Zoroastrianism a Paleolithic Religion, Origin of Monotheism, Salvation Theology?

Laura

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Since my own studies have recently led me to a more in-depth look at Zoroastrianism, I recently asked the Cs some questions about it in the 14 August 2016 session. The responses were furiously interesting and I am here going to quote comments to that session to open this thread:

mkrnhr said:
Thanks for the very very very interesting session.

Q: (L) […] So, I guess the first question I want to know is: Is there any possibility that Akhenaten was influenced by Zoroastrianism? Is that a possibility?

A: Not just a possibility, but a certainty.
And that’s how my pet scenario is reduced to dust. But it makes sense that the Amarna adventure didn’t originate out of the blue. I wonder however if the raiders on cattle the “prophet” seems to condemn are the same Hapiru condemned by the other kingdoms in the region…

Q: (L) If that's the case, how was that possible?

A: The ancient world was quite "well connected".
E. Cline calls this inter-connectedness the first Globalisation. The empires at that time where so connected, some Egyptian artefacts were found in Scandinavia. But maybe connectedness here refers to connectedness to higher densities?

Q: (L) Okay... Can you get me any closer to a clue here?

A: Check the Hurrian connection.
Could it be a family connection? Amenhotep3, who started the Amarna “reform” married a Mitanni princess (KeluHepa) then another (Tadu-Hepa) before Akhenaten married this latter. Even the king of Babylon pleaded with the Egyptian king to have matrimonial relationships with apparently no success.

From the Amarna correpondance:

EA 17 said:
To Nibmuaria [Amenhotep 3], King of Egypt, my brother, say: Thus says Tushratta, King of Mitanni, your brother. It is well with me. May it be well with you; with Kelu-Heba [Married by Tushratta's father to Amenhotep 3], my sister, may it be well; with your household, your wives, your sons, your nobles, your warriors, your horses, your chariots, and throughout your land may it be very well.

[...] And my father, because of his love, has given my sister to you. And who else stood with my father as you did? The very next year, moreover, my brother's . . . the whole land of Hatti. As the enemy came to my land, Teshub [Storm god], my lord, gave him into my hand, and I destroyed him. And not one of them returned to his own land.
Behold, one chariot, two horses, one male servant, one female servant, out of the booty from the land of Hatti I have sent you. And as a gift for my brother, five chariots (and) five teams of horses I have sent you. And as a gift for Kelu-Heba, my sister, one set of gold pins, one set of gold earrings, one gold idol, and one container of "sweet oil."
I have sent her. [...]
Around the same period a Hittite king decides to adopt a God of Amurru and goes to create his holy city somewhere south (still not found).

Q: (L) The Six Bounteous Immortals, or I guess what we could say archetypes or sixth density?

A: Yes
Maybe that’s where the Sufis got the ideas of the beautiful names of God? There are shades of Zoroastrianism in pre-Socratic philosophy as well (fire/mind etc.)


A: The Indian Vedas will give clues.

Q: (L) Maybe he wasn't wrong when he said that the daevas were demons. Were the daevas like STS beings?

A: Close

Q: (L) Were they like 4th density STS?

A: Yes
It is interesting that it’s as if the Daevas/Devas were gods who interacted directly in human affairs while the Ahuras/Asuras where more abstract “Gods”, less involved with interfering with humans’ freewill, and more as archetypal characteristics of the creation (thought forms maybe). The subsequent introduction of Mitras and his savage Bear might have been a way to take into account the Human-Cosmic connection after some catastrophic events.

These are just some random thoughts here and there.
 

Aeneas

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Re: Session 14 August 2016

Thank you for an enlightening session. I found the info about Zoroastrianism interesting, especially as I have had a tab open on my browser for the last two weeks on zoroastrianism.

Q: (L) So in other words, what we are looking at here through a probably distorted survival via Zoroaster or Zarathushtra is that the Aryan religion was based first of all on a supreme principle of infinite time and infinite space from which was born essentially "good mind" and "evil mind" as Zoroaster put it?

A: Yes. STO and STS duality.

Q: (L) And this same religion, either in its older form or its later elaboration by Zarathushtra, was the origin of the ideas of free will?

A: Yes

Q: (L) Of savior gods?

A: Yes

Q: (L) The Six Bounteous Immortals, or I guess what we could say archetypes or sixth density?

A: Yes
I found this on the Six immortals which gives an idea:
_http://www.hinduwebsite.com/zoroastrianism/amesha.asp

...the Amesha Spentas are the six immortal
beings created by Ahura Mazda in the spiritual realm to protect
the worlds from the evil deeds of Ahirman or Angra Mainyu and
his army of evil spirits. In an abstract sense, the Amesha
Spentas are the personifications of the various attributes of
Ahura Mazda Himself. Of the six Amesha Spentas three are
masculine and three are feminine.

[...]
The six Amesha Spentas along with their qualities are
described below.

Vohu Manah or Vohuman represents the quality of good mind or
good thoughts and righteous thinking in the invisible realm. In
the visible or material world he is the protector of cattle and also
represented by them. According to the Zoroastrian calendar, the
2nd day of the month and the 11th month of the year are
dedicated to him. Human beings can increase the qualities of
Vohuman in themselves through proper speech, proper
discourse and by keeping animals properly, taking care of them
and the cattle-master, admitting the male and not slaughtering
the young (Denkard Book 9 and Fargard 5). Vohumna prepares
the list of good deeds performed by souls at the time of their
departure from the material plane, which is used at the
Chinawad bridge to decide whether they should be led to the
heaven or hell.

Asha Vahishta represents the qualities of truth, fairness and
justice in the invisible or spiritual realm and the element of fire in
the material world. He is associated with the principle of Asha or
good (moral, righteous) order. The association of fire with truth is
probably rooted in the ancient tradition of using fire to test the
innocence or truthfulness of those who were accused of some
guilt. According to Zoroastrian beliefs, Asha Vahistha will be
present on the Judgment Day, along with God, when the dead
are resurrected and every soul is subjected to a final judgment.
Humans can increase His qualities within themselves by offering
hymns of praise, sacrifices and prayers and by practicing the
three commandments. According to the Zoroastrian calendar,
the third day of the month and the second month of the year are
dedicated to Asha Vahishta.

Kshatra Vairya represents in the spiritual realm the heroic
power God and the kingdom to come. In the material world
Kshatra Vairya symbolizes strength, power and the hard quality
of metals. He is strength and valor personified. His strength is
the strength of righteousness with which evil can be driven out.

Aramaiti is a feminine entity among the Amesha Spentas. She
is referred as the daughter of Ahura Mazda. Aramaiti represents
the qualities of service, kindness, faith, devotion, and serenity in
the spiritual realm. In the material plane Aramaiti personifies, the
earth, fertile land and sacred places. During the ceremonies, she
is invoked to purify the ritual place. Her help is also sought
during the purchase of a new land or a new building. Being a
female entity, Aramaiti represents the ideal womanhood for
Zoroastrian women, representing the divine virtues of loving
kindness, peace, selfless service and dutifulness.

Haurvatat is also a feminine entity. like Aramaiti, representing
qualities of wholeness and perfection in the spiritual world. She
personifies the element of water in the material plane. She also
associated with after life, wholeness, health and prosperity.
Haurvatat and Ameretat are usually referred together as twins.
In the Zoroastrian texts she Haurvatat also associated frequently
with three lesser divinities (yaztas), namely vayu (wind), manthra
(chant) and fravashis (guardian spirits). The sixth day of the
month and third month of the year in the Zoroastrian calendar
are dedicated to her.

Ameretat represents the quality of immortality in spiritual plane.
In the material world, she exemplifies the plants. Like Aramaiti
and Haurvatat, Ameretat is also a feminine entity. The seventh
day of the month and fifth month of the year in the Zoroastrian
calendar are dedicated to Ameretat.
The site where the lionman was found is also the site where the oldest venus figurines have been found: _http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/prehistoric/lion-man-hohlenstein-stadel.htm

Here is an image that gives an idea of the extent of the icesheets in Europe during the last Glaciation, (about 110000 - 12000 ago) with the max glaciation around 22000 years ago...according to wikipedia _https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_glacial_period



The sealevel was also about 100 meters lower than today, which in a way gave another kind of connectedness, though I don't think that was necessarily what the C's alluded to ;)
 

Laura

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I'm copying in herondancer's post on the topic as well.

herondancer said:
What a wonderfully deep session.

seek10 said:
Laura said:
Q: (L) And what had it been corrupted to?

A: The Indian Vedas will give clues.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zurvanism
Aesthetic Zurvanism
Aesthetic Zurvanism, which was apparently not as popular as the materialistic kind, viewed Zurvan as undifferentiated Time, which, under the influence of desire, divided into reason (a male principle) and concupiscence (a female principle).


According to Duchesne-Guillemin, this division is "redolent of Gnosticism or – still better – of Indian cosmology." The parallels between Zurvan and Prajapati of Rig Veda 10.129 had been taken by Widengren to be evidence of a proto-Indo-Iranian Zurvan, but these arguments have since been dismissed (Duchesne-Guillemin, 1956). Nonetheless, there is a semblance of Zurvanite elements in Vedic texts, and as Zaehner puts it "Time, for the Indians, is the raw material, the material prima of all contingent being."
The blue- bolded part struck me a little, as the word concupiscence has a somewhat narrow meaning today, namely lust and carnal desire. The Catholic church has had a fine old time railing against it for centuries, demonizing women as a danger to men because they were it's source.

However it earlier meant 'desire' in a broader sense. From google:

Middle English: via Old French from late Latin concupiscentia, from Latin concupiscent- ‘beginning to desire,’ from the verb concupiscere, from con- (expressing intensive force) + cupere ‘to desire.’
And also

concupiscence (n.) Look up concupiscence at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Latin concupiscentia "eager desire," from concupiscens, present participle of concupiscere, inceptive of concupere "to be very desirous of," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + cupere "to long for" (see cupidity).
So it could mean any strongly felt desire. But even at Zervanism's early date there seems to be an association of the feminine principle with"desire".

The oft quoted session from the C's

Session 990828 said:
Q: Okay, so this realm changed, as a part of the cycle; various choices were made: the
human race went through the door after the 'gold,' so to speak, and became aligned with the
Lizzies after the 'female energy' consorted with the wrong side, so to speak.
This is what
you have said. This resulted in a number of effects: the breaking up of the DNA, the burning
off of the first ten factors of DNA, the separation of the hemispheres of the brain...
A: Only reason for this: you play in the dirt, you're gonna get dirty.
Q: What was the motivating factor for playing in the dirt? What essential thing occurred?
You said once that it was 'desire based imbalance.' What was it a desire for?
A: Increased physicality.
Q: What was the objective sought for in this desire for increased physicality?
A: Sensate.
Q: How was sensate experienced so that these beings had an idea that they could get more
if they increased their physicality?
A: Not experienced, demonstrated.
Q: Demonstrated how, by who?
A: Do you not know?
Q: It was demonstrated by the Lizzies?
A: Basically.
Q: Demonstrated in what way? Did they say: 'here, try this!' Or did they demonstrate by
showing or doing?
A: Closer to the latter.
Q: They were doing, experimenting, playing, and saying: 'look, we are doing this, it's so
great, come here and try it?'
A: Not really. More like: "you could have this."
Q: What seemed to be so desirable about this increased physicality when they said 'you can
have this?'
A: Use your imagination!
Q: Was there any understanding, or realization of any kind, that increased physicality could
be like Osiris lured into his own coffin by Set? That they would then slam the lid shut and
nail him in?
A: Obviously, such understanding was lacking.
Q: Sounds like a pretty naive bunch! Does the lack of this understanding reflect a lack of
knowledge?
A: Of course. But more, it is desire getting in the way of...
The Zoroastrian Gathas, are sprinkled with statements that appear to view the position of men and women as fairly equal especially in Gatha 53. The link is a pdf of a simplified translation, so you'll need to scroll down.

In the later Zervanism, women it seems women are blamed in much the same way as in Judeo-Christianity, though those ideas may have crept in from elsewhere.

https://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic said:
[..] classical Zurvanism's shades of Zurvan as potential and Zurvan as infinite time smells of the idea of 7th density, but of course there are other ideas not exactly corresponding to the Cs, such as some Zurvanites's denigration of women by their association with Ahriman and the Az. The way the ideas are presented though makes it appear that the anti-female ideas were a later corruption of an existing set of ideas.

Perhaps this occurred with the introduction of Aristotelian ideas which had a big effect on Zurvanism. See the new classifications of warm and moist for Ohrmazd, and dry and cold for Ahriman. With women associated with Ahriman's elements, so to flowed the idea of them as evil. This isn't to say all Zurvanism supported this idea, as there was another perspective in which women and men alike were associated with Ohrmazd, as moist and hot respectively.
I'm not really sure where I'm going with this but I thought to throw it in the mix.
 
wikipedia said:
In the earliest Vedic literature, all supernatural beings are called Asuras.[2][3] The concepts and legends evolve in ancient Indian literature, and by the late Vedic period, benevolent supernatural beings are referred to as Deva-Asuras. In post-Vedic texts, such as the Puranas and the Itihasas of Hinduism, the Devas represent the good, and the Asuras the bad.[4][5] In some medieval Indian literature, Devas are also referred to as Suras and contrasted with their equally powerful, but malevolent half-brothers referred to as the Asuras.[6]
When I first came across the concept of devas and asuras, I was also given the impression that devas would be the angels/good natured entities whereas the asuras are their malevolent counterpart, demons.
Given what the C's said about devas being 4th Density STS, this later development might be a sign of corruption?
 

Muxel

Dagobah Resident
Eulenspiegel said:
wikipedia said:
In the earliest Vedic literature, all supernatural beings are called Asuras.[2][3] The concepts and legends evolve in ancient Indian literature, and by the late Vedic period, benevolent supernatural beings are referred to as Deva-Asuras. In post-Vedic texts, such as the Puranas and the Itihasas of Hinduism, the Devas represent the good, and the Asuras the bad.[4][5] In some medieval Indian literature, Devas are also referred to as Suras and contrasted with their equally powerful, but malevolent half-brothers referred to as the Asuras.[6]
When I first came across the concept of devas and asuras, I was also given the impression that devas would be the angels/good natured entities whereas the asuras are their malevolent counterpart, demons.
Given what the C's said about devas being 4th Density STS, this later development might be a sign of corruption?
This was my thought as well.

Even the dictionary definition of "asura" shows this:
a member of a class of divine beings in the Vedic period, which in Indian mythology tend to be evil and in Zoroastrianism are benevolent.
Devas would clearly be the false gods, the 4th Density masters who live long lives and whom ancient humans worshipped.
Asuras would be 6th Density archetypal beings, offshoots of Ahura Mazda: First Cause, Prime Creator, the All.
 

lilies

Dagobah Resident
This caught my eye:

conˈcupitive, a. Obs. rare—1.

[f. L. concupīt- ppl. stem of concup-ĕre, concupisc-ĕre (see above) + -ive.]

= concupiscible 2.

1651 J. F[reake] Agrippa's Occ. Philos. 140 The concupitive power of the soul.

concupiscible :
2.2 Vehemently desirous; characterized by desire or longing; of the nature of concupiscence.
concupiscible appetite, concupiscible faculty, etc.: one of the two parts of our ‘irrational’ nature, the other being the irascible. [= Plato's τὸ ἐπιθυµητικόν, in his tripartite division of the soul.]


This one gets closer, I think, but the whole meaning, I suspect, originally revolved around what the alchemists desired so much more than anything: to become free of the shackles of this world and attain almost total control over one's existence, freedom from being enslaved to the Devil:

†1.1 Vehemently to be desired; worthy to be longed for or lusted after. Obs.

1490 Caxton Eneydos ii. 16 All thynges concupyssible to thappetyte of theyr desire. 1491 ― Vitas Patr. (W. de W. 1495) v. iv. 338 a/2 The vertue of contynence consysteth‥also in absteynyng hym selfe to see & beholde worldly thynges & concupyscyble. 1683 E. Hooker Pref. Pordage's Mystic Div. 93 note, A state of pleaceur is‥eligibl and concupiscibl. 1762 Sterne Tr. Shandy V. 47 (D.) Never did thy eyes behold‥anything in this world more concupiscible.

Also the old word contynence is interesting as it means:

continue, v.

(kənˈtɪnjuː)

Forms: 4–6 contynue, (contynu), -tynew(e, -tinew, 5 -tynwe, -tenue, -tenewe, -tenwe, -teynue, 7 -tinu, 4– continue. See also contain v. 17 and contune.

[a. F. continue-r (13th c. in Littré), ad. L. continuāre ‘to make continuous’, more rarely ‘to be continuous’, f. continu-us continuous. There seems to have been frequent confusion in ME. between this word and contain in its early form contene, due perh. to F. contenu and L. continui, parts of contenir, continēre to contain, or to the Eng. n. contenu = F. contenu content. Hence sense 17 ‘to contain,’ and contain v. 17 in sense ‘continue’; see also contune.]

I.I transitive.

1.I.1 To carry on, keep up, maintain, go on with, persist in (an action, usage, etc.).

So, concupiscence, what was it?? I don't think it was physical desire as revered in nowadays corrupted spiritual times. Maybe they realized what great calamity they got themselves in by jumping into lowly 3D physicality with its sexual desire [gluttony and other such stuff] and the more sober of them then wanted, wished by nurturing a burning desire - the original religious meaning of concupiscence - to become free of 3rdD physicality and everybody who understood this desperately fought to get back to 5thD, 4thD then to 6thD, i think.
 

mkrnhr

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herondancer said:
The Zoroastrian Gathas, are sprinkled with statements that appear to view the position of men and women as fairly equal especially in Gatha 53. The link is a pdf of a simplified translation, so you'll need to scroll down.

In the later Zervanism, women it seems women are blamed in much the same way as in Judeo-Christianity, though those ideas may have crept in from elsewhere.

https://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic said:
[..] classical Zurvanism's shades of Zurvan as potential and Zurvan as infinite time smells of the idea of 7th density, but of course there are other ideas not exactly corresponding to the Cs, such as some Zurvanites's denigration of women by their association with Ahriman and the Az. The way the ideas are presented though makes it appear that the anti-female ideas were a later corruption of an existing set of ideas.

Perhaps this occurred with the introduction of Aristotelian ideas which had a big effect on Zurvanism. See the new classifications of warm and moist for Ohrmazd, and dry and cold for Ahriman. With women associated with Ahriman's elements, so to flowed the idea of them as evil. This isn't to say all Zurvanism supported this idea, as there was another perspective in which women and men alike were associated with Ohrmazd, as moist and hot respectively.
I'm not really sure where I'm going with this but I thought to throw it in the mix.
My first thought is that the denigration of women developed with the city-states for some reason. The Greeks where so fascinated with the egalitarian societies of the steppes (I'm thinking of the Scythians) that they created the myths of the amazons (and their destruction by Greek heroes of course).
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
This post is about a possible connection between Gurdjieff and Zoroastrianism. J G Bennett, in his book ""Gurdjieff: Making a New World" hypothesized that Gurdjieff's teachings, especially what he put down in Beelzebub's Tales, were strongly influenced by Zoroastrianism.

Here are a few relevant excerpts from Bennett.

[quote author=Bennett in Gurdjieff: Making a New World]
When Zoroaster lived in Balkh, the ‘Mother of Cities’, in the sixth century before Christ, he inherited a still more ancient tradition. The earliest hymns of the Aryan people contain convincing evidence of having been composed in the far north ten thousand years ago. I believe that a continuous tradition can be traced back for more than thirty thousand years when Central Asia was a fertile region, the meeting-ground of different cultures, far more ancient than those of Egypt, Mesopotamia and India which arose six or seven thousand years ago. We shall examine these ancient traditions in the next chapter.

We cannot hope to understand Gurdjieff unless we attempt to share his sense of the historical significance of spiritual traditions. He knew that periodic renewals are inevitable, but he was convinced that there is an eternal unchanging core of wisdom to which mankind has always had access. He frequently referred to traditions four or five thousand years old, that were still preserved when he travelled in Asia, as well as to more ancient teachings going back to human origins.

The Zoroastrian tradition gave way to the Christian and Manichean, and these in turn were absorbed by Islam. But Islam owes some of its most vital insights to its contacts with Persia and Central Asia. According to Muslim tradition, Selman the Persian, who was the first convert to Islam from the Magian {Magi are supposed to be followers of Zoroastrianism}religion and one of the close companions of the Prophet, belonged to the school of wisdom that flourished for nearly two thousand years at Balkh. This was the school of the Masters.
[/quote]

According to Bennett, initiates of this "school of the Masters" were the Khwajagan, who operated in later days within the Sufi tradition. Gurdjieff mentioned the Sarman brotherhood in his writings. About the Sarman, Bennett writes
[quote author=Gurdjieff: Making a New World]
The pronunciation is the same for either spelling and the word can be assigned to old Persian. It does, in fact, appear in some of the Pahlawi texts to designate those who preserved the doctrines of Zoroaster. The word can be interpreted in three ways. It is the word for bee, which has always been a symbol of those who collect the precious ‘honey’ of traditional wisdom and preserve it for future generations. A collection of legends, well known in Armenian and Syrian circles with the title The Bees, was revised by Mar Salamon, a Nestorian Archimandrite in the thirteenth century, that is, about the time of Jenghis Khan. The Bees, refers to a mysterious power transmitted from the time of Zoroaster and made manifest in the time of Christ.

A more obvious rendering is to take the "mān" in its Persian meaning as the quality transmitted by heredity and hence a distinguished family or race. It can be the repository of an heirloom or tradition. The word "sar" means head, both literally and in the sense of principal or chief. The combination sarmān would thus mean the chief repository of the tradition, which has been called ‘the perennial philosophy’ passed down from generation to generation by ‘initiated beings’ to use Gurdjieff’s description.

And still another possible meaning of the word Sarmān is ‘those who have been enlightened’ – literally, those whose heads have been purified.

This gives us a possible clue to Gurdjieff’s intention. In the chapter ‘Beelzebub’s Opinion of War’, he refers to a fraternity existing in Central Asia under the name of the ‘Assembly-of-the-Enlightened’ (see Chapter 11 below). He adds that in those days the brothers of this fraternity were very much venerated by other three-brained beings around them, and hence their brotherhood was sometimes called ‘The Assembly-of-All-the-Living-Saints-of-the-Earth’. This is the nearest Gurdjieff comes to specific mention in his own writings of a group that could correspond to the ‘Inner Circle’ of Humanity.
[/quote]

Khwajagan (masters) are not necessarily the same as the Sarman brotherhood but it is possible that individual Khwajas were associated with the Sarman.

[quote author=Gurdjieff: Making a New World]
It is likely that the original custodians of the traditions were the Sarmān Brotherhood and we must find out all that we can about their origins and activities.

Gurdjieff provides here another astonishing clue. He says that the society ‘The Earth-is-Equally-Free-for-All’ set itself to establish in Asia a single religion, a single language and a single central authority. The religion they selected was “to be based in that of the Parsis, only changing it a little” (ibid., p. 1093). The language was to be Turkmen, the Turkish dialect spoken in Turkmenistan from Samarkand to Balkh. The central authority was to be established at Margelan, the capital of the Ferghanian Khanate. No reference to the Parsis, the religion founded by Zoroaster, appears elsewhere in Gurdjieff’s writings. It is particularly remarkable that there is no reference to Zoroaster in the chapter on Religion, nor does his name appear among the wise men who assembled in Babylon and formed the society of adherents of legominism (ibid., p. 455). The date of the latter is easily fixed at 510 bc because Cambyses is known at that date to have brought learned men from Egypt to Babylon, and according to Iamblichus, Pythagoras was one of them. This agrees with Beelzebub’s tale.

Gurdjieff must have known the Greek traditions referring to Zoroaster or Zaratas. Apuleius refers to Zoroaster as the spiritual guide of Cyrus the Great and the teacher of Pythagoras, and there are many similar references in Greek literature. Iamblichus in his Life of Pythagoras (Chapter Four) states that Pythagoras spent twelve years in Babylon consorting with the Magi. These are passages remarkably reminiscent of Gurdjieff’s description of the Club-of-Adherents-of-Legominism (Beelzebub’s Tales, Chapter XXX). Gurdjieff certainly had read his Iamblichus and to some extent modelled his Institute upon the Pythagorean schools. Unless Zoroaster is to be identified with Ashiata Shiemash, he does not appear in Beelzebub’s tales of the Babylonian period. Why then should his religion be referred to in a much later chapter describing events two thousand years after the time of Zoroaster, as the best foundation for a creed in which all Asiatic communities could share?
[/quote]

Considering the assumption that the character of Ashiata Shiemash in Beelzebub's Tales is influenced by Zoroaster, Bennett provides some comments.

[quote author=Gurdjieff: Making a New World]
After his enlightenment, Ashiata is said to have gone to “the capital city Djoolfapal of the country then called Kurlandtech which was situated in the middle of the continent of Asia”. If this refers to Zarathustra’s journey in his thirtieth year, after receiving enlightenment, the city must be Balkh where Kave Gushtaspa was king. Here Zarathustra found two men, counsellors of the king, Jamaspa and Frashaostra who were seeking for wisdom. He enlightened them and initiated the king.

There is a remarkable verse in the Avesta (fifth Gatha, verse 16) which says: “The leadership of the Maga mysteries has been bestowed on Kave Gushtaspa. At the same time he has been initiated into the path of Vohu Manah {one of the six immortal beings in the Zoroastrian religion }by inner-vision. This is the way that Ahura Mazda has decreed according to Asha.”

In later Persian sacred literature, Asha becomes Ashtvahasht, which is strangely suggestive of Ashiata Shiemash. According to the legend, Kave Gushtaspa placed himself entirely under the direction of Zarathustra and this inaugurated the reign of the Good Law. It is obviously possible that Gurdjieff has all this in mind, but he left no clear indication.

The name Ashiata Shiemash can be derived from the Turkish word Ash, meaning food, and the words iat and iem which refer to eating. According to this interpretation, Ashiata Shiemash personifies the principle of reciprocal feeding (Chapter XXXIX). This is very interesting because of the conclusion I reach on other grounds that the principle has a Zoroastrian origin.
[/quote]

Bennett follows several geographical clues left by Gurdjieff in his "Meetings with Remarkable Men" in his book in addition to the clues in "Beelzebub's Tales" to evaluate the evidence in favor of his hypothesis. He speculates whether the Kurdish philosopher Atarnakh who rediscovered the ancient manuscript "doctrine of reciprocal maintenance" in Beelzebub's Tales can be connected to Manes (or Mani, the founder of Manichaeism).

[quote author=Gurdjieff: Making a New World]
The conundrum he sets before us here is to account for the place of Manes in the esoteric tradition and to see if he was likely to be connected with the Sarmān Brotherhood. Manes declared that in two spiritual experiences at the ages of sixteen and thirty, he had been called to be the prophet of Christ sent into the world to bring about the unity of religions. He accepted the Pauline doctrine of the redemption, but he saw that much that was of vital importance to mankind in the teaching of Zoroaster had been left out of Christianity. In particular, the dualism of worlds of matter and spirit having nothing in common, that had entered Greek thought and has been taken over by Christian theologians, was evidently leading to the eventual collapse of religion. Manes saw that the Israelites, in taking over the doctrine of the Saoshyant or Divine Saviour, had converted it into a quasi-political expectation of the Messiah who was to restore the kingdom of Judah. The more serious error is that of dividing man on the same dualistic basis into an immortal, spiritual soul and a mortal, physical body. This false dualism, in spite of its obvious absurdity, has never been eradicated from Christian doctrine.

All this was clear to Manes, who seized the essence of the Zoroastrian and Mithraic psychology and succeeded in converting a very large following. Gurdjieff castigates the ‘Babylonian dualism’ in terms reminiscent of Manes (ibid., pp. 338-45). An even closer correspondence is to be found between Gurdjieff’s teaching of Conscience and Manes’s ‘Call from Above’, described in a manuscript discovered in Egypt and reputedly from his own hand. The ‘Call of Conscience’ is the message sent by the good spirit, Ahura Mazda, to awaken man from his prevailing state of delusion.
[/quote]

Connected to the "law of reciprocal maintenance, the "role of man in creation" forms another link in this chain connecting Gurdjieff's teachings to Zoroastrianism. In Beelzebub's Tales, Gurdjieff alludes to higher beings needing man to fulfill his purpose for the overall maintenance of the universe. Virtually no extant religion talks about higher beings (or God) needing man in this way, except Zoroastrianism.

[quote author=Gurdjieff: Making a New World]
....the old religion of Zoroaster, which taught that both life on the earth and man endowed with intelligence were created to be allies for the Good Spirit Ahura Mazda in the struggle with the power of darkness. The Avestan hymns are full of references to the role of man as a helper in the cosmic process. For example, Yasna 30.9 has the invocation: “May we belong to those who renew the world and make it to progress!”.
[/quote]
 

Konstantin

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Some more info that I find about Sarman brotherhood.

_http://www.resources.amarjah.com/infopages/meaning/bee.htm
Sarmoung Brotherhood -The Beeoney moon

Symbolism of the Bee

Bee
The Sarmoung Brotherhood, an alleged esoteric Sufi brotherhood, emerged in the writings of George Gurdjieff, a Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher. Some, similar to those who questioned Castaneda's Don Juan, conclude the group was merely a fictional teaching device.

The word 'Sarmoung' uses the Armenian pronunciation of the Persian term 'Sarman', which may mean either 'he who preserves the doctrine of Zoroaster', or 'bee'.
_http://www.katinkahesselink.net/sufi/gintro3.htm
Finding the Sarmoung Brotherhood
The link to Ani contains the text from The Meetings in which Gurdjieff talks about Ani. To put it short they found some texts in ancient Armenian and got so interested in finding out what the text was all about that they went to Alexandropol to study the texts further. The texts turned out to be letters written by a monk to another monk. (http://www.virtualani.freeserve.co.uk/citymap.htm - gone May 2013)

The end of one passage spoke about the Sarmoung Brotherhood. This brotherhood existed in the town of Siranoush, had moved to Izrumin, three days journey from Nivssi. Trying to trace this journey I have found out that Siranoush is an Armenian name meaning 'lovely woman' and the town referred to by this name is in the present day Armenia. The only references to Izrumin and Nivssi are quoted from the monk's letter, but Gurdjieff finds out that Nivssi is the old name for Mosul. He also concludes that the Sarmoung Brotherhood was established by a group of people called the Aisors, the Assyrian descendants living in the Caucasus.

Further references to the Sarmoung are found in the chapter of Prince Yuri Lubovedsky. The dervish Bogga-Eddin mentions that the 'Prince is a member of a brotherhood known among the dervishes by the name of Sarmoung'. On the way to the brotherhood rivers Pyanzh and Zeravshan are mentioned. Pyanzh is a border river between Afganistan and Tajikistan and Zeravshan is in Tajikistan.

In spite of over 100 links to Sarmoung all meaningful information can be found here [also gone May 2013]. It does not seem much, but it points to the conclusion that the Sarmoung brotherhood is symbolic and that the names and the places are invented to cover the real ones. In the Sarmoung monastery he found the sacred dances of the priestesses and heard the sacred music. He also tells about a peculiar apparatus, with the help of which the priestess-dancers were taught their art.

Further note on Sarmoung. In Meetings with Remarkable Men, Arkana 1985, p. 90 Gurdjieff writes: "What struck us most was the word Sarmoung, which we had come across several times in the book called Merkhavat. This word is the name of a famous esoteric school which, according to tradition, was founded in Babylon as far back as 2500 b.c., and which was known to have existed somewhere in Mesopotamia up to the sixth or seventh century a.d.; but about its further existence one could not obtain anywhere the least information."

I had somehow got the idea that Merkhavat was an Armenian manuscipt and this information came probably from Bennett's writings. It turns out that he was wrong or that Gurdjieff had a version of the Merkhavat in Armenian, who knows. Merkhavat can most likely only refer to Merkavah, which is part of Jewishy mysticism, thought to have existed from 100 B.C. until 1100. It is related to Gnosticism from those times and the Kabbalah, which is of medieval origin from Provence and Spain. The literature describing Merkavah is called Hekhalot, which means "heavenly hall" and this literature describes the seven chambers, their guardian angels, the Merkavah (chariot - the chariot is the one in Ezekiel's vision in chapter one of the book of Ezekiel) itself and the auditory and visual hallucinations induced by the Ma'aseh Merkavah.

A book called "Beholders of Divine Secrets: Mysticism and Myth in the Hekhalot and Merkavah Literature" written by Vita Daphna Arbel has the following description: "Beholders of Divine Secrets provides a fascinating exploration of the enigmatic Hekhalot and Merkavah literature, the Jewish mystical writings of late antiquity. Vita Daphna Arbel delves into the unique nature of the mystical teachings, experiences, revelations, and spiritual exegesis presented in this literature. While previous scholarship has demonstrated the connection between Hekhalot and Merkavah mysticism and parallel traditions in Rabbinical writings, the Dead Sea Scrolls, apocalyptic, early Christian, and Gnostic sources, this work points out additional mythological traditions that resonate in this literature. Arbel suggests that mythological patterns of expression, as well as themes and models rooted in Near Eastern mythological traditions are employed, in a spiritualized fashion, to communicate mystical content. The possible cultural and social context of the Hekhalot and Merkavah mysticism and its composers is discussed."

James R. Davila at Harvard has written a book called "Descenders to the Chariot", which is described as follows: "The Hekhalot literature is a bizarre conglomeration of Jewish esoteric and revelatory texts in Hebrew and Aramaic, produced sometime between late antiquity and the early Middle Ages and surviving in medieval manuscripts.

These texts claim to describe the self-induced spiritual experiences of the "descenders to the chariot" and to reveal the techniques that permitted these magico-religious practitioners to view for themselves Ezekiel's Merkavah as well as to gain control of angels and a supernatural mastery of Torah.

Drawing on epigraphic and archaeological evidence from the Middle East, anthropological models, and a wide range of cross-cultural evidence, this book aims to show that the Hekhalot literature preserves the teachings and rituals of real religious functionaries who flourished in late antiquity and who were quite like the functionaries anthopologists call shamans."
 

Laura

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Yesterday I wrote a rather long post here and attempted to attach a pdf copy of Zaehner's book to the post. It was apparently too large and cause the post to be rejected and lost. Since I'm working on a laptop in an invalid situation, I was so frustrated I didn't try to re-do it then. I can only stand so much pain in one day!

Anyway, I wanted to list the books that I have thus far found most valuable in digging into this matter. The material that Obyvatel has brought forward is very interesting and suggests that he was familiar with some of the scholarly Zoroastrian studies.

Yesterday, I also followed the Hurrian clue via language as well as the Hurrian-Hittite connection. I'm not going to try to redo all of that now but I will list the books that have been most helpful to me over the past several months. And not necessarily in the order I read them, nor the order of importance. I'm also excluding a whole raft of bible studies books, translations of ancient texts (I like to check the accuracy of the author commenting on a text), and other only slightly related stuff.

So, here's the list:

Judaisms and their Messiahs at the Turn of the Christian Era
Jacob Neusner

Revealed Histories
By Robert G. Hall

Hellenistic civilization and the Jews. Translated by S. Applebaum
by Victor Tcherikover

Enoch and the Messiah Son of Man: Revisiting the Book of Parables
Gabriele Boccaccini

The Ancient Near East” History, Society, Economy
By Mario Liverani

Enoch and the Mosaic Torah: The Evidence of Jubilees
Gabriele Boccaccini

Enoch and Qumran Origins: New Light on a Forgotten Connection
Gabriele Boccaccini

Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith
By Norman Cohn

I have to make a comment about the book just listed above. It is the one that really pointed me in the direction of Zoroaster. I knew that there HAD to be a source of all the Enochian ideas and that's where the water began to clear.

The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity
By Jon D. Levenson

In Search of Zarathustra: Across Iran and Central Asia to Find the World's First Prophet
By Paul Kriwaczek

The Hymns of Zoroaster: A New Translation of the Most Ancient Sacred Texts of Iran
By M.L. West

The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Steppe Warriors
By Christoph Baumer

Uruk: The First City
By Mario Liverani

The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism
By R. C. Zaehner

If you don't read any other book, read Zaehner.

The Invention of Tradition
By Eric Hobsbawm

Religion and Cultural Memory
By Jan Assmann

The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period
By Amelie Kuhrt

Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East
Victor Harold Matthews

The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy
By Mario Liverani

A History of the Ancient Near East, ca. 3000-323 BC
3rd edition by Marc Van De Mieroop

Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls
John J. Collins

The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature
John J. Collins

Jewish Apocalyptic and its History
By Paolo Sacchi

Enoch: A Man for All Generations
By James C. Vanderkam

Vanderkam is very, very good on Enochian studies and I'm pretty convinced that parts of the Book of Enoch, particularly the Astronomical book, were direct copies of Zoroastrian materials. Also, the animal apocalypse sheds light on Zoroaster's concerns about "the cow".

Middle Judaism: Jewish Thought, 300 B.C.E. to 200 C.E.
Gabriele Boccaccini

Israel's History and the History of Israel
Mario Liverani

The History of Ancient Palestine
Gosta Ahlstrom

Peoples of an Almighty God: Competing Religions in the Ancient World
Jonathan Goldstein

The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity
James Vanderkam

Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees in Palestinian Society: A Sociological Approach
Anthony J. Saldarini

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible
James C. Vanderkam

Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Measuring Time
James C. Vanderkam

Enoch and the Growth of an Apocalyptic Tradition
James C. Vamderkam

King Manasseh and Child Sacrifice: Biblical Distortions of Historical Realities
Francesca Stavrakopoulou

This one, just listed, is Super Important! The religions of the Levant were NOT any kind of Judaism as we know it now. The big change came as a result of exposure to Assyria, Babylon and MOSTLY the Persians in the face of the Greeks. The traces of a religion of child sacrifice are still present in the OT. You will be very surprised by this book.

Deuteronomistic History and the Name Theology
By Sandra Lynn Richter

From Hittite to Homer: The Anatolian Background of Ancient Greek Epic
Mary R. Bachvarova

The one just listed above is another super important text.

The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia
Sharon R. Steadman
 

whitecoast

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Thanks for the book suggestions Laura!

Connected to the "law of reciprocal maintenance, the "role of man in creation" forms another link in this chain connecting Gurdjieff's teachings to Zoroastrianism. In Beelzebub's Tales, Gurdjieff alludes to higher beings needing man to fulfill his purpose for the overall maintenance of the universe. Virtually no extant religion talks about higher beings (or God) needing man in this way, except Zoroastrianism.
It is my understanding that the Sumerian gods created humans to be as laborers for them. Perhaps this is a corrupted offshoot of this paleozoroastrianism in the "not even wrong" sense.
 

Laura

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whitecoast said:
It is my understanding that the Sumerian gods created humans to be as laborers for them. Perhaps this is a corrupted offshoot of this paleozoroastrianism in the "not even wrong" sense.
I would suggest that some big blond dudes came down from the steppes after their regions had come under extreme stress and strong armed the "black headed people" into becoming their drones. They then put the whole thing in the context of serving the gods, feeding the gods, and basically justifying everything in those terms. They, of course, became the priests and managers of the temple storehouses.

Read Liverani's Uruk for insight.
 

c.a.

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Laura said:
The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism
By R. C. Zaehner
If you don't read any other book, read Zaehner.
My i inquire if this site is a good introduction?

Zoroastrian Heritage
Author: K. E. Eduljee:
The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism
Chapter 11. Zurvan (Part 1)
_http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/reference/zaehner/dawnVarZur11_1.htm
 

Laura

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c.a. said:
Laura said:
The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism
By R. C. Zaehner
If you don't read any other book, read Zaehner.
My i inquire if this site is a good introduction?

Zoroastrian Heritage
Author: K. E. Eduljee:
The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism
Chapter 11. Zurvan (Part 1)
_http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/reference/zaehner/dawnVarZur11_1.htm
That's good enough. I did notice some text conversion errors so they must have scanned the book. But it will work. You should start at the beginning and read the entire book.
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
That's good enough. I did notice some text conversion errors so they must have scanned the book. But it will work. You should start at the beginning and read the entire book.
Laura, I beg to differ about this.

Naturally, when the link was given I immediately checked it out. What I discovered was a limited paraphrase and/or summary by someone else (K.E. Eduljee) of only three chapters (9, 10, and 11) from the work of Zaehner. It might suffice as an introduction, but the complete work cannot be found at that site and I have serious doubts about the veracity of that site itself. It might have its own agenda in these matters.

This link gives a complete overview of the contents of Zaehner's work so one can see what's missing.

My two cents. :rolleyes:
 
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