Are we treating our Mobeds Right?


I stood there for long, watching the aged priest chant the beautiful “Avesta” words which filled the hall. Besides me, there were only 2 other persons, but the priest prayed loud and clear, enunciating each word which filled the space therein. While droplets of sweat trickled down my back and face, my mind was urging me to go out where there was breeze and get on with my other chores for the day. But a part of me kept in holding on inside the inner space where the “Boi” ceremony was going on.

The aged priest bent down and picked up the few paltry coins in the tray and dropped them in the box. From a distance I could see a few one rupee coins and maybe a couple of five rupees. That was all that was there. Out of the collection, he would get a part of this as his share of earnings, as it would be shared amongst all the priests on duty at the Atashbehram.

I was witnessing all this in a sort of disinterested stupor, when a thought suddenly flashed in my mind which made me feel very small. I recalled that when we order something from the grocer round the corner, or the vegetable vendor, or when we order burgers from McDonalds, or a pizza, we very graciously dish out a five rupee note or more often ten rupees to say the least as a tip to the delivery boy for his service. Sometimes this happens more than a couple of times a day to different vendors rendering different services. When we go to a restaurant, a fifty rupee or a hundred rupee tip for the waiter is considered in order. All this for a task done for us. Perhaps this is because anything less than this would invoke scorn from the receiver.

Then why do we save the least for our priests who tend to our holy fires? Why do they have to be the last on our minds? Why must there be only “one person among a hundred” to put a hundred rupee note in the ‘ Ashodad box’ ?

In the sweltering heat, at unearthly hours, 24X7, they serve the community. Despite their long hours of prayers, they do not gorge on all the blessings of the Lord. They tend to the fire, keep it burning day and night. Often we wait for the machi bells to be rung and leave the fire temple. While they toil through the hour on their feet in the heat of the sacred fire and fill the air with the resonance of the beautiful prayers even if there is no one around to hear them chant. Still, in our minds, they do not deserve more.

How callous can we be, how low can we stoop, how small can we get. I looked around, almost hoping that others around would feel just the way I felt at that moment. I didn’t get a response. As I was about to leave, I saw someone else enter. I stopped, hoping from this moment onwards, there would be a stretch in the generosity; but the struggle began… to find a coin of the least denomination.

Courtesy :  Farah


  • The community should realize this and made aware of the hard work toil and selfless services our Mobeds put in, on a regular basis by the various speakers and community leaders. They should be aware that they are NOT doing a favor to the priests by putting one rupee coin in the khumcha but the priests are doing the community a BIG favor by sacrificing their sleep,time & ability and keeping away from various other vocations for the LOVE OF THE RELIGION and its followers, trying hard to keep the religion and brilliant fires burning.
    To take advantage of their nobility in its self is not KUNASHNI.

  • Banoo dhamodiwalla

    I too fully agree with this . Dasturjee Shahebs are neglected . We spend so much in our daily life but couldn’t put more than one rupees coin on chamach.! People have no idea how much hardwork they put into to take care of Fire, place and religion prayers. And also They are not getting proper respect which they deserve being our spiritual guides. This actually, all parents should teach their children or behave that way in front of their children, then the children will learn. Most of the Dasturjee Shaheb born in poor family and live full life to struggle for their family. No wonder our new generation don’t like to go for priesthood life. Who to be blemed.?
    We ourselves and our Panchayat .

    • In our community the less fortunate including the priests are treated very badly. Firstly the downfall of our community is due to the fact that in the recent pasts ie. since 1936 onwards nobody paid any attention to the suffering of our priests. The top industrialists company of India which is the most anti Parsi donated thousands of crores of rupees to cosmopolitan causes i.e. mainly Hindu causes but not a penny for our priests what a shame. That group of Cos due to its money power has replaced our religion and is treated like sacrosant inspite of it being Anti Parsi. Look at the Hindu community which builds throughout the world temples each costing more than Rs50,000 crores and their priests are looked after also very well. Their priests are treated with dignity even by top industrialists like Mr.Ambani and Mr.Narayanmurthy. While our top industrialist having only disdain for our priests. What a sorry state of our community. Unfortunate for the priests and the middle class of our community.

  • Very well put Farah.
    The blame for this rests only with the parents of growing children and the grown ups. If adults show no reverance for our faith and religious institutions, few if any of their offsprings will.
    Only a few of those that visit do so with paying respect as the main reason for the visit while it is apparent that for most it is either—-an on the way (to somewhere else) visit or a painful ritual that needs to be quickly done with.

  • dear Farah, I agrry with you but you realy think that amiddle class person can put Rs10/ every day in chamach if he or she goes Agyari or Aatashbehram. You are well come to put hundreds if you can affored, please no hard feeling and all the due respect to our dasurji.

    • With the blessings of Ahura Mazda our community by any standards is not as poor as u protrude. An average middle class person travels in a Taxi, Sees a movie or two and an outing for dinner or lunch at least once a month. total it. What is contribution of Rs.5/- even on a daily basis going to affect him/her. Can u Mr Sheriar manage to get a packet full of grams for Rs. 5/- that can stall your hunger????

    • I agree with you, a person should keep according to his wishes, it is entirely voluntary and depends on person to person. However, I would once again say that to look after the well being of the priests and our institutions is more upon the ultra rich industrialists and trustees who are only there to make use of our trust funds to further enrich themselves. The contribution of the top industrial house has been absolutely dismal, indeed it is trying to get the land of Irani Anjuman at a deposit of 5% of the price of land and a lease of 500 years which is preposterous. That group wants to have their name for the foundation by taking funds from our community for cosmopolitan purposes at the cost of community. What a shameful industrial house. Would they have dared to keep such ridiculous proposals to a Hindu trust or Muslim trust. Shame on you

  • I feel people should be made to realize by our own actions. For example… when we have ZSWS/Fazana or any parsee gatherings we have to speak a few lines about this matter. Creating awareness, so that when we go to Agyari next time, this should be in our thoughts.

    • Creating awareness in Parsee news papers. Speaking up as they deserve better. Treating them good now, will result some more NEW priests in our community. Without them and us our community rituals will vanish.

  • sorry to say the mobeds hav brought it upon themselves.
    When you talk about asodad it means it is left to you how much u want to give. One cannot demand a certain sum as assodad which at present is rampant in all our religious establishment during jashans.
    and yes the priests dont frown upon you, they give you an earful.
    The priests of the 60s and the 70s era were indeed noble and were living in pittance but now they hav 4 to 5 houses in mumbai. Right Mr Bulsara?

    • “”When you talk about asodad it means it is left to you how much u want to give. One cannot demand a certain sum as assodad which at present is rampant in all our religious establishment during jashans.” THIS HAS STARTED BECAUSE HAMDINS THINK THE PRIESTS ARE DUTY BOUND TO DO IT FOR PETIENCE. aSOSDAD IS AS PER A PERSON’S WISH AND AFFORDABILITY yes BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN SPEND ON FRUITS AND FLOWERS [ IN FACT ASK FOR EXTRA MALIDo] AND GIVE RS. 100/- for the pleasantries and good aura which u will get out of theses prayers..
      Do you expect your employer to pay u an amount which u think justifies yr knowledge and expenditure or take what ever is offered???????/

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