Unfortunate incident at Wadiaji Atash Behram

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Roj Ashtad, Mah Fravardin, 1378 Yz.

About one week ago, a young Irani man, living together with a Christian woman, not wearing the Sudreh and Kusti, walked into the Wadiaji Atash Behram in the afternoon. His behaviour aroused suspicion but before he could be stopped, he entered the Sanctum Sanctorum – the Kebla room where the Atash Behram Fire is enthroned, and began looking for money and other valuables. He was seen and caught by some people and taken to the police station. The manager of the Atash Behram refused to file a case since he did not want to be involved in numerous trips to the Courts. The police gave the man a good and thorough thrashing and unfortunately he was allowed to go.

While it is not my intention to discuss the merits or otherwise of this action, I am more concerned about the spiritual damage that this incident has caused. As readers may be aware, every Atash Behram is protected by certain spiritual boundaries or circuits, known as Kash. These circuits start from the ash on the top of the Fire Vase and extend to the outer wall of the Atash Behram complex. By entering into the Kebla, this person has broken all but two of the 8 Kash protecting the Padshah. As such, the spiritual power and aura of the Padshah Saheb has been severely compromised. What is the remedy for the rectification of this problem?

As per the long standing traditions, in case the Atash Behram fire is compromised in any way, the Fire needs to be purified through the process of giving the Bareshnoom Nahn, which is a nine night long seclusion Nahn generally undertaken by Priests who are preparing for major ceremonies like the Nirangdin, or children being initiated into the Priesthood. As the Padshah Himself cannot be moved, the Senior Boywalla priest who tends the Fire is given the Bareshnoom Nahn. During the nine nights, the Priest undergoing the Nahn recites specific prayers in every Gah in the name of the person who had first sponsored the making of the Atash Behram Saheb, in this case late Seth Hormusji Bomanji Wadia, and maintains very strict discipline, allowing very little time for sleep and generally focussing his thoughts only on the task at hand, and totally avoiding any contact with the outside world.

The Priest arises from the Bareshnoom on the tenth day and performs the Yasna ceremony, along with one of the two priests who had given him the Bareshnoom, again taking the name of the late establisher of the Atash Behram Saheb. After that, these priests perform three Yasna and three Vendidad ceremonies using the same name and finish off the whole ceremony through a thanksgiving Jashan on the fourth day morning.

This is the procedure that should be followed by the Priests for re-establishing the spiritual power and aura of the disturbed Padshah Saheb.

But can the ordinary Parsi do anything to help his beloved Padshah who has supported him in every difficulty? Yes he can!

It is the duty of every Parsi to visit the Padshah Saheb, and recite as many Atash Nyaesh prayers in front of Him in an audible and sonorous voice, concentrating their thoughts on this Mithra: ‘May the Stoat vibrations producing by my chanting of this ancient Hymn aid the Padshah Saheb in regaining and re-energising His spiritual power and aura.’

In doing so, every Parsi MUST TAKE CARE to follow the basic rules of purity, dress code, preparatory cleanliness and Sudreh Kusti prayers and only then enter the Hall of the Padshah Saheb. All this should be done discreetly, without making any fuss or show about it. This is your personal tryst with the Padshah – please don’t make a spectacle out of it.

While going on this mission, it is necessary to offer to the Padshah at least one stick of good quality Sandalwood (please do not insult the Padshah by offering fake white coloured sticks sold at Rs. 150 a kilo). For once, please spend money and buy either good quality African sandalwood or the best quality Malbari sandalwood. These are both available at the various shops around the Atash Behram. My personal choice is the 110 year old N. D. Moolla shop right next to the Atash Behram. Please avoid buying sandalwood from roaming salesmen and watchmen (!) stationed outside Fire Temples.

Many Parsis have been astounded at this incident and many are personally very demoralized. For them I have a few words of cheer. DO NOT DESPAIR. There are agencies and persons working behind the scenes to rectify this disturbance. The Zarathushtrian religion owes its existence to these hidden Masters, known as Sahiar Mobeds, who work in an unknown and unseen manner, repairing the various incidents of Kash-breaking that happen at regular intervals today – both knowingly and unknowingly. It is the good fortune of some of us Priests who tend the Holy Fires to have a glimpse of these great Masters, or to feel their august presence in the Kebla, generally in the Ushahin Gah, late at night, as they go about their spiritual work.

We bow down our heads in their respect and send up a fervent wish that may they repair the damage caused by this incident and raise the energy level and consciousness of the Padshah to an even higher level!

My fellow Parsis, please do not fail to honour your sacred duty towards the Padshah!

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

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Comments

  1. Burjor P. Randeria  September 14, 2008

    Dear Ervad Marzban Hathiram,

    At the outset I am deeply grieved that such an incident had to take place. However, I draw a consolation from the fact that corrective measures can be adopted to once again bring back the Glory of the Sacred Padshah Saheb.

    On behalf of the many Zarthostis and myself, I complement you and thank you for enlightening us on the procedures that need to be undertaken by us all in whatever little measures that we can to sanctify the desecrated Padshah Saheb.

    Please pardon my ignorance by asking some questions and do seek some clarifications and guidance from you. I ask these questions as a behdin and do trust that you will enlighten me and many like me.

    1. As an ordinary Zarthosti, I will most certainly make it a point to visit the Atashbehram Saheb as soon as possible and as suggested by you, recite as many Atash Niyaesh as I can. You mention about certain care that we need to take before we enter the hall of the Padshah Saheb, particularly, that of the dress code. This is a bit confusing to me. Just that I don’t make a mistake, I would appreciate if you could highlight what a proper dress code would be? Do we need to wear the ‘dagli’?

    2. I am indeed happy to note that there are agencies and persons working behind the scenes to rectify this disturbance. You particularly mentions about these “Hidden Masters, The Sahiar Mobeds”, may I know a little more about them please. Is there in any way that we the ignorant can help them in this onorous task? Albeit, we will bow down and say a silent prayer that Pak Dadgar Dadar Ahura Mazda give them the strength to repair this damage done.

    3. You also mention that such breaking of the KASH happen regularly both knowingly and unknowingly. I am at my wits end to figure this out. Could you please highlight a few of these incidents. I would also like to know, what we as a community need to do, in order to prevent such incidents of the breaking of the KASH, both knowingly and unknowingly.

    4. Is there a way that we can also witness these Great Masters and feel their august presence in the Kebla, when they perform the buoi in the Ushahin Gah?

    Respectfully yours,

    Burjor P. Randeria

  2. Rohinton Kavarana and Pervin Rohinton Kavarana  September 14, 2008

    Dear Ervad Hathiram,

    We agree that this is indeed a very unfortunate incident.

    The christian woman may not even have been ‘pure’.

    They MAY have succeeded earlier, in another Atash Behram or Agiary.

    We Zoroastrian Parsees must have immense faith in our powerful Magav Sahebs, interalia; who remedy such problems.

    Relevant rites may also have to be performed on the Atash Behram Saheb of Wadiaji Atashbehram to ‘purify’ the Atash Behram Saheb.

    The Jamaspi had predicted that similar incidents would occur during the Haashmi Era-the present time period.

    Needless to add, this couple will be handed out ‘their desert’, in a divine manner, for
    desecrating the Atash Behram Saheb of Wadiaji Atashbehram.

  3. perVyyn kaVarana  December 23, 2012

    Respected Ervad Hathiram Saheb,

    Apropos “….There are agencies and persons working behind the scenes to rectify this disturbance. The Zarathushtrian religion owes its existence to these hidden Masters, known as Sahiar Mobeds, who work in an unknown and unseen manner, repairing the various incidents of Kash-breaking that happen at regular intervals today – both knowingly and unknowingly. It is the good fortune of some of us Priests who tend the Holy Fires to have a glimpse of these great Masters, or to feel their august presence in the Kebla, generally in the Ushahin Gah, late at night, as they go about their spiritual work….. ”

    I recall that when I was about fifteen years old or thereabouts, I had visited the Anjuman Atashbehram and the Wadia Atashbehram during the Aiwisuthrem Geh with my Mum. When we were in the Wadiaji Atashbehram, the Boi Ceremony was about to commence …. what I experienced next, cannot be recorded on this page without you approving of the same ….. HERE IT IS … The Hall was crowded with devotees and suddenly I felt and saw an oval ring of light around me and the entire hall in darkness … I felt a little scared … to be honest … and I looked around and I could see people in complete white dress including white socks …. around … I then saw a slim “priest” of average height with a short dark beard (well groomed priest) in whitest white attire of a priest clean the Kebla and the Afargaanyu … swiftly and efficiently and then I heard the Bells toll to acknowledge the presence of Fradat Vispam Hujyaite-e Saheb …. this seemed to last for a few minutes and then suddenly the Kebla was aglow with light and I spied a fat, bespectacled fleshy priest commencing the cleaning et al rituals (which should actually read as ‘resuming’ the cleaning rituals in the Kebla and turned around (I was standing in the first row of the righthand corner of the entrance to the Kebla.) I was surprised to see normal people crowded behind me … waiting for the bells to toll ….

    Mum and I were walking toward the bus stop at Kalbadevi —> Byculla on the way home when I asked her very casually WHY THE BELLS HAD BEEN RUNG TWICE …. she gave me a puzzled look and averred that the Bells had been rung ONLY ONCE … I then described what I had experienced …. and she thought I was compiling a fairy tale story … she did not answer and we dismissed the matter altogether.

    Privately, unknown to me at that time, she confided in Nauzer Mehenty about this and Nauzer told her that very few people did have this kind of an experience and it was only then that Mum realized that I had had a spiritual experience … and wondered aloud … ‘how come I did not have this kind of an experience when it is me (Mum) who is more religious and recites prayers regularly … blah … blah … blah …….. I JUST GLANCED HEAVENWARD and I thought I heard GOD and the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, chuckling 🙂 🙂

  4. parvin desai  February 9, 2013

    thanks for enligtening me. since school days , i wanted to go iran and demavand i am going in may . i am so happy. iam also going to patna on9may and search for azar kaivan durgah . noone knows , if u know plas help me tel 9820525765

  5. meher  February 27, 2013

    Dear Ms. Desai,

    There was an article in Jame not so long ago about Jal Mody of Surat visiting the resting place some years back.

    I believe that it is guarded zealously by the adherents of the sect and you may find pointers on how to reach the place from Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, they have a website where maybe you can contact them.

    Good luck with your search.

  6. Percy  March 7, 2013

    Wadiaji Atashbehram is the most favouring Atashbehram for me. I visit almost every sunday during the Rapithavan Geh. Since I was 5 years old I have been fortunate to live within the area of 4 atashbehram at walking distance. And I am also fortunate to have 1 small house near Iranshah. My Navjote was performed at Wadiaji Atashbehram. There have been many breaches like these in Wadiaji Atashbehram. But Ahura Mazda is always forgiving and merciful. Wadiaji Atashbehram is extremely helpful for students while exams. Every Parsi student, if possible, must visit Wadiaji Atashbehram during exams, offer a sandalwood stick, and see its miracle. I had lost my 17 year old job. My mom asked me to pray Behram Yasht daily at Wadiaji Atashbehram. I did so deligently and on the 42nd day while returning home, a thought came into my mind, ” What Happened…Nothing….I didnt get any Job?” believe me as soon as this sentence was over in my thoughts, I got an interview call. I will never ever forget this in my life how helpful this Atashbehram is. Thank you Wadiaji Atashbehram.

  7. Percy  March 7, 2013

    There is 1 more unique thing in Wadiaji Atashbehram and Banaji Atashbehram. Closely see the Zarathushtra’s Picture, the left hand is not holding the stick, instead the hand is positioned in such a way as if he is holding something else, what could that be? And Why dont we see it?.

    Same way in Banaji Atashbehram the same picture is having the same position. A long time back, somewhere between years 1993 till 1998, instead of the paper in the right hand I could see something else (that is the same thing I have asked above, but this is in right hand). But am only a human bieng and I lost a lot of my spiritual strength and therefore I can now see what a common man can see, and that is that paper. It is said that small children who are almost 9months old can see “THAT THING” till today. And it could be in certain people, that they still remember it in “COLOUR”. So anyone knows what it is? hahahaha