Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gotama, Zoroaster and Sariputta in the Persepolis Fortification Tablets

      by Ranajit Pal

The inscribed Persepolis Fortification Tablets are one of the most authentic set of documents in world history. Due to the efforts of R. T. Hallock, W. Hinz and others, the tablets, which date from 509 to 494 B.C., have provided rich historical data. Sadly though Sanskrit was consideredin the study, the vast Pali literature was left out which has badly hampered the interpretation. The tablets deal with transactions relating to distribution of grain and other foodstuffs, management of flocks, and provisioning of workers and travellers in Persis and eastern Elam, and probably at some northwestern southeastern locations. These were drawn up at various sites and were sent to the Persepolis central office. Some were from far-away Susa. A careful study not only indicates the presence of Buddhism in Iran but also sheds light on Zoroaster who is classed as an elusive figure by the Wikipedia which is an epitome of confusion.
The thug Führer duped everyone into believing that Pali, which is similar to Avestan, belongs to Nepal, not Indo-Iran. Unaware that Zoroastrianism cannot be studied without its sister religion, Buddhism, Boyce missed great Buddhist names such as Tiŝŝa (PF781 and PF 1124). Tamma corresponds to Dhamma and Tiŝŝantamma of PF48 may or may not be the same as Tiŝŝa, but this Mardam of Mariyapikna who recieved 30 marriŝ of wine was probably an important Buddhist priest.

        It is stunning to realize that Batiŝŝa or Upatiŝŝa (PF 1129, PF1570 and PF1942) may have been none other than the great Šariputta, author of the famous commentary Niddesa and one of the closest associates of Gotama Buddha. It is just possible that he is the same as Umaya.  
       The title ŝaramana of some officials in the tablets points to a link with Buddhist history as the Buddhist were later called Shramanas. The ubiquitous Ŝudda-Yauda-ŝaramana (or Ŝudda-Yauda-Damana) now turns out to be Ŝuddhodana, father of Gotama Buddha. Ŝedda-ŝaramana of tablets is Ŝedda-Arta or Siddhartha Gotama himself who was the same as Gaumata. Incidentally Gotama's father and all his uncles had Dana-names and Al-beruni gave his name as Buddho-dana. This reveals his kinship with Daniel the Jew. Other names in the tablets such as Yaŝudda, Karaŝna etc. rubbishes the Nepalese 
PFS 79 may have been the Seal of Gotama (Courtesy Oriental Institute).

origin theory of Führer. In fact the Elamite scribes who wrote the tablets can be seen as half-Indians; Rama (Rim-Sin) was called an Elamite in the Sumerian texts.
           The tablets provide priceless data about the socio-religious aspects of Iraq, Iran and also India, yet much remains unknown. M. Boyce (History of Zoroastrianism, p.132) laments,

Excavations in the 1930's of the Persepolis treasury, and one area of the fortifications, brought to light a remarkable quantity of inscribed material, in Elamite and Aramaic. These discoveries raised great hopes of clear light being shed on the religion of the early Achaemenians, but such hopes were to be disappointed.
       For most writers Zoroastrianism was a purely Persian and Central Asian phenomenon while Buddhism pertained to the Indians. The confusion in the history of Zoroaster can be seen from that while Boyce places him around 1700-1500 B.C., E. Herzfeld, T. C. Young Jr. and J. Duchesne-Guillemin put his date in the 6th century B.C. Incidentally this coincides with the rise of Buddhism and as both the religions were similar heresies against old Vedic type religions, there is the possibility of a link. At Merv and other sites Zoroastrian and Buddhist artifacts are found side by side. M. Boyce writes,

Another name attested on the Elamite tablets, and elsewhere in Aramaic script, is Dāmidāta. There is no dispute that this means 'Created (or given) by the Creator', but it is uncertain to which divinity it refers. It seems probable that in ancient times it meant Varuna, and so this may well be yet another traditional name in honour of 'the Baga' - the god who in Iran was never named. In later times, however, the adjective was understood to refer to Ahuramazda.
As 'dat' means 'law', Dāmidāta may not have meant 'Created by the Creator'. The absence of Zoroaster's name in the tablets does not construe that Zoroaster the person is absent, as he probably had other names. According to Herzfeld, his adversary Graehma was Gaumata who can be seen to be the same as Gotama. In the Indian texts Gotama's adversary is Devadatta which finally leads one to Damidadda of the
Damidadda who used PFS1243 may have been Zoroaster (Courtesy Oriental Institute).

tablets. Damidadda who was the same as Bagadada, was Zoroaster The Pali texts indicate that Devadatta founded a parallel religious sect.

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