Tuesday, April 25, 2006
324. كليدْواژه ي ِ گاهاني ي ِ "مَگه": پژوهشي گاهان شناختي
استاد علي اكبر جعفري، پژوهنده ي نامدار و نستوه ِ گاهان، سرودهاي جاودانه ي زرتشت، كهن ترين انديشه ورز و شاعر ِ شناخته ي ايراني و گزارشگر ِ آگاه ِ سرودها و متنهاي اوستاي نو و ديگر يادمانهاي ادب و فرهنگ باستاني ي ايرانيان، شناخته تر و بلندآوازه تر از آن است كه نيازمند به شناساندن از سوي همچو مني باشد.
استاد كه اكنون نُهمين دهه ي ِ زندگاني ي ِ بَرومند ِ خويش را مي گذراند، از دهها سال پيش ازين – چه آن زمان كه در تهران در انجمن فرهنگ ِ ايران ِ باستان در پويش و كُنِش ِ ايران شناختي بود وچه در سه دهه ي اخير كه ناگزير در كاليفرنيا "شهربند" شده است و در انجمن دوستداران ِ زرتشت، سرگرم كار و كوششي ايستايي ناپذيرست – هيچ گاه دست از كار باز نكشيده و خويشكاري ي فرهنگي ي ِ بزرگش را پايان يافته نينگاشته است. او همواره به "رفتن" انديشيده است و نه به "رسيدن".
از استاد جعفري، دهها كتاب و گفتار به زبانهاي فارسي و انگليسي نشريافته كه هريك فانوس ِ روشنگر و رهنموني است در دست رهروان راه ناهموار و ناروشن ِ ايران شناسي.
استاد جعفري در جُستار ِ تازه ي خويش، بر يكي از مهم ترين و بحث انگيزترين كليدْواژه هاي گاهاني انگشت گذاشته و كوشيده است تا در پرتو ِ ژرفاكاويهاي باريك بينانه اش بر تاريكي هاي شناخت و دريافت ِ آن پرتو بيفكند و رهروان را در رهايي از آشوب ِ دريافت ِ درونمايه ي آن ياري كند. اين كليدْواژه ي كهن، "مَگه" است كه همراه با تركيب ِ "مَگَوَن" در سرتاسر گاهان و جاهايي از اوستاي ِ پسين كاربُرد دارد و فراتر از آن، در ادب فارسي و فرهنگ ِ ايرانيي ِ هزارهي ِ اخير نيز در ساختار ِ واژه ي "مُغ" و همه ي تركيبهاي آن بر جا مانده و نقشي چشمگير و تأثيري ژرف داشته است كه به ويژه در پژوهشهاي حافظ شناختي، جاي ِ مهمّي دارد. اين كليدْواژه ي ِ سه هزارساله، در مرزهاي فرهنگ ايراني ايستا نمانده و در فرآيند ِ داد و ستد با ديگر قومها، به فرهنگهاي ديگر(به ويژه فرهنگهاي مردم سرزمينهاي باختري) نيز راه يافته و تأثيري گسترده در نهادهاي ديني و آييني و بافت ِ واژگانيي زبانهاي آن قومها (خواه با برداشت مثبت، خواه با رويكرد ِ منفي) برجا گذاشته است كه براي دريافت ِ گستردهي آنها بايد به فرهنگها و دانشنامههاي بزرگ نگاه كرد.
از آن جا كه پژوهش استاد، در گويايي و رسايي و روشنگري بسندگي دارد، درازْسُخنيي ِ بيش از اين را روانميدانم و متن ِ گفتار ِ ايشان را با درود و آفرين، در پي مي آورم. بر من و ماست كه فروتنانه و دانشجويانه، به خواندن ِ اين پرتو انديشه و برآيند ِ قلم ِ استاد بپردازيم و راه ِ نزديك ترشدن به سرچشمهي ِ سرچشمهها را بيابيم. چُنين باد!
Maga, The Magian Fellowship
We often hear, talk and read about magic, magician, magic lantern, magic square, and the *Magic Mountain* amusement park in Los Angeles. Around Christmas, we hear about the *Wise Men of the East,* also known as the Magi or Magians, who followed a star to Bethlehem to pay their respects to infant Jesus. They brought with them gold, frankincense, and myrrh as presents. Let us look up the dictionary. *Magus, plural Magi, [Latin from Greek Magos -- more at magic] 1 a: a member of a hereditary priestly class among the ancient Medes and Persians b: often capital: one of the traditionally three wise men from the East paying homage to the infant Jesus 2: Magician, sorcerer* (Webster New College Dictionary). An encyclopedia has more: *â€¦ followers of Zoroaster, the Persian teacher and prophet. â€¦ Gradually, the religion of the magi incorporated Babylonian elements, including astrology, demonology, and magic.* (Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 1983)The word *Magi* is, therefore, linked with Zoroastrianism. It is *Maga* in the Zoroastrian scripture. *Maga* in Avesta and *magha* in Sanskrit is derived from *maz/mah* meaning *to be great, magnanimous, liberal, generous.* Maga/magha means *greatness, magnanimity, generosity.* The adjective is magavan/maghavan, *great, liberal, generous, magnanimous.* The Sanskrit adjective is used mostly in honor of Indira, the Rigvedic god of clouds and rains, who was *generous* enough to bring riches to the Vedic Aryans by driving the drought away.Zarathushtra uses Maga for the *Fellowship* he founded through his *Good Conscience* religion and *Magavan* for every member of the *Magnanimity.* The two words -- Maga and Magavan -- are mentioned for eight times in the Gathas (Maga: Songs 2:11, 11:14, 16:11, 16:16, 17.7 (twice), and Magavan: 6:7, 16:15). Zarathushtra calls his Maga as *maz, great* in two Gathic stanzas -- Maz Maga, the Great Magnanimity, Great Fellowship (2:11 and 11:14).The gist of the above stanzas is that the Great Fellowship is based on the smallest unit -- a married couple forming unity in *weal and woe.* The units aggregate to include the entire living world. It teaches radiant happiness that reaches all. A person who consults righteousness, uses his/her good mind, and lives a life of progressive peace, qualifies to be a member of the Fellowship. In the beginning Zarathushtra prays to God to lead him to expand his newly founded Fellowship. Later, he is joined by King Vishtaspa and his sagacious team, and the work to promote the *Great Fellowship* gains a great momentum. Zarathushtra's *best wishes* come true when he watches the Fellowship grow far and wide.It may be noted that the Good Religion does not divide its followers on caste and/or professional systems. It is on geographical bases. Home (demÃ¢na) is the first unit. Homes make up a settlement (vÃ®s). Settlements join to make the third unit, district (shoithra). Districts together create a land (dahyu). Lands unite into a world, the earth (bÃ»mi). A home is made of the family (khaetva). A settlement encloses the community (verezena). The land has the fellowship (airyaman). The world of lands has the Great Fellowship (Maz Maga). No race, no color, and no profession to divide the people into upper to lower castes and classes in a pyramid, but five units to unite the entire humanity on this good earth on one level. Only one's good and better thoughts, words and deeds in serving humanity and promoting the world give him/her recognition.With this *Introduction,* I should say, I regret to tell of what happened to Maz Maga, the Great Magnanimity of Magavan (Magnanimous) Zarathushtra after the Gathic period. The Aryans had their primitive caste systemâ€”the priests, the warriors, and the miscellany professionals. The third caste labored and produced, and the first two enjoyed the fruits. The Indo-Iranians in the east (Today's Central Asia and northwestern Indian subcontinent) had their Ã¢thravans/atharvans, the fire priests. It was these who took over the Good Religion and institutionalized it into what has evolved into what we have today as the self-proclaimed *Traditional* Zoroastrianism. The Ã‚thravans do not mention the Gathic Magavans and the Zarathushtrian Maz Maga. The two terms are not found in the Later Avesta. The only two exceptions are: (1) May the water [supply} not be available for him who is of the evil religion, who torments a friend, who torments a *mogho,* who torments a neighbor, and who torments a family (Yasna 65.7). (2) He who has a wife is superior to a *maghavan;* he who has a house is superior to who has none; he who has children is superior to who has none; [and] he who has riches is superior to him who has none. (Vendidad 4:47). Note that (a) the Vendidad is among the latest compositions and editions of the Avesta and (b) the change in pronunciation: one is *mogho* and the other *maghavan.* Also the meanings are not clear from the contexts in which the two used. The two meanings are deductions. All one can say is that *moghu* is a member of a community, between a friend and neighbor; and that *maghavan* is a person who has not yet married. Both fall short of the high Gathic conception.In the west, the professional priests of Median *nation* were clever enough to retain their caste (*tribe* in the words of Herodotus), and at the same time call themselves Magu, the Median/Old Persian pronunciation of Magava(n). Magu (Magush as nominative singular masculine) was Grecianized into Magos with Magi as its plural. The word *magic* and other cognates, derived from Magu, show how highly learned and advanced were the Magi in their knowledge and crafts. They made non-Iranians wonder and imagine that they were watching *sorcerers* at work. This could happen to any backward people if they see modern scientific implements used by the advanced. We have many stories how people looked first at wireless, telephone, locomotive engine, train, and other inventions and imagined them to be magic and *products of the Devil.* Some still do!With the Magi's name and fame in mind, all the priests of the Babylonian and Assyrian priests of other creeds, all serving within the great Persian Empire for centuries, took the name *Magi* for themselves. It is simple to understand the rest of events, even the Three Wise Men who are said to have visited and paid their respects to the newborn Jesus. Every Magus in what we call Middle East was not Zoroastrian. He was just a *priest.*Even the very word *priest,* shortened from *presbyteros,* literally *elder,* was originally applied to *a member of the governing body of an early Christian Church.* Today most of the religious orders, including Traditionalist Zoroastrians, have *priests* for themselves. We have a few more examples in Guru, Yogi, and Mogul.However, in the case of Jesus, it could be the Zoroastrian Magi because by that time the institutionalized Zoroastrianism was awaiting the miraculous birth of the *Saoshyant* from a virgin womb. The early Christians, most likely the gentiles, were finding a way to strengthen their story of the virgin birth by linking it to the *famous* Magi in the east. And who knows, years later, some of the impatiently awaiting Magi did accept Jesus as the savior when they were told about his virgin birth! It may be noted that (a) the visit by the Magi is mentioned only in the Mathews out of the four Gospels, (b) that the number of three is determined by the three gifts, and (c) that they came *from east to Jerusalem* and *departed into their own country,* implying that they belonged to one country. When the term *Magi* became less known, it was substituted by *Wise Men.* In recent days, when certain Christian communities were wondering why their representatives did not go to *worship ... the born King of the Jews,* the term *Kings* has been introduced by adding that one was black from Africa and the other two from different parts of Eurasia. It now covers the entire Old World. The point missed by these *King-makers* is that a King does not travel alone. He has his bodyguards. And in those days, such a visit would have meant an invasion. One wonders, how could three kings from three quarters of the world submerge together and Herod, the great King of Judea, did not know about their arrival until they met him! As for as the fourth is concerned, one may add as many as to make more happy.The Median *Magu* has survived in the Pahlavi writings of the Sassanian days: Magh/mogh and magog (priest) and magÃ®h (priesthood). The term *magopat* shows an earlier change in meaning. If turned into Avesta, it should read *Mago-paiti â€“ Head of the Fellowship,* one who leads a local social unit of the Fellowship. Its meaning as *priest* is a later development. It shows that the priest was the *Head of the Fellowship,* a normal evolution of the Fellowship and those who directed it. MagopatÃ¢n magopat (MobedÃ¢n Mobed) was the Chief Priest of the Sassanian Empire. Arabic *MajÃ»s* occurs in the Quran. It says: *Lo! Those who believe [Muslims], and those who are Jews, Sabeans, Christians, and the Magians [all four counted placed together as the People of Book], and those who are polytheists -- Lo! Allah will decide between them on the Day of Resurrection (22:17).* The Armenian language has mog, mogpet, and movpet. The Armenians were Zoroastrians before they embraced Christianity during the Sassanian period.Persian has mogh (Zoroastrian, Zoroastrian priest) and mobed (Zoroastrian priest). The word *Mogh* occupies a high position in Persian poetry, especially in the DivÃ¢n of HÃ¢fez of Shiraz (cir. 1324-1391 CE). PÃ®r-MoghÃ¢n, the Zoroastrian Head Priest, is an inspirational guide to the master poet who is said to have the Quran memorized and was therefore called *Hafez.* It may be added here that the term also means a *singing poet* in Persian, a term more fitting to what Hafez was with his lyrical ghazals at the royal court. His name was Shams al-Din, *The Sun of the Religion,* a name given by his parents to a baby who grew into a lively liberal. His famous couplet:Az Ã¢n be deir-e MoghÃ¢nam aziz mi-dÃ¢randKe Ã¢tashi ke namirad hamisheh dar del-e mÃ¢st.I am held high at the Magian TempleBecause the Fire that never dies is always in my heart.Although still surviving, the trend shows a fall of *Maga* from the World Fellowship of Zarathushtra 3700+ years ago to a dwindling community during the days of Hafez in 14th century CE. Yet the *Fire* was not out. It was live and livening!And now, with the Eternal Fire enlightening our mind, let us turn to the Gathas of Zarathushtra and re-establish the Maz Maga, the Great Magnanimity of World Fellowship, based on wisdom, love, respect, freedom, democracy, peace and prosperity for all without any distinction and discrimination. The Zarathushtrian Assembly has been founded for the same purpose. It has restored the religion to its pristine purity to have the ever-fresh and ever-refreshing Gathas as the Guide into the finest future of Fellowship. First posting: 12 Dey 3738 ZRE =2nd January 2000 CE. Second posting: 7 Dey 3740 ZRE = 28 December 2002 CE*
31 Farvardin 3744 ZRE = 20 April 2006 CE
The subject of modern Mobedyar, Assistant Priest, has its own story. I started with my weekly *Gatha Classes* at Faravahr, the Zoroastrian Youth Organization, Tehran, in the second half of 1970â€™s. The class had a record number of 278 students, ranging from 80 to 20 years old, and had to be divided into three groups. Some of the more active University students formed a group to go, during summer vacations, to Yazd villages to teach the simple people their daily prayers with their meaning and understanding. That gave the late Mobeds Rostam Shahzadi, Ardeshir Azargoshasb and Firouz Azargoshasb an idea, and consequently the Mobeds Council of Tehran formed a class to train youth volunteers to act as junior priests. The clause that only those who belonged to the priestly caste was dropped to open the way for the laity. The graduates were to be ordained as Mobedyars. Still later, it was resolved by the Council to ordain a qualified Mobedyar as Mobed after a distinguished service of three years or more. Some of my brilliant Gatha Class students, all mentioned in my *The Gathas and Supplements,* Persian Translation and Notes, (published by the Zoroastrian Youth Organization), were the first to be enrolled and ordained as Mobedyars. It is a pleasure to see that the Iranian move has been adopted by the North American Mobeds Council and the laity is trained and ordained as Mobedyar.