Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Great Ocean Vourukasha / Frakhvkard / Varkash

[Avestan: Vouru-kasha. Middle Persian Pahlavi: Frakhvkart. Classical Persian: Varkash. Avestan: Vouru means wide.]

When the Aryan Zoroastrians migrated west into the Iranian plateau, Alburz eventually came to be the name of the northern mountains of Iran and Varkash came to mean the Caspian Sea. However, in ancient Zoroastrian history written while the Aryans resided in Central Asia, Alburz was the Himalayas and Vourukasha / Frakhvkard / Varkash was the ocean that circumnavigated the south and south-east of the Asian continent.

While the Bundahishn was a Middle Persian Pahlavi text, it nevertheless still preserved the older geography recorded in the Avesta. Chapter 10 of the Greater Bundahishn is devoted to a description of the oceans and seas of the known world. It starts Chapter 10 with the words, "One says in the Scripture" referring to the Zoroastrian scriptures, the Avesta. The first ocean mentioned is the Frakhvkart.

The beginning text of the Greater Bundahishn's Chapter 10, reads:
1. One says in the Scripture, 'The Frakhvkart Ocean occupies one third of this earth, in the direction of the south, on the border of Alburz (Himalayas).'

2. It is so wide formed that a thousand seas are located in it. Some call them (the seas) the springs of Aredvisur (Ardvisura - see post), and there are some one who call them the springs of the seas.

3. Every sea has (is fed by) springs of water whose water [comes out and pours into the sea. 4. Some seas have so much width and length that] a man on a galloping horse can circumvent it in forty days [and nights], that is, (covering) a distance one thousand eight hundred large frasangs (a farsang / frasang is nearly 1 league, 3.5 miles or 5.6 km. 1,800 farsangs = 6,300 miles or 10,080 km.

8. Of all three (seas) the Putik (Persian Gulf) is the largest, owing to which the tide and the ebb take place, and being in the same direction as the ocean Frakhvkart, it is attached to the Frakhvkart.

9. Between this ocean Frakhvkart and a side of the Putik, there is a sea which they call the Lake Sataves (Arabian Sea?). [All] hardness, brackishness, and impurity, that are inclined to go from the Sea Putik to the Ocean Frakhvkart, are repelled by a mighty high wind blowing from that Lake Sataves, and whatever is pure and clean goes into the Frakhvkart and the spring of Aredvisur, and the rest pours back into the Putik.

The Lesser Bundahishn states:
1. On the nature of seas it says in revelation that the wide-formed ocean keeps one-third of this earth on the south side of the border of Alburz (Himalayas), and so wide-formed is the ocean that the water of a thousand seas is held by it, such as the source Aredvivsur (Ardvisura - see post), which some say is the fountain (source spring) lake. 2. Every particular sea is of a particular kind. Some are great and others are small. Some are so large that a man with a horse might encompass them riding for forty days, which is 1,700 parasangs in extent.

In another Middle Persian, Pahlavi text, the Menog-e Khrad (Spirit of Wisdom) [SBE 24 Pahlavi Texts, Part III, translator: E.W. West, [1885]] we find the following reference at 44.14-15:
14. ...the surging on of the water is into the sea Putik, 15. and from the sea Putik it goes back to the sea Varkash.

At 62.28-30 we have: ...the sea Varkash ...the Kar fish too ever circle around it (the Hom tree).

In the Rivayats at 93 we have Shapur Bharuchi: The Creator Ohrmazd has created the Hom tree in the midst of the ocean Zareh Varkash and created the Khar fish for protecting that tree.

The various references above demonstrate that the names Frakhvkart and Varkash apply to the same ocean.

The Bundahishn refers to the Avesta i.e. "One says in the Scripture" in making its statements about the oceans. The Avesta's Aban Yasht (Yasht 5) reads:
about the masitam durat frasrutam (The great far famed)
ya asti avavaiti maso (that is as great)
yatha vispa ima apo (as all those waters)
ya zema paiti fratachaiti (that on earth flow forward)
ya amavaiti fratachaiti (that powerfully flow)
hukairyat hacha barezanghat (from Hukairya exalted)
aoi zrayo vouru-kashem. (to the sea Vouru-Kasha - i.e. wide formed/shores)
yaozenti vispe karano (pure on all sides i.e. shores of)
zrayai vouru-kashaya (the sea Vouru-Kasha)
a-vispo maidhyo yaozaiti (pure in the centres)
yat hish aoi fratachaiti (as they flows onwards)
yat hish aoi frazhgaraiti (as they flows towards)
aredvi sura anahita (Aredvi Sura Anahita i.e. the Aredvi-source powerful and pure)
yenghe hazangrem vairyanam (those thousands of rivers)
hazangrem apakhzharanam (those thousands of water-channels)
kaschit-cha aesham vairyanam (and some of these rivers)
kaschit-cha aesham apakhzharanam (and some of these water-channels)
cathware-satem ayare-baranam (a forty-day horse-ride)
hvaspai naire baremnai. (by a person riding a good horse.)

Iranian Mythology
by Albert J. Carnoy (Extracts)
These converge into the sea Vourukasha ("Wide-Gulfed"), which occupies one third of this earth in the direction of the southern limit of Mount Alburz and is so wide that it contains the water of a thousand lakes. Every lake is of a particular kind; some are great, and some are small, while others are so vast that a man with a horse could not compass them around in less than forty days.

All waters continually flow from the source Ardvi Sura Anahita ("the Wet, Strong, and Spotless One"). There are a hundred thousand golden channels, and the water, warm and clear, goes through them toward Mount Hugar, the lofty. On the summit of that mountain is Lake Urvis, into which the water flows, and becoming quite purified, returns through a different golden channel. At the height of a thousand men an open golden branch from that affluent is connected with Mount Ausindom and the sea Vourukasha, whence one part flows forth to the ocean for the purification of the sea, while another portion drizzles in moisture upon the whole of this earth. All the creatures of Mazda acquire health from it, and it dispels the dryness of the atmosphere.

There are, moreover, three large salt seas and twenty-three small. Of the three, the Puitika (Persian Gulf) is the greatest, and the control of it is connected with moon and wind; it comes and goes in increase and decrease because of her revolving. From the presence of the moon two winds continually blow; one is called the down-draught, and one the up-draught, and they produce flow and ebb.

The spring Ardvi Sura Anahita, which we have just mentioned, and from which all rivers flow down to the earth, is celebrated in the fifth Yasht of the Avesta as the life-increasing, the herd-increasing, the fold-increasing, who makes prosperity for all countries. She runs powerfully down to the sea Vourukasha, and all its shores are boiling over when she plunges foaming down; she, Ardvi Sura, who has a thousand gulfs and a thousand outlets.

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