Is there any Credence to Indo-Iranian Archeoastronomy?

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by exile, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    In Irano-Aryan Faith and Doctrine as Contained in the Zend-Avesta author Albert Pike has this to say:

    The oldest Vedic Hymns were certainly composed at least 4000 and perhaps 5000 years before Christ, when the sun entered Gemini at the Vernal Equinox, and the stars Castor and Pollux were therefore worshipped as the Asvins. Zarathustra's reform could not have been subsequuent to the composition of these Hymns, and to the subordination of the worship of the Stars and Planets, to that of the Fire and LIght principles, Agni and Indra. If it had, we should have found some traces of these names in the Gathas.

    The Vaidic Devas were the Heavenly orbs; and their worship had preceded that of Agni and Indra. Zarathustra proscribed this Star and Planet worship, and the Daevas became for his followers, evil spirits and malevolent genii. Therfore his reform must have occurred before the worship of Agni and Indra had grown up, and at least 6000 years before Christ, probably in Bactria. The Gathas give positive and ample evidence of a general state of society much more primitive and simple than that of the Punjab as reflected and painted in the Veda. - pg. 17

    As to the question of antiquity, there is little danger of fixing too remote a date for the time of Zarathushtra. The Vedic hymns were composed, or at least the Aswins (or twin Horseman) became Aryan deities, when the sun was in Gemini at the Vernal Equinox, i.e., at least 5000 years before Christ; and the Zend and Sanskrit were then distinct and fixed languages, and the Indo- and Bactro- or Medo-Aryans had long been separate and distinct peoples, ther common origin forgotten by each. Wehn the Hellenic stream flowed off, Dyaus, the sky, and the Devas, or Heavenly bodies , were the gods of the race, and Jupiter, Venus and Mars the only bodies known as Planets or Wanderers, were adored as Varuna, Mitra, and Aryaman. Dyaus became Zeus, Dios and Deus; and Aryaman, the god of the Aryan warrior, became the Greek Ares, or Mars; and Varuna, Ouranos. - pg 31

    Is there any truth to what is being stated here? Can anyone expound upon what Pike is saying?
     
  2. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    He is not exactly the best reference (in the class of Crowley). Most of academia today fix Zarathustra's lif to circa 600 BCE. The two biggest challenges are: (1) fixing the date of the Gathas since they were not allowed to be written down until circa 600 CE and (2) when the early modernists "discovered" Zoroastrianism their ideology drove their interpretations (dating Zarathustra, over-emphasizing the impact on Judaism, reading too much into the few Greek and Latin references we have). Since the 80s this has all radically changed and (jmho) academia has a much better handle on things.
     
  3. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    Do the Asvins mark the great year when the sun entered Gemini at the Vernal Equinox?

    I see that in the Vedas the Daevas are the new gods and the Asuras are the old gods so does it makes sense that the worship of the Daevas preceeded that of Agni and Indra?
     
  4. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Do the Asvins mark the great year when the sun entered Gemini at the Vernal Equinox?

    Not according to Dallapiccola (much better reference than Pike).

    I see that in the Vedas the Daevas are the new gods and the Asuras are the old gods so does it makes sense that the worship of the Daevas preceeded that of Agni and Indra?

    Of course, but this has little to do with Zoroastrianism. Why? Because the two streams were emerging at the same time and no one really knows when the Gathas were presented (long before they were written down, which was 600 CE or so). If one accepts that Zarathustra wrote them with no pre-existing input (something not even the Parsis really accept), then Zarathustra pre-dates the Vedas (not something that is really defensible).

    If instead (like Armstrong or Wright) one hypothesizes a parallel but separate development and a subsequent revision (as implied in the texts themselves) then the core of the Vedas vastly predate the Gathas by at least a thousand years or so.

    That depends on whether one accepts that the Gathas and other Old Avestian texts predated Zarathustra (that is, there were existing texts he used as a basis). Most academics believe that. That is why most accept a 600 BCE (or so) date for him (imho).
     
  5. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    I'm totally confused. It's probably because I don't know enough about the Indology involved. Is Pike basically saying that because the Gathas don't mention the Asvins, Agni, or Indra (all of whom are mentioned in the Rig Veda) that the Gathas must have been attested before the Rig Veda? How could the Daevas have been the "new gods" yet their worship have preceeded the worship of Agni and Indra , both Asuras or "old gods"?
     
  6. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    OK OK, I've read Pikes quotes several times now. It's still really hard to understand.

    Is he basically saying that Zarathushtra condemned the Daevas and then in the Rig Vedas the Daevas became the new gods? When he says "Zarathustra's reform could not have been subsequuent to the composition of these Hymns, and to the subordination of the worship of the Stars and Planets, to that of the Fire and LIght principles, Agni and Indra." is he saying that the Daevas (Stars and Planets) were made subordinate to Agni and Indra in Zoroastrianism or in Hinduism? How is it that Agni and Indra could be Asuras and worshipped when the Asuras were the gods who were being condemned by the Indics?
     
  7. DoctorDecipher

    DoctorDecipher New Member

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    I've been studying Zoroastrianism for awhile now, but I haven't been able to find what Pike thinks Zoroaster was talking about with his condemnation of the "daevas", although I have read where Pike says he thinks Zoroaster was talking about something other than the Hindu god devas. After reading this excerpt, it sounds to me like Pike thinks Zoroaster was talking about the pre-deity worship of the devas as planetary bodies and stars and so on -- basically, astrology or astrotheology.

    So is that it? Was Pike saying that Zoroaster was condemning astrology or astrotheology as a path to virtue? If so, that makes sense, as it's pretty much the same condemnation that people today like skepticist James Randi make about astrology and the like.


     
  8. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    I am interested in the subject and currently reading the Gathas (half-way through). Indian Aryans did not talk about astrology till much later (1,400 BC). In Vedas, it is astronomy only, that too to decide the correct beginning of the year and their ritual cycle, done right they thought it will bring them prosperity. So, when does one consider the beginning of the year. It was vernal equinox, the coming of spring for their cows to graze on the new grass.

    But the spanner in the works was 'precession of equinox'. in 4,000 BC the Vernal equinox coincided with the rise of sun in the asterism of Orion (Mrigashiras - Anteloped Head). Around 2,200 BC, it was seen that the sun rose in the asterism of Pleiades (Krittikas - Gemini) and not in Orion. This caused great commotion. They thought Orion had abdicated its responsibilities. Orion represented their Supreme God, Prajapati in the sky. They stopped worshiping Prajapati.

    However, the beginning of the year was changed by one month. Around the beginning of the Christian era the problem reappeared. Now, the orthodox do not like changes. There was resistance to change. The person who suggested the change was castigated (Sage Vishvmitra). His sons were made shudras (untouchables). But an astronomical fact cannot be wished away in this way. The change finally came up around 600 AD with the astronomer, Bhaskara. The year was changed by one month, and the rise of sun was accepted in Arietis (Ashwinis - Horses' Head).

    It has been 2,000 years since then. The sun now rises in Piscium (Revati) and another change is due. But now the Aryan rituals have lost their importance. I do not know if Hindus will make any further change. So, did the Vedas mention sun rising in any other asterism on the day of vernal equinox. No, not directly; but there are hazy references that at one time the beginning of the year was with the sun rising on the day of vernal equinox in the asterism of Castor and Pollux (Punarvasu - Cancer). The deity of Punarvasu is Aditi and she is considered the mother of Gods. If that is true then the history of RigVeda goes back to at least 6,000 BC (8,000 years ago).

    Were the stars ever worshiped by Indian Aryans as Gods or Goddesses? No, the Gods were different. Varuna, Mitra, Nasatya, Indra, Agni, Soma, Dawns (Ushas) and Saraswati. I could not get much out of the OP and what Pike wants to say.

    In RigVeda, both the words, Deva and Asura, are used for divinities. The consideration was the supposed brilliance (Devatva) and might (Asuratva) of these deities. It was religious politics that Zoroaster chose to condemn the Daevas and the Indigenous Indians (not the Indo-Aryans) chose to condemn the Asuras - since initially, the indigenous were not happy about the new beliefs that the Indian Aryans had brought.

    I have many posts on internet on this subject. If you search for "RigVeda equinox Aupmanyav" on Google, you will be able to access them. My main source of information is "Arctic Home in Vedas" by B.G. Tilak which is available at https://archive.org/details/TheArcticHomeInTheVedas in PDF format. Wikipedia has an article on it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Arctic_Home_in_the_Vedas. Regards.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016

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