- Azar Kayvan
birth_date = between 1529 and 1533
birth_place = Fars Province
death_date = between 1609 and 1618
death_place = Patana
church = Zoroastrian
"Āzar Kayvān" (b. between 1529 and 1533; d. between 1609 and 1618), was a
Zoroastrianhigh priest of Istakhrand native of Farswho emigrated to the Gujaratin Mughal India during the reign of the Emperor Akbarand became the founder of a Zoroastrianschool of "ishraqiyyun" or Illuminationists. Exhibiting features of a Zoroastrianized Sufiorder, this school became known as the Sepassian.
Details regarding Azar Kayvan's life are scanty and are mainly culled from the hagiographical literature of the school. This hagiography places Azar Kayvan, son of Azar Gashasb, and his ancestry back to
Sasan the Fifth(cf. the Dasatir-nama) then through Sasan the First to the Kayanids, Gayomart, and finally to Mahabad, the figure who appeared at the very beginning of the great cycle of prophecy, according to the "Bible of the Prophets of Ancient Iran," and who seems to be none other than the primordial Adam. His mother was named Shirin; her ancestry goes back to Khosrow I Anushiravan. According to the Dabestan-i-Mazahib, as a young boy Azar Kayvan showed signs of his calling to the contemplative life. Through dreams and visions he received the teaching of the ancient sages of Iran, which allowed him to give extraordinary replies to questions which were asked of him at the madrasawhere he was a student, and which won him the nickname "Zu'l-`Olum" (master of the sciences). Internal references in the biography by his devotees allow us to determine that his residence was at Estakhr(about a hundred kilometers north of Shiraz), where he spent the first thirty or forty years of his life in contemplation and where he assembled his first assembly of disciples. Around 1570, drawn by the religious revival which was taking place in Indiaaround the Emperor Akbar, he left with them to settle down in the town of Patnain the Gujarat, where he lived until he died at around eighty-five years of age. Amongst his students, certain of these hagiographical sources place key Shi'ite Muslimtheosophical figures of the Safavidphilosophical revival at Isfahanwithin his circle. Notably among these figures was Shaykh Baha' al-Din Amiliand Mir Findiriski, on whose behest the latter seems to have translated a major Tantric yogictext from Sanskritinto Persian.
According to some scholars,
Dastur Meherji Rana, who had influenced Akbarand founded the famous lineage of Parsi high priests at Navsari, was a disciple of Azar Kayvan [ [http://tenets.zoroastrianism.com/zsaint33e.html FIRST DASTUR MEHERJI RANA: By Noshir Dadrawala ] ] .
Dabestan-e Mazaheb, whose author was a son of Azar Kayvan according to some scholars.
* [http://www.avesta.org/dabestan/dabestn2.htm "Dabestan-i-Mazahib" or "School of Religious Doctrines"]
*Corbin, Henry. "Azar Kayvan" in "Encyclopedia Iranica" vol. III:183-187.
*Modi, Jamshid Jivanji Jamshedji. "Dastur Azar Kayvan with his Zoroastrian High Priests in Patna in the 16th and 17th centuries," "Journal of the K.R. Cama Oriental Institute" (20) 1932: 1-85.
*Shepherd, Kevin. "From Oppression to Freedom: A Study of the Kaivani Gnostics" (Intercultural Research Series of Anthropography No. 4), Cambridge: Anthropographia Publications, 1988.
*Tavakoli-Targhi, Mohamad. "Contested Memories: Narrative Structures and Allegorical Meanings of Iran's Pre-Islamic History," "Iranian Studies" 29: 1-2 (1996), 149-175.
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