How to light a correct Divo – part 2

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Now let us look at the correct procedure to do the Divo at home. Once you have decided on the glass, the medium and the Kakro, make three sets of the same. That is, have three identical glasses, three ankras – one to go with each of the three glasses and a good number of Kakras to last a while. Keep a separate steel ‘dabba’ or a glass bottle in which you will store the Ghee or oil. Also keep a separate cleaning brush and soap/liquid to clean these vessels. All these implements should be stored in such a manner that no person in an ‘unclean’ state or a non-Parsi can come into contact with them. A high shelf in the kitchen cabinet can be reserved only for this purpose and instructions given to maintain its exclusivity. Similarly, the place where you will keep the Divo (generally a glass shelf with photographs of the departed relatives and/or the Prophet) should be such that accidental touching by unauthorised persons is avoided.

Fill two of the three glasses with the Ghee or oil and place the ankra with the Kakra in the full glass. Both these glasses should be put on the Diva stand or altar. If you have an earlier Diva, light one of the glasses by taking a slim stick of sandalwood (to be used only for this purpose from then on), dipping it in the oil of the already lit diva, lighting the stick from the divo and then setting alight the new diva with the use of the stick. While lighting the new Divo, softly recite one Ashem Vohu. Once the new Diva is alight, dip the burning sandalwood stick in the oil of either the new or the old Divo, again softly reciting one Ashem Vohu. Now standing in front of the newly lit Divo, recite the complete Diva no Namaskar (a very short prayer found in any Khordeh Avesta). Keep the second unlit Divo near the newly lit Divo. Allow the old Divo to extinguish itself and once the glass has completely cooled, only then take it for washing, using the separate cleaning material referred to earlier. The next day, light the unlit second Divo from yesterdays newly lit Divo following the procedure mentioned above. In this manner, the three glasses keep rotating – one goes for cleaning, the second one is lit and third one remains filled up and ready to receive the flame from the earlier Divo. As the unlit Divo stands next to the lit Divo the whole day, it absorbs the beneficial vibrations coming off from the lit divo, and everyday this strength increases.

This procedure ensures that there is a perpetual Divo in you house, and the fire is never allowed to extinguish, since it is taken from the old Divo and transferred to the new. This is very important. Many of us use matches to light a new Divo every time. This is incorrect. Light the new Divo only from the flame of an existing Divo. Also note that matches are covered with chemicals which cause them to ignite giving off a pungent odour. That is disallowed in the religion. So always use a sandalwood stick.

Traditional Parsis would have realised by now that this is a poor but completely correct alternative to having the Dadgah, or Holy Fire in the house at all times, as was practiced by our grandparents and their forefathers. The most vital thing is to ensure that at no time does the Divo extinguish. The efforts of so many months or years can be puffed out in a second of carelessness. Using good quality ingredients, maintaining an alert vigil and most important – having the burning desire in your heart to keep the Flame alive perpetually will go a long way in ensuring this.

In the next post we shall analyse how to correctly do the Divo in an Agiary.

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram



  1. Burjor P. Randeria  March 29, 2009

    Dear Ervad Marzban,

    I have seen in very many Agiaries, the diva na glasses being washed and cleaned by non-Zoroastrians. Is it that the mobed sahebs of those establishments are unaware of the correct procedure?

    You also mention about maintaing an akhand divo which you compare to a Dadgah at home. Whilst I certainly do agree with you of the practice followed by our ancestors, and I do recall the same which was practiced in my ancestral home, but in todays world, is it possible? What happens when a family has to shut home for a short period of time when they are away?

    Lastly, in most Agiaries, the divo is lit by lighting a match stick. Can this practice not be changed to the one you described, i.e., lighting the divo, with a thin sandalwood stick?

    With warm regards,

    Burjor P. Randeria

  2. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  March 30, 2009

    Dear Mr. Randeria,

    Your observation is correct. It is not that Panthakis of these Agiaries are not aware. They are just not pressurised enough by their Behdins to stop this unholy practice. A few concerted individuals can easily put an end to this. there is no shortage of Parsi labour is one makes an effort to find them and pay decent wages.

    My answer to your second query is very simple. If every Parsi home followed the practice of keeping the Akhand Divo, then the neighbours could easily take care of an additional Divo when you wanted to leave town for a long duration and they would hand back the same on your return. At some time you could return the same favour and hence everyone would be happy. In fact a couple of my friends in America who maintain a constant Fire in their houses follow this practice whenever one of the families come to India or go out for a trip.

    You are right about the third point too. In fact matches are being used in my Daremeher too. I am taking steps to end this practice.

    Best regards,
    Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

  3. Cyrus P. Kherawala  June 24, 2009

    Dear Ervad Saheb Marazban,
    correct me but i feel that a divo should be kept in such a way that no non- Zoroastrians or person in an impure state gaze their sight on the divo. So if you agree with me do give a few suggestions for the same.

  4. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  June 25, 2009

    Dear Cyrus,

    That is correct. Even in our homes, the Divo or Divo stand should have a foldable or removable stand or screen such that non-Zs or men and women in an impure state do not gaze on to the Divo. The simplest alternative is to take one of the many greeting cards we receive with pictures of Zarathushtra or the Fire on them (which is a most un-zoroastrian thing to do), and use the upright card as a screen to shield the divo glass from the gaze of persons not supposed to be looking at the Divo. A more elaborate manner is to have a folding door or shutter over the entire Diva stand which can be closed when non-Parsi helpers come to clean the house or when one of the family members is in an impure state. Those who maintain a constant Fire in their houses should also take the above precautions.

    Best regards,
    Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

  5. RUBY  January 31, 2010

    I keep a akhand divo in the house. Do i have to cover it up fully when a non parsi is present in the house or just a glass ring would do.

  6. RUBY  February 1, 2010

    Your earlier post answers my question. I am sorry. I have reapeted the query which was already asked by Cyrus.

  7. Vahishta  November 29, 2010

    This is a very enlightening article. I have a small question here. What if we are going on a long vacation and there is no one to lit the divo at that time does the power of our divo diminish. what can we do?

  8. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  November 29, 2010

    You can try to keep a tall narrow glass of considerable capacity filled with oil and make a special long wick right to the end. If you are lucky, then the Divo might just stay till you return. Alternately, you can entrust the Divo for safekeeping with another Parsi family nearby with instructions to keep it going till you return. When the time comes, you can return the favour to that family.
    Best regards,
    Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

  9. rohinton  May 26, 2011

    Sir can we pray cherag no namaskar during day time in havan rapith and uzrin ?

    or has it to be only in aiwi and ushain only.

  10. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  May 27, 2011

    Cherag no Namskar can be prayed in all the five Gahs.

  11. rohinton  May 29, 2011

    Sir, Thank you for answering all my queries as i have read them in your updated post .
    Just few more queries …
    1. When do we pray the namaskar for example cherag no namaskar is it usually done after the kusti or after our entire fradjyat. not just namaskar of cherag but any namaskar like parvatno or pani no or urvar no any namaskar when are they to be recited before fradjyat or after fradjyat. if suppose i go to doongerwadi when do i recite namaskar dakhmano is that after my kushti or after fradjyat want your advise.

    2. its a bit out from the topic but iam also an ervad just want to clarify my doubt on Patet . My query is want to know when do we pray the ravaan ni patet and pashemani . Usually as per my knowledge as per khnum they say ravani ni patet first 3 days is not to be prayed for the dead on the 4th day it can be prayed . if wanted patet pashemani can be prayed .
    Now as per the books as u said bapaji book it says first 3 days patet ravan ni is compulsory if u notice u see patet ravani in there .
    Some Khordeh avesta which i have state clearly that Patet ravani should be prayed for first 3 days only and after 3 days one should recite patet pashemani with names of decease in the last karda . eg dastur meherjirana khordeh avesta.

    Also wanted to know when ravan ni machi is offered which patet to pray ?ravani or pashemani ?

    I want your opinion as its very confusing as your aware each agiary has its own practices . I have read the meanings of kshnum as to why patet ravaan can or not be prayed But want your opinion as to what would be right for me . Thank you .

  12. rohinton  May 29, 2011

    Sir , Please correct me if iam mistaken or wrong anywhere in my statement.

    Thank you for all your help and prompt replies .If someday in person i happen to meet you have bunch of queries. Hope someday i do meet you in person and sorry for all the bother.

    Thank You very much once again…

  13. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  May 29, 2011

    Namaskar can be prayed after the Farajyat, except Diva no Namaskar in aiwisruthrem which should be prayed immediately after the Kusti.

    Patet should not be recited in first three days. Only from Chaharum onwards. For Ruvan Machi, always pray Ruvan ni Patet, taking name in each Karda, along with father’s/husband’s name, not single name as is practiced everywhere.

  14. rohinton  May 30, 2011

    Thank your for your reply but i still have a doubt abt the patet wish i could scan the page and show you . sir can i have your email address in which i could converse with you ? Thank you for all the prompt replies you have given me .

  15. rohinton  May 30, 2011

    sir also wanted to know can we pray namaskar dakhma no after our kushti when we are at the doongerwadi or any such namaskars can they be prayed soon as we finish kushti like cherag namaskar in aiwi gah and ushain gah similarly can we pray the remaining other namaskar after kushti . Secondly can the remaining namaskar be prayed after sunset except cherag no namaskar in all 5 gahs as u said but the remaining namaskars can they be prayed after sunset .

  16. Behram Wadia  May 31, 2011

    As per my understanding the “Velevelni Nyaiesh” is prayed up to the Uthamna, and after Satum no kardo or farokshi is prayed. Velevel ni Nyaiesh being Patete Ravani in conjunction with Sarosh Yast Vadi or Hadokht.

  17. mehernaaz panthaki  September 17, 2011

    I totally disagree and feel so pity at the thoughts of people who are discriminating humans in the name of religion.
    In which gathas or oour holy books has it been mentioned that non zorastrians should not be allowed to clean the vessels and touch the divo.
    For your kind information, the fire is a sign of purity and nothing can make it unclean , so stop propogating wrong ideas.
    The only basis of our religion which prophet zarthosth taught and spead was GOOD words, Good thoughts and good deeds.
    It was these thoughts which brought people to form accept this and practise this religion.
    Hence our religion is based on the 3 fundamental principles and anyone who speaks against it in name of religion is not a zarthosthi.
    I am a zarthosthi. I believe in doing good to others , irrespective of his religion. In such case, is the dog at doongarwadi a parsi…??
    I believe that if we have good thoughts, good words and good deeds , we follow the path of our religion.
    Practices like doing 3 divos and keeping them away from non zarhosthis is nothing but shows how small and little our thinking is toward the humanity and towards gods creation. Finally if there is only god and one creator of universe , has the same god not created non zarthosthis too.
    Its high time we really grow out of this clumsy behaviour and stop spreading the wrong ideology and practis true religion…. service to others… the one which our prophet truly believed and lived for.
    Grow up bawas!!.. The light of god is to spread and not to be covered.
    Evil is in the mind not in the eyes
    Keep your mind open to do good things and bad will never touch you.
    Let there be light in you as you shall be the light to the world.
    Think about it.

  18. Percy Madon  September 17, 2011

    Thank you Madam Mehernaz, I agree with you, sometimes our Parsi people get carried away with religion. Can anyone tell me why those DIVA Glasses become BLACK sometimes. I have seen a whole lot of them BLACK divas in Anjuman and Banaji.

  19. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  September 18, 2011

    @Percy Madon
    Diva glasses become black because of the accumulated carbon black caused by the burning oil. Sometimes the kakra used are thick and hence make a strong flame. As the level of the oil goes down, the flame also goes down and comes into contact with the sides of the glass. The carbon gets stuck there and through repeated use, or the glass not being washed thoroughly, the glass becomes black.

  20. daina  April 4, 2012

    dear Marzban,

    firstly thank you so much for educating us on such important topics. your articles are really helping us ..
    i have one question : i go to the atash behram where dastoorji sits. I remember once asking him regarding liting the diva with match stick. he replied that it is perfectly ok if we lit the diva with matchstick(not taking it from the old diva) and not with the sandlwood stick and it does not make any difference.
    after reading your article iam confused as of what to do …

  21. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  April 5, 2012

    Ten people may have ten different views. Understand the logic behind the reasoning and then make your own decision.

  22. kersasp nalladaru  April 22, 2012

    Ervad Saheb,
    After reading the post by Mehernaaz Panthaki. I too wait along with her for the arrival of Shah Behram Vazravand Saheb so that divine principles delivered by Zarathustra don’t get adulterated by man made logic and reasoning.

  23. donb1975  December 7, 2015

    You are racist and you besmirch the Prophet with your xenophobia.