How to attend a Paidust – part 4

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Roj Khorshed Mah Meher, 1378 Yz.

In our previous post we understood the meaning of ‘putting’ or ‘releasing’ the Baj of Sarosh at the point where the body is placed in the Dokhma and the helper gives the signal of ‘Bawaji, Baj mukjo.’

Once the signal is given, one can finish the Baj of Sarosh and then recite the Namaskar of the Dokhma and Namaskar of the Mountain (since Dungerwadi is on a hilltop) as given in the book.

After reciting the Namaskar, one should go up to the place where the person hands out the Taro, or bull’s urine. A small volume, about 5ml should be held in the cup of the palm and then applied to all the exposed parts of the body – the face, the arms, and the feet (if not covered with socks). Wait for about a minute to let the Taro dry off on the body. Thereafter, without washing the hands or praying anything, the Kusti should be untied, the Hormazd Khodae should be recited and the Kusti should be retied while reciting 2 Yatha, 1 Ashem. No further prayers should be said.

Now proceed to the wash basins and all the exposed parts where Taro had been applied should be washed with water and dried. Then recite the Kem na Mazda and untie the Kusti. Then Hormazd Khodae should be recited and the Kusti tied while reciting the 2 Yatha and 1 Ashem and then the Jasa me avangahe…prayer should be recited to finish off the Kusti ritual.

In effect, the Kusti should be untied and tied twice after praying the Namaskar. This is an important observance which is missed by almost 99% of people attending the Paidust.

The unfortunate practice of entering the Dadgah or Sagdi immediately after this should be avoided and should not be done. In the earlier days, there were small wash rooms next to the Dadgah. The Parsi helpers would take one’s fresh clothes on arrival at the Dungerwadi and keep this set in those bathrooms. After the Paidust, one would have a quick bath and then wear these clothes, and only then enter the Sagdi. If this is not possible today, then one should not enter the Sagdi. One can always visit it when one comes for the Uthamna.

Now it’s time to head back to the Bungli. Care should be taken to return by the same path as one came up. Begin reciting the Sarosh Baj once again up to the words ‘Astavaitish ashahe..’ (i.e. take the Baj of Sarosh). In Mumbai as one enters the straight sloping road which leads down to the Bunglis, there is a small but important ritual which needs to be performed by those returning back. Keeping the Baj, the person should bend down, such that the right knee touches the ground. Then, using the handkerchief, place the right hand on the ground and recite one Yatha. Then stand up again, walk about 5 steps, and repeat bending down on the right knee, and placing the right hand on the ground with the handkerchief in between the ground and the hand. Once more, stand up, walk a further 5 steps and repeat one last time. While performing this ritual the following thought should be passed through the mind: “While walking up behind the corpse, I passed on some of the Druj Nasu on to this sacred ground. with the power of this one Yatha, I pray that the load on this ground due to that Druj Nasu be hereby removed.” Once the ritual is finished, the Baj of Sarosh can be concluded and by that time you would have arrived at the Bungli.

After arriving at the Bungli, one can meet the relatives of the deceased and offer your condolences once again. Those who wish to leave for work directly should take permission of the relatives to use the baths attached to the Bungli to have a quick shower and change into normal clothes. Those who are leaving for home can proceed directly. On reaching home the clothes should be lightly rinsed by the person while having their bath and then given for the actual washing.

Those who are close relatives and intend to stay at the Dungerwadi for the further prayers should immediately have a bath and change into fresh clothes. Then after tying the Kusti, one should go near the place where the corpse was placed and where a small Afarganyu (fire vase) will now be placed with a fire. Taking a small piece of good quality sandalwood and a pinch of incense, offer the same to the fire and recite one Ashem. while reciting the Ashem, the following thought should be passed: “May the Ruvan of so-and-so attain the protection of Sarosh Yazad and prepare itself for its journey to the higher realms.” This marks the end of the Paidust ritual.

The process of attending the Paidust is a sacred responsibility. There are several things one is supposed to do which will help the Ruvan in its onward journey. If they are done correctly, the person is blessed by the Ruvan in deep gratitude. Such blessings are worth more than any happiness money can buy.

It is only when we read the complete list of things to do that we realise how much importance is placed in our religion on our attendance at the Paidust. And it is only then we realise how our current practice is so far removed from what it should be.

It is hoped that Parsis who have read this series of posts will not only pass on this knowledge to others but also try and observe the responsibilities whenever they next visit the sacred grounds of the Dungerwadi.

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram



  1. Hootokshi Thanawalla  November 25, 2009

    All this years it was not the practice for women to go upto the Dakhma following the dead body. However now, even women follow the dead body as men. I would like to know if this practice is advisable?

  2. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  November 25, 2009

    Dear Hootokshi,

    There is no bar on ladies joining the last procession. They are welcome to do so. In the earlier days when the Paidust used to be taken out of the homes of the deceased, the women would stay behind to take care of the house and make necessary arrangements for the evening prayers. Hence the tradition of women not attending the last procession. However since today the bodies are taken out from the Bungli, there is no need for the women to remain. In case they wish, they can attend the last procession taking care to follow the observances given in the article.

  3. Adi Dubbash  September 5, 2010

    Respected Ervad Saheb,

    Thank you very much. Your posts are real eye-openers.I wish to clarify a point on your post about ‘how to attend a paidust’…Keeping the Baj, the person should bend down, such that the right knee touches the ground. Then, using the handkerchief, (use the handkerchief for what? Is the handkerchief to be placed on the ground and then over it the right hand?)

  4. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  September 5, 2010

    @Adi Dubbash,

    The handkerchief is used as a Paiwand between the hand and the ground. The hand should not touch the ground directly but through the medium of the handkerchief.

    Best regards,
    Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

  5. rohinton  May 26, 2011

    Sir the question i have is that is this mentioned in the 4 divas ni maran ni kriya ni chopri .

    because i didnt know that after taking the taro one should untie and pray from ahuramad khadae also never knew abt the right knee is this mentioned in any book . If so please let me know the book name just for my reference sake . Thank you …

  6. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  May 27, 2011

    Yo can find the procedure described in Bapaji’s Afringan book in the Dibache.

  7. Nari  November 15, 2015

    What if one dose not know to pray, except Asham vahu. And Yatha verio.
    As he remember’s Of childhood mummy saying, divas maa 5Yetha 3 Ashen bhan tao
    Khodai taaru bhalu karsay.
    In this case what one should do.