A wish list for 1380 Yz

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Roj Khorshed Mah Fravardin, 1380 Yz.

On 16th June, 632 AD, Yazdegard, son of Shaharyar ascended the throne of Iran as the 29th King of the Sassanian dynasty. As was the custom in those days, the Imperial Calendar was reset, with the year of the new King’s ascension to the throne marking the beginning of the new calendar. It was a tragic reign, marked by defeats, one after the other, culminating in the disastrous battle of Nehavand in 642 AD, which forever ended one of the world’s most powerful empires and established Arab rule over Persia. The hunted emperor fled from city to city, till his betrayal and killing in Merv in 651 AD. After his death, the empire disintegrated further and religious persecution and oppression increased to such levels, that about 200 years later, a group of chosen Parsis made that eventful journey to the shores of India to establish a new Parsi Kingdom. They were led by a spiritually advanced soul whose majesty and radiance we cannot even begin to fathom. Since they had not a land they could call their own, and none who could be King, their spiritual leader, Dasturan Dastur Nairyosangh Dhaval, enshrined the new Atash Behram Saheb at Sanjan and called Him Iranshah – the King of Iran – and the King of their, and our hearts.

A few days ago, we Parsis celebrated the onset of the New Year, marking 1380 years since Yazdegard ascended the throne of Iran. Yet how many of us remembered the sad facts of his life or relived the pain and anguish of our ancestors who gave all they had just in order to preserve, protect and perpetuate their religion? How many of us understand the meaning behind those two initials Yz (always wrongly written as Y.Z.)? In the midst of our celebrations and gluttony how many offered a prayer of thanks to the Creator for settling us in a land we can call our own and which offers us full freedom to practice our faith? Over the last two years, readers of the Frashogard blog have begun to realize the depth and beauty of our faith. But what should readers of Frashogard do in the current year? What kind of resolutions should they make and attempt to keep? I present here a wish list of what I could like readers of the blog to undertake.

 

Awakening a sense of identity
Let every Parsi feel and live the life of a true Parsi. Parsi identity lies not in eating and merriment, but in the putting on of the sacred vestments of Sudreh-Kusti and Topi. I see members of our community (specially youngsters and ladies) take off the sacred clothes at the slightest instance. Playing football? Going to the gym? Wearing something which reveals more that it covers? Just taking a walk? Going to a Navjote or wedding reception? Off comes the Sudreh! WHY? FOR WHAT? Have we become so morally and spiritually bankrupt that we view the sacred gift of our Prophet to us as a burden or a fashion embarrassment? Our ancestors were taxed, tortured, exploited, raped and killed for daring to wear the Sudreh Kusti! And we, in the security of our adopted land feel ‘ashamed’ to put on these vestments? These are not clothes or symbols! They are the result of our spiritual journey and the culmination of our good deeds! How can we just chuck them off?

Resolution 1: I shall always have on the sacred vestments of Sudreh and Kusti at all times. I will try and cover my head as far as possible, specially at home and while eating.

 

Practicing the faith
Parsis spend a great deal of time arguing and fighting endlessly about religion, but spend very little time in practicing it! Religion is not philosophy of the arm chair kind! The core of religion is in practicing its commandments. Unless we start practicing religion, we will never develop the faith and belief system which is so important and vital to our survival. Endlessly questioning age old practices, equating religious commandments with human or social laws, giving up those traits which make us what we are, all these and more makes us increasingly secular and less Parsi. There is no shame in being Parsi and being open and vocal about it. The basic principles of the religion are not good thoughts, words and deeds, as parroted by many Parsis, (as if other religions don’t say that) but the recital of Avesta, practice of Tarikats and showing faith and devotion towards Ahura Mazda and His Prophet Zarathushtra.

Resolution 2: I shall set apart 30 minutes every day to recite Avesta, visit a Fire Temple or light and maintain a Divo at home, or study more about our religion.

 

Truth, fair dealing and moral courage
The bedrock of any religion is Truth. But the Zoroastrian faith goes beyond that. The Avesta says that the heart, the mind and the tongue must be in unison and harmony. Let what is in your heart be in your mind, and what is in your mind be on your tongue. This is a dangerous but exhilarating practice and a superb exercise to control the ever wandering mind. We live in a society based on pretences and make believe. Every one gives an impression of being something or someone they are not. People say things they never mean and do not reveal their true feelings. Those who try to go against this untruth are often labelled as rude. But speaking the truth, even though it may be painful or embarrassing is a fundamental Zoroastrian trait. The Greek historian Herodotus, writing 2500 years ago says that the Persians were famous for teaching their children three things: speaking the truth, horse riding and archery. One may have a six-pack body or bulging muscles, or great intelligence, but they are all useless without the moral courage to speak the truth, at all costs. An easy way of avoiding lying or being economical with the truth is to speak less! The more we speak the more likely we are to lie, sometimes without even realising it!

Resolution 3: I shall endeavour to speak the truth at all costs, and to maintain the unity of my heart, mind and tongue.

 

Eradicating religious ignorance
Most members of our community have extremely scant knowledge about their religion and its practices. Religious ignorance is so widespread and prevalent that even simple practices are forgotten or twisted out of belief. Foremost amongst the religious ignorance is the lack of knowledge of how to perform the Kusti – the very bedrock of every Parsi’s faith. This is coupled with the total absence of proper pronunciation while reciting Avesta. How many Parsis can demonstrate and count the 21 separate words of the Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayer? (come on, try it now! Check the results with a Khordeh Avesta and see if you could get the 21 words right!) The Yatha is the most important Sacred Word of God. It existed before Creation and was recited by Ahura Mazda, whereupon creation began. It is the single most powerful Manthra we have and can be prayed at any time, in any condition. Yet I hear over 90% of persons praying the Yatha wrongly (including many priests, sorry to say). How can we treat this greatest gift of Zarathushtra to us in this kind of casual and flippant manner? The same story applies to the 12 word Ashem Vohu prayer. Most Parsis have not even heard of the 15-word Yenghe Hatam – the third most powerful Manthra. There is no shame in reciting prayers from a Khordeh Avesta. Indeed it is preferable to use the Khordeh Avesta so that we don’t make an inadvertent mistake. It is an extremely good practice to have a personal copy of the Khordeh Avesta so that one develops an affinity with its pages and the Manthras therein. This copy must be kept carefully in a pure and clean place and handled with extreme care and devotion. Remember, even priests performing the most sacred ceremony of our religion – the Nirangdin, make use of the sacred book at certain parts of the ceremony. When these highly qualified priests have to take the help of the book, what shame can there be in a normal person holding the Khordeh Avesta and reciting the prayers, even if they be the Yatha and Ashem?

Resolution 4: I shall make a conscious effort to develop good Avesta pronunciation. I will be able to count the separate words of the three most important Manthras.

 

Avoiding simple sins
The prevalence of religious ignorance makes us commit very common but serious sins. The most common amongst these is the practice of walking barefoot. A Parsi cannot walk barefoot – at any time – period. This practice is more prevalent in Agiaries and Atash Behrams, when people take off their footwear before entering the main Kebla room. Our Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah Shroff, explained that the body has its own personal circuit which runs constantly through the body. This circuit, which has the ability to attract the Divine Blessings which are showered on the earth at all times by the Cosmic Administration, is maintained by the proper performance and maintenance of the Kusti. When a person walks barefoot on the direct ground, the personal circuit is “grounded” by the Earth’s own, more powerful circuit.

Hence the feet should be covered in such a way that there is an indirect connection between the earth and the body’s personal circuit, but at the same time avoiding total absence of contact with the earth. In simple terms, use of footwear like a leather sapat, or a copper sheet covered wooden pavri, or thick cotton socks is necessary at all times. Rubber footwear should be avoided since rubber is a total non-conductor and hence insulates the body’s circuit from the geo-circuit. In Agiaries and Atash Behrams, when the footwear is removed prior to entering the Kebla room, care must be taken to ensure that the naked foot does not touch the ground, but falls on the carpet directly. An easier way to ensure this is to have thick cotton socks on so that a mistake is avoided.

Similarly, when family prayers are recited at Agiaries and you are asked to offer Loban at the end of the ceremony, 99% of Behdins take off their footwear where they are sitting and then walk barefoot to the carpet where the prayers were recited. This is very wrong. The footwear must be removed only at the edge of the carpet and then the naked foot placed on the carpet directly. (Unfortunately, even some priests take off their footwear some distance away and then walk barefoot to the carpet. This is totally wrong and nullifies their Kusti, and therefore any prayers they do. Panthakys of Agiaries must take steps to educate their priests and Behdins in this regard.)

The third Karta of the Patet Pashemani list some of the sins which can be easily avoided including

  • interfering in the good work being done by others;
  • to blame someone wrongly or unjustly;
  • to lead another on to a (known) wrong path; to offer wrong or materialistic advice;
  • to break the trust reposed in you by another;
  • to disregard the wishes or will of an elder;
  • to abuse, disrespect or otherwise harm cattle – which bears the load of creation;
  • to waste good food or any natural produce; gluttony;
  • disregarding the poor and hungry, in spite of being sufficiently well of;
  • to not properly dispose off the dead parts of the body such as hair, nails, excreta – to mix them with water or otherwise wrongly dispose them;
  • to walk barefoot or bareheaded

There are many more serious offences which need to be avoided but the above are instances of things which can be easily avoided and borne in mind.

Resolution 5: I shall try and avoid committing simple sins so as to ease the already heavy load on my soul.

 

Avoiding religious infidelity
I have written earlier on the practice of religious adultery which is very prevalent within our community. It is not wrong to respect other faiths and their leaders – it is indeed commendable and desirable. But it is certainly improper and wrong to keep photographs of these leaders or idols (idol worship is a great sin in our religion) on the religious stands or altars in our house – right next to (or in some cases above) the picture of our revered Prophet Zarathushtra. It is OK to visit an architectural marvel contained within a temple or cathedral but it is improper to partake of any religious offering like Prasad which is consecrated food – in the same manner as we do not give consecrated Chasni fruits or sweets to non-Parsis.

The practice of Yoga as a health exercise is commendable. But the practice of pranayama, or the chanting of any alien Manthras is strictly prohibited. I have dwelt on this at length in another post. It is not advisable or desirable to ask for favours and boons from any local deities or god men or other such entities. Keep your faith in Ahura Mazda and His Divine Will. Ahura Mazda can never wish ill for any of His Creation. He certainly does not wish ill of you. But there are certain phases in our lives when we HAVE to face difficulty and pain. It happens to everybody – good or bad (more often to the good though, in this age). The way to handle it is to be resolute, be patient and remember the golden words – THIS TOO SHALL PASS. IT COULD HAVE BEEN MUCH WORSE.

Resolution 6: I shall avoid the practice of religious infidelity and not fall into the trap of exchanging short term gains for long term pains.

 

Bothering about what others think
We must try to live life on the terms set by our religion and the Prophet. In doing so, there may be times when one gets caught up in the thought “what will others say?” So many Parsis come up to me and complain that when they try and live a life in sync with the teachings of our religion, the greatest opposition comes not from outsiders, but from family members themselves. “ay to gando thai gayoch”, “bo bhannar gannar thai gayoch”, “vari roj Agiary sanu javanu?” etc are the various comments which some have had to hear (and worse sometimes).

Someone tries to wear a correct length Sudreh but is worried about the strange glares that greet him when he performs the Kusti at the Agiary or at home. Someone tries to cover his head at most times and he gets corny remarks in the passing. Someone adopts the use of Taro and people imagine him “stinking”. When I gave up a corporate job and took up full time priesthood, there were many naysayers, nitpickers and snide remarks. Many were outright hostile, while some were amused: ‘let’s see how long he lasts’. They are still waiting.

But in religious matters, it pays (a lot) to develop a thick skin. A cardinal rule which the student on the spiritual path must follow is: “Stop bothering about what others think.” We cannot live our life on rules and precedents set by an artificial and superficial society, full of pretences, make-believe and hypocrisy. We must learn to live our life on Zoroastrian principles, even though it may cost us a few so-called friends or acquaintances. We must learn to put our principles above our pretences.

The menace of inter-community marriages is a real problem. Yet I see many Parsis, who may be against inter-community marriages, happily attending the reception and other functions. WHY? By joining in the “festivities” of a spiritually and religiously immoral and illegal act, you are also guilty of a spiritual sin. We must develop a principle to not attend such events – no matter how close the person getting “married” is to us. It is our way of showing our disgust, repulsion and disapproval of the act. Many years ago, when such instances were very few, there used to be a social boycott against such members. Today, unfortunately, every one attends these functions. A true Parsi, whose love for his religion and Prophet is greater than any societal pressure or pretences will never attend such a farce.

Resolution 7: Stop bothering about what people will think of you – start bothering about what your soul will think of your actions on the Chaharum (fourth day after death).

 

Keeping the faith
In today’s times of rampant materialism, when evil seems to be winning over good, when the pious are prosecuted and the wicked lead a good life, it is easy to lose faith or become cynical or feel hopeless. Doomsayers are predicting the extinction of the community and advocating “reforms” – medicines which are worse than the disease they attempt to cure. But unknown to all these so-called community workers and misguided persons – the community is not going to die out. It will deplete in numbers, but it will never die out. Far behind the scenes, there are great, advanced souls who are working for the revival and resurgence of our community. The Abed Sahebs of Demavand, who sent out their message of optimism to the Parsis through Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff are our real protectors and preservers. They will never let us down. What will let us down is our weak faith and inability to discipline our lives. Where would be without these majestic and lofty souls!

My fellow hum-dins! No scheme of the Parsi Punchayet will save us, no great Trustee and their parties and dinners will rescue us, no government reservation will uplift us, no increase in the number of houses will solve our community’s problems! The only thing which will save us and lead us to the path of salvation is the constant chanting of our Avesta prayers, sticking to our age-old traditions, and unflinching faith in our Prophet Zarathushtra and His Authorized Descendants – the Hidden Masters of Demavand!

The advent of the Promised Saviour, Shah Behram Varzavand draws near. Before that happens there will be many cataclysmic events throughout the world. The whole world order will change – those who are proud today of their wealth and prosperity will be reduced to poverty. In such difficult times, there will be many tests of the faith of Parsis. But we must stand firm and wait. As John Milton rightly wrote: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Resolution 8: “I shall never waver in my faith in the religion and Prophet Zarathushtra. May every day bring us one day closer to the advent of Shah Behram Varzavand!”

My dear Hum-dins! Let this sitting 1380 Yz. be the year of your own spiritual renaissance and the beginning of a new journey towards experiencing the beauty and majesty of our faith. May we all deserve to be called Parsis.

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

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Comments

  1. Farzaan  August 29, 2010

    There should be one more resolution….

    Resolution 9 : Henceforth I will refrain from using foul language & cursing others. I will try to correct those Zarathushtris who feel that abusing is a part of our identity!

    Ervad saheb it will be nice if you write an article explaining the ill effects of ‘Gaali-Galoch’.

  2. Hanoz Mistry  August 29, 2010

    VERY INSPIRING! A must read for all Humdeens.

  3. kfkeravala  August 29, 2010

    There is a strong prohibition to “swearing” (gaalgaloch) and “cursing”(kduaa) in the Zoroastrian Religion. Dr.Saheb Faramroze Sohrabji Chiniwala has given a “kshnoomic” explanation as to why swearing and cursing are detrimental to the progress of the soul after death.[1]

    [1]Behdin ane Athornan(gujarati),Dr.F S
    Chiniwala,Frashogard,Vol.31,No.1-2(1941),pg 71.

  4. Mehelly Bam  August 29, 2010

    Respected Ervad Saheb,

    As always, an inspiring article. I was able to get my 2 boys (age 12 and 10) to read and ponder on why I ask them to do certain things. I talk about you and your posts all the time with my family. Maybe, reading it from someone I respect immensely will make sense to them.

  5. PERCY N. SIGANPORIA  August 29, 2010

    Hon. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram -Dasturji Saheb,

    The third Karta of the Patet Pashemani list/sins are real “Beacon of Light” against prsent/future genartions.

    In daily walk of life.. it has became usual and linient to commit above listed sins (as poor soul) never been given a menaing or understanding about the basics. Yes.. it comendable on your part to teach us and shown a torch of “Red Light” against these pit falls.

    However… a very simple Resolution to be adopted is :

    “If we can not able to do any good things for anyone… never mind..

    but never.. ever do any bad things for other..
    (ofcourse by – words, thought or by deeds..)
    God Ahura Bless our community and Mazdayashni Zarthoshti deen..”

    Best regards,

    Percy N. Siganporia
    Doha-Qatar

  6. Byram Sidhwa  August 30, 2010

    I am truly impressed by what Er. Hathiram has stated. I need to read this article once again to understand its essence. The only point I am unable to understand is regarding wearing a sapat or wooden Pavri if one is entering the middle Hall of a Atash Behram or standing on the Kebla of a Adarian/Daremeher?

  7. Hushang  August 30, 2010

    A Good Inspiring Article…..
    If we can also have something on Ego ! and how those who preach,study or teach religion must first learn to control it themselves.
    A religious master or teacher must be the most humble ! Patient and ego free person…..

  8. Kekky  August 30, 2010

    I think its very Important for all parsees to read this.
    Its very interesting & enlightening.

  9. Aspi Maneckjee  August 31, 2010

    Very well written article and Kudos to you Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram.

    I want to add that most of the problems the World is facing nowadays e.g. Downfall in Global economy, extreme weather conditions, family related problems and divorces etc. are directly related to lack of righteousness or ASHA, which is one of the main tenet of our religion. I have started making a video presentation on the above subject and will be on You Tube soon. I agree with you on the various topics you have discussed. Thank you.

  10. G. N.  August 31, 2010

    Whereas I have always held Ervad Hathiram and all esteemed and invaluable Dasturs and scholars in the highest esteem, may I take this opportunity to “expand” on why this wish list placed before us by the venerable Ervard, will never be followed by my community.

    These are my observations of the present state of the community based on my personal experiences.

    I had travelled some 40 kilometers to the other side of my Australasian city to drop my friend from Mumbai, to his Parsee friend’s house for lunch. We agreed that I pick him up again at 1.45 pm from his friend’s house. When I went back at the correct time they were still at lunch and the host invited me in, and I was made comfortable, whilst the family continued feasting on their dishes. As far as I was concerned, not a glass of water was offered, just polite small chat whislt I waited.

    I had lost my mother when just 9 years old, immediate and continued fingers pointed at me, I was stigmatized an “awwar” who has killed my mother, this by close relatives and neighbors, all Parsees.

    When my very noble maternal grandfather decided to bequeath my dead mother’s share in the family wealth to me, the eldest of my mother’s brothers fought tooth and nail that the demise of his sister meant I have no rights.

    This same noble maternal grandfather had allowed two middle class Parsee families to occupy, each, two bedroom flats in his building (in prime locality of South Mumbai.). Both new entrants/tenants had promised my grandfather could take back the premises on their demise. Instead, one of them took in a sub-tenant and willed the flat to him, and the other willed his flat to grand children who had their own accommodation a few blocks away.

    I have come across a couple of Parsee gentlemen here in my Australasian city, doing very well, with no intention to return to India, and owning high end properties, but will not give up their ‘precious’ accommodation in Mumbai Parsee baugs.

    I have encountered umpteen times, at innumerable functions, Parsees, who, known for their merriment and fun loving attitudes, have a great time, but if it turns up that you don’t know them, as this happens sometimes, you will find yourself sitting alone, whilst groups of Parsees sit in circles and make huge noises. No one will have the basic human decency to ask you to join them.

    At one time my job took me to a city in Gujrat, and was deeply grateful for my relative, who allowed me to stay at his spacious, up market, accommodation. This gentleman had the habit of socializing at the local Parsee club, but not once in my stay with him for over a year, did he bother to invite me to join him there.

    Well into my middle age, I got myself a high end executive job at a highly reputable medical institute in a city in Maharastra, run by Parsees. Almost within a year, I realized to my horror, the venerable Parsees running the place had expected I look the other way whilst they milked the place through some very sophisticate methods. When I made my displeasure known, I was hounded out of my job, after several plots to prove me incompetent in my work!

    I personally know a very venerable scholar/priest who was head master of a local Parsee run school in this city, also seconding as the priest of the fire temple attached to this school. When the ‘powers that be’ decided to ‘secularize’ the school further, appointing a non-Parsee as the principal, our good pious Dastur head master was hounded out of his post.

    Similarly, when the local Parsee medical center decided a secular consultanting group should run the hospital, the venerable Parsee medical suprintendant, an ex army general, and at this hospital job for over 15 years, himself some 80 years old, was unceremoniously hounded out!

    Incidently, in the same inner city in Maharastra, at another medical institute run by Parsees, I was obliged to take my medicals for my migration to the Australasian country. I was told I had some medical problems and needed urgent attention. I took the same reports to the migration authorities who found nothing wrong with my medical condition!

    Here, in this Australasian country, there are around 3000 Zoroastrians, with three official religious groups at loggerheads with each other! The first has a membership of some 300 souls, the second of some 200 souls and the third of fewer than 20; the rest of the Parsees have literary “disappeared” into the new country!

    Who will weep at this state of affairs of Parsees. All this stated are some of my personal experience or observation.

  11. Delnavaz  September 1, 2010

    Thank you for such a lovely article. I hope & pray that the Abed Sahebs of Demavand send our saviour to us at the earliest.
    thanks

  12. YASMINE SANJANA  September 3, 2010

    A truly inspiring article. It is very true how family
    and friends make fun of those who wish to follow the
    tenets of the religion but, that should not be a
    deterrent factor. May Ahura Mazda Bless us all.

  13. Magosh  September 5, 2010

    This life is sometimes too weird, I wonder if whatever you just mentioned can happen in my life, but yes I just wanted to leave in a word, I will seriously try. Feeling deadly depressed today, mistakes happen by everyone, but you know sir I unfortunately multiply my mistakes, though I don’t have a intention to do so. I don’t know I am a failure or what, but don’t even failures have a right to religion, I did everything always that I thought really god would like, but then also what, all I see is that no one is even ready to believe me, forget about helping.

  14. Delnavaz  September 7, 2010

    Hi Magosh,

    you sound really sad. I hope things work out for you. Keep praying, perhaps things will get better.

  15. n ghaswalla  September 9, 2010

    It takes effort and a strong will to recognise and accept one’s own weakness and reasons for failings. This first step helps in revealing the other side where we hope to be and it is not wrong to try more than once.

  16. Mehlli Bhagalia  January 3, 2011

    Dear Ervad saheb Marzban Hathiram,
    I was looking for something else when I came upon your email, with this Article.Perin and I will be coming to Mumbai on 25/26thJanuary after a Cruise to celibrate our 50th Wedding anniversery and hope to meet you somewhere or other during that time.
    I like your article so much that I am going to make a copy of it and keep it with me on our visit.
    You have been my religious teacher and a friend for me.Thank you for your guidance .
    Mehlli

  17. Rohinton  July 1, 2011

    Dear Marazban do have a query on your above post.Sir as you mentioned about the footwear leather sapat or pavri . Sir in some post i have heard that when visiting an Atash Behram one should avoid leather goods as its considered as a naso .
    One should remove leather wallets or belts or watches before entering the premises .
    Now in this case if this is true than what should one wear ? pavri is made from wooden base and upper covered by copper .In some articles i have read that standing on a wooden floor nullifies one kushti . So want your opinion as what does one wear ?

    If leather isnt allowed than my next ques would be the boiwalla sahebs where leather sapats while going in the kebla ? Need your opinion about this ? Thank You.

  18. Behram Wadia  July 4, 2011

    I agree with Rohinton.

  19. Merzi Hoshang Daruvala  July 26, 2011

    Dear Ervad Marzban Saheb,

    Thank you for this amazing writeup.

    Speaking about religious infidelity, what are your thoughts on Mushkil-Aasaan-No-Divo and the Wood Cutter’s story?

  20. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  July 27, 2011

    It is of Muslim origin and dates back to the time when converted Parsis were not allowed to recite Avesta. There is no concept of Friday in our religion, only the 30 Rojs. The names in the story are of un-Zoroastrian origin. The correct way to invoke Behram Yazad is through praying the Behram Yasht.

  21. xyz  January 4, 2012

    I do not agree with you at-all. I myself am reading this story since last 14 years on every friday without a single break. It has helped me a lot in my life and I fully reccommend to anyone who is a born zoroastrian parsi to have faith in mushkil asaan behram yazad story and pray. It will never harm you and you will definetely get success in life. This is my personal opinion and my personal experience. You might not agree to me according to religious beliefs but that’s another story.

  22. Saroosh Yazdani  January 22, 2012

    I agree with Mubed Hathiram. Such stories have no scriptural backing in our religion. The best and most effective way to worship and thank God in our religion is meditation via prayer. When you pray the Avesta become lost in! Sing it! Let your thoughts be one with the prayers! Chant them with love and caring! after you are talking to the king of all kings, the lord of all lords, the master of all masters. Excrete your heart and soul into the Avesta, even if you look stupid to passing people. Your prayer is a conversation between God and you not a show to society. Dustur Kotwal has said in an interview that the vibrational forces of the Avesta are most powerful and they are to be sung which eases pronunciation and aids memorization. For those of you who have not heard the voice of an angel please listen to prayers by Mubed Darayush Bagli– truly amazing and peaceful. at first I was very scared to pray Behram Yasht, but one day I tired it and was addicted! honest to God Behram Yaasht is so fun and enjoyable to pray it will blow you away. My friend xyz please make it a point to pray this beautiful prayer my friend. More than the story of the wood-cutter it is your metaphysical thought force that is aiding you, but mixed with the vibrations of Behram yasht you can make mountains move! I urge everybody to pray and enjoy Avesta it is so beautiful. There are people in Iran that have to read avesta in secret but those of you who do not are so fortunate– you can sing the Avesta as loudly and harmoniously as you want! Please Please Please learn to love Avesta!!!

  23. neville  November 22, 2012

    A truly wonderful and inspiring article.

    May our community be worthy enough to recognize and implement these jewels in their individual lives and thereby earn their true Parsi identity.

  24. perVyyn rOhyintOn kaVarana  January 30, 2013

    Shah Re Shah Behram Varzavand will instruct us to use the Fasli Calendar and use a copper utensil / glass made of copper to light a DIVO in which WATER CANNOT BE ADDED AT ALL.

    Varzavand Saheb I keenly await YOUR ARRIVAL ….

    Whenever I visit an Agiary or an Atashbehram, there have to be at least two bawaas of either sex who indulge in frivolous chatter, disturb others, prevent others from concentrating on prayers etc; ” ……. aajey su radhyoo ? bajaar muh moghvaari vadhi gayich ….. paelo ohloh kem gujrigayo ….. falaani dikri ni navjot kareh chey ? … bajoovaali no lafroo chaaley chee paela luchha saathey …. ” AND ON NAVROZE or NEW YEAR’S DAY …….. ” DRESS kyathi lidho … boot bau fine chey …. and so on and so forth …… ”

    FOR GODSAKE, an Agiary and an Atashbehram is not a club where mindless chatter can be indulged in …. not only does that indicate disrespect for the Atash Saheb but this prevents devotees from concentrating and praying …. ONCE IN THE NAVSARI ATASHBEHRAM TWO ELDERLY ladies were indulgine in frivolous gossip … since I refrain from speaking whilst I am praying I could not even tell to SHUT UP ! ……

  25. perVyyn rOhyintOn kaVarana  March 2, 2013

    SOME ABSOLUTE NO-NOs APROPOS OUR RELIGION,
    PRISTINE ZOROASTRIANISM 🙂

    * USING WATER ALONGWITH OIL IN A DIVO GLASS;

    * LIGHTING A DIVO IN A GLASS in lieu OF A
    COPPER CONTAINER;

    * CONTINUING PRAYERS ALBEIT THE GEH HAS
    CHANGED AND REFRAINING FROM
    PERFORMING THE KUSTI WHEN THE GEH
    CHANGES;

    * WALKING BAREFOOT IN THE AGIARY ON THE
    UNCARPETED SECTIONS OF THE FLOOR;

    * WEARING FLIMSY SCARVES / HANDKERCHIEVES
    AND DRESSING IN AN INAPPROPRIATE MANNER
    IN A PLACE OF WORSHIP, BE IT A DADGAH OR
    AN ADARAAN OR AN ATASHBEHRAM; THEREBY
    DISRESPECTING THE ATASH SAHEBS ET AL.

    * SNACKING AND DRINKING WATER IN AN AGIARY
    OR AN ATASHBEHRAM … YES, I HAVE
    PERSONALLY WITNESSED THIS IN THE
    IRANSHAH FIRE TEMPLE. A SMALL GIRL WAS
    ENCOURAGED BY HER MOTHER TO SNACK ON
    CRUNCHY SNACKS AND DRINK WATER IN FRONT
    OF THE KEBLA IN THE PAK IRANSHAH FIRE
    TEMPLE …. THE FIRE TEMPLE WAS CROWDED
    BUT NOBODY ELSE OBJECTED BUT MERELY
    IGNORED … I PROTESTED AND THE MOTHER
    DEFENDED HER ACTIONS BY SAYING … “BABY
    CHE …. TARAS LAAGICH … BHOOK LAAGICH …. ”
    I TOLD HER TO GO OUTSIDE THE FIRE TEMPLE
    AND INDULGE HER SPOILT CHILD ……. SHE
    BLATANTLY n AUDACIOUSLY IGNORED ME AND
    CONTINUED PAMPERING HER CHILD …. 🙁

    * CONVERSING WITH A FELLOW WORSHIPPER OR
    A DASTURJI AFTER THE KUSTI HAS BEEN
    PERFORMED AND WHILE PRAYERS ARE BEING
    RECITED ….. EG : “Yatha Ahu Vairyo Atha Ratush
    ….. kem cho … tabeyat paani kem chaalech …
    Ashaat Chit Hacha, Vangheush, moghvaari ghani
    vadhi gaiyech … petrol bhi ghanu moghu thai
    gayuch …. su karye … Dazda Manango,
    Shyaothnanam Angheush Mazdai, Kshathremcha
    Ahurai A Yim Dregubyo Dadat Vastaram …. bajaar
    meh javaanu che … Ashem Vohu Vahishtem Asti
    Ushta Asti Ushta Ahmai Hyat Ashai Vahistai Ashem ”

    ONCE TWO ELDERLY WOMEN WERE GOSSIPING
    THUS, IN THE NAVSARI ATASHBEHRAM ….

    NOW SOMEONE MAY PIPE IN AND COMMENT
    THAT IN LIEU OF PRAYING I WAS LISTENING TO
    THE CONVERSATION OF FELLOW
    WORSHIPPERS; THAT, THAT MAKES ME
    EQUALLY CULPABLE …. ITS NOT THAT … THIS
    KIND OF BEHAVIOUR DISTURBS ME AND MAKES
    ME LOSE MY CONCENTRATION ….

    I AM NOT MAKING A MOCKERY OF OUR PRAYERS …. I AM MERELY POINTING OUT THE MOCKERY SOME ZOROASTRIANS MAKE OF OUR PRAYERS, INTENTIONALLY OR OTHERWISE …. AND BELIEVE ME, I FIND THIS BEHAVIOUR SO IRRITATING … BECAUSE THEY DISTURB ME AND PREVENT ME FROM CONCENTRATING WHILST PRAYING …. 🙁

    I CANNOT COMPREHEND WHY MOBEDS ALSO ENCOURAGE LAITY TO CONVERSE WITH THEM WHILE THE LATTER IS RECITING PRAYERS 🙁

    I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY WE CANNOT
    START USING THE FASLI CALENDAR, STARTING FROM JAMSHEDI NAVROZE 2013. WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR SHAH RE SHAH BEHRAM VARZAVAND SAHEB TO COME AND DO IT FOR US; ESPECIALLY SINCE HE WILL HAVE A LOT ON HIS PLATE …. SURELY WE CAN HELP REDUCE HIS
    BURDENS IN A SMALL WAY ….

    VARZAVAND SAHEB, YOUR ARRIVAL IS KEENLY AWAITED BY ME AND YOUR DEVOTEES …. PLEASE HASTEN YOUR ARRIVAL – WE ARE KEEN TO MEET YOU AND AMEND OUR ERRONEOUS WAYS ET AL.

  26. perVyyn rOhyintOn kaVarana  March 3, 2013

    ERVAD SAHEB, IT WOULD BE GR8 IF MY LIST OF NO-NOs APROPOS ZOROASTRIAN PLACES OF WORSHIP, WHICH I HAVE COMPILED IN ALL HUMILITY; COULD BE PUT UP IN ALL AGIARIES n ATASHBEHRAMS …. I WILLING TO VOLUNTEER FOR SOME OF THE AREAS …. 🙂 IF OTHERS COULD ALSO VOLUNTEER, THIS TASK CAN EASILY BE ACCOMPLISHED…NOTHING IS REALLY IMPOSSIBLE !!

  27. Porus Homi Havewala  April 4, 2013

    Many good things. However, about what Ervad Saheb says concerning the Mushkel Aasan story, I do disagree. The origin of the story is immaterial. This is just a devotional story using the name of Dadar Ahura Mazda and Behram Yazad, and as such there is no harm in a devotional story if used in conjunction with the Avestan prayers to Behram Yazad. It is like a Gujarati Monajat – surely there is no harm in singing a Monajat.

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