USHAOe-mail edition 




We wish our readers in the year 2002 an increase in faith,

Love and may you always see a patch of blue when skies

are grey, and find a sprinkle of stars to add sparkle to your life,

and infect the world with smiles.

* * * 

Smiling is Infectious,

You catch it like the flu.

When someone smiled at me today

I started smiling, too. 

I passed around the corner,

And someone saw my grin,

When he smiled, I realized

I’d passed it on to him. 

If you feel a smile begin

Don’t leave it undetected,

Let’s start an epidemic

And get the world infected! 


ashem vohu vahishtem asti. Ushta asti;

Ushta ahmai, hyat ashai vahishtai ashem. 

Righteousness is the best good. It is radiant happiness.

Radiant happiness comes to the person to whom

righteousness is for the sake of the best righteousness alone. 


ighteousness is the universal law that stands for order, evolution, progress and perfection as ordained by the Creator for the creation. One becomes righteous by doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, and with the right means to obtain the right result. It means precision in every thought, word and deed. It means constant improvement and continuous renovation. It brings enlightenment, true radiating happiness, provided that this happiness is shared with others. It then becomes righteousness for the sake of righteousness.

    The above Avestan couplet frequently repeated is known by the name of Ashem Vohu, the two words in the beginning of the text. It is, in fact, the main motto of the entire Zarathushtrian teachings. Righteousness -- the universal law of precision, is the basic principle of Good Religion.

    Zarathushtra conveniently divides mankind into two camps: Adherents of asha i.e. righteousness, are called ashavan, the righteous who promote the human society of the living world. Followers of lies are druj, and they are called dregvant. The main mission of Zarathushtra and his companions is to promote asha and to eliminate druj – to completely establish an ashavan society that radiates ushta, enlightening happiness to all. (Courtesy – Zarathushtrian Assembly) 


By The Marchioness of Winchester 

Story of Gurdafrid 


urdafrid was the daughter of Gazhdaham, the Iranian Chief, who had been renowned for his might and valor, but owing to advancing years, was fast losing his strength. Father and daughter were in residence at the White castle when Suhrab, the enterprising hero, arrived with his Turanian army, captured Hajir, the veteran castellan, and prepared to seize the castle also. Gurdafrid was deeply grieved when she learned of Hajir’s misfortune, knowing him to be a warrior of no mean attribute. Tall and strong, beautiful and brave, she retired to her own apartments, donned a suit of armor, and concealing her luxuriant tresses beneath her helmet, rode off on a charger to the battlefield.  

    In a voice “like thunder” she challenged the warriors of Turan to meet her in single combat. For a moment it seemed none dared approach her. Then Suhrab rushed forward, and a fierce fight began. Gurdafrid displayed extraordinary skill and dexterity. In anger, not unmingled with admiration for such prowess, Suhrab brandished his sword, and, mustering all his strength, struck at his opponent, tearing open her coat. He then snatched off her helmet, and her long hair billowed down her shoulders.

    Suhrab gazed as if spellbound on the beautiful girl who stood before him, her bright eyes twinkling with humor, her red lips smiling derisively. He begged her to desist, which she finally agreed to do, at the same time urging him to keep her identity a secret. She taunted him as to the object of ridicule he would become, when it was known that he had summoned all his courage merely to fight a girl. She, moreover, promised to offer no further resistance, telling him the castle should be his.

    On her return she met her father with his troops. Gazhdaham was overjoyed and filled with pride at the sight of her, having suffered the most terrible anxiety on her account. Though bruised and well nigh exhausted, the maid’s valiant spirit prevailed as, making her way out upon the ramparts, she looked down on the enemy. Suhrab, still mounted on his steed, was startled by the sound of rippling laughter, and, gazing upwards, beheld the fair face of Gurdafrid. At her mocking words, the realization came to him that he had been cleverly foiled.

            “O warrior of Turan!” she gibed,

            “Why take such pains?

             Be off with you, and give up battlefields.”

    In a state of wrath amounting almost to frenzy, Suhrab took his departure, swearing to destroy the castle the very next morning. That same night Gurdafrid and her father escaped by a secret passage which ran beneath the fort, so that, when Suhrab arrived, prepared to storm the portals, he found to his amazement that he had but to open the gates and walk in. He was astounded at finding the place deserted, and his capture of the castle seemed but an empty triumph, since it held not Gurdafrid.

            “Woe’s me!” he cried,

            “The bright moon is beclouded.”

    Thus ended the story of Gurdafrid, and Suhrab’s hopeless love for the brave and dauntless maid, destined by fate to cross his path but once in his sadly brief life. (To be contd.) 


“Zoroastrians, wherever they may live, must observe the tenets of moral behavior, laid down in the Gathas and join their prophet in a pledge to place their trust in Ahura Mazda and by means of dedicated acts, dedicated words and dedicated prayers performed in His name gain holy wisdom – Vohu Mana, righteousness with justice – Asha, moral courage – Khshatra, to serve others with tranquility and love – Armaity, achieve self-realization and perfection – Hurvatat, and finally attain immortality  of Goodness. “  --Farang Meher--



By Shahriar Shahriari 


hen the sky is the darkest, the stars sparkle even more brightly. War is arguably the darkest side of humanity, yet it could inspire us to be the most humane we can be. Yes, war is dark and ugly. War sets a chain of events into motion that both is destructive and unpredictable. It creates pain and horror beyond imagination – a reality that is much stranger than fiction. War brings about a backdrop of darkness, a blanket of ugliness that covers humanity. And we, as individuals, have the option to acknowledge war for what it is, or go to into denial. When the blanket of war covers nations, fear and hate and revenge rule the choices, and the lives of people of those nations. The majority of the people buy into the notion of the ugliness and blend into the backdrop of darkness, while defending war as a necessary evil.

    Yet there are always the few who transcend the horror and overcome the fear. Who recognize their surroundings for what it is. Who look the ugliness of pain and destruction in the face, dive head-on into the situation, and regardless of the bigger picture do what they can to heal the smaller picture.

    Yes, soldiers and civilians are killed and maimed in war, yet the Red Cross was born in a war. Yes, the World War destroyed millions of individuals and countless properties, yet gave birth to the United Nations.

    Florence Nightingale was an angel who came to open her wings during the darkness of a war of many years bygone, yet her legacy endures and resonates at times of peace and war. Yes, the more recent terror destroyed numerous lives and brought down skyscrapers, yet the heroic firefighters went up the stairs of those same buildings, while others were coming down.

    The trick to facing a war is not to moralize it, else we too become part of the backdrop of darkness. The most constructive and progressive approach is to become small, to look at the small pictures, and then contribute what we can, to heal the little wounds, one person at a time, one place at a time.

    It is easy to generalize and neatly classify dead sons and brothers, maimed sisters and mothers, and destroyed homes and livelihoods as “collateral damage” and “casualties of war”. But it is infinitely more difficult to be the one telling a mother that her son has just become a “casualty of war”. And it is simply heroic to forget about the terror and the evil, while climbing stairs of a skyscraper, with only one thought in mind: “Who’s life can I save up, there?”

    It is easy and tempting to look at the blanket of darkness and become a spec of dust, lost in the fabric. But it takes a lot of courage to shine our light and be that small radiant diamond that sparkles against the dark blanket.

    Our humanity can display itself more humanely when we face our darkest side -- just as the stars shine more brightly when the sky is the darkest. 

* * *


of freedom of choice

Its implication for today’s community issues 

By Adi Daver 


reedom of choice is the bedrock of faith revealed to Zarathushtra by Ahura Mazda. This teaching of the Prophet is ingrained within all Zarathushtris. It might nevertheless be worthwhile to remind ourselves of his vision of freedom. If we all understand it clearly, and live according to it, it could not only bring us greater personal happiness, but help us free our community from issues like pluralism, intermarriage and inclusion which have haunted it in this century. Why do I say this?

    Zarathushtra’s Gathas are suffused with the thought that as Ahura Mazda’s hamkars, the purpose of one’s journey on earth is to renovate and perfect our souls progressively, and thus help Him to renovate and perfect a world and universe that is contaminated by imperfections and inequities. This is his ultimate rationale for the freedom of choice given by Ahura Mazda to every human being. Zarathushtra says in many ways, that we may see those doing wrong and harm, prosper on this earth, but on leaving it, their reward will be eternal woe in the “realms of darkness”, whereas eternal happiness in the “realm of light” awaits those who have made the right choices in life.

    The right choices. To help make the right choices, Ahura Mazda has even given every person a dual support system. First He has placed within each of us, the same “attributes” which He has in Himself. These attributes known as the Amesha Spentas, and in human beings translate as:Vohu Mana, good mind; Asha, absolute righteousness; Khshathra, service or love of mankind; Spenta Armaity, inner security; Haurvatat, spiritual perfection; and Amertat, immortal bliss after death. They work in a complete relationship within each other.

    Second, to guide in so using them and in making the right choices, Ahura Mazda has also endowed every person with Daena Vanghui, his good conscience or ‘voice’, which is always in communication with Spenta Mainyu – his progressive mentality.

    The Gathas (Ys. 34, 1-2 and Ys.47) beautifully encapsulate how this support system can help everyone to renovate one’s soul progressively and attain immortal bliss. Here is stanza 1 of Gatha 47 (Ys.47-1), which summarizes this gift given to all persons: 

                  “Led by Thy Spenta Mainyu

                  and Thy Vohu Mana, 

                  Led on by best thoughts, and

                  words and deeds of Asha, 

                  Haurvatat and Ameretat shall

                  Man attain 

                  Through his Khshathra and

                  his Holy Armaity; 

                  Mazda Ahura has on all

                  mortals these bestowed.”

(Paraphrase of Taraporewala translation)

    A person can choose to heed, or ignore, this support system. But in every moment of life, it prompts a recognition when one’s good mind has grasped the path of absolute righteousness, that by choosing to follow it, one can provide service and love to mankind, achieve inner serenity and move towards perfection and immortal bliss.

    Zarathushtra thus wisely tells us that freedom of choice does not imply unconstrained freedom to do what, and how, one pleases. He wants us honestly test each choice that we make, by support system within us. If a choice is made with a good mind, it is based on absolute righteousness, and it is in the best interest of all concerned, then it enhances inner serenity and leads to perfection and bliss for one’s soul, and Ahura Mazda’s world and universe. The tools for doing all this intuitively are crystallized in the simplified trilogy of our faith: Good Thoughts, Words and Deeds.

    Broader community issues: If we understand and live according to the freedom of choice as Zarathushtra envisioned it, then it might also help us to better understand how we must deal with broader community issues.

    First, Ahura Mazda has gifted us His support system to all human beings, not merely those born into Zarathushtra’s faith. With its help; and guidance, all have the freedom to learn and understand his teachings. Thereafter, if they conclude, that it would be the absolutely righteous choice for them to pay obeisance to our common Creator in the way Zarathushtra taught, then surely they have the freedom to do so. Such persons include those from other faiths, who may thus make that choice. They include our sons and daughters who, despite marrying their soul mates from other faiths, choose to be devout to the faith in which they are born. They include children of such marriages, and spouses who decide that they want to pay obeisance to the Creator in the same way that their Zarathushtri  parents, and spouses do.

    Indeed, Zarathushtra repeatedly asks mankind everywhere – “living mortals”,  “those from near-by and afar”, “men and women of all lands” – to heed his teachings and choose his path towards Ahura Mazda. Nowhere in my reading of the Gathas, or about the practice of the faith until some 200 years ago, have I been able to find any explicit or implicit suggestions that he wanted only those who would be born into his faith, to choose to live by its concepts. Nor can I find that he taught that except for them, no other human beings are blessed with Ahura Mazda’s Daena

Vanghui and divine attributes to guide them towards choices which can contribute to the progressive perfection of their souls, world, and universe.

    Neither can I find anywhere that he wanted Zarathushtri women to be barred from entering our places of worship, and worse still, to be cast out of the faith, if they married spouses of other faiths. In a religious teaching which repeatedly equates women and men. I cannot find any suggestion anywhere that this should be their fate, whereas Zarathushtri men who intermarry can continue to practice the faith. Nor can I find anywhere that the spouses of both, or their children, even after studying Zarathushtra’s teachings, cannot choose to follow them through the use of Ahura Mazda’s divine attributes and inner voice placed within them.

    Since Ahura Mazda has placed these in all human beings so that they can each make the right moral choices in the course of their lives, how can any person dictate to any of them that they cannot use those gifts to choose Zarathushtra’s path leading towards Him?

    I do realize that not all of you will share these views. I fully respect your right to continue to believe that unconstrained freedom of choice corresponds with Zarathushtra’s vision. My only purpose is to give another input, which explains why it does not. All I ask is place it in the scales of your individual judgment and ponder over it carefully and honestly! Those who see some merit in it, may then decide to adopt Zarathushtra’s vision of freedom of choice, as their way of life It is my conviction that as increasing numbers do that, our community can – and will –free itself of such issues in the millennium ahead.

(Courtesy ‘Fezana’ Journal, Summer 2001)  



s God on the Internet? Those who pray to Him certainly are. On line prayer is one of the significant development in religion in the past decade and is becoming popular day by day. It is estimated that about 19 million people have used Internet to seek spiritual and religious information. Some believers say that Internet can be a wonderful way to be a part of global community of believers.

    Like prayers in privacy of one’s home or in a place of worship Internet prayer can take many shapes and forms. They can range from scriptural verses to intuitive prayers that, relies on person’s belief that his or her thoughts and leanings are being directed and led by God.

    This technological wonder of Internet provides a fertile ground for new global prayer voices to develop and online prayers can readily cross religious traditions. 

(Source: “The Wichita  Eagle” : Excerpted from an article by Allison Askins) 

“To dream of the person we’d like to be is a waste of the person we are”.



Four glorious dawns had risen

And with the wakening loveliness of day

Came breezes whispering from southern sky,

Laden with fragrant sweetness I behold

And floating lightly on the enamored winds

A presence sped and hovered over me,

A Maiden, roseate as the blush of morn

Stately and pure as heaven, and on her face

The freshness of a bloom untouched of time. 

Amazed I cried, “Who art thou, Maiden fair,

Fairer than aught on earth these eyes have seen?

And she in answer spake, “I am Thyself”,

Thy thoughts, thy words, thy actions, glorified

By every conquest over base desire,

By offering of a holy prayer

To the Wise Lord in Heaven, every deed

Of kindly help done to the good and pure.

By these I came thus lovely, came to guide

The steps to the dread bridge where waits for thee

The prophet, charged with judgment. 

(J. H. Moulten) 

I Did It My Way 

To each of us, though rich or poor,

We have a common bond,

And rugged pathways must endure

To reach the goal beyond. 

Just be yourself, you’ve much to give,

Perception as your tutor.

Waste not your time, your hopes incline

Towards a better future.

(Beatrice Johnson) 


I am the waves on the ocean,

I am the sun on the sea,

I am the light in the morning,

I am the wind blowing free.

I am your strength in the darkness,

I am your laughter and mirth,

I am the joy of creation,

I am the pulse of the earth. 

I am the life in all creatures,

I am each flower and tree,

I am the hope of tomorrow,

I am the things yet to be.

I am the noise of the city,

I am the peace on the fell,

I am your past and you future,

I am today – use it well!

(Iris Hesselden)