Roj Bahman, Mah Ardibehest, 1377 Yz.
Lighting a Divo in the Agiary is often the best alternative for those Parsis who cannot maintain an Akhand Divo at home for various reasons. However, there are some indicators to keep in mind while lighting a Divo in the Agiary.
Firstly, never enter the Agiary without performing the complete Kusti ritual. This includes washing the exposed parts of the face, hands and soles of the feet, drying them and then performing the Kusti. Please ensure that you maintain the dignity and spiritual exaltedness of the Holy Fire by not barging into the Kebla area without performing the Kusti, even though you might have just had a bath and done the Kusti at home before coming to the Fire Temple.
After performing the Kusti, first offer your respects to the Holy Fire enthroned in the Kebla as well as the Dadgah maintained in the Urvisgah (the Pavi area where Baj and other Pav Mahel ceremonies are performed). Offer a little, but good quality sandal wood at both these places. Alternately, you may offer some Kathi along with a little sandal wood.
After this, proceed to the area where the Divo trays are kept. Select only a Divo which has no water added (see my earlier post). Take a stick of sandalwood kept there for that purpose and light your Divo from an already lit Divo. (It does not matter who has lit the Divo before you) While lighting the Divo recite one Ashem Vohu and then place the sandal stick in its plate to allow it to extinguish on its own. Do not dip it in the oil or wave it around and extinguish it. Then concentrating on the Divo, recite the complete Diva no Namaskar prayer available in any Khordeh Avesta.
Do not roam around the Agiary with a lit divo in your hand. Do NOT under ANY circumstances, take the Divo to such a place where its light can fall on the Padshah Saheb. This is a serious SIN. Many Parsis place the lit Divas near the window sill of the Padshah Saheb. This is a SERIOUS SIN. The Padshah Saheb should never be exposed to any other light. Similarly do not place lit Divas near the frames of the Prophet or other religious figures. Just let the Diva remain in its tray.
Should you wish to light and place a Divo near the well, take an unlit Divo to the well and then light it there from an already lit Divo placed there. Please avoid trying to place the Divo inside the well. A few drops of oil dropped by mistake in the well can ruin the quality of water for many days, thereby causing a problem to the Mobed Sahebs who use the water for their ceremonies. As a general rule NOTHING should be dropped into the well water, specially eatables like sugar cubes and sweets.
Try and keep a fixed schedule for your Agiary visits so that you get into the habit of lighting a Divo at a specific time and place. This would be a poor substitute to maintaining an Akhand Divo at your home. Some Daremehers (like my Daremeher at Behram Baug, Jogeshwari) have a scheme whereby a Divo is lit daily at a particular time and place and placed in a specific Handi for the whole year, with the new Divo being lit from the old one every day. This is an excellent substitute for the Akhand Divo at home and try and enrol yourself for such a scheme at an Agiary convenient to you.
Tomorrow, Roj Ardibehest, Mah Ardibehest would be an excellent day to start maintaining an Akhand Divo, either at home or at the Agiary.
In a later post we shall try and understand the spiritual benefits of maintaining an Akhand Divo.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram