ADAR, ATAR BY Kayomarsh P. Mehta
Zarathushti Learning Center of North America
Adar or Atar is an important quality of God, a Yazata. It is the 9th month of the Zarathushti year and also the 9th day of the month. We refer to Adar as Adar Yazata.
ADAR roj, ADAR month
Roj Adar and Mah Adar is held very sacred by Zarathushtis.
This day is popularly known as Atash nu Parab in Gujarati language. The day is set aside to revere and worship Ahura Mazda by adoring His Grand Creation – the element of Fire. Special prayers are recited at home and in the Fire Temple in presence of Fire.
The prayers consist of:
a. Adoration of fire and thanksgiving to Ahura Mazda.
b. Resolutions, pledges, repentance and humble submission to Ahura Mazda.
c. Sublime thoughts that uplift one to Ahura Mazda.
d. Blessings and goodwill to all.
What is Adar?
Adar or Atar literally means â€˜Fireâ€™. Fire has various forms. It could be in an energy form, such as â€˜Lightâ€™ or it could be a physical fire with visible flame. On the surface, â€˜Atarâ€™ seems to refer to a physical fire with visible flame. However, if an attempt is made to study and understand and depth of the wisdom of our religious scriptures, we get a much clear idea of what Atar means. It becomes evident that in the Zarathushti context, Atar represents a mature concept and not just a physical fire with visible flame.
Atar is referred to as the Flaming Fire of Thought implanted in each one of us. It is the Divine Spark, the Fravashi that dwells within us. Atar is our Inner Instructor.
Adar – Symbol of Ahura Mazda
Modern science confirms what Zarathushtis have always believed. That Light (Energy) was the first creation of God. In fact, Almighty is conceived of as Boundless Light. Each and every creation of God has in it a minuscule portion of this vast ocean of Light (Asar Roshni). Zarathushtis believe that Ahura Mazda is the source and foundation of All Light and Radiation. To them, what is manifested in nature is worthy of reverence.
Physical Fire is regarded as an important creation of Ahura Mazda, a sort of sacred symbol of Ahura Mazda. It is revered, adored and given a very high place in Zarathushti prayers, rites and ceremonies. So much so, that those who do not understand our religion have called us Fire Worshippers! The Fire is associated with Asha, Righteousness, Truth and Order in that it helps purge out evil. In our prayers, it has been referred to as the â€œSon of Ahura Mazdaâ€. The Physical Fire as a sacred element, sanctified, purified and held in reverence, helps Zarathushtis to realize the indwelling nature of Ahura Mazda.
What do Zarathushti Scriptures say about Fire?
Let us examine various quotations from our scriptures:
Asho Zarathushtra is communicating with Ahura Mazda in the Gathas:
Gathas, Yasna 43.9 — What is Thy Holy Will? To whom daily my utmost homage shall I pay? â€¦Unto Thine Inner Flame I pay my homage and to Thine Eternal Law.
Gathas, Yasna 46.7 — Whom shalt Thou send O Mazda, to protect us all, when Untruth threatens us with hate, other than Thine Own Fire and Thy Love?
Haptan Yasht, Yasna 36 — Through the agency of Thy Divine Fire, Thy Living Element, Approach we Thee and Thee alone, O Ahura Mazdaâ€¦.
Kem Na Mazda, Yasna 46.7 — Aathraschaa Mananghaschaa Yayaao
Shyaothnaaish Ashem Thraoshtaa Ahuraaâ€¦
The use of the words Aathrascha Mananghascha together clearly suggests that the prayer does not refer to the Physical Fire. Mananghascha means that which is related to the mind. Instead, it suggests that the Fire is the Inner Light – The Flaming Fire of Thought. This Flaming Fire of Thought is nothing else but mental honesty in a man, that searching critical activity of the mind that uncovers every evil within.
Atash Nyaish — I bless the sacrifice and prayer Unto Thee,
Oh Fire! Son of Ahura Mazdaâ€¦â€¦
Repeatedly, the Fire is referred to as Son of Ahura Mazda in this prayer.
Atash Nyaish — Mayest Thou Shine in this house forever. Mayest Thou Glow in this house up to the time of resurrection. This implies that the individual himself/herself is the holy shrine, the Fire Temple. The Fire is the Spark of Divinity that is deeply enthroned within him/her.
Atash Nyaish — The Fire of Ahura Mazda, gives instructions to everyone.
Certainly, it can not be the Physical Fire that gives instructions to the devotees. The Fire here has to be The Flash of Intuition which becomes their teacher.
Atash Nyaish — The Guardian Angel of Fire looks at the hand of the devotee and says: What has the moving friend brought for the seated friend? The moving friend is the devotee. The seated friend is the Fire of the Inner Self.
The significance of it is that the devotee has to feed the Inner Fire of the self for the spiritual progress of the soul.
Having examined these various references of Atar in the Gathas, as well as in the Avestan scriptures, it is quite obvious that the External Fire implies Inner Essence, The Divine Spark within the individual. Interesting to note that St. Paul in his New Testament uses a similar metaphor, when he asks: Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God and that The Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (I Corinthians, 3, 16).
Let us focus on tending this Inner Fire within us by leading a life of Righteousness.
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