E-mail Edition


Volume IV No.3


May-June 2003, Mah Khordad, Fasal Sal 1372  (S) Dai 1372  

Vispa-khathra nam ahmi

pouru-khathra nam ahmi,

khathravao nam ahmi 

I am the UNIVERSAL LIGHT by name,

I am the LIGHT ETERNAL by name,

I am the LORD OF LIGHT by name. 

[Ahura-Mazda Yasht: Para 14] 


“Haste not. Life is passing by. Do the right whatever betides.”

“All actions of life are experiences and experiences bring wisdom.”

“There is nothing so kingly as kindness.” 

[Jamshed Nusserwanjee] 



Framroz  Rustomjee 


t must not be overlooked that Ashi the Spirit of Righteousness is ever present in a greater or less degree in the human beings of this world, however, material-minded the individual may be.  But the Urvan of the individual continues to be steeped in materialism without invoking the aid of its indwelling Farohar.  Hence a great awakening from the Spiritual plane has to come and it does come in the form of Farohars of the Asho for whose adoration certain days of the year are definitely set apart. This custom becomes a communal affair. 

      The Farohars in the righteous living beings stir up the Urvans (souls) of the materialists, which becomes enthused with the new Spiritual Force that is made to enter into them.  Such Spiritual Force is the increase in the power of righteousness that continues to dwell in the individual.  Thus the Urvans (Souls) of the materialists arise from their slumber and in their activities during the New Year do not hesitate to invoke the Farohars. 

      In reverencing the Farohars of the Asho, we bring our mind to bear upon some of the sterling attributes and achievements of those Asho, who may have lived in this world and may now have departed in the Spiritual plane.  Such thoughts unhesitatingly stimulate us to further the cause of righteousness in the world.  All this would help to understand how very important and essential are our ceremonies of the Farvardegan days. 

      Having tried to understand something of the Divine Purpose for which Farohars “come” – avayeinti to this bourne, it is necessary to terminate this subject by laying stress upon the fact that our Faravardin Yasht nowhere speaks of the arrival into this bourne of the Urvans (souls) of the departed. 

      Zoroastrian scriptures, if correctly understood do not make any reference to the coming back into this physical world of the Urvans of our departed relations.  God’s Universe is not confined to this earth alone, and so the Urvans (souls) have immense scope for further and further progress in God’s boundless Universe, in accordance with the working of God’s Immutable Laws that pervade everywhere.

[Source: “FAROHARS” by the author] 


Loving means to love the unlovable, or it is no virtue at all.

Forgiving means to pardon the unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all.

Faith means believing the unbelievable, or it is no virtue at all.

To hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all.” 

[G.K. Chesterton]



Naval M. Magol 

ASHA: Right, straight and precise thoughts, words and deeds lead you to happiness. 

VOHU MANAH: Perform all actions with wisdom of good mind. 

KHSHATHRA VAIRYA: Choose leadership from those who comply with Asha and Vohu Manah. 

ARMAITI: Develop right attitude of mind of love, devotion and dedication for Ahura Mazda and His Creation. 

HAURVATAT: Constantly endeavor to progress toward wholeness and completeness of body, mind and, spirit. 

AMERETAT: Guide the dejected, the depressed and the forlorn souls toward the path of Ahura Mazda to be immortal. 

SRAOSHA: Listen to the little voice between Ahura Mazda and your conscience. 

DAENA: Elevate your life by elevating your conscience. 

USHTA: Happiness of enlightenment is for those who illuminate dark minds of others. 

SPENTA MAINYU: Bright, positive and progressive mentality makes heaven on earth for you.  


Michael Buettner

Associated Press 

Zoroastrians begin work on an American temple for their ancient faith. 


ne of the world’s oldest religions is establishing a new, American temple for the faith outside the nation’s capital, the Zoroastrian Center and Darb-e-Mehr. “You will see a magnificent building that reminds you of old Persian architecture,” said Farhad Shahryary, assistant secretary of the Temple Committee. “This is a really a joyful day. There’s been a lot of hard work. This has been a dream for about 20 years”. 

      Once the state religion of an empire that stretched throughout much of the ancient world, Zoroastrianism now has only about 200,000 adherents worldwide (some estimates say the number is fewer).  Up-to 15,000 believers are in the United States. The Darb-e-Mehr, or fire temple will be home to members of the 24-year old Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Washington, said Jamshid Goshtasbi, the group’s president. Ground was broken in Vienna, Va, on the fire temple last week (March 29) fire having importance in the faith as symbol of eternal truth and law. 

      “It was decided to have something really big, in the capital of United States, which is basically the capital of the world,” Goshtasni said. “This will be a national center.” 

      Zoroastrianism is considered among the oldest monotheistic religions and is named for its prophet Zarathushtra – in Greek, Zoroaster. Tradition holds that the faith was founded around 8000 B.C., though there is wide disagreement among the scholars about the faith’s true historical origins. Many say it emerged around 1200 B.C or even centuries later. The faith reached its zenith as the state religion of the Persian Empire, in present day Iran, until the seventh century A.D., when Islam supplanted it, and Zoroastrian groups migrated into India in the 10th century, where they were known today as Parsis.  

      The Washington-area’s Zoroastrian community is not the largest in the country, but it has been growing, due in large part to sectarian and political turmoil in the members’ ancestral nations, notably Iran. Currently, membership amounts to some 500 families. Goshtasbi said the largest number of Zoroastrians in America live in California, where there is a large Iranian population. Like Goshtabi, a professor of electrical engineering at Howard University, most of them are here because of upheaval elsewhere in the world. I am from Iran, originally,” he said. “I came here right before the Islamic revolution in 1978. I came here to finish my education and go back in four years, and now it’s more than 20 years. 

      In Iran under its pre-revolutionary ruler, Shah Reza Pahlavi, nationalism encouraged citizens to take pride in Zoroastrianism as the country’s historical religion. Zoroastrians were able to attain positions of considerable prestige in society and government. Among them was Farhang Mehr, now a professor at Boston University, who served as deputy prime minister of Iran under Shah Reza Pahlavi. “I hope this center will be a place where we invite members of other religions. Don’t be afraid, let them come and learn,” Mehr said. 

      With their relatively small numbers, two hot topics in the denomination are traditionalist Zoroastrians’ condemnation of marriage outside the faith and their refusal to recognize converts. Still, Zoroastrian numbers are growing in the United States and other Western countries, so it appears less likely today than just a few decades ago that this long-established faith will become extinct.  

[Source: “Faith & Value” The Wichita Eagle

April 5, 2003]





hose who object to prayers in the public schools fail to recognize the value of such prayers in a religiously pluralistic society. In such a society the entire major and many of the minor religions would be in charge of the prayer on different days.  After being exposed to a variety, most students would come to recognize that all religions are valid. They would recognize that even though the choice of one religion over another can have great personal, social and cultural meaning, the choice could have no fundamental religious significance whatsoever. This would put an end to all religious wars and would undermine the use of religious propaganda to support secular wars. This would be a great boon to mankind.  

[Gerald Paske – “Readers’ Views: The Wichita Eagle] 


Ervad Ratansha Rustomjee Motafaram 

Athravan: The word means ‘one who tends the fire’. Athravans were the priests of the Eastern Iran in ancient times. Especially, in the provinces of Balkh and Khorasan they occupied an important place. They were advanced in righteousness and had knowledge of spiritual matters. As stated in the Avesta, one of the names of Ahura Mazda is Athrawa, so also Zarathushtra is known as the first Athrava. Athravans were of three different grades athravani va thrayaone, and their gradation was in accordance with their holiness. Today among the Zoroastrians all the priests are known as Athravans. 

Ervad: The word is derived from Pahlavi ehrpat, and Avesta aethrepaiti, which means a teacher, an instructor. In ancient times one who was most advanced in righteousness was deemed fit for the priestly profession. For three years he had to acquire holy wisdom under an able teacher. Ervads also acted as teachers in ancient Iran, in the seminaries. Their pupils were known as Havisht 

      Today a candidate of the priestly class aspiring to be a priest has to undergo Navar ordainment, after which he is called Ervad. For Navar a candidate has to pass through two Barshnums, which are the highest forms of ablutions. After each Barashnum he has to pass nine nights in isolation observing strict rules to gain self-control. After the second Barashnum and the nine nights of separation, the candidate has to perform ceremonies for four days to qualify for Navar. Thereafter he becomes an Ervad and can perform minor ceremonies. 

Mobed: The word is derived from Pahlavi magupat and mogupaiti, which means ‘a master Magian’. Magians were the priests in Western Iran in ancient times. They were the priests of the Medes and the Persians. Ancient Greeks were anxious to learn the wisdom of the Magians. Pythogoras, the well-known Greek philosopher (6 B.C.) had traveled in Iran and had acquired knowledge from Magians. There were grades among them, and the highest type of the Magians devoted their life to the acquisition of divine knowledge. 

      Today, to become a Mobed the candidate has to  undergo Maratb ordainment after undergoing Navar. For Maratab one Barshnum is required after which nine nights of separation are necessary, as is the case of Navar Then the candidate has to  perform ceremonies for  two days to qualify for Maratab. A Mobed can perform major ceremonies of the inner circle like Yazashne, Visperad, Vendidad and Baj. 

Dastur: The word is derived from Pahlavi dastabar meaning ‘one who exercise authority’. There is no Avesta word for Dastur. In ancient Iran the supreme pontiff of the Zoroastrian church was known as Zarathushtrotema, and his seat was in the city of Rae in Azerbaijan. In Sassanian times the high priest was known as Mobedan Mobed or the highest of Mobeds, and he occupied a very important position in the king’s court. The Sassanin sovereigns used to seek the advice of Mobedan Mobed on matters of religious, social and political, and sometimes even in matters of warfare. In the 9th century A.D. after the fall of Sassanian Empire the religious head of the Zoroastrians in Iran was known as hudenan peshupay meaning the leader of the faithful. 

      Today, among the Zoroastrians, the head priest is known as Dastur. He exercises over other priests serving under him. A Dastur should combine in himself the best qualities of head and heart. He is expected to be holy having innate wisdom and spiritual insight, which are the two important qualities, expected of a high priest. He must be well acquainted with his religion. He has to lead others, so he must have completely subdued lust and greed.  

[Source: ‘Elements of Zoroastrianism’ by the author] 

Note: Nowadays, Dastur’s designation is used loosely. It has become a practice with Parsis to address all Mobeds as Dasturjis, which is incorrect  


Ali A. Jafarey 


he traditional life story, as told by the two Pahlavi writings, Dinkard (Book VII) and the Selections of Zadsparam, and the Persian Zartosht-nameh by the Zoroastrian poet-priest Bahram Pazdu, do not state that he was from a priestly lineage. On the contrary, his father took the doubting child Zarathushtra to priests to have him convinced of the truth of the old Aryan cult, a task in which they miserably failed. If he were a priest, he would have handled his child himself. His mother, who when still a maiden, was excommunicated and banished by the priests for her unorthodox views, sent her son outside to a teacher to learn the sciences of the day, a statement which may also supply the clue as to where Asho Zarathushtra developed his poetic talents, talents which some think could only be developed by a priestly boy.  

      The Avesta shows that Zarathushtra’s father raised horses (Yt23.4; 24.2). The eulogy stating that Zarathushtra is the “foremost” athravan, warrior, and prospering settler only shows his complete reformation of the three professions. The famous stanza Ushta no zatho athrava yo Spitamo ZarathshtroHail to us, for an athravan, Spitama Zarathushtra has been born, (Yt 13.94) only indicates that the composer of the eulogy was an athravan who obviously preferred to hail Zarathushtra as the foremost “reformer” of his particular profession. Had a warrior or an agriculturist poet composed it, Zarathushtra’s would have been hailed as the “foremost” warrior or settler. It may be noted that the second eulogy in Farvardin Yasht calls him ahu, ratu and paoiryo-tkaesha (lord, leader and foremost-in-doctrine) and uses several superlatives to praise him and yet does not make an athravan of him. The solitary use of zaotar in the Gathas (Song 6.6) in which Zarathushtra, who repeatedly condemns the cultic rituals performed by karapan priests and kavi princes, calls himself the “straight” invoker who does not indulge in any of them, proves otherwise that he was not a ritualistic priest by profession and that he was only an invoker, a true invoker indeed. His Gathas stand the best testimony to his being non-ritualistic. 

      Above all, had Zarathushtra been of a priestly class, he would have definitely mentioned it in his Gathas. He did take enough care to give his full family name, Spitama Haechataspa on several occasions. He could have added the term athravan at least once. The three professions or classes of society--priests, warriors, and the progressive settlers are absent in the Gathas and other Gathic texts. This does not mean that they did not exist in his days. The truth is that he did not believe in them as boundaries dividing human society into three watertight compartments. The only profession he encouraged was the settlement of people in fields of agriculture, animal husbandry and crafts. He is the person who coined the term vastrya-fshuant, “prospering settler”. We have no trace of it in pre-Zarathushtrian Avestan texts and the Vedas. That is why he is called Vastar, meaning “settler, or one who rehabilitates” of the oppressed in the Ahunavar formula, the opening stanza of the Gatha.    



urat, once a great river port of Gujarat was historically noted for its indolent Nawabs, equally for its devastating fires and deadly plagues. Before Bombay eclipsed Surat’s importance, the city was known for its powerful Dasturs. One of them was Dastur Kaus Dastur Rustam. 

      After receiving his priestly training he studied Avesta, Pahlavi and Persian and religious literature under tutorship of a capable high priest Dastur Rustamji Behramji Sanjana of Bhagarsath group. Dastur Kaus had a dignified personality that secured him a footing among the rulers of the day. In 1767 a Nawab ruled Surat and subsequently the English, who appointed Dastur Kaus as their adviser on religious matters. 

      In 1800 the Governor of Bombay Mr. Duncan by a treaty with the Nawab of Surat passed an order, which fixed a monthly honorarium of Rupees fifty to be paid to Dastur Kaus in return for his loyalty to the English. Besides this princely sum of those days as honorarium, the Governor Duncan presented a palanquin to Dastur Kaus, and whenever there was a durbar either by the Nawab or by the English, he would go there proudly seated in the palanquin. Such was the pomp of this knowledgeable Dastur who is said to have delivered many religious sermons in his days. 

      In 1806 an epidemic of smallpox broke out in South Gujarat. The Governor Duncan passed an order that everyone should be inoculated against the scourge. Leading Parsis and Mobeds protested against the order, as the serum for inoculation was made from cow’s blood. The Governor sought opinion of various Dasturs, and Dastur Kaus opined that no harm was done to the religion by using this serum against smallpox. 

      Sometime after announcing this rational opinion, Dastur Kaus expired. His fellow Athornans held him in high esteem, and as a mark of respect to the departed Dastur, some Mobeds shouldered the bier, which carried the corpse to aval manzil (the final resting place-the Tower of Silence). This gesture of fidelity on the part of those Mobeds who shouldered the bier, sparked a controversy and split the Parsi community of Surat. A group was of the opinion that those Mobeds who shouldered the bier, even after taking Barashnum (purification ceremony) could not enter the Dare-Mehr to perform ceremonies. The dispute remained unresolved, and it eventually knocked the doors of Bombay Parsi Punchayat. A meeting was held at Wadiaji’s Dare Mehr, where many Dasturs and Akabars of the community expressed their opinions. Finally by a majority verdict the dispute was resolved that those Mobeds who shouldered the bier –khand mari could not carry on the profession of Mobeds. Such were the stringent laws of ritual purity!  

[Source: ‘Centenary Volume of Bagh-e-Parsa Adrain’, Surat: Translated from Gujarati] 



arvelous is the power of thought. Thinking is as natural to man as breathing. Thought has lifted man above the level of the animal world. It has raised him from the savage to the civilized state in life. Man’s thought rules the world. The power to think is man’s most precious right and his proudest privilege.  

      The thought is the seed of speech and action. When the seed is sound and strong, it germinates and sprouts and blossoms in the harvest of fine words and deeds. 

      Let me think good thoughts and great thoughts and noble thoughts and gentle thoughts, and let them all build my character. 

      Vohu Manah is thy Good Thought, Ahura Mazda. Let him nurture my mind with his good thoughts. Let good thoughts alone ripen into words and deeds and let evil thoughts of Aka Manah wither and perish. Let righteous thoughts and devotional thoughts, be my constant companions. Let my precious thoughts, concentrated on thee, be my silent daily prayer, Ahura Mazda. 

[Excerpted from ‘Homage Unto Ahura Mazda’ by Dastur M.N. Dhalla] 

Religion of Asho Zarathusht and Influence through The Ages


Ervad Jehan Bagli


Foreword by Farhang  Mehr Professor Emeritus International Relations Boston University MA, U.S.A.

Published by Informal Religious Meetings Trust Fund, Karachi 

The book is a compilation of essays and lectures by the author over the past several decades, and they highlight the changes that the Gathic religion has undergone to evolve the Zoroastrianism of today, and the Spirituality embedded in the Religion of Asho Zarthosht 

To order a copy: enclose a cheque payable to NAMC and mail to:

Ervad Jehan Bagli, 1569 Wembury Road, Missisauga, Ont, L5J 2L8 Canada

Phone: 905 855 11323, Fax: 905 855 7730, E-mail:

Price in U.S.A.: USD 8.00 + 4.00 for postage

Price in Canada: CAN $12.00 + 4.00 for postage

[These prices are for N. America only. Sale proceeds are shared between IRM and NAMC] 

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

4235 Saint James Place, Wichita, KS 67226, U.S.A.E-mail: