Roj Din Mah Adar, 1380 Yz.
Let us briefly understand the esoteric meaning behind the Tana ceremony.
The hammering of the 301 nails, and the passing of the consecrated Tana thread through these nails results in the creation of a gigantic circuit. The entire process of the Tana ceremony is to make a supercharged powerhouse, called Talesam – or Talisman, within the boundaries of the Dakhma. It is important to note that the number 4 and its multiples play a central role in the Tana ceremony. There are 301 nails in all. 4 nails in each of the corners, 32 nails around the perimeter, 8 rows of 32 nails each in the four gutters. 101 strands of the wool are made into one and then two such are merged to form the Tana thread (101×2). This recurring figure of 4 and its multiples is essential to break down the physical body into the 4 main Anasers – Atash, Baad, Ab and Khak.
The circuits formed though the Tana ceremony are present in each and every Pavi of the Dakhma. The circuits of the Talesam in the Dakhma begin to work as soon as the body of a deceased Parsi is placed in the Pavi. The Anasers contained in the physical body of the deceased begin to separate from their physical confines. The work of the vultures aids in this process. As the physical body is broken down, the spiritual circuits of the Tana break down the Anasers to their basic forms – Atash, Baad, Ab and Khak. As these Anasers get separated, they are lifted by the parallel rays of the sun which fall into the Dakhma. The powerful rays of the sun, along with the spiritual energy of Khurshed and Meher Yazatas, attract the Anasers, which get fastened on to the physical rays of the sun. They begin the slow but steady journey from the Pavi of the Dakhma to the special place where they are supposed to go and collect.
On the dawn of the fourth day after death, as the priests begin the performance of the Daham Yazad Jashan, they are in fact handing over the charge of the Anasers – which should have been broken down to their individual parts by now, to the Yazata Daham. It is the primary function of Daham Yazata to be the guardian and custodian of the Anasers of deceased Parsis. As the Anasers rise up from the Dakhma and are taken to the realms above by the combined forces of Khurshed and Meher Yazatas, Daham Yazata oversees the process and guards the Anasers of the deceased.
As this is happening, a great event begins to unfold at the place where the Ruvan of the deceased has been resting these three days after death. In the last 80 minutes of the third day and just before the dawn of the fourth day breaks, the Baodangh and Fravashi awaken the Ruvan from its drowsy state and draw its attention to the sacred Manthras being recited by the Priest performing the Dhup Nirang (the concluding part of the Uthamna). In the last paragraph of this beautiful prayer, the priest recites: (free translation)
“May the glorious rule of the righteous Mazdayasni Daena spread throughout the 7 Keshwars of the cosmos, as the smooth flowing waters! May the Laws of the Daena result in the spread of beneficence and selflessness! May the Laws of the Daena result in righteous Kingship and beneficent rulers! May the Laws of the Daena bring about enlightenment, awakening and spiritual rejuvenation! May the entire creation move towards goodness, righteousness and the praise of the Lord! May the evil science of materialism, which gives rise to great malevolence, collapse! May those who indulge in such evil perish! May it be so!”
“O Mazdayasni Ruvan! If, during your current life, you have partaken in such evil sciences, if you have tasted the evil fruit of temptation, selfishness, irreligiousness and untruth, then beware! You shall come back here! If you are one who remembered the solemn promise you gave to your Creator when you were born and followed the Laws of the Daena; if you are one who remained true to your religion and its Prophet, then you shall not come back! Because of your accumulated goodness and virtue, may the Lord of the Wide Fields – Meher Yazad, who is the Most Righteous Judge of All, come here quickly and before time, to take you further towards the House of Ahura Mazda! O Mazdayasni Ruvan, offer Patet for all your sins! May the Patet be accepted, through the power of this Ashem Vohu!”
Readers of Frashogard! This paragraph makes it all so clear! Of the many endless controversies in our religion, the one relating to reincarnation is prominent! It is true, there is no reincarnation for a TRUE Mazdayasni Ruvan. But the operative word is TRUE! The lives we lead are so far removed from the commandments and precepts of our religion. For our Ruvans, there is no choice but to be born again. The words of the Dhup Nirang are very clear! Live a life of purity, piety and truth – and Meher Yazad shall Himself lead you to the House of God. But live a life of materialism, untruth and filled with the temptations of the physical senses, and we are doomed to come back here again!
These poignant and most solemn words fall on the ears of the awakened Ruvan as it arises from its slumber and climbs into a special vehicle, fashioned by its Baodangh and Fravashi as it prepares to begin its long and momentous journey towards that place where the Judgement will take place! This vehicle can be most appropriately compared to the massive rockets which propel the space shuttles towards the moon or the international space station. Just as those rockets have different sets of boosters which propel the rocket skyward and break the attraction of gravity, so also the vehicle which will take the Ruvan to its appointed place consists of four boosters. These boosters are dependent on the proper execution of four critical elements:
1. The Sachkar
2. The Geh Sarna
3. The Talesam of the Dakhma; &
4. The first four days ceremonies in honour of Sarosh Yazad
As each of these four critical elements is completed and executed perfectly, the vehicle which will take the Ruvan towards its destination gets prepped up and ready to fly. But should any one of these four be left out, or not be executed in a perfect manner, then the vehicle will definitely lift off, but whether it will reach its destination or drop off midway is open to question.
Unfortunately, we have committed spiritual suicide by systematically destroying some of these elements ourselves. The way the Sachkar is done today by the Nasseh-salaars leaves much to be desired. The Geh Sarna does get done reasonably well even today. But what about the Talesam of the Dakhma? We have ruined it! People other than Nasseh-salaars enter the Dakhma as if it were a tourist spot! Rascals have entered to photograph the insides of the Dakhma and cause immense pain and anguish to our community. Even the Nasseh-salaars themselves do not follow the rules of purity which they are supposed to. When was the last time any one of them took the Nahn which they should after every Paidust?
We have destroyed the spiritual work of Khurshed and Meher Yazatas by putting mirrors on the Dakhma! Those wise ones who installed this totally un-Zoroastrian system do not realise that the mirrors focus the parallel rays of sunlight into one concentrated beam which hits the body at one spot and results in the body getting charred or burnt! Are these Dakhmas or solar crematoriums? How can the Anasers be separated and handed over to Daham Yazad when we invert the work of the parallel rays of the sun! If this were not enough other foolish experiments like passing ozone gas and spraying some chemical/herbal powder to get rid of the stench of accumulated bodies have been tried out. Where is the sanctity of the Dakhma and its Talesam in all this? The Dakhma is a sanctified and consecrated place! That is why we have the prayer called Namaz-e-Dakhma!
For the last nearly three years, we have been asking the Trustees of the BPP to open the huge Banaji Dakhma, which is on the right hand side as soon as we begin ascending the climb which leads us to the Sagdi. This Dakhma has been lying unused for many years since a new skyscraper came up which provided its residents with a partial view of the inside. A plan was submitted to the Trustees to construct an iron screen such that the Dakhma insides could not be seen. An alternative was proposed to raise a bund of earth and plant fast-growing trees which would block the view, without blocking the sunlight from falling in. After his election as Trustee, Mr. Khojeste Mistree took a few of us traditional people for a stroll on the grounds of Dungerwadi and showed us the various works in progress. At that time, Mr. Mistree had indicated that the Dakhma would be opened “soon”. It is now nearly three years and we are still waiting for a clean Dakhma on the Doongerwadi premises for use without any gadgets or gimmicks.
I will not even begin to speak of the way the first four days ceremonies are being performed in many Agiaries in Mumbai and on Dungerwadi itself. I am ashamed to say that many Panthakys have totally lost all sense of morality and truth and simply do not perform the many ceremonies which should be done in every Gah of the first three days, yet have no compunction in making long and fictitious bills. They can fool devotees all they like, but what will they answer when they stand in front of Meher Yazad on the fourth day after death? Will they try to pull a fast one on Him too?
What is our destiny? Doomed to live a non-Zoroastrian life in our lifetimes, and doomed to be unable to take the benefit of our spiritual institutions set up by the Prophet! So is all lost and over for us? NO. It is in these times, when every institution of the Zoroastrian religion is facing corruption and decline, that the Hidden Masters of Demavand come to our aid! It is the word of our Master Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff, that the Abed Sahebs help all such souls who are in danger of falling into wicked hands, whose boosters are not enough to enable the Ruvan to reach its destination. Thousands of salaams to these pious Masters! May they help us too when our time comes!
In our next post we shall examine where exactly the soul has to reach to receive its Judgement.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram