2 farcical events in the community

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Roj Sherevar Mah Bahman, 1382 Yz.

As a general practice, Frashogard avoids commenting on any events in the community. When I started this blog nearly five years ago, I consciously decided that the primary focus of Frashogard would be education. I just did not want to get bogged down in community politics and the non-stop slander and yellow journalism that the community press indulges in. But in the last week, two totally senseless, farcical and idiotic events have happened in our community which need to be brought to light.

The first is the ‘report’ in the Jame Jamshed paper, which is not a report but a verbatim copy-paste of a mail being forwarded around by thousands of Parsis to each other. It seems a ‘Navjote’ was performed in Toronto, by two priests, along with a female ‘Mobedyar’, 20 year old Mahshad Khosraviani. When I first received this mail, along with numerous pictures of the event, I just could not control my laughing.

As a priest with nearly 25 years of practice I have never, in my entire life, seen someone performing a Navjote with a book in their hand! As my sharp readers of Frashogard may know, the Navjote ceremony has no complicated prayers – merely the Din-no-Kalmo, the Hormuzd Khodae and Jasa me avangahe Mazda prayer, along with the very small beginning part of the Hormuzd Yasht. The ceremony ends with a Tandorasti. Now what can one say about the calibre of the “priests” and the lady in the so-called ceremony, when they have to use books to say these basic prayers? Can such persons really be entrusted with the serious and most spiritual ceremony of investing a child with the sacred Sudreh and Kusti?

We live in an age of make-believe. Artificiality, superficiality and fakeness pervades our entire society. We think one thing, we feel another and we say something totally at variance with our thoughts and feelings. In this age of lies and untruth, is it any wonder that these kind of fake ‘ceremonies’ take place? Do they have any authenticity in nature? Do they have any effect? Are they spiritually valid? NO! NO! NO! Just as small children act out events in plays, just as an actor plays his part in a movie and goes to the next, these make believe scenes have no real significance, except to feed the ego of those concerned, that they have embarked on a ‘path-breaking’ exercise. Yes it is path-breaking – in the sense that it breaks the Path of Asha which is the foundation of our religion.

I really admire young Mahshad’s spiritual quest and her desire to know more about our religion and its prayers. I wish her every success in her endeavours. I am proud that a young Zoroastrian feels so intensely for her faith. But does that give one the right to not only take part but actually officiate in a fundamental ceremony of the faith? As someone who is interested in the medical sciences, I can attend lots of medical conferences, chat with doctors, maybe even sit silently when they are examining patients. But would that give me the right to perform a bypass surgery? Should I talk about equality and say that it is my fundamental right to perform the surgery on some hapless victim? Has anyone in this whole ruckus thought about the spiritual repercussions on the children whose Navjote was allegedly done?

Years ago, when I was studying for my degree, we had a course in Business Law. There we studied the Law of Contracts. It was here that our professor educated us on the concept of void and void-ab-initio. Very briefly, when someone enters into a contract with another party, it is assumed that the other party is legally capable of entering into the contract. If the party is not legally capable of entering into a contract (such as a minor) then any acts done by that contract are said to be void-ab-initio – that is, it is as if the act never took place. The famous case law of Mohori Bibi vs. Dharmodas Ghose proved this axiom. (For some strange reason it also happens to be the only case law I remember after all these years!)

In the same manner, a lady, with a smattering of knowledge about the prayers and traditions of our religion is NOT competent to enter into a spiritual sacrament and confirm a child as a Zoroastrian. Thus even if she were to go through the sham of a ceremony, it would be void-ab-initio, simply because she has no right, authority and permission to do so. In effect, this sham performance that has taken place is much like a girl giving her doll a bath, dressing her up in nice new white clothes, and then tying a string around its waist. The girl child may believe that she has performed the Navjote of her doll, but we all know that neither the doll is a Zoroastrian, nor the child competent to make anyone a Zoroastrian. The only unfortunate thing in this case is that we are not dealing with an inanimate doll but a real child who has lost the opportunity to have her Navjote performed by a competent and fully qualified priest.

A lot of people have been talking about gender equality as the basis of this event. Is it really so? Are the genders really equal? If both were equal why would God have created a male and a female? Could not He have made us asexual – like bacteria which can multiply on their own? But no, He did not. God made male and female – both as equals, but both with well demarcated roles to perform. In the name of gender quality, can I demand tomorrow that males too should be given the right to get pregnant and have children? Can I demand that my flat chest should transform to milk-bearing breasts when a child is born in the family so that I too can breast feed the child? Is it not unfair that only the mother can have that unique prerogative which so binds a child and its mother together? Is it fair for us fathers? When will we realize the distinction between equality as in the rights and prerogatives in the legal sense, in terms of property and assets, and distinguish between spiritual differences which are unique and cannot be surmounted?

Is it necessary for a lady to be a priest to realize the majesty of her religion? Does she serve the Lord less, by being a member of the laity? Is she unequal in the eyes of the Lord than the priest who toils in the Agiary? No! She is on the same, if not higher position than the priests based on her quantum of good thoughts, words and deeds, which is the sole measure of a person’s greatness. Each profession and vocation is unique. Each has its own set of rules and traditions. I am not even going into the purity angle simply because people who talk about this gender equality do not believe in such issues. Our religion gives great importance to our ladies. We never put them down, we never segregate them, we never leave them out of important decisions. But that is not a license to do as one pleases.

I am also extremely disappointed that the community’s newspaper Jame Jamshed has chosen to splash this news and give it undue and unnecessary publicity. In doing so, it has once again lost its moorings and forgotten its unique place in the community. Not content with doing so in its print version, the paper has also posted the same pictures and news on its Facebook page, perhaps with a view to encouraging more Parsis to visit its page and increase its readership numbers.

I am also surprised by the silence of all our High Priests, so called scholar-priests, practicing Panthakies, Principals of our Athornan Madressas and the other worthies of the community. Where are you? Where are your letters of condemnation, your scholarly arguments, your high faluting language and your scriptural references? I have yet to see even one email from any one of these. Is it not their responsibility as leaders of our beloved community to get up and take a stand. Where are you?

Readers of Frashogard, you are aware of the name of Manchersha Master, the erudite Principal of the Surat Mission School and the man who first heard Ustad Saheb speak in public and who persuaded the Master to come out in the open. Manchersha used to often say: “All fraud carries within the germs of its own destruction”. There is no sanctity, no approval, no authenticity about this act. Just like those sham marriages and ‘Navjotes’ being performed by rogue ‘priests’ in Parsi baugs of parents of indeterminate genealogy have no spiritual validity. My traditional readers, there is no need to get very upset or agitated about these events. They arise, they foam and they subside. Because they have no validity, because of their fraudulent nature, they are disease-bearing, they are infected. They will destroy themselves, sooner rather than later. Their own poison will act against them. They are doomed to failure.

My dear readers, remember the words of our revered Ustad Saheb, who often used to say: “Mor naachi naachine potana pag taraf joene chevate rade” tem komma sudharavalao thodi dini andhadhundhi ane khanakharabi ubhi kari sakshe pan chevate teo potej naashne panthe pugshe.Je kharabio peda padvani che tene koi purepuri roki shakvanu nathi,pan parsi kom ane zarthosti dharmane gebi pasbani thaine ubhi rehvani che.

“Just as peacock will dance in all its finery, but look at its ugly legs and have no option but to cry, so also the Reformists will be able to create some disturbance and disorder, but in the end they will be destroyed. The various offences and misdemeanours which are to take place in our community cannot be completely stopped by anyone. But the Hidden Masters will ensure the Eternal Protection and Preservation of our dear Faith.”

Remember these memorable words of our Master, uttered nearly a hundred years ago and breathe deeply. In your prayers, dear readers of Frashogard, send up a silent but deep request to God that the Hidden Masters of our religion will never falter in their great vigilance and that they deal a crushing blow to the fake, illegal and shameless activities of these misguided souls. May they see the Real Light and may our religion remain pristine and perfect for ever. They may win this skirmish, but the ultimate victory will always be ours. And it will always be so.

I will talk about the other farcical event tomorrow.

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

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Comments

  1. Aspy.  June 17, 2013

    Read about this episode a couple of days ago, as also Ms. Pervin Mistry’s comments denouncing the same.
    I too was surprised that there is no immediate comment forthcoming from the —— High Priests, and other so called guardians of our religion. In these situations —- silence is acceptance/ being in total agreement with what took place .
    The only real sufferer in this entire shindig is the innocent child.
    The rest being all adults, whether out of personal choice or having been misguided have only themselves to blame.
    Wonder what made the child’s parents agree to this?
    So what is the child’s status ????
    Is the child initiated into the faith? After all it’s not his/her fault.
    If the ceremony is considered invalid, how can it be set right?
    What is the recourse???
    Your discourse, on the above subject, as usual is very comprehensive and precise, and do wish you continue to enlighten and educate us in the future as and when such need arises.
    Thanks.

  2. Porus Homi Havewala  June 17, 2013

    Well said, Ervad Saheb.

  3. Aspi Colah  June 17, 2013

    “there is no need to get very upset or agitated about these events. They arise, they foam and they subside. Because they have no validity, because of their fraudulent nature, they are disease-bearing, they are infected. They will destroy themselves, sooner rather than later. Their own poison will act against them. They are doomed to failure.”

    Very well said Ervad Sahib. It kind of reminds me of what my wise old grandma used to say….”dikra you will see that every generation the garbage surfaces….creates a big stink, and will be washed away with the waves of time… Only the core group will survives…the true believers…so never loose hope”. Nature is a mean mother and those that go against her will suffer her wrath

  4. khursheed b irani  June 18, 2013

    how well said, ervad saheb…. if only our head priests and others as u mention have the gall to stand up we would be in such a mess… but as u say let the foam rise and be destroyed by its own…
    i truly thank ahura mazda for having atleast a few “ganiya ganthiya” ratheshtars of our religion who can stick their neck out and say so… may u be blessed with good health and may u always guide us.

  5. Bahadur B. Sanjana  June 18, 2013

    When so called Scholarly Vada dasoor & practicing mobeds are silent & in the time when Pasi News paper is doing Din dooshmani, , I sincerely thank you for the article which is for dini pasbani. Thanks.

  6. jimmy  June 19, 2013

    Excellent job

  7. Percy  June 19, 2013

    hahahahaha! fantastic, you are my HERO MARZBAN! you forgot to write a small sentence which has been repeatedly written, spoken….. “GOD MADE MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE” woman was created from MAN……hahahahahahahah

  8. Nazneen  June 22, 2013

    This is so applicable to the navjotes of intercaste wedlock and intercaste marraige ceremony
    Wonder how the conscious of such dastoor allows them to function this way 🙁

  9. Rukhshana D. Modi  July 2, 2013

    I am sorry but I am going off track. But my dear friend the mother whose Navjote is going to be performed gets out of the Hair Dressing Saloon and heads for the Baug with the Ses. The Bride’s in today’s time get their hair sytled and make-up done by a professional just after the Nahan. My dear learned scholar where are we heading to. Is there no one to guide this ignorant and uneducated flock and even if someone points out, that person is given the tilte of a mad cap or is told that he is from the Old Stone Age. I shall be grateful if you can educate people, who think they are more fashionable and make a mockery of our religion.

  10. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  July 4, 2013

    @Rukshana
    You have correctly mentioned these abuses. I will write about them one day. In the meanwhile our High Priests should set an example by not performing ceremonies in such cases. But where is the will power?

  11. moobedyaar mahshad khosraviani  January 27, 2017

    1. It seems a ‘Navjote’ was performed in Toronto, by two priests, along with a female ‘Mobedyar’, 20 year old Mahshad Khosraviani. When I first received this mail, along with numerous pictures of the event, I just could not control my laughing.

    >>> my response <<>> my response <<>> my response <<>> my response <<>> my response <<>> my response <<>> my response <<>> my response <<>> my response <<>> my response <<>> my response <<>> my response <<< I have never heard anything about Hidden masters or Ustad Sahib in Iran or Canada. It appears to be some Parsi belief. I respect Ervad Hathiram’s beliefs even though I do not share them.

    i have only recently come across this sickening post and am truly sadden, but i will never disrespect one as i have been raised to love my enemies. so best of luck to you Ervad Hathiram & all those that hand by your opinion.

  12. mahshad  January 30, 2017

    I have only recently come across this sickening post and am truly sadden, but I will never disrespect another being as I have been raised to love my enemies. so best of luck to you Ervad Hathiram & all those that hang by your distasteful opinion.

    1. It seems a ‘Navjote’ was performed in Toronto, by two priests, along with a female ‘Mobedyar’, 20 year old Mahshad Khosraviani. When I first received this mail, along with numerous pictures of the event, I just could not control my laughing.

    What is so wrong about performing a navjote at age 20? Zarthushtra received his divine inspiration at age 18. Alexander conquered the known world at age 26.

    & the majority of the parsi moobeds are ordained at a very young age with little understanding or knowledge of the religion, I however, have undergone a rigorous training and am a qualified and respected moobedyaar.

    2. As a priest with nearly 25 years of practice I have never, in my entire life, seen someone performing a Navjote with a book in their hand! As my sharp readers of Frashogard may know, the Navjote ceremony has no complicated prayers – merely theDin-no-Kalmo, the Hormuzd Khodae and Jasa me avangahe Mazda prayer, along with the very small beginning part of the Hormuzd Yasht. The ceremony ends with a Tandorasti. Now what can one say about the calibre of the “priests” and the lady in the so-called ceremony, when they have to use books to say these basic prayers? Can such persons really be entrusted with the serious and most spiritual ceremony of investing a child with the sacred Sudreh and Kusti?

    If Ervad Hathiram were to visit North America or Iran he would discover that ALL mobeds read their prayers from a book. It does not diminish the effectiveness of the prayer in any way. Even Ervad Kobad Zarolia reads the prayers from a book and he is President of NAMC.

    Recently, at the Queens’ Birthday service in St.Paul’s Cathedral, the Arch Bishop read the prayers from a book held by another person. & Even the Queen was reading her prayers

    Is Ervad Hathiram picking on me just because I am a young female Iranian Mobedyar ? Would it have been different if I were an elderly male Parsi Mobed ? or rather a close & shallow minded being like himself?

    3. We live in an age of make-believe. Artificiality, superficiality and fakeness pervades our entire society. We think one thing, we feel another and we say something totally at variance with our thoughts and feelings. In this age of lies and untruth, is it any wonder that these kind of fake ‘ceremonies’ take place? Do they have any authenticity in nature? Do they have any effect? Are they spiritually valid? NO! NO! NO! Just as small children act out events in plays, just as an actor plays his part in a movie and goes to the next, these make-believe scenes have no real significance, except to feed the ego of those concerned, that they have embarked on a ‘path-breaking’ exercise. Yes it is path-breaking – in the sense that it breaks thePath of Asha which is the foundation of our religion.

    I am not an actor. I am a fully trained Mobedyar who has passed all the requirements as laid down by Iranian Dasturs. There are lots of Iranian women who are now qualified Mobeds. Ervad Hathiram seems to

    be indulging in heavy duty gender discrimination which is illegal in Canada. I am deeply saddened for his wife, daughet, or any female family members of his for their voices and rights are silenced and overshowed by his mindless barks.

    4. I really admire young Mahshad’s spiritual quest and her desire to know more about our religion and its prayers. I wish her every success in her endeavours. I am proud that a young Zoroastrian feels so intensely for her faith. But does that give one the right to not only take part but actually officiate in a fundamental ceremony of the faith? As someone who is interested in the medical sciences, I can attend lots of medical conferences, chat with doctors, maybe even sit silently when they are examining patients. But would that give me the right to perform a bypass surgery? Should I talk about equality and say that it is my fundamental right to perform the surgery on some hapless victim? Has anyone in this whole ruckus thought about the spiritual repercussions on the children whose Navjote was allegedly done?

    In Canada, men and women have equal rights. I have passed all the necessary tests and exams to become a Mobedyar under the high priests of Iran & those Toronto’s. Is Ervad Hathiram so arrogant as to challenge the authority to of the high priests of Iran, all the respectful priests of Canada, including Jehan baghli?

    5. Years ago, when I was studying for my degree, we had a course in Business Law. There we studied the Law of Contracts. It was here that our professor educated us on the concept of void and void-ab-initio. Very briefly, when someone enters into a contract with another party, it is assumed that the other party is legally capable of entering into the contract. If the party is not legally capable of entering into a contract (such as a minor) then any acts done by that contract are said to be void-ab-initio – that is, it is as if the act never took place. The famous case law of Mohori Bibi vs. Dharmodas Ghose proved this axiom. (For some strange reason it also happens to be the only case law I remember after all these years!)

    Ervad Hathiram’s comments are irrelevant . Of Course I am qualified to perform Navjotes and Soodreh Poshi ceremonies. It is a shame to know that our community is infested with men like Ervad Hathiram, him and his followers are sailing in a boat far from shores of good though, good words, and good deeds.

    6. In the same manner, a lady, with a smattering of knowledge about the prayers and traditions of our religion is NOT competent to enter into a spiritual sacrament and confirm a child as a Zoroastrian. Thus even if she were to go through the sham of a ceremony, it would be void-ab-initio, simply because she has no right, authority and permission to do so. In effect, this sham performance that has taken place is much like a girl giving her doll a bath, dressing her up in nice new white clothes, and then tying a string around its waist. The girl child may believe that she has performed the Navjote of her doll, but we all know that neither the doll is a Zoroastrian, nor the child competent to make anyone a Zoroastrian. The only unfortunate thing in this case is that we are not dealing with an inanimate doll but a real child who has lost the opportunity to have her Navjote performed by a competent and fully qualified priest.

    Ervad Hathiram has no authority to accuse anybody of not having “right, authority and permission”. He is not even a Dastur. It is rude of him to say that the child whose navjote I performed is a (toy) doll. What makes him think that he is a competent and qualified priest? Are his qualifications from a backward country like India recognized in Canada ?

    Absolutely not!

    7. A lot of people have been talking about gender equality as the basis of this event. Is it really so? Are the genders really equal? If both were equal why would God have created a male and a female? Could not He have made us asexual – like bacteria which can multiply on their own? But no, He did not. God made male and female – both as equals, but both with well demarcated roles to perform. In the name of gender quality, can I demand tomorrow that males too should be given the right to get pregnant and have children? Can I demand that my flat chest should transform to milk-bearing breasts when a child is born in the family so that I too can breast feed the child? Is it not unfair that only the mother can have that unique prerogative which so binds a child and its mother together? Is it fair for us fathers? When will we realize the distinction between equality as in the rights and prerogatives in the legal sense, in terms of property and assets, and distinguish between spiritual differences which are unique and cannot be surmounted?

    Gender equality is accepted throughout the modern world. If he has a problem with that he should stick to commenting upon practices in India and not on practices in an advanced modern country like Canada. For his thoughts and opinions have to merit here!

    8. Is it necessary for a lady to be a priest to realize the majesty of her religion? Does she serve the Lord less, by being a member of the laity? Is she unequal in the eyes of the Lord than the priest who toils in the Agiary? No! She is on the same, if not higher position than the priests based on her quantum of good thoughts, words and deeds, which is the sole measure of a person’s greatness. Each profession and vocation is unique. Each has its own set of rules and traditions. I am not even going into the purity angle simply because people who talk about this gender equality do not believe in such issues. Our religion gives great importance to our ladies. We never put them down, we never segregate them, we never leave them out of important decisions. But that is not a license to do as one pleases.

    “Parsis do not segregate their women”. Oh Really !

    For ages, Parsis have inflicted unbelievable atrocities on their women by preventing them from entering our Atash-kadehs or attending ceremonies during their menses. Women are forced to eat food cooked in separate utensils and are not even allowed to touch any sacred ornaments during menses. Women are required to sleep in a separate room on a Steel bed, during meneses. Women are ex-communicated if they inter-marry. The Children of women who intermarry are barred from Zoroastrian communities. Widows are forbidden to give blessings at navjotes and weddings, and are forced to wear white or black saris. Widow re-marriage is uncommon.

    Which religion other than Parsi-Zoroastrianism inflicts such horrific impositions on women?

    Sadly these atrocious customs have even crept into the Toronto Zoroastrian community. Perhaps Zoroastrian women should be grateful that our female genitals have been spared from being cut off by Ervad

    Hathiram. It is a shame that certain orthodox elements in Toronto portray him as a religious teacher. Ervad Hathiram’s comments are a disgrace to the global Zoroastrian community.

    9. I am also extremely disappointed that the community’s newspaper Jame Jamshed has chosen to splash this news and give it undue and unnecessary publicity. In doing so, it has once again lost its moorings and forgotten its unique place in the community. Not content with doing so in its print version, the paper has also posted the same pictures and news on its Facebook page, perhaps with a view to encouraging more Parsis to visit its page and increase its readership numbers.

    I have not sought any publicity from Jame Jamsheed. I do not even know much about this paper and am not aware of any special place it holds in the Parsi community.

    10. I am also surprised by the silence of all our High Priests, so called scholar-priests, practicing Panthakies, Principals of our Athornan Madressas and the other worthies of the community. Where are you? Where are your letters of condemnation, your scholarly arguments, your high faluting language and your scriptural references? I have yet to see even one email from any one of these. Is it not their responsibility as leaders of our beloved community to get up and take a stand. Where are you?

    This is not a game of hierarchy and power, We do not have any high-priests or low-priests in Canada. All priests are equal. All priests provide community service in the true spirit of Zoroastrianism.

    11. Readers of Frashogard, you are aware of the name of Manchersha Master, the erudite Principal of the Surat Mission School and the man who first heard Ustad Saheb speak in public and who persuaded the Master to come out in the open. Manchersha used to often say: “All fraud carries within the germs of its own destruction”. There is no sanctity, no approval, no authenticity about this act. Just like those sham marriages and ‘Navjotes’ being performed by rogue ‘priests’ in Parsi baugs of parents of indeterminate genealogy have no spiritual validity. My traditional readers, there is no need to get very upset or agitated about these events. They arise, they foam and they subside. Because they have no validity, because of their fraudulent nature, they are disease-bearing, they are infected. They will destroy themselves, sooner rather than later. Their own poison will act against them. They are doomed to failure.

    It is really sad to see Ervad Hathiram calling his fellow mobeds “Rogue priests”. Who does he think he is ? he is a very sad and a rude soul indeed.

    12. My dear readers, remember the words of our revered Ustad Saheb, who often used to say: “Mor naachi naachine potana pag taraf joene chevate rade” tem komma sudharavalao thodi dini andhadhundhi ane khanakharabi ubhi kari sakshe pan chevate teo potej naashne panthe pugshe.Je kharabio peda padvani che tene koi purepuri roki shakvanu nathi,pan parsi kom ane zarthosti dharmane gebi pasbani thaine ubhi rehvani che. “Just as peacock will dance in all its finery, but look at its ugly legs and have no option but to cry, so also the Reformists will be able to create some disturbance and disorder, but in the end they will be destroyed. The various offences and misdemeanours which are to take place in our community cannot be

    completely stopped by anyone. But the Hidden Masters will ensure the Eternal Protection and Preservation of our dear Faith.”

    I am not a reformist at all. What I am doing is exactly what I would do in Iran. We are living in Canada. Parsi customs are inappropriate for Canada. As Canadian Zoroastrians, our customs and practices reflect conditions in Canada.

    13. Remember these memorable words of our Master, uttered nearly a hundred years ago and breathe deeply. In your prayers, dear readers of Frashogard, send up a silent but deep request to God that the Hidden Masters of our religion will never falter in their great vigilance and that they deal a crushing blow to the fake, illegal and shameless activities of these misguided souls. May they see the Real Light and may our religion remain pristine and perfect for ever. They may win this skirmish, but the ultimate victory will always be ours. And it will always be so.

    I have never heard anything about Hidden masters or Ustad Sahib in Iran or Canada. It appears to be some Parsi belief. I respect Ervad Hathiram’s beliefs even though I do not share them.