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The Zoroastrian Texts of Ancient Persia & What They Reveal About Advanced Ancient Civilizations

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Graham Hancock investigates the mysterious religious texts of the Zoroastrians of ancient Persia and the ‘underground cities’ of neighbouring Turkey. Both, he argues, are far older than is presently taught and date back to cataclysmic events near the end of the last Ice Age that destroyed, and all but wiped from human memory, an advanced civilization of prehistory. Below is an excerpt form his work, which you can find HERE. ( A link to his new book, “Magicians of the Gods”)

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You can also check out our extended interview with him here.

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Exactly how old Zoroastrianism is has not yet been satisfactorily established by scholars, since even the lifetime of its prophet Zarathustra (better known as Zoroaster) is uncertain. Indeed, as Columbia University’s authoritative Encyclopedia Iranica admits: ‘Controversy over Zarathustra’s date has been an embarrassment of long standing to Zoroastrian studies.’[i]

The Greek historians were amongst the first to address themselves to the matter. Plutarch, for example, tells us that Zoroaster ‘lived 5,000 years before the Trojan War’[ii] (itself a matter of uncertain historicity but generally put at around 1300 BC, thus 5,000 plus 1,300 = 6300 BC). A similar chronology is given by Diogenes Laertius, who relates that Zoroaster lived ‘6,000 years before Xerxes’ Greek campaign’[iii] (i.e. around 6480 BC). More recent scholars have proposed dates as far apart as 1750 BC and ‘258 years before Alexander’[iv] (i.e. around 588 BC). Whatever the truth of the matter, it is agreed that Zoroaster himself borrowed from much earlier traditions and that Zoroastrianism, therefore, like many other religions, has roots that extend very far back into prehistory.

In the Zoroastrian scriptures known as the Zend Avesta certain verses in particular are recognized as drawing on these very ancient oral traditions.[v] The verses speak of a primordial father figure called Yima, the first man, the first king, and the founder of civilization, and appear in the opening section of the Zend Avesta, known as the Vendidad. There we read how the god Ahura Mazda created the first land, ‘Airyana Vaejo, by the good river Daitya,’[vi] as a paradise on earth and how ‘the fair Yima, the great shepherd… was the first mortal’ with whom Ahura Mazda chose to converse, instructing him to become a preacher.[vii] Yima refused, at which the god said:

Since thou wantest not to be the preacher and the bearer of my law, then make my world thrive, make my world increase; undertake thou to nourish, to rule and to watch over my world.[viii]

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To this Yima agreed, at which the god presented him with a golden ring and a poniard – a long, tapered thrusting knife – inlaid with gold. Significantly, for we will see in Chapter Seventeen there are close parallels to this story as far away as the Andes mountains of South America, Yima then:

‘pressed the earth with the golden ring and bored it with the poniard.’[ix]

By this act, we learn he ‘made the earth grow larger by one third than it was before,’ a feat that over the course of thousands of years he repeated twice more – in the process eventually doubling the land area available for ‘the flocks and herds with men and dogs and birds,’ who gathered unto him ‘at his will and wish, as many as he wished.’[x]

Anatomically modern humans like ourselves have existed, so far as we know, for a little less than two hundred thousand years (the earliest anatomically modern human skeleton acknowledged by science is from Ethiopia and dates to 196,000 years ago).[xi] Within this timespan there has only been one period when those parts of the earth that are useful to humans increased dramatically in size, and that was during the last Ice Age, between 100,000 and 11,600 years ago. Indeed, previously submerged lands totalling 27 million square kilometres – equivalent to the area of Europe and China added together – were exposed by lowered sea-levels at the last glacial maximum 21,000 years ago. While it is probably far-fetched to suppose that it is this very real increase of useful land that is referred to in the Yima story, or that it has anything to do with the golden age that Yima’s benign rule supposedly achieved in Airyana Vaejo,[xii] it is interesting to note what happened next.

After another immense span of time, we read, Yima was summoned to ‘a meeting place by the good river Daitya’ where the god Ahura Mazda appeared to him bearing an ominous warning of sudden and catastrophic climate change:

O fair Yima, upon the material world the fatal winters are going to fall, that shall bring the fierce, foul frost; upon the material world the fatal winters are going to fall that shall make snowflakes fall thick, even on the highest tops of mountains…

Therefore make thee a Vara [a hypogeum, or underground enclosure] long as a riding ground on every side of the square, and thither bring the seeds of sheep and oxen, of men, of dogs, of birds, and of red blazing fires… Thither thou shalt bring the seeds of men and women of the greatest, best and finest kinds on this earth; thither shalt thou bring the seeds of every kind of cattle, of the greatest, best and finest kinds on this earth. Thither shalt thou bring the seeds of every kind of tree, of the greatest, best and finest kinds on this earth; thither shalt thou bring the seeds of every kind of fruit, the fullest of food and sweetest of odour. All those seeds shalt thou bring, two of every kind, to be kept inexhaustible there, so long as those men shall stay in the Vara. There shall be no humpbacked, none bulged forward there; no impotent, no lunatic… no leprous.[xiii]

So… you get the idea? This underground hideaway was to serve as a refuge from a terrible winter that was about to seize Airyana Vaejo – a winter not of a single season but of a millennium, at the onset of which, as the Bundahish, another Zoroastrian text, informs us:

the evil spirit… sprang like a snake out of the sky down to the earth… He rushed in at noon, and thereby the sky was as shattered and frightened by him as a sheep by a wolf. He came onto the water which was arranged below the earth, and then the middle of this earth was pierced and entered by him… He rushed out upon the whole creation and he made the world quite as injured and dark at midday as though it were dark night.[xiv]

Studying these accounts I couldn’t help but be reminded of the two millennia of gentle global warming that began about 15,000 years ago in the closing millennia of the last Ice Age – a sustained, balmy period of warm, fine weather – before the sudden lethal onset 12,800 years ago of a period of dramatic climate instability that geologists call ‘the Younger Dryas.’ This epoch has long been recognized as mysterious and tumultuous and it is only in the last decade that scientists have been able to pinpoint its cause. To cut a long story short, what the science indicates is that 12,800 years ago a comet travelling on an orbit that took it through the inner solar system broke up into multiple fragments, and that many of these fragments, some more than a mile (2.4 kilometers) in diameter, hit the earth with globally cataclysmic effects. An area of more than 50 million square kilometers, stretching from North America in the west to Syria in the east, was affected and a vast cloud of dust was thrown into the upper atmosphere that enshrouded the earth, preventing the sun’s rays from reaching the surface and thus initiating Younger Dryas.

At that point, 12,800 years ago, the earth had been emerging from the Ice Age for roughly 10,000 years, global temperatures were rising steadily, and the ice caps were melting. Then came the comet impacts, bringing a sudden catastrophic return to colder conditions – even colder than at the peak of the Ice Age 21,000 years ago. This short, sharp deep freeze lasted for 1,200 years until 11,600 years ago when the warming trend resumed, global temperatures shot up again, and the remaining ice caps melted very suddenly, dumping all the water they contained into the oceans.

When the Zoroastrian texts speak of a ‘fierce, foul frost’ and of ‘a fatal winter,’ is it possible that they are describing conditions during the Younger Dryas? The texts attribute the shocking change of climate to a supernatural agency – Angra Mainyu, the demon of darkness, destruction, wickedness, and chaos who stands in opposition to and seeks to undermine and undo all the works of Ahura Mazda, the God of Light. Zoroastrianism is a profoundly dualistic religion in which human beings and the choices we make for good or evil are seen as the objects of an eternal competition, or contest, between the opposed forces of darkness and light. And in this contest the darkness sometimes wins. Thus the Vendidad reminds us that although Airyana Vaejo was ‘the first of the good lands and countries’ created by Ahura Mazda, it could not resist the evil one:

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the serpent in the river, and winter, a work of the demons… [Now] there are ten winter months there, two summer months, and these are cold for the waters, cold for the earth, cold for the trees. Winter falls there, with the worst of its plagues.[xv]

In other translations the phrase ‘the serpent in the river, and winter’ is given as ‘a great serpent and Winter’ and, alternatively, as ‘a mighty serpent and snow.’[xvi]

Again… you get the idea. The metaphor that is being repeatedly driven home here is that of the mighty serpent who springs from the sky down to the earth, who penetrates the earth, and who brings a prolonged winter upon the world so severe that it is ‘dark’ (‘most turbid, opaque’ according to some translations[xvii]) at midday, and even the fleeting summer months are too cold for human life. Once again, the whole scenario seems very accurately to describe the terrible conditions that would have afflicted the world after the Younger Dryas comet spread its trail of destruction across 50 million square kilometers, brought on ‘a vehement destroying frost’ and threw such quantities of dust into the upper atmosphere, together with smoke from the continent-wide wildfires sparked off by airbursts and superheated ejecta, that a turbid, opaque darkness would indeed have filled the skies, reflecting back the sun’s rays and perpetuating something very like a nuclear winter for centuries.

The Zoroastrian texts leave us in no doubt that these conditions posed a deadly threat to the future survival of civilization. It was for this reason that Ahura Mazda came to Yima with his warning and his instruction to build an underground shelter where some remnant of humanity could take refuge, keeping safe the seeds of all animals and plants, until the thousand-year winter had passed and spring returned to the world. Moreover the account reveals very little that seems ‘mythical,’ or that obviously derives from flights religious fancy. Rather the whole thing has about it an atmosphere of hard-headed practical planning that adds a chilling note of veracity.

For example the admonition that deformed, impotent, lunatic, and leprous people should be kept out of the Vara sounds a lot like eugenics, a distasteful policy to be sure, but one that might be implemented if the survival of the human race was at stake and there was limited space available in the refuge. For the same reasons it is not surprising that only the seeds of ‘the greatest, best and finest’ kinds of trees, fruits, and vegetables, those that are ‘fullest of food and sweetest of odour,’ are to be brought to the Vara. Why waste space on anything but the best?

Also, although it is certain that a number of carefully selected people were to be admitted to the Vara, perhaps as caretakers and managers of the project, and as future breeding stock, the emphasis throughout is on seeds – which in the case of human beings would be sperm from the males and eggs from the females. So when we read that the Vara is to be constructed in three subterranean levels, each smaller than the one above, each with its own system of criss-crossing ‘streets,’ it is legitimate to wonder whether some kind of storage system, perhaps with ranks of shelves arranged in cross-crossing aisles, might not really be what is meant here:

In the largest part of the place thou shalt make nine streets, six in the middle part, three in the smallest. To the streets of the largest part thou shalt bring a thousand seeds of men and women; to the streets of the middle part, six hundred; to the streets of the smallest part, three hundred.[xviii]

If it seems fanciful to imagine that we might, in an almost high-tech sense, be looking at the specifications of a seed bank here, then how are we to assess other ‘technological’ aspects of the Vara – for example its lighting system? As well as making a door to the place, and sealing it up with the golden ring already given to him by Ahura Mazda, Yima is also to fashion ‘a window, self-shining within.’[xix] When Yima asks for clarification as to the nature of this ‘self-shining’ window Ahura Mazda tells him cryptically ‘there are uncreated lights and created lights.’ The former are the stars, the moon and the sun, which will not be seen from within the confines of the Vara during the long winter, but the latter are ‘artificial lights’ which ‘shine from below.’[xx]

Yima did as he was instructed and completed the Vara which, thereafter, ‘glowed with its own light.’[xxi] That accomplished, he then:

made waters flow in a bed a mile long; there here he settled birds, by the evergreen banks that bear never-failing food. There he established dwelling places, consisting of a house with a balcony, a courtyard and a gallery…[xxii]

There, too, we are reminded, in accord with the commands of the god,

he brought the seeds of men and women… There he brought the seeds of every kind of tree [and]… every kind of fruit… All those seeds he brought, two of every kind, to be kept inexhaustible there, so long as those men shall stay in the Vara…[xxiii]

Finally, we learn that:

every fortieth year, to every couple two are born, a male and a female. And thus it is for every sort of cattle. And the men in the Vara, which Yima made, live the happiest life.[xxiv]

Interestingly the translator explains, in a footnote drawn from various ancient learned commentaries on the text, that the human inhabitants of the Vara ‘live there for 150 years; some say they never die.’[xxv] Moreover, and particularly intriguing, the births of offspring to every couple do not result from sexual union but ‘from the seeds deposited in the Vara.’[xxvi]

Other hints of a mysterious lost technology connected to Yima include a miraculous cup in which he could see everything that was happening anywhere in the world and a jewelled glass throne (sometimes described as ‘a glass chariot’) that was capable of flight.[xxvii]

Flood & Rain

As well as a climate catastrophe in the form of an overnight reversion to peak Ice Age cold, we also know that the Younger Dryas involved extensive global flooding, as a large fraction of the North American ice cap – directly impacted by at least four of the comet fragments – melted and poured into the world ocean. It is therefore noteworthy that the Zoroastrian texts speak not only of the ‘vehement, destroying frost’ of a global winter but also of a subsequent flood accompanied by heavy precipitation, in which ‘every single drop of rain became as big as a bowl and the water stood the height of a man over the whole of this earth.’[xxviii]

On the other side of the world and much closer to the North American epicentre of the cataclysm, the Popol Vuh, an original document of the ancient Quiche Maya of Guatemala, based on pre-conquest sources, also speaks of a flood and associates it with ‘much hail, black rain and mist, and indescribable cold.’[xxix] It says, in a remarkable echo of the Zoroastrian tradition, that this was a period when ‘it was cloudy and twilight all over the world… The faces of the sun and the moon were covered.’[xxx] Other Maya sources confirm that these strange and terrible phenomena were experienced by mankind ‘in the time of the ancients. The earth darkened… It happened that the sun was still bright and clear. Then, at midday, it got dark…’[xxxi] Sunlight was not seen again ‘until the twenty-sixth year after the flood.’[xxxii]

Returning to the Middle East, the world famous account of the Hebrew patriarch Noah and the great Ark in which he rides out the flood, commands attention. It is obvious that there are many parallels with the story of Yima and his Vara. The Vara, after all, is a means of surviving a terrible and devastating winter which will destroy every living creature by enchaining the earth in a freezing trap of ice and snow. The Ark, likewise, is a means of surviving a terrible and devastating flood which will destroy every living creature by drowning the world in water. In both cases a deity – Ahura Mazda in the case of the Zoroastrian tradition, the God Yahweh in the case of the Hebrew tradition – intervenes to give advance warning to a good and pure man to prepare for the coming cataclysm. In each case the essence of the project is to preserve the seeds, or the breeding pairs, of all life:

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the Ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.[xxxiii]

Easily missed, but noteworthy, is the fact that Noah’s Ark, like Yima’s Vara, is to have a ‘window,’ is to be closed with a ‘door,’ and is to consist of three levels:

A window shalt thou make to the Ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.[xxxiv]

Last but not least, there are hints of a lost lighting technology in Noah’s Ark that parallel the references to the ‘artificial lights’ in the Vara. In the legends of the Jews we read that the whole journey of the Ark, ‘during the year of the flood,’ was conducted in darkness both by day and by night:

‘All the time it lasted, the sun and the moon shed no light…’[xxxv]

However just like ‘self-shining window’ of the Vara:

‘The Ark was illuminated by a precious stone, the light of which was more brilliant by night than by day, so enabling Noah to distinguish between day and night.’[xxxvi] 

Underground Cities

Noah’s Ark, as is well known, is said to have ended its journey on the slopes of Mount Ararat, the symbolic heartland of ancient Armenia but now, as a result of wars in the early twentieth century, located within the modern state of Turkey. Turkey, in turn, shares a border with Iran – ancient Persia – from which the accounts of Yima’s Vara come down to us.

It is therefore intriguing that Turkey’s Cappadocia region has a very large number of ancient underground structures hewn out of solid rock and usually, like the Vara, consisting of multiple levels stacked one above the other. These underground ‘cities,’ as they are known, include the eerie and spectacular site of Derinkuyu, which I was able to visit in 2013. Lying beneath a modern town of the same name, eight of its levels are presently open to the public, although further levels remain closed off below and, astonishingly, a subterranean tunnel several kilometres in length connects it to another similar hypogeum at Kaymakli.

Entering Derinkuyu was like crossing some invisible barrier into an unexpected netherworld. One minute I was standing in bright sunshine; the next, after I had ducked into the cool, dank, dimly-lit system of tunnels and galleries (no self-shining windows now; only low wattage electric light), I felt I had been transported to a realm carved out by mythical dwarves at the dawn of time. In places the tunnels are low and narrow so that one must stoop and walk in single file between walls stained and blackened with ancient smoke and overgrown here and there with green mold. At regular intervals, slid back into deep recesses, I passed hulking megalithic doors, shaped like millstones, 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) in diameter and weighing close to half a ton. These were clearly designed to be rolled out to block access. Stairways and steep ramps led down from level to level and, although all the levels were interconnected, the rolling stone doors could be used to isolate them from one another when needed.

Photo by Santha Faiia

Photo by Santha Faiia

Photo by Santha Faiia

Photo by Santha Faiia

graham3

Photo by Santha Faiia

graham4

Photo by Santha Faiia

I noticed a remarkable system of plunging, sheer-sided ventilation shafts connecting the deepest levels with the surface – and doing so to such good effect that the gusts of fresh air were still palpable 80 meters (260 feet) or more beneath the ground. In some places the passageway I was following would debouch into a junction where tunnels branched off in several directions and more stairways led down to even lower levels. And here and there, now to one side of the passageway, now to the other, sometimes accessed by means of holes cut in the wall, sometimes through full-sized doorways, lay small low-ceilinged grottos in which even a few people sitting together would have felt cramped. But sometimes those doors would lead into interconnected networks of chambers and passages and sometimes they would open out suddenly into lofty halls and spacious rooms with barrel-vault ceilings looming high overhead supported on monolithic columns hewn from the living rock.

The whole place, in short, is a complex and cunning labyrinth on an immense scale – a work of astonishing architectural complexity that would be impressive if it had been built above ground but that is utterly breathtaking when one considers that it all had to be mined, chiselled, hammered, cut and gouged out of the volcanic bedrock. Later, studying a plan, I realised that this vast hypogeum, looking in cross-section like a gigantic rabbit warren, lay underfoot wherever one went in the modern town of Derinkyu; streets beneath streets, rooms beneath rooms, a secret antipodal city of unknown antiquity and of unknown purpose but certainly the produce of immense ingenuity, determination, and skill.

And Derinkuyu is just one of two hundred such subterranean complexes, each containing a minimum of two levels (with around forty containing three levels or more) that have been identified in Turkey in the area between Kayseri and Nevsehir.[xxxvii] Moreover, new discoveries are constantly being made. Derinkuyu itself was found in 1963 after builders renovating the cellar of a modern home broke through to an ancient passageway below. And most recently, in 2014, workers preparing the ground for a new housing project at Nevsehir, an hour’s drive north of Derinkuyu, stumbled upon yet another unsuspected hypogeum. Archaeologists were called in and it was quickly realised that this one was bigger than any others so far known. As Hasan Unver, Mayor of Nevsehir, put it, Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are little more than ‘kitchens’ when compared to the newly-explored site. ‘It is not a known underground city,’ added Mehmet Ergun Turan, head of Turkey’s Housing Development Administration. ‘Tunnel passages of seven kilometres are being discussed. Naturally, when the discovery was made, we stopped the construction we were planning to do in the area.’[xxxviii]

Several commentators immediately speculated that the newly discovered site might be ‘5,000 years old,’[xxxix] but there is no basis for this – or really for any date. All we can say for sure is that the earliest surviving historical mention of Turkey’s underground cities is found in the Anabapsis of the Greek historian Xenophon written in the fourth century AD[xl] – so they are older than that.

But the question is, how much older?

There is no objective way to date structures made entirely of rock. What archaeologists look for, therefore, are organic materials that can be carbon dated. To be useful, however, these organic materials must be excavated from locations – under a megalith that has never been moved, for example, or in the original mortar in a joint between two stone blocks – that allow reasonable deductions to be made about the date the associated structural elements were put in place. In many sites, however, there is the possibility that the intrusion of later organic materials will give a falsely young date, and in some – the underground cities of Turkey being a prime example – no reliable dating can be done. This is because the sites were used, reused, and indeed repurposed, many times down the ages by many different peoples, with organic materials being introduced on every occasion, thus making it impossible to draw any inferences about the epoch of their original construction.

The general view of archaeologists is that the underground structures were originally developed in the 7th or 8th centuries BC by an Indo-European people called the Phrygians who lived in Cappadocia at the time. The theory is that the Phrygians began the project by widening and deepening natural caves and tunnels that already existed in the volcanic rock, making use of the spaces they created for storage and possibly as places of refuge from attackers. By Roman times, with the Phrygians long gone, the inhabitants of the area were Greek-speaking Christians who further developed and expanded the underground caverns, rededicating some of the rooms as chapels and leaving inscriptions in Greek, some of which survive to this day. In the Byzantine era, from the eighth to the twelfth centuries AD, the Eastern Roman Empire was locked in wars with newly Islamicised Arabs and the underground cities became places of refuge again – a function they continued to serve during the Mongol invasions of the fourteenth century AD. Later still, Greek Christians used the cities to escape persecution at the hands of Turkish Muslim rulers, and this practise continued into the twentieth century when the structures finally fell into disuse after the truce and population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923.[xli]

With such a chequered history it is easy to see why the underground cities cannot be dated using objective archaeological techniques. Moreover the vast effort that went into their excavation out of solid rock, and their sophisticated ventilation systems, speak of powerful long-term motives far beyond the limited and temporary need for shelter from attackers. With this in mind let us consider a scenario in which the Phrygians, favoured for no good reason by archaeologists as the first makers of the cities, were themselves just one of the many later cultures to make use of them. It is perfectly possible that this is the case and, if so, then it is also possible that these extraordinary underground structures might date back to a time long before the Phrygians – perhaps even as far back as the ‘fatal winters’ of the Younger Dryas that set in around 12,800 years ago.

There is no proof of this, of course. Nonetheless Turkish historian and archaeologist Omer Demir, author of Cappadocia: Cradle of History, is of the opinion that Derinkuyu does in fact date back to the Palaeolithic.[xlii] His argument is based partly on the notion that it already existed in Phrygian times,[xliii] partly on stylistic differences between the upper (older) levels and the lower (younger) levels,[xliv] and partly on the fact that marks of the implements used to cut the rock have worn completely away in the upper levels but are still visible in the lower levels:

It is necessary for a long period of time to pass for the chisel marks to disappear. This means that there was quite a time difference between the years of construction of the first stories and the last stories.[xlv]

Demir also suggests that the huge quantities of rock excavated to make the underground city – which are nowhere in evidence in the vicinity today – were dumped into local streams and carried off.[xlvi] In one of these streams, the Sognali, at a distance of 26 kilometers (16 miles) from Derinkuyu, hand-axes, rock-chips, and other Palaeolithic artefacts were found.[xlvii]

The evidence is suggestive at best. I would not want to bet my life or my reputation on it! Nonetheless the scenario that sees Derinkuyu and the other underground cities constructed in the Upper Palaeolithic around 12,800 years ago at the onset of the Younger Dryas has the great merit of no longer leaving us casting about for a motive commensurate with the huge effort involved. We are informed of that motive quite explicitly in the story of Yima. Stated simply the cities are Varas, cut down into the depths of the earth as places of refuge from the horrors of the Younger Dryas which were not limited to the ‘vehement destroying frost’ but – as we know from the cosmic impact spherules and melt-glass found in sediment samples at nearby Abu Hureyra in Syria – also included the terrifying existential threat of bombardment from the skies.

Don’t forget to check out our extended interview with Graham here

REFERENCES

[i] Encyclopaedia Iranica, ‘Zoroaster ii. General Survey’, http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/zoroaster-ii-general-survey

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] R.C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1961, e.g. see page 135: ‘The whole story of Yima’s golden age, his excavation of the Vara, or underground retreat, and his re-emergence to re-people the earth (the last episode occurs only in the Pahlavi books) must belong to a very old stratum of Iranian folklore wholly untouched by the teachings of Zoroaster.’

[vi] J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, Reprint edition by Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1990, Part I, p. 5

[vii] Ibid, p. 11

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid, p. 13

[x] Ibid

[xi] Reported by Frank Brown and John Fleagle in Nature, 17 February, 2005. And see Scientific American, 17 Feb 2005, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fossil-reanalysis-pushes/

[xii] A golden age in which ‘fields would bear plenty of grass for cattle: now with floods that stream, with snows that melt, it will seem a happy land in the world…’ J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, op.cit., p.16 See also the following passage from the Yasna, cited in R.C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, op.cit., pp. 92-93: ‘Kingly Yima, of goodly pastures, the most glorious of all men born on earth, like the sun to behold among men, for during his reign he made beasts and men imperishable, he brought it about that the waters and plants never dried up, and that there should be an inexhaustible stock of food to eat. In the reign of Yima the valiant there was neither heat nor cold, neither old age, nor death, nor disease…’ ‘Yima’s golden reign, in which all men were immortal and enjoyed perpetual youth, lasted a full thusand years.’

[xiii] J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, op.cit., pp 15-18

[xiv] E.W. West Trans, F. Max Muller, Ed., Pahlavi Texts, Part I, Reprint Edition, Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1990, p. 17

[xv] J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, op.cit., p. 5

[xvi] Cited in Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, The Arctic Home in the Vedas, Reprint edition by Arktos Media, 2011, p. 254

[xvii] E.W. West Trans, F. Max Muller, Ed., Pahlavi Texts, op.cit., p. 17, note 5

[xviii] J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, op.cit., p. 18

[xix] Ibid

[xx] Ibid, p. 20. See also the US (1898) edition of Darmetester’s translation of the Vendidad, reprinted 1995, edited by Joseph H. Peterson, page 14, Note, 87

[xxi] R.C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, op.cit., p.135

[xxii] J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, op.cit., p. 20

[xxiii] Ibid

[xxiv] Ibid

[xxv] Ibid, note 5

[xxvi] Ibid, note 4

[xxvii] Encyclopaedia Iranica, op.cit. ‘Jamshid i’ (http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/jamsid-i) and ‘Jamshid ii’ (http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/jamsid-ii)

[xxviii] E.W. West Trans, F. Max Muller, Ed., Pahlavi Texts, op.cit., p. 26

[xxix] Delia Goetz, Sylvanus G. Morley, Adrian Reconis, Trans., Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya, University of Oklahoma Press, 1991, p. 178.

[xxx] Ibid, p. 93

[xxxi] John Bierhorst, The Mythology of Mexico and Central America, Quill/William Morrow, New York, 1990, p. 41

[xxxii] J. Eric Thompson, Maya History and Religion, University of Oklahoma Press, 1990, p. 333

[xxxiii] Genesis 6: 19-20

[xxxiv] Genesis 6: 16

[xxxv] Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1988, Vol I, p. 162

[xxxvi] Ibid

[xxxvii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derinkuyu_%28underground_city%29

[xxxviii] Hurriyet Daily News, 28 December 2014 (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/massive-ancient-underground-city-discovered-in-turkeys-nevsehir-.aspx?PageID=238&NID=76196&NewsCatID=375), The Independent, 31 December 2014 (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/vast-5000-yearold-underground-city-discovered-in-turkeys-cappadocia-region-9951911.html).

[xxxix] E.g. see report in The Independent 31 December 2014, op.cit.

[xl] Turkey, Lonely Planet, 2013, p. 478

[xli] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derinkuyu_%28underground_city%29

[xlii] Omer Demir, Cappadocia: Cradle of History, 9th Revised Edition, p. 61

[xliii] For example in Proto-Hittite times up to 2,000 years earlier. See Omer Demir, op.cit., p. 70

[xliv] Ibid, p. 60

[xlv] Ibid, p. 60

[xlvi] Ibid, p. 59

[xlvii] Ibid, p. 61

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Most Diabetic, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s Deaths Categorized As “Covid” Deaths (UK)

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  • The Facts:

    According to professor of evidence based medicine at Oxford Dr. Carl Heneghan , who is also an emergency GP, most diabetic, heart disease & alzheimer's deaths were categorized as COVID deaths in the United Kingdom.

  • Reflect On:

    How many deaths have actually been a result of COVID? Why is this pandemic surrounded with so much controversy? Why does mainstream media fail at having appropriate conversations about 'controversial' evidence/opinions?

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 Dr. Carl Heneghan has an interesting view on the pandemic, not only is he a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, he also works Saturday shifts as an emergency GP. This allows him to see healthcare from both the academic perspective as well as the healthcare experience, more specifically, it allows him to see COVID from both perspectives.

What Happened: In a recent article he wrote for The Spectator, he writes the following,

It’s hard to imagine, let alone measures, the side effects of lockdowns. The risk with the government’s ‘fear’ messaging is that people become so worried about burdening the NHS that they avoid seeking medical help. Or by the time they do so, it can be too late. The big rise in at-home deaths (still ongoing) points to that. You will be familiar with the Covid death toll, updated in the papers every day. But did you know that since the pandemic, we’ve had 28,200 more deaths among diabetics that we’d normally expect? That’s not the kind of figure they show on a graph at No. 10 press conference. For people with heart disease, it’s 17,100. For dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s 22,800. Most were categorised as Covid deaths: people can die with multiple conditions, so they can fall into more than one of these categories. It’s a complicated picture. But that’s the problem in assessing lockdown. you need to do a balance of risks.

Evidence-based medicine might sound like a tautology — what kind of medicine isn’t based on evidence? I’m afraid that you’d be surprised. Massive decisions are often taken on misleading, low-quality evidence. We see this all the time. In the last pandemic, the swine flu outbreak of 2009, I did some work asking why the government spent £500 million on Tamiflu: then hailed as a wonder drug. In fact, it proved to have a very limited effect. The debate then had many of the same cast of characters as today: Jonathan Van-Tam, Neil Ferguson and others. The big difference this time is the influence of social media, whose viciousness is something to behold. It’s easy to see why academics would self-censor and stay away from the debate, especially if it means challenging a consensus.

This is something that’s been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, a report published during the first wave in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″ has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom, as a result of the new coronavirus, may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May.

According to the data, COVID-19, at the time of publication, only accounted for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

Fast forward to more recent research regarding lockdowns, and these concerns have grown. Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID. You can read more about that here.

These are just a few of many examples. You can read more about the hypothesized “catastrophic” impacts of lockdown, here.

When it comes to what he mentions about academics shying away from debate, especially if their research goes against the grain, we’ve a seen a lot of that too. Here’s a great example you can read about from Sweden regarding zero deaths of school children during the first wave despite no masks mandates or lockdown measures. Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute is quitting his work on COVID-19 because of harassment from people who dislike what he has discovered.

Why This Is Important: Heneghan’s words are something that many people have been concerned about when it comes to the deaths that are attributed to COVID-19. How many of them are actually a result of COVID? The truth seems to be that we don’t really know. But one thing we do know is that total death toll caused by COVID doesn’t seem to be quite accurate.

That being said, we do know that people with comorbidities are more susceptible to illness and death from COVID, and that’s something to keep in mind. For people with underlying health conditions, covid, just like flu or pneumonia, can be fatal.

Ontario (Canada) Public Health has a page on their website titled “How Ontario is responding to COVID-19.” On it, they clearly state that deaths are being marked as COVID deaths and are being included in the COVID death count regardless of whether or not COVID actually contributed to or caused the death. They state the following:

Any case marked as “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of death…”

This statement from Ontario Public Health echoes statements made multiple times by Canadian public health agencies and personnel. According to Ontario Ministry Health Senior Communications Advisor Anna Miller:

As a result of how data is recorded by health units into public health information databases, the ministry is not able to accurately separate how many people died directly because of COVID versus those who died with a COVID infection.

In late June 2020, Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Public Health tweeted that:

“Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.”

It’s not just in Canada where we’ve seen these types of statements being made, it’s all over the world. There are multiple examples from the United States that we’ve covered since the start of the pandemic.

For example, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health stated the following during the first wave of the pandemic:

If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death, despite if you died of a clear alternative cause it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who is listed as a COVID death that doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death.

Also during the first wave, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had to announce a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths due to complaints that it inflated the numbers.

As you can see, we’ve struggled to find an accurate way to go about tallying COVID deaths since the start, creating more fear and hysteria around total numbers that are plastered constantly in front of citizens by news stations. That being said, a lot of people who are dying of COVID do have co-morbidities as well. But as the professor says, “it’s a complicated picture” and hard to figure out, and probably something we will never figure out.

There’s been a lot of “fear mongering” by governments and mainstream media, and some believe that lockdowns and masks are simply being used as a psychological tool to keep that fear constant, which in turn makes it easier to control people and make them comply.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of experts in the field who are pointing to the fact that yes, COVID is dangerous, but it does not at all warrant the measures that are being taken, especially when the virus has a 99.95 percent survival rate for people over the age of 70. There are better ways to protect the vulnerable without creating even more chaos that lockdown measures have created, and are creating throughout this pandemic.

That said, it’s also important to note that some calls for lockdown measures are focused on stopping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Why do some places with very restrictions see no hospital capacity issues? Why do some places with a lot of restrictions see hospital capacity issues? Why do we also see the opposite for both in some areas? These questions appear to be unanswered still. That being said. Hospitals have always been overwhelmed. This is not a new phenomenon.

The main issue here is not who is right or wrong, it’s the censorship of data, science, and opinions of experts in the field. The censorship that has occurred during this pandemic has been unprecedented.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. COVID-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –  Dr. Kamran Abbasi, recent executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (source)

This censorship alone has been an excellent catalyst for people to question what we are constantly hearing from mainstream media, government, and political scientists. Any type of information that calls into question the recommendations or the information we are receiving from our government seems to be subjected to this type of censorship. Mainstream media has done a great job at not acknowledging many aspects of this pandemic, like clinically proven treatments other than a vaccine, and therefore the masses are completely unaware of it.

Is this what we would call ethical? When trying to explain this to a friend or family member, the fact that they are not aware of these other pieces of information, because they may be avid mainstream news watchers, has them in disbelief and perhaps even sometimes labelling such assertions as a “conspiracy theory.” This Brings me to my next point.

The Takeaway: As I’ve said in a number of articles before, society is failing to have conversations about “controversial” topics and viewpoints. This is in large part due to the fact that mainstream media does such a poor job at covering these viewpoints let alone acknowledging them. The fact that big media has such a stranglehold over the minds of many is also very concerning, because we are living in a time where independent research may be more useful. There seems to be massive conflicts of interest within mainstream media, and the fact that healthy conversation and debate is being shut down by mainstream media contributes to the fact that we can’t even have normal conversations about controversial topics in our everyday lives.

Why does this happen? Why can’t we see the perspective of another? To be honest, I still sometimes struggle with this. When it comes to COVID, things clearly aren’t as black and white as they’re being made out to be, and as I’ve said many times before when things aren’t clear, and when government mandates oppose the will of so many people, it reaches a point where they become authoritarian and overreaching.

In such circumstances I believe governments should simply be making recommendations and explaining why certain actions might be important, and then leave it to the people to decide for themselves what measures they’d like to take, if any. What do you think? One thing is for certain, COVID has been a catalyst for more and more people to question the world we live in, and why we live the way that we do.

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Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

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At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated that “the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” (source)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

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Awareness

Caloric Restriction vs. Fasting: Why One Can Result In Weight Gain While The Other Helps Burn Fat

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Dr. Jason Fung explains the difference between caloric restriction and sending the body into "starvation" mode compared to fasting.

  • Reflect On:

    Fasting has been used as a health intervention for thousands of years, and is being used today by doctors who are educated on the topic. Why is it completely ignored by mainstream medicine? Is it because "big pharma" can't make any money off of it?

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Some would say that the best solution to weight gain is eating right and exercising. I couldn’t agree more. Obesity is one of the deadliest problems humanity faces today, and just as important as diet and exercise is for addressing this issue, even more important are the emotional and personal reasons as to why so many people damage themselves and make themselves more prone to serious disease.

Apart from diet and exercise, initiating a proper fasting regimen can have tremendous health outcomes, especially for overweight people. It wasn’t but a decade ago when fasting to lose weight was considered unhealthy and dangerous. Today, we have a tremendous amount of science that’s been published clearly showing that fasting can be an effective health intervention for people of all body types, especially for people who are overweight and suffer from certain diseases. It’s an excellent way to help your body burn fat. Fasting has been used and is currently being used as an intervention for type two diabetes, cancer and more. Fasting has been shown to trigger stem cell regeneration, autophagy, which in turn can help clear out toxins and damaged cells, repair DNA, improve metabolism, lower blood sugar, boost brain function, reduce the risk of age related disease, lessen inflammation which improves a wide range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and more. It’s no wonder why so many ancient cultures from different parts of the world used fasting as medicine and as a health intervention.

As shown in the science, fasting is generally safe for everybody. This many not be true if you already have underlying health conditions or are taking certain medications. This is why it’s important to consult a health professional about it, but the issue is, the majority of health professionals are not well educated in fasting interventions. Those who have educated themselves have been treating their patients with fasting and are drawn to it due to its ability to provide so many benefits.

One of these doctors is Dr. Jason Fung, who on his blog and his YouTube channel, as well as the books he’s written provides a wealth of information and science regarding fasting. I often refer people to the work of Fung, or others like Dr. Valter Longo if they want to begin their own research about fasting. Again, there is a wealth of science and “scholarly” articles available on the subject for anybody who wants to search for it as well. It’s not heard to find.

In the video below, Fung explains why fasting is much different from caloric restriction or having your body go into “starvation mode.”  You can also check out his article, “The difference between calorie restriction and fasting” for some great information as well.

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