Roj Govad Mah Adar, 1382 Yz.
Hardly had the thought crossed his mind, when Ardeshir’s brother Seth Darabsha appeared on the scene, awakened by all the noise, carrying a heavy belt in his hand. Despite having just returned from the hospital and being in a weak state, Darabsha lunged into the battle with the belt in his hand and began matching the Pathans blow for blow as Seth Ardeshir regained his breath. But one of the Pathans crept behind Darabsha and stabbed him in the back with a dagger, causing him to begin to bleed deeply. Not caring for their wounds, both brothers continued to fight the intruders who began slowly pushing them back into the room where Ardeshir had slept.
As they re-entered the room and went back to the spot marked as the area of Sarosh Yazad in the room, their strength seemed to multiply manifold. Seth Ardeshir became a man possessed and using the knives and sticks of the Pathans, severely wounded three of them and threw them to the ground. As he went to use the knife on the fourth one, the Pathan lunged at Ardeshir and bit his knife-carrying-hand deeply, causing him to drop the knife and the deep wound began bleeding. As the fight continued, Ardeshir was reaching the end of his stamina and his breath was loud and deep. He realized that he could not hold on for much longer and signalled to his brother that they should go down and run out of the house to get help. As they descended the stairs and tried to step out, they realized that the Pathans outside had bolted the doors and hence escape was not possible.
At this moment of crisis, Seth Ardeshir received a stroke of inspiration. A voice seemed to tell him to move to another corner of the room and stand there with his brother. Now some months ago, when riots had erupted in Mumbai against the Parsis, Seth Ardeshir had had a dream in which a loud crowd of rioters were attempting to enter his house and set it on fire. At this time, in the dream, Seth Ardeshir had gathered all his family members and made each one hold the Sudreh of the other. Holding this Paivand (spiritual connection) with each other, the Parsis had recited the Nirang of Sarosh Yasht Vadi. As a result of this move, the Parsis had suddenly turned invisible to the rioters who were unable to find them. Disappointed with this, the rioters had moved away.
Remembering this dream, Seth Ardeshir caught hold of his brother Darabsha’s Sudreh and both of them began to silently recite the Sarosh Yasht Vadi Nirang and asked for help. As this time, Seth Ardeshir’s breathing had become so loud and difficult that his brother actually covered his mouth with his own hands so that the noise could not be heard by the Pathans. Meanwhile the thugs had re-gathered and were in an extremely foul mood, having been beaten up and wounded by Seth Ardeshir. They charged down the stairs shouting profanities and telling each other than now they would kill the bloody Parsis! As they saw the doors were still bolted from outside they were reassured that the Parsis were in the house itself. So they began to search for them, swinging their lathis in the darkness and in the corners to find out if the brothers were hiding there. The spot where the brothers had first stood was swept by the Pathans many times and had they remained there, they would have surely been caught.
But hearing the Divine Voice of Sarosh Yazad, the brothers had moved to another corner of the room and were standing there, each holding the other’s Sudreh and silently reciting the Sarosh Yasht Vadi Nirang. In their hearts they were sure the miscreants would surely find them, since their white Sudreh would be visible even in the dark and the loud breathing of Ardeshir would give away their position. But nothing of the sort happened. As the Pathans scoured the room and swept their lathis, they seemed to never have the thought of coming in the direction where the brothers stood. The loud breathing, which could be heard throughout the room seemed inaudible to them. Their white Sudreh, which should have stood out in the pitch dark of the room, seemed to be unseen by the thugs.
As their silent prayers continued, the Pathans grew more and more frustrated at not being able to find the brothers or anything of value to take away. Realizing that their time was up and that the noise would have probably awakened the servants outside, the Pathans signalled to their comrades outside to open the bolted doors. Loudly cursing their luck and the ‘Sarash, Sarash’ the Parsis seemed to keep on repeating, the Pathans made away from the house, leaving as empty handed as they had come, but with numerous wounds and a very hurt ego. Two aged Parsis and a brave Parsi lady had proved more than a match for five hugely built thugs.
In this manner, the great faith of the Bharucha brothers in the protection of Asho Sarosh Yazad was proven fully justified and the promise of help contained in so many verses of the Sarosh Yasht Hadokht and the Sarosh Yasht Vadi prayers was physically experienced in this incident.
As news of this remarkable feat reached the Parsis of Mumbai, there was great interest and amazement not only at the bravery of the Bharucha Brothers and their noble lady, but also a curiosity as to what exactly was prayed and how the Divine Help had been received. About one month after the incident, a public meeting was organised by the Mumbai Jashan Committee, headed by Mr. Jehangirji Vimadalal held at the Sir Cawasji Jehangir Hall in South Mumbai, where a large number of Parsis gathered. The meeting was presided over by Justice Sir Dinshaw Faramji Mulla, one of the most eminent legal minds of that time, a Chief Justice of the Mumbai High Court and an author whose books on legal jurisprudence are printed and quoted till today.
At this meeting, Seth Jehangirji Vimadalal recounted the entire incident as it had happened. Speaking thereafter, the Chief Guest, Justice Mulla harked back to his roots as a Zoroastrian Priest himself and gave a most memorable speech on the importance of faith and the powers of the Avesta prayers. A complete report of this meeting, containing Mr. Vimadalal’s speech recounting the entire incident at Bharucha Baug and Justice Mulla’s speech was printed as a small booklet and distributed within the community. Thanks to my friend Kaizad Keravala, I got my hands on a digital copy of this booklet and have recounted the incident in English for the benefit of readers of Frashogard. Unfortunately, the booklet is incomplete and the part containing the lecture by Justice Mulla is missing. In case any reader of Frashogard finds this booklet in their homes or in a library, they may please pass it on to me so that we can also present the learned Justice’s speech.
The Bharucha Brothers have long gone, their beautiful bungalow and estate was handed over to the Parsi Punchayet and it is on this estate that the Andheri Parsi colony of Bharucha Baug is built. But long after their passing, their story of strength and valour, faith and prayer will keep resounding within our community.
In conclusion, readers of Frashogard may do well to remember the memorable opening lines of the Sarosh Yasht Hadokht which say: ‘O Zarathushtra! Prayer is good, it is the best for the people of the world! Prayer is a shield against the powerful and the wicked, prayer covers the eyes, the ears and the intelligence of the wicked ones, prayer acts as a fetter for their hands, feet and mouths. That prayer, which is perfect, recited with full faith and conscience, and without any wicked intentions, (that prayer) acts like a shield against the evil ones, and repels them.’
These words of the Lord Ahura Mazda and their almost prophetic re-enactment in the case of the Bharucha brothers should place immense hope and faith in the minds of all readers of Frashogard. In times of distress and despair, when all hope seems gone and the end seems inevitable, dear Parsis, remember the words of Asho Sarosh Yazad and the promise of Ahura Mazda. In the darkest period of the long night, the bright light of Asho Sarosh Yazad always glows, throwing its purifying and protecting beam of radiance. May we all be fortunate enough to experience it in our lives.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram