July – August 2002
: Mah Amardad, Fasal Sal 1371
amavantem, verethrajanem, vitbaeshanghem,
vispa thaeshsao taurvayantem,
yo upemo, yo madhemo, yo fratemo,
taro Mathrem panch Gathao.
We revere the holy Airyema Ishyo*
leading to Righteousness, which is full
of strength and leads to success, which
is devoid of hatred, nay always
overcomes all hatred and
This is the word of Invocation,
the first, the middle and the last;
it is the Sacred Word in addition to five Gathas
(Havan Gah: Para
*It is section 54.2 of the Yasna in the Gatha dialect in Praise of Airyaman, an ancient Aryan deity representing Friendship and Love. In the Avesta as well as in the Veda, Airyaman is invoked at the time of marriage, in fact this verse is recited in the wedding service of the Zarathushtrians.
TEN QUESTIONS FOR APPRAISING MY FAITH AS A MATURE RELIGION
Dastur Naoroze D. Minocher Homji ……………………………………………………2
SEVEN LEVELS CONSCIOUSNESS
Cyuys P. Mehta ……………………………………………………………………4
HEROINES OF ANCIENT IRAN : Story of Queen Humai
The Marchioness of Winchester …………………………………………………………5
ZARATHUSHTRA: WHERE IS THE SACRED FIRE?
Dr. Jose Luis Abreu ………………………………………………………………………8
TEN QUESTIONS FOR APPRAISING
AS A MATURE RELIGION
Dastur Naoroze D.
Let us examine these ten questions very briefly, in order to appraise our Faith as a mature religion.
2. Yes, it is ever-fresh,
showing an awareness of cosmic wonder. The reader may find proof
in Yasna 44 where the
inquiring Mind and the untiring spirit of Zarathushtra are revealed
in some eternal verities e.g. “What Architect did fashion Realms of Light, and
also Realms of Dark? Who wisely planned for us both sleep and waking ---
rest and work?”
3. Yes, it is
self-critical. The Parsees do know how to be aware of one’s own faults and
foibles and try to remove the same. The Parsee press is a positive proof of
the self-critical nature of our Religious Life. There is criticism and yet
there is reverence for and faith in Religion. We believe in Tennyson’s dictum
when he says, “There lives more faith in honest doubt, than in half the
4. By all means it is
free from magic. Yasna 8 expounds the definition of magic, quite rationally:
“One who recites the manthra but does not practice it becomes a man
of magic”. Zarathushtra emphasized
Right, as opposed to Rite. Lewis Brown in his book ‘This Believing World”,
says “The history of Religion is in essence the story of the Prophet
who moralized religion, wrestling with the priest who had ritualized
5. Yes, it is dynamic,
but not to the extent that is desirable ---in the present times. Religion, for
centuries after Zarathushtra was a dynamic
force in the lives of millions of people, after king Vishtaspa embraced the
Faith. Religion is chiefly concerned with the orientation of man’s life, but
organized church is concerned with institutions and machinery, that are the
bane of progress.
6. Yes, it is
integrating. Integrating the individual to the Society; but it is not
functioning for integration as it should, because Religion is isolated from
the daily life of the individual and even that of the society, except perhaps
for the Agiary anniversaries and for the Jashan ceremonies. Heads
of Religion and the Elders responsible for the welfare of the community,
should workout a project, in which Religion is revealed both as dynamic factor
and as an integrating force. Ghambar festivals can be good occasions
for the young and the old to meet together, so that the community can weld its
7. Yes, it is socially
effective, only sporadically, and not systematically. If religion is made
socially effective, the sense of the Community would be stronger and the
incidents of young men and women going out of the Zoroastrian fold, on
emotional grounds, would be fewer. Some learned priests, well versed in
psychology, psychiatry and sociology may be entrusted with the work of
counseling the young, both boys and girls, in their period of transition
from adolescence to adulthood. The youngsters are left to their destiny, where
there is onrush of emotional problems. The youngsters must be so
educated as to face the emotional problems with calm and
8. Yes, it demonstrates humility. No Zoroastrian believes that he is the chosen of God and that his religion only embodies the whole truth. Zarathushtra taught, by both precept and example and with humility, in spite of the great mission entrusted to him. He sings in Yasna 28.1:
“To Him I pray in humble adoration
with hands uplifted for the Perfect
It is interesting to note
its parallel in the Bhagvad Gita, where humility, search for the higher
meaning of life and service of suffering humanity, are the three means of
attaining spiritual height.
9. Yes, it was growing,
when the Religion flourished under the protecting wings of the Iranian Empire.
Due to historical accidence, the Parsees have withdrawn their activities, like
the tortoise that withdraws its armor-like shell for safety and
self-preservation. But it can never be said to be stunted: the Parsees have
proved themselves by virtue of their benevolent living, the ‘high-quality’
people in India. The religion does not believe in asceticism, but in the
living of active virtues. In the daily rounds of life we see with humility and
pride, some Parsees at the top of industrial and business concerns. Not only
individuals, but families have made a mark in the life of the country. e.g.
The Tatas, the Wadias, the Petits, the Godrejs and
10 Yes, it is creative. Being a primary religion, it is also creative and not repetitive. Systems of philosophy can be derived from the holy Gathas. Being one of the oldest religions, if not the oldest, it had nothing to imitate. Zarathushtra was an original thinker and so has called his teachings ‘Unheard of before’.
(Source: “Parsiana”, February
“A steady, ever-increasing flow of devotion and self-realization
will bring you to the perception of the infinite
SEVEN LEVELS OF
(The information given
below is taken from the book “IN SERACH OF THE SELF AND SELF
SUPREME” by Dr. Nowzer Pheozeshah Mehta,
First Level:- Sustenance of the physical
body and comforts attendant upon the digestion and elimination. This is the
level at which a body starts its life.
Second Level:- This could be described as
the level of the senses. As a child grows up it finds pleasure and pain in the
use of the senses, such as sights, the sounds, the smells and the
Third Level:- This is the level when one
develops love for oneself or the satisfaction of one’s ego becomes paramount.
Desire to have material possessions, being liked by others, to have better
clothes, food, housing and other amenities. This love for self remains all
through life until the demise of the body. Further this love brings man
into conflict with others who have also have the same desire for the same
things. Thus in life one finds love and hate, pride and prejudice, amity and
anger, contentment and greed, attraction and antipathy, each bringing pleasure
or pain. Most human beings live at this level of
What next? Those who are not
satisfied with the third level of consciousness undertake an inward journey to
find out truth for themselves, to find out their true identity whether they are
just body and soul, and to find the true purpose of life. Through
intensive thinking and meditation they see the glimpse of higher
Fourth Level:- At this level peace
reigns supreme. Of course such periods are brief in the beginning but with
practice, and perseverance such periods can be lengthened. This happens during
meditation. Once back in worldly life one is again in the domain of pleasure and
Fifth Level:- At this level the twin
feeling of pleasure and pain is replaced by joy in or out of meditation, but not
Sixth Level:- Joy completely replaces
pleasure and pain both in and out of meditation.
Seventh Level:- Joy is replaced by
Bliss. One’s own soul is now in complete union with Supreme Soul called God,
Allah, Ahura Mazda, Bhagwan or Heavenly Father.
(Complied by Cyrus P. Mehta,
Thou art Divine, I know, O Lord Supreme,
Since Good found entrance to my heart through Love,
This taught me that for inner growth
Quiet and silent meditation is best. (Gatha Ushtavaiti: Ys.43.15)
HEROINES OF ANCIENT
Marchioness of Winchester
Umai1 was the
first and by far the greatest of the three queens, who, according to the partly
legendary and partly historical dynastic scheme of the
Shahnama, ruled over Iran in ancient times. This
beautiful and intelligent Princess married the Iranian King Bahman2,
who some few months later became seriously ill. Feeling the approach of
death, he summoned all the members of his family, together with the nobles and
chiefs, and expressed a desire that Huami should rule until such time as she had
a son or a daughter of age to take over the sovereignty. Shortly
afterwards he died, and Humai succeeded to the throne. Her first act, on
being declared Queen, was to open her treasury and lavishly distribute her
wealth among all equally. She determined, wherever possible, to right
wrong, help the poor, and establish peace and prosperity throughout the
If the excellent Humai possessed one weakness, it
was love of power. So dear to her was the sovereignty that when some time later
a son was born to her, she concealed the infant, giving out word to the people
that it had died at birth. When the child was eight months old, he showed
promise of developing into a fine sturdy boy bearing a striking resemblance to
King Bahman, and Humai’s jealous fears grew as she regarded him. She then
bethought her of a plan by which to dispose of him. She sent for a skilful
carpenter, and bade him build a miniature ark, choosing the finest materials and
lining it with brocade of Rum. When completed,
She placed within a pillow for a bed,
And filled it full of pearls of splendid water.
They poured in quantities of ruddy gold,
Mixed with cornelians and
Then on the infant’s arm
she bound a wondrous jewel “such as kings might wear”, and when midnight came,
the nurse was sent to deposit him in the ark. She wrapped him warmly in
fine silk, and, heartbroken and tearful, did as she was bid, setting the ark
adrift upon the River Farat.3
When dawn broke, a washer-man carrying on his
trade at an inlet of the stream, was startled at the sight of the beautiful
little craft floating towards him. He recovered it, and, beholding the
babe inside quickly swathed the ark in a heap of clothes he had been washing,
and hurried into the house in search of his wife. At first, the good woman
began to scold him for not attending to his work; but, when he unwrapped the
bundle and showed her the treasure it contained, her ill-humor gave place to
ecstasy, and both gazed rapturously on the infant and the gold and gems which
surrounded him. They wondered greatly as to whom such a babe could
belong. A king’s son, forsooth! There was, however, no means of
finding out, and these humble folk longed for a child, having lost the only one
they had. They therefore adopted the infant as their son, and named him
Darab, because they found him in the water4. Some time later
they deemed it advisable to move to another city, where they sold a large
proportion of the jewels, and were thus enabled to live in happiness and
prosperity with their beloved foster-child.
Darab grew to be a splendid youth, full of
strength and daring. His fondness for the bow and arrow nevertheless,
caused his father much annoyance. In vain he endeavored to interest the
lad in his trade, Darab protesting that such work was not for him. Feeling
a desire to learn Avesta or the Sacred Scriptures, he asked his
father to procure him a tutor, and the good man immediately complied with this
request. Later, he expressed a wish to become a knight, and this was also
gratified, his loving foster-father selecting as his instructor one who was
highly skilled in horsemanship.
As he grew older, Darab became more than ever
convinced that these humble people were not his parents, and one day he took a
sudden resolution. As soon as the washer-man had departed to his work, he
made fast the door, and, brandishing a scimitar, ordered his mother to tell him
who he was. The terrified woman then told him the whole story of how he had been
found. Darab was amazed, and demanded to know whether she had any money or
jewels. She showed him her store amongst which was a large uncut ruby, and
placed all at his disposal saying that she and her husband lived but for
him. Darab then purchased a horse and became a wonderful
Meanwhile, peace and happiness had prevailed in
Iran under the rule of the good and just Queen Humai, when suddenly news was
brought to her that an army was coming from Rum to invade the country. She,
therefore, ordered the warrior Rashnavad to gather an army and lead it towards
Rum. Darab, learning of this, enrolled his name on the list of the
troops. When the army was fully mustered, the Queen came out to review the
host and the supervise the registration and the numbering of the men. As
the soldiers came towards her, she suddenly caught the sight of Darab seated
upon his steed with kingly grace. Greatly impressed by his handsome face
and lofty bearing, she wondered as to his identity and pondered long upon him,
until, having given instructions that they should keep her informed as to their
progress, the troops took leave of their queen and marched through the desert
One night a terrific storm arose; the rain poured down and flooded the earth, which shook with the force of the thunder. Rashavand the general was, therefore compelled to order a halt and bid his men seek refuge until the tempest abated. Darab, glancing wearily around him, espied a ruined edifice, and making his way under the vaulted dome sank down and dropped off to sleep. Some time later, Rashnavad, happening to pass the ruins on his round, was startled at the sound of a strange voice proceeding from the desert:
O ruined vault! be very circumspect!
Be careful of the monarch of Iran.
He had not any shelter, friend or mate,
And so he came and sheltered under
Extremely perplexed, and
not a little afraid, he stood and listened, and again heard the
O vault! close not the eye of wisdom,
For “neath thee is the son of Shah Bahman.
Fear not the rain and keep these words in
Rashnavad remained as if rooted to the spot, until the voice was heard a third
time; then, calling some of his men, he commanded them to search the
vault. They entered the ruins and a moment later returned with
Darab. No sooner had they done so than the lofty structure
collapsed. All were astounded at the youth’s miraculous escape, while
Rashnavad, after his singular experience, could not but regard it as deeply
significant. At the first opportunity, he questioned Darab, and learned
from his lips his strange history. The general now procured for him a
change of raiment, set him upon an Arab steed, and gave him a gold-sheathed
sword. He then dispatched a messenger to fetch the washer-man and his
wife. At day-break, he appointed Darab leader of the troops, when they
resumed their march and attacked the army of Rum. Darab fought like a
lion, and slew the Ruman warriors by hundreds, winning the admiration of the
Kisra by his bravery.
Crowned with complete victory, they returned in
triumph to Iran.. The washer-man and his wife had appeared tremblingly in
the region of the ruined vault to answer Rashnavad’s summons. They corroborated
the story of Darab, and received from the kindly general words of high
praise for their goodness to the foundling. Arriving within the borders of
Iran, Rashnavad wrote a letter to the Queen, giving her the details concerning
Darab, and enclosing the few jewels that remained, among which was the gem she
had herself bound on his arm. On receiving this intelligence, Humai was
very much affected, and recognized at once the young hero as her son. She
sent for him and embraced him, bitterly regretting her act and scarcely hoping
for his forgiveness. But the generous-hearted youth made light of what he
termed his mother’s one fault. Humai then prepared for him a gorgeous
throne, and, beholding him seated there, her eyes filled with wonder and
love. Summoning the entire court, she announced that he was the son of
Bhaman, and now their King, and much jubilation and rejoicing
Darab’s first thought, on attaining the
sovereignty, was of the faithful washer-man and his wife. As a reward for all
their kindness, he bestowed on them riches and many jewels, and, blessing him,
Thus ends the story of Queen Humai, whose
character, but for her one weakness, may be described as noble. In the
Avesta she appears as “the holy Huma”. She ruled over Iran for
thirty-two years, and hers was the first reign of which we have historical
knowledge. Among other things she is credited with some ancient buildings
in the neighborhood of Persepolis in the province of Pars, whose ruins are still
1st August 2002 marks Jamshed Nusserwanjee’s 50th Death Anniversary
Let’s pray with
Oh God…make me useful,
Oh God…keep me harmless,
Oh God…keep me pure,
Oh God…keep me your
ZARATHUSHTRA: WHERE IS THE SACRED FIRE?
Dr. Jose Luis Abreu
(Founder of Zarathushtrian
Group & Spenta University, Bolivarian Republic of
Zarathushtra…you are my best friend and guide,
please tell me, where is the sacred fire?
I know it has been promised to humanity,
So, is it on my side?
Zarathushtra…where is the Fire?
I have searched days and nights,
Looking for its radiant light.
Is it in Serenity or is it too far in eternity?
Zarathushtra…I am from a different land,
Does it mean that it is out of my hand?
But you promised it to every man,
Who would use the precious vohuman.
Zarathushtra…is the Fire for the wise?
Or for the one who needs the light?
Tell me, in which direction
I can go to get its protection.
Zarathushtra… if I have to go through desert sands,
Explore profound caves out of sight,
Sail bravely indomitable seas
I will do it because I want to choose aright.
Zarathushtra…without fire my life has an empty mind
Keeps me away from happiness,
And doesn’t let me meet the divine
In the abode of righteousness.
Zarathushtra…where is the Fire?
It should be in Asha dimension that leads to perfection,
It should be in good mind
That reflects the divine.
Zarathushtra…it should be in good dominion,
That embraces wisdom.
It should be in Spenta Mainyu,
That brings the progressive fire in you.
Zarathushtra…is the Fire in meditation?
Or is it in my purification?
One thing I know in my reflection
It is the essence of Ahura Mazda’s
Please send your articles & queries to: Virasp P. Mehta
4235 Saint James Place; Wichita, KS 67226; USA
Published for Informal Religious Meetings Trust Fund, Karachi