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Volume III No.9 

November- December 2002: Mah Adar, Fasal Sal 1371  

Ye dat  mano,

vahyo  Mazda  ashyasacha:

Havo  daenanm,

shyaothanacha  vachanghahacha:

Ahya  zaosheng,

ushatish  vareneng  hachaite;

Thvahmi  khratao,

apemem  nana  anghahat. 

Whosoever keeps his thoughts

Oh Mazda, more good and more righteous:

By his own faith

and deeds and words,

Unto him happiness,

desires and beliefs shall accordingly be;

Thine own intelligence

in the final end shall definitely happen to him.

[Spentamainyu 2-4: Yasna 48-4] 

I have neither the desire nor the ambition (to become a minister) All my life I have taken up an attitude of “Emergency Man”.  I have accepted and shouldered every office in y life in God’s name and if I am asked to shoulder the responsibility, I would do so.  If I am not, I have no disappointment.  My attitude will be to give my blessings to whosoever be the minister or the president.  As long as they work for the reconstruction and the good of the province, I will be at their service in the work of building up the province I will not join any party”. [Jamshed Nusserwanjee] 



7  ALL OVER A PULPIT [Excerpt from Dastur Dr. M. N. Dhalla’s Autobiography]

8  HEROINES OF ANCIENT IRAN: Story of Sapinud: The Marchioness of Winchester

9  IN ADAR MONTH [Poem]: Dr. Maneck B. Pithawalla


11  CHINA CONNECTION [Contributed by Cyrus P. Mehta]

12  ONE MORE ERVAD FOR KARACHI – Ervad Kaivan Maneck Solan

12  ADAR  -- ATRASH [Prayer]:  Noshir H. Vajifdar  


Cyrus P. Mehta 


n the twenties and thirties, it was a common belief within the Parsi community that “A Parsi is a Zoroastrian and a Zoroastrian is a Parsi.”  At that time most Parsi boys and girls attended Parsi schools.  The community lived in large numbers in towns like Bombay, Surat, Navasari, Karachi and as few others. As such it was natural for it to accept the belief quoted above.  Time has marched on since those days.  The Parsi community now lives in smaller scattered groups in the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and other countries.  It is anxious to preserve its traditional way of life and the communal-cum-religious identity. 

      With the passage of time, inter-faith marriages have increased within the community.  So far no concrete proposals have been considered as to how the non-Zoroastrian spouses and their children can be partially or fully integrated within the communal fold. 

      One of the main reasons why this difficulty has arisen is due to the fact that a large section of the community has not understood or is unwilling to accept the basic fact that Prophets address their messages to the whole mankind and not necessarily to a group of people or a community.  Once this fact is understood and accepted, the community will be in much better position to accept certain socio-religious changes within the communal structure. 

      As to how this can be brought about is a matter for consideration by local and larger Zoroastrian bodies in different parts of the world.  It may be that no single course of action will be possible because of culture and political circumstances in different countries. 

      The purpose of this article is mainly to present the scriptural evidence on the subject matter under consideration for the benefit of the Parsi community. 

      Below is a list of passages from Gathas and other Zoroastrian scriptures and prayers, together with the comments of scholars of the Zoroastrian religion, on the above-mentioned subject: 

      Gatha Ahunavaiti 4.3 (Yasna 31.3) 

      Comments by Prof. A.V. Jackson on the above verse: 

      “Zoroaster’s religion was active and vigorous, seeking and gaining converts, as we see from many passages in the Gathas. [“A Hymn of Zarathushtra – Yasna31” by Jackson. Page 27]  

      Comments by Prof. Lawrence Mills: 

      “And he (Zarathushtra) declares that this is the doctrine which should be proclaimed for the conversion of mankind.  Here we observe that Zarathushtrian Mazda-worship was aggressive and missionary in its spirit, and in a proselytizing sense by no means indifferent to the final destiny of the Gentile World.” [“Sacred Books of the East” Vol. XXX1, The Zend Avesta, Part III, Page 37] 

      Gatha Ushtaviti 3.1 (Yasna 45.1).  

      Here Zarathushtra clearly gives out his message to people, not only to Iranians, but also to those who may have come from distant lands and were not Iranians. 

      Comments by Prof. Wilhelm Geiger: 

      “The conclusion that Ahura Mazda himself sent Zarathushtra into this world for the purpose of announcing the new doctrine to mankind, and that God stands always by his side as his adviser or guide, comes out prominently in the Gathas.  The Prophet directly expresses it in Yasna 45.5* when he says that God communicated to him the Word which is best for man. [“Zarathushtra in the Gathas” – Dastur Darab P. Sanjana’s translation, Page 21] 

      *Yasna 45.5:  Ushtavaiti Gatha 3.5 

   In detailing the life of Prophet Zarathushtra, the late Dastur Dr. M.N. Dhalla writes:-       

      Yasna Ha 8.7 

      Haptan Yasht (Karda 8.6) 

      Vendidad (Fargard 19,26) 

      From all the foregoing passages, it is clear that it was Zarathushtra’s intention that his message was not only for Iran but also for other countries.  This intention was understood and carried out by his followers, during the Avestan Period (from about 800 B.C. to about 200 A.D.) and major part of Pahlavi Period (from the 3rd to the 9th century)      

      In a book called “Shikand Gumanik Vajar” written during Pahlavi period, it is mentioned that after King Vistasp (also known as Gushtasp) accepted the Faith of Zarathushtra, ordered his sons Aspandiar, Zarfar (Zarir) and other royal sons to spread the message as far as Arum in the west and to Hindustan in the east. [Source “Sacred Book of the East. Volume 24: Pahlavi Texts Part III. Page 171]   

      [Source: Farvardin Yasht (Karda XXIV-94)  “Yashts” by T.R. Sethna. Page 231] 

      Early in the twentieth century scholars like Darab Dastur Peshotanji Sanjana, Sir Jivanji Jamsjhedji Mody, Ervad Sheriar Dadabhai Bharucha,, Khurshdeji Rustomji Cama and Tehmurasp Dinshaji Anklesria had opined that if a person seriously wishes to become a Zoroastrian then there is no bar in our religion; their conclusions were not based on blind beliefs but on the study and authority of Zoroastrian scriptures.  

      The twentieth century is over but majority of the community is blissfully unaware of the teachings of their own Prophet and choose to cling to several socio-religious customs, which are incompatible with the teachings of Zarathushtra.  To debar or object to the presence of non-Zoroastrians in our religious ceremonies, just on the ground that they are non-Zoroastrians is a classic example of praying one thing and doing diametrically opposite to it, as can be seen from the under mentioned prayer:- 


      [Source: ‘Mazda Yasna – Some Daily Prayers from Zend Avesta’ by D.S. Framroze] 

      Noble words indeed, but in reality is that nothing is being done to spread the message and those for whom blessings are invoked are debarred from receiving them in person. 

      During Muktad and Farvardian Jashans, some within the community oppose the attendance of non-Zoroastrians at these prayer meetings.  Let us consider the philosophy of Fravashis or Farohars, which is based on ‘Farvardin Yasht’ Briefly, stated Fravashi means Divine Essence of God in everything within the creation, including human beings and its purpose is to push forward all creations in the goal of evolution.  In order that we may better understand the nature of work done by Farohars.Farvardin Yasht’, tells us that there are three groups of Farohars. 

      Group 2.  The Farohars that work on spiritual plane and come to aid when invoked. 

      Our Mobes, during the course of the ceremonies in question, invoke Farohars of righteous persons of all countries irrespective of caste, color or creed.  A few countries are actually mentioned by names --- the countries that were known to our ancestors and where Zoroastrian religion prevailed.  The relevant passages are as under:- 

      [Source: “Yashts” by T.R. Sethna – Page 259]     

      So, in theory, these religious ceremonies can be open to one and all, but for a start we should immediately cease opposition to non-Zoroastrians spouses and their children who attend our ceremonies out of respect and reverences and wish to be associated with the Zoroastrian community.  This single step will go a long way to restore harmony within the community, whether it is in U.K. or elsewhere. 

      In conclusion, who can deny that in prayers and rituals what matters most is heart and devotion and not just observation under all circumstances of outward forms of worship.  It is no fault of non-Zoroastrians who were not born of Zoroastrian parents.  One God creates all humans, and we all worship the same God.  The aim of all Prophets has been to establish a kind of ‘Brother of Mankind’ under the ‘Fatherhood of God’.  Zarathshtra wanted to establish ‘Brotherhood of Magavans’ and extend it to all who accepted his Faith. (‘Maga’ means message and ‘Magavan’ is one who has taken to heart Zarathushtra’s message.  

“We all live under the same sky, but we don’t have the same horizon.” 


[An excerpt from Dastur Dr. M.N. Dhalla’s Autobiography] 


uring my period of study at New York I frequently attended one church or another on Sundays; at times when some good and famous speakers were to deliver sermons.  I attended both the morning and afternoon services at different churches.  At that time I had made up my mind that on returning to Karachi I would arrange to organize regular prayer meetings at the Daremeher on the four Hamkaras of each month.  This hope of mine was fulfilled on my attaining the head-priesthood.  With the eager cooperation of some enthusiastic youths and the sympathy of our leaders, an organization, based on the principles of the world-famous Y.M.C.A. came into existence amongst the Parsis of Karachi and it was called the Y.M.Z.A.  With the founding of the association, from its inception, we gave prime importance to congregational prayers and sermons on every Hamkara.. 

      We had taken every precaution that no one should have cause to complain, yet, at its very inauguration, an unexpected cause resulted in an uproar.  The noble Khan Bahdur Nusserwanjee Mehta, presented a platform of pure teak to the Y.M.Z.A. at this time.  For the convenience of speakers it had railings reaching up to the chest on three sides and planks 9” broad bound it.  As soon as this news reached the public, those who were inclined to view every move of mine with suspicion, came to the conclusion that there was some grave mischievous import in this.  The lecturing platform was not as innocent as it appeared.  They assigned to it the appellation of a pulpit and created an agitation that by admitting a pulpit in the Agyari similar to one in church, I was paving the way to bringing an organ too in the future.  Humorous tales were afloat about having a requisition signed, appealing to people to be present at the meeting to tear down the pulpit.  What was even more ridiculous was that the opposition party itself informed the police that there was to be a disturbance in front of the Agyari, hence due arrangements should be made.   

      The Hamkara day arrived with a flourish of trumpets.  Excitement had been mounting since the days through the press and the people. Hence the congregational prayer meeting of the Hamkara was inaugurated midst a large assemblage of the rich and the poor, the young and the old of the community. The opponents had contrived to be present on purpose, but they had the grace neither to disturb the prayer nor disrupt the sermon.  Merely to save face, some empty threats were thrown out after our departure. 

      No harm befell the pulpit.  Many an honored man and woman from all walks of life and from every town and city has spoken from that dais and even after thirty years it is in sound condition.  

“Man has reached a critical point in history, when he must turn to God to avoid consequences of his own faulty thinking.  We must pray, not few of us, but all of us.  We must pray simply, fervently, sincerely and with increasing power as our faith grows.  The ability of every individual to seek divine help is a necessary link in the golden chain of harmony and peace.  You can help change the world by your prayers and your prayerful actions.”[Author unknown]  


The Marchioness of Winchester

Story of Sapinud 


ing Bahram Gur1 (Varahran V, A.D. 420-438), son of Yazdagird, journeyed into Hindustan in the role of an envoy sent by the Shah to demand tribute from the Indian King, Shangul.  The Hindu ruler received the disguised messenger with all honor, and he and his followers were greatly impressed by his valor and prowess.  Among other deeds of daring, he slew a wolf and a dragon, and, in polo and other games, far surpassed the Indian players.  All were astonished at his horsemanship, and the King of Hindustan began to fear that on his return to Iran the ambassador might inform the Shah as to the inferiority of the horsemen in Hindustan, in consequence of which the Iranian heroes would invade his country.  He therefore resolved to kill Bahram; but his wise men intervened, warning him that Iran would most surely avenge his death.  After some consideration, King Shangul decided that it would be more diplomatic to create a bond of friendship between Iran and Hindustan; this he thought he might accomplish by bestowing upon the young warrior the hand of one of his three fair daughters.  Calling Bahram, he spoke to him on the subject, and found him more than agreeable.  He forthwith sent for the princesses that Bahram might choose from among them. His choice fell upon Sapinud, a slender, graceful beauty, possessed withal of much intelligence and sweetness of disposition.  The wedding was celebrated shortly afterwards, with rejoicings that lasted the entire week. 

      One day, as the happy pair sat conversing lovingly together, Bahram let Sapinud into the secret of his identity.  She turned on him eyes bright with wonder that she should be the bride of the illustrious Bahram Gur himself.  Later he told her that he wished to quit Hindustan secretly and return to Iran..  He asked her whether she would consent and go with him, thus to be the Queen and share his throne.  Her answer was that of a loving wife, whose joy is but to serve her husband faithfully. With her characteristic woman’s wit, she promptly set herself to frame a scheme by which they could escape.  She informed him that, in five days’ time, a festival was to be held at some distance from the city.  As the King, her father, would attend the feast, together with all the soldiers in the city, they would take advantage of the opportunity and depart the same night.  Bahram caught at the plan with enthusiasm, and all was arranged accordingly.   

      The day of the festival having arrived, Sapinud went to her father and told him her husband was indisposed, begging on that account to be excused attending the feast.  The King sympathetically granted her request then took his departure.  When night came on, Baharm and Sapinud stole quietly from the palace.  Sitting his wife upon her palfrey, Bahram invoked God’s name over her in Avesta, or ancient Persian.  The couple then rode hastily to the river, evidently the River Indus, where Baharm procured a skiff, into which he tenderly helped Sapinud then quickly pulled off.  They landed as the sun was just rising in the heavens. 

      When the news of their flight reached the ears of Shangul, he instantly rode in pursuit, and overtook them by the river.  He upbraided his daughter and threatened to kill her; then, turning to Bahram, accused him of double-dealing and ingratitude.  Touched by his grief, Bahram Gur revealed himself as the King of Iran and Turan, and added that the father of Sapinud should be honored for his goodness to him. 

“And thy child,” he said, “shall be

                                 The Luster of the West and Crown of Dames.” 

      King Shangul bowed low and embraced his son-in-law, the mighty monarch of Iran. Each asked pardon of the other.  Then Shangul took his farewell, and Bahram and Sapinud rode joyfully to the land of Iran, where they were received with great pomp and splendor. 

      Some time afterwards Shangul visited them. He clasped Sapinud to him and kissed her in deep affection, and bestowed on her wondrous silks and gems.  Before returning to Hindustan, he drew up a deed of gift, bequeathing the whole of his treasury---crown, kingdom, throne and casque—to noble Bahram Gur.  This he commanded to be written on silk, so we are told, and given into the keeping of his daughter.  Sapinud was in due course received into the Zoroastrian religion, and became through her sweet, kindly nature a shining example of the faith.

1.Familiar to the Occident as “the Great Hunter” through Fitzgerald’s version by Omar Khayyam  


                        O Fire! thou spark from Heaven’s single cell,

                        Or art a wreath to grace our homely hearth,

                        A spell at which the Daevas howl and yell,

                        And sorrow-laden sink inside the earth. 

                        O first and foremost sentinel of skill,

                        Show us the pristine Path of Purity,

                        Prolonging life and quickening life, thou fill

                        Zoroaster’s fold with gifted progeny. 

                        We heal our ills with thine own magic sure,

                        We thine Avestan names and fame endure;

                        We long to steal His sight through holy flames,

                        We leave the low and rise to lofty claims.  

[Dr. Maneck B Pithawalla]. 

Grow like a flower which gives fragrance to all,

look upwards to the sun and,

in dying, leaves seeds for more flowers to grow. 


Deborah Smith

Science Writer 


hen terrorists flew into the World Trade Centre last September, a team of Sydney researchers and volunteers were on an archaeological dig in remote Uzbekistan to the north west of Afghanistan.  “We sat down, had a vodka and discussed whether we should evacuate,” recalls Syned Helms.  They stayed on, exploring the ancient ruins of a region thought to be the homeland of Zoroaster, the prophet of one of the oldest world religions, Zoroastrianism, a monotheistic faith, which venerates fire.  It was a good decision.  As American bombers flew high overhead, the University of Sydney team carried excavating a fire temple they had discovered which was built 2400 years ago—the oldest one found associated with Zoroastrian faith.  They also came to the conclusion they had uncovered, a mausoleum, where kings and queens of this ancient land south of the Aral Sea, known as Chorasmia, may have been buried.  Molded stucco covered in gold leaf was also found in a different temple, which appears to have been built on an older site dating back to about 1350 B.C.  

      Dr. Helms has no idea what the team will find when they return in September.  But he has big dreams.  One is that the mausoleum still contains the remains of ancient rulers and some of their burial offerings and riches.  “But what I would really like to find is a tablet mentioning Zoroaster,” he says. Unlike with Christ and Buddha, it is not known when or where Zoroaster, also called Zarathushtra, was born.  Some believe he existed as early as 1400 BC., others that it was about 7OO-600 BC.  His teachings were not written down for many centuries, but passed on orally in sacred hymns he wrote. 

      Situated in the verdant delta of the ancient River Qxus, Chorasmia, once part of the Persian Empire, flourished as an independent state from about 400 BC. to 100 AD., before further invasions and its eventual disappearance.  Its existence was mentioned in ancient Greek, Persian and Chinese texts.  “But it was truly a lost kingdom”, says Dr. Helms.  It was rediscovered in the early 1930s, by a Soviet archaeologist, S.P. Tolstov.  The fall of the Soviet Union, giving Uzbekistan its independence in 1991, led to a flurry of excavations.  The Sydney team began research in 1995.  At first they thought the heavily fortified city of Kazakl’i-Yatkan, with its towers and complex gateways, was an administrative center.  But last year’s discovery of the ornate temple, and the apparent mausoleum, right at the center of the enclosure, suggests it was a very sacred place, says Dr. Helms, who will present the team’s latest results at an Australian Museum Society’s public lecture.  Charcoal on the temple floor was dated at 1400-1300 BC. suggesting the site may pre-date Zoroastrainism.  In the fire temple complex, at Tashk’irman-tepe, several altars have been uncovered and ashes found.  There is a sealed chamber in the middle, which probably conceals the central altar.

NOTE: Further information can be uncovered at: For more details, suggest reading  “Journey to Sogdia and Ancient Zoroastrian Land” by Adi Davar. Published in the Journal of the Research & Historical Preservation Committee of FEZANA No.1.  Republished in ‘Informal Religious Meetings’ issue of Oct-Nov 1996.  Also “Let Us Travel to Ancient Lands of Zoroastrianism!” by Adi Davar in ‘HAMAZOR’s issue No. 2 of 2002 



he sun set on the Zoroastrian Empire when the invading Arabs defeated Yazdegard III, the last of the Sassanians Kings, in the two battles of Kadesia (A.D.636).  The king fled from one province of Iran to another till he came to Nerve, the extreme eastern part pf the country close to China.  He expected help and protection from the Chinese but he was killed in 635 A.D.  As Yazdegard was thinking of going to China, he sent there a part of his wealth and Iranian treasure including the famous crown of Noshirwan.  It is further reported that seven gold vases, each weighing 12,000 drams made in time of Kobad (488-531 A.D.), with a large quantity of silver and gold coins and a thousand mules loaded with bars of gold were among other things sent to China. 

      The Chinese records reveal that Peroze, the Crown Prince of Iran had fled to China after the death of his father and the attacks of the Arabs in the east of Iran.  The Emperor of China had confirmed on him the command of the “Cavalry on the Right”, the highest command in the army.  Peroze stayed for a long time in Chang-negan.  In 688 A.D. he built there a Zoroastrian temple and called it “the Temple of Iran”, just as the Parsis named “Iran-Shah” the first Fire-temple built by them in India. 

      It is also reported that Peroze retuned to Iran with a Chinese army and fought the Arabs but unfortunately he was defeated and returned to China where he died.  Peroze had a son in China named Ni-niya-se, which is the same as “Narsi”.  The names of Peroze and Narsi were mentioned and remembered in the Dibecha-I-Afringan.  It is possible that their names are still remembered in the Afringan prayers though not by all, since the list varies from place to place. 

      The records further reveal that after the down fall of the Sassanian dynasty Iranian princes and nobles and a large number of Iranian populace had gone to China rather than India, as it was easier to go to China.  Unfortunately there is no trace today of any claim or family that migrated to China. 

      As late as the 9th century, it was customary for the Iranians to go to China.  It is mentioned in the “Epistles of Manucher” (written in 881 A.D.) that Manucher, son of Gosn-jam, High Priest of Pars and Kerman had a controversy with his brother Zat-sparam about the orthodox methods of ablutions and therefore migrated to China.  This shows that even after two hundred and thirty years after the downfall, the Iranians had a close relationship with China where surely a very large population of theirs had migrated.

[Source “A Brief Review of Iranian History” by Prof. Poure Davoud: Compiled by Cyrus P. Mehta, Harlow, U.K.] 

      SIR DAVID FROST is well known for his interviews with the Great and famous.  He once said, however, that he did not really care who he interviewed since, he put it, “Everybody has something to teach you if only you ask the right questions, be it a cab driver or a king.”   


      Young Kaivan aged fifteen years was ordained as a Navar on March 11, 2001 by the High Priest, Dastur Aspandiar R. Dadachanji of the Vatcha Gandhi Agyari, at Mumbai.  His initial training for Navarship was under the tutelage of the late Ervad Farahd K. Dastur at Hirjikaka Behrana Daremeher at Karachi. 

      Since his initiation as a Navar, Kaivan has participated in four Navjotes and eight Jashans, and circumstances permitting he plans to become a Maratab.

Presently he is schooling at Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi High School at Karachi in Class X, and for higher studies, he aspires to do his Masters in Business Administration.  Kaivan’s decision to qualify as a Navar may help the Zarthushti community of Karachi to tide over the shortage of trained priests. We wish him success, and may he serve the Faith of Zarathushtra with diligence, knowledge and understanding.   

      Ervad Kaivan Maneck Solan

Adar – Atarsh

O Fire of Ahura Mazda, the highest of the Yazatas my homage unto Thee. 


ire is the purest and noblest emblem of Ahura Mazda, and the most sublime symbol of  the religion of Zarathushtra.  Fire gives light, glow, warmth and cleanliness; it sustains life; it creates as much and even more than it destroys, as the Big Bang theory of modern science explains.  Fire was there at the beginning and was the cause of creation.  Our little world, our solar system, our Milky Way galaxy of which we are a minute part, and the countless galaxies in space, all had their origin in and through an immense, unimaginable vast ball of fire. Our glorious sun which warms and sustains us, which is the very essence of light and life, is it self a wondrous object of fire. 

      In Fire as the sublime symbol of my faith, I glory, my gracious God.  When I bow before the Fire, I worship not the Fire but Thee alone.  Fire is but a sacred symbol that stands for Thee.  I will fix my wandering thoughts on Thy Fire and gather inspiration from its flames. In the enlightenment of the Fire, I will see Thee and know Thee.  Verily it is said that Fire is Thy son---Atrash Puthro Ahurae Mazdao---and through the son will my soul soar Thee, the Father. May Thy holy Fire continue to blaze in our homes, our temples and in our hearts forever and aye until the mighty Resurrection and unto eternity. Amen!

[Source: “Teach me to Pray – A second book of prayers for Zoroastrians” – Noshir H. Vajifdar] 

Published for Informal Religious Meetings Trust Fund, Karachi by Virasp Mehta

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