Roj Ashtad, Mah Fravardin, 1378 Yz.
About one week ago, a young Irani man, living together with a Christian woman, not wearing the Sudreh and Kusti, walked into the Wadiaji Atash Behram in the afternoon. His behaviour aroused suspicion but before he could be stopped, he entered the Sanctum Sanctorum – the Kebla room where the Atash Behram Fire is enthroned, and began looking for money and other valuables. He was seen and caught by some people and taken to the police station. The manager of the Atash Behram refused to file a case since he did not want to be involved in numerous trips to the Courts. The police gave the man a good and thorough thrashing and unfortunately he was allowed to go.
While it is not my intention to discuss the merits or otherwise of this action, I am more concerned about the spiritual damage that this incident has caused. As readers may be aware, every Atash Behram is protected by certain spiritual boundaries or circuits, known as Kash. These circuits start from the ash on the top of the Fire Vase and extend to the outer wall of the Atash Behram complex. By entering into the Kebla, this person has broken all but two of the 8 Kash protecting the Padshah. As such, the spiritual power and aura of the Padshah Saheb has been severely compromised. What is the remedy for the rectification of this problem?
As per the long standing traditions, in case the Atash Behram fire is compromised in any way, the Fire needs to be purified through the process of giving the Bareshnoom Nahn, which is a nine night long seclusion Nahn generally undertaken by Priests who are preparing for major ceremonies like the Nirangdin, or children being initiated into the Priesthood. As the Padshah Himself cannot be moved, the Senior Boywalla priest who tends the Fire is given the Bareshnoom Nahn. During the nine nights, the Priest undergoing the Nahn recites specific prayers in every Gah in the name of the person who had first sponsored the making of the Atash Behram Saheb, in this case late Seth Hormusji Bomanji Wadia, and maintains very strict discipline, allowing very little time for sleep and generally focussing his thoughts only on the task at hand, and totally avoiding any contact with the outside world.
The Priest arises from the Bareshnoom on the tenth day and performs the Yasna ceremony, along with one of the two priests who had given him the Bareshnoom, again taking the name of the late establisher of the Atash Behram Saheb. After that, these priests perform three Yasna and three Vendidad ceremonies using the same name and finish off the whole ceremony through a thanksgiving Jashan on the fourth day morning.
This is the procedure that should be followed by the Priests for re-establishing the spiritual power and aura of the disturbed Padshah Saheb.
But can the ordinary Parsi do anything to help his beloved Padshah who has supported him in every difficulty? Yes he can!
It is the duty of every Parsi to visit the Padshah Saheb, and recite as many Atash Nyaesh prayers in front of Him in an audible and sonorous voice, concentrating their thoughts on this Mithra: ‘May the Stoat vibrations producing by my chanting of this ancient Hymn aid the Padshah Saheb in regaining and re-energising His spiritual power and aura.’
In doing so, every Parsi MUST TAKE CARE to follow the basic rules of purity, dress code, preparatory cleanliness and Sudreh Kusti prayers and only then enter the Hall of the Padshah Saheb. All this should be done discreetly, without making any fuss or show about it. This is your personal tryst with the Padshah – please don’t make a spectacle out of it.
While going on this mission, it is necessary to offer to the Padshah at least one stick of good quality Sandalwood (please do not insult the Padshah by offering fake white coloured sticks sold at Rs. 150 a kilo). For once, please spend money and buy either good quality African sandalwood or the best quality Malbari sandalwood. These are both available at the various shops around the Atash Behram. My personal choice is the 110 year old N. D. Moolla shop right next to the Atash Behram. Please avoid buying sandalwood from roaming salesmen and watchmen (!) stationed outside Fire Temples.
Many Parsis have been astounded at this incident and many are personally very demoralized. For them I have a few words of cheer. DO NOT DESPAIR. There are agencies and persons working behind the scenes to rectify this disturbance. The Zarathushtrian religion owes its existence to these hidden Masters, known as Sahiar Mobeds, who work in an unknown and unseen manner, repairing the various incidents of Kash-breaking that happen at regular intervals today – both knowingly and unknowingly. It is the good fortune of some of us Priests who tend the Holy Fires to have a glimpse of these great Masters, or to feel their august presence in the Kebla, generally in the Ushahin Gah, late at night, as they go about their spiritual work.
We bow down our heads in their respect and send up a fervent wish that may they repair the damage caused by this incident and raise the energy level and consciousness of the Padshah to an even higher level!
My fellow Parsis, please do not fail to honour your sacred duty towards the Padshah!
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram