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Story of Great Ariana - Khorasan

This article is about the historical region comprising parts of today's Iran, Afghanistan and central Asia long after Avesta split from Vedanta by Dr Naila Hussain.

Image: Arial view of Hisor fortress in use from 1000 BC to 1800 BC.

According to wiki, Khorasan was first established as an administrative division in the 6th-century (approximately after 520) by the Sasanians, during the reign of Kavad I or Khosrow I (r. 531-579), which comprised the eastern and north-eastern part of the empire however according to the writer, the region had a history from long before.

"Tajik refers to a group of Farsi speaking people who are believed to be one of the pure and close descendants of the ancient Aryans. Their country was called Aryana Vajeh and the name "Taa-jyaan" from which came the word Tajik is mentioned in The Avesta. Once they were part of ancient vedic kindgoms of Bahlika, Gandharva, Kubha and Kamboja and many more spreading to Serat [Herat] , Shiraz, Balochistan & then North West India.

The name "Khorasan" is derived from Middle Persian khor (meaning "sun") and asan (or ayan literally meaning "to come" or "coming" or "about to come"), hence meaning "land where the sun rises" and Khor as in Khorseed or Khursheed meaning Sun is a derivate from ancient avestan & Sanskrit Surya. Some researchers believe in ancient Zoroastrian times and earlier vedic period this region was called Suryastan.

On 30 August 1982 a very ancient temple depicting a Vedic chariot was found in the region of Tajikistan, known by Greeks as Bactria or - the Bakhdi of the Zoroastrian Avesta which was a derivate of earlier Bahlika the ancient Indian state.

Balkh in ancient times was called Bahlika and later it became Balkx or Balkh. In Puranic literature it is clearly mentioned the ancient Janapada of Bahlika, Gandharva & Kamboja and many others.

Balkh [bactria as written by Greeks] is a town in the province of Balkh, about 20 kilom eters northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, and some 74 km (46 mi) south of the Amu Darya. It was historically an ancient centre of Zoroastrianism and Later Buddhism, and one of the major cities of Khorasan.

In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, the term "Khurasan" frequently had a much wider connotation, covering also parts of Central Asia and Afghanistan; early Islamic usage often regarded everywhere east of western Persia, sc. Djibal or what was subsequently termed 'Irak 'Adjami, as being included in a vast and ill-defined region of Khurasan, which might even extend to the Indus Valley and Sind. Before Islamization of the region, the inhabitants of Khorasan had mostly practiced Zoroastrianism and even before Vedic cultures were prevalent.

Greater Khorasan, a historical region which lies mostly in modern day Afghanistan, eastern Iran and parts of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The land that became known as Khorasan in geography of Eratosthenes was recognized as Ariana by Greeks at that time, which made up Greater Iran or the land where Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion.

The Medes, a Western Persian people, arrived from what is today Kurdistan sometime around the 700s BC and came to dominate most of ancient Afghanistan merging with its Aryan Residents. They were an early tribe that forged the first empire on the present Iranian plateau and were rivals of the Persians whom they initially dominated in the province of Fars to the south. Median domination of parts of far off Afghanistan would last until the Persians challenged and ultimately replaced them from rule.

Khorasan, in its proper sense, comprised principally the cities of Balkh and Herat (now in Afghanistan), Mashhad and Nishapur (now in northeastern Iran), Merv and Nisa (now in southern Turkmenistan), and Bukhara and Samarkand (now in Uzbekistan). Some believe that at certain times Khorasan covered a wider area, which included parts of Transoxiana, Soghdiana, Sistan, and extended to the boundaries of the Indian subcontinent.

When the Arabs first arrived to the southern Hindu Kush to defeat the Zunbils, they recognized it as al-Hind (Sind), owing to the prevalence of Buddhists and Hindus (non-Zoroastrians) due to its cultural connection with Greater India. Sources from the 14th to the 16th century report that areas in the south of the Hindu Kush mountain range (Zamindawar, Balochistan, and Kabulistan) formed a frontier between Khorasan and Hindustan.

First established as a political entity by the Sassanids, the borders of the region have varied considerably during its 1,600-year history. Initially the Khorasan province of Sassanid empire included the cities of Nishapur, Herat, Merv, Faryab, Taloqan, Balkh, Bukhara, Badghis, Abiward, Gharjistan, Tus or Susia, Sarakhs and Gurgan. In addition to these cities, Ibn Khordadbeh mentions the cities of Nas?, Marvrud, Zabulistan, Kabul, Termez, Bamyan, Sogdia, Farghana, Rivsharan, Jowzjan, Khwarazm, Khotl, Osrushana, Sajistan, Pushang, Kesh, Botam, Vardana, Gorgan and Transoxiana as part of Khurasan. The history says that Eastern parts of today Iran, the entire Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, southern parts of Kazakhstan, northwestern regions of China (Xinjiang), and the Indus Valley were part of Khurasan.

Afghanistan Sanskrit Upgan+Sthan meaning the land of compatriots is an ancient land mentioned in literature from Central Asia as Aryana whose borders are defined in Avesta and which stands for 'the land of Aryans', meaning 'excellent and noble'. Luv and Taksh (sons of Rama and Bharat in Ramayana) of Ayodhya dynasty are said to have founded the cities of Lahore (Luvpur) and Takshshila (Taxila), respectively.

Buddhism reached Afghanistan under Ashoka (ruled 273-232 BC) and became a great center for the spread of Shakiyamuni Buddha.

Taksh established his kingdom at Gandahar (Kandhar) which extended as far as Tashkent (Taksha Khand). Afghan kingdoms of Gandhara and Bactria were geographically divided into two portions. Whereas the Afghan portion, from the Khyber Pass to the Kabul Valley, received the name Nagarahara, the Punjabi side retained the name Gandhara.

Bactria extended from the Kabul Valley northwards and included southern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. To its north, in central Uzbekistan and northwestern Tajikistan, lay Sogdia. The southern part of Bactria, just north of the Kabul Valley, was Kapisha; while the northern part later received the name Tocharistan.

Gondophanes took over the Kabul valley, Punjab and Sindh from the Indo-Scythian Kings and founded a capital at Taxila. He was perhaps related to Jesus through a maternal lineage, was one of the Magi who visited the birth of Jesus, and was possibly converted by Thomas. During his reign, Afghanistan was famous for Akhal-Teke horse farms, hanging gardens, complex irrigation systems, pools and ponds, huge palaces and temples, massive statues carved out of rocks and so forth, based upon Vedic-Hindu motifs.

The largest deposit of ancient coins was accidentally discovered in Afghanistan, about 55,000 specimens, consisting of 3-4 tons of gold, silver and bronze. Also found were more than 300 kg of ancient silver and gold objects. Kanishka of the Kushan Empire ruled during the lifetime of Jesus and convened the Fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir, perhaps presided over by Pravarasena.

Before the region fell to Alexander the Great in 330 BC, it was part of the Persian Achaemenid Empire and prior to that it was occupied by the Medes. Following Alexander's brief occupation, the successor state of the Seleucid Empire controlled the area until 305 BCE when they gave south of the Hindu Kush to the Indian Maurya Empire as part of an alliance treaty.

"Alexander took these away from the Aryans and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants." ~ EStrabo, 64 BC - 24 AD

Inscriptions made by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, a fragment of Edict 13 in Greek, as well as a full Edict, written in both Greek and Aramaic has been discovered in Kandahar. It is said to be written in excellent Classical Greek, using sophisticated philosophical terms. In this Edict, Ashoka uses the word Eusebeia ("Piety") as the Greek translation for the ubiquitous "Dharma" of his other Edicts written in Prakrit:

"Ten years (of reign) having been completed, King Piodasses (Ashoka) made known (the doctrine of) Piety to men; and from this moment he has made men more pious, and everything thrives throughout the whole world. And the king abstains from (killing) living beings, and other men and those who (are) huntsmen and fishermen of the king have desisted from hunting. And if some (were) intemperate, they have ceased from their intemperance as was in their power; and obedient to their father and mother and to the elders, in opposition to the past also in the future, by so acting on every occasion, they will live better and more happily." (Trans. by G.P. Carratelli)

The last ruler in the region was probably Subhagasena (Sophagasenus of Polybius), who, in all probability, belonged to the Ashvaka background."








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