Pad-ruz Yane Uthamnani Mahan Kriya, a 1916 Gujarati book by Mr. Beheramshah Naoroji Shroff (પાદ-રૂઝ યાને ઉઠમણાંની મહાન ક્રિયા: ગુજરવા બાદ પહેલા ચાર દિવસની ક્રિયાઓની મોતેબરી – સચકાર, ગેહસારણું, તથા પાયદસ્તના અસલ કાયદાઓ તથા પાદ-રૂઝ યાને પાછલી રાતનાં ઉઠમણાંની ક્રિયા.
Category Archives: Prayers
Presented as a recitable prayer in English compiled from the following publications which give different versions of the Holy Gathas as per links below, (a compilation by Jimmy Wadia ( firstname.lastname@example.org) :
Thank you Jimmy for sharing.
Courtesy : Dhun Madon [email@example.com]
Zoroastrians all over the world celebrate the last ten days of their religious Calendar Year, that is, from Roj Ashtad Mah Asfandarmad to the Vahishtoisht Gatha, as the Muktad. The word Muktad is also referred to as Muktāt, which is closer to the Sanskrit word from which it is derived – mukt ātmān. It is the Sanskrit rendering of the Avestan word ashāunām.
Muktad is a joyous occasion for remembering and welcoming the Fravashis. We need to show our love and gratitude to them, as they help us in many ways. We have to thank both the types of Fravashis – those helping Nature and those helping souls of men (living as well as departed ones). In old books, among the list of duties of a Zoroastrian, the duty of celebrating the Muktad is foremost.
According to Saddar Bundahishn during these days the Souls of the Departed too come down to the earth. The Fravashis, who are the Guardians of the Soul, accompany them. All Souls are liberated, from wherever they are, even from hell. The Souls of the pious make merry as if a traveler has returned home. The Souls of the evil do not experience much joy as they are in the dread of returning back.
Zoroastrians erroneously believe that Muktad are the days of remembering just their departed ones. In fact, Muktad are the days for the collective worship of all Fravashis, followed by the individual remembrance of Souls and Fravashis of one’s dear departed ones.
During the days of Muktad, the Fravashis come collectively to this world and go to their respective houses. Whenever the Muktad are properly celebrated and the Fravashis are duly propitiated, the affairs of those people are successful, and there is all round prosperity. People are blessed with health, strength, happiness, protection and abundance of waters. The Fravashis even bless the city and nation in which they are remembered.
PREPARATION FOR MUKTAD:
In the past, especially when Muktad was mainly celebrated in the house, preparations were made in the house. The full house or a particular room was cleaned and white-washed. Provisions and fuel were stocked at least to last the days of Muktad and New Year. This was done so that one did not need to go shopping during these days. People, as far as possible do not go out of the house, as Souls and Fravashis come home, and it is not proper to leave them and go. Sometimes night long vigil was also kept by people. People of the house, especially women who were actively involved with preparations, took a Nahan.
All family members used to contribute their share towards buying house-hold items. This sharing gave rise to the term Behru, a Persian word, which means “share”. Today, what we understand by the term Behru is the consecrated Vase or Karasya in which water and flowers are kept during the days of Muktad. The Behru is symbolic of the unity of the family and does not necessarily represent the departed person.
MUKTAD IN THE HOUSE:
It is advisable to observe the Muktad in the house. If not the prayers, at least some arrangement can be done to welcome the Fravashis home. The main requirements for observing Muktad in the house are fresh water, flowers, a metallic Vase or a Karasyo, a metallic or stone table, fire, divo and chanting of prayers. Flowers can be arranged in a Vase filled with water and kept in the prayer room or a secluded corner of the house. Water and flowers in the vase have to be changed daily. Flowers and water are the visible emblems and symbolic reminders of the invisible souls and Fravashis. Water and flowers are representatives of Khordad and Amardad Ameshaspand. They are the carriers of reward for the Soul of the Deceased . They also uphold life and so do Fravashis. Moreover, all the three are also carriers of divine blessings. Hence, water, plant and Fravashis are remembered together at several places (Yasna 26, Farvardin Yasht 23 etc.)
DURATION – 10 OR 18 DAYS:
Today generally we celebrate 10 days of Muktad, starting from Roj Ashtad of Mah Asfandarmad and ending at Vahishtoisht Gatha. Zoroastrian texts have references to 10 Farvardegan days. (dasa pairi khshafnao in Farvardin Yasht XIII, Phl Vd.VIII.22, Sdr Bnd, 52.1-3, Persian Revayats, Dhabhar).
Since a long time in India, Muktad was celebrated for 18 days. It started on Roj Ashishvangh of Mah Asfandarmad and ended on the dawn of Roj Amardad Mah Farvardin. The earliest evidence of 18 days Muktad is through references in a book which relate such celebrations since the 15th century.
The reason Muktad were lengthened to 18 days was that the 7 days after Vahishtoisht Gatha are important since they belong to 7 Amshaspands: Hormazd Roj is Navroz, Ardibahesht Roj is Rapithwin consecration, Khordad Roj is Khordad Saal. Hence these six days were clubbed together to form 18 Muktad days. It should be noted that though the Muktad are said to be of eighteen days, on Ashishvangh Roj and Amardad Roj hardly any prayers are done.
In the early seventies, especially due to the initiative taken by Dasturji Khurshed Dabu and others, Muktad were once again gradually reverted back to 10 days.
Hamaspathmaedhem Gahambar: The later five days of the 10 day Muktad are also the days of the sixth and the last Gahambar, Hamaspathmaedhem. According to Zoroastrian Religion, each of the 6 creations was created during one of the Gahambars. Mankind was created on the last Gahambar.
PURPOSE OF MUKTAD:
In most religious traditions, the departed ones are specially invoked once a year. The Hindus refer these days as Shradh and the Christians as Lent (before Good Friday). According to Zoroastrian tradition the Fravashis descend at the end of the year.
During the Muktad, one has to keep away from routine work, devote time to the remembrance of Fravashis and do works of charity. Fravashis comes whenever they are invited. However, during the days of Muktad all the Fravashis descend. When they come to the house they have to be remembered and worshipped. If they are happy, they give blessings of prosperity and happiness. They should not go back dissatisfied. Great rewards can be obtained by the observation of Muktad.
Muktad is a time of REPAYING the debt of gratitude to our ancestors – those whom we know and the countless others whom we don’t know, but who have made a difference to our lives.
These days also help us to renew the MEMORY of our dear departed ones. They also help us realise our RESPONSIBILITY for the future generations. Just as we reap the rewards of the actions done by our past ancestors, we should do something for the future generations.
SPECIAL PRAYERS FOR MUKTAD, ESPECIALLY FOR LAITY:
- For the first five days, Framraot Hā (commentary of Ashem Vohu) or 1200 Ashem Vohu in the khshnuman of Ardafravash has to be recited. Notes prepared by Er. Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia for Ahunavar Academy 3
For the five days of Gathas, each Gatha on the respective day or 1200 Yatha in the Khshnuman of Gatha has to be recited.
Muktad no namaskar.
Lākhi nu bhantar 570 Yatha + 210 Ashem + 120 Yenghe (total 900) in the khsnuman of Sarosh – is to be recited daily for 10 days.
CUSTOMS FOR MUKTAD:
1) Not to cut hair and nails, so as not to create naso and impurity.
2) Not to stitch clothes or other such avoidable chores, so that one could devote time to prayers and remembrance of Fravashis Men should not engage in activities except doing their duty and performing meritorious deeds, so that the Fravashis may return with delight and pronounce benedictions.
3) To keep fire in the house and offer fragrance to it, praise Fravashis, recite the Fravarden Yasht, perform Afringan and recite Avesta prayers so that the Fravashis experience comfort, joy and delight and confer blessings.
Some customs arose out of ignorance and were later discontinued. For instance, a Jama (long white robe) was hung on sugarcane sticks to remind of the presence of the souls of departed persons. There was also a custom of cleaning the corners of the house with a broom immediately after Muktad to make sure that all the souls and Fravashis depart, lest some may stay back and take back the soul of a living person as company.
Presently there is a practice of going from Agyari to Agyari to pay homage to Muktad. This practice is not in agreement with the spirit of Muktad, wherein we need to stay at home, pray and invite the Fravashis in our houses. Moreover, in the past Muktads were mostly celebrated at home and not in Agyaris.
IMPORTANT DAYS DURING MUKTAD:
1. Roj Marespand – Din Beh Mino Marespand: On this day the Zarathushtra was accepted as a prophet by King Vishtasp.
- Hamaspathmaedhem Gahambar days: To consecrate Gahambar preferably on Ahunavad Gatha or any of the five Gathas.
Vahishtoisht Gatha is known as Pateti – day of Repentance. On this day, preferably in the Ushahin Gah, Patet has to be recited to seek forgiveness for sins committed knowingly or unknowingly during the year. The night of Vahishtoisht Gatha is also referred to as Valāvo, that is, send off (for the Fravashis).
Muktad are the days of heightened communication between the material and spiritual worlds- our need of health, happiness, peace and prosperity is fulfilled through the blessings of the souls and the Fravashis, and their need for our remembrance is fulfilled by our sincere prayers and invocations.
(By Er. Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia)
Why we should celebrate Muktad?
The world comprises of seen and unseen elements. There are several unseen aspects of life, which only religion can explain, and which we need to know through the religion.One such important aspect of Zoroastrian religion is the immortality of the soul in the spiritual world after death and the existence of Fravashis “guardian spirits” to help the souls in this world and the next.Muktad is the special time to celebrate the contribution of the souls and Fravashis of the previous generations and fondly remember them by offering prayers along with special gifts of fragrant flowers and prayers.The souls look forward to being remembered in a loving manner, especially during the Muktad. If happy with our love and remembrance, they bless us with health, wealth and happiness.The number of days of celebrating the Muktad may be ten or eighteen depending on what tradition one follows. However, this is not as important as the fact that we remember and celebrate the memory of the dear departed ones.
For how many years should Muktad and/or the Annual Baj prayers be done for the dear ones?There is no specific injunction in our religious texts as to the number of years the Muktad or Annual Baj prayers should be done.Certain texts mention it as the duty of every Zoroastrian to remember the Fravashis, especially the Fravashis of their own dear departed parents and near ones during the Farvardegan (Muktad) days. Taking this injunction along with the injunction of the desire of the souls and the Fravashis to be remembered, it was the religious tradition in the past that the Muktad and Annual Baj should performed for one generation. Thus, over a period of time depending on several factors people were advised to have the Muktad performed for about 20 years in the past.As of now, depending on one’s financial condition and other circumstances and factors one has to decide for oneself how long one wants to have the Muktad or annual Baj prayers be done. By and large, in the present times and circumstances prayers may ideally be done for around five years.It is necessary that we remember the dear departed ones at home by doing a divo, and if possible praying the Satum no Kardo on their Baj day and during the Muktad, irrespective of whether the prayers are done at the agyari, and more so if they are not done.
Can one have Muktad performed at two different locations?Muktad are days to collectively remember all Asho Farohars. This includes Asho Farohars of our dear departed ones along with the souls.The soul of a dear departed one can be remembered in as many places as possible. All the priests remember holy souls of people like Dasturji Kukadaru and Homaji all over the world. Hence simultaneous prayers and remembrance of dear departed ones can be held at multiple locations.More than one behra can be consecrated for a departed person. However, it must be stated that individual and separate behras are not essential to pray for a dear departed one during Muktad.
Why are flowers connected with the Muktad? Why are they kept in the Behra and used to remember the dear departed ones?Muktad are the days when the Fravashis of all creations, Asho Farohars of humans and all souls descend on earth.At this time they are to be made to feel welcome amongst us and offered what they like the most – prayers, light and natural fragrance.The best creations with natural fragrance are fresh flowers and hence they are kept in vases at the place where Asho Farohars are remembered.Flowers belong to the plant kingdom and hence are representatives of Amardad ameshaspand, who also looks after immortality of the soul and its just rewards. Flowers in a way remind the living and the departed souls of their immortality and of the rewards of their life’s actions.A few simple fragrant flowers like rose and lily are all that is required for this purpose. We need not go overboard and offer too many exotic and expensive flowers.
Why are there 3 Muktads, 3 Navroz, 3 Khordad Sals etc, as per the 3 Zoroastrian calendars, which are the real day?Presently in the Zoroastrian tradition there are 3 sects-– the Shahenshahi, Kadimi and Fasali. People following these sects observe the religious festivals on the basis of their own calendars. Hence each festival is celebrated thrice.Festivals are days of coming together, enjoyment and thanksgiving. The purpose for which they are celebrated may vary, seasons may differ – but the end result of festivals is bringing about unity, harmony, hope and joy and that should remain intact.In the early Christian era, Christmas was celebrated on different days, as people were not sure about the exact day of birth of their prophet. Still for the sake of unity all days were brought together and the birth of Christ is today celebrated on 25th of December.Thus, all three Zoroastrian celebrations are valid. Nature absorbs the prayer and utilizes it at due time. As for the Muktad, the Fravshis and souls come to this world whenever they are remembered. Today we remember them on a few days in the year. In the past they were remembered through rituals either daily and especially on all festivals. If they are remembered any time during the year, even without a particular purpose, they come. There may be hundreds of Fravashis and souls for whom rituals may not be performed even during the Muktad. That does not mean they never come to the earth. There is total understanding and magnanimity in the divine world and they should not be compared to us humans.
What prayers can the laymen (Behdin) recite during Muktad days? (JJ 2-8-2015)Muktad are the days when we have to remember, thank and make happy the Asho Farohars and Ravans (souls) of our near and dear ones in particular and the whole universe in general. One of the best ways to do these is by prayers and rituals. Most rituals are generally the domain of prests. However laymen also can perform a few rituals and offer prayers to Asho farohars and Ravans. Below are a few such prayer:The Satum no kardo is the best prayer to be recited during the days of the Muktad. During the 5 Gatha days, this prayer is recited with some modification. If it is recited with the offering of some food cooked by a Zarthoshti, it becomes the Satum ritual. It should be recited after the Kasti and daily Farazyat prayers.Muktad no namaskar is a very short prayer that can be recited anytime during the days of the Muktad. The prayer is as follows: Az hamā gunāh patet pashemānom. ashaunām vanghuhish surāo spentāo fravashayo yazamaide. (thrice) Ahmai raeshcha – Hazanghrem-Jasa me avanghe Mazda-Kerfeh Mozd.Over and above the prayers mentioned, one can recite the Framraot Hā (Yasna Hā 20) or 1200 Ashem Vohu with the khshnuman of Ardafravash, for the first five days.For the five days of Gathas, each collection of Gathas can be recited on the respective day or 1200 Yatha on each day, with the khshnuman of Gatha.There is another prayer called Lākhi nu bhantar, in which a combination of 570 Yatha ahu vairyo, 210 Ashem vohu and 120 Yenghe hātām (total 900) are recited with the khshnuman of Sarosh Yazad daily for all the days of the Muktad.
The Yenghe hātām is the prayer of Divine Love, Unity and Harmony. Though it can be recited independently, generally it is not found separately in prayer books. However, it is part of most larger prayers. In Yasna Ha 61 it is said that this prayer takes one’s veneration forward in a better way. Yasna Ha 21 is a commentary on this prayer.
Text of the prayer: Yenghe hātām āat yesne paiti vangho
Mazdāo ahuro vaethā ashāt hachā yāonghāmchā
Tāschā tāoschā yazamaide.
Meaning: Among the living ones, we venerate those men and women whom Ahura Mazda has known to be better in their worship on account of their Righteousness.
Free translation: Practice of righteousness makes humans better. Such men and women who have reached a higher state of awareness of life through their righteous conduct spread peace and harmony in the world. They are beloved of God.
Here is the recitation of Ardibehest Yasht and Ardibehest Yasht Nirang for healing (last 3 minutes is the nirang)
Very powerful prayer for healing in all conditions
Ardibehest Yasht ni Nirang
Bahman is the Persian form of the Pahlavi word Wahman and the original Avestan – Vohu Manah, a term which most scholars translate as the ‘Good Mind’, though there are more esoteric interpretations as well.
In the pantheon of Zoroastrian Divinities, Bahman Amshaspand ranks next to Ahura Mazda Himself! Bahman is an Amshaspand or Amesha Spenta (translated as Bountiful Immortal or Arch Angel) who is the guardian of Ahura Mazda’s Good Creation of Animals – particularly Goshpands like cow, goat, sheep, etc. It is for this reason that devout Parsis abstain from eating meat throughout the entire month of Bahman. Even those who do not observe fasting from meat for the whole month try to avoid eating meat on Bahman Roj of Bahman Mahand the days dedicated to Bahman’s Hamkara (co-workers) – Mohor, Gosh and Ram.
Since at a moral and ethical level, Bahman represents the Good Mind, abstaining from eating meat on every Bahman Roj, as also Roj Mohor, Gosh and Ram, is considered not just as an act of pleasing the Guardian Divinities of all Goshpands, but, also an act of spiritual merit to acquire spiritual wisdom through internal cleansing and exercising non-violence towards a Good Creation of Ahura Mazda.
Strictly speaking, throughout the month of Bahman, a Zoroastrian is expected to live on a simple diet of ann, fal and shak (grain, fruit and vegetable). But Parsis, being Parsis, cannot live on what they call ghaas phoos,and therefore most consider eating eggs as quite acceptable and some go even further to believe that eating fish or even fowl, would be perfectly legitimate. “Aquatic creatures with fins and two legged fowls are notGoshpand”, it is argued! To each their own! I believe that there is no point observing the month of the Good Mind unless it is observed with faith, humility and understanding.
In the Gatha, Prophet Zarathushtra asserts that the path leading to Ahura Mazda is through Vohu Manah. In other words, propitiating Bahman Amshaspand takes one closer to God. Interpreted at a moral and ethical level, exercising the right moral choice with the help of the good mind can only take one closer to Ahura Mazda, who in Zoroastrian theology is seen as the very Lord or Master of Wisdom.
In certain later texts, the Sudreh that every Zoroastrian wears is referred to as Vohu Manah Vastra or the garment of Bahman; just the way the Kushti that is tied around the waist is referred to as the girdle of Sarosh Yazata. It is believed that wearing the Sudreh which is the garment of Bahman Amshaspand gives the wearer wisdom, while tying the kushti over it gives the wearer Sarosh Yazata’s Divine protection. According to historians, the Achaemenian emperor Artaxerxes II had Vohu Manah as the second part of his throne or court name, which when translated into Greek, appeared as ‘Mnemon’.
I have memories of observing Bahman Mah as a child and one of the most vivid is eating just plain khichdi (rice cooked with daal and turmeric) with spicy-tangy Bafenu (a ripe Mango Pickle) or Doru (a tangy-runny concoction made with tamarind).
In the Zoroastrian calendar of 365 days there is not a single day for total fasting from food. The only fast that is traditionally observed is the fast from eating meat throughout the month of Bahman. No special prayers or ceremonies are performed during this month. One is only expected to turn to a simple vegetarian diet as an act of spiritual discipline.
There is no Yasht or Niyaish dedicated to Bahman. There probably was an Avestan Vohu Manah or Bahman Yasht but which is now lost to us with the vicissitudes of time. What we have is a Pahlavi commentary called Zand-e-Vohu Manah Yasna. However, unlike Avesta and Pazand, Pahlavi is not Manthravani or the traditional language of prayer. However, many do pray it. Once again, to each their own article of faith!
Historically, Parsis Zoroastrians have never been a vegetarian community. In fact, one of the strongest arguments supporting the non-vegetarian theory is the observance of Bahman Mah. “If Parsis are mandated by religious tradition to be vegetarian all year round, why all the fuss over this month?” is a common refrain! However, the fact is: ‘we are what we eat’ and a vegetarian diet is considered good for spiritual development. Spiritually advanced Zoroastrians like Dasturji Jamshed Kukadaru were all staunch vegetarians. In the Gatha, Asho Zarathushtra urges us to acquire happiness through wisdom, which in turn can be acquired by reflective thinking and exercising moral choices within an ethical framework. Much later, the Chinese philosopher, Confucius echoed the same thought: “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest”.
May Bahman Amshaspand bless our community with Wisdom!
Daily Zoroastrian prayers recorded (from the Khorda Avesta)
|Ashem Vohu||Dastoorji N. D. Minochehr-Homji||Download|
|Ashem Vohu||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Yatha Ahu Vairyo||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Khshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdao||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Kem-Na Mazda||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Ahura Mazda Khoday||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Jasa-Me Awanghe Mazda, Mazdayasno Ahmi||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Srosh Baj||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Hawan Gah||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Morning|
|Rapithwin Gah||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Noon|
|Uzerin Gah||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Afternoon|
|Aiwisruthrem Gah||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Evening|
|Ushahin Gah||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Midnight|
|Yenghe Hatam||Dastoorji N. D. Minochehr-Homji||Download|
|Humatanam||Dastoorji N. D. Minochehr-Homji||Download|
|Hoshbam||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Dawn|
|Deen No Kalmo||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Khwarshed Niyayesh||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Litany to the Sun|
|Mihr Niyayesh||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Litany to Mithra|
|Nam Stayishn||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Mah Niyayesh||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Litany to the Moon|
|Aban Niyayesh (Ardvisur Niyayesh)||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Litany to the Waters|
|Atash Niyayesh||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Litany to the Fire|
|Namaz-i chahar nemag||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Praise to the four directions|
|Sarosh Yasht Vadi Nirang||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Often recited before sleep|
|Doa Tan-Dorosti||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Prayer of blessing|
|101 Names of God||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Geh Saarnaa prayer||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||This prayer is part of the funeral service. For more information, see article by Firoze Jungalwala and Farhad Panthaki.|
|Farokhshi prayer||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||For more information see articles by Ervad Ratanshah R. Motafram, compiled by Rohinton G.N. Panthaky and by J. J. Modi.|
|Sanskrit Ashirwad||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||More details.|
|Pazand Ashirwad with Afrin Buzorgaan and Doa Tandoorasti||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||More details.|
|Vispa Humata||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||More details.|
|Patet Pashemaani||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Prayer of repentance|
|Patet Rawaan Ni||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Prayer of repentance|
|Satum Kardaa||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download||Prayer of praise for the dead. See also accompanying booklet|
|Ohrmazd Yasht (Hymn to Ahura Mazda)||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Ardwahisht (Ardibehesht) Yasht (Hymn to the Highest Asha)||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Aban Yasht (Hymn to the waters) — part 1||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Aban Yasht — part 2||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Aban Yasht — part 3||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Aban Yasht — part 4||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Srosh Yasht Haadokht||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|Srosh Yasht Vadi||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
Jashan Service (Afrinagan)
Ervad Soli P. Dastur has graciously recorded the following prayers from the Afrinagan (Jashan) service.
|1. Dibache Dadar Ohrmazd Karda||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|2. Dadar Ohrmazd Karda||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|3. Afrinagan-e Dahman Karda||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|4. Afrinagan-e Srosh Karda||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|5. Afrin-e Ardafrawash||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|6. Afrin-e Buzorgan||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
|7. Afrin-e Haft Ameshaspand||Ervad Soli Dastur||Download|
Courtesy : http://www.avesta.org/mp3/index.html
Adar is the Divinity that presides over fire. In the Zoroastrian calendar, Adar is the ninth day of every month of thirty days and also the ninth month of the year of twelve months. Nine is a sacred number across several religious traditions. In the Zoroastrian tradition, Prophet Zarathustra is often depicted holding a nine-knotted stick called Navgar. Among Hindus, nine is the number of Brahma, the Creator. Among Christians, number nine symbolizes divine completeness and conveys the meaning of finality. Christ died on the cross at the ninth hour of the day (03:00 pm) to pave the path of salvation for everyone. Also, Jesus appears nine times to his disciples and apostles after his resurrection. Mathematically, when multiplied nine always reproduces itself.
Interestingly, Adar (Akkadian Adaru) is also the twelfth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. The Hebrew name Adar (pronounced ‘Ay daar’) is related to the word Adir which denotes strength and power.
Atash Nu Parab:
Parsis celebrate Ruz (day) Adar of Mah (month) Adar as ‘Atash nu parab’. When Ruz and Mah coincide, the day is celebrated as parab. The feast actually begins the day before (Ruz Dae-pa-Adar) when the women of the household celebrate the Chulah nu varas, which literally means birthday of the hearth Fire over which food is prepared throughout the year. The kitchen is cleaned and the area around the cooking stove is decorated and the stove itself is garlanded with marigold flowers and the stove is not used from early evening (Uzirin Gah) till the next morning.
According to the Bundahishn, which is a Zoroastrian text, equivalent to the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, Adar is associated with the marigold (calendula) flower. Marigold is believed to have derived its name from ‘Mary’s Gold’, taken from the fact that early Christians placed flowers instead of coins on Mother Mary’s altar as an offering. This flower is often used in festivities honoring Mary. Hindus use it during marriages and Zoroastrians associate this flower with fire because of its colour.
According to the Old Testament (the Book of Genesis) God created this world in six days and rested on the seventh. In Zoroastrian cosmogony, Ahura Mazda created this world in six stages (the six Gahambars) creating first the sky, water, earth, vegetation, animal and finally man. However, what animated or gave energy or brought to life all these six good creations was Adar or fire. Both, the Bundahishn and Zatspram, explain that Ahura Mazda’s six good creations were able to commence their work thanks to Adar as the life-giving force or energy.
Ruz Adar of Mah Adar is also the day when several Agyari and Atash Behram were consecrated and enthroned, including the Holiest of Holy, Iranshah.
Discovery Of Fire And It’s Reverence Through History:
According to Ferdowsi’s ‘Shahnameh’, fire was accidentally discovered during the pre-historic Peshdadian period by Shah Hooshang. According to the legend, when Hooshang threw a rock at a serpent like creature it missed the target and instead struck another rock and sparks from that friction ignited some dry grass in the surrounding area. Hooshang recognized this fire as the Divine Glory of Ahura Mazda and instructed his subjects to offer homage.
The Astodan or the final resting place of most of the Great Achaemenian Kings, including that of Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes depict the great Kings offering homage before a fire alter. Coins of the later Sasanian period, beginning with the founder, Ardashir, carried the symbol of fire.
Why Pray Before Or In The Presence Of Fire?
From a Zoroastrian perspective, fire is both a giver of light and giver of life. Neither darkness nor evil has an existence of its own. Just as darkness is merely the absence of light, so is evil the absence of good. Thus, while fire dispels darkness, evil is dispelled each time we choose to think, speak and perform a good deed.
The concept of having a hearth fire or in modern times, at least a diva at home, is a ritual form of dispelling darkness and evil with the presence of light. The Persian Revayet recommend that we should pray five Yatha while lighting a diva. Yatha is the chant (The Ahunavar and equivalent of the Sanskrit Om) with which Ahura Mazda created this universe. Also, while reciting the Sarosh Baj (Sarosh Yazata is the guardian of the souls of the living as also the dead) we pray five Yatha. Hence, praying five Yatha while lighting a Fire, probably has a link with enlightening or enhancing our five senses, or our consciousness and an act of attuning our spirit with the Creator, the chant with which the universe was created and the energy of fire that animated or energized all creation.
Adar (Avestan ātar) is Hamkar (co-helper) of Ardibehesht (Avestan Asha Vahishta literally meaning Best Truth or Righteousness). Indeed, when a Zoroastrian prays before fire, he/she looks up to Ahura Mazda the Creator through fire as a form of Light and Life. Also, since Ardibehesht, along with Adar is the Divinity protecting fire and Ardibehesht is the embodiment of Truth and Righteousness (Asha Vahishta); praying before fire is an affirmation of upholding Truth and Righteousness in our lives.
Grades Of Consecrated Fire:
Consecration is an act or manner of making the ordinary sacred or worthy of reverence through ritual purification. There are three grades of Fire. The highest is Atash Behram or the fire that gives Victory. There are four Atash Behram in Mumbai, two in Surat, one in Navsari and one in Udwada. The oldest is the one in Udwada which has been continuously burning for more than a thousand years. It is called Iranshah as it is the first Holy fire that we consecrated in India after coming from Iran using the Aalaat (sacred ritual requisites, including the Holy Ash) brought from Khorasan.
Meaning Behind Certain Rituals:
Before entering a Fire Temple, we should first wash our hands and face and then untie and retie the kushti which is worn around the waist. By washing we clean ourselves physically and by performing the Kushti ritual, we clean our aura or our unseen personal atmosphere. Thus, we go before the Holy Fire clean in body, spirit and mind. We cover our heads with a cap or a scarf as a mark of respect and so that hair from our head does not fall and pollute the holy temple.
When we pray before fire we see light instead of darkness. We see Adar, the energy that gives life and provides energy to this world. We also feel the energy of Ardibehesht or Truth and Righteousness. In other words, we see and feel all that is good that is given to us by God and through Fire as a Divine Channel we send our prayers and good wishes up to the Creator.
We offer fragrant sandalwood as fuel to the fire and which in turn gives off fragrance. When offering sandalwood to the fire we should visualize our offering as a gift to God and God accepts the gift with fragrance. It also reminds us that throughout life we should continue to offer to this world our good thoughts, words and deeds which in turn will make the world fragrant. We apply the holy ash to our forehead as a way of ritually connecting to the fire and reminding ourselves that ultimately, we will all be reduced to ash.
The Priests perform the Boi ceremony before the Holy fire, five times a day. They strike the bell while reciting the words dushmata, duzukht, dusvarast – rejecting all evil thoughts words and deeds. Thus, during the ceremony, the Priest rings the bell and symbolically drives out evil in thought, word and deed from this world.
Indeed, when a Zarathushti reveres or prays before fire, he/she in essence, offers worship to Ahura Mazda through Fire.
What We Pray?
We begin the Atash Niayesh (litany to the fire) with the following salutation:
Khshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdao Nemase-te
Atarsh Mazdao Ahurahe hudhao mazishta Yazata.
“May there be the propitiation or pleasure of Ahura Mazda!
Homage (be) unto thee, O Fire of Hormazd,
bestowing good, the Greatest Yazata.”
We also affirm:
Us-moi uzareshva Ahura
Armaiti tevishim Dasva
Spenishta Mainyu Mazda
Vanghuya zavo ada
Asha hazo emavat vohu
“O Ahura Mazda, the most beneficent spirit and the bestower of good things in return for prayers! Do Thou purify me (i.e. keep me away from wicked deeds), owing to (my) gentleness (or humility) do Thou grant me strength, on account of righteousness, bestow upon (me) mighty power (and) on account of (my) good thoughts, grant me supremacy.”
We further aspire:
Rafedhrai vouruchashane, doishi
moi ya ve abifra,
ta khshathrahya Ahura ya
Vangheush ashish manangho
fro Spenta Armaite Asha
“O Hormazd! for (my) delight (and) for sufficiently acquiring religious lore, do Thou grant me assuredly those gifts which (are) blessed by Shehrevar and Vohuman. O Spenta Armaiti! Instruct (me) the commandments of the Religion through Asha.”
And to the Holy Fire itself we express the following sentiments:
Yasnemcha vahmemcha huberetimcha
ushta-beretimcha, vanta-beretimcha, afrinami,
tava Atarsh puthra Ahurahe Mazdao, yesnyo
ahi vahmyo, yesnyo buyao vahmyo
nmanahu mashyakanam ushta buyat
ahmai naire, yase-thwa badha
frayazaite, aesmo-zasto, baresmo-zasto
“O Fire, the purifier (of all things) pertaining to Ahura Mazda! I praise Thy worship, invocation, good health-giving and friendly gift. (O Fire), Thou art worthy of worship and invocation, mayest Thou be worthy of worship and invocation in the abodes of men! May there be greatness (or happiness) unto that man who shall always worship Thee with fuel, Baresman, milk and mortar in hand.”
O Ahura Mazda, Asho Zarthushtra Bow down to you for ever and ever
Repeat the above 2 lines
You ARE my creator, you ARE my protector I am so thankful, you’re my great teacher
O Ahura Mazda
You hold my hand, lead me through this land
My humble request, keep me always blessed
The wisdom of Manashni Gavashni Kunashani Guide me to follow the tenets of Zarathushti
Help me understand, Khordeh Avasta message of, Humata Hukhata Huvavarasta
O Ahura Mazda
You ARE my creator, you ARE my protector I am so thankful, you’re my great teacher O Ahura Mazda
You’re omnipotent, and very kind Bless me with devotion AND peaceful mind
With heart full of gratitude, pray for, divine light Let me be at your feet, through the night
My salutation to thee, Asho Zarthushtra Make me a good, Zarathushti Ashavan
O Ahura Mazda
You ARE my creator, you ARE my protector I am so thankful, you’re my great teacher O Ahura Mazda