Roj Hormazd Mah Sherevar, 1382 Yz.
We continue with our series on the Wondrous Circle of Life.
In Part 1 of the series, we introduced the topic and spoke of the different parts of the body and the various events leading up to death and the importance of the proper and timely performance of the Sachkar.
In part 2, we analyzed the role of the Geh Sarna prayer and the other rituals leading up to the Padruz Uthamna on the dawn of the fourth day. We understood the beautiful role played by the presentation of roses and rose water after the Uthamna, as revealed by our Master.
In part 3 of the series, we delved into the role played by Dahm Yazad, and the science behind the construction of the Dakhma. We saw the mechanics behind the performance of the Tana ceremony.
In part 4, we understood the esoteric rationale behind the performance of the Tana ceremony which results in the creation of the Talisman of the Dakhma. We analyzed the last paragraph of the Dhup ceremony wherein the final lesson for the departing soul is given by the priests. We also debated whether or not there is reincarnation in the Zoroastrian religion.
In part 5 of the series, we examined the geography of the physical universe called Nisti and the various regions thereof. We saw the great distance the soul has to travel to reach the Divine destination of Chinvat. We also saw the great dangers of humans, specially Zoroastrians communicating with various low-level sprites which inhabit certain lower regions of Nisti and the unfortunate condition of the soul of such a person after death.
In part 6, we saw the great journey of the soul from the earth to Chinvat and the various hurdles it has to cross before it can reach the destination. We also examined the unfortunate effect that excessive lamentation of the relatives of the deceased can have on the journeying soul.
In part 7, we saw the horrors of the longest night of the Ruvan, as it reaches down on the threshold of Chinvat and is met by its Kerdar. We saw the pitiable state of the Ruvan whose bad thoughts, words and deeds outweigh the good ones. We examined how the relatives of the last 7 generations of the soul come forward to meet the Ruvan and to console it in its moments of despair. We understood that the Ruvan has to play a certain role in order to cleanse the effects of the bad Kerdar.
We now proceed further.
Now the Ruvan, seated in the Keherp body, begins its attendance at the different classes mandated for it, based on the type of life the person had passed on earth and the different categories and intensities of sins committed. Based on these criteria, the Ruvan periodically moves through different regions of the Gangdez area of Chinvat where millions of small communities and universities are situated. But who are the teachers and chancellors of these universities? For Zoroastrian souls, the Heads of the Innumerable Universities of Gangdez are the Immortal Souls of Peshotan and Jamasp, as well as the souls of the Immortal Sons of Zarathushtra – Isatvastra, Khurshed-cheher and Urvatatnar. Over all these Exalted Souls, is the Supreme Teacher and Chancellor of All – Asho Sarosh Yazad.
The Ruvans of all Zoroastrian Souls have to pass through the classes taken by these Illustrious Souls and after attaining a certain level of Spiritual Proficiency, they graduate to be able to attend the class taken by Asho Sarosh Yazad Himself. Our Master explained that the Beneficent and Calming influence of being in the presence of such Advanced and Perfectly Salvated Souls is so intense that the Ruvans of both sinners and holy men get drowned in a sea of devotion and intense love which runs through their being. So exacting and so precise is the teaching of the Great Masters that the Ruvan have no difficulty in understanding the curriculum or progressing onwards – there are no failures here. A true Ustad-Shagerd discipleship bond is created between the Perfected Masters and the labouring Ruvan.
This tutoring of the Ruvan is very intense. At this time, the Ruvan alternates between two states of consciousness. One state is called Anushehi, the other is called Seshab. It is necessary for us to understand these two important terms very carefully.
Just as human beings pass their existence in two states – either we are awake, or we are asleep, the Ruvan too passes its time in the Gangdez regions in the two states of Anushehi – Nature-Attuned-Consciousness and Seshab – Earth-bound-painful-yearning.
In the state of Anushehi, the Ruvan is in total attunement with Nature. It understands that its current state is due to the wrong choices made by the physical body when it was on earth. It understands that the darkness and pain which envelop it in the Gangdez region is because of the various sins of omission and commission which were committed on earth while the Ruvan was fast asleep. Despite this, the Ruvan understands the limitation of the physical body and its falling prey to the various temptations of the five physical senses on earth. Just as an indulgent parent takes all the mistakes committed by the child in his stride, not letting the mistakes disturb the love and affection he has for his child, in the same way, the Ruvan looks upon the physical body and its infirmities as the indulgences of a wayward child.
The Ruvan hastens to set aright all the wrong that has been done. As a result, the Ruvan becomes super-charged and super-conscious of its role and its mission – to break the shackles of the Kerdar induced pain and attraction towards the earth, in the fastest time possible. In this state the Ruvan becomes what is called in the Patet Pashemani prayer as Zadang-Gui – an intercessor, a mediator, a counselor for the sins committed by the physical body. Since the physical body has now disintegrated and is in no position to do anything, the Ruvan takes on the responsibility and begins to diligently attend the classes at the various Gas conducted by the Perfected Masters like Peshotan and Jamasp. In the state of Anushehi, the Ruvan lives a Blissful and happy life, working incessantly to cleanse its Kerdar and hasten its onward progress.
The state of Seshab is very different from Anushehi. In this state, the Ruvan gets drowsy and feels very lazy and tired. Its mind keeps getting attracted to earth, to its physical possessions and those it has left behind. It sees the Kerdar and the shackles of its past deeds enveloped around its etheric body and feels helpless. The weight of the Kerdar shackles seem to it to be impossible to lift, leave alone to break. In the state of Seshab, the Ruvan relives each of the various sins the physical body had committed on earth. As the true import of the reaction of the sins becomes known to it, it experiences a feeling of intense pain and suffering. The anguish of the soul in this state just cannot be expressed in words. In the Arda Viraf Nameh, when the pious Arda Viraf is taken to see the different regions of hell, there are very grotesque and extremely violent and disturbing scenes, described in the most graphic language. Many scholars and students of religion have wondered how such language could have been used and whether the scenes described in the Arda Viraf Nameh are really true?
Our Master, Ustad Saheb explained that the Arda Viraf Nameh was written to make the physical mind understand the spiritual torment that the soul faces when it reaches the Gangdez level and sees the reaction of the sins committed. Ustad Saheb revealed that the graphic language used in this book is a rough translation of the kind of spiritual pain which the soul feels when it sees the Kerdar-created shackles which bind it and do not let it progress further. Since the physical mind would not understand the spiritual pain felt by the Ruvan, the graphic scenes of the Arda Viraf Nameh were specially written – in such a way that the Staot formed by the reading of these verses would be somewhat akin to the pain and suffering felt by the soul in its state of Seshab.
How exactly does the soul feel in the state of Seshab? The Arda Viraf Nameh says that when the Ruvan reaches the Gangdez regions and is mandated to attend the University there and learn the lessons of Spiritual Life, the shackles created by the wrong thoughts, words and deeds – called Aeshma Khravi Draosh, feel like the blows of a heavy club on the head. The soul feels it has come to a place where the whether alternates between extreme heat and bitter cold. The area it resides in is worse than the worst slums of the earth, with the most dreadful and noxious smells pervading the atmosphere. There is absolutely no light. The darkness is so dark that Ruvan cannot even see its own hands. Even to walk one step ahead, the arms have to be held in front so that it may not bump into someone else. The place is extremely crowded, millions upon millions seem to be crammed into a tiny space, yet no one is able to talk to or feel another. The whole area is infested with noxious insects and creatures which keep on biting and stinging the Ruvan. Just as a mad dog keeps on biting a solitary bone, cracking it round and round in its mouth, so also the creatures keep snapping at the Ruvan, causing it unbearable pain. In these most horrible and inhuman conditions, the Ruvan cries out every second. It keeps screaming for help. It pleads with whoever may listen, that it is willing to redeem, to reform, to offer true Patet for the sins that were committed on earth.
Readers of Frashogard, there is a great difference between the life on earth and life in Chinvat. The earth is such a place that man takes joy in committing sin. Each new sin or transgression gives him some pleasure, a thrill. To enjoy doing that, the human tries every trick in the book to live longer on the earth. This is the reason behind the fascination to find the elixir of everlasting youth. No one wants to grow old and see the decaying body falling apart. How will it enjoy the pleasures of life if the body grows old?
But it is not so in Gangdez. Here the Ruvan knows it has to stay three nights, but each night feels like it extends to three thousand years. As the nights pass, the soul screams out – my three nights are over, my nine thousand years of torment and torture are over – then why am I not being allowed to leave this dreadful place? Why does not someone come and rescue me from here, someone, anyone, please help!
Readers of Frashogard, who can help the Ruvan in the state of Seshab? Who can lessen its pain and suffering? Who can lead the Ruvan out of its personal hell and deliver it into the state of Anushehi? It is the relatives of the deceased who are still residing on earth. How can they do this? By the performance of Zoroastrian ceremonies. It is an immeasurable good deed to have the prayers recited for our deceased relatives. The benefits – both to the Ruvan and to those who spend their money on these ceremonies – are beyond calculation. But are the Zoroastrians of today interested in doing so? What are these ceremonies and how do they help the Ruvan in its state of Seshab? We shall examine these points in our next post.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram