The real meaning of Patet

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Roj Hormaz Mah Dae, 1384 Yz.

[Editor’s Note: To say that the last few months have been challenging would be a gross understatement.

Buffeted by personal issues, workplace issues, medical crises, over-busy schedules and a fundamental questioning of the reason for one’s very existence, it has been an interesting time, to put it mildly. During such times, the mind oscillates between varying degrees of sanity, or otherwise. Myriad thoughts, not all pleasant, invade the deep personal space, where no one else is allowed to enter, and threaten to weaken the years of training, reading, faith and belief.

What does one do in such times? How does one combat these demons of the mind? How does one regain the equilibrium so necessary to live a fulfilling life, not one marked by dreary routine and unrewarding toil? How does one cope when the fundamental pillars of life-support – family, spouse, children, friends – all seem to have given up on you or seem to be saying things that are very antithetical to the way you see the same? Every breath of relief has to be taken with a little suspicion and with a furtive look to ensure that all is really well. Such a level of anxiety is, of course, unsustainable in the long run and can drive the mind to insanity.

Thankfully, my years of reading Khshnoom, writing a little about it as well as having counselled others in similar situations earlier, all helped to somehow overcome this obstinate hump in the roadway to salvation. To say that it is all over would be wrong, for who knows what little surprises Fate and our Khuda has in store for us?

Several times during this period, I thought about writing for Frashogard, but the mind was not in proper equilibrium. I did not want to write something which I would regret later on, or which would display a line of thinking which was not in consonance with what Khshnoom teaches. So although there was some amount of reading and a lot of introspection and inner thinking, it was necessary for the cooling salve of time to heal the wounds of the head and heart, which are by far more painful than those of the body, so that a state of stability was reached, to enable one to put what is in the mind onto paper, and posterity.

Of course the crises confronting me are far from over. But life has to go on. And I owe an obligation to the faithful readers of Frashogard to keep things going. And so, with due apologies for my longish absence, but without wasting any more time and words, let us resume. – Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram]

 

The fundamental question which we all ask, in moments of crises is, ‘why me?’ This question and the various stages that the mind goes through have been dealt with in my earlier essay ‘How to come to terms with a tragedy.’

But today, we delve a little deeper into the role of ourselves – and more properly, our mind, in bringing us to this state. Why do bad things happen to us? Because, to put it very bluntly, we ourselves bring it on to us! While this may seem overly harsh and judgemental, it is the truth. How did we arrive at this truth and what does Khshnoom say about it? The answer is to be found in the Patet Pashemani and our essay tries to explore this truth in greater detail.

Like many other things regarding our religion, the Patet Pashemani is a mostly misunderstood prayer. The word ‘Patet’ is not understood correctly by most of us. Due to the paucity of words in the English language, Patet is often equated with ‘repentance’ or saying ‘sorry’. But that is not the case. As is the case with every word in our scriptures, Patet has different levels of meaning which we shall explore later.

The first interesting fact about the Patet Pashemani is that this prayer was composed not by Prophet Zarathushtra, but by the last Rainidar (the great Restorer of the Religion, Pahlavi den-rast-wirastar), Dasturan Dastur Adurbad Mahrespand, who lived in the reign of the Sassanian King Shapurshah Hormazd, or Shapur II, the Great (309-379 AD). Those were the times when Christianity had started becoming an increasingly powerful faith in the world. The old-world beliefs of Europe and west Asia, including Mithraic worship (which had nearly 90% of Mazdayasni doctrine as its core) as well as Manichaeism (a heretic mixture of Zoroastrianism and Christianity) were destined to be replaced by Christianity. This was achieved by a gradual absorption of Mithraic beliefs into the new Christian fold, many of which exist to this day in the Roman Catholic Church.

In the very beginning of the Christian faith, when its Great Leader Jesus and many of His disciples and their followers were mercilessly persecuted and martyred, not only by the Romans but also the Jews, Iran was the only country that gave refuge, allowing them to settle peacefully in the then Iranian province of Armenia, with full freedom to follow their new faith. Over a period of time, the Christians went from strength to strength and prospered under the benevolent rule of the succeeding Iranian monarchs, who despite being Zoroastrian, allowed the Christians full religious freedom.

As a gesture of their deep indebtedness and gratitude towards the Iranian monarchy, the Christians of Armenia, much strengthened and increased in number, now began their proselytizing activities in other parts of Iran, trying to convert Zoroastrians into Christians! It was at this time of religious ignorance and disarray that Dastur Adurbad appeared on the scene. As the foremost advisor to Shapur II, Dastur Adurbad was responsible for the re-codification of the extant Avesta scriptures and weeding out all the non-Zoroastrian influences that had crept in over the centuries. Dastur Adurbad read the times correctly and realized that an exceptional display of the power of Zoroastrian doctrine was required to be displayed, so that the general populace of the empire were not swayed by the promises and fake glitter of the Christian missionaries.

To this end, Dastur Adurbad performed the great Nirang-i-Var or Miracle of the Faith (known in the Gathas as ayangha khshusta, the ordeal by fire) by having poured on his body many kilos of molten bronze, from which he emerged unscathed. This exceptional display of righteous authority and spiritual power re-energized the Zoroastrians of that time and along with the firm rule of Shapur II, who kept the missionaries in check – by persuasion or by harsh punishment, rescued the Zoroastrian religion from further decline. It is for these reasons that even today, the name of King Shapur II is taken in our Nam-Grahan (list of names of Zoroastrian worthies recited in every prayer) as Shapurshah bin Hormazd. He is also eulogized in the Zand-i-Vohuman Yasht as the one who ‘put the world in order’ (dad arayed) and ‘spread salvation in the world’ (boxtagih pad daman).

While Shapur II’s reign was long by historical standards, the spiritual reign of Dastur Adurbad was destined to extend for another nearly 1700 years – to the present times, when we await the arrival of the next great Rainidar, Shah Behram Varzavand. Keeping in mind his long reign, as well as knowing the level of spiritual advancement (or otherwise) of those Zoroastrians destined to be born in that time, Dastur Adurbad collated the extensive Avesta scriptures as well as the exegetical Pahlavi commentaries (called Nikeez) and arrived at a fresh set of the 21 Avesta Nasks. Knowing further, that even these collated Nasks were destined to be destroyed in the visible world through the atrocities of a yet-to-be-founded faith and the ravages of time, Dastur Adurbad composed several short prayers in the Pazend language, to supplement the expected loss of the Avesta scriptures.

Dastur Adurbad knew that being short, as well as being intertwined with the regular day-to-day Avesta prayers, the Pazend prayers would never be destroyed or lost. This core of regular prayers, collected, and interspersed with powerful Pazend Manthras that further strengthened the power of the Avesta formula hidden within, came to form the beloved Khordeh Avesta which every Parsi holds (or should hold) in his hands for his daily prayers. And of course the most basic prayer which every Parsi recites (or should recite) while tying his Kusti – the Nirang-i-Kusti-bastan, or more commonly known as the Hormazd Khodae prayer, was also composed by Dastur Adurbad. The various Nirangs and Bajs for day to day activities- waking up, taking Taro, going to the toilet, eating, cutting nails or hair, sleeping, even sneezing (yes, there is a Nirang for that!) were all composed by Dastur Adurbad. Yet how many Parsis remember him or even know about him? That is the sign of our times, and the precursor to the inglorious fall of our community and its subsequent, hoped for revival.

The Patet Pashemani and the Patet Ruvan ni are among the most important prayers composed by Dastur Adurbad. And hence they have been the subject of the most ridicule, which arises from an ignorance about their need, use and efficacy. Among the many superb essays written by Doctor Saheb Framroze in his Khordeh Avesta ba Khshnoom, his introduction to the Patet Pashemani stands very tall. We shall expand more on this in the next post.

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

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Comments

  1. Sharmin  May 16, 2015

    You and your family are always in my prayers! It was lovely reading this post at a time when I needed it as well!

  2. Aashrai Arun  May 16, 2015

    Brilliant post sir. I really like the way you put forward the many truths about life without any hesitation. Look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Ushta

  3. Mohnaz  May 16, 2015

    Very happy to read this post … waiting for the next soon… Stay Happy & Blessed .. and keep on inspiring us … Best Wishes

  4. Mehroo Karbhari.  May 16, 2015

    I read with interest your heartfelt outpouring in the Editor’ s Note.
    As you yourself have said….. Your years of reading Kshnoom have helped you over the obstinate hump in the roadway.
    When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say WHY ME?
    Just say TRY ME.
    We pray God grants smooth sailing for you.
    Mehroo.

  5. Mary  May 16, 2015

    Dear Ervad,

    This is a very fine post. I am looking forward to the continuation of it.

    The Patet prayer is deep and beautiful. Could you please quote it for your readers, in the original language and with an annotated translation into English’

    Thank you and best wishes.

  6. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  May 17, 2015

    @Mary
    The Pazend prayer is available online at http://avesta.org/ka/ka_part1.htm#patet

  7. Delnaz Taraporewala  May 17, 2015

    Respected Ervadji,
    Thank you for the post. Our prayers are always with you and your family. Looking forward to the next post and many many………. more such posts in future.

  8. Rashna K. Munshi  May 17, 2015

    Respected Ervad Saheb,

    When you have guided your behdins, you will surely find the solutions to your problems with AHURA MAZDA’s blessings and your behdins’ gratitude. ‘Even this shall pass’. We missed FRASHOGARD and are glad to have your posts back.

    Rashna & Khushru Munshi

  9. stellahhowell  May 17, 2015

    Greetings Ervad,

    I have been wondering if my mail box was automatically rejecting your communication.

    Good to hear from you, though the content is of concern.

    Try to be positive, particularly since tomorrow, Monday the 18th is New Moon.
    This is a time for New Beginnings for Every Individual, despite ones circumstance, or else, whatever you ‘think’, whatever you ‘fear’ will become reality.

    Irrespective of medical diagnosis, in my opinion, you need to stay clear of their medications as pharmaceuticals NEVER cure, it ONLY provides temporary relief and creates another disease.

    With due respect to you, according to Ancient Healing it was taught that EVERY sickness is caused due to Negative Vibration.

    We can try free Distant Healing for your Mind, your physical Body and your Spirit.

    We are all here for a purpose.

    We must all live with love for all – humans, animals – all life.
    The greatest mistake is our diet.
    Flesh & Blood must make us sick.
    This is the curse from the animals.

    Perhaps you are vegan, I do not know.

    Kindly excuse these words. I sincerely wish you good Health in Mind, excellent Health of your Body and Supreme Health of your Spirit.

    After all we are all Spirit.
    The Air we breathe is the Spirit
    If we stop breathing we are transformed to Spirit.

    May we all enjoy the Universal Spirit of the Air
    Created by the Almighty Creator
    Who you call Ahura Mazda
    & I call YAHVAH

    This name has been removed from every place of worship
    This most powerful name has been removed from every Holy Book
    This name has been removed from all teachings

    Though in the Ancient times,
    During the first Age
    The name YAHVAH was engraved everywhere.

    Peace to your Mind – should you accept these words
    Peace to your Body – should you implement these words
    Peace to your Spirit – for Eternal Life should you strive to do the will of the Almighty Creator YAHVAH!

  10. Mary  May 17, 2015

    Dear Ervad,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. In times of suffering and sadness, it is wonderful to say the Jasa me avanghe Mazda prayer, which reminds us how close our beloved Creator really is to us. No evil, no despair or pain could ever derive from Ahura Mazda. He desires only our radiant happiness. It is the insidious force of Angra Mainyu which has tainted the perfect world created by Mazda for us. Therefore, the more we draw near to God, the more we put our trust in Him, the weaker will become the power of evil. And it will be easier for us to find the path to Ushta.

  11. Godrej B Sachinwalla  May 17, 2015

    Respected Ervad Saheb,

    Feeling good to read your write-ups. I have read that son/daughter needs to pray Patet ruvan ni for the departed parents. I lost my mother in July 2013 and I have prayed Patet for her every day, without fail, for almost the last two years.( Except on those days when praying Patet is forbidden). I pray mostly in the Havan Geh and so the Patet too is prayed in the Havan Geh. Is it ok if Patet is prayed in Havan Geh because I have read that Patet must be prayed in the Aivishuthrem Geh ? Please enlighten me on this matter. Thanks

  12. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  May 18, 2015

    @Godrej
    The Sarosh Patet prayer combination is the best prayer for the departed. Since Sarosh Vadi can be prayed only in Aiwi Gah it is recommended to do Sarosh Patet in Aiwi only. However, due to paucity of time or other constraints, Ruvan ni Patet can be recited in any other Gah also. You are doing a worthy deed. Well done.

  13. Delnavaz  May 18, 2015

    hello Ervad Marzban,
    in your next post , please let us know the days when praying the Patet is forbidden
    thanks

  14. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  May 18, 2015

    @Delnavaz
    Patet Pashemani can be prayed on all days. Patet Ruvan ni should not be prayed during the 10 main Muktad days.

  15. armin  May 19, 2015

    Ervad Saheb,
    Thank you so much for the post.
    “This to shall pass” … This affirmation works.. Prayers and faith is the only support during our times of trial.

  16. Mahrukh  May 19, 2015

    Can Ruvan Ni Patet be prayed on Roj Ashishwangh Mah Asphandarmad that is on the first welcome day of Muktad too???? when 18 days of Muktad were observed?

    how does on pray Sarosh with names ? Do i have to do my sarosh yasht vadi as fradjyat first and than again pray it ? thats means 2 vadi s? to be prayed one as fradjyat other as taking names? PLs Guide .

  17. Maneck  May 19, 2015

    Dear Ervad Saheb,,

    It was so nice to see your post after such a long time. I was eagerly waiting for it. God always tests us and it is in those trying times, we have to take control of ourselves and I wish and pray that all your problems are solved.

  18. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  May 20, 2015

    @Mahrukh
    1. Yes. Becuase Ruvans have not yet come down. They come on the dawn of Roj Ashtad
    2. Please see: http://www.frashogard.com/how-to-take-the-name-of-a-deceased-in-any-prayer/
    Please see Sarosh Yasht Vadi Nirang for the deceased in the Khordeh Avesta brought out by the Parsee Vegetarian and Temperance Society.
    3. Yes, two Vadis have to be recited. First finish your own Farajyat of Gah, Vadi, Atash Nyaesh and Nam Setayashne and then commence Ruvan ni Sarosh, without Ahmai Raescha and Kerfeh Mozd. Then Recite Nirang quoted above and then the Patet Ruvan ni.

  19. Mahrukh  May 21, 2015

    Thanks for post Got to know something new . SO i shouldnt recite ahmai rascha and kerfeh mozd when reciting prayers for departed ? Does the same follow when i pray for departed khorshed meher nyaish or atash nyaish or any other nyaish or yasht shouldnt i pray ahmai rascha and kerfeh mozd for departed ? i seen that book but there is ahmai rascha and kerfeh mozd in vadi given in that is why iam asking this ques? Does the same rule apply for other nyaish and yasht as well when its prayed for departed w/o ahmai rascha & kerfeh mozd?
    Thanks for other replies.

  20. Mahrukh  May 21, 2015

    Also someone told me that ahmai rascha and kerfeh mozd is not prayed only for 3 days when someone dies . after that it should be prayed . In satum prayers i seen priest reciting with ahmai rascha and kerfeh mozd.

  21. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  May 21, 2015

    @Mahrukh.
    AR & KM cannot be prayed for any Ruvan related prayer. Period.

  22. Mahrukh  May 21, 2015

    Thank you , i also have recently known as some scholars says when one prays 21 Yathas and 12 ashems with 2 yathas followed by sarosh and ahmai rascha till kerfeh mozda at end of ones prayers .This is mainly the ending of an Afringhan ritual or Patet Pashemani than ones Kushti breaks and he cannot recite any futhur prayers unless he does another kushti. IS this True ?

    IF suppose 1 pair of priest finish Jashan ceremony than want to perform another Afringhan or Jashan ceremony do they both have to do kushti again and sit for next ceremony ?

    Similarly if i want to pray both Patet Pashemani and ruvani . Do i need to do a kushti before starting RUVAN NI PATET?

    I never seen any documented text written on this . just heard from my neighbour who is from an Athornan family. IS this written anywhere in any book or prayer ?kindly guide me on this .When i asked my pathak he said nothing like this and is a false practice ? Whom to believe now ?Confused?

  23. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  May 21, 2015

    @Mahrukh
    This site describes the religion as expounded by Khshnoom. The more different opinions you read the more confused you will become. I do not want to get into any arguments with other people. They can do as they wish. Please restrict your questions to the topic being discussed in the post.
    1. False
    2. No
    3. No

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