Roj Khordad Mah Ardibehsht, 1384 Yz.
Those who may still not believe in what is written above or who may still be drawn to these sprites can try one more test. The Sefli Arvahi always impress humans by being able to answer any query about anyone in the past. However, ask any specific question regarding the future – the headlines in next Sunday’s newspaper, the winning numbers of the next big lottery, or any other such query which can have only a specific answer – and there will be silence. This proves the thieving nature of the Sefli Arvahi – they can access the past information but the future is unknown to them.
What is the reason for the Sefli Arvahi’s behaviour? Why do they bear such animosity towards humans? A very deep and profound explanation for this was given by our Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah Shroff. The revered Master spoke of a time when the earth was in a state of paradise. Humans of those times, many millions of years ago, had reached the stage of almost divine nature. There was very little grossness in their bodies and hence their spiritual development was very fast. It was a time when the waters of the oceans were sweet, not salty. In these hoary times, there was full communication and interaction between the human world and the Arvahi world. The Ulvi Arvahi resided on earth too and took human form to help other humans and their own development. At this time, the female Arvahi, which were of exceedingly beautiful form, also descended on the earth and interacted with humans. Some relationships also developed between the humans and the Arvahi. This was the time of Garo-nmana, or the Garden of Paradise.
But thereafter, the nature of souls descending on the earth began to get grosser. The severity of Druj in their bodies was higher. Such humans, born from the womb of the far advanced humans, now began taking charge of society. Some of these later-born humans became obsessed with the beauty of the female Arvahi and one thing led to another, and humans indulged in undignified behaviour with the female Arvahi, leading to violence and molestation. This misbehaviour caused great anger amongst the Arvahi and war broke out between humans and the Arvahi, a war in which humans lost. The oceans became salty, man lost the ability to break the laws of gravity and the Arvahi punished them severely and then left the earth. From this time, described in the Bible as the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve, earth lost its paradisiacal status and became material and full of pain and disease. The laws of the Vi-daeva-data had to be introduced.
Readers of Frashogard who may have read Tolkien or watched the epic Lord of the Rings, will find much to think about in the light of what has been written above. Indeed there was a middle age when elves, wizards and dwarves lived alongside man. Tolkien himself must have been a highly inspired person with some glance of the past to be able to record and write these tales, which are not merely tales.
Coming to the present times, when Prophet Zarathushtra descended on the earth and introduced the Vi-daeva-data, He also closed the avenues and pathways used by the Sefli Arvahi to enter earth. However, many thousands of years after His passing, some of the Sefli Arvahi have crept back into the earth and taken up various forms. Some of these Arvahi reside in plants and vegetables and take their forms. This is the reason that despite having a fully vegetarian diet, many communities display no real compassion or kindness in the personal lives. Some Arvahi crept into the ground and play their mischief from there. But the most sinister of the Arvahi befriended certain humans and took over their bodies and forms. Even today, there are innumerable such Arvahi in human shape who form the basest level of society. Some of them are at the top of their profession, many are highly creative and in those professions where creativity and art is highly valued. But in addition to their talent, they also display the basest form of passions, including the indulging of homosexuality and leading the LGBT movement.
Many such Arvahi in human form have their own rings of operatives – other humans who fall in awe of their powers and worship them, in return for sexual favours or other forms of inducement.
Many years ago, when Seth Jehangirji Chiniwalla was alive and the Parsi Avaz newspaper was being printed, there was a Parsi who used to work for Jehangirji. A simple man of average intelligence, this Parsi came to know that a group of persons were meeting at a house in south Mumbai, where allegedly, the Ruvan of late Dasturji Kukadaru was ‘appearing’ and giving messages. One such member persuaded this gentleman to accompany him to the séance. After much persuasion and some misgivings, the Parsi accompanied his friend. Sitting silently, the Parsi observed the common séance proceedings as people invited the Sprite and began asking questions about personal issues. When everyone had finally finished, they looked at the Parsi – motioning him to ask his question. Using his intelligence and the years of training under Jehangirji, the Parsi asked: ‘Dear Dasturji Kukadaru, can you please recite the Aa Airyema Ishyo prayer for us?’
Now readers of Frashogard may know that the Aa Airyema Ishyo is one of the most potent paragraphs of the Avesta and forms part of the 54th Ha of the Yazashne. This prayer is also recited by many Behdins looking for a happy married life. As such, it is a common prayer and quite easy to memorize. For a priest of the calibre of Dasturji Kukadaru, this question should have been child’s play. But there was complete silence. The question was repeated but there was no response. As everybody looked at each other, the Parsi got up, bowed down to the group and left them. It was quite clear who was being fooled. Pretty soon, ‘Dasturji Kukadaru’ stopped appearing…
The practice of Paria Mai is a direct borrowing from Shia Islam, which is prevalent in Iran. In Shia Islam, some of the Ulvi Arvahi have been accorded a place of respect. As such, many Muslims beseech these beings through stories, hold fasts (Roza) in their honour and follow many other such practices and religious disciplines. Over a period of time, these practices were also adopted by some of the Zoroastrians living in Iran and from there, this practice migrated to Indian Parsis. This is also obvious from the fact that the names mentioned in these stories, Bibi Sessumbi, Bibi Haziri and Bibi Murad are totally non-Zoroastrian and clearly Islamic. Today, there are several houses in Mumbai where ladies recite stories, hold Roza fasts, light large number of Divas and indulge in idol worship and consorting with sprites like Paria Mai.
Many Parsis who cannot do this in their own houses or do not have the time to do such things contact these ladies who then recite the prayers for them for a fee. Through word of mouth, the lack of capable Priests to guide them and the general high level of religious ignorance – all lead to this herd mentality. However, it needs to be reiterated, that this practice is wrong, un-Zoroastrian, and brings no benefit to the Parsi indulging in it. It is in fact, fraught with danger, causes spiritual regression and will definitely hamper the Ruvan of the persons following these practices during their journey after death. It is the bounden duty of our Head Priests as well as the Panthakis of Agiaries to guide their devotees on the right path. It pains me to say that they are failing in their duty by turning a blind eye towards these practices and only concentrating on activities that generate revenue for them.
It is my sincere request to such Parsis to stop indulging in this kind of un-Zoroastrian idolatry.
In conclusion, we should remember the advice given by our revered Master: the Arvahi are a separate class of beings, whose spiritual development is very different from ours. Because of their knowledge of the science of manipulating the elements, these beings can give some temporary benefit to humans who may be attracted to them. However, the penalty for such association is very severe and greatly hampers the onward progress of the Ruvan of that person after death. As such, humans in general, and Parsis in particular should totally avoid participating in any activities where such beings are invited. They should not ask for any boon or favour from such beings. If a Parsi is in need, he can always pray to Ahura Mazda and His Yazatas and His Prophet Zarathushtra and they will definitely give the fair share of what is due to the person at that point of time.
Our precious Avesta has hundreds of Nirangs and prayers which cover the entire range of human needs and wants. Even our most basic prayers have the power to bring for their reciter the best blessings of Ahura Mazda. As such, there is no need to gravitate towards any form of idol worship, sprite worship or engaging in supernatural behaviour. Patience and contentment are great virtues. Modern life is so competitive and bench-marking is so rampant that the urge for material possessions is very great. We all feel the need to own something better and bigger than everyone else has. This unhealthy trend of conspicuous consumption, rank materialism and media displays of vulgar wealth and flashy lifestyles all lead to a feeling of inadequacy amongst normal middle class citizens who then rush for magic cures, fake Babas and the worship of supernatural wonder-workers.
God is not oblivious to our needs, but He knows best as to when someone deserves something and in what quantum. Thus it is best to pray with a clean conscience, ask for whatever one may want but accept the Will of God with contentment and deep faith. This is the only way to survive and prosper spiritually in this world. It is my earnest request that readers of Frashogard will forward this article with as much, if not more intensity among their Parsi friends so that this unhealthy and un-Zoroastrian mode of worship is not encouraged in our community.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram