What is prayer – part 5

Posted by:

Roj Sarosh Mah Bahman, 1378 Yz.


When man consciously decides to go along with the Gav side of nature, speaks the truth and increases day by day the practice of Manthravani, a subtle change begins to occur in him – on the physical, emotional as well as spiritual level. One of the first characteristics which is developed through the practice of Manthravani is CONTENTMENT. Contentment implies offering thanks to Ahura Mazda for whatever condition He may put us in. This is a very important emotion. If we analyze ourselves dispassionately, we realize that most of our suffering and negativity comes through lack of contentment.


We always benchmark our life and conditions with those who we believe are much better off than us. A villager walking to work in the fields believes the executive going to office is better off. The executive struggling to catch the 8:13 local feels the senior executive driving his car to work is better off. The senior executive feels the Vice President been driven to office by his chauffeur is better off. The Vice President feels the Business Owner getting off the helicopter is better off. Finally, the Business owner peers down from his helicopter and sees the villager walking to his fields in a carefree manner – and feels the farmer is much better off!


Thus our mental makeup is such that rather than being satisfied with the situation we are in, we constantly benchmark – against false benchmarks and try ever harder to achieve the so-called dream. When the dream is achieved, the satisfaction is fleeting and for a very little time, since the mind has already decided to benchmark against someone ‘higher up’. This is the trap of materialism and the possession-driven world, where happiness is thought to be measured by the bank balance. But this happiness is temporary and delusional.


Real happiness comes through contentment. There is a beautiful phrase in our Patet Pashemani prayer, which says: ‘pa neki sepasdar hom, az anai khorsand hom’. ‘For all the goodness that the Creator has given me, I offer thanks; for all the troubles and trials I have to go through, I accept them with happiness, for in them lies my salvation.’ This is NOT a defeatist attitude or a sign of resignation, this is the true essence of our faith – to be happy and content with whatever the Lord has given us, to have full faith in His Kindness and Mercy, for all things shall pass, and in the end the victory shall be ours.


Thus the practice of Manthravani and making it an integral part of our lives – not offering prayers only before exams, or before an interview or a date, but offering heartfelt thanks to God for every single second we live, brings about a slow but steady change in the individual’s mental setup. The feeling of contentment arises. When there is contentment, there is little, or no desire for worldly goods or pleasures. When the mind breaks away from the ‘I want this, I want that’ routine, it begins to delve on the greater questions which every man must answer – who am I? where have I come from? where do I have to go? how will I get there? who or what will help me reach my destination? These are the existential questions which all of us must grapple with and come to our answers. Only a calm and contented mind can tackle these questions, and only a mind trained and pacified by the Avesta Manthras can arrive at the true conclusion which has been revealed in our scriptures.


When the contented man finishes his enquiries and realizes the Truths of Nature, he is able to differentiate them from the illusory world which is around him; he becomes a True Devotee. He realizes the futility of materialism and possessiveness and instead begins to give away – the goodness he has achieved. He becomes like the Gav element – giving to others all he has. Such a man is called a Dregu (chanted in the Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayer as ‘dregubyo’, mispronounced by most Parsis as ‘daregopyo’ or worse) – the poor man, the mendicant. Poor denotes the poverty of possessions, but the fullness of wisdom. This person, who gives all he has to another less fortunate than him, rises in the spiritual hierarchy to become what is known as ‘Haomi’ – the True Devotee.


He becomes an instrument of God and the Divine Machinery which works for our salvation. He is attuned with the working of the Yazatas and Amesha Spentas, he hears the Divine Song of the Yatha Ahu Vairyo which pervades the entire universe, he sees the Divine Beings working in unity and cohesion with each other. He joins in this Divine Work. He puts aside his own spiritual development, and instead helps to open the eyes of others around him. He is given the Righteous Spiritual Authority. He can summon the entire Nature to help him. His every wish is immediately granted by Nature – because his every wish is only for another less fortunate than him. Such is the true spiritual Master, which very few lucky persons can find in today’s world. True spiritual Masters are those who take the sufferings of their followers upon themselves. They suffer the most horrible physical ailments, but can miraculously cure others. This is the level of spiritual advancement which every Parsi must strive for. The Avesta Manthras are the first stepping stones in this long process. Without inculcating the Manthras into our lives, we cannot take the first steps to our ultimate salvation. May we all become worthy of achieving this level.


Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram



  1. Nazneen  July 7, 2009

    It has indeed been an Invigorating and uplifting experience of reading the article “What is prayer part 1- part 5”.

    It brings tears of joy as I have experienced the benefits of prayer just as you have mentioned. Feels blessed and humble to learn that Pak Dadar Ahura Mazda is always with us.
    Yet like everyone I too have a long long way to go, but there has always been a question on my mind to which I haven’t found an answer.

    That question is “What should our minimum daily prayers be? Gradually what more should we include in our daily prayers.”
    It is a very subjective question for layman like us. Some say we must pray all the Gahs’ and Nyaeshes and more and more and yet some say pray little but pray with heart & mind and yet it doesn’t answer my query.

    I am sure Ervard Saheb will have a definitive answer to this and will guide us on it. Look forward to your guidance.

  2. Delnaz  July 8, 2009

    The real importance and the miraculous effects of prayer comes to light through all the five parts of “What is prayer”. PRACTICE OF AVESTA MANTHRAS should form a daily routine of our lives, without trying to waste time in knowing and debating the meaning of each and every word.

    Through my personal experience, I can say that the practice of Manthravani has brought CONTENTMENT in my life which is the source of true happiness. I thank Pak Dadar Ahura Mazda for each and every thing in my life. One very important lesson to be learnt from the article is that: we should make the practice of Manthravani an integral part of our lives and not just pray for selfish reasons such before exams and interviews.

    In today’s busy and modern times, one should try to find time to pray, where there is a will, there is a way. We spend most of our times working like a machine, watching TV and doing other useless things, why not spend time in Praying selflessly.

    My sincere thanks to Respected Ervad Saheb !

  3. Keziyar  March 20, 2010

    i must say , i am very glad to have found this website..i am making it a habit to read some articles everyday but this article from the beginning to the end was absolutely fantastic.A complete eye-opener for someone like me , who knows allmost nothing about our precious Zarathostri religion.Thankyou Ervad Saheb.

  4. khursheed  March 10, 2011

    Respected Dastoorji,

    I am speachless. SUBHANALLAH.