Roj Sherevar Mah Ava, 1387 Yz.
It was a glorious day that Spring, around 10,038 BC. The sun shone with added resplendence, the few clouds added to the sky’s splendour, the trees seemed to sway to some divine symphony, the birds chirped their happiness with a distinct exuberance. The air was heavy with the fragrance of roses and tuberoses, sandal and benzoin. It was Roz Hormazd of Mah Fravardin and in the capital city of Iran, the populace awaited with bated breath the arrival of their Emperor. Thousands of them had gathered since dawn, around the magnificent palace complex. As the blare of trumpets announced his august arrival, they craned their necks to be the first to see his regal face, to catch his divine gaze, to fall at his feet and take his blessings – for this was no ordinary monarch! This was King Jamshid – the law giver, the supreme ruler of man, animals, birds and the Divs.
And there he appeared in resplendent robes, sitting on a throne studded with the most magnificent jewels the world would ever see. The throne was carried by a collection of Divs – beings of the evil type who had given up their natural tendency and come over to the good side. With their powers, they carried up the throne and the monarch into the air, so that all could see the grand spectacle – the leader of the Good World, the Mazdayasni World, being carried through the air by those he had redeemed. A great cheer broke out from the ranks of those assembled as they paid homage to their Emperor! Hail Jamshid, the Peshdadian!
Acknowledging their respect and love, the Emperor signaled for the throne to be brought back to the ground in an open courtyard where thousands of priests had assembled. As he descended, they began their special prayers – for the Jashan-i-Bahar – the Celebration of Spring. On that auspicious day, the whole earth overflowed with divine bliss! Every creation cried out in ecstasy! Those who would kill another hugged instead! The lion and the deer drank from the same pond without hunger or fear! Sworn enemies greeted each other and asked for forgiveness. Long lost friends met again, disgruntled lovers made up, disjointed families united again! For it was no ordinary day! It was Navroze! The first day of the new year.
With his unique powers and the guidance of Sarosh Yazad, King Jamshid had introduced the practice of wearing the Kusti amongst all his population. With this divine protection around them, they no longer feared the aggression of the evil ones, their wayward power. They had united in truth, Manthra and the worship of the One True Lord Ahura Mazda. They surged ahead in their spiritual quest for Frashogard – Salvation! There was no laziness – where was the time to be lazy? There was no death, no disease, no pestilence in the Kingdom! It was paradise! And it was in honor of this magnificent Emperor, that the festival of Navroze became forever associated with his name. It was not just Navroze, it was Jamshedi Navroze!
Today as we recall this incident, it seems like a fairy tale. Did it really happen? Can it be true? Yes! How do we know? Because even today, on every Jamshedi Navroze, a small miracle happens! Throughout the year, the different agencies of the Cosmic Government work in unity, creating blessings, called Asere Roshni, which can lead to the salvation of the universe. These blessings are collected through the year by various cosmic agencies, specifically Khordad Ameshaspand and His associates Yairya and Sareda. They are stored in specific parts of the cosmos. As the sun moves through the 360 degrees of the universe it keeps collecting these blessings. Finally, as dawn breaks and the sun enters the sign of Aries, a cosmic event unfolds. An entire year’s worth of special blessings are showered down upon the earth by Khurshed Yazad through his physical form – the sun. They permeate every aspect of creation – land, water, animals, vegetation, minerals… and spread the currents of salvation among them.
And so, on this auspicious day, every aspect of creation undergoes a small but significant metamorphosis. For a day, just a day – every caterpillar changes to a butterfly, every evil is converted to good.
And what about us? What does this event hold for every Zoroastrian? It is undoubtedly the most important day of the year. It is the day to get up early, before dawn. To have a purifying bath, put on fresh clothes and stand in some corner of our house or Agiary where we can see the rising sun. And as the first cooling rays of the sun emerge over the horizon, as the sky changes colour and showers creation with those special blessings, it is our duty to stand up and welcome these blessings into our personal world and body – by the recitation of the Khorshed and Meher Nyaeshes in a specific number and order. As we chant these sacred Manthras, the special blessings flow into us, filtered through our Sudreh of white mulmul, become entrenched in our Kusti and from there get distributed throughout our body.
This is the spiritual significance of Jamshedi Navroze. This is the right way to observe it. Those few hours of prayer are worth more than any riches we may accumulate through the year. In a small manner, every aspect of creation enjoys a few fleeting moments of Frashogard on this day. And it is our unique privilege as Parsis, to take special advantage of this occasion and partake of these blessings. Let us for a day, just one day, forget the many troubles that we face as a community. For just one day let us stand united, in prayer and devotion, let us beseech Ahura Mazda to lead us from the horrible state we are into an existence of pure bliss. If each Parsi could do this, all our problems would disappear. This is the time for prayer, not politics. For devotion, not arrogance. For truth, not falsehood. For practice, not preaching.
May we all become true Parsis, even if for just one day! May we deserve to be called Parsis! May it be so!
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram