What is Ardibahesht Yasht?


What is Ardibahesht Yasht? (Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia)

 

Ardibahesht Yasht is the shortest among the ‘shorter Yashts’. It is also one of the most favourite among Zoroastrians, perhaps because of its length and efficacy.

 

Ardibahesht Ameshaspand: He is the divine being who presides over fire. In Zoroastrian understanding fire does not only mean physical fire but also all energies. So Ardibahesht Ameshaspand, on a physical plane presides also over different types of Energies – Physical, and spiritual (Khoreh). Ardibahesht Ameshaspand also presides over health, as the real source of health and healing is divine energy

 

The word Ardibahesht comes form the Pahlavi words Ard Vahisht (Av. Asha Vahishta “the Best Truth”). The word Asha is understood in several ways: divine law, order, beauty, truth, righteousness, holiness, piety, purity, etc. Each of these meanings are inter-connected.

 

The words Asha Vahishta also imply the “Divine Plan” of Ahura Mazda which all of us need to understand and follow. Ardibahesht is the 3rd roj of the month and the 2nd mah of the Zoroastrian calendar.

 

From an ethical viewpoint, Ardibahesht represents the truth and from a metaphysical viewpoint he represents The (Ultimate) Truth which is manifested when one can understand Asha, that is one’s “Life’s Purpose” and subsequently reach Asha Vahishta – the “Divine Plan” of Ahura Mazda. this is the only way to get Ushta “inner happines. This is also the message of the Ashem Vohu prayer.

 

Ardibahesht Ameshaspand on the Cosmic plane is the Cosmic Plan that God put into motion with all its attendant laws, especially the law of cause and effect.

 

Ardibahesht Ameshaspand is the chief divinity of the Rapithwin Gah. Winter is considered evil (druj-e-zimistan) in Zoroastrian tradition. Ardibahesht Ameshaspand fights winter. That is why in Iran during winter Rapithwin Gah was not recited as it was believed that Ardibahesht Ameshaspand had gone underground to give warmth to the earth. He would surface after winter, hence Rapithwan Geh could be recited once again from Farvardin mah.

 

Co-workers:

 

The Hamkars “co-workers” of Ardibahesht Ameshaspand are Adar Yazad who presides over fire and Khvarena “divine energy”, Sarosh Yazad who brings intuitions and divine guidance, and Behram Yazad who presides over victory and success. The two grades of fire – Atash Adaran and Atash Behram are associated with Ardibahesht who as an Ameshaspand looks after fire.

 

The Associates of Ardibahesht Ameshaspand are the Yazads Airyaman and Saoka. Airyaman is for harmony as also for repelling diseases, physical and mental illnesses, negativities and death. Through Saoka Yazad comes all happiness that is destined for the world. He keeps back the demons inflicting more than necessary punishment on the souls.

 

Druj

 

“lie, deceit” is the adversary of Ardibahesht. It is responsible for evils resulting from chaos, disharmony and lies. On a physical plane, it brings severe winters.

 

Asha Vahishta is one of the most basic concepts in Avesta. The three short Avestan chants– Ashem Vohu, Yatha Ahu Vairyo and Yenghe Hatam – revolve around Asha Vahishta. Ahura Mazda, Zarathushtra, Amesha Spentas and all other divine beings are referred to as ashavan, that is “in accord with Asha – The Truth.”

 

Ardibahesht Yasht:

 

In the beginning of the Yaht, Ahura Mazda tells Zarathushtra that among the Ameshaspands, Ardibahesht is the foremost for adoration and veneration. Zarathushtra agrees to venerate Ardibahesht as the foremost Ameshaspand (1-2). We are told that it is possible to reach Garothman “the Highest Heaven”, the abode of Ahura Mazda, through the help of Ardibahesht Ameshaspand (3-4).

 

Thereafter the prayer of Airyaman Yazad is mentioned as the most powerful against all evils including Angra Mainyu (5).

 

Five types of healing are mentioned: 1. Asho baeshazo“Healing with Asha/Truth” (this may also mean healing as per the divine Plan), 2. Dāto baeshazo “Healing with Law / justice”, 3. Kereto baeshazo “healing with surgery”, 4. Urvaro baeshazo “Healing with herbs”, 5.Mānthro baeshazo “Healing with prayers.” Among these, healing by prayers is considered best as it heals from within. (6)

 

Thereafter powerful autosuggestions are given against evils. A desire is expressed that may evils like sickness, demons, opponents, snakes, inimical persons, evil women and harmful north-winds perish (apa-dvarata) (7-9). The devotee then urges Ardibahesht Ameshaspand to smite (jainti) the above mentioned and similar other evils for him. The devotee has the confidence that Ardibahesht Ameshaspand will smite (janat) thousands of demons, the worst of the demons including the arch demon Angra Mainyu. and drive them away towards the north (10-16).

 

In the end a desire is expressed that may the evil perish and flee towards the North, so that the rest of the world may not be harmed (17). This thought is expressed even at the end of the Kem nā Mazdā prayer. The Yasht ends with Avesta and Pazand passages similar to other Yashts.

 

After the Yasht, the Nirang is recited, which is held to be very efficacious. It is recited even as a prayer by itself and is often prayed over people who are not well. In the Nirang, Ahura Mazda is extolled and Ahriman is referred as ignorant and wicked, who should be defeated and destroyed. Zoroastrian religion and Ahura Mazda are praised at the end.

 

It is advisable to recite the short Airyaman prayer immediately after reciting the Ardibahesht Yasht and its Nirang.

 

There are two traditions firmly associated with Ardibahesht Yasht in our Community. Both these traditions underlie two of Ardibahesht. Ameshaspand’s basic characteristics, the first is its association with health and the second is with truth.

 

The first tradition is Ardibahesht ni picchi, in which, a devotee prays for a dear one or for self in case of ill health. Whilst praying the Ardibahesht Yasht, passes are made either by hand or by a handkerchief over the person’s body from head to toe and then the negative energy is shaken off.

 

The other tradition is Ardibahesht ni chavi which means moving a key with the help of Ardibahesht ameshaspand. It has to be done by a pious, adept person to identify a culprit in case of loss or theft. For this purpose, an iron key is kept in a Khordeh Avesta over which a Kasti is tied. Then fire is lit in a small Afarganyu and a person prays the Farajyat prayers followed by the Ardibahesht Yasht. Then the key is supported on the fingertips and the list of suspects is read out. On the name of the culprit the key is supposed to turn round and the Khordeh Avesta falls down. If this happens on the same name for 4 to 5 times, it is believed that the particular suspect is the culprit. Performing the Ardibahesht ni chhavi presupposes a certain level of spiritual statue, regular practice of the religious tariqats and a certain level of abstinence in the person who performs it. Without these, one may not get the correct results. Hence in present times there is a risk in doing this practice or else an innocent person may be unnecessarily be blamed.

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Looking for details about Kaikhosru Jamsett


I’ve been looking with great interest at your Parsi Directory online and wonder if you can help me further, as I am looking to trace my ancestors in Bombay and would greatly appreciate any assistance or advice you can offer.
My name is Elizabeth Brown (nee Jamsett) and I live in the UK.  My grandfather, Kaikhosru Jamsett, a Parsi, was born in Bombay around 1873 and he qualified as a Doctor in Bombay on or before 1902.
In 1908 he was in London studying at the London School of Tropical Medicine, which was founded in 1899 with the help of a donation from Parsi philanthropist Bomanjee Dinshaw Petit.
Kaikhosru Jamsett married Ada Wood in 1911 and lived and practiced in Canning Town, London until his death in 1929. Kaikhosru Jamsett’s father was Jamsetji Framji Polshuda (a frame maker & builder. Deceased by 1911).
The family believe that he knew Mahatma Gandhi and that his wife Ada, met with Gandhi when he stayed in Canning Town for 3 months in 1931.
I appreciate you are busy but would be most grateful if you could give advice on the best way to trace my ancestors in Bombay or indeed, recommend someone who may be able to help, as I am struggling to find further information from the UK.  I would of course be willing to pay for the service.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely
Elizabeth Brown
elizabethbrown9@me.com

MASSACRE AT VARIAV


The movie Padmaavat depicts the ancient practice of `Jauhar’, where Rajput women commit mass self-immolation by jumping into the fire to avoid being captured and humiliated by invading armies. But not many know that around 900 years ago, Parsi women sacrificed their lives in a tiny village called Variav near Surat in Gujarat by jumping in the river Tapi.

The exact date is not recorded in history, but oral tradition says the incident happened towards the end of the 11th Century when Parsis, who had arrived from Iran to escape persecution, had settled in villages in Gujarat. The local Raja had levied a crushing tax and demanded a heavy tribute from the prosperous Parsi settlement in Variav. When they protested, the Raja sent his soldiers but were beaten back and made to retreat. The Raja did not give up and dispatched more troops after sometime. Unfortunately on that day, all the Parsi men had left the village for a feast, leaving the women behind. Instead of fleeing, the brave women put on the armour of their men, tied their hair, covered their faces and rode on horses to fight the army. Such was the ferocity, so the story goes that the Raja’s army was on the verge of defeat. But a fatal blow on the helmet, revealed a woman’s face. Shocked that they were being beaten by women, the soldiers returned with zeal and fought them. By now weary and tired, the women decided they would never surrender and rushed to the Tapi river and drowned. Subsequently, the army destroyed the entire Parsi settlement in Variav. The battle is popularly known as Jung Variav in Parsi history. The brave martyrs are remembered till today with special prayers and ceremonies held every year in the Zoroastrian month of Farvardin, day Ashishwang, which falls sometime in September.

Nauzer Bharucha; Courtesy:Jehangir Bisney

 

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One of the most moving stories related to a Commemorative Gahambar, I have come to learn from my mother, Homai Wandrewala: That of the vaal-no-Gahambar, or the Variav behedin-nu-parabh. This is connected with the historic and heroic Jung-e-Variav,or the Battle of Variav, fought sometime during the late 11th Century, or early 12th century AD. The small village of Variav, near Surat, on the banks of the river Tapti, (now part of Greater Surat), had a largely Parsi Population. A Rajput Price who had suzerainty over Variav, the Raja of Ratanpur, was enraged with the Parsees of Variav, because they defied him, and refused to pay the unjust, excessive tribute / revenue (mehesul), which he would forcibly collect. In order to enforce his unjust demand, he would send mercenaries, (called garasias’), to claim the mehesul. Generally, these garasias were repulsed by the brave Parsi men of Variav. One day, the menfolk had gone off to a far-off village, for a vaal and toddy party, leaving behind the women and the elderly. It was on that fateful day that the garasias decided to pay another visit to Variav. The women, pre-warned of the impending attack from the clouds of dust across the river raised by the horses’ hoofs, decided to try and repulse the garasias themselves in the absence of the menfolk. Led by a brave lady named Navaz, the women donned their men’s riding attire, put on visors on their faces, and got astride horses with whatever arms they could lay their hands on. Indeed, they fought so bravely, that the garasias were repulsed and started riding back towards the bridge fording the river, when one of them happened to turn around and noticed the earring on the ear of a woman, whose visor had shifted askew during the fight. Realizing that they were being beaten by women, the garasias returned with renewed frenzy. The women, apprehending molestation by the garasias if caught alive, en masse jumped into the river and drowned. The garasias then forcibly collected the mehesul from the elderly folk of Variav, who narrated what had happened to the young men when they returned. It appears that on that day every year thereafter, the men of Variav, to commemorate the bravery of their women, held what they called the vaal-no-gahambar, or the Jung-e-Variav Gahambar, at which only vaal was served. Apparently, this was on roz Ashishvang, mah Ferverdeen. There is some uncertainty as to the historical authenticity of this story. Apparently however, there is mention of the Jung-e-Variav in one of the Disa Pothis (Family Death Register) unearthed by Dr. Sir Jivanji Mody, during his researches. It appears that most families then kept aDisa Pothi’ which, apart from giving details and genealogies of individual families, also was a repository of much historical information.

http://www.parsicuisine.com/gahanbar/

Two Zarathushtis (Parsis) mentioned and shown in India’s Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2018


Friends,
            I was watching live on a subscription TV channel yesterday evening, the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi, India and saw two Zarathushtis (Parsis) –  Ashoka Chakra awardee Major General Cyrus Pithawalla who was one of the national award winners in the beginning part of the parade, standing up in an open vehicle and saluting the President of India as he went past him.  and also a large picture/bust of the late Field Marshall Sam Maneckshaw on a moving truck and his name announced among the three or four outstanding Chiefs of India’s armed forces, when the vehicle went past the dignitaries.
       See parade at link below,  with Major General Cyrus K. Pithawalla passing by at time 1:07:11 or so.
Regards,
Maneck Bhujwala

Zarathushtis in North America: A FEZANA Perspective


At the end of 2017 FEZANA participated in the Iranshah Udvada Utsav in Udvada, Gujarat, India. As part of the Utsav program FEZANA showcased its activities through this video presentation.

We are happy to share this with you all. The short video provides a very small glimpse of the hundreds of activities, projects and events our 26 member associations and 14 small groups do right through the year and having been doing for decades.

Do share with others and on social media to increase awareness about us….the Zarathushtis of North America !

New Zoroastrian Coloring Book for Kids


This is a cute little book with 8 pages of simple illustrations to get your little bawas and bawis started on the basics of the religion.
Makes a great gift and can be a fantastic giveaway at Sunday schools
Printed on premium paper that is great for crayons but also holds up well to watercolour.

For ordering in India, follow this link :

For orders outside India & for bulk order discounts, please write to delzin@crispydoodles.com

 

ALL PICTURES SHOWN ARE FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSE ONLY.ACTUAL PRODUCT MAY VARY DUE TO PRODUCT ENHANCEMENT.

 

Cyrus Boman Irani Conferred ‘President’s Police Medal For Meritorious Service’


Parsi Pride – Inspector Cyrus Boman Irani Conferred ‘President’s Police Medal For Meritorious Service’.

Doing the Community proud on the wake of India’s 69th Republic Day (26th Jan, 2018), in an announcement made by the Government of India today, Police Inspector Cyrus Boman Irani [Attached to the Special Branch II CID] has been conferred the ‘President’s Police Medal For Meritorious Service’. Speaking to Parsi Times, Inspector Cyrus said, “This is all due to the grace and blessings of Ahura Mazda. I’m happy to bring pride onto our Community!” 

Courtesy :  Parsi Times

The Missing Jamaspe


Truth, they say, is stranger than fiction.

 

This is a  story narrated to Roshnimai Godiwala by a pious lady.  It is the story of a simple husband who was unfortunate to have a wife whose lavish spending  habits left him greatly distressed.  For a long time, he tried his best to cater  to her incessant monetary demands till one day, out of sheer despair,  he decided to end his life. Even as he stood, poised for a leap unto death,  on a precipice overlooking the Wai Ghat near Panchgani, a Sadhu suddenly appeared by his side.

 

When questioned by the ascetic, this Parsi gentleman explained his predicament , saying he was going to meet his Maker. The ascetic laughed aloud and told the Parsi that if this was truly a way to be liberated from life’s worries and meeting God, then many mortals would have succeeded by now. He requested this troubled soul to visit his Ashram and assured him that he would help him to meet God. Since the desperate Parsi had nothing to lose anyway, he accompanied the Sadhu to his Ashram.

 

The ascetic gave this despairing soul a fruit to eat.  No sooner was the fruit consumed, the Parsi went into a samadhi like state, liberated from all flesh and blood needs-no thirst, no hunger, no sleep, no defecation for forty days!  When he returned from this trance like state, he had partaken of many secrets and mysteries lying locked in Nature’s vault. The ascetic handed a Jamaspe to this enlightened soul, instructing him how to use the book to prescribe Nirangs , prayers to other long suffering Parsi souls that they may enjoy some relief and happiness. He also told this Parsi that, henceforth, every morning when he awoke, he would find a ten rupee note under his pillow. It is worth noting that this sequence of events occurred in the forties when a rupee held great value.

 

On returning home, the man went about using the copy of Jamaspe and recently acquired divine knowledge for the work assigned to him.  As for his extravagant wife, there was always the ten rupee note every morning to satisfy her foolish demands. After some time, the man realised his natural end was drawing near. He called a pious lady neighbour whom he trusted, and told her to take away the Jamaspe and carry on the good work after his death.  The lady disciple told him that she would collect the sacred book from the prayer shelf with the burning oil lamp only after he had passed away.  She assured him that she would then put it to good use as instructed by him.  However, after his demise, when she tried  to collect the book from the secret place shown to her, the book was missing!

 

Roshnimai asked late Jehangirji Sohrabji Chiniwalla Saheb (disciple of Ustad Saheb Behramshah Navroji Shroff) to explain why the book had vanished from the secret place shown to the survivor.  He explained that , in the Aravali mountains, even today, there are places cut off from the outside material world by talismatic kash.  Here lie some Astral Libraries where Holy Books of all the Divinely Revealed Religions are kept. Jehangirji Sohrabji Chiniwala Saheb opined that, since the survivor lady was not found eligible to use the secrets of Jamaspe, it must have, so to say, ehtherialised and got restored to one such astral library! He also explained that there are many such advanced souls dwelling in these places cut off from the outside materialistic world. Though the Sadhu was not a Parsi, he could draw the relevant book from such an astral library by virtue of his spiritual stature so that the Parsi could do the good work he was destined to do for other suffering Parsis.

 

The cynic and the doubting Thomas, will dismiss this story as an unbelievable yarn. We wish him good luck!

 

Strange are the ways of Nature and stranger, the multidimensional truths and events lying beyond the grasp of our puny human intellect that always presumes to understand the multidimensional truths of Nature. But then,as Hamlet told his friend,

 

“There are more things in Heaven and earth, Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy!.”

 

Courtesy : K F Keravala