83rd Baj of Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shorff

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Roj Dae-pa-Din Mah Bahman, 1379Yz.

Today, July 7, 2010 marks the 83rd death anniversary of our beloved Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff. Ceremonies to mark this occasion are taking place not only in the Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff Daremeher at Jogeshwari, but also in various Agiaries and Atash Behrams throughout India. That a person is remembered so many years after his death with such reverence and awe is in itself a miracle. We have seen glimpses of his rich and chequered life in our series through the last year. I intend to bring out this series on his life in a book form so that more of our community may know the real facts behind this most amazing person.

Several Parsis, especially those who claim to be “well read, modern, independent thinkers” become very uncomfortable whenever the name of Ustad Saheb is taken. Even if an explanation for a difficult point in the religion is given to them, the fact that the source of this explanation comes from the revelations of Ustad Saheb makes them immediately reject the same, without applying their famous “rational mind” to the explanation.

They also seem somewhat amused by the facts of the life of Ustad Saheb and the manner in which he was blessed to visit the Abed Sahebs of Demavand. One such “rational man”, writing in the Parsiana magazine some time ago made a vigorous demand that we should rise above such “troglodyte residents”. (Troglodyte means people who live in caves.) He felt very ashamed to even accept that the Zoroastrian religion could be preserved by some “primitive cave dwellers” speaking in a fancy language.

Yet the same rational Parsis have no compunction in bowing their heads before various god men of dubious repute of other religions, who indulge in hocus-pocus and glib talking, and who invariably get caught in immorality or financial capers later on. Rational Parsis flock to the shrines of some important holy men of India, yet refuse to believe that one of their own could have been fortunate to have received the blessings and teachings of our own hidden sages! I have met Parsi men and women who are at the very top of their respective vocations – top shot lawyers, doctors, scientists, judges, artists and many more who adore and worship some or other non-Parsi god man or are deep into the Rosicrucian Order, Freemasonry or Yoga. When they hear the details about the life and miracles of Ustad Saheb they exclaim: “aapra maa bhi evu kai hoy?” Some have changed their entire life after hearing about Ustad Saheb and after exploring his teachings with an open mind. Others would love to change, but are caught in a social trap of their own making – “loko su kehse?”, whereas others become very enthusiastic in the beginning but when the chapter on Tarikats and truth is explained, miraculously become most un-energetic! “Arre baap re, aay badhu kon paaley ne muke!”

Some time ago, a vicious campaign was started on one of the Parsi Zoroastrian mailing lists on the internet by an American Parsi. He claimed that all those who believed in Ustad Saheb were traitors and deviants, since (in his words) “they gave more importance to Ustad Saheb than to Prophet Zarathushtra!” He even went to the extent of counting how many times I had mentioned the words “Ustad Saheb” in my writings compared to how many times I had written “Prophet Zarathushtra!” Based on this very methodological and original research, he came to the conclusion that I (and others who write about Ustad Saheb ) loved Ustad Saheb more than our Prophet.

I had only one reply to this scholar. Ustad Saheb was the first person to reveal the Yazatic status of Prophet Zarathushtra. Ustad Saheb revealed that Zarathushtra was not some mortal poet, roaming from country to country till he finally managed to convince King Vistaspa and established the religion after doing some hocus-pocus and curing the King’s favourite horse! For the first time ever, Ustad Saheb explained each and every miracle listed in the Dinkard and other Avesta scriptures and gave a rational, fascinating and most satisfying explanation for all these incidents. And what have our scholars done? They are not even able to agree as to whether Zarathushtra existed! (Yes, that is right. Some scholars claim that he was a “mythical figure”, who never actually existed!) They are not able to agree on a date or even the century in which he was born, the place where he was born, and substantial details of his life and miracles and claim that throughout his life of 77 years, Zarathushtra merely composed 17 chapters of poetry (the Gathas), which by the way, they are unable to translate with any reasonable certainty! While one scholar translated a particular Avesta word in the Gathas as meaning ‘salvation’, another translates the same word as ‘homosexuality’! What great research! What great uplifting and devotional fervour! God save us from these scholars! So who loves Zarathushtra more, those who talk about Ustad Saheb or these modern day scholars, for whom religion and controversy is their bread and butter!

In every religion and in every mystic tradition, the Guru or Ustad or Master is always immortalised. Are the followers of Ramakrishna less devoted to Lord Rama? Do the worshippers of Khwaja Chisti hold him more important than Allah? Do the lovers of Mother Teresa or Saint Xavier disregard Lord Christ? Are the followers of Kabir more loyal to him or to their respective gods? There is a beautiful couplet of Saint Kabir, where he explains the “problem” of “choosing” between Guru and God. Saint Kabir writes:

Guru, Govind dono khade
kaake laagoon Paaye?
balihari Guru aapne
Govind diyo bataaye

When both Guru and the Lord Govind stand before me
Whose feet should I fall at?
Of course I choose the Guru – through whose mercy and intercession
I realised and had the Darshan of Lord Govind!

Dear readers! This is the beauty of mysticism! There is no choosing or who is higher or lower! Without the revelations of our beloved Ustad Saheb, how could we have realized the brilliance and majesty of our religion and its most holy Prophet of Prophets! If we do love and take the name of our Ustad Saheb it is because he has truly revealed what or Zoroastrian religion really means, and has turned around my own life, and the lives of many other like me who were disillusioned and demoralized by the bumbling ‘research’ of our scholars and so called community leaders.

On this 83rd death anniversary of Ustad Saheb, we renew our pledge to him and our Prophet Zarathushtra. We revitalize ourselves to write more and more about him and to demonstrate and show to our community in these troubled times, that truly our religion is mazishtahecha, vahishtahecha, sraeshtahecha – the most majestic, the best and the most beautiful!

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram



  1. Rustom P S Cooper  July 7, 2010

    Ustad Behramshah N Shroff was a spiritual men who has given the Zoroastrian/Parsi/Irani Community a glimpse of life after Death which every individual is anxious to know.May His Soul Rest in Peace and forever be with Almighty Lord.

  2. Hanoz Mistry  July 7, 2010

    Dear Marzban

    You are so right! Parsees keep looking for miracles every where and keep wondering why nothing miraculous happens in the Parsee community!!! Unfortunately for these so-called Parsees, their instincts, senses and intelligence (??)are so dullened by gross materialism and their own bad karma arising out of past births that they are unable to see a miracle which is right before their own eyes. It is rightly said that there is none blinder than one who cannot see even with his eyes wide open.

    Please keep up your good work of educating the community about revered Ustad Saheb and his teachings which have made such miraculous changes in some of our lives.

    Hanoz Mistry

  3. Patrawalla  July 8, 2010

    First of all, Good article sir, very true said about our so called rational parsis that are nothing much more then mix hypocrites. Parsiana normally publishes its liberal views but forgets its professional ethics of mentioning the “TRUTH”.

    I also do have a request to you to change the website address to something which is very simple for our young brats to remember or understand, so that we can have people visiting here frequently,


  4. Shaheen Taraporewala  July 8, 2010

    I really praise all your articles as they are factual and written in good spirit. I truly acknowledge the fact that we should bind our customs with spiritual values and preserve them throughout our life.
    Ustad Saheb will always be remembered for his great work towards our religion and mankind.

  5. Cyrus S. Saiwalla  July 8, 2010

    My late Guru Ustad Sahib Minocher Rustom Soonawala had revealed to me, many facts on the life of Ustad Sahib Austa Behramsha bin Austa Navroze. His late Guru Manekshah Manchersha of Khareghat Colony was the disciple of Ustad Sahib Austa Behramshah bin Austa Navroze. Every day, late Maneksha used to recite Vandidad before the holy fire, which was burning gloriously in his small kitchen. To get an answer for visitor’s query, he used to converse with the holy fire and vice versa. Such were the noble saints came to this world to make our spiritual progress.

    My humble advise to Ervad sahib is not to reveal any thing about our religion to any Tom, Dick and Harry. My late Sahib Minocher Rustom Soonawala had said that ‘ Ugare mathenao ne vaste Zarathosti Dharm nathi’.

  6. Eric  July 9, 2010

    Manvant Saheb,

    Thank you for giving us updates on such major events and providing insights on Khshnoom. Strangely, Ustad Saheb had even coined a word for such reformist ‘Bharuch na Nawab’ and also said that they will be in plenty. Hazar Afrins on his mighty Ruvan.

  7. Farroukh  January 27, 2011

    Dear Sirs!

    If it is possible, please, comment my question.

    In wikipedia we can find info about travel of Behramshah Nowroji
    Shroff and his meeting with Saheb-e-Dilan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilm-e-Kshnoom#The_Saheb-e-Dilan):

    ***The Saheb-e-Dilan, according to Shroff, were a group of about 2000
    individuals led by 72 Mahgav (Magi) priests, called the Abed
    Saheb-e-Dilan, who lived in isolation in the recesses of Caucasus
    Mountains (alternatively, in the Alborz range, around Mount

    For me is interesting the mention about group “Abed Saheb-e-Dilan”,
    who (probably) lived in Caucasus Mountains. What is the title of Behramshah
    Shroff”s book about his meeting with this group? He mentioned about Damavand or Caucasus mountains? Where I can find more detailed info
    about “Abed Saheb-e-Dilan”?

    With great respect to you,

    Baku, Azerbaijan

  8. kfkeravala  February 13, 2011

    A Mazdaznan Mystic – Life sketch of Late Behramshah Navroji Shroff,the 20th century Exponent of Zarathosti Ilm e Khshnoomn(i.e. Esotericism of Zoroastrianism).
    by Nanabhoy F Mama.