Gatha Vahishtoisht, 1381 Yz.
Sherevar is followed by Meher, the Divine Being who looks after Justice and Truth. Dear readers, there is a great Divine Symphony which is playing all the time. But our ears are incapable of hearing it, since they are only attuned to the material. The best sound in the universe is the Sound of Silence. Have you ever experienced it? We haven’t because rather than controlling our physical senses, we are totally in their control. But when a Zoroastrian learns to control his physical senses, he moves ahead on the spiritual path. Slowly his spiritual senses develop. His eyes begin to see the beauty of nature, not physical beauty; his ears begin to hear the Sound of Silence, not the cacophony of gossip. This is the true state of peace and tranquility, which has to be experienced, it can never be described. This is the blessing contained in the Pazend Ashirwad: ‘Meher dad ashnavashni!’ May you able to listen to the Sound of Truth!
The eighth month of Ava is of course dedicated to water and Dal ni Poli! Water is the greatest cleanser. It cleans not only the physical dirt, but the spiritual component of water cleanses us of the accumulated spiritual burden we carry from one life to another. Ava is also the protector against all evil forces, as well as the Divine Being who presides over childbirth. The cleansing and purifying power of water is described as Padiyav, which is where we get the term Padyab-Kusti from. A true Parsi always recharges his Kusti at every change in the Gah, so that his defense is constantly up against the evil forces. That is why the Pazend Ashirwad says: Padiyavi Ardvisur! May you be spiritually cleansed by Avan Ardvisur Banu.
Adar is the ninth month of our calendar. The foundation of the entire universe is Atash. Atash refers to a Spiritual Energy, which in physical terms is found in fire. There are 16 different Atash Energies which work at different places in the cosmos and carry out specific functions. Of these, the Energy of Atash-e-Vohu Frian is found in our own body. This Atash Energy is to be roused from its dormant state and progressed through four different stages, until it reaches the pinnacle, called Atash-e-Frah. This pinnacle is referred to in our Atash Nyaesh as ‘Atash Behram/Adaran/Dadgah Adar Frah. When a person follows the spiritual practices of our religion, the Atash energy within him is roused and made sublime, through the agency and help of Adar Yazad. Hence the blessing in the Pazend Ashirwad: ‘Rae vakshan Adar’ may Adar Yazad increase the Atash Energy within you!
The tenth month is Dae. There are three Dae in the Zoroastrian calendar – Dae-pa-Adar, Dae-pa-Meher, Dae-pa-Din. The Dae are the collecting agents of the Divine Cabinet. They gather all the good and bad that is generated by the different aspects of creation, and then aggregate it in a way that Nature can use. Our own collection of good and bad thoughts, words and deeds is aggregated by the Dae Beings and accumulated in a cloud form in nature. The reaction of these collections of good and bad come down to us through the agency of Mah, the Moon or what we call as Fate. Thus along with the celestial blessings which rain down on the earth constantly, the Dae Beings and Mah Yazad also shower our own personal good and bad reactions. These important blessings need to be collected and integrated into our spiritual bodies through specific ceremonies. This is the real reason behind performing the Dae Mah Jashan. The Pazend Ashirwad states: ‘Daheshni Dadar Hormuz!’ May you receive the accumulated blessings through Dae and the Creator!
Dae gives way to Bahman, not a real favourite of many Parsis, since they believe they have to abstain from eating meat in this month. The correct attitude is not to abstain, but rather, the desire to eat meat should not arise! Bahman presides over one of the most important creations of God – cattle. The cow is held sacred, not just by Hindus but also by us. The cow embodies all that we are not – she gives away the most precious part of her body – her milk. Her body is made in such a way that if she is not milked, or the calf does not suckle her, the cow will die. The cow and bull also personify the ability to bear another’s load, without too much fuss. Hence they are called ‘beasts of burden’. The real significance of this month is not about abstaining from meat, but rather developing the correct mentality of giving away what is ours, for the benefit of those who may not have that. The true temperament of bearing another person’s load, silently and without complaint. This mindset has a beautiful word in Gujarati, ‘pardukhbhanjan’, that is, to take on ourselves the sorrow of another and to bear it with a smile. This is why the Pazend Ashirwad states: ‘manishni manidi Bahman!’ May you begin to think like Bahman!
Finally, our year ends with Spendarmad, who looks after Mother Earth. To what state have we reduced our Mother Earth? Man’s endless demands for oil, minerals, lumber, water and all other natural resources have resulted in the actual rape of what we call our Mother. Is this sustainable? Thousands of years before Greenpeace and the shrill environmental brigade, our Prophet Zarathushtra taught us to lead lives which were in sync with nature, a life in which both man and nature progressed. But we have gone far away from that ideal. Yet, as all mothers, who cannot see anything bad in their children, Spenta Armaiti keeps hoping, that we will change and redeem ourselves. She bears her load silently and without complaint, waiting for that day when the True Redeemer will arrive and lift humanity out of its morass. The Pazend Ashirwad states: ‘Pur manashni Spendarmad!’ May we have the complete thoughtfulness of Spendarmad, i.e. the patience to bear our load without complaint and the humility to accept our many shortcomings.
Readers of Frashogard, as the year starts, it is time not only to be patient and humble as we wait for the coming of the Promised Saviour, but it is also time to become active Zoroastrians, to begin to treat religion as importantly as we treat other things, to keep on our Prime Protectors of Sudreh and Kusti, to begin and end our days with prayer, to lead exemplary lives filled with truth and righteousness, to give to others what they deserve more than us, to treat each one fairly and with compassion, and finally, to leave this world in such a manner that we are remembered with respect and fondness. That is the true Zoroastrian spirit and that should be our primary aim in life. Material and monetary success can only last for this lifetime, but the goodness and charity we do will last for many generations to come. Zarathushtra says it so beautifully in the Gathas: At tu moi daish ashem, hyat ma zaozomi (Yasna 43.10). ‘O Lord, grant me (the privilege to follow) the Path of Righteousness, which I yearn for most ardently!’ Every Parsi, through his birth in our religion, has earned that privilege and has been given the obligation to follow the Path of Righteousness. May we all fulfill this heavy burden and therefore deserve to be called true Parsis in 1382.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram