USHAOe-mail edition 



JUNE – JULY 2002


Informal Religious Meetings 




Silent Service


for the years Your strength

has kept us guided.

urged and inspired us on our way,

saved and provided us with means,

cheered and helped us in our aims,

Ahura Mazda for the years

that have passed

we bring our thanks today.





By Dastur Dr. Maneckji N. Dhalla 


eligion is the way of life that the soul has to live upon earth. It is the ascending effort of man towards perfection. In its pristine purity it is the most effective, cohesive force for mankind. It aims at building a world-fellowship of men and women on the spiritual foundation.


      Religion in its origin, embraces all alike and works for unity. Institutional religion founded upon rituals and sacrifices raises barriers of socio-religious exclusiveness  between man and man and becomes exclusive and divisive. Dogmas and doctrines founded on primitive usages and customs, animistic practices and observances become religion, where truth alone should be religion. 

      Orthodoxy is wedded to fixity. Earnest piety of  the orthodox has done incalculable harm in the name of religion all throughout history. Infatuation for formalism is mistaken for genuine religion. It is easier to follow outward observances and ceremonial practices that have acquired pseudo-religious importance and to the revel in ritualistic performances, than to act according to the inward promptings of conscience. When emotions are uncontrolled by intellect, sentiments smothers judgment. Dogmatists think not with brains. They assert with vehemence what their hearts aver and lose the substance in their eager pursuit of the shadow religion. 

      Sectarian bigotry believes there is no truth outside its own belief. We quarrel with bitter acrimony over socio-religious practices, rituals and customs. Emotions are roused to fever heat. We fly into great tempers. Bitter polemics stir the community to its depths. Endless dissensions and acrimonious disputations daily eat into the life of our dear community. 

      The soul feasts with joyous ecstasy upon the sweet memories on the pious life that it has lived upon the earth and not upon the rich repasts consecrated by the living on its behalf. In the world of the dead, merit alone counts; worth alone wins. Rich rituals and burnt offerings brighten not the path to paradise. 

      Give us wisdom, Ahura Mazda, to see that the world of our fathers lived in is not the same world that we live in today. It has moved onward and progressed and changed. Its problems have changed, and its mode of life has changed beyond recognition. The world of infant humanity has blossomed into blooming youth. Lead us, O Lord, to see that true religion is based upon human heart and Asha’s righteousness alone is that true religion.                                       

(Source: “Homage Unto Ahura Mazda”)




TAR means fire, light, and the flame of fire. Symbolically it represents the eternal light of Ahura Mazda. The Indo-Iranian reverence of fire was retained by Zarathushtra, and stressed by the Magis. Fire is venerated in all faiths. In Christianity  God is characterized as “the consuming of fire”. In Islam Allah is “the Light of  sky and earth”, and in Judaism Yahweh “descended in fire upon Mount Sinai”. In Zoroastrianism “good mentality and truth are symbolized by light, and falsehood by darkness. God is described as the Sublime Light, and heaven interchangeably is referred to as the Abode of Light, and the Abode of Best Existence 

      As the flame of fire soars upwards, human beings are implored to improve in order  to progress in life.   

(Contributed by Virasp P. Mehta) 




By Dr. Purvez Dinyar Kolsawalla



uch has been written about our small community which is supposed to face the threat of extinction due to diminishing numbers. Is everything lost? Are we doomed to disappear as an entity and as one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religion?  

      The answer in my opinion is a distinct NO! Our community in the past has faced many dangers and has survived in our homelands of Iran and India. Not only did we survive but we flourished. Now a substantial part of our community has settled in the Western World and in the second year of the third millennium we are facing exiting opportunities as well as challenges. I am speaking from my own experience in Australia after having lived for over 33 years in my new land. I have seen my community of Zarathushtis grow from a mere handful of 25 individuals to over 1,500 individuals in Sydney alone. A very large majority of us have settled in well and have flourished. The examples of people who could not make it in the new environment are miniscule in number. Australia is a secular democracy where one is allowed to practice one’s faith at will. Although till recently the majority of Australians were Christians, other faiths including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha’is and our faith has established strong roots. A second generation of Australian Zoroastrians have now grown up and are having children of their own. I believe what has happened in Australia also applies to U.S.A., Canada, New Zealand and U.K. 

      Yet there are problems to be faced and resolved. The first one is of identity. In the late 1970’s the Zarathushtis were either from India or Iran. They followed the same religion of Zarathushtra but had differences in customs, rituals, language and food. Thirty years later the second generation is not facing that problem so acutely. First let us look at the issue of language. The Parsees mainly spoke Gujarati at home and amongst themselves but were fluent in English for work purposes. The Iranis spoke Farsi, and English was a problem for some. Today the children do not have that problem as they all speak English and other two languages have become secondary. Food was the next separating issue. The Parsees ate spicy Indian food which our Iranian brothers and sisters found difficulty in acquiring taste for and the Parsees were certainly ignorant of the delicious Iranian dishes like Chelo Kabab and the various Pilafs. Yet our children have been homogenized by McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken as well as a distinct Australian cuisine which has developed by the influence of 140 nationalities which have made Australia their home. 

      I believe that the biggest threat faced by the next generation is OUR FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE the essence of our great religion. 

      Ask any lay Zarathushti what is the core message of our religion and they would instantly say Manashni, Gavashni, Kunashni (Good thoughts, words and deeds), and then may flounder when asked to expound on that concept. We all sing praises of the Gathas which are the very words of Asho Zarathushtra, yet no two scholars seem to agree on the translations of his verses. 

      We do not need a standardized translation of the Gathas. Even if a team of experts and scholars was formed, they would get bogged down in semantics of what some obscure Avestan word means. What we need is a simple explanation of what Asho Zarathushtra is trying to say in a book prepared by well read and informed lay people who could communicate Zarathushtra’s message in today’s terms. His message which is pristine pure can and should be adopted to suit the technological and material millennium in which we live in. Gone are the days when Zarathushtis will blindly accept the tenets of Zarathushtra’s message and religion. Our parents and grandparents believed in explicit blind faith and took what they were told, as gospel without challenge. Our children will find it difficult to blindly accept rituals, customs and legends, nor will they recite the prayers in an ancient language by rote. 

      What we need to do as a matter of priority is to use the modern technology—audio, visual, internet CD ROMS etc to communicate Zarathushtra’s message in a format that the youth will relate to. Our ancient legends of  Shah Nameh need to be modernized to suit today’s media. Use videos to highlight the exploits of our past by all means but use today’s context because that is the only thing that our youth would relate to. By all means teach our children to recite our prayers in Avesta and Pazand but make sure they have summary of the prayers in English and more importantly how that message could be interpreted for today’s world. 

      Our norms and customs which served us well in the past may  need to be modified to suit the present. Our community has never been inward looking. Ancestors of Parsees made a major change in language, customs, dress, and some rituals when they came and settled in India. We did not lose our faith by adopting Hindu dress, customs and food. Rather we enriched it!  So there is no difficulty in adjusting to modern 21st  century customs, norms, music, dance and dress. Our children have already adopted them with gusto. Let our generation not lag behind in that cosmetic change . 

      It is not difficult to use the modern marketing methods, public relations techniques to repackage the ancient sublime message of Asho Zarathushtra to suit the needs of the 21st century. Let our children see for themselves that there is nothing in Zarathushtra’s message which would not stand up to the needs of our times. 

      Our community has always changed by Evolution and never by Revolution. Over the years we have changed several ancient customs. Women no longer separate themselves in menses, we do not use Gomez to purify ourselves externally and internally. 

      Ancient time consuming prayer rituals like Vendidad and Nirangdin or for that matter any religious ceremony, which requires a consecrated fire temple are not performed outside the Indian sub-continent, and even there with the shortage of priests it has become difficult. While rituals are an important aid to practice a religion, they may not be made rigid and unchanging. We have in the past forgotten the Sublime and Divine Message of Zarathushtra and emphasized rituals, which in turn made us dogmatic and unchanging. 

      Our children have been exposed to members of the opposite sex (in some instances of the same sex) and have started living together and marrying them. The days when Parsees and Iranis lived in hermetically sealed communities with no inter marriages permissible are gone. I personally prefer all young Zarathushtis to marry within the fold and increase our community. But if that is not possible we should not and must not ostracize our children, especially females who choose to marry outside. 

      In Sydney we have tried hard to bring young Zarathushtis together by bringing them to Sunday Schools, community functions, social, events and sports and some of the youngsters have now married within the fold. When the parents become dogmatic and forbid any action, our modern children rebel and do exactly the opposite. We have to learn to use their terminology, idiom, conventions to get our message across. At times I feel we are speaking to them in a different language, which our children do not understand and relate to. Is it any wonder we lost that generation of children? 

      Another issue which all Zarathushtis, whether liberal or traditional insists that the religion of Asho Zarathushtra is an universal one. Yet, we have done nothing to promote the religion. Other religions have web sites which gives information about their religion in a simple attractive fashion. Although we have a myriad of Zarathushti web sites there is no consistency. The three Z-nets have more disagreements, often personal than sharing of knowledge. Again an attempt to present the findings of our religion in a non-controversial manner on a well designed and advertised web-site is a matter of priority.   

      A small community like ours still can not agree to form a unified World Body to represent them. Possibly because of egos and historical differences a formal world  body is not on the cards in the immediate future. Yet we could all work together on an informal basis sharing our findings and problems in this modern world of ours. It is a goal which is achievable. 

      In summary, we are not short of knowledge and resources. But do we have the will to take immediate and decisive action? That my fellow Zarathushtis is the Challenge of The Third Millennium  

(The author is a lecturer in Marketing & Management by profession and has developed his interest in the Zarthushti religion since 1977. He is a widely read scholar and has prepared a computerized Avesta-English dictionary. He submitted his 1st Ph.D. Thesis on Hoama Yasht in 1992. In 1996 he received his 2nd Doctorate (D.Sc) in compilation of all Avestan scriptures with various translations, commentary and esoteric explanations. He presented a paper at the World  Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1993.  He has been an active member of the Australian Zoroastrian Association of NSW since its inception. He has served the association as its president for six terms and a committee member for the other six terms. He has been actively involved as a Sunday School Teacher of AZA and has conducted Adult  Discussion Group Classes for over 15 years. He is married and has two adult daughters. He is also on the Board of WZO London for the past several years.) 


The  Zarathushtrian  Benediction

By  Naval  M. Magol



airyema ishya prayer is the concluding benediction of the World Zarathushtrian Fellowship. The aim and object, and the main goal of the good religion of Asho Zarathushtra Spitama is to establish a World Fellowship of good men and good women to provide peace and prosperity to all human beings. 

      Zarathshtrian religion is a fellowship in which the devotees of Ahura Mazda are taught to look within their conscience and to know what is right and straight and then live in accord with the will of the Wise Lord by obeying His immortal principles as revealed to Asho Zarathushtra Spitama and embodied in the Gathas. 

      Therefore “a airyema ishya” prayer is the fulfillment of Asho Zarathushtra Spitama’s mission at perfecting the world towards righteousness in mind and matter and in spirit and in body. And it is the progress towards union with Ahura Mazda to be in one thought with the sublime Wise Lord. 

      Asho Zarathushtra Spitama worked for this fellowship for a long period of 47 years and succeeded in his mission, and “a airyema ishya” is not only a prayer of blessings for all Zarathushtrians, but a prayer for world unity through good religion. 

      This beautiful benediction concludes Asho Zarathushtra’s inspiring Songs—the Glorious Gathas.  May we continue to follow the divine Zarathushtrian principles by studying and practicing the thought provoking Gathas of Asho Zarathushtra Spitama , and endeavor to be worthy members of the Zarathushtrian fellowship, by pondering on the translation of the original text: 

      “May the much desired grace of loving fellowship,

      Be established here amongst men and women.

      The faithful adherents of Asho Zarathushtra Spitama.

      For the grace of upholding good thinking and good mind,

      So that the desired reward of Daena Vanguhi,

      The rational religion of good conscience

      May be established here among righteous men and women.

      To earn the blessings of righteous society,

      That desire held in high esteem,

      By supreme, sublime and loving Ahura Mazda.”   

(Recourse has been made to “The Gathas Our Guide” by Ali A.Jafarey) 



By The Marchioness of Winchester



he story of Princess Nahid, or Olympias, of real history though brief, should prove of vital interest, since she became the mother of no less a historic personage than Alexander. 

      Darab, or Darius II, as he is generally known (425-405 B.C.), was, according to Firdausi’s account, a mighty monarch. He invaded, we are told, the territory of Rum in the west, and defeated the Roman army, which was led by the Kisra, whose name was Failakus, the Persian form of Philip. He was undoubtedly Philip of Macedon. 

      Failakus, weary of endless warfare with Iran, sent an envoy to Darab to discuss the question of his paying tribute. The Shah thereupon summoned his chiefs, and held consultation with them. Among other things, they told him of Princess Nahid, the Kisra’s only daughter, and described her wondrous beauty. Darab’s mind was, therefore, made up. Replying to the envoy, he stipulated that Failakus should send his daughter Nahid, together with the tribute, if he wished to save his honor and be left in peace. When the King of Rum received this message, he was exceedingly gratified at the idea of claiming the Shah of Iran as his own son-in-law, and hastened to make grand preparation for the event. Princess Nahid marched forth with a retinue of sixty damsels, each with a golden goblet in her hand filled with royal gems, and each wearing a golden crown and ear-rings. Thus King Failakus bestowed his daughter upon King Darab, and the beautiful Nahid became Queen of Iran. 

      Her happiness, however, proved short-lived. The Shah’s love for her began to cool, and he gradually conceived a dislike for her till, finally, he sent her back to her father. Shortly afterwards, a son was born to her, named Sikandar or Alexander, and brought up by Failakus as his own son and heir. At the death of Failakus, Alexander succeeded to the throne of Rum. 

      So legend meets history; the proud Persians would not own that they had  been vanquished by a foreigner, and they made the son of Philip of Macedon into the son of one of their own Kings. Darab had a son by name Dara. He is Darius III, or Darius Codomannus (337-330 B.C.).  Firdausi narrates at length how Dara demanded the tribute from Alexander as promised by Philip, and how the people of Rum seized it as a pretext to invade Iran. Here the purely Iranian legend ends; the rest belongs to the legend of Alexander, which was composed at Alexandria in Egypt into the romance known as that of Pseudo-Callishthenes. 



      I dreamed I had an interview with God.

      “So you would like to interview me?” God asked.

      “If you have the time” I said.

      God smiled.

      My time is eternity. What questions do you have in mind for me?”

      “What surprises you most about humankind?” 

      God answered: “That they get bored with the childhood. They rush to grow up and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither in the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and die as if they had never lived.”  

      God’s hand took mine and we were silent for a while. And then I asked: “As a parent what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?” 

      God replied with a smile: “To learn they cannot make any one love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved. To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn that there are persons who love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show them their feelings. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently. To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others. But that they must forgive themselves. And to learn that :

I AM HERE ALWAYS      (Author unknown)  



By Dina Vitchinkina


Something better is coming,

the sun will shine.

Enormous and stunning,

yours and mine.

Minds will be clear,

hearts will be bright.

Wise and sincere,

like sparks of Light.

For those wonderful days,

we all must strive.

Strengthening Asha ways,

which are yours and mine.

Just transform your mind,

transfigure your soul.

And we’ll see the Light –

our final goal.

Ushta for ever,

love and perfection.

Good thoughts everywhere,

in every action.

And the “frasho” days

will come indeed.

Just live like sunrays,

and  believe in it. 

(Dina Vitchinkina has done her Masters in Humanities from the Russian State University, Moscow. She contributes to the Russian Zoroastrian Web site:  by translating and writing on Zoroastrian topics) 

“Speak kind words and you will hear kind echoes”.