Taka-ma-HARA, or High HARA — the celestial shining mountain peak; the Japanese elixir field; the navel-belly of the earth finds cognates elsewhere (Comparative etymology)

Takamagahara, Shigakogen, Japan

Takamagahara, Shigakogen, Japan  Photo: A. Kawagoe

The etymology and meaning of “hara” and the possible origins of the Takamahara (or Takagamahara) cosmology

The concept of “hara” is such a fundamental concept that it is part of Japanese common parlance, children yell “hara heta” or “I’m famished” when they come home, literally, “empty centre”.

The concept of “hara” is now best known and associated with Tantric healing and kundalini concepts, and though the Japanese version of it appears to be derived from a Sinicized form of Indo(Sakka?)-Tibetan Bon belief system or tantras of Kashmir Shaivism as some call it, we may need to consider that the true origins of the “hara” concept may in fact lie elsewhere (Anatolia, Greece or Iran).

Tantra and Taoism explains that the Japanese “hara” concept is derived directly from the Taoist and Qi Gong belief systems, and quoting Karlfried Dürckheim’s Hara, The Vital Centre of Man, also distinguishes it from the Hindu chakra systems:

“What could therefore be called ‘The Taoist Body’ has its spiritual and physical centre not in the head or heart but in the hara – specifically in the tan tien (Chinese) or tanden (Japanese), a centre that that has no central place in any Indian anatomy of the ‘chakras’. For though it can be identified with the svadhisthana chakra – which is sometimes described as a few inches below the navel – this chakra is also often falsely associated with sexual feeling and the sexual organs, whereas the tan tien is understood as both the physical and spiritual centre of gravity of the human being – hence the point of ultimate balance of rest and movement. This reflects the literal meaning of svadhisthana as “the seat of the Self”.

Yet there remains a stark contrast between the heart-centred ‘Tantric Body’ and the hara-centred ‘Taoist Body’, one nowhere more strikingly enunciated than in the words of Laozi himself:

“Empty the heart, fill the abdomen.” 

The message is echoed by Zhuangzi:

“Rather than listen with the ear, listen with the heart. Rather than listen with the heart, listen with the Qi.  [ie. the ensouled breath with its centre in the hara – the tan tien]

“The Way … is the fasting of the heart.”

Deacon writes also that “…in Japan there are also several disciplines – either of Chinese origin or alternatively heavily influenced by Chinese Qi Gong philosophy – which speak of three tandens …

This basic practice of centering both breathing and awareness in the warm and womb-like interiority of the hara is also the key to the ‘belly thinking acknowledged and so much valued in traditional Japanese culture. For it is from the ocean of awareness that expands within the hara that all thoughts are first conceived and germinate, only to rise as ‘steam’ or ‘air’ into the space of the head where they take form as mental words. This is reflected in the ideogram for Qi – steam rising from a rice bowl…”

Hara, as a Japanese concept, is deep and fundamental, governing much of Japanese thinking, for hara  deeply interlinked with the word, tanden “is translated from the Japanese to mean cinnabar field and is also known as the elixir field. It can therefore be understood as a place in the body where the elixir of life is created” (Source: The deeper meaning of hara” Since prehistoric times, coffins and grave goods and sometimes human bones were painted with cinnabar or such symbolic substitutes).

This rocky hara-belly meaning of the Japanese (and the idea that Raiju thunderbeast, companion to Raijin the thunder deity, is attracted to the navels of children) is similar to the idea of the Omphalos-Navel of the Earth idea of the Greeks, which are often egg-shaped religious stones or baetylus, which is thought to be connected via a cord to the Sky god. In Greek, the word omphalos means “navel” (compare the name of Queen Omphale). According to the ancient Greeks, Zeus sent out two eagles to fly across the world to meet at its center, the “navel” of the world. In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem there is also an omphalos. The existence of this stone is based upon the medieval cosmology which saw Jerusalem as the spiritual if not geographical center of the world (see T and O map). This tradition is likely based on an ancient Jewish tradition that saw Jerusalem as the navel of the world.[1] In the Jewish tradition, the Ark in the Temple in Jerusalem, through which God revealed himself to His people, rested on the Foundation stone marking the “navel of world”. (According to Midrash Tanhuma to Ezekial 38,12, based on the phrase “the nations…that dwell in the middle of the earth”  in the Jewish tradition, the Ark in the Temple in Jerusalem, through which God revealed himself to His people, rested on the Foundation stone marking the “navel of world”.  This Jewish tradition is known to have begun in Hellenistic times, when Jews were already quite familiar with Greek culture—and thus might be a deliberate emulation of and competition with the above tradition regarding Delphi. See Wikipedia article Omphalos). Thus for the Japanese, the idea of protecting their mid-waists and navels (and their children’s) has to do with the metaphysical concepts and ancient cosmological worldviews of a connection between the birthing navel and the Other World, see Why thunder deities and thunder-beasts are attracted to Japanese children’s navels

In The Tantric Womb, we are told that Hara is analogous to or interchangeable with the womb and in Hinduism, also equated with ‘Shiva’:

“For a man, the Hara is an analogous access point as the womb. Different of course, but with many similarities. ‘Hara’ in Hinduism is an earlier word for ‘Shiva’. In Japan the word is closely interlinked to the Chinese word ‘Dantian’ – the place in the body where the elixir of life is created. In the martial arts it is a known center of a man’s power where he also has direct access to Source via the non-gender specific, interdimensional, transformational Source Point. It is located a couple of inches below the navel, inside the body, closer to the spine than the navel.
At the point of hara the mind has no place to stay still for it is everywhere, completely in union with the universe, no beginning and no end. It is open and at ease. This is hara – the realization of your true nature”.

The Hara line, according to the Hindu metaphysical tradition and chakra belief system, quoting Barbara Brennan’s book, Light Emerging is explained thus:

This is the Hara line which stretches from our crown right up to our source in the “heavens”, and also right down into the Earth, connecting us to our physical source. [Note: The newborn baby is considered, according to Japanese as well as Native Amerindian tradition, to be connected via its umbilical cord to the stars and the Otherworld, see Cord-ceremony] It is a sound, or a vibration, a frequency, that keeps us in our human bodies and it is intimately connected to our integrity or ability to live in truth.

“The Hara line exists on a dimension deeper than the auric field [Ka body]. It exists on the level of intentionality. It is an area of power within the physical body that contains the tan tien*. It is the one [musical] note [or vibration] with which you have drawn up your physical body from your mother, the Earth. It is this one note that holds your body in physical manifestation. Without the one note, you would not have a body. When you change this one note, your entire body will change. Your body is a gelatinous form held together by this one note [or vibration]. This note is the sound that the centre of the Earth makes.”

Source: The Sex Rites II: The Hara Line and the Aura (Istargate)

We can in fact trace this idea of aligning one’s  Hara as a sort of metaphysical plumbline concept to the ancient Cosmic Pillar World View, possibly originating with or at least developed by the Indo-Iranians. (The concept also reminds us of the Biblical scripture, Amos 7:7-9 in the third of the prophet Amos’ five visions, he sees the Lord standing on a wall – with a plumbline in His hand, … and the imagery of “The God of the Plumbline” is a metaphor for the Almighty as the ultimate Judge of Israel.) 

Mt. Damavand, highest peak in the Alborz/Elborz/Elburz mountain range of the Iran (known in ancient times as Hara_Berezaiti). 

There are in fact multiple Hara Cosmic or World Mountains in Central Asia.

The origin of Hara as a physical (or metaphysical / symbolic) World Mountain

The Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, refer to the Mount Hara as Mount Meru or Sumeru (the Great Meru), and describe the Himalayas as stemming from Mount Meru which itself stands at the centre of the known world. The Vedas also refer to Arya Varta as Paradesha, the original country. In the Vedas, Bharatavarsha, Ancient India, lay to the south of the Himalayas.

Mary Boyce, the British scholar of Iranian languages and authority on Zoroastrianism, said that when the Khotanese Saka became Buddhists, they referred to Mt. Sumeru of Buddhist legends as Ttaira Haraysa, the peak of Hara. Mt. Sumeru in Buddhist mythology lies at the centre of the earth and according to Anklesaria’s translation of GB 5B.1, “Mount Tera is in the middle of the earth.”

Hara Berezaiti and Alburz or Alborz

To the Iranians, Mount Hara appears to have been both a physical mountain as well as a metaphysical one.

“The Mehr Yasht at 10.118 talks about the Sun riding rising above the peaks (tara) of the Hara Berezaiti. Tara (also spelt Tera, Terak or Taera) is sometime taken to mean a specific mountain in the Hara. E. W. West translates the Lesser Bundahishn (LB) at 12.2 as “Terak of Alburz” i.e. Tera of the Hara Berezaiti. When West translates 12.4 as “The Terak of Alburz is that through which the stars, moon and sun pass in, and through it they come back”, but when B. T. Anklesaria translates 9.6 of the Greater Bundahishn (GB) as “The Tera of Alburz is that through which the Stars, Moon and Sun revolve and through which they come back”, it makes more sense to read Tera(k) as the peaks or the space between peaks through which the stars, moon and sun rise and set. Indeed, at LB 5.4. we have “As it is said that it is the Terak of Alburz from behind which my sun and moon and stars return again” and at LB 5.5, “For there are a hundred and eighty apertures (rojin) in the east, and a hundred and eighty in the west, through Alburz; and the sun, every day, comes in through an aperture, and goes out through an aperture….”

Alborz-Alburz reflects older usage (see Wikipedia article), it is said that numerous high peaks were given the name and some even reflect it to this day, for example, Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains, and Mount Elbariz (Albariz, Jebal Barez) in the Kerman area above the Strait of Hormuz. As recently as the 19th century, a peak in the northernmost range in the Hindu Kush system, just south of Balkh, was recorded as Mount Elburz in British army maps.

All these names reflect the same Iranian language compound, and share an identification as the legendary mountain Harā Bərəzaitī of the Avesta. The name Elbrus is derived by metathesis from Alborz. The name Alborz is derived from that of Harā Barazaitī, a legendary mountain in the Avesta. Harā Barazaitī reflects Proto-Iranian *Harā Bṛzatī. *Bṛzatī is the feminine form of the adjective *bṛzant- “high”, the ancestor of modern Persian boland (بلند) and Barz/Berazandeh, cognate with Sanskrit ‘Brihat’ (बृहत्). Harā may be interpreted as “watch” or “guard”, from an Indo-European root *ser- “protect”. In Middle Persian, Harā Barazaitī became Harborz, Modern Persian Alborz, which is cognate with Elbrus.

The Legend of Alborz/Alburz according to Encyclopedia Iranica:

The most ancient layer of belief about the mythical “high Harā” appears to be that it was a huge mountain rising in the middle of the world, around whose peak (Av.taēra-, Pahl. tērag) “revolve the stars, moon, and sun” (Yt. 12.25), thus creating night and day. Each morning the “sun goes forth to cross high Harā in its flight” (Yt. 10.118); and Mithra, who goes before it, has his abode on the lofty, shining mountain, “where there is neither night nor darkness, neither cold wind nor hot . . . neither do mists rise from high Harā” (Yt. 10.50). Further, “just as light comes in from Harborz . . . water too comes in from Harborz” (Bd. 11.6); for the mythical river Arədvī Sūrā Anāhitā was held to pour down from the mountain’s peak into the ocean Vourukaša (Yt. 5.3; cf. Bd. 10.5-6), being thus the source of all the waters of the world. In Vendidad 21 an incantation links together light and the waters, high Harā and the ocean Vourukaša. In the yasna liturgy (Y. 42.3) the worshipers offer sacrifice to sky and earth, wind and the “Peak of Harā.” The peak is also called Mount Hukairya (Pahl. Hukar), “Of good activity” (Yt. 10.88); and worshipers of Arədvī Sūrā praise “Mount Hukairya the verdant, which deserves all praise” (Yt. 5.96), while in the Bundahišn “the lofty Hukar, through which springs the water of Ardvīsūr,” is called “the chief of summits” (Bd. 11.9; cf. Pahl.Rivayat 15.4).

The “abode and dwelling of the clouds” is on Harborz (Mēnōg ī xrad 44.16); and there the Baga set the sacred plant haoma to grow. There too the yazata Haoma, as priest of the gods, offers sacrifice, specifically to Mithra (Yt. 10.89) and to Sraoša (Y. 57.19). Figures of ancient Iranian myth, namely Haošyaŋha (Hōšang) and Yima (Jamšēd) are also said to have offered sacrifice on the mountain, to the divinities Arədvī Sūrā, Druvāspā, and Vayu (Yt. 5.21, 25; 9.3, 8; 15.7, 15).

The Iranian concept of the great central world mountain has its parallel in the Indian one of the Mount Mēru or Sumēru; and when in course of time the Khotanese Sakas adopted Buddhism, they used the name “Peak of Harā” (ttaira haraysä) to render Sanskrit Sumēru (see H. W. Bailey, Khotanese Texts IV, Cambridge, 1961, p. 12). Already in ancient times, however, Iranian thinkers enlarged this concept of Harā; according to their speculative cosmogony the earth was originally a round plane, from whose flat surface the mountains grew up as if they were plants, having “roots” going deep into the ground and joined to the root of Harā. This name was now given also to a great chain of mountains held to encircle the earth’s round rim. “As the first mountain there stood upon this earth high Harā, which encircles entirely the eastern lands and the western lands” (Yt. 19.1). “Mount Harborz encircles the world. The suŋrevolves above Mount Harborz, around (its) Peak (Tērag). . . . Harborz was growing until the completion of 800 years: for 200 years up to the star station, for 200 years up to the moon station, for 200 years up to the sun station, and for 200 years up to the summit of the sky” (Bd. 5b.1, 9.1-2). “As Harborz grew up, all the mountains were moving, for all have grown up from the roots of Harborz. . . . Their roots passed in that way from one to another and they are established in mutual connection” (Indian Bundahišn 8.2-3). The concept of an encircling mountain range again has a parallel in the Indianlōkālōka, a ring of mountains encompassing all the continents of the earth (see W. Kirfel, Die Kosmographie der Inder nach den Quellen dargestellt, Bonn and Leipzig, 1920); but the special development whereby this range was given the same name as the single central peak, with all other mountains held to be linked to them both, appears part of the general tendency of ancient Iranian thinkers to seek unity behind apparent diversity (a tendency which seems to have prepared the way for Zarathuštra’s monotheism). Attempts were made to limit resulting ambiguities by referring fairly regularly to the central mountain by the synonyms of Taēra (Tērag) and Hukairya (Hukar), while the encircling range is sometimes distinguished as the Harborz var or “enclosure” (Dādestān ī dēnīg, pursišn 20.2; Indian Bundahišn 5.3).

There was evidently a tendency from ancient times to attach legends to the great world mountain, which in one Pahlavi text is said to rise up from Ērānvēǰ (Av. Airyanəm Vaēǰah), the region which had come to be regarded as the mythical homeland of the Iranians (Dādestān ī dēnīg, pursišn 20.2). The following strange legend is preserved in Bundahišn 24.24: “Every third year many from non-Iranian lands gather together upon the summit of Mount Harborz, in order to go into the Iranian lands to cause harm and bring destruction on the world. Then the yazadBorz [i.e., Ahura bərəzant; see under Apam Napāt] comes up from the depths of the water Arang and arouses, upon the highest point of all that high mountain, the bird Čamrūš, which pecks up all those from non-Iranian lands as a bird pecks up grain.” Other legends concerning the mountain, under the later form of its name, “Alborz,” are preserved in the Šāh-nāma. Thus the mother of Ferēdūn (Av. Thrāetaona) bears her infant son for safety to the “lofty mountain,” Alborz, which here, it seems, is thought to rise in “Hendūstān” (ed. Borūḵīm, I, p. 46.145-47; tr. A. and E. Warner, London, 1905-12, I, p. 152). There the child is brought up by a holy recluse. More is told of the mountain itself in the legend of Zāl, for the Sīmorḡ is said to have her nest on “Alborz, nigh to the sun and far removed from men” (I, p. 132.83; tr. p. 241). It was at the foot of Alborz that the infant Zāl was exposed, because of its remoteness. Here again the mountain is said to be in India (I, pp. 135.111, 136.130; tr. I, pp. 243, 244). The Sīmorḡ swoops down and carries the child up to her nest on Alborz, “whose top was midst the Pleiades. Thou wouldst have said “It will obstruct the stars.”” No tracks, even of wild beasts, led up the precipitous slopes to the rocky peak (I, p. 137.145, 155; tr., I, pp. 244, 245). There Zāl grew up, and from there he was in the end brought down again by the great bird, since no man could scale that height (I, p. 142.246; tr., I, p. 250).

In a subsequent incident in the epic Rostam breaks through Afrāsīāb’s troops, at the borders of Iran, in order to reach Mount Alborz and find Kayqobād, who, like his forbear Ferēdūn, had grown up in safety on the mountain’s lower slopes, a “blest land” (I, pp. 291, 158ff., 293.195-96; tr., I, pp. 382ff., 384). Later Rostam speaks of having brought Kayqobād to the land of Iran from Mount Alborz (II, p. 467.536-37; tr., II, p. 144). In one or two other places in the epic it seems likely (though the passages are not wholly unambiguous) that Mount Alborz is conceived as being within Iran, i.e., is thought of as the great mountain range which now bears that name.

Hara= Herat today

Hara= Herat today Source: Wikipedia

Taera -> Terak -> Tera -> Ttaira -> Taira Peaks

Ichaporia and Humbach as well as Sethna do not translate “taera” as the name of a mountain but rather as “peak“. However, it does make more sense in the contexts above to read it as several or a set of peaks rather than a single peak. But that sense of a single peak rising into the heavens is now embedded in Hindu and Buddhist mythology as well. In the Zamyad Yasht, there is no mythology in the description of the mountains. They are listed quite matter-of-factly and the word “taera” appears buried in the middle of verse 19.6 in a rather obscure manner.

Mary Boyce informs us that when the Khotanese Saka became Buddhists, they referred to Mt. Sumeru of Buddhist legends as Ttaira Haraysa, the peak of Hara. Mt. Sumeru in Buddhist mythology lies at the centre of the earth and according to Anklesaria’s translation of GB 5B.1, “Mount Tera is in the middle of the earth.”

Principal Hara Peaks – Mount Hukaria and Daitik

The Greater Bundahishn translated by B. T. Anklesaria (at 17.18) describes the Hukar (Huk-airya in the Avesta) as being the ‘chief’ of the summits. Huk-airya means the ‘good Arya’ or the ‘good and beneficent Arya’ – the environs of which, Airyana Vaeja, was a paradise with ideal conditions: no inclement weather, natural beauty and where the people enjoyed good health. The GB at 9.3 also states that, “As the other mountains have grown out of Alburz, in number, two thousand two hundred and forty-four mountains, that are the lofty Hugar/Hukar (Huk-airya), the Tera of Alburz, the Daitih peak….” We note that the Hugar/Hukar (Huk-airya) is described at both the chief of the mountains as well as lofty (tall – towering above others. At GB 9.7, “The lofty Hugar/Hukar (Huk-airya) is that from which the water of Aredvisur descends from the height of a thousand men.” At 9.9, “The Daitih (Chakad-i-Daitik in the Lesser Bundahishn) peak is that which is in the middle of the world, of the height of a hundred men, whereon is the Chinvad bridge; they judge the soul at that place.” Much attention is given to “Tera” being the name of a pivotal mountain at the centre of the earth, but in the Daitih we have another contender for this description. The height of a hundred men does not make it a very tall mountain and one suitable perhaps for a significant temple or sanctuary (see the thangka painting below). We could have two versions of the myth, one with a very tall central mountain and the other with a shorter mountain crowned by a temple or sanctuary as depicted by the thangka painting below. Both versions appear to exist currently either explicitly or implicitly, and the shorter version appears to make more sense with reality.

The combined manner in which the Hukar, Tera and Daitik are described in the Bundahishn has resonance with the manner in which Mount Meru, Sumeru, is described in Hindu and Buddhist texts”.

High Hara

At this point, all the bells ring out loud, and we are reminded of Taka-ma-ga-hara, and Ama-terasu, heavenly goddess of the Shining (who came from that celestial world above). We hear the word “tera” used and echoed as the word for Japanese temple (not shrine, implying the formation of the concept was already in the context of the crucibles of Buddhism and key Central Asian thought of the times)… and though the word is given Chinese form, its Iranian sound has no equivalent in Chinese words “shi” or “miao” for temple.

The word Taka-ma-ga-hara takes on even deeper meaning, when you consider that Taka in Japanese means High Hara, and is also synonymous with ‘plain’, and ‘taira’ is also the Japanese word for ‘plain’. Taka-ma-ga-hara is thought of in Japan as the Celestial Plains, and the celestial plains are to be found on earth in Japan as well as Mount Hara, just as the metaphysical Hara-Benzeitis or Alburzes are also physical places on earth to the Iranians, just as Mt Meru (or Sumeru) is for the Hindus and Buddhists.

The word also occurs among the Greeks, and in the Greek language, it is found as the Har or Hor signifying a mountain See Jacob Bryant’s “A New System or an Analysis of Ancient Mythology“. There is also another European (Germanic-Swabian-Suebi peoples who were an Elbe Germanic tribe whose origin was near the Baltic Sea or the today, the term “Swabian Sea” known to the Romans as the Mare Suebicum) equivalent of  High Harz in the Hochharz) – the Harz; Hardt, Hart mountains and Alburz has its equivalent in River Elbe. Hara thus finds a close cognate in Harz which is the highest mountain range in Northern Germany, the name Harz derives from the Middle High German word Hardt or Hart (mountain forest), Latinized as HercyniaThe common etymology and meanings of the words Hara, Harz Terak-Tera-Dtaira-Daira, etc. suggests the origin of the Takamagahara cosmology may have originated from tribal migrants nostalgic for these mountains.

We might also wish to factor mountains in Armenia or Mesopotamia further afield to Mt Hermon which is essentially Hara-mun, a mountain significant to both key Druze communities as well as Hebrew tribes connected to the Books of Chronicles and Enoch lineages. The Vulgata renders the Hebrew hārəy Ǎrārāṭ asmontes Armeniae, so we have another Harae-Ararat named for the peak that is associated with the Biblical Mountains of Ararat where Noah’s Ark came to rest after the great flood(Genesis 8:4). This association of Mount Ararat with the biblical mountains is ancient, entering Western Christianity in the fourth century, with Jerome‘s reading of Josephus.

Alternatively, “Togarma, Armenia, in which Mt. Arrarat is situated, is the Takamakahara, from which the ancestor of the Japanese race is said to have descended. Takamagahara means the Plain of High Heaven” … this observation was been made by Dr. Jenichiro Oyabe, author of “Origin of Japan and the Japanese and who attributed Togarma as the founder of the Japanese (and therefore regarded the Japanese to be descendants of the Hebrew race). The Biblical Togarmah was held to be the ancestor of the peoples of the South Caucasus: (the Georgians, the Armenians) and some Turkic peoples; Others (Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37 – c. 100 AD), Roman Catholic priest Jerome (c. 347 – 420 AD) and Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 636 AD)) regarded Togarmah as regarded Togarmah as the father of the Phrygians.  Cognates are found in the Greek Thargamos and in the Hittite Bronze Age kingdom of Tegarama in Anatolia; or with the Assyrian Til-Garimmu (the city was inhabited during the Old Assyrian Kingdom and Hittite Empire).  

Armenians call themselves Hayer and their county Hayastan (the land of the Hayasa) after their founder Haik, who according to Moses of Chorene was son of Togarmah. In the past the country was historically called by natives Metz Hayk/Hayq (Greater Armenia) and Poqr Hayk/Hayq (Lesser Armenia). Armenian Moses of Chorene and also Georgian Leonti Mroveli regarded Togarmah as the founder of their nations along with other Caucasian people.

Mount Hermon (Haramun /Hebrew: Har Hermon)
However, we still see the best fit for Takama- ga-hara in the Iranian High Hara, or Taka-Hara, closest in meaning and sound. We do not discount the possibility, however, that as the Iranian plateau was a receiver of genetic inputs from various directions, the Iranian concept of High Hara, is derived from either the Hittite or Hebrew Togarma-Haya or alternatively, an Indo-European/Aryan/Hittite/Hebrew ancestral source of all the related groups (see Colin Renfrew’s latest hypothesis “Beyond the Silk Road”), we might triangulate the Hara mountain legends and names to the general area of the Indo-European-Indo-Iranian-Armenian mountain chains, around Zagros.

Furthermore, Ama-terasu can be surmised to mean the Celestial Shining goddess of the Terak peak or plain.

Genetically, we find it hard to accept that the Japanese are descended from the Hebrew race, as neither Y-DNA haplogroup J nor R1a1 haplogroups are found anywhere among the Japanese people. We do however, find Y-DNA D (with the YAP+ alleles) in great abundance among the Japanese. And they are found among the Arab Yemeni and Israeli Druids, in the Kalasha (who say they are descended from Alexander the Great, the Macedonian) who live in the Hindukush valley, as well as in tribal Yunnan along with Xinjiang, in the Southwest of China were the receiving point for many groups from the West. We also find among the Japanese royal and elite historical clans traces of N and Q and R1b1b haplogroups which may suggest a migratory history to some extent in common with Hunnic (Mongol-Turk?) lineages of the Ashina, Khazaria and Getae-Rajput peoples. Note: Y-DNA haplogroups of proto-Turks are N and Q. 800 BCE Ural-Altay languages speaking Turks occupied Central Asia and assimilated some of the R1b and R1a (Caucasian? Tocharians, Sogdians etc.) In the meantime they were also mixed with C3 and O haplogroups due to their relations with Mongol and Chinese people. So, when Oguz tribes migrated to Anatolia they were already formed by Q, N, C3, O, R1a, R1b. In addition to these groups today Turkish population includes J1, J2, Anatolian R1b, R1a, G, E1b.

The Aryan or Indo-Iranian landscape in Japan

By examining the myths of the Aryans or Indo-Iranians, we find a number of interesting coincidences of geographical locations and nomenclature, and enigmatically begin to see an Aryan landscape in Japan.

“Airyanem Vaejah was the legendary home of the Indo-Iranian people. It is believed that between ca. 5000 B.C. and 2000 B.C., Indian and Iranian tribes lived together in one place and spoke mutually intelligible languages. Sometime in the third millennium B.C., the two groups separated, reaching Iran and India via much-debated routes (94). Not surprisingly, the Avesta and the Rig Veda, the literary monuments of the Iranians and Indians respectively (second millennium B.C.) have similarities which extend beyond linguistics, to the very gods themselves, and the themes of parts of the narratives. Regrettably, the Iranian epic material in the Avesta was purged, sanitized or recast by the zeal of Zoroaster and his followers in the 7th century B.C. and later. Complicating matters is the fact that only a tiny percentage of the historically known Avesta has survived. It is only in oblique, presumably pre-Zoroastrian passages or in much later epic material (supposedly deriving from the earliest Iranian myths) that one encounters anything comparable to the passions and jealousies of the Greek or Indian deities (95).

Airyanem Vaejah, whose location is disputed, contained the first mountain created on earth, Hara Berezaiti or High Hara. The Vedas, which do not mention Airyanem Vaejah directly, nonetheless are familiar with this premier mountain (96). Close to the mountain was a sea, called Vourukasha in the Avesta, where the “Tree of All Seeds” grew. Coursing down the mountain, or near it, was a mighty river. [26] The early Indo-Iranians believed that all mountains were connected by their roots to High Hara; and that all bodies of water were connected to the magical sea (97).

Ahura Mazda, the god who created High Hara, also built palaces on it for the greatest gods: Mithra, Sraosha, Rashnu, Ardvi-sura Anahita, and Haoma, all of whom ride in special chariots. While humans could not live on the holy mountain, the greatest mythical heroes made sacrifices there. The way to the other world, a special abode of the blessed (where the largest and most choice specimens of plants and animals were found) lay through the foothills of Hara/Meru. The Chinvat bridge of Zoroastrian mythology, over which the souls of the dead had to pass was on or near High Hara. The motif of birds dwelling near the summit is shared by Iranian and Indian accounts, as is the theme of the theft of the intoxicating plant haoma/soma from the mountain’s summit by a magical bird (Syena/Garuda/Simurgh); and the slaying of a multi-headed, multi-eyed dragon nearby (98). In the Indian tradition, Agni, the rock-born god of fire with tawny hair and iron teeth is connected with the sacred mountain. In the Iranian tradition, High Hara is also associated with metallurgy. Fire and metals were introduced to humanity after the hero Hoshang(Haoshyangha) sacrificed on the mountain (99). High Hara was also the locale of many of the most memorable contests in Iranian mythology (100).

The Avesta and the Vedas do not contain sufficiently precise geographical information to locate Airyanem Vaejah. [27]Despite this, for more than a century scholars have attempted to locate this legendary “original homeland” based on various interpretations of details. Thus, unbelievably, references to the severity of the winter storms in the mountains and certain poetic statements led to a “polar hypothesis”(101). The fact that the Avesta has survived only in an eastern Iranian language, the statement that the prophet Zoroaster’s initial visions and early teaching occurred here, and the belief that cattle raising developed exclusively on the steppes of eastern Iran, led to the selection of eastern Iran as the most likely site, by some (102). In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a number of scholars suggested that Airyanem Vaejah should be sought in the Caucasus or adjacent areas. This view, which was developed most thoroughly by A.V.W. Jackson, was shared by James Darmesteter, an early translator of the Avesta and A.J. Carnoy, author of the study “Iranian mythology” in Mythology of All Races (vol. 6), among others (103). According to these hypotheses, the sacred mountain (High Hara) and the magical sea (Vourukasha) would correspond to either Mt. Rewanduz and Lake Urmiah; Mt. Ararat or Mt. Aragats and Lake Sevan; Mt. Suphan or Mt. Nemrut and Lake Van; or Mt. Savalan or Mt. Demavend and the Caspian Sea. This last is the favorite of later Iranian tradition. Jackson suggested that Azerbaijan was the most likely site for Airyanem Vaejah, and that the later Zoroaster also hailed from this land of mountains, rivers, and prized pasturage (104)”

Regarding identification of the Veh with the Indus River, the Greater Bundahishn at 11.A.2 as translated by B. T. Anklesaria states, “The river Veh passes on in the east, goes to the land of Sind and pours into the sea in India. There they call it the river Mitran [and also call it the river Indus].” The Lesser Bundahishn translated by E. W. West, at 20.7 states, “The Mehrva River they call the Hendva River…”. Hendva would be connected to Hindu. 20.9 also states, “The Veh River passes on in the east, goes through the land of Sind, and flows to the sea in Hindustan, and they call it there the Mehra River.” We note that this river is called Hendva, Mehrava, Mehra, Mitran (Mithra/Mitra and Mehr [“mir”meaning king and used to name Himalayan mountain peaks] are related words, the former being the older form which seems to be the trend in the Greater Bundahishn. The Lesser Bundahishn starts with the declaration at 20.1 that two rivers flow from the north – from the Alburz (Mountains) – and that the one towards the East is the Veh River.

We are therefore left with two Veh rivers, one identified with the Amu Darya (Oxus) and the other with the Mitran or Mehra (the Indus). Masudi in his Historical Encyclopaedia writes that the “Guebers (sic) i.e. Zoroastrians, felt that the Jaihun (Oxus) was connected with the Indus to form one river, the Veh.” The ancients may have perceived the Veh as a mythical circumventing river, one that circumvented Airyana in the east and the west – perhaps even all the way around.

Rivers Flowing into Neighbouring Countries

Verse 10.14 of the Avesta’s Mehr Yasht, states that the rivers which originate in Airyo shayanem*, the Aryan abode, flow swiftly into the countries of Mourum [later Margu(sh) (English-Greek Margiana) and eventually Marv located in today’s Turkmenistan], Haroyum (Aria in modern Afghanistan), Sughdhem (Sugd in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) and Khairizem [Khvarizem beside the Amu Darya (Oxus) River in Uzbekistan]. [*Note: shayanem is used to denote a few countries/lands/abodes in the Vendidad’s list of sixteen nations. As “abode” or “dwelling place”, the word may denote a region rather than a country, a region over which the Airya had spread by that time.]

There are very few sets of rivers that meet this description and they all originate in the mountains of Afghanistan and Tajikistan radiating westward from the Pamirs. Since 1. Bakhdhi (Balkh) is a significant omission from this list, 2. Khairizem is a nation not mentioned directly in the Vendidad’s list of nations and appears to be a “younger” nation than the Vendidad nations [together with Parsa (Persia) and Mada (Media) also not mentioned], and 3. the Aryan lands are called by a slightly different name than in the Vendidad, one possibility is that this Meher Yasht description was part of the younger Avesta, by time of whose writing, the original Aryan lands, Airyana Vaeja, had begun to move westward along the northern Hindu Kush slopes, towards the Kuh-e Baba, Kuh-e Hissar and Safid Kuh – the northern Afghanistan mountain region south of Balkh. To us it is not without significance that there is a Murgab River in the Pamir highlands of Tajikistan, then in the northern Afghanistan and eventually in Pars.

The larger river flowing into Mourum (Eng-Gk Margiana) is the Murgab River; the main river flowing through Haroyum (Eng-Gk Aria) is the Hari-Rud River; the main river flowing through Sughdhem/Sugd (Eng-Gk Sogdiana) is the Zerafshan River. The Kashka Darya also flows through Sughdhem. Sughdhem was likely bordered by the Amu Darya (Oxus) in the west/south-west and Syr Darya (Jaxartes) Rivers in the east/north-east. There are of course, other smaller rivers. The Pamirs together with the Hindu Kush and its western extensions including the Safeed Kuh and Siah Kuh mountains that border today’s Northern Afghanistan are where these rivers originate.

The Lesser & Greater Bundahishns at LB Chapter 20 and GB Chapter 11.A respectively provide additional information. We reproduce here portions of the Bundahishn related to the rivers of Central Asia identified above via the Meher Yasht. However, the Bundahishns only assign the rivers Daraja and Daitya to ancient Iran-Vej (Airyana Vaeja). Regardless, we still see these lands the rivers flow through as part of greater Aryan nation, Iran-Shahr:

LB 13. The Daitya river is the river which comes out from Eranvej, and goes out through the hill-country; of all rivers the noxious creatures in it are most, as it says, that the Daitya river is full of noxious creatures. [Our note: it is significant that the Daitya is noted as “going through hill country”.] GB 11.A.7 states “The river Daitya comes out of Eranvej and proceeds to Dutistan.” We have yet to identify Dutistan.

Source readings and references:

Tantra and Taoism: On their essential nature and relation

Dürckheim, Karlfried “Hara, The Vital Centre of Man”  Unwin 1980

Wilberg, Peter Head, “Heart & Hara – the Soul Centres of West and East”  New Gnosis Publications 2003

Zoroastrians, Their Religious Beliefs and Practices by Mary Boyce

Japanese Author Traces Nippon Origin to Hebrew Race Aug 15, 1929

Aryans: Location of the Aryana Vaeja (Zoroastrian Heritage) by K. E. Eduljee

[Whilst it is often said that the Japanese religious system is derived from the Tibetan bon religion, much of the key royal mythology, shrine and folk lore found in the Kojiki and Nihon shoki and other early records and documents, parallel more closely those of the ancient Indo-Iranian, Greco-Bactrian and Central Asian interaction spheres, occasionally with some Sinicization or Koreanic transformation. ]

Alborz – Encyclopaedia Iranica


Mount Hermon

The Druze: A Population Genetic Refugium of the Near East

Watch out for more on the Druze peoples.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s