The Gathas are the Heavenly songs of our Dear Prophet
Zarathushtra. These divine hymns in
essence, represent Zarathushtra’s communication with Ahura Mazda, in which the
Prophet enquires about various aspects of the corporeal and spiritual worlds
that embody the Almighty’s Holy Plan. It is through these Gathas that we learn
that Ahura Mazda ordained Zarathushtra to propagate our great religion and lead
The five Gathas address a wide variety of information,
which include, the creation of Nature, the concepts of Asha, Vohu Manah and the
Twin Spirits, the choices that mankind has to make between Good and Evil, the
expected outcome for the demons of the time, the punishment for the followers
of falsehood, and a slew of other material. The devotional ‘Manthras’ that Zarathushtra
prayed at the time to invoke the sacred Blessings from Ahura Mazda, is
sprinkled in different verses of each Gatha. These specific verses could very well be a
great source of divine prayers for us to recite as well.
To allow a true Zarathushti to pray these selected
sacred verses that are relevant to our daily lives, I have extracted these
verses from each Gatha and have compiled them in a PDF format. I have also provided the English translation
for each stanza, to help with the understanding of the meaning of each verse
for the reader. This translation is
based on “Gatha ba Maani” by Ervad Cowasji Eduljee Kanga, and “Divine Songs of
Zarathushtra” by Iruch Taraporewala.
I am well aware of the unfortunate degradation of our community members throughout the world, to shy away from following the tenets of our religion, let alone reciting our daily prayers. However, even if a handful of true Zarathushtis do get a chance to recite these verses, I will consider myself blessed by Ahura Mazda.
Garments are designed to promote ‘good thoughts, good words and good deeds’
Members of many different religions wear clothing that is specific to their faith and their patterns of worship. Members of the Zoroastrian faith, one of the world’s oldest religions founded in ancient Persia in the sixth century B.C., wear two special pieces of clothing: a sudreh and a kusti.
The sudreh is a white undergarment vest. There is a “v” pocket in front called the “giriban.” One has to collect as many good deeds as possible in this giriban. A person wearing it is considered to be the keeper of the pledge to do good (kissaai-karfa). The fabric has to be clean, and a Zarathusti (another name for a Zoroastrian) wears the sudreh after taking a daily bath.
The second item of clothing, the kusti, represents the 72 chapters of one of the holy Zoroastrian books. It is woven of lamb’s wool and has tassels on both ends. It is wound around the waist three times to represent the good thoughts, good words and good deeds to be performed by the wearer. It is placed around the waist after the sudreh is put on. It is knotted twice, once in the front and once at the back. This sets a binding commitment to the Zoroastrian creed.
The sudreh is put on after a cleansing bath without any prayers, but donning the kusti requires the help of prayers. These prayers are found in the Khordeh Avesta, the daily prayer book of the Zoroastrian faith. “Khordeh” means “god” and “Avesta” is an ancient language of the Persians in which the book is written. Hence it is the “language of god.”
A child begins wearing the sudreh and the kusti during the initiation ceremony of the navjote (newly born). Traditionally this ceremony is performed at the age of 15, which is considered to be the age of reason or coming of age. One must have the capacity, maturity and training to make responsible choices, and to take responsibility for decision-making and judgments. Before the navjote ceremony, these things are the responsibility of parents. During the navjote ceremony, the child makes a pledge to abide by the tenants of the faith, a covenant (a pledge) that Zoroastrians will renew every time they recite the kusti prayers as they wrap the kusti around the waist.The Zarathusti initiate must have the capacity to enter the faith with this pledge and be responsible and accountable for every thought, word and deed.
According to the Zoroastrian faith, one is endowed with a good mind (vohu manah) at birth, to be used for good thoughts, good words and good deeds. The good is referred to as “spenta menuy,” and the evil as “angrey men,” according to the Avesta texts.
Cowsie Malva lives in Redlands. A retired school teacher, Malva is a member of the Redlands Area Interfaith Council and a Zoroastrian priest.
Ruby Hall prides its reputation in medical tourism Pune-based Ruby Hall Clinic is among the largest multi-speciality medical facilities in Western India. It has been in the space for over five decades. Ruby Hall Clinic, CEO, Bomi Bhote, shares his views with Pankaj Joshi. He talks about the drivers in the sector and where the company looks for growth.
Professor Almut Hintze FBA, Professor of Zoroastrianism and Co-Chair SOAS Shapoorji Pallonji Institute of Zoroastrian Studies, London, along with her colleagues Ms. Celine Redard, Mr. Benedikt Thomas and Mr. Kerman Daruwalla, presently at Navsari were keen to visit some villages in South Gujarat Navsari to see for themselves and understand the harsh conditions in which many of our Zarathushti brothers and sisters live and the work the WZO Trusts are doing to bring them into the mainstream of society.
Two members of Team WZO Trusts at Navsari accompanied Professor Almut Hintze and her colleagues on a day trip to a few villages on January 30, 2019. We are pleased to attach some photographs taken during their visit.
WZO Trusts express their gratitude and are very grateful to Professor Almut Hintze and her colleagues for their interest and having taken the time and trouble to visit some of the villages for firsthand knowledge.
WZO Trusts have since 1991 impacted the lives of 489 families in 198 villages, having facilitated their transition from abject poverty and back into the mainstream of society.
XTX Markets, a three-year-old startup, had been named the third-largest market maker in the $5.1 trillion-a-day market, leapfrogging some of the world’s biggest banks including Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG. For a company that ranked 12th the previous year, it was a coup.
Now the London-based company, which doesn’t have any human traders, is setting its sights on U.S. markets.
XTX aims to expand in stocks and Treasuries, markets in which it says customers aren’t getting a good deal. “We don’t believe that all markets are fair and efficient,” says Zar Amrolia, XTX’s co-chief executive officer. He points to U.S. equities in particular. “The speed is so high, it’s really providing no benefit to the market at all—it’s detrimental,” he says, adding that it raises costs for investors. Amrolia, who has a doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University, was co-head of fixed income, currencies, and commodities at Deutsche Bank AG before leaving in 2015 and starting XTX with fellow Deutsche Bank alumnus Alex Gerko, who also has a Ph.D. in math.
They’re looking to change the rules of the game. In a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in November, Amrolia and co-CEO Gerko called for a “wholesale rollback” of Regulation NMS—a landmark SEC rule approved in 2005 that accelerated a shift to electronic trading in the U.S. stock market. “The race for speed in trading has reached an inflection point where the marginal cost of gaining an edge over other market participants, now measured in microseconds and nanoseconds, is harming investors,” they wrote.
Their concerns echo those highlighted in Michael Lewis’s 2014 book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. In it, Lewis describes how high-frequency traders use complex algorithms to rapidly move in and out of stock positions, making money by arbitraging small price differences and front-running other investors’ trades.
XTX also criticized so-called latency arbitrage in its letter to the SEC, arguing for the introduction of speed bumps to slow trading and enable market makers to post better prices without getting picked off by high-frequency traders. “It is ambitious, but it’s also practical and timely,” says Eric Swanson, the company’s New York-based Americas CEO. He formerly served as general counsel and corporate secretary at exchange operator Bats Global Markets, which was bought by Cboe Global Markets Inc. in 2017.
Although it’s advocating for change, Swanson points out that XTX’s growth plans aren’t contingent on shifting rules. “In U.S. equities, we’re in this for the long haul,” he says. “We realize that the regulatory changes are a long game.”
This isn’t the first time the company has criticized market practices. In currencies, XTX advocated for changes to “last look,” a controversial practice that allows dealers to back out of losing trades.
It’s “absurd” that some market makers still retain the option to hold trades for as long as 200 milliseconds before striking a deal or pulling out, Amrolia says. XTX hasn’t done away with last look entirely, but it removed the holding time between a client’s trade request and its acceptance or denial of the deal.
That change is critical for one of XTX’s clients. Neil McDonald, head of trading and quantitative analytics at retail foreign exchange platform Oanda Corp., says he gets consistently good prices from XTX, which has the lowest rejection rate among the market makers with whom he trades. “I’m very impressed,” he says. XTX is more open about its operations and hungry to win business compared with some banks, which aren’t always attentive to customers, he says.
XTX’s rise comes in the wake of a price-rigging scandal in FX that prompted global banks to pay more than $10 billion in fines and penalties. Three British traders were acquitted in October of fixing prices in a chat room that was called the “Cartel.”
McDonald says XTX has also benefited from starting from nothing to build its electronic trading systems. “They’ve had the advantage of being able to build something from scratch and not try to fix the airplane while it’s flying, which is what the banks are trying to do,” he says.
XTX has 118 staff globally, including 10 people at its New York office in Hudson Yards, Amrolia says. Since he and Gerko founded the company, it’s increased trading volume to an average of $150 billion a day across stocks, currencies, fixed income, and commodities.
XTX’s office in the King’s Cross neighborhood of London is like someone’s fantasy of a tech company headquarters. Bar? Check. Sleeping quarters? Check. There’s also a replica Apollo 11 landing capsule, saunas, arcade games, and a self-playing piano. Staff perks include yoga classes and massages, as well as regular staff events such as a chess tournament in January.
The company made a profit of about £61 million ($80 million) in 2017, little changed from a year earlier, according to the annual report for that year, the latest for which data are available. More recently, its global cash equities volumes jumped 74 percent in 2018 from a year earlier, while FX volumes were up 46 percent.
Now that it’s established in currencies and European stocks, the company is focused on expanding its U.S. footprint. Recent events may have helped. XTX said it benefited from a surge in market activity at the end of 2018 as investors became cautious about growth prospects in the U.S. and globally, driving a 9 percent slump in the S&P 500 index in December.
“One of the great things about XTX is that it was built and expanded and gained dominance in a period of lower volumes and volatility,” Swanson says. “When we do have these volatility spikes, volume increases.”
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A true Indian always celebrates India’s Republic Day. Every patriotic person respects and enjoy republic day. So were the Parsi Zorastrians at Ahmedabad on last Saturday – 26th January.
Since 2015, the trustees of the Dhanjishaw and Manijeh Gamir Charitable Trust at Ahmedabad [known by DMGCT] celebrated India’s Republic Day as usual – 5th time. Such a celebration is arranged every year since 2015. Almost 325 community members attended the event which was started sharp as usual at 10.30 morning.
The flag hoisting was in the hands of Maj.Gen. [Retd.] Rohinton Jamsurarwalla from Pune. The event ceremony started sharp at 10.30 morning. Mr. Harvez Bharucha, connected to NCC escorted Maj.Gen.[Retd.] Jambusarwalla who hoisted our national flag with our National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana, was sung by all participants at the event. The ceremony was followed by two patriotic songs sung by Mrs.Armin Dutia and Mrs. Perin Davar both Ahmedabad residents. Mr. Ariez Munshi, before flag hoisting, introduced the Chief guest, Maj. Gen. [Retd.] Rohinton Jambusarwalla, how well he had served the army for almost 40 years from day one of his joining till official retirement. Maj.Gen. [Retd.] Rohinton Jambursarwalla in his speech highlighted how well he was inducted in the Army, different places and posts he served. He highlighted that one time all different services, be it Army, Navy, Air force, the Parsis were in many numbers which gradually has been declining. People use to keep in mind that the job attachment in any of the services is indeed very tough, no return as also life style remain different than what in business, other pomp services today observed by many educated one. He urged young Parsi Zorastrians to join any of the services of they like and live with pride that they are doing something for the country. The vote of thanks were offered by one of the trustee, Mr.Aspy Unwalla who thanks the Chief Guest for visiting Ahmedabad for the event, Parsi Zarthostis of Ahmedabad for participating the event, Ahmeabad Parsi Panchayat for allowing to use the Sanitorium hall [Lalkaka Hall] and the Lunch served by Mek Caterers, Mr. Malcum Bastawala.
The event started sharp at 10.30 morning with a welcome speech by Mr.Aspy Bharucha, Trustee, who welcomed all at the event, as also the Chief Guest. He briefed the occasion which was cherished by Mrs. Manijeh Gamir, one of the testator of the Trust and in her life time as a trustee narrated in her speech delivered very first event in 2015, as to how she as a Teacher at the School in her old days use to arrange such celebrations. Mr. Aspy Bharucha in brief introduced late Dhanjishaw and Manijeh Gamr of their simple life style leaving behind legacy for the welfare of the Parsi Zorastrians of Ahmedabad.
This was the 5th event started since 2015. All these years, the Trust is able to find a right dignified Parsi Zarthosti having served any of the Service wings. Earlier to this event, the Flag Hoisting was arranged in the hands of Maj.Gen. [Retd.] Mr. Navroz Chinoy now settled at Ahmedabad, and in line thereof, 2nd was in the hands of Brig. [Retd.] Mr.Jehangir Anklesaria [Ahmedabad] 3rd was in the hands of Mr.Areez Khambatta, Ex-Commondar of Home Guards and Chief Operating Officer of Civil Defence, Ahmedabad, and 4th last year it was in the hands of Col. [Retd.] Kaizad Bhaya from Pune.
The event was followed by Games which was participated by all ages both individually and in group. The games were organized by Mrs. Jeniffer Kapadia, and Mr. Ariez Bokdawala both from Ahmedabad. As usual, the event was full of Joy, Fun, Enjoyment and Food without which any Parsi event will not end. The lunch was served by Mr.Malcum Bastawala of Mek Caterers of Udwada.
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Persian New Year (“Norooz”) will be celebrated in grand fashion in 2019 in San Francisco. On Saturday, March 9, 2019, San Francisco’s Union Square will be the site of an inaugural all-day “Norooz Spring Festival,” celebrating the arrival of Spring in the millenia-old joyful tradition of Norooz. The day’s festivities, which are presented by Norooz Outreach and Diaspora Arts Connection, will include food, live-music, dance, Persian calligraphy and miniatures, activities for children, and other demonstrations of the symbols of Norooz.
For over 3,000 years, Norooz—translated as “new day” (a combination of “new” (no) and “day” (rooz))—has marked the Persian New Year, celebrated worldwide by diverse communities in many countries. With roots in the Zoroastrian tradition, Norooz has become a secular holiday celebration for people across many different faiths. Norooz is marked at the precise moment of the vernal equinox, representing the formal beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere (often on March 21).
The Union Square Norooz Spring Festival on March 9 will have activities all day, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Come and enjoy the arrival of Spring with your friends and family!
Norooz Outreach is an initiative founded and funded by the HAND Foundation to establish Norooz as an enjoyable new American tradition: A celebration of the beginning of Spring and the renewal of life, and an opportunity for Iranian-Americans and other celebrating communities to share the Norooz tradition with their neighborhoods, schools and the American community at large. “Holding a Norooz Spring Festival in Union Square is a perfect way to support the mission of Norooz Outreach, which is to connect populations outside the Persian community with the joyous and renewing tradition of Norooz,” said Nosheen Hashemi, the cofounder and President of the HAND Foundation.
Diaspora Arts Connection is an organization committed to the support of artists in diaspora and their empowerment through performing their art to supportive audiences across the Bay Area. “After decades of life in the beautiful and diverse community of Northern California, the Iranian diaspora community is pleased to give back and enrich its surrounding communities by bringing this heartfelt celebration of earth and renewal to the Bay Area community at large,” said Nazy Kaviani, the founder and Executive Director of DAC.
This study affecting the tiny but important Parsi Community discusses for the first time varied questions like demography, housing, health, poverty, nutrition, race biology, eugenics, etc. The book contains 58 tables and 8 figures. Numerous references to Indian and world problems of identical nature make the reading interesting and useful for all students of population problems.
Written in 1948, the problems and solutions are still relevant to the present generation of Parsis