Roj Adar Mah Adar, 1380 Yz.
Readers of Frashogard would recall that I had written about the deeply mystical significance of the Afarganyu which holds the Atash Padshahs in our Agiaries and Atash Behrams when detailing the life story of Dastur Mulla Feroze. The wisdom displayed by Dastur Mulla Feroze and Mulla Kaus while constructing the Dadyseth Atash Behram at Mumbai was described in detail in that post.
Ever since I wrote that article, there arose in me a great desire to replicate the copper Afarganyu for our Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff Daremeher. This was made all the more necessary since the existing Afarganyu, which had been fabricated in German silver was of poor workmanship and also shook violently due to improper levelling. The task was made difficult because there are very few fabricators left who agree to work in copper.
Thanks to the efforts of our colony resident Mr. Homi Zaiwalla, who works in Godrej Industries, we managed to get a good fabricator in Mr. Ramesh and his brother Raju Panchal, based in Vikhroli. I took the design inspiration from the 250 year old copper Afarganyu lying in the hall of the Dadyseth Atash Behram and made some changes therein. We then made the necessary drawings and entrusted the task to the Panchal brothers. Over a period of nearly 2 months, the brothers fabricated a superb piece using 100% pure copper of a very thick gauge. The following photographs show the various different pieces of the Afarganyu in the raw copper stage.
After the design was approved with some minor changes, the final assembled Afarganyu in the raw copper stage looked like this.
Thereafter, the insides of the Afarganyu were treated with tin (Kalai work) to make it receptive to the intense heat that would be generated. The outside part of the Afarganyu was brushed and buffed and then nickel plated, to give a long lasting shine and glow. Finally the completed Afarganyu was delivered to the Daremeher on Sunday, 17th April 2011. The photograph below shows the Agiary staff receiving the Afarganyu with a traditional Parsi welcome.
The Afarganyu was thoroughly cleaned and washed by our volunteers and thereafter taken inside for consecration.
The total weight of the Afarganyu is 65 kilos, which gives readers a fair idea of its sturdiness and high quality.
The ceremony to consecrate the Afarganyu was performed by me on Roj Dae-pa-Adar, Mah Adar ; Saturday 23rd April in the morning. The Afarganyu was consecrated in the name of our Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff. After the second Havan machi on that day, the consecrated Afarganyu was transferred by two priests to the inner sanctum room (Kebla) and placed near the existing Afarganyu to begin the process of absorption of the divine energies present in the old Afarganyu.
Finally, after the Ushahin Gah machi, the ceremony to enthrone the Padshah Saheb on the new Afarganyu was performed. A metal chain was used to create a Paiwand between the inner Pavi, the old Afarganyu, the new Afarganyu and a marble pedestal. Then with the chanting of the Yatha Ahu Vairyo, four priests lifted the Sarposh (the deep tray on top of the old Afarganyu on which the Holy Ash and the Padshah Saheb rest) and placed it on the marble pedestal. Two priests lifted the old Afarganyu from the Khuan (marble stone) and placed it on the side. Working quickly, the new Afarganyu was placed on the Khuan accompanied by the loud chanting of the Yatha Ahu Vairyo. Finally, the Sarposh was lifted from the marble pedestal and placed gently on the new Afarganyu, thereby formally enthroning the Padshah Saheb on His new throne.
The Paiwand chain was then lifted and removed and the Pavi properly cleaned and isolated again. Thereafter all the priests recited the Atash Nyaesh in a loud and sonorous voice, finishing off with a Tandorasti for the Padshah Saheb and the Hama Anjuman. In this manner, the Padshah Saheb was presented with a new throne in advance of Roj Adar Mah Adar. At 6:15 am the Hama Anjuman Machi of 5kgs was offered to the Padshah Saheb in the presence of over 50 colony residents who had gathered to witness the first Machi of the Padshah Saheb on the new Afarganyu.
I am thankful to Mr. Homi Zaiwalla and Mr. Parvez Karbhari, both employees of Godrej who worked and coordinated tirelessly with the vendor to deliver a superbly crafted Afarganyu on time. I am also grateful to the 26 residents of Behram Baug who silently gave generous sums of money to defray the cost of the Afarganyu. In keeping with our philosophy of silent and anonymous charity, no inscription or wordings have been etched on the Afarganyu. Instead two small copper plates were placed inside the Afarganyu which state the Roj and Mah of the consecration and enthronement, in Gujarati and English. In the future, if the Padshah Saheb is ever lifted, then whoever does so would realise how and when the Afarganyu was made.
May the new Afarganyu offer faithful service to the Padshah Saheb for many years to come.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram