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« دين حقيقت و بينش ياري يك تفكر ايلياتي و عشيره‌اي نيست كه براي محاسبات آن راهكاري سنتي بدون دخيل دادن علم و هر آنچه كه در حوزه‌ي نظامنديِ كائنات تعريف دارد در نظر گرفته شود. در واقع هر چقدر كه اشراق و مفاهيم يك تفكر بالاتر باشد، مباحث و گفتمان مربوط به آن نيز تخصصي‌تر و مشكل‌تر مي نماياند. پس ما نمي‌بايست كه مفاهيم را به اندازه‌ي وجود خود پائين بكشيم تا كه به گونه‌اي گردد كه هيچگاه عزم جزم براي بالا كشيدن و سعي براي فهميدن در خود پيدا نكنيم.»

 

 

 

 

 

 

نوشته شده توسط S. B. HOSSEINI دسته: مقالات
نمایش از 19 آبان 1396 بازدید: 407

FRITILLARIA KURDICA. BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. 13-14, 09.2016.

 

Life after Death in Manichaeism and Yārsān

This research is part of my fieldwork in Iranian Kurdistan.

 

SEYEDEH BEHNAZ HOSSEINI

Completed her doctoral research with a focus on Yarsan in Iran and diaspora in the Department of Islamic Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the University of Vienna. Her research interests include religious minorities in Iran and Iraq and forced migration.

 

 

ABSTRACT
the idea of resurrection (i.e. life after death) is a common thread amongst different religions; however, there are considerable differences in concepts regarding the return of the soul in this world. Like Manichaeism, there is a comparable belief in the Yārsāni Faith, referred to as Doon-ā-Doon. Signifcant similarities and differences among Manichaeism and Yārsān regarding resurrection underscore the motivation for conducting this study. From the analysis available ancient scripts, as well as viewpoints from Yārsāni scholars and leaders, this study attempts to obtain and offer a new, accurate, and pervasive interpretation of Yārsānis’ beliefs about life after death. Furthermore, the results obtained from this work will be analysed and compared with the obtained results with Manichaean beliefs, resulting in a new, innovative, and up graded assessment.

 

INTRODUCTION
The objective of this section is to describe the research methodology that I have applied for this research. In addition, I will present an evaluation of the sources. I have used primary and secondary data for analysis. I have collected the primary data regarding the Manichean concepts of life after death through library research. Through feldwork in Iran, as well as sources available in public and private Yārsāni libraries, I have collected the second portion of the primary data and secondary data. In addition, I have interpreted religious manuscripts and resources from outside of Iran. The most important focus of this paper is on Divan Gureh,
 the most essential Manuscript of Yārsān. Work on the text was not easy because interpretation of texts is very diffcult as there are few Yārsāni adherents who can interpret even one line from these manuscripts. Finding the manuscripts was also diffcult: upon my first request for the Divan Gureh, they told me I should first ask their leader, Seyyed Nasr Din in Kermanshah. Once he understood my need for the manuscript to conduct academic research, he allowed me access.

Conducting this study was very difficult. Mr. Nemat Zahmatkesh apprised me that he had a great deal of information about the Yārsāni faith and its rituals because of his long coexistence with Yārsāni leaders in Iranian Kurdistan. He allowed me to visit his library to collect necessary references. He initially stated that interpretation is not easy and that nobody has conducted a pervasive and scientific study on the Yārsānis’ manuscripts (kalām). All translations of Yārsāni poems are baseless and have been refuted by those who are familiar with Yārsāni manuscripts. He added that some people have already published books by collecting kalām inscribed over Yārsāni tombstones – actions that Yārsāni leaders oppose very seriously. My transcription of sacred poems began under the supervision of a Yārsāni friend who lived in Finland. Another problem I encountered was the interpretation and translation of these old poems written in Hawrami dialect that was used in this area in the past. Hawrami is different than Kermanshahi and Qalkhani dialects which are spoken there at present and people cannot understand these texts easily. Moreover, these texts contain many metaphors that refer to the times of Sultan Sahak and to interpret them special knowledge of kalam and sacred poems is required. Finding the manuscripts was also difficult: upon my first request for the Divan Gureh, they told me I should first ask their leader, Seyyed Nasr Din in Kermanshah.

I will initially present the Divan Gureh, the most important religious manuscript of the Yārsānis. I agreed to continue interpretations on Doon-ā-Doon based on Yārsāni religious poems in the Divan Gureh to determine how they believed the soul transmigrated during different periods of their history. Divan Gureh includes a history of a long period from the Bohlol Era until the time of Seyyed Khamushi.

 

REINCARNATION IN THE MANICHAEAN RELIGION:

Life after death is manifested through metamorphosis and the Hearer, the believer, and one must fnd the competence to enter heaven through metamorphosis into another body (Beduhn, 2003). Klimkeit and Heuser relate that according to Manichaean principles, when a man comes into this world, he wears a garment made of soil that has been woven out of the corpses of monsters killed in the battle between lightness and darkness (1998). Mankind needs to doff this temporary garment in order to reach redemption. A number of Manichaean texts have explained the most detailed qualities of reincarnation. One of these, the Kephalaia, (The Kephalaia (Κεφαλαια), „Discourses,” found in Coptic translation) tells about the resurrection of the human soul into other creatures’ bodies, undergoing metamorphosis as many as 10,000 times. It has been emphasized that the process will continue until the soul reaches the kingdom of lightness, or eventual redemption (Klimkeit and Heuser, 1998: 78). As we can see in Kephalaia, when souls come forth from their body they travel on and go into life (Kephalaia 91.230, 12-19). They shall be purified in the heavens, in the same way that this alms-offering passes over to the Elect, and are given likenesses in many forms, are purified, and merge into the land of the living. The souls of the Catechumens, who shall never again enter a body, resemble them (Mirecki and BeDuhn, 1991: 29). A human soul will always suffer when returning to this world and entering another body before its time of redemption. Manichaean epistemology refers to this process of metamorphosis as Zadmurd. A study by Alexakis indicates that the Mani prophet had categorized his followers into three classes: the Elect, the Hearers, and the Sinners. While ordinary followers will be painfully punished after death, they will be returned to earth during reincarnation. Mani both promises that the Elects’ souls will live in the Land of Light and warns about the manifestation of Sinners’ souls into the bodies of animals or plants. According to the Manichaean faith, deeds such as the eating of animal flesh and the killing of other animals will result in serious punishments and manifestation into an animal body (Alexakis, 2001: 168).

In another workscripters point out that, by definition, the souls of Auditors are reprocessed into plants or into a human life, either as an Auditor once again, or as an Elect, (Acta Archelai, 10), but this is not rebirth or reincarnation; the human soul does not cohere in ordinary passage from life to life.

Manichaeism teaches a traducing theory of the generation of personal identity: the personality of the child derives from the reproductive material of the parents, and does not enter into an independently formed body from elsewhere, ultimately descending from the material that constituted the parents’ bodies. Thus, reprocessing occurs exactly according to the pattern by which the Elect reprocess the divine element in their food (Mirecki and BeDuhn, 1991, p. 30). The most important point that needs to be preserved is that Manichaean eschatology, which is itself a Gnostic system, is based on the perspective that only human beings’ souls can reach redemption (Sundermann, 2001: 609). After death, the human soul (regarding a condition that will be explained later in this study) will be resurrected as an animal, another human being, or another metaphysical creature. Sundermann shows that Manichaean eschatology has commonalities with the Gnostic system, including the fundamental idea that only human souls can be redeemed, and after death they descend into this world as particles of the sacred light, thus, returning home (Mirecki and BeDuhn, 2001: 30).

Redemption is one of the most important stages of manifestation. Sundermann indicates that in Manichaean Sogdian Turfan, (fragment M140 and M1501), the soul is subject to five kinds of resurrections, i.e., in Manichaean parlance, the liberation of the divine light from its worldly prison. We do not know what the first of these resurrections is, what the divine light is liberated from, or who is affecting it. The second resurrection, however, is from the sidereal constellations, and it is affected by the moon, whose sphere is above the stars. The third resurrection is the liberation from rain and cloud, and it is brought about by the atmospheric deity of the virgin of light. The fourth resurrection is from animals and, we may assume, from plants and perhaps other terrestrial phenomena. Its agent is not apparent, but I venture that it is the Sun God, i.e., the Third Messenger, whose particular task is the redemption of the light from the bonds of the macrocosm. The ffth and last resurrection deserves to be quoted verbatim from the thirteenth Kephalaia: “the
fifth resurrection is from mankind. The god of the Mazdayasnian Religion does it.” (Gardner, 1992: 11, Sundermann, 2001: 749). Therefore, life in Mani’s view is redemption of the soul, whereas death is captivity of the soul in a material prison. A Uyghuryan fragment (TM 296) reads:

Because he deigned to enlighten [us], We were saved from the place of no return. Because he established the Law of the Buddha (i.e. Māni), we were freed from [distress] and misery. (Klimkeit, 1993: 291).

Jackson imparts:

Muslim scholar An-Nadim in his kitāb al-Fihrist quotes Mani as summing up ‘the three ways’ of the Elect, the Hearers, and the Sinners, the first being to Paradise, the second ‘to the world and to terrible things,’ the third (ultimately) ‘to Hell.’ The whole account, therefore, shows that the Auditor must continue his existence once more, sub- merged in another life and afflicted with terrible dreams, until, ‘after the long period of his roaming,’ he is found fit to put on the robe and to assume at last ‘the second form,’ or that particular degree of felicity which is his due (Jackson 1925:4; on Fihrist, ed. Flfgel, Mani: 64, 71, 95, 101).

Jackson continues:

Shahpor ibn Tahir of Isfara’ini includes, in his Arabic work on the sects, the name of Mani as among those who believe in transmigration of souls. Earliest among the Christian controversialists, Acta Archelai (10)[1], portrays how those who have committed sin (Hearers, or Auditors, being equally involved) are ‘transfused into five bodies,’ including the various forms of animal and plant life. … [T]he Acta Archelai, 11 (10).2, which is wholly in harmony with the Manichaean doctrine of the future life and the punishment of sinners by rebirth, similarly records that, after enduring hell torments, the soul of unbelievers is again ‘transfused into bodies’ as a means of further castigation and finally consumed in the Great Fire at the end of the world. (Jackson, 1925: 8).

The Turkish Manichaean Fragments[2] furnish further support in regard to metempsychosis [and contain] at least an implication of the transference of the soul into animal bodies,[3] [and continue] with a more explicit reference to rebirth, especially into plant and tree life[4], different sorts of Hearers, the ascent of their souls to the Zodiac and progress in their cycle, and to their ‘changing into another body,’ ascending or descending (Jackson, 1925:8).[5]

Most remaining Manichaean scripts emphasize the unrest experienced by creatures who seek to reach the land of brightness. According to these Manichaean formulations, worldly death and the soul’s convergence with absolute lightness after several metamorphoses is recognized as the sole pathway to reaching perfection. Boyce refers to a Manichaean Middle Persian text:

This Manichaean attitude is called Zādmurd (birth-death, rebirth), that is, the same metamorphosis found in Buddhist gnosis; in one of the Manichaean Middle Persian texts we see the same motif, “Wake up of deep drunkenness in which thou art slept, and watch me, take me out of the bosom of Death (Boyce, 1975: 108)”.

An Uyghuryan fragment T II D 78a, IT, preserved from Turfan documents, declares:

Deliver me from those that do evil, separate me from those that are laden with guilt, and deliver me from the sons of Hell who are all wicked and who do nothing but spread wickedness. My God, protect me from those devouring and from manifold kinds of poisonous [snakes] (Klimkeit and Heuser, 1998: 295).

A famous middle Persian hymn, S9, shows perfect agreement with this Manichaean testimony: “resurrection and return” is the light element rising up and returning to its place of origin. Augustine accused the Manichaean clergy of teaching their Hearers the transmigration of the souls and not the resurrection. Sudermann refers to Soghdian text M140 regarding resurrection in the flesh and that a belief by Manichaean sectarians in a resurrection of the bodies cannot be substantiated; Manichees did preserve some pre-Manichaean traditions, possibly mediated by some Elkhasaite source (Sundermann, 2001: 749). BeDuhn believes that Manichaeism professes an idea akin to a metempsychosis rebirth of the soul into trees as a possible fate that threatens those who commit violations of Manichaean ethical precepts (MM 17,55). (2010: 373-388) Augustine maintains that the Manichees believed that souls in such a state lack the capacity to understand the religious, who are able to hear and understand (Beduhn, 2010: 324).

Referring to Ashtiani’s works, (Ashtiani, 1996, 100-85) Fomeshi describes reincarnation, metamorphosis, and Zadmurd as features of the Orphée Faith (Ashtiani, 1996: 100-85 cited in Fomeshi) He suggests that, according to these beliefs, someone will be completely purified over a 1000-year period. Therefore, the Orphée Faith was very effective in the formation of Greek beliefs on reincarnation, especially Platonic and Pythagorean schools of thought (Widengren 1965: 65). Fomeshi also states, referring to an assertion by Epiphanius, (Epiphanius Panarion 66:28.1, 3) that the Manichaean believed in Naskh, Maskh, and Faskh[6] Although Fomeshi and Pederson both point out that it is difficult to confirm the influence of Pythagorean thoughts on Manichaeism (Fomeshi, 2003; Pedersen, 1988:180). The following section discusses findings of other scholars regarding the influences of Buddhism on this Gnostic religion.

 

THE ORIGIN OF REINCARNATION IN MANICHAEIS:

The Manichaean faith’s tenet regarding life after death can be considered to be rooted in Buddhism (Skjærvø, 2006:103, 26; Caudil, 2013: 5). Vaziri asserts that, in the eleventh century, Al-Biruni was the first to find Buddhist influences in Mani. He mentions that when Mani left Iran-shahr (presently southeastern Iran) for India in the tenth century, he was influenced by Buddha’s teachings, including the reincarnation doctrine (2012). However, Ecto has gone beyond this claim and purports hat Mani is said to have converted the king of Turfan by performing various magical tricks, and the king become convinced that Mani was Buddha’s incarnated soul. (Skjærvø, 2006: 26; Jackson, 1925: 249). For Mani, souls go from one body to another and inspirit everything, even water and earth (Cassadio, 1992: 126). Therefore, worldly karma is some sort of internal retribution, or Mokafat-I bateni: the idea that bad deeds done unto others will eventually return to the performer of the deeds (bad mikoni bad mibini) (Caudill, 2013: 150; Vaziri, 2012: 150).

A more detailed comparison between Manichaean and Buddhist thoughts on reincarnation shows that Manichaeism was not the only faith to be influenced by Buddha in this context: Buddhism has also helped shape the principles of many religions such as the cause of reincarnation (punishment of sinful souls), the terminable nature of life and death cycles in this process, hell, death, life qualities after death, etc. Moreover, it seems that the ethical points of Manichaeism remind us that the Elect are internalized from Buddhist teachings.

Fomeshi confirms the deep roots of Manichaean reincarnation in Buddhism; however, he believes that the concept of reincarnation has not been inspired by Mani’s words, but has been added many years later to Sogdian, Uyghurian, Parthian, Chinese, and Middle Persian texts (2003, p.58). He clearly indicates that, although he does not disagree with the presence of reincarnation concepts in Manichaeism, there is no real Buddhist element in Manichaean beliefs. Thus, it can be posed that after Mani’s death, Manichaeism’s expansive Eastern influence allowed these tenets to be completed when faced with Buddhism Samsara. As he suggested, this sort of reincarnation cannot be seen in Mani’s available scripts; however, one cannot fully nullify its presence in Manichaeism. He emphasizes that the reincarnation belief is stronger for those arriving to the religion after Mani than in the aboriginal Manichees. By inviting Buddhists that lived in the eastern empire into Manichaeism, there was a more fluid influence of Buddhism on the religion. Therefore, it has been demonstrated that the teaching of reincarnation to the west of Iran, either in the Near East or in Europe, had been acknowledged. This points to the fact that the last advent of Christ had been in Mani’s body (Pedersen, 1988, p. 181.cited in Fomeshi, 2003, p. 58).

 

DIVAN GUREH:

Yārsāni followers call their ‘religious manuscript’ the kalām, in its entirety. Every period is marked by its own kalām. The Pardivari Manuscript of Divan Gureh (Saranjam) includes the portion of the kalām from the period during which Sultan Sahak was in the village of Sheykhan, near Pardivar Bridge in Hooraman, Kurdistan. It is a collection of writings by Shah Khoshin, Baba Tahet, Shah Fazl, Bohlul, Baba Jalil, Baba Sarhang, Sultan Sahakand Baba Yādegar that is known as Zolal Zolal. The portion of the kalām from the period of Seyyed Khamosh, and Ali Ghalandar is 272 pages and is known as the Divan Gureh. All manuscripts are written in Kurdish Gurani and Kurdish Sorani in syllabic form. Manuscripts include advice, rituals, and the concept of Doon-ā-Doon, as well as a history of periods from the beginning of time until the present[7]. Mir-Hosseini describes the kalām of the Yārsānis, for which she uses the alternate name, Ahl-e Haqq:

The Ahl-e Haqq [Yārsānis] believe that their religion – which is a serr, a mystery – is embodied in their kalām (‘word(s)’), which exist in the form of poetry, mainly in Gurani but also in other Iranian languages. Kalām were preserved and transmitted orally from generation to generation until they were committed to writing, probably in the nineteenth century. There are now many written collections of kalām, each relating to a specific period or ‘cycle’ of Ahl-e Haqq mythical history. The most important of these collections is the one belonging to the period of Soltān Sohāk, known as Kalām-e Saranjām. Until recently, kalām were jealously guarded from outsiders, and even within the sect only a few people had access to them, namely the Sayyeds (the sect’s religious elite) and the kalām-khwan (lit. kalām-reciters, who knew them by heart) (Mir-Hosseini 1996: 118).

 

DOON-Ā-DOON (TRANSMIGRATION OF THE SOUL) IN YĀRSĀN:

As previously mentioned, there is a relatively similar interpretation of the Manichaean reincarnation process and the concept in the Yārsāni faith known as Doon- ā-Doon[8] (Elahi, 1978, Vol I, p. 73; 1991, Vol II, p. 325). Despite several studies conducted about the Manichaean religion, few efforts have been undertaken to shed light on Yārsānis’ points of view regarding the aforementioned issues. As Divan Gureh reads[9]:

Any soul owner is the incarnation or the robe of its predecessor soul; so, if that robe or body or human form reach the perfection, it will be deserved to be purified and a become container for manifestation of divine light through various steps of mystical teachings and doctrines, and That person is becoming God[10].

The Yārsāni manuscripts have never directly referred to the process by which Doon-ā-Doon may occur. Therefore, to understand this process perfectly, we first need to mention the definitions proposed by other authors and subsequently interpret chapters related to Doon-ā-Doon in the Yārsāni religious manuscript.

In Yārsān, everybody reincarnates 1001 times; of course each reincarnation (Doon-ā-Doon) involves many phases, and this belief in Doon-ā-Doon, or successive incarnations, greatly differentiates Yārsāni thoughts about God from Islamic ones. Believing in the successive incarnations of the divinity is pivotal for Yārsāni adherents; they believe every human has a god and that God is transferred in different forms and at different times to reach perfection. According to the Yārsāni belief, a soul inhabits 1000 Doon within a 50000-year period and continuously departs one body for another until it reaches perfection. Yārsāni adherents believe that there is always a divine particle in a human’s nature that circulates regularly amongst holy ones; it is called successive manifestation (Mazhar be Mazhar). Thus, God will incarnate in perfect bodies. Religious Yārsānis believe in seven successive manifestations according to seven Angels; in this way, each time the Almighty God, along with its archangels, has incarnated in mundane forms. This incarnation is metaphorically referred to as putting on clothing; hence, it is called Jāmeh (garment) or Doon. In Yārsān there is a belief that reincarnation is moving toward perfection. However, it is possible for a soul to remain in the same phase of a Doon for years and even to become an animal but this does not mean a return to a lower standing; this is still progress toward perfection (Delaviz, 2007). For a more detailed interpretation of the Doon-ā-Doon phenomenon, it must be said that the manifestation of the Almighty God is carried out in two forms: Manifestation of the Guest Nature could be for a short while, or forever. When essence of god’s manifest in human format is called zāt-ē-Bashar. They are Mazharriyyat and perfect humans and when this essence manifests during the life of the human, or someone who hosts the divine essence it is called the guest’s essence and Shāh Mihman or Guest King or Zāt-ē-mehman. The Divine Essence will be a guest in a human body that is devoid of human nature or a human soul, respectively. In Avesta this is called ‘xᵛarənah.’ In Pahlavi (Middle Persian), ‘xwarrah’ means ‘Glory and happiness’, and in Manichean it is called “Farrah.”[11]

For Guest King serves only as the guarantor of king-stance, and he is tasked with determining the reason and for guiding followers. His position is higher than serving them as the guide and force of reason. For the adherents, God has put the human body in its own Doon to pave the way – leading his servants to redemption. Manifestation of the Almighty God is associated with some of its features or names. Some studies have equally considered this belief with what is called Holul (transmigration of soul) by theologians; hence, they treat Yārsānis as followers of incarnations.

The Shāh Mihman’s soul after death again goes to human essence. In her research titled ‘Inner Truth and Outer History,’ Mir-Hosseini suggests that the soul enters another body in each travel. In fact, death is a suspension between the inside and outside worlds (Mir-Hosseini, 1994a). Suffering or happiness depends on the person’s previous life, and the number of these goings and comings for the soul to reach perfection and join the divine source from which it has originated is fixed at one thousand and one in the course of fifty thousand years (Mir-Hosseini, 1994: 281, 1997:180, 1996: 120-121; Bruinessen, 2009; Durig, 1998).

Yârân natersân neyê siyâsata ……. taslim giânân Çûin gotey batah

Do not be afraid (of death). This is not a punishment, surrendering one’s lives is like the plunge of a duck (soon to re-emerge) (Mir-Hosseini, 1994 a , p.281).

For Elahi, manifestation of God in true believers is not incarnation, but advent. Incarnation of God’s nature in its creatures is impossible (Elahi, [Traces of Truth] Vol. II, 1991: 633). Elsewhere, he says that the nature of guest is Mazhariyyat, not incarnation; human nature is of garment and Doon, not unifcation and transmogrifcation (Elahi, [Traces of Truth] Vol. II, 1991: 177). However, Mokri believes that the manifestation, or in Persian Mazhar Elahi, refers to the incarnation that is considered to be a connection with another soul; he calls it manifestation (Mokri 1968:76).

Yārsāni religious textbooks describe that Divine nature is seen everywhere and a belief that this nature needs to incarnate in various forms in order to indicate itself. Yārsāni adherents use manifestation, Mazhariyyat, and Shāh Mihman (the Guest King) to express the Doon-ā-Doon process. It seems there is a principle and basic essence that is manifested and incarnated in different Doons. (Personal interview with a Yārsāni member in Iran.) Shahnameh haqiqat (1984), written with Hāj Nemat-Alla Jeyhon Abadi, has referred to ‘done be don shodan’ as a sort of punishment:

Shavad ghovat Zät-e Dön be bad bogzarad    Ravanash be jäye degar mïravad

Chenïn tä shavad päk andar hesäb    begardad ze teflï beh dön-e aazäb

Keh in dönhä jorm-e osiän bovad    aläaveh bar än dön mïzän bovad

Zarrinkoob defnes Yārsān as a sectarian-gnostic faith that, besides Sufism and Illuminationism, has combined several elements of Jewish, Majus, and Manichaeism along  with some teachings of Shiism and other Islamic denominations, especially Druzi and Nuṣayrīyyah. (Zarrinkoob, 2008). However, Sufism can be pointed out as the most influential school of thought in this faith. A number of Yārsān branches believe that incarnation is a belief composed of Gnostic and Islamic eschatology (RezaHamzeh’ee, 1990: 93, Zarrinkob, 2008: 97) Bureke’I states, “Certainly commenting about the origin of incarnation in Yārsāni is impossible Elahi, 1991: 73). He refers to Kalâm-e Saranjâm, the central religious book of Yārsānism: Bohlol was the frst person who believed in incarnation after the emergence of Islam (Safzadeh, 1982: 217). Mokri believes that the influence of Manichaeism, Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian thoughts on Yārsānism is evident; however, believing in the circulation of souls and advent had initially existed in the Ismaili Faith, before Yārsānism. It seems that they did not originate from Hindu beliefs (Mokri 1968:145).

Bruinessen states:

[I]ncarnation for Yārsānism has two different forms: divine manifestation in a body and the advent of soul, as a guest in a body that has already passed the process of deity or humanity. Most Gurani’s texts confrm that manifestation in the body of animals is possible, but it has never been confrmed with certainty. It seems that the concept of manifestation depends on reward and punishment in the form of regeneration in lower and upper degrees of the soul (Bruinessen, 1995a: 13-14).

Mir- Hosseini believes that:

[D]uring each trip, the soul is placed in various garments (Doon) and death is a distance in the inner world. This means that the soul gets away from the body and emerges within another, along with the deeds of the previous person. Therefore, punishment and reward depend on the deeds of the previous individual. The target of this 1001 circulations through certain epochs is reaching perfection (Mir- Hosseini, 1994a: 281).

Elsewhere, she states that the Yārsāni Faith dates back to the Creation Day and that the Divine Essence had been in the form of a pearl in shell in the sea. She continues:

The creation of the world was the outcome of the first of these cycles, when the Divine Essence was manifested in khavandgar, the creator. Islam is the product of the next cycle when the divine Essence was manifestd in Ali, the first shi’a Imam (shari’at) and in the course of other cycles the stages of tariqat and Ma’rifat were established, and finally divine essence manifested itself in Sultan Sohak, who brought new laws, and establishing Ahl-e Haqq as a separate creed and this is the stage of haqiqat, which supersedes the previous stages, and thus frees adepts from observing the shari’a rules on muslims’ (Mir-Hosseini, 1994a:218; 1996:120-121). Although those who complete this journey become perfect souls, it occurs partially in the worlds of bāten, and if they come back to the outer world it is always for a purpose and to fulfil a mission (Mir-Hosseini, 1997: 180).

Dehqan explains the concept of the manifestation of the nature of the soul in Yārsānism:

[The] Yārsāni Faith had spoken about Haft Tan and Haftvāneh which affect inner and outer worldly aspects of Yārsāni adherents; in this thinking the highest ranking belongs to Haft Tan who control the inner territory. Haft Tan are Ramz-Bar, Pir Benyamin, Dawoud, Pir Mousa, Mustafa, Baba Yādegar and Shah Ebrahim and according to Kalâm-e Saranjâm, the Divine Essence has been manifested in Haft Tan (Dehqan, 2008: 4).

 

DOON-Ā-DOON PROCEDURE IN DIVAN GUREH:

This study attempts to shed more light on the vague phenomenon of Doon-ā-Doon by using available texts and taking advantage of Zahmatkesh’s expert viewpoints as an interpreter of religious manuscripts.

All Yārsāni references and Manuscripts of Kalām are fled with remarks and speeches that discuss Doon-ā-Doon as the main basis of the Yārsāni worldview. Some of them nicely reiterate the previous Doons of their author and unveil personal secrets of a person or people. One of the best examples of these discussions is Divan Gureh, or Divan-e Gureh, known as Zolal Zolal, in which Shah Ebrahim and Baba Yādegar extraordinarily describe their previous Doons. Using pleasant poems from Hawrami dialect, they describe their Doons step by step, from the beginning of the universe until reaching the truth.

Divan Gureh is composed of a collection of aphorisms from Yārsāni elders, who sought to maintain these adages and beliefs. Learning these texts, which are organized as short Kurdish poems, is necessary for all Yārsāni adherents. The first chapter of Divan Gureh covers Sultan Sahak’s Era[12], also known as the Damyar Era. It includes the testimonies of the Haft Tan on how the King’s (God) Doons were initiated before the creation of the earth, skies, plants, and animals – gener- ally, everything before life began. The late Yār Morād Khalifeh, one of the oldest Yārsāni scripters, wrote a manuscript that narrates the beginning of God and his archangels’ Doons, based on the philosophy and the commencement of Doon-ā- Doon from the Yārsān faith. He wrote his book from the main script, available to the general public in the religious center of Yārsān Tekye Tootshami in Tootshami village in the Kermanshah Province in southern Iranian Kurdistan, where the leader of Yarsani, Seyyed Nasr Din Heydari, lives. The frst page of Damyar recounts the manifestation of God and his archangels. This volume, which is only 51 pages, articulates the commencement of Doon-ā-Doon before Creation by Sultan Sahak’s time in Pardivar and then by Baba Yādegar’s time in Sahnēh. The Damyar period begins in a condition in which the Divine Essence is manifested at Pardivar as Sultan Sahak, who asks his archangels to explain their own Doon-ā-Doon epochs and to testify about each other’s Doon-ā-Doons, describing the role of Pir Benyamin (Gabriel) in various epochs of garment/Doon change. The first page of the Damyar Manuscript reads:

The King, i.e., Sultan Sahak, says,

baîân ao naward _______ qûlâmân yak yak baîân ao naward

râsi benmânân yâri kûzê kard ________ baîânî sanâî dâmeî pîrê šart

O My Servants, express all of the past secrets with honesty to a certain timing and confirm that these secrets are all the results of efforts of “Pir Shart,” Pir Benyamin (Gabriel), as well and describe his deeds through various Doons[13].

Conforming the efforts and results of Pir Benyamin, the seven archangels, one by one, offer their description and point of view about the procedure of Doon-ā- Doon and past Doons of the Divine Essence. They themselves rely on the Pir Benyamin’s achievements; he is called Gabriel by most religions and Damyar in Divan Gureh. They speak in consulting fashion, gathering that Sultan Sahak, the Divine Essence, is present too. Since the name of Damyar is repeated several times in this chapter, it has become known as the Damyar Chapter, or a period. On the first page of this chapter, Pir Benyamin says:

dâmêm wa dasâ ______ wa lotfê xâjâm dâmêm wa dasâ

dâwo rahbarâ oa shûnû shasâ _____ xâjâm qûdratâ qûlâm sarmasâ

I am the servant of Damyar. Damyar is someone who can achieve something, i.e., a finder; since it was Pir Benyamin who succeeded in finding the Divine Essence for the first time and recognizing it through different Doons and garments …

The Rumi says, in this regard, that:

Didehei Khäham Šahshenäs    Šäh rä Šenäsad dar har lebäs

Which means he should recognize God in any Doon. He continues:

In that Doon, my God was the most lonesome power and his name was power (Ghodrat) and Davoud, my leader, showed me the path to fnd it.

After the creation of the skies and earth by the Kiani Era (an era of Ancient Iranian mythical kings), the Divine Essence was hidden from his archangels and was unaccompanied by anyone except Ramzbar and Yādegar, who were both part of the Divine Essence’s existence.

For Doon-ā-Doon and its necessity, Ahmad (Baba Yādegar) says on the fifth page of the Damyar chapter of Divan Gureh:

dâmêš wa farzâ ______ dâmiâr bênyâmîn dâmeš wa farzâ

ay dûnû qawâ panamân farzâ _____ šahbâzeš gêrdan xâjâî farâmarzâ

Ahmad, who is Baba Yādegar as well and plays the role of Yārsān’s Pir Takhti and is very revered by the Divine Essence says, Confirmation of Damyari (function of Pir Benyamin is necessary for us), and this Doon for us is like a debt we need to pay back; and my name was Faramarz, son of Rostam during Kiani era.

In other words, his previous Doon was Faramarzwho was killed in the battle against Bahman, son of Esfandiyar.

For its previous Doon during the Kiani Era, who was Rostam-e Dastan, the Divine Essence says the following:

aû donê karda _____ qolâmân begandî aû done karda

bênyâmîn madârân aû šonê šarta ___ raxšêm paydâ kêrd na pêšt parda

‘O My Servants be aware of your past Doons. I designated Pir Benyamin to the Pir-e Shart and I was the owner of Rakhsh (i.e. Rostam) during the Kiani Era.’

On page five of the Damyar chapter, Benyamin explains his Doon, stating that around the birth of Islam he was known as Salman:

dâmêm wa haolân ___dâmem kêrdenâ wa halâo haolân

na donê salmân kerdêmân jaolân ___ va chapa narges šâhmân dâ qolânBanyāmīn maramō:Dāmam

kazīnā…haftam Jamā dām kazīna

Chain salmān bīm shīmō madina…Isa banyāmam yōrtan shīrīnēh

Benyamin says here, ‘My previous Doon during the early years of Islam was Salman-e Farsi and it was Shirin-Arman during the Sasanid Era, and now in Pardivar and Yārsān Faith my name is Benyamin.[14]

The King Sultan Sahak, one of the greatest in religious ranking of the Yārsān Faith, on the eighth page of the Damyar chapter states:

šîm aû bârbēt ___ nadaûray xasraw šîm aû bârbût

ramzêm bâd âwar nakîsâm sêkēt ___ benyâmêm êîsâ wîm šîâm aû bēt

The King introduces his several previous Doons and Pir Benyamin and Pir Ramzbar in the Sasanid Era, Christianity Era, and Idolatry Era. He claims:

In the Khosrow Parviz Era, I have been in the doon of Barbad [the then famous musician and singer] and Ramzbar has been known in Nakisa’s Doon. In the Christianity Era, Pir Benyamin was Jesus Christ, and the King has been incarnated as an idol.

Pir Musa, the scripter of good and evil deeds, explains his past Doon during the time of early Islam:

nūsîrê bê sar _____ mûsîanân nasîre bê sar

I was Nasir in that time and I am known as Musa.[15]

On page ten of the Damyar Chapter, he introduces his past Doon as Shah Fazl-e Vali during the Tarighat (Sufism) Era. He states:

qûlâman qazlâ ____ maiîdân yârî hûšâ qazlâ

chanî cheltanâ kêrmêmân fazlâ___ na daworaî maûlâ šîm aû šâh fazlâ

brûêm kardan ___ na wasl hûsêîn brûêm kêrdan

chani ham yârân zemâîešt dardan ___ hûsêîn hûsêînâ kûštmân wardan

Shah Fazl was the holder of the Doon of Shah Yādegar or Hussein and we ate his flesh in that Doon.[16]

tûrke sar bêr mên bîm ___mûstâfai mûtlaq tûrke sar bêr mên bîm

jeloêm na dast na dâwo kûr bîm

On page eleven, while confirming the King’s saying, Mustafa introduces himself as one of Shah’ Fazl’s companions who decapitated Shah Fazl.

Haqêm wât chana…. ayna bayânî haqêm wât chana

On this page Ramzabar introduces his past Doon as ‘Eineh,’ sister of Mansur-e Hallaj.

barrê ao bar bîm ___ yârân chanî ham barê ao bar bîm

While confirming his previous Doon as King Fazl, Ahmad says on the same page.

On page eleven of the Damyar Chapter, the Divine Essence introduces himself in the Doon of Sultan Sahak and says:

dûn wa dûn gîlâm ____ ao shomê shama dûn wa dûn gîlâm

chanî yâwarân tawûsî zilam _____ chani ahmadî Nâwûs eêlâm

Doon-ā-Doon covers me, too, and I have come following Haft Tan; and I have experienced apparent manifestation in different eras. For example, my name was Navos in Baba Navos time, while Baba Yādegar’s name was Ahmad.

For the Doon-ā-Doon of Ebrahim, he declares:

bayânem ao xân ___ na daûrê šâh fazl bayânûm ao xân

dûn wa dûn chanîš madîmî nišân

Yes, along with the Divine Essence we experienced Doon-ā-Doon, and even in Shah Fazl’s time, in which the Divine Essence, the God, was in the Doon of Shah Fazl, along with Gabriel, we traveled to Mars; and I was a lord in Shah Fazl era.

Yes, along with the Divine Essence we experienced Doon-ā-Doon, and even in Shah Fazl’s time, in which the Divine Essence, the God, was in the Doon of Shah Fazl, along with Gabriel, we traveled to Mars; and I was a lord in Shah Fazl era.

Xôšîn pakâ ____ dûnê pêrdîwar Xâjam sahakâ[17]

‘During Shah Khoshin, the Divine Essence’s name was Khoshin, and now in Padivar era his name is Sahak.’

The Divan Gureh, in the Shandroy Chapter, page twenty three, relates that Davoud Dalil and the guiding archangel describe his past several Doons and past Doons of Sultan Sahak, i.e., the Divine Essence, as follows:

sûltânê azîm ___ tû kabêî mêrâj mên mûsâî kalîm

tû mûrtêzâî dîn mên qambar peshîn ____ tû nûhsad mên chêlêbîe zîn

tû xodâî barê mên nasîme dîn ____ tû dîvânay arz mên rajab jâker

tû taj sûlêîmân mên sûlêîman kûr ___ eltêjâm aydan xûdâî haft eqlîm

nêjâtêm bêday pay bênyâmîne mim

O, My king in the Moses era I became Moses, and you became Moses’s God. During the Islamic era, you were Morteza Ali and I was Ghanbar. During Nohsadeh era, you were Shah Khoshin and I was Sutan chalbi. And during Shah Fazl, you were Shah Fazl, and I was Nasimi. In Bohlol’s time, you were Bohlol, and I was Rajab. And in the Solymān Prophet era, you were Solymān’s crown, and I was Solymān himself. And now, O the lord of seven territories help me to rescue Benyamin.

In Divan Gureh the Pireh va Pir Chapter, page thirty one, Ramzbar, Sultan Sahak’ mother and one of the seven archangels, explains Doon-ā-Doon, stating:

pîr dâwod marû ao hâlo xawar ………dûn wa dûn âmân axzar wa axzar

bênyâmîn kîšâ cha nor ao nazar …….. eqeâreš chani kêrd ao dasawar

Prophet David blows the trumpet by which Haft Tan should change their Doons, and he exclaims for changing Pir Benyamin.

In the Bargah Bargah Era, generally all Doons of God and the seven archangels happen in various garments.

Page thirty three of the Bargah Bargah Chapter recounts the manifestation of Divine Essence in the Doon of Imam Ali in Medina City. Pir Musa says:

ao kû madîna …………… bârgaî šâm west ao koî madina

dûn wa dûn âmân wîna wa wîna …….. bênymîn gardan yâr cha xazîna

My king’s essence manifested in Medina City, and Benyamin has confirmed it and has served him as Salman-e Farsi.

Also on the same page of Bargeh Bargeh Chapter, Pir Benyamin speaks about his previous Doons, who were Jesus, son of Mary, and Job, the prophet. Finally, he describes his Pir Benyamin in the Pardivar Era:

Bênyâmêm nêî dam……ayûb bayânî bènyâmêm nêî dam

Chanî bâš têjâr kotâm ao sêtam…..eisâ bayãnî eisabnê Maryam

According to these remarks, Pir Benyamin introduces his past several Doons:

1) Pir Benyamin 2) Job the prophet 3) Galim va kul 4) Jesus Christ.

On the same page Ramzbar Maramo:

bârgâî šâm wastan ao sâyao šami ….. simorq bayânî jarâhî rostami

Ramzbar introduces her previous Doon as Simurgh, who had healed the wounds of Rostam.

On this page, Davoud introduces his past Doon, Moses, as follows:

Bârgâhe šâm wastan ao omrê sodêz ….. mosâ bayânî mosabne nargêz

In the Chapter Vezavar, on page ffty seven, Davood says:

nasîm zaîûêm…….. hawâlaî hâwâr šûn aîûêm

xasraw na telesm awardaî gaiûêm

Davood reminds his Doons in the Kiani Era, ‘Give,’ and in the time of Shah Fazl, Nasimi.

In the Zolal Zolal chapter of this source, Baba Yādegar says:

adêgâranân zolâl yârân ,,,,,,,,, wa dûnê iraj gêrdêman šârân

Baba Yādegar introduces his Doons in the Kiani and Pishdadi Eras as Iraj, son of Fereidon, and Keikhosrow, son of Siavash.

In the Baba Yādeagr chapter, page seventy six

šâhbâze sêfîd haftomîn yâna….. îmam hûseîn bi va gard nišâna

amâ wast ao bêrj ghalâî sarâna

The previous Doon of Baba Yādegar is Imam Hussein. He is called the latest Divine Essence in the late Pardivary epoch.

The origin of Doon-ā-Doon, based on Yārsān religious manuscripts, is explained in the following paragraphs.

 

THE ORIGIN OF DOON-Ā-DOON:

The Doon-ā-Doon concept forms the basis of Yārsānism. Followers believe that Doon-ā-Doon is only possible for human beings, and not for other animals. God and his seven archangels, comprising Haft Tan and considered to be the most divine and sacred class, can experience Doon-ā-Doon. Like human beings and animals, the Haft Tan changed their Doons through various epochs and descended to the earth with various names. Divan Gureh, the most fundamental Yārsāni text, referees in detail to Doon-ā-Doons (manifestations) of the Divine Essence as well as the seven archangels:

 The Damyar Chapter of Divan Gureh declares:

Pir Benyamin Maramō:

dâmêm wa dasâ ______ wa lotfê xâjâm dâmêm wa dasâ

dâwo rahbarâ oa šûnû šasâ -------------- xâjâm qûdratâ qûlâm sarmasâ

In the beginning the name of god was Hagh, Pir Benyamīn Maramō.

Qûlâmân šîân aô naward ____ chani bîm wa jôft chanî nawâêî

pâdšâm paydâ kêrd na dûne yaeî ____awsâ pâdšâm na dûnê yâ bi na arz na samaâ bî

This means that after its Doon in the form of Ghodrat, the Divine Essence came to Doon in a form called ‘Ya.’ In Ya’s era, there was no earth, sky, humans, or existence; however, there were two natures in the Divine Essence, called Ramz and Reza. These two natures, along with the Divine Essence, are referred to as “Yari Tan” (three archangles). In this epoch, God decided to create four other angels in order to complete the Haft Tan Collection. At that time, other Doons were developed, and the Doons of the seven archangels began. Furthermore, God decided to create the sky, earth and plants:

King Maramō

šêîâm ao tâêî ______ qûlâmân nezâm šêîâm ao tâêî

dâmân qarârî arzo samâêî_____ bêîdî sanâî pîro pâdêšâêî

I [God] started the creation system through the creation of earth and sky, after creating seven archangels.

Pīr Bemyāmin Maramō [says,]:

dâmêm wa pâkan ___ wa lûtfe xâjâm dâmêm wa pâkan

qûlamân pay bâqî yaqašân châkan ____ âftao pâdêshâh bênyâmêsh xâkan

It means that the wait for the advent of eternality and the sun were created out of the Divine Essence. During this time, the King of the Divine Essence emerges and creates four elements (earth, fire, water, and wind) from the essence of four archangels. Earth (soil) was created from Benyamin’s essence; fire was created from Mustafa’s essence; water was created from Pir Mousa’s essence; wind was created from Davoud’s essence.

For the creation of the wind from Davoud’s essence, Pir Michael says:

dâmêš bê qâla ___ dâmyâr bênyâmîn dâmeš bê qvla

naînâtandêš na warû qâla ____ šahbâzêš kardan xâjaî šûmâla

Pir Mousa explains the creation of water out of his own essence.

dâmêšâ hawat____ dâmîâr bênyâmîn dâmêšâ hawat

naînâtandaš na warao samat ____ šâhbâzêš kardan xâjâi bahre šat.

Mustafa speaks about the creation of fire from his essence.

 

SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES OF ‘LIFE AFTER DEATH’ BETWEEN MANICHAEISM AND YĀRSĀNISM:

Most authors consider Doon-ā-Doon and reincarnation to be the same, whereas others find differences amongst them. Tamadonzadeh is amongst those who reject the origin of reincarnation in Yārsānism. He believes that if a soul is moved from one human body to another, it is called Naskh. If a soul is moved from a human body to an animal body, it is called Maskh. If a soul is moved to a plant body, it is called Faskh. Finally, transferring the soul to abiotic elements is called Raskh. However, this belief, with its features and details, is different from common elements in Yārsānism (Tamadonzadeh, 2000: 8-20). Manichaeism supports the manifestation of the soul in the bodies of humans, animals, or plants, which is necessary to be cleared and reach redemption (Alexakis, 2001: 168). Therefore, a soul that returns back to this world can be manifested in a plant, fruit, animal, or a human being, depending on the virtuosity or wickedness of its deeds (Klimkeit, 1993: 295). According to Yārsāni teachings, human beings are the end result of an evolutionary trip through the material world, after which a journey of a soul begins. Likewise, when this experience is completed, the soul begins to live in plants and animals, finally reincarnating into a body of a man or woman. Therefore, all men and women have four essences, including objects, plants, animals, and mankind (Dalaviz, 2007). The grave point of deduction Yārsānis pose to validate Doon-ā- Doon is God’s justice: they believe that if consequences of the worldly deeds of human beings are postponed to the afterlife, then God’s justice will be incomplete. Therefore, the upright people in fact suffer from punishments for their sins in past epochs.[18]

Hamzeh’ee believes that Mazhariyyat is frstly a transfer of a zāt (essence of God) from one human body to another, and incarnation of a soul is dependent on its demeanor and dignity and occurs within human, animal, plant, or abiotic elements accordingly. Moreover, followers of the Doon-ā-Doon theory consider a limited passage for a soul. They believe that a soul, after 1000 manifestations, will reach perfection and head to the Divine Essence (Hamzeh’ee, 1990, p. 90; Elahi, 1991 [Traces of Truth] Vol. II, 17; Mir-hosseini, 1994 a, p. 218.). On the other hand, for Manichaeism, there is no authentic reference about the exact period for redemption. Thus Zadmurd may be eternal and will continue forever (Sundermann, 2001, p. 69).

Hamzeh’ee believes that Mazhariyyat is frstly a transfer of a zāt (essence of God) from one human body to another, and incarnation of a soul is dependent on its demeanor and dignity and occurs within human, animal, plant, or abiotic elements accordingly. Moreover, followers of the Doon-ā-Doon theory consider a limited passage for a soul. They believe that a soul, after 1000 manifestations, will reach perfection and head to the Divine Essence (Hamzeh’ee, 1990, p. 90; Elahi, 1991 [Traces of Truth] Vol. II, 17; Mir-hosseini, 1994 a, p. 218.). On the other hand, for Manichaeism, there is no authentic reference about the exact period for redemption. Thus Zadmurd may be eternal and will continue forever (Sundermann, 2001, p. 69).

The god blew its soul and essence to other souls. All good and devil souls have divine particles, or ‘zarre khodai,’ ‘zāt-ē-haqq.’ Because if it is not available, then no soul would be found in the world, and souls circulate through plants, animals, and human beings.[19]

It is true that a sinful person’s soul moves to an animal’s body (Akbari, 2003). As During quoted from Xvaje al-Din, who sees Hindu influences in Ahl-e Haqq,”Ali and Soltân are like incarnations of Brahma, and the Haftan similar to Krishna, Sarasvati, Kâli.” (During, 1998: 138).

According to Hamzeh’ee, the earliest concept of manifestation in Iran can be found in Avesta, and in ‘Far-e-Yazdān’ or ‘Farrēh Izadi.’ Hamzeh’ee states, “Zoroastrian and Mazdaistic religions are matching with the transmigration of the soul”, and he believes, “Mazdaism in early stages was close to Hinduism. Indeed, he adds, [Far-e- Izadi] on earth is evident of the existence of the idea of reincarnation, it must have existed in most of the early religions before the monotheistic religions became dominant.” (Hamzeh’ee, 1997: 110).

There is no hell or heaven in Yārsāni beliefs. After completing 1001 Doons, and each Doon may last for perhaps 1000 years, you become a part of God. Yārsānis believe in resurrection day and it is evident from the religious manuscripts they recite while playing tanboor (sacred lute) during their ceremonies. Although it differs somewhat from the resurrection day purported in other religions, a resurrection day in Yārsāni beliefs is the day on which everyone is corrected and becomes God, the day mankind will fix themselves through Doon-ā-Doon epochs. The world will be full of righteous deeds; that is a resurrection day.

CONCLUSION:
Many hypotheses, either from opponents or proponents of the Yārsān faith, have been posed regarding Doon-ā-Doon and/or evolution of the soul. This study entails terms of philosophical and intellectual aspects from previous research. It attempts to propose an exact defnition of Doon, and seeks to compare it with Manichaean reincarnation. The philosophy of Doon-ā-Doon in the Yārsāni Faith has similarities by Manichaeism and Zoroastrian. Essence of God or ‘zāt’ hold similarities with the Zoroastrian belief in xᵛarənah, divided to different categories, one of them is communal Farrah upon which all humans have Farrah (Uryan, 1992, paragraph, 44 ,45, 46; Bahar, 1990; 51). But that is an independent faith according to Yārsāni religious manuscript. In fact, souls circulate through plants, animals, and human beings. A very important point emphasized in Yārsāni religious manuscripts is that Doon-ā-Doon does not include God; this means that God has experienced various stages of Doon-ā-Doon with various names, its first name being ‘Yā’. According to Nouroz Kalam:

Kān karam harkas bashi…..bazi faravan bazi khachashi

Everyone has the essence of god, or bounty of god; some have many and some like only to taste it.

Incarnation and evolution are two separate issues and most scholars, philosophers, and Yārsānis reject incarnation with respect to a certain quality followed by Incarnations. They believe in evolution, rather than incarnation. As scholars of Yārsāni have stated, each human being needs to pass 1000 worlds in order to reach the last 1001st, stage, i.e., eternal perfection. Accordingly, each creature, depending on its stance, moves from one body to another in order to complete perfection.

The concepts and beliefs of Yārsān presented here have concentrated on the soul showing its Divine Essence. Therefore, the following features can be reported in brief for Doon-ā Doon in the Yārsānism School: First, a soul, depending on its talents and gifts, moves from one body to another – that of a human being, an animal, or other. Second, a soul is expected to pass 1001 epochs in varying worlds to reach and achieve perfection; again, the quiddity and quality of this procedure depends on his/her deeds, behavior and talent. Third, the soul who reaches the 1001st body in fact reaches the Truth ‘Haghighat’ stage, or the ‘great happiness’ (also called Zāte Heq or God). This means that a soul is in the last epoch of a mundane life. Lastly, a soul will experience the resurrection. What differentiates these beliefs from Incarnations, is that incarnation is without definite time but according to Manichean, the target is followed by these Trans carnations’ reach to Land of lighting. Most scholars who considered Doon-ā-Doon and incarnation in Manichean (Parthian zādmūrd)[20] the same have neglected this considerable difference. It’s worth noting that according to my interview with a Yārsāni member, I understand that Yārsānism upholds that all individuals have the essence of God, and in the end the soul reaches Sultan Sahak. Yet, another great difference between Manichaeism and Yārsān.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

I would like to thank Mr. Nemat Zahmatkesh who provided insight and expertise that greatly assisted the research, and I thank Mr. Simak Najaf for review and valuable comments on Yārsani chapter that greatly improved the manuscript.

I would also like to show my gratitude to the professor Iain Gardner for his comments on an earlier version of the Manichaean chapter, although any errors are my own and should not tarnish the reputations of these esteemed persons.

 

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[1] Greek anti-Manichaean work written before 348, most well known in its Latin version, which was considered as an exact account of Manichaeism until the end of the 19th century

[2] T. II, D. 173, called by Le Coq a 'Buchrest' or 'Doppelbuch- blatt,' cf. Turk. Man. 1: 3, Turk. Man. 3: 11.

[3] T. II, D. 173 a 1, recto, lines 4-9.

[4] T. II, D. 173 a 1, recto, lines 18-20 and verso, lines 1-3

[5] T. II, D. 173 b, 2 verso, lines 8-19

[6] Fomeshi, “Gnostic Beliefs.” Faskh is the return of the soul to a plant, Maskh is its return to an animal, and fasgh to a human

[7] For an overview of the literature on the Yārsān, or Ahl-e Haqq, see Jean During, “A Critical Survey on Ahl-e Haqq Studies in Europe and Iran.”

[8] Doon is a Turkish term meaning garment

[9] You can fnd more explanations about Kalām-e Saranjam or Divan Gureh in later pages of this study.

[10] Personal Interview with a Yārsāni member January 2016

[11] Glory or splendor, divine mystical force or power, reflecting the perceived divine empowerment of kings. In Persian mythology, a person with Dutifulness may achieve the degree of perfection acquired. This charisma was dependent on the legitimacy of kings

[12] Sultan Sahak, or Soltān Sohāk, (born in the 14th century) was a Kurdish religious leader who founded the spiritual path of the Yārsān. He is considered to be the manifestation that fully reflects the divine essence by the Yārsān (Personal interview January 2016).

[13] In Yarsani manuscripts, Pir Benyamin is referred to as Pir Shart.

[14] Divan GurehDamyar Chapter, p. 8.

[15] The King, Damyar Chapter, 9

[16] Divan Gureh, Damyar Chapter, p. 10.

[17] Divan Gureh, Damyar Chapter, p. 11.,

[18] Personal interview with Yārsānis in Sweden in 2015

[19] Personal interview with Zahmatkesh, 2014

[20] The souls that still have not prmotioned from Category of Hearers(Middle Persian: niyoshagan) to the category Elect (Middle Persian: ardawan, dēnāwar) , condemned so much in the material world from one body to another, to step up their election or

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