Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Divine Experience at the AVA YAZAD PARABH

From: Deen Parast
Date: Mar 29, 2007 12:15 AM
Subject: A Divine Experience at the AVA YAZAD PARABH

 A Divine Experience at the AVA YAZAD PARABH

The sun was shining strongly when the Parsees started arriving at Radio Club, Colaba, for the annual AVA YAZAD PARABH. This is the ancient festival on Ava Roj, Ava Mahino when the Zoroastrian Yazad of the waters, Ava Ardvisur Banu, is worshipped.

Young and old, our community arrived decked in clean and spotless clothes, traditional as well as modern. Colourful scarfs adorned the women, and the men had their traditional Phetas or caps, with children dressed colourfully as well. The walkway leading to the inside of the Radio club was lined with a number of colourful Parsi stalls selling religious artifacts and heirlooms, clocks with pictures of Persepolis soldiers, T-shirts with Persia on them and even wafer biscuits.

Then there were rows and rows of chairs on the deck leading out to the middle of the ocean, seemingly leaving the hustle and bustle of the crowded metropolis behind. The rolling waves lapped around on all three sides, with hazy brown mountains in the distance, a fine natural setting for worshipping one of the greatest Divinities of Mother Nature, the Divinity of Ava which in her form of purifying water is responsible for all life on earth.

In the past centuries, our forefathers used to worship in the lap of nature, a great English poet Lord Byron wrote about them in the following excellent words:

    Not vainly did the early Persian make
    His altar the high places, and the peak
    Of earth o'er gazing mountains, and thus take
    A fit and unwall'd temple, there to seek
    The Spirit, in whose honour shrines are weak'
    Uprear'd of human hands. Come, and compare
    Columns and idol dwellings, Goth or Greek,
    With Nature's realms of worship, earth and air,
    Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy prayer!

    - Lord Byron, in "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage".

So in that excellent natural setting, where fishing boats, yachts, cruise boats and naval vessels bobbed around on the waters on the horizon, and the Gateway of India loomed in the distance, all eyes were on the group of twenty-one white robed priests as they sat behind the long white curtains, accepting the huge piles of sandalwood offered by the devotees, and then started the Holy Jashan ceremony facing the blue sea.

The community fell silent as the Holy Mathravani filled the atmosphere, the Head Priest Dasturji Khurshed Dastur chanting powerfully with the other priests intoning the sacred verses in the background.

For a while it seemed as if the community was in the presence of the ancient Magav Sahebs at Demavand Koh, where such spiritual prayers can be heard all day long.

For a while it seemed as if there was a spiritual link created between the earth, the ocean, the sky and the Yazatas, and they had come down to that spot to bless the priests and those who had gathered there.

For a while it seemed that paradise had come to earth, such was the power of our sacred Mathravani.

Then the Jashan ended, and it was followed by a Humbandagi led by Dasturji Khurshed Dastur. The combined voices of hundreds of our Humdeen filled the air with resonating Mathravani. The fruit and sweet offerings (Chasni) were then carried to the people in large plates so that they could partake of the sanctified offerings. At the same time, Parsi men and women were offering flowers and coconuts and sweets to the sea, facing the sea beyond the iron railings so they could pray to Ava directly themselves sitting on their wooden chairs.The sun was setting.

The stage was occupied by Dasturji Khurshed Dastur who made an impassioned plea to the community to end the in-fighting. This was followed by a powerful speech on the Yazatas by Ervad Ramiyar Karanjiar.

Ervad-Saheb explained in this wonderful speech that Ava Yazad is worshipped for the benefit of finding a suitable life-partner, and for helping in childbirth, Ram Yazad is worshipped for giving Ramashni or Joy, Sarosh Yazad gave us the good quality of obediance, Meher Yazad helped us in contracts and friendships and was worshipped by soldiers, and Behram Yazad gave us victory over enemies, help in difficulties, and help in long journeys. Tir Yazad is worshipped for giving us rain and for helping with eye ailments, likewise other Yazads govern other parts of the body.

Ervad-Saheb emphasized that the Pahlavi scriptures said that if man goes one step towards the Yazads, they take more than a thousand steps toward him. He said the first step was to say the Yazad's name and "beresad", such as "Ava Yazad Beresad" on the Yazad's day, for as many times as you like. Beresad means you are asking the Yazad for assistance.

He said the second step would be to pray the Siroja Yasht, a powerful prayer which has invocations of all the 30 Yazads of the month and praises of their Glory. The third step would be to pray the Yazad's own Yasht, such as Ava Yasht, BehramYasht and so on.

Ervad-Saheb said that our calendar month had holy-days or holidays on the days of Hormuzd, DaepAdar, DaepMeher, DaepDin. These are the 1st, 8th, 15th and 23rd days of the month and are the days of Hormuzd, and served as days on which man rested and worshipped. The Daep days are the days of Hormuzd before the Adar, Meher and Din days respectively.

Ervad-Saheb said there is a lot of treasure in the Zarathushtri religion, still our people go to other religions for help. They do so, and they get the help they request, but they must remember it is at a heavy interest that they will have to repay to the other religion. Why get a loan at a heavy interest when the treasure is at your own house? Ervad-Saheb said "Ask, and you shall receive".

The evening then ended with Gujarati religious songs about Parsees and Iran and India. Children played merrily, running around the wooden chairs. Old Parsi men of previous generations were seen singing the Gujarati songs with gusto, watched admiringly by their spouses and the younger generation. Red-blooded red-faced Parsi men, with the original Parsi-panu, were seen everywhere along with their fair and beautiful Parsi spouses. Then the Parsi people, with visible glows on their faces, and with happiness in their hearts, started to leave for home, with a promise to themselves and their loved ones to be back next year, for the divine experience of the Ava Yazad   Parabh, when Divinity truly descends to earth by the power of our sacred religion. 




Monday, March 26, 2007

Fwd: Come lets celebrate Avan mahino, Avan roj tomorrow (Tues, 27 March 2007)

From: Tehemton Adenwalla <>
Date: Mar 26, 2007 12:23 PM
Subject: Come lets celebrate Avan mahino, Avan roj tomorrow (Tues, 27 March 2007)

Dear Zarathushti humdins,
tomorrow on Tues, 27 March is Avan mahino and Avan roz, commonly called Avan nu Parab. Parab is the day in a month where the day and date represent the same Ahmeshashpand or Yazad.
The day is celebrated with great religious frevour and gusto by Parsis in India. A visit is made to the local sea, river, lake or the well; and prayers are offered to Avan Yazaz, also fondly called Avan Banu because of her feminity. Along with prayers, Parsis make small offerings of sweet, non-polluting things to Avan Banu, like the favourite Dal-ni-pori, saakar (clarified sugar), milk, coconut and a few flowers.
When they pray before the well, they also get a flower-jali done, this is a grand design of garlands wonen so that it embraces the well. A photograph of a Parsi gentleman praying at the Bhikha Behram well in Mumbai with a jali is enclosed.
One must understand that prayers of Avan Nyaish or Avan Yasht MUST BE done in the daytime only, never after the sun sets.
Tomorrow Mumbai Parsis wll go early to the sea ("Dariye jashe") at places like Charni Road (opposite the Taraporewalla Aquaruium) or Marine Lines and then they will pray and offer dal-ni-pori,etc. These items are on sale there too, and perhaps if you are keen in supporting our poor humdins who make great efforts in making these poris, you may buy it from them and do the good deed for the day! Of course, you can eat the pori too, but only after offering at least a small portion of it to Avan Banoo first.
Now that out of the way, lets see where else our Parsis go for prayer. The Bhikha Behram well at Churchgate (near the MTNL office) is another favourite place for Avan parab day. Many Parsis will travel the distance and come even from distant suburbs like Andheri and Borivali to bow and pray before this well on Avan parab day. So much is the devotion and so many the numbers in morning, that there is actually a queue formed, where each devotee patiently waits his or her turn before the others do their kusti, prayers and light a diva at the well. See the inspiring photos.
There is also a good jashan ceremony held in the evenings at the Radio Club at Appolo Bunder, Colaba; which I believe begins with a jashan by many mobed sahebs. Then some good devotional and religiously inspiring songs are sung (and 3 cheers for these sporting ladies and gentlemen who keep this traditional alive) and the Chief Guest and others give a small informative speech. That is followed by entertainment.
We enclose some lovely photos of Avan Parab celebrated at various junctures, including the serene Charni Road setting, the inspiring Bhikha Behram koova and the Radio Club where the vast sea meets you so close.
We must all participate on this day to the best we can, if not in public, then at least in private by making a quick trip to the agiary koova, or even better to the sea, and Mumbai is blessed with a long coastline.
Come on lets celebrate Avan nu parab tomorrow.
If someone is aware of the programmes scheduled tomorrow at Radio Club and elsewhere, do share it with us.
And those who actually frequent the events at Charni Road, Bhikha Behram koova or Radio Club could send us some photos and a small write-up, if possible.
Tehemton B. Adenwalla (see photos in the attachments)

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Zarathushtra Saheb's birthday - Khordad Sal Mubarak

From: Tehemton Adenwalla <>
Date: Mar 26, 2007 4:14 AM
Subject: Zarathushtra Saheb's birthday - Khordad Sal Mubarak

Dear fellow Zarathushtis,
today is Khordad Sal according to the Fasli calendar.
This is the day when our Exalted Prophet Zarathushtra (Naabi-o-na-Naabi) was born.
Zarathushtra Saheb was on a Divine Mandate when He came to earth.
To further the Mazdayasni din and strike the daevas with his Videovatat.
He succeeded in both these missions.
Let us take a moment off our busy time and pause to remember Him and His lofty Mission on earth.
Let us attune ourselves with His Fravashi today.
Let us thank Him for giving us the Wonderful Zarathushti Din and teaching us the Laws of Asha, given to Him by none other than Ahura Mazda.
I am sharing a small clip of a very touching song dedicated to Zarathushtra Saheb: "Koi puche mane kya che tara Zarathosht Paigambar, dil cheeri ne batavu mara jigar ni andar"
Amin Amin Amin.
Tehemton B. Adenwalla

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Salgreh of the Rustam Faramna Agiary at Dadar, Mumbai on Adar roj, Avan mah, YZ 1376 (Mon, 26 Mar 2007)

From: Tehemton B. Adenwalla <>
Date: Mar 25, 2007 12:33 PM
Subject: Salgreh of the Rustam Faramna Agiary at Dadar, Mumbai on Adar roj, Avan mah, YZ 1376 (Mon, 26 Mar 2007)

 Dear fellow Zarathustis
On Adar roj, Avan mah, YZ 1376 (Mon, 26 March 2007) will be the Salgreh of the Rustam Faram Agiary at Dadar, Mumbai.
The Seth Rustomjee Nasservanji Rustamfaramna Adarian was consecrated in the year YZ 1298 (AD 1929) and will be 78 years old.
This Adarian is located in the Dadar Parsi Colony area and is frequented by the 5000+ residents with great regularity. If I am not mistaken, there are also lectures held in the agiary premises.
Speaking of lectures, will there be a special lecture or speech on the Salgreh tomorrow. What about the jashan to be held and other functions.
If you are aware of the programme for the Salgreh day, please share with us all.
Also, if you happen to go there tomorrow, then send us a small report on the celebrations - a brief idea about the speech, the speaker, the topic, and of course the jashan ceremony.
If you have photos / pictures of the Agiary, do share it with all.
I am also enclosing below a Kathi Appeal email forwarded to us by Mr. Rustom C Chothia. It is the Kathi wood and Baval which is used in our Agiaries and Atashbehrams to keep the Flames burning perpetually. Hence the kathi stock is even more important than the sandalwood offering, which we make to the Atash Padshah. Please donate generously to such important funds.
Tehemton B. Adenwalla  (see below)
encl. Kathi Appeal from Mr. Chothia
From:  Rustom chothia < >
Greetings in the name of Ahura Mazda. Once again  I  come to you to  ask you to think about our  Atash  Padshah   Sahibs.  Most of the Padshah  Sahibs in the rural areas  are starving  for  kathis. Several Padshahs  in Bombay  are   also  on   the verge  of closing down. Income from the founders corpus has halved and cost of baval kathis have  doubled in the last couple   of  years.  Hence   the    need   for us  from  all over  the   world   to chip in and  help   keep the holy fires  burning till infinity.
One to two tons of baval kathi is required for one Padshah  Sahib per month. and one ton costs around  Rs. 2500=00 to Rs. 4500=00  ($50 to $90)

Please make your cheque (in any currency) in the name of: "Perin R.C.Chothia,"

and send it to:

Perin R.C.Chothia,
757, Road No 7,
Parsi Colony,
Dadar, (E)
Mumbai 400014.

Please mention in your covering letter that the amount sent is "Donation for Fire Temple only".
Receipt will be issued for every donation.

Wishing you the blessings of the Padshah Sahibs for the amount well spent.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 8 (final) - by Roni K Khan

From: TZML Eductn & Information Committee <>
Date: Mar 18, 2007 10:31 AM
Subject: Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 8 (final) - by Roni K Khan

Dear Zarathushti humdins,
with this posting we serialise the last of the 8 parts of Mr. Roni K Khan's informative series on how wrong the concept of conversion is.
Roni had taken great pains to research the subject and consulted many a scholar in preparing this series.
In the final episode, Roni explains in depth just what exactly is meant by the universality of the Zarathushti religion. Does it mean converting all and sundry to Zarathushtis? Or does it carry a deeper truth.  Roni clarifies: "This is the balanced answer. This is the REAL universality of Zoroastrianism. Eternal Truths apply throughout the universe without exception. The eternal metaphysical messages of the Zarathushtrian PHILOSOPHY are universally applicable and univrsally accessible to all mankind. But the whole Zarathushtrian RELIGION is not. "
Read the following article to understand this great truth in more details.
Many of Roni's articles, includuing this one is to be found at, which also hosts many more illuminating writings on our Zarathushti religion.
After Navroze, we will bring you more informative and educative articles pertaining to our religion and our Parsi way of life.
So here is wishing all of you and your dear families a Happy Jamshed-i-Navroze Mubarak.
Ushta Te.
With best wishes,
from the TZML Education & Information Committee

Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 8 (& final)
by Roni K Khan



Right at the beginning of this article, our opening words had been: "Is Zoroastrianism a `universal' religion? It is, and it isn't. Sorry if that sounds like a contradiction, but it is just a way of saying that the balanced answer really lies some where in between."

It is now time to explain. What is the "balanced answer"?

For starters, we may remember something else we had said at the beginning: "Zoroastrianism is not universal in the sweeping sense in which it is made out to be by some heterodox elements in our community. By this, we are not implying that our `progressive' friends are proposing or attempting to convert the whole world to Zoroastrianism. But what we do see, and what we seriously question, is their presumption that the Zarathushtrian religion, including its many unique practices, is `universally applicable' to all souls on earth, and that every human being is free and able to join it."

Zoroastrianism is NOT universal in the sweeping heterodox sense of being potentially appropriate, applicable and accessible across the board to everyone, andindeed, we have devoted much time and space to substantiate this in previous sections of th is article. The reader may please recall our earlier detailed discussions about the soul, about the structural components of religion, and about the various heterodox fallacies.

But that still does not answer our present inquiry about how Zoroastrianism IS universal, in the genuine and non-heterodox view of the matter. This, then, is the task at hand, and what we now set about to address. What is the "balanced answer"? What is the real universalism? What is the real universality of Zoroastrianism? To answer that question, let us start by taking the help of a Zarathushtrian delegate to an international congress on religion, where he offered a paper presenting the heterodox "discovery" about the universality of Zoroastrianism. No, dear reader, we have not taken leave of our senses; help in a truthful cause can come from even the most unlikely quarters!

We shall assiduously attend to the Gathic references liberally cited by the Delegate, in deference to the purity of his heterodox convictions reportedly being up to the true-blue "Gathas alone" standard. In prefacing his Gathic discourse on universality to his audience, the Delegate informs that the Gathas are "full of a vision that Ahura Mazda's revelations were for all mankind." We couldn't agree more.

After this good start, he offers many edifying Gathic excerpts, from which we now proceed to quote, retaining the Delegate's own emphases and also accepting the translations provided (note: source-references for each are not given by him) at their face value, unless it becomes absolutely necessary to point out some error:-

"Now I will speak of the word which the most holy Ahura Mazda has told me as the best for all mankind to hear ... ." (Gatha Yasna 45-5.) We agree. Can the holy Word ("vacho") of Ahura Mazda Himself, the Creator of All, not be the best, or not be a blessing for all mankind to hear and to heed?

"Let wisdom come in the company of Truth, across the world." (G.Y. 50-5, according to the Delegate. As far as we know, however, no such words occur in 50-5.) All the same, we agree -- at least with the nobility of the sentiment. In fact, we would hope that Wisdom and Truth may spread across the entire universe, not just across our little planet.

"In Yasna 31, the Prophet offers himself as Ahura Mazda's instrument, to enlighten all people about key principles like those of divine justice, fight against evil thoughts and deeds, and choice to follow the path of Asha through Vohu Manah which all humans have," the Delegate comments. We agree. Indeed, it would be nothing short of criminal to withhold such "key principles" from all of humanity. To wield the sword of Asha and fight against Evil, within and without, is the great task before mankind, and every human being should become a soldier of Righteousness to help bring the whole world to Frasho-kereiti as soon as possible.

"Speak O Wise One with the words of Your mouth for us to know. By the means of which I might convert ["vaaurayaa"] all the living."G.Y. 31-3.) We vehemently disagree. This is a gross misrepresentation of this pristine Gathic verse, if the word "convert" is used in the proselytizing sense. The verse has absolutely NOTHING to do with converting from one religion to another, and that is conclusive. The word "religion" does not even exist there. Furthermore, "vaaurayaa" does not mean "convert" in the Avestan, Sanskrit or other Indo-Aryan languages. The context of G.Y. 31-3 is unquestionably the context of the Two Mainyus of Good and Evil, and the so-called conversion is purely from the Wrong path of Evil to the Right path of Good -- NOT from one religion to another. (Readers interested in a detailed analysis of this verse may please refer to my rejoinders in The Bombay Samachar of 14 July 1991, 31 January 1993, and 23 May 1993, and to Dasturji Dr.H. K. Mirza's comments in his article of 04 October 1992 in the same publication.)

"While I have power and strength, I shall teach men to seek Asha." (G.Y. 28-4.) We agree. Could we expect anything less from Asho Zarathushtra? And shouldn't all men be taught to seek Righteousness?

"O Mazda, give us the moral courage that we, Your devotees, may spread far and wide Your holy word." (G.Y. 28-7.) We agree. It is indeed the duty of every true devotee of Ahura Mazda, whether king or commoner, to spread His eternal Message of Truth as far and wide as he can, so that the wicked ("khrafstraa"; G.Y.28-5) may be overpowered ("taurvayaamaa"; G.Y. 28-6).

"The satisfaction which Thou shalt give to both factions through Thy pure fire and molten metal O Wise One, is to be given as a sign among living beings, in order to destroy the deceitful and to save the truthful." ( G.Y. 51-9.) We agree. Every human being does receive signs or signals from Ahura Mazda to show whether he is treading the path of Truth or has gone astray on the path of Untruth. Each one of us should be wise enough to heed the voices of conscience and experience, to know that "evil fate is in store for the Untruthful, while Illumination is for him who clings to Truth," as Asho Zarathushtra puts it in the immediately preceding verse ( G.Y. 51-8)

"Listen with your ears to the best things. Reflect with a clear mind upon the two choices of decision. Being aware, to declare yourselves to Him before the great retribution (final judgment)." ( G.Y. 30-2, erroneously referenced as "31-2" by the Delegate.) The learned Delegate informs his audience that this is where Zarathushtra "gives the crux of his teaching." How true! We agree. Indeed, the crux of the Prophet's teaching is to enjoin all men to choose wisely between the two choices of decision, between Truth and Untruth, Right and Wrong -- represented by Spanyaaand Angra, the Two Spirits of Good and Evil.

As Asho Zarathushtra expresses it in the immediately succeeding verse (G.Y. 30-3) with such perfect clarity, "Now, in the beginning were these Two Spirits ... these Two show themselves as Good and Bad ... and of these Two the Wise rightly do choose, but not so the Unwise." Unless the golden day dawns when all men and women who inhabit this earth, regardless of their race and religion, make the correct MORAL choice between Good and Evil in all their thoughts, words and deeds, the purpose of creation cannot be fulfilled and Frasho-kereiti cannot be ushered into the world.

The Delegate wraps up his Gathic discourse with this very sound observation: "It should be noted that in all these Gathas, Zarathushtra does not refer only to the people he preached. He talks of `all people,' `what is best for mankind,' `living beings,' the spread of Ahura Mazda's messages `far and wide,' so that all can be brought back to the path of Asha." We could not agree more.

Dear Reader, how could we possibly disagree? The Delegate is talking about the HAKIKAT component of our religion! As he himself puts it, "Like all profound PHILOSOPHIES of religions divinely revealed by God to men, Zarathushtra's transcends the narrow sense ... " (emphasis mine). As we know, the HOLY GATHAS are the quintessence and the summum bonum of the Hakikat of the Zarathushtrian religion.

And as we also know, Hakikat expounds the transcendent metaphysical philosophies of Ultimate Causes and Effects at abstract and esoteric levels. These are the Eternal Verities, the Final Truths. ETERNAL VERITIES ARE UNIVERSAL. If they were not universal, they would not be "eternal," and neither would they be "verities." The Truth is one, immutable, indivisible, and universal. Nobody has a patent on the Truth; it is nobody's monopoly. How could we ever disagree that the Hakikat aspect of our religion, most conspicuously enshrined in our holiest scripture, the Gathas, is utterly timeless, utterly transcendent, utterly UNIVERSAL?

Having said that, we quickly part company with our Delegate friend. In his learned paper, he has failed to perceive anything besides the philosophy of Zoroastrianism. A religion is more than a philosophy. A religion is a COMPLETE SPIRITUAL SYSTEM composed of all the four interrelated, interacting and integrated components of Hakikat, Marefat, Tarikat and Shariat. A philosophy is transferable, a religion is not.

The Great Heterodox Fallacy mistakes the whole Zarathushtrian religion for its Hakikat component, and this partial perspective is disastrous. A myopic view is always distorted. Remember the blind men and the elephant? Witness the heterodox howlers of "The Three H's Only," "The Gathas Alone," "Dismantle The Three R's," "Free Choice Unlimited," and "Universal Religion"! These are the wobbly legs of conversion -- distorted premises give distorted conclusions.

Our religion does not convert, in principle. And it does not need to, in practice.

* Charles Potter: "Numerically considered, Zoroastrianism is today the smallest of the world's living religions ... Yet it lives, unrecognized, in the churches of its successful rivals and quietly influences their most cherished doctrines."

* Mary Boyce: "Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed credal religions, and it has probably had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith ... Today external forces have reduced the Zoroastrians themselves to tiny scattered minorities, living mostly in Iran and India; but beliefs first taught by their prophet are still subscribed to by other peoples throughout the world."

* Duncan Greenlees: "Zarathushtra's mission has completed its task; what he had to give the world has been received by other religions and is now either universally accepted or is being adequately preached by them."

This is the balanced answer. This is the REAL universality of Zoroastrianism. Eternal Truths apply throughout the universe without exception. The eternal metaphysical messages of the Zarathushtrian PHILOSOPHY are universally applicable and univrsally accessible to all mankind. But the whole Zarathushtrian RELIGION is not.

Roni K. Khan

Roz Sarosh Mah Khordad 1364 A.Y.

07 November 1994 A.C.

End of Part VIII


Friday, March 16, 2007

ARZ advertisements - religious "conversions" do bring a lot of harm

Dear Zarathushtis,

[ cc: Vada Dasturjis, Ervad Sahebs, Bombay Parsee Punchayat (BPP), Zoroastrian Studies, Religious Anjumans, Priestly Madrassas, Traditional Zoroastrian Home page moderators, TMYZ officials, prominent Zarathushtis, etc ]

We are fortunate that we have knowledgeable writers in our community who continue to guide us from hidden dangers.

In last week's Jame of 11-2-2007, in a paid advertisement, ARZ - Association of 'Revival' of Zoroastrianism, had asked to be shown one instance where religious conversion has harmed a religion.

It seems the over-enthusiastic people at ARZ have not done their homework.

In another well-researched posting, Mrs. Pervin J Mistry, has given several instances, which show clearly how much damage any religious movement can cause in the world, if they believe that their religion is superlative and it should herald a campaign of spreading it to believers of other religion.

This spreading of a religion to people who are already born in another great religion is mischief at the least, and down-right arrogance at its worst. "Come and see how great my religion is", "Your religion is nothing compared to mine", "Our Prophet has more depth than yours", "Leave your old religion, come and join us" "Our Prophet has himself said in our books that our religion is to be spread across the seven seas", etc etc - these are the common allurements offered to a confused person by people who wish to convert others belonging to another religion.

As we have highlighted, the sad part is that ARZ have not only have made the above mistake, but they are doing it to try and gain a backdoor entry into our community for Parsis who have married outside the fold, and for children of such intermarriages. The Vada Dasturjis and many scholars have clearly told us that what ARZ are doing is wrong, but still ARZ, take "moral" support from individuals like Dina Mcintyre, who is herself married to a non-Zoroastrian.

Let us read what Mrs. Mistry has to say on the false messages propounded by ARZ.

Fellow Zararthustis, do not be mislead by such tempting and over-simplified advertisements by ARZ and their partners AIMZ - which not surprisingly, stands for Association of Intermarried Zoroastrians.

We enclose the latest report by Mrs. Pervin Mistry.

Do read it and share it with other Zoroastrians in India and overseas too, especially in North America, where many Zoroastrians have fallen in the "Gatha Only" trap promoted by non-Zoroastrians like Ali Jafarey.


TZML Admins

(encl report from Mrs. Pervin J Mistry)

Dear Friends,

In last Sunday's issue of the Jam-e (11-2-2007), the weekly advertisement for the A"R"Z appears. Under the heading, "Zoroastrianism is for all mankind", it is stated: "Show us one instance in history where the spread of a religion has harmed that religion."

It is surprising that the Association for "Revival" (read "Ruination") of Zoroastrianism has departed from the usual scriptural misinterpretation. Perhaps, wishfully thinking, they have learnt something of the Sacred Scriptures and now they wish to learn the lessons of history!

1) First of all, bigger is not better! We do not look to quantity, rather quality. This is especially true when it relates to a human being. We do not appreciate a person for his wealth or looks. We appreciate a person for his qualities! A wealthy person can be immoral, a din-dushman, but a poor person can have a heart of gold and even be a saint (all saints are poor)! Our Religious community has preserved certain traits through preserving our "tokham". We do not wish to dilute these traits by accepting non-Zarthushtis in our fold. We believe in quality, obedience and faith that a Zarthushti is made of!

2) Secondly, look at what happened when Islam spread. Their numbers increased but they divided into factions. Today, although they follow the teachings of the same prophet, they are killing Muslims of rival factions and destroying even the mosques! This is just one instance in history where the spread of a religion has harmed that religion.

3) Prophet Mohammed asked his disciples not to convert those who already followed a revealed religion; but the zealots looked to expansion, more numbers and disregarded not only the spiritual revelation of their Prophet but plunged all of Europe into religious wars, the Crusades! These religious wars still go on. In the Balkans, many lives were and still are being destroyed due to conversion.

4) In India, most of the population was Hindu. When the Moghuls came, they converted some Hindus to Islam. Does India experience peace? On the contrary, hatred among the different religions is a matter of concern to all.

5) In Iran itself, the Arabs converted the Zarthushtis to Islam. The Iranian Muslims soon separated from mainstream Islam and started the Shi'i sect. Converts from various religions also started the Bahi religion which is a mixture of many religions. There was bloodshed in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in 1979 when thousnads of Bahi were killed due to convertion activities.

6) Christianity expanded through the conversion first propagated by Paul. The Jews and the Christians were religious enemies. Today they share some common concerns due to common political agenda and not due to religious issues.

7) When Christianity spread to India, some Hindus were converted. This created ill feelings among the two religions. Additionally, in India, the Christianity followed by the Indian Christians in villages is far removed from the Christianity followed by the Catholic or other Christian groups. It is a newer version, Indo-Christianity. The same applies to Afro-Christianity. The old customs and traditions of the proselytes still survive.

8) When Christianity spread and multiplied, did it also grow spiritually? No! There are as many factions and rival groups within Christianity as there are religions. These groups fight among themselves and kill their own Christian brothers! Ireland is but one example. The Message of the Prophet is lost due to quantity. The quality suffers!

9) If you increase milk by adding water what will you achieve? More milk? No! It will neither be pure milk nor simply water. It will be a diluted concoction.

10) Who converts? The disenchanted, the heretics, the unwanted in their own individual religions! Remember, the other side is never greener. It is not the name of a religion that makes an individual a better person. As Asho Zarathushtra has emphasized, it is the conversion of the Angre Mainyu within that makes a person spiritually enlightened. Conversion is not an answer but it is a problem that has led to religious wars and hatred among mankind!

11) We have practiced boonak pasbani or the preservation of our tokham, seed or spiritual gene since millennia. Certain moral virtues and spiritual disciplines are ingrained in us since generations. Even Tansen, after Dasturan-e Dastur Meherjirana visited Emperor Akbar's court, has written (sung) that a Parsi's face can never be hidden or mistaken in a crowd! After the Arab conquest, during the worst days the Zarthushtis faced in Iran, the Din-Dasturs of the time have described us as "tokhmak-paspan". If we want to learn from history we should learn how our great Achaemenian Kings ruled over their vast Empire by giving religious freedom to all their subjects in stead of converting them! The Mazdayasni Zarthushti Religion is not a universal religion but its teachings are! Truth is eternal and it does not belong to one particular religion. All religions teach Truth and moral virtues. It is a matter of obedience to follow His Will by respecting the commands of the Religion in which He has placed us by virtue of birth or become rebellious and choose a different religion as one chooses shoes and apparel.

12) I repeat, when religions increased their numbers through conversion, they split! Have they benefited spiritually or are they experiencing hatred and fights among their own groups and also among different religions? Today, Zarthushtis are safe and respected in India, Iran and throughout the world because we do not proselyte and do not increase our numbers through intermarriage either. Religiously, according to our scriptural tenets, we abstain from conversion and interfaith marriage. Historically, this is the way to find peace and brotherhood among nations, communities, religions and mankind!

Hope these explanations will suffice! What is more, the A "R" Z ends their advertisements with "Khshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdao"! By going against the religious mandates, do they believe Ahura Mazda is pleased? They are going against His Din and then have the expectation that HE will be pleased? It is only their myopic vision that cheats them into believing all kinds of things.

The answer to A"R"Z's question is: Look at history. The lessons of history will prove how the spread of religions has led to wars and spiritual dilution!

Thank you.


Pervin J Mistry

ARZ - Mumbai Mirror and the Wadia Brothers

Dear Zarathushti humdins,

we are pleased that a senior of our community, Mrs. Pervin J Mistry has continued to highlight the dangers which ARZ - Association of "Revival?" of Zoroastrianism impose on our community and religion.

Predictably, ARZ has paired with Ali Jafarey and others, we just saw a letter from Ali Jafarey yesterday on the internet, praising the move of ARZ. Well, that has always been Jafarey's forte - to divide the Zoroastrian community.

Mrs. Mistry clearly mentions: "Our religion does not accept proselytes or permit entry to juddins in our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams."

In hitting the nail on the head, we read that : "As a distinct Religious Community we may not stop the ARZ legally from building a place of their own where they admit juddins but we certainly can and must prevent them from using the name "Parsi-Irani Mazdayasni Zarthushti" in their title and also prevent them from calling their place of meeting for the so-called prayers as an "Agiary". "

ARZ also talk about "converting" juddins and juddin spouses.

What more of a mess they can create.

Please see Mrs. Mistry's letter below and spread it amongst all sincere Zoroastrians in India and overseas.


TZML Admins

( Mrs. Pervin Mistry's letter follows below)

Dear Friends,

The ARZ has done it again! That is, they have put their foot in their mouth when one of the Wadia brothers, Kerssie, is reported in the Mumbai Mirror (8th February, 2007) as saying that the new proposed cosmopolitan Agiary near the Nirlon Colony on the Malad-Goregaon stretch of the Highway will permit entry to juddin spouses. Kerssie admits the ARZ will permit juddins to enter their proposed so-called consecrated Agiary but he denies that the ARZ will admit converts! The Wadia brothers desperately need some lessons in logic. No sane person will understand what they have in mind when they pompously state that they will permit entry to juddins (that is, to non-Zarthushtis) but not to converts! When will these two stop amusing the community with their gaffes? There is no difference between a juddin and a non-Zarthushti. Converts are non-Zarthushtis!Our religion does not accept proselytes or permit entry to juddins in our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams. Additionally, what Kerssie Wadia has omitted in this recent statement is the fact that the two brothers maintain they will first "convert" the spouse and then accept these "converts" into our Religious Community and in our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams.

First of all, who are the Wadia brothers to challenge the authority of the Din-Dasturs and "permit" juddins admission into our Agiaries? Even in remote times, there is evidence that we did not permit juddins to enter our consecrated places of worship such as Agiaries and Atash-Behrams. In addition to taking some lessons in basic logic the brothers should read and study our scriptures; alternately, if too busy with their ill-conceived plots against the religion, they should at least read what Kisseh Sanjan narrates. In case they cannot get hold of Kisseh Sanjan they should at least first educate themselves by reading Dasturji Hormazdyar Dastur Kayoji Mirza's book, "Outlines of Parsi History", Bombay 1987, page 233. Dasturji briefly cites from the Kisseh Sanjan that after the Parsis landed at Sanjan, the Dastur appeared before the Rana and requested for some land where the new Zarthushti immigrants could consecrate a Holy Fire (which they named "Iranshah"). The Kisseh Sanjan states, "The land must be cleared 3 fursangs (leagues), so that the sacred ceremonies may be properly performed there. No stranger should have access to that place, and none should approach it except the people of the faith. Not a single one of a different faith should come to that spot, Then only our (work) ceremony with the fire can be correctly observed." (Emphasis is added.)

If the building the ARZ proposes to build is going to be called, by them, an "Agiary", they are sadly mistaken! According to our scriptural tenets, our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams have notices posted that juddins are not permitted to enter! It is clearly stated that except for Parsis no one else can enter! The Wadia brothers are not divinely appointed Prophets to take matters into their own hands and go against what our time-honoured traditions, scriptures and rituals decree.

As a distinct Religious Community we may not stop the ARZ legally from building a place of their own where they admit juddins but we certainly can and must prevent them from using the name "Parsi-Irani Mazdayasni Zarthushti" in their title and also prevent them from calling their place of meeting for the so-called prayers as an "Agiary". This group cannot be called "Zarthushti" or "Zoroastrain" because they have nothing in common with the teachings of our Paigambar Saheb as revealed in the Sacred Avesta.

As a Religious Community we cannot follow different rites and traditions whether we live in different parts of the world or within India itself. Different groups cannot follow different doctrines and yet claim to be "Zarthushti". Asho Zarathushtra did not reveal different doctrines to different groups of his followers. His message is pure, straight and simple. His teachings are revealed in the 21 Nasks which are elaborated in the Pahlavi commentary, the Dinkard. The injunction in the Vendidad, Husparam Nask, Dinkard, Gathas, Chithrem Buyat and Patet against proselytism and interfaith marriage is mandatory for a Zarthushti to obey. We are religiously enjoined to abstain from proselytism and interfaith marriages.

A Zarthushti, a follower of Asho Zarathushtra will naturally obey and follow Asho Zarathushtra's teachings with faith and devotion. No follower ever accepts a teaching through negation, disobedience or disregard of the Teacher's authority. One cannot arbitrarily change the teachings which are Divinely Revealed and corrupt them to suit personal whims or the degrading moral standards of society. A Zarthushti NEVER justifies, rationalizes or accepts wrong as "right". A morally wrong act stems from angre-mainyu, and Zarthushtis actively condemn and speak out against wrong/evil whenever and in whatever form it exists. Din-dushmani is described as one of the worst sins. Religion is, above all else, a Divine Message from God brought by His Divine Messengers; it is a matter of FAITH. We cannot, as a microscopic community, accept changes and practises which are detrimental to our survival and which are religiously untenable.

It is logical to accept that we CANNOT have two Mazdayasni Zarthushti Dins! If the heterodox wish to act against the religious teachings and accept proselytes, intermarry, do away with some or all rituals, change the prayers and the language of the prayers, alter time-honoured traditions they are free to convert themselves to any other "progressive" religion of their choice. They are free to even set up a so-called "religion", a cult of their own. But! They cannot disobey the religious teachings and practices of the Mazdayasni Zarthushti Religion and yet be called "Mazdayasni Zarthushtis" or simply "Zoroastrians!" If "boonak-pasbani" is a scriptural injunction, then, no group or individual who disobeys this religious mandate has the right to be called Zarthushti or "Zoroastrian". None of the renegades have the Divine Authority to alter our traditions and religious mandates.

It is easy to find temporary peace by maintaining that as a community, now, after countless millennia, we split into two groups. As stated we cannot have two groups, each calling itself "Mazdayasni Zarthushti" or simply "Zoroastrians" following two divergent customs and ritual practices in our Agiaries. The better choice is for the ARZ to move out of the religious community and establish their own cult which they may call "Wadiaism" or any other "ism". As Zarthushtis, we emphasize the importance of preserving "tokham" or "boonak-pasbani". To safeguard our religion and our religious identity we sealed our fate in blood and came to India thirteen centuries ago. It was to preserve the RELIGION and not only the ethnic identity that we arrived at the shores of India and established our Agiaries, Atash-Behrams and Dakhmas; preserved our rituals; practised "boonak-pasbani"; and continued wearing our dini-alaat: the sudreh-kusti. Because we preserved our RELIGIOUS IDENTITY, we have survived for millennia through massacres and intense persecution. After arriving in India we did not discard or alter our religion the way the ARZ, AIMZ and other heterodox groups are doing.

So far we have escaped the hatred other religious communities experience within their rival groups. The different factions that exist within a particular religion such as the Christians and the Muslims kill individauls of rival groups and burn Mosques and Churches. The Sunnis burn the holy Mosques of the Shi'its; the Protestants kill the Catholics and destroy their Churches. Are the Wadia brothers under the banner of ARZ starting similar outbursts within our community that is united till now? They are not Prophets having established Divine Communion but they have proven themselves to be Leaders of Din-dushmans and disunity. After thousands of years of existence, our Religious Community now faces separation into different groups! Only One Group, the One that adheres to the time-honoured Teachings, has the righ to be called, "Zarthushtis"!

Our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams are a product of consecration that involve many hours, nay years of daily rituals performed according to the prescribed written rules. These rules are followed by the mobed sahebs in the consecration of every Agiary and Atash-Behram. Through the processes of consecration and through constant recitation of manthra (energy of sound), keeping the sacred Atash perpetually burning (energy of light), through rituals and the bui ceremonies, a magnetic "kash" or defined spiritual boundary is established within the marked area (within Agiaries and Atash-Behrams) in which non-Zarthushtis cannot enter. Our Agiaries and Atash-Behrams create a powerhouse of spiritual energy that houses the resonant vibes of our specific manthras and our rituals. Why should we let non-Zarthushtis enter our sacred consecrated places of worship which are only meant for Parsi-Irani Zarthushtis who are able to actually partake of these beneficent influences and help to enhance the power of this spiritual powerhouse through their own involvement through rituals and manthravani that a juddin is not entitled to and cannot participate in? Before a Zarthushti enters our places of worship, the first requirement is to perform kusti-padyab which non-Zarthushtis CANNOT perform! Hence, the question does not even arise whether or not juddins are permitted to enter our places of worship. The Wadia brothers may build their own structure but they cannot call it an "Agiary" because it does not meet with the religious requirements!

Thank you.


Pervin J Mistry

Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 7 - by Roni K Khan

From: TZML Eductn & Information Committee <>
Date: Mar 16, 2007 3:55 PM
Subject: Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 7 - by Roni K Khan

Dear fellow Zarathushtis,
in this penultimate part of the series so far, we see how Roni catches the "conversion" bull by the tail and exposes the favourite catch phrase of the "conversion lobby".
The conversion missionaries, who no doubt work with a missionary zeal, tell us that since in our religion we have "Freedom of Choice", we should use the freedom to 'convert' others. This is so absurd, since the "freedom" and "choice" spoken about in the Gathas Yasna 30-2 is nothing but freedom to choose between the Good Mentaility (Spenta Mainyu) and the Evil Mentality (Angre Mainyu). On top of it, Prophet Zarathushtra says we have to choose the Good Mentality, so really speaking there is no choice left with us at all.
Even this simple truth has been twisted to push something very un-Zarathushtrian, ie. convert someone born in an established religion to another. The idea of converting someone from one religion is not only un-Zarathushtrian in nature, it is also very un-Godly in nature, since how can a Wise, All-Knowing God give us birth in one religion and later allow us to reject His wise choice.
In Roni's words: "Man's freedom to choose is not a licence, for the non-illumined mind is more than likely to make the wrong choices, especially in our materialistic, hedonistic times. This is precisely why Asho Zarathushtra warns that along with the freedom to choose, man has to simultaneously accept the responsibility of shouldering the consequences of his wrong choices too ("akem akaai"; Gatha Yasna 43-5)."
Roni makes the important distinction of "Freedom of Moral choice" (which appears in the Gathas) as opposed to "Freedom to chose one's religion", which is not mentioned in any of the Gathas.
This then, dear friends, is your true and sublime Zarathushti religion and its teachings.
Let us now hand over control to Roni's penetrating article on this topic and we wish that writings like these guide us to withstand the "convert anyone and everyone'" and "the Freedom of choice" onslaught we face not only from non-Zoroastrians, but also from some of our own Parsi brothers who are confused themselves.
You may go to  to view many more articles of Roni, and also other traditional topics in the world of Zoroastrianism.
With best wishes,
from the TZML Education & Information Committee
Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 7
by Roni K Khan


(4) "Free Choice Unlimited"

The engine of the Great Heterodox Fallacy would cough, sputter and stall, were it not kept constantly lubricated by an oil called "Free Choice Unlimited." Ecologists, however, express concern that this engine violates pollution standards, and also point out that the situation is exacerbated by the quality of the oil, which laboratory tests show is an adulterated and repackaged product mixed with kerosene.

The genuine Free Choice as first revealed to mankind by Asho Zarathushtra in the holy Gathas (Yasna 30-2), has been transmuted by some mysterious experiment of heterodox alchemists into a licence for "Free Choice Unlimited," which encourages people to do anything their unrestrained instincts and uninhibited free will may dictate, including "choosing" to convert from their own religion to another; this also provides limitless scope to chop and change the religion of Zarathushtra in any way convenient to heterodox ideology.

Hand in hand with this "carte blanche" goes the facile argument that man can easily exercise his free choice correctly. As simplistically explained by a champion of heterodoxy: "How to make a correct choice? Ahura Mazda has put in each and every one of us vohu manah, the faculty of right mind."

Vohu Manah is the "Good Mind" ("vohu" = good; "manah" = mind), one of the Amesha Spentas (literally, the "Holy Immortals"). These exalted spiritual Entities personify the divine qualities of Ahura Mazda, and they may also be envisaged as the six divine "Rays" or Aspects of God, emanating directly from the Supreme Godhead. VohuManah is thus the Divine Mind of Ahura Mazda Himself. It smacks of arrogance and ignorance to attribute the purity-perfect Divine Mind to the puny and imperfect mind of mortal man, or to fancy that Vohu Manah is always awake and active there. Man is made in the image of God, but man is not as yet God!

Yes, the human mind has the potential to attain the perfected divine state of Vohu Manah, but only after eons of spiritual evolution when man reaches Perfection, achieves Union with God, and becomes One with Him. Yes, the seeds of Vohu Manah lie in man's mind, but they do not sprout until man uplifts his spiritual consciousness and showers them with the waters of Piety and Righteousness. Yes, man must constantly strive to work towards and cultivate Vohu Manah as a goal of evolution, but he cannot yet dare to flatter himself that he has made the Divine Mind his own.

Yes, man must exercise his mental faculties, but without claiming infallibility. No, Vohu Manah does not appear at every beck and call of the unillumined mind, and cannot be conjured up by the non-saintly mortal with just a snap of the fingers.

This is precisely why all religions, including our own, provide a whole catalogue of commandments, laws, maxims, prescriptions, proscriptions, rules and regulations, as guides to making the right choices. These ready-made guidelines would not be provided at all if our minds were capable of divine levels of discrimination to make the right decisions, or if Vohu Manah were to come to our rescue every time we called.

Unfortunately for us all, heterodox "ratus" included, Frasho-kereiti is still far, far away.

For the present, we must accept that our mortal minds and our rational thinking are bogged down in the world of duality, with a mixture of the dual mentalities of good and evil. The potentiality of Vohu Manah, the Good Mind, co-exists with the potentiality of Aka Manah, the Evil Mind (see Gatha Yasna 32-3, 33-4, & 47-5). This is why, when he offers the Freedom of Choice to mankind, Asho Zarathushtra advises that the mind should FIRST be illumined ("soochaa mananghaa"; G.Y. 30-2) BEFORE the act of choosing takes place -- ONLY THEN can the right choice ("ereshveeshyaataa"; G.Y. 30-3) be made. If our heterodox friends can insure that all of us act with "soochaa mananghaa" all of the time, we would be quite willing to concede the point of "Free Choice Unlimited."

Man's freedom to choose is not a licence, for the non-illumined mind is more than likely to make the wrong choices, especially in our materialistic, hedonistic times. This is precisely why Asho Zarathushtra warns that along with the freedom to choose, man has to simultaneously accept the responsibility of shouldering the consequences of his wrong choices too ("akem akaai"; Gatha Yasna 43-5).

What makes our heterodox friends so sure that for every flash of Vohu Manah, there will not be two of Aka Manah? The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. Just look around you.

Take a good hard look at the appalling state of the world in our own time. Almost never before in history has there been such a horrific and profligate century. The happy result of our "Free Choice Unlimited," yes? 9.8 million battle deaths in the First World War, and 15.6 million in the Second: but that is the tip of the iceberg -- please add 39.2 million civilian deaths to the latter alone. Entire races sought to be wiped out. Hatred, brutality, greed. Our "correct choices," yes? Hundreds of million men, women and children allowed to live in abject misery at sub-human levels, racked by hunger and ravaged by disease. An entire planet put into jeopardy, with its ecology damaged and the continued existence of life itself seriously in question. Our "right free choices," yes? Look closely at the qualitative standard of living.

Morality dying, strangled by Licence. Evil doing. Vice. Corruption. Roguery. Depravity. Homosexuality, lesbianism, AIDS, child pornography, single parenthood, "free love." All approaching epidemic levels. "Free Choice Unlimited," yes? Religion under attack, abandoned by the faithless, or twisted by the self-interested for personal convenience and self-justification. Our own lustrous ethno-religious heritage, preserved by untold generations with untold sacrifice and untold faith, brought to a pass where our very identity and survival now hang by a thread.

This is not cynicism. It is realism. Just pick up your newspaper and count how many "wrong choices" you can spot, compared to "right choices." Judge whether man's mentality is soaring towards divinity or sinking into bestiality. And then assess the claim that modern man's mind is in active communion with the Divine Mind.

Conversion is the breaking of consecrated allegiance with one's own religion. In the heterodox doctrine, however, it is considered the epitome of "right choice." And pulling an ace from the sleeve in a remarkable sleight of hand, the doctrine's cardinals flash it in the face of the world, broadcasting that Asho Zarathushtra himself has provided mankind with a "freedom of religious choice" in his Gathas. We have briefly touched upon this blockbuster in an earlier section, and now, after examining it more closely, we shall demonstrate how quickly the ace turns into a joker.

Absolutely NOTHING like a "freedom of religious choice" exists anywhere in the holy Gathas, and there is no reference, direct or indirect, to a "choice of religion." Even a nodding acquaintance with the Gathas should bear this out. Besides, the question cannot even arise, because the other great religions of the world had not yet seen the light of day in the remote era of Asho Zarathushtra. To call a spade a spade, it is all purely and simply a fiction of heterodox enthusiasts, manufactured and marketed with surpassing subtlety and professional packaging in order to willy-nilly canvass credibility for their conversion mania. Though it is said that an untruth repeated often enough assumes the garb of truth, it is hard to believe that one of our most eminent and respected jurists, known for his insight and integrity, seems to have been taken in by the heterodox hoax of "free religious choice."

What does exist in the holy Gathas is the pristine Freedom of Moral Choice. This first appears in the second verse of Gatha Yasna 30. For an appreciation of this Choice within its correct Gathic context, it will be enough to examine, either in whole or in part as may be relevant, just the first four verses from the eleven contained in Chapter 30. (Note: Literal translation from Dr. Irach Taraporewala's magnum opus, The Divine Songs of Zarathushtra, Bombay 1993 reprint. Emphases mine.)

(1) In the first lines of the first verse, Asho Zarathushtra indicates the overall scope and context of Chapter 30 to be an exposition of the epochal doctrine of THE TWO SPIRITS OF CREATION, THE ANTITHETICAL "TWIN MAINYUS": "Now to those eager shallI speak of the Two, who are created by Mazda --all this teaching is for the wise ... " ( G.Y. 30-1).

(2) In the second verse, Asho Zarathushtra reveals THE FREEDOM OF CHOICE: "Listen with your ears to the highest Truths, consider them with your mind illumined, before deciding between the Two Paths; man by man, each for his own self ..." ( G.Y.30-2).

(3) In the third verse, it becomes evident that the Choice has nothing at all to do with choosing between one religion and another, because Asho Zarathushtra DEFINES THE TWO SPIRITS AS THE MORAL OPPOSITES OF GOOD AND EVIL AND MAKES IT VERY CLEAR THAT THE CHOICE IS BETWEEN THESE TWO ONLY: "Now, in the beginning were these Two Spirits ... these Two show themselves as Good and Bad; and of these Two the Wise rightly do choose, but not so the Unwise" ( G.Y. 30-3).

(4) Likewise, in the fourth verse it becomes evident that the Choice has nothing at all to do with the followers of one religion as opposed to those of another, because Asho Zarathushtra makes it very clear that he is referring to ONLY THE FOLLOWERS OF UNTRUTH ("DREGVANTS") AGAINST THE FOLLOWERS OF TRUTH ("ASHAVANS"), WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE TWO OPPOSING SPIRITS: "And now when these Two Spirits together did foregather, they created first of all Life and Not-Life; and thus Creation's purpose shall be fulfilled -- the worst for the Followers of Untruth, but for the Follower of Truth the Best state of Mind" ( G.Y. 30-4).

Can it be any the clearer that the Choice between the "Two Paths" is set wholly and solely within the ethical context of the "Two Spirits" of Good and Evil, Spanyaa Mainyu and Angra Mainyu? Or that the "Two Paths" are the Path of Good and the Path of Evil, and that mankind must "choose" between "these Two" only? Or that the genuine Freedom of Choice is exclusively a MORAL choice?

It is man's first duty to choose wisely between the eternal ethical alternatives of Righteousness and Unrighteousness, Right and Wrong. These diametric opposites are represented in the Zarathushtrian doctrine by the mutually exclusive pair of Spanyaa and Angra, the primordial Mainyus, Spirits, Mentalities, Forces or Energies of Creation. These Two are the basis for morality, and for the functioning of the cosmos as well.

Asho Zarathushtra exhorts each and every one of us to make the right moral decision between the Path of Truth ("Life") and the Path of Untruth ("Not-Life") asdelineated by the Two Spirits, through the exercise of our own free will; while simultaneously cautioning that this requires an "illumined mind." By making man aware of this Freedom of Choice, Asho Zarathushtra made him the architect of his own destiny, for the first time in human history. But at the same time, our holy Prophet reminds man that Freedom and Responsibility go together -- man must be ready to bear the consequences of his chosen mode of life: "the worst for the Followers of Untruth, but for the Follower of Truth the Best state of Mind."

It is unimaginable that so pristine an ethical conception could be TWISTED and DEBASED into an argument for religious floor-crossing. By what mental jugglery or tortured argument can Asho Zarathushtra's sublime Freedom of Moral Choice be torn out of its unshakable ethical context of the Two Mainyus and repackaged as an unrecognizable Freedom of Religious Choice? Where is the ambiguity? Where does the matter of religion enter the picture? Where does the question of conversion arise?

The jugglery may be sought to be justified on the plea that Gatha translations differ. But that is just eyewash. No translation can ever change the utter clarity and firmness with which Asho Zarathushtra sets the Choice in its moral context of the Two Mainyus. Such being the overriding premise, any deductions that conflict with it have to be taken as misinterpretations or fabrications. One can establish this in no better way than by allowing a heterodox "ratu," a scholar and an exponent of conversion, to paint himself into a corner with his own published words.

"Hear the best with your ears and ponder with a bright mind. Then each man and woman, for his or her self, select either of the two (the better and bad mentalities). Awaken to this doctrine of ours before the Great Event (of Choice) ushers in." (Note: Emphasis mine.) This is the translation of Gatha Yasna 30-2 as provided by the scholar himself, brackets included.

We take special note of the specific indication, given by him in brackets, that the selection is to be made between the "better and bad mentalities," in what is a clear and correct allusion to the Two Spirits or Mainyus of Good and Evil. We shall not quarrel with the scholar's translation, despite a reservation or two which do not materially affect our present discussion. We take it as correct. So far so good.

But we gasp in amazement when we find that in the same breath this scholar informs his readers that Gatha Yasna 30-2 is "the famous stanza of the `choice of religion'"! And we take another gasp when he proceeds to talk about people "who make the right choice and join the Good Religion"! (Note: Emphases mine.)

There is a wild leap of imagination between the scholar's objective translation and his subjective comments -- an obvious case of inconsistency. What on earth does "making the right choice and joining" the Zarathushtrian religion have to do with anything, when, according to his own translation of our Prophet's Gathic verse, the only thing possible is to join either the "better mentality" or the "bad mentality"?

But it is not our job to sort out these inconsistencies on behalf of the scholar, we being aware of the heterodox maxim: "Consistency is the bugbear of little minds." Our job is to take the inconsistencies as they are, and see where they logically lead.

After having correctly admitted that the Choice of selection given by Asho Zarathushtra is between the "better and bad mentalities," if you still insist on calling this a "choice of religion" and invite people to "make the right choice and join the Good Religion" of Zarathushtra, one and only one logical conclusion follows:- the other religion from which you are converting to Zoroastrianism is BAD.

The Gathic Syllogism that destroys the "Free Religious Choice" hoax is simple:- If you declare that you can switch over from Religion `X' to Zoroastrianism under the authentic Gathic terms of reference (viz., the mutually exclusive Two Mainyus of Goodand Evil), those very same terms of reference would simultaneously compel you to make the BLASPHEMOUS and absurd declaration that Religion `X' is EVIL.

Thus the heterodox ace turns into a joker; the swan's white paint wears off and reveals the ugly duckling. Insulting other religions by brazenly claiming that the "right choice" consists in converting to Zoroastrianism, and insinuating that other religions are in the grip of the "bad mentality," is utterly reprehensible and ALIEN to the Zarathushtrian ethos, and a wanton slur on the holy name of Zarathushtra. Such odious misinterpretations or fabrications are the inevitable result of tinkering with the holy scriptures and trying to twist the genuine Freedom of Moral Choice into a fake Freedom of Religious Choice in a bid to ride the lame hobby-horse of conversion.

The Gathic Freedom of Choice is man's MORAL choice between the two Paths of Right and Wrong. It is neither a "Free Choice Unlimited" to cater to one's instincts and do whatever one likes, nor is it a "Free Religious Choice" for floor-crossing between religions. The Choice is a matter of Morality; the holy Gathas of Asho Zarathushtra are the supreme expression of Supreme Ethics.

5) "Universal Religion"

This is the last of our five selected aspects of the Great Heterodox Fallacy. Though it is also probably the most wishy-washy aspect with even less substance than the other four, it has been pumped into life by strategic repetition. The very expression "universal religion" is attractive and alluring, with a certain emotive appeal of its own; and when it is bolstered by a few plausible arguments, it percolates into undiscriminating circles and then gradually seeps into community folklore.

In earlier sections of this article we have thoroughly examined the expression "universal religion" in the "universally applicable and accessible" meaning that is assigned to it by heterodoxy, and we have also pointed out that this is nothing but another heterodox "research discovery" aimed at conversion. For fundamental spiritual reasons pertaining to the soul and to the structure of religion, there can never be anything like a blanket universal religion suited to everyone. Indeed, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Never in the history of the world has there been a single religion followed by all mankind -- not even the oldest religion, Zoroastrianism, which heterodox theoreticians now position as "universal" in a ploy to prop up the conversion cult. If Zoroastrianism, the very first revealed religion, was really meant to be universally applicable to all mankind, it would be the only religion on the face of the earth, instead of one among many other religions promulgated by other saviours. God does not play dice, and neither does He indulge in senseless duplication.

No propaganda machine can do without slogans, and the less the substance in the arguments, the greater is the use of slogans to sway the masses, in the hope that ultimately the slogan will be taken as the truth upon its face value alone. The captains of heterodoxy are no strangers to such tactics in their campaigns; in fact, they have demonstrated a talent for this Goebbelsian technique of influencing others.

"Universal Religion" is the latest buzzword in the heterodox dictionary. Please let us take early warning before the distorted connotation of this noble expression is allowed to infiltrate the Zarathushtrian dictionary.

End of Part VII


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 6 - by Roni K Khan

From: TZML Eductn & Information Committee <>
Date: Mar 15, 2007 12:25 PM
Subject: Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 6 - by Roni K Khan

Fellow Zarathushtis,
this is a continuation of late Roni Khan's excellent analysis on how the over-reliance on Gathas as the sole texts of the Zarathushti religion can create confusion.
The same scientific analysis is employed here by Roni to show us the limitations of the western philological studies of our Scriptures. We understand that there are limitations, huge limitations, to the philological interpretation of our holy books. Then also, we have the Gathas in 50+ translations - which of these is the true one!
In reality, all transalations are to be taken with a bit of caution and a huge pinch of salt, since the translations are done taking into account the prejudicies, temparements and religious backgrounds of the translators. At best, they are approximate attempts by the translator. The Gathas are primarily religious prayers to be intoned by us Zarathushtis, and their maanthric effect is more important than its meaning, which as we have seen varies from one translator to another.
Fellow Zarathustis, be vigilant about western studies and those scholars who tell us to shun rituals.
All religions have rituals and it is in the correct performance of rituals that an individual and a community progresses spiritually.
Let us catch up with Roni in this 6th part.
Incidentally, all the 8 parts along with other writings of Roni, and other traditional Zoroastrian articles can be found on
With best wishes,
from the TZML Education & Information Committee

Universalism and All That - Closing the Coffin of Conversion - Part 6
by Roni K Khan



"Dismantle The Three R's" [continued]

There is one matter of enormous importance that must be brought to light, to disprove once and for all the mischievous hypothesis of the "Gatha-Alone-Cult" that the five holy Gathas, which are essentially philosophic and hence non-ritualistic in nature, are the only authentic compositions of Asho Zarathushtra.

It may be recalled that it was the western philology of the last century which had sowed the seeds of this misconception. The wheel has now turned, and the latest western philology has demonstrated that such is indeed not the case. Serious scholarly rethinking gained impetus with Gershevitch's proposals (Old Iranian Literature, Leiden 1968). And the further researches of the noted German philologist, Prof. Johanna Narten (Der Yasna Haptanhaiti, Weisbaden 1986) , indicate with superbly marshalled evidence that the Yasna Haptanhaaiti is also to be regarded, like the Gathas, as entirely and genuinely the authentic composition of the Prophet HIMSELF. This has since been formally accepted by one no less than Prof. Mary Boyce.

The implications of this latest philological "discovery" are enormous, also for the reason that the Yasna Haptanhaaiti happens to be a RITUALISTIC text. Prof. Boyce accurately particularizes this Yasna as "referring to rituals," and points out that "Zoroaster's subtle doctrines thus became assimilable, through regular, repetitive, significant acts, by the simplest of his followers." She explains that "the Gathas are profoundly personal utterances, whereas the Yasna Haptanhaiti is intended for use at a regular act of formal worship," and describes the latter as a "fixed liturgy for the service," declaring that it "can also be attributed with all reasonable certainty to the Prophet himself." Prof. Boyce has the intellectual courage and integrity to use the word "prejudices" and admit to "certain Western preconceptions [which] had become widely accepted academic dogma, namely that Zoroaster's own teachings represented an `enlightened,' almost solely rational, faith with virtually no rituals other than prayer in the presence of Fire."

Some other selected facts from Yasna Haptanhaaiti are worth mentioning. That it is a structured liturgical service is also clear from the presence of the Zaotar (the officiating priest) and the Raaspi (the responding priest). In fact, even a ritual as specific as the "jamvaani baaj" (the saying of "grace" before eating and drinking) is apparently included in the proceedings. The very term "yazata" (as "yazatem") occurs in the text, indicating, as Prof. Boyce says, that this term was "evolved by Zoroaster himself for a beneficent divine being in contra-distinction to the Daevas."

In fact, the Prophet actually mentions about a dozen Yazatas by direct name or description, in addition to all the Amesha Spentas. The text is composed in a high order of maanthric language, and is "liberally sprinkled with otherwise unknown words, forty-three in all, or almost an average of one to each verse," as Prof. Boyce notes. In fact, the celebrants refer to themselves as "maanthrans," and the "Yaatu zi Zarathushtra" stanza is a "fshusho" maanthra of such complexity that it is hardly capable of meaningful translation. The rite takes place in the physical presence of Fire, as is evident from the words uttered by the celebrant: "In community with this Fire here, we first approach Thee, Mazda Ahura." (Note: All quotations of Prof. Mary Boyce from Zoroastrianism: Its Antiquity and Constant Vigour, Costa Mesa 1992.)

So much for the canard that the holy Gathas are the "only" authentic work of Asho Zarathushtra. So much for the canard about Asho Zarathushtra's "aversion" to rituals. So much for the canard that the Yazatas are "non-Zarathushtrian." So much for the canard about Aathravan Zarathushtra's "opposition" to "murmuring incantations" and "smoking rituals." Doubtless, all this is going to prove extremely embarrassing and inexpedient to the "Gatha-Alone-Cult," andequally doubtless, we are going to witness some incredible twists, turns and somersaults in the predictable attempts to resist these latest fruits of the best western scholarship.

Already, one GAC ally has started hedging that though he is "sympathetic to the arguments," he finds it all, as yet, "too difficult to accept"!

The significance of the research breakthrough on the Yasna Haptanhaaiti can hardly be overestimated. It authenticates the ritualistic side of our religion, and is a step towards the age-old traditional position that the whole Avesta is genuinely the work of Asho Zarathushtra himself, dating from his own remote era . One wonders whether the meticulous but slow march of western philological scholarship will converge with this viewpoint, even if it takes another century or two.

Although the various heterodox arguments against rites, rituals and rules stand exposed, the reasons and motives underlying the general heterodox animosity towards the "Three R's" remain to be explored.

First, we must recognize the compulsions of modern times, where the pace and style of living are hardly conducive to the full and proper practice of religion, and neither is the necessary infrastructural wherewithal available to the desired degree. These constraints are far greater in the West, though they are by no means wholly absent in the East either. Consider, for example, what the situation must be like in western countries where there is not a single proper Agiari, when even in India, with its eight Atash Beherams, its fifty or more Agiaris, and its institutionalized priesthood and ritual accoutrements, it is with great difficulty that an intricate but essential ceremony like Nirangdeen can be conducted at all -- for about ten years, this great Pav-Mahel kriyaa could not be performed even at Pak Iranshah in Udwada! At a more individual level, is it reasonable to expect that in the hectic work environment of today, along with the long commuting times and distances involved, the typical white-collar employee can perform Padiyaab-Kashti five times a day after the change of each Geh? Or, that in today's sardine-tin residential accommodations, the rules of purity pertaining to menstruation can be fully observed?

Admittedly, there are some practical limitations in the real world that cannot be ignored, denied or overcome. There is therefore no substance to the favourite heterodox gibe that even the orthodox do not properly practise all the customs and usages they hold dear. Indeed, the difficulties faced by us today have been accurately predicted and realistically assessed in the Pazend Behman Yasht, which reassures the faithful that in the draconian fourteenth century after Yazdegard (viz., the twentieth century AD), a single Ashem Vohu, properly recited, would have the same merit as an entire Ijashne ceremony performed in the more congenial days of yore.

But does all this mean that the mighty Nirangdeen kriyaa, Padiyaab-Kashti in the correct manner, or the scientific rules of purity during menses, for example, suddenly lose their intrinsic validity and should be written off? Of course not! Sadly, in their mindless haste to doubt, deny, denigrate and destroy, this is exactly what the heterodox would like us all to believe. But how can the inclement conditions of a transient day and age ever justify the wholesale condemnation and obliteration of hallowed religious rites, rituals and rules that are rooted in timeless spiritual verities?

The healthy attitude is to recognize our limitations under certain unavoidable environmental constraints of our dark times, while also remembering that where there's a will there's a way. After doing our best to practise whatever lies in our power, we may, with a clear conscience, reverentially place the rest on the shelf, to await the dawn of a brighter day. "Shayast-la-Shayast"! The Almighty understands and excuses our involuntary lapses under compelling circumstances, as the perceptive reassurance of the Pazend Behman Yasht indicates.

But the attitude of the heterodox towards the "Three R's" in these difficult times is a world apart. Typically, their irreverent and egocentric posture is like this: If we can't do it, the practice itself must be wrong or outdated, and it deserves to be consigned to the dustbin for ever.

Second, quite apart from unavoidable environment constraints, there is the question of personal volition. Characteristically lacking sufficient faith, knowledge and discipline in religious matters, the heterodox treat rules and rituals as a matter of personal convenience, to be governed by their own judgments, likes and dislikes, and whims and fancies. "Freedom of choice" indeed! If a certain practice happens not to suit them personally, for whatever reason, out it goes through the window, and the pricks of conscience that often follow are rationalized away by running down the practice itself. Even more odious is the increasing tendency to boast about it openly -- like the unforgettable spectacle of a "phoren-returned" young buck at a cocktail party, glass of Scotch in hand and all-knowing smile on face, bragging to the world that he has done away with Sudreh and Kashti.

Third, there is the deep practical and emotional need to justify heterodox actions already performed. People who find themselves stranded or insecure after having wilfully flouted community rules, usually tend to be the most rabid opponents of the "Three R's." After the event, the only way left to "legitimize" the action and avoid the consequences is to bend or change the rule itself. Few and far between are those with the courage and integrity to say: he who makes his bed must lie on it! Self-interest is a powerful motivator, and self-justification its instrument.

Fourth, the dismantling of the "Three R's" is of great practical importance to the heterodox leadership, because of the opportunity to fill the vacuum left behind with the un-Zarathushtrian trio of conversion, cremation and mixed marriages. The doors would be thrown wide open for such practices to enter unobstructed, for once the discipline maintained by rites, rituals and rules is done away with, no restraining influence worth the name is left. Heterodoxy thrives on indiscipline.

Just think of the endless Orwellian possibilities! For example, if the cumbersome Navjote kriyaa were eliminated, anybody could walk into the Zarathushtrian faith merely by declaring himself to be a Zarathushtrian, a la Napoleon placing the crown on his own head. If the "inhumane" scriptural rules against mixed marriages were eliminated along with the superstitious nuptial sacraments, a Siloo Sodabottleopenerwalla could wed a Chou Ching without the bat of an eyelid, aqualm of conscience, or a squeak of protest, and the future little Chings could be considered automatic Zarathushtrians without even having to bother about a confirmatory ceremony behind closed doors. And if the barbaric textual injunction for Dokhmenashini were eliminated along with the demon infested Dokhmas, a departing Zarathushtrian could unhesitatingly opt to be barbecued, with not a squawk of regret to be heard, save from the famished raven quothing "never more." A heterodox paradise!

But seriously speaking, it should be recalled that the broad expression "rites, rituals and rules," or the "Three R's" for short, is just a convenient way of referring to the Marefat, Tarikat and Shariat components of religion. It is these that make a religion concrete, tangible and practical, so that it can be put into practice in a specific and specified way by the average follower. Ordinary people like you and I would usually be perplexed and at a loose end, if a religion were to offer us only the abstract and metaphysical philosophies of Hakikat, to the exclusion of the other three.

The major differences that exist between religions are mainly attributable to the Marefat, Tarikat and Shariat components -- the "Three R's." The metaphysical Hakikat component deals with the fundamental truths underlying all creation, which, despite variations in treatment, emphasis and scope, are more or less common to all religions. To illustrate, the eternal verities and Natural laws pertaining to the Godhead, to Ethics, to the Soul, to Reward and Retribution, to Duality, to Polarity, to Good and Evil, to Faith, to Service, to Devotion, and so on, are usually shared by all religions -- but the Christian has his own church and altar, the Hindu his own mandir and idol, the Muslim his own mosque and pulpit, and the Parsi his own atash-kadeh and fire. The cloth is of the same weave across religions, but the cut of the cloth varies widely from one religion to another; the goal is the same across religions, but the path leading to it varies widely from one religion to another.

Conversion, or "acceptance," as the heterodox now euphemistically call it in a rather naive ploy to sugar the pill, is a tough and weighty decision when it comes to leaving the familiar practices, the "Three R's," of one's own religion, to embrace those of another for ever. For instance, for the Hindu, it would be a huge upheaval togo from the Idol to the Fire, or from Cremation to Dokhmenashini; and for the Christian, from Holy Water to Bull's Urine, or from prayers in plain English to chants in Avesta. These are not small matters when it comes to the crunch. Change is always difficult. And the more drastic the change required, away from set behavioural patterns, the greater the mental and emotional trauma.

But take away the rites, rituals and rules, and it's roses, roses all the way. Conversion becomes painless. No trauma. No bull's urine or vultures in sight. Nothing drastic. No nonsense, no mumbo-jumbo. No obscurantist procedures like outdated vests, pieces of string and murmured incantations. Everything straight and simple. "High thinking" only. Just "one God" and "one Truth." So what if He's called by another name? How enlightened these Zarathushtrians are! How comfortable they make the transition for us! It actually feels like we are only embracing a new philosophy that isn't all that different from our old one! Yes indeed, the autobahn of conversion to the heterodox utopia.

But the autobahn will never be built so long as there are enough faithful Parsis and Iranis who understand the value of the "Three R's" as well as Prof. Russell does: "Rituals and doctrine are related to such an extent that one is meaningless without the other. Rituals bring both the presence of God and purification into the natural world, and this helps man to fight evil, as well as rituals also sanctify man. By leading a ritual life, man is putting his faith into action. He is making it a part of his physical being. It affects his physical being, his body and his mind. At the same time it is an act of remembrance -- and an act of affirmation. It is a way of making his religious beliefs part of his everyday life and not merely some separate compartment of his thought which has no real relevance to anything else. Rituals help to purify the natural world, to fight evil, to bring the Frasho-kereiti closer. Rituals protect man from impurity. All these things are in itself useful, but the ultimate usefulness ofrituals is that the doctrine tells one that one has to do them. So that an act of ritual is a bandagi. It is an act of being bound, an act of obedience, so that fulfilling rituals is fulfilling a covenant with Ahura Mazda -- it is in fact, affirming Him and His teachings." (Ibid.)

The storm-troopers of heterodoxy will be powerless to drive our religion to rack and ruin with their whims and fancies, if we adopt the stand taken by Prof. Russell: "Are we supposed to accept opinions of people who would have us abandon rituals, and who do not know what rituals are in the first place?" (Ibid.)

It only remains to be added that the more irreverent, faithless and spiritually benighted the age, the greater than ever is the importance of rites, rituals and rules. The "Three R's" are like the bark of a tree -- strip off the bark and the tree dies. They are the front-line defences that protect the great philosophical revelations of religion from being corrupted or lost, for "Ritual is in fact concretized philosophy," in the memorable words of Swami Vivekananda. It is fashionable nowadays to try to run down or dismantle the "Three R's," but this is perilous for individual spiritual progress as well as for the security of our religion and the survival of our community. On the other hand, those who treat the "Three R's" as an end in themselves and mechanically go through the motions without knowing or caring what lies behind them, or those who commercialize our religion in the name of rites and rituals, are just as foolish and guilty.

At the risk of repetition, it has to be emphasized that a religion is a Complete Spiritual System composed of the four interrelated and interacting components of Hakikat, Marefat, Tarikat and Shariat. The failure to understand or appreciate this truism is a sure recipe for disorder, and fertile soil for misconceptions like conversion. A partial view of religion is bound to lead to confusion and chaos, and sadly reminds one of the blind men who mistook the trunk or tail or leg of the elephant for the whole elephant.

End of Part VI