Category Archives: Rituals and practices

TO STAND UP OR NOT TO STAND UP DURING THE BOI CEREMONY

Since long a sect of people have been propagating a campaign of Not to stand up during the Boi ceremony, as the Priest recites ‘Dushmata-Duzhukta-Duzvareshta’ to drive out Ahriman and that standing up would be an Honour to Ahriman and an Insult to The Atash Padshah .
The other believes that we are removing the evils from the world & so the Bell ringing defeats Ahriman.

Shri Rohin Noshirwan Karanjia of Surat has taken this matter up in his Gujarati article in the Souvenir of the Navsari Atashbehram celebrations October 2015. Some brief points from it:-

All religious ceremonies are done by the Ervard sahebs in a demarked area ‘A Paavi’. Religious Books states, “Any Religious ceremonies done within the Paavi the pure energies emanating while reciting Avesta Maanthras can also reach out of the Paavi region, but the foul energies of Ahriman CAN NOT enter the Paavi region. Thus Paavi acts as a protective cover & the spiritual strength emanating from it destroys outside enemy attacks. So the purity of the ceremonies done in a Paavi is not defeated”
It is true that the words ‘Dushmat-Duzukt-Duzvarsht’ do mean ‘Bad Thoughts-Bad Words-Bad Acts’ but taking grammar rules into consideration the words appended with them, ‘Oem Goft- Oem Kard-Oem Jast’ come along, which without these words the Dushmat… words remain incomplete. As per Erv. Edulji Kanga the words portray, “In my Past Life – This Life – Or the Life in Future; if I have had Bad Thoughts-Words-Or Acts; or in future If I may have them; then I am distraught, I do penance for it, I ask Forgiveness and promise to be away from such conduct in future.” So as the Ervard saheb rings the Bell during the Boi ceremony uttering these words, there is no negative vibes felt. Only positive energy is spread. Hence one should stand up during that time. Remember the Ervard saheb does the Full Boi ceremony while remaining standing.
The Kadmi Boi ceremony is a bit different from the Shehenshai one. They utter, “Saoche Buye Ahmay Namaane” (3 bells rung) “Mat Saoche Buye Ahmay Namaane” (3 bells rung) “Raochahi Buye Ahmay Namaane” (3 bells rung). Meaning, ‘O fire may you keep ever burning brilliantly in this house’. At that time there is no issue of Ahriman being present, as there are no words uttered that seem to represent Ahriman coming to douse the Atash, and so when we stand up to honour the ringing of bells, we do not honour Ahriman.
O
Leaving that entirely aside, let us take it up from a Non religious angle. Simple straight forward earthly reason.
We call our consecrated Atash as ‘Atash Padshah’- The King! In olden days when there was Kingship in the world, there would be a fixed time when the King would arrive in his court Room. To Mark the occasion & warn all, there used to be a Ringing of Bells to alert the genera that the King was coming to his court room. (In India There was also an announcement in the court yard before the King entered) When the King entered everyone would stand up as a mark of respect and alliance to the king.
Also to Mark the Change of Time they used to ring the bell to let the common people know of the Time. (Remember the ringing of Bells in Schools to mark the end & start of a Period or Recess)
As we consider Atash as son of Ahuramazda, (Atash Puthre Ahuremazdao) and a Padshah – (A King) When The Padshah is offered a Machi & the Boi (Actually from Gujarati KHUSHBOI -‘Fragrance’) The Fragrant offering to the Atash at the time of the change of the time -‘Gah’ from Morning to Noon & Evening to Night etc. So as a Mark of respect to The Atash Padshah & the Bringing in of the New Gah, we rise up when the bell rings proclaiming the ‘Kings’ entry.
And hence we must stand Up when the Ringing of the Bells at the time of offering Machi.

DIFFERENCES IN PRACTICE AND BELIEFS BETWEEN ZARTOSHTIES OF IRAN AND PARSEES.

Below is the copy of a powerful speech given by Shahin Bekhradnia, President WZO, at a function organized by AIMZ on Wednesday 21st December 2011 in Mumbai. The speech not only points out the differences in practice (and perception) of the same religion by Parsees of India and Zarathushtis of Iran, but also mentions some idiosyncrasies and blind-faith mentality, practiced by some Parsees, especially by the so-called orthodox/traditional wing of the Mumbai Parsi community.

I hope you will like reading the speech.

PS. If you are in the liberal/progressive camp, you will love this article –

if you are in the orthodox/traditional camp –

let me warn you – this may come as a surprise!

DIFFERENCES IN PRACTICE AND BELIEFS BETWEEN ZARTOSHTIES OF IRAN AND PARSEES.

by Shahin Bekhradnia

I would like to start by thanking my kind hosts for inviting me here to address you and for making this forum available for the open but civilized exchange of views. I would like to make it clear from the outset that I am not against rituals – indeed far from it as I adore the pomp, ceremony and pageant of ritual. However, it makes it so much more interesting and effective if they are meaningful to us.

Wearing white or green head covers on religious occasions is expected by Zartoshties from Iran and the choice of black hats that many Parsee men don we find contrary to our principles of colour symbolism. Black has always been seen as the colour of Islam and of negative forces so we feel that is is totally inappropriate when men cover their heads with black caps. Similarly it is a matter of some concern in terms of hygiene when we find pious Parsees, undoubtedly full of good intentions, covering their heads with handkerchiefs they fish out of their pockets which are either previously or later seen to be used for their intended nasal functions. No less perplexing is the sight of people covering their heads with their hands, sheets of paper etc. While we realise that these acts are attempts to communicate their religiosity, we do not believe that Ahura Mazda will think of us as lesser humans if we show our respect for the occasion in other ways, even with open heads if we have forgotten our scarves and hats.

At our temples, our doors are open for all who wish to come there. Admittedly there may be some who come with evil intent, but even in these recent years where our community have been particularly vulnerable there have been few reasons to regret this policy. The same goes for the attendance at our All Souls memorial services of Farvardigan just after Novruz and also the gahambar period just before Novruz. Our respect for the souls of the dead is not a selfish closed matter. We empathise with all who have lost their loved ones and we welcome all who with their own free choice have embraced the same way of thinking as ourselves.

In the temples we do not prostrate ourselves and kiss the step leading to the Afrignuni nor do we kiss the railings around it. This is considered as an irrational and alien way to behave, customs adopted from other cultures which surround us. Similarly placing a dab of ash on the forehead is simply not an Iranian practice, but undoubtedly echoes the Tila which has been adopted from Hindu practice.

We all know that at our initiation ceremonies we are given the sedreh and koshti to wear as the distinct emblems of belonging to our faith group. The sedreh pushi ceremony known to Parsees as Navjote is an important rite of passage and a significant milestone for a person, whenever it may be undertaken. However Iranian Zoroastrians do not suddenly lose their validity just because their parents may never have arranged the ceremony or because they may choose not to wear these emblems of their faith all the time after they have had their ceremony. It is a fact that the vast majority of Iranian Zoroastrians both in Iran as well as outside, do not wear the sedreh/koshti as faithfully as Parsees. My priestly grandfather did not regard these symbols as issues which would make or break the community’s identity and indeed he was right. We may not be renewing our spiritual strength as some priests would maintain but that is to our detriment and does not affect anyone else.

Our community numbers have continued to grow and our identity has not weakened just because we do not all wear these symbolic garments. We are not shocked nor do we judge a person’s worth or authenticity by whether or not they are wearing these outwards symbols. I stress this because I and a number of Iranian Zoroastrian friends were denied access to some temples in India some years ago merely because we could not persuade the doorkeeper that we were true Zoroastrians. The only thing which would have convinced him was the production of a sedreh and koshti which he demanded to see and which none of us was wearing. It may not have occurred to him that anyone could quite simply put these on and produce them for his inspection, whereas it would have been a lot more difficult for someone to learn the Avesta which we recited fluently without any success in convincing the doorman that we had every entitlement to enter the temple. Nor did our ability to converse in Dari have any effect whereas an Iranian Zoroastrian knows well that Dari is the spoken language of Yazdi and Kermani Zoroastrians.

We all know that our religion is enlightened from many perspectives, one of which is the pride we take in the equal treatment of men and women which is demonstrated in the Gathas wherein the text addresses both genders. This approach establishing women as the partners and equals of men in furthering good deeds and making the earth more bountiful was practised in domestic and political life so that we had Zoroastrian queens when there were no male heirs and sometimes women ran the household even when their men folk were not absent (as evidenced in the Herbedstan). In Iran Zoroastrian girls were the first females to attend schools, go to university, become professionals and maintain a high level of literacy among women in a country where this was far from the norm.

In keeping with this tradition it should come as no surprise although when the news broke it may have shocked the more conservative participants to learn that women used to and continue to fulfil priestly functions in the absence of adequate men. This is a living tradition and in London our recently arrived Mobed from Iran is helped by his wife when performing ceremonies. The authenticity of this tradition is confirmed by lines in the Herbedestan text in which a question is asked which makes it clear that it was quite well established that both women and men might attend priestly college. And yet there are Parsees who find the thought of a female undertaking priestly duties revolting – so much for enlightened thinking and traditions supported by historical literary sources. (at the time of writing this article recently 8 female Mobedyars were confirmed in Iran)

Notwithstanding all oppression suffered since the Arab conquest of Iran from 632 AD, ours has always been an optimistic and joyous community which has celebrated life, the wonders of nature and the goodness of humankind. We have therefore found every opportunity to make music and dance, drink and eat together. Our festivals have always allowed our communities to laugh and have fun together and the most joyous of all festivals is our spring celebration of Novruz. Among peoples of Iranian origin is understood as meaning a New Day or New Year. Yet it seems more faithfully celebrated and understood elsewhere outside Iran than among Parsees and this is both surprising and saddening. Why is it that the people of Tajikistan still prepare a Haft sheen/Haftsin table, as do the Azaris and the Kurds but our Parsee co-religionists not only do not prepare a special table in a celebration of Ahura Mazda’s bounty, but fail to celebrate the significance of the arrival of spring. How could it be that that the spring equinox holds no special meaning beyond yet another visit to the temple and maybe sending cards out while they celebrate something akin to Novruz in the middle of summer.? Where is the merry making, the genuine joy and the pleasure of seeing God’s good creation renewing itself through the laws of nature, of Asha when the planets are so aligned that the life of plants, birds and animals wakes up again.

Weddings are another example of things done differently. Our wedding celebration does not consist of much reciting of prayers in a language that is pretty much incomprehensible to most Farsi/Dari speaking Zoroastrians. Of course the preservation of the ritual language has its place but it is not interminable. Instead the majority of time is spent by the celebrant of the wedding giving prescribed advice (andarz) to the young couple in an intelligible language so that their lives may be lived according to true Zoroastrian values and principles. It is a truly inspiring liturgy which is lost on those who cannot understand the language and therefore it has now been translated noy just into Farsi but also into English and French and is used for ceremonies where the couples (usually living in Britain or North America) no longer speak Farsi as fluently as they do English or for mixed weddings.

There is nothing reprehensible about updating the liturgy so that it can be really meaningful and communicate an important message as it was intended to do. We do not see it as a cardinal principle to remain entrenched in the past and not change. Our religion is supposed to be based on rational enlightened thinking and we need to take sensible steps to ensure that the dynamic message of the Gathas is not lost through sticking to languages and practices that were developed for different times and different conditions. After all much of the Avesta that we recite is actually merely a translation or commentary on an older language – eg in our koshti prayer. Humata hukhta hvaresta, meneshni govenshni koneshni but here the second triad is merely a translation of the older first triad, and then we have tani ravani giti mainyu where the first pair are the more modern version of the second

Another example of difference is minor but some may find it interesting to know that in Iranian weddings we don’t sprinkle rice upon or hold a coconut over the couple but a green scented herb similar to oregano – obshan – which conveys the concepts of fertility, health sustaining and fragrant happiness. We do have in common the symbolism of tying the thread but we represent it differently and so on. We certainly do not ever use the SEJ(?) tray.

The principle of dynamic evolution can also be seen at work in discussing the use of dakhma and cremation. In Iran the use of dakhma or the Tower of Silence was given up as a result of social change in the late first half of the 20th century. As cremation became available, many Iranians opted for this sort of disposal rather than purification within the earth which was seen as un –Zoroastrian since the earth was provided to give forth life-sustaining crops and flowers etc. There was no question of defilement of fire as nothing can defile something which is inherently self purifying by its very nature. However where cremation is not an option, then burial has to be the alternative.The change from dakhma to other forms of funerary rite was not resisted by the majority of the population and clearly did not cause major traumas for the community. There was/is no condemnation of the use of cremation rather than burial, and certainly no comments that failing to use the dakhmeh as the means of disposal, will consign one to hell as we have heard said apparently from the mouths of so called scholars. This is in contrast with the continuing Parsee practise of Dakhma disposal even though the Dakhma in Bombay and other towns is now dangerously close to if not in the midst of urban populations and regularly gives rise to embarrassing incidents of body parts dropping onto nearby residents’ properties. It is clear that what may have been appropriate for past times, can no longer be relevant in a changed social context. Please remember that Dakhma disposal was designed for and applied in an arid desert climate that Iran has, not for a monsoon humid climate such as that of Bombay.

Iranians do not get very excited about whether the fire in their temples is fed by natural gas or sandalwood and recognise that if there is shortage of one material, then a sensible rational solution must be sought through a new channel of thinking. Indeed judging by the large logs of sandal wood I have seen here ready for the holy fire, I would think the environmentalists among us would have plenty to worry about, although the natural gas solution also poses its own environmental issues. Replacement planting at the ratio of 1:10 cut down trees would be a way forward of course. Meanwhile, there are no messages being put out by any Iranian priests or sages to the effect that we will be condemned to hell for not using sandalwood again as I have heard claimed by some Parsee scholars? .

Some Parsees appear to be very passionate about the use of Nirang, or consecrated bulls urine whose use in Iran was referred to in the Rivayat texts about which I will speak shortly.. In fact it was still in use at the time of my grandfather and even my mother’s childhood. So there was no loss of tradition during the downtrodden period of our history. . There was however a re-thinking of its real function ( which at a certain époque acted as a disinfectant) and it was agreed that it was not perhaps no longer as essential in keeping the religion alive. Some priests now use pomegranate juice instead for ritual symbolic purposes.

And the question of the segregation of menstruating women had an equally practical reason which no longer applies today – women are no longer in need of a well deserved break from the heavy lifting and carrying work they used to do in the villages of Iran (e.g carrying pitchers of water up dozens of steps, carrying heavy wood, iron implements and cooking vessels, sweeping and cleaning etc ), nor are they likely to experience embarrassing situations in a public space. I do not say that some people do not still observe the custom of not entering sanctified areas at a certain time of month but on questioning my friends, family and acquaintances, I can say that it is rare .

The point is that such matters were not spelt out in the Gathas, but became the obsession of a priestly caste that wished to keep the people in its thrall, ironically exactly what Zartosht himself denounced in the Gathas when Karapans (priests) were using their powers to get a hold over people How do we know what is or was the message of our founding prophet? Well, apart from oral transmission and handing down of tradition through families, some texts were secretly preserved. These were usually among priestly families such as my own which yielded a chest full of faithfully copied manuscripts, saved despite the many public burnings in front of the priests’ eyes in Islamic Iran. Textual specialists have translated both the oral and written texts. Having spoken with some Parsee priests, I was informed that in their madressa training, they did not study the meanings of the texts but were merely taught the correct recitals and rituals pertaining to them. Interestingly, the primacy of the Gathic texts were not discussed either. Now this is a critical matter because any serious student of Zoroastrianism is well aware that the Gathas constitute the fundamental core of Zoroastrian philosophy. They are admittedly difficult for several reasons : language, content, dating. Nevertheless the maybe 20 different translations (among which Stanley Insler’s is considered the most authoritative and from which Dastur Kotwal has quoted – on account of his outstanding linguistic competence and his deep empathy with Zoroastrian values), all reveal consistently that Zoroaster believes he must spread the message he has had revealed to him by Ahura Mazda. His mission is therefore to extend the community of Ashavan ie those who want to become happy by making others happy – propagating good and overcoming negative energies – encapsulated in the Ashem Vohu prayer.

. The Videvdat which developed the purity laws and which was the precursor of the Vendidad only appeared towards the end of the fist millennium about one thousand years after the divine revelation of our prophet. Later, at the time of the fall of the Sassanian dynasty (closely associated with the priesthood), there was certainly an unhealthy concern among priests about retaining the power they wielded through the further imposition of a whole host of religious dogma and ritual introduced by Kartir a couple of centuries earlier. Among the many theories for the success of Islam in Iran, is one that states that many people gladly gave up the overbearing ritual requirements made on the laity by the priests which involved economic demands , and sadly there are still some similar ego obsessed priests in our midst even today who impose their views on the laity as to what is or is not correct practice and belief..

It may be a little known fact to most Zoroastrians that with the passing of several centuries after their arrival in India, the Parsees had lost a lot of their knowledge about the practice and beliefs within the religion. It is nevertheless a fact that cannot be challenged. Furthermore there is good written evidence of all of this in documents known as the Rivayats which are accessible to all of us translated into English in 1932 by B N Dhabhar. The Parsee communities of Surat and of Navsari sent envoys to Iran to ask for guidance because they had lost confidence. They first sent out a brave Parsee named Nariman Hoshang over to Iran twice in 1478 and 1487 to seek advice on the correctness or otherwise of a number of issues.

The questions asked on behalf of the Parsee community included the right to recognition of Zoroastrians who had converted into the faith or who have been forced to espouse Islam but want to return. The responses from the Iranian priests on these occasions and all future exchanges right up till the last visit in the late 18th century constantly confirm the views of the Zoroastrian clergy of Iran that it is right, proper and meritorious and fully in the spirit of the message of Zoroaster that our faith should welcome those who have chosen of their own free will to heed the message of our religion.

“If slave-boys and girls have faith in the Good Religion, then it is proper that kusti should be (given to them to be) tied [that is, they should be converted to Zoroastrianism], and when they become intelligent, attentive to religion and steadfast, they should give them barashnum and it is also proper and allowable to eat anything out of their hands”!

They went further by expressing disapproval of the hypocritical Parsee tendency to treat their servants as if of the faith when it suited them and to deny them appropriate funerary rites. We also have the 1599 Kaus Mahyar Rivayat whose question includes categories from even lower-deemed persons:

“Can a grave-digger, a corpse-burner and a darvand become Behdins (i.e. be converted to the Mazdayasnian religion)?” gives as an answer: “If they observe the rules of religion steadfastly and (keep) connection with the religion, and if no harm comes on the Behdins (thereby), it is proper and allowable”!

The final quote I wish to bring to your attention comes from the last rivayat exchange known as the Ittoter Rivayat of 1773 Mulla Kaus was sent from India and asked 78 questions among them: “Concerning the acquisition of young men and women who are juddins as servants, the mobeds and behdins must first of all show care for their own religion, for their own rituals, for their personal property, and for their own soul so as not to face losses. TEACHING THE AVESTA TO THE SONS OF THE JUDDINS WHO HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED AND CONVERTING THEM TO THE DIN-I VEH-I MAZDAYASNAN EARNS ONE GREAT MERIT”

It is apparent when today comparing the varying complexions of Parsees, that some interbreeding with local indigenous people certainly did take place, since there were few women accompanying the courageous pioneers immortalized in the Qissa Sanjan and even as late as the 18th century since the question was posed then, it is evident that it was going on. The message is that all our welcome within our community, provided they have had proper instruction.

The fact that the Parsee community continued to send envoys to Iran over 3 centuries to seek guidance is adequate indication that they must have accepted the Iranian tradition as both correct and acceptable.

Knowing about this long background of toleration helps explain how Iranian Zoroastrians have kept this true Gathic spirit alive throughout the centuries. Thus it should come as no surprise to learn that our late High Priest, Mobed Ardeshir Azargoshasb whose erudition and authority as Head of the Iranian Mobed’s council is indisputable despite efforts to undermine our High Priests’ learning and knowledge, published a newspaper statement in 1991 in Parsiana (despite the evident dangers of doing so) “WE MUST PERSEVERE TO PROPAGATE OUR RELIGION AND ACCEPT PERSONS WHO WANT TO EMBRACE IT.”

Naturally he could not say this in Iran, and today because of the prevailing circumstances our mobeds still cannot publicly condone this stance officially. Interestingly this Iranian perspective was shared by Parsee mobeds as recently as in the 20th century when a number of eminent Parsee dasturs (Ervads Bharucha, Modi and Kangaji) who held a similar view, stated publicly and unambiguously that our initiation ceremony contains a declaration of faith including the statement that Zartosht came for the propagation of God’s message. Other eminent Parsee Dasturs who shared the same view were Dasturs Framroze Bode, Anklesaria and Kaikhosro Jamaspji.

The choice to propagate the religious message of Asho Zartosht has continued even despite the severe hardships which have been the unfortunate experience of Iranian Zoroastrians to undergo in the years following the Islamic revolution. Working with the Home Office and Immigration Appellate in the UK I have been surprised and impressed by the Zoroastrians who have had to flee Iran because they have chosen to continue the tradition of propagating our religion to those who seek information. They have chosen this path despite the obvious personal danger they put themselves into because they are clear about the several explicit verses in the Gathas which exhort followers to undertake this mission which can be found explicitly in Yasna 31.3 and 47.6

This Gathic message was echoed in the inscriptions of both Darius and Xerxes with clear indications that they both felt a compulsion to spread the religion, even by force if need be, by eliminating competing religions in the lands they conquered. The same attitude was practised by a number of Sassanian monarchs and well attested. This willingness to spread the religion whenever possible is a consistent approach which has continued unabated within the Iranian Zoroastrian tradition when opportunities have arisen.

In keeping with the Zoroastrian Iranian authorities referred to earlier which in turn have their reference from the Gathas, we have always welcomed into our community a spouse from a different background and naturally the children of such unions. A similarly welcoming approach applies to children who are adopted of non-zoroastrian birth and who are raised within a Zoroastrian household to go on to marry within the community. Our priests have never had a difficulty with this matter and have only refused to conduct such marriages if it is evident that problems will arise from such a union – a view voiced back in 1599 in the Mahyar Kaus Rivayat. We certainly find it quite inhumane and unnatural that some Parsees are so dogmatic as to prefer to reject their own children and grandchildren by cutting off relations with them rather than using the Zoroastrian qualities of wise thinking to accommodate them into the community. And what is worse, to differentiate in the acceptance of offspring between sons and daughters.

In ignoring our history reflected in textual sources, and by reference simply to what has been done in living memory, and by failing to bring clarity of rational thinking to the debates, and instead relying on mindless dogma, certain priests do us all a disservice in misrepresenting our beautiful forward thinking philosophy which uplifts the soul and offers a way forward with gender equality, environmental concern and positive philanthropic messages for all humanity. How then could we justify restricting it only to those who think they have some superior genetic/racial composition? They are the backward thinking benighted souls of our community and yet their voices have held sway and bullied us just as they did in Sassanian times, and even recently, much to our shame, they have resorted to violence as we read and hear. . They should not be allowed to prevail as they corrupt the really radical optimism of our religion.

Navjote    Mubarak – preparations and process

 What you will need : Red is common for Boy and Girl.

One Big Polished ses: Kasti kari ne, saariduva magi ne kaam saroo karo — Sopara ma put little rice, (for the girl put 7 redchital/bangles  on the Sopara, you willneed to put them on after the Navjote is done)  Gulabas fill with Rose water, Kankoo dani putin  kankoo and mix with rose water, put in a match stick, and couple of paper napkins, a small bowl of set sweet curd.   In the ses put 5 to 7 paan,  on it, put one silver coin of Laxmi or Sarswati or Jarthost (whatever you like), put Kharek, sopari, badam, harad nogathio ,batasa,  sakar,  handful of rice (extra rice take it in small vati for all the dear family members to take overna) one new (navoo) coconut on it write Navjote Mubarak (if you like) or ask your Datoorji if he wants to do it? Sadro  Kasti,  and all clothes to be worn after the Navjote.  Gajro for the ses.

Gajro and bouquet for the child.

Ful na haar for the Dastoorji.

 For the Boy:

One new set of shirt pant topi to wear from home

Dagli

White Pant

White Full Sleeved Shirt

Hand stitched 1 Sadro with tiri, giryan, sleeve, ne button no  sivvano (6 more for daily use)

One clean white hanky for Nahan Nahvane mate

3 to 3 ½    gaj kasti

Underwear white

White Pyjama

Chappals

Shoes (pref. brown)

Gold buttons, cuff links, ring, watch (all optional) Keep handy in your purse.

 Socks

Hanky

Topi  (pref.red) 2 (one to wear from home, one after Nahn)

Towel

Pichori  (white material 2 to 2 ½ mts. Or shawl)

Soap/Shampoo

Hair brush, comb,

Big empty Plastic bags (to put in wet towel, worn socks, shoes, worn clothes)

For the Girl:

One new set of frock and clothes  while going

Frock

Peticoat

Panty

Hand stitched 1 Sadro with tiri, giryan, sleeve, ne button no sivvano (6 more for daily use)

3 to 3 ½    gaj kasti

White Pyjama (or red/white embroidered pyjama)

Shoes

Socks

Hanky

Topi  (pref.red) 2 (one to wear from home & one after Nahn)

Towel

Pichori  (white material 2 to 2 ½ mts. Or shawl)

Soap/Shampoo

Hair brush, comb

Chappals

Soap/Shampoo

Hair brush, comb

Hair clips, ribbons, hair band (whatever)

Jewellery what ever you want to give (chain,pendent,necklace,bracelate)

Earings must have

One set of Saree, petticoat material, blouse piece, Sadro material, Hanky,

 Scarf and glass bangles (you may keep it for the child’s first saree)

Big empty Plastic bags (to put in wet towel, worn socks, shoes, worn clothes)

Hair dryer if the hair is long and you need it

Navjotena Ashirwad na chokha, get it collected and along with the gajro, coconut, and few fresh flowers, sakar  dariye vatoo karvanoo

Cash envelopes to be kept ready (amount you will have to ask your Dastoorji)

Gireban nu cover keep it in the ses, dastoorji will take it.

Put one rupee coin in the Diva

One cover for Nahn Nahava na Dastoorji ne.

One cover Akhyana na khoomchi ma mukvanoo

One cover Dastoorji navajote kare tenu

And one cover each for all the dastoorjies who sit to do the navjote.

Nahan

One extra white hanky (for nahn nahva-no to hold the pomegranate leaf/Daram nupatru)

While taking the child for bath…….dastoorji will give you Nirang, in the bathroom let the child remove clothes and stand facing the mother, mother to put little nirang/taro.  Starting with head to toe,take one egg in hand and  baccha par thi ovari ni baajoo ma paper per fori devanoo. 

Take little doodh ful (ask if they will give from there or arrange for it from home Optional) add few grains of rice and apply all over once again starting from head to toe.

After wiping the child dry, wipe head also well, put on lengha (pyjama), and coverhim with shawl or Pichori, wear cap, chappals and dastoorji will take the childto the stage. Mother or any vadil from the family,  should go up the stage achoo michoo kari ne baccha ne stage pur levanoo.

While the Navjote ceremony is being done it is preferred that the parents (or at least one of the two family member) sit or stand near the stage so the child gets confidence and at the same time shower your blessings and pray to Ahura Mazda, remember your dear departed loved ones,to shower the child with the choicest blessings for good health, wealth,prosperity, success in life and to be a true Zoroastrian always. J  This is not compulsory but this thought process is excellent for the child.

Once the Navjote is over the father gives the envelope and garlands to thedastoorji. Tell them thank u and Jami ne sadhvjoji (nahi to ghere avijase!!  J )  if they are not waiting for dinner, see them to the gate of the Baug.

Mother along with the ladies member of the family invites her own mother and mother-in-law to the stage to dress the child. First the parents do tili and take overna wishing the child all the best. Dress the child, whatever you want to give (buttons, chain, watch, etc.as gift,  give. Garland and bouquet and coconut in hand the child is ready to face the camera as true Jarthosti and the entire world.

(If girl’s Navjote has been done after the child is dressed in all her finery, open the saree a little and put it over her shoulders, slip the bangles in her hands, and give the rest of the set in her hands along with coconut, bouquet and garland the child.  Before going to the Agiary put the saree and all back in the ses)

Accompany the child to the Agiary/Atashbehram (before all the girls come to kiss) and help him to do his first kasti. Help the child Light a divo, offer sukhad if you like pray tandorasti for all. Come out and let everyone meet and shower their love, kisses and blessings J.

Navjote na Ashirwad na chokha, get it collected and along with the gajro, coconut, and few fresh flowers, sakar  dariye vatoo karvanoo

Important

Before leaving the home Keep ‘Achoo Michoo’ tray ready with small katli/vati water,one egg, paan, sopari, kharek,badam, sakar and rice.  When you return home after the Navjote, do Achoo Michoo and take the child in with right foot forward. J

Also keep his/her night clothes ready, sleeping suit, night dress for the child to change.

It would be a good practice to do kasti everynight before going to sleep.

How to do Achoo Michoo

  1. Put the aluminum foil or paper tray in right hand corner of the door.
  2. Take the egg turn it over the head 7 times and brak it in the tray on your right side.
  3. Take Paan, Kharek, sopari, badam, sakar, halad no gathio and few grain of rice, pick up all together turn it over the head for 7 times and throw in on the right side again.
  4. Take the coconut turn it 7 times and break it on the right side and pour little coconut water all over the‘umber’ and put it back on the right side.
  5. Take out little rice and give it to the person standing next to you.
  6. In the thali/khumchi put little rice and put it in little water from the Katli/vati
  7. Take the thali round the head for 7 times  and pour little water on the right side and little on the left side.
  8. Take the rice grains from the person you have given to and take overna of the child
  9. Jamne page baccha ne under levanoo ne koti karvani.

Very  Important.  As &  when possible and at the first opportunity take the child to Iranshah to get Blessed.T

Thrity Yazdi Tantra

Hamaysht Ceremony

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.

 

Dadar Ahuramazda.

Teshtar Tir Yazad.

Khorshed Yazad.

Meher Yazad.

Avan Ardivisur Banu.

Adar Yazad.

Khordad Ameshaspand.

Amardad Ameshaspand.

Asfandamard Ameshaspand.

Govad Yazad.

Sarosh Yazad.

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 does the Kasti Symbolize?

What does the Kasti symbolize? How is it made? (Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia)

1) The Kasti is the thin woollen waistband worn over the Sadra, which passes thrice around the waist. It is made by weaving together 72 fine threads of lamb’s wool. In the past it was prepared by ladies from priestly families while chanting manthravani prayers. Wool is known to have the inherent property of absorbing and retaining vibrations.

2) The word kasti means a boundary, and it reminds one to keep within the boundary of religious duty. The word Kasti comes from Avesta aiwyāonghana “that which is girded around” and Pahlavi kosht “boundary (of religious duty).” The word is also derived from Avestan word karsha “spiritual boundary which keeps evil away.”

3) The Kasti is to be worn thrice round the waist. The number three, among other things, represent the principles of humata, hukhta & hvarshta “good thoughts, good words and good deeds.” While tying the three rounds, two reef knots are tied, one at the front during the second round and the second one at the end of the third round. Each reef knot includes the tying of two knots – two in the front and two at the back.

4) Hence, in the Kasti there are in all four knots. Each knot is connected to the one of the four promises given by a child while saying the Din-no-Kalmo prayer on the day of the Navjot. The four promises are; I will consider Ahura Mazda as my only God. ii) I will consider Zarathushtra as my only prophet. iii) I will consider Mazdayasni Zarthoshti as my only religion. iv) I will be faithful to my God, prophet and religion all my life.

5) The Sadra and Kasti are the religious implements of the Zoroastrians. They form an invisible circuit of prayers around physical body, which if properly kept, protects one from negative forces, and leads one on the path of piety and duty.

6) Making of Kasti: Lamb’s wool is first woven on a spindle. Then threads from two spindles are combined together in one ball. The double yarn is then twisted and passed 72 times around the loom (Gujarati jantar). These 72 threads are then divided into 6 sets of 12 strands each. It is in a circle, which is then cut by a priest while saying a particular prayer. The rest of the weaving is done by hand. 1 lar and 3 laris are made on each end. Then the Kasti is flattened, washed, dried and fumigated and folded, ready for use.

7) Most of the parts of the Kasti symbolize something and remind us of a religious teaching. Lamb’s wool symbolizes innocence. The 72 threads remind us of the 72 chapters of the holy text of the Yasna which are recited in the Yasna ritual. Hence, the number 72 represents all the sacred Zoroastrian texts and the lofty Zoroastrian rituals. The six laris (three on each side) reminds us of the six Gahambars – the seasonal festivals and teach us to be in sync with the seasons and nature.

Jam-e-Jamshed of 22 & 29-4-2018

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Kusti, Kushti

Parsi New Year 2018

The Parsi community across India is looking forward to celebrate the Parsi New Year on 17th August 2018. Parsis may be a small community, but they have contributed to Indian culture over the years, alongside other religions and communities

Parsi New Year 2018: Date, Significance, Celebrations And Feast During Pateti

The Parsi community across India is looking forward to celebrate the Parsi New Year on 17th August 2018. In August, Parsis commemorate their arrival and acceptance on their new homeland. Originally from Persia, Parsis follow the religion Zoroastrianism, which was founded by Zarathustra in Persia. This day is also known as Jamshed-i-Nouroz, after the name of the Persian king Jamshed, who is believed to introduce the Parsi calendar. People in India follow the Shahenshahi calendar, which does not take into account leap years, and as a result of which the Parsi New Year is celebrated in India and Pakistan about 200 days after it is observed across the world. Parsis may be a small community, but they have contributed to Indian culture over the years, alongside other religions and communities.

 

Parsi New Year 2018: Date, Significance And Celebrations Of The Festival

 

Also known as Pateti, the celebration of Parsi New Year is said to have begun some 3000 years ago. It falls in the month of August, as per the Gregorian calendar. On this day, people pray for prosperity, health and wealth. It is known as the day of remittance of sins and repentance. People clean their homes, decorate their houses with rangoli and flowers, adorn new dresses, and visit Fire Temple to ask for forgiveness for any mistake committed in the past and start afresh. The celebrations also include feasting over an elaborate meal, where friends and families come together and celebrate the auspicious occasion with much fervour.

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Parsi New Year: Also known as Pateti, the celebration of Parsi New Year is said to have begun some 3000 years ago

Parsi New Year 2018: Feast Prepared During Pateti

On the big day, people usually prepare delicacies like meethi sev dahi, mora dal chawal (also called dhan daar), machchi no patio, mutton pulao, saas ni machchi, marghi na farcha (crispy fried chicken), patra nu machli, sali boti, berry pulao, jardaloo chicken, kid gosht, cutlets, mawa ni boi, lagan nu custard, et al. Preparations start a day in advance to ensure that all the dishes are prepared perfectly and are full of flavour.

Delicious Recipes To Enjoy During Parsi New Year

1. Sali Boti (Parsi Meat Dish) Recipe

Parsi mutton curry, with prominent flavours of tomatoes, onions, jaggery and vinegar, makes a special delicacy during special occasions like the Parsi New Year. This one’s going to be a star-dish among your family and friends.

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Parsi new year: This one’s going to be a star-dish among your family and friends

2. Parsi Mutton Cutlets

Celebrations are incomplete without the much coveted Parsi mutton cutlets. To prepare this dish, you need minced mutton, potatoes, bread crumbs, eggs and a host of spices. Don’t forget to serve it with sliced onions and chutney.

3. Chicken Farcha

Chicken farcha is a delicious Parsi recipe that is a blend of spices and a tang of lemon. It is served with your choice of dip or chutney.

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Parsi New Year: Chicken farcha is a delicious Parsi recipe that is a blend of spices and a tang of lemon

4. Lagan Nu Custard

Lagan nu custard is a dessert, which is usually prepared on weddings or Parsi New Year. Made with simple ingredients like milk, eggs, butter and nuts, it is a perfect dessert to celebrate occasions.

5. Patra Ni Machchi

Pomfret fillets coated in coconut chutney, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to perfection, that’s patra ni machchi for you. Once unwrapped, add a dash of lemon juice to enjoy the tanginess.

6. Kid Gosht

Lamb cooked in a burst of masalas, rich cashew paste and coconut milk essence, kid gosht is a festive special.

Happy Parsi New Year 2018!

https://www.ndtv.com/food/parsi-new-year-2018-date-significance-celebrations-and-feast-during-pateti-1900440

Celebrating Muktad in the House

Celebrating Muktad in the House
(Er. Dr. Ramiyar P. Karanjia)

Zoroastrians all over the world celebrate the last ten days of their religious calendar year, as the Muktad. Generally Muktad is viewed in a very limited way as the days of remembering the dead. This is not so. The Muktad is a joyous occasion for welcoming the souls and the Fravashis to this world and in our houses,remembering them and offering them hospitality. It’s the time to show them our love and gratitude,for all the unseen help they provide us.
During these days, the souls and Fravashis of dear ones visit to their respective houses. Hence, it is necessary to create a pious and pleasant atmosphere in the house and celebrate the Muktad in the house, even in a small way, irrespective of whether regular Muktad of the family are done in the Agyari or not. Muktad can be observed in the house in a very simple and small way as follows:
1. Select a small corner in the house, which has to be kept relatively clean.
If necessary it can be covered by a curtain.
2. Keep a small table there.
3. On the table keep a small clean metallic glass, karasya or vase with clean water
and one or two flowers in it, preferably roses.
4. Clean the glass, karasya or vase daily and change the water daily.
Yu can even wash the flower/s and re-use them till they are fresh.
5. Have a continuously burning diva on the table, if possible.
6. Members of the house can do their Kasti and daily prayers there.
7. Each member of the house, young or old, should devote some time, at least a
few minutes, in prayers there. One can select from among the several prayers,
either or multiple of which can be done in that corner, from the simplest to the
elaborate, after doing the Kasti, like:

a. Praying 12 Ashem Vohu (especially for children)

b. Praying ‘Muktad no namaskar’ (from the Khordeh Avesta)

c. Praying ‘Satum no Kardo’ (after farajyat prayers).

d. Praying Framraot Ha (first 5 days) or Gathas (later 5 days).

e. Praying ‘Farvardin Yasht’ (after farajyat prayers).

f. Pray 570 Yatha ahu vairyo + 210 Ashem vohu + 120 Yenghe hatam
daily (especially for elders in the house if they have time.)

This will create a very fragrant and pleasant atmosphere in the house which is necessary for welcoming the souls and Fravashis and conducive for them to be guests in the house. Whenever the souls and Fravashis are pleasantly remembered and prayed to during these days, they return back, showering blessings, which bring
success and prosperity to the house and blessing its inhabitants with health, strength,happiness, protection and abundance.

Explanation of Muktad Rituals and Prayers

Technical aspects of the rituals, etymology of certain words, appropriate and inappropriate methods not to be taken as a fatwa, calender variations Talk given By: The living Zoroastrian encyclopedia, Dasturji Dr Firoze Kotwal On : 22 nd July 2018 At: The Empowering Mobeds program

 

MY ENGLISH TRANSLATION SUMMARY OF DASTURJI FIROZE KOTWAL’S GUJERATI LANGUAGE TALK ON MUKTAD & RELATED ITEMS AT EMPOWER MOBEDS PROGRAM ON JULY 22, 2018 IN MUMBAI, INDIA

by   Maneck Bhujwala

“Today I am going to talk to you about Muktad, and whatever subject I am talking, do not understand it as some kind of Fatwa, but according to religious books what things should be done, some understanding about it, I want to give you.

The word Muktad that we use, that word was first used in the 12th century by the famous scholar of Pahlavi and Sanskrit, Nairyosangh Dhawal. For the Asho Farohar in Sanskrit he used that word in Muktad. That means liberated souls from the Ashoi world. What all rituals that we do are for the Asho Farohars and Asho souls (ruvaans), and through the Farohars those rituals that we do are to benefit the souls and through the rituals we wish rest and happiness for the souls. And we say that this is the main goal of the rituals. And when the souls become happy, they bless those who sponsor the rituals.

When we read chapter 55 of the Ijashne, then in the first line it tells us that a person’s structure is made of nine parts. The first line says “Vispao gaethaoscha, tatvascha, azdibishcha, ushtaanascha, keherpascha, tevishi, baodhascha, urvaanimcha, farvashimcha. The first three parts are material parts, which means they are destined to be destroyed, like our skeleton, our bones, and our flesh. These three things, when a person dies, should be disposed right away as soon as possible, because there is Druje Naso in them, meaning evilness of corruption, putrefaction that enters, increases, so they should be disposed as soon as possible. Keeping this material part stored by saying that some relatives are coming, so keep these for two days, is a very sinful action, that should not be done, according to our religion. The other three parts are half material and half spiritual. When a person is born, after a while these three parts disappear. Our vitality, vigor, astral body or keherpascha are half material and half spiritual. And the third part – baodascha, urvaanimcha, and fravashimcha. Baodhascha means consciousness, Urvaanimcha means Soul (Ravaan), and Fravashimcha means Fravashi (Guardian Spirit). Baodhascha, Urvaanimcha, Fravashimcha, these three parts when a person is living become useful to the person. When something is bad, the Fravashimcha gives a message to the Urvaanimcha, through the Baodhascha. The soul (ravaan) is the ruler of the body which may or may not obey the advice of the Fravashi (guardian spirit). If it follows the advice of the Fravashi, it obtains the highest happiness. If it does not follow the advice then the result is bad in the spiritual world, so the message of the Fravashi is brought by Baodhan (Consciousness). So the Fravashi does the work of an advisor, the Soul does the work of the (decider?) and the Baodhan does the work of a messenger. Our religion gives us an understanding of our structure.

According to our religion, when a Zarathushti is living, there are six duties to be performed by the person. The first duty is to perform Gahambars, to participate in them. The second duty is Farvardegan or the praise of the Fravashis in the Muktad. The third duty is to do Rapithwan always, this is very important, that should be remembered. The fourth duty is to do Zinde Ravaan, the ritual which is four days long because in the old times when a Zarathushti went somewhere, whether the person will return home was a big question, so if the Sarosh Zinde Ravaan is done before going, then no matter under what calamity, may God forbid something happens to the person, so if that Sarosh is kept in reserve then that would be beneficial after death to that person. Our religion has decreed that the Zinde Ravaan ritual should be done by Zarathushtis. The fifth duty is to do the Khorshed and Meher Nyayesh. Every day the Khorshed and Meher Nyayesh should be done three times. This is an obligatory prayer. The sixth duty is to do Mahbakhtar Nyayesh which is to be done at night in the Aiwisruthrem and Ushahin gehs, and that duty is such that in a month you do it three times on full moon, new moon, and Dark night (Amaavasya). What we say Mahbokhtar, the real word is not Mahbokhtar but it is Mahbakhtar. Bakhtar means giver of luck. You know that the moon size grows for fifteen days and reduces for fifteen days, so what have the priests of Iran said about this is that Mahbakhtaar is the giver of luck, and when it grows for fifteen days then it gets the merit from the Yazatas and Amesha Spentas, and when its size decreases for fifteen days, it distributes that merit to those Zarathushtis who do good deeds in this world. That is why the Zarathushtis in Iran do not call it Bokhtaar, but even if you read in their Persian language books, they call it Bakhtaar. That is why, in our place the recital of Mahbakhtaar, what we call Chandrama (Mah) whose function is to distribute merit, we use the proper word Bakhtaar which is also used that way in the Pahlavi scriptures, that I should inform you.

Now, in these six duties, the one which is also included for Farvardegan, which is about remembering the Asho Fravahars. The word “Muktad” that we use, is called Farvardegan by Iranian Zarathushtis, so that word Farvardegan is more appropriate, because this is about the importance of the Fravahars. Farvardegan in which we perform the Jashan for the Fravahars or Parabh, that is of the great function of the Fravahars. Now these days of Farvardegan come in the month of Spendarmad. The first five days, from Ashtaad through Aneraan, are called Panche geh in our religion, meaning five days, and then the Gathaa days which come in Farvardegan, the Gathas do not have any connection with any month, they are included. We do not recite the month in the Roz nek naam, so in Pahlavi, Gatha is called Vihezakeek. Meaning that in any month the Gathas can be placed after the end of the month. If you look at the calendar, after the end of the Spendarmad month, five Gathas which we recited, in the old calendar they were recited after the month of Abaan (Ava). After that when this calendar was adopted, then they were placed after the month of Spendarmad.  In those times we used to do an intercalation (kabiso) of one month that was done so that Navroz would come as much as possible in the Spring, that was one of our practices. In those times when it was our kingdom we used to do one more month as intercalation. The last time this intercalation was done then five Gathas were placed after the month of Ava. After that when the intercalation was done again, then they were placed after Spendarmad month, because between the months of Ava and Spendarmad, many intercalations had passed that were not done in Iran. So, in the twelfth century when the month of Spendarmad came in Spring, then the Gathas were placed at the end of Spendarmad, so that the month of Farvardin could start in Spring. So, you have to remember that Gathas were placed after different months, and that today we are not doing that intercalation (kabiso). We had done that intercalation in Hindustan in the twelfth century, when our whole group was in Sanjan. In the twelfth century the Sanskrit scholar Naryosangh Dhawal was living, and we can make a guess that at that time when our whole group was in Sanjan, we must have done that intercalation (kabiso). And, in order to do that intercalation there was a difference of one month between our calendar and the Iranian calendar which we call “Kadimi” which continues today.  Another thing I would say about the word Kadimi, do not think that because we did the intercalation in Hindustan that we call the Iranian calendar Kadimi.

In the year 1079 in Iran when Jalaluddin Malekshah was Sultan, and Omar Khayyam was his vizier who in order to make revenue collection convenient, started making March 21 as the New Year (Navroz) and even today that event is celebrated with great pomp and happiness. However this calendar change was not at all liked by the Iranian Zarathushtis, because March 21 is such that every four years if you add one day, then it would mess up our ritual ceremonies, because the last five days are for the Gathas and when you add one day then where will you bring the sixth Gatha?  Hamspadmaidyem Ghahambar has five days for Gathas, so how will you make six out of five. If a person dies on the sixth (leap year) day then should we do his anniversary prayers every fourth year when that additional day comes again? We who are knowledgeable are opposed to that calendar change even today, and the Iranians did not accept that calendar change and called their calendar Kadim. In Surat when Nusserwanji Koyaji started the new Fasli calendar there was a lot of trouble. It is OK to celebrate Navroz according to the Fasli calendar but you should keep in mind that if you change our calendar then our ritual ceremonies will be messed up. You should know that the establishment of Iranshah temple was done according to the Kadimi calendar. It is important to know these facts, so that we can claim that we are doing things based on research. We don’t want to say that what we say is the only truth, and others should follow that. You can make your own decisions based on your thinking.

We call Farvardin roz as Farvardegan, and according to our scriptures three Farvardin rozes are of great importance – one in month of Adar, one in Aspandard and one in month of Farvardin. Our Zarathushtis have a belief about the Farvardin roz in the month of Aspandard, that the righteous (Asho) souls (ravaans) and Asho Farohars come here to this earth on that day, and after the Farvardegan, the souls and Farohars depart from this earth on Farvardin roz and Farvardin month. So the first Farvardin roz is to welcome them and the second Farvardin roz is to bid them farewell. Now the Farvardin roz of the month of Adar is remembered because at the time of the last intercalation that was the first Farvardin roz, and we want to keep that memory alive.

Another thing, that Khordad roz of Aspandard month which is the Pateti of the Iranians, that day we recognize as Avardaad saal gah, there is a Jashan on that day that many people don’t know about, was started by the Shehenshahi people in India to remember the day when we separated from the Kadimi calendar, because we had done the intercalation in India on that day (not the Iranians). Avardad is the Persian Fardad meaning abandoned (stopped observing it), and Gah means Gatha because in the Khsnuman of the Jashan, besides the Khordad roz there are also the names of the five Gathas. This fact is not generally known, but it is found in our Pav Mahal prayer books.

Now you may know that there were arguments about the number of days of Farvardegan. In the old days about ninety percent of our Zarathushti used to observe eighteen days. According to our religious books, ten days were mentioned for Farvardegan. So, how did we start observing eighteen days in Hindustan ?  Because we could not observe all the six annual duties (mentioned earlier) in Hindustan, these were included in our ritual ceremonies. For example after death we do certain Nyayishes including Mahbakhtar, and Rapithwan was connected with Muktad. Khordad Sal was an important day when great events had happened in Iran, and there is a whole Pahlavi text by the name Roz Khordad and Mah Fravardin. Rapithwan has such importance. You must have heard the name of the Pahlavi book Bundahishn which means Beginning of Creation, so how creation started in the spiritual world. Dadar Hormuzd wears Paymojokisped meaning White Garment. In Pahlavi it is mentioned as PragiAshroni, or the garment of priests. So it is not good for priests to wear multicolored garments. Dadar Hormuzd wears the white garment and with the six Ameshaspands performes Ijashne in Rapithwan geh in the spiritual world, and then created the material world. So we Mobeds forgot this celestial garment and due to British influence started wearing multicolored   shirt and pants. You should remain proud of your garment.  When the Atashbehram was established in Navsari, then in the Rapithwan Jashan it was resolved that in order to have the ash it was necessary to establish an Atashbehram in Navsari, and the knowledgeable priests created a scheme on how to establish an Atashbehram (because the Sanjana priests did not have it due to the passage of 800 years, and this scheme was later followed for establishment of three other Atashbehrams in India. (37.04 minutes stop in recording)During the Jashan in Navsari, a Tandarosti prayer was recited in the name of Khurshedji Bapa who was living at that time and who had sent letters to Surat, Bharuch and other institutions from whom very encouraging replies were obtained, and the Atashbehram was established with the help of the anjuman (public) as Khurshedji Bapa has written “Atashbehram Prathhaa anjumannaa Navsari maa”. So, the Atashbehram was established with help of the public, and in which the largest share was from Bhagaria Seth family. This Maneckji Seth Agiary is from that family. Maneckji Seth had two daughters, he did not have a son, and his daughters also married in the Seth family, so he adopted his son-in-laws as his sons. And, in that time, the Seth family had given much help, giving land (jagir) to the Atashbehram, so the Bhagarias should never forget the name of the Seth family. So I told you about the eighteen day Muktad.

Now, even though we write and talk about it, you Mobeds are not doing, is that when someone dies during the five days of the Gathas, what Roz should be taken, because Gathas don’t come every month, but only once a year. In our Pahlavi books, in Rivayats, our prominent Dasturs, like Kaikhushru Kutar as I remember last, have written that for such people who die during Gatha days, we should take the Roz as Farvardin because these are days of Farvardegan. And, then Sirozo will come on Rashne roz in month of Shehrevar, Chhamsi will come on Farvardin roz.  If death happened on Ushtavad Gatha then do Sirozo on Ahunavad Gatha, do Varsi (yearly ritual) on Ushtavad Gatha. This is the way our religion instructs us.

It is not that Ahunavad Gatha is taken as Hormuzd roz and Ushtavad Gatha is taken as Bahman roz. Although this is how it is being done, that is not how our religion instructs us.

Now our Zarathostis, and Mobed class is included in that, what should they do during Muktad ?  For all the five days from Ashtad to Aneran, we are instructed to recite Framrot naa Ha and twelve hundred Ashem Vohu prayers, which you will find in the complete Khordeh Avesta book, and during the five days of the Gathas, in every Gatha day we have to recite the Gatha and twelve hundred Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayers. Those who are not Mobeds and Osta can do the prayers in this way. Reciting Gatha prayers may be difficult for some people, but if they practice by reciting one Gatha every day, then slowly they will be able to pick up speed, and be able to recite them. Where there is a will there is a way.

Now what I am saying is especially for the Mobeds. We have seen that rituals are done without proper order, even in the small towns. In Bombay, there are all five groups of Mobeds, and the High Priests of Atashbehrams have control over the other Mobeds, and sometimes the Dasturs give Fatwas, instructions according their personal beliefs, that we should only pray this way, which may not be according to the religion. I am telling you all this according to religion. I don’t have any connection with any Panth (group) nor with any Agiary (temple). So, let us put that story on the side, what they all pray. But, Mobed Sahebs think according to our religion that there are eight Kardas in the Afringan. Let me count them – Yao Visadh’s first kardo which is the thirteenth karda which comes from Farvardin Yasht, Yao Visadh’s second kardo which is only recited in Ardafarvash Afringan, and which is joined with the thirteenth karda “Ashaonam Farvashinam” (the whole kardo is recited in our daily Afringans “Ashaonam Vanghuinam …”), the third kardo is in Dahman Afringan, that is “Tao Ahmi namaane…”. Do not say “Dahm”, say “Dahman”. Dahm Yazad is only one and that is when we do Dahm Yazad prayer with seven Yatha Ahu Vairyos in Chahrum prayer or in Fareshta prayers. Today what you pray Dahm Yazad with two Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayers is not there in any Pav Mahal rituals. There is no kardo with Khshnuman “Dahm Yazad berasad” but it has been created in Mumbai.  Dahman means celebration of the Fareshtas of thirteen days, Dahman means about the Fareshtas. For example if today is Ava roz, then in the Khshnuman we recite “Aspandarmad, Ava, Din, Ard, Marespand Vispesa Ardafarvash beresaad” in the Pazend khshnuman, and together with that is the “Tao ahmi namaane…”. Now can someone tell me about the Yao Visadh kardo , that in the Khshnuman we did for all these Fareshtas, but you are not praying the Vadi khshnuman for these Fareshtas in Avesta, but in Dahman Afringan there is one main kardo of Tao ahmi namaane, and there is such a principle that nobody knows about or only a few may know, that after “vidhvao marotu” if the vadi Khshnuman of Dadar Hormuzd is recited, then we have to recite the thirteenth kardo of Yao Visadh. So, if we pray in that way in the Afringan of Dahman, then we cannot recite Tao ahmi namaane, because with the Ahuremazdao khshnuman we would have to recite the Khshnuman of all the Fareshtas. That is why the elders and in our books Dahman Dahmayao vanghuyao meaning the good Fareshtas, so the remembering of the Fareshtas is done in brief, and after “Vidhvao mrute” we recite “Tao ahmi namane”. That is the rule of our rituals. So, I told you that two kardas of Yao Visadh, Tao ahmi namane, two kardas of Sarosh, then karda of Ghambar “Datache…” which is taken from one of our old Nask, then karda of Rapithwan “Atha jimro” which is taken from Nirangistan, you can see how these kardas have been taken from the big Nasks, and the eighth karda which is of the Navar Afringan “Ahuremazdam Huthonghe” that is the sixteenth Ha. In this way the whole arrangement of our outer ceremonies is done with the eight kardas. So, if we pray in that way, it is better. According to all those rules if we pray, it is so good. If you pray the vadi khshnuman of Dadar Hormuzd then you should pray Yao Visadh kardo. So if you think like that and pray, nobody can complain. Other things are done for show. I only tell you what is according to religion. Some people may do what they want and say that Dasturji is giving us Fatwa, but I do not give Fatwas. Then it is upto each person to believe me or not.

Now what I have to say is that the second Afrin that we recite “Iranshahr…name of thecity” then some people will say “what is he praying”. Phiroze Masani had published several books on Afrins which is good, but in that this line is put in by doing a wrong translation after Baname Dadar Hormuzd. The true translation which is also given in the old books, is . Baname Dadar Hormuzd afreen thi aay sharoo karu chhu. Choon Pishgaah …….meaning that the manner in which the leaders in Iran had prayed (dua guzareli) in that manner we are doing the Afrin prayer in this city.  The other thing is that “Dinyaavar gooyaa.  Tehmuras Anklesaria was a scholar of Pahlavi. First of all he was a disciple of K.R. Cama. He put the word “gooyaa” in brackets because he did not understand it. This word is put in Pazend wrongly, but even so all Mobeds are using it. In Pahalavi books it is not “gooyaa” but “goondaar” which means “soothsayer”  teller of future, which is related to remembering Jamasp who was a soothsayer to whom Zarthost saheb had made him smell a flower with which he gave him the gift of knowing the future.

The last thing I have to tell you is that (in the Afrin-e-Haft Ameshaspand) the paragraph “Dahman ke pa in myazd fraj-rasid hend …” Dahman refers to the people attending the Jashan and says that you are welcome and if you take one step to protect the religion then twelve hundred steps will come to greet you. And after that what we recite “ravaan garosmani baad” that is for the living that after your death may your soul be deserving of heaven. Many people believe that we are praying this for the departed souls, and they may be shocked to know the true meaning. That is the end of my lecture, and you may adopt whatever you think is right. “

How to clean your Ses

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.

The significance of Ses

“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.

 

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