You are invited to the following event:
When: 06 Apr 2019 1:00 PM, EDT
Where: INNIS TOWN HALL, 2 SUSSEX AVENUE, TORONTO, ON, M5S 1J5
DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF PROFESSOR EHSAN YARSHATER (1920-2018)
Date: April 6, 2019
Venue: INNIS TOWN HALL, 2 SUSSEX AVENUE, TORONTO, ON, M5S 1J5
Dr. Jehan Bagli, Timothy Harrison & Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi
1:50–2:25 ZOROASTRIANISM IN THE ACHAEMENID PERIOD
Maria Brosius, University of Toronto
2:25–3:00 PURE BODY: THE BARŠNŪM CEREMONY THROUGHOUT HISTORY
Miguel Angel Andres Toledo, University of Salamanca
3:00–3:35 THE EPIC OF SAMAK-E `AYYAR: A LITERARY COMPANION TO MITHRAIC MYTHOLOGY, ETHICS, AND SOCIAL PRAXIS
Parvaneh Pourshariati, New York City College of Technology
4:10–4:45 DANTE AND WIRAZ: TWO OTHERWORLDLY TRAVELLERS
Enrico Raffaelli, University of Toronto
4:45–5:20 PARSI TRADERS AND TRAVELLERS: GLOBAL ZOROASTRIANS IN THE AGE OF EMPIRE
Jesse Palsetia, University of Guelph
5:20–6:00 ZOROASTRIANISM AND THE PROBLEM OF UNIVERSAL RELIGION IN THE EARLY MODERN ISLAMIC WORLD
Dan Sheffield, Princeton University
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
DEPARTMENT OF NEAR AND MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES
TORONTO INITIATIVE FOR IRANIAN STUDIES
THE FEDERATION OF ZOROASTRIAN ASSOCIATIONS OF NORTH AMERICA,
ONTARIO ZOROASTRIAN COMMUNITY FOUNDATION,
AND ZOROASTRIAN SOCIETY OF ONTARIO
Click HERE for the Flyer
Hamaysht ceremony in Surat Atash Behram Saheb
Attached here is a brief explanation of the Hamayasht ceremony being performed in Surat. This ceremony has not been performed for several years and those who can go across to Surat or are the local residents there can consider themselves fortunate to witness such a one-off kriya.
The Hamayasht ceremony is a long-winded ceremony in the Zoroastrian religion similar to the “Mahayagna” of the Hindus. There are 2 types of Hamayasht ceremonies, the “Motti” Hamayasht and “Nani” Hamayasht. On enquiries with High priests and scholars it has been observed that this ceremony has not been performed in India since the past several years. This ceremony comprises of the Yazashne, Vendidad, Baaj and Afringan in reverence of the following Yazatas.
Teshtar Tir Yazad.
Avan Ardivisur Banu.
Farokh Farvardin.(Arda Fravash).
The Surat D. N. Modi Atashbehram is a prominent fire temple for most Pav Mahal ceremonies. Just as the Iranshah Atashbehram at Udwada is popular as the King of fires, and Navsari is termed as “Dharam ni tekri” or Mantle of religion, so also Surat is the preferred place for all Pav Mahal ceremonies. With due permission of the High priest of Surat, Dastur Noshirwan Manchershah the “Motti” Hamayasht ceremony has already commenced on Shenshahi Roj Adar, Mah Dey, i.e. 26th May 2003.
As per the information collected from senior mobed sahebs of the Atashbehram, the “Nani” Hamayasht ceremony had been performed 40 years ago in the memory of Daulatbanoo Jehangirji Gheewala. The “Motti” Hamayasht which is now being performed will comprise of 144 Yazashne, 144 Vendidad, 144 Afringan and 144 Baaj with the kshnuman of each of the 12 fareshtas (Yazatas) listed above. The expenditure for this will run into lakhs of Rupees. This ceremony is being conducted by a chust Bombay based Zarathushtri by the name of Hoshang Bengali in memory of his dear departed wife Homai. This ceremony will last for 70 days ! The Hamayasht requires 5 pairs of Yaozdathregar mobeds with proper Bareshnum Nahn.
The Mobeds selected for this gigantic task are Ervad Farokh B. Turel, Ervad Noshir B. Turel, Ervad Nairyosang J. Turel, Ervad Faredun J. Turel, Ervad Harvespa A. Sanjana, Ervad Adil A. Sanjana, Ervad Dara J. Bharda, Ervad Zubin P. Rabadi, Ervad Burjor F. Aibara, Ervad Kobad J. Bharda, and Ervad Porus S. Zarolia. These mobeds will perform for 70 days continuously with all tarikats of purity.
We hope and are confident that with the performance of this gigantic religious ceremony our Parsi Zarathushtri brothers and sisters will once again live in happiness, peace, unity and unflinching faith towards our deen and wish that the blessings of all the fareshtas descend on us in plenty to eradicate ahrimanic influences now prevalent with the help of the strong manthravani that emanate from this ceremony.
The trustees of the Modi Atashbehram, Vada Dasturji Saheb of Surat, Naib Dasturji Saheb and the 10 yaozdathregar mobed sahibs performing the ceremony cordially invite one and all humdin of Surat and outside towns, cities, countries to witness this kriya and be fortunate enough to receive the blessings of all the fareshtas and Pak Dadar Ahuramazda.
What is the meaning of the word ‘Sadra’ and why is it so called? Er. Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia explains:
• The word sadra or sudreh is derived from two Persian words sud “beneficial” and reh/rah “path”. Thus, sudreh means “a beneficial path”.
• The sadra is the road map that leads a Zoroastrian towards his duties and obligations of life. These duties and obligations are:
i. To be good
ii. To be responsible
iii. To be mindful of the two forces – good and evil – and work towards increasing the former and decreasing the latter.
iv. To be mindful of the two worlds – the physical and spiritual.
v. To look after the three main creations – plants, animals and minerals.
• These duties are symbolically enshrined in the nine seams (called saandhas in Gujarati) which make up the sadra – 1 gireban, 1 girdo, 2 sleeves, 2 sides and 3 tiris.
As an ethnic community, Parsis have lived in India for over a millennium and myriad myths have been cherished and closeted which require to be brought out and given an occasional dusting. We realised the need for doing this in the course of a recent interaction with some elders of the community. It dawned on us that some of our elders are unintentionally ignorant of so many truths…. hence, what can we expect from our youth?
Last year from the Shehenshahi month of Meher we started a monthly series on Parsi Parab or the day when the Roj coincides with the Mah. Our readers found the series both insightful and inspiring. In keeping with our motto to inspire and inform, we are pleased to kick off, with this issue of Parsi Times, yet another interesting series titled ‘Popular Parsi Myths’, by our Community luminary, a Zoroastrian scholar and visionary and a writer par excellence, Noshir H. Dadrawala. The object of this series is not to debunk closely but wrongly held beliefs, but to shed the light of truth on myths and fables and sift the facts from fiction. Read on…
Myth # 1: The Holy Fire – Iranshah was brought by our ancestors over a thousand years ago from Iran to India.
Fact: Iranshah was consecrated in Sanjan, India and according to tradition, on the ninth day of the ninth month of Samvat 777. However, the Aalaat or the sacred ritual requisites including the holy ash of the AtashBahram in Khorasan, was brought from Iran, reportedly on horse-back and on foot via Afghanistan and what is modern-day Pakistan. Hence, the first Atash Bahram consecrated by the Parsis in India is named Iranshah as it has a spiritual and ritual link with Iran.
Myth # 2: The leader of the group of Parsis who left Iran and came to Sanjan had promised the local king Jadi Rana that they (the Parsis) will not convert any Hindu to the Zoroastrian religion.
Fact: Very little is known or documented about the advent of the early Parsis to India. The earliest record is the Qissa-e-Sanjan written in 1599 A.C. In other words the earliest so called history of the Parsis was documented several centuries after their arrival in India. And, if one were to go by the Qissa-e-Sanjan there was no such promise made to Jadi Rana who was probably a local chieftain and not the King of India as popularly believed.
The Qissa-e-Sanjan refers to five conditions laid down by Jadi Rana before the Parsis – (1) Adopt the local language (Gujarati); (2) Disarm yourselves of all weapons; (3) Let Parsi women wear the saree and bangles; (4) Tie the thread in the marriage ceremony; and (5) Explain the Zoroastrian religion.
However, having said this, Justice Dinshaw Davar of the Bombay High Court in the celebrated Parsi Punchayet case (Petit V/s Jeejeebhoy 1908) was consistent in holding the view that no evidence existed to warrant any claim that in the history of the Parsis in India had the conversion of an individual born in another religion been known to the Zoroastrians of India.
Myth # 3: A very powerful demon by the name Zohak is tied by chains in a cave at Mount Demavand and one day he will set himself free and he will unleash untold havoc in this world.
Fact: We pray in the “Afreen-i-haft Ameshaspandan”: “Hamazor Daemavand koh ke dravand Bivarasp andar oye basta ested.” (Be in accord/attuned with Daemavand Koh (mountain) (which has the power and) in which is enchained the demon – Bivarasp, the demon (with power) of ten thousand horses”. The demon Bivarap is also known as Zohak or Azi Dahak (i.e. one who possesses or is the epitome of all the ten evils known to man like anger, arrogance, greed, ingratitude, jealousy, lust etc.).
According to legend, Zohak is the living embodiment of evil and is still chained to that great spiritual mountain, Demavand. It is said every night when the forces of evil gain strength the chains weaken. However, at the crack of dawn when the cock crows and the sun comes out, the chains are again secured and the evil one is rendered powerless. This is an important truth in nature wrapped in an easy-to-understand legend.
Only light exists. Darkness is simply the absence of light. In like manner, evil is the absence of Good. Zohak is the personification of evil in the form of a legend. Darkness gains strength in the absence of light, but vanishes in the presence of light. In like manner evil cannot be encountered with evil. Only good can dispel evil just the way light dispels darkness.
In our oncoming parts to this Series, we will share…
1) Should we stand or should be remain seated during the Boi ceremony?
2) Are Zoroastrian’s fire worshippers?
3) Is the winged human-head really a Zoroastrian symbol and does it represent the Fravashi or the Holy Spirit?
Here is the Humbandagi prayers for our Zarathushti friends who follow the Fasli calendar.
The prayer may be recited during the 10 Fasli Muktad days which start from March 11th Asman Roj to the last Gatha day which is on Tuesday March 20th. The 5 Fasli Gatha days are from March 16th to March 20th.
I have also attached a pdf file for your convenience.
May Ahura Mazda bless us all.
Rohinton K. Tarapore,
Chair, Zarathushti Association of New Orleans.
HUM BANDAGI – Prayer in memory of the departed souls
When the universe was first started by Ahu, His wish which is Ahunavar (Yatha Ahu Vairyo) was sent. Then came Fravashi. This Fravashi can be imagined as the mother of entire creation. A small portion with varied level of Ashoi does exist in everything in Universe from the Human being to the smallest of small particle. This provides a Spiritual Guiding force. The following prayer is to remember the Fravashi during the days of Farvadegan, when all Fravashis come to this Gaiti (Earth).
For all my mistakes, I repent and promise to retreat from them. I praise and worship the Fravashi that are Asho (Righteous), good, brave, and those that help in our advancement.
- I get attuned, remember, pray and sing in praise of the excellent, heroic and bounteous Fravashis of all Righteous beings who bring happiness and prosperity to us. We praise the Fravashis of the High Priests belonging to our homes, cities, states and countries.
- Among all these Fravashis of the ancient epoch we worship here, the first and foremost is that of Dadar Ahura Mazda, which is the most exalted, the most excellent, and the best, the firmest and the wisest, the most gracious and the highest in righteousness.
- We remember the bounteous Holy Fravashis of the Amesha Spentas, who are the rulers, energetic eyed, the exalted and the mighty, who render help and assistance, act in accord with the Law of Ahura Mazda and who are the eternal Holy-ones.
- Here do we extol the life-force, the conscience, the intellect, the souls and the Fravashis of the righteous men and the righteous women of the ancient Mazdayasni faith before Zarathustra, and of the righteous men and the righteous women who were the first listeners to the religious scriptures of Zarathushtra and who embraced his religion called Mazdayasni Zarathustrish. All these people strove hard for righteousness. We adore the soul of the bounteous Mother-Earth.
- Amongst those who strove hard for righteousness, we respectfully remember the Fravarshi of the righteous Gaya Maretan or Gayomard; we revere here both the Holiness and the Fravashi of Holy Spitama Zarathushtra; we venerate the Fravashi of the Kyanian King Gustasp, the Righteous; we venerate the Fravashi of the righteous Isat-vaastrahe, the eldest son of Zarathushtra.
- Here do we praise the Life-force, the conscience, the intellect, the souls and the Fravashis of the righteous men and the righteous women among the Nabanazdishtans (i.e. people born in Zarathusti religion, descendents of those who embraced Zarathusti religion) who strove hard for righteousness. Along with all these holy Fravarshis, do we revere those of the righteous departed souls, those of the righteous who are living, those of the heroes to be born and the heralds-of-renovation, the Saoshyants yet to come – to fight the evil and re-establish the Law of Asha (righteousness) in the world.
- Here do we praise the souls of the departed ones who fought for Ashoi and whose Fravashis are holy. Of all the departed souls of Nabanzdishtans, the Ervads, the disciples and men and women who have gone beyond from this fold, we here invoke the Fravarshis of these righteous men and of these righteous women.
- Of all the Ervards (or Gurus), we revere the Fravashis of the righteous Ervards. Of all the disciples, we revere the Fravashis of the holy disciples. Of all men, we revere the Fravarshis of the righteous men. Of all women, we revere the Fravashis of the righteous women.
- We praise the Fravashis of all holy innocent children of tender age; we praise the Fravashis of the holy inhabitants of this country; we praise the Fravashis of the holy inhabitants of other countries.
- Of men, we praise the Fravashis of the righteous men; of women, we praise the Fravashis of the righteous women. All the excellent, heroic and bounteous Fravashis of the Righteous do we revere, those right from Gaya Maretan, the first man upto Saoshyant, our last victorios savior to come.
- We remember and praise the Fravashis of all the righteous souls; We remember and praise the excellent heroic and bounteous Fravashis of the Holy-ones. All of them bring happiness and prosperity to us. We also remember and praise all the Yazads.
Kshnaothra Ahura Mazdaao. Ashem Vohu(1).
**Az hama gunah patet pashemanum,
Ashaaonaanm vanghuhish suraao
spentaao fravashayo yazamaide. Ashaone
Ashem Vohu(1).** – Recite 3 times.
Ahmai Raeshcha; Hazangrem; Jasa me avanghahe; Kerfeh mozd.
1 Ashaaonaanm vanghuhish suraao
spentaao fravashayo staomi, zbayemi,
ufyemi; yazamaide nmaanyaao vîsyaao
zañtumaao dâkhyumaao zarathushtrôtemaao.
2 Vîspanaanmcha aaonghaanm paoiryanaanm
fravashinaanm idha yazamaide, fravashîm
avaam yaam Ahurahe Mazdaao, mazishtaanmcha
vahishtaanmcha sraêshtaanmcha, khraozdishtaanmcha
3 Ashaaonaanm vanguhîsh suraao
spentaao fravashayo yazamaide; yaao
ameshanaanm speñtanaanm, khshaêtanaanm,
verezi-dôithranaanm, berezataanm, aiwyaamanaanm,
takhmanaanm, aahûiryanaanm, yôi aithyejanghô ashavanô.
4 Paoiryanaanm tkêshanaanm,
paoiryanaanm saasnô-gûshaanm idha
ashaonaanm, ashaoninaanmcha ahûmcha,
daênaanmcha, baodhascha, urvaaanemcha,
fravashîmcha yazamaide, Yôi ashaai
vaonare, gêush hudhaaonghô urvaanem yazamaide.
5 Yôi ashâi vaonare, gayehe marethnô
ashaonô fravashîm yazamaide.
Zarathushtrahe Spitaamahe idha ashaonô ashîmcha
fravashîmcha yazamaide. Kavôish Vîshtaaspahe
ashaonô fravashîm yazamaide. Isat-vaastrahe
Zarathushtrôish ashaonô fravashîm yazamaide.
6 Nabaanazdishtanaanm idha ashaonaanãm
ashaoninaanmcha ahûmcha daênaanmcha baodhascha
urvaanemcha fravashîmcha yazamaide, yôi ashaai
vaonare, mat vîspaabyô ashaonibyô fravashibyô,
yaao irîrithushaanm ashaonaanm, yaaoscha jvañtaanm
ashaonaanm, yaaoscha naraanm azaatanaanm,
7 Idha iristanaanm urvaanô yazamaide.
Yaao ashaaonaanm fravashayô, vîspanaanm ahmya
nmaane nabaanazdishtanaanm para-iristanaanm,
aêthrapaitinaanm aêthryanaanm, naraanm naairinaanm
idha ashaonaanm ashaoninaanm fravashayô yazamaide.
8 Vîspanaanm aêthrapaitinaanm ashaonaanm fravashayô
yazamaide. Vîspanaanm aêthryanaanm ashaonaanm fravashayô
yazamaide. Vîspanaanm naraanm ashaonaanm fravashayô
yazamaide. Vîspanaanm naairinaanm ashaoninaanm
9 Vîspanaanm aperenaayûkanaanm dahmôkeretanaanm
ashaonaanm fravashayô yazamaide, aadakhyunaanmcha
ashaonaanm fravashayô yazamaide, uzdakhyunaanmcha
ashaonaanm fravashayô yazamaide.
10 Naraanmcha ashaonaanm fravashayô yazamaide,
naairinaanmcha ashaoninaanm fravashayô yazamaide.
Vîspaao ashaaunaanm vanguhîsh sûraao speñtaao
fravashayô yazamaide, yaao hacha gayaat marethnat
11 Vispaao Fravashyo ashaaonaanm yazamaide,
ashaaonaanm vanghuish suraao spentaao fravashayo
yazamaide. Vispe ashavano yazata yazamaide.
What is Ardibahesht Yasht? (Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia)
Ardibahesht Yasht is the shortest among the ‘shorter Yashts’. It is also one of the most favourite among Zoroastrians, perhaps because of its length and efficacy.
Ardibahesht Ameshaspand: He is the divine being who presides over fire. In Zoroastrian understanding fire does not only mean physical fire but also all energies. So Ardibahesht Ameshaspand, on a physical plane presides also over different types of Energies – Physical, and spiritual (Khoreh). Ardibahesht Ameshaspand also presides over health, as the real source of health and healing is divine energy
The word Ardibahesht comes form the Pahlavi words Ard Vahisht (Av. Asha Vahishta “the Best Truth”). The word Asha is understood in several ways: divine law, order, beauty, truth, righteousness, holiness, piety, purity, etc. Each of these meanings are inter-connected.
The words Asha Vahishta also imply the “Divine Plan” of Ahura Mazda which all of us need to understand and follow. Ardibahesht is the 3rd roj of the month and the 2nd mah of the Zoroastrian calendar.
From an ethical viewpoint, Ardibahesht represents the truth and from a metaphysical viewpoint he represents The (Ultimate) Truth which is manifested when one can understand Asha, that is one’s “Life’s Purpose” and subsequently reach Asha Vahishta – the “Divine Plan” of Ahura Mazda. this is the only way to get Ushta “inner happines. This is also the message of the Ashem Vohu prayer.
Ardibahesht Ameshaspand on the Cosmic plane is the Cosmic Plan that God put into motion with all its attendant laws, especially the law of cause and effect.
Ardibahesht Ameshaspand is the chief divinity of the Rapithwin Gah. Winter is considered evil (druj-e-zimistan) in Zoroastrian tradition. Ardibahesht Ameshaspand fights winter. That is why in Iran during winter Rapithwin Gah was not recited as it was believed that Ardibahesht Ameshaspand had gone underground to give warmth to the earth. He would surface after winter, hence Rapithwan Geh could be recited once again from Farvardin mah.
The Hamkars “co-workers” of Ardibahesht Ameshaspand are Adar Yazad who presides over fire and Khvarena “divine energy”, Sarosh Yazad who brings intuitions and divine guidance, and Behram Yazad who presides over victory and success. The two grades of fire – Atash Adaran and Atash Behram are associated with Ardibahesht who as an Ameshaspand looks after fire.
The Associates of Ardibahesht Ameshaspand are the Yazads Airyaman and Saoka. Airyaman is for harmony as also for repelling diseases, physical and mental illnesses, negativities and death. Through Saoka Yazad comes all happiness that is destined for the world. He keeps back the demons inflicting more than necessary punishment on the souls.
“lie, deceit” is the adversary of Ardibahesht. It is responsible for evils resulting from chaos, disharmony and lies. On a physical plane, it brings severe winters.
Asha Vahishta is one of the most basic concepts in Avesta. The three short Avestan chants– Ashem Vohu, Yatha Ahu Vairyo and Yenghe Hatam – revolve around Asha Vahishta. Ahura Mazda, Zarathushtra, Amesha Spentas and all other divine beings are referred to as ashavan, that is “in accord with Asha – The Truth.”
In the beginning of the Yaht, Ahura Mazda tells Zarathushtra that among the Ameshaspands, Ardibahesht is the foremost for adoration and veneration. Zarathushtra agrees to venerate Ardibahesht as the foremost Ameshaspand (1-2). We are told that it is possible to reach Garothman “the Highest Heaven”, the abode of Ahura Mazda, through the help of Ardibahesht Ameshaspand (3-4).
Thereafter the prayer of Airyaman Yazad is mentioned as the most powerful against all evils including Angra Mainyu (5).
Five types of healing are mentioned: 1. Asho baeshazo“Healing with Asha/Truth” (this may also mean healing as per the divine Plan), 2. Dāto baeshazo “Healing with Law / justice”, 3. Kereto baeshazo “healing with surgery”, 4. Urvaro baeshazo “Healing with herbs”, 5.Mānthro baeshazo “Healing with prayers.” Among these, healing by prayers is considered best as it heals from within. (6)
Thereafter powerful autosuggestions are given against evils. A desire is expressed that may evils like sickness, demons, opponents, snakes, inimical persons, evil women and harmful north-winds perish (apa-dvarata) (7-9). The devotee then urges Ardibahesht Ameshaspand to smite (jainti) the above mentioned and similar other evils for him. The devotee has the confidence that Ardibahesht Ameshaspand will smite (janat) thousands of demons, the worst of the demons including the arch demon Angra Mainyu. and drive them away towards the north (10-16).
In the end a desire is expressed that may the evil perish and flee towards the North, so that the rest of the world may not be harmed (17). This thought is expressed even at the end of the Kem nā Mazdā prayer. The Yasht ends with Avesta and Pazand passages similar to other Yashts.
After the Yasht, the Nirang is recited, which is held to be very efficacious. It is recited even as a prayer by itself and is often prayed over people who are not well. In the Nirang, Ahura Mazda is extolled and Ahriman is referred as ignorant and wicked, who should be defeated and destroyed. Zoroastrian religion and Ahura Mazda are praised at the end.
It is advisable to recite the short Airyaman prayer immediately after reciting the Ardibahesht Yasht and its Nirang.
There are two traditions firmly associated with Ardibahesht Yasht in our Community. Both these traditions underlie two of Ardibahesht. Ameshaspand’s basic characteristics, the first is its association with health and the second is with truth.
The first tradition is Ardibahesht ni picchi, in which, a devotee prays for a dear one or for self in case of ill health. Whilst praying the Ardibahesht Yasht, passes are made either by hand or by a handkerchief over the person’s body from head to toe and then the negative energy is shaken off.
The other tradition is Ardibahesht ni chavi which means moving a key with the help of Ardibahesht ameshaspand. It has to be done by a pious, adept person to identify a culprit in case of loss or theft. For this purpose, an iron key is kept in a Khordeh Avesta over which a Kasti is tied. Then fire is lit in a small Afarganyu and a person prays the Farajyat prayers followed by the Ardibahesht Yasht. Then the key is supported on the fingertips and the list of suspects is read out. On the name of the culprit the key is supposed to turn round and the Khordeh Avesta falls down. If this happens on the same name for 4 to 5 times, it is believed that the particular suspect is the culprit. Performing the Ardibahesht ni chhavi presupposes a certain level of spiritual statue, regular practice of the religious tariqats and a certain level of abstinence in the person who performs it. Without these, one may not get the correct results. Hence in present times there is a risk in doing this practice or else an innocent person may be unnecessarily be blamed.
Truth, they say, is stranger than fiction.
This is a story narrated to Roshnimai Godiwala by a pious lady. It is the story of a simple husband who was unfortunate to have a wife whose lavish spending habits left him greatly distressed. For a long time, he tried his best to cater to her incessant monetary demands till one day, out of sheer despair, he decided to end his life. Even as he stood, poised for a leap unto death, on a precipice overlooking the Wai Ghat near Panchgani, a Sadhu suddenly appeared by his side.
When questioned by the ascetic, this Parsi gentleman explained his predicament , saying he was going to meet his Maker. The ascetic laughed aloud and told the Parsi that if this was truly a way to be liberated from life’s worries and meeting God, then many mortals would have succeeded by now. He requested this troubled soul to visit his Ashram and assured him that he would help him to meet God. Since the desperate Parsi had nothing to lose anyway, he accompanied the Sadhu to his Ashram.
The ascetic gave this despairing soul a fruit to eat. No sooner was the fruit consumed, the Parsi went into a samadhi– like state, liberated from all flesh and blood needs-no thirst, no hunger, no sleep, no defecation for forty days! When he returned from this trance like state, he had partaken of many secrets and mysteries lying locked in Nature’s vault. The ascetic handed a Jamaspe to this enlightened soul, instructing him how to use the book to prescribe Nirangs , prayers to other long suffering Parsi souls that they may enjoy some relief and happiness. He also told this Parsi that, henceforth, every morning when he awoke, he would find a ten rupee note under his pillow. It is worth noting that this sequence of events occurred in the forties when a rupee held great value.
On returning home, the man went about using the copy of Jamaspe and recently acquired divine knowledge for the work assigned to him. As for his extravagant wife, there was always the ten rupee note every morning to satisfy her foolish demands. After some time, the man realised his natural end was drawing near. He called a pious lady neighbour whom he trusted, and told her to take away the Jamaspe and carry on the good work after his death. The lady disciple told him that she would collect the sacred book from the prayer shelf with the burning oil lamp only after he had passed away. She assured him that she would then put it to good use as instructed by him. However, after his demise, when she tried to collect the book from the secret place shown to her, the book was missing!
Roshnimai asked late Jehangirji Sohrabji Chiniwalla Saheb (disciple of Ustad Saheb Behramshah Navroji Shroff) to explain why the book had vanished from the secret place shown to the survivor. He explained that , in the Aravali mountains, even today, there are places cut off from the outside material world by talismatic kash. Here lie some Astral Libraries where Holy Books of all the Divinely Revealed Religions are kept. Jehangirji Sohrabji Chiniwala Saheb opined that, since the survivor lady was not found eligible to use the secrets of Jamaspe, it must have, so to say, ehtherialised and got restored to one such astral library! He also explained that there are many such advanced souls dwelling in these places cut off from the outside materialistic world. Though the Sadhu was not a Parsi, he could draw the relevant book from such an astral library by virtue of his spiritual stature so that the Parsi could do the good work he was destined to do for other suffering Parsis.
The cynic and the doubting Thomas, will dismiss this story as an unbelievable yarn. We wish him good luck!
Strange are the ways of Nature and stranger, the multidimensional truths and events lying beyond the grasp of our puny human intellect that always presumes to understand the multidimensional truths of Nature. But then,as Hamlet told his friend,
“There are more things in Heaven and earth, Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy!.”
Courtesy : K F Keravala
In the starry Heavens, Ahura Mazda has positioned 4 Guardians, i.e. the 4 Fixed Stars in the 4 Sacred Directions to protect His Good Creations from the armies of Angre-Mainyu.
The 4 Guardians of the 4 Directions are:
1) Teshtar Tir (Sirius) in the Eastern Sky, affiliated to Planet Mercury,
2) Satvas (Vega) in the West, affiliated to Planet Venus,
3) Vanant (Antares) in the South, affiliated to Planet Jupiter,
4) Haptrang (Pleiades) in the North, affiliated to Planet Mars.
(These 4 Stars are mentioned in the Pahlavi Minog-i-Kherad, chapter 49, Bundahishn, chapter 2, (SBE), and Doctor Saheb F. S. Chiniwala’s translation of Tir Yasht, as well as in Kangaji’s Khordeh-Avesta-Ba-Mayeni. There are some minor discrepancies in the English names of stars, especially with Vanant. Some scholars take it to be Fomalfaut but Prof. Haug, Behramgor Anklesaria and Dr. Faramroze Chiniwala maintain it is “Antares”. I have taken the above mentioned English names of stars from Tir Yasht by Dr. F. Chiniwala, p. 60).
The exaltation and homage to Teshtar Tir Yazad is revealed in the Tir Yasht. It reveals that Ahura Mazda created Teshtar Tir (Sirius) as the Chieftain over all the Stars. He created Tir as brilliant, as worthy of worship, adoration and glorification as Himself! He authorized and empowered Tir Yazad as the lord and overseer over all the Stars. Tir is called “rayomand, khorehmand”, which is how Ahura Mazda Himself is addressed! The Brilliance, the Divine Light of Tir Yazad defeats the darkness and ignorance spread by Angre-Mainyu and helps Ahura Mazda to achieve the divine predetermined event of Frashogard at the appointed time.
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Courtesy : Pervin Mistry
The Feast of Tirangan (Mah Tir, Roj Tir) Celebrates Reign of Peace and Rain of Prosperity!
Tir, or Testar (Avestan Tishtrya), is the divinity presiding over the Star Sirius (Greek Seirios which means glowing or scorching) or the Dog Star which is the brightest star visible from all parts of the earth in the night sky. Sirius is colloquially called the ‘Dog Star’, on account of its prominence in the constellation of Canis Major or Big Dog. Most ancient civilizations viewed Sirius as the earth’s second or spiritual sun.
In the Zoroastrian religious texts, Testar-Tir is venerated as radiant, glorious and invoked in order to bring rain, enhance harvest and keep the demon of draught at bay. Little wonder that it was originally meant to be a rain or monsoon festival and still celebrated according to the Fasal or seasonal calendar in the month of July. Likewise, ancient Egyptians observed that in the month of July, with the heliacal rising of the Star Sirius (Heliacal rising means the first night that a star is seen in the eastern horizon, just before dawn) the Nile generally started to flood and bring fertility to the land. Thus, the flood and the rising of Sirius also marked the ancient Egyptian New Year. The ancient Greeks also observed that the appearance of Sirius or the dog star heralded the hot and humid summer season causing plants to wilt and men to tire. The season following the star’s appearance came to be known as the ‘Dog Days of summer’, an expression still in use.
The festival of Tiragan is one of the three most widely celebrated seasonal festivals of ancient Iran, and is even mentioned in the Jewish Talmud. While Navruz (Mah Fravardin, Roj Hormuzd) celebrates renewed life and the warmth of spring after the cold winter season and Meherangan (Mah Meher, Roj Meher) commemorates harvest during autumn, Tirangan (Mah Tir, Roj Tir) welcomes the heat of summer and life-giving rain. Tiragan is mainly associated with the legend of the arrow (tir), which is briefly alluded to in the Tir Yasht: “We honor the bright, khwarrah (glory) endowed star Tishtrya who flies as swiftly to the Vouru-kasha sea as the supernatural arrow which the archer Erexsha, the best archer of the Iranians, shot from Mount Airyo-xshutha to Mount Xwanwant. For Ahura Mazda gave him assistance; so, did the waters …”
The legend of Erexsha (modern Eruchsha) or Pahlavi Arish Shivatir i.e Arish of the swift arrow, is also referred to in other texts like Firdausi’s Shahnameh (Book of Kings) and Mirkond, History of the Early Kings of Persia, translated by David Shea. According to these later texts, Erekhsha or ‘Arish of the swift arrow’, was the best archer in the Iranian army. When Shah Minochihr and Afrasyab of pre-historic Iran decided to make peace, and fix the boundary between Iran and Turan, it was agreed that Arish would ascend Mount Damavand in Northern Iran, and from the peak fire an arrow towards the east and the place in which the arrow would land would form the boundary between the two kingdoms.
Arish thereupon ascended the mountain, and discharged an arrow, the flight of which continued from the dawn of day until noon, when it fell on the banks of the Jihun (the Oxus or Amu Darya in Central Asia, in modern times the border around Tajikistan and Afghanistan). The day was Tir Roj of Tir Mah. Thus, the festival of Tirangan also celebrates the spirit of peace and freedom.
The Persian Rivayat (essentially correspondence between the Zoroastrian Priests of Navsari in India and the Zoroastrian priests of Yazd in Iran) speak of a great draught in Iran as a result of the conflict between Iranians and Turanians. Shah Faridoon had segregated Iran and Turan under a covenant. However, the Turanians under Afrasiab breached the covenant. The arrow was released on Roj Tir of Mah Tir and when Afrasiab and the Turanians left Iran it took them ten days to reach Turan. The tenth day was Roj Govad (dedicated to the good wind) and it rained heavily on that day and ended eight years of draught and ushered peace and prosperity for both Iran and Turan.
Late Professor Dr. Mary Boyce in her book ‘Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism’ refers to the custom among Zoroastrians of Yazd in Iran, tying rainbow-colored bands on their wrists on Tirangan, wearing them for ten days and then throw them in a stream. These colourful bands were worn as good-luck charms and during this period children in particular found great joy in swimming or splashing around in the local village streams.
The Rivayat however records that priests used to write a Nirang (short prayer) which members of the community wore on their wrist or arm on Roj Tir of Mah Tir and removed it after ten days on Roj Govad and cast it into running brooks and streams, symbolically casting all calamities (particularly draught and hunger) to the flowing waters to carry away.
In the Tir Yasht we invoke Tishtrya as “Provider of rain, helpful and health giving”. In fact, Tishtrya yazata affirms in the same litany, “If men would worship me with the yasna in which my own name is invoked, then I would render the world prosperous and fertile by showering rain”. The Tir Yasht also records the victory of Tishtrya over Apaosha, the demon of drought and ensuring happiness not just for people but all vegetation and animals.
On the joyous occasion of the salgireh of Paak Banaji Atash Behram Saheb, am pleased to share the below article.
The sanctified land, divine edifice and sacred Kash of Paak Atash Behram Padshah Saheb
Disclaimers: 1. The article is a feeble attempt to encapsulate the essence of the key messages as explained in the Purso Pasokh series by the late doyen of Ilm-e-Khshnoom Seth Jehangirji Sohrabji Chiniwala. The Gujarati articles of Seth Jehangirji appeared in Parsi Avaz weekly of 27th February and 6th March 1955 (Vol. 8, Issue 35 & 36). Readers are strongly encouraged to read these beautiful Gujarati articles from the Parsi Avaz weekly in order to gain a fuller and richer understanding of the aforesaid subject.
- This article provides glimpses about the mystical knowledge pertaining to Atash Behram Padshah Saheb purely from a Khshnoom point of view and it is hoped that no misunderstanding gets created on account of the same. Certain technical terms in Gujarati have been translated into the most approximate equivalent term in English and readers are requested to bear in mind such limitations of the English vocabulary as also those of the translator.
- This article is recommended for reading by true seekers of truths of our religion who have an open, objective and unbiased bent of mind. This article is not for those who are allergic to the divine knowledge of Khshnoom and also not for those who do not have implicit faith in the time-tested tenets and traditions of our pristine religion.
Click to continue reading… Kash of Paak Atash Behram Padshah Saheb
Courtesy : K F Keravala