E-Mail Edition


Volume IV No.8


October-November 2003, Mah Aban, Fasal Sal 1372   

Kat toi, Asha! Zbayente avanho  What of thy help, Oh Asha! Is there for the invoker

Zarathustrai? Kat toi Vohu Mananha! Zarathushtra? What is thine, Oh Vohu Mananh?

In this stanza [Yasna 49.12: Spenta Mainyu 3.12] Holy Zarathushtra first tells Asha and Vohu Mannah that he is their worshipper and invoker.  Then he asks them as to what help he would get from them in return for his worship and invocation.  Finally, he beseeches Ahura Mazda to grant him the best of His wish in return for which he will gladden and propitiate Him with hymns.

[Source: “The Holy Gathas of Zarathushra” – Behramgore T. Anklesaria]  

“The essential theme of his (Zarathushtra’s) religion based on Good thoughts, Good words and good deeds shows the strength of his message and its superiority over others.  If the entire world were to act according to Zarathushtra’s thoughts, there would be no wars, no conflicts, no torture, no prejudice---all these would vanish.  His is the only way of salvation for humanity.”

[Dr. Parvaneh Jamshidor : Dushanbe-Tajikistan] 


  1. VISPA HUMATA --- ALL GOOD THOUGHTS:  N. D. Khandalawala

   04. THE RIGHTEOUS GOVERNMENT OF GOD: Dr. Maneck B. Pithawalla 


   06. THINK EVERYONE [Poem]: Farida Bamji 

   07. SOURCES OF FIRDOUSI’S SHAHNAME: Jamshid Cawasji Katrak 

   10. ROLE OF PARENTS IN RELIGIOUS EDUCATION: Farishta Murzban Dinshaw 




      There is in the Khordeh Avesta, a short exhortation with the above title, which is rendered as follows:  

      “All good thoughts, all good words, all good deeds proceed from (good) sense.  All bad thoughts, all bad words, all bad deeds, are not the products of good sense.  All good thoughts, all good words, all good deeds lead to Heaven.  All bad thoughts, all bad words, all bad deeds, drag (a man) towards Hell.  The righteous are aware that the (fruition of) all good thoughts, good words and good deeds, is Heaven.”  

      This beautiful little precept is mechanically recited by old and young, as if it were a prayer, like the long drawn out recitals –bhantars of the Khordeh Avesta, and it is supposed that the mere vociferation of the Avestan words would produce good thoughts, good words, and good deeds and would ultimately carry the reciter to Heaven, when earthly life is ended. 

Unintelligent babbling  

      Religion is often confounded with unmeaning mechanical acts.  Mind and feeling are inhibited, and placed on the shelf of forgetfulness.  Dull, idle, thoughtless voicing of old unmeaning, inappropriate texts, is superstitiously believed to be sufficient to bring down blessings, and gifts from the upper world on the blank head of the mutterer.  

The effort to think 

      “Watch and pray” is a deeply significant phrase.  What is the substance and significance of the words you are uttering?  Such a question is never pondered upon.  One has to be constantly on the watch to see that his thoughts are good, his words are good, and his deeds are good.  And then again arises the difficulty.  What is meant by Good and Evil?  It is not remembered that ‘Good and evil’ are relative terms.  It is necessary to take great care, really to find out what in each particular case, is a good thought, a good word, or a good deed. 

Beautiful thoughts and deeds  

      Not a moment of our valuable time should be idly wasted.  The mind should always be tuned to beautiful thoughts, remembering that thought is as important as action.  To deeply ponder and realize that the Divine Power, which rules and guides the Universe is all powerful, all wise and mercifully just.  It gives us strength, patience, comfort and leads to useful activities.  A firm belief in the existence of a just and merciful God is the bulwark of a religious life.  In deep thought we find higher guidance and consolation. 

Evil thoughts 

      The wings of our thoughts constantly fly upwards.  They are like angels carrying messages, or supplications to the Almighty.  They are never lost by the way, and cannot miscarry.  Just imagine how harmful an evil thought can prove winging its flight to the world of peace, justice, and beauty, entering like an evil presence to meet disapproval in angelic spheres.  All mean desires, all unholy actions, and all selfish motives, move in lower, denser spheres, and darken the inner vision of the producers thereof.  The dark wings of evil thoughts produce fear and depression.  Patience, endurance, courage, and true belief make music and harmony and produce joy and sunshine.  Extreme care must be taken to guard our mind, so that it may hold only that which may spread truth and peace. 

Thought Influence  

      It is written: “Speak not evil of one another” But much evil, as well as much good, may be done unconsciously by the thoughts which do not find expression in our conversation with our fellow men.  It is not so much in our words, as in our thoughts, that our influence lies.  Words are but the outer manifestation of the inner creative forces.  Moreover often in verbal converse, with persons in our presence, our thoughts may be running in directions, and concerning things, not indicated by our words.  The words may even be used, to conceal our thoughts.  But our thoughts none the less are operative although hidden. 

      In our intercourse with others we must beware, how and what we think.  If our feelings are not in harmony with the law of sympathy, much harm may be done.  On the other hand if our feelings are imbued with brotherly love, much good may be done, by awakening a corresponding feeling in others. 

Think of your thoughts 

      It is said: “What a man thinketh in his heart, that he is.” Thought and feeling are the soul’s self-expression, the mirror of its activities.  Our thoughts then are in a sense ourselves.  Our higher enfoldment is an expansion of consciousness, whereby we are enabled to apprehend, assimilate and reproduce the higher thoughts, which contact with the spiritual world, lays our mind open to.  The widening of the consciousness is brought about, by constant effort to understand and make our own, those deeper thought-impressions which our higher self endeavors to make us conscious of.  

      There is another reason why we should think of our thoughts.  The character of our thinking, by modifying the thought atmosphere, in which we live, is either helping on, or hindering the whole of mankind. 

Moral and Mental Activity 

      The maxims contained in Vispa Humata form a very instructive little sermon, which is not to be idly recited, as a bhantar or recitation producing miraculous effect, but must be deeply pondered over, and constantly meditated upon, so that our consciousness may be expanded and higher and beneficent suggestions may come to us to be acted upon.  Our rising generation is often misled to keep aside thought and feeling and blindly to believe in the magical efficacy of muttering unmeaning, fabulous and inappropriate ancient phrases.  The true meaning of prayer should be carefully explained to boys and girls, so that they may know wherein religious duty consists. [Source: ‘Rahnuma’ Karachi 1927]          



or centuries Zoroastrians have believed in the righteous government of God and the monarchy of all good rulers.  It was at the feet of King Gushtasp that the Prophet put the first Avestan prize, which he had brought from high abode; and not till the Ruler of the country embraced his creed, was he able to move forward.  History is clear on this point: no great religious movement has been a success in this world unless backed by a king or an emperor.  It was the Empire at the back of Christianity that gave the religion of Jesus Christ a chance in the world. 

      Zarathushtra wants rulers ---good rulers who can better the world by their wise government and elevate the people.  “May not the Dushkshthra rule over us!”  The Book says.  Loyalty to the Almighty Creator and to the King of a country went hand in hand.  It was Iran’s fate that whenever it lost its Kingdom it fell into anarchy and irreligion. 

      Zarathushtra’s principles of world-government are clearly seen in his conception of a Divine Hierarchy.  Towering above all is the Good Ahura Mazda.  There were Asuras conceived before him but the unity and union of nature was His first good thought.  Then in the Assembly are the constituted Amesha Spentas to whom the government is entrusted.  In that oft repeated, Avestan song Yatha-ahu-vairyo, it has been expressly stated that the aim of good government is the preservation of the common people.  “The Kingdom of Ahura is for him who gives to the poor their daily bread.” Of such government Zarathushtra was always in favor. 

      Though he did not actually believed in the Divine Right of Kings, he regarded the throne of the righteous monarch as a symbol of earthly authority, of dignified simplicity and public justice.  

[Source: “The Light of Ancient Persia” by the author] 



arathushtra, the first follower of the religion, the temporal and spiritual leader of the corporeal world, belonging to the existing good creation was: 

      “Amongst the living most virtuous ruler, amongst the living most brilliant, amongst the living most glorious, amongst the living most worthy of adoration, amongst the living most worthy of homage, amongst the living most worthy of propitiation, amongst the living most worthy of glorification. 

      “Whom we declare as beloved worthy of adoration and worthy of homage as someone amongst the living who is best on account of his righteousness.” [Favardin Yasht Para 152: T.R. Setha translation] 


By Faridun K. Dadachanji 

Thou, Ahura Mazda, art the divine architect.

Who hast designed and built, sculptured and painted

Thy sublime nature,

That speaks to us and sings to us, inspires us and elevates us. 


Parsi need not wait for a temple.  Nature in all its grandeur and beauty is also his temple of worship.  The glorious sun and resplendent moon, the towering mountains and winding rivers and the vast ocean draw forth from him his admiration and praise for the great Architect above.  This system is called “Looking up through Nature unto Nature’s God.”  On this unique form of worship, the world-famous American steel magnet and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie has written a beautiful passage: 

      This evening we were surprised to see, as we strolled along the beach, more Parsis than ever before, and more Parsi ladies richly dressed and winding their way towards the sea.  It was the first of the new-moon, a period sacred to these worshippers of the elements; and here on the shore of the ocean as the sun was sinking in the sea, and the slender silver thread of the crescent moon was faintly shining on the horizon, they congregated to perform their religious rites. 

      Fire was there in its grandest form, the setting sun, and water in the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean outstretched before them. The earth was under their feet, and wafted across the sea, the air came laden with the perfumes of Araby the Blest.  Surely no time or place could be more fitly chosen than this for lifting up the soul to the realms beyond sense.  I could not but participate with these worshippers in what was so grandly beautiful.  There was no music save the solemn moan of the waves as they broke into foam on the beach. But where shall we find so mighty an organ or so grand an anthem?  How inexpressibly sublime the scene appeared to me, and how insignificant and unworthy of the Almighty seemed even our cathedrals made with human hands, when compared with this looking up through nature unto nature’s God.  I stood and drank in the serene happiness, which seemed to fill the air.  I have seen many modes and forms of worship -–some disgusting, others saddening, a few elevating when the organ pealed forth its tones, but all poor in comparison with this.  Nor do I ever expect in all my life to witness a religious ceremony which will so powerfully affect me as that of the Parsis on the beach at Bombay.  

       To this inspiring narration Samuel Laing, a scholar of Zoroastrianism adds: 

      I say Amen with all my heart to Andrew Carnegie.  Here is an ideal religious ceremony combining all that is most true, most touching and most sublime on the attitude of man towards the great unknown.  Compare it with the routine of an ordinary English Sunday, and how poor and prosaic does the latter appear.  In this respect the Zoroastrian theory of religion affords great advantages.  It connects religion directly with all that is good and beautiful, not only in the higher realms of speculations and emotions, but in the ordinary affairs of daily life. 

      While vacationing in the Himalayan foothills we went for a walk in the forest, and coming across a steep hill, decided to climb it.  Our daughter who was the first to reach the top suddenly shouted; “O Lord, how beautiful!”  When we reached the top we saw such a spectacular and breath-taking view that we repeated her wonder at His craftsmanship.  Our thoughts were immediately directed from nature unto nature’s God.  We could see the snow-capped mountains of Himalayas rising majestically in the distance, while there was a lush green valley down below.  “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.”  This was an ideal place for a Zoroastrian to pay his homage unto Ahura Mazda. 

      To feel the beauty of what is beautiful, to feel the truth of what is true is in itself a silent prayer and an act of homage towards Ahura Mazda, and you are in tune with the Infinite.  To a Zoroastrian, prayer assumes a form of recognition of all that is pure, sublime and beautiful in the surrounding universe.  For a Zoroastrian wherever he may be, he need not wait for a temple.  The rays of the setting sun, the glow of the rising moon, the glittering stars, the mountains, the clouds, the sands and vast stretches of ocean ---these are the places of Zoroastrian worship.  NATURE IN ALL ITS GRANDEUR AND BEAUTY IS THE UNIQUE ZOROASTRIAN TEMPLE OF WORSHIP.  


Ours is a Universal Religion 

Meant for one and all, 

No matter who it be 

Whether great or small 

Zarathushtra gave no Dos or Don’ts 

“The Choice is yours” He said 

“Follow the Path of Good and reap the rewards.” 

I say once more: 

To old customs, practice and habits 

Please do not cling. 

To advance communities and empower generations, 

May I remind you? 

“Times, those are changing”. 

[Farida Bamji] 



e learn from the Arab geographers of the ninth and tenth centuries, Istakhri and Ibn Haukal, of the existence of fire-temples and strong castles in the province of Fars, and the large number of Fire-worshippers there during their time.  Istakhri states that in the castle of Shiz, in the district of Arrajan, in the province of Fars, were preserved at the time he wrote, manuscripts written in Pahlavi, containing history of the Iranians from earliest times, an illustrated with portraits after the style of the Sassanian bas-reliefs on rocks near Shapur.  Amongst these books was one named Khudai Nameh or ‘Book of Kings’, containing history of ancient kings of Iran from the time of Gayomard down to the reign of Nosherwan. 

      It was complied by a learned Zoroastrian nobleman of the name Daneshwar Dehkan.  Firdousi, in his immortal epic, often refers to this ‘Dehkan’.   

      Along with this Khudai Nameh were preserved in Pahlavi, books like the Exploits of Zarir, the brother of king Gushtasp; Karnameh of Ardashir Babegan, the founder of the Sassanian dynasty; the Andraz or Pand literature, treating of the admonitions and sayings and speeches of the Iranian Kings to their sons and people; Madigan Chatrang, dealing with the explanations of the games of chess and draughts; Zarthosht Nameh, treating of the life and work of the holy Prophet Zarathushtra, etc. 

      It was from such Pahlavi works that translations into Arabic were made.  These translators were either Persians themselves still clung to their ancient Faith, or convert outwardly professing Islam, but at heart devoted to Zoroastrianism.     

      The Fihrist of An Nadhim is the chief source to us of the history of the entire Arabic literature.  It gives the names of some of the chief translators from Pahlavi into Arabic.  The foremost of these translators was Ibn ul Muquaffa, of whom the Fihrist speaks at length.  He translated Khudai Nameh into Arabic.  The Pahlavi Ain Nameh containing the customs, manners, laws of the ancient Persians was also rendered in Arabic by Muquaffa.  He also translated Taj Nameh, and Book of Kalileh and Damneh, into Arabic. 

      It was the basis of Ibnul Muquaffa’s Arabic renderings of Khudai Nameh etc. that enabled later Arabic writers to compile history of ancient Persians.  Jahiz often cites the Khudai Nameh, Tabari, in writing his book on the History of Iran, had such sources available to him as the Khudai Nameh, Karnameh etc., in their original or their Arabic versions.  The great Masudi, whose writings have always been quoted by Arabic and Persian writers as reliable and trustworthy, had access to such ancient records.  Miskawaihi, who lived a thousand years ago, wrote Adab ul Fars val Arab on the basis of the Pahlavi Javidan Khirad, which according to Jahiz, was translated into Arabic by Hassn ibn Sahal.  Arabic historians like Ai-Balkhi and Hamza Isphani often consulted Zoroastrians priests or Mobeds and Iranian records.  Thalibi versified the prose version of the Khudai Nameh.  Unfortunately the original Pahlavi book, as also Muquaffa’s translation of it are irretrievably lost to us.  Of course, abstracts and fragments are contained in some Arabic historical works and also in anthologies like Uyunul Akhbar of Ibn Qutaiba.  Hamza Isphani states that Mobed Behram had to use more than twenty copies of Pahlavi Khodai Nameh in order to establish the correct chronology.   

      The prose preface to Firdousi’s Shahnameh states that in 958 A.D., four Zoroastrians were entrusted with the work of compiling a prose Shahnameh from the original Pahlavi sources like Khudai Nameh, at the order of Abu Mansur bin Abdurrazak, governor of Tus.  Albiruni testifies in his Athar ul Baquiyeh to such a compilation.  Firdausi himself, in the Introductory portion of his Shahnameh, states of a book written since olden times --gahe bastan including historical narratives; folios of which were lying scattered with Mobeds ---paragandeh dar daste har Mubadi.  A great lord ---pahlawan descended from the Dehkans, that is of ancient nobility, ordered to bring from everywhere old Mobeds and to compile a book out of the information etc., they were able to supply.  This book later became the basis of Firdausi’s poem.  This prose version written in Persian, by the four learned, wise and pious Zoroastrian priests (Mobeds), and compiled by them from original Pahalavi materials as well as their Arabic renderings, was first noticed by a Zoroatrian poet, named Dakiki.  He intended to versify the book in Persian ---banazmaram in nameh ra guft man. 

      He versified into one thousand couplets the history of the religious war between Gushtasp, the king of Iran, and Arjasp, the Turanian king.  But the young poet met an untimely death. 

      Thus the original, root source of Firdousi’s Shahnameh was the Pahlavi Khudai Nameh.  Firdousi may have utilized it along with other works noted above; or he might have had access to Muquaffa’s version.  He might have used later Arabic writers who quoted from Muquaffa.  But he certainly took full advantage of the Persian prose work compiled by the four Zoroastrians. 

      Firdousi himself has emphasized that his work was no fiction.  He says, “Whatever I say has been already narrated ---Sakhun harche guyam hameh gufteh-and”.  “Do not consider this as falsehood or fiction ---To in ra darugho fasaneh madan”.  Truly, has the poet made Iran living ---ajam zendeh kardam badin Parsi 

      Not only written records but, oral traditions as remembered by Mobeds were searched for by Firdaousi in the compilation of the various Dastans. He says, “Magar kaz pedar yad darad pesar, beguyad tura yak ba yak az pedar.” 

      In commencing the narrative of Kayumars, Firdousi thus refers to the old Zoroastrian historian:

Sukhungue dehkan che guyad nukhost    

      And for the narrative of Zal, the father of Rustom, he again consults the ancient history –bastan book, that is the Khudai Nameh, and he says: “Kunun bar shegefti yaki dastan.  Bepaivandam az gofta-e bastan. 

      Whilst finishing the narrative of King Kaus, the poet thus says: “Dar in dastan goftam an kam shunud”  

      In narrating the dastan of Sohrab and Rustom, the poet at the commencement cites again the Dehkan of the Bastan Nameh, and he says: “Ze goftare dehkan yaki dastan-Bepayvandam as gofta-e Bastan.  

      In old Mss. of Shahnameh, the age of the Kianian king Gushtasp in whose reign holy prophet Zarathushtra flourished is thus given: “Guzashteh bar an saleyan shish hazar.” 

      Firdousi states that he incorporated one thousand couplets composed by Dakiki in his Shahname, as per the wish intimated by the deceased to the poet in a dream.  Dakiki must surely have used the Pahalvi Yadgare Zariran for his narrative of the battle with Arjasp. Firdousi says: “Dakiki rasanid inja sakhun. Yaki Nameh didam pur az dastan sukhunhae an pur manesh rastan.” 

      The poet states that one Azadsarv of Merv, well versed in ancient history of Iran, had with him a book containing history of ancient kings.  From him the poet got his narrative of the death of Rustom. 

      The sources for the narrative of Alexander could have been the Khudai Nameh or other Pahlavi writings, which unanimously call him by the epithet gazaste i.e. ‘accursed’, since he destroyed Iran and its literature.  The source may be some Arabic versions from Greek or Syriac writings. 

      The history of Ardesher Babegan is met with in the Pahlavi Karnameh of which we know, that a larger Karnameh once existed.  Of the narrative of Haftavad and the Worm, we find description in Karnamneh too.  There we have Haftan bukht instead of Haftavad , which seems a corrupt transcription of original.  Firdousi states at the beginning of the narrative: “Bebin in shegefti ke Dehkan che guft badangeh ke bokshad raz az nehuft 

      Firdousi states, he narrated the story of the game of chess on the authority of old records, like Pahlavi Madigani Chatrang: “Sar amad kunun bar man in dastan ke beshnidam az goftae bastan” 

      The poet states that the narrative of Burze, the physician, was written on the authority of Shadan Burzin, who was one of the four translators of the prose Shahnameh.  This narrative is based on the Pahlavi Kalileh and Damneh.  The history of Nosherwan’s invasion of Rum is also based on Namae Bastan-ze goftare an daneshe rastan.  The story of Khusru and Shirin is based on a Kuhan Dastan  

[Source: “Iranian and Oriental Papers” by the author: Tehran 1960] 

                              Quenched with the flame in Mithra’s caves?  

                        Her proud sons, her highborn souls,

                              Men, in whose veins---O last disgrace!

                        The blood of Zal and Rustam rolls, --- 

                        No—she still has sons that never---never—

                        While heaven has light or earth has graves. 

[MOORE’s Lalla Rookh] 


By Farishta Murzban Dinshaw 

Extract from a talk by the author on “The Challenges in Zarathushti Religious Education.”

Organized by the Zoroastrian Society of Ontario on September 14, 2003 


or us, Zarathushtrians, the term religious education encompasses two aspects; one, content knowledge of history and doctrine, and two, the moral aspect of living a good life.  Of the two, the second aspect needs more emphasis.  Now, more than ever, the need for education that focuses on building character is vital.  Factors like lack of adult supervision, inadequate models of moral behavior in the popular culture, confusing global issues and unclear national values do not offer children a stable standard by which to measure what is right or wrong.  Even within the Zarathushtrian community, geographical distances, divisive squabbles amongst scholars and community leaders, ignorance about doctrine and history, and conflicting information on the Net only serve to confuse children about who they are and what they should be.  Parents hope their children will be talented and good looking, will be good at sports and achieve in school, but nothing is as important as their moral behavior.  If children are not honest, self-disciplined, kind and hard-working, then their purpose in life to “invigorate and refresh’ the world is diminished, as John Gray wrote, “Developing the mind is important, but developing a conscience is the most precious gift parents can give to their children.” 

      “Being a good person” encompasses many characteristics such as:   

       Honest and trustworthy

       Hard-working, responsible and self-disciplined

       Kind, with concern for fellow human beings

       Independent, able to withstand the pressures of the crowd

       Generous, giving of their time and money    

       Loving and caring


       Friendly, helpful and cheerful

       Concerned for justice and respectful of legitimate authority, rules and laws

       Respectful of their own bodies

       Respectful of other’s lives and property, and the environment

       Courteous, having good manners

       Fair in work and play

       Forgiving, understanding the pointlessness of holding a grudge

       Willing to contribute to family, friends, community, country, religious organizations and


       Courageous and willing to openly state and stand up for their beliefs and actions 

      Sir William Temple said. “The most influential of all educational factors is the conversation in a child’s home.”  No mater how strong and detailed a curriculum offered by Sunday school teachers, ultimately the development of a child’s moral growth depends on parents.  Amongst the multiple facets of their role as providers and nurturers, parents need to be exemplary role models.  Therefore, they need to be clear about their own priorities and values.  When a parent decides to sleep in on a Sunday instead of taking the child to religious classes, or a parent allows the child to miss the class for a football practice or to study for a test, the message that is passed on is that ‘religion is not important’”.  

      Teaching right from wrong is not merely about mouthing, “stealing is wrong” when it applies to a TV news story about a bank robbery.  It is an every day lesson children see when parents fill incorrect information on tax forms or use gadgets to steel satellite signals.  Parents need to “walk the talk” if lessons in right and wrong are to be effective.  Teaching right from wrong also includes accountability or taking responsibility for actions. 

      Making realistic promises, establishing worth and identity of the child, and respecting children’s rights is as much a part of a parent’s role in reaching “religion” as teaching them the kusti prayers.  Unlike what is generally believed, values like kindness, tolerance, and honesty are not inherent to a race or a family.  It is wrong to assume that Zarathushtrians are charitable and honest because it is in their blood to be so.  Good habits, like negative ones, are learned behaviors.  Teaching children to be “morally upright” should start when children are toddlers when fundamentals of moral habits such as using self-control, sharing, being kind are first acquired.  Most parents make mistake of waiting until their children are in school to begin trying to “do the right thing.”  And often, they miss out opportunities because they do not want to deal with a tantrum.  For instance, if a child is eating French fries and a parent suggests that she offer it to a guest and the little girl says, “No”, often the parent will laugh it off rather than deal with the situation in which the child may embarrass them in front of others.  What parents need to internalize is that the more you practice good habits the more they become habitual and, hopefully, as children grow older these “good deeds” become second nature and they become instinctive behaviors. 

      One of the most important roles parents play is to “act as bridges” between the child and the rest of the world. They can do this by passing on the tradition and culture of the family as this gives children a sense of identity, of belonging.  This means making the children proud to be a Zarathushtrian.  Now this is the tricky part – parents need to instill pride in our heritage based on information, not illusions like “pure blood”.  Living in a multi-faith, multi-cultural society, children are bound to face taunts of being “fire-worshippers” or questions like, “Don’t you find this gruesome to have vultures at your dead?”  If a child has a solid information base about why we pray in front of fire or details about dokhmenashini then they can explain it without becoming defensive or embarrassed.  Another important way to act as a bridge is to teach children to give back to the community as a way of thanksgiving.  This just does not mean signing cheques for charity or going to a gala evening in aid of a charitable organization.  It means that children need to see parents making the time and effort to volunteer to help others, whether it is in a professional way or as a member of the parent-teacher committee. 

      If we want our faith to flourish in the future, we must remember Margaret Mead’s words: “There is no greater insight into the future than recognizing that when we save our children we save ourselves.”    


[Author unknown] 



n 1953 three major events took place.  Mount Everest was ‘conquered’ by Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay, scientists Watson and Crick discovered the DNA’s structure and a young American PhD student, Eugene Aserinsky discovered Rapid Eye Movement sleep.  During REM sleep the brain is extremely active and generates dreams.  This was the beginning of a whole new area of research in sleeping and dreaming.  Fifty years later there has been tremendous progress in mountaineering and genetics, but the subject of sleep and dreams continues to mystify us.  Most religions and cultures view dreams and sleep as mechanisms to connect the present physical world to that of the supernatural.  Before Buddha’s birth, his mother Queen Maya dreamt that a white elephant has entered her body.  Similarly, Ramakrishna’s mother dreamt that a small green figure she identified as God, was telling her that He would be born in her house.  Mother Mary, too, learnt through a dream about the impending birth of Christ.  There are innumerable such instances of prophetic dreams.  Often, people have come up with innovative solutions in their dreams. Kekule’s benzene structure, Mendelyeev’s periodic table, Howe’s sewing machine, Neils Bohr’s model of the atom and Gandhiji’s Dandi March were all ideas that had their genesis in dreams.  Many scientists, inventors and technologists have literally dreamt up solutions, which they could not arrive at in the waking state. 

      How does the mind produce such prophetic dreams? During dreaming, sensory inputs are blocked and the ego-sense “I” is absent. This allows free reign to random thought patterns, emanating from existing memories from different parts of the brain, which produce dreams.  The dreaming process therefore follows the Maxwellian distribution (the bell curve) where a majority dreams about a day’s events or activities.  Scientists claim that the day’s learning process is consolidated in our memory during sleep.  This dreaming process sometimes produces disjointed dreams and at other times, nightmares.  Sometimes, however, the brain synchronizes random thoughts into a powerful single thought.  Imagine 100 billion neurons of the brain synchronizing in a laser-like fashion to produce a higher dimensional thought signature.  This thought connects us to a higher dimensional space-time continuum from which we get the knowledge and power of clairvoyance. The probability of this type of synchronization is very small but it is there. 

      Can we deliberately produce prophetic solution dreams?  Since the ever-present director –the ego sense “I” is absent during the dreaming process, we have no control over our dreams.  We can however, control our day’s events, which are ultimately reflected in our dreams.  Yogis claim that non-REM or dreamless sleep is possible.  This is achieved through sanyam or contemplation and reflection and samadhi or focused deep meditation.  Scientists too, have discovered that REM and non-REM sleep are totally dependent on how active the brain is during daytime.  The MRI brain scans of sleeping volunteers show that most of the dreaming takes place in the region of the brain, which was most active during the daytime.  Non-REM or slow-wave dreamless sleep occupies the central position in the sleep process, when information and memory consolidation process takes place.  Hence REM sleep is simply a mechanism for the brain to check whether memory consolidation has taken place.  Besides it also helps us remember dreams.  So to produce happy, productive dreams, you need to be active mentally and physically – in a positive way – during waking hours. [Source: “Times of India”] 

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

4235 Saint James Place, Wichita KS 67226   E-mail: