Search Results for: Fravahar

Zarathushti Representation at Walk To End Genocide, Yom HaShoah and Prayer Breakfast

Friends,   

I participated in following events recently, representing Zarathushtis, and also got a banner created by the Guibord Center, with the Fravahar symbol that was displayed on stage at The Guibord Center Annual Fundraiser Dinner event at which Artemis Javanshir’s daughter (who attended with her aunt) also gave a short talk on stage.Regards,Maneck Bhujwala  1.  Walk to End Genocide event organized by the Jewish World Watch (JWW) organization, at Pan Pacific park in Los Angeles, on March 31 with my banners about Genocide of Zoroastrians after Arab invasion of Iran in seventh century C.E. and after the walk in the Fairfax area of L.A., I was also invited to sit on stage with other speakers representing countries suffering genocide, and informed the audience about Zarathushti religion, Persian empires, and suffering of Zarathushtis after the Arab invasion. I also advocated more involvement by all communities in interfaith dialogue, events and organizations. I also mentioned the online petition for a religious arm of the United Nations and gave the website address where it can be accessed to the director of Advocacy of JWW. Here is a picture of speakers on the stage. I am sitting second from the right side.

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 2.  Yom HaShoah ceremony held at Pan Pacific park in Los Angeles, to remember Jewish victims of the Holocaust and recent anti-Semitic attacks, attended by Mayor of Los Angeles, Israeli Consuls from various cities, survivors of the Holocaust, general Jewish community and friends. This was organized by the Jewish Federation and I had informed them that I was representing Zarathushti solidarity with the Jewish community in their hour of tragedy. They were thankful and expressed their appreciation to all attendees who were not intimidated by the recent anti-Semitic attacks. 3.  National Day of Prayer celebrated with a Prayer Breakfast meeting organized by Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles at his official residence at Getty House, where several religious community representatives were invited. I said a short prayer asking the Wise Creator who is known by many names, to give us all wisdom to put back our biases and ignorance about others which create fear of others and hatred towards others, and to realize that we are all brothers and sisters. I met the Mayor, told him that I was a Zoroastrian and got a picture with him, seen below.Here are pictures of me with a few religious leaders in front of Getty House and picture with Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti:

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   4. New Banner (which I requested) with Fravahar Symbol unfurled on stage at The Guibord Center event. Picture 2 has Yekta, daughter of Artemis standing in front of banner: 

Maneck Bhujwala

Fravahar Island in the Persian Gulf

The plan for building an artificial island in the shape of fravahar in the Persian Gulf is under completion .The agreed confirmation for this project has also been issued. This island is being built on a 6 million and two hundred thousand  square meter land measuring 3×5 km.This island is located in front of the outskirts of the historical Siraf Harbour in the Bushehr province. This island includes Boarding and lodging sites,Hotels,University, Solar Energy Center ,Playground,A big cultural International Hall for cultural speech and conversations etc….


Dr.Esfandiyar Ekhtiyari(The Iranian Zoroastrians MP) being the managerial member of this team informed us that in the near future  the plan for this project which is being supervised by 60 executives will be executed after final analysis.This project being unique in its own kind will be displaying something of its own kind to the generations to come.

This artificial island will be  built in the Southern part of pars locality in the outskirts of the historical harbour of Siraf. Siraf being one of the oldest cities of the Bushehr province.Once this harbour was the host to big ships that arrived from main Iranian and MiddleEast harbours but due to earthquake and Tsunami in the spring of the year 398 Ghamari most of this harbour was destroyed and now the only remains show the Siraf Jame Mosque, the Nasuri Fort, Dakhme( The Zoroastrian Cemetary),and a market.
fravahar
As per Iranian belief Fravahar is the part of every being and that it is with fravahar that we can enlighten our path towards development and that best light. Different parts of Fravahar have been explained as Follows

The Faravahar or Farohar is the spirit of human being that had been existed before his/her birth and will continue to exist after his/her death. It is to remind one of the purpose of life on this Earth, which is to live in such a way that the soul progresses spiritually and attains union with Ahura-Mazda (the Wise Lord); this state is called Frasho-kereti in Avesta.

The Fravahar’s face resembles the face of human being and therefore, indicates its connection to mankind. There are two wings which have three main feathers. These main feathers indicate three symbols of ‘good reflection,’ ‘good words,’ and ‘good deed,’ which are at the same time the motive of flight and advancement. The lower part of the Fravahar consists of three parts, representing ‘bad reflection,’ ‘bad words,’ and ‘bad deed’ which causes misery and misfortune for human beings.

There are two loops at the two sides of the Fravahar, which represent Sepanta Minu, and Angra Minu. The former is directed toward the face and the latter is located at the back. This also indicates that we have to proceed toward the good and turn away from bad. The circle in the middle of the Fravahar’s trunk indicates that our spirit is immortal, having neither a beginning nor an end.

One hand of the Fravahar points upwards, showing that we have to struggle to thrive. The other hand holds a ring. Some interpreters consider that as the ring of covenant, representing loyalty and faithfulness which is the basis of Zarathustra’s philosophy.

BEHROOZ KHALILI

Explanation of Muktad Rituals and Prayers

Technical aspects of the rituals, etymology of certain words, appropriate and inappropriate methods not to be taken as a fatwa, calender variations Talk given By: The living Zoroastrian encyclopedia, Dasturji Dr Firoze Kotwal On : 22 nd July 2018 At: The Empowering Mobeds program

 

MY ENGLISH TRANSLATION SUMMARY OF DASTURJI FIROZE KOTWAL’S GUJERATI LANGUAGE TALK ON MUKTAD & RELATED ITEMS AT EMPOWER MOBEDS PROGRAM ON JULY 22, 2018 IN MUMBAI, INDIA

by   Maneck Bhujwala

“Today I am going to talk to you about Muktad, and whatever subject I am talking, do not understand it as some kind of Fatwa, but according to religious books what things should be done, some understanding about it, I want to give you.

The word Muktad that we use, that word was first used in the 12th century by the famous scholar of Pahlavi and Sanskrit, Nairyosangh Dhawal. For the Asho Farohar in Sanskrit he used that word in Muktad. That means liberated souls from the Ashoi world. What all rituals that we do are for the Asho Farohars and Asho souls (ruvaans), and through the Farohars those rituals that we do are to benefit the souls and through the rituals we wish rest and happiness for the souls. And we say that this is the main goal of the rituals. And when the souls become happy, they bless those who sponsor the rituals.

When we read chapter 55 of the Ijashne, then in the first line it tells us that a person’s structure is made of nine parts. The first line says “Vispao gaethaoscha, tatvascha, azdibishcha, ushtaanascha, keherpascha, tevishi, baodhascha, urvaanimcha, farvashimcha. The first three parts are material parts, which means they are destined to be destroyed, like our skeleton, our bones, and our flesh. These three things, when a person dies, should be disposed right away as soon as possible, because there is Druje Naso in them, meaning evilness of corruption, putrefaction that enters, increases, so they should be disposed as soon as possible. Keeping this material part stored by saying that some relatives are coming, so keep these for two days, is a very sinful action, that should not be done, according to our religion. The other three parts are half material and half spiritual. When a person is born, after a while these three parts disappear. Our vitality, vigor, astral body or keherpascha are half material and half spiritual. And the third part – baodascha, urvaanimcha, and fravashimcha. Baodhascha means consciousness, Urvaanimcha means Soul (Ravaan), and Fravashimcha means Fravashi (Guardian Spirit). Baodhascha, Urvaanimcha, Fravashimcha, these three parts when a person is living become useful to the person. When something is bad, the Fravashimcha gives a message to the Urvaanimcha, through the Baodhascha. The soul (ravaan) is the ruler of the body which may or may not obey the advice of the Fravashi (guardian spirit). If it follows the advice of the Fravashi, it obtains the highest happiness. If it does not follow the advice then the result is bad in the spiritual world, so the message of the Fravashi is brought by Baodhan (Consciousness). So the Fravashi does the work of an advisor, the Soul does the work of the (decider?) and the Baodhan does the work of a messenger. Our religion gives us an understanding of our structure.

According to our religion, when a Zarathushti is living, there are six duties to be performed by the person. The first duty is to perform Gahambars, to participate in them. The second duty is Farvardegan or the praise of the Fravashis in the Muktad. The third duty is to do Rapithwan always, this is very important, that should be remembered. The fourth duty is to do Zinde Ravaan, the ritual which is four days long because in the old times when a Zarathushti went somewhere, whether the person will return home was a big question, so if the Sarosh Zinde Ravaan is done before going, then no matter under what calamity, may God forbid something happens to the person, so if that Sarosh is kept in reserve then that would be beneficial after death to that person. Our religion has decreed that the Zinde Ravaan ritual should be done by Zarathushtis. The fifth duty is to do the Khorshed and Meher Nyayesh. Every day the Khorshed and Meher Nyayesh should be done three times. This is an obligatory prayer. The sixth duty is to do Mahbakhtar Nyayesh which is to be done at night in the Aiwisruthrem and Ushahin gehs, and that duty is such that in a month you do it three times on full moon, new moon, and Dark night (Amaavasya). What we say Mahbokhtar, the real word is not Mahbokhtar but it is Mahbakhtar. Bakhtar means giver of luck. You know that the moon size grows for fifteen days and reduces for fifteen days, so what have the priests of Iran said about this is that Mahbakhtaar is the giver of luck, and when it grows for fifteen days then it gets the merit from the Yazatas and Amesha Spentas, and when its size decreases for fifteen days, it distributes that merit to those Zarathushtis who do good deeds in this world. That is why the Zarathushtis in Iran do not call it Bokhtaar, but even if you read in their Persian language books, they call it Bakhtaar. That is why, in our place the recital of Mahbakhtaar, what we call Chandrama (Mah) whose function is to distribute merit, we use the proper word Bakhtaar which is also used that way in the Pahlavi scriptures, that I should inform you.

Now, in these six duties, the one which is also included for Farvardegan, which is about remembering the Asho Fravahars. The word “Muktad” that we use, is called Farvardegan by Iranian Zarathushtis, so that word Farvardegan is more appropriate, because this is about the importance of the Fravahars. Farvardegan in which we perform the Jashan for the Fravahars or Parabh, that is of the great function of the Fravahars. Now these days of Farvardegan come in the month of Spendarmad. The first five days, from Ashtaad through Aneraan, are called Panche geh in our religion, meaning five days, and then the Gathaa days which come in Farvardegan, the Gathas do not have any connection with any month, they are included. We do not recite the month in the Roz nek naam, so in Pahlavi, Gatha is called Vihezakeek. Meaning that in any month the Gathas can be placed after the end of the month. If you look at the calendar, after the end of the Spendarmad month, five Gathas which we recited, in the old calendar they were recited after the month of Abaan (Ava). After that when this calendar was adopted, then they were placed after the month of Spendarmad.  In those times we used to do an intercalation (kabiso) of one month that was done so that Navroz would come as much as possible in the Spring, that was one of our practices. In those times when it was our kingdom we used to do one more month as intercalation. The last time this intercalation was done then five Gathas were placed after the month of Ava. After that when the intercalation was done again, then they were placed after Spendarmad month, because between the months of Ava and Spendarmad, many intercalations had passed that were not done in Iran. So, in the twelfth century when the month of Spendarmad came in Spring, then the Gathas were placed at the end of Spendarmad, so that the month of Farvardin could start in Spring. So, you have to remember that Gathas were placed after different months, and that today we are not doing that intercalation (kabiso). We had done that intercalation in Hindustan in the twelfth century, when our whole group was in Sanjan. In the twelfth century the Sanskrit scholar Naryosangh Dhawal was living, and we can make a guess that at that time when our whole group was in Sanjan, we must have done that intercalation (kabiso). And, in order to do that intercalation there was a difference of one month between our calendar and the Iranian calendar which we call “Kadimi” which continues today.  Another thing I would say about the word Kadimi, do not think that because we did the intercalation in Hindustan that we call the Iranian calendar Kadimi.

In the year 1079 in Iran when Jalaluddin Malekshah was Sultan, and Omar Khayyam was his vizier who in order to make revenue collection convenient, started making March 21 as the New Year (Navroz) and even today that event is celebrated with great pomp and happiness. However this calendar change was not at all liked by the Iranian Zarathushtis, because March 21 is such that every four years if you add one day, then it would mess up our ritual ceremonies, because the last five days are for the Gathas and when you add one day then where will you bring the sixth Gatha?  Hamspadmaidyem Ghahambar has five days for Gathas, so how will you make six out of five. If a person dies on the sixth (leap year) day then should we do his anniversary prayers every fourth year when that additional day comes again? We who are knowledgeable are opposed to that calendar change even today, and the Iranians did not accept that calendar change and called their calendar Kadim. In Surat when Nusserwanji Koyaji started the new Fasli calendar there was a lot of trouble. It is OK to celebrate Navroz according to the Fasli calendar but you should keep in mind that if you change our calendar then our ritual ceremonies will be messed up. You should know that the establishment of Iranshah temple was done according to the Kadimi calendar. It is important to know these facts, so that we can claim that we are doing things based on research. We don’t want to say that what we say is the only truth, and others should follow that. You can make your own decisions based on your thinking.

We call Farvardin roz as Farvardegan, and according to our scriptures three Farvardin rozes are of great importance – one in month of Adar, one in Aspandard and one in month of Farvardin. Our Zarathushtis have a belief about the Farvardin roz in the month of Aspandard, that the righteous (Asho) souls (ravaans) and Asho Farohars come here to this earth on that day, and after the Farvardegan, the souls and Farohars depart from this earth on Farvardin roz and Farvardin month. So the first Farvardin roz is to welcome them and the second Farvardin roz is to bid them farewell. Now the Farvardin roz of the month of Adar is remembered because at the time of the last intercalation that was the first Farvardin roz, and we want to keep that memory alive.

Another thing, that Khordad roz of Aspandard month which is the Pateti of the Iranians, that day we recognize as Avardaad saal gah, there is a Jashan on that day that many people don’t know about, was started by the Shehenshahi people in India to remember the day when we separated from the Kadimi calendar, because we had done the intercalation in India on that day (not the Iranians). Avardad is the Persian Fardad meaning abandoned (stopped observing it), and Gah means Gatha because in the Khsnuman of the Jashan, besides the Khordad roz there are also the names of the five Gathas. This fact is not generally known, but it is found in our Pav Mahal prayer books.

Now you may know that there were arguments about the number of days of Farvardegan. In the old days about ninety percent of our Zarathushti used to observe eighteen days. According to our religious books, ten days were mentioned for Farvardegan. So, how did we start observing eighteen days in Hindustan ?  Because we could not observe all the six annual duties (mentioned earlier) in Hindustan, these were included in our ritual ceremonies. For example after death we do certain Nyayishes including Mahbakhtar, and Rapithwan was connected with Muktad. Khordad Sal was an important day when great events had happened in Iran, and there is a whole Pahlavi text by the name Roz Khordad and Mah Fravardin. Rapithwan has such importance. You must have heard the name of the Pahlavi book Bundahishn which means Beginning of Creation, so how creation started in the spiritual world. Dadar Hormuzd wears Paymojokisped meaning White Garment. In Pahlavi it is mentioned as PragiAshroni, or the garment of priests. So it is not good for priests to wear multicolored garments. Dadar Hormuzd wears the white garment and with the six Ameshaspands performes Ijashne in Rapithwan geh in the spiritual world, and then created the material world. So we Mobeds forgot this celestial garment and due to British influence started wearing multicolored   shirt and pants. You should remain proud of your garment.  When the Atashbehram was established in Navsari, then in the Rapithwan Jashan it was resolved that in order to have the ash it was necessary to establish an Atashbehram in Navsari, and the knowledgeable priests created a scheme on how to establish an Atashbehram (because the Sanjana priests did not have it due to the passage of 800 years, and this scheme was later followed for establishment of three other Atashbehrams in India. (37.04 minutes stop in recording)During the Jashan in Navsari, a Tandarosti prayer was recited in the name of Khurshedji Bapa who was living at that time and who had sent letters to Surat, Bharuch and other institutions from whom very encouraging replies were obtained, and the Atashbehram was established with the help of the anjuman (public) as Khurshedji Bapa has written “Atashbehram Prathhaa anjumannaa Navsari maa”. So, the Atashbehram was established with help of the public, and in which the largest share was from Bhagaria Seth family. This Maneckji Seth Agiary is from that family. Maneckji Seth had two daughters, he did not have a son, and his daughters also married in the Seth family, so he adopted his son-in-laws as his sons. And, in that time, the Seth family had given much help, giving land (jagir) to the Atashbehram, so the Bhagarias should never forget the name of the Seth family. So I told you about the eighteen day Muktad.

Now, even though we write and talk about it, you Mobeds are not doing, is that when someone dies during the five days of the Gathas, what Roz should be taken, because Gathas don’t come every month, but only once a year. In our Pahlavi books, in Rivayats, our prominent Dasturs, like Kaikhushru Kutar as I remember last, have written that for such people who die during Gatha days, we should take the Roz as Farvardin because these are days of Farvardegan. And, then Sirozo will come on Rashne roz in month of Shehrevar, Chhamsi will come on Farvardin roz.  If death happened on Ushtavad Gatha then do Sirozo on Ahunavad Gatha, do Varsi (yearly ritual) on Ushtavad Gatha. This is the way our religion instructs us.

It is not that Ahunavad Gatha is taken as Hormuzd roz and Ushtavad Gatha is taken as Bahman roz. Although this is how it is being done, that is not how our religion instructs us.

Now our Zarathostis, and Mobed class is included in that, what should they do during Muktad ?  For all the five days from Ashtad to Aneran, we are instructed to recite Framrot naa Ha and twelve hundred Ashem Vohu prayers, which you will find in the complete Khordeh Avesta book, and during the five days of the Gathas, in every Gatha day we have to recite the Gatha and twelve hundred Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayers. Those who are not Mobeds and Osta can do the prayers in this way. Reciting Gatha prayers may be difficult for some people, but if they practice by reciting one Gatha every day, then slowly they will be able to pick up speed, and be able to recite them. Where there is a will there is a way.

Now what I am saying is especially for the Mobeds. We have seen that rituals are done without proper order, even in the small towns. In Bombay, there are all five groups of Mobeds, and the High Priests of Atashbehrams have control over the other Mobeds, and sometimes the Dasturs give Fatwas, instructions according their personal beliefs, that we should only pray this way, which may not be according to the religion. I am telling you all this according to religion. I don’t have any connection with any Panth (group) nor with any Agiary (temple). So, let us put that story on the side, what they all pray. But, Mobed Sahebs think according to our religion that there are eight Kardas in the Afringan. Let me count them – Yao Visadh’s first kardo which is the thirteenth karda which comes from Farvardin Yasht, Yao Visadh’s second kardo which is only recited in Ardafarvash Afringan, and which is joined with the thirteenth karda “Ashaonam Farvashinam” (the whole kardo is recited in our daily Afringans “Ashaonam Vanghuinam …”), the third kardo is in Dahman Afringan, that is “Tao Ahmi namaane…”. Do not say “Dahm”, say “Dahman”. Dahm Yazad is only one and that is when we do Dahm Yazad prayer with seven Yatha Ahu Vairyos in Chahrum prayer or in Fareshta prayers. Today what you pray Dahm Yazad with two Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayers is not there in any Pav Mahal rituals. There is no kardo with Khshnuman “Dahm Yazad berasad” but it has been created in Mumbai.  Dahman means celebration of the Fareshtas of thirteen days, Dahman means about the Fareshtas. For example if today is Ava roz, then in the Khshnuman we recite “Aspandarmad, Ava, Din, Ard, Marespand Vispesa Ardafarvash beresaad” in the Pazend khshnuman, and together with that is the “Tao ahmi namaane…”. Now can someone tell me about the Yao Visadh kardo , that in the Khshnuman we did for all these Fareshtas, but you are not praying the Vadi khshnuman for these Fareshtas in Avesta, but in Dahman Afringan there is one main kardo of Tao ahmi namaane, and there is such a principle that nobody knows about or only a few may know, that after “vidhvao marotu” if the vadi Khshnuman of Dadar Hormuzd is recited, then we have to recite the thirteenth kardo of Yao Visadh. So, if we pray in that way in the Afringan of Dahman, then we cannot recite Tao ahmi namaane, because with the Ahuremazdao khshnuman we would have to recite the Khshnuman of all the Fareshtas. That is why the elders and in our books Dahman Dahmayao vanghuyao meaning the good Fareshtas, so the remembering of the Fareshtas is done in brief, and after “Vidhvao mrute” we recite “Tao ahmi namane”. That is the rule of our rituals. So, I told you that two kardas of Yao Visadh, Tao ahmi namane, two kardas of Sarosh, then karda of Ghambar “Datache…” which is taken from one of our old Nask, then karda of Rapithwan “Atha jimro” which is taken from Nirangistan, you can see how these kardas have been taken from the big Nasks, and the eighth karda which is of the Navar Afringan “Ahuremazdam Huthonghe” that is the sixteenth Ha. In this way the whole arrangement of our outer ceremonies is done with the eight kardas. So, if we pray in that way, it is better. According to all those rules if we pray, it is so good. If you pray the vadi khshnuman of Dadar Hormuzd then you should pray Yao Visadh kardo. So if you think like that and pray, nobody can complain. Other things are done for show. I only tell you what is according to religion. Some people may do what they want and say that Dasturji is giving us Fatwa, but I do not give Fatwas. Then it is upto each person to believe me or not.

Now what I have to say is that the second Afrin that we recite “Iranshahr…name of thecity” then some people will say “what is he praying”. Phiroze Masani had published several books on Afrins which is good, but in that this line is put in by doing a wrong translation after Baname Dadar Hormuzd. The true translation which is also given in the old books, is . Baname Dadar Hormuzd afreen thi aay sharoo karu chhu. Choon Pishgaah …….meaning that the manner in which the leaders in Iran had prayed (dua guzareli) in that manner we are doing the Afrin prayer in this city.  The other thing is that “Dinyaavar gooyaa.  Tehmuras Anklesaria was a scholar of Pahlavi. First of all he was a disciple of K.R. Cama. He put the word “gooyaa” in brackets because he did not understand it. This word is put in Pazend wrongly, but even so all Mobeds are using it. In Pahalavi books it is not “gooyaa” but “goondaar” which means “soothsayer”  teller of future, which is related to remembering Jamasp who was a soothsayer to whom Zarthost saheb had made him smell a flower with which he gave him the gift of knowing the future.

The last thing I have to tell you is that (in the Afrin-e-Haft Ameshaspand) the paragraph “Dahman ke pa in myazd fraj-rasid hend …” Dahman refers to the people attending the Jashan and says that you are welcome and if you take one step to protect the religion then twelve hundred steps will come to greet you. And after that what we recite “ravaan garosmani baad” that is for the living that after your death may your soul be deserving of heaven. Many people believe that we are praying this for the departed souls, and they may be shocked to know the true meaning. That is the end of my lecture, and you may adopt whatever you think is right. “

GLOBALLY SUPPORT ZARATHUSHTI PRIESTHOOD

Talk given at the 11th World Zoroastrian Congress in Perth, Australia, June 2, 2018 by Maneck Nawroji Bhujwala

Importance of Priesthood

Why do we need priests?

We all have two aspects – the physical and the spiritual. This is also reflected in the Fravahar symbol.  For meeting our physical needs, we have professionals like doctors, engineers, accountants, businessmen, etc.  And, for our spiritual needs we have priests.

Zarathushti priests have faithfully preserved the teachings of Asho Zarathushtra and his followers, and the ritual ceremonies and prayers through good and bad times for thousands of years. They have passed on their knowledge to the community at large by teaching prayers to children before their formal initiation (Navjote) and through lectures and books of scholar priests. They have performed prayer ceremonies on various occasions, including initiation, marriage, funerals, seasonal festivals (Ghahambars). They are an integral part of the Zarathushti religion and culture, and therefore it is essential to support the priesthood in order to preserve our religion for future generations.

Problems facing Priesthood

Today, we face the reality of a growing shortage of priests, both in India and globally. Even though many children of priests have undergone some level of training in order to be formally classified as Ervads, a large number of them have decided to pursue other professions or businesses which offer a much more lucrative future. As a result, there are a growing number of instances where priests are not available when needed to perform ceremonies. Even some of our consecrated temples in India are having difficulty hiring priests. In order to get priests from out of town, private families have to spend more money for transportation and lodging for the priests. This growing non-availability of local priests and the resulting reduction in Jashans performed at private homes, takes away the opportunity for children and youth to experience them, and may eventually cause community members to do without traditional prayers and ceremonies altogether.

Efforts to overcome Problems

Plans to create amelioration funds to provide better compensation for priests have not succeeded in attracting enough of the younger generation to pursue priesthood. Members of the non-priestly community are not allowed to become Ervads. A few programs for training members of the community to perform basic ritual prayers like Jashans for different occasions, with titles of Paramobeds, Mobedyars, or Behdin Pasban have faced resistance from some practicing Ervads who fear competition to their business. Considering the fact that practicing Ervads outside India have other careers and only do priestly work on an as needed part-time  basis, it is hard to understand their concern. And, some of the handful of qualified Mobedyars continue to face restrictions, exclusion, and lack of adequate recognition for their volunteering and service, which can discourage future generations of interested individuals from opting for such training and service.

What Needs to be done

We need to pursue a holistic approach, which includes improved education, compensation, and respect for full-time practicing Ervads in India, education of the Zarathushti community about the past history of priests in Iran which included qualified Behdins, and welcoming acceptance and equal respect for members of non-priestly families who wish to become priests and serve the community as a calling rather than just as a career.

For a compensation scheme that would be sufficient and continuously available to attract full time priests, we should create an endowment fund. Our High Priests and managers of our temples can help to arrive at the amount needed to be raised. One or more fund raising events should be held, at which the rich members of our community are invited, educated about the urgent need for this fund, and motivated to pledge generously.

For better education of practicing priests, which is critical for their earning the respect of our community, it should be made a requirement for ordainment of future priests, and refresher courses should be given to current priests. Collaboration between Athornan Madressas, Zoroastrian Studies, and Zarathushti scholars would help draw up the curricula and commitment of teachers.

For education of the community about the past history of priests in Iran, to justify opening up priesthood to individuals from non-priestly families who are drawn to it as a calling, there should be organized a series of lectures, articles in Parsi newspapers, magazines, and on the internet, referencing books like “The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsees” by Ervad, Shams-ul-Ulema, Dr. Sir, Jivanji Jamshedji Modi.

Conclusion

Denial about the growing shortage of practicing priests globally, and its consequences of growing difficulty for community members to get ritual prayers performed when needed for private and community events, and eventual loss of the tradition of ritual prayers over time, is contrary to our religious teachings. Asho Zarathushtra emphasized rational thinking, keeping the core values in mind, to make informed decisions about what is right and wrong. Reluctance to face changes in today’s society, is unbecoming of a progressive community that in the past has survived through adaptation to new situations. We have to be proactive before it is too late, with effective and innovative approaches to preserve Zarathushti priesthood and religion. Our community and religious leaders need to bravely put the good of the community’s future before narrow individual and group interests.

 

Significance of Flowers in Zoroastrian Religion

 

Soroush is the first creation of Ahuramazda who learnt Gathas by heart, offering its worship to Ahuramazda with a branch of Barsam. It is one of Bahaman’s companions. Listening to Soroush is to hear and obey Ahuramazda’s orders.

Barsam represents all trees, vegetations and plants. It is a bundle of small twigs of a tree, usually cut from Pomegranate tree or Myrtle by a special knife called Barsamchin while reciting some prayers during the procedure. The whole process is a ritual and after the barsams are cut and washed they are tied together with a strand of palm leaf.

In the Book of creation called Bon-dahesh, each Amshaspand is symbolized by a flower-plant: Below is the list of Amshaspands and the flower attributed to them:

Ahuramazda is represented by Myrtle, Bahman with white Jasmin, Ordibehesht with Marjoram, Sharivar with Basil, Sepandarmaz with Melissa, Khorda’d with Iris, Morda’d with Lily.

As we will see, flowers and plants seen in the stone-carvings of Persepolis are symbols of the above Amshaspands and other determining principles of Zoroaster’s faith. This is a very important point overlooked by all Iranologists who identified them wrongly as enumerated below:

The Barsam held in the hand of the King Darius is identified as Lotus.

Flowers surrounding Frahvashi (Fravahar) are identified as palm tree.

The decorations around the neck of the cow as lotus bud calling it 12 petal flower.

Lotus actually found a place in Iranian art and architecture as the flower symbolizing the Iranian goddess of water, Anahita enjoying a very important place in Iranian Mythology. Later we will show that considering the climatic environment of Persepolis (a dry mountainous place), the flower identified as Lotus (famous as flower of marshes) in its stone-reliefs, could not possibly be this flower.

Flowers held by the king and the crown prince are thought to be Egyptian due to the presence of a bud between two blossoms and the arrangement of the stem.

In the images of Persepolis, while the first four passages are pictorially represented by the victory of goodness (in the image of the king or a royal hero) over devils, the last two passages through Khorda’d (perfection) and Morda’d (eternal life) representing the highest aspirations, spring of life and creativity, fertility, growth and final unification with Ahuramazda are illustrated masterfully and in a poetical way, in the form of their symbol, the flower Iris (notice the joined stems of images 10 & 11), particularly in those images conveying the concept of holiness.

Image 10- Stems of Iris: (a) Right Persepolis Stone-carvings. (b) Left, Iris Aphylla

Image 11-(a) The underground rhizomes of iris and their connection with each other (b) Iris growing in a line (c) The stone-carvings with underground rhizomes, (d) A general view of Persepolis stone-carving, notice the similarities b/w the real flower of Iris and the stone carvings in (a) and (b).

It is not in vain that the presence of frahvashi (fravahar), symbolizing the whole path of this spiritual journey (passages through the 6 Amshaspands) and attainment of holiness and eternal life (reaching the light of lights (khavarafkhashia) which is the most important part of the Zoroastrian transcendental philosophy is depicted next to Iris (see image 12).


Image 12- Presence of fravashi (fravahar) as the symbol of spiritual evolution (passage through six Amshaspand) and attainment of holiness and eternal life next to Iris.

On the other hand, the flower symbolizing one of the assistants of Amshaspand Morda’d, the divinity Rashn is Eglantine; a flower with a pleasant calming scent seen repeated in the frames of the stone-reliefs between cypresses like a scaffold, protecting the line of guests like a canopy (Image number 13). The continued presence of Eglantine as a symbol of protection and preservation of life (both humans and gardens) can be found in “Ershad-ol-zera’-eh” (a guidebook of gardening) written in 16th century, containing the history of garden-making in ancient Iran.

Image 13 – Repetition of flowers in the frames of Cyrus Hall like scaffolds of eglantine sheltering the guests as an allusion to the divinity Rashn – (Images of stone-reliefs of Iran, British Museum, 1932).

Now comes the question of lotus and its connection with barsam. As it was mentioned before, a number of researchers have wrongly identified barsam (the symbol of all trees and vegetations) in Darius’ hand as Lotus, and speculated it to be the same flower seen around the neck of animals, overlooking the fact that this flower can hardly grow in dry climatic weather of Pars ( Fars ). In addition to requiring special conditions for its growth, lotus is very sensitive to light and humidity. It is a flower growing in marshes closing its petals when the light fades. Lotus with the sharp end of its blossoms and the inner curving of its petals as well as its sensitivity and impermanence could not be the flower used during long rituals (from the beginning of preparation of barsam to the end of ceremonies) which instead required a longer lasting flower (Image number 14).

Image No. 14- Lotus and its natural bio-ecological environment (aquatic).

Image number 15 shows the similarity of the flower in Darius’ hand, with pomegranate flower. From the bio-ecological point of view, apart from its sacredness and beauty, pomegranate flower is more in harmony with the climatic conditions of the region and physiologically it is more resistant than aquatic flowers, therefore it is a more appropriate flower to be used in long ceremonies.

Image No.15 -Similarity of barsam in Darius’ hand (right) with pomegranate flower (left).

In Avesta we read: “It is said, the divinity Soroush spreads barsam, three times, five times, seven times and nine times and offers the worship to Ahuramazda.”

In Yasna (chapter 43, paragraph 12) it is said: “When you ordered me ‘Appeal to asha and know her’ you told me unheard words: Try to let Soroush penetrate you to recognize divine graciousness granting reward and punishment to both groups.”

Soroush is one of the divinities playing an important role in the struggle against devils. It is said in Bondahesh: “Soroush received the task of guardianship from Ahuramazda. In the same way that Ahuramazda is the Lord of the heaven and the universe, Soroush is the Lord of the world and it is said, Ahuramazda is a spirit protecting the soul, while Soroush is a spirit protecting the world. For Soroush has not slept well since the creation of living beings in order to guard them. According to Abu Reyhan, Soroush is a divinity guarding the night and some say he is Gabriel. The soul of the dead reaches the Chinvad Bridge protected by Soroush. I praise, the brave pious dutiful Soroush. He is brave because when he turns his club toward Khorasan (East), fear is subsided until he points it to the west. He is dutiful because he obeys the God. And he is astonishing because devils are dispersed by his stroke. He is divine because he rules arzeh (the country of the East) and saveh (the country of the West) (zand akasieh 220, Rahim Afifi, Iranian Mythology and Culture in Pahlavi texts).

That is why holding barsam – whether it is the king or an ordinary Zoroastrian – represents continuous remembrance of the presence of Soroush (Gabriel).

Conclusion:

From all that is said above, Zoroastrian religious and ritual beliefs were so blended with everyday life of ancient Iranians that one can trace them in all aspects of life including their architecture. Illustration of the opposition of good and evil, the spiritual presence of Amshaspands in the figure of the king in stone-reliefs and entrapment of devils by using their sculptures as column capital all point to the above integration. Considering that Persepolis was the place where Achaemenids held their religious rites, ceremonies and mysteries, surely the images found there should be an allusion to the ruling ideas and ideals of their era manifested in the form of mythological symbols of their divinities. The subtle intelligent practice of Achaemenids in illustrating their basic religious beliefs for various peoples with different religious faiths living in the vast Persian Empire attending various ceremonies in the Palace is an example of the respect the kings of this dynasty had for the freedom in faith and ethics of their subjects. In all the stone-carvings with an allusion to spiritual beliefs, the Amshaspands Khorda’d and Morda’d have a prominent presence in the figure of Iris flower. Attribution of a flower to each Amshaspand represents the close relationship of Achaemenid religious beliefs with their natural environment and regional climatic conditions in which lotus can not have a logical reasonable place.

The above analysis is an effort made to show the Iranian origin of what is seen in stone-reliefs of Persepolis, their relation with religious beliefs of that era and refutation of non-Iranian root of the images found there. This is a new approach demanding extensive studies for further decoding of the remaining reliefs.

 

extracted from :

A New Approach to Stone Reliefs of Persepolis

By Khoobchehr Keshavarzi (translated By Roya Monajem, Tehran)

Based on ritual, religious beliefs and the impact of the environment

http://www.payvand.com/news/12/sep/1247.html

Protect Our Heritage

Friends,

As reported in Iran’s Amordad News of September 3, 2016 and an incident captured in a video, there has been an incident of defacement of a Fravahar symbol by a mullah in a from the wall of the Town Hall in the city of YAZD.  Iranian Zarathushtis (Zoroastrians) are collecting at least 10,000 signatures on their on-line petition to be submitted to the Iranian government to stop this kind of action.  I was informed about this by an Iranian Zarathushti who is in contact with fellow Zarathushtis in Iran.

Please visit  www.protectourheritage.co   to see the on-line petition and add your name on it.

The government of Iran is sympathetic to it, and would like the request to come from Zoroastrians.
With the president of Iran in New York, we need to collect  as many signatures as possible and I urge you to do so personally  and disseminate to your network

I have signed the petition.   Please visit the website and check it out for  yourself

Please forward this to your family and friends after you have signed it.

Regards,

Maneck Bhujwala

Fravahar Island in the Persian Gulf.

BEHROOZ KHALILI
The plan for building an artificial island in the shape of fravahar in the Persian Gulf is under completion .The agreed confirmation for this project has also been issued. This island is being built on a 6 million and two hundred thousand  square meter land measuring 3×5 km.This island is located in front of the outskirts of the historical Siraf Harbour in the Bushehr province. This island includes Boarding and lodging sites,Hotels,University, Solar Energy Center ,Playground,A big cultural International Hall for cultural speech and conversations etc….

Dr.Esfandiyar Ekhtiyari(The Iranian Zoroastrians MP) being the managerial member of this team informed us that in the near future  the plan for this project which is being supervised by 60 executives will be executed after final analysis.This project being unique in its own kind will be displaying something of its own kind to the generations to come.

Click here for more

 

Courtesy : Zaver Bomanbehram

 

Monograph on Zoroastrian Heritage & Nutrition – for Distribution

Dear friends,

Some of the most popular pages on the Zoroastrian Heritage website and blog are the ones relating to Nutrition – in particular the monograph, “Nutrition – Were Ancient Zoroastrians & Aryans Vegetarian?” In addition to seeking answers, the monograph broadly addresses Zoroastrian principles and values.

Complete and abridged pdf versions of the monograph are available for download at:

http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/reference/Nutrition-Eduljee-Complete.pdf

and

http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/reference/Nutrition-Eduljee-Abridged.pdf

A previous monograph, “Farohar/Fravahar Motif. What Does It Represent? Use of Icons & Symbols in Zoroastrianism” can be downloaded at:

Complete: http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/reference/FaroharMotif-Eduljee.pdf (64,426 downloads to March 26, 2015)

and

Abridged: http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/reference/FaroharMotif-Eduljee-Abridged.pdf (24,203 downloads to March 26, 2015)

 

Regards

K. E. Eduljee

Zoroastrian Heritage website (www.zoroastrianheritage.com)

Zoroastrian Heritage blog (http://zoroastrianheritage.blogspot.ca/)

Courtesy : Dolly Dastoor

Farohar / Fravahar Monographs and Call for Images

Mr. K. E. Eduljee has posted a monograph on the “Farohar/Fravahar Motif. What Does It Represent? Use of Icons & Symbols in Zoroastrianism”, on the Zoroastrian Heritage website at

 
 
 
The monograph is available in two versions: a complete version with notations and source texts, and an abridged version without notations and source texts.
 
Mr. Eduljee is interested in knowing if you are aware of the farohar/fravahar motif being used from the end of Achaemenid rule in the 4th century BCE to about three hundred years ago. In addition, what is the earliest known use of the farohar/fravahar motif in the past three hundred years of which you are aware?
 
Please send this information and any images to enquiry@heritageinstitute.com. The information you provide could be very helpful in adding to our knowledge of Zoroastrian heritage.
 
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