Tag Archives: zoroastrianism

Meherjirana Library Conference

“Today is an important day in Navsari: the inauguration of an international conference on Zoroastrian and Parsi studies, ‘Celebrating a Treasure: 140 Years at the First Dastoor Meherjirana Library,’ held at the Meherjirana Library in Tarota Bazaar. The conference will last until 15 January and will include some of the world’s leading authorities on Zoroastrianism. It has been a pleasure for me to serve as one of the organizers of this conference…”
Click Here to Read more 
Click Here for the Meherjirana Library webpage for the conference



Thesis on Zoroastrians’ use of the internet

This link: Zoroastrians on the Internet, a quiet social movement, the ethnography of a virtual community   by  Helen Gerth, for her Phd. thesis at the University of Nevada, is a very detailed, fact finding presentation of her research – an ebook in the link above, of how Zoroastrians (and non-Zoroastrians) are using the internet for expressing their concerns and views on Zoroastrianism and related topics.

Courtesy : Geve Narielwalla

It is interesting to note what she has to say about Zoroastrians.net :

“This site is unique in its goal to be the largest ‘aggregation of Zarathushti/Zoroastrian-Parsi/Irani websites’ available online and so is the only site seeking to be a comprehensive resource center.

It is neutral in tone. It has a very transparent and easy to navigate list of categories and services which is enlightening.

There is a wealth of news and comments on current events ……..”

The thesis makes interesting reading. To read the full Thesis – Click Here

Thank you dear readers for your ongoing support !


OU professor travels to India to research Zoroastrianism

Afshin Marashi, OU professor of International and Area Studies, will travel across the globe to further his research on Iranian nationalism and Zoroastrianism, the religion of most Iranians before Islam was adopted.

Marashi will travel to Bombay, India for the first time in January to study the influence on this faith on the development of Iranian identity.

Marashi teaches a wide range of courses dealing with Middle-Eastern and Iranian history, culture and politics. Marashi said he also conducts specialized research that sometimes overlaps with and, in a broad sense, informs his teaching.

Some courses he teaches are more directly connected to his research, such as the one he is currently teaching about modern Iran.

“The issue of nationalism and national identity and the role of Zoroastrianism in Iranian national identity comes up often,” he said.

This longterm project, which he says is destined to become a book, focuses on how Iranians began to rediscover and remember their ancient civilization.

Click Here for the full story


All NA Z Tele Class 11 – Zarathushtri Core Beliefs 2 December 2012

North American Zoroastrian Religious Tele – Class  –

Sunday December 2nd 2012 11 AM EST                       


Soli and Jo Ann presenting the Tele Class

A Zoroastrian Religion Class was held by Telephone on December 2nd 2012 by Jo Ann Dastur & Ervad Soli P. Dastur from their home, Hira Villa, in Sarasota, Florida. There were about 38 callers with multiple people listening together in some homes by calling a Tele-meeting phone number. The people were from both Canada and USA, from NY to Dallas and Los Angeles, Montreal to Miami. The class material was a PowerPoint Presentation sent ahead of time to all participants in PDF format.

This Tele Class covered the basic Zarathushtri Religion Core Beliefs. Ervad Dastur was asked to present an interactive discussion of the same subject by North American Zoroastrian Congress (NAZC) held in Rye NY under the auspices of Zoroastrian Association of Greater NY (ZAGNY) and FEZANA. In this 30 minute presentation, Ervad Dastur used a question/answer approach between 6 young Zarathushtris, 3 male and 3 female, representing 6 Amesha Spentas. They were: representing three female Amesha Spentas – Ms. Freya Motafram, Ms. Behrose Taraporewalla, Ms. Monaz Mistry, and representing three male Amesha Spentas – Ervad Viraf Nariman, Ervad Karl Khambatta and Mr. Sam Merchant. I am truly grateful for their help and I am grateful to ZAGNY and NAZC for giving me this opportunity to discuss this important subject.

This Tele Class is an expanded version of this talk to cover one hour. Soli started the class off by thanking all the participants especially FEZANA President Katayun Kapadia and Vice President Homi Gandhi who took time of their busy schedule to attend and support our Tele Classes.


Agenda Slide with Discussed Topics

The agenda covered the topics: Who do we profess to be?; The statement: Our Core Beliefs are the original teachings of Zarathushtra; What are our basic Core Beliefs of today?; Core Beliefs and Amesha Spentas; and a few verses from Zarathushtra’s Gathas and later scriptures. Soli explained why Zarathushtra was brought to the earth by Dadar Ahura Mazda, what were his basic teachings, how did he communicated with Ahura Mazda, How do Amesha Spentas point to our Core Beliefs, how do we attain Wholeness and Deathlessness using his teachings and the Amesha Spentas attributes of Ahura Mazda, How did Parsi Thy Name Is Charity came about, etc. In the end, Soli pointed out how Zarathushtra wanted to work in harmony with his people to follow the Zarathushtri Religion (Hoshbam Prayer). In order to explain the origin of our Hama Zor Greeting, he explained the first few Paras of Ardafravash Afrin which teaches us to work in harmony with all Mazdayasnian Zarathushtrians!

Finally, as it is becoming our custom, the permanent question: “We do not understand what we are praying in our daily prayers” was answered by suggesting some alternatives. The final prayer in English, from Dr. Dhalla’s book: Homage Unto Ahura Mazda:

We pray for unity, communal, national and international,

was recited by all together ending with our signature Zoroastrian greeting of: “Hamaa Zor, Hamaa Asho Bade” (May we be united in righteousness) performed by all attending the Class, a cyber Hamaa Zor all over North America! Read more

India’s Parsi community: Its history and prominent personalities

A Parsi or Parsee is a member of the larger of the two Zoroastrian communities in the Indian subcontinent, a member of the other being an Irani.

The history of the Parsi Community is around 3000 years old. This community has been consolidated by some eminent Parsis. Their names have been immortalized in its history. The many sided and characteristic philanthropy of the Parsis has established, through their panchayat system, a remarkable social security system for the community.

The qualities of the community that are significant are its vitality, its adaptability to changing circumstances, its industry and civic sense and its philanthropy, qualities which have been inducted by its religion, which is very much a part of its life.

Click Here for this interesting story


Some very interesting links

Parsi/Parsee Community – Zoroaster – Zoroastrian – Zoroastrianism

Documents on Zoroastrianism

pdf Anthology of Philosophy of Persia, Vol 1 from Zoroaster to Khayyam 

pdf Book of Arda Viraf 

pdf History of Zoroastrianism by Dhalla MN 

pdf Essays on the Sacred Language Writings Parsis (1907) 

pdf Guide to Prayers – Zoroastrianism 

pdf History of the Parsis in India 

pdf Life and Teachings of Zoroaster, The Great Persian by Loren Harper Whitney 

pdf Manichaeism

pdf Zoroastrian, Book by Modi

pdf On Mysticism and Esotericism among Zoroastrians 

pdf Parsi Culture 

pdf Parsi Festivals 

pdf Parsi Religion – Zand Avasta (1843) 

pdf Parsis and Satyagraha in South Africa 

pdf Parsis of Ancient India by Shapurji Kavasji Hodivala (1920) 

pdf Parsis of India (Powerpoint presentation) 

pdf Role of Fire in Parsi Rituals 

pdf The Bogomils and Zoroastrianism 

pdf Teachings of Zoroaster and the Philosophy of the Parsi Religion by S.A. Kapadia (version 1)

pdf Teachings of Zoroaster and the Philosophy of the Parsi Religion by S.A. Kapadia (version 2)

pdf Teachings of Zoroaster and the Philosophy (short version)

pdf The Treasure of the Magi, A Study of Modern Zoroastrianism (1917) 

pdf The Parsis (Powerpoint Presentation) 

pdf Zoroaster, by F Marion Crawford 

pdf Zoarasters, Parsees of India, National Geographic Article (1905) 

pdf Zoroaster, Prophet of Ancient Iran 

pdf Zoroastrianism, Ancient and Modern by Ervad Pheroze Shapurji Masani

pdf Zoroastrianism, The Charter of Spiritual Liberty 

pdf Zoroastrians, Their Religious Beliefs and Practices by Mary Boyce 

pdf Zoroastrianism 

pdf Manual of KHSHNOOM, The Zoroastrian Occult Knowledge 

Internet Links

No. Category Description Website Address Country
1 Information Parsi Directory Click on Link Global
1.5 Community World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce Click on Link Global
2 Information Zoroastrians.net Click on Link USA
2.5 Information Zoroastrianism.com Click on Link USA
3 Community Parsi Khabar Portal Click on Link Global
4 Community Bombay Parsi Punchayet Click on Link India
5 Community Wikipedia – List of Parsis Click on Link Global
6 Community Parsee Community in South Africa Click on Link South Africa
7 Community Parsi Rustomjee – Mahatma Gandhi�s able lieutenant in South Africa Click on Link South Africa
8 Community article on the Parsi Faith Click on Link Global
9 Community Parsis – the Zoroastrians of India by Sooni Taraporevala Click on Link Global
10 Community Wikipedia – on Parsi Click on Link Global
11 Community Britannica Article – Parsi Click on Link UK
12 Community People of India – Parsees – Zoroastrians Click on Link India
13 Community Life Positive – On Zoroastrianism Click on Link Global
14 Community The Parsi Zoroastrian Association of Singapore Click on Link Global
15 Community Parsi World Click on Link Global
16 History Parsees in South African History Click on Link South Africa
17 Community Gandhiji’s Associates in South Africa, (Parsees were top opponents of Racism in South Africa) Click on Link South Africa
18 Community Parsis have civilization; other Indians don”t Click on Link India
19 Community Parsi Web Portal Click on Link India
20 Community Parsi Site Click on Link Global
21 Community Kuwaiti Zoroastrian Associations Click on Link Kuwait
22 News Parsi News Click on Link India
23 Community The World Zoroastrian Organization Click on Link Global
24 Community New Delhi Parsees Click on Link India
25 Community The Parsi Chronicle Click on Link Global
26 Community The Missing Parsi Click on Link Global
27 Community Parsiana – The Global Zoroastrian Portal Click on Link Global
28 Community Parsi Resource Group Click on Link Global
29 Community Frene Ginwala – South African Freedom Fighter and Human Rights Campaigner Click on Link South Africa
30 Community Dr. Frene Ginwala – Speaker of the South African Parliament Click on Link South Africa

Courtesy : Bharat – http://www.cincinnatitemple.com/informationZoroaster.html

Protecting Vultures, and an Ancient Religion

In a small green building in a forest clearing in the north Indian state of Haryana, Dr. Vibhu Prakash scans through CCTV images searching for evidence that could eventually help secure the future of an ancient burial rite.

He’s looking for signs that the vultures in the closely monitored aviary next door are preparing to breed.

For almost three thousand years, Parsis, or Zoroastrians as they are known outside India, have relied on vultures in their funereal practice of “dokhmenashini,” in which the bird consumes the bodies of the dead.

But after the Indian vulture population slumped 99%, from about 40 million in the 1980s to less than 100,000 in 2007, the tradition of sky burial in Towers of Silence – the concentric circles where Parsis place their dead to be eaten by birds of prey — is under threat. Despite the use of solar concentrators to desiccate the corpses, as well as help from other birds such as kites and crows to consume the flesh, the process is much less efficient without vultures.

Click Here for the full story

Navjote Ceremony

Initiation ceremony of Zoroastrians

Irani Zoroastrians term this ceremony as (Dari) SEDRA PUSHAN =”Putting on the sacred undershirt” while Parsi Zoroastrians refer it to as (Ps.Guj) NAVJOTE=”New Born”

By.Dr. Pallan Ichaporia, Ph.D.

(Copy righted No parts to be reproduced except with author’s permission)

Zoroastrians must be properly initiated by ordained priests into the religious community. In the ancient times this occurred at the age of fifteen, the ancient Iranian age of maturity to become responsible for his or her religious, moral and communal life (See: Yast 8[Tir],13-14 and Videvdat 18.54)

According to Videvdat (Vendidad): “Then the she-demon who is the Lie replied,” O Sraosha, truthful and well formed one, of these males indeed this the fourth one, a male whore who after his fifteen year walks forth without either the sacred girdle or undershirt” (Videvdat 18,54). This warning from the Spirit of Evil underscores the emphasis placed on the proper initiation into the Zoroastrian faith.

During the initiation ceremony the candidate wears a sacred white undershirt (Phl. SHABIG; N.P. SHABI,SUDRA; Dari.SEDRA; Parsi Guj. SUDRA, SUDRE), and a sacred girdle (Av. AIWYANGHANA; Pz.AIWAYANGHANA; Pahl. KUSTIG; N.P and Parsi Guj.KUSTI) (Note: Av. AIWYANGHNA (AIWI+YANGHANA(AIWI+YAH)) =to girdle). The initiation seems to be based on the ancient Indo-Iranian custom of investing only the male members of society with a sacred girdle as a sign of their membership within the community.

A similar practice persists to-day among Hindus where male members of the three upper castes (Skt. VARNA) are ceremonially invested with a sacred cord at the time generally called the ceremony of the Second Birth (Skt. UPANAYANA) conducted between the ages of eight and twelve (See: Gonda: Vedic Ritual, 1980, 42, 153-154). The sacred cord is knotted by an ordained Hindu priest and worn under the clothes diagonally around the body over the right shoulder and under the left arm. Hindus never untie this cord but slip it aside and step out of it when necessary.

The pre-Zoroastrian origin of the rite of initiation is found in ‘Dadestan-i-Denig’, where it is clearly stated that king Yima Xshaeta (Jamshid) introduced the sacred girdle, centuries before Zarathushtra (See D-i-D:39, 18-19). This initiation rite has been practiced since the the earliest years of the faith and there can not be any second opinion about it. The age of initiation into the faith of Zarathushtra was gradually lowered with the present day Irani Zoroastrians undergoing it between twelve and fifteen and with Parsi Zoroastrians initiating their children at the age of seven. This may be due to influence of Hinduism. Irani Zoroastrians term this ceremony as (Dari) SEDRA PUSHAN =”Putting on the sacred undershirt” while Parsi Zoroastrians refer it to as (Ps.Guj) NAVJOTE=”New Born”

As in Hindusim, the Zoroastrian initiation symbolizes spiritual rebirth or second birth. After their initiations, Zoroastrians must ritually untie and tie the sacred girdle very time they pray or perform Padyab-Kushti. Sadra and Kustig must be worn every day and night during the life time of each and every individual. It is a grievous sin for an initiated Zoroastrian to abstain from wearing the girdle (Kustig) and undershirt (Sadra), a condition termed “SCAMBLING AROUND NAKED” (Phl. AISHAD DWARISHNIH). According to SHAYEST-NE SHAYEST (4:10): “The sin of scrambling around naked, up to three steps, is a FRAMAN [for] each step; at the fourth step [it becomes] a TANAPUHL.

The Padyab-Kustig is performed before a Zoroastrian can engage in any religous activity as it ensures the purity of his body and soul. It is enjoined that this ritual be performed early each morning on rising from sleep, prior to religious act of eating, before ablutions, at the beginning of each of the five periods of the day and after urination and excretion. (Although this may be hard to follow but one will still find most ordained Zoroastrian priests and devout Zoroastrians still true to this ancient tradition). ALL ZOROASTRIANS do undergo the ablution on entering the premises of a fire-temple, to ensure that every religious act they perform is done so in the state of purity of body and soul. The Padyab-Kushti ritual, because it involves the performance of a purification rite, differs from the simple Kushti ceremony, in which a ritually clean person unties and reties the KUSHTI without first performing ablutions; the simple Kusti ceremony is referred as “MAKING NEW THE SACRED GIRDLE” (N.P.:KUSTI NAW KARDAN ) or “TYING THE SACRED GIRDLE” (PGj.: KUSTI BASTAN).

The main principle underlying this ceremony is to providing religious purity for the performance of religious functions as praying, approaching the sacred fires, attending funeral ceremonies (before and after), eating etc. This simple and beautiful rite thus ensures a Zoroastrian to maintain a state of socio-ritual purity of his/her body and soul at all time.

Best regards,

Dr. Pallan R. Ichaporia.

Initiation ceremony of Zoroastrians

By.Dr. Pallan Ichaporia, Ph.D.

(Copy righted No parts to be reproduced except with author’s permission)

Reproduced With permission from the Author

Zarathustra on his way to Copenhagen

Zarathustra on his way to Copenhagen

Who knows if there are still followers of Zarathustra in India and Pakistan? In this article, the author brings you to the megacity of Karachi, south of Pakistan. This city is a gateway to much questioning regarding the contemporary environmental crisis. By David Knaute, Karachi (Pakistan).

Considering the unique role Parsis have played over the years in the building of Karachi, the current crisis is greatly unfortunate. Community members like to retell the story of their arrival in India some centuries ago when their priests promised the Hindu kings they would be like sugar added to a bowl of milk, meaning they would mingle into the local population and try to be as helpful as possible, and to date, this has proved true. Mahatma Gandhi himself said that Parsis were “in number beneath contempt, but in charity and philanthropy perhaps unequalled, certainly unsurpassed”. Throughout the Indian subcontinent the Parsis have always enjoyed tolerance and even admiration from other religious communities. A peace loving people, they now keep well away from politics but this has not always been the case. From the 19th century onward they gained a reputation for their education and widespread influence in all aspects of society, partly due to the divisive strategy of British colonialism which favoured certain minorities. Parsis are generally more affluent than other Pakistanis and are stereotypically viewed as among the most Anglicised and “Westernised” of the various minority groups. They have also played an instrumental role in the economic development of the region over many decades; several of the best-known business conglomerates of India are run by Parsi-Zoroastrians, including the Tata, Godrej, and Wadia families.

Click Here for the full story

Courtesy : Rusi Sorabji