Mythos 53 – Search for the Airyana Vaejo

 

The quest to find the Airyana Vaejo, also transliterated as Airyanəm Vaējah, has generally been confined to archaeology, comparative linguistics and comparative mythology. Unfortunately the geographical features described in the Ṛigveda and Avesta have not been considered by most looking for the Airyana Vaejo. The quest for the Airyana Vaejo also hit a major roadblock in the early twentieth century when it was nationalized by the German National Socialist Party, more commonly known as the Nazis. Since World War Two few scholars seem interested in a direct search for the Airyana Vaejo, as academics generally oppose most of what the Nazi stood for, and don’t want to be associated with them even via proxy. Nevertheless, during the Cold-War period, a great deal of archaeology was conducted in the Soviet Union, that has been linked to ancient Indo-European civilizations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Bâl Gangâdhar Tilak circa 1910

Bâl Gangâdhar Tilak circa 1910

One of the first scholars to do an in depth study of the Vedas and Avesta was the Indian lawyer, teacher, and independence activist,(1)D. V. Tahmankar (1956) Lokamany Tilak: Father of Indian Unrest and Maker of Modern India Bâl Gangâdhar Tilak around a century ago. Tilak studied the Vedas and Avesta using a logical and scientific method, that was subsequently repeated by scholars in the West, who generally came to the same conclusions. Ironically as some these Westerners were Germans, his work partially inspired the nationalist concepts of the Nazis. Naturally as he died in 1920, he was never accused of being a Nazi sympathizer, like Mahatma Gandhi and 100,000 other political prisoners who spent much of World War Two in prison.(2)S. S. Shashi (1996) Encyclopaedia Indica: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Page 13 Tilak’s conclusion was that the Aryan culture, in which he specifically included all Indo-European cultures, was much older than scholars at the time believed. Tilak believed that as the earliest phase of the reconstructed Aryan religion seemed to be entirely based on nature, yet included an epic struggle between darkness and light, the undivided Aryans, originally lived in the Arctic:

In the Vendidad, Fargard II, para 40, (or, according to Spiegel, para 133), we find the sentence, Tae cha ayara mainyaente yatyare, meaning “They regard, as a day, what is a year.” This is but a paraphrase of the statement, in the Taittiriya Brahmana, and the context in the Parsi scriptures removes all possible doubts regarding the Polar character of the statement. The latter part of the second Fargard, wherein this passage occurs, contains a discourse between Ahura Mazda and Yima. Ahura Mazda warns Yima, the first king of men, of the approach of a dire winter, which is to destroy every living creature by covering the land with a thick sheet of ice, and advises Yima to build a Vara, or an enclosure, to preserve the seeds of every kind of animals and plants. The meeting is said to have taken place in the Airyana Vaejo, or the paradise of the Iranians.

The Vara, or the enclosure, advised by Ahura Mazda, is accordingly prepared, and Yima asked Ahura Mazda, “O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What lights are there to give light in the Vara which Yima made?”

Ahura Mazda answered, “There are uncreated lights and created lights. There the stars, the moon and the sun are only once (a year) seen to rise and set, and a year seems only as a day.”

I have taken Darmesteter’s rendering but Spiegel’s is substantially the same. This passage is important from various standpoints. First of all it tells us, that the Airyana Vaejo, or the original home of the Iranians, was a place which was rendered uninhabitable by glaciation; and secondly that in this original home the sun rose and set only once in the year, and that the year was like a day to the inhabitants of the place. The bearing of the passage in regard to glaciation will be discussed latter on. For the present, it is enough to point out how completely it corroborates and elucidates the statement in the Taittiriya Brahmana stated and discussed above. The yearly rising and setting of the sun is possible only at the North Pole and the mention of this characteristic leaves no room for doubting that the Vara and the Airyana Vaejo were both located in the Arctic or Circum-Polar regions, and that the passage in the Taittiriya Brahmana also refers to the Polar year.- Bâl Gangâdhar Tilak (3)Bâl Gangâdhar Tilak (1903) The Arctic Home in the Vedas. Pages 66-67

References   [ + ]

1. D. V. Tahmankar (1956) Lokamany Tilak: Father of Indian Unrest and Maker of Modern India
2. S. S. Shashi (1996) Encyclopaedia Indica: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Page 13
3. Bâl Gangâdhar Tilak (1903) The Arctic Home in the Vedas. Pages 66-67