By Dr. Shernaz Baji Avari
TRUTH DEMANDS OBEDIENCE & RESPECT FOR AHURA MAZDA and his creations.
Zoroastrian scriptures mention the virtues of TRUTH or ‘ASHA’ as is known in the Avesta language, which also stands for purity at all levels, be it physical, metaphysical, social, ethical and universal levels. There is no denying the fact that TRUTH is that diamond which sparkles and spreads its lustre all around us. Everytime we choose Truth, we choose God. The eternal joy of being rests on one’s spiritual well-being and spiritual well-being can only be achieved if a man leads a truthful life, a life of righteous conduct, of devotion to God, a life of purity accompanied by sound ideals, principles and behavior, realizing and understanding God’s many truths which unfold themselves as we go through life’s spinning wheel.
Follow the path of truth even if it’s against the world and it’s tide. Isn’t a pure clean heart the temple of God? On a personal level, I have always fought for justice and truth and in the process been shaken emotionally, spirits bruised and crushed for some time but I stand and stick to my principles. There is no other path for me till one day truth triumphs and light is seen by the wrong-doer. That’s my reward. Experiences, good, bad and evil happen all around us and are crucial to our spiritual growth. There is no escape from the divine laws of justice and if we understand, that people in our life, or who pass as chapters in our life, are for a reason, then that’s reason enough to understand everything!
Remember – THE CREATOR MAKES NO ERRORS. God’s protection is continuous and his plans are always to lead us from the depth of darkness to the clearest of light. Most Zoroastrians follow this path of ‘ASHA’; no wonder then that Zoroastrian sense of honesty, integrity and humour upon ourselves is appreciated and lauded by other communities, who love to have Parsi friends and do not mind interacting with a Zoroastrian at a business or partnership level without batting an eyelid. Yes, the Parsis have mingled beautifully like the pro-verbial ‘sugar in milk.’
Now coming to the lighter side of truth – honest differences of views and debates are not lies or disharmony; they are the vital process of understanding and fathoming the other side’s point of view. A lie told simply to please another or bring in good cheer is not a lie but a harbinger of joy, where blatant truth would have harmed and spoilt relationships. What’s wrong in praising a not-so-perfect meal if it’s cooked with such devotion and love? That’s truth in masquerade! “A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure” observed Francis Bacon and the Parsi plays that mushroom all over town on special festive days are ample proof on that score. Said a wit, “Any fool can tell the truth but it requires a man of some sense and non-sense to know how to tell a lie! Quipped Oscar Wilde “No woman should be quite accurate about her age, it’s so calculating! Some feel that telling a lie is not as easy as it seems as good lies have often to be dreamed up on the spur of the moment and that requires proficiency! Said a woman with her characteristic tongue-in-cheek candour, “Any man who knows only to ‘lie’ and ‘ly’ is out of my dictionary! (or is it bedroom dearie?)
Let’s revert back from our sweet-spicy humour to the spiritual truth. The last 10 days (before the Parsi New Year which falls this time on the 18th August) which includes the 5 ‘GATHAS’ also known as MUKTAD days are those pious days when devout and not so devout Parsis, pray and remember their dear departed ones with reverence, visiting ‘agiaries’ ‘Atashbehrams’, offering flowers and sandlewood accompanied by ‘jashans’ and charity to the not so fortunate bretheren of our community and other communities as well. The ‘gathas’ provide spiritual food for our souls. A visit by the ‘fravashis’ on earth it is believed. The Gathas reveal the entire gamut of truth and truth demands obedience and respect for AHURA MAZDA. Zarathushtra revealed in the Gathas, “The kingdom of God, the protection of God, happiness is for those who honour the word of God.” The last day before New Year i.e. PATETI which falls on the 17th Aug. this time, is a time for spring cleaning and taking stock of all the rot accumulated within us. It is the time to be aware of the right and wrongs committed by us throughout the year which has come to a close. A human balance sheet. A time for repentence and starting afresh, a time to listen to that silent voice inside us which will tell you to take an about turn in time, correct the wrong done in whatever way we can. The Navroz or the New Year which is the next day on 18th Aug. is now the time to celebrate with good cheer when the cobwebs of the previous year are washed away.
So let us this New Year make an honest endeavour to wean away from the wrong path and follow the path of ASHA or TRUTH by being accountable, honoured, respected and obedient to His will. Today’s saint could have been a potential sinner and today’s sinner can be a potential saint. So let’s battle the forces of evil within us. Let’s be guided by the Divine Light of AHURA MAZDA in every act and deed and may HE always guide our footsteps in the right direction ‘Lead thou us on….’ SAL MUBARAK and ‘sukheti jeevta raho’ AMIN!