Wadiaji Atash Behram incident – some queries answered

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Roj Jamyad, Mah Fravardin 1378 Yz.

I have received some queries from a Parsi gentleman regarding my write up on the incident at Wadiaji Atash Behram. My answers are as under:

Qtn: 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’?

Ans: Visiting the Atash Behram Saheb is like attending the Rashtrapati Bhavan and meeting the President, only much more loftier. Just as that incident comes once in a while, and we take great care of our appearance and attire, so also is the case in visiting the Atash Behram Saheb.

Several Parsis of course visit the Padshah Saheb on an almost daily basis or may be say once in a week. The proper dress code for the Atash Behram would IDEALLY be a COTTON Dagli, white COTTON trousers, proper head covering and thick cotton socks with leather shoes.

I understand that this would not be practical for many of us. In that case the following precautions must be taken:

It is advisable and ideal to wear only COTTON clothes and to avoid any synthetic material like terry cotton, polyester or silk. The clothes should, as far as possible be white. For men, maybe a light coloured cotton trouser and a white cotton shirt is best. The shirt should preferably be full sleeved. The idea is to avoid as much exposed skin as possible, since the pores of the skin excrete perspiration and other dead matter from the body continuously. The head should be properly covered with a cotton topi which covers almost all the hair. Footwear should be leather soled and not rubber soled, since rubber is an insulator and hence breaks the indirect contact between the feet and the ground which is necessary. Thick cotton socks are ideal to walk around without shoes in case the shoes do not conform to the above. In any case cotton socks act as an indirect barrier between naked contact of the foot soles with the bare ground – in which case the Kusti is “broken”.

For ladies, a LOOSE FITTING, cotton or white or light coloured Salwaar-Kameez is ideal. This covers nearly all the body parts. The head should be covered with a cotton scarf folded over twice. Please avoid the current fashion of merely draping a dupatta over the head like a Muslim lady. Particular care must be taken by ladies with long hair that the same are tied up and completely covered by the scarf. The long hair should not be left open or wet and protruding outside the scarf. Footwear guidelines are the same as for men.

Both ladies and gents should have a white cotton handkerchief which should be used to cover the hands (specially the nails) while in front of the Padshah and to bow down and while praying as a mark of humility and respect.

Ideally, a separate set of clothes (including a long length Sudreh, separate Kusti) should be kept for visiting the Atash Behram and only these should be used. They should be washed separately by hand (not in the washing machine where clothes of various conditions are washed together) and pressed at home by Parsis only.

Qtn: You particularly mention 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?

Ans: The Sahiar Mobeds are a group of highly evolved souls who are deputed by the Hidden Masters of Demavand to repair the damage caused to the Pav Mahel and the Kash of our Agiaries and Atash Behrams. They are not visible to normal people nor do they interact with any one. They generally appear in Agiaries and Atash Behrams where some disturbance has taken place and perform certain repair functions through their “Amal” of the Sacred Avesta Manthras. They stay in India for a maximum of six months after which they return to Iran to renew their ‘Bareshnum’. Please do not equate these lofty souls with normal priests. The Laws of Physics and gravity do not apply to them.

The best way to help them is by NOT thinking or talking about them since such activities divert them from their original function. This is all I can say in the open.

Qtn: 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

Ans: The 8 or 9 Kash around the Padshah start from the Ash of the Padshah and extent to the boundary wall surrounding the complex. As you know, today the garden and parking areas are totally run over by non-Parsis. So the outside Kash is gone. Then there are various suppliers like Kathi, fruit, dhobis, who are allowed in the outer rooms of various Agiaries. Hence one more Kash is broken. Then there are ignorant Parsis, who LOVE to walk into Pavi areas and personally put Sukhad on the Dadgah Saheb. This is a very important Kash and it is broken with impunity. You may observe in our Agiary that we have strictly regulated entry to the Dadgah Saheb for this reason. Then there are ignorant Parsis who INSIST on putting their hand INSIDE the Kebla room over the marble UMBAR made to rest their heads. Then there are ignorant Priests, who while going inside the Kebla room do not take adequate care to see that their footwear is not crossing the Kash separating the Kebla from the outside. Many Priests happily accept Sukhad while standing in the INNER Kash!

Finally and most important – the presence of electricity – it just nullifies everything – because the circuit passing through these wires has roamed all over the city, through every house – pure and impure – and then come to pass through our sacred Agiaries and Atash Behrams. Need I say more?

Qtn: 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?

Ans: The hidden Masters do not perform the Boi in Ushahin. It is the normal priests like me who have that honour. Like I mentioned earlier, it is not everyone including Priests who are given the DARSHAN of these holy men. It may be a once in a lifetime gift due to some of our past actions. For those who deserve it, they may get it at any time and at any place.

Trust I have answered your queries to your satisfaction.

Best regards,

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

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Comments

  1. Phiroze Panthaki  May 12, 2009

    We stress a great deal on purity of body, clothes, footwear etc while going to the Agiary. How does one ensure the purity of the “sukhad” we buy to offer to Padshah Saheb. The money we use to buy it has passed thru many hands and sandalwood itself has come in contact with many?

  2. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  May 16, 2009

    Generally, inanimate items like sukhad are purified by keeping them in a pure environment for a period of time. It is our old tradition that Sukhad was kept in big chests in the “pure” rooms of the house for a period of 13 months and only then used to offer in Agiaries and Atash Behrams. This was to get rid the Sukhad of any contamination due to touch of non-Parsis. Even today in Atash Behrams there is a tradition of using Kathi which has been kept aside for a year. However, with shortage of Kathi as well as lack of space to store the same, this tradition is slowly being forgotten.

  3. Yazad Pavri  January 28, 2010

    Hi,
    Please answer my one query. Why are we supposed to wear white clothes when we visit the firetemple? When we go to the Atash Behram, do we first go to the Adariyan or the Atash Behram?
    I have so many questions regarding our religion…who can guide me and tutor me. I am willing to compensate handsomely a tutor. Please reply. Thanks & Regards.

  4. YASMINE SANJANA  November 30, 2010

    Thank you Ervad Saheb, the above is most enlightening.

    FYI myy husband Kersi and I made a trip early this month covering the 4 Atashbehrams of Bombay first, then took a train to Surat and visited the 2 Atashbehrams there. Stayed overnight in Surat where our nephews and neices joined us and returned by road via Navsari and Udvada. The rest of the family who had joined us in Surat completed their trip with the 4 Atashbehrams in Bombay last.

    However, the mail that I am referring to states the
    journey taken by Parsis to the 8 Atashbehrams and details
    like which Atashbehrams to visit first, how to travel,
    what all to pray, where they need to stay overnight, etc.

    Thanks & Best Regards,

    Yasmine Sanjana

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