The Swedish Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels celebrated Zarathustra and Zoroastrian Culture last night the +27th November. The large Swedish community in Belgium and many European personalities from different countries of EU attended this unforgettable night. The speech was presented by Dr. khosro Khazai Pardis and was followed by a lively and warm debate.
Conference in English on +27 November 2013, 6.30 pm at
the Permanent Swedish Representation to European Union
Zarathustra: The Man Who Created
the Concept of Happiness
Everybody knows the famous Thus Spake Zarathustra of Nietzsche but few know that behind this name is hiding one of the most astonishing figures of the whole history of religions and philosophies.
Zarathustra (or Zoroaster) is the great forgotten name in history. Inventor of monotheism 3700 years ago, his writings gave birth to the religion and existential philosophy of successive Persian empires that reigned over a large part of the world for 1200 years until the advent of Islam.
We had to wait until the nineteenth century to see finally deciphered the original writings of Zarathustra, the Gathas, from an Aryan language forgotten for over 2000 years. The message of these hymns of great poetry is proving surprisingly modern. Apostle of Righteousness and the Good thought, the first two attributes of this single God that he called Ahura Mazda, Zarathustra wants to lead men and women towards a happy life, denouncing the corruption of the political and religious elites, the false gods and the bloody sacrifices.
The greatest Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras and Plato claim to him, while Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Humanism have drawn from the same source the fundamental concepts of their religions and philosophy.
Date and time : +27 November 2013, 6.30 pm. Place: Permanent Representation of Sweden, square de Meeûs 30, 1000 Brussels. Participation fee: 5€ for members and 8€ for non-members, wine included. Registrations must be made firstname.lastname@example.org before 23 November 2013.
Khosro Khazaiis the director of the European Centre for Zoroastrian Studies.
Doctor in history of civilizations, archaeology and linguistics, he is the author of nine books and more than 200 articles on the Zoroastrian Existential Philosophy. His writings and translation of “the Gathas, the Sublime Book of Zarathustra” were published first in Persian, then in English and French.
The Parsis in India have had the tremendous good fortune of practicing their religion and customs generally without ostracism and persecution. This freedom has given them an opportunity to establish themselves in a country that not only refrained from proselytizing but also showed considerable tolerance towards all religions. Having been given this opportunity, they also had the encouragement of the British colonial rulers of India to develop their entrepreneurship skills and political savvy. The elevation in stature of the Parsis was undoubtedly one of the main causative factors in the small community’s escalating fortunes.
The recorded history of the Parsis of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries has shown them to have the inspiration to venture into uncharted waters with boldness, garnering their energies to establish a better life and advancement for their families, their community, and the countries of their origin and adoption – Iran and India. Their unique character could be attributed to three essential factors – their Irani-Zarathushti heritage, their Hindu-Indian socio-cultural adaptations, and their eager acceptance of Western (specifically) British educational and temporal values. The Industrial Revolution was the backdrop against which the Parsis of the 18th, and 19th centuries proved their prowess in education and entrepreneurship, and continued the trend into the 20th century.
The ships they sailed on to reach India presented to the Parsis the bounties of the seas. At the height of the power under Achaemenian King Darius the Great, Zoroastrians mastered shipbuilding and learned much from the seafaring Phoenicians. The ability to build seafaring vessels eventually opened up the world of international trade. They founded many industries. By the time India achieved its independence in 1947, a mere 100,000 Parsis, in the subcontinent’s population of over half a billion people dominated major industries like the steel industry, the aviation industry, the textile industry, the movie industry, and the fields of medicine, science and law.
The Wadias, the Tatas, the Jeejeebhoys, and the Godrejs are among several families that have contributed in no small measure towards the industrial and economic advancement of their community and their country. One such family has for the last 250 years taken on the challenge of industrial entrepreneurship with great success and provided tremendous resources for their country’s well-being – that family is the Wadias.
Here is a video of the Zoroastrian Day celebrated last week 23rdNovember at Huston.
Bahrom Firozgary also fondly called the “6ft 9inch gentle giant” by a former FEZANA Pesident, plays for the Rice University, Huston. He is the grandson of Mobed Mehraban Firozgary of Tehran, Iran, and it was he who was instrumental in organising this grand show enlightening the local populace and others about Zoroastrianism.
Should the World Zoroastrian Congress be cancelled owing to infighting within the BPP ?
By a vote of four to three the Bombay Parsi Punchayet trustees have cancelled the Tenth World Zoroastrian Congress to be held in Bombay this December. The four have filed a complaint before the Charity Commissioner to remove Dinshaw Mehta from the board of trustees. Dinshaw Mehta has refuted the charges and is willing to face the law.
By a vote of four to three the Bombay Parsi Punchayet trustees have cancelled the Tenth World Zoroastrian Congress to be held in Bombay this December. The four have filed a complaint before the Charity Commissioner to remove Dinshaw Mehta from the board of trustees. [Parsiana]
This may seem a rather esoteric title for an Asian Studies blog, but it is hardly surprising in the context of the post-renaissance scholar Athanasius Kircher (1601/2–1680). Kircher, based in Rome from 1635, where he officially taught mathematics at the Jesuit Collegio Romano, was famous as an inventor of the most complex mechanical devices and wrote altogether more than 40 books on mechanics, optics, acoustics, geology, engineering and languages, in particular Coptic and the languages of ancient Egypt. –
Burjor Mistry, the third and last generation of the Parsi hatter firm Dinshaw B. Mistry, established in 1876 and formerly of Kalbadevi, passed away last Saturday at the age of 80. Extremely low profile, Mistry was nevertheless known as the best maker in Bombay of phetas and paghrees and had an extremely loyal following. Two years ago I showed up at his door in Marine Lines, eager to talk about the history of his family business and learn more about how phetas and paghrees are made. As Mistry began talking and I took down notes, he remarked, “This is all for your own interest and not for a publication? I don’t want any publicity.” Mistry was knowledgeable about the history of phetas and paghrees and the different styles of paghrees worn by different families, such as the Desai variety which tapered out to a somewhat unwieldy 12.5 inches in width.
I returned to his apartment today to select a pheto for my wedding and heard the sad news from his niece, who is clearing out the last few items that Mistry made before he passed away. Mistry had no children and the family business ended with him. Luckily, among the remaining 20-or-so phetas was one that fit me.
Ph.D. Candidate, Modern South Asia
Department of History
To Eternity and Back is a collection of enchanting visions of ephemeral and timeless moments that reflect the grand miracle of nature as well as intimate encounters with the everyday in New York City. Saturated hues bathe sunsets, oceanic views and buildings so that they merge into a Divine order, palpitating with the oneness of being. These ethereal visions of beauty are meditations on presence and they call forth the viewer to contemplate the fullness of our existence here and now.
About Shirin Kumaana-Wadia
Shirrin started to capture the wondrous, atmospheric moments in her environment. She began simply with her iPhone, taking photos of the cityscape she loves: of monumental facades, of dazzling reflections on the surfaces of towering concrete and glass buildings, of incredible cloud patterns in the sky at all times of the day, of famed bridges, monuments and landmark sites, and so on.