Guess who’s coming to dinner? Zoroastrian priest changed by daughter’s interfaith marriage


Jal Panthaky presides over an interfaith Zoroastrian wedding ceremony. (Tania Mehta/CBC)

Jal Panthaky is a Zoroastrian priest, with a love of life and a staunch dedication to his faith. He is both a proud father and a deeply spiritual man.  But neither of these are static roles.  Recently, his devotion to his religion and to his children collided; he felt moved to examine the tenets of his faith, and that has led him to be open to new relationships and embrace new horizons.

The collision occurred when his eldest daughter, Rahnuma, brought home a man she was dating who was not Zoroastrian. In Zoroastrianism, mixed marriages are frowned upon.  Not only that, but the rules are different for men and women.

A Zoroastrian man who marries a non-Zoroastrian woman can at least ensure that his children are raised in the faith. But the same is not the case for a Zoroastrian woman who marries a non-Zoroastrian man.  She is unable to practice, to enter the temple, or even to attend a family funeral.

Orthodox roots run deep

“I was born in a priestly family [of] many generations,” Jal says. “My father was a high priest in a place of worship, and my brother was a principal in a monastery where they taught new Zoroastrian priests … the belief was that you don’t allow any non-Zoroastrians into any of our religious ceremonies, and you don’t allow our children to marry outside the Zoroastrian faith.”

So when Rahnuma introduced Michael to her family, Jal was at a loss. Outwardly, he initially didn’t extend much of a welcome to Michael.

Rahnuma recalls, “When he got an inkling that I was dating Michael at the very beginning, he basically said, ‘You are not going to date him, and if you do I will make it very difficult for you.'”

But inwardly, Jal searched his faith for answers to his dilemma: What was behind the rules against interreligious marriage in Zoroastrianism? And how would they affect his daughter’s wish to marry outside the faith?

A faith examined 

Jal’s quest for understanding has led him to embrace his son-in-law and has changed his practice as a priest; he now performs mixed marriage ceremonies.

“We proudly say that Zoroastrianism is the first monotheistic religion. If we believe in one God, then all these people are his children. So why should we discriminate [against] them? And I started to open my mind to observe the people; and especially in my own family, my own daughter.”

– Jal Panthaky

jal rahnuma and michael

Jal Panthaky’s daughter, Rahnuma, and her husband, Michael. (Tania Mehta / CBC)

His journey has not only enriched his family life, but it also represents an important step for Zoroastrians. A broader outlook on marriage may be a boon to this ancient religion; by some estimates there are fewer than 200,000 Zoroastrians in the world.

Click listen on this link to hear CBC Producer Tania Mehta’s documentary Jal’s Journey: A Zoroastrian Priest’s Path to a New Normal.

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46 thoughts on “Guess who’s coming to dinner? Zoroastrian priest changed by daughter’s interfaith marriage

  1. Jerou Panthaki Rammohan says:

    Our good, great Prophet Zarathushtra taught us the tenet of Monotheism i.e. LOVE. He did not teach us to divide Humanity by building walls, spreading hated, or looking down upon people of other beliefs. The ‘Divides’ actually are the products of POWER , GREED and SELFISHNESS rising from ECONOMICS and POLITICS of those who made the RELIGION, long AFTER ZARATUSHTRA passed away. In REALITY if a person follows all the principles and adages given to the MASDIYASHNI DEEN which was the Community our beloved LORD ZARATHUSHTRA was born to, one can rightly be called a ZARATHOSHTI;; because Zarathushtra asked his believers to spread his tenets far and wide in all four directions (as I understand). It is how the people INTERPRET (or MISINTERPRET) HIS GREAT WORDS of PURITY, CLEANLINESS etc that has created all the misunderstandings/ (CHINESE WHISPERS), as decades passed by. ZARATHUSHTRA SPOKE ABOUT THE PURITY AND CLEANLINESS OF THE MIND, (‘HUMATA’) and (MANASHNI) NOT the flesh or blood !! HE wanted the ugly, gory wars for POWER to stop, so HE taught the people to spread LOVE, RESPECT and TOLERANCE for ALL with the PURITY of the MIND (Manashni), WORDS (GAVASHNI),and DEEDS (KUNASHNI).

    KUDOS to Dasturji Jai Panthaki who has truly understood the above teachings of our great Holy MASTER ZARATHUSHTRA in the right Spirit. That brings me to mind the Late Dasturji Faramroze Bode who followed and shared the same Tenets and performed Parsi + intercaste marriages, as also Navjots of the children of Parsi women of intercaste marriages, which have lasted for decades. He was utterly chastised by the Community for doing so, as also for converting the poorest boys of Gujrat when our own community boys refused to clean our Holy Fire Temples. May his Soul be Blessed for ever and May the tribe of such Priests multiply. AMEN!!

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Thank you Jerou,
      Zarthushtra has never discriminated women, in fact he has given equal rights to women, please see my response on Gender equality in Zoroastrianism bellow.

      GENDER EQUALITY IN ZOROASTRIAN RELIGION
      Zoroastrian religion does not discriminate between men and women. Leaving aside the differences with regard to religious observances and role responsibilities, both the sexes are treated equally in the religious texts. Both men and women have equally important in protecting the sanctity and divinity of the world. Children are advised to honor both mother and father equally.”
      Gender equality is firmly rooted in the teachings of the Prophet Zarathushtra, as is evident in his poetic Gāthās and the Avestā. The equal status of both sexes has attributed to the powerful status of women within the Zoroastrian community throughout the ages.
      In Vispered 3.4, the express desire to appoint a “courageous woman” is paralleled in the same verse by the wish to appoint a “courageous man” (nar-) who knows, is wise in the pristine faith, first will/choice,
      Yasna 27.15 is one of the three most prominent manthras of the poetic Gāthās. In its 3rd line; prayers are offered to both male and female saints, and the worship of holy/divine females who have ármaiti (“flow of brilliant thoughts, serene meditation”) at their head, is offered to the Auspicious, Bright Immortals.
      In Yasna 30.2, 2nd line, heroic males and females are both asked to exercise their will power and choose wisely like a wizard/sage.
      Yasna 35.6 recommends study and pursuit of knowledge for worthy men and women alike (ná vá náirí vá). Besides being educated, women (as well as men) are expected to discuss, deliberate and expound the wisdom/knowledge of the divine truth.
      Elsewhere, in the Avesta in Hērbedestān.5, the topic of who is eligible to receive education for priestly studies is discussed. The text states that either a worthy lady (náiriká–) or the lord/protector of the house (nmánö .paiti-) may go forth for the study. this Chapter 5 is about female students and the women in charge of sacred fires.
      Nēyrangestān. 22.2 permit “any worthy male or female or young youth who knows the sacred manthras to act as a zaötar-, or invoker priest in the ceremonies. With the emphasis that the qualifying factor is mastery and the knowledge of the inspired poetry and not sex or age.
      In Vispered 3.4, the express desire to appoint a “courageous woman” is paralleled in the same verse by the wish to appoint a “courageous man” (nar-) who knows, is wise in the pristine faith, first will/choice,
      In Yasna 37.3, 3rd line; the guardian angel/fravashis of both heroic males and females is praised (tém asháunám fravashísh narám-chá náirinám-chá.)
      Also, in Yasna 26.7, the guardian angels or fravashis of scholar priests and their students, male or female is praised (aæthra-paitinānm aæthrya-nānm narānm náirinānm.)
      This verse is repeated in Yasht. 13, verses 139-42, wherein the fravashis of various venerable women, and verses 143-44 wherein the fravashis of virtuous, luminous women and of virtuous, luminous men in the various lands is praised.
      In Yasna 39.2, the souls (urunö) of virtuous, worthy men and women, wherever they may have been born is adored (kudö zátanąm chīt̰ narąm-chá náirinąm chá.)
      So too in the Avestan fragment FrD.3, both sexes are explicitly cautioned: “He has not won anything who has not won (anything) for his soul. She has not won anything who has not won (anything) for her soul” (nöit̰ cahmi zazva yö nöit̰ urunæ zazva. nöit̰ cahmi zazushi yá nöit̰ urunæ zazushi.)
      Yasna 53.6, 1st line is about “the manifest fate/future becoming of courageous men or women verses evil males or females” (ithá í haithyá narö athá jə̄nayö.)
      In Yasna 37.3, 3rd line; the guardian angel/fravashis of both heroic males and females is praised (tém asháunám fravashísh narám-chá náirinám-chá.)
      Also, in Yasna 26.7, the guardian angels or fravashis of scholar priests and their students, male or female is lauded (aæthra-paitinąm aæthrya-nąm narąm náirinąm.)
      This verse is echoed in Yasht. 13, verses 139-42, wherein the fravashis of various venerable women, and verses 143-44 wherein the fravashis of virtuous, luminous women and of virtuous, luminous men in the various lands is praised.
      In Yasna 39.2, the souls (urunö) of virtuous, worthy men and women, wherever they may have been born is adored (kudö zátanąm chīt̰ narąm-chá náirinąm chá.)
      So too in the Avestan fragment FrD.3, both sexes are explicitly cautioned: “He has not won anything who has not won (anything) for his soul. She has not won anything who has not won (anything) for her soul” (nöit̰ cahmi zazva yö nöit̰ urunæ zazva. nöit̰ cahmi zazushi yá nöit̰ urunæ zazushi.)
      Yasna 53.6, 1st line is about “the manifest fate/future becoming of courageous men or women verses evil males or females” (ithá í haithyá narö athá jə̄nayö.)
      In hymn to the bright star Tištriya (Yasht. 8, 59) both the “evil man” (mairyö) and the “evil woman” (jahika) are banned from partaking of the ceremonials.
      In Yasna 41,2, prayer is offered for the reign of a good ruler, heroic male or female (ná vá náirí vá), to reign in both existences” (khshaætá uböyö aŋhvö). Hence, women, as much as men, are considered equally capable of kingship/leadership in both the corporeal and spiritual planes of being.
      In Yasna 53.8, 3rd rhymed verse line, the prayer/heartfelt wish is for the good leadership of male or female rulers who will remove bloodshed, and bring peace and happiness to the villages and settlements.
      In Yasna 38.3 talk is of the divine females in relation to life giving waters.
      In Yasna 38.1, bounty of the land and fruitfulness of women is compared. The word used for woman is gená in the verse. The word gená is used again in Yasna 46.10, 1st line; where both strong, noble men and women pass the portal/bridge to other dimensions (chinvatö pərətüm.)
      In Yasna 54.1, or the powerful á.airyémá ishyö manthra, in its 2nd line; Airya-man, or the noble fellowship is invoked for the wish fulfillment of the courageous men and women of Zarathushtra” (nərəbyas-chá náiribyas-chá zarathúshtrahæ.)
      In conclusion, I shall add that the elaborate purity laws are common to both sexes in Zoroastrianism (e.g., the correct disposal of hair- and nail-clippings, see Vendidad. 17.) Yet women are subject to supplementary purity regulations concerning mainly their procreative functions such as menstruation (Vendidad. 16.4-7) and stillbirth (Vendidad 5.48-56.)
      It is worth noting, that men too are bound by gender-specific purity rites, (Vendidad. 18.46.)
      Last but not least, in the Zoroastrian jurisprudence men and women inherit equally and inheritance laws do not favor one party over the other because of their gender.

    • Meher Panthaky says:

      Dear Jerou:

      I am the PROUD WIFE of Ervad Jal Panthaky and I thank you very much for your comments.

      All I can say that these Ultra Orthodox Parsees are the main reason for our dwindling community.

      Please read my reply to Mr. Arjani and Ervad Pallonji

      May Love and Peace rule the world.

      Meher Panthaky

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Why are you anonymous? obviously your name must also be Jal Panthaky
      Be bold be brave.
      I am proud to write my name
      Best Regards
      Jal Noshirvan Panthaky

    • Meher Panthaky says:

      Dear Mr. ANONYMOUS:

      I am the PROUD WIFE of Ervad Jal Panthaky to whom you have asked to give his full name including his father’s. I am not just going to give you his full name but also mine and both our lineages, but before I go any further I would like to ask you one simple question – WHY ARE YOU ASKING THIS UNDER “ANONYMOUS” AND NOT MENTIONING YOUR FULL IDENTITY? ARE YOU AFRAID OR ASHAMED? Once I have received your answer you will have all our details.

  2. Jamshed.Arjani says:

    Heresy, thy name is Ervad Jal Panthaky. He should be made an example of heretic practices being punished.like performing a Zoroastrian marriage ceremony of Parsee girl with a Non- Parsee. Look at the husband smirking. I cannot fathom how Ervad Jal Panthaky can call himself an orthodox priest. This irresolute, spineless so called ‘Mobed’ should be made an example of by our High Priests excommunicating him from the priesthood and from the Zoroastrian fold itself.Indeed the community itself should take a vociferous stand on this issue.
    Would a Kazi perform a marriage with Islamic rites,of a Muslim girl to a guy of another community? Never, under any circumstances. ‘Ervad’ Jal Panthaky’s meaningless and false explanationsare equivalent to the common clique of some jackals distorting the words ‘Zoroastrianism has a universal appeal.

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Dear Mr. Arjani
      I truly believe that Ahura Mazda has endowed everyone with free will and freedom of choice to express their opinion, hence I respect your criticisms of my believes expressed on my CBC radio interview. Evan Zarthushtra was also renounced in his motherland, and abandoned by his own people when he announced the message of Ahura-Mazda the first time.

      I may not be as knowledgeable in Zarthushtra’s teaching as you are, but I am sure you know Spenta Armaity (Piety or Devotion), which is the inspiration that leads us to action, in the moral context as Goodwill or Right-Mindedness. It guides us to move from right conceptions to right actions. We thereby, with courage and confidence put our well-thought-out and well-formulated intentions into actions. I am proud of my choice.

      I would like to bring to your attention to Yasna Hā 53, where Zarathushtra officiates at the wedding of his youngest daughter, Pouruchista with the groom Jamaspa of the Hvogva family, who accepted the religion taught by the prophet, which was an act of thoughtful and free choice of each partner, with full realization of the responsibilities to come.

      Then to his daughter, Pouruchista, Zarathushtra speaks in a fashion which sounds remarkably modern. He gave this freedom of choice to his own daughter, such a freedom of choice in the selection of husband

      I would like to refer to you to Yasna 53.3, 53.4 and 53.5 verses.
      (Hā 53.3)
      têmchâ-tû pourucistâ haêchat-aspânâ spitâmî ýezivî dugedrãm zarathushtrahê vanghêush paityâstêm mananghô ashahyâ mazdåschâ taibyô dât sarem athâ hêm ferashvâ thwâ xrathwâ spênishtâ ârmatôish hudânvareshvâ.

      You Pouruchista, offspring of the families of Haechataspa and Spitama, youngest of the daughters of Zarathushtra; Grant her the constant benefit of the Good-Mind, the strong support of thy Truth, that she may take counsel with enlightened understanding.
      (Hā 53.4)
      Pouruchista’s reply

      têm zî vê speredânî varânî ýâ fedhrôi vîdât paithyaêchâ vâstryaêibyô atchâ hvaêtaovê ashâunî ashavabyô mananghô vanghêush hvênvat hanghush mêm bêedush mazdå dadât ahurô daênayâi vanghuyâi ýavôi vîspâi â.

      “Happily, have I chosen him, Faithful to my father and to my husband, faithful to the peasants as to the nobles, Faithful as a righteous woman should be to the righteous. Mine shall be the glorious heritage –The light of the Good Mind; May Ahura Mazda grant me this blessing that endures for all time.”
      (Hā 53.5)
      sâhvênî vazyamnâbyô kainibyô mraomî xshmaibyâcâ vademnô mêñchâ-î mãzdazdûm vaêdôdûm daênâbîsh abyascâ ahûm ýê vanghêush mananghô ashâ vê anyô ainîm vîvêñghatû tat zî hôi hushênem anghat.

      These words do I address to you, maidens marrying, these counsels do I give to you bridegrooms, notice them in your mind and keep them to your heart. Learn from the righteous the precepts of the Good Religion; Let both then strive to lead the Life of the Good Mind; With upright hearts let each cherish the other; Then surely a happy life shall be yours.
      I just wanted to bring it to your attention.
      Jal Noshirvan Panthaky

      • Jal Panthaky says:

        Dear Mr. Arjani,
        Kindly read the Gender equality in Zoroastrianism with references to various passages from scriptures you probably already know.
        GENDER EQUALITY IN ZOROASTRIAN RELIGION
        Zoroastrian religion does not discriminate between men and women. Leaving aside the differences with regard to religious observances and role responsibilities, both the sexes are treated equally in the religious texts. Both men and women have equally important in protecting the sanctity and divinity of the world. Children are advised to honor both mother and father equally.”
        Gender equality is firmly rooted in the teachings of the Prophet Zarathushtra, as is evident in his poetic Gāthās and the Avestā. The equal status of both sexes has attributed to the powerful status of women within the Zoroastrian community throughout the ages.
        In Vispered 3.4, the express desire to appoint a “courageous woman” is paralleled in the same verse by the wish to appoint a “courageous man” (nar-) who knows, is wise in the pristine faith, first will/choice,
        Yasna 27.15 is one of the three most prominent manthras of the poetic Gāthās. In its 3rd line; prayers are offered to both male and female saints, and the worship of holy/divine females who have ármaiti (“flow of brilliant thoughts, serene meditation”) at their head, is offered to the Auspicious, Bright Immortals.
        In Yasna 30.2, 2nd line, heroic males and females are both asked to exercise their will power and choose wisely like a wizard/sage.
        Yasna 35.6 recommends study and pursuit of knowledge for worthy men and women alike (ná vá náirí vá). Besides being educated, women (as well as men) are expected to discuss, deliberate and expound the wisdom/knowledge of the divine truth.
        Elsewhere, in the Avesta in Hērbedestān.5, the topic of who is eligible to receive education for priestly studies is discussed. The text states that either a worthy lady (náiriká–) or the lord/protector of the house (nmánö .paiti-) may go forth for the study. this Chapter 5 is about female students and the women in charge of sacred fires.
        Nēyrangestān. 22.2 permit “any worthy male or female or young youth who knows the sacred manthras to act as a zaötar-, or invoker priest in the ceremonies. With the emphasis that the qualifying factor is mastery and the knowledge of the inspired poetry and not sex or age.
        In Vispered 3.4, the express desire to appoint a “courageous woman” is paralleled in the same verse by the wish to appoint a “courageous man” (nar-) who knows, is wise in the pristine faith, first will/choice,
        In Yasna 37.3, 3rd line; the guardian angel/fravashis of both heroic males and females is praised (tém asháunám fravashísh narám-chá náirinám-chá.)
        Also, in Yasna 26.7, the guardian angels or fravashis of scholar priests and their students, male or female is praised (aæthra-paitinānm aæthrya-nānm narānm náirinānm.)
        This verse is repeated in Yasht. 13, verses 139-42, wherein the fravashis of various venerable women, and verses 143-44 wherein the fravashis of virtuous, luminous women and of virtuous, luminous men in the various lands is praised.
        In Yasna 39.2, the souls (urunö) of virtuous, worthy men and women, wherever they may have been born is adored (kudö zátanąm chīt̰ narąm-chá náirinąm chá.)
        So too in the Avestan fragment FrD.3, both sexes are explicitly cautioned: “He has not won anything who has not won (anything) for his soul. She has not won anything who has not won (anything) for her soul” (nöit̰ cahmi zazva yö nöit̰ urunæ zazva. nöit̰ cahmi zazushi yá nöit̰ urunæ zazushi.)
        Yasna 53.6, 1st line is about “the manifest fate/future becoming of courageous men or women verses evil males or females” (ithá í haithyá narö athá jə̄nayö.)
        In Yasna 37.3, 3rd line; the guardian angel/fravashis of both heroic males and females is praised (tém asháunám fravashísh narám-chá náirinám-chá.)
        Also, in Yasna 26.7, the guardian angels or fravashis of scholar priests and their students, male or female is lauded (aæthra-paitinąm aæthrya-nąm narąm náirinąm.)
        This verse is echoed in Yasht. 13, verses 139-42, wherein the fravashis of various venerable women, and verses 143-44 wherein the fravashis of virtuous, luminous women and of virtuous, luminous men in the various lands is praised.
        In Yasna 39.2, the souls (urunö) of virtuous, worthy men and women, wherever they may have been born is adored (kudö zátanąm chīt̰ narąm-chá náirinąm chá.)
        So too in the Avestan fragment FrD.3, both sexes are explicitly cautioned: “He has not won anything who has not won (anything) for his soul. She has not won anything who has not won (anything) for her soul” (nöit̰ cahmi zazva yö nöit̰ urunæ zazva. nöit̰ cahmi zazushi yá nöit̰ urunæ zazushi.)
        Yasna 53.6, 1st line is about “the manifest fate/future becoming of courageous men or women verses evil males or females” (ithá í haithyá narö athá jə̄nayö.)
        In hymn to the bright star Tištriya (Yasht. 8, 59) both the “evil man” (mairyö) and the “evil woman” (jahika) are banned from partaking of the ceremonials.
        In Yasna 41,2, prayer is offered for the reign of a good ruler, heroic male or female (ná vá náirí vá), to reign in both existences” (khshaætá uböyö aŋhvö). Hence, women, as much as men, are considered equally capable of kingship/leadership in both the corporeal and spiritual planes of being.
        In Yasna 53.8, 3rd rhymed verse line, the prayer/heartfelt wish is for the good leadership of male or female rulers who will remove bloodshed, and bring peace and happiness to the villages and settlements.
        In Yasna 38.3 talk is of the divine females in relation to life giving waters.
        In Yasna 38.1, bounty of the land and fruitfulness of women is compared. The word used for woman is gená in the verse. The word gená is used again in Yasna 46.10, 1st line; where both strong, noble men and women pass the portal/bridge to other dimensions (chinvatö pərətüm.)
        In Yasna 54.1, or the powerful á.airyémá ishyö manthra, in its 2nd line; Airya-man, or the noble fellowship is invoked for the wish fulfillment of the courageous men and women of Zarathushtra” (nərəbyas-chá náiribyas-chá zarathúshtrahæ.)
        In conclusion, I shall add that the elaborate purity laws are common to both sexes in Zoroastrianism (e.g., the correct disposal of hair- and nail-clippings, see Vendidad. 17.) Yet women are subject to supplementary purity regulations concerning mainly their procreative functions such as menstruation (Vendidad. 16.4-7) and stillbirth (Vendidad 5.48-56.)
        It is worth noting, that men too are bound by gender-specific purity rites, (Vendidad. 18.46.)
        Last but not least, in the Zoroastrian jurisprudence men and women inherit equally and inheritance laws do not favor one party over the other because of their gender.
        With Warn Regards
        Jal Noshirvan Panthaky

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Kindly ready reply to Jerou Panthaki above on the Gender equality in Zoroastrianism with references to the scriptures which I am sure you must already know it.
      May Ahura Mazda shower his chorister blessings upon you.
      Jal Noshirvan panthaky.

    • Meher Panthaky says:

      Mr. Arjani:

      I am the PROUD Wife of Ervad Jal Panthaky and I saw your comments on this site. We all live in the society of Freedom of Choice and Freedom of Speech therefore and on that basis, I believe it is your right to state your views. I have just one point to bring to your attention Sir:
      I am sure you must have studied the teachings of our beloved Prophet where he teaches us principal of a Good and Virtuous life – to Love, Respect and Tolerance to all – just 3 beautiful teachings Manashni, Goveshni, Kunashni.

      You also suggested that the High Priests should excommunicate Jal from the priesthood and from the community. This statement of yours is hilarious. Who in our Zoroastrian community has a right to EXCOMMUNICATE any person? Do you think we in North America care of what you all say and do? We here follow our Dear Prophet’s teachings in real sense. Here in Toronto, Canada and other parts of North America, not just my husband Jal but many other Ervads do the weddings of mix marriages and also do the Navjote of the children of those marriages where the father is non-Pars -, as long as the mother is following our religion, teaching their kids Zoroastrian values and prayers and the father has no objection -and we will keep on doing so.

      Those who provided negative comments accusing Jal Panthaky not worthy of being Zoroastrian Priest, obviously they must think that they are true Zoroastrians and practices all the virtues of a True Zoroastrian. Please check the list that Jal has provided in his separate comments the Traits of True Zoroastrian and see what score you and your other Orthodox Zoroastrian friends will get. If you are following all these, then I salute you all.

      Before ending my comments, I ask you to read my answer to one of your admirer Ervad Pallonji Cawasji.

      May Love and Peace rule the world.

      Meher Panthaky

  3. Sherezad says:

    Excellent information Ervad Panthaky.I pray there are more like you in the future. Through personal struggles, comes knowledge and the strength to do the right thing. And your well on your path. Thank you for sharing your personal journey and spreading the truth about our amazing faith. Please believe that there are many who understand and support this truth. We are all same in the eyes on ONE God and here on earth to spread his one message of love.
    I encourage you to read the book Many Lives, Many Master by Dr. Brian Weiss.

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Dear Sherezad,
      Thank you for your encouraging comments.
      Please read the my reply to Mr. Arjani about his comments and also regarding gender equality in Zoroastrianism.
      With Warm Regards

      • Meher Panthaky says:

        Thanks Sherezad for your positive comments. My name is Meher Panthaky – proud wife of Ervad Jal Panthaky. Jal and I both are big fans of Dr. Weiss and have read almost all his books and love the “ Messages of the Master” and try our best to follow the Master’s and messages of our beloved prophet Zarthushtra.

        Please read my reply to Mr. Arjani and Ervad Pallonji

        May Love and Peace rule the world.

        Meher Panthaky

  4. Ervad Pallonji Cowasji says:

    Well said, Jamshed!

    First off, I question the intelligence of the CBC producer to make such a documentary, which quite frankly is nothing, but nauseating – I bet, she herself may be a staunch supporter of the group of reformists that reside in this part of the world.

    What in the name of God, this guy Panthaky is aiming for? This posting seems nothing more than an ad for this sinful soul to promote his ongoing business of falsehood and which encourages others to dive in the gutter with him.

    Panthaky’s nonsensical philosophy that we’re all children of God and therefore it’s okay to perform inter-faith marriages, flies in the face of our ancestral beliefs, not to mention the beliefs of his own father who was a head priest, and his brother, who was a principal of a madressa. In fact, I am lead to believe that his disgraceful behaviour was never shared by his father, or his brother. So there goes his claim of being religious and spiritual out of the window – hogwash and humbug!

    Never heard of a more moronic statement than the one quoted in the posting – (this disgraceful priest) “moved to examine the tenets of his faith…” Who the hell does he think he is? – to examine the faith that has been carried on for thousands of years? This is a sheer mockery, not of our religion, but unequivocally of Panthaky’s intelligence. Sadly, he’s been clasped tightly in the devil’s hands and people such as him have no hope in this life whatsoever. The only thing we can do is feel sorry for him and nothing more. However, the saddest part is that he is taking along other poor souls with him, guiding them insidiously and paving their way to hell.

    Hey! Panthaky, you’re an older fellow, wake up before it’s too late – read parts of Vandidad when you still have time – it will articulate clearly that what you are doing is totally forbidden in our Zarathusti faith from times gone by.

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Dear Ervad Cawasji,
      I truly believe that Ahura Mazda has endowed everyone with free will and freedom of choice to express their opinion, hence I respect your criticisms of my believes expressed on my CBC adio interview. Evan Zarthushtra was also renounced in his motherland, and abandoned by his own people when he announced the message of Ahura-Mazda the first time.

      I may not be as knowledgeable in Zarthushtra’s teaching as you are, but I am sure you know Spenta Armaity (Piety or Devotion), which is the inspiration that leads us to action, in the moral context as Goodwill or Right-Mindedness. It guides us to move from right conceptions to right actions. We thereby, with courage and confidence put our well-thought-out and well-formulated intentions into actions. I am proud of my choice.

      I would like to bring to your attention to Yasna Hā 53, where Zarathushtra officiates at the wedding of his youngest daughter, Pouruchista with the groom Jamaspa of the Hvogva family, who accepted the religion taught by the prophet, which was an act of thoughtful and free choice of each partner, with full realization of the responsibilities to come.

      Then to his daughter, Pouruchista, Zarathushtra speaks in a fashion which sounds remarkably modern. He gave this freedom of choice to his own daughter, such a freedom of choice in the selection of husband

      I would like to refer to you to Yasna 53.3, 53.4 and 53.5 verses.
      (Hā 53.3)
      têmchâ-tû pourucistâ haêchat-aspânâ spitâmî ýezivî dugedrãm zarathushtrahê vanghêush paityâstêm mananghô ashahyâ mazdåschâ taibyô dât sarem athâ hêm ferashvâ thwâ xrathwâ spênishtâ ârmatôish hudânvareshvâ.

      You Pouruchista, offspring of the families of Haechataspa and Spitama, youngest of the daughters of Zarathushtra; Grant her the constant benefit of the Good-Mind, the strong support of thy Truth, that she may take counsel with enlightened understanding.
      (Hā 53.4)
      Pouruchista’s reply

      têm zî vê speredânî varânî ýâ fedhrôi vîdât paithyaêchâ vâstryaêibyô atchâ hvaêtaovê ashâunî ashavabyô mananghô vanghêush hvênvat hanghush mêm bêedush mazdå dadât ahurô daênayâi vanghuyâi ýavôi vîspâi â.

      “Happily, have I chosen him, Faithful to my father and to my husband, faithful to the peasants as to the nobles, Faithful as a righteous woman should be to the righteous. Mine shall be the glorious heritage –The light of the Good Mind; May Ahura Mazda grant me this blessing that endures for all time.”
      (Hā 53.5)
      sâhvênî vazyamnâbyô kainibyô mraomî xshmaibyâcâ vademnô mêñchâ-î mãzdazdûm vaêdôdûm daênâbîsh abyascâ ahûm ýê vanghêush mananghô ashâ vê anyô ainîm vîvêñghatû tat zî hôi hushênem anghat.

      These words do I address to you, maidens marrying, these counsels do I give to you bridegrooms, notice them in your mind and keep them to your heart. Learn from the righteous the precepts of the Good Religion; Let both then strive to lead the Life of the Good Mind; With upright hearts let each cherish the other; Then surely a happy life shall be yours.
      I just wanted to bring it to your attention.

      Jal Noshirvan Panthaky

    • Meher Panthaky says:

      Ervad Pallonji Cawasji:

      My name is Meher Panthaky – proud wife of Ervad Jal and also mother of Ervad Khush Panthaky (our son). I am surprised and disgusted to read your derogatory and shameful comments –“clasped in devil’s hands and paving way to hell” A religious Ervad using disgusting words like “devil” and “hell”! My sincere advices to you Sir – Please do not worry about our soul and do not feel sorry for us. Just work on your own.

      Since you are asking Jal to read Vandidad – I am sure you must have studied the entire book of Vandidad. But what amazes me that even after studying you still use such disgusting language. My husband has read the Yasna – Vandidad and has answered to you all so called learned Zarthusis in the “Reply” section. Please at least study that part of Yasna that he has mentioned which might – hopefully enlighten you all. Please also read my comments to your friend Jamshed Arjani.

      Please check the list that Jal has provided in his separate comments the Traits of True Zoroastrian and see what score you and your other Orthodox Zoroastrian friends will get. If you are following all these, then I salute you all.

      My last request before ending this reply is that before writing these sick comments please think twice. Thanks

      May Love and Peace rule the world.

      Meher Panthaky

  5. Navroz N. Dabu says:

    Having met and known Mr. & Mrs. Meher and Jal Panthaky as a friends, so happy and very proud of the transformation of their beliefs. Being Inclusive is so beautiful.
    Congratulations to Rahnuma and Michael.

  6. JOHN DOE says:

    to SHEREZAD : WHAT’S your status. u r so proud of the action. THE PARSIS NOWADAYS R GOING TO GREAT HEIGHTS TO BE IN MOVIES. IT’S LIKE ‘”if he can do it I CAN DO IT.

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Dear John Doe,
      Why are you so timid to even print your name? Be brave, like I have said in my reply to others that Ahura Mazda has endowed us with Vohu mana and freedom to choose. You have a complete freedom express your views positive or negative.

      May you be blessed with courage
      Jal Noshirvan Panthaky

  7. yazdi says:

    In response to this article, Maneck Bhujwala of USA has this to say:

    “We have the president of the North American Mobed Council who publicly declares that he does intermarriage weddings and so also does the officiating priest of the Zoroastrian Association of California, and yet Mobedyars are not allowed to sit with Ervads to perform Community Jashans in the new Daremeher in the city of Orange, California, with the excuse that the Jashan is being done in a consecrated area of the Daremeher.

    Now it is known that there is no Daremeher in North America that is consecrated, as also that to consecrate a Daremeher you need priests to do a consecration, who have maintained Bareshnoom (purity conditions) which is very difficult if not impossible to maintain in today’s society especially in America where both husband and wife work in public workplaces. Also, for a consecrated Daremeher the fire has to be consecrated and kept burning continuously, which is not done in any Daremeher in North America. Moreover, Community Jashans do not need to be done in a consecrated area. For the last many years, Mobedyars sat together with Ervads at the Zoroastrian Center in Orange, California, but now with the new Daremeher, the formerly open minded priest who claimed to be a friend of Mr. Ali Jafarey and does intermarriage weddings, acts like a born-again orthodox priest although continuing interfaith weddings and inviting non-Zarathushtis inside the supposedly consecrated Daremeher.

    So, there is hypocrisy all around as long as it suits the priest or lay person for financial or control benefits.”

    Food for thought…..

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Dear Yezdi, and Mr. Bhujwala
      I am surprised to learn that the Mobedyars are not allowed to participate and pray in jashan ceremonies in the new Daremeher in the city of Orange, California in guise of it is consecrated? there are elaborate ceremonies to consecrate first the building, then the Kebla has to be consecrated before the enthronement of the consecrated dadgah fire.
      I think there must be some misunderstanding as know the NAMC president very well.
      With Warm Regards
      Jal Panthaky

  8. Vispi says:

    Very sorry state of affairs for the Parsi community and the Zoroastrian religion. What Jal Patel has done is just given into the wishes of his daughter, pretending that he has done a thorough study of our religion.

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Dear Vispi
      I truly believe that Ahura Mazda has endowed everyone with free will and freedom of choice to express their opinion, hence I respect your criticisms of my believes expressed on my CBC radio interview. Evan Zarthushtra was also renounced in his motherland, and abandoned by his own people when he announced the message of Ahura-Mazda the first time.

      I may not be as knowledgeable in Zarthushtra’s teaching as you are, but I am sure you know Spenta Armaity (Piety or Devotion), which is the inspiration that leads us to action, in the moral context as Goodwill or Right-Mindedness. It guides us to move from right conceptions to right actions. We thereby, with courage and confidence put our well-thought-out and well-formulated intentions into actions. I am proud of my choice.

      I would like to bring to your attention to Yasna Hā 53, where Zarathushtra officiates at the wedding of his youngest daughter, Pouruchista with the groom Jamaspa of the Hvogva family, who accepted the religion taught by the prophet, which was an act of thoughtful and free choice of each partner, with full realization of the responsibilities to come.

      Then to his daughter, Pouruchista, Zarathushtra speaks in a fashion which sounds remarkably modern. He gave this freedom of choice to his own daughter, such a freedom of choice in the selection of husband

      I would like to refer to you to Yasna 53.3, 53.4 and 53.5 verses.
      (Hā 53.3)
      têmchâ-tû pourucistâ haêchat-aspânâ spitâmî ýezivî dugedrãm zarathushtrahê vanghêush paityâstêm mananghô ashahyâ mazdåschâ taibyô dât sarem athâ hêm ferashvâ thwâ xrathwâ spênishtâ ârmatôish hudânvareshvâ.

      You Pouruchista, offspring of the families of Haechataspa and Spitama, youngest of the daughters of Zarathushtra; Grant her the constant benefit of the Good-Mind, the strong support of thy Truth, that she may take counsel with enlightened understanding.
      (Hā 53.4)
      Pouruchista’s reply

      têm zî vê speredânî varânî ýâ fedhrôi vîdât paithyaêchâ vâstryaêibyô atchâ hvaêtaovê ashâunî ashavabyô mananghô vanghêush hvênvat hanghush mêm bêedush mazdå dadât ahurô daênayâi vanghuyâi ýavôi vîspâi â.

      “Happily, have I chosen him, Faithful to my father and to my husband, faithful to the peasants as to the nobles, Faithful as a righteous woman should be to the righteous. Mine shall be the glorious heritage –The light of the Good Mind; May Ahura Mazda grant me this blessing that endures for all time.”
      (Hā 53.5)
      sâhvênî vazyamnâbyô kainibyô mraomî xshmaibyâcâ vademnô mêñchâ-î mãzdazdûm vaêdôdûm daênâbîsh abyascâ ahûm ýê vanghêush mananghô ashâ vê anyô ainîm vîvêñghatû tat zî hôi hushênem anghat.

      These words do I address to you, maidens marrying, these counsels do I give to you bridegrooms, notice them in your mind and keep them to your heart. Learn from the righteous the precepts of the Good Religion; Let both then strive to lead the Life of the Good Mind; With upright hearts let each cherish the other; Then surely a happy life shall be yours.
      I just wanted to bring it to your attention.
      Jal Noshirvan Panthaky

    • Meher Panthaky says:

      Mr. Vispi:
      I am the proud wife of Ervad Jal who you are accusing of PRETENDING of studying our religion. I don’t want to waste my time and energy to reply to you separately. Please read my reply to Mr. Arjani and Ervad Pallonji and please check the list that Jal has provided in his separate comments the Traits of True Zoroastrian and see what score you and your other Orthodox Zoroastrian friends will get. If you are following all these, then I salute you all.

      May Love and Peace rule the world.

      Meher Panthaky

    • TEHEMTON F. VATCHA says:

      VISPI, YES WITH MODERN SCIENCE, I PHONE ETC OUR BRAIN (GREY MATTER)
      MIND(DIFFERENT FROM GREY) HAS MADE THINKING OUTMODED. PRESS A BUTTON, DON’T LIKE PRESS ANOTHER , FINALLY PRESS 0 (ZERO) & THAT COMPLETES OUR STUDY. FOR or AGAINST.

  9. Raika Gazder says:

    Hey Yezdi, do you realise that we are already a community dislodged from our roots in Iran, so when the Iranis came to India 1200 years back they were faced with practical decisions and they took them. No one wore a saree in Iran, does that mean a wedding conducted in India in a Sari is not Zoroastrian enough, they are adapting to their surroundings the way our ancestors adapted to theirs. Religion is a hypocrisy when its about some one else’s daughter and a faith when it is about your own. But as a father, you should put yourself in his shoes and revisit your own comment. Give my regards to you daughter!

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Dear Raika,
      Thank you for your sentiments, but according to Zarthushtra Ahura Mazda has given us all freedom to choose, and express our views and opinions, that’s what Yezdy has done, expressed his views as per his choice.
      I am perfectly OK with it.
      God Bless you all
      Jal Noshirvan Panthaky

  10. Cyrus Anklesaria says:

    This so call priest has nothing to boast about.
    Hiding behind the pillar of Zoroastrian religion he is too afraid to come out and confess that love for his daughter is supreme and not the great religion which he has tarnished not only by his deeds but also by his thoughts and words.

    • Jal Panthaky says:

      Dear Mr. Anklesaria,
      I truly believe that Ahura Mazda has endowed everyone with free will and freedom of choice to express their opinion, hence I respect your criticisms of my believes expressed on my CBC radio interview. Evan Zarthushtra was also renounced in his motherland, and abandoned by his own people when he announced the message of Ahura-Mazda the first time.

      I may not be as knowledgeable in Zarthushtra’s teaching as you are, but I am sure you know Spenta Armaity (Piety or Devotion), which is the inspiration that leads us to action, in the moral context as Goodwill or Right-Mindedness. It guides us to move from right conceptions to right actions. We thereby, with courage and confidence put our well-thought-out and well-formulated intentions into actions. I am proud of my choice.

      I would like to bring to your attention to Yasna Hā 53, where Zarathushtra officiates at the wedding of his youngest daughter, Pouruchista with the groom Jamaspa of the Hvogva family, who accepted the religion taught by the prophet, which was an act of thoughtful and free choice of each partner, with full realization of the responsibilities to come.

      Then to his daughter, Pouruchista, Zarathushtra speaks in a fashion which sounds remarkably modern. He gave this freedom of choice to his own daughter, such a freedom of choice in the selection of husband

      I would like to refer to you to Yasna 53.3, 53.4 and 53.5 verses.
      (Hā 53.3)
      têmchâ-tû pourucistâ haêchat-aspânâ spitâmî ýezivî dugedrãm zarathushtrahê vanghêush paityâstêm mananghô ashahyâ mazdåschâ taibyô dât sarem athâ hêm ferashvâ thwâ xrathwâ spênishtâ ârmatôish hudânvareshvâ.

      You Pouruchista, offspring of the families of Haechataspa and Spitama, youngest of the daughters of Zarathushtra; Grant her the constant benefit of the Good-Mind, the strong support of thy Truth, that she may take counsel with enlightened understanding.
      (Hā 53.4)
      Pouruchista’s reply

      têm zî vê speredânî varânî ýâ fedhrôi vîdât paithyaêchâ vâstryaêibyô atchâ hvaêtaovê ashâunî ashavabyô mananghô vanghêush hvênvat hanghush mêm bêedush mazdå dadât ahurô daênayâi vanghuyâi ýavôi vîspâi â.

      “Happily, have I chosen him, Faithful to my father and to my husband, faithful to the peasants as to the nobles, Faithful as a righteous woman should be to the righteous. Mine shall be the glorious heritage –The light of the Good Mind; May Ahura Mazda grant me this blessing that endures for all time.”
      (Hā 53.5)
      sâhvênî vazyamnâbyô kainibyô mraomî xshmaibyâcâ vademnô mêñchâ-î mãzdazdûm vaêdôdûm daênâbîsh abyascâ ahûm ýê vanghêush mananghô ashâ vê anyô ainîm vîvêñghatû tat zî hôi hushênem anghat.

      These words do I address to you, maidens marrying, these counsels do I give to you bridegrooms, notice them in your mind and keep them to your heart. Learn from the righteous the precepts of the Good Religion; Let both then strive to lead the Life of the Good Mind; With upright hearts let each cherish the other; Then surely a happy life shall be yours.
      I just wanted to bring it to your attention.
      Jal Noshirvan Panthaky

  11. Rohinton Pesi Ranji says:

    Zarthustra made this religion for ALL persons to follow, when he gave us a belief of one God – Ahura Mazda, through righteousness and the practice of Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds.
    We are people who say that our religion is showing us the right path to reach God, then CAN WE MORALLY STOP SOMEONE ELSE FROM FOLLOWING THE RIGHT PATH?
    HAVE A HAPPY LIFE!

  12. Marazban N Zaiwalla says:

    Yes its brave move of Priests to accept transformation of new world and spreading our own spiritual religion rather than be a bhakt of religion. (it’s a bhakti Marg where religion can’t be transformed as spiritual it’s does.)
    Hope the new generation a lesson to be learnt.
    Ameen OM SHANTI 🌷 🌺 🌻 🌸 🌷 🌺

  13. Jal Panthaky says:

    These comments are for all those who chose to accuse and wrote other derogative remarks.
    Obviously, all of you therefore must think that you are all true Zoroastrians and always live your life in practicing on the following Zarathushtra’s teachings:
    – Always follow path of Asha
    – Never lies and always tell truth
    – Never hurt anyone
    – Always help people in need
    – Never had any bad thoughts,
    – Never spoken bad words
    – Never taken bad actions
    – Never cheat
    – Never harbour any grudge, never be vindictive or vengeful
    – Never gossip about others
    – Very Charitable
    – Non-judgemental and non-provocative
    – Always very humble
    – Always honest
    – Live and let live
    – Always respectful of others etc. and the list goes on.

    However, from their comments, it is quite evident that they themselves are not being true Zoroastrians, not following the path of Asha, because their comments are very judgemental, vindictive, vengeful, arrogant, provocative and disrespectful.
    These kinds of people are always ready to point fingers at others not realizing there are three pointing back at them. People living in glass house should think twice before throwing stones at others houses.
    May Ahura Mazda help us all and guide us in right direction.
    God bless you all

  14. Ervad Pallonji Cowasji says:

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we start to deceive.” – this saying is so much close to home for both, Mr & Mrs Panthaky.

    Boy, oh boy! What a farce is this?! This couple has the audacity, or might I say stupidity to reply to each and everyone of us with mostly a standardized reply. The husband seemed to have crafted his response from some fragments of our religious literature at random, probably acquired on-line, and that too, absolutely without any relevance to the topic at hand. Only a pretentious person would go to that end, in his attempt to prove to the world that he is the wise sage, who has the relevant knowledge to reform the tenets of our religion. Interestingly enough, he felt the compelling need to do so, only when his daughter decided to marry a Christian. What a coincidence!! What a silly excuse!! I invite the readers to look carefully at his standard crafted response, most of it is just a ‘cut and paste’ job from an online search, and the remaining portion displays a calm and a non-aggresive style to deceive the readers that he possesses higher virtues than most of us. He is no different than those evangelists that we have seen over the years trying to deceive their congregation, but were finally caught in their own traps and now rotting in jail. Mr. Panthaky, I dare say that you are nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s skin.

    As for his wife, I dare ask, “Mrs. Panthaky, tell me, being part of a priestly family, have you ever observed the monthly purity ritual as a woman? Have you guided your own daughter to do so?” If not, I dare say that you are not a Zarathushti to begin with – never mind you questioning the readers whether they have the traits of a true Zoroastrian or otherwise.

    May I add that the example that Panthaky gives in his standard response of our Prophet Zarathushtra giving Pauruchista’s hand to Jamasp, incinuating that it happened to be an inter-caste marriage at the time, is absolutely conniving and false. A majority of the population in those days were Mazdayasnis. As we know Zarathushtra came to King Vishtashp’s court to gain his commitment towards HIS reforms of the existing Mazdayasni religion at the time. Vishtashp agreed and the rest is history when the Mazdayasnis started to have faith in the Mazdayasni Zarathushti religion. Jamasp was the minister of Vishtashp and he devoted his life to spreading of the Mazdayasni Zarathushti religion. So once again, Panthaky misconstrues the part of our ancient history, implicitly suggesting that Zarathost Saheb HIMSELF was a part of the inter-caste marriage at the time. Shame on him!

    It’s still time for our gullible and mislead Parsis to see through these kind of corrupt people and shy away from them, as not doing so, would create more evil in this world. Firdausi was so correct, when he wrote that the term ‘Div’ in today’s world, applies to deceptive and evil people.

    Enough said.

    • Cyrus Anklesaria says:

      Well said Ervad Pallonji Cowasji saheb.
      I have been following the posts, comments and replies on this subject since it started.
      Mr. Panthaky has done his best to deceive but he should understand that majority will not fall into his trap.

  15. Ervad Pallonji Cowasji says:

    Dear Cyrus,

    We need more people like you to unveil the deceitful disguise of such people, as this couple, who thrive with their sinful acts, not to mention their hollow pride in doing so. While their goal in life is to satisfy Ahriman each and every day, ours should be, as you mentioned, to make them realize that we won’t fall in their trap, but expose their treachery and trickery to other Zarathushtis.

    May Ahura Mazda Bless you!

  16. Maki says:

    OMG. OMG. And Zoroastrian is supposed to be a peaceful community?
    Reading all the comments, I am truly appalled. Live and let live you people – Wars have started in the name of religion.

  17. Maki says:

    Please stop this petty childishness, instead start praying for most important world issue threatening all our existence. There will be neither East nor West; if Trump and Kim Jong carry out their threats to each other. Then this zoroastrian and non-zoroastrian topic will be a non-issue.

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