Roj Govad Mah Ava, 1381 Yz.
I am happy to present before readers two new and extremely valuable books on the Frashogard Ilm-e-Khshnoom SkyDrive. These two books have long been out of print. In fact even physical copies are very rarely available, since the books are nearly over 100 years old. But both books contain such a wealth of information that they deserve to be digitized and presented before the community. Hence, even though these are not Khshnoom books, I have stored them on the SkyDrive so that members of our community can download the same and go through them to realize what greatness lies in our community and religion.
The first book I would like to introduce to you is called“Parsi Dharmasthalo”, i.e. Parsi religious places, authored by late Bomanji Behramji Patel. It is necessary to say a few words about this most unsung man in our community. Late B.B. Patel was a tireless researcher of our ancient history, from the landing in Sanjan to the British days. In around 1860, Mr. Patel began to think of an idea of chronicling all the important events which had happened in our community since our arrival in India. With this objective, Mr. Patel approached the British Administration of that time, where he was allowed free access to all the Gazettes and archives of the Government. In addition, Mr. Patel went from village to village where the Parsi population had resided and began to copy down all the marble plaques (Takhti) which are generally installed in our religious institutions like Daremehers, Dokhmas, Dharamshalas etc. He consulted the learned priests of that time and was given access to their own personal hand written records and documents.
With this wealth of information, Mr. Patel began his great odyssey of chronicling our community’s events and listing our assets in various places around India and abroad. Thus was born the monumental Parsi Prakash, published in several volumes from 1878, right upto about 1940. After Mr. Patel’s death, his sons carried on the work for some time.
From these massive Parsi Prakash files, Mr. Patel extracted all the notes relating to establishment of religious assets like Agiaries, Atash Behrams, Dokhmas, Sagdis etc. and published the monumental word called Parsi Dharmasthalo, in 1906. As per his foreword, the book contains the list, along with a great many details of 8 Atash Behrams, 169 Fire Temples, 111 Dokhmas, 44 Sagdis, 62 religious halls, 14 Nasakhanas, 32 cemeteries, 15 ceremonial halls, bridges, roads etc. In addition 132 different letters written with regard to these assets have also been included.
For those who cannot read Gujarati, a great many newspaper clippings of the Times of India of those days will provide excellent reading material and give an idea of the importance of the Parsi community in those days. I would specially recommend the English reports of the establishment of the Iranshah’s new building on page 452, and other reports in the pages following thereafter of numerous events in different cities where Parsi religious institutions were established.
This great work of Mr. B.B.Patel can be accessed on the SkyDrive here.
The second work I am putting on the SkyDrive is a very unique Khordeh Avesta, perhaps the only one written by a lady, Mrs. Meherbai Sorabji Engineer of Ahmedabad in 1917. This amazing lady was probably in contact with some advanced soul of our religion, from whom she was able to extract information regarding our prayers and certain Nirangs and Taveej which are not available any where else. This is a difficult book to read and understand. I would specially draw attention to the later part of the book, (see page 1000 onwards) where Mrs. Engineer has given several Nirangs, as well as remedies for common ills as well as psychic illnesses.
This valuable book should be read in conjunction with the excellent book “Pazend Nirangs” by Er. Phiroze Masani.
I am thankful to Mr. Kersi Kapadia for lending me his copy of the Khordeh Avesta for scanning.
I do hope readers of Frashogard will make good use of these two priceless resources of our community.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram