Thursday, April 30, 2009
٤: ٤۵. هشتاد و سومین هفتهنامه: فراگير ِ ٣۱ زيرْبخش ِ تازهي ِ خواندني، ديدني و شنيدني
بر همهی ِ کارگران و زحمتکشان ِ ایران و جهان
در همین زمینه، آگاهی نامه و فراخوان زیر، امروز به این دفتر رسبد ↓
دعوت به مراسم روز جهاني كارگر
كارگران ! براي دفاع از حقوق انساني خود و برخورداري از يك زندگي بهتر ، دوشادوش هم در مراسم روز جهاني كارگر شركت كنيم .
تاريخ : روز جمعه ۱۱ ارديبهشت ماه ۱۳٨٨- ساعت : هفده
مكان : تهران خيابان كارگر ،داخل پارك لاله – ميدان آب نما
اول ماه مه - ۱۱ اردیبهشت - روز جهانی کارگرگرامي باد!
ما کارگران ایران، امروز یک پارچه و متحد، مطالبات زیر را به عنوان حداقل خواسته های خود فریاد می زنیم و خواهان تحقق فوری این مطالبات هستیم:
۱- تأ مین امنیت شغلی برای همه کارگران و لغو قراردادهای موقت و سفید امضا و برچیده شدن فرم های جدید قرارداد کار.
۲- حداقل دستمزد مصوب شورای عالی کار، خط مرگ تدریجی است! حداقل دستمزد کارگران باید توسط نمایندگان واقعی و تشکل های مستقل کارگری تعیین گردد.
۳ - برپایی تشکل مستقل کارگری، اعتصاب و اعتراض و تجمع حق مسلم ماست!
۴ - دستمزدهای معوقه باید بدون عذرو بهانه پرداخت گردد!
۵- اخراج و بیکارسازی کارگران باید متوقف گردد!
۶ - حقوق زنان و مردان درتمامی شئون اقتصادی – اجتماعی باید برابرباشد.
۷- بازنشستگان باید ازیک زندگی مرفه و بدون دغدغه اقتصادی برخوردارشوند.
۸ -کارگران با معلمان ( کارگران فکری) ، پرستاران وسایراقشارزحمت کش جامعه متحدند و ازمبارزات آنان پشتیبانی می کنند.
۹ - ازاعتراضات و خواسته های کارگران فصلی و ساختمانی قاطعانه پشتیبانی می کنیم.
۱۰-کارکودکان غیرانسانی و استثمارگرانه است. ما با فعالین لغو کارکودک هم سنگرهستیم.
۱۱- منصوراسانلو، ابراهیم مددی و دیگرکارگران زندانی باید بدون قید و شرط آزاد گردند و تعقیب های قضایی علیه دیگرکارگران باید فوراً پایان پذیرد.
۱ ۲- ما خود را متحد با جنبش های اجتماعی دیگرمانند دانشجویان و زنان می دانیم.
۱۳- ما ازکارگران مهاجرمانند کارگران افغانی ، به عنوان بخشی ازهم طبقه ای های خود ، قاطعانه پشتیبانی می کنیم.
۱۴- ضمن تشکرازحمایت های جهانی ازکارگران ایران، ما کارگران ایران، خود را متحد با دیگرکارگران جهان می دانیم.
۱۵- اول ماه مه، باید تعطیل رسمی گردد و هرگونه ممنوعیت و محدودیت برگزاری مراسم این روزملغی گردد.
زنده باد همبستگی بین المللی طبقه کارگر !
اوّل ِ ماه ِ مه ٢٠٠۹ - ۱۱ اردیبهشت ۱۳٨٨
کمیته برگزاری مراسم اول ماه مه:
سندیکای کارگران شرکت واحد اتوبوسرانی تهران و حومه/ سندیکای کارگران نیشکر هفت تپه/ اتحادیه آزاد کارگران ایران/ هیأت مؤسس بازگشایی کارگران نقاش و تزیئنات ساختمان/ کانون مدافعان حقوق کارگر
شورای همکاری فعالین و تشکل های کارگری :
کمیته پیگیری برای ایجاد تشکل های آزاد کارگری/ کمیته هماهنگی برای کمک به ایجاد تشکل های کارگری/ شورای زنان/ جمعی از فعالین کارگری
(فرستنده: رضا دهقان)
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۱. تلاشی خندستانی برای ِ دیگرگون وانمودن ِ کیستیی ِ ایرانیی ِ "نظامی ی ِ گنجه ای" سالار ِِ فرهنگ و ادب ِ ایران و زبان ِ فارسی
در ایالت ِ اران ، بخش ِ نامداری از ایران زمین ِ بزرگ – که در تازش ِ نیروهای ِ روسیّهی ِ تزاری در سدهی ِ نوزدهم ِ میلادی از ایران جداشد و در حکومت ِ تزار ِ سرخ، هیولای ِ خونریز ِ سدهی ِ بیستم، ستالین، به طمع ِ دستیازی به آذربایجان در شمال ِ باختری ی ِ ایران، نام ِ ساختگیی ِ آذربایجان بر آن نهادند و امروز، به اصطلاح جمهوریی ِ آذربایجان با پایتختیی ِ باکو نامیدهمیشود از نخستین دهههای ِ سدهی ِ پیش، همواره تلاشی ابلهانه و خندستانی برای ِ "جُزایرانی" (؟!) وانمودن و شناساندن ِ نظامیی ِ گنجهای، سخنسالار ِ شعر ِ فارسی و یکی از چند ستون ِ اصلی و استوار ِ کاخ ِ گزندناپذیر ِ فرهنگ و ادب ایران، به عنوان ِ شاعر ِ ترک (؟!)، در کار بودهاست و هست.
مسخرگی ِ این فرارَوَند ِ کیستیی ِ ترکی (؟!) تراشیدن برای ِ آفریدگار ِ پنج گنج ِ شایگان ِ شعر ِ غناییی ِ فارسی، هنگامی چشمگیرتر میشود که بدانیم هیچ دیوانی و اثری به زبان ِ ترکی از این استاد ِ چیرهدست ِ شعر فارسی در دست نیست و او، خود، در هیچ یک از سرودههایش، از "ترک بودن" خویش، سخنی به میان نیاوردهاست؛ بلکه بارها از وابستگیی ِ تامّ و تمام ِ خود به ایران – که زادگاه و زیستگاهش گنجه، شهری کهن و نامدار از آن به شمار میآمدهاست– یادکرده و با غرور ِ بسیار، بدین امر، فخر و مباهات ورزیدهاست:
سخن ِ پایانیی ِ من در این راستا، اینست که آنچه کیستیی ِ اندیشهوَرزان، نویسندگان، شاعران و دانشمندان را شکلمیبخشد، جدا از زبان، زمینههای ِ تاریخی و بستر ِ فرهنگیی ِ اثرهای ِ آنانست؛ وُگرنه خطکشیها و مرزبندیهای ِ ساختگی و کشورسازیهای ِ سوداگران ِ جهانی در دو سدهی ِ اخیر، نمیتواند طومار ِ بلند ِ یک پیشینهی ِ درخشان را درنوردد و به خواست ِ "نودَولتان" و "میرهای ِ نوروزی"، انگ و رنگ ِ کیستیی ِ دروغین بر پیشانیی ِ بزرگان ِ یک ملّت و سالاران ِ یک فرهنگ ِ هزاران ساله بزند.
رودکی، بیرونی، پور ِ سینا، سنایی، نظامی، خاقانی، مولوی و دیگران، در هر جا که زادهشده و زیستهباشند، ایرانی و ایرانیفرهنگاند و – حتا اگر بخشی از کارهاشان را به ضرورت ِ زمانه، به زبانی جُز فارسی، نوشتهباشند – با هیچ تمهید و تدبیری نمیتوان آنان را ازبک و ترک و رومی و عرب شمرد.
بزرگانی که نام بردم و دیگر نامآوران ِ گسترهی ِ فرهنگ و هنر ِ ایرانی و ادب فارسی، اختران ِ فروغبخش شب ِ تاریخانذ که پرتو افشانی شان تنها در آسمان ِ میهن نبوده و افقهای دوردست را نیز فراگرفتهاست. بسیاری از دستآوردهای ِ آنان به شمار ِ زیادی از زبانهای جهان برگردانیدهشده و آوازهای جهانشمول یافتهاند. این که مردمانی از قومهای ِ گوناگون به آفریدههای آنان رویآورباشند و با شناخت ِ کیستیی ِ راستین ایرانیشان از سرچشمههای نوشین ِ اندیشه و هنر و ادب ِ ایشان سیرابشوند، امریست پذیرفتنی و مایهی ِ سرافرازیی ِ هر ایرانی. امّا مصادرهکردن ِ نام و آوازه و اثرهای ِ ایشان و کیستی تراشیی ِ سیاستبارگان برای ِ آنان، با هیچ منطق و معیاری همخواننیست و در داد و ستد ِ سالم و انسانی در میان ِ ملّتها، جایی ندارد.
گفتاری در همین زمینه را در این جا بخوانید ↓
خاستگاه رایان پیامی از سیاوش (؟)
۲. نوروز، نماد ِ هویّت ِ ایرانی
۳. سنگ سازههای ِ تاریخی و هنریی ِ اصفهان در فرارَوَند ِ تباهی و نابودی!گزارشی نگرانکننده از اصفهان
در این جا بخوانید ↓
خاستگاه : رايانْ پيامي از دکتر شاهین سپنتا- اصفهان
٤. گامی در راستای ِ شناخت ِ بهتر ِ سرزمینهای ِ فرازرود (بخشهای ِ جداکردهی ِ استعمارگران از ایران بزرگ)
سفرنامهی ِ سُغد و خوارزم (بخشهای ِ یکم تا سوم) در این جا ببینید و بخوانید ↓
SafarName-ye Soghd o Kharazm (3)
خاستگاه : رايانْ پيامي از مسعود لقمان- تهران
٥. آرزوی ِ سوزان ِ "شهزادهی ِ سمرقندی"، دختری تاجیک برای ِ سفر به ایران و دمزدن در حال و هوای ِ فرهنگ ِ کهن ِ نیاکان و سرودههای فردوسی، خیّام و حافظ: گزارشی با گویش ِ شیرین ِ فارسیی ِ تاجیکی ( گفتاری که آب ِ دیده را به رُخسار میدوانَد)
در این جا بشنوید↓
۶. "دوزخ" در تاریخ ِ کیش ِ زرتشتی: پژوهشی بُنیادین و کلیدی در یک پُرسمان ِ دیرینه
Hell in Zoroastrian History
University of Bergen, Department of Archaeology, History, Culture Studies and Religion,
P.O. Box 7805, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Th e present article surveys some relevant developments of conceptualizations of hell in
the Ṛg-Veda, the Avestan corpus and the Middle Persian (Pahlavi) literature of the
Zoroastrians, where hell is more extensively discussed. Th e article concludes by looking
at the belief in heaven and hell among the world-wide Zoroastrian diaspora communities,
urban laity in Mumbai, and professional priests in Westen India.
Zoroastrianism, hell, eschatology, ethics, sins, priests
. . . a-dānīh . . . čiyōn mahist parwānag ī ō dušox
. . . ignorance . . . which (is) the greatest guide to hell
In his groundbreaking work La philosophie de l’histoire from 1765 the
French enlightenment philosopher Voltaire challenged some main paradigms
of established European historiography. Based on the idea of the
principal unity and continuity of mankind, Voltaire replaced the idea of
salvation history conceived as a pyramid with Judaeo-Christianity as the
top with a more open structure, in which other cultures are assigned
signifi cant places. Th eir contributions to the civilization of mankind are
sometimes emphasized as part of Voltaire’s campaign against the church
and other manifestations of l’infame. For example, Voltaire claims that
fundamental aspects of unspoiled religion had originated in the East a
long time before they became part of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Zoroastrianism
is an important case in point. Having read a Persian Zoroastrian
text in Latin translation (published in 1700), Voltaire writes:
218 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
. . . ces Parsis croyaient depuis longtemps un dieu, un diable, une resurrection, un
paradis, un enfer. Ils sont les premiers, sans contredit, qui ont etabli ces idees . . .
Th us, Voltaire claims that fundamental ideas such as god, devil, resurrection,
paradise, and hell, which constitute something like the doctrinal
kernel of Christianity, did in fact originate with Zoroastrianism.1
Th e presumed impact of Zoroastrian theological ideas such as monotheism,
dualism, angels, demons, eschatology, paradise, apocalypticism,
and pollution on the Judaic-Christian traditions have been an important
stimulus triggering the academic interest in Zoroastrianism. Nowadays,
such claims abound in cyberspace, often based on older scholarly
literature. Th e Oxford Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics,
Robert Charles Zaehner (1913–1974), for example, writing in 1961,
fi nds that “the similarities are so great and the historical context so
neatly apposite that it would be carrying scepticism altogether too far
to refuse to draw the obvious conclusion” (1961:57), namely that
Christian concepts of rewards and punishment, heaven and hell, are
dependent on Zoroastrian ideas. In his posthumously published work
Lux perpetua, the Belgian historian of ancient religions Franz Cumont
(1868–1947) pointed to what he considered to be quite pervasive Zoroastrian
infl uences, mediated by the “Magians” of Western Asia,2 on the
transformation of the Greek concept of Hades (Cumont 1949:219–
234). Among his strongest points of evidence he pointed to the role
of demons as punishers in hell (which we will encounter below) and
the idea of punishment by means of fi re (which we, contrary to widely
shared misconceptions do not fi nd in Zoroastrian sources).3 In the
present article, we will not discuss these theories or reconstructions.
One of their inherent problems is that they often tend to stipulate a
consistent Iranian or Zoroastrian framework. In the present article
we will, on the contrary, try to historicize Zoroastrian conceptions
1) See Stausberg 1998:901–46 for Voltaire’s views on Zoroaster.
2) Most contemporary scholars no longer believe in the existence of this group (see
Beck 1991; de Jong 1997).
3) Against (among others) Cumont, Tardieu (1985) points to Greek, Christian and
other traces in one important Zoroastrian Middle Persian text, the Ardā Vīrāz Nāmag,
which he regards as a storage basin of various religious ideas and traditions, enriched
by some elements of Iranian provenience.
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 219
of hell by outlining their development through some major stages of
I. Origins and Early Developments
Mary Boyce (1920–2006), the doyenne of Zoroastrian studies in the
late 20th century, has voiced the opinion that Zoroaster was the fi rst to
develop a clear conception of an underworld “not merely of negations,
but of punishment, in fact as hell” (1996:84). Th e daēuuas, the
“debased” deities of the presumed pre-Zoroastrian “pagan” religion,
became its principal “inhabitants, to be execrated by all true followers
of the prophet” (ibid.).
Linear developments such as these, where a pre-Zoroastrian religion
assumed to have been “reformed” by the “prophet” is reconstructed mainly
on the basis of comparative Indo-Iranian philology, are problematic in
theoretical and methodological respects (see e.g. Stausberg 2002a:115–17).
A claim such as the one advanced by Boyce would be plausible only if
it could be shown that there are no traces of hell-like conceptions in
the Vedic, more precisely the early Vedic (= Ṛgvedic) hymns, the closest
linguistic, poetic and to some (unclear) extent also historical cognates of
the textual corpus known as the Avesta. Further evidence would then be
necessary to substantiate such a claim.
1. Th e Ṛg-Veda
Let us therefore start by looking at the early Vedic evidence. Scholars of
Vedic religion, most extensively Hermann Oldenberg (1923:536–42),
have discussed some fi ve passages that could at fi rst sight appear to be
relevant for a conceptualization of hell (RV II.29.6; VII.104; IX.73.8–9;
X.14.10–11; X.152.4). Th ere is a consensus in scholarship that most of
these passages, some of which allude to people falling or being thrown
into a pit, cannot be taken as proof of the existence of a fully developed
conceptualization of hell (see e.g. Witzel and Gotō 2007:462; Oberlies
1998:473), especially in comparison with later developments in Indic
religions (later Vedas, Buddhism, and Hinduism).
Th e main positive reference is book VII, hymn 104, verse 3:
220 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
indrāsomā dusḳ ṛto vavre antaranārambhaṇe tamasi pra vidhyatam /
yathā nātaḥ punarekaścanodayat tad vāmastu sahase manyumacchavaḥ
Indra and Soma, throw forth the evil-doers into the enclosure, into the anchorless
So that not one may ever get out of there, so may your fi erce might prevail over
It remains unclear (and also depends on one’s concept of hell) whether
the notion of an anchorless, dark enclosure into which evildoers are
plunged by rightly wrathful deities can be meaningfully classifi ed as a
hell.4 Be that as it may, one needs to bear in mind that this last hymn
of the seventh book appears to be an additional text, which, moreover,
appears to have some unusual features. One is the use of the word tamas-
(“darkness”), which according to Stephanie Jamison (1991:267 n.227)
is used only twice in the RV outside the passages pertaining to the villain
Svarbhānu. Th e other passage is RV I.182.6, which refers to a son
of Tugra who had been cast down into the waters and was “thrown
forth into the anchorless darkness.” Note that the darkness is here too
characterized as “anchorless” (anārambhane). Th ese are the only passages
in the RV where the root √vyadh is used together with pra, yielding
the literal meaning “to wound forth” (Jamison 1991:267 n.227).
Th us, not only is the concept of a space vaguely reminiscent of a “hell”
in RV VII.104.3 somewhat unique in the RV, but it is accompanied by
unusual linguistic features which further indicate its marginal position.
Th e verse describes an amorphous, dark place, which is located somewhere
in the abyss below, some kind of enclosure (a dungeon or a pit)
from which it seems impossible to escape, and into which evildoers are
thrown so that the deities can torment them. Since this place has no
proper name, it can be regarded as a hell avant le lettre.
2. Th e House of Lie in the Gāthās
Let us now turn to the Gāthās, presumably the earliest part of the Avestan
corpus, often ascribed to its eponymous “founder,” Zarathustra/Zoroaster
(but see Stausberg 2007). A linguistic observation seems as a reasonable
4) Among Vedic scholars, Witzel and Gotō (2007:462) reject this verse as evidence for
the notion of hell, while Oldenberg (1923:538) on the contrary fi nds it diffi cult to
dismiss it as evidence.
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 221
starting point: the fact that təmah-, the Avestan equivalent to Vedic
tamas- (“darkness”), used in the passage discussed above (RV VII.104.3)
to qualify the hell-like place, is attested twice in the Gāthās.
In Yasna 44, from the second Gāthā, the poet, identifi ed by many as
Zarathushtra, inquires of Ahura Mazdā which craftsman had fashioned
the lights and the darkness (plural!) (Y. 44.5). In this context, the word
does not appear to refer to a hell-like state. Th e second passage (Y. 31.20)
is in the fi rst Gāthā. It is one of those verses where translators are hopelessly
at variance with each other. Th ere is, however, a consensus that,
in the second part, the executors of the Lie (drəguuaṇtō), the deceitful
ones, are threatened because of their own actions with an extended stay
in darkness (singular!), foul nourishment (food and drink), and the word
“woe.” It seems that we are here encountering the notion of a separate
space characterized by some extremely unpleasant features.
Foul nourishment (duš.xvarəϑa-) is also mentioned in a verse of the
short last Gāthā (Y. 53.6). It again appears in the accusative singular,
apparently as something that the deceitful ones off er. Unfortunately,
this verse seems even more obscure than Y. 31.20.5 Bad food (akāiš
xvarəϑāiš), here used in an instrumental plural, is also a key ingredient
of the next verse to be considered in this context. Th is verse (Y. 49.11)
from the third Gāthā appears less ambiguous. Humbach translates as
But the deceitful of bad rule, bad action, bad word,
of bad religious view, (and) bad thought:
(the) souls come to meet (them) with foul food6
(and) they will be welcome guests in the house of deceit.
(Humbach 1991:182; see also Humbach and Ichaporia 1994:91)
Apparently, this verse speaks of the bad food that the souls (uruuanō =
nominative plural) in an instrumental sense will present in the future to
subjects whose achievements are bad. Th e verse continues by saying
5) See Kellens and Pirart (1991:270): “Les diffi cultes metriques et lexicales se combinent
pour rendre cette strophe presque entierement incomprehensible.”
6) Kellens and Pirart (1988:174) translate c as follows: “leur (propre) etre leur fait
tribu de mauvaises nourritures.”
222 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
that the souls will then be welcomed in the house of the Lie. Is that a
proper noun for what may be classifi ed as “hell”?
Th e House of Lie (drūjō dəmāna-) is mentioned in two other verses
in the Gāthās. In one verse from the third Gāthā (Y. 46.11), we fi nd
it used in combination with the notion of the guest (asti-, Vedic
atithi-). Th e verse in question is one of the prime examples of early
Zoroastrian individual eschatology. In Humbach’s translation it reads as
Th rough (their) powers, the Karapans and Kavis yoke
a mortal one together with evil actions in order to destroy (his) existence
Th eir own soul and their own religious view will recoil from them
when they will have reached the place of the account-keeper’s bridge,7
(and they will remain) for all time guests (attached) to the house of deceit.
(Y. 46.11; Humbach1991:171 [see also Humbach and Ichaporia 1994:79])
Th e verse seems to be saying that the karapan and the kauui, the main
categories of the religious adversaries of the in-group, are able to tie the
mortals to bad actions so that, when they reach the point of decision
over their future destiny, they will become guests of the house of deceit.
While this house is not specifi ed, it is made clear that being a guest in
that house is an irreversible state — one remains there yauuōi vīspāi,
literally for “all life-times.”
In a verse from the fourth Gāthā (Y. 51.14), the exact meaning of
which is again rather obscure, the karapan themselves are singled out as
ultimately ending up in the House of Lie. From the grammatical structure
of the sentence it seems clear that it is because of their neglect of
the orders of the Wise Lord and their dissociation from the Cow (and
pasture), as well as because of their own acts and utterances, that they
will reach the House of Lie (Y. 51.14). Th e following verse (Y. 51.15)
shows that this House of Lie is constructed in correspondence with the
House of Welcome (garō dəmānē), to which Ahura Mazdā goes fi rst
(Y. 51.15b). Th e verse also mentions the (eschatological) reward that
Zarathushtra had assigned to the magauuan,8 the positive antagonists
7) Th is is the cinuuaṇt- pərəϑu-, a term which is variously interpreted and translated;
see now Hintze (2000:258 n.39) who suggests the translation “Brucke des Busers”
(“bridge of the penitent”).
8) On this verse, see Hintze 2000:142, 147, 159.
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 223
of the karapan, as Zarathushtra’s allies. Th e House of Welcome is mentioned
in two other verses, from which it appears that laudations are
stored there (Y. 45.8) and that this is the place where the poet hopes to
be heard (Y. 50.4).
What can we conclude from this admittedly brief analysis (one of the
main weaknesses of which is that, for lack of space, it has to ignore the
intra-textual contexts)? I think we can conclude that there is a pair of
terms, the House of Welcome and the House of Lie respectively, which
appear to be linked to the several protagonists of the unfolding confl ict
between Ahura Mazdā and his supporter(s) on the one hand and the
Lie (druj-) and the powers of evil on the other. Th us, “heaven” and
“hell” are here in the process of emerging as conceptual labels, while
the Ṛgvedic texts have not taken that step. Contrary to the Vedic verse
quoted above, where the deities are exhorted to throw the villains into
an amorphous space, the materials from the Gāthā consistently make
it a point that it is their actions and other deliberately caused states of
those affi liated with the Lie or their neglect of Ahura Mazdā that cause
them to end up there. Th e poet exhorts the Wise Lord to see to it that
this mechanism is eff ectuated, but Ahura Mazdā is not himself exhorted
to put the deceitful ones in the House of Lie. From one verse (Y. 46.11)
it seems that the deceitful ones will remain in the House of Lie forever.
Darkness is only indirectly mentioned as a feature, but bad nourishment/
food is a major characteristic. Th is can be linked to the concept of
guesthood, for the guests in the House of Lie will enjoy a miserable
form of hospitality. Moreover, contrary to the Vedic evidence, the House
of Lie is clearly recognizable as an eschatological space.
Th ese conclusions might tempt one to nominate Zoroaster, the alleged
composer of the Gāthās, as the inventor of hell (see Boyce above). Such
a conclusion only seems warranted to the detriment of neglecting the
later Indian developments. However, already in the later Vedas the notion
of hell seems to be well attested (see Oldenberg 1923:537). Th e assumption
of a prophetic innovation or reform (which is something like a
basic assumption of many reconstructions of early Zoroastrianism) is
not a necessary precondition for the genesis of the conceptualizations
of hell, nor does hell emerge only as a result of a dualistic cosmology.
Instead of speculating on origins let us turn to later developments.
224 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
3. Terms for Hell or Hell-like States in the Younger/Standard Avesta
While we can observe the emergence, if not the full conceptual unfolding,
of an explicit notion of a hell in the Gāthās, this “invention of hell”
is not the point of departure for a direct line of development in the
(supposedly) later textual traditions. For the neat pair of terms that we
found in the Gāthās is not attested in the remaining, presumably later,
Avestan corpus. Once, a “massive house of a deceitful one” (sūrəm
nmānəm druuatō) is mentioned (Yt. 5.38), but the House of Lie is
nowhere attested outside the Gāthās. However, the House of Welcome
(in its Standard/Younger Avestan form as garō.nmāna-) is.9 Apparently,
it has remained a standard name for “paradise.”
In general, the Avestan texts are not much concerned with “heaven”
and “hell.” Th ere are three closely interrelated terms referring to what
we might call “hell” or “a hell-like state.” None of them occurs frequently.
One is aŋhu-/ahu- acišta- (“the worst being/existence”). Th is
form seems from the very term itself 10 to be built on inferences from
the Gāthās. In the penultimate section of the Yasna, Ahura Mazdā
exhorts Zarathustra to pronounce the words that he (= Ahura Mazdā)
had revealed to him (= Zarathustra) at the “ultimate turning point of
life” (ustəme uraaēse gaiiehe) so that (by pronouncing these words) his
soul will be kept away at a given distance from “the worst being/existence”
(Y. 71.15). Th e “worst existence” thus appears to be conceptualized
in spatial and eschatological terms, that is, a place it is possible to
reach, but from which one rather keeps a distance.11 While the Yasna
9) Bartholomae (1979:512–13) lists 8 occurrences of this word in the Standard/
Younger Avestan corpus.
10) Th e words aŋhuš acištō occur in conjunction in Y. 30.4 (b/c), but although both are
in the nominative singular, recent translators such as Humbach and Kellens/Pirart,
apparently for metrical reasons, separate the words in their translation. Th ey do not
translate them as “the worst being/existence,” but as “l’existence (de la) pire” (Kellens/
Pirart 1988:111), making it appear as if acištō was a genitive, or they split the construction:
“. . . and how his existence will be in the end. (Th e existence) of the deceitful will
be very bad . . .” (Humbach/Ichaporia 1994:31).
11) A Gāthic point of departure is Y. 51.6, which speaks of the “fi nal turning point of
existence,” apparently as a certain temporal moment, when the person who has failed
to care for Ahura Mazdā will be assigned to “what is worse than bad,” something like
hell, whereas the person who has the right relationship to Ahura Mazdā obtains “what
is better than good.”
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 225
shows the recipient a way to avoid ending up in that place (by pronouncing
the revealed words), the fi nal verse of the long fi fth chapter
of the Vendidād threatens that one who disregards the laws of dealing
with corpses will attain the existence of the executors of Lie (ahūm . . .
druuantąm), the evildoers, an existence which is here qualifi ed as dark,
consisting of darkness,12 and emanating from darkness, and which is
referred to, possibly as a gloss (Bartholomae 1979 :109), as “the
worst being/existence” (V. 5.62). Th e emphasis on darkness refers back
to the Gāthās, and Y. 31.20c (mentioned above) is actually inserted into
this verse. Here, however, the state of eschatological being is not clearly
conceived in spatial metaphors.13
Th is verse is possibly copied from the fi nal verse of the eighteenth
chapter of the Vendidād, which states, in the context of a discussion of
possible means to expiate the transgression of having sexual intercourse
with a menstruating woman, that if one applies a pain (punishment)
one will attain “the existence/being of the executors of Truthfulness/
Righteousness” (ahūm . . . yim aṣ̌aonąm), whereas those who do not will
attain that of the “executors of Lie” (ahūm . . . yim druuantąm). Here we
encounter a clear parallelism between the rewards of the good and evil
people respectively. Th e term ahu . . . druuantąm (“existence of the executors
of the Lie”) denotes a hell-like state of eschatological existence
without any clear spatial characteristics.
Th e third Standard/Young Avestan term denoting something like
“hell,” which also builds on the word aŋhu-/ahu- (“being”; “existence”;
“life”), but has no clear Gāthic antecedent, is daožaŋvha-, literally “[place
of ] bad being/existence.” In two places it has the epithet ərəγaṇt-, likewise
not attested in the Gāthās, meaning something like “tumul tuous”
( JamaspAsa/Humbach 1971:63; Hintze 1994a:233–34), “uproarious,”
or “raging.” Th is adjective is also used twice to characterize fl ies (V. 7.2;
14.6). In the fi nal verse of the 19th chapter of the Vendidād, after the
demons have wondered how they might fi nish off Zarathustra, they
recede to “the bottom of the dark being/existence, [to] the tumultuous
hell” (V. 19.47). daožaŋvha- is here indexed as a spatial category, the
12) In Yt. 19.95 the Lie is qualifi ed with the same term (təmaŋhaēna-).
13) Bartholomae had understood the verbal form paϑiiāite to mean “hineingelangen”
(obtain access to), which would suggest a spatial metaphor. Kellens (1984:20, n.1),
however, has restored the reading to mean “disposer de” (possess).
226 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
habitat of the demons, characterized as deep and dark. In that sense it
seems to correspond to a prototypical notion of hell (i.e. a familiar
notion of hell primarily derived from the Christian tradition, then
absorbed, enlarged and fi ne-tuned in scholarly contexts).14
After V. 3 and 18, this is the third chapter of the Vendidād which
concludes with a reference to hell or something similar. “Hell” seems to
be a topos in the rhetoric of this text. Th e probably best known Avestan
reference to “hell,” however, occurs in a Yašt (“hymn”), in a passage that
describes the fi ghts between the early heroes and their adversaries.
According to this account, the great Avestan hero Kərəsāspa smashes an
enemy with leaden jaws and hands of stones and who claims not yet to
be of age. After coming of age, this Snāuuδika makes the following boast:
I will lead down the Benefi cial Spirit
From the luminous House of Welcome
I will make the Foul Spirit rush up
From the Tumultuous Hell.
Th ey both shall pull my chariot,
Th e Benefi cial and the Foul Spirit
Unless the manly-minded Kərəsāspa slays me. (Y. 19.44a-d)15
What we learn from this proclamation of hubris is that the “tumultuous
hell” is the residence of the Foul Spirit, that his residence is below
and that the Foul Spirit may rush up from it for his destructive exploits.
To conclude our survey of the Avestan corpus, we need to look at the
Hādōxt Nask, which is an account of what will happen to the soul of the
deceased. Just as the soul of the executor of Truth/Righteousness, the
soul of the executor of Lie takes four steps into the other world. It
inhales a foul-smelling wind. Th e three fi rst steps are not described, but
the fourth and fi nal one leads the soul of the deceiver into the Infi nite
Darkness (plural!) (HN 2.33). Th is may vaguely remind us of the
Gāthic passage referred to above (Y. 31.20), where the word, however,
appears in the singular. In any case, the composite anaγra- təmah- is a
14) Consulting main encyclopedias and dictionaries in religious studies, one fi nds
astonishingly little conceptual eff ort spent on this term. For the purposes of this article,
a discussion seems unnecessary.
15) For translations see Humbach/Ichaporia 1998:124; Hintze 1994a:232; Hintze
1994b:24; Skjarvo 2005:114.
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 227
hapax in the Avestan texts, and it may well have been reconstructed in
analogy to the anaγra- raocā̊, the Infi nite Lights which are attested in
this as well as in some other Avestan texts.
II. Developments of Hell in Middle Persian (Pahlavi) Literature
When proceeding to the Zoroastrian writings in Middle Persian, the
so-called Pahlavi-literature, we need to recall that we are crossing a period
of at least a millennium, or even more likely a millennium and a half,
which separates the Middle Persian from the Avestan texts. One starting
point is to look at the Middle Persian translations of the Avestan texts.
Th e Middle Persian version of Hādōxt Nask 2.27–33 literally translates
anaγra- raocā̊ as asar rōšnīg, the Infi nite Light. Th is compound
remains a common term in the Pahlavi books as one of the names for
heaven. Its opposite, asar tārīkīh, the Middle Persian form of anaγratəmah-,
does not seem to have become a common word. In the Pahlavi
texts, hell is mostly known as dušox, the Middle Persian form of the
Compared to the Avestan corpus, there is an abundance of textual
sources on hell in the Middle Persian theological literature. Th e present
analysis cannot claim to be an exhaustive treatment of the subject. Before
turning to main features of the perception, or construction, of hell in the
Pahlavi books from the Islamic Middle Ages (9th century onwards), it is
important to look at the fi rst clearly datable reference to hell.
1. Th e First Dated Occurrence: Kirdīr (3rd Century CE)
Th e fi rst dated references to “hell” are found in one of the four inscriptions
that the high priest Kirdīr had carved in stone in the late third
century ce. Among historians of religion, Kirdīr is maybe best known
for his opposition to Mani and as partly responsible for the latter’s execution.
In his inscriptions — the only major inscriptions not carved
by a king! — Kirdīr recounts his remarkable career and his achievements
in propagating and restructuring the Zoroastrian religion (see
e.g. Stausberg 2002a:222–26). Interestingly, despite his wide-ranging
16) In the form dozaḥ this word continues in New Persian as the one word of Persian
origin used for “hell.”
228 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
public claims, Kirdīr has been all but forgotten in the later Zoroastrian
Two of Kirdīr’s inscriptions, at Sar Mašhad and at Naqš-i Rustam,
contain an account of a visit to the netherworld. In these accounts
(which are preserved in a fragmentary state), the priest asks the gods to
show him heaven and hell, and he is assured that their dēn (“religious
consciousness”) will lead (the souls of ) the saved ones to heaven and
(the soul of ) the damned ones to hell. At the end, after his visit/vision,
the priest proclaims that he has been reassured about the actual existence
of heaven and hell (dwšḥwy) (§§ 22 and 35–37 in the currently
accepted reconstruction [see Gignoux 1991]).17 Th e inscriptions provide
no details about hell. Probably as part of a discourse aiming at
providing legitimacy to his extensive claims for religious authority,
Kirdīr communicates his vision of the other world, with heaven or hell
as the fi nal destinations of the (souls of the) departed.
2. Th e Knowledge of Hell and the Cognitive Evaluation of the Present
Some Pahlavi writings regard heaven and hell as essential features of
the Zoroastrian religion. One text, belonging to the genre of wisdomliterature,
states, with reference to anonymous religious authorities of
Th ey held this too: Every man’s duty is to know these fi ve things; he who does not
know them is under guilt. One is this: “What am I, a man or a demon?” One is
this: “Where have I come from, from paradise or from hell?” One is this: “What
do I stand by, by the things of the gods or by those of the demons?” One is this:
“Whom do I follow, good people or wicked people?” One is this: “Where shall I
go back, to paradise or to hell?” (Dk. VI 298 [= Shaked 1979:115])
Of course, all these questions have implications for the present. Heaven
and hell, in particular, are basic points of cognitive reference for evaluating
the present situation. One should always remember and fear hell:
17) Note that we are here dealing with a reconstruction. Th e word dwšḥwy is materially
attested in KNRm 64 and KNRb 5; the remaining instances (KSM 28/KNrm 53;
KSM 29; KSM 52) are emendations.
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 229
Th ey held this too: Each man . . . should hold the things of the spirit in memory
at every moment and time — both the goodness of paradise and the evil of hell.
At a moment when comfort, good things and joy have accrued to him, he should
think this: “It will indeed be good there in paradise, when even here it is so
good. . . .” At a period when distress, grief, evil and pain have accrued to him, he
should think this: “It will indeed be bad there in hell when it is so bad even here;
when from the great goodness of Ohrmazd, with which there is no evil intermixed
over there, it is (still) so bad here.” (Dk. VI 16 [= Shaked 1979:9])
Unlike the protological past and the eschatological end, the present
situation is characterized by a mixture of the divine and the demonic,
the pure and the impure, good and evil, joy and sorrow, peace and war.
Focusing on paradise is an imaginary strategy aiming at a conscious
cognitive un-mixing of the present, by extracting from the present mixture
that which is good only. For hell, there is the inverse strategy: even
the worst things one has to endure in this life pale in comparison to the
un-mixed suff ering one has to endure there.
Manuščihr, a ninth-century priest, explains that hell is so terrible
precisely because evil there appears in such an un-mixed, that is, unmitigated,
form that it has hardly any similarity with this world (Dd. 26.5
[= Jaafari-Dehaghi 1998:86–87]).
3. Anticipating Hell
Dēnkard VI narrates the story of two priests (ērbad) who carried fi rewood
from a mountain on their backs. Th ey were quite exhausted.
Asked by a high-priest why they were doing that sort of work, they
replied that they had heard that everybody had to undergo some discomfort
created by Ahreman, either in this world, the visible/material
existence, or in the other world, the invisible/conceptual/spiritual existence.
So they preferred to experience their share of discomfort in this
world, where they would still see the sun and the moon and obtain
nourishment, medicine, and remedies, because the discomfort one had
to suff er in the invisible world would be without the addition of any
good thing (Dk. VI D 5 [= Shaked 1979:181–83]). Experiencing the
hell-like qualities of this world is preferable to having the full share of it
in the other world. Th is account seems to imply that the experience of
hell, or hell-like experiences, cannot be avoided, but that suff ering in
this world can be tolerated since it is mitigated by the presence of some
230 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
good elements. In line with this approach, another passage from
Dēnkard VI praises the man who, as far as possible, endures hell in the
visible/material world (dušox pad gētīg be barēd) (Dk. VI 305 [= Shaked
Accordingly, as Manuščihr argues, there is an inverse relationship
between the troubles suff ered by the good people in this world and the
joy they experience in the other world, to such an extent that “fear
of the pain and punishment of hell” actually makes people refrain
from pleasures in this world and makes them more virtuous (Dd. 5.5
[= Jaafari-Dehaghi 1998:52–53]). Manuščihr also points to diffi culties
in cognitively anticipating the reality of hell. For according to him
hell is diff erent from other things since in the case of hell the real
thing is worse than what one fears it might be, whereas “the fear of
every other thing is more than the thing itself ” (Dd. 26,8 [= Jaafari-
Dehaghi 1998:88–89]). Another Pahlavi text names the lack of “fear of
hell” (bīm az dušox) as a sign of the catastrophic state of things at the
end of the millennium (ZWY 4.40 [= Cereti 1995:138, 155]).
While these texts recommend the fear of hell as an attitude towards
this world, this position was not unanimously shared. Th ere is one text
which explicitly advises that one should not focus one’s thoughts
strongly on hell since there is expiation for every sin in the Zoroastrian
religion.18 One should not consider anybody as “without hope of
heaven” (ŠnŠ 12.28 [= Kotwal 1969:36–37]).
4. Strategies of Hell-Avoidance
In line with the strategy of exposing oneself to hell-like experiences in
order to avoid hell and the emphasis on the positive, but diffi cult task
of fearing hell, several writings advise their readers to actively take precautions
so as not to end up in hell. Th is is indicated by the expression
not to “reject the soul,” or, in positive terms, to do things “for the sake
of the soul” (see Shaked 1990).
In the Pahlavi translation of an Avestan text one fi nds the gloss that
there are things that “save one’s soul from hell” (ruwān az dušox . . .
bōxtan) (Ner. II 66.4 [= Kotwal and Kreyenbroek 2003:280–81]). At
18) Th is statement is legitimated by a quotation from the Gāthās (Y. 32.7).
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 231
least according to the priestly point of view mirrored in this text, this
must be the main preoccupation of the faithful.
Apart from doing good things and avoiding evil ones, another strategy
was to do repentance:
Th ey held this too: From repentance there is no way to hell. (Dk. VI 50 [= Shaked
Accordingly, the long formulaic texts of repentance, the so-called Patīt,
which are recited in ritual contexts, invariably contain the performative
statement that repentance has been spoken by the believer either “from
the great dread of hell” (PP I and II 12.3 [= Dhabhar 1963:120, 147])
or for “shutting the way to hell and for opening the way to paradise”
(XP 13 [= Dhabhar 1963:156]). Only by submitting his body and his
possessions to the chiefs, by repenting mentally and by the chiefs absolving
him, will the one who has committed deadly sins (marg-ar zān) be saved
from hell (ŠnŠ 8.5 [Tavadia 1930:105–6]). If no repentance is made, the
sinner will unavoidably go to hell (ŠnŠ 8.7 [Tavadia 1930:106]).
Th e main concern of the Zoroastrian texts is of course that Zoroastrians
should be saved from hell. Th is, however, does not automatically
imply that all non-Zoroastrians invariably end up in hell. A ritualistic
treatise quotes one authority as having stated that a non-Zoroastrian
(ag-dēn, literally “of evil religion”) saves himself from hell if he does merely
one good deed more than bad ones (ŠnŠ 6.5 [Tavadia 1930:97]).19
Th e easiest way to avoid hell, of course, is to accumulate more good
thoughts, words or deeds than bad. Some virtues, however, are praised
as particularly effi cient to avoid hell.20 A catechism highlights gratefulness
(ČHP 30 [= Kanga 1960:16–17]). Th is virtue is also praised in the
wisdom literature as a way to save one’s soul (Dk. VI 120; E38c; E45f
[= Shaked 1979:48–49; 206–7; 214–15]), sometimes in conjunction with
other virtues such as contentment and tenderness. Generosity is also
19) Since this opinion is presented as that of one authority (whose name is given), one
might surmise that it was not generally shared.
20) Likewise there are some sins that immediately lead to hell, such as performing worship
while thinking that the gods do not exist (Dk. VI D1b [= Shaked 1979:176–77]),
standing when urinating (MX 1.39 [Skjarvo 2005:242]), or ignorance, bad knowledge
and lack of wisdom (WZ 30.38–39 [= Gignoux and Tafazzoli 1993:104–7]).
232 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
emphasized as saving the soul from hell (Dk. IX 6.3 [see West 1892:179]),
as is righteousness (Dk. IX 17.3 [see West 1892:204]).
Th e Pahlavi Rivayāt Accompanying the Dādestān ī Dēnīg, probably
from the late 9th or early 10th century, emphasizes the practice of nextof-
kin marriage (xwēdōdah) as a way to salvation (or rescue) from hell
(bōxtišn az dušox), even in case of the most grievous sins (PRDd. 8b1
[= Williams 1990:11]). Th e practice of next-of-kin marriage rescues
one from hell, which is referred to as “the prison of Ahreman and the
demons” (PRDd. 8b3 [= Williams 1990:11]). Th e emphasis on the
“miraculous” character of this practice possibly correlates with diffi culties
in implementing the practice.
5. Th e Temporal Limitations of Hell
In the Gāthās we have seen that the “souls” and “religious views” of the
condemned remain in the House of Lie “for all times” (Y. 46.11; see
I.2. above). Th e Pahlavi sources, however, consistently emphasize that
hell will be destroyed during the eschatological transfi guration of the
world, which implies that the souls of the sinners will be released from
hell at that time (see e.g. Dd. 31.8; 40.4; Dk. IX 17.6).21 Even the
inhabitants of hell are aware of the fact that their suff ering will end after
9,000 years at the latest, although they hardly derive any consolation
from that knowledge in their present tribulations (AVN 54.6).
At the end of time, however, after the general resurrection but before
Ahreman and the demons are conquered and hell is abolished, mankind
will again be reckoned, and, much to the dismay of their friends
and family, all sinners (who lament to their relatives that they should
have warned them about the terrible fate they are now suff ering)22
will be forcefully put back into hell for a period of renewed suff ering
lasting three nights (Bd. 34.13–15; WZ 35.40–47;23 ŠnŠ 8.7 [empha-
21) Zaehner 1976:132 puts it quite philosophically: “No man is punished eternally for
sins committed in time.” No such reasoning is provided by the sources.
22) Th e moral appeal of this scene is evident.
23) Zādspram narrates an episode describing how the righteous will be separated from
the sinners: a great fi re (here apparently to be understood as a divine agent) comes
from the endless light, fi lling the air with light. Th e fi re carries what looks like the
trunk of a tree with branches at the top and roots below. Th ere is one branch and one
root for each sinner and righteous soul respectively. A divinity or a demon passes the
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 233
sizing the severe punishments to be suff ered for grievous sins]; Dd. 31.10
[purifi cation by “washing with molten metal”]). Th en, according to
Zādspram, they are released by the divine agent Ērman (av. Airiiaman)
According to the Bundahišn (Foundational Creation), the Fire (here
apparently understood as a divine agent), together with Ērman, will
melt the metals in the hills and mountains, causing them to fl ow over
the earth like a river. All have to pass through this stream of molten
metal, and thus they will be purifi ed, but while this is a pleasant experience
for the righteous, for the sinners it will be exactly like walking
through molten metal (Bd. 34.18–19).25 Th is collective purifi cation is
followed by a state of mutual love and friendship (Bd. 34.20).
According to another source, the Dēnkard, this fi nal purifi cation is
part of the suff ering which the souls undergo in hell. As a result they
will be purifi ed from their contamination of sin and will be “again
clothed in a garment of the same substance, and they enjoy perfect bliss
eternally and without interruption” (Dk. III 272 [= Zaehner 1972:262;
see de Menasce 1973:273]). Th e high-priest Manuščihr says that they
become “righteous, pain-free, immortal, fearless, and free from evil”
(Dd. 31.11 [= Jaafari-Dehaghi 1998:102–3]).
According to the Bundahišn, at the eschatological transfi guration
of the world, not only will the sinners be purifi ed and released,26 but
hell itself will be purifi ed by the stream of molten metal, and its stench
and fi lth will be burnt by the molten metal (not directly by the fi re!)
and then it will become clean (Bd. 34.31). Th e part of the world where
hell was located will then be joined with the remaining extension of
the world (Bd. 34.32). Th ese statements lead us to the question of the
topography of hell.
branch or the root to the righteous and the sinners. In this way the two groups are
separated (WZ 35.40). Note that the fi re is here a divine actor carrying the trunk and
lightening up the scene. It should not be confused with a cosmic fi re.
24) WZ 30.51 in passing uses the metaphor of prison for hell.24)
25) Note that this does not amount to a cosmic fi re; the Fire is merely required to melt
the metal (which is the purifying agent here).
26) Zaehner 1976:132 argues that this aspect of hell makes it similar to a purgatory.
234 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
6. Th e Topography and Ecology of Hell
Since the avoidance of hell was recommended as a constant mental
preoccupation, it is only natural that the question arose as to what hell
might be like. After all, if one is required to have something permanently
on one’s mind, one needs to have some idea of what it is.27
In the late 9th century, questions about the nature of hell, its punishments,
pain and discomforts, as well as the food served there, were
apparently posed to the high-priest Manuščihr and he replied to them
in his book Religious Judgements (Dādestān ī dēnīg) (Dd.). Here is a
brief summary of the information provided by Manuščihr, synoptically
collated with and supplemented by information provided by some
other texts such as the “anthology” of Manuščihr’s brother Zādspram
(Wizīdagīhā ī Zādspram) (WZ), the Ardā Virāz Nāmag (Book of the
Righteous Virāz) (AVN), the Dādestān ī mēnōg ī xrad (Judgements of
the Spirit of Wisdom) (MX), the Zand ī Wahman Yasn (ZWY), the fi fth
book of the Dēnkard (Dk.), and the Bundahišn (Foundational Creation)
(Bd.). Most descriptors (i.e. terms describing the location) of hell
hyperbolize in the extreme negative aspects of ordinary life.28 Some
descriptors appear predictable in theological, classifi catory and cognitive
terms. Th e extreme phenomena are all a means to express the supposed
suff ering of the souls of the sinners.
To begin with, Manuščihr provides the following concise description:
“it is below, deep, and underground, most dark, most fetid, and
most terrible, most unwanted, and worst, the place and the dwelling
of demons and she-demons” (Dd. 26.2 [= Jaafari-Dehaghi 1998:86–
87]).29 Hell is fi lthy (Dd. 26.4; MX 1.119).30 Apart from demons and
27) Th e available information is also summarized (but organized diff erently) in the
entries “Dūzak” (M. Shaki) and “Hell. I. In Zoroastrianism” (Ph. Gignoux) in the
Encyclopaedia Iranica (available online at www.iranica.com); see also Gignoux 1968.
28) Th e descriptors are therefore not counter-intuitive in the sense of the term established
by cognitive approaches to the study of religion (i.e. as violating ontological
29) Among the many demons inhabiting hell, slander (spazgīh) is unique: it is such a
grievous sin that the slander-demon moves backward, while all other move forward
30) From a Douglasian point of view this is to be expected, for dirt is matter out of
place, and hell is a place where the divine order is absent.
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 235
she-demons, hell is also the abode of sorcerers and witches (WZ 7.28;
ZWY 3.27). It also houses the noxious animals (xrafstar), creatures of
Ahreman; in hell even small noxious animals appear big as mountains
Hell is regarded as Ahreman’s residence or prison (ZWY 3.23;
Bd. 4.27; Bd. 6j.0; PRDd. 8b3). In illo tempore Ahreman had pierced a
hole into the good creation, and hell is located at the spot, in the middle
of the earth, where the Foul Spirit had pierced the earth “like a
snake coming out of its hole” (WZ 2.5; Bd. 4.28). Ahreman and the
demons strive to escape hell in order to create chaos in the world, but
they are sometimes cast back into hell — as after the appearance of
Zarathustra on the cosmic scene (WZ 10.19), or by performing certain
rituals (Dk. IX 14.2: the demons rush forward from hell in order to
cause destruction, but by performing the drōn they are pushed back
[see West 1892:197]).
Th e topography of hell is not entirely consistent. It may be located in
the middle of the earth as well in the north (Dd. 31.6), the direction of
Ahreman and all evil agents.
Hell is either icy or terribly hot (MX 6.27). Th e Bundahišn explains
both phenomena by the connection of hell to the planets (Bd. 26.54).
Hell is deep down (Dd. 32.6), like a pit (čāh) (AVN 18.3; 54.2).31
Th e Bundahišn constructs a homology between hell and the anus
(Bd. 28.10 [see Lincoln 2007:92]). Some texts state that it is underneath
the earth (Dd. 31.6; WZ 35.22; Dk. V 8.2). Some sources
connect it to a specifi c locality in the sacred geography, namely the
Arzūr-ridge, also known as the head or neck of Arzūr, a mountain
top famous for being the gathering place of the demons par preference
(Dd. 32.6). Beside Manuščihr, several texts mention that there is a door
to hell on this mountain top (Dd. 32.6; Pahlavi Vendidād 3.7; PRDd.
50.1; Bd. 9.10; ŠnŠ 13.19; see also Dk. IX 20.2).
Hell is located underneath the bridge leading to the upper regions of
the other world (Bd. 30.3). Manuščihr explains that the soul of the
31) Dk. V 24.30a (see Amouzgar and Tafazzoli 2000:104–5) notes that, “those who are
knowledgeable about the religion don’t fall blindly into the pit of the wicked” (čāh ī
druwandān — which seems to refer to hell). Th is goes against the assumption that the
metaphor of the pit has been adapted from the Apocalypse of Paul (where the Greek
word φρέαρ is used); see Tardieu 1985:21.
236 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
wicked, after the account has been made, “topples head fi rst from the
Cīnwad bridge and falls down” (Dd. 31.2 [= Jaafari-Dehaghi 1998:
98–99]). While the Bundahišn states that the soul falls right into
hell (Bd. 30.25, 31 [Skjarvo 2005:203]), Manuščihr provides a somewhat
diff erent account: once fallen down, the soul is “oppressively
fettered” and conducted to hell by a demon (Dd. 31.3 [= Jaafari-
Dehaghi 1998:98–99]). Th e Dādestān ī mēnōg ī xrad presents yet
another account: here the demon already fetters the soul beforehand in
order to make it proceed to the bridge, and then, maltreating it and
ignoring its suff ering, crying, and pleading, eventually drags it down
into hell (MX 1.103–7 [= Zaehner 1976:136]). Zādspram, on the other
hand, states that the soul proceeds to hell alone, as if captured by enemies
(WZ 30.44 [= Gignoux and Tafazzoli 1993:106–7]).32
In hell the lonely soul experiences emotions such as pain, torture,
sorrow, grief, fear, trouble, and unhappiness. Th ere is no pleasure and
delight. Hell is full of evil (Dk. V 8.2; IX 20.2).
Hell is very narrow (AVN 18.3, 5; Dk. V 8.2). Th is trait is typically
connected to other forms of sensual eff ects: hell is characterized by
complete darkness33 and a horrible stench34 (AVN 18.4; Dk. V 8.2;
MX 6.29). Th e darkness is metaphorically described as so thick that
one feels that one can grasp it with one’s hands (AVN 18.4; Bd. 27.53;
MX 6.31). Similarly, it feels as if one can cut the stench with a knife
Th is state of spatial oppression and sensory deprivation aff ects the
perception of time. It seems to the souls that time passes much more
32) One Middle Persian catechism has a diff erent account of how sinners are transported
down to hell. According to this text, known as Čīdag handarz ī pōryōtkēšān
(Selected Advice of the Ancient Authorities), the demon of dismemberment casts an
invisible rope around the neck of each person during the parents’ sexual intercourse.
One cannot remove that rope, but after death the rope falls from the neck of the righteous,
whereas the demon uses that rope to drag the sinners into hell (§§ 31–32; see
Kanga 1960:16, 25; Zaehner 1976:24).
33) Th e darkness not only obscures light but even prevents the fi re from emitting
its good smell (AVN 54.3); ZWY 3.23, 27; 7.35 speaks of “darkness and obscurity”
(tār [ud] tom).
34) Th is feature corresponds to the primary metaphor “bad is stinky” (see Lakoff and
Johnson 1999:50). Th e “embodied mind” approach might provide explanations for
many metaphors for hell.
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 237
slowly (AVN 18.7; 54.6). Spatial oppression, sensory deprivation and
all the suff ering and pain they endure in hell create for the souls a dominant
perception of loneliness, which contrasts with the actual overcrowding
of hell. Th e loneliness is “very bad” (Bd. 27.53). Th e souls cannot
hear the cries of their fellow residents in hell, and all think that they are
all alone (AVN 54.4–5). Hell is the most unsocial place imaginable.
Even in hell people need food.35 However, as Manuščihr points out,
the fetid, rotten, polluted, and unpleasant food served in hell is not eaten
with delight, but out of sheer need (Dd. 31.6). Th e food of hell does not
satiate and gives no satisfaction (Dd. 31.6–7). Th is is another example of
the subtraction of all benefi cial aspects of ordinary activities in hell. It
goes without saying that in heaven, eating is a pure pleasure and the best
food imaginable is served. According to one text, Ahreman, the host of
hell as it were, exhorts the demons not to treat the hell-dwellers well, but
to “serve him (rather) with the fi lthiest and most foul food that Hell can
produce.” Accordingly, the demons serve him “poison and venom, snakes
and scorpions and other noxious reptiles (that fl ourish) in Hell, and they
serve him with these to eat” (MX 119–20 [= Zaehner 1976:138]). In the
normal order of things, these beings should be killed by the faithful and
not under any circumstances be eaten. Hell is a place where the system of
purity works in an inverted form. Th e theme of food links the Middle
Persian accounts of hell with the Gāthās. It seems that this is because of
the dominant social interactional pattern of hospitality, where food and
the exchange of gifts play a major part.
7. Diff erent Sections of Hell
Just as there are several sections of heaven, some texts point out that
hell consists of several parts. According to one account, the soul of the
deceitful person takes four steps, the fourth of which leads to hell itself
35) From a cognitive point of view, this is an example of Jesse Bering’s experimentally
tested observation that “those states with which people conceptually should have the
most diffi culty imagining the complete absence of (i.e., epistemic, emotional, and
desire states) are attributed to dead agents much more readily than are those states
which are frequently absent from our everyday phenomenological reserve (i.e., psychobiological
and perceptual states)” (Bering 2002:288). Apart from cognitive constraints,
only the continuation of basic phenomena of life makes hell rhetorically function as a
mirror to evaluate the present.
238 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
(AVN 17.20) or to the innermost hell, the dwelling-place of Ahreman
and the demons (MX 1.116).
Manuščihr presents his readers with a diff erent infernography.
According to his Religious Judgements, hell consists of three directions,
or of “three places,” which “together are called hell” (Dd. 32.6). Interestingly,
he reckons the hamēstagān as one of them. Elsewhere the
hamēstagān is defi ned as the place where the souls are placed of those
who end up neither in paradise nor hell because they have an equal
share of sins and merits (e.g. AVN 6.3; PhlRDd. 65.2). Manuščihr,
however, divides the hamēstagān into two parts, one for the righteous,
and one for the deceitful, the latter being the fi rst section of hell, which
is dark and fetid and full of evil (Dd. 32.3). Th e second section of hell
is the “worst existence” (wattom axwān), the abode of the demons, full
of evil and torture (Dd. 32.4). Th e third section he calls druzaskān.
Actually, the word is the Middle Persian form of an Avestan word which
occurs once in the Vendidād, where the power of the divine agent Sraoša
is praised, who is requested to strike a demon so that he will end up in
the drujǎ s.kanā- (V. 19.41). Th at word, it seems, has never gained wider
currency, but Manuščihr employs that textual heritage for his construction
of a tripartite infernography. He qualifi es the druzaskān as “the
bottom of the house of darkness, where the head of the demons runs”
(Dd. 32.5). Our available sources do not permit us to decide whether
this tripartite division was generally known, or whether it was merely
an intellectual exercise by a learned theologian, articulated maybe in
order to negotiate diff erent concepts of hell.
Be that as it may, another division of hell appears in the Ardā Virāz
Nāmag (Th e Book of the Righteous Virāz). No less than 84 of the
101 chapters (according to the standard modern editions) of this text
deal with hell; it is the most detailed description of the other world
available in Zoroastrian literature. Given its textual history and various
translations, it is also one of the most popular religious writings of the
Zoroastrians. Th e work is impossible to date with any amount of accuracy.
Th e text reports a controlled ritual experiment conducted under
the supervision of priests. Diff erent versions of the text place the account
in diff erent periods of the past (see Gheiby 2004). As a result of this
ritual experiment the soul of the righteous Wirāz leaves his body and
proceeds to explore the other world in order to dispel the doubts about
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 239
the effi cacy of the rituals with respect to the other world. Under the
guidance of two spiritual beings (Srōš and Ādur or Srōš and Ardwahišt
[see Gheiby 2004:95]), Virāz sees the deities and the empty throne of
Ahura Mazdā, before being shown around in heaven and hell. His fi rst
entry to hell is from the Činwad bridge. Having made a fi rst tour
through hell, Virāz is led back, and underneath the Činwad bridge, in
the middle of a desert, he is shown the “hell in the earth” (AVN 53.1),
from where he hears the complaints and cries from Ahreman, the demons,
evil creatures, and the souls of the deceitful (AVN 53.2). So apparently
there are two hells, and Virāz proceeds to visit the inner one as well.
Th e general description of this inner hell is not really diff erent from
the regular one. Apart from the attributes “dangerous” and fearful”
(AVN 54.2), it shares the characteristics of the regular hell, including
the loneliness of the suff erers who are not aware of the presence of the
many others who, closely packed together, are as many as “a number of
the hairs of the mane of a horse” (AWN 54.4 [= Vahman 1986:208]).
Opinions vary on the interpretation of the duplication of hell. Michel
Tardieu thinks that the distinction has been borrowed from Christian
apocalyptic traditions, in particular the Apocalypse of Paul (Tardieu 1985:
22–23), while others see it as a sign of inconsistency resulting from successive
and disorganized adaptations (Gignoux 1984:16), or as a result
of a process of redaction (Gheiby 2004). Claudia Leurini (2002:216)
has argued that there is “some specifi c regularity” in the distinction
between the two hells, but I fi nd her statistical analysis of the frequency
and distribution of sins, sinners, and punishments not so compelling
that chance distributions are ruled out suffi ciently. At this stage I tend
to concur with the idea that the redactors have tried to accommodate
the idea of a hell inside the earth, as contained in other sources, and to
fi nd a place for it in their account. Besides looking for antecedents, one
might also consider its communicative function: the distinction may
well have served as a literary strategy to catch, or to sustain, attention,
amidst the listing of all the sins and their correlating punishments.
8. Agents and Main Forms of Punishment
Hell is the dwelling-place of Ahreman, the demons, and the sinners. In the
scenario of hell drawn by the Ardā Virāz Nāmag, the demons occasionally
240 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
serve as assistants for eff ectuating the severe punishments that the sinners
are undergoing. Th ey are pounding, beating, tearing and raking
the souls of the sinners. Consonant with the Ahremanic ontology, the
theologian Manuščihr remarks that the demons are made strong and
powerful by the sins committed by the people; and they torment the
sinners to the same extent that they have been empowered by them in
the fi rst place (Dd. 31.5). Ultimately, it is only human sin that empowers
hell. Especially on those who have committed mortal sins, Manuščihr
states, the demons infl ict “pain and trouble and devouring and many
kinds of stench, and biting and tearing and producing of all evil and
discomfort” (Dd. 40.4 [= Jaafari-Dehaghi 1998:170–71]).
Other agents of punishments beside the demons are beasts that devour
people. In fact, this is the most common type of punishment. In most
cases, however, the agents of punishment are not specifi ed. Th ey are
simply referred to as “they.”
As Leurini has calculated, the other most popular types of punishments
are ingestion of impure materials, the cutting off of the tongue
and hanging by the feet. Desperate weeping, moaning and crying are
often mentioned (Leurini 2002:312).
Even if hell appears as quite a gruesome place, the Zoroastrian texts
emphasize that the principles of justice and right measure are safeguarded
even in hell.
Hell is the place where the sinners — that is, those whose sins outnumber
their virtues — will be placed after death. Th e reckoning of
sins and virtues is done in such a way that justice is safeguarded. Justice
also prevails in hell, for the divine agent Ašwahišt is allotted the task of
supervising that the demons do not infl ict greater punishment on the
sinners than is their due (Bd. 26.35). Th e principle of divine justice and
righteousness — embodied by Ašwahišt — prevails even in hell, the
Ahremanic sphere par excellence, and the demons are prevented from
acting in an arbitrary fashion. Even hell is encapsulated within the cosmic
order — just as Ahreman’s existence is encapsulated within the time frame
set for the cosmic confl ict. Accordingly, the Bundahišn continues by
saying that everybody will eventually reach paradise (Bd. 26.37).
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 241
9. Th e (Dis)order of Sins
Th e Ardā Wirāz Nāmag describes the suff ering infl icted for specifi c
sins.36 It is unclear whether the description implies that each person is
punished for a single, main off ence committed, or whether one has to
36) Th ese are the sins, some of which are dealt with in more than one chapter (chapter
numbers in parenthesis; + refers to cases where the sinner is gendered as male, * refers
to cases where the sinner is gendered as female, indicating prevailing gender roles and
stereotypes): +sodomy (19); *approaching water and fi re during menstruation (20);
+homicide (21); +sexual intercourse during menstruation (22); +eating without ritual
precautions (23); *adultery (24); walking with one shoe only (25); *disrespect of husband
(26); +cheating with measures in commercial transactions (27); +bad rule (28);
+slander and instigating confl ict (29); +illegal (= unritualized) slaughter of animals
(30); +amassing and retaining wealth (31); +laziness/idleness (32) (in this chapter,
the sinner is not presented anonymously, but the text refers to “Davāns who . . . never
performed a good deed, but with his right food he threw a bundle of grass in front of
a ploughing ox” [Vahman 1986:205]); +lying (33); *throwing hairs into fi re while
combing (34); *sorcery (35); +heresy (36); neglecting water and fi re (37); +polluting
water and fi re through excrement and carrion (38); +withholding wages (39); +speaking
falsehoods (40); +polluting public bathhouses (41); +fathers denying their legitimate
off spring (42); +fathers denying their off spring (43); *abortion (44); +false testimony
and extortion (45); +acquisition of wealth by stealing the property of others (46);
heretics (47); +maltreatment of dogs (48); +false measurement of land (49); +removal
of boundary stones (50); +making false promises (51); +violation of contracts (52);
extinguishing sacred fi res, destroying bridges, and other sins (55); rejection of gods
and religion (56); *keen (57); +washing in (and thereby polluting) lakes or springs
(58); *neglecting crying and hungry children (59); +adultery (60); religious doubt
[including doubting the evil of hell!] (61); *despising one’s husband (62); *quarrelling
with and backtalk to one’s husband (63); *adultery and subsequent abortion (64);
disrespect for one’s parents (65); slander (66); +misbehaviour of a governor (67);
*adultery (69); *abandoning one’s husband (70); +sodomy and adultery (71); *neglecting
menstrual restrictions (72); *using cosmetics and hair of others (73); illegal
(= unritualized) slaughter of animals (74); not giving water to farm animals (75); *preparing
and serving food during menstruation (76); overburdening of cattle (77);
*denial of pregnancy and abortion (78); +taking bribes and false justice (79), selling
items with false measures and weights (80); *prostitution and sorcery (81); *tartness
with regard to the husband (82); *concealing of meat from husband (83); *poisoning
of men (84); *adultery (85); *violation of next-of-kin-marriage (86); *not giving milk
to one’s child (87); *adultery (88); lack of benevolence (89); lying (90); +false judgements
(91); envy and retaining benefi ts (92); denying hospitality to travellers (93); *not
nursing and thereby killing one’s child and selling one’s milk to other (94); *leaving
one’s baby hungry and thirsty and adultery (95); +not sowing the earth (96); lying (97);
242 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
undergo successively all the various forms of punishments corresponding
to each and every sin committed. Th e text is obviously not interested
in such theological intricacies, but rather wants to make an
impression and inspire fear. Th e punishments suff ered by the damned
are often physically linked to the kind of sin they have committed.37
Th is entails an anthropomorphization of the shape of the soul (i.e. the
soul has a body).38 Th e soul of the liar, for example, is punished with
having worms gnaw its tongue (AVN 33), and the soul of a woman
who has not paid respect to the menstrual taboos is forced to swallow
bowls of fi lth and excrement (AVN 20).39 In communicative and rhetorical
terms this helps readers (or listeners) to imagine the expected
punishments when refl ecting on their own past and future actions.
Already the earliest editors and translators of the text were puzzled by
the apparent disorder of the sins as they are depicted.
Regarding the arrangement of the crimes and off ences mentioned, there is
nowhere any system, or plan, perceptible. All are thrown together, the most heinous
crimes may be followed by trifl ing off ences. Several crimes and off ences are
mentioned more than once, for instance adultery . . . infanticide . . ., nursing other
children . . .; but each time the wording is diff erent as well as the punishment.
(Haug and West 1971:lxix)
eating corpses and killing beavers (98); disobedience to rulers and hostility to
37) Tardieu (1985:23–24) regards this strategy as a legacy of Greek traditions.
38) According to Zoroastrian Pahlavi texts, man is composed of various mental (spiritual/
conceptual) faculties, among them the soul (ruwān). Th e death of a person entails
that the soul (together with other mental faculties) is separated from the body (tan).
Being a mental faculty, the soul is linked to a body (and the separation from it causes
terror to the soul), but the soul as such does not have a bodily shape. In the narrative
(as told by the Ardā Wirāz Nāmag) about the pain infl icted upon the souls by the
demons, however, the souls are presented in bodily shape, and the pains can only be
eff ectuated on the bodies of the soul. In cognitive approaches to the study of religions,
these inconsistent ways of defi ning/imagining the ontology and actions of agents is
referred to as theological incorrectness (see Barrett 1999; Slone 2004).
39) Th e Dēnkard witnesses another strategy, when it states that the contract-breakers
are assigned to “the bottom of hell” (Dk. IX 20), where the souls are not punished
physically but are placed in a particularly uncomfortable section of hell. (Reference
kindly provided by Yuhan Vevaina.)
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 243
Haug and West are content with stating these facts, without attempting
an explanation. Th e Iranian independent scholar Bijan Gheiby has
recently come up with an ingenious explanation for the apparent chaos.
He fi nds that “any attempt at introducing order and arrangement into
hell seems superfl uous” because Ahreman’s creation is defi ned as fundamentally
chaotic, “not planned or methodically constructed” (2004:96).
Unfortunately, however, this principle is never mentioned in the list of
common attributes of hell. It also is in contradiction with the limits set
by Ašwahišt on the punishments infl icted by the demons, implying, as
pointed out above, that even hell is ultimately under divine control.
Rather than chaos, hell appears as a perverse order. Gheiby’s idea therefore
remains somewhat speculative.
Th ere may be other reasons (no less speculative, to be sure). To begin
with, the reduplications may well have to do with the long redaction
history of the text. Obviously, this hypothesis does not dissolve the
question of inconsistency, but merely moves it up one level, as it were.
Not the authors, but the redactors and editors were then to be blamed
for the apparent disorder.
One may also wonder whether the description is unsystematic not
because of the nature of hell, but because of the nature of communication
and memory. If it were to proceed systematically, would the text
then not lose elements of surprise, of criss-crossing expectations, of unexpected
turns that help to sustain attention? It must be kept in mind that
this book was apparently meant for popular consumption and not written
to satisfy the needs of theologians.
Moreover, one may ask whether an arrangement that proceeded, say,
from the most heinous sins to the most trifl ing (or vice versa), or which
classifi ed sins according to social relationships and ontological categories
(sins towards relatives, business partners, men, nature, etc.), would
correspond to the world of experience, where one has the opportunity
to commit sins of various degrees all the time.
Last but not least, it was possibly the intention of the text to show
that one has to pay attention to sins of all kinds and to encourage the
formation of what one might call a total ethical habitus. Th e text may
well witness a mentality that does not at all share the idea that one can
disregard minor off ences. Conquering Ahreman will not be possible unless
each and every little sin is avoided.
244 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
10. Hell in Miniatures
Th e Ardā Wirāz Nāmag was probably the most successful Pahlavi book
in terms of literary diff usion (witness the various translations of the work).
Apart from textual transmission, the work was also translated into visual
culture. In Mogul India, miniatures were painted that illustrated
Persian or Gujarati translations of the Ardā Wirāz Nāmag.40 Th e scenes
of hell were of course easy to visualize for the artists. In this way, the
text also reached illiterate people. Dhanjibhai Nauroji, the fi rst modern
Zoroastrian convert to Christianity, who would later himself become a
Christian missionary, tells the following episode in his autobiography
From Zoroaster to Christ:
I saw a Parsi lady of my acquaintance reading a book, and asked her what it was
she was reading. She told me it was Ardawirafnama. . . . It has several pictures, and
the lady showed me one of them. A frightful one it was! A man was hanging in
a tree, with his legs tied together, his feet upwards, and his head downwards.
Serpents and scorpions were all over his body, and devils with tails were all around.
I asked the lady what it meant, and she said it was a picture of the punishment
which a man was receiving in hell, who had been a great sinner while on earth. I
fl ed from her and became violently agitated in mind. Why had I been allowed to
see that picture? (Nauroji 1909:24–25)
Th is report is part of a biographical reconstruction explaining his increasing
dissatisfaction with Zoroastrianism in his youth — a typical feature
of conversion narratives. As such, the episode is part of a narrative
scheme that contrasts the barbaric character of his former religion with
the paternal benevolence of his adopted one. Nevertheless, the episode
vividly illustrates the power of these sorts of pictures in making a lasting
emotional impression on memory. As such, these miniatures may have
fulfi lled an important function.
III. Th e Erosion of Hell in Contemporary Zoroastrianism?
Th e quote from Dhanjibhai Nauroji has brought us to the modern age.
Restrictions of time and space do not allow us at this point to follow up
40) For some specimens see Blochet 1899; Desai 1991; Gropp 1993 (some reproduced
in Stausberg 2002a); Choksy 2002.
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 245
on the development of Zoroastrian conceptualizations of hell in Persian
and Gujarati Zoroastrian literatures. Instead, we will now make a long
jump of another millennium (from the date of the literary composition
of most Pahlavi works) and conclude this article with some comments
on the present age.
Some ten years ago, Philip Kreyenbroek conducted a study among
the Zoroastrian (Parsi) community in India based on thirty in-depthinterviews
of urban Zoroastrians from Mumbai belonging to diff erent
social milieus and religious groups (but overwhelmingly lay-people).
One of his results was that compared to classical texts, hell had apparently
ceased to preoccupy the minds of people: “none of our informants
indicated that they were afraid of going to hell” (Kreyenbroek 2001:299).
He links this fi nding to a general attitude averse to dualistic thinking,
which is openly rejected by some.
From my reading of contemporary Zoroastrian theological literature,
I am under the impression that hell is not a prominent topic in the contemporary
literature written by Zoroastrians on their religion, although
many duly mention it as part of their theological legacy. However, some
modern theologians such as Dastur Bode or the neo-Zarathushtrian
“convert” Ali Akbar Jafarey exhibit the tendency to interpret heaven and
hell as subjective states rather than as objective places or as inner-worldly
rather than as otherworldly domains (see Stausberg 2002b:139, 369).
Besides such qualitative data, John Hinnells has provided us with
quantitative data from a survey conducted in Britain, Hong Kong,
North America (USA and Canada), Australia, and Kenya in the period
1983–1987. Th e total numbers for belief in “heaven and hell” (thus not
specifi cally hell!) varies from 31% (Canada) to 77% (Kenya). With the
exception of Hong Kong (33%) and Sydney (38%) on the one extreme
and Karachi (71%)41 on the other, most countries and cities were in the
45 to 54% range. Th e fi gures for “heaven and hell” are consistently and
signifi cantly lower than the fi gures for “belief in immortality of soul”;
at the same time they score consistently higher than the fi gures for both
“reincarnation” and “resurrection” (see Hinnells 1994:99). Due to the
lack of previous documentation it is impossible to decide whether these
41) Hinnells (1994:66) advises that “[t]he fi gures for Karachi should be treated with
caution,” since the questionnaire was part of a pilot study.
246 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
fi gures amount to evidence for continuity or decline of beliefs in hell,
but the fi gures are certainly higher than one would have expected based
on Kreyenbroek’s statement (unless one believes in either a radical decline
in the decade separating Hinnells’ from Kreyenbroek’s study or in India
being totally exceptional with regard to the spread of these beliefs).
Th e survey data provided by Hinnells allow for some further comments.
42 Th us, there are clear distinctions when one takes the countries
of origin of the diaspora-Zoroastrians into account: only 30% of those
already settled in the West and only 36% of those from an Iranian
background affi rmed a belief in heaven and hell, whereas the scores for
people originating from India (48%), Pakistan (66%), and East Africa
(54%) were much higher. Among those coming from India, signifi -
cantly more Zoroastrians from Gujarat (60%) asserted belief in heaven
and hell than people from Mumbai (46%).43 Signifi cantly more people
married to Zoroastrians affi rmed the belief (50%) than those married
to non-Zoroastrians (41%).
In general, a higher number of those who had attended religious
classes in childhood expressed such a belief (52%) than of those who
had not (45%). Th ese fi gures may mirror the eff ects of religious education,
or co-vary with other factors. A higher number of those who read
Zoroastrian (religious) literature (52%) expressed belief in heaven and
hell than of those who did not read Zoroastrian literature (45%). A
signifi cant higher number of those who regularly attended a Zoroastrian
Centre (i.e. a community infrastructure in the diaspora) affi rmed
this belief (52%) than of those who attended infrequently (33%). Higher
education slightly correlated with lower scores (46% of those who had
done postgraduate studies expressed this belief against 51% with lower
degrees of education). Zoroastrians having a degree in sciences were less
likely to affi rm this belief than those who had degree in the arts (45%
as against 54%). More business people (49%) asserted this belief than
Among age groups, the belief was least asserted by people in their 20s
(40%), while those in their 60s (57%) scored highest, but these fi gures
42) For all the fi gures quoted in the following see Hinnells 2005:758–83.
43) Th ese fi gures also correlate to the fi gures for the languages in which people read:
Persian (35%), English (43%), Gujarati (57%); see Hinnells 2005:763.
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 247
should not be over-interpreted, given the scores for the adjoining age
groups (under 20s: 46%; 70+: 49%). Types of families, however, did
not yield signifi cant diff erences (nuclear: 45%; extended: 49%; no
family: 49%), nor did having children correlate (with children: 48%;
no children: 46%). Th e belief was more pronounced among those who
were widowed (55%) and less among those who were separated or
divorced (41%) than among either singles or married people (48% each).
In general, slightly more females than males seemed to believe in heaven
and hell (51% against 45%).
Th ese data show that the belief in heaven and hell is shared by around
half of the worldwide Zoroastrian diaspora population, with some signifi
cant diff erences. Th e belief is affi rmed particularly by women, people
who have married Zoroastrians, business people, people with a
degree in the arts, or relatively little education, by people from East
Africa, Pakistan and India, especially from rural backgrounds, and by
people who frequently visit a Zoroastrian Centre, read Zoroastrian
literature and who attended religious classes in childhood. All these
correlations say nothing about co-variation and causalities. To take just
one example: does being married to a Zoroastrian make a person likely
to hold this belief, or does one avoid marrying non-Zoroastrians because
one is afraid of hell, or is this only a case of co-variation? Similarly: what
is the causal signifi cance, if any, of professional, educational, and geographical
background? Th e clear distribution by country, however,
makes it likely that hell plays a diff erent role in the Zoroastrian discursive
communities and world-views in diff erent countries.
Given that the diaspora (contrary to India and partly also to Iran)
does not have a full-time professional priesthood, Hinnells’ fi gures do
not cover the priesthood (even if the dataset may include some Zoroastrians
who were trained as priests) and his demographic variables do
not include information on possible priestly backgrounds. Kreyenbroek’s
later study explicitly focused on the urban laity. Since the priests
are the backbone of the normative tradition as propagated in the sources
discussed above — in fact all the Middle Persian texts referred to above
were probably composed by priests — we need to look at the attitudes
of contemporary Zoroastrian priests.
In 2006 and 2007 the present writer (assisted by Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia,
Benaifer Wykes, and Meher Patel) conducted a comprehensive survey
248 M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253
of the contemporary Zoroastrian priesthood in Western India.44 Th e
main dataset of this survey were structured interviews with some 50
practicing full-time professional priests. As part of the interview we
asked a series of questions on the priests’ beliefs. One of the questions
was whether they believed in heaven and hell. 42 priests answered this
question, among whom 4 priests stated that they did not believe in
heaven and hell. One of them (aged 51) said: “Everything is here only.”
Furthermore, one priest expressed an agnostic attitude, stating: “We
fi nd out when we go there.” Nine priests affi rmed their belief, but with
the important qualifi cation that heaven and hell were considered thisworldly
phenomena,45 some making a connection to the concept of
karma. One priest (76)46 regarded heaven and hell as constructions
of the mind (“it can make heaven of hell and hell of heaven”). One
priest (57), who held a degree in Avesta and Pahlavi, pointed to the
Ardā Wirāz Nāmag, which he described as an “allegorical” description
of the other world,47 while another priest, aged 63, referred to the bridge
leading to the other world (from which the souls fall into hell) as
“mythological.” Th us, there are very few priests who explicitly reject a
belief in heaven and hell, but there are several priests who add qualifying
statements to a general affi rmation of this belief. Th e great majority
of priests, however, either simply replied in the affi rmative or even
asserted this belief in an emphatic manner.48 Some also added brief
statements.49 And at least one priest (73) expressed the confi dence that
44) Th e priesthood in Iran has changed dramatically after World War II. Th e professional
heritable full-time professional priesthood has in practice been abolished; see
45) Here are some responses: “Everything is here”; “Whatever is there you suff er here
only”; “Yes, it is there but it is in this world only”; “It exists on this world only”; “If you
have misbehaved and done something bad, later on in your life, you or your kids will
have to suff er”; “. . . at times I feel that we get rewarded for our good and bad deeds in
this lifetime only. So we have heaven and hell here only. But there must be something
that is why we have rituals and ceremonies.” Th e latter statement refers to the fact that
the priests primarily perform rituals.
46) Th e numbers in brackets refer to the age of the respondents.
47) Some other respondents also referred to this text.
48) “All of us go there”; Yes. I believe in it”; “I suppose so”; “I have heard about it so I
believe in it”: “Certainly”; “Yes, defi nitely”; “Obviously it is there”; “Sure.”
49) “According to Ardaviraf-Nameh, when he leaves the earthly plane, to see what is
there; heaven, hell and Hamestagan, where sin and good deeds are equal. When I am
M. Stausberg / Numen 56 (2009) 217–253 249
the correct performance of rituals would bring the priests (and their clients)
to heaven (“If we perform the rituals properly, we go to heaven”).50
It therefore seems that the hypothetical erosion of conceptions of hell —
if they ever were as wide-spread in the communities as the normative
literature suggests — has so far not aff ected the priesthood, at least not
in India, where those doubting the existence of hell are a minority.
Th e author wishes to thank Dr. Yuhan Vevaina for a number of thoughprovoking
comments and corrections to an earlier draft, and Professor
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خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامي از دکتر مهربُرزین سروشیان - کالیفرنیا
۷. پیشنهادی کارشناختی برای ِ مرمّت ِ آتشگاه اصفهان
طرح ِ پژوهندهی ِ جوان، آقای ِ مهندس یاغش کاظمی را در این جا ببینید و در بارهی ِ آن بخوانبد ↓
خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامي از یاغش کاظمی- رامسر
۸. آزادی ی ِ گزینش در آموزهی ِ گاهانیی ِ زرتشت: معنای ِ یَسنَه ۳۰، بند ِ ۲ *
Posted by Behdin Arman Vaziri,Vancouver, Canada
Meaning and Message of Yasna 30:2
The Gathas are a well-worded, well-versed, well-patterned, well-defined, well-rounded, well-turned, well-linked, coherent, cohesive, concise, and precise divan of the Divine Doctrine by the Master-Mâñthran (Thought-provoker) and Prime-Poet Zarathushtra Spitama. They have five meters, seventeen songs and 241 stanzas, small enough to fit into a pocketbook of only 40 pages. They discuss, in clear words, a unique Monotheism, Primal Principles of Existence, mental enlightenment, physical soundness, Good and Evil, Freedom of Choice, progressive life, constructive contribution, rehabilitation of the uprooted, renovation of the world, radiating happiness in a natural and peaceful environment, and advancing towards a godlike goal. They are supernal inspirations, sublime prayers, subtle rituals, simple directives, and sound advices for a superb splendid life. The Gathas are the Guide to Daênâ Vañguhi, Good Conscience, “the best religion …. for the living …. [because it] promotes the world through righteousness and polishes words and actions in serenity.” (Song 9:10 – Yasna 44:10)
All the above subjects are interrelated and therefore interwoven within the 241 stanzas, a moving mosaic of Message. One may pick a subject in a stanzas but to comprehend its meaning and message, he/she will have to see it in its context as given in the stanza, then look at it in the song in which the stanza stands, and then understand its interrelation with other stanzas in other songs.
Understanding the Gathas is easy, provided one has the entire picture, the complete Doctrine, in his/her full view. A single sample, out of context, may lead to misunderstanding or even wrong deduction.
Therefore to comprehend the second stanza of the third song, we shall have to carefully look at its main point in the context of the entire Gathic guidance. That main point is “Freedom of Choice” and the word on which it is based is âverenâo. It is from the root var (Sanskrit vr), which means to choose, to select with a secondary meaning to prefer, to like.
Happily the words derived from this root have been used for 30 times in the Gathas, more than enough to give us the true meaning of it. They have been used twice in the Haptanghaiti and 12 times in the Fravarti (Yasna 12). It makes a total of 44 times in the Gathas and their Supplements in the same dialect.
The words from this root occur twice in the non-Gathic Yasna, once in the Vispered, twice in the Yashts and thrice in the Vendidad, a total of eight times in the entire Later Avesta. The non-Gathic Avesta is, in size, almost twelve times larger than its Gathic part. One may wonder at the ratio of eight times against the Gathic 44 times. The reason is simple. The non-Gathic part of the extant Avesta is more concerned about rituals, customs, prescriptions, proscriptions, legend, history, geography, medicine, and more. Its composers knew well that the Gathas were the Divine Doctrine. That was enough and adequate for them. They appended what they considered appropriate. As it will be seen, although eight in number, they are a good help in understanding the significance of our subject of ‘Freedom of Choice’ as seen by the Avestan people.
My translation of the our main stanza reads:
Hear the best with your earsand ponder with a bright mind.Then each man and woman, for his or her self,select either of the [following] two choices.Awaken to this Doctrine of ours before the Great Event of Choice ushers in.
(Song 3 - stanza 2)
But let me give also the translations by three Parsi scholars and three Iranian Zartoshtis:
(1) Ervad Kavasji Edalji Kanga: …. (tê) mhotâ banâvo-ni agamcha darêk jan-nê potânê-mâtê ê (potâni) pasandagi-no êtekâd (hovo joîyê – yâne darêk mânasê khodâ-parasti tathâ dêv-parasti, ê bê-mâñ-thi jê sârûñ hoê tê pasand kari-nê, tê mûjab potâ-no dharm sañbañdhi êtêkâd râkhvo …
“…. Then before the great event, each person should, for his own self, have his preferred belief. (It means that each person should prefer from the two – God-worship and demon-worship, the one which is better and thus have his belief concerning the religion.) ….” (Ervadji Kanga – Happily, he has this stanza in the Avestan script on the cover page of his book Gâthâ bâ Maenî, Gujarati language, Bombay, 1895)
(2) D.J. Irani: “…. Let each one choose his creed with that freedom of ‘choice,’ each must have at great events. ….”
(3) Dr. Irach J.S. Taraporewala: “…. Before you choose which of the Paths to tread, deciding each man by man, each for each; before the great New Age is ushered in, wake up, alert to spread Ahura’s word.
(4) Ardeshir Faramji Khabardar: “…. the careful selection of the two ‘choices,’ man by man for his own self, before the great setting off on life’s journey, ….”
(5) Mobed Firuz Azargoshasb: “…. decide each man and woman personally between the two paths, good and evil. Before ushering in of the great day, or the day of the judgment, arise all of you and try to spread Ahura’s words (Zarathushtra’s message).”
(6) Mobedan Mobed Rostam Shahzadi: “…. Before the opportunity is lost, each man and woman should for his/herself choose between the two – the right path (Mazda-worship) or the wrong path (demon-worship) . May you, with the help of Mazda Ahura, be successful in your choice of the right path.”
The Zarathushtrian Assembly
Ali A. Jafarey, Ph.D.
افزودهی ِ ویراستار:
بشنوید با گوشها [ی ِ خویش] بهترین [سخنان] را و ببینید با مَنِش ِ روشن و هریک از شما – چه مرد، چه زن – پیش از آن که رویداد ِ برزگ به کام ِ ما پایانگیرد، از میان ِ دو راه، [یکی را] برای ِ خویشتن برگزینید و این [پیام] را [به دیگران] بیاموزید."
(اوستا، کهنترین سرودها و متنهای ِ ایرانی، گزارش و پژوهش جلیل دوستخواه، جلد یکم از دو جلد، ص ۱۴، یَسنَه هات ۳۰، بند ۲- چاپ یازدهم- انتشارات مروارید، تهران- ۱۳۸۷)
۹. یادوارهای برای ِ "بیژن ترقی"، ترانهسرای ِ بلندآوازهی ِ روزگارمان
بیژن ترقی، ترانهسرای نامی ایران درگذشت. بسیاری از ترانههای ماندگار موسیقی معاصر ایران از کارهای ترقی هستند:"آتش کاروان"، "گل اومد، بهار اومد" و ... برجستهترین کار او در سالهای اخیر سرودن شعر "ایران جوان" بود.
و در این جا بخوانید و بشنوید↓
قطعه ی تصویری ِ شعر ِ "تذرو" از زبان شخص بیژن ترقی در چهستون اصفهان سال ِ ۱۳۷۸کنسرت فرهاد فخرالدینی و شجریانhttp://www.mediafire.com/?duxj9mwjwvd
١٠. زمینهچینی برای ِ زیوربخشییِ یک بوستان ِ گردشگاه ِ همگانی در تهران با نگارههایی الهامگرفته از شاهنامهی ِ فردوسی به وسیلهی ِ یک طرحنگار ِ جوان ِ آلمانی
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١١. "پارسیک / پهلوی" : تارنمایی نو در شبکهی ِ جهانی
در این جا ↓
۱۲. ادبيّات و شعر و تاريخنويسي درعصر ساساني: پژوهشی روشنگر از زندهیاد استاد علی سامی
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۱۳.شهر ِ زیرزمینیی ِِ نوشآباد با گستردگیی هزارانِ متر مربّع در ژرفای ِ ۴تا ۱۸ متر از سطح ِ زمین: ۳۷ نما از این شهر ِ شگفت
Underground City of Noushabad
Noushabad is a city in 8 km north of Kashan, laid next to central Iran desert. The underground city is a handmade complex, spread under the city of Noushabad in thousands of sq. meters, in depth of 4 to 18 meters. The city consists of many labyrinthic corridors, rooms and wells. The history of the complex backs to pre-Islamic era, More than 1500 years ago and was mainly used for sheltering and defense purposes, extended up to recent centuries. Entrances to the city were from population concentration points like water reservoirs, markets, fortress and also some individual houses. There are many spaces within the city, each consist of interconnected, 180 cm height rooms for temporary settlement connecting through angled corridors (preventing direct sight), toilets, supply stocks and guarding place. Lighting was provided by fat burning lamps. The city was built in 3 stories, each apart 3 to 5 meters in depth connecting via some narrow manholes. The architecture of the stories dictates upward movement providing maximum protection against invaders. Delaying any enemy penetration was performed by anticipating some physical obstacles and traps, in conjunction with darkness. Natural air conditioning and water supply of the city are among its ancient engineering wonders. At the moment visitors can enter the city from two entrances both opened adjacent to two old water reservoirs. All the photos are taken on hand, no flash.
نمایی از راه ِ ورود به نوشآباد
سی و شش نمای ِ دیگر از نوشآباد را در این جا ببینید ↓
خاستگاه : زیربخشهای ِ ۱۰ تا ۱٤: رايانْ پيامهایي از فرشید ابراهیمی- تهران
۱٤. آتشكدهي نوشيجان ِ ملابر، يادگاري ٢٨٠٠ ساله از روزگار ماد
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خاستگاه : زیربخشهای ِ ۱۰ تا ۱٤: رايانْ پيامهایي از فرشید ابراهیمی- تهران
١٥. ورزش و بازیی ِ دوستانهی ِ دو همسایه یا انتقامجویی و عقدهگشاییی ِ جارچیان حکومتی کینهتوز با ایرانیان؟!
ترجمهی ِ حرفهای گزارشگر شبکه الریاضیّه بعد از گل دوم عربستان:
ای بزرگ آسیا، بزرگ آسیا... الله اکــــــبر (تکرار)... الله علیک سعودی (ایولا به سعودی) ... ای سعودی، ای سعودی سرت را بلند کن ای سعودی... الـــــلـــه،... افتخار عـــرب، افتـــخار عــرب... در سرزمین فارس ها اسب های عرب می درخشند .. در سرزمین فارس ها اسب های سعودی درخـــــشان تـــرند... الـــــلــه.... ای زندگی من،ای (....)، ای سبز (تیم عربستان) .... حلقه هایش را قوی تر کرد، ای مردم حلقه هایش را قوی تر کرد، و پـــــــیروز شد، بهت گفتم صبر کن ولی تو گفتي ... > > از خود ویدیو جالب تر بعضی از نظراتی ست که زیر ویدیوهاست...... این هارو می ذارم که فقط بگم چرا از اینکه به جام جهانی نمی ریم ناراحت نیستم و از اینکه به عربستان باختیم ناراحتم.... > يستاهلون كل ما يطلبون على هالفتح السني في بلاد الكفر الفارسي والله فوز اسلامي لان عيال المتعة والفرس بغوها شماته ونصر على السنه ويمكرون ويمكر الله والله خير الماكرين داشين بقلوب تقيه وهدفهم الفوز لنصرة الدين مو نصر السعوديه وديرة وكاس والانتقام من ابناء المتعة احفاد كسرى >
ترجمهی ِ کوتاه: بیا!...تنها چیزی که ما سنی ها میخواستیم پیروزی در سرزمین کفر فارس هاست و قسم به خودم که اسلام اصلی پیروز میشه بر صیغه و نفس شیطانی فارس ها که می خوان بر سنی ها پیروز بشن... (آیه قرآن: فکر کردی بر همه حیله می زنی بر خدا هم می تونی ... همانا خدا حیله گر ترینست.) پیروزی در قبله افراد معتقد و پاک است... این پیروزی نه فقط برای سعودی بلکه برای دین است ... واین جام انتقامی ست از فرزندان کسری - فرزندان خسرو پرویز
خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامي از فرشید هادیفر- ایران
۱۶. آغاز به کار ِ کتابخانهی ِ ديجيتال جهان
کتابخانه ديجيتال جهان آغاز به کار کرد. علاقهمندان از سراسر جهان مي توانند از راه ِ تارنمای ِ اين کتابخانه ، به منابع الکترونيکيی ِ آن دسترس داشته باشند.
اين تارنما از ۲۱ آوريل در اداره ي مركزي يونسكو در پاريس كار خود را آغاز کرد. در اين وب سايت كتاب هاي نادر، نقشه هاي تاريخي، نسخ خطي، فيلم و عكس از كتابخانه ها و آرشيوهاي سراسر جهان ارائه مي شود. مراجعه كنندگان به اين تارنما، قادر خواهند بود تا به تمام اين موارد به هفت زبان عربي، چيني، انگليسي، فرانسوي، پرتغالي، روسي و اسپانيائي دسترس يابند. ۳۲ مؤسّسه از برزيل، بريتانيا، چين، مصر، فرانسه، ژاپن، روسيه، عربستان سعودي، و آمريكا براي اجراي اين پروژه به ياري سازمان يونسكو شتافتند. اجراي اين پروژه نخستين بار در سال ۲۰۰۵ به وسيله ي بزرگ ترين كتابخانه ي جهان يعني كتابخانه ي کنگرهی ِ آمريكا به يونسكو پيشنهاد شد. كتابخانه ي الكترونيكي جهاني به نشانیی ِ
http://www.worlddigitallibrary.org/ يا http://www.wdl.org/en/
در دسترس كاربران خواهدبود.
شرکت گوگل و بنياد قطر هر کدام با سه ميليون دلار، بنياد کارنگي با دو میليون دلار،دانشگاه علم و تکنولوژيی ِ ملک عبدالله با يک ميليون دلار و شرکت ِ ماکروسافت با يک ميليون دلار کمک، از جمله پشتيبانان مالي اين طرح هستند.«کتابخانهی ِ ديجيتال جهان» جلوههاي فرهنگي نقاط گوناگون جهان را به صورت چندزبانه و رايگان در اختيار کاربران قرار ميدهد.
هدف از راهاندازي اين کتابخانه، در چهار محور خلاصه شده است:
- ارتقاي تفهيم و تفاهم ميان ملتها و فرهنگها- افزايش ظرفيت و تنوع مضامين فرهنگي در شبکهی ِ جهانی - فراهم ساختن منابع براي آموزگاران، پژوهشگران و مخاطبان عام- ظرفيّتسازي براي مؤسّسههاي مشارکتکننده براي کم کردن خلاء ِ ديجيتالي درون و ميان کشورها
خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامي از علی میرزایی، دفتر ِ ماهنامهی ِ نگاه ِ نو- نهران
١٧.بالاتر از سپیدی/ زیباتر از سپیدی، رنگی نیست!: سخن ِ تازهای از"محمود کیانوش"
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خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامي از مهدی خطیبی - تهران
۱۸. بازگشاییی ِ پایگاه ِ دوزبانهی ِ پژوهشهای ِ ایرانی: آگاهینامهای از دفتر ِ بنیاد مطالعات ایران
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۱۹.هنر ِ ایرانیان ِ کهنسال ِ شهربند ِ غُربت در کالیفرنیا
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خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامهایي از دکتر مجید نفیسی- کالیفرنبا
۲٠. بازتاب ِ عاطفههای میهنی در سرودههای ِ "شهریار"
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خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامی از اسی اسیان- دفتر ِ آتی بان
٢١. سخنی در بارهی ِ «فناوری» (برابر ِ برگزیدهی ِ فرهنگستان به جای «تکنولوژی») و ریشه و پیشینهی ِ آن
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خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامي از شهربَراز
۲۲.کوششی گسترده برای ِ زندهکردن ِ زبان ِ فارسی در هندوستان
٢۳. رازگشایی از یک کلیدواژهی ِ بنیادین در ادب ِ وِدایی و گاهانی
Posted by Arman Vaziri,
Johanna Narten, however (1985, 1986), comparing (as Schlerath had done) Vedic pravara-, translated OAv. “fravaši” simply as “choice.” The focus of her study was the word’s unique occurrence in the liturgical text Yasna Haptaŋhāiti, which she produced strong reasons for attributing to Zoroaster himself (Narten, 1986; cf. Gershevitch, p. 18; Boyce, 1992, pp. 87-94). In this Yasna 37.3 ends with the words:
“Him (Ahura Mazdā) we worship, the fravašis(choice) of the righteous, of men and women”
(təˊm ašāunąm fravašīš narąmcā nāirinąmcā yazamaidē).
٢٤. کهنترین موزهی ِ ایران در گزارشی گفتاری-تصویری
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خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامي از احمد رناسی - پاریس
۲۵. یک تباهکاریی ِ دیگر در «نصف ِ جهان»: سردر ِ دروازهی ِ کاخ ِ هزارجریب ِ اصفهان را شبانه تخریبکردند!
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خاستگاه: گزارشی در تارنمای ِ رادیو فردا
٢٦. آگاهینامهی ِ برگزاریی ِ یکصد و نهمین نشست ِ پژوهش در مثنویی ِ مولوی و دیوان ِ کبیر ِ شمس در شبکهی ِ جهانی
در این جا بخوانید و بشنوید ↓
خاستگاه: رایان پیامی از پانویس- سیدنی، استرالیا
٢٧. روز ِ ملّیی ِ خلیج ِ فارس فرخندهباد!
روز ملي خليج فارس
بر تمامي ايران دوستان و علاقه مندان
به فرهنگ و تمدن کهن ايران زمين گرامي باد!
انجمن ايران شناسي کهن دژ
همدان - دهم ارديبهشت ماه ۱۳٨٨ خورشيدي
٢٨. ارمغان ِ ارجمند ِ دوست: سه شعر ِ ناب از شاعر ِ «کمگوی و گزیدهگوی» ِ روزگارمان
میرکسرا حاجسیّدجوادی، شاعر ِ چیرهدست ِ روزگارمان، سه شعر ِ زیبا و ستودنیی ِ زیر را از میهن برایم ارمغان فرستادهاست که
که با سپاسگزاری از او، در این جا به خوانندگان ِ ادبدوست ِ ایرانشناخت، عرضه میدارم.
پروانه ای زرد
آوازه خوان میرفت
درانبوهی ِ پرواز
که تاجی ازستارهها
چوپان ِ نِینواز
پای ِ برج ِ قدیمی
پیچک ِ عریان میخواند
چوپان ِ نینواز
برگیسوان ِ ماه ،آویختند
ای زندانی زندانی زندانی
عطر سپید لبخنده ات را
نثار ِ راه خواهیکرد
چوپان ِ نینواز
درکدامین شب، سرگردانست
که رهگذارش را
تا پای ِ برج ِ قدیمی
پای ِ برج ِ قدیمی
چوپان ِ نینواز
میدمد به نی
نی لبکی میزند
رقص ِ رقاصههای اثیری را
درکوچه عروس میبرند
به نظاره ایستادهاست
واژهی ِ تدبیر
اتش ِ ده تیرشد
بر قلب ِ نگونسار
بر زمین ِ سرد
دلت رابه خاک بسپار
ماتم ِ مهتاب ِ مرده را
٢٩. «شاهدژ ِ اصفهان»: کتابشناخت ِ پژوهشی در بارهی ِ یک یادمان ِ تاریخیی ِ مهمّ
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خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامي از دکتر شاهین سپنتا- اصفهان
٣٠. امتیازخواهیی ِ گستاخانه و شرمآور ِ عربهای استعمارپذیر در پایتخت ِ ایران!
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خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامي از محسن قاسمی شاد- تهران
٣۱. زبان ِ فارسی و بُنمایههای ِ فرهنگ ِ ایرانی در فرازترین فرازهای ِ جهان (دامنههای ِ هیمالیا)
در این جا بخوانید و ببینید ↓
خاستگاه: رايانْ پيامي از بهروز بیگدلی- بریزبن، استرالیا