Zarathushtrian All Souls Day

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Today, Friday, 7th September is Roj Fravardin, Mah Fravardin – the Zarathushtrian All Souls Day. It is the designated day in the Zarathushtrian calendar to remember the ‘Fravashis’ (Avesta word for the Divine, Immortal Element in every human, also known as ‘Farohar’ in Pahlavi) of all our departed relatives and friends.

The remembrance of the dear departed can take various forms.

The most common procedure is to have the specific prayers of Baj, Afringan, Farrokshi and Stum recited by the family Panthaky at the Agiary. Several Agiaries observe the procedure of reciting the Afringan, Baj and Stum at the Agiary in the morning, whereas the Farrokshi prayer is recited at Doongerwadi (Towers of Silence) in the afternoon. The correct procedure should be to recite all the prayers at one place and then do an additional Farrokshi at Doongerwadi. Moreover, it is important to emphasis the need to perform the prayers at Dungerwadi in a calm, peaceful and reverential atmosphere rather than the chaos and cacophony generally found today.

Another way to remember the Fravashis of our dear departed, which the lay person can do himself, is to light a special Divo and place it on the family altar or specific prayer corner in the house. Please see my earlier post on ‘how to light a Divo’ for the correct procedure.

Alternately, those more familiar with normal prayers can choose to pray the ‘Stum no Kardo’ found in most Khordeh Avesta books in memory of their departed loved ones. Those fortunate ones who have significant time to spare can recite the ‘Fravardin Yasht’, but be warned, it may take up to two hours for first timers!

Finally for those who are too busy for any of this, spare a quiet moment in a secluded, clean place. Close your eyes, picturise your departed loved ones, and then send up an Ashem Vohu prayer in memory of each one of them. While reciting the Ashem, pass the following thought (Mithra) through your mind. “May the Ruvan of Behdin Rustam Behdin Jamshed (substitute with the names you want, taking the first name along with the father’s name), progress from whatever station it may be in the Cosmos, going higher and higher, and enjoy the protection of Sarosh Yazad and achieve its ultimate destination!”

May the Ashaunam Fravashinam guide and protect us always!

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram