Roj Ashishvangh, Mah Bahman 1377 Yz.
In my last post on the Baj of our Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shroff, I had mentioned the existence of some close disciples of the Master who were touched by him in very mysterious ways. The episode I am about to describe was recounted by Mr. Kavasji Pestonji Sarkari in the Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shroff memorial volume printed in 1930, three years after the passing away of the Master.
Mr. Sarkari was an engineer who lived and worked in Hubli, Karnataka. He first came to know of the Master through newspaper writings and initiated a correspondence with him. Shortly thereafter, he came into close contact with the Ustad and after 1914 right till the time of the Ustad’s death, he was in very close contact with him and was privy to many hours of private discussion and guidance. In his essay in the memorial volume, Mr. Sarkari has recounted a very strange and mysterious occurrence which happened on 7th August, 1917. Here is my free rendering from the original Gujarati written in first person by Mr. Sarkari.
“I had a Hindu friend (who I shall refer to by the initials M.A.A.) who was well educated with a B.A. and B.Sc. His whole family was very well educated and had travelled abroad for studies and obtained degrees. In addition, the entire family was highly religious minded and pious. Mr. M.A.A. himself was an accomplished scholar of Sanskrit and had imbibed a deep study of the entire Vedas, comprising the Rg, Sama, Yajur and Atharva Vedas. I often used to have discussions with this friend of mine on the topic of “Stoat”, that is the divine vibrations arising from the utterance of prayers in specific languages like Sanskrit or Avesta. Being quite well off financially, as well as having a curious and scientific bent of mind, my friend was interested in scientifically proving the existence and power of Stoat. After some experiments and spending nearly Rs. 1000 [this would be worth nearly Rs. 100,000 in today’s terms – Er. MJH] my friend succeeded in producing a piece of rubber, of very light yellow colour, about 2.5 inches square. Both of us then proceeded to stretch this piece of rubber from all sides until it was about 12 to 14 inches square and as transparent and thin as a piece of fine paper.
“On 7th August, 1917, my friend and I proceeded to a place called ‘Vithoba’s Wadi’ near the village of Naigaum, some distance form Bombay. There my friend had hired a large room which had been given a fresh coat of lime and cleaned. We both had a bath at the nearby well. I then told my friend: – ‘whatever you have to tell me, do so now, because once I perform my Kusti prayers I will not speak to you.’ We decided that my Hindu friend would first recite some Sanskrit shlokas in front of the screen and then I would recite some Avesta Manthras. I told my friend that I would endeavour to tear this chemical screen with the power of the Avesta Stoat. My friend had a hearty laugh. I reminded him – ‘you may laugh now, but I shall have the last laugh.’
“I must confess that in my entire life, that must have been the most focussed, sincere-hearted, totally-concentrated-on-the-Mithra Kusti that I have ever performed! Throughout the Kusti, my mind focussed on only one thought (Mithra): ‘O Most Holy Zarathushtra! You who have brought this Mazdayasni Zarathushtri religion on the face of this earth, it is entirely up to you to prove today that our religion is the most righteous and the mother of all other religions. Please help me prove this by tearing this chemical screen!’
“Meanwhile my friend finished his pooja and then started reciting certain Sanskrit shlokas in a loud voice. After a few minutes, to our astonishment, we saw some faint colourful shadows appearing on the screen. These were mainly dark violet in colour, and then some in ordinary black, green, yellow and crimson. In this manner my friend continued to recite the shlokas for about 15 to 20 minutes and the various colours kept on appearing on the screen. Thereafter, he invited me to recite my Avesta Manthras.
“As mentioned earlier I had already performed and maintained my Kusti, so I started by reciting 2 Yatha Ahu Vairyo and 1 Ashem Vohu. Thereafter I started reciting the Sarosh Baj. In the beginning the plate remained totally blank. But as soon as I stared reciting ‘Sarosh asho, tagi tan farman, shekaft zin, zin avzar’, the colours started appearing on the screen. Oh, what happiness! The colours were blue, pink, light green of a most pleasant hue , interspersed with some dark violets and some black too. My thoughts were, of course, focussed on breaking that plate, and even while reciting the prayers the mind was focussed on when I would be able to tear the screen! Thereafter, I started reciting the 5 Yatha Ahu Vairyo which form part of the Sarosh Baj. Oh what colours appeared on the screen at that time! Those who have witnessed the breaking of dawn on a clear sky, and seen the dazzling colours at that time, which keep on changing every second, the very same colours were manifested on that screen! As I finished reciting the 5 Yatha, I started reciting the 3 Ashem Vohu which come thereafter. As I recited ‘Ushta Asti..’ of the third Ashem Vohu prayer there was a “trrrrrr…” noise and the screen cracked and tore! I was so shocked I stopped praying! My friend immediately came up to me and exclaimed: ‘What have you done??? You have wasted my 500 Rupees!’ I replied: ‘You were the one who laughed at my statement that my Avesta Manthras would tear this screen, now see for yourself their power!’ He was silent for a few moments and then turned around and said: ‘Whatever Manthras you prayed were indeed very powerful. This screen was not strong enough to bear their load.’ He told me many other things regarding the plate and the reasons for it tearing, and repeated once more: ‘I accept that the Manthras you recited were much more powerful than the Sanskrit shlokas I recited.’
“I recounted this story to my dear respected Ustad Saheb, and told him that this friend of mine does not want to give any publicity to this incident as he did not want to get involved in any controversies. My Ustad remained quiet and did not say anything. Some time later, I and my Hindu friend paid a secret and personal visit to Ustad Saheb. We were totally alone, the three of us. My friend asked Ustad Saheb many difficult questions regarding the Hindu religion from the Vedas as well as from the lives of Shri Ram and Sita. My respected Ustad Saheb’s answers were so perfect and full of mysterious reasoning, that my friend was indeed taken aback. ‘Even our greatest Pundits and scholars do not have the depth of understanding that this man has’, he exclaimed.
“I have written down this story to let readers know that as the Avesta says, indeed, Stoat is the very foundation of the Universe. This friend of my is still alive and lives a very saintly and pious life. Whenever I meet him every six months or so, he always tells me to leave this job and material life and to live a pure, religion oriented life, but alas, I have many obligations to fulfil before I can do that.’
“In the passing away of Ustad Saheb, the community has lost a real diamond, and this loss may not be apparent now, but future generations will indeed realise his greatness and rue their forefathers for not taking the opportunity to know more about the religion from such a wise soul. As has happened in the lives of many wise men and women, so it has with the Ustad, as he was ridiculed when alive and now that he has passed away, people will wake up and give him the respect and regard which was due to him.
“Finally, how much love my dearest Ustad had on this worthless individual (me) is apparent from what happened a few days before his death. I dreamt that one morning I arrive at the house of Ustad Saheb. After the normal pleasantries, the Ustad said to me: ‘Good you have come today, now hurry up and have a bath and some breakfast.’ I said: ‘What’s the hurry, there’s plenty of time!’ In his characteristic manner he got angry with me: ‘What’s the hurry? I have to leave this house at 8 hours and 19 minutes.’ Woe to my misfortune and ignorance that I did not realise that indeed at 8 hours and 19 minutes my dearest Ustad was indeed to leave this house and this earth. Forever.”
Such is the mysterious and heart rending story of Mr. Kavasji P. Sarkari, written over 75 years ago in the Ustad Saheb Memorial Volume. It shows us a totally unknown side of the Master as well as the effects and power of our Avesta Manthras. So often today, we see Parsis visiting places of worship not their own, carrying photos, lockets and other things of non-Zarathushtrian origin. They have no faith in their own prayers because they are purely motivated by short term gains. This story should act as a warning and eye-opener for such Parsis and get them back to their own faith, which has no dearth of miracles and abundant power.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram