Parsi Navjotes and Marriages: A critique of our conduct

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Roj Ram Mah Sherevar, 1384 Yz.

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Mr. Hoshang H. Mandviwalla. Hoshang bhai is a pucca Khshnoom Fidai, a great humanist and a devoted Zoroastrian. His living style and habits are exemplary. His command over Avesta Manthras is such that it can put many a Mobed to shame. To see him standing in front of the Atash Padshah at our Daremeher and recite the Hoshbam prayer early in the morning totally by heart, is a worthwhile experience. Such Behdins bring great pride and satisfaction to my mind.

Mr. Mandviwalla was inspired to pen a few words regarding the way we celebrate our Navjotes and weddings. His sharp, incisive comments will make many a Parsi uncomfortable, but it is only the plain truth that he recounts. His remedies may not be to everyone’s liking but his conclusions can be argued by none. I am happy that Hoshangji has allowed us to print this small note of his on Frashogard and hope that this will be the first of many others.

I encourage other readers of Frashogard to also send in their contributions for consideration. : Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram]

The Parsi marriage and Navjote season has almost ended. This would be the right time to highlight some finer points on this subject, which is primarily of spiritual and religious significance, rather than being a social event.

According to our religion, marriage is the spiritual unison of two souls which is decided in nature. Hence it has to be performed in a manner which is most pleasing to God.

We Zoroastrians have a tradition that whenever Navjote or Wedding Invitation Cards are to be distributed, the very first card is made in the name of Dadar Ahura Mazda. The card is then placed at the Kebla window of the Fire Temple. This shows love and respect for the Almighty, requesting His presence to grace and bless the occasion.

Dear friends, now just imagine, we have invited the Almighty to grace the occasion. Obviously He will not come alone. He will come along with His deputies, the Ameshaspands, Yazats and the higher evolved souls.

We are aware that even at social events, whenever a VVIP visits he comes along with his team of deputies. Prior to the VVIP’s visit, all efforts are made to find out his likes and dislikes, and the same are implemented to please him and his team. Even in our home, if our company boss or an important guest is invited, his likes and dislikes are taken care of to please him and to remain in his good books.

Now imagine the present day situation in our Baugs where the Navjote / Marriage celebration is taking place. We notice that:

  • Many a times the holy ceremonies are performed in the open, without any regard to religious sanctity.
  • There is no dress code.
  • Alcohol is freely flowing.
  • The sheer quantity of the food served is far in excess and the invitees behaviour is disorderly. This obviously causes a lot of embarrassment. The excess food also causes guests to overeat, thereby having a bad effect on their health.
  • Crowds dancing to loud blaring music, often with vulgar overtones after tossing down a few drinks.
  • At night baugs are decorated with colourful and bright lights hung on the branches of the trees. We all know that trees are living entities under the protection of Amardad Amneshaspand. They play a very important role in our eco system. But installing these lights for making baugs look beautiful causes a lot of interference in nature’s working.

It should be noted that none of the above pleases God and His Deputies, on the contrary they are deeply saddened by such behaviour.

Also to cater to our carnivorous appetite, a large number of innocent goats and chicken are slaughtered and their collective screaming and agony causes tremendous disturbance in nature. How does one expect Bahman Ameshaspand who is the protector of the Animal Kingdom to shower His blessings, when he himself is pained to see what has happened in the name of religious celebrations?

From the above it is clear that nothing pleases the Lord and His deputies. May be this is the reason for marriages not working these days and the problem of delayed child bearing. So how can the Navjote child or the marrying couple expect Divine blessings? By taking care of the following:-

  • Navjote and Marriage ceremonies should be strictly performed in the Agiarys or Atash Behrams, at the correct time, which is early morning.
  • Only strictly vegetarian meals should be served.
  • Alcohol should be totally avoided.
  • The Hosts and the Invitees should be in decent, traditional Zoroastrian dress. Since this is a spiritual occasion, heads should be covered all the time.
  • No blaring Bollywood / Western Music. Light classical instrumental music, which is suitable for the occasion should be played.
  • The reception can be held in the day time to avoid decorative and halogen lights on the trees.

Of course I realize that most of the above will not be palatable to many of my community members and there will be heavy resistance from family and friends. But if the marrying couple and their family / friends really want the Divine Blessings then there is no alternative.

A small beginning has to be made to stop this madness and to try and convince family members. For those who agree with this view, the only way to register protest is by not attending such a function. A small note giving the reasons for not attending, in polite and dignified language, can accompany the traditional ‘Pehramni’ cover. Such a move will spare us from being a party to the tremendous disturbance that takes place in nature in the name of so called ‘celebration’.

I sincerely wish and pray that good sense prevails in our community and the suggestions are followed.

So before leaving an Invitation Card at the Kebla of the Padshah Saheb please make sure all arrangements are made to the likes of Dadar Ahuramazda and His deputies. If we Zoroastrians follow this basic rule, then I am sure we don’t need any Agency’s help of ‘JIO PARSI’ to revive our community numbers and to bring back the past Glory.

May it be so, as I wish for.

In quest of Divine Truth,I remain.

Hoshang H. Mandviwalla

E-mail: [email protected]

 

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Comments

  1. adarvan  February 4, 2015

    Dear Hoshanji / Marzban,

    I laud your efforts to critique the functions but what about the actual ceremonies preceeding marriage and navjotes and the conduct required after the same.

    As of lights and music the “wise people” will comment ke tame chand ne bhi raatna dhakso su and will you stop insects buzzing in the night.

    I know i am wrong but it is my humble opinion that you advise us of the proper way to do these functions as i feel that we are slowly going wrong with the ceremony part itself.

    Best regards,

  2. Maneck  February 4, 2015

    I whole heartedly agree with the views of Hoshang. But nobody wants to make a beginning. The younger generation scoff at these and those who want to do things the right way are being made to shut up and mind their business. It is indeed very sad.Only If our high priests and all other priests who are called upon to perform the navjote and weddings in baugs in the evenings, just refuse to perform the ceremonies then only some sense would prevail. Ofcourse this would not work as there is no unity amongst the priestly class and each tries to bring down the other.. It is indeed unfortunate for the community.

  3. Delnaz Taraporewala  February 4, 2015

    Excellent read as always by Erwadji…Today for Parsis Navjote and Marriage means – The Caterer, The Florist, the music fellow, how many people and who will attend, etc, etc basically everything and anything except the real Navjote and Marriage ceremony. Shameful!!

  4. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  February 5, 2015

    @Adarvan
    The reason for Hoshangji’s remark on electric lights on trees is misunderstood by you. When the electric current runs through the lights it produces a current and frequency which cause anguish and pain to the trees, specially at their time of rest, and interferes with their important function of converting Co2 to O2.

    Regarding your comment on the ceremony, my talk on the Navjote is online and gives all the practical tips and hints for doing a correct Navjote. Please go through the YouTube recording or the audio file. Thanks.

  5. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  February 5, 2015

    @Delnaz
    The post is by Mr. Hoshang Mandviwalla and not by me…

  6. Delnaz  February 5, 2015

    Yes Ervadji, well noted. Thank you.

  7. Shahnaz Irani  February 6, 2015

    I totally agree with respected Hoshangji’s concept of Navjote and Marriages ceremony.I had both my boys Navajot done with the blessing of Iranshah in Udvada, at morning time.
    Many friends and family thought that we cannot afford the occasion in the Baug.
    I did not care for their remarks, nor did it affect me .
    we had veg food and also did a small feed of the poor and needy .
    Today, I live in Canada, but my boys have agreed to get married in the presencs of Pak Iranshah and in purely Zoroastrian way.
    if there is a will, there will always be a way.

  8. Aspi Hansotia  February 6, 2015

    Dear Hosi Uncle,

    Apropos to you article onthe subject Parsis navjotes & weddings, at the outset I am grateful to you and Farshogard for such an enligtening article.

    But I would request you to clear a couple of doubts of mine:

    You have infdormed that Navjote and Marriage ceremonies should be strictly performed in the Agiarys or Atash Behrams, at the correct time, which is early morning. However as far as I understand we Parsis performs marriage ceremony only after sunset. THe reason to my knowledge is, the promise given by our ancestors to King Jadhav Rana of Sanjan. Pl enligten me on this.
    Next you have informed that the food served should be strictly vegetarian and no alcohol should be served.
    Sir, can you please enlighten me on what our Avesta & religious tenet has to say Vegetarianism and use of alcohol, as non vegitarian food and alcohol are almost the daily rituals of most parsis.

    Sir, I would also like to emphasis that the above is not any attempt to challenge your wisdom but only to satisfy my queries being pondered by me over years.

    Best Regards,

    Aspi Hansotia

  9. Sam  April 5, 2015

    Dear Marazban have a few queries:
    1. Can one perform a Navjote or Marriage in a leap year ? on 29 feb?

    2. Can one perform Navjote or Marriage in gatha days ?

    3. Is there any avesta term on any day where one cant perform the said so ceremonies? on specefic day?

    4. is marriage performed at time of sunrise or after sunset ?

    Thank You

  10. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  April 5, 2015

    @Sam
    1. Yes
    2. Preferably not. The Gatha days are reserved for the veneration of the Anusheh Ruvans.
    3. No
    4. Sunrise

  11. RUMI PATEL  January 23, 2016

    Dear Ervard Marzban Saheb,

    Nowadays many Zoroastrians are performing the Navjote cermonies in the Agiary & Atash Behrams. After the navjote ceremony only veg food is served ie ravo, etc. Dadar Ahuramazda along with his ameshaspands descend on earth and give our blessings.

    But in the evening when the reception takes place, we do not follow any of the rules laid down above and even Mobeds & Dasturjis attend the function.

    Are the Dadar Ahuramazda & their accomplices are present in this function also or after the navjote is done with they go back….

    I am not able to frame the question properly but would require your inputs.

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