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Chhaiye hame zarathosti

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Zoroastrianism scriptures mention the virtues of Truth or ‘Asha’ as known in the Avesta language, which also stands for purity at all levels – physical, metaphysical, social, ethical and universal. Everytime we choose Truth, we choose God. The ‘eternal joy of being’ rests on one’s spiritual well-being which can only be achieved if a man leads a truthful life, a life of righteous conduct, devotion to God, purity accompanied by sound ideals, principles and behaviour, realizing and understanding God’s many truths which unfold themselves, as we go through life’s spinning wheel. Isn’t a pure clean heart the temple of God?
Good and bad happen all around us and are crucial to our spiritual growth. There is no escape from the divine laws of justice or the laws of karma. If we understand that people in our life or who pass as chapters in our life are for a purpose and reason, then that’s reason enough to understand everything!
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. Zarathushtra recognized the purpose of righteous living which would enable his followers to eventually annihilate evil in this world.

All religious rituals are performed and solemnized in the presence of the holy fire, symbolically referred to as the son of God, ‘Atharsh Puthra Ahure Mazdao’ emitting radiance and energy. In the Gathas, he is a helper smiter of evil and a test for assessing the purity of the souls. The last 10 days before the Parsi New Year are known as the ‘Muktad’ days which include the last 5 days before the New Year known as the ‘Gatha’ days. These are very pious days when the devout and the not so devout pray ardently, remembering their dear departed ones with reverence, visiting Agiaries and Atashbehrams in traditional clothes offering fresh flowers kept in consecrated and intricately carved metal vases which are on tables with marble top.

The Gathas are divinely beautiful celestial hymns, songs and rhymes. The teachings in the five Gathas represents not only the beauty of the wisdom of Zarathushtra but the profundity of his wisdom and describe the moral and ethical values to be observed. His teachings are as valid and meaningful to our lives today as when Zarathushtra uttered them thousands of years back!

It is believed that during the 10 day celestial festival and run-up to the new year, the spirits or ‘farohars’ of our dear departed ones come and visit us in the physical world. The spirits are invoked by special prayers and rituals which include some cooked food, malido, daran, fruits and fresh flowers to seek their protection and blessings in this world. On the dawn of the last Gatha, a special ceremony in honour of the visiting ‘fravashig’ is performed to bid them adieu, a final farewell from the material world. Zarathustra has revealed in the Gathas ‘The kindom of God, the protection of God, happiness, is for those who honour the word of God’. Pateti, wrongly construed by some as new year, is one day before the new year when we pray the ‘Patet Pashemani’ prayersin repentance and for forgiveness, tolerance and benevolence to flag off the new year.

Beyond all the celebrations, let us not forget to pray and thank him every single day and not only on special occasions for all that he has blessed us with and his continuous presence in our lives to give us opportunities to do all the good we can. Let us thank Ahura Mazda for keeping us in good health and pray for those who do not enjoy the same. Let us be blessed with spiritual, material and emotional wealth and make significant contributions in this world.

May Ahura Mazda’s blessings descends on all benevolent creations and may Zarothostis all over the world have a happy, healthy, peaceful, prosperous and above all a united life this New Year. SAAL MUBARAK.

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