A Manual of Khshnoom

The Zoroastrian Occult Knowledge

by Phiroz Nasarvanji Tavaria | 1971 | 160,667 words

An introduction to the mysteries of Khshnoom, an ancient occult movement. Khshnoom stands for 'Divine' or 'Spiritual' knowledge and originated from Zarathushtra. This book contains knowledge not to be found in Zoroastrian religious works. The second part contains documentaion of the life of Prophet Zarathushtra....

Chapter I

Mystery Behind the Word "Years"Mentioned in Pahlavi Writings

The enigmatical mention in Pahlavi writings made by Dastur Zadsparam and Dastur Arda Viraf of the religion having been disturbed after 300 "years" has been the main source of misguiding the modern philological scholars and throwing them completely off the track of the true Era of holy Zarathushtra. They are not aware that in ancient Iran it was customary to reckon varied type_ of years not only of different planets for different purposes, but to compute them besides by three different methods explained further on. It was not till our Master disclosed the mystery that those "300" were not Solar but Lunar "years" of the old Iranian "Kar" system of reckoning, each of which years is equivalent to 27 Solar years, that the tangle of the Prophet's era was unraveled. Thus those 300 years are really 8.100 Solar years. This is only one of the numerous instances in which the Dasturs of Pahalvi periods have expressed themselves in such an enigmatical way that the simple looking language entirely deludes an ordinary scholar innocent of the mysterious methods of writings and computations employed by them.


The "Enigmatical Veil"

In connection with this enigmatical mode of writing by ancient Iranian doctors the esteemed scholar, Anthony Troyer thus makes a reference in his 'Synopsis of the Dabistan' (Vol I pp. xlvii/viii):

"The Dabistan informs us that Zand-books are of two kinds: the one perspicuous and without enigmatical forms of speech is called the 'Mah-Zand', 'great Zand, the second abounding in enigmatic or figurative language is entitled 'Kah Zand" 'little Zand'. The first in most points speculative and practical agrees with the Desatir; the second is intended to prevent philosophy falling into the hands of the ignorant, to whom an enigmatical veil is offered, whilst the sages know the true purport of the pure doctrine. To king Gustasp, his brother Jamasp, his son Isfandiar, and to Bahman, the son of the latter, were attributed the interpretations of Zoroaster's religious system and many ingenious parables which for their moral sense, may be reckoned among the best specimens of this kind of popular instruction."

With respect to the Era of Zarathushtra modern scholars depend on Arab writers of old, who were equally ignorant of the secret methods of the Pahlavi writers. And that is why in the absence of the essential knowledge innocent philological scholars who deal with such Pahlavi writings without being on the quivive for linguistic mazes are caught in the tangle of the 300 "years" mentioned by Iranian Dasturs.


Misconceived "Synchronism"

Thus Dr. West (in his introduction to S.B.E. VoL XLVII) deals with the Era at length (pp. 27 to 47) and on the basis of the misconceived. "synchronism" compiles a 'synopsis' of Zoroastrian chronology, in doing which that illustrious scholar observes as follows in paragraph 55:

"If we now adopt the abbreviations A. R. (for anno religionis) and B. R. (for before the religion), we are prepared to compile the following synopsis of Zoroastrian chronology according to the Millennial system of the Bundahish, extended to the end of time, but dealing only with traditional matters, combined with the European dates of the same events, deduced from the synchronism of A.R. 300 with B.C. 331."

In his abovesaid synopsis Dr. West has relied on two Pahlavi writings, in both of which he has deceived himself. One of them is from the 'Selections of Zadsparam' (ibid. p. 166) in which it is stated that after 300 years, the Zarthoshti Daen "is disturbed". The other is from Chapters. 1 and 34 of Bundehesh, which deal with the millennial system referred to above.

Because the two numbers of years, namely 300 (given by Dastur Zadsparam) and B.C. 331 (the European date of devastation of Iran by Alexander) appear close to each other, the said 'synchronism' is erroneously assumed between them. Almost all philological scholars have likewise been misguided in accepting such seeming synchronism. In ancient Iran three methods of reckoning years called the "Nimoor Sal", the "Kar Sal' and the "Far Sal" were current. Of these the method of the Nimoor Sal_has 365- 1/4 days in the year, and in this it resembles the modern system of Solar years. That one or the other of these three methods was current in Iran of old is also supported by the Dabistan, (Vol. I, p. 26 et seq.).

The European date B.c. 331 given for the ruination of Iran by Alexander is of the ordinary Solar year, whereas the 300 years mentioned by Dastur Zadsparam are according to the Lunar Kar- Sal (years) each of which is equivalent to 27 solar years as explained further on. And as such the said 300 years spoken of by Dastur Zadsparam are equal to (300 x 27 =) 8,100 Solar years.


Pahlavi Testimony Of "27"

Testimony to this fact is indirectly to be found in the Introduction (p. 18) to the book of translation in Gujarati (published in 1901) of the Bundehesh by Dr. Modi, who while discussing the date of the writing of Bundehesh quotes the following from the ancient DH and TD MSS of Dastur Hoshang (Jamasp-Asa) and Ervad Tehmuras (Anklesaria) respectively -" .kun panj beesto haft shante parsik" meaning 'now, five twenty-seven years of the Parsees'. Here this Pahlavi writer does not mention the name Lunar 'Kar Sil', but informs that each of those five years is equal to 27 years. And Dr. Modi also takes them as (5 x 27=) 135 normal years. However, in S.B.E. Vol. V Dr. West has translated the above Pahlavi sentence as 'now (it is) the Persian year 527', and with respect to "527", the illustrious savant gives the following footnote:

"The last date is doubtful, as the Pahlavi, text gives the ciphers only for 'five and twenty-seven' omitting that for 'hundred'. ………The Persian year 527 was AD. 1158."

It is evident that Dr. West has misinterpreted 'five twentyseven' as '527', though he has stated that the cipher for 'hundred' is omitted in the original Pahlavi Text. Thus this Pahlavi evidence testifies to the fact that in ancient times there did exist a system of expressing a period of time in terms of Kar Sal mode of reckoning in which a Lunar Kar Sal (year) is equivalent to 27 Solar years, and as such 300 years mentioned by Zadsparam are actually 8,100 years.


"Kar-sal", "Far-sal" in 'dabistan'

In "Dabistan"[1] a certain amount of description is to be found about the "Nimoor Sal", the "Kar Sal" and the "Far Sal" referred to above, but its learned writer seems to have been confused in the calculation of the Saturnian Kar year which may be ignored. Moreover, there is no mention of Lunar Kar-Sal (year) and its relation to the antiquity of the holy prophet, and hence the attention of the scholars has not been drawn to the utility of that description. However, the value of that book of many antiquities, as Prof. Jackson has observed in one place, lies in the fact that it provides some evidence which goes to show that the Kar system is not a fabrication of the Khshnoom school.

The proper description, as explained by Our Ustad Saheb (Master), concerning the Nimoor-Sal, Kar-Sal and Far-Sal systems is given by the learned Dr. F. S. Chinivala, in his great masterpiece (in Gujarati) entitled "Khshnoom Nikiz-i-Veh Din" Vol. I, (pp. 658/61), where it is stated that a Lunar Kar year is equal to 27 Solar years. How 27 is arrived at is explained further on. This can be found from certain information given in :

  1. "Sky Is The Limit", by Llewellyn George, Los Angeles, California (p. 21 and p. 67); and
  2. "British Encyclopedia" Vol. VII, (p. 233) under the item Month.

In ancient Iran it was customary for the learned doctors to express the years of different planets and the earth, based on the following three methods:


First Sytem

The first is our usual Solar year - called "Nimoor-Sal' which is the period of 365¼ days taken by the earth in completing one circuit. This circuit, as is well known, concerns the movement of the earth through the 12 signs of the Zodiac, with the Sun as the centre each sign being divided into 30 degrees, thus making in all 360 degrees. On p. 21 of the "Sky Is The Limit" it is said:

"The Moon revolved around the earth completing the earth's circuit in approximately 27-1/3 days, thereby going around the earth about 12-1/2 times, while the earth swings around the Sun once."

So one Lunar year is equal to (27-1/3 x 12.5 =) 341 days or 0.9 of a Solar year according to the above method.

In the British Encyclopaedia above mentioned three types of Lunar months are mentioned, of which, what is known as the "Synodical" Lunar month" which represents the time between New Moon and New Moon, averages a little over 29.5 days, that is, this Lunar year is of 354 days, or also 0.9 of a Solar year, though longer by 13 days than that given in the preceding quotation. In both the cases a Lunar year is 0.9 of a Solar year.


Second Sytem

In ordinary (Nimoor) Solar year when the earth traverses one degree of a sign we call a "day", and when it traverses 30 degrees we call a "month". But in the "Kar" system, when the earth or a planet completes 30 degrees it is called a Kar day instead of a month as in a Solar year. Such 30 Kar-days make one Kar month, and 12 Kar months make one Kar year (Sal). This means that a Solar Kar year is equal to 30 Solar years. So the Lunar Kar year is equal to (30 x 0.9=) 27 Solar years. In this way it will be understood that 300 "years" mentioned by Dastur Zadsparam are, as stated before, the Lunar Kar years equivalent to (300x27 =) 8,100 Solar years, or about 6,150 B.c., which is very near to 6000 B.c. mentioned by the oldest Greek writers.


Third Sytem

The third system is what it known as "Far Sal". We have seen above in the second system of Kar-Sal that when the earth or a planet traverses 30 degrees it is called a Kar day, whereas in the Far system when an orb completes the whole circuit of 360 degrees it is called a Far day, 30 such Far days make one Far month, and 12 Far months, one Far year (Sal). This means that 360 Solar years make one Solar Far Sal.

Besides the above three graduated systems of expressing years, the ancient Iranian Hokma (Doctors) of the religion, who were past masters of Zoroastrian religious interpretation and sidereal science, reckoned the years from different planets, the respective periods of which years naturally vary according as the orbit of the planet concerned be short or long.


10,800 Solar Years Make 1 Saturnian "Far" Year

Thus in Dabistan it is said "one revolution of the regent Saturn is allowed to be 30 years, and Jupiter describes his period in 12 common years." This may be verified from the sidereal periods of the planets and the earth given on p. 67 of "Sky Is The Limit" mentioned above, where the earth's period is 365 days, Jupiter's 4,332, Saturn's 10,759, and so on. These sidereal periods are also given in the Master's book entitled "First four days' ceremonies of a departed soul" (p. 145). So by dividing 4,332 by 365 days we get nearly 12 years for Jupiter; and by dividing 10,759 days by 365 days we get nearly 30 years for Saturn as stated in Dabistan, which means that while the earth traverses the whole circuit of 36O degrees nearly 12 times, Jupiter does so but once; and similarly, when the earth goes round 30 times, Saturn does so but once. In this way the above two books agree, though they express the same thing in different ways. This proves that the astronomical calculations based on. observations through spiritual illumination by the ancient holy doctors, referred to as Mubads in Firdausi's Shah Nameh, were in accord with the modern astronomers observations through telescopes.

Under the "Third System" mentioned above it is stated that 360 normal Solar years make one Solar Far year. Therefore one Saturnian Far year is equal to (30 x 360=) 10,800 Solar years. Thus by the Kar and Far Sal systems the ancients had devised to express numbers of years running into many digits by contracting them in the ways shown above.


Different Types of Years Based on Rules

The methods of mentioning a year as Nimoor or Kar or Far Sal and with relation to different planets as explained above were based on certain rules, which the holy doctors of the Faith, understood by their knowledge which type of the year was meant in a particular connection. Thus in the case of the earth a "Zarvane daregho khadat", which signifies the self-created, i.e. self-returning long Cycle of Time, always comprises 81,000 Solar years. Certain other matters were referred to in terms of Lunar Kar years of which we have already noted one instance in Pahlavi DH -and TD MSS. - The era of Zarathushtra is likewise expressed as 300 "years", which years signify Lunar Kar years and not the normal Solar years, as has been erroneously assumed by the modern philological scholars. The years of the "Nisti" (Av. Daman; Ysn. 57,2) the Evanescent world (or the Space) - in comparison to which the earth is said to be but a drop in the sea - were expressed as Saturnian, Far years, in which, as has been shown above, one such Saturnian Far year is equivalent to 10,800 Solar years.

In the case of the "Hasti", the Immortal worlds (Haithyeng astish; Ysn. 43,3) where, though Time and Space are merged together, yet the inconceivable clock-work of Nature's Divine Time-Table comprises seven stages called "Zarvana Akarana", cycles of Boundless Time, in each of which seven, Nature has its own colossal programme for the transmutation of Evil into Goodness, as laid down in Ahunavar, the Will of the Lord God AHU (Ysn. 19, which is distinct from Yatha-Ahu-vairyo formulated by the holy Prophet, though based on the same Celestial Note of Ahunavar). We are living in the fourth Zarvana Akarana in which the strife of Ahriman against Ahura Mazda continues, and the good creation of Ahura Mazda and the destructive creation of Ahriman are co-existent (Ysn. 30, 3-4-5; Bd. 1:2,7).

At the end of Bundehesh; 1, 2 it is stated that the evil creations of Ahriman will cease in the Boundless Time (Zaman Akanarakih) when the souls of the departed ones will attain "Tane Pasin"'", final body. This reference to the Endless Time in Bundehesh is to the 5th (of the 7) Zarvana Akarana, in which all the souls descending an the earth will be so purified that the five senses from which vices originate at present, will then have so reformed that they will be the sources of all virtues. We shall not go further into this subject here.

We have thus seen that in ancient Iran it was customary to use the sidereal periods of different planets for specific purposes, and to apply the Kar-Sal or Far-Sal mode of calculations as required.


The Device for Secrecy

As stated already our Master was the first to reveal the mystery of the above 300 "years" mentioned by Dastur Zadsparam and Dastur Arda Viraf. On being asked about the very close era shown in Pahlavi, our Master explained that after the conquest of Iran by the Arabs when the true knowledge of the religion began to fade away, there were still left some learned doctors. However, the latter did not possess complete knowledge and afforded no proofs for what they asserted, because those proofs were destroyed. So with regard to the era of Zarathushtra they employed a device by which although this era would appear small to the layman's eye, the true doctors knowing the mystery thereof would be able to ascertain the real point of time with the aid of the "Tawil-i-Zarvane Daregha Khadat", the commentary of the self-created long cycle of Time (of 81,000 years) unknown to modern scholars. So they (Pahlavi writers) expressed the era as 300 "years" reckoned by the method of the Kar-Sal of the Moon, but did not disclose the mode of computation employed, nor the nature of the Sal (year).


Era of 6,900 B.C. not Extravagant

From what has been stated above it will be understood that the oldest Greek writers who declared the age of Zarathushtra to be_6,000 B.C were right, and not "extravagant" as imagined by modem scholars, whereas the latter who in the absence of proper knowledge of true facts declare that era around 600 or a little more are mistaken, though according to the system of calculations of the heavens the era comes to 7,551 B.C.


"258" Years Arrived at From Bundehesh 34 Erroneous

Besides the reference in Pahlavi of the enigmatical 300 "years" already dealt with, there is one more source of confusion to be found in Bundehesh; 34 which has been the source of misguiding many scholars, particularly those inclined to scale down the era of Zarathushtra as much as possible. The latter reference, which deals with the periods of rule of the kings mentioned below, reads as under:

"Kae Gustasp 30 years upto the time of Revelation. Total 120. Behman of AsFandiar 112 years. Homae, daughter of Behman 30 years. Dara, son of Cheherazad, daughter of Behman 12 years. Dara of Dara 14 years. Alexander Rumi 14 years."

In the above the total period of king Kae Gustasp's rule is stated to be 120 years. So from the time of the Revelation his reign continued for (120 - 30 =) 90 years more. Hence according to the above information the total period from Revelation to the conquest by Alexander the Great seemingly comes to (90 plus 112 plus 30 plus 12 plus 14 =) 258 years.

This period of 258 B.C has been taken as the date of Zarathushtra by several scholars in spite of the fact that there is historical record of the defeat of king Zarathushtra at the hands of the Assyrian monarchs Ninus and Semiramis in B.C. 2026 or (800 plus 1200=) 2000 B.c. as shown by Dr. West (S.B.E. Vol. XLVII, Intra. par. 74).

The above period of 258 years is incorrect, because Behman, who is otherwise called Ardashir Longimanus (Darazdast) and his successors Homae, Dara and Dara's Dara, though all belong to the Achaeminian dynasty have been shown after Kae Gustasp of the Kayanian dynasty. However, it must be stated that names of Gustasp and his predecessors of the Kayanian dynasty bear the prefix Kae (name of glory) while the names of Behman and Aspandiar do not. Hence they are not of Kayanian dynasty.

Between the death of Kae Gustasp and Behman, 'i.e., Ardashir Longimanus (B.C. 465) there exists the tremendous stretch of 6956 years as shown below:

  1. 2000 years continuation of Kayanian dynasty, after Kae Gustasp;
  2. 40 years birth and Revelation period of Shri Kae Gusrnsp ;
  3. 100 years Indian rule over Iran;
  4. 3255 years joint period of Huafrit and Kudarvand dynasties (1626 and 1629 years respec tively); the latter terminated by the defeat of King Zarathushtra (Oxyartes) by Assy rian monarchs Ninus and Semiramis in B.c. 2026 noted in Greek history;
  5. 1561 years from defeat of king Zarathushtra to Achaemenian King Behman called Arda shir Longimanus, B.C. 465.

6956 years

Thus it will be seen from the above that between the death of Kae Gustasp (B.C. 7421) and Behman (Ardashir Longimanus) there is a tremendous gap of 6956 years i.e. nearly 7000 years. Hence "258" years arrived at from Bundehesh; 34 are incorrect, and have no relation with the era of Zarathushtra, because they do not include the periods of Huafrit and Kudurvand dynasties and the period of continuation of the Kayanian dynasty after Kae Gushtasp.

Footnotes and references:


Published in 1843, translated by David Shea and Anthony Troyer (Vol. I, p. 26 et seq,), the original Persian work being by Mohsin Fani who preceded Anquetil Du Perron by 120 years.

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