Roj Behram Mah Dae, 1378 Yz.
I have written earlier about the tremendous power possessed by our consecrated Padshah Sahebs, housed in the numerous Agiaries and Atash Behrams around the country. There are so many incidents that happen in these sacred places which go unnoticed, or unreported. There is a great oral tradition in our community, where certain stories are handed down from generation to generation. And of course there are miracles which happen even in this polluted day and age.
The incident I am going to write about today happened maybe 50 to 70 years ago, and as is the case, the names of the persons involved are lost. The facts remain, and they make for very interesting reading.
Many Parsis must have observed that there are several non-Parsis who have great faith in our Agiaries and Atash Behrams, and always bow down whenever they pass these sacred places. Some non-Parsi devotees also offer money for sandalwood to some of their Parsi friends to offer to the Padshah Sahebs.
There was a non-Parsi businessman, somewhere around the Charni Road area, who was a great believer in the Holy Banaji Atash Behram situated opposite the station. On his way to work in that area, this businessman would enter the compound of the Atash Behram and offer a little sandalwood to the Padshah through any Parsi entering the Atash Behram, or the helpers sitting on the verandah outside, then bow down reverentially outside the Atash Behram and leave for his work.
After some time, the business of this man entered a downturn, and his debts began to mount, until a stage was reached when his creditors took him to court over non-payment of their dues. The case came up in front of a Parsi Judge. The Judge was lenient and expected the business of the man to improve in the coming days and was confident that he would be able to pay his debts, and hence gave him time of a few months. However, the situation went from bad to worse, and the businessman was in no state to pay anything to his creditors. When the days of grace were over, the Parsi judge gave a final ultimatum to the businessman and threatened him with imprisonment if the debt was not paid within the next two or three days.
On the day prior to the final deadline, the businessman could see no hope of being able to repay his creditors. Faced with the shame and humiliation of being declared bankrupt and being sent to prison, the businessman decided it was better to end his life rather than suffer in this manner. So for the last time he went up to the Banaji Atash Behram, and using the last of his money offered a piece of sandalwood to the Padshah in the normal manner. Bowing down to the Padshah, he turned around and started walking towards Chowpatty beach, where he had decided to put an end to his life by walking into the waters.
His mind filled with fear and trepidation coupled with thoughts of the shame of his bankruptcy and the feelings for his aged mother at their house all consumed this man, and he did not notice the horse carriage that pulled up next to him. In the carriage were seated two Parsi priests in the ceremonial dress! The carriage stopped and the priests asked the man where he was going. The businessman replied and to his great surprise the Priests offered him a lift! He was aware that Parsi priests would generally not have any contact with a non-Parsi. The carriage came to Chowpatty and the man thanked the Priests and got off.
The businessman sat down on the beach and waited for the sun to set, so that his walk into the water would not be noticed by anyone and he would not be stopped. As the sun began to set and darkness began to fall, the businessman arose and began to walk towards the waves and what he hoped was his escape from a troublesome life. As he was near the waves, he suddenly saw the same two Parsi priests walking towards him from the side! They came up to him and asked him what he was up to? The businessman gave evasive answers and tried to shake off the two Parsi priests. It was then that one of the Priests told him: ‘Go home, my friend, avoid what you are doing. Your debts will be repaid by tomorrow.’
Taken aback by the frankness of the Priests and realising that he was dealing with someone very spiritual, the businessman gave up and went back home, all the time wondering as to how these two could know his mental and financial state, and how would the debt be repaid? After a troubled night, the businessman was amazed to receive a visitor early in the morning – a person who owed the businessman a large sum of money, which the businessman had written off as non-recoverable stood at his door, with the entire amount in his hand!
His happiness knew no bounds, as the businessman proudly went to the court with the money and offered to pay his creditors what he owed in front of the Judge. The Judge, who had reconciled himself to sending the businessman to jail was surprised to see him with a pile of cash in his hand! The Judge got angry and rebuked the businessman – ‘so you had the cash all along, but only when I threatened to imprison you did you agree to pay your creditors.’
The businessman broke down and narrated the entire story in front of the court. The Judge called a recess and took the businessman to his Chamber. The Parsi judge was on good terms with late Jehangirji S. Chiniwalla, the ace student of Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shroff and himself a practicing Advocate. The Judge called a meeting with Jehangirji and the businessman and after the story was retold asked Jehangirji whether any of this was possible or was the man lying?
With his knowledge and based on his interactions with Ustad Saheb, Jehangirji immediately replied that the man was telling the absolute truth. He explained to the Judge that there were two ways in which the incident could be interpreted.
Firstly, all Padshahs are living entities who have their own Astral Body. This body is normally resident within the Padshah Himself, but when need be, the astral body can take any form and manifest itself anywhere. The devotion of the non-Parsi towards the Padshah, coupled with the difficult circumstances of his life and maybe some good actions in a previous birth, all got together and made the Padshah invoke His Astral Body and commanded it to take the form of the Priests and guide the businessman on to the right path.
Another way to explain the incident was provided by Jehangirji, which we have discussed in the case of the Wadiaji Atash Behram incident. We are aware of the presence of the Sahiar Mobeds. These are lofty spiritual souls who normally visit India for a period of six months from Iran. They are given the spiritual responsibility of rectifying any defects or shortcomings in our Agiaries and Atash Behrams by the Abeds of Demavand. It is possible that the non-Parsi businessman was saved by the intercession of these Sahiar Mobeds.
Whatever the case may be, this incident again brings forward the fact that our Padshah Sahebs are live throbbing entities, who have immense power and can work miracles for us in times of difficulty. It behooves every Parsi to regularly visit our sacred places and form a deep bond of devotion and respect with these Padshah Sahebs. It is not enough to merely visit the Padshah Saheb before an important meeting, or an exam. It is necessary to form a relationship with the Padshah on a daily basis, to completely surrender our ego at his feet and to make Him a part of our daily life and ritual. Those who do so will surely be blessed by the Padshah and will at some point of their life, be witness to their own small personal miracle.
May that day come soon for all of us, and may we keep our faith in our own religion and its visible symbol – the Padshah Sahebs in our Agiaries and Atash Behrams, and may every Parsi arise out of the difficult circumstances of his or her life through the intercession of our Holy Fires!
Dear readers, there is a vast store of such inspiring incidents in our religion. Unfortunately we are unaware of them. It is my desire to record all such incidents here on the Frashogard blog. I request you to tell more and more of your Parsi friends about our website and ask them to visit this blog regularly, or to subscribe to it so that a wider readership can grow within the community. This will keep us together in the coming days of difficulty and hardship.
I am deeply indebted to my friend and brother-like figure Kaizad Keravala, who was told of this incident by a very close friend of late Jehangirji Chiniwalla and whose very good memory enabled him to recount it to us after so many years. In the coming days, I will try to put more such inspiring incidents on this Blog.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram