The Wondrous Circle of Life 11: Zoroastrian rituals explained

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Roj Din Mah Ardibehesht, 1383 Yz.

Note: Readers are advised to go through part 10 of this series once again and then continue with this post.

But soon my friend’s mind had become active again. ‘Just one more thing, Marzban’ he asked: ‘how does the Ruvan, which is at some place in the Chinvat region, get the benefit of the ceremony, which is being performed here on earth? Also, what if there are mistakes? For example, there may be so many Ruvans with the name Behdin Jamshed Behdin Rustam: how does the ceremony reach the Jamshed for whom it was intended and not some other Jamshed? And what is the sense in putting all these sweets and fruits in our ceremonies? Even though I thoroughly enjoyed eating them, how do they help the Ruvan of our dear departed? Also, what happens if the Priest performing the ceremony takes some shortcuts or inadvertently makes a mistake in the prayers?’

Now these were all excellent questions put forward by Dinshaw. So disregarding the pile of pending work, I sat down to offer my explanations.

We have to remember that the Ruvan is not alone on its long journey. Along with the Ruvan, we have its guiding spirit and eternal companion, the Fravashi. The Fravashi is itself an infinitesimal part of Dadar Ahura Mazda and therefore has Divine Wisdom and Eternal Knowledge. It is the source of inspiration and succour to the Ruvan in its times of distress. Right from the moment of death on the physical earth, the Fravashi guides the Ruvan and instructs it as to what is to be done. We must remember that the Ruvan, being dormant during the lifetime of the individual has no idea of the way the person has lived his or her life. The Fravashi, even though dormant, has complete realization since it has the Divine Wisdom of Ahura Mazda in it. Being a part of Ahura Mazda, the Fravashi is eternal, it can be present at many different places at the same time, it is not subject to the limits of time and space.

Now at the dawn of the fourth day, when the Ruvan reached Chinvat and saw the Kerdar – the summation of the good and bad thoughts, words and deeds of the individual, it felt terrible pain. As it commenced its work on Chinvat, attending the different classes of lessons to be learnt at the great Universities located in Chinvat, undoing the evil which had been accumulated by the person in his physical life, the Ruvan, although eager to finish its appointed task, gets exhausted. At certain times it feels drained. At other times it feels depressed. On the days when some great Cosmic event occurs, like the Meherangan or the Navroze, the Ruvan lifts its weight of Seshab and enters the blissful state of Anushehi. [Please read part 8 of this series to understand what the states of Seshab and Anushehi are.] But the moments of Anushehi are few and far, and last for but a short time. At most times, the Ruvan is in the state of Seshab.

The ceremonies which the relatives of the dear departed have performed on the earth have the power to lift the Ruvan out of its state of Seshab and make it enter the state of Anushehi. You must have noticed that in all our ceremonies, the name of the departed is taken as ‘Nam chesti Anusheh Ruvan, Ruvan-i- Behdin Jamshed Behdin Rustam aidar yad bad.’ What does this sentence mean? The priest recites that ‘may the Ruvan of Behdin Jamshed Behdin Rustam, which is being remembered here, attain the state of Anushehi, may it attain full consciousness and Infinite Wisdom, may it partake of the blessings of this ceremony!’ This magnificent and profound sentence is repeated over and over, several times, in each ceremony. So it is clear that the object of the ceremony is to deliver the Ruvan into the state of Anushehi from the state of Seshab. If the Ruvan is already in the state of Anushehi, the prayer is that may it remain so for an even longer time, so that it may fulfill its duties and obligations in the regions of Chinvat and then progress further.

But the important question, asked by my friend was – how does the Ruvan get the benefit of the ceremony when both are separated my an infinite distance – both are in totally different dimensions? The answer to the question lies in the role of the Fravashi. Being part of Ahura Mazda Himself, the Fravashi has Infinite Power. It can manifest itself at several places at the same time. There are no limits of time and space on the Fravashi. Now whenever any ceremony is being performed on earth in memory of a departed Ruvan, the name of the Ruvan is recited in the ceremony as described above. As soon as the name is recited, the Divine Wisdom contained within the Fravashi immediately picks up the place, time and other details about the ceremony. Since it is not subject to any limitations of time and space, the Fravashi of the deceased leaves its place at Chinvat – where it is residing along with the Ruvan, and immediately appears at the spot where the ceremony is taking place. Since the Fravashi is itself Divine Wisdom, there ca be no confusion and no mistake as to which person’s Ruvan is being called, even in cases of very common names like Jamshed or Rustam.

So the question as to how will the Ruvan get the benefit of the ceremony can be answered by this: the Fravashi of the person in whose memory the ceremony is being performed acts as a messenger, a courier. The Fravashi will carry the benefits of the prayer to the Ruvan. But now another question arises: how does the Fravashi carry something physical back to the Ruvan, which is itself non-physical and in a dimension where physicality does not exist? The answer to this question needs some explanation.

[to be continued..]

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

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  1. Mohnaz  October 10, 2013

    Thank you for a very knowledgeable topic, which really removes our doubts and gives us extremely logical answers our queries. Really mystical, impatiently awaiting the next part, thanks. Request you to give long articles in shortest time frame possible (provided if time permits?) so that the magical link is not broken and we get the maximum knowledge. No doubt, all your articles are re read many times till the Kshnoom get completely absorbed in our spiritual as well as the physical mind.

  2. Delnavaz  October 11, 2013

    many thanks for this wonderful information

  3. Nilloofer Dumasia  October 13, 2013

    Thank You . Marzban, this was very informative