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0450 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 450 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Hvaçpa, the Fradatha and the beautiful H"areriuhaiti, and Ustavaiti, the mighty, and Urvadha rich of pastures, and the Erezi and Zarenumati. Towards this [mount] flows and unites the beautiful glorious Helmand ... ' This rendering of the passage, which is that adopted in Professor Darmesteter's French translation, not only conforms best to the literal meaning of the text but is borne out also by the geographical facts. As already stated above,' the first four rivers here named have been reliably identified by me with the present Khâsh, Khuspâs, Farah, and Harût rivers, ranged in the same order from east to west. Now reference to the map will show that while these rivers, as well as the Helmand named at the end of the list, all unite in the Haman, they yet descend from widely distant mountains, almost as far apart as Herat and Kabul. Hence it is clear that the words ... Ushidhâo yim aiwitô paoiris âpô ham ... jaçentô must be taken in the sense indicated above, giving to the proposition aiwitô its regular meaning ` around ', instead of rendering it by ` from around ' or ` at the foot of ', as was done by me, in accord with others, when I first dealt with the passage.

From the correct interpretation of the words immediately following the name Ushidhâo, when considered in the light of our present knowledge of the topography of the Sistan basin, it clearly follows that Mount Ushidhâo must be identified with the Kbh-i-Khwâja.$ This again helps us to account for its sacred character, as shown by the few other passages of the Avesta where Ushidhâo is mentioned, as also for the etymology of its name.°

It only remains for me to refer briefly, in connexion with the Yasht passage just discussed, to the four other rivers which are named in it and which still await identification, viz. Ustavaiti, Urvadha, Erezi, and Zarenumati. In view of the location now determined for Mount Ushidhâo, around which all these rivers are said to gather, the question has occurred to me whether they ought not to be looked for among the streams which the map shows as descending into the Hâmûn basin from the western hills. It is true that water from these is not likely to reach the Haman except in the form of occasional floods after especially heavy rain in the ranges towards Birjand and Neh. But that apparently holds good also in the case of rivers like the Khâsh, Khuspâs, and Harût (H"âçtra, Hvaçpa, H"arenuhaiti).10 The fact that the preceding four river names are

Mt. Ushidhko identified with Kbh-iKhwâja.

iJnidentified rivers of Avesta passage.

7 See above, ii. p. 904.

8 Professor Darmesteter, when discussing in Zend-Avesta, ii. p. 633, note 98, Ushidhdo and Ushidarena, the alternative name of the mount or hill (gain) which is linked with it in other passages (Yasht i. 28 ; xix. 2), left it undecided whether ''it was to be located ` on the distant mountain chains from which the Helmand and the other rivers of Sistan descend or on one of the isolated eminences which break the uniformity of the Sistan plain, like the " Castle of Rustam ", the Kôh-iKhwaja, which Nadir Shah in vain besieged '.

If our present exact topographical knowledge of Sistan had been available at the time, that great Avesta scholar would, I do not doubt, have adopted the latter view. He unhesitatingly had accepted in 1887 my identification of the river names linked with that of the hill.

9 It is certain that the name which in the nominative appears as Ushidhdo and in the accusative as Ushidann (Yasht i. 28) is a compound containing in its first part the word ush (Sanskrit ushas, ush), ` dawn, morning light ', probably in the locative form. Bartholomae, Altiran. Wörterbuch, p. 415, takes the second part as darn, ` house, residence ', which is grammatically possible, and assumes the compound to signify: ` he who resides in the morning light.'

But it is equally possible to recognize in the second part the word da, ` sight ' (cf. Bartholomae, loc. cit., p. 725), which would give us for Ushidhko (Ushidko) the very appropriate literal meaning : ` he whose sight is in the dawn.' Such a designation would seem particularly suited for the hill of 1(611-i-Khwaja, which, rising in complete isolation to a height dominating the whole flat expanse of the basin, catches the first rays of the sun in the morning and can thus be seen far and wide from the cultivable area to the east of it.

The Pahlavi rendering Ôsh-ddshtdr is capable of different interpretations. The one adopted by Neriosengh (` the hill which puts and guards intelligence in men ') is accounted for by Darmesteter's gloss : la montagne éclairée la première par les rayons de l'aurore illumine aussi l'intelligence, car aurore et intelligence sont un (ushd et usti Grand Bundahis, &c.).

Ushidarena, the other name of the hill, similarly rendered 0sh-ddshtdr by the Pahlavi version, is coupled in Yaçna 2. 14 with the adjectives mazdadhktem ashahvektrern yazatenn, ` the Mazda-created, granting the ease of righteousness, the holy '. This clearly establishes the sacred character of the hill in antiquity, such as still clings to Koh-i-Khwâja.

1° Cf. Tate, Seistan, pp. 109, 116.