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Us moi Uzareshva Ahura

armaiti tevishim dasva: 

Spenishta mainyu Mazda,

vangahuya zavoa ada: 

Asha hazo, emavat,

vohu mananghaha feseratum 

Uplift me, oh Ahura and enlighten me,

steadfast Devotion unto me grant;  

Oh Most Supreme Being, Mazda,

do Thou reward my good prayers, 

With Righteousness, Endurance, Courage

and the Leadership of Good Mind. 

(Ahunavaiti 6-12: Ys.33-12) 

We are all born for love

It is the principle of existence, and its only end.





Dr. K.E. Madan


(This essay of Dr. Madan was adjudged to be the best essay for the Essay Prize Competition held by Iran Cultural House, on the occasion of the 2500th Anniversary of the Founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great, celebrated in October 1971, when  Dr. Madan was declared as the winner of the said competition)  

Similarity of some religious features of Zoroastrianism and Hinduism. 


wo of the learned ancient Hindu philosophers, viz. Changranhoaoh and Bias came to the court of Shah Kai Vishtasp to debate with Zarathushtra about his religion, but ‘those who came to scoff remained to pray’ and both had to accept the excellence of the Zoroastrian faith and on their return to India, it is said that 80,000 people were convinced that they adopted the principles of the Righteous Faith and the Fire Cult (Agni Puja) became popular. In his “Ethical Conceptions of the Gathas” Mr. Chatterji’s statements are briefly as follows:-

Pancha Ratirya School, i.e. prayers five times a day must be offered; this was the oldest system and became the source of Bhakti Cult who believed in Sweta guna, or Spenta-Mainyu, or the Good Spirit and so there are were no blood sacrifices, no ascetic renunciation, but a very high order of purity, Bhakti, and “as you sow, so shall you reap, i.e. Karma principle. Also the rites and creeds of this Pancha Ratriya sect and the Zoroastrian cult are almost the same. The founder of the school was Narayana or Narosh Nara as first stated in the Satha Patha Brahmana. 

    Zarathushtra is spoken of as Rishi Kapila; his theory of Cosmic Evolution under the gunas (forces) was known as Sankhya, i.e. knowledge that fully satisfies, and an eminent leader of this, system was Pancha Sikha, also known as Second Kapila and a worthy of Ahura.      

    The Swetaswatara Upanishad, praises Rishi Kapila (Zarthushtra) as, “God inspired Kapila with knowledge and saw him flourishing” In the Bandhayana Sutra an earlier work than the Upanishad, the same remark is repeated and also that Kapila was a Worshipper of Ahura Mazda. Also the Mahabharata states that Kapila was an Asuri or worshipper of Ahura. 

    Kapila means camel-colored, and Zarthushtra means yellow or golden camel. Before the Brahamanas were written, Atharva Veda was written in two distinct parts. The Bharghava section was written in Zend and became later obsolete in India. The Bhargava Veda was considered to be the Vedas of the Magians, because it represents the cult of Asura worship, i.e. the reverence and preservation of Fire as first taught by Zarthushtra. Every chapter of the Mahabharata, begins by doing homage to Nara and Narayana (Zarathushtra), because the philosophy belongs to Zarthushtra of Iran. Narayana represents Zarthushtra, just as Christ for Jesus and Budha means Gautama. “Indeed the whole outlook of the Mahabharata, the non-ascetic, positive, militant philosophy may be said to be only an amplification of the principles of the Gathas.” Thus Chatterjee has ably proved the impact of Zoroastrianism over early Hindusim and has also shown the points of similarity. Before the Mahabharata, the Aryans were united, but afterwards there was a division, because the Asura and Deva cults fought, and the Asura cult  was driven out of India. “Among all the nations and races who have come in contact with India, none of them has so ever lasting influence on our culture and civilization as that of the Iranians”, says Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his “Discovery of India”, P. 137

Culture and Civilization

   The following are some important facts extracted from “Ancient Indian CultCivilization:” by Prof. K.C.Chakravati , Prof. of History, M.T.B. College, Surat. 

    At first the Aryans were in Central Asia. One group went to Persia, then to Afghanistan, N.W. Frontier Province and the Punjab, the land of the seven rivers---Sapta Sindhu. The others went to Europe. Aryaverta was the land of upper India where they spread their culture, forms of worship, social institutions, ideas and beliefs and generally superceded those of the local inhabitants. Comparative philology shows the names of the gods and goddesses, forms of worship, etc., were basically the same. Varuna was the God of both the Indian Aryans and the Persians. 

    After Alexander’s death in 323 B.C., the Chandragupta Maurya  was king of the Maghada empire including Punjab and Gandhar. Pataliputra was the capital and was a cosmopolitan city. Chandragupta having come from Persia, administered the country in the Iranian style, as successfully done by the famous Achaemenian  great monarchs. When Asoka---the philosopher king of India ruled he greatly followed the Achaemenian pattern of social reforms, political methods and administration, architecture etc. Prof. Chakravati states, “The innumerable stupas, pillars, with capitals, particularly the Persian bell-shaped capital, the figures of the lions, the Yaksha and the Yakshini figures bear  resemblance with Persian models. As practically no work of art, sculpture and painting previous to the Maurya period are available, and as the works of art of this period now extant are so superior in workmanship and conception, so the real artistic period begins with the Mauryas and that was due to the Persian influence. The Maurya king and first emperor of India was Chandragupta and had come from Iran so he naturally enforced all the Iranian methods in India. 

    William Hunter in Asiatic Researches, Vol. I, Page 8 in 1769 states, “The Rajah of Oudeipor is the head of the Rajputs…in consequence of a curious tradition relating to his genealogy, is said to be descended in the female line from celebrated Anushirwan who was king of Persia”.  

    Iranian influence is seen in the early Mauryan coins, because these coins show the Sun, the Bull, the Branch. Solar worship of the Persian Magi, abounds in Buddhisim, and Dr. Spooner, therefore infers that Gautama who was a member of the domiciled Iranian or Magian community, through the medium of an Indianised Zoroastrianism, united the Hindus and Iranians. The Maha-Yana School of Buddhism has Zoroastrian Philosophy and so the dogma of Ahimsa which belonged to the original Hana-yana school, was given a wider outlook by the Maha-Yana school and changed into the creed of Ashish or benevolence. Lokmanya Tilak also traces the origin of the Maha-yana School to the impact of Buddhisim with the Panch Ratriya Sect which originated from Rishi Narayana of Mahabharata who is no other than Ratu Zarthushtra of Iran. Buddha owed his inspiration of an ethical religion to Rishi Kapila whom he called the great Rishi. 

    There is veneration for the cow in both Hinduism and Zoroastrianism. Both have purificatory ceremonies with the Gomez (cow’s urine) which is a known antiseptic and disinfectant. 

    Ahimsa or non-violence, kindness to animals is strongly advised in both the religions. Yasna, Ha 12 which is declaration of faith, the Zoroastrian promises to uphold righteousness in thoughts, words, and deeds, to always remain peaceful and not to use any weapons---nithasnitheishem

Common Features of The Avesta and The Vedas

    The following is an example of a part of a hymn which is exactly the same in Avesta (Ushtavaiti Gatha, Yasna XLIV,3) and in the Veda. 

In Avesta: “Kem-na Mazda, mavaite payum dada,t

             Hayat ma dregvao deedarshta aenanghe?

             Anyem thwwamat athrascha mananghascha.

             Yayao shyothnaish ashem tharosta Ahura

             Tam moi danstvam daenayai fravaocha.” 

In Sanskrit: “Kon-na mahadya mavate payum

            Yat ma dreghavannadidhrishata enase

            anyastavasmadaharashch manasascha

            Yayo shchyoutnaritamatrasta-sura

            tam me doumsatam deenaai pravochathah” 

    “Which man O Mazda! Hast thou bestowed upon persons like myself, as protector, in case the infidel ventures on attacking me for injuring? Who else than Thy Fire and Thy mind, by whose activities the Divine order in creation is preserved? O Ahura ! reveal unto me that enlightenment for the sake of religion.” 

    This implies peaceful actions done through the good mind and the inner Spiritual Fire within us, increase Asha, or righteousness and implicit Faith in Him. 

    The Gathas and the Vedic hymns have the same nature of meters. Dr. Haug states. “Among the meters used in Yajurveda, we find several which are marked by the epithet Asuri, e.g. Gayatri Asuri, Ushni Asuri, and Pankti Asuri. These Asur meters are actually to be found in the Gatha literature of the Zend Avesta.”  

Common Features of The Achaemenian Inscriptions and Asoka’s Rock  Edits. 

    Asoka’s innumerable inscriptions on rocks and pillars spread all over his vast empire in India, show great similarity with the Achaemenian rock inscriptions in Iran. This is noticeable from the voluminous work, “Inscriptions of Asoka” by E. Hultzsch, Ph.D. 1925. 

    Preamble used by Darius: “I Darayuhs, powerful king of kings, etc., says” 

    Preamble used by Asoka: “Deva nanampriya Priyadarsin Raja etc., says” 

    “This is evidently a reminiscence and modification of the Achaemenian formula” , says E. Hultzach  and concludes that when the provinces of Sindhu and Gandhara belonged to the Persian Empire, they were mentioned as Hindu and Gandhara in the inscriptions of Darius at Persepolis and also at Naqsh-i-Rustam and Herodotus names the tribes living there in India as composing the army of Xerxes. 

    Tushaspha, the name of the Yavana king, who was Asoka’s governor of Girnar, is a Persian word like Vishtaspa, Kersaspa, etc. and suggest that Asoka enlisted Iranian in his services. 

    Moral precepts on Asoka’s edicts are indeed admirable, e.g. kindness to animals, non-violence (Ahimsa), helping others, courtesy to all, even to subordinates, right performance of duties, morality in all we do, etc.; but all these have been quite well-known Iranian injunctions since thousand of years B.C., when the holy prophet Zarathushtra first propounded to the world, the philosophy of Righteousness (Ashoi) in thoughts, words and deeds. 

    The ancient Iranian monarchs of the Pishdadian and Kianian dynasties which was the golden period of Iranian history enforced all these moral precepts. Thereafter, the illustrious emperors of the Achaemenian period, viz., Cyrus the Great and Darius the Great and the others followed their footsteps and became ideal rulers, as they practiced the Zoroastrian teaching, “Happiness unto him who makes others happy”. 

    Chandra Gupta Maurya and his descendents including Asoka the Great had come from Iran and so knew the Iranian history, their doctrines, etc., and introduced all the good things that appealed to them. Virtuous ideas inscribed on Asoka’s rock and pillar edicts were zealously followed by the kings and people of ancient Iran, and so, it would be “carrying coals to Newcastle” if any one tries to lecture the moral precepts of Asoka’s edicts to the Iranians. 

    In Vol. I of Dabistan or School of Manners, translated by Shea and Troyer, P.52-3, it is claimed by the Persians that they had Fire-temples at Dwarka, Gaya and Mathura. Gaya was an early seat of  Magian worship. Gautama, as a religious student “went thither as to the holy place of his own people---the Zoroastrians.” Gaya was sacred to the Magian Brahmns, and they did not accept Gautama’s reforms. Some scholars believe that Gautama of Fravardin Yasht was Gautama Budha. Darius annexed Taksasila (Taxilla) to the Persian empire and a Persian satrap (Viceroy) ruled there for two centuries and every institution was based on the Achaemenian style. And a big Fire-temple without images was discovered at Taxilla. 

    “In Multan, there is a Sun-temple which owes its origin to Persia” says K.N. Sitaram. Behram-Gor (Sassanian King 420-438 A.D.) had come to Kathiwar and married an Indian princess. There are Pahlavi inscriptions at St.Thomas Mount near Madras. The Pallavas ,the rulers of Kanchi are none other than Persians who like the Magas and other tribes got absorbed in Hindu society. The Iranians were known much before the exodus of Parsis to Sanjan as artists and merchants, etc. “they have been amply repaying the debt they owed to India.” Says Sitaram. 

    “Early History of India” by V.A. Smith states that there were Indo-Parthian rulers in India, and Parsika means Persian, as Parsik is the Pahlavi word for an inhabitant of Pars, i.e. the ancient Persis or modern Fars. The Magas used the Avestan word “Paitidana” or Padan, i.e. a mask over the mouth whilst praying and they worshiped Sraosha, the Iranian Yazed. 

     Prof. Max Muller states, “ even by geographical evidence it can now be proved that Zoroastrians settled in India before they migrated into Persia.” Dr. J. J. Mody and Prof. Darmesteter maintain that the tradition about the fort of Jamrud in the Khyber Pass is that it was connected with the name of King Jamshid of the Peshdadian dynasty. 

     The Encyclopaedia Britannica, ed XI; Vol. 21, P.18 mentions that on Kanishka’s coins, Iranian divinities predominate, viz. “Muro” (Meher, i.e. sun), “ Mao” (Mah i.e. Moon),  “Athsho” (Atash i.e. Fire), “Haoreoro” (Shehrevar), Orthagno (Verethraghan), Havrro (Havarena – kingly glory), Nana (Anahita) etc. All this is a syncretism of Buddhism and Zoroastrianism. 

    P. P. Bulsara has stated that the various Brahmans of India, viz. the Magas, and the Gandharas of the North and the Kashmiri Brahmans and also those who in South India who were the Pahlavas near Kanchipuram or Kanjivarem, near Madras, were Iranian Athravans ,but due to the close social and religious contacts with the natives of India, lost their individuality and got merged with them in course of time.

Some Other Common Points

    There are many similarities regarding Fire Worship in the prayers of Zoroastrian religion and in the Vedic hymns. The invocation praise, glorification and asking boons and blessings from Athra or Agni is almost the same. 

    In the Avesta, Yasna 33, para 12, 13, which are parts of the Ahunuvad Gatha and also in the Atash Niayesh are the blessings which the devotee craves for, viz. purity, strength, greatness and leadership, health and happiness. In the Vedic Hymns, Mandala V, hymn 26, purification by Agni is requested. The word “puthra” or purifier is found in the Avesta also, “atash puther Ahuromazdao” means the divine purifier, and also the son of Ahura Mazda. Fire in the Avesta is exalted as “Mazishta Yazed”, i.e. the greatest angel, so in Mandala I hy, 146, he is “Mahah” or the great worthy One.  The Atash Niayesh prayer begins as “gorzeh khoreh avazayad…” i.e. may the “khore” (aura or brilliance) of the fire be magnified. In the very first verse of the Rig-Veda, it is stated  “I magnify Agni.” Fire is the symbol of Divinity in the Avesta and Vedas. 

    Atash Nairosangh is the messenger who carries our prayers and supplications quickly to God and also brings down the blessings to the worthy and righteous devotee. Atash Nariosangh is stated with the same functions in the Vedas. Athravan the name of the priest, is the same. The Hota in the Rig Veda is identical with Zota in Avesta means the reciter of the hymns The word Yasna corresponds to the Sanskrit word Yajna or sacrifice. The Soma and the Homa are the same plants of which the juice is ceremoniously extracted. 

    Originally pure Vedism and pure Zoroastrianism were one. Later on interpretations of words caused deviations. 

    Rev. Dr. Mills, Prof. Of Zend Philology, Oxford, states the “rita” of Veda is the “asha” of the Avesta. “Kshatra” is “Khashathra”. “Aramati” is “Aramaiti”. “Sarasvati” is “Haurvatat”. “Vasumanas”, which is “Vohumano” is the name of the Vedic seer. Dr. Mills states , “the Avesta and the Veda are ancient sisters, as no one now pretends to doubt .”   


The Marchioness of Winchester




he story of Katayun, Kitabun, or Nahid, in the Shahnama has a peculiar interest, because this daughter of the King of Rum1 married Gushtasp, or Kava Vishtaspa of the Avesta, who later became famous as the patron of the Zoroaster’s religion. The fair Princess Katayun2 was the eldest of the three daughters of the sovereign of the west, the Kirsa of Rum, as told in the introductory lines of Firdausi’s account of Luhrasp, father of Gushtasp, who succeeded Kai Khusrau to the throne of Iran. The Kisra of Rum, we are told was a descendant of Salm. Son of Faridun and Shahrinaz. A union through a royal marriage, that would bring Iran and Rum into closer connection, is a happy theme, and Firdausi develops the romantic story, describing how this beauty from the west became the wife of Gushtasp, son of Lohrasp. 

    Luhrasp was very fond of the grandsons of Kia Kaus, in consequence of which the heroic young Gushtasp suspected that his father might give the throne to one of them. He was, therefore, greatly troubled. One day, when the King was feasting the nobles, Gushtasp joined the party, and all made merry and drank freely. In the midst of the rejoicing, the youth turned suddenly to his father and asked him to bestow the throne upon him. The King replied that he was too young, whereupon Gushtasp became filled with anger and quitted the court, leaving Iran for Rum. 

    It was the custom in Rum, when a Princess reached marriageable age, to assemble all the Princes and Noblemen that she might choose a husband from among their number3. At a given time the Princess would enter, but surrounded so completely by her handmaidens that her suitors could obtain no possible glimpse of her. The night before such an assembly was to be held for Katayun, she dreamed that among the noble gathering was seated a handsome young man of kingly bearing, whom she forthwith selected as her husband, in token whereof she gave him a bouquet of sweet-scented flowers. The following morning she awoke, greatly excited. Procuring a bunch of fresh narcissi, she entered the grand assembly of Princes, but she saw not one amongst them whom she liked. Filled with disappointment that her dream had not come true, she withdrew to her apartments and wept bitterly.  

    The next day the King summoned another gathering, this time not of Princes, but of wealthy Nobles, hoping that one of them might prove sufficiently attractive to win the love of Katayun. To this second assembly came Gushtasp at the advice of the kindly village chieftain, who had befriended him since he left his father’s palace. “Come!” said the good man, “the sight of so much beauty and splendor may perhaps cheer thy sad, young heart.” He further advised him to assume the name of Farukhzad, deeming it more prudent. 

    At the appointed hour Katayun again entered with her bouquet of narcissi. Glancing round, she suddenly caught sight of Gushtasp. Her heart gladdened as she recognized in him the hero of her dream. She approached him joyously and “set the rich and splendid coronal upon his glorious brow”, receiving from him a token of love in return. Neither Katayun nor her father, however, was aware that the suitor who had won her hand was of royal blood. The King was, in fact, extremely angry at his daughter’s choice of the stranger, and said he would behead both of them. The minister, Katayun’s tutor, however, intervened, remonstrating with him severely: “Thou didst but say to thy daughter: ‘Choose a husband’. She hath obeyed, and chosen one to her liking. Submit thyself to the will of God.” The King accordingly withdrew the sentence of death, but, his anger still unabated, he banished the young couple from the palace, without money, jewels or possessions of any kind. Fortunately, Katayun had on her person a few rare gems and trinkets, and from proceeds of these contrived to live in a meager way. They made their home in the village, and  Gushtasp passed his days in hunting.  

    Some time later Katayun’s sisters were sought in marriage by two noble youths. When one of them, Mirin, a Ruman chief, asked the King for the hand of his daughter Dilanjam, he promised to give his consent if he could perform a deed of great prowess: namely to kill the monster-wolf that roamed the forest of Faskun to the terror of everybody. Mirin departed, sorely perplexed, and studied his horoscope, where he saw, knitted together with his own fortunes, a bold young warrior from Iran, who would become the son-in-law of the Kisra. Mirin, having heard the story of Gushtasp and his marriage with Katayun, went to seek him in the village, where he had already become famous for his remarkable daring and personality. When he learned the object of Mirin’s visit to him, Gushtasp immediately repaired to the forest and succeeded in slaying the wolf. In his intense gratitude, Mirin proceeded to shower gifts upon him ,but Gushtasp refused to accept anything. Returning to the palace, the young man went straight to the King and claimed that he had slain the wolf. The Kisra, beholding the dead monster, and struck by such bravery, at once bestowed his daughter upon Mirin. 

    When Ahran, another Ruman chief, wished to marry his youngest daughter, the King made a condition still more hazardous. He suggested  that the youth should kill the hideous dragon that infested Mount Sakila. Ahran sought the advice of Mirin, who told him the truth concerning the slaying of the wolf. He also asked Gushtasp’s help, and that dauntless warrior, ever eager for the most perilous enterprise, promptly consented. After days of toil Gushtasp succeeded in tracking down the dragon and killing it. Having on an impulse extracted the monster’s teeth, he delivered the carcass over to Ahran, who bore it in triumph to the King. He was instantly rewarded by receiving the hand of the fair Princess, and the monarch was filled with pride at having secured two such valiant sons-in-law. 

    Some time later, the Kisra arranged for a display of polo and archery to be held in the riding-field attached to the palace, in which the bravest of the youths were to take part. Katayun, the keen-witted, persuaded her husband to go and see the exhibition. Gushtasp watched the polo. After a while he asked for a stick and ball and joined the players. His marvelous strokes, delivered one after another, so startled the players  that they dared not renew the game. Next appeared the gallant knights for archery, and Gushtasp again came forward. Wielding his bow and arrow, he displayed such wonderful prowess, that the King’s curiosity was aroused. Turning to his followers, he asked: 

                  Whence is this cavalier?

                  Call him that I may ask him who he is---

                  An angel, or a mortal seeking fame. 

Gushtasp was, therefore, summoned to the Kisra’s presence and, upon questioning him, the monarch was astounded to learn that he was none other than the young man he had expelled from his palace. Gushtasp reproached him bitterly for his harshness toward his daughter. He further revealed that it was he who had slain the wolf and the dragon, and proved his claim by producing the teeth of the latter. Feeling much indignation against Miran and Ahran, and repenting of his own conduct, the King immediately sought his daughter and begged her forgiveness. Convinced that there was some mystery in connection with “Farukhzad”, he proceeded to interrogate her, but Katayun could tell him nothing His true identity was, however, soon to be established for, a short time later King Luhrasp sent from the east his other son, Zarir, or Zairivairi of the Aveseta, to ask Gushtasp to return to Iran and to take  possession of the throne. Thus, for the first time did Katayun and her father, the sovereign of the west, know that the valiant youth was none other than Gushtasp, heir to the throne of Iran. 

    Zarir succeeded in persuading his brother to return, the Kisra having obtained forgiveness of the royal Prince for the past unpleasant events and bestowed upon Katayun a dowry of great riches. Gushtasp and Katayun, accompanied by Zarir, departed in great pomp for the land of Iran. Upon their arrival the aged King Luhrasp placed the crown of  sovereignty upon the head of Gushtasp, and passed the remaining days of his life in pious meditation  and worship. Katayun became the queen of Iran, and ruled long over the destinies of the great land.


    The most outstanding event in the history of Iran, and the most glorious occurrence in the long and prosperous reign of Gushtasp, was the coming of Zarduhsht, or Zoroaster, the prophet of ancient Iran. Space will not allow us to narrate fully the events which led up to the conversion of Gushtasp to new religion. The entire family, the Nobles of the realm and the people Iran followed the example of their ruler, and the new faith soon began to spread beyond the borders of Iran, especially under the leadership of Asfandiyar and Bishutan, the two noble sons of Gushtasp. Turan, the traditional foe of Iran, was once more on the war-path, this time in the name of the “old gods”. Gushtasp accepted the challenge, and defeated Arjasp, or Arejataspa of the Avesta, the King of Turan, after severe fighting and considerable loss of life. Among the Iranian worthies slain was Zarir, the valiant brother of Gushtasp. 

References: 1. That is Asia Minor, the territory which later came to be known as the Eastern  Roman Empire.

2. According to the Avesta,  however, the name of Vishtaspa’s wife was Hutaosa, who belonged to the noble house of Naotaras; compare Yasht 15.35. It may be noted here that the romantic episode of Vishtapa’s youth, told by Firdausi and repeated by Mirkhond in his “History”, is not found either in the Avesta or the later Pahlavi writings.

3. This method of contracting marriage was known in ancient India as swyamvara, “self-choice” or “maiden’s choice”.




“Dear Lord, I thank You for calling me to share with others Your most precious gift of laughter. May I never forget that it is Your gift and my privilege.” 


    Henry Ford, the car manufacturer paid a visit to Dublin in order to open a new orphanage. He gave $1,000 towards the cost, but the local paper reported that he had given $10,000! 

    The paper apologized and asked if he’d like a correction to appear in the next edition. Not wishing to appear mean, Ford decided to give the extra $ 9,000 to the orphanage with a proviso that this text should be engraved in the stone of the building:

I was a stranger and you took me in.