A Ses is a tray of traditional Zoroastrian items having symbolic importance, and used during various ceremonies and occasions. Most are made of silver or stainless steel, and is usually cleaned during Nowruz and the Parsi New Year. A pure silver Ses can tarnish easily, so here is my very easy and quick way to clean your items. This is great to do before lacquering, but will only work on a pure silver, uncoated Ses. This method of cleaning also works well with pure silver cutlery and jewellery.
“Ses” is the most prominent auspicious symbol among Parsis. It is a round metallic tray of varied shapes and sizes, present at all times in a Parsi house, especially on auspicious occasions. The Ses for general occasions is a small one and the Ses for special occasions, like weddings and Navjotes, is a big one.
The Ses has a wonderful collection of auspicious items in it:
▪Divo : Symbolises light – to dispel darkness and evil.
▪Paro / Soparo : It is a conical metallic utensil in which patasha and/or rock sugar (khadi sakar) is kept. It is a modification of the Iranian kalleh ghand, a cone of rock sugar wrapped in green gold foil, embossed with a Farohar motif. It’s reminiscent of the conical sweets wrapped in green paper in Iran till this day. – Symbol of sweetness.
▪ Pigani: It is a small metallic utensil (wine glass shaped) with a lid in which Kanku (vermilion) is kept to put an auspicious red mark/tila on the forehead. The Parsis generally put a vertical mark on the forehead of a man and a round one on the forehead of the woman. The former signifies rays of the sun, the latter signifies the moon. Rice is placed on to the red mark to signify plenty.
▪ Gulabaz: It’s a metallic sprinkler-cum-container, which has rose water (Gulaab-jal) in it. In Iran it was used to sprinkle on guests while welcoming them and saying: Khush amadid or “welcome”.
▪ Miscellaneous items: Coconut (a symbol of resourcefulness and Utility), betel leaves (paan), betel nut (sopari), almonds (badaam), dried dates (khaarak), rice, (symbolising fertility and productivity) curd and fish (fresh fish or sweet meat in the shape of a fish)(for good luck). There can be water for purity; eggs – life-giving force; sugar crystals (khari saakar) -sweetness; rose petals – happiness; silver and gold coins – wealth and prosperity are also placed. A garland of fresh flowers is twisted around the ses. Nowadays, metallic replicas of some of the above things are placed in the Ses instead of real ones.
At the time of the Navjote and marriage, a special Ses is prepared. The tray is bigger, since a special set of clothes are kept, which differ for a boy and girl. If the Navjotee is a boy, then shirt, pant, dagli, socks and shoes are kept. If the Navjotee is a girl, a sari is kept. This sari will be most probably the first sari that the girl would wear when she grows up.
Ceremony on the 6th day (CHATHI) after the baby is born.
On the 6th day Light a Divo in the evening at around Dusk time (late evening).
What you need to keep ready:
Ful ses with khoomchi, soparo, pigani, kankoo dani, floweres, glass for batti, Karek, sopari, badam, sakar, rice grain.
Plain Sheet of white paper, and new Red Pen (keep the pen open do not put on the cap)
Preferably Red Dress, panty/Baba Suit.
If Baby Girl preferably small red 3-5, bangles to be kept on the Sopara
Loban or agarbatti would do
What to do:
In the evening take a head bath. Clean the place, put chowk (optional if you are abroad)
In big Plate/Khoomchi put the Red clothes for the child, you may put any jewelry if you like chain, pendent, Gold/Siver coin etc. On the top of the Sopara put Bangles if girl (it is a sign of good luck for the girl child)
On the Sheet write with a red pen (not the new one) ‘Chaathimai mara dikara/dikri ………(write name of the parents) bachaa na sara lekh/nasib lakhi jasoji you may write what you wish for the child eg. Long, happy, successful life with good health etc… Take ovarna with rice
Place the White plain sheet next to it and light the Divo, Agarbatti. Leave the paper and open pen on the sheet overnight.
Say a small prayer wishing the parents and child well.
Let everything be there, once the Divo extinguishes you may pick up everything and put away the clothes to be worn by the baby after the 40th day Nahan and going to Agiary.
Courtesy : Thrity Tantra
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?
This wonderful book has been shared by Er. Farhad Sidhwa, in memory of his father, Er. Godrej Dinshawji Sidhwa. Go through the contents and read up the erudite writings of a great Scholar on the ceremonies and rituals of Zoroastrianism.
It is a huge download, please be patient
Many people regard ‘Ritual’ and ‘Reason’ as being anti-thetical. In reality, both are complementary factors in the process of spiritual growth. Prayers and rituals are born of man’s adoration for that unseen power underlying the mystery of life. Each religion prescribes its own set of practices as a means of adoration or worship or to encourage humility and surrender, resulting in spiritual purification so necessary for inner growth. History affirms that prayers and rituals never completely die out, so long as they can offer the devout a spiritual link with Divinity or at another level, a sense of security.
Prayer and Ritual is what distinguishes religion from mere philosophy. In a manner of speaking, prayers and rituals help provide the spiritual experience of the celebration of religion. The purpose of prayers and rituals is to generate a conscious awareness which, in turn, provides the devout an insight into and an understanding of the nature of Divinity. Prayers and rituals also provide a medium through which one is able to relate and bridge himself to the unseen spiritual world.
Faith, of course, is very essential. A Master once observed, ‘In spiritual life, faith comes first, then knowledge and then experience.’ Faith begins where reason falters: faith falters where there is attention without intention. Faith is necessary for gaining wisdom. Faith should not be confused with blind belief. It is rather the aspiration of the soul to gain wisdom. If faith is constant, it takes the devotee to the realization of wisdom. Indeed, the way to wisdom is through faith. Prayers and rituals, when performed with understanding, feeling and concentration, become a powerful tool in the process of religious awareness. Take, for example, the most basic and simple ritual of performing the Kusti. Each time a devotee performs this ritual, he/she makes an unswerving commitment to reject and fight evil and promote the Will of Dadaar Ahura Mazda.
Avesta is not a ‘Dead Language’ as some Parsis choose to call it. It is a ‘Divine Language’. If Hindus consider Sanskrit as the language of the Devatas (Divinity), devout Zoroastrians consider Avesta as the language of the Yazatas. Our sacred manthravani is loaded with Divine Energy which can deeply influence the devotee and his or her surroundings when chanted with faith and devotion. In fact our Avestan manthravani is Ahura Mazda’s Energy which devotees can vocalize in order to attune the spirit within with the Divine Essence of Universal Spirituality.
Just as food is essential for physical sustenance, prayer is vital for spiritual sustenance. Pray the Atash Niyaesh before a consecrated Fire and see how it energizes you – both physically and spiritually. Pray the Ardibehesht Yasht regularly and see how it heals some of your chronic ailments. Recite the Hormazd Yasht as often as possible and get a sense of Ahura Mazda’s all-round protection. Invoke Sarosh Yazata everyday and observe the enhancement in your spiritual consciousness. Invoke Behram Yazata whenever in trouble or Ava Yazata for knowledge and wisdom. The list is long……..!
And, every day, recite the two most powerful prayers of just 21 and 12 words respectively, the Yatha and Ashem. Pray one Ashem the moment you wake up in the morning and pray one just before you fall asleep. Pray one Ashem just before and after a meal or whenever a bad thought passes your mind. Make it a habit to pray one Yatha whenever you leave your home and before starting any new work. On a personal note, everyday, as a matter of habit, I pray one Yatha before starting my computer or before writing an important letter or article. It gives me not just a sense of being blessed but it also gives me a sense of higher purpose and the inclusion of a spiritual essence in whatever I plan to do.
Regular worship is also believed to ‘keep the doctor away’. In a study conducted by the Purdue University, of 1,500 people, researchers found that 36% of those who said they regularly worship, claimed excellent health, versus only 29% of those who said that they do not regularly worship; and a higher percentage of non-worshippers claimed poor health. Researchers believe that religious people are probably able to adjust their lives better to changing circumstances and stressful situations. Doubtlessly, it is regular prayer and ritual observances which sustain the Faith. Even, the Gatha of Asho Zarathushtra have been kept alive, not through mere philosophical interpretations, but through constant ritual usage.
With due apologies to Martin Luther King Jr., I would like to conclude with an adaptation of his belief – ‘To be a Zoroastrian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.’ But, yes, no point praying and then not living up to what one prays. Living an ethical, value-based life must go hand in hand with prayers. It is only when we integrate the positive affirmations of our prayers with righteous actions that we truly live the religion or make the Zoroastrian religion a way of life.
…. Noshir Dadrawalla
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.
The central province of Yazd is home to a large population of Iranian Zoroastrians. This past Tuesday, they celebrated the annual mid-winter feast “Jashn-e Sadeh” by preparing a large bonfire (also known as Adur-Jashan, or Feast of fire).
The annual festivity honors fire, the defeat of darkness/cold and signifies the coming of Spring.
Click Here for more pics
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