E-mail Edition


Volume III No. 8  

October-November 2002: Mah Aban, Fasal Sal 1371   

Gairischa  afshtachino  yazamaide,

vairishcha  avezdanaongho  yazamaide,

aspenacha  yevino  yazamaide,

payucha  thworeshtara  yazamaide,

Mazdanmcha  Zarathushtraemcha  yazamaide. 

We revere the mountains, from which the waters flow.

We revere the lakes brimming with water.

We revere the corn.

We revere the protector and the creator.

We revere the great wisdom of Zarathushtra.

[Haptan Yasht: Karda 8.2] 

“The outward forms of religion go on and will go on in their routine evolution. Our work is to build our Inner Church, live in it and radiate from it.  Our living Church, that magnificent Temple Within, is our ideal. You have been living in it.  You have been radiating through it for a number of years. Continue that great and noble work from that living Temple of your own” [Jamshed Nusserwanjee] 



            Madame Sophia Wadia…………………………………………………………….. 2 


            [Excerpt from Dastur M.N. Dhalla’s “Zoroastrian Civilization”]………………….4   

      HEROINES of ANCIENT IRAN:  Story of Dilafruz –I- Farrukhpai

            The Marchioness of Winchester……………………………………………………..5 

      PRINCE   of   PEACE  (Poem)

            Farida  Bamji………………………………………………………………………………   .7 

      LINES TO UPLIFT AND HOPE (Poem)…………………………………………………7 


            Khorshed   Laskari………………………………………………………………………….8 

      THE PRIEST – THE PARSI MODE:  Ali A.  Jafarey………………………………………,, 12  


Madame Sophia Wadia 


eligions as they exist today and have existed for centuries not only cannot unite humanity, but are actually forces that breed disunion and cause strife and dissension.  They are not even a unifying force for their own followers.  In India bigotry, in the name of religion, divides the children of the same soil, who should live in brotherly relations and at peace. 


      The forces, which degrade religions, are the same as those, which degrade individuals, the three gates of hell spoken of in the Bhagvad Gita – Kama, Krohda and Lobha. Kama, which manifests in man as passion, shows itself in religious prejudice.  Krodha, anger, appears in religions as enmity and hatred against non-believers in that particular creed, prejudice developing as fanaticisms.  Lobha, ambition, masquerades in the arrogant idea of proselytizing the world to belief in a given religion.  From a view as superficial as the many religions are today, it might be claimed that, since religions do not unite mankind, they should be done away with. 


      But religion is perhaps the most potent factor in the lives of the human souls.  There is beauty, virtue and truth in every religious faith, so to discard them all would be folly—as well throwing away wheat needed by the starving, because it is mixed with chaff or has dirt on it!  Humanity needs some faith to guide its steps and if one religion is destroyed, another comes to take its place.  In Europe today the religion of Nationalism is as sectarian and intolerant as the faiths it has largely superseded—and as incapable of uniting even its own adherents.  Christian Science, New Thought, atheism all are as narrow and dogmatic as the old faiths.  Each claims to have the only truth and that the others must be discarded and fought against. 


      There is one movement only in our present civilization that stresses the necessity for a comparative study of religions, philosophy and science.  Such a study can free us from the arrogant modern notion that what is newest is the best.  The individual who takes up this comparative study in earnest finds the bonds of his own sectarianism weakening.  He becomes capable of recognizing Truth wherever it may be found and of incorporating truths outside of his own creed in his daily practice, a great step in soul evolution.  He will discover that underlying all religions are certain ethical teachings and he will ask, “Where did these religions originate?” 


      No great Teacher ever came to establish a religion de novo, but always as reformer of a religion which had become degraded.  Having cleared the ground of blind belief, ritualism and dependence on others. He tries to reiterate the same eternal Truths, cosmic and universal principles and statements of moral law, but re-proclaimed what their predecessors had taught. 

      The Light of Asia describes the wrath of the Buddha’s kingly father when he came in a garb of a mendicant with a begging bowl, and his explanation that it was the custom of his race: “Not of a mortal line,” said the Master, “I spake but of descent invisible, the Buddhas who have been and who shall be, of these am I, and what they did I do.” 

      Jesus declared: “Think not that I have come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one little shell in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled: [Matt.V17-18] Yet, Jesus went against the priests and ritualism, it was the true Law, which he came to fulfill.   

      Krishna declared that whenever adharma, lawlessness flourished, He came again to establish dharma, righteousness. 

      Zoroastrians, instead of priding themselves on an exclusive religion, should be proud that Zoroastrianism is part of the eternal Truth, which is behind all religions.  In Chapter II of the Vendidad, Zarathushtra asks:  “To whom did you, O Ahura Mazda, teach this Good Law of your own before you imparted to me?  And Ahura Mazda replies, “O Zarathushtra, I taught that religion of mine to fair King Yima.  He was the first mortal before thee to whom I taught this religion.” 

      King Yima was King Jamshed, who before Zarathushtra had the religion of Mazda –the Wisdom Religion that has been known in all ages and under all climes.  In the Gathas also, Zarathushtra asks what he can do to keep the Law pure and prevent its corruption, showing that he knew that religions always suffer corruption in the course of time. 


      The Dharma of Krishna, the Din of Zarathushtra, the Law of Jesus is the one bond that can bring men together, by the practice of the universal precepts and the discarding of all that prevents the followers of one creed acting as brothers to those in other faiths.  The practice of this true Religion involves the living up to the truths in one’s own creed and discarding everything in it that all men cannot share.  Trying to practice the highest teachings of all religions makes a person better Christian than the churchgoer.  The Durvand who tries to practice good thoughts, good words and good deeds is a better Zoroastrian than one who ties and unties the sacred thread many times a day, but will not practice good thoughts, good words and good deeds.  Practice of Wisdom Religion gives enlightenment to the mind and inspiration to the heart. The former alone results in materialism. The latter, alone results in sentimental emotionalism.  Together they show one how to better one’s self, and express compassion and wisdom in the service of humanity. 


      Everybody belongs to a race and a community therefore the problem of unity is a universal problem.  Unity is tried and found wanting. It is replaced with integration.  Lawyers, politicians, economists, businessmen, and statisticians sit on judgment, each one with his, own pet bias of how to correct the malaise.  Only the electrician throws pure light on. Still the picture of integration looks cloudy and is made to look clearer by calling it emotional integration.  If that is the clearest quest all previously formed committees should be dissolved to make inquiry bias-free.  Lawyer looks at the problem in terms of correction, politician in terms of party loyalty, economist in terms of how much, businessman in terms of how much less, and statistician in terms of how many.  To assess evidence correctly is one thing, to assess emotions in terms of repression, suppression and reaction is another thing.  Only a panel composed entirely of psychoanalysts and psychiatrists is the key to the problem.  As long as man tried to fly Icarus-like with all sorts of wings he failed.  Only when the internal combustion engine came in, did man learned to fly. Let psychiatrists with empathy record the findings. Buried emotions will be unearthed to make the world fit to live for and fit to live in. [Source:Parsiana: December1969] 





astur Dr. Maneckji Nusserwanji Dhalla published his memorable work ZOROASTRIAN CIVILIZATION about eight decades ago.  In the concluding passages of the book, he made a mention about his own Parsi community.  After a lapse of eighty years, much of what he wrote about the community holds true today, and reproduced here under:   

      “In India, the Parsis have attained prominence, far out of proportion to their insignificant numbers.  They were the earliest among Oriental peoples to acquire a veneer of modern Western Civilization.  Unlike the ancient Persians, who, as we have seen, looked to commercial pursuits with disfavor, the modern Parsis have taken to commerce and industry, and have amassed considerable wealth. 

      “The greatness of the community cannot be estimated in terms of its wealth alone. Material prosperity would prove a curse in disguise, if, along with it, the community failed to show any sign of that creative genius, which can find expression in literature and the arts, nourishing the imagination and animating the spirit of its members.  Judged by this standard, we find that the Parsi community has not established its title to intellectual originality, since it planted its colony in India.  No creative work of world-fame in literature or science stands to its credit. There is no real Parsi drama, or music, distinctively Parsi in character.  Parsi culture today is imitative and exotic. The name bearers of the ancient Persians, have, like them, remained receptive and imitative.  The period of apprenticeship to the culture of their neighbors, which began with their Achaemenian ancestors twenty-five centuries ago, shows no sign of drawing to a close.  When a community adopts the culture of a neighbor, and ceases, at the same time to create anything of its own, it is bound to find, in the long run, that its soul becomes atrophied.  It will be well for the Parsis, that they should bestir themselves to combat this evil, which is hanging over their community. 

      “Modern Parsis are enterprising and practical, virile and industrious, generous and benevolent.  They are impulsive and not given to reflection, emotional and not intellectual.  They are neither philosophical, nor rich in imagination.  Talented as they are, they are not endowed with genius. 

      “Internal dissensions, we have seen, formed one of the chief causes that contributed to the collapse of the Persian Empire.  Modern Parsis, it seems, have not profited by the lessons of their past history, and are torn.  Disintegrating forces have the community in their grip, and threaten to dissolve the bond of communal consciousness. 

      “Let the Parsis emulate the good that the pages of their history furnish, and eliminate the evil that contributed to the downfall of the ancient empire, and their future will be bright as their past has been great”     


The Marchioness of Winchester

Story of Dilafruz – i – Farrukhpai 


hen Shapur (Sapor II, A.D. 309-379), son  of Hurmuzd, had for some time occupied the throne of Iran, he began to feel some curiosity as to the Kisra of Rum, his army, treasury and general affairs of state.  He therefore resolved to visit the country disguised as a merchant from Iran.  Taking with him many camels loaded with costly wares, he journeyed into Rum and made his way to the Kisra’s palace.  Saluting the chamberlain, he bestowed upon him rich gifts and requested him to make his presence known to the King, who, he said, might take his choice from among his merchandise.  His purpose, he explained, was but to seek protection while on business in Rum.  The chamberlain departed with the message, and, a moment later, Shapur was admitted to the royal presence.  The King received him cordially and invited him to partake of refreshments.  

      There was, however, among the Kisra’s courtiers, a native of Iran, a man of no very lofty attributes, who, having noted the “merchant” secretly, his looks, speech and bearing, drew the King aside and asserted that he was none other than Shapur, the King of Kings.  The Kisra was astounded; then he grew wrathful and determined the imposter should not escape.  Therefore, as soon as Shapur arose from the table, his wits muddled with the quantity of wine he had taken, he was seized by the guard and carried away to the women’s section of the palace.  His hands were then bound and his body sewn in an ass’s skin.  They finally cast the luckless monarch into a dark and gloomy cell, and gave instructions that he was to be fed on nothing but bread and water.  This, said the Kisra, would bring him a lingering death, and thus give him time to reflect upon all he had lost.  He then led his forces into Iran, and returned to Rum victorious. 

      Meanwhile, Shapur, in his misery, had won the compassion of a beautiful damsel, who was slave to the Kisra’s wife.  All day long she thought of him with pity, and, whenever possible, contrived to visit him.  On one of these occasions, she begged him to tell her his story, and, he said he would do so on   condition, that she promised to keep it secret.  She swore that she would never betray him, and he thereupon told her all.  He further besought her to bring warm milk at meal times, with which to soak the ass’ hide, and thus render it supple.  The kind-hearted girl, though fearful of discovery, performed this service faithfully, so that at the end of two weeks the hide had moistened sufficiently to allow Shapur to emerge there from.  With aching body and full heart, he blessed the damsel, and vowed she should be exalted over all women and the world would be at her feet.  He then asked her aid in devising some means of escape, and she told him that a festival was to be held in Rum the next day, which all would attend.  She promised as soon as the Queen had departed, to have two steeds in readiness; the following night would then be their opportunity.  Praising her courage and resource, Shapur returned to his solitary cell and eagerly looked forward to the morrow.  The damsel proved as good as her word.  Two splendid horses, some weapons and a goodly store of jewels were in waiting, and full of secret joy the couple rode forth to safety and Iran.  On they sped, night and day, pausing neither for food nor rest, until at length, overcome with fatigue, they dismounted and sought hospitality at a gardener’s cottage.  The good man opened his eyes wide on beholding their armor, and inquired the meaning of such a visitation.  Shapur told him that he was a traveler from Iran and in danger from the Kisra.  He implored the man to be his host that night, assuring him that his kindness should one day be handsomely rewarded.  The gardener immediately placed his house at the disposal of Shapur and his fair companion, and promised to inform no one of the circumstances.  His wife prepared for them food and drink and quarters for the night.  Passing wine to Shapur, the good man said: “Drink to whom thou wilt”.  And Shapur answered: “My host” But the excellent man insisted upon his guest taking the lead, saying: 

                              The man of Grace it behoveth first to drink;

                              For verily a crown upon thy locks I scent. 

Shapur smiled as he took the wine, and then asked for news of Iran.  His host proceeded to recount the misfortune of that unhappy land: its population scattered, its crops ruined, massacre and pillage rife. 

      “Where, then,” enquired Shapur, “was the King?”  The gardener turned a tragic face upon him as he told of the Shah’s strange disappearance, adding that the people of Iran were slaves in Rum.  By this time, the worthy man was more than a little suspicious as to the degree of nobility borne by his guest, and pressed him to prolong his stay for the space of three days.  Thus, he thought, would his humble abode gain fame for evermore.  He was also hoping Shapur might divulge his name when in his cups. 

      On the morning of his departure, Shapur requested his host to fetch him some seal-clay.  The man obeyed.  Taking the clay from him, the monarch pressed his signet upon it; then returned it to him with instructions that he should bear it to the high priest of Iran.  The gardener went promptly to do his bidding, but on his arrival found the portal barred, and guarded by armed men.  He clamored loudly to be admitted, and finally had his way.  When the high priest saw the impress on the clay, he became greatly excited, and put many questions to the gardener concerning his guest’s appearance, manner and speech.  Satisfied from the man’s answers that this could be none other than the Shah himself, he immediately gave orders for troops to be assembled, and, as night approached, soldiers gathered from every quarter and made for the gardener’s cottage.  Shapur received them joyously; then proceeded to tell them the tale of his suffering, and of the slave-girl’s heroism.  He spoke of her in terms of the highest praise, and vowed he was henceforth her slave.  Then, cautioning the troops to observe strict secrecy, he began to make plans for an attack on Rum.  And so it came to pass that the Kisra was defeated, and men were wont to allude to Shapur as “The Victorious Shah”. 

      Shahpur was Shah all his life, contemporary with ten Roman Emperors, and was one of the greatest of Sassanian rulers.  And he never ceased to love and cherish the damsel to whom he owed not only his greatness but also his life.  He bestowed on her the name Dilafruz-i-Farrukhpai, which has the charming meaning, “Lucky-footed Luster-of-the-Heart”.  

PRINCE       of      PEACE

Farida    Bamji  

  Amongst us was born a Prince

                              He’s Asho Zarathushtra,

                              He tirelessly roamed to spread

                              The Words:

                              Humata Hukhta Huvarashta. 

                              Lines to uplift and hope: 

                              No matter what misfortunes come,

                              What chores you have today,

                              What losses, trials, ills and spills,

                              May somehow come your way. 

                              Let this be understood,

                              If you’ve the mind, you will still find,

                              There’s always something good.

                                   [Author unknown]  


[1875 – 1956]

Khorshed Laskari 


n September 1909 a young man of thirty-three years was installed as Dastur (High Priest) of the Parsis of Karachi.  Dr. Maneckji Nusserwanji Dhalla had just returned from Columbia University, New York, as M.A., Ph.D., in Iranian Languages and Literature.  He was destined to serve his community for nearly fifty years with zeal, ability and intelligence, as a true Minister of the Zoroastrian faith.  Dr. Dhalla was a luminary of rare brilliance who shed the light of learning not only on the Parsis but the whole world. 

      Dastur Dr. Dhalla was gifted with the power of the spoken as well as the written word.  His books are a monument to his genius and a priceless legacy to his community.  His eloquence and oratory will be remembered ever by those who heard him speak.  Blessed with a pleasant, dignified personality.  Dastur Dhalla was a commanding figure in the most august assemblies.  Dressed in the spotless white cotton robe and the turban of a Parsi priest, with a shawl denoting the rank of a Dastur he impressed every gathering---communal or cosmopolitan.  When he rose to speak, he held the audience spellbound. 

      It is a delight to open Dr. Dhalla’s books at any page. There is not a dull sentence anywhere.  Within their covers lies a hoard of hidden treasure for the reader to discover.  He saw humor everywhere and mocked the ridiculous wherever he encountered it.  He faced discomfort and difficulties without undue annoyance, and even with wit. 

      Most of Dr. Dhalla’s books are naturally concerned with his coreligionists.  They present before the mind’s eye a glorious panorama of the Zoroastrian way of life, from its beginning in prehistoric Iran to the present day Parsis of the subcontinent and elsewhere.  All aspects of their existence---religious and secular---were reconstructed from hundreds of scattered sources traditional and historical. 

      When a youth of twenty-six, his promise was recognized by a learned Bombay Parsi, and was sent to that city to study Iranian languages at the Sir J.J. Madressa.  Dr. Dhalla made full use of his stay there in the early years of the century, alive with the stirrings of patriotism and thoughts of independence.  He came into contact with Parsi stalwarts---Dadabhoy Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Dinsha Watcha, and the great industrial family of the Tatas.  Inspired by such intelligence and brilliance all around him, he cherished high ideals and aspirations.  He became self-confident and began to realize his own latent capability. 

      Dastur Dhalla confesses in his autobiography that he started life as an extreme orthodox and recounts having to sit for his narrow-minded thinking and practices.  Extreme orthodoxy, however, did not prevent him from seeking knowledge on advanced scientific lines.  He was apparently not bothered by the loss of the vision of one eye in childhood.  The gradual complete loss of hearing in later life was a great trial for a man in public life, having to sit for hours at meetings without hearing a word of what went on. 

      The Parsi community enabled young Maneckji Dhalla to acquire scholarship of the highest order.  He was sent to New York in 1905 to study Iranian languages and literature under Professor A.V.W. Jackson at Columbia University.  As in Bombay, he plunged into the intellectual life of the city and gained extensive experience. 

      About the religion of ritual, Dastur Dhalla says that the improper understanding of the message of Zoroaster leads the Parsis towards ritual and alien superstitious beliefs and practices.  He gives examples of how remote the daily life of many of them remains from the preaching of the Prophet.  In spite of the efforts of reform societies the community in general refutes to believe that man’s good deeds in this world will alone lead to eternal salvation.  Dr. Dhalla initiated an annual Zoroastrian Conference in Bombay in 1910 to thrash out various problems.  Lacking support from the masses the Conference closed down in 1919.  He had ardently suggested the compilation of a Zoroastrian Encyclopedia. 

      Dastur Dhalla respected the wishes of the majority, and honored the rules laid down by the Parsi Panchayats, refraining from doing anything unconstitutional as a priest.  However, in his books, he is quite frank in expressing his personal views and convictions. 

      According to the prevailing Parsi custom of his times Dastur Dhalla had been married in childhood.  He was eight and his little bride Cooverbai was five!  It turned out to be the happiest of marriages.  They were blessed with six children.  After his student days, Cooverbai accompanied him on all his travels.  There were four more visits to publish his books.  They also went to England, China, Iraq and Iran --- giving lectures everywhere. 

      Dr. and Mrs. Dhalla had the supreme happiness of celebrating their Diamond wedding in 1942.  His Gujarati autobiography EK ATMAKATHA ---was timed to appear on this occasion being dedicated to his beloved life partner.  Four months later Cooverbai, who had suffered ill health for several years past, suddenly passed away.  Her bereaved husband sustained a great shock, but managed to regain his sanity and balance.  He continued his life’s work for fourteen more years until he left this world on May 25, 1956. 

      EK ATMAKATHA was enlarged into a second edition in 1946. Besides describing his personal life, the autobiography deals with important matters relating to the spiritual and worldly welfare of the whole Parsi community.  The author explains each problem clearly and throws the light of wisdom upon its solution.  Dr. Dhalla writes at length of the careful study in preparing his books and speeches. 

      Dastur Dr. Dhalla wrote nine principal books. The first was  “Nyaishes or Zoroastrian Litanies” (1909).  This was his Dissertation for the Ph.D. degree.  It became Volume VI of the Columbia University Indo-Iranian Series.  The next was “Zoroastrian Theology” (1914), providing a complete history of the religious beliefs of the Zoroastrians from the pre-Gathic times to the present.  It illustrates “the gradual process of development of the Zoroastrian theology from its early simplicity to the complexity it exhibits at present.”  As a modern scholar, Dr. Dhalla conducted an independent inquiry.  He says, “Though conscious of the fact that I write as a minister of the faith of Zoroaster, I have not allowed clerical zeal to supercede the impartiality of a scholar.  I have not resorted to sophisticated arguments to defend apologetically dogmas and doctrines that have clustered round the pristine teaching of Zoroaster.”  An enlarged edition of this book came as “History of Zoroastrianism” twenty- four years later in 1936. 

      In 1922 Dr. Dhalla published “Zoroastrian Civilization”.  It is a very interesting comprehensive account of civilized Zoroastrian life in all departments---public and private—during the six eras of the ruling dynasties of Iran.  The book was written after meticulous research. 

      Dastur Dhalla had noted the great paucity of devotional literature in the Zoroastrian scriptures as compared to other religions.  He believed that knowledge and devotion should be wedded to each other.  He decided to write a book of short prayerful passages based on ancient literature.  “Homage Unto Ahura Mazda”---Part I was placed before the Parsi public in 1942 shortly after the autobiography.  It would have come out a year earlier but the first proofs were sunk on the sea voyage from America during World War II.  Two more parts of the “Homage Unto Ahura Mazda” followed, one including a Gujarati version.  

      “Ancient Iranian Literature” (1949)---a book of 200 pages surveys the Zoroastrian scriptures as a whole.  Dr. Dhalla says, “In this work I have described in brief the characteristics of Avesta, Old Persian, Pahlavi and Pazend languages with free rendering of their important passages”  

      “The Gathas of Zarathushtra are the kernel of Avestan literature.  These devotional, ethical, eschatological hymns are expressed in pithy, often enigmatical style.  They are replete with metaphysical, abstruse and pregnant thoughts.  They are preponderating, subjective and personal.  The personality of the prophet, his movements, his hopes and despairs, trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows, fears and anxieties, zeal and courage, his attachments to friends, his dealings with the foes of his religion, come out most vividly and conspicuously in his holy Hymns.  Zarathushtra in the GATHAS is human and historical—not a myth and legend as the later Avestan and Pahalvi writers make him.” (Introduction to “Ancient Iranian Literature”) 

      Three of Dr. Dhalla’s books contain the same messages, and may therefore, be grouped together---though the first was written twenty years earlier.  These books are “Our Perfecting World” (1930),  “Mankind Wither Bound?” (1950) and “World’s Religion in Evolution” (1953). “Our Perfecting World” is sub-titled “Zoroaster’s Way of Life”.  In the introduction, Dr. Dhalla outlines the scope of the work---“We hope to show that our universe is unfolding towards an aim and that the life of man imperfect in all its phases has throughout the period of human history been slowly but steadily progressing towards perfection through the inexorable laws of co-operation with good and conflict with evil, which is the message of hope Zarathushtra brings to mankind.”  Comparing or rather contrasting Zoroaster and Nietzsche in “Resistance to Evil”, Dr. Dhalla says, “Zoroaster’s ideal is righteousness, Nietzsche’s power.” 

      “Mankind – Whither Bound?” is a sequel to “Our Perfecting World”.  The author says, “Whereas in the first book, human civilization was explained from sociological angle.  “Mankind Wither Bound? is a tabloid of world history.  It is a survey of 7,000 years of history in which we see mankind great in goodness and terrible in evil. “Mankind needs the substance of Religion. It has generally received the form instead. 

      “Religion and culture---will teach the individual that his loyalty is first to the world. HE MUST BUILD ONE COMMON HUMAN FAMILY WITH ONE RELIGION IN ONE UNITED WORLD.” 

      “World Religions In Evolution” (1953) is Dr. Dhalla’s last book---a slim volume of 74 pages.  Giving a rapid survey of religious thought from primitive times to the present day.  Dr. Dhalla makes some of his most trenchant and outspoken observations.  They are an epitome of all his writings.  “God has ordained that religion should be the greatest cohesive factor for the unity of mankind.  Priests and their intolerant followers have made religion the greatest divisive factor among all people in all periods of history.  Fanatic zeal and intolerant spirit have always divided the followers of religions into innumerable sects.”  “GOD’S UNIVERSAL RELIGION IS IDEAL.” 

      The cogent remarks in the final chapters make “World Religions In Evolution”, Dr. Dhalla’s important contribution towards the regeneration of mankind and the perfection of the world for which he had striven throughout his long and immensely fruitful life. 

      In 1929 Dastur Dhalla was awarded the honorary degree of Lit.D. by Columbia University on the occasion of its 175th anniversary.  He was one of the former students who made outstanding contributions towards the furtherance of literature and science during the past twenty- five years.  In 1935, the British Government of the time bestowed the title of Shams-ul-Ulema upon Dr. Dhalla in recognition of his vast scholarship. 

      Dr. Dhalla’s valuable private library is now preserved in the Department of the Government of Pakistan at Karachi.  It is classed as the “DHALLA COLLECTION”1 

      The Dastur Dr. Dhalla Memorial Institute set up by Karachi Parsis holds regular meetings to preserve the memory of this great Dastur2 whose equal cannot be found.  In 1975 the Institute published the English translation3 of Dr. Dhalla’s Gujarati autobiography.  

[Source: “Morning News Magazine”, Karachi. Friday May 23, 1986] 

“Be sure to learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow.” 


Ali A. Jafarey 


n India and in all other countries where Parsis are residing, only the sons of priests or the members of the priestly families can become priests. Any male member of the priestly family can revive the right though his immediate ancestors may not actually have been priests.  A descendant up to the fifth generation can revive the right.  It then dies and can no longer be exercised.  In order to be a thoroughly qualified priest, one has to go through two grades of initiations and their ceremonies. They are (1) the Navar and (2) the Martab. 

      At present, there are two ways to become a priest among the Parsis. 


      In this second way, the candidate does not recite, as mentioned by the late Ervad Dr. J.J. Mody in his “Ceremonies  & Customs of Parsis”, the entire Yasna but a part of it.  There are some who recite only eleven sections (has) and there are others who do only seven has.  One is called “Eleven-ha” Ervad and the other “Seven-ha” Ervad.  The accompanying gewra priest recites remaining 61 or 65 sections of 72-ha Yasna.  The majority of the “non-professional” Parsi priests belong to the category of  “Eleven or Seven ha” class.  Unless they pursue their religious studies to a desirable height, they tag Ervad to their names only. 

      The entire course for initiation into priesthood, Navar or Martab, is to learn to recite the Avesta and Pazand texts by rote and to perform the rituals by practice.  They are not taught the two scriptural languages, and they do not understand the true significance of what they do.  It is at the university level that one learns the Avesta and Pahlavi languages and literature. [Source: Zarathushtrian Assembly] 

Please send your articles and queries to: Virasp Mehta

4235 Saint James Place, Wichita KS 67226, U.S.A


Published for Informal Religious Meetings Trust Fund, Karachi