What is prayer – part 4

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Roj Meher Mah Bahman, 1378 Yz.

We have seen earlier that our mind is constantly in the process of originating, analyzing and processing various thoughts. These thoughts, which can be either good, or Gav encouraged; or bad, or Vohun encouraged give rise to a sublime body which forms around our physical body. This sublime body is called ‘Tevishi’ – the emotions, or desire body. Thus our every thought and the resultant word and deed gather around our physical frame in a particular manner and form the Tevishi body. This body, although invisible to us, can be easily seen and understood by spiritually advanced persons, who can then immediately tell us what we have been up to in the last 24 hours. Spiritual Masters of all faiths are experts at visualizing and understanding this web of emotions around our physical body.

The duality which is there in our thoughts and emotions – the interplay of good and evil, is expressed in the Avesta as two opposing forces, called Tabaesha and Baeshaza. Tabaesha means ‘illness, evil, harm’. Baeshaza is the condition where there is no Tabaesha. The evil component is the root cause of all physical ailments, as well as spiritual regression. This has been categorized in the Avesta as 99,999 diseases. These arise from the negative aspects of our mind such as: lust, shamelessness, anger, jealousy, revenge, faithlessness, gossip-mongering, going against religion etc. Thus the physical ailments, together with these mental ailments form the core of the 99,999 degrees of Tabaesha, which are the obstacles which man must overcome in his journey to salvation.

The seeds of these ailments are present in all men, but the constant practice of Manthra reciting will stop these seeds of evil from germinating. Due to man’s own past actions, his weaknesses are tested time and again, on some days with more frequency than on others. This flow of temptations, man’s falling for them and the subsequent reaction are what is called ‘Tabai’, or in English, fate. Fate is therefore not predetermined, but rather the reaction of man’s own past thoughts, words and actions.

The flow of these reactions can be somewhat regulated by man through the practice of Manthravani (recital of the Avesta Manthras as per laid down rules and observances). This answers one of the fundamental questions – do prayers wash away our sins? The answer is NO. Prayers can never obliterate the misdeeds we have done, but the practice of Manthravani , together with the feeling of genuine regret and repentance, sets into motion a divine machinery which can soften the reaction blow when it occurs, or spread it over a period of time, so as to lessen its impact.

Thus the true Parsi is one who is always conscious of his own weaknesses; who is forever on guard against the temptations which arise from his fundamental creation; who tries to listen to the Gav element within him and ignores the Vohun; who is quick to realize his mistakes and offers genuine repentance for it; who includes the practice of Manthravani into his daily routine, so that he can use its mighty force to avoid falling into the same temptations again. A Parsi on this path is on the correct path to salvation. Slowly, the Tabaesha forces within him come under his control and over a long period of time, his body is rid of all the Tabaesha and becomes full of Baeshaza. That is the stage of perfect mental, physical and spiritual heath.

In our next post, we shall try to understand what such a perfect man can do.

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram



  1. Delnavaz  June 30, 2009

    Hi, I really enjoy reading Ervad Marzban’s posts. Would like to know more about the significance and benefits of reciting the ‘Khursid Yash’, Meher Yasht and Ava Yashat.


  2. Ruby Sanjana  October 27, 2012

    Dear Ervard Saheb,

    Please clarify these small but important points of our prayers

    1. In Sarosh Baj, after praying Kem Ma Mazda, do we pray 1 Ashem Vohu or pray 2 Yatha Ahu Vairyo. I pray 1 Ashem Vohu and 2 Yatha Ahu Vairyo. The reason I am asking this clarification is because I bought a Khordeh Avesta from The Parsi Vegetarian & Temperance Society, in which it is printed not to pray 1 Ashem Vohu, but pray 2 Yatha Ahu Vairyo.

    2. Certain portions in Khorshed, Meher and Mahbokhtar Nyaesh are asked to be prayed thrice.

    3. The whole of our Din no Kalmo is to be prayed thrice or only from Razistayão chistayão Mazdã dhãtayão upto Ashem Vohu (1).

    I pray from KHORDEH AVESTA BA KHSHNOOM TAAVIL by Dr. Framroze S. Chiniwalla, where no such thing is mentioned.


  3. Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram  October 29, 2012

    I have repeatedly stated in many such queries that these small matters should not be amplified. Follow any one method, but follow it consistently. If you are using KA ba Khshnoom then why refer to any other KA? Please do not indulge in this kind of nitpicking. Concentrate more on doing the Kusti at each change in Gah and whenever it lapses. That is more important. The differences you have mentioned may matter at the Ashavan level – not for us sinful people. Please read Dr. Gotlaseth’s Q&A book available on the SkyDrive to realize what I am saying.

  4. Ruby Sanjana  October 29, 2012

    Dear Ervard Saheb,
    I have already read Dr Gotlaseth’s Q&A book. My intentions were not of nitpicking.
    It was just that when one prays religiously such things do matter. But I do appreciate your point of view. Thank you.