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Volume V No. 3: Mah Khordad, Fasal Sal 1373:May-June 2004 

      Dâidi –môi yê gãm tashô O Fashioner of the World! O Creator of the waters and plants!

        apas –châ urvarâo –s-châ Grant Thou to me Thy blessings of Perfection and Immortality!

      Ameretâtâ haurvâtâ,  O Most Bountiful Spirit, grant me the strength

        spénistâ mainyû Mazdâ!  enduring to bring to realization Thy

      Tevishi utayûti    announced purpose.

        Manańhâ Vohû Sêńhê With the help of the Good Mind. 

[Vohu-Khshathra Gâthâ: Song 16. 7: Translation by D.J. Irani] 

“The highest ideals of Zoroastrian prayers are dedication, devotion, self-giving, and self-improvement.

Through our prayers we do not bargain with God Almighty for some reward or earthly benefit.  Prayer is the yearning of the soul and the motion of the inner hidden fire of love directed towards Ahura Mazda.”


In this Issue: 



                                                 By Robert Scott Nelson  

      8  TO OUR PROPHET [POEM] By Dr. Maneck B. Pithawalla 


By Farrokh Vajifdar

In 1961, Professor Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin (now Emeritus, University of Liége, Belgium) published his, Symbolik des Parsismus (Anton Hiersemann, Stuttgart, 1961).  Soon out of print in Germany, he himself undertook its English translation, which with minor changes, was published in 1966 by Harper & Row (New York and Evanston) as Symbols and Values in Zoroastrianism: Their Survival and Renewal. It was reprinted in a paperback Harper Torchbooks version in 1970. 


HE extended passages reproduced here are from this English translation, and mainly concern the fate of the Zoroastrian religion in Iran after Islam, of which he has provided a summary. 

      [pp. 11-12]  

      “Theoretically Islam tolerated the old religion, but conversions, by persuasion or by force were massive.  However, Mazdaism remained a ferment of rebellion and attracted persecution. There were centers of survival, if not of resistance, notably in Fars, the former center of the Achaemenid and Sassanid empires.  This area also knew a kind of Zoroastrian revival, marked by the production of works in Pahlavi (the official language of Sassanid Iran).   Zoroastrianism survived partly in the form of elements amalgamated into the Muslim religion of Iran.  There were also a few Mazdean works in the Persian language, such as the thirteenth-century Zardusht Nama (“Book of Zoroaster”) in verse. But in autonomous form it subsisted only in small, isolated areas, such as those of Yazd and Kerman today, to the east of Persia.”   

      [pp. 12-14] Emigration 

      “One or more groups of Zoroastrians, from the tenth century onward (so it seems, rather than from the eighth, as generally believed), made for the Persian Gulf, then for India, where they found asylum in Gujarat. Contact appears to have been almost completely severed up to the end of the fifteenth century.  Renewed in 1477, it was maintained notably in the form of an exchange of letters until 1768.  These letters, seventeen of which have been preserved, are the Rivayats.  They contain the questions and answers exchanged between the Parsees of India and their cousins in Iran on matters of law, ritual, etc. 

      “In the sixteenth century Emperor Akbar attempted to found a syncretistic religion, chiefly based on Zoroastrianism and Islam. In the seventeenth century, under Akbar’s grandson, Zoroastrian mystics who had come from Persia inspired a work, the Dabistan, which is vaguely universalistic and largely allegorizing.  In the eighteenth century, Parseeism was divided into two sects on a question of calendar and ritual, following contacts with the old tradition preserved in Iran.  At the same time the holders of this tradition endeavored to instruct their coreligionists in India; these were able in turn to explain the Avesta to the Frenchman Anquetil-Duperron, who translated it in 1771.  It was then that the investigation of the Mazdean traditions by European scholars began, which made its greatest progress since the Commentaire sur le Yasna, a commentary on part of the Avesta published by Burnouf in 1833, and has in turn helped the Parsees to rediscover their religious past. Accused of dualism by the Christian missionaries, the Parsees tend to minimize this aspect of their religion.  They were greatly helped in this by the German scholar Haug in a lecture given at Poona in 1861, as well as by his other works and those of his successors, which bring Zoroaster’s monotheism to the fore.  

      “This return of an elite to its religious origins brought about a division into reformists and reactionaries.  The division concerned notably the value of prayers and ceremonies for the dead.  Despite the attempts at purgation, Parseeism remained encumbered with adventitious elements. Astrology is current in it.  Theosophic doctrines have crept in. 

      “The Parsees of India have done much to help their poor brothers in Iran (whom the Muslims call Gabars, “infidels”) and to secure a better social status for them from the Iranian government.  Since India became independent in 1947, the status of the Parsees has been threatened and diminished by a regime which, tending towards a form of socialism or state capitalism, attacks the private fortunes.  Since nothing can henceforward subsist without state help, the Parsee schools, for instance, will have to open their doors to non-Parsees—or perish.  What will presently be left of their beliefs and customs, of the very consciousness that they form a group, and of their will to maintain it? It is conceivable that the Parsee community may vanish into the melting pot of the new India.  The smallest of the great religions would then cease to exist.” 

** ** ** 

[In 1948 Professor Duchesene-Guillemin published his French edition of Zoroastre: Ėtude critique avec une traduction commentée des Gâthâ (Paris, G.P. Maisonneuve & Co.) Its Chapter III contained a French translation of all seventeen Gāthās with annotations and extensive commentaries.  These were published in an English re-translation (by Mrs. M. Henning) as The Hymns of Zarathushtra: Being a Translation of the Gāthās together with Introduction and Commentary (‘Wisdom of the East Series’. --John Murray, London 1925).  This partial English translation (162 pages against the 302 pages of the French edition), however, include a short additional passage, which concludes the smaller version.  It provides a background to the Emigration part extracted above, and is cited here in its entirety from pages 160-162]  

      “At the time of the Arab conquest the Iranian people adopted the law of the conquerors, Islam.  But a group of noblemen who had taken refuge in the mountains clung to the national religion as to a symbol of independence.  Under persecution and in exile these resisters and their descendants were going to manifest extraordinary qualities. 

      “In present-day India where they number about 100,000, they constitute by far the most active, enlightened, and enterprising minority.  They are engineers, officials, bankers, and directors of spinning-mills and of railway companies; they distinguish themselves by their philanthropy, by the number of their charities, their hospitals, orphanages, and schools. 

      “To what is this excellence due?  Partly no doubt to the severe selection which operated in their ranks in the course of the hundred and thirty-four years during which they suffered one test after another, and which led them from their country of origin to their present habitat, the region of Bombay.  Their case has been compared **(**Notably by E. Huntington of Yale, in an important work entitled Mainsprings of Civilization, 1945) to the Puritans of England, who, in the seventeenth century, fleeing from religious persecution, went to America, where their descendants to-day still occupy the highest positions.  Undoubtedly the conditions under which these displacements happened, the numerous deaths, and no doubt also the discouragement of some, only allowed the fittest and the most resolute to survive.  Such –truly heroes –must have been these men and women who founded the Parsee community of India. 

      “But this process of natural selection does not, perhaps, sufficiently explain the extraordinary fortune which was to be theirs.  For nearly ten centuries, in fact, the community lived in a small way by agriculture, until the English, bringing commerce to India, made it possible for the Parsees to display their capabilities.  But then, the Parsees must have maintained these capabilities until that time.  How and why this latent survival?  It seems to me that the explanation can be looked for in their religion.  With some reflections on this subject, we will once more, and in conclusion, salute certain permanent aspects of the Zoroastrian doctrine. 

      “It appears to me that a religion of asceticism and renunciation, like, for example Buddhism, would not have led the Parsees to their present state.  Their faith did not turn them from the world and from action. No vows of chastity and poverty with the Parsees!  Each individual has the duty to found a home and to work the earth, agriculture having for centuries succeeded cattle-raising as an essential resource of economy.  His religion all but tells him, as Louis-Philippe told his citizens: “Grow rich.”  Even the obligation of marrying among themselves, which in itself have deplorable effects, has been useful to the Parsees who observed it with extreme strictness.  For in their case it was applied to a true élite: it could but benefit a community previously subjected to a severe selection, to keep its lineage pure. 

      “This precept also must have strengthened, in exile, the feeling of social solidarity, already prompted by the religious dogma of the choice, by the duty of helping the good and fighting the wicked.  At every moment of his existence the Parsee can feel himself engaged with his co-religionists and under the guarantee of a just and good God, in a vast enterprise, the range of which extends to the limits of the universe, but which embraces also the humblest labors without which his life could not be maintained and multiplied.  In harmony with the celestial powers, but with both feet on the ground; this equilibrium is the fundamental characteristic of Zoroaster’s doctrine, and this has perhaps made the strength of his disciples. 

      “As regards us Westerners, it is not difficult to see that Zoroaster had just what we lack most.  We have knowledge, curiosity, and power.  But our science, our power, are inhuman.  We know our wealth, but we lack the courage to choose.  We feel the want of a rule, and miss the means of reintegrating man and the universe with each other.  The kind of innocence which we should most envy Zoroaster, and Nietzsche did not err in this, is that he conceived human values as cosmic values, that he could bring down to man’s level, in the words of Paul Valéry. 

‘The great deeds which are in the heavens.“ 

** ** ** 

      Professor Duchesne-Guillemin’s views of some fifty years ago are as valid today for the warning on the steady but sure disappearance of the Zoroastrian religion with its followers “into the melting pot of new India”. The figure of 100,000 Zoroastrians in India has declined considerably, not all the drop in numbers can be accounted for by population shifts (as, for example, by the growth of the Poona community) and by emigration to Europe, North America and Australasia.  Responsible demographic studies have indicated fewer children and more in the elderly and aging range (with a corresponding increase in deaths) – not merely an unstable population balances, but an actual diminution in overall numbers resulting in an alarming net decrease. 

      With regard to the religion of Zoroaster which our ancestors had claimed to preserve when leaving the Iranian homeland for the hospitable shores of western India, one has to be reminded that at the very end of the sixteenth century the composer of the Qisse-ye Sanjān had himself admitted that in his time “the Lord only knows what the true religion is, for men do not”!  Had it not been for the Western scholars of the mid-eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries whose honest endeavors had once more revealed the true glories of the religion of Zarathushtra Spitama and the incompatibility of the later accretions of customs and rituals, then the authentic Zoroastrian faith would have disappeared faster and sooner from our religious horizons. 

      The real question now is what will the twenty-first Common Era century produce for our future generations by way of genuine knowledge of our ancient faith which, as Professor Duchesne-Guillemin has indicated, had sustained our forefathers and brought them into pre-eminence on the sub-continent?  In the West the forecast is optimistic with resurgence of interest among the Iranian Zartushtis recently settled abroad, the younger generations, and the neo-Zoroastrians whose steadfastness will determine the future course of the religion.   

      Sad to relate, the baneful influence from the sub-continent with its fixation on outmoded and mostly inexplicable Hinduized ritual has tended to negate some of the good work being done at academic and popular levels.   

      The excellent work being devoted to Gāthic studies has and will to a large extent counteract such negative forces and once more bring before a beleaguered humanity the reality of the PERFECTION OF THIS WORLD.  This is indeed what Zarathushtra has promised to all devotees of MAZDA the Ahura ■ 


      “The Parseeism is to be preserved by upholding the pristine pure principles, the true spirit, and the pure intentions of the Zoroastrian code.  If orthodoxy is to be held as Parseeism, then, of course, the educated class will disbelieve in the religion, nay, go further, scoff at it. 

      Happily I am convinced that all our code could be reasonably made acceptable to the educated with whom we have to deal in the hereafter. 


By Robert Scott Nelson

THE talk was presented by the author at Nowrooz gathering of Zoroastrian Association of Kansas, Kansas City on 3 April 2004. Mr. Robert Scott Nelson is a professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions at Wentworth Junior College in Lexington, Missouri. He has been accepted by Spenta University for the Doctorate Program in Zarathushtrian Studies.



UNDREDS and hundreds of years ago there was a righteous man who saw injustice in his world.  He saw corrupt kings and priests and wantonness.  He spoke out against these things and against superstition and blood sacrifice to pagan gods.  He spoke of the One God, the God of Light and Wisdom.  He changed the hearts of men toward this God.  This man was not Asho Zarathushtra, he was the grandson of Abdul-Muttalib of Mecca and we call him Mohammed.  

      Hundreds of years before this, there was a righteous man who saw injustice in his world.  He saw corrupt kings and priests, slavery and wantonness.  He spoke out against these things and against blood sacrifice.  He spoke of the One God, the God of Light and Wisdom and he changed the hearts of men toward this God.  His name was Yeshua ben Yousef.  The Greeks called him Jesus. 

      Five hundred years before this, there was a righteous man in the East who spoke of the One God of Light and Wisdom, an Emanation of pure Light that manifests in the souls of each of us.  He turned the hearts of men inward in search of this God.  This man’s name was Gautama, the Buddha. 

      Hundreds and hundreds of years before this, there was a righteous man who saw slavery and injustice in his world. He spoke of one true God of Light and Wisdom.  He changed the hearts of his people toward this God and led them to freedom.  This was Mosses the inheritor. 

      Before this, there was a Great Man.  A king who spoke out against the pagan gods of his time and against superstition and blood sacrifice.  He spoke of the One True God of Light and Wisdom and he changed the religion of his Empire to worship of this One God.  His name was Amenhotep IV of Egypt, but he changed his name to Akhenaten, Worshiper of the One. 

      But before all of this, hundreds and thousands of years ago came Zarathushtra of the Spitama clan, a righteous man who saw injustice in his world.  He saw corrupt kings and priests, savagery and lawlessness.  He spoke of the One True God, the God of Light and Wisdom and he changed the hearts of men toward this God forever after.  Such is the Power and Importance of Zarathushtra’s message, that it echoes in the hearts and minds of men from the most ancient of times to this very day. 

      Unfortunately, it has been the tendency of the Western and Semitic Religions to fall away from these pure philosophies, so that now many of their beliefs bear little resemblance to the original teachings of their prophets.  It has been forgotten that in their own book, Cyrus the Persian is named as the anointed Messiah and Savior.  Some would eventually make their prophet into a God, and adopt a mythology that would include the blood sacrifice of their own Prophet.  They have forgotten that on the birth of their prophet, Zarathushtrian priests visited him.  They now prefer to call these visitors Wise Men, Kings or even Shepherds.  They have forgotten that it was Zarathushtra who taught us about absolution and the five daily prayers.     

      But it was Zarathushtra who taught us these things and much, much more.  He was the First Prophet, and it was he who gave us the concept of the One God, not fashioned in the image of man, but as the Primal Emanation of Power that creates all things and establishes the progressive nature of the Universe. He taught us the Law of Progressive Truth and of the Progressive Mentality that manifests in all of us, if we only seek it out.  He taught us the importance of Freedom, Equality and Justice.  How revolutionary were these concepts, espoused by Zarathushtra almost 4,000 years ago?  So revolutionary, that the Western World did not comprehend them for thousands of years. 

      It is not only in the world of religion that Zarathushtra has made immeasurable impact.  The Philosophies of the West owe much to him.  The followers of Plato, in fact, so venerated Zarathushtra that they assigned him to an age of great antiquity, 6,000 years before Plato’s own time.  We now know that this cannot be correct, but it demonstrate their great respect for the philosophies of Zarathushtra.  The more modern philosophies of Leibniz, Schopenhaur, Hegel and Hume, the greatest philosophers of their time, can be seen to closely parallel the metaphysics of Zarathushtra 

      Even science is now confirming many of Zarathushtra’s teachings.  We are only now beginning to recognize the importance of relationship between Light and matter on a sub-atomic level, and how Light influences the way that matter manifests in the physical universe.  Science is telling us now that we may indeed be beings of Light, that Light may indeed be the impetus for all creation, or the means by which physical matter comes into being.  Going further, we now recognize that all systems in the natural world are affected by elements of both Order and Chaos in an eternal struggle for supremacy.  However, when any system tends toward Chaos, patterns begin to emerge and Order takes over, resulting in the ultimate triumph of Order over Chaos, Good over Evil, Wisdom over Ignorance.  It can be said that this inevitable progress and evolution is built into the very fabric of the universe.  These are concepts first espoused by Zarathushtra and it tells us that he truly comprehended the nature of our Universe.  Science is also telling us now of a phenomenon sometimes called the Butterfly Effect, in which every action, no matter how small, affects every other action and occurrence after that.  This theory sates that a butterfly flapping its wings in Kansas City will affect the weather in Paris and everywhere else. What follows is that every decision we make affects not only the rest of our own lives, but the lives of everyone else around us.  The result is that each time we take an action, no matter how small, it either works in harmony with nature or it works against the progressive nature of our Universe, and therefore God.  Are these not the very Truths that Asho Zarathushtra taught us, so long ago? 

      How did this legacy of Zarathushtra’s message come down to us?  It is a miraculous story of struggle. While empires rose and fell around them, the Zarathushtrian people and their heritage survived.  The Miracle is that, through thousands of years of conquerors, persecutions, exile and migration, somehow, the Zarathushtrian People held on to their ancient Truths.  For this reason, while we celebrate the life and message of Zarathushtra, we also celebrate the People of Zarathushtra. 

      This is why it is so important, the wonderful work that Farrah Zaery does with these beautiful children.  With eyes to the future it is important to perpetuate the legacy of Zarathushtra.  The times of the Kavis and Karapans are not over.  Kings and priests are still corrupted by power. Therefore, the power of the Zarathushtrian Message is as important today as ever before.  Because today many are choosing between dangerous fundamentalism and total religious apathy, they must learn that the God of Light, their own God, does not want human sacrifice or oppressive moral codes.  He simply wants us to choose with Wisdom.  The World must relearn the simple and progressive Truths of Zarathushtra.  Not in an effort to convert the World to Zarathushtrianism, but to remind them of the purest and most beautiful aspects of their own religions. 

Zarathushtra said, in Yasna 49, Verse 6: [Gāthā Spentā Mainyū] 

                  I beseech Thee, O Mazda, reveal to me Thy Holy Plan,

                  Let Truth declare Thy Divine Wisdom,

                  So that we may choose rightly,

                  And spread the Truths of Thy Religion to the World.” 

[Free rendering by the author in consultation with several translations in Persian and English] 

      In this very spirit, we must seize every opportunity to spread the Truths of Zarathushtra, so that we all may continue the Good Works that he began so long ago, the establishment of Strong Families, a Just Society and a World blessed with Righteousness. Thanks be to Ahura Mazda, the One God of Light and Wisdom, and thank you all.■ 

[The author welcomes communication from anyone interested in discussing the points of his talk.]

E-mail at 

[Dr. Maneck B. Pithawalla] 




THE English ascendancy in Surat commenced by it being captured, in 1759, by fraud and force.  Though the Mussalman governor was maintained, he was a mere puppet in the hands of the English.  Four so-called ‘independent’ Nawabs ruled Surat from 1759 to 1799.  But now Lord Mornington the Governor General of India wanted to bring Surat under direct control of the company.  The fourth ‘Nawab” was greatly pressed for concessions but he did not yield.  He died in February 1799 leaving behind a son who died a month afterwards.  Nasir-ud-din, the brother of the late Nawab was made the new Nawab. On 13th May 1800 Nasir-ud-din was forced to sign a treaty by which, he transferred the whole civil and military administration and revenues of the city into the hands of the Company, reserving to himself an annual stipend sufficient for maintenance of himself and his family, to be paid by the Company from the revenues of Surat.  Though stripped of all the powers of government, and a mere pensioner of the state, it was still accounted proper for Meer Nasir-ud-din to act the farce of royalty.  Regarding the passing of Surat entirely into the hands of the English, The Calcutta Review of June 1848 says: “In the year 1800, by one stroke of injustice, which have too often accompanied our acquisitions of power in India, and for which expediency has been the wretched plea, the East India Co., took the whole administration of Surat affairs into their own hands.  Any impartial person, who will take the trouble to investigate this affair, will find the helpless Nawab and reason on his side, the English: force and sophistry.”      

      In Gujarat the great famine of 1790-91 brought in its wake several minor famines.  Then the great floods of 1822 wrought further havoc in Surat.  Before Surat could recover, a devastating fire of 1837 devoured the city, as a result of which Rustompura inhabited by the Parsis was completely gutted.  These extremes of misfortunes forced people to move out of Surat and its surrounding areas.  So starving families wended their way in many directions, mostly towards the promising city of Bombay.  The King of Portugal had given Bombay in dowry to Charles II of England, who rented it to the East India Co.  Parsis had gained a foothold there since the days of Portuguese supremacy.  The famine stricken refugees who came to Bombay had to take up any employment they could get.  The English took full undue advantage of their unfortunate condition. Once the landlords, seths and master crafts-men had to accept menial jobs of bearers, butlers and coachmen of the sahibs.  But with their spirit of enterprise, dexterity and hard work the Parsis soon ameliorated their condition and freed themselves of this exploitation.  Adventurous ones went to other parts of India and as far as China in the East and to Africa in the West.  Parsis did their most thriving business in Canton, Macao, Hong Kong and Shanghai.  And regrettably traded in opium too. 

      Since Parsis could go to such far off places why not Sind?  And to Sind, they did go 

      There is an indirect evidence to suggest that there were Zoroastrians in Sind, a few centuries ago.  In modern times it seems that because of congenial conditions and liberal trade policies of the Mirs of Talpur, some Parsis came to Sind in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.  According to records the first Parsi firm to establish in Sind (1820-22) was Jasawalla & Co. at Hyderabad, which was the capital of Mirs. 

      This was the period when Napoleon died (1821). Ludwig Van Beethoven composed his Masterpiece –the Ninth Symphony, and the first railway started in England. 

      Parsis of Gujarat were looking for new opportunities and the first Afghan war came as a promising prospect.  The East India Co. had always considered Russia (Czarist) as their arch trade rival, and made every effort to prevent it from trading with India.  As Afghanistan was the route by which Russia could trade with India, it was imperative for the English to have an obsequious government in Afghanistan.  So in 1839 a military operation was planned and the first Afghan War started.  Two years earlier Queen Victoria had ascended the throne of England.  

      Many Parsis went along with the British army as contractors to supply goods and also with commissariat.  The English were also consolidating their hold on Sind and a few Parsi establishments started to come up here.  Since it was obvious that Karachi would grow in importance some Parsis who had gone to Afghanistan, when the war ended, came to Karachi to try their hand at trade here.  Between 1839-42 there were already a few Parsi Trading organizations in Karachi with their head quarters in Hyderabad. 

      The population of Karachi at that time was between 14,000 and 15,000.  Beyond the walls of Karachi town there were suburbs, and gardens bordered the banks of Lyari River.  There were no buildings possessing any remarkable features.  There were 21 mosques, 13 darghas (shrines), and about 34 Hindu temples and faquir maths. (Colonies of beggars)  The value of trade at that time was over two million rupees.  The chief articles exported were ghee, indigo and wheat.  There were few articles manufactured in town.  They were loongees, caps and gur-jo-daru.  This daru (wine) though it was a nasty compound, was much used by the natives.  Fish was dried and salted for export.  Salt was extracted from seawater at Mauripur and a camel load of salt was sold in Karachi for ten annas.  There was a licensed gambling house.  And import and export taxes were levied by the Mirs.  

      On the recommendation of Sir Alexander Burns, Jahangir Jasawalla & Co. sent goods and two salesmen to Kabul.  They were Ardesher Jijibhai Mukadam and Bejonji Nanabhai Billimoria (Kabuli).  Nusserwanji Shapurji Bhedwar was one of the returnees from Afghanistan who settled in Karachi.■  

[To be continued] 


By Ali A. Jafarey 

“WE revere Zarathushtra as the lord and leader of material existence, and the foremost in the Divine Doctrine. He is the most benevolent and the best of the good-ruling among all human beings; he is the most splendid and the most glorious of all human beings; he is the most worthy of veneration and the most worthy of glorification of all human beings; and he is the most worthy of our pleasure and the most worthy of our praises among all human beings; because should the best righteousness be the criterion, he is, for us, cherished and worthy of every veneration and glorification.” [FARVARDIN YASHT-152]  

A bonny boy was born to Doghduyah and Pourushaspa Spitâma on a fine morning of 6th Farvardin, 26th March 3,772 years ago.  They named him Zarathushtra.  The Spitâmas were a prosperous cattle-raising family and lived near the bank of a river in Airyana Vaeja, once northeastern Iran and now in Central Asia.  Doghduyah was an exceptionally open-minded bright lady.  She took care of Zarathushtra in education and provoked in him the desire to search and discover.   She set him on the road to discover truth, the truth. 

      Provoked to discover truth, Zarathushtra discovered Mazda Ahura, literally The Super-Intellect Being, a god so different from human-visualized gods, a god transcendental and yet so close as to be a beloved, a god very impersonal in mind but very personal in thoughts, a god that means only good.  A Super-intellect that wisely creates, sustains, maintains, and promotes its creation.  A Super-intellect that is --Spenishta Mainyu, the Most Progressive Mind, which is the most increasing mentality, and not a static godhead.  A Super-intellect that communions and inspires creation through Seraosha, the inner-voice within it.   A Super-Intellect that has granted freedom of thought, will, word, action and choice to creations and endowed them with good mind, truth, power, and peace to prosper and progress to wholeness and immortality. 

      Zarathushtra’s one discovery, the best, Mazda, provided him with all the principles of good life on this earth and beyond. Provoked by his mother, when he was a child, he became a Mâthran, thought-provoker par excellence for humanity.  He laid the foundation of his universal religion, Daenâ Vanguhi the Religion of Good Conscience, the religion that means constant progress, continuous modernization toward eternal bliss. 

      The above quotation from the Farvardin Yasht addresses him in superlatives.  Superlatives he fully deserves as a Mânthran –a thought-provoker, as a lord and leader of human beings in this bodily life.  Yet the ancient poet does not deify him because he knew well from Zarathushtra’s teachings that God alone is the Lord and Leader of the mental and material, spiritual and physical existence.  Zarathushtra has remained a human being all throughout the 4,000-year-old history of the Good Conscience Religion, a rare phenomenon, indeed. 

      On the sixth day of Farvardin, we at the Zarathushtrian Assembly united with Zarathushtra in thought, word and deed through his Gāthās, the divine message in the sublime songs, join “the entire progressing world” and hail our Mânthran on his 3,772nd birth anniversary and keeping in mind the vast difference between the term “spread all over” and the practice of “thinning out over the globe”, reaffirm the good news quoted in the Farvardin Yasht that “Henceforth the Religion of Good Conscience of Worshipping the Wise One will spread all over the seven regions of the earth” in order to continuously renovate and modernize our living, our life on this good earth and beyond. ■ 

(‘Courtesy: The Zarathushtrian Assembly’) 



By Jamshid Cawasji Katrak 


F all the festivals of the Zarathushtrians, the Khordadsal is, next to the New Year day the most important festival. On the authority of the book of Avesta and Zend, Dastur Darab Hormazdiyar has given an account of this day.  It was called Navroze-Khordadi.  On this day Drun ceremony and Yasna service were performed, and then people made merry, held social gatherings and entertainments.  What will happen to every man during the whole year is written on this day; and hence it is called the day of Barad, that is the day of prerogatives and privileges. Hormazd bestows on men rewards for that year so that they might do good deeds, acts of charity and speak the truth.  On this auspicious “New Day of Khordad”, one should perform ceremonies of Yasna, Afringan and Myzad.  All the Farohars of the pious confer blessings and benedictions on Khordadsal day. 

      The Revayet of Shapur Bharuchi states that during the Haven Gah on Khordadsal day, 9 Khorshed Nyaeshes and 3 Meher Nyaeshes should be consecrated on this day. 

      A manuscript of Khordeh Avesta written 250 years ago by Mobed Jamshed Kaikobad Jamshed, and belonging to the late Ervad Maneckji R. Unvala states that Khordadsal day is also called Navroji Khurdai, a term similar to that given by Dastur Darab Hormiazdiyar--- Khurdai meaning Khurdadi.  The Ms. gives other names for this day:  Sal Khoda, Naoroz Khodai, which means “Lord of the Year”, and “Lord of the New Day.”  These terms convey deep meaning.  Ervad Sharriarji D. Bharucha considers this manuscript as “by far the most comprehensive Ms of all the Khordeh Avesta examined” by him. 

Remarkable Events associated with Khordadsal: 

      A Pahalavi book entitled Madigani Mah Fervardin, Roz Khordad gives an account of some remarkable events: 

      Holy Zarthost asked Hormazd why Roz Khordad of Mah Farvardin, was considered by men as greater, better and more exalted than other days, Hormazd in reply, narrates some important events which occurred on this day. 

      The soul of the worldly creatures was created on this day.  The origin of the Aryan and the non-Aryan race became manifest.  Gayomard the first man appeared in the world.  The first human pair Mashya and Mashyaneh grew up from the ground.  Hoshang the early lawgiver appeared in the world. Tehmurasp made the wicked Aharman his steed for thirty years.  Firdousi calls him Deoband.  In the Ram Yasht, we notice Tehmurasp thus praying “Grant me this, O Vayu, that I may ride Angromainyu, turned into the shape of a horse, all around the earth, from one end to the other, 30 years.” 

      On this day, King Jamshed made the world immortal and non-decaying.  Faridun divided his kingdom amongst his three sons, and two elder brothers killed their youngest brother Irach.  Minocher avenged the death of his grandfather Irach.  Sam son of Nariman, (i.e. Kershasp) killed the demon Snavidhka. The Zamyad Yasht narrates about this Snavidhka, and Kershasp killing him. 

      On this day, Gayomard killed Arezur, son of Ahriman.  King Kaikhusru killed Afrasiab in revenge for his father Siyavakhsh.  He entrusted sovereignty to Lohrasp and went to the heavens.  On this day Holy Zarathushtra saw and conversed with Hormazd and received the Mazdaysnian religion.  And King Vishtasp accepted the religion from Zarathosht. ■ 

[Source: ‘Iranian & Oriental Papers’ (Tehran 1960), by the author] 


By Ezekiel Isaac Maleka 


VERY one of us should find the time for meditation and communion with the Creator.  We should judge and determine if our actions are correct, whether they are appropriate before the Lord who has granted us life, and who is gracious to us every moment.  If we find we have acted properly, we should fear no one.  We should live in a manner that material considerations and personal benefits don’t matter. 

      Meditation lights up your heart, and liberates you from all desire for evil.  In meditation you may discuss your tribulations with God; you may excuse yourself for your misdeeds and implore the Lord to grant you your desire to approach nearer to God.  Devote some time each day to commune with the Lord in solitude; converse with Him.  If you cannot concentrate, continue to express your thoughts in words.  Words are like water which fall upon a rock until it breaks; words will break through your flinty heart.  Words are the shell, meditation the kernel.  Words are the body of prayer, meditation its spirit. 

      Nothing can be accomplished without concentration, which is the beginning of meditation.  Mystical inspiration will automatically flow, once the power of concentration is acquired.  Meditation is diving deep within you.  In meditation, we communicate with our inner silent life.  The knowledge of self is like union with God.  Self-realization is spiritual attainment.  The Bible speaks of self-denial.  People think it means not eating and drinking, giving up all that is beautiful and good in life, going somewhere in solitude never to appear again. 

      Self-denial, however, comes from self-forgetting.  If you study your surroundings you will find that those who are happy are so because they have less thought of self.  If you are unhappy, it is because you think of yourself too much. A person is more bearable when he thinks less of himself. The greatest misery is self-pity.  That person is heavier than rock; heavy for himself and heavy for others. 

      Meditation in Jewish experience represents a rich treasure of special interest to us today. Meditative wisdom focuses on your inner self, the spiritual dimension of your nature and deeper hungers of your spirit that cannot be satisfied on the material or sociological planes alone.  Like Abraham, Moses and Daniel there are many examples in the Bible who observed the principles of meditation. Prophet Elijah, King Solomon, King David and others practiced meditation. * 

      A Talmudic sage once taught: If a man prays only according to the precise text of the prayer and adds nothing from his own heart, his prayer is not complete.  After we have recited the traditional prayers, beautiful as they are, we often have the feeling that in our hearts there linger some precious sentiments to which we have no expression.  These are our own personal yearnings, our most intimate thoughts. Sometimes we are not able to find the words, for there are thoughts that lie too deep for words.  At such a time, we pray without words, as Jewish people do in a moment of silent prayer called Amidah. 

      Baal Shem Tov once declared:  When wood burns it is the smoke alone that rises upward leaving the grosser elements below, so it is with prayer.  The sincere intention alone ascends to heaven.  Sincere intentions find wings without words. The Psalmist tells us, “To you silence is praise.”  We can praise in silence, we can petition in silence, we can pray in silence. ■ [Source: ‘Indiatimes’]        

* Asho Zarathushtra too practiced silent meditation --tushnâ maitis. In Ushtavaiti Gatha 1.15 Yasna Ha 43.15 he points out that silent meditation is best for steady inner growth. 


have kissed this world with my eyes and my limbs; I have warped it within my heart in numberless folds; I have folded its days and nights with thoughts till the world and my life have grown one, -- and I love my life because I love the light of the sky so woven with me. 

If to leave this world be as real as to love it – then there must be a meaning in the meeting and the parting of life.  If that love were deceived in death, then the canker of this deceit would eat into all things, and the stars would shrivel and grow black.   [RABINDRANATH TAGORE] 

Published for Informal Religious Meetings Trust Fund, Karachi

By Virasp Mehta

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