81st death anniversary of Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shroff

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Roj Daepdin, Mah Bahman 1377 Yz.

Today is the 81st death anniversary or Baj of the Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff, who passed away on 7th July, 1927 in Surat. In an age where the dead are forgotten within a few months or years at the most, the memory of the Ustad lingers on today as fresh as the bloom of a new rose even after three quarters of a century. It is a testament to his unique position within the community that on his Baj today, ceremonies are being performed by committed priests, various organisations and simple Parsis in numerous Agiaries and Atash Behrams in Mumbai, Udvada, Navsari and Surat in addition to other small towns and villages. In an age where Parsis are most attached to photographs and idols, here is a man who is remembered even though we do not have a single photograph of his. [In my interaction with the late Namdar Sanjana, a very old person who was fortunate to see the Ustad in his youth, he had told me that the Ustad looked much like the late Jamsetjee Tata, the founder of the Tata group.]

What is the mystery behind this?

Ustad Saheb touched the lives of many hundreds of simple Parsis living at that time – each in his or her own unique way. At times of grave crises, in medical emergencies or family disputes, monetary troubles or spiritual deficiencies, the Ustad was ever present for his disciples, helping them out in his own way, and binding them to him in a manner most mysterious. His solutions for each of them were unique to that person and for their personal use only. So great was the regard for the Ustad, that even after his death, when his ace disciple and profound scholar the late Ervad Pheroze Masani started the work of bringing out the Ustad Saheb Memorial Volume and asking his various disciples to recount their experiences with the Ustad so that they could be preserved in the volume, many of the disciples refused. The few that did write in the volume, while extremely profuse in their praise of the Ustad, are very silent on what exactly he did for them and how.

In the coming days, I will recount a very mysterious story written by one such disciple.

In the meanwhile let us pray that “may the Urvan of our beloved Master progress from whatever station of spiritual advancement it is and may it continue to shower its blessings on us and out troubled community.”

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram