In nine parts: » 1. Introduction » 2. Timur's Account » 3. Lineage & Nation » 4. Thraetaona & Thrita. Keresaspa & Urvakhshaya. Varena, Rangha & Patashkhvargar » 5. Trita, Visvarupa & Ahi in the Vedas » 6. Battles with Dragon-Snakes » 7. Garshasp, Saam & Zal in the Shahnameh » 8. End Times. The Renovation of the World » 9. Religion in Sakastan
The Avestan Thraetaona is commonly identified with the Feridoon of more modern texts including the Shahnameh. The is another personage mentioned in the Avesta called Thrita. Authors commonly equate Thraetaona and Thrita thereby making Thrita yet another Avestan name for Feridoon. However, are Thraetaona and Thrita the same or different individuals? In examining references to these two individuals we come across mention of Urvakhshaya and Keresaspa. The former is only vaguely known while the latter has a fair amount of literature developed around his identification and reputation. We will examine some of the information at hand.
Thraetaona is mentioned ten times in the Yashts, while the Yashts mention Thrita twice. Thrita is mentioned twice again in the Avesta. Once, in the Vendidad at chapter 20 and next in the Yasna at 9.10. In the Yasna, both Thraetaona & Thrita are mentioned in consecutive verses with no indication that they are the same person. The only link between the two seems to be a similarity in names. Yet other reference seem to indicate that they share characteristics.
Yasna 9.7: Thereupon Haoma answered: Athwya the holy one who drove death afar was the second (person) who prepared me for the corporeal world. The boon he received was the birth of his son, Thraetaona of the mighty clan.
Yasna 9.10: Thereupon Haoma answered: Thrita the holy one who drove death afar was the third (person) who prepared me for the corporeal world. The boon he received was the birth of two sons, Urvakhshaya and Keresaspa, the first a judge who established order, and the second, a youth of great ascendancy, curly haired, and a bludgeon bearing.
Here, the only way we can link Thraetaona & Thrita as being the same person is if Thrita is a nickname for Thraetaona. Both are immortalized for advancing the health benefits of Haoma. If they are different, then it is Thraetaona who preceded Thrita as a healer. Further, Vivanghant is mentioned before both of them as the first person to prepare Haoma for the corporeal world. Pourushaspa, Zarathushtra's father is the fourth and last person immortalized for this deed. Medieval author Hamza Isfahani makes Thraetaona the inventor of medicine (Ed Gottwaldt, p. 23; cf. Mirkhond, Early Kings of Persia, tr. by Shea, p. 152) further stating that the Tavids (formulas of exorcism) against sickness are inscribed with his name.
We see in Yasna 9.10, Urvakhshaya (Urvakhsh in the Bundahishn) is mentioned before Keresaspa, indicating the possibility that the former is the latter's elder brother. Urvakhshaya is described as a judge who established order and we might conclude that in addition to law and order, he is a promoter of justice as well. The name Urva-khshaya can be taken to mean king of the soul (such an analysis is not always helpful as it has the potential of being distracting or irrelevant). The Afrin Zarthusht states, "Be beneficent and open-hearted like Urvakhshaya" given us a couple of character traits.
The Vendidad's chapter 20 mentions Thrita as the first healer without mentioning the others:
1. Who was he who first of the healers*, of the wise, the happy, the wealthy, the glorious, the strong, the Paradhatas**, drove back sickness to sickness, drove back death to death; and first turned away the point of a knife***, the fire of fever from the bodies of mortals?' (*While the Yasna passages above place Thrita as the third healer, here we have him proclaimed as the first.) (**The first law-givers, the Paradhatas - in later language Pishdadian - dynasty.) (***likely meaning a surgeon.)
2. Thrita was the first of the healers, of the wise, the happy, the wealthy, the glorious, the strong, the Paradhatas, drove back sickness to sickness, drove back death to death, and first turned away the point of the knife and the fire of fever from the bodies of mortals.
3. He asked for a source of remedies; he obtained it from Khshathra-Vairya*, to withstand sickness and to withstand death; to withstand pain and to withstand fever; to withstand Sarana (headache) and to withstand Sarastya (cold-fever); to withstand Azana and to withstand Azahva; to withstand Kurugha and to withstand Azivaka; to withstand Duruka and to withstand Astairya; to withstand the evil eye, rot, and infection which inflict the bodies of mortals. (*Perhaps indicating the use of metal knives in surgery since metals are in the domain of Khshathra-Vairya.)
4. And Ahura Mazda brought down the healing plants that, by many hundreds, by many thousands, by many myriads, grow up all around the one Gaokerena.
The Farvardin Yasht at 13.131 states:
We revere the Fravashi of the holy Thraetaona, of the Athwya house; whose cures combated itch, hot fever, humours, cold fever, and incontinence, and the poison of the serpent.
Albert Pike in Irano-Aryan Faith and Doctrine As Contained in the Zend-Avesta states that Sama in Sanskrit means 'cure' and pra-samaya means 'to heal', concluding thereby that Samas means healer. This reference to Sanskrit brings us to our examination of the Vedas.
Parallels in the Hindu Scriptures, the Vedas
According to James Darmesteter in the introduction to his translation of the Vendidad, quotes the Rig Veda at 1.158.5 and 10.99.6 as saying, Traitana or Trita (meaning third) Aptya (born of the waters) vanquished the three-headed, six-eyed fiend (Ahi) and freed the kine (as in RV 10.8.8: Well-skilled to use the weapons of his father, Aptya, and urged on by Indra, (Trita) fought the battle. Then Trita slew the seven-rayed, three-headed foe and freed the cattle of Tvastar's son. 10.99.6. Lord of the dwelling, he subdued the demon who roared aloud, six-eyed and triple-headed. Trita, made stronger by the might he (Indra) lent him, struck down the boar with shaft whose point was iron). The slaying of a snake or dragon appears to have a parallel in the Avestan account of Thraetaona Athwya slaying the three-headed, six-eyed Azi Dahak (Zahhak). Trita's title Aptya appears to be a contraction of Apam Napat, progeny of the waters. Apam Napat is found both in the Vedas and the Avesta. Yasht 8.34 state that Apam Napat divides the waters amongst the countries in the material world. If these events in the Vedas and the Avesta are indeed congruent as appears apparent, then the Vedic Trita appears to be congruent with the Avestan Thraetaona. Vedic Trita and the Avestan Thrita also appear to be congruent which by analogy makes Thraetaona another name for Thrita.
The first to prepare Soma in the Rig Veda are Vivasvat, who is the father of Yama and Manu, and Trita (son of Aptya).
Thraetaona's Domicile & Theatre of Events:
Varena, Rangha & Patashkhvargar/ Padashkhvargar
While much of the Avesta's geography and legends have their theatre in the east of Aryana, Thraetaona's area of domicile is stated in Vendidad 1.17 to be in Verena (W. Mazandaran, Gilan, otherwise known as Dailam or Tabaristan) in the west of Aryana: "The fourteenth of the good lands and countries... was the four-cornered Varena, where Thraetaona (Feridoon), who smote Azi Dahaka (Zahhak) was born." Thraetaona/Feridoon has his capital at in eastern Mazandaran at Tammisha (Kus) between Sariyeh and Gorgan/Astarabad at the south-east corner of the Caspian Sea. The highest mountain peak in the Alburz Mountain, Damavand Mountain is where Thraetaona/Feridoon bound and imprisoned Azi Dahaka (Zahhak) and was said to have been located in or near the land of Patashkhvargar/ Padashkhvargar.
Thraetaona/Feridoon was aided in defeating Azi Dahaka (Zahhak) by the blacksmith Kaveh who the Kurds claim as one of their own. Kurdistan which is today divided between north-western Iran, northern Iraq, south-eastern Turkey and north-eastern Syria, lies in what was the sixteenth and last Vendidad nation, Rangha which is also the Avestan name for the River Tigris (Arvand in Middle Persian). The Rangha also features as the place where Keresaspa prayed for the ability to avenge the death of his brother Urvakhshaya, an event recorded in the Ram Yasht at 15.27-8: The manly-hearted Keresaspa offered prayers by the Mazda given Gudha, a channel of the Rangha, upon a golden throne, under golden beams and a golden canopy, with bundles of baresma and offerings of full boiling [milk]. He implored a boon be granted, saying: Grant me this, that I may succeed in avenging my brother Urvakhshaya, that I may smite Hitaspa and yoke him to my chariot. The Gandarewa, who lives beneath the waters, the progeny of Ahura in the deep, he is the only master of the deep. (Given what we read below about Gandarewa, this translation bears scrutiny. The implication is that Urvakhshaya, Keresaspa's brother was killed by Hitaspa. The context for mentioning Gandarewa needs further scrutiny.)
Rangha is mentioned nine time in the Yashts some times with names of apparent tributaries:
Aban Yt. 5.81. Yoishta, one of the Fryanas, offer prayers... on the Pedvaepa of the Rangha.
Meher Yt. 10.104. ...the eastern-most river and... the westernmost river, that which is the Sanaka of the Rangha by the boundary of the earth.
Rashne Yasht 12.11, 12. ...Aodhas of the Rangha, ...Sanaka of the Rangha.
Pahlavans & Sakastan pages:
» 1. Introduction
» 2. Timur's Account
» 3. Lineage & Nation
» 4. Thraetaona & Thrita. Keresaspa & Urvakhshaya. Varena, Rangha & Patashkhvargar
» 5. Trita, Visvarupa & Ahi in the Vedas
» 6. Battles with Dragon-Snakes
» 7. Garshasp, Saam & Zal in the Shahnameh
» 8. End Times. The Renovation of the World
» 9. Religion in Sakastan