Zoroastrianism: Its Stewardship for all Creation, the Animate and the Inanimate.

Below is the text of presentation by Pervin J. Mistry at the Parliament of Worlds Religions, Melbourne, December 5th, 2009. This was circulated by the author via email to a newsgroup. All copyrights are with the author.

 

We are the oldest monotheistic religion.

Asho Zarathushtra is our Holy Prophet.

Our Revealed Book is the Holy “Avesta”.

The Holy Avesta reveals the concept of a Universal Brotherhood known as “Arda-Fravash”. “Fravashi” is the spark of the Divine without which nothing exists in the spiritual or the corporeal worlds. It follows that the Brotherhood of Arda-Fravash includes all the kingdoms of nature which also include those considered to be inanimate or lifeless.

We are taught that the universe is a living organism providing environment for countless hosts of entities even though the types of physical bodies and the level of consciousness may differ. Whatever exists in the universe, from atoms to the stars, has its origin in the One Almighty Creator, Ahura Mazda.

A picture is worth more than a thousand words; so, let us see how the animate and the inanimate creations are inseparably interconnected.

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I) As taught in the litany to the Fravashis (Farvardin Yasht), figure 1 shows that in the very beginning, there was no light, no movement _ all was still and dark, that is, the universe was in a state of “afratat-kushish”. (Farvardin Yasht states: “the waters did not flow; the trees did not grow; the heavens did not revolve”, karda 14. 53, 15. 55, and 16.57). The circle represents boundless time or infinity, “zurvan-e akarne”, (meaning time without beginning and without an end, which cannot be understood by our limited intellect.)

II) The dot in the centre as shown in figure 2 represents Ahura Mazda’s First Thought (Light) which produced the “Bang”, or Sound / Resonance of the Divine Word “Ahunavar”, resulting in the manifestation of the universe.

First comes the thought or the “blue print” of the word and then only the word is uttered. (The Holy Gathas reveal, yasna 31.7, that it was the First Thought (Divine Light) of Ahura Mazda, “yashta manta pouruyo”, conceived in His Vahishtem Mano, which conceptualized the Divine Universe. The physical universe “gaethya” (nisti and geti) is the outcome of the thought-created spiritual universe “mainyava” (hasti). First, the Divine Thought, then the Divine WORD followed by the manifestation of the “mainvaya” and “gaethya” worlds.)

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III) As shown in figure 3, the Avestan Commentary on the Word “Ahunavar” (Yasna 19), reveals that Ahura Mazda’s plan for the creation of the universe discloses 3 integrated stages: the creation of the spiritual (hasti), the meta-physical (nisti) and the physical (geti) worlds.

IV) Additionally, as shown in figure 4, the Divine Plan simultaneously discloses a 3-fold strategy whereby: 1) the souls first separate from Ahura Mazda and descend to the meta-physical world; 2) consequently, the souls begin their long pilgrimage through the various kingdoms of nature from the meta-physical world to the physical world and 3) thirdly, after perfecting their spiritual qualities, the souls re-unite with Ahura Mazda once again in the spiritual world at the Divinely Appointed Hour called “Frashogard”, or Renovation. (Here, we discussed the number 3, the relevant 3 claps in the Vanant Yasht, etc. The 3 claps stand for: 1) We were with Ahura Mazda first; 2) we separated from him and began our long pilgrimage and 3) we will go back to him when we have performed “kimiyu” or transmutation of the druj to “guv” (ashoi) within us. We also discussed, briefly, how the water is collected from a well in 3 stages and poured into a vessel during the Paragna rites before Ijeshne proper and finally, once the ritual is complete, the consecrated water is poured back into the well. The water collected 3 times refers to the creation of the universe in 3 stages and pouring back refers to the time when Farshogard will be achieved and the universe will go back to Ahura Mazda after the druj or angre-mainyu is transformed to spenta-mainyu.)

V) Figure 5 indicates that in order to establish law and order within these 3 worlds, Ahura Mazda creates and appoints 6 other Ameshaspands or Archangels in charge of one of the seven specific creations. These creations are: fire, water, earth, minerals, vegetation, animals and mankind. The names of the Ameshaspands are written in blue, under each specific creation. (Please note the order. E.g. Fire, or Ardibehesht and Minerals or Shehrevar are directly opposite each other; Earth or Aspandad and Animals or Baman are also directly opposite each other; as are Water or Khordad and Vegetation or Amardad. In the middle is Mankind in charge of Ahura Mazda. It is significant that Khordad, i.e. Water and Amardad, i.e. Vegetation make a pair; Fire and Minerals also make a pair because minerals are purified and shaped in the Fire; and the Earth and Animals also form a pair. Animals are gentle, docile and self-sacrificing…. We pray, “Armaity tevishim dasva…”, Spenta Armaity or Amardad, the Earth, is also gentle, obedient, devoted to Ahura Mazda and bears our load, physically and spiritually, etc……)

VI) Figure 6 verifies that Ahura Mazda Himself, at the centre, is the creator and head of all the 7 creations which are inter-connected and unified, proving the Oneness of Life!

(The animate as well as the “inanimate” creations are created by Him and will go back to Him, proving the Oneness of Life. The different creations are interdependent and cannot exist without each other. Vegetation cannot exist without the elements of earth, water, air, sunlight or the energy of Fire within the Sun, minerals in the soil nourish the vegetation; animals and mankind survive because of vegetation and mankind also looks after the vegetation kingdom.)

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As demonstrated, it is the unity of all souls which sustains Life. By destroying a single creation, we damage the Wheel of Life! Nature is holistic and cannot survive or be destroyed in parts. The Holy Avesta refers to nature as “Asha”, meaning nature is sacred and divine. The so-called inanimate creations such as fire, water, air, earth are the very building blocks of the sacred universe whose offspring mankind is! These creations exist within us, sustaining “life”! As a result, if a single one of Nature’s creations is damaged, all other creations are similarly affected and we jeopardize our own existence.

The Holy Avesta teaches that fire, water, air and earth are not lifeless or inanimate creations. Every atom, every mountain, river and tree enshrines within itself, a Living, Conscious Divinity. For example, water is worshipped as Avan Yazad, a Divine Being and not as a lifeless creation. Life cannot sustain without water. (We discussed the emergence of mashyo-mashyai, the first humans who grew as twins in the shape of a plant, from water; the first amphibians and also the foetus which grows in the amniotic fluid.) Our un-conservative life style causes the glaciers and the Polar ice caps to melt _ influencing the salinity of the oceans. This in turn endangers our survival by adversely harming the precise balance of the whole ecosystem.

(We discussed the following at this point: When we discussed the salinity of the oceans we discussed Ustad Saheb Behramshah Shroff’s prophecy that towards the end of this epoch, zarvan-e daregho khadate, the waters of the sea will become “sweet”! The scientists are concerned that the salt water of the seas is actually becoming “sweet”, i.e. loosing its salinity because the glaciers carry fresh water which is dumped into the oceans lowering the salt content. With the result, whales get beached because the ocean currents have shifted, the wind currents have also shifted because birds do not migrate south during winters and the melting of the glaciers and lowering of salinity affects our global warming and weather changes.)

(We also discussed what we mean by “water”. We refer not only to a body of water such as sea, river, lake, etc. but also to the sap in the plants, all liquids in humans, the waters of space, etc.

(We discussed: Avan Yazad, “manaso, jevo-ni sarjaat sachchai-e poogvani che, tevo-ni mani “seed” ne oonch tokham-ni banave”! Meaning, the undefiled waters of Avan Yazad purify the semen, “seed” of men, so that it attains to a high degree of purity and righteousness; Avan Yazad purifies the womb of women, produces milk for the new-born infants etc.

(Why we pray 10 Yatha in the Avan Niyayesh. It is because the number 10 stands for Perfection 1 + 0, creation ends when it reaches the highest number 9 which then goes back to 1 ending in 0.

(“Ardvi” means one who leads [to spiritual perfection] and “Sura” means yielding arms. The arms or weapons that Ardvisura uses are the 5 “frado” or electro-magnetic forces within water. In the Avan Niyayesh, these are identified as “adhu”, “vanthvo”, “gaetho”, “kshayeto”, and “danghu” frado(s). Because druj or Ahriman is an incorporeal force, it cannot be destroyed by any physical means or physical weapons. As an energy it can only be converted to good by spiritual weapons and that is why Avan Yazad equips herself with these spiritually charged electro-magnetic forces to subdue and transform druj. We also talked about how Avan Ardvisura is within us as she is outside of us, when I wrote in the original paper:

The so-called inanimate creations such as fire, water, air, earth are the very building blocks of the sacred universe whose offspring mankind is! These creations exist within us, sustaining “life”!

(It was pointed out that esoterically, the entire Circulatory System which includes the Spinal Cord, the Sympathetic Nervous System flowing through the endocrine glands, refers to Avan Yazad. Just as Avan Yazad has her origin in the spiritual world, the Circulatory System too begins from the brain, considered to be “heaven” or the spiritual part in mankind.

(Avan Yazad starts from Mount Hukairya, situated in the highest heaven [mountain or “chakra” refer to the spiritual centres of energy located in the brain]. It is revealed that from Mount Hukairya, the sacred waters of Avan flow into the Sea of Vourukash. Here, Ardvisura divides into a thousand streams and again sub-divides into still a thousand smaller steamlets. To cross just one streamlet, it takes a swift horseback rider 40 days. [1000×40=40000 days; plus to cross the 1000 main streams, each taking 40 days would mean 40,000 additional days. In all, 80,000 days esoterically indicate one whole “zarvan-e daregho khadate” of 81,000 years!] 40 days also indicate the time it takes for Avan Yazad to purify anything contaminated by “druj”, such as the semen of men and the womb of mothers after childbirth. There is also an injunction that Avan must be worshipped between sun rise and sun set only. Additionally, Avan Yazad flows to all the 7 regions of the Earth, in the same consistency, in summer as well as in winter. The flowing waters are always pure and they purify everything they come in contact with, indicating the spiritual work Ardvisura performs in ushering/hastening farshogard.

(There is a very important cautionary note to the worshippers in the Ha of “Aa Hatamcha”, karda 6, 7 and 8, Avan Niyayesh. The unrighteous, those not learned in religious lore such as the ones who offer her libations after sunset and before sunrise, those who do not recite the manthra properly intoned and with piety, do not speak the truth, mislead other in religious matters, who do not obey the commands of the religion, who torment a priest, who bring diseases, who bury dead bodies are not blessed by the beneficent swift flowing waters of Avan Ardvisura. Those who recite the sacred manthra but do not follow the laws of the Religion are also warned and punished. If the wicked ones mentioned above offer Avan Yazad any libations or worship her, she does not accept their offerings/worship. This admonition is similar to Fargard 3.40 in the Vendidad wherein it is stated that those who sin knowingly, for them, there is no forgiveness. Those who are kiks, karaps i.e. those who choose to remain spiritually blind and deaf; who are ashomogs, i.e. those who distort truth and teach falsehood, are destroyed by Avan Ardvisura! There are 4 kinds of devs mentioned in the Sacred Avesta.

(Certainly, Avan Yazad grants spiritual gifts and blessings only to those who worship her with piety, purity of body, mind and soul, and with proper Manthra accompanied by the performance of Yasna! Avan Yasht, Karda 21.92, .93, .94, .95 state that there are certain rules for worshipping and offering libations to Avan Yazad and only the pious, the righteous, those learned in religious lore, those learned in the recitation of proper manthra may offer her libations! Avan Yazad is pleased with those who consecrate her waters with the manthra of Yatha and Ashem chanted properly and with Staot Yasna, i.e. kriyakam (perform Ijeshne). Avan Yazad grants such devotees many “self-supporting children” who are pious and dedicated to the Religion.

(The fact that Avan Yazad’s waters come down from the spiritual world to the physical world, having origin in the Highest Abode of the Stars and are existing in every sea, river, rivulet and outlet in this world, signifies that Avan Yazad is present in every atom of the Universe because as the Daughter of Ahura Mazda, like Fire, and Vayu (Mino Ram), She is Present in every atom, in every “seed” which is created. Her main work is to purify all the “seeds” so that the Divine Event of Farshogard is attained at the appointed hour. She progresses the physical creations towards spiritual perfection and purity.)

In the Holy Avesta, even the “air” is not inanimate. “Air” is a divinity worshipped as Mino Ram. Without Ram Yazad, the resonance of the Divine Word could not have resulted in the manifestation of the universe! (“Air” also has electro-magnetic forces which carry the “staot” or vibrations of the divine ‘sound’ and spread it throughout the universe. Without air, there would be no sound and consequently no inherent vibes could spread to give form and colour to physical creation!) Ram Yazad is the purifier of all things between the earth and the sky and is victorious over all the evil forces, meaning pollution. Polluted air means polluted lungs.

(1: Air is also within us and outside of us! It destroys pollution, meaning mental, moral, physical and spiritual pollution so that Farshogard is attained at the Appointed, Pre-destined Time.

(2: When we pray to Mino Ram, we reverently address Ram Yazad as “Ram-no khastre”, the electro-magnetic forces working in Nature which destroy druj and help heal body, mind and soul. Mino Ram is the vanquisher of disorder and separation. He restores or makes whatever is disunited or broken into one whole unit, again. This refers to friendships, and quarrels between mankind. Mino Ram smooths relationships by getting rid of the demon of quarrel and through the spiritual weapon of electro-magnetic forces/attraction, restores unity.

(3: Mino Ram purifies the poisonous, polluted, smoky air which exists in the darkest and deepest depths of the earth known as the disease causing, stinking “vayu saritar”. Health-giving and sweet smelling Vayu veh is the opposite of vayu saitar.

(4: Mino Ram is a hamkar, a co-worker of Baman Ameshaspand, together with Mohor and Gosh Yazads.)

Trees and forests are the lungs of the Earth. (Without “dum”/breath, life cannot sustain itself and without Life and living, we cannot attain to Spiritual Perfection and fulfil the Divine Event of Farshogard!) As a result, no prayers end without paying homage to the trees, “urvaire” (Nemo urvaire vanguhi mazdadhate, ashaone Ashem Vohu 1). The plant “Hom” is the Tree of Life and Immortality. “Hom” is also a Yazad, a Divine Being. Destruction of plants / forests also means destruction of the fragile ecosystem on which our survival depends. If a single spoke in the Wheel of Life is damaged, one by one, other unified creations also get equally destroyed.

(Sacred Hom’s origin is also spiritual. It grows on mountain tops from where it spreads. In the Hom Yasht, mountains, earth and the Gathas are remembered. Hom is worshipped and consecrated by chanting the Gathas i.e. through the performance of Ijeshne. The devotee offers his own body to Hom Yazad and recites in karda 14 that may he always practice righteous thoughts, words and deeds; keep good company and obey the religious commands! Hom being a sacred plant is identified as healing the body, mind and soul. It is only through plants that Amardad Ameshaspand gives immortality, “amardad-ni amargi”! That plants are healing is also taught in the Ardibehesht Yasht when we pray, “urvaro-baeshazo”. We also discussed that the Hom stick is knotty and gangliated just like our spinal column. Plants also mean the Tree of Life as well as the Tree of Knowledge which are within us. Some occultists maintain that the Pulmonary system is the Tree of Life which begins in the heart and the Sympathetic nervous system with its roots in the brain is the Tree of Knowledge.)

To us, minerals are also sacred and in the charge of Shehrevar Ameshaspand. By depleting the natural resources, we deplete our own good health because just as we need a balance of iron, sulphur and other minerals in our blood, the earth also needs its minerals to sustain a healthy ecology!

(We discussed South Africa and mining; how there is over-mining everywhere and the many plateaux piled of gold tailings. Coal and other minerals are also mined in great excesses everywhere. We are robbing Mother Earth of her essential minerals required for a healthy ecology. We discussed that Ahura Mazda has hidden all the spiritual weapons in the Sky which is in charge of Shehrevar Ameshaspand who looks after all the minerals. Just as Ahura Mazda has divided the spiritual world into 9 realms and wears the Star-decked Sky “stehr-paesanghem” (Farvardin Yasht, karda 1), woven by the Yazads, as His spiritual vesture, we also wear our sudreh of 9 seams. The spiritual weapons that are stored in the Sky are also found in the stars and reflected in our sudreh, which is our spiritual fortress. The kusti, “aiwyaonghanem” is also a spiritual belt, a weapon, worn by the Yazads; especially by Hom Yazad who is the destroyer of evil knowledge/thoughts. Minerals are also within us, such as iron, calcium, sulphur, etc. By depleting Mother Earth of her minerals, we are harming our health as well because the richness in soil is missing and subsequently even the mineral content in water is missing.)

The Sky is believed to be a storehouse of spiritual energy and protection. It too, is held as sacred because it includes the Sun, Moon and the Stars which are identified as “Yazads” or Spiritual Beings. The Sun, to us, is a Living Divinity whose form is Khorshed Yazad and its radiance is Meher Yazad or Mithra. Similarly, the Moon is Mah Yazad. The Milky Way is Dravasp Yazad (Gosh Yasht). The Holy Avesta reveals that the seeds of water, earth and plants are contained in the Stars (Siroza Yasht, k. 13). The origin of all the so-called inanimate creations is spiritual!

(It is stated in the Meher Yasht, karda 24.95/96 that Meher Yazad turns up everywhere, on all the 7 “regions”, after the setting of the Sun! This proves that even after dark, the various solar energies/radiations of Meher Yazad, such as X-rays, Gamma rays, Radio waves, Micro waves, Ultra-Violet and Infra Red rays still work in the dark to subdue the druj! This pertains to our dakhmas that even at night, the druj-e nashush is under control and it is subdued, confined and decontaminated. Meher Yazad is called “Tanu Manthrem”. The powerful energy of Light, i.e. the radiant spectrum of Meher Yazad and the energy of Sound, “Manthra Incarnate” are combined in Meher Yazad who uses these as his weapons to transform “druj”.)

We worship fire as Ahura Mazda’s Son, a Divine Being. The litany to the sacred fire (Atash Niyayesh) reveals that fire grants intelligence and fluency of tongue! Lifeless or inanimate objects cannot bestow blessings! Only life, in whatever form, has intelligence. Esoterically, fire symbolizes the “light of the mind”, or intelligence, and “fluency of tongue” refers to speech, or “sound”, an inevitable consequence of “thought” or “intelligence”! To us, fire, as Ahura Mazda’s Son, represents His Divine Light, Radiance and Energy, possessing Intelligence. Therefore, we revere and worship fire as a divinity and not as an inanimate creation.

The sacred fires we worship are elaborately consecrated 1,128 times and then enthroned on fire-alters. These are kept perpetually burning for thousands of years.

We regard Mother Earth as a sacred living entity with a soul, worthy of worship. We venerate the Earth as the Archangel Aspandad.

(Mother Earth is Spenta Armaity. “Spenta” is spiritual progress; the Earth is where the souls descend for their spiritual progress, for their salvation, learn the lessons of Life, pass through all the 7 “regions” and go back to Ahura Mazda after being spiritually perfected. In the Atash Niyayesh, we pray, “armaity tevishim dasva….”, meaning to reach the goal of Farshogard we need to cultivate virtues such as humility, obedience and self-sacrifice. Just as the earth bears our burden, we too must become self-sacrificing and bear everything in our stride without complaints.)

Just as we have bones, liquids, heat, organs, etc. Mother Earth also has fires, water, air, minerals and mountains. Mountains are the Earth’s spiritual centres of energy. They contain Divine Light. Wisdom dwells on mountain tops where all the prophets and sages have gone to acquire communion with the Divine. Several sacred mountains (2,244 in all) are mentioned in the Zamyad Yasht. According to the Holy Avesta, all creation is animate _ Nature being a Living, Holistic Entity!

(We discussed that “Ushidaran” is the most important mountain. Mountains have direct connection to the Highest Heaven, to the Divine Light. It is said that humans will attain to immortality through mountains because these attract the good spiritual forces/energies and spread these throughout the world. Because mountains are “spiritual”, prophets and sages have received their communion with the Divine on mountain tops, in solitude. Divine wisdom is not acquired in universities but through solitude and away from the turmoils of this earth. That wisdom resides on “mountain tops” is a spiritual fact because just as we have centres of energy within us, mountains are also the Earth’s centres of energies which the sages have been able to tap into.)

Ahura Mazda has placed mankind in charge of all the other creations because we are given the intelligence to think, speak and act according to the free will! We are free to choose our thoughts, words and actions in life. Inevitably, our moral choices and actions reflect immutable consequences upon ourselves, as reward or punishment.

(There is no conversion/proselytism through “free will” mentioned anywhere in the Gathas. Only the moral conversion, of converting vices, i.e. Akoman, to virtues or “Vohuman”, is mentioned! And, the “choice” is heavily laden with responsibilities, either reward for good and punishment for the wicked.)

As a result, our religion pays great emphasis to the “mind”. The dual mentalities, i.e. good and evil, exist in the mind. Significantly, “evil” being incorporeal, cannot be destroyed by any physical means such as weapons. Only a spiritually illumined mind is able to resist evil thoughts, words and deeds which lead to greed and self-destruction. Through thoughtless destruction of the animate and the inanimate creations, we have caused severe climatic changes. Weather is ringing warning bells but sadly, we are not concerned. If mankind will look upon Mother Nature as a nourisher of Life, as a sacred entity, its destruction through pollution and greed will be replaced by reverence and preservation.

(First we must get rid of the mental pollution, i.e. greed, selfishness, etc. because only then we will be able to rid of the environmental pollution.)

(I had to completely leave out the animal kingdom due to lack of time. But it needs to be mentioned that the Holy Avesta mentions several mystic, super-natural animals especially in the Tir, Behram, Avan and Hadokht Yashts _ such as a beautiful crimson horse with yellow ears and golden mane; a bull with golden horns and yellow ears; a golden camel with extremely sharp eyes; a boar; a dog; a bird who flies a swiftly as an arrow, a ram with horns bent downwards; a beautiful buck; the birds “saena” and “pesho-paren” whose magical feathers heal the righteous devotees [the Shahnameh also mentions the bird Simurg whose feathers heal]; and some evil creatures are also mentioned especially in the Ardibehesht and Vanant Yashts, such as mice, rats, snakes and wolves. The Yazads take the form of these magical animals to appear before the devotee indicating certain spiritual gifts bestowed upon the righteous such as the power of thought, spiritual vision and spiritual hearing, these animals also symbolize the quality of the soul of the devotee as well as the quality of the atoms and cells of physical forms. Animals are also given as gifts to the Yazads. There is no animal sacrifice mentioned in the Sacred Avesta.)

Even at death, Zarathushtis are enjoined not to pollute the sacred elements of nature (Vendidad). We do not pollute the earth through burial; we do not pollute the fire or air through cremation and we also do not pollute water. Our system of solar exposure, using the intense rays of the Sun to decontaminate and dispose a corpse, is expeditious and eco-friendly.

Conclusion

Some of you may not be familiar with our Religion. It originated in ancient Persia (today’s Iran), many millennia ago. Zarathushtis have always lived in harmony with Nature. They invented “Green” technology countless centuries ago which still works effectively. They built “budgirs” or tall wind chimneys to circulate air and keep their homes cool. With “budgirs”, and thick mud walls as insulation against heat as well as cold, no air conditioners or heaters are needed! They draw cold water from the underground streams so that even in the desert, water is always cool and pure. And, no refrigerators are needed. The world can progress spiritually by going backwards in time in order to learn from the ancients how they used natural resources, such as wind and solar power, to live in harmony with nature.

(Some people from the audience at the PWR, Melbourne asked interesting questions re the dakhmas and the “budgirs”.)

In conclusion, I say that our religious mandate is to attain the fundamental unity of all souls which forms the Universal Brotherhood of Arda-Fravash.

Every atom that exists is considered sacred and holy as existing in the Divine. Please, we do not need soldiers to kill other humans in the name of religion or greed for power; we do not need ammunition to destroy our environment! During the stone ages, we fought with stones, bows and arrows; today we fight with chemical and nuclear weapons! We have not progressed spiritually. We are destroying what we have not created! We need peace, protection and preservation for all the creations willed by Ahura Mazda!

Our stewardship for the animate as well as the so-called “inanimate” creations is religiously mandatory.

Thank you!

  • Follower of Traditions.

    Last two paras of the text are the need of the Hour Universally.
    But the Water of the Oceans are not getting sweet- they are found polluted by Chemical and industrial waste matter making them hazardous.
    As for the expression of the learned Speaker that even after death Zarathushtis are enjoined not to pollute the sacred elements of nature, how can she explain rain water falling on the exposed corpse not getting polluted?
    These are serious questions and not just criticism based on prejudice.

  • Jeannie Antia

    <3 <3 <3 Thank You ! <3 <3 <3

  • Dr.arnavaz havewala

    v good, v informative article.v well-researched and thought-out.v scientific and highly technical.
    pl give us the references..i.e. from which texts or books the information is gleaned….

  • JEROU

    Review par excellence. Next please go into greater depths of Spiritual aspects.

  • Unwalla

    Pervin Mistry has very eloquently and in a lucid manner provided insight into the Scientific nature of our Religion and relevance of its Tenets at a time the self proclaimed ‘Progressives’ are clamouring for entry of Paar jaats into our fold. In the past she has been in the forefront of condemning inter religious marriages which bring nothing but shame to the community.
    Orthodoxy has been shouted down by the reformists as a great debating strategy. We should ensure that there is no fundamental change in the belief system due to efforts of the self styled ‘progressive ‘ group. To -day , practitioners of free speech seek to force their opinions down the gullets of orthodox traditionalists through single way mechanism of shrill rhetoric and persons like Pervin Mistry should not offer opportunity to such ‘progressives’ on a silver platter, to point out such discrepancies. I am saying this based not only on past experience but already a comment with malicious twist has appeared with intent to provoke a ‘rationalist’ dialogue.My intention is to nip such an opportunity in the bud.

    Ms. Pervin is settled in Canada. All industrialized countries have higher levels of pollution.
    There is sizable Parsee population of Parsees who have migrated to Canada. She should make attempts to set up Eco Friendly method of disposal of Dead in Canada at least for Parsees so that they can be faithful to the Traditions of our forefathers. May be even other Communities in Canada will then try to follow by example. That would be an signal to Parsis in India who are bent on condemning the time tested system of disposal. Preaching from the pulpit something and not to practice it gives a ready stick to so called progressives to malign the Traditionalist which is thoroughly avoidable

  • Rashna_B

    After reading this above talk and the contents of Unwallla’s post ,I am tempted to ask WHY Parsis should NOT be ashamed of themselves for following reasons:

    @) as most Parsi families are non vegetarians, by eating Dodhi Ma Gosh and Papeta Ma Murghi, Parsis are offending Bahaman Amshaspand, Aren’t they?
    b) Fish Khichri Patio and Patra Ma Machi are strict no no, it would be ruining marine life and thus offending Ava Yazad;
    c) How can the Speaker say that Parsi dead are not polluting even Water. What about the ‘ bath ‘ given before Sachkar?
    d) The maggots that rotting body gives rise to are supposed to be to be a part of environment cleanliness?
    e) The person who delivered this talk overlooked to make a mention of the contribution of Vultures. How come such ungratefulness.
    f) Christian Science frowns on use of medicines. It talks of Faith Healing and some from our own community are copying the same. Does that not amount to disregarding Ardibehst
    Ameshaspand?
    g) How about offending Yazadas and Ameshaspand by naming a meat eater as Bahman,
    an unjust and injudicious as Meher, a loser as Behram and so on.
    These days it is a fashion to call any person a SCHOLAR just because he or she is has a sharp tongue to criticize a down to earth person because the latter is urging for adaptability to changed conditions.
    Some self praising orthodox talk AS IF THEY HAVE ACTUALLY TRAVELED to nether world as a Holiday travel and are now describing the punishments for not continuing some defunct custom after having ‘seen’ the goings on in the Nether World?
    Yes I expect a criticism of being trivial but I am what can best be described as NOT IRRATIONALLY RELIGIOUS.

  • Rohinton D.

    Very accurate observation by Rashna_B. How well (factually) can she see thru the so called (mostly self-styled) scholars! Keep up the good work, Rashna.

  • ANTI – Dhongidox.

    On the topic of sermons and religious discourses, it may be said that the same are delivered by persons who consider themselves as more enlightened than their listeners. What Rashna has said is true but in every religion has glib talkers. It is not my wont to attend such meets but it just so happened that the Fire Temple that I frequent in South Mumbai hosts such discourses arranged particularly on Saturdays. One such Saturday, I entered the Fire Temple unaware of the discourse and while performing Ablution I heard voice of a lady screaming and that too on a public address system. I was crestfallen as I like to offer prayers in Silence. Any way I entered. The lady speaker in her eighties was uttering something in Gujarati and since the Fire Temple is located within the colony complex the congregation comprised more or less from the same age group as the speaker. What amused me most was that with ceiling fans running at full speed some of the ‘listeners’ had been lulled in to deep sleep and snoring. My only inference was that most in the audience had come not to listen to the Speaker but just to meet their neighbors and discuss their common problems, particularly on health. Since it would be considered rude to leave in between the ‘ Talk ‘, the poor old in the congregation were compelled to sit till the Speaker finished and had no option but to take a nap. This fire temple also has one regular not so much for offering prayers but to save on light and fan in her own flat as electric tariff has become unaffordable. THIS IS NOT A HYPERBOLE but a ASCERTAINABLE FACT.

  • Jamshed H. Bastani

    Does our religion advocate a vegetarian diet? From whatever little I know I think we Parsis have been eating non veg since ages. Could someone guide me if religious mandates point towards vegetarianism.
    Rashna_B I dont follow what you are trying to imply.

  • Rémi

    Well, an interesting post indeed.
    I’d like to have a few details about Pervin Mistree’s speech: what are exactly the 7 regions?, and am I the only one

    to find hinduist elements in his/her speech?

    – The 7 regions: Do they refer to “material” places on Earth or to something else?
    I am a little bit confused: Avan Yazad is spoken of as water “flow[ing] to all the 7 regions of the Earth” (so I

    understand it as “real” places), and later, souls have to “pass through all the 7 regions and go back to Ahura

    Mazda” (what sounds mystical).
    On the same level, mountains are defined as follows : “mountain or “chakra” refer to the spiritual centres of energy

    located in the brain”, but also as the “real”, physical mountains: “mountains are also the Earth’s centres of

    energies which the sages have been able to tap into.”
    How are these words to be understood? From my most probably undereducated point of view (when it comes to Zism),

    these inconsistencies are really puzzling.

    – Since I am not a Parsee/Zoroastrian, I might be misled by me not having proper knowledge of Z religion, but I do

    find that the speech has a hinduist taste to some extent. The “Wheel of life”, which is referred to several times,

    the Chakras, and Earth having to bear our burden, as if Mankind was something base, and the souls having to be

    spiritually perfected before going back to Ahura Mazda remind me of reincarnation.
    While there are no monks in Zism because life has to be lived within this world (this is what I had understood),

    here it is stated that “Divine wisdom is not acquired in universities but through solitude and away from the

    turmoils of this earth”.

    I am really at a loss after reading this post, so I would really appreciate to be given the proper key to understand

    the speech.

  • Rohinton

    Remi,

    Ca va bien?

    Still chipping away at the ” conversion ” aspect , I see !!!

    At this moment, your own religion Catholicism has more need of you and your critical mind.

    D’accord ?

  • Rational guy

    The speaker says- “Ahura Mazda’s First Thought (Light) which produced the “Bang”, or Sound / Resonance of the Divine Word “Ahunavar”, resulting in the manifestation of the universe.”
    I wonder how a word -“Ahunavar” or “Bang” sound was heard in the universe….Can sound travel in space without air or water? Ahura Mazda should have known this.

    Fact is, with enough energy any aira gaira nathu khaira can spice up some isolated “amazing facts” with new science words like ‘Atoms’, ‘Molecules’ and ‘Big Bang’ to make ancient myths look sophisticated, but does that mean the whole book is therefore accurate and of divine origin?

    At the most the above lecture can be called a classical work from ancient tradition that shows an appreciation of the natural world, but to window dress it as scientific revelation from some ‘All Knowing God’ is taking our common sense for granted.

  • Rashna_B.

    Jamshed Bastani, do you know that there is a Parsi Vegetarian and Temperance Society located at Vatsa House, Janmabhoomi Marg, Fort Mumbai. They will be able to throw better light on the subject then a youngster like me.
    Your question does our religion mandate Vegetarianism means you are questioning the very object of this Society.

  • Rémi

    Bonjour Rohinton! Merci pour les phrases en français!
    Please point out where you find references to conversion in my previous post, unless you want to appear as making unmotivated attacks.
    I would be delighted to read your comments on the speech of P.Mistree, or any hint that would help me to get the speech in the proper perspective.
    And I doubt that this highly researched speech is crystal-clear for everyone, so I hope that my maybe awkward questions can be of some use to some Zoroastrians.

  • Rohinton

    Remi,

    I find there are many many veiled and overt references in your comments about ” conversion ” ; and how it is only the Parsis who seem to be against conversion !

    Go back to your own comments and you will find them .

    And please do not take my comments as an ” unmotivated attack ” .
    It was just a plain and simple suggestion for you to assist your own Catholic community which is going through
    an ” awkward ” situation and which could do with help from
    smart people like you.

    Vous me comprenez ?

  • Boman

    The type of comments this subject has received can be summed up as lampooning its contents. Even those who have been gracious to praise the contents seem to have cleverly mixed some left handed compliments. Did any of our High Priests and there is no scarcity of Scholar priests in the community, attend this Parliament? Yes let the Copyrights of the speech remain with the Speaker for as Rational guy has said this is just appreciation of natural world dressed as Scientific Revelation from an individual attempting to pass it off as some kind of revelation exclusively owned by the speaker.

  • Dr.Bemani_Apple

    Woh !!! amazing, never knew all things were sooo connected scientifically with our faith…. Amazing, way to go….give me more..

  • Piloo

    The very innocuous but pertinent question raised by Jamshed Bastani set my mind on a thinking.
    Does our religion advocate a vegetarian diet?

    My thinking runs thus. If Jadi Rana could ‘impose’ preconditions for giving refuge like adopting dress habits, timings of marriages, non conversion etc etc etc, then how is it that he allowed non-veggies to slaughter animals and birds in his vegetarian kingdom.

  • Rémi

    Rohinton,
    I exposed my views and interrogations about conversion in related topics.
    In this particular thread about Pervin Mistree’s speech, I have not made the slightest reference to conversion, but asked questions directly related to the topic of the speech. Claiming that I am “still chipping away at the ‘conversion’ aspect” implies that I would be trying to change the subject of this discussion toward conversion, what is obviously not the case.
    Back to Pervin Mistree’s speech, I am definitely no smart guy (but surely inquisive), that is why i’d like you (or anyone) to shed some light on what the speaker implied with the 7 regions/mountains.

  • Rohinton

    Remi,

    So you did find your other comments, all hammering
    away at the one and only topic of ” conversion ” !

    ” 7 regions/mountains ” is exactly where I find your covert reference; albeit disguised as ” awkward ” and ” inquisitive ” by you !!!

    Does your ” interest ” in Indo-Iranian culture include other aspects too ; like the whole world of Islam ?

    Mais maintenant, sur-tout, votre religion a besoin de vous !

  • Rational guy

    Boman, you’ve raised a very interesting point. I understand that there are Hindus who believe that the world was created in a cosmic butter churn and Nigerian peoples who believe that the world was created by God from the excrement of ants. Interestingly, all these corny revelations are believed to have come from the same God.
    I wonder if its God misleading us or his agents on earth!!

  • Rémi

    I really begin to think I could ask anything about Z’ism, you would find a way to claim that I have a hidden agenda related to conversion.
    Since you find that the 7 regions/mountains are such an obvious covert reference to conversion, I am sure that you can easily expose to all the trail that leads you from the regions/mountains to conversion. Doing so, you could uncover my evil plot against Z’ism, and give a mortal blow to it.
    You should know that most Western scholars, if not all of them, (I pretend by no means to be a scholar) have studied Z’ism, asked priets and learned persons to be explained about Z’ism without feeling the need to convert. I simply beg you to regard my interest as devoided of ulterior motive.
    If you want to have a talk about Persian poetry of Hafiz or Omar Khayyam and their sufi aspects, compare our skills in nastaliq calligraphy, or discuss the spread of Sakas within the Tarim bassin, get in touch with the moderator, he will most probably give you my Yahoo e-mail.
    But if you can’t stand aliens (or should I say ‘outcast’) asking questions, just don’t read my posts!

  • Rohinton

    Remi,

    But that’s just it !!!
    You have discussed nothing else but the Zoroastrian religion and conversion in your comments; certainly not Parsi/Zoroastrian poets or calligraphy !!!

    I asked you if you also pose your ” awkward and Inquisitive ”
    questions to other Indo-Iranian religions like Islam and ofcourse, to your own religion Catholicism, and you have chosen to skirt around the issue.

    And once again you are putting words in my mouth about
    ” uncover my evil plot against Zoroastrianism ” and outcaste ” and ” can’t stand aliens “.
    These are your disgraceful thoughts, not mine !!!!!

    You ask questions of us about our religion and yet, you are not forthcoming with answers to our questions !

    And I make no assumptions that you are on this blog because you wish to convert to Zoroastrianism. Your intention is to spread a somewhat different message.

    P.S.- Living in India in extreme harmony with ALL religions
    is what we Parsi/Zoroastrians are respected for.

  • Rational guy

    Remi,
    I’ll try to answer you.
    As I understand, you are confused about inclusion of Hinduist elements in Pervin Mistry’s lecture, esp the 7 regions.
    For starters, Hinduism or any religion has no patent right over pre Copernican views centering around creation of Universe compounded by ancient men who were unable to find answers to their cosmological quest on creation of Universe and other natural phenomena. Today these Ancient geometric conceptualization is discounted as ‘Myth’ , but back than these were revolutionary views directly from God, so you will find them incorporated into various religions as ‘revealed knowledge’.

    Lets look at what Quran and Bible says about ‘7 regions’-

    “It is He Who created everything on the earth for you and then directed His attention up to heaven and arranged it into seven regular heavens. He has knowledge of all things.”
    (The Qur’an, 2:29)

    2 Corinthians 12:2 says: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows.”

    The pre Copernican concept of the universe was geocentric, i.e. they thought that the Earth was flat and was located at the center of the universe. They believed that the Sun and the Moon along with Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury that made the seven known objects of the heaven were deities. These were the only objects people could observe with their naked eyes moving in the sky while the stars appeared to be fix.

    They believed that these planets or “gods” each had its own sphere. These layers are not the same as the orbits that we know. According to Ancient men, The planets did not orbit the Sun but they all revolved around the flat Earth in order.

    The closest to the Earth was the Moon and the farthest, was the Saturn. Therefore the concept of the 7 layers of heaven is based on ancient astronomy, where each celestial body occupied a crystal sphere one placed on top of the other like layers of an onion.

    The heaven was the physical world above. The concept of a spiritual heaven is relatively a new concept. In the mind of the ancient man the distinction between physical heaven (sky) and spiritual heaven was pretty fuzzy. In number of cultures even today both ‘Sky’ and ‘Heaven’ are the same word.

    The number seven was so engrained in the mind of the ancient man that you can find it everywhere.
    Seven planets or gods had been identified and the phases of the moon changed every seven days. The Bible states that God rested on the seventh day after he completed his Creation. And every seventh year was sabbatical and that the seven times seventh year ushered in the Jubilee year.
    The Pagans divided their weeks in seven days each day representing a deity.

    Don’t you get surprised by seeing a 7-armed lampstand in temples? To your amazement there are 7 spirits, 7 lampstands, 7 churches, 7 stars, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 vials, 7 thunders, 7 plagues, 7 mountains and 7 kings in Bible.

    This kachumber lecture by Pervin Mistry has nothing to do with Science or Global warming feature that she has waxed in to make it look credible. It has to do with the geocentric concept of the universe that was prevalent at the time when Avesta and Vedas were being compiled. The same myths were adopted by religions that followed, So you find identical theories repeated in Quran, Torah, Bible etc etc etc

    Science and Religion don’t mix. Yet there are desperate who keep looking for scientific “miracles” in these books of myths to fool themselves and find validation for their belief.

  • Rémi

    Rohinton,
    Since Parsi Khabar is the “Premier Portal for all the news in the world about Parsis”, I feel that talking here about Muslim Persian poetry and calligraphy would not really match the intended editorial content of this blog. Hence my focus on religious aspects.
    Besides, you didn’t ask me if I also pose my “awkward and inquisitive” questions to other religions. Let me quote what you posted yesterday : “Does your ” interest ” in Indo-Iranian culture include other aspects too ; like the whole world of Islam ?”, to which I think I gave an appropriate answer (naming several interests, like poetry, arts, religious matters like sufism). Don’t expect me to answer to unasked questions, and please don’t claim afterward that I’m skirting around the issue!
    At the same time, in spite of my proposal to bring it to light, you do not seem willing to expose how the 7 regions/mountains (that you consider as a blatant covert reference) is linked to conversion. Such an obvious thing should be not match to prove, and would give credit to your assertions.
    Eventually, would you please enlighten me and explain a little bit more what is this somewhat different message I’m alleged to spread?

  • Rohinton

    Remi,

    Ca va bien ?

    “Muslim Persian poetry”, “calligraphy”, “Sufism” these are your suggestions, not mine !

    Since you choose ONLY to focus on the RELIGIOUS aspect of ” Parsi Khabar “, I did suggest to you tactfully to go and help your own religion ( I meant with awkward questions !) ” Votre religion a besoin de vous” !!!!
    I may not have put it in so many words, but then you are a smart guy and I was hoping you would be able to read between the lines !

    I am not going to be subtle here because you seem to be so used to reading ” LITERAL TRANSLATIONS ” and want the
    words spelt out to you.
    So, l am asking you again, “Do you pose ” awkward ” questions to your own religious community about their practices and do you go on other Iranian blogs to pose “awkward questions” about their religion, Islam” ?

    Also, Monsieur, when you suggest rudely that I should not read your posts if I don’t like “aliens/outcasts” asking questions, please bear in mind that it is a two way street and perhaps I need to follow your example and say the same to you ” If you do not like the way the Parsis follow their Zoroastrian religion, you too can heed your own advice”.

    Comprenez-moi ?

  • Rohinton and Remi

    I request you to please take your conversation private. It is not helping the topic at hand at all.

    If you wish to do so, get in touch with me via email and I can give you each other’s emails with prior permission.

    Thanks

  • Rohinton

    No thanks !!!

    I’ve had enough of it !!

  • Rémi

    Thanks a lot Rational Guy for this in-depth analysis! The onion-like layered universe is an interesting concept! I know the number 7 has a very special meaning in most religions, but I had not grasped the connection with the 7 planets. By the way, “to be in 7th heaven” also exists in French “être au 7ème ciel” “to be in 7th sky”. I had never noted that before…
    Actually, the 7 regions and the hinduistic elements were two separate topics.
    Pervin Mistry writes “Avan Yazad flows to all the 7 regions OF THE EARTH” (capital letters by me). What strikes me most is “of the Earth”, because it puts emphasis to the “terrestrial” aspect, and it is pretty consistent with the description of regions as lands to be found in the greater Bundahishn, chapter V B and VIII (http://www.avesta.org/mp/grb1.htm#chap8).
    At the same time when she says that souls pass through the 7 regions back to Ahura Mazda, I can imagine souls elevating toward the Creator on their spiritual journey after death, so the heavenly definition seems also relevant.

    Should I come to the conclusion that “7 regions” can refer to either terrestrial areas or heavens, only depending on the context?

  • Rémi

    For those who are interested, here is an article from Encyclopaedia Iranica about the 7 regions throughout the Iranian history : http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/haft-kesvar

    And the Khshnoomic counterpart : http://tenets.zoroastrianism.com/ConceptOfChinvatBridgeAndBeyond.pdf where it is stated that there is only one terrestrial keshvar, the six other ones being fiery orbs, without much details, unfortunately.