Roj Jamyad Mah Ardibehest, 1380 Yz.
Mulla Kaus and Mulla Feroze returned to Surat on 9th February, 1780. Their sponsor and benefactor, Dhunjishah Manjishah was in Mumbai at that time, meeting with an old friend Seth Dadibhai Nosherwanji, later to become famous as “the Great Dadyseth”. Dadibhai was a prosperous landlord and a ship chandler. In addition he had a huge trading business with China, for which he had constructed 5 sailing ships called Shah Ardeshir, King George, Friendship, Brig. William and David Scott. In 1776, he was the first person to set up a “screw” to press cotton bales for export. It is estimated that in his life time, Dadibhai donated towards charitable works an amount in excess of Rs. 10 lakhs! Here is a portrait of Seth Dadibhai Nosherwanji.
On hearing the news of the arrival of Mulla Kaus, Dhunjishah returned to Surat. Here they met and for a long time discussed what Mulla Kaus had learned in his lengthy years in Iran. Among the 78 questions asked by Seth Dhunjishah, several related to the establishment of Atash Behrams, Adarans and Dakhmas. Having understood the Iranian methods for these intricate activities very well, Mulla Kaus was now in a position to establish the Iranian Pav Mahel, captured in the breath of his son Mulla Feroze as well as himself (Mulla Kaus had himself undergone several Bareshnum Nahns in Iran to become attuned with the Pav Mahel there) in India. All they needed was a sponsor – which they found in Seth Dadibhai Nosherwanji.
The Great Dadyseth had come under the influence of Seth Dhunjishah Manjishah and had started following the Kadmi calendar. When news of the arrival of Mulla Kaus reached him, he invited Mulla Kaus and Mulla Feroze, along with Seth Dhunjishah Manjishah to Mumbai. After several discussions, it was decided that an Atash Behram Saheb be established as per the Kadmi tradition in Mumbai. As a very large landlord in Mumbai, Dadibhai had ample land at his disposal. Out of the several big plots he had, Mulla Kaus selected a large plot which housed a plantation of jackfruit and other fruit trees, called Fanaswadi, near Kalbadevi. On this peaceful and large plot, Mulla Kaus began the preparations for the consecration of the Atash Behram.
In addition to his son, Mulla Feroze, Mulla Kaus gathered other Kadmi priests from Surat and Bharuch and toiled for nearly three years to establish the first Atash Behram of Mumbai. An ardent exponent of Rammal, Mulla Kaus took great pains to start all the activities relating to the consecration of the Sacred Fire on specially auspicious occasions. In the meanwhile, the grand structure to house the Atash Behram came up on the Fanaswadi land. Once the physical construction was over, Mulla Kaus took over the spiritual consecration of the structure. Using his knowledge of Rammal to the best extent, Mulla Kaus would roll the sacred dice and decide the date of consecration for each door of the sacred Atash Behram structure. As he proceeded from outside to inside, he would decide the auspicious dates and time to perform the various secret consecration ceremonies which he had learnt during his stay in Iran.
In this manner, after immense efforts of Mulla Kaus and his team of able Mobeds, the very first Atash Behram of Mumbai was finally consecrated and thrown open to the Parsi public on Roj Sarosh Mah Fravardin (Kadmi), 1153 Yz, or 29th September, 1783. On this joyous occasion, thousands of Parsis of Mumbai and nearby areas gathered to pay homage to the first Atash Behram and to look in amazement at the magnificent structure built by the Great Dadyseth. After the Jashan to open the Atash Behram Saheb, Dadibhai Nosherwanji presented a shawl to Mulla Kaus and appointed him as the very first Kadmi Dastur of India. From that day on, he became known as Dastur Mulla Kaus Rustam Jalal.
An indication of the deep knowledge of ritual and Rammal which Dastur Mulla Kaus and his son Mulla Feroze possessed can be gleaned from the inscription in Persian which is carved on the door to the entrance of the Atash Behram. Written in beautiful Persian verse, Dastur Mulla Kaus explained:
“In the name of the Creator of the two worlds! He who is the guide to all towards the path of goodness. He is the Master of Justice and religion, and away from any evil or destruction. May there be salutations and homage to pure Zarathushtra! We have constructed this place of worship to accord place of pride to our traditions. That famous Dadyseth who has made the name of his father Nosherwanji well known, has planted the tree of the Faith in this place. He has made our religion famous once again. O Creator, take special care of Dadyseth, and make him live a long and wealthy life! May his triumphant voice reach the skies and may a special place be reserved for him in heaven! The wise Dastur Kaus has consecrated this holy site. When, with intelligence and elevated consciousness, he gleaned the Roj and Mah, then it appeared as Roj Sarosh Mah Fravardin. When Feroze calculated the year with his innate wisdom, then he realized it was equal to the word “Atash Varaharan”.
What is the meaning of the obtuse last sentence? It is here that the real genius and spiritual prowess of Mulla Feroze and Mulla Kaus is apparent. In an earlier post , we have understood the Zoroastrian science of numerology called ABJAD. In this method, every alphabet of the Persian script is given a particular weight. When the numerological significance of any word or sentence is to be understood, the word is broken down to its alphabets. Then the various weights relating to the alphabets are applied and the word total is obtained. Based on the amount of the total and its derived single digit number, various forecasts and predictions can be made by advanced Masters. While the methodology is well known to many, the revelations and meaning is understood by very few. Of those, even fewer can reveal the meaning of the sum total of the numbers.
What Mulla Feroze did, as mentioned on the inscription by Mulla Kaus, is that he totalled the sum of the letters of the word Atash Varaharan in Persian, which came to 1153. The year in which the Atash Behram was consecrated (according to the Yazdezardi year) was also 1153. This was no simple coincidence but a result of the careful planning and execution by Dastur Mulla Feroze.
The wisdom and spiritual level of Dastur Mulla Kaus is also evident in the manner in which he ensured that the Atash Behram building was constructed in the most perfect manner. In the original building, the Kebla Hall of the Atash Behram was totally dark and the roof covered with Mangalore tiles. The entrance to the inner sanctum of the Padshah was through a very small door, such that the priest entering the Kebla had to bow down before the Padshah. The absence of any light in the hall of the Kebla room is also very necessary since the Padshah’s own light should be the only thing visible in the room. But of special interest was the copper Afarganyu in which the Atash Behram Saheb was enthroned. Visitors to the Atash Behram even today can see this nearly 250 year old Afarganyu in the corner of the Kebla hall, where the skylight is presently put.
The Great Dadyseth was a man of immense wealth. If he had enough money to donate over Rs. 10 lakhs in 1780, could not have Dadyseth installed an Afarganyu of pure silver or even gold? Why did he choose copper? It is here that the spiritual prowess of Dastur Mulla Kaus is displayed. Over 125 years after the establishment of the Dadyseth Atash Behram, Ustad Saheb Behramshah Shroff emerged and explained the real reason for the copper Afarganyu. Ustad Saheb revealed that Atash Behram fires are of two grades. Readers of Frashogard are aware that the consecration of an Atash Behram involves the purification, consecration and merger of 15 fires from different tradesmen and one fire obtained from lightning. This fire from lightning is generally taken when a forest fire is set off by a stroke of lightning. When such a fire is used in the consecration of the Atash Behram, it is called a secondary grade Atash Behram.
However, when a priest of the highest calibre is able to command lightning to appear and strike at a specially prepared place and block of sandalwood, then the Atash Behram is which such a fire is amalgamated is called as the primary grade Atash Behram. Only in the case of Iranshah Atash Behram was Dastur Nairyosangh Dhaval able to command lightning to appear and strike at the specially prepared chaki or block of sandalwood after an Amal or spiritual exercise of 40 days and nights. All the other 7 Atash Behrams in India used lightning fire from secondary sources (forest fires). Ustad Saheb explained that only in case of a primary grade Atash Behram could the Afarganyu be made of pure gold or silver. In all other cases, the Afarganyu must be always of copper. Dastur Mulla Kaus, being aware of this deep esoteric fact, had an Afarganyu made of copper for the Padshah Saheb.
Dastur Mulla Kaus and Mulla Feroze made many more arrangements to enhance the status and spiritual power of the Atash Behram. The Khuan or stone pedestal of the Padshah Saheb was made of specially selected, very hard black Deccan basalt which was integrated into the foundation of the building in a very specific manner. While installing the Khuan and the Afarganyu, Dastur Mulla Kaus and Mulla Feroze constructed several Taaveez or amulets made of copper, each connected to the other by specially woven cotton threads. All these and many more steps were taken by these wise Dasturs to ensure the longevity and boon-granting power of the Atash Behram Saheb.
We shall continue with the story of Dastur Mulla Feroze in the next post.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram