Category Archives: Religion

Muktad Prayers – Ramiyar Karanjia

These are prayers which any Parsi Zoroastrian in a state of ritual purity can recite at the fire temple or in the house, at any time of the day or night during the 10 days of the Muktād. The Local Time from midnight to 2 am should be avoided for all prayers, except for the Kasti.

Contents

Muktad no Namaskar 1

Frāmraot Hā. 1

1200 Ashem Vohu. 2

Five Gatha Prayers. 3

Gatha Ahunavad. 3

Gatha Ushtavad. 13

Gatha Spentomad. 21

Gatha Vohu-Khshathra. 27

Gatha Vahistoisht 29

1200 Yatha Ahu Vairyos. 31

Stum-no-Kardo. 32

Fravardin Yasht 35

Lākhi nu Bhantar 49

Muktad no Namaskar

(Introduction: This Namaskar is done during the days of the Muktād. It can either be done at the Agyari where the Muktād are observed, or it can be recited even at home.)

FAz hamā gunāh patet pashemānum. Ashāunãm vanguhish surāo spentāo Fravashayo yazamaide. Recite fully 1 Ashem vohu. E (From F to E recite thrice).

Ahmāi  raeshcha  khvarenascha,  ahmāi  tanvo  drvatātem,  ahmāi  tanvo  vazdvare,   ahmāi  tanvo  verethrem,  ahmāi  ishtim  paourush-khāthrãm,  ahmāi  āsnãmchit  frazantim,  ahmāi  dareghãm  daregho-jitim,  ahmāi  vahishtem  ahum  ashaonãm,  raochanghem,  vispo-khāthrem.  Atha  jamyāt  yatha  āfrināmi.  Recite fully 1 Ashem  vohu.

Hazanghrem baeshazanãm, baevare baeshazanãm, Hazanghrem baeshazanãm, baevare baeshazanãm, Hazanghrem baeshazanãm,  baevare baeshazanãm. Recite fully 1 Ashem vohu.

Jasa  me  avanghe Mazda, jasa me avanghe Mazda, jasa  me  avanghe  Mazda !  Amahe  hutāshtahe  huraodhahe, Verethraghnahe Ahura-dhātahe, Vanaintyāoscha uparatāto, Rāmano  khāstrahe,  Vayaosh  uparo-kairyehe,  taradhāto  anyāish  dāmãn,  aetat  te  Vayo,  yat  te  asti,  Spento-mainyaom, thwāshahe khvadhātahe, Zravānahe akaranahe, Zravānahe daregho-khadhātahe.  Recite fully 1 Ashem vohu.

Kerfeh  mozd,  gunāh  guzāresh-nerā  kunam,  ashahi  ravãn  dushā-ram-rā,  ham  kerfeh  hamā  vehāne  hafta keshvar  zamin,  zamin-pahānā, (here, pay homage to mother earth by taking your hand towards the ground, but not touching it)   rud-darānā,  khorshid-bālā,  bundehād  beresād,  asho  bed  derji.  Atha jamyāt yatha āfrināmi.  Recite fully 1 Ashem vohu.

Frāmraot Hā.

(Introduction: This prayer has to be done only during the first 5 days of the Muktād, that is, from Āshtād roj to Anerān roj of Aspandād māh. It is actually the 20th Hā of the Yasna, which is a commentary on the Ashem Vohu prayer. It one is not able to pray it, then one can pray the 1200 Ashem Vohus as given later on. It can either be done at the Agyari where the Muktād are observed, or it can be recited even at home.)

Khshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdāo. Recite fully 1 Ashem vohu.

Pa nãme yazdãn Hormazd khodāe awazuni gorje khoreh awazāyād, Ardā-fravash be-rasād.

Az hamā gunāh patet pashemānum, az harvastin dushmata duzhukhta duzhvarshta, mem pa geti manid, oem goft, oem kard, oem jast, oem bun bud ested, az ān gunāh manashni gavashni kunashni, tani ravãni, geti minoãni, okhe avākhsh pashemān, pa se gavashni pa petet hom. Khshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdāo, taroidite Angrahe Mainyeush, haithyā-varshtãm hyat vasnā frashotemem. Staomi Ashem. Recite fully 3 Ashem vohu.

Fravarāne Mazdayasno Zarathushtrish vidaevo Ahura-tkaesho (Recite the appropriate short geh) frasastayaecha. Ahurahe Mazdāo raevato khvare-nanghato, Ameshanãm Spentanãm, ashāunãm fravashinãm ughranãm aiwi-thuranãm Paoiryo-tkaeshanām fravashinãm, Nabā-naz-dishta-nãm fravashinãm, khshnaothra yasnāicha vahmāicha khshnaothrāicha frasastayaecha, yathā āhu vairyo zaotā frā me mrute, athā ratush ashātchit hachā, frā ashava vidhvāo mraotu.

Ahurem Mazdām raevantem kharenanghantem yazamaide, Ameshā Spentā hu-khshathra hu-dhāongho yazamaide. Ashāunãm vanghuhish surāo spentāo fravashayo yazamaide.

 (1) Frāmraot Ahuro Mazdāo. Ashem Vohu vahishtem asti, para ahmāi vohu vahishtem chinasti, yatha khvaetave khvaetātem; vohu vahishtem asti atha tkaeshem kārayeiti.

(2) Ushtā asti ushtā ahmāi, ushtatāitya vispem ashavanem vispāi ashaone para-chinasti, yathanā stāitya vispem ashavanem vispāi ashaone para – chinasti.

(3) Hyat ashāi vahishtāi ashem, para – chinasti vispem māthrem vispem māthrāi, yatha ashāi khshathrem chinasti, yathacha zbayente ashaone ashem chinasti, yathacha khshmāvoya ashem chinasti yat Saoshyantaeibyo; thrāyo tkaesha. vispem vacho fravākem haurum, vacho Ahurahe Mazdāo.

(4) Mazdāo frāmraot; chim frāmraot, ashavanem mainyaomcha gaethimcha.  Chvās frāmraot fravākem, vahishto khshayamno. Chvantem ashavanem, vahishtemcha avaso-khshathremcha.

(5) Baghām Ashahe Vahishtahe yazamaide; Ashahe Vahishtahe yazamaide frasraothremcha, framerethremcha, fragāthremcha, frāyashtimcha.

Yenghe hātām āat yesne paiti vangho, Mazdāo Ahuro vaethā ashāt hachā,  yāonghāmchā tāschā tāoschā yazamaide.

Ashem Vohu 1.

(To recite in Bāj, i.e. mentally) Ahura Mazda khodāe, awazuni-e mardum, mardum sardagãn, hamā sardagãn, ham-bāyaste veãān, oem behedin Māzdayasnãn, āgāhi, āstavāni, neki rasānad, aedun bād. (To recite aloud) Recite fully 2 Yathā ahu vairyo.

Yasnemcha vahmemcha aojascha zavarecha āfrināmi, Ahurahe Mazdāo raevato khvare-nanghato, Ameshanãm Spentanãm, ashāunãm fravashinãm ughranām aiwi-thuranãm, Paoiryo-tkaeshanãm fravashinãm, Nabā-naz-dishta-nãm fravashinãm. Recite fully 1 Ashem vohu.

Ahmāi raeshcha, Hazanghrem, Jasa me avanghe Mazda, Kerfeh mozd. (Recite fully these 4 short prayers.)

1200 Ashem Vohu

(Introduction: This prayer has to be done only during the first 5 days of the Muktad, that is from Āshtād roj to Anerān roj of Aspandād māh. It has to be done if one is not praying the Framraot Hā prayer. If one is doing the Framraot Hā prayer, there is no need to do this prayer. It can either be done at the Agyari where the Muktād are observed, or it can be recited even at home.)

Khshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdāo. Recite fully 1 Ashem vohu.

Pa nãme yazdãn Hormazd khodāe awazuni gorje khoreh awazāyād, Ardā-fravash be-rasād.

Az hamā gunāh patet pashemānum, az harvastin dushmata duzhukhta duzhvarshta, mem pa geti manid, oem goft, oem kard, oem jast, oem bun bud ested, az ān gunāh manashni gavashni kunashni, tani ravãni, geti minoãni, okhe avākhsh pashemān, pa se gavashni pa petet hom. Khshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdāo, taroidite Angrahe Mainyeush, haithyā-varshtãm hyat vasnā frashotemem. Staomi Ashem. Recite fully 3 Ashem vohu.

Fravarāne Mazdayasno Zarathushtrish vidaevo Ahura-tkaesho (Recite the appropriate short geh) frasastayaecha. Ahurahe Mazdāo raevato khvare-nanghato, Ameshanãm Spentanãm, ashāunãm fravashinãm ughranãm aiwi-thuranãm Paoiryo-tkaeshanām fravashinãm, Nabā-naz-dishta-nãm fravashinãm, khshnaothra yasnāicha vahmāicha khshnaothrāicha frasastayaecha, yathā āhu vairyo zaotā frā me mrute, athā ratush ashātchit hachā, frā ashava vidhvāo mraotu.

Ahurem Mazdām raevantem kharenanghantem yazamaide, Ameshā Spentā hu-khshathra hu-dhāongho yazamaide. Ashāunãm vanghuhish surāo spentāo fravashayo yazamaide.

Recite fully 1200 Ashem Vohu.

Recite fully 2 Yathā ahu vairyo. Yasnemcha vahmemcha aojascha zavarecha āfrināmi, Ahurahe Mazdāo raevato khvare-nanghato, Ameshanãm Spentanãm, ashāunãm fravashinãm ughranām aiwi-thuranãm, Paoiryo-tkaeshanãm fravashinãm, Nabā-naz-dishta-nãm fravashinãm. Recite fully 1 Ashem vohu.

Ahmāi raeshcha, Hazanghrem, Jasa me avanghe Mazda, Kerfeh mozd. (Recite fully these 4 short prayers.)

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MUKTAD (Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia)

MUKTAD (Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia)
Zoroastrians all over the world celebrate the last ten days of their religious calendar year, that is, from roj Ashtad mah Spandarmad to the Vahishtoisht Gatha, as the Muktad.
The word Muktad is also referred to as Muktāt, which is closer to the Sanskrit word ‘atman’ = soul 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 human souls (living as well as departed ones).
In the 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 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 are at home, and it is not proper to leave them and go out.
Sometimes, a night-long vigil was also kept by people. Members of the house, especially women, were actively involved with preparations, and took a Nahan (ritual bath).
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 Spandarmad 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).
For several centuries in India, Muktad was celebrated for 18 days. It started on Roj Ashishwangh of Mah Spandarmad and ended on the dawn of roj Amardad mah Fravarden. 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 sal. Hence these six days were clubbed together to form 18 Muktad days.
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 should avoid routine work, and devote time to the remembrance of Fravashis and do works of charity and social service.
Fravashis come whenever they are invited. However, during the days of Muktad all the Fravashis descend. When they come to the house they should be welcomed and worshipped. If they are happy, they will 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:
1. For the first five days, Framraot Hā (commentary of Ashem Vohu)
2. For the five days of Gathas, each Gatha on the respective day has to be recited.
3. Muktad no namaskar.
4. 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 work 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 Asho Zarathosht was accepted as a prophet by King Vishtasp.
2. Hamaspathmaedhem Gahambar days: To consecrate Gahambar preferably on Ahunavad Gatha or any of the five Gathas.
4. 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.

Jivanji Jamshedji Modi’s speech at the Parliament of Living Religions

Sir Jivanji Jamshedji Modi’s Speech at the Parliament of World Religions.1893 at Chicago

The glory of the Parliament of World Religions was most obvious in the opening ceremony, on Sept. 11, 1893. More than 4000 people had gathered in the Hall of Columbus, when at 10oclock a dozen representatives from different faiths marched into the hall hand in hand. At the same time, the Columbian Liberty bell, in the Court of Honour tolled ten times, honouring the ten great world religions—Confucianism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Among the speakers Swami Vivekananda’s three speeches drew the most attention.

The aim of the conference was to bring together in conference, for the first time in history, the leading representatives of the great historic religions of the world and to set forth, by those most competent to speak, what are deemed the important distinctive truths held and taught by each Religion.

Ervad Sheriarji Dadabhai Bharucha was requested by Dadabhai Navroji to prepare a paper on the Zoroastrian Religion to present at the Parliament. In the published report of the Parliament of Religions 1893 (Vol 1, p. 58) the President writes “Hon. Dadabhoy Navrojee, M.P., of London, Jivanji Jamshedji Modi, Dastur Dr. Jamaspi Minocher Jamasp Asa, M.A. Ph.D., and Ervad Sheriarji Dadabhai Bharucha, took active interest in the Parliament and enlisted the cooperation of the Parsis of India “However, Ervad Sheriarji Bharucha was unable to attend the Parliament.

Sir Jivanji  Jamhedji Modi addressed this historic Parliament of World Religions in 1893.

He gives a detailed account of the religion, manners and customs of the Parsis. On the lighter side, he mentions, that the qualifications for a good husband are that he should be young, handsome, strong, brave, healthy, diligent, industrious, truthful, wise and educated. A good wife must be wise, educated, modest, courteous, obedient and chaste”. “According to the sad-dar, a wife who gives herself to her husband three times a day-in the morning, afternoon and evening performs as meritorious an act as that of saying her prayers three times a day”.

He explains, “Zoroastrianism or Parsism, by whatever name the system may be called is a monotheistic form of Religion. It believes in the existence of one God Ahura Mazda”. We might hardly conceive what human belief would be now had Zoroaster never existed.

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beliefs and customs of thr religion of Zarathustra by JJ MODI

Mind Over Meat – Bahman Ameshaspand

In the pantheon of Zoroastrian divinities, Bahman Amshaspand ranks next to Ahura MazdaBahman is an Amshaspand or Amesha Spenta (variously translated as Bountiful Immortal or Arch Angel) and is doctrinally seen as the guardian of one of Ahura Mazda’s good creations, namely animals – particularly Goshpand like cow, goat, sheep, etc. It is for this reason that devout Zoroastrians abstain from eating meat throughout the entire month of Bahman. Although, on a lighter note, a Zoroastrian foodie recently retorted that by this logic, during the month of Amardad, one should not be eating vegetables because Amardad Amshaspand is the guardian of one of Ahura Mazda’s other good creations – namely vegetation!

Observing The Month Of Bahman: 

In the Zoroastrian calendar of three hundred and sixty-five 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 through the Bahman Mahino. No special prayers or ceremonies are performed during this month. One is simply expected to switch to a simple vegetarian diet, as an act of religious discipline.

There is no Yasht (Hymn) or Niyaesh (Litany) dedicated to Bahman. There probably was an Avestan Vohu Manah or Bahman Yasht, but it is now lost to us over the vicissitudes of time. What we have is a Pahlavi commentary called, ‘Zand-e-Vohu Manah Yasna’. However, unlike Avesta and PazandPahlavi is not Manthravani or the traditional language of prayer. Regardless, many do recite it.

Historically, Zoroastrians do not seem to have been a vegetarian community. In fact, one of the strongest arguments supporting the non-vegetarian theory is the observance of Bahman Mahino. It is often argued that if Zoroastrians are mandated by religious tradition to be vegetarian all year round, why does the community kick up all this fuss during the month of Bahman?

Understanding Bahman Or Vohu Manah: 

In the Zoroastrian calendar, the second day of every month as well as the eleventh month of every year is dedicated to Bahman AmshaspandBahman is the Persian form of the Pahlavi word, ‘Wahman’ and the original Avestan term – Vohu Manah, which most scholars translate as ‘Good Mind’.

In the GathaAsho Zarathushtra asserts that the path leading to Ahura Mazda is through Vohu Manah. In other words, propitiating Bahman Amshaspand takes one closer to Divinity. Interpreted at an ethical level, exercising the right moral choices with the help of the good mind alone can take one closer to Ahura Mazda – the Lord or Master of all Wisdom.

In later texts, the Sudreh is referred to as Vohu Manah Vastra or the garment of Bahman; just the way the Kusti is referred to as the girdle of Sarosh Yazata. It is believed that wearing the Sudreh, which is the garment of Bahman Amshaspand, bestows the wearer with wisdom, while tying the Kusti over it, gives the wearer Sarosh Yazata’s divine protection and enhances the devotee’s higher consciousness.

So, Why Abstain From Eating Meat?

While at a moral and ethical level, Bahman represents the ‘good mind’, Zoroastrians abstain from eating meat on every Bahman Roj as also Roj Mohor, Gosh and Ram, as a mark of respect to the four Guardian Divinities of all Goshpands. Abstaining from eating meat throughout the month of Bahman is considered an act of religious merit to acquire wisdom through internal cleansing and exercising non-violence towards the Good Creation of Ahura Mazda. Even those who do not observe fasting from meat for the whole month try to avoid eating meat on Bahman Roj of Bahman Mah and the days dedicated to Bahman’s Hamkara (co-workers) – Mohor, Gosh and Ram.

Strictly speaking, throughout the month of Bahman, a Zoroastrian is expected to live on a simple diet of grain, fruit and vegetable. However, most Zoroastrians find it challenging to survive on what they call ‘ghaas-phoos’ and therefore most consider eating eggs quite acceptable, while some go further to believe that eating fish or even fowl would be perfectly legitimate. Aquatic creatures with fins and two legged fowls are not Goshpand, it is argued!

Abstain From Mental Violence: 

It is said that we are what we eat and a vegetarian diet is generally considered good for spiritual development. However, in our opinion, there is no point in being a vegetarian and observing the month of the ‘good mind’ if it is observed only from the dietary point of view. It is not just a month to abstain from eating meat but a month to abstain from all forms of violence in thought, word or deed.

While observing a vegetarian diet for a month or for four days every month is a good and healthy change, there is no point abstaining from eating meat but making mincemeat of all rational thought, word and deed!

False Sense Of Superiority:

 We have observed that vegetarians usually carry a certain sense of ‘false superiority’ and treat non-vegetarians with a sense of contempt, mentally, and sometimes vocally with their ‘holier than thou’ attitude! Some even castigate meat-eaters as ‘murderers’!

What one chooses to eat or not eat is a personal choice and there is absolutely no need for those observing a vegetarian diet to harbour a false sense of superiority or piety. Historically, some of the most notorious serial killers across the world have been vegetarian! By contrast, the gentle and compassionate Dalai Lama is not vegetarian. Jesus Christ, the apostle of love and forgiveness drank wine and mostly ate and served his followers bread and fish, including, at the last supper.

Also, let us not forget that towards the end of his life, Adolf Hitler followed a vegetarian diet. It is not clear when or why he adopted it, since some accounts of his dietary habits prior to the Second World War indicate that he consumed meat as late as 1937. However, by 1938, Hitler’s public image as a vegetarian was already being fostered, and from 1942, he self-identified as a vegetarian. The point is, did Hitler’s change in diet make him a better human being, let alone a non-violent human being? If anything, his vegetarian diet made him aggressive in his thinking, violent in his speeches and culminated in brutal acts of atrocity. The irony is, Adolf Hitler, in his private conversations with dinner guests, used to refer to meat-eaters as murderers!

Focus On Wisdom:

The point we are trying to drive home is please refrain from making a virtue about what you eat or do not eat during this month or throughout the year. Focus on the mind because all thoughts begin in the mind leading later to words and finally, to actions. There is no point being a vegetarian without first exercising temperance of the mind!

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!

Courtesy : Parsi-Times

The IranShah Initiative Education With Vision 2020 – Part 1 of 3

The IranShah Initiative
Education With Vision 2020
Part 1 of 3
Knowledge Is Precious
Wisdom Is Priceless
 
The IranShah Initiative provides a Precious Avenue to build a Priceless Life through the medium of Education With Vision 2020.
If understood with right knowledge and practised with innate wisdom, the precepts and practices of our ancient yet ageless and ever so refreshing religion can be a positive force in every Zoroastrian’s life.
However, the first step to leading a positive and purposeful life is to acquire the right knowledge from a reliable source because knowledge either shapes or shakes the destiny of one’s life.
The prime objective of this platform is to be just that. A knowledge and information hub where the youth around the world can raise the right questions and find the right answers.
We are neither dogmatic nor preachy in our approach. We respect every individual and his/her right to ask the right questions and become torch bearers of wisdom. 
Our vision is to make every Zoroastrian youth across the Globe aware of his/her heritage with legitimate pride and soulful understanding.
The ultimate goal is to make every youth across the Globe a throbbing and living embodiment of the good religion in thought, word and deed.
 
Having said that:
We fervently believe that:
 
 Knowledge Is Power.
If you want to add Power to your repertoire of knowledge about our 
Priceless IranShah and Precious Religion, 
we encourage you to send us your valuable question.
Our Distinguished scholar and community leader Noshir Dadrawala will answer questions about the religion, Iranshah, Udvada and any other related topics in a monthly update here. 
Please check out his fabulous contribution to-date.
If you have a question please use the form on this page to send it to Noshir.
 
Sometimes the quest for a genuinely worthwhile life stops, when a question remains unanswered.
We invite you to ask your Precious question to get a Priceless Answer.
And in doing so…
Let us help each other build a life force that strives for harmony, growth and balance, so that we can all evolve into beings, we were born to be, with all our love and light.
In Togetherness We Become Limitless
© 2020, Meher Amalsad, Author of Bread For the Head™ 

Ervad Jehan Bagli on University of Toronto FEZANA Professorship Opportunity

Sent on behalf of Fezana

For several years, our own Ervad Jehan Bagli and the FEZANA team has worked hard to establish an academic program for advanced studies and research in the Zoroastrian religion, and ancient Iranian languages of our texts in order to perpetuate them and keep from becoming extinct. This will offer students an opportunity to pursue advanced studies in Zoroastrianism, understand and translate the ancient languages, and will increase awareness of Zoroastrianism worldwide.

In 2018 FEZANA set up a scholastic committee to evaluate all proposals and options received for establishing an Institute of Zoroastrian Studies in North America. The committee unanimously recommended the University of Toronto’s (UOT) proposal. After further discussions, FEZANA received in May 2019 a proposal from the UOT to establish a Professorship of Zoroastrian studies. Under this proposal, UOT will create the position in perpetuity with an investment by FEZANA of US $1.5 million, to be matched by UOT funding of CAN $1.5 million.

UOT has a stated objective “to become a leader in Zoroastrian studies in North America”, and seeks to add to the present faculty of Iranian studies to teach courses on Zoroastrianism.

The Zoroastrian Studies program will be maintained in perpetuity and administered by the Department of Near and Middle Eastern studies, Faculty of Arts and Science. It aspires “to permanently offer advanced training in [Avesta and Pahlavi] languages of the Zoroastrian scriptures and sacred texts. The aim is “to prepare a new generation of rigorously trained scholars who are dedicated to original research in primary Zoroastrian texts.”

As a Zoroastrian, I invite you to consider this very exciting proposal and donate before Nowruz 2020. To make your tax deductible contribution, visit https://fezana.org/donate/ and select the category: UNI OF TORONTO FEZANA PROFESSORSHIP.

If you prefer to mail a check, please make it out to “FEZANA” and in the memo indicate “UNI OF TORONTO FEZANA PROFESSORSHIP” and mail to: Rooky Fitter, FEZANA Treasurer, P O BOX 266, Sunset Beach, CA 90742.

CANADIAN DONORS: To Donate online, please click on “Donate” on the website of Zoroastrian Society of Ontario https://www.zso.org

To Donate by cheque, please use the special form provided in the ZSO “News” section of the ZSO website.

Friends, we need to act quickly as UOT’s offer for matching funds will expire on April 30, 2020.

Let’s not miss this opportunity if we are serious about promoting research in our ancient languages, texts, culture, traditions, etc. so that the world community is enlightened and our youth is empowered to continue to work with pride for generations to come.

IF WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO THIS, THEN WHO WILL?

IF WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO IT NOW, THEN WHEN?

Atha Zamyad, Yatha Afrinami

Homi D Gandhi

President, FEZANA

Boi Ceremony And The Chakra Ritual

Boi Ceremony And The Chakra Ritual

3 Nov 2019 Top of Form

 

 

Courtesy : Burjor Daboo

 

 

RITUAL OF ‘BOI-DAADAN’ OR MAACHI OFFERING AT CHANGE OF GEHS IN ATASH-BEHRAMS AND ITS GREAT SIGNIFICANCE

 

‘In the period of Haavan Geh, Haoma Yazata approached Zarathushtra (who was then) cleansing the fire (stand) from all sides and reciting the Gathas.’ – (Hom Yasht 1, 1)

 

Note: This chapter is based on our late revered Dasturji Saheb Khurshed S. Dabu’s Gujarati booklet on this subject. Comments within brackets are my own-

(Ahura Mazda is omnipresent and He is mysteriously present in all His Creations, as a Ravaan/Fravashi in each one of us, and as an unseen fire energy instrumental in the creation and renovation of everything. As the ‘Son of Ahura Mazda’ and as his resplendent symbol the enthroned fire is worshipped. It has a soul in addition to its material counterpart and hence it is an independent, conscious entity).

 

Click link to continue reading : Boi Ceremony And The Chakra Ritual

From A mobed’s heart to mobeds’ hearts

 

The following speech was delivered by Ervad Zarrir Bhandara at the Rippon Club Mumbai on Saturday November 2nd, 2019.  “Mobed’s Heart to Mobeds’ Hearts” event. This event was organized by the Global Health Guru and the Holistic Health Coach Dr. Mickey Mehta. The young and dynamic BPP trustee Mr. Viraf Mehta was the chief guest and Dr. Ervad Ramiyar Karanjia principal of Dadar Athornan Madressa was the guest of honor. This event was attended by about 20 mobeds which included the ex principal of Cama Athornan Madressa Ervad Kersi Karanjia.
Dr. Mickey Mehta thanked everyone and requested Mr. Viraf Mehta to introduce the speaker Mobed Zarrir.
Zarrir started his presentation by asking all present to hold each other’s hands and requested Ramiyar to lead the Hum bandagi of 2 Yatha and 1 Ashem Vohu.
Zarrir thanked everyone present and asked the audience how are you feeling? Then asked them to shake hands with the person on their right and left saying “I am a great Mobed and so are you”
He asked who are we. -Mobed which comes from the word Magu- Paiti, the word magic comes from the word the Magis- our ancestors who were able to perform super natural things due to the power of prayers combined with the knowledge of Astrology, Astronomy and Alchemy, we were  the teachers, leaders and role models of our Society what happened? What went wrong? How come the people who were once looked up to are looked down upon? How can we bring the faith of our community back into our own religion? We the priests are the back bone of our community.
 How do we shape the will of the community without shaking the spirit which will bring about the life time of transformation?
What is our role and responsibility? Before we examine our role, we need to start FEELING GOOD because when we feel good, we can do good. How do we feel good? He emphasized on the importance of mindfulness and the mental faculty as taught by our prophet Zarathushtra in the Gathas by quoting”For the uncontrolled, there is no wisdom, nor is the power of concentration without concentration there is no peace of mind and without peace of mind how can there be happiness.”- Zen in the Martial Arts, Bhadwad Geeta and Gathas
We have to realize that we are very privileged to be in this profession as this is the most noble profession “Mobedi Pesho, A ek dam uttam pesho che”. Provided it is practiced correctly. He asked many questions and fortunately or unfortunately it was only Dr. Ervad Ramiyar Karanjia was able to answer his questions. He asked which is the outer ritual in which, we enact the role of Ahura Mazda Himself, bringing about the blessings from the spirit world to the physical world. Namely, the Jashan/Afringan, what could be of more significance than this. (Thus boosting the self esteem of mobeds).
It is also a great responsibility as we are the mediator between the worlds by means of rituals.
Talking about ethics, he quoted “If you are true to the art the art will be true to you” Hanshi Vispy Bahadur Kapadia- my Karate teacher. Here instead of art I would say profession. Instead of chasing money, be a true service provider and the money will chase you. It is necessary to pray with proper pronunciation to create desire effect and initiate communication with the spirit world by means of vibrations.
We priests need to be steadfastly dedicated to proper performance and pronunciation, show that we care about what we are doing by being caring and loving by investing our feelings in our prayers  and performing rituals, rather than just performing mechanically and yes, there are no shortcuts to it. Do it right or don’t do it at all.
Also it is important to acquire correct knowledge of performing rituals, especially the higher inner liturgies- PavMahal ni kriya  and here in India you are blessed to have stalwarts likes Dasturji Dr.Firoze Kotwal a living legend, a reservoir of knowledge, Dr. Ervad Ramiyar Karanjia, Dr. Ervad Roointon Pir, Dr. Ervad Parvez Bajan, Mobed Aspandiar Dadachanji more.
 Further equip yourself with scholarly and Esoteric knowledge by reading Kangajis/ Taraporewalla’s, Daboo’s, JamaspAsa’s, Kotwal’s and also books on Kshnoom which will make the rituals more meaningful  to yourself and you can explain the significance of the same to others. Take the example of performing a Kusti which you know it’s a purification ritual, you can compare it with running a Virus scan before downloading any program in the hard drive. Essentially, you are cleaning your astral body- aura- removing impurities thus making room and becoming receptive to receive blessings from the spirit world by first reciting the 101 names of Ahura Mazda, which are His qualities which we download in ourselves thus becoming like Him as we all are made in His image. Further, when we make two loops reciting Manashni, Gavashni and Kunashni, which signifies the two worlds namely the physical and spiritual with a bridge in between signifying that when we traverse through this bridge of separator, we take with and leave in this world only the thoughts, words and deeds that we performed. Hence, it is so important to lead an ethical life.
Think priestly duties as divine privilege, even if charging money, put your best effort into it, be disciplined, be dedicated, be devoted. Do it from your heart (etekad sathe) thus breaking this vicious cycle of carefree priests which influences the community to be careless about their religion.
 Also if you are in any other profession apply the good things from those professions into your priestly duties to compliment your priestly duties to make you a better priest. For example I being in the field of Martial Arts, every time we block or punch has to be a better than the previous one similarly, every time I perform ritual it has to be better than my previous one. Also, being an ex model I know how important it is to look good. Hence, as a mobed you should look presentable and pleasant, so that you can be willingly and easily approached. Also, having a background in alternative medicine- helps me to do spiritual healing- combining Mathra and Mithra. Being an electrician, I know how important the connection is, which helped me to make sure that I am connected with the ground – Earthing and with the implements to be consecrated and at the same time also forming a connection between the laity-the physical world and their dear departed ones-the spirit world thus completing a circuit.
When you include ethics as the most important component in your priestly duties and in life, and live your prayers then you are the one more than anyone else, who is going to benefit the most by progressing in both worlds physical and spiritual.
He shared his success story and how his life was saved through power of prayers after a traumatic road accident and also his Journey as a priest giving credit to Athravan Education Trust.
Start educating people with simple yet important things like Sudreh and Kusti the golden tools as mentioned in Khorshed and Meher Niyaesh “Zarvanem Surem Yazamaide”
The key principle to follow is the principal of Asha- righteousness in all your endeavors to be full of Asha HOPE.
When you follow Asha for the sake of Asha Righteousness, you experience Ushta Happiness the Ashem Vohu prayer.
The physical entity or the creation that comes under Asha Vahishta is Fire son of Ahura Mazda. Fire is the manifestation of that energy which is present in all living beings, in other words God’s spark/ energy is present  in all living beings,  which gives us the notion of oneness  in the universe, which is unity in diversity in our community and in the world. Hence we celebrate our different calendars, sects beliefs even religions, as paths are many spirit is one.
 I am not saying it’s going to be a rosy path, you have to strive as you will still come across a lot of criticism and controversies, talking about criticism and controversies, the people who are often most criticized are the trustees who are performing a thankless job whether in US or in India, look at BPP trustees Noshir Dadrewalla, Kersi Randeria, Viraf Mehta Xerxes Dastur who are the most honest people yet they are challenged and criticized every day.  In such situation, you diffuse the issue with love and light rather than shove and light.
He asked what is common between past highly evolved souls like dasturji Kookadaru and many others of that status, Dasturji Daboo and our Mickey Mehta. It is the Ethical, responsible and compassionate eating which is very important for spiritual development, it is also good for you, the environment and animals.
We are the role models we have to practice extreme devotion and piety then we can expect at least a few, if not all, community members to be inspired by this.
He concluded the talk by expressing his gratitude to Xerxes Dastur, Viraf Mehta, Fr. Mickey Mehta, Dr. Ervad Ramiyar Karanjia and also his mentor and friend Dr. Huzan Kharas/Daver, his son Zerkxis Bhandara and his friend Meher Amalsad for helping him with this presentation.
Caption from left to right:
Ervad Kersi Karanjia ex principal of Cama Athornan Madressa, BPP Trustee Viraf Mehta, Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia principal Dadar Athornan Madressa, Dr. Mickey Mehta, Ervad Zarrir Bhandara

CONSECRATION OF ATASH BEHRAMS AND ADARANS

Courtesy : Burjor Daboo

 

THE CEREMONY OF CONSECRATION OF ATASH-BEHRAMS

AND ADARANS

 

The Sacred Fire is metaphorically spoken of as a King, having a spiritual jurisdiction over the district round about. The stone slab or stand, on which its censer stands, is considered and spoken of as its throne (takht). Its chamber is in the form of a dome, giving an idea of the dome of the heavens. It is just under the center of the dome that the censer stands on the slab. From that center hangs, high above over the fire, a metallic tray which is spoken of as the crown (tap of the Sacred Fire, which is looked at as the symbolic representation or emblem of a spiritual ruler- One or two swords and one or two maces are hanging on the inner walls of its chamber. They serve as symbols of the Church militant, and signify that the faithful should fight against moral evils and vices, just as they would fight against their enemies, and thus make it, in the end, triumphant.

 

Click here to continue reading Consecration Of Atash Behrams And Adarans_

 

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