Roj Avan Mah Dae, 1380 Yz.
I still vividly remember that evening more than 20 years ago. I was 18 years old and sitting at Batliwalla Agiary in the evening after saying the Uzirin Gah prayers when a lady walked in and requested for a ceremony. I went to the Panthaky’s desk, opened the big daily prayer list book and asked the lady for the name of the deceased and the day. She told me, ‘Khorshed Roj’. As I waited for further details, she looked uncomfortably and whispered: ‘Evan nu khoon thayelu tenu bhanvanu’ (Prayers for his murder!). I gave her a weird look, still not getting it. She looked at me as if I was really dumb and said: ‘Arre apra Zarthosht saheb nu bhanvanu, su joya karoch!’ (Prayers for Zarathushtra, don’t you understand!) I apologized and entered her name in the book on Roj Khorshed Mah Dae. As you may know, tomorrow, Roj Khorshed Mah Dae, is observed by Parsis as ‘Zarthosht no Diso’. Diso comes from Old Gujarati ‘disi’, meaning ‘day’ and is commonly used to signify the Roj of death of a person. Thus, Zarthosht no Diso is supposed to mark the day that Zarathushtra died.
But how did Zarathushtra die? Many of us must have heard the story from our grandmothers, or read in the Amar Chitra Katha series: Zarathushtra was 77 years old and praying in a Fire Temple. An evil sorcerer by the name of Turbaratur quietly sneaked behind the Prophet and stabbed him in the back with a dagger. As the Prophet fell down, He threw the Tasbih (rosary, prayer beads) which was in His hands on the murderer. As the Tasbih fell on Turbaratur, he too perished.
While this is a quaint little story, it is totally unbelievable. There are several inconsistencies in the story. For example:
1. In the entire Avesta we have, there is no reference to this story! The Pahlavi book Dinkard, which has the complete life story of the Prophet, never uses the term ‘death’ in its entire narrative. It merely states that the Prophet attained ‘Vikhiz’ and He went up to ‘Pahalum Ahwan.’
2. The same Dinkard, which has great and intimate details about the entire life and many miracles of Prophet Zarathushtra makes absolutely no mention about what happened after His alleged death. Where did the death take place? Who performed His Paidust prayers, His Uthamna? In which Dakhma was His body placed?
3. In an era where Zarathushtra was the foremost person in the Kingdom, how come no guards were present around Him?
4. How did a Turanian manage to enter a Fire Temple, which restricts access only to Zoroastrians?
5. One of the foremost disciples of Zarathushtra was Jamasp, to whom Zarathushtra revealed the entire future over the next many eons. How could Zarathushtra, the teacher of this entire future, not know and be forewarned of His own death?
6. If Zarathushtra’s rosary was powerful enough to kill the murderer, was not Zarathushtra powerful enough to know who was sneaking up behind Him?
As usual our so-called scholars and experts have no answer to these queries and play around with words or build up fanciful theories. It was only when our Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff appeared and revealed the knowledge of Khshnoom that we were able to understand the mystery behind this fable.
To properly understand the riddle behind the Prophet’s death, we must first realize His mission. Many Parsis and an overwhelming majority of scholars think that Zarathushtra was an ordinary mortal philosopher and poet, roaming from country to country till he finally managed to convince King Vistaspa and established the religion after doing some hocus-pocus and curing the King’s favourite horse! Many modern Parsis, especially those settled in the permissive western countries, believe that the Prophet was a great ‘reformer’, whose entire teaching can be summarized thus: ‘listen to what I am saying, but decide what you want to do yourself.’ This gives them great license to do what they may please, what may be convenient and suitable for the time.
But is the view consistent with what our scriptures say about Zarathushtra? Absolutely not! The Avesta describes Prophet Zarathushtra as a Yazata – a Divine Being, with His own special prayer! It ranks him even above the Amesha Spentas and very firmly declares that there is no one even remotely close to His Divine stature (He is called ‘aevo’, the foremost, unique in the Gathas). How can we run down such a uniquely Divine Being to the status of a common man, wandering from country to country in search of his first disciple! Only we can denigrate the status of our own Prophet! My blood boils and I feel really sick when I attend grand conferences in India and abroad and hear so-called experts run down our own Prophet as some common philosopher! Any other community would kill such experts, but our own community applauds them and gives them life time awards! And some become Trustees of the BPP! Wow, way to go Parsis!
What were the times like when Zarathushtra was born? The Avesta says that it was a time of great spiritual, physical and moral oppression. The levels of evil on the earth had reached such proportions that the very existence of earth was in question. The soul of the earth (Geush Urvan) cried out to the Creator to send someone who could lift this crushing load from her drooping shoulders. At this time, Ahura Mazda declares His plan to Geush Urvan of sending down Zarathushtra to rid the world of its accumulated evil and to establish the Zoroastrian faith, which was to be the supercharged version of the Mazdayasni faith which existed at that time. Do you think at such a time, a Prophet would come down and then tell the people: ‘hey, listen to what I am saying, but then do as you please!’ Then why do we need Him? Why is common sense so uncommon amongst us Parsis?
What type of evil was present in the age when Zarathushtra descended on this earth? Ustad Saheb explained that there were three main sources of evil.
1. Giant evil spirits who descended on earth from other parts of the cosmos and caused massive destruction.
2. Great followers of such evil spirits, whose level of science and technology was so advanced that they could manipulate any element at will.
3. The evil within common men and women of those times, who had succumbed to the attractions and charms of the evil science.
In earlier posts I have explained the concept of Kerdar. Every thought, word and deed of even the smallest speck of creation leaves behind an imprint. The summation of such imprints gather in different parts of the cosmos. The sum total of all good thoughts, words and deeds makes a powerful, divine formation which gathers in the southern area of the cosmos, called Dadar-e-Gehan. (This is why we turn to the south at the end of every Nyaesh and Yasht after praying ‘man aano avayad shudan.’ ‘I have to go there.’) The accumulated good forms the Kerdar in Dadar-e-Gehan, from which beneficent blessings descend on the entire earth.
Similarly the sum total of evil thoughts, words and deeds of each and every aspect of creation gathers in a specific, northern part of the cosmos, called Apakhtar. This is the reason for the prohibition of facing north while praying. This collective cloud of all evil forms a Kerdar in the Apakhtar area of the cosmos. When this cloud of evil breaks, it wreaks havoc on the earth in the form of not only great natural disasters but also inflicts great and unbearable suffering in the form of epidemics. This Kerdar is called Tur.
However, the accumulation of evil in the time when Zarathushtra descended on this earth had taken on such an ominous and dangerous form that it was no longer called Tur, but was called Tur-bara-tur: the very pinnacle of all evil!
When Zarathushtra descended on the earth, His mission was manifold. Not only did He establish the Zoroastrian faith and the Divine Pav Mahel from which we draw strength and sustenance even today, He also laid the foundations for the future emergence of other faiths. This is why he is given the title of Vakshure Vakshuran in Pahlavi (Prophet of Prophets.) He then systematically destroyed the great spirits who were roaming the earth freely and made sure they could not enter the earth’s area. He created the Divine Fshusho Manthra Nasks – the most potent prayers containing the entire body of knowledge past, present and future. He then formed his Inner Circle of great spiritual disciples, who condensed the Fshusho Manthra Nasks and put them in a language which we could utter.
All these and many more aspects of the Prophet’s mission were completed by Him. In the end, only one major item was left – the destruction of the evil Kerdar of Turbaratur which had formed in the Apakhtar area above the earth’s atmosphere and which was literally choking the population and threatening to destroy the earth. But this was not an easy mission. Zarathushtra could of course easily destroy the Kerdar. But as it was destroyed, its reaction would be so violent that the entire earth would quite simply disintegrate by its force! It was here that the great spiritual grandeur and majesty of the Prophet was used. Even though the Prophet had descended on the earth, His body was not composed of normal Anasers like ours. His Great Yazatic Light was contained in a special capsule of super charged super-Anasers. Ustad Saheb revealed that such was the luminosity of the Prophet’s supercharged container that a normal person could not even approach within a mile from Him!
Now as the mission of Zarathushtra was drawing to an end, He had no need of this super-charged capsule. His Yazatic Light was free to fly back to the Immortal Cosmos from where it had descended, to save the earth and to establish our religion. Thus Zarathushtra began his last mission, concentrating the force of His powerful Fshusho Manthra prayers on the Kerdar Turbaratur. As the potent Manthra began to tear apart the accumulated cloud of evil, a great reaction began. Just as the recoil of a powerful gun can overthrow the shooter if he does not position the barrel properly, so also the recoil from the destruction of Turbaratur began to threaten the axis of the earth, and its position in the solar system. At this point, Zarathushtra, through His great Yazatic Light and Divine Aura distracted the recoil of Turbaratur from the earth, to His own super-charged body.
As the recoil of the disintegrating Turbaratur hit, its violent effect was cradled by the supercharged body, thereby saving earth from total disintegration. In this way, Zarathushtra completed His final mission on earth. As the evil of Turbaratur was destroyed, and its recoil absorbed by the supercharged body of Zarathushtra, His Yazatic Light was now free of all confines. There was now no need for the Yazata to remain on earth. His mission completed, Yazata Zarathushtra left the earth, and ascended to the part of the cosmos called Pahalum Ahwan, where he would complete another part of His mission.
This is the deeply mystical and beautiful revelation of the mystery behind the ‘murder’ of Zarathushtra! Thousands of salaams to His Asho Farohar! And thousands of Dua to the Ruvan of our Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff – who explained to us this miracle. And where would be without the guidance and protection of the Abed Sahebs of Demavand, who drew Behramshah to their secret field and taught him the mysteries of our religion!
Readers of Frashogard know that our beloved Ustad Saheb was a great favourite of his teacher, the Sraoshavarez Marzbanji Saheb. In his childishness, Ustad Saheb repeatedly requested Marzbanji Saheb to give him a Sezda (spiritual vision) of the Yazatic Light of Zarathushtra. The Sraoshavarez pointed out to Behramshah that this was not only an exceedingly difficult task but also dangerous since a normal person could not stand the exposure to the Prophet’s Khoreh. When Behramshah insisted, the Sraoshavarez gave him a Nirang to recite for a period of time. Behramshah enthusiastically pursued the Nirang and after a short time, subtle changes took place in Behramshah which enabled him to be ready for the vision.
On a chosen day, Sraoshavarez Marzbanji performed a Jashan and then offered the Sherbet from the Jashan to Behramshah. After drinking the Sherbet, Ustad Saheb drifted into Sezda. As he drew Behramshah into the Sezda, the Great Master displayed upon Behramshah’s shut eyes, a pale shadow of the Yazatic Light of Zarathushtra! As he came out of this vision, Behramshah’s body, although prepared through the Nirang and the supervision of his teacher, could not stand the great shock and Ustad Saheb fell down unconscious. Thereafter, Marzbanji Saheb passed his hand over Ustad Saheb’s forehead and slowly brought him back to consciousness. Such was the great destiny of my Master, Ustad Saheb – to have a brief vision of the Yazatic Light of Prophet Zarathushtra. Yet, today, how many Parsis will believe what I have written, and how many will perhaps joke about it.
My dear Parsis, the times we are living today are a mini replica of the time before the advent of Zarathushtra. Human beings are raping and pillaging our earth in their mindless pursuit of materialism and science. Everywhere there is immorality, dishonesty and wickedness. The good are oppressed, the wicked are having a field day. Our own community is going to the dogs. There are no real leaders, only charlatans. There are no spiritual guides, only fakes. There are no real priests, only men in white who cheat without any thought. But remember, my dear Parsis, the promise of Ustad Saheb got from the Abed Sahebs of Demavand. The time draws close for the advent of Shah Behram Varzavand! The time draws close when the wicked will be punished and the good will get respite. There is only a short time left to decide on which side we want to be! It is still not too late. Awake, Parsis, wear the Sudreh and Kusti, recite the Avesta, follow your Tarikats and prepare to welcome the advent of the Promised One!
May the Asho Farohar of Vakshure Vakshuran Asho Spitaman Zarathushtra shower His blessings on our troubled community on this day of great spiritual remembrance!
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram