Seminar Report : Divine Message: Journey through Zoroastrian Scriptures
The North American Mobed Council (NAMC) held a very successful Seminar in Houston on Saturday April 11, 2009. The Zoroastrian Association of Houston (ZAH), under the dynamic leadership of Aban Rustomji, hosted the seminar at their beautiful Zoroastrian Heritage and Cultural Centre (ZHCC) in Houston.
The subject matter was “The Divine Message: Journey through Zoroastrian Scriptures”
Click here to read the entire report with Photographs
The Videos of the Entire Proceedings are presented in 22 segments below with summaries.
1. NAMC Houston Seminar – Welcome and Introductions
The seminar started with 5 young Ervads leading all in the Hum Bandagi with the Vainit Ahmi Nmāne prayer followed by 2 Yatha and one Ashem Vohu. The Kershaw Khumbatta, ZAH President, welcomed all NAMC Members, the four speakers who will present this seminar, as well as all participants. On behalf of Ervad Kobad Zarolia, President NAMC, its Vice President Noshir Mirza welcomed all to this seminar and gave a brief overview of the NAMC objectives and projects.
2. Session I Khordeh Avesta – Ervad Behram Panthaki
Rustom Engineer introduces the first speaker, Ervad Behram Panthaki who spoke on the subject of Khordeh Avesta. In explaining the Avesta scriptures, he noted that there is no word in Avesta for reading or writing but only for comprehending and memorizing. Hence our scriptures were preserved by memorizing from generation to generation. The 21 nasks dealing with all subjects were kept in 2 Royal Treasuries during the Achaemenian dynasty. One was destroyed by Alexander in 330 BCE when he burnt down Persepolis and the other was stolen by Greeks. The scriptures were in complete disarray until King Valakhsh of Parthian Dynasty tried to gather its fragments from different sources. This was continued by Dastur Tansar in the reign of Sasanian king Ardeshir Babakan and completed by Dastur Adarbad Marespand in the reign of Shahpur II who translated them in Pahlavi language since Avesta language was obsolete then. The scriptures were again destroyed by Arab conquest of the last Sasanian king Yazdegard Sheheryar and there was a dark period of 2-3 centuries until Dastur Neryosang Dhaval in India translated some of them in Pazand and Sanskrit from original Avesta and Pahlavi. Avesta is used to refer to the total scripture as well as for the language. Khordeh Avesta was compiled during Sasanian times from the main scriptures for the daily use by all Zarathushtris. Khordeh Avesta literally means abridged Avesta. He gave examples of some of our daily prayers as compilation from Yasna, Visperad and Vendidad, the greater Avesta.