In the starry Heavens, Ahura Mazda has positioned 4 Guardians, i.e. the 4 Fixed Stars in the 4 Sacred Directions to protect His Good Creations from the armies of Angre-Mainyu.
The 4 Guardians of the 4 Directions are:
1) Teshtar Tir (Sirius) in the Eastern Sky, affiliated to Planet Mercury,
2) Satvas (Vega) in the West, affiliated to Planet Venus,
3) Vanant (Antares) in the South, affiliated to Planet Jupiter,
4) Haptrang (Pleiades) in the North, affiliated to Planet Mars.
(These 4 Stars are mentioned in the Pahlavi Minog-i-Kherad, chapter 49, Bundahishn, chapter 2, (SBE), and Doctor Saheb F. S. Chiniwala’s translation of Tir Yasht, as well as in Kangaji’s Khordeh-Avesta-Ba-Mayeni. There are some minor discrepancies in the English names of stars, especially with Vanant. Some scholars take it to be Fomalfaut but Prof. Haug, Behramgor Anklesaria and Dr. Faramroze Chiniwala maintain it is “Antares”. I have taken the above mentioned English names of stars from Tir Yasht by Dr. F. Chiniwala, p. 60).
The exaltation and homage to Teshtar Tir Yazad is revealed in the Tir Yasht. It reveals that Ahura Mazda created Teshtar Tir (Sirius) as the Chieftain over all the Stars. He created Tir as brilliant, as worthy of worship, adoration and glorification as Himself! He authorized and empowered Tir Yazad as the lord and overseer over all the Stars. Tir is called “rayomand, khorehmand”, which is how Ahura Mazda Himself is addressed! The Brilliance, the Divine Light of Tir Yazad defeats the darkness and ignorance spread by Angre-Mainyu and helps Ahura Mazda to achieve the divine predetermined event of Frashogard at the appointed time.
In Canada Thanksgiving was celebrated on 9 OctoberDO YOU KNOW WHY?
Because the immigrants who came from Europe in the 14 & 15th century had a vague memory of Thanksgiving from back home. Those that had landed in Canada celebrated it in the first week of October in the year 1578. They were 53 immigrants and 90 Natives who took part.
In the US in 1621 Thanksgiving was celebrated by the settlers for the first time at the end of November about a month before winter.
President Lincoln celebrated it officially for the first time and Franklin Roosevelt made it national in 1939 then it was approved as a holiday by Congress in 1941.
Which of them is correct?
Maybe Neither because both were celebrated by European settlers from a vague memory they had from back home. Thanksgiving was related to harvesting and so each chose a day of their choice depending on when they found time after their harvest ended.
In Europe and England in the 1500’s they had about 95 Church holidays apart from the Sunday’s and they were required to attend prayers at church. Reformists were against such holidays and reduced it to 27 holidays. Today most of Europe do not celebrate Thanksgiving.
IN ANCIENT IRAN (3755 years ago) all festivals were related scientifically to the position of the Earth in relation to the sun, and its result, the change of season in Nature.
Thanksgiving MEHREGAN was celebrated on the Autumnal Equinox when Summer ended and Autumn started. Just like they celebrated Nou Rooz on the Vernal Equinox. They celebrated Mehregan on the First of Mehr month (23 September).
NOTE that the Europeans did not know that the Earth went around the Sun and in 1615 when Galileo said so, he was prosecuted and asked to retract his claim. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
The Persian calendar from the 2 millennium BCE (as mentioned in the Bundahisn) has been recognized as a PERFECT CALENDAR check it at.
The Gregorian calendar has gone so wrong that it calls the last four months as the 7th. 8th, 9th and 10th.
Did you know that originally it was a Roman lunar calendar that started in Spring? They had 38 weeks of 9 days, in 10 months, And they intercalated the last 23 days in winter. That March April May & June are names of Roman gods. The rest were serial numbers.
That Julia Caesar named the then 5th month after himself JULY and Augustus Caesar named the next month after himself so we have AUGUST.
Check Out the PERFECT ancient Zarathushti calendar at
This video is of Mr. Aspi Sipoy of the Udwada Z Museum. The same Parsi gentleman who lost both of his legs because of the train accident.
He is learning to walk with prosthetic legs. Hats off to his courage and patience. May Ahura Mazda Bless him in overcoming his handicap.
As a donor towards the fund for his treatment you’d be glad to know about this, especially this THANKS Giving Day that he should soon be able to walk again.
The Feast of Tirangan (Mah Tir, Roj Tir) Celebrates Reign of Peace and Rain of Prosperity!
Tir, or Testar (Avestan Tishtrya), is the divinity presiding over the Star Sirius (Greek Seirios which means glowing or scorching) or the Dog Star which is the brightest star visible from all parts of the earth in the night sky. Sirius is colloquially called the ‘Dog Star’, on account of its prominence in the constellation of Canis Major or Big Dog. Most ancient civilizations viewed Sirius as the earth’s second or spiritual sun.
In the Zoroastrian religious texts, Testar-Tir is venerated as radiant, glorious and invoked in order to bring rain, enhance harvest and keep the demon of draught at bay. Little wonder that it was originally meant to be a rain or monsoon festival and still celebrated according to the Fasal or seasonal calendar in the month of July. Likewise, ancient Egyptians observed that in the month of July, with the heliacal rising of the Star Sirius (Heliacal rising means the first night that a star is seen in the eastern horizon, just before dawn) the Nile generally started to flood and bring fertility to the land. Thus, the flood and the rising of Sirius also marked the ancient Egyptian New Year. The ancient Greeks also observed that the appearance of Sirius or the dog star heralded the hot and humid summer season causing plants to wilt and men to tire. The season following the star’s appearance came to be known as the ‘Dog Days of summer’, an expression still in use.
The festival of Tiragan is one of the three most widely celebrated seasonal festivals of ancient Iran, and is even mentioned in the Jewish Talmud. While Navruz (Mah Fravardin, Roj Hormuzd) celebrates renewed life and the warmth of spring after the cold winter season and Meherangan (Mah Meher, Roj Meher) commemorates harvest during autumn, Tirangan (Mah Tir, Roj Tir) welcomes the heat of summer and life-giving rain. Tiragan is mainly associated with the legend of the arrow (tir), which is briefly alluded to in the Tir Yasht: “We honor the bright, khwarrah (glory) endowed star Tishtrya who flies as swiftly to the Vouru-kasha sea as the supernatural arrow which the archer Erexsha, the best archer of the Iranians, shot from Mount Airyo-xshutha to Mount Xwanwant. For Ahura Mazda gave him assistance; so, did the waters …”
The legend of Erexsha (modern Eruchsha) or Pahlavi Arish Shivatir i.e Arish of the swift arrow, is also referred to in other texts like Firdausi’s Shahnameh (Book of Kings) and Mirkond, History of the Early Kings of Persia, translated by David Shea. According to these later texts, Erekhsha or ‘Arish of the swift arrow’, was the best archer in the Iranian army. When Shah Minochihr and Afrasyab of pre-historic Iran decided to make peace, and fix the boundary between Iran and Turan, it was agreed that Arish would ascend Mount Damavand in Northern Iran, and from the peak fire an arrow towards the east and the place in which the arrow would land would form the boundary between the two kingdoms.
Arish thereupon ascended the mountain, and discharged an arrow, the flight of which continued from the dawn of day until noon, when it fell on the banks of the Jihun (the Oxus or Amu Darya in Central Asia, in modern times the border around Tajikistan and Afghanistan). The day was Tir Roj of Tir Mah. Thus, the festival of Tirangan also celebrates the spirit of peace and freedom.
The Persian Rivayat (essentially correspondence between the Zoroastrian Priests of Navsari in India and the Zoroastrian priests of Yazd in Iran) speak of a great draught in Iran as a result of the conflict between Iranians and Turanians. Shah Faridoon had segregated Iran and Turan under a covenant. However, the Turanians under Afrasiab breached the covenant. The arrow was released on Roj Tir of Mah Tir and when Afrasiab and the Turanians left Iran it took them ten days to reach Turan. The tenth day was Roj Govad (dedicated to the good wind) and it rained heavily on that day and ended eight years of draught and ushered peace and prosperity for both Iran and Turan.
Late Professor Dr. Mary Boyce in her book ‘Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism’ refers to the custom among Zoroastrians of Yazd in Iran, tying rainbow-colored bands on their wrists on Tirangan, wearing them for ten days and then throw them in a stream. These colourful bands were worn as good-luck charms and during this period children in particular found great joy in swimming or splashing around in the local village streams.
The Rivayat however records that priests used to write a Nirang (short prayer) which members of the community wore on their wrist or arm on Roj Tir of Mah Tir and removed it after ten days on Roj Govad and cast it into running brooks and streams, symbolically casting all calamities (particularly draught and hunger) to the flowing waters to carry away.
In the Tir Yasht we invoke Tishtrya as “Provider of rain, helpful and health giving”. In fact, Tishtrya yazata affirms in the same litany, “If men would worship me with the yasna in which my own name is invoked, then I would render the world prosperous and fertile by showering rain”. The Tir Yasht also records the victory of Tishtrya over Apaosha, the demon of drought and ensuring happiness not just for people but all vegetation and animals.
The best gym in Mumbai could very well be your playground. At least that’s what fitness trainer and self-confessed enthusiast Sohrab Khushrushahi believes. He launched Sohfit in October with the clear objective of making your average gym workouts fun.
Khushrushahi gave up a thriving career practicing law, for his love of fitness. He left the glassy confines of leading law firms such as Linkalaters (Singapore) and Trilegal (Mumbai) to strike out on his own, and start afresh.
For his bootcamps he chooses classic playground games, and weaves in an element of exercise. So a regular game of ‘Catch and Cook’ or ‘Dog and the Bone’ ends with the loser doing 15 burpees or squats. Though his brand was officially launched last month, he’s been helping his friends achieve their fitness goals for almost a year now – one of whom remarkably went from 80 kg on the scale to 56 kg.
“For me, it’s always been about having fun. You can’t be stressed about that one hour you spend in the gym. A lot of people treat it as a chore,” he says. His personal tryst with fitness began at 12 years of age, when he started training for cricket and he hasn’t looked back since.
Anywhere between Bandra and South Mumbai. You sign up for sessions closer to home, at the nearest gym, or join his bootcamp at Shiamak Davar’s studio in Mahalaxmi.
Bootcamp, Rs 750 per session (if you sign up for a month). Reach him at +91 8355-817-453 or visit Sohfit.com
THE HOUSE THAT NAOROJI MADON BUILT
NEAR KOKINE LAKE, MYANMAR
Greetings. I am Hoshang Dastoor from Parsi Colony, Dadar, Mumbai. My grandfather Naoroji Madon built a house called “FIRDAUS” near Kokine Lake, near Rangoon, Burma. He and his family – wife Tehmina and daughter Dr. Sarah (my late grandmother and mother) – came to India as refugees in the wake of the Japanese invasion in 1942.
I am planning to visit Burma in February 2018 and one of my top priorities is to locate this house. The visit to Burma is a cherished and sentimental dream as I grew up listening to stories of life in Burma. There is no point visiting unless I can locate both Firdaus and also Kennedy House, the other house that Naoroji built.
I do not know the name of the street where Firdaus was built, only that it was built on a one-acre plot was near Kokine Lake, about 7 miles from Rangoon proper, and described as a mansion..
Here is an available brief description of the house as Naoroji designed and built it:
· There was a rose garden in the front of the house.
· Living, dining and guest rooms situated on the ground floor.
· Three bedrooms and toilets upstairs
· A corridor connecting the kitchen, pantry and storeroom to the rest of the building.
· Venetian stained glass panes illuminated the staircase.
· Rooms were large and constructed with high ceilings and ample windows so that the interior was bright and airy
· A forest of rubber tress flanked the rear of the plot and was visible from a bedroom.
Please help me to trace the whereabouts of this house (Firdaus). Anybody with relevant information may kindly contact me. Contact details are:
Hoshang G. Dastoor
Landline: 022-24142227, 022-24141701
Mobile phone: 9821807071
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wife’s mobile phone: 9821449037
Mumbai’s beloved Parsi restaurants are struggling to survive.
IT ALL BEGAN WITH A milkshake.
After the Arab conquest of Persia in the mid seventh century, adherents to Zoroastrianism, which may be the world’s oldest monotheistic religion, fled their ancestral home. Piling into boats and carrying their sacred fire with them, they landed on India’s west coast, in the state of Gujarat.
According to lore, the local king eyed the newcomers with suspicion. Not speaking their language, he presented the Zoroastrians with a jug of milk, filled to the brim, in an effort to communicate that there was no room for them in his kingdom. In response, the Zoroastrian high priests dissolved sugar in the milk without spilling a drop from the jug, demonstrating how they would enrich the local community without displacing anyone.
The sweetened milk won over the king—and eventually the rest of India. Thousands more Zoroastrians came to India, crossing present day Iran, Pakistan, and India on foot, on camel, and by boat.
Known as “Parsis,” or “Iranis” for later waves of Zoroastrian migrants, this small and tight-knit community has since built impressive businesses and charitable institutions in India. But their most well-known legacy remains culinary.
“People are crazy about Irani food,” says Sarosh Irani, the co-owner of B. Merwan & Co, a Parsi-style bakery and cafe in Mumbai. Waking up every night at midnight, he takes the train into work and arrives by 3 a.m. to carry on his grandfather’s tradition of baking his breads and pastries in a wood-fired oven. By 7 a.m., the cafe’s famous mawa cakes are warm and fragrant, and the doors are opened.
Eager to build lives for themselves in their new home, hundreds of Zoroastrians opened restaurants and cafes like Irani’s between 1890 and 1940, with more established Parsis often supporting newer Irani arrivals with small loans. Serving cheap, tasty food in simple but stately decor, they became the Greek diners of India. Frequented by diplomats, day laborers, and everyone in between, they helped shape India’s largest city by bringing people of all classes, genders, religions, and ethnicities together over cups of chai.
Indians cherish the timeless quality of Parsi restaurants. But this adherence to tradition—a type of authenticity celebrated by modern food culture—may lead to their extinction. In a rapidly modernizing Mumbai, these beloved eateries are disappearing, replaced by hip, Parsi-inspired ventures run by outsiders.
Parsi cuisine reflects the migratory roots of its people, with blends of Iranian and Gujarati flavors. In a country full of vegetarians, Parsi food is hearty and meaty. Local favorites include half-fry eggs, minced lamb in rich tomato sauce, and thick mutton stew with caramelized rice. Simple bun maska—bread and butter—with chai is another staple.
B. Merwan & Co has been serving its bun maska in the same location, behind the bustling Grant Road train station, since Sarosh’s grandfather, Boman Merwan, opened it in 1914. Housed in the first floor of one of south Bombay’s many beautifully dilapidated old buildings, nothing much has changed about the cafe in the past century. (Mumbai is still often called by its former name, Bombay.) With a full breakfast of coffee, bread, and an omelet costing less than two dollars, even the prices barely seem to have changed.
“Whatever you see here is 103 years old,” Sarosh says from his perch behind a large wooden cashier’s desk at the front of the cafe. He looks up from his receipt book and smiles. “It’s only we that are not that old.”
But some Parsi proprietors are nearly that old. Ninety-four-year-old Boman Kohinoor greets visitors at Britannia & Co, established by his father in 1923, every day. Patrons flock to the high-ceilinged, checker-table-clothed institution for the signature berry pulao, a spiced biryani-rice dish with Iranian barberries.
Forty years ago, there were hundreds such restaurants scattered around Bombay—Kohinoor says he counted over 400 in the 1950s—all with signature Parsi dishes, a no-fuss culture, and low prices. Now, there are only a handful—30 according to estimates by Kohinoor, four according to another cafe owner.
But Mumbai has changed a lot in half a century, growing into a bustling, urban metropolis. And the families that run these heritage eateries have changed too.
“The pioneers who came here weren’t highly qualified,” says Farooq Shokri, owner of Kyani & Co, a bakery and restaurant he inherited from his father. The success of his and other Parsi cafes allowed more recent generations to go to college and excel as doctors, lawyers, and professionals abroad. Few children want to inherit the family business. “They prefer to have a less strenuous life than what they have seen their forefathers going through,” says Shokri.
For many of these families, bringing in a non-relative to run these restaurants is tantamount to closing shop. “The other Irani restaurants that have closed down, it’s because they have partners,” says Sarosh Irani. “When it’s in the family, if we have any problem, we sit and talk together and sort it out.”
But keeping it in the family is becoming harder and harder. And in a city of over 18 million, many Parsi restaurants have been pushed out of their now valuable real estate and replaced by multinational chains such as McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Shokri’s kids are still young, and he isn’t confident that they will want to take over as the third generation of restaurateurs. This uncertainty clearly nags him. “It is a legacy which my father has left for me that I will continue,” he says. “I don’t know how long I will continue, that is a question mark.”
Much of the distinctiveness of Parsi restaurants reflects the community’s exclusivity. Zoroastrians don’t allow converts into their religion, don’t recognize the children of intermarriages, and don’t allow outsiders inside the doors of their sacred fire temples. But this exclusivity is making the community smaller and smaller. The number of Zoroastrians in India has halved since the 1940s, with only 57,000 counted in India’s 2011 census. India so values the business and cultural contributions of the Zoroastrian community that the government has launched a public campaign and is funding fertility clinics to convince this dwindling community to have more children.
But while the real-deal Parsi cafes struggle, non-Parsi’s are repackaging the Parsi “brand” for a younger, wealthier clientele. London has its own version of a Parsi restaurant, a popular chain called Dishoom, that plays on a vintage Bombay aesthetic. A new, sprawling office park and commercial development in Mumbai’s hip Bandra neighborhood is home to SodaBottleOpenerWala—a “concept restaurant” owned by a restaurant and catering company with branches across the country.
Danesh Vakshoor is the 29-year-old chef at Mumbai’s SodaBottleOpenerWala. His grandfather once ran an Irani cafe of his own, and he says he wanted to spread Parsi culture to others. “The Parsi cafes are dying day by day,” he says. “So I said, what do I do?”
SodaBottleOpenerWala promises to recreate the “dying legacy” of Bombay’s Parsi cafes, while serving exotic cocktails and hosting karaoke nights. Sepia-toned photos and antique knick knacks line the walls, and the menu is full of traditional Parsi dishes with modern updates. One branch even has a blown up photo of B. Merwan & Co papering a wall. It’s a common phenomenon in the food industry: new, hip ventures emphasizing tradition even as the progenitors of that tradition disappear.
Vakshoor sees SodaBottleOpener as a way to adjust a traditional favorite to the modern world. “People need a change after a particular point of time,” he says. “You improve on it, make some little changes.”
Shokri hasn’t been to SodaBottleOpenerWala, and he’s skeptical. “It’s just trying to copy the typical Irani type of restaurant,” he says. “From what I hear, the prices are very high. That wouldn’t fit into our culture of low-priced shops. We serve the common man. We cater to all sectors of society.”
The new iterations of cafes might serve variations of Dhansak stew and bun maska, but Sarosh, Shokri, and others are clinging to something more than menu items. At B. Merwan & Co, a man with long grey hair comes in, greets Sarosh, and sits in the same seat he’s been sitting in since 1971. Sarosh says he isn’t sure what will happen when he finally decides to stop making his midnight trek into the cafe. “We are all thinking, how long can we keep going?”
MUMBAI: Parsi children, part of an organization called XYZ (Xtremely Young Zoroastrians) raised Rs 10 lakh for cancer patients by organizing a dance competition held on November 12. Founder of XYZ, Hoshaang Gotla, said the initiative was to make youngsters understand the power and fulfilment in service.
“Cancer is a disease that affects many people and this time it was close to home when it affected one of our own kids. Seeing his battle and his fighting spirit, we were all impressed and wanted to felicitate him along with his team mates who represented India and won medals. That led to a dance competition as a fundraiser to involve all our XYZs to put up brilliant performances and raised over ten lakhs for charity,” he said.
Each XYZ group was given different topics like the Indian Independence struggle, Festivals of India, North East India, Seasons of India, Sports in India, Rural India, Tollywood, Indian Monarchy and Weddings of India.
The Fali Chothia Charitable Trust is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 scholarships:
Kashmin Dalal is working toward a degree in Psychology at Kent State University. Her ultimate goal is to obtain a Ph.D. and work as a clinical child psychologist. She has been involved in community service from a very young age, and last year went on a medical mission to Haiti. This year, she volunteered at Standing Rock reservation, running a camp for adolescents and children, and helping to build housing for their families.
Tanaz Karai is enrolled in the Master’s program in Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Elementary Education at the College of New Jersey. Ever since she can remember, Tanaz has wanted to be a teacher to make a difference in the lives of young children. In addition to participating in numerous workshops and been affiliated with organizations on campus, she has been a dedicated volunteer teacher at the Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York since she was in high school. She was awarded the Good Life Emblem Award from ZAGNY in 2013.
Dilshad Patel is working toward an MS in Exercise and Health Science at the University of Houston, Texas. After studying classical Indian dance since she was 5, she became an instructor at the Shiamak Davar Institute for the Performing Arts. Her teaching experience led her to pursue dance as a means of therapy and healing. She has spent the last decade studying movement therapy—simultaneously incorporating its principles in new programs and workshops to help athletes, children, patients, seniors, and a host of other populations.
Khushmeen Sakloth, pursuing an MS in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, hopes to work as a computational or data scientist in the clean energy sector. She completed her prior education in India, always at or near the top of her class. She was active in various Zoroastrian youth acitivities in India, and is currently involved in several professional activities on campus.
Delshad Shroff will complete her Master’s program in Developmental Child Psychology at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in May 2018. Delshad was one of two students who earned merit scholarships to study at the NY University of Abu Dhabi and has been an active volunteer with several schools and special needs programs as well as local Zoroastrian organizations in Chennai, India, as well as in New York.
Ferin Yazdani-Biyouki is seeking a medical degree at VCU School of Medicine. Ferin moved here from Iran when she was quite young, and remembering the sacrifices her family made for her, is determined to support her community as a medical professional. She has been heavily involved in the activities of the California Zoroastrian Center LA, the Persian American Society for Health Advancement (for which she led an effort to collect 30k to provide eye treatments to visually impaired individuals in Tajikistan), and the 7th World Youth Zoroastrian Congress.
The Fali Chothia Charitable Trust was established in 1988 to help provide scholarships and interest-free loans to needy zoroastrian students. Awards are based on financial need, educational achievement, and community service. The trust is established under the Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Washington Inc. (ZAMWI), and over the past 30 years has awarded scholarships to students from all parts of the U.S. and Canada.
To demonstrate solidarity and trust between organizations while serving community causes, the U.S. Chapter of the World Zoroastrian Organisation is once again joining the Fali Chothia Trust’s Scholarship Program by adding up to fifty percent to every scholarship we give from our trust’s resources. This partnership enables us to significantly increase the amount of our scholarships. The trust is grateful to the WZO U.S. Chapter, and thrilled that its support is resulting in a significant increase in the help we are giving to our young scholars.
We rely on donations. Please send your check payable to ZAMWI/Fali Chothia Charitable Trust, 10300 Farnham Drive, Bethesda MD 20814.
All donations made to the trust are tax exempt, and go directly toward the corpus of the fund. Individual members of the Board of Trustees absorb all administrative, mailing, and other fund-raising costs.