son,…” (RV 4.15.4). The hymn does not intend in any way to show that Somaka and Sahadeva were descendants of Sudasa or were related any way with Srinjaya and Devavata, which makes Talageri’s claim baseless.

Hodivala is hesitant while identifying Ambarisha with Vidarafshnic and Bhayamana with Vandaremaini on account of, although the meaning of both the words is same but quite different in sound. However, looking at his confirmation of identification of Humayuka with Somaka to which Talageri, too, agrees, in my opinion there is no need of hesitation in confirming identity of Ambarisha and Bhayamana as well because it just cannot be coincident that the names bear same meaning and that since there is no confusion of Arjaspa being Rjrasva and Humayuka being Somaka, the other participants mentioned in Aban Yast and Rig Veda, too, must be identical, mentioned in translated form in Rig Veda with sound change but maintaining same meaning!

Rig Veda mentions this Varsagiras war in just two verses (1.100.16-17) jumping to the other victories of Rjrasva over Dasyus like Shimyu and others mentioning them just here and there vaguely confirms our deliberation that Zarathushtra was more concerned about hostile Turanians than Rig Vedic people. This we have to take very seriously as Avesta does not mention at all any Rig Vedic king or their faiths as being a serious threat to his religion. Avestan accounts too treat Arjaspa (Rjrasva) as the main enemy of Vishtaspa and Zoroaster.

The identification of Rig Vedic seer Nodhas Gautama with Nadhyaongha Gaotema who is mentioned in Farvardin Yast (Yt. 13.16), as a priest, who was defeated by Zarathustra in debate, makes our conclusion stronger that early Avesta and Rig Veda were contemporary. This is the only instance where we find mention of Rig Vedic seer in Avesta.

We must not forget here that the early Rig Vedic faith involved ‘Asura’ as a Supreme Lord in the form of Asura Varuna though in later course of the time, for reasons, became Deva oriented. We have seen in the earlier chapter that this shift has occurred after the battle of ten kings which involved Sudasa himself and not before that! Though, the Asura orientation was clear in both the religions the religious practices and philosophies significantly differed. RigVedic tribe/s settled down in the southern part of Afghanistan, the enmity between the both, it seems, arose later, although, the hatred must have been brewing since the beginning. The defeat of Nodhas Gautama was in a debate, not in the war, may confirm the above fact.

We also have seen that the real enmity was between Turanians and Avestans. The assassination of the Zarathustra is attributed to a Turanian while Rig Vedic Vasishtha seems to be just happily mentioning the prophet’s death in the fire.

After the death of Zarathustra and decline of the clan of Vishtaspa and Turanians, Vedics seems to have got the space to declare their supremacy. Sudasa rightly achieved that through the victory in the battle of ten kings!

Turanians, as we have identified with Turvasas, were occasionally friendly with Rig Vedic tribe/s. The friendliness between both the tribes must have been normal during the period of Varsagiras war. However, the war is summed up in only two verses in the Rig Veda, mostly because, Vedics did not participate it at all! The despicable mention of Zarathustra’s patron Istasva (Vishtaspa) in Rig Veda (1.122.13) must have occurred for their friendship with Turvasas, (Turanians) who had enmity with Vishtaspa and his faith. Here we may arrive at the conclusion that the Battle of Ten Kings is a far later incidence in Rig Vedic history and not as early as some scholars like to think.

Why Turvasas could only be Turanians of Avesta? The facts as stated in this chapter no way can indicate otherwise. Turvasa as a tribe is only mentioned whenever Turvasas along with Yadus had waged the wars along with the Vedics with common enemies. Rather in the battle of ten kings, Yadu-Turvasas have fought against King Sudasa. We have seen all other tribes are identified with the people living in either North-west part of India or Southern and northern Afghanistan and Iran. As for Yadus, though identity is not clear, one verse of Rig Veda informs us:

“A hundred thousand have I gained from Parsu, from Tirindira,
And presents of the Yadavas.” (RV 8.6.46)


Parsus are undisputedly identified with Persians. The name Tirindira, too, is of Persian origin. Yadus are mentioned together with Persians in the above verse. From this verse, we find that Yadus and Persian tribes, too, were occasional donors of Rig Vedic seers, although, they may not be patrons of it. Most of the times, Yadus have been mentioned together with Turvasas in Rig Veda clearly stating ‘coming from afar’. It could be an indicator to find the location of Yadus in North Afghanistan or Iran, exactly which, may not be determined conclusively. The battle we have discussed, recorded by Aban Yast and Rig Veda, was between Turanians and Zoroastrians and not between Rig Vedic tribe and Zoroastrians, as is believed by some.

Looking at these important personalities finding the place in both the holy scriptures indicate at the fact that both the religions were contemporary and emerged in the common geography. Age of the Rigveda is almost as same as the age of the Avesta. The occasional rivalry and friendship are well depicted in both the scriptures. It seems that the later events after Zoroastrian religion becoming powerful the Vedic religion was routed out from the land of Afghanistan and these memories are well preserved in the form of Deva-Asura wars in the Vedic literature.