Religious Adultery and Parsis

Ervad Marzban J.  Hathiram, a good old friend, editor of and the Panthaki at the Jogeshwari Daremehr has written a hard hitting post on religious adultery.

Marzban writes

My apologies for not updating the blog for the last few weeks since I was tied up in the Muktad preparations and prayers in our Daremeher at Jogeshwari. Now that the Muktad are drawing to a close and just one night’s prayers remain, I thought it apt to pen a few words on one of the most auspicious days of the Parsi calendar – Khordad Sal, the birthday of our Prophet Zarathushtra.

Many Parsis are not aware of the exalted spiritual status of the Prophet, and many seem to think of him as a common man, who was somewhat inspired by God to start a new religion. But that view is very far from how the Avesta portrays the Prophet. In our sacred scriptures, Prophet Zarathushtra is given the status of a Yazata – a Divine Being, worthy of worship. His thoughts, words and deeds are described as being of the Highest Inspiration (see Yasna 28.0) and he is venerated by the entire creation as well as the Amesha Spentas.

Every Parsi, at the time of his or her Navjote enters into a Divine Relationship with Zarathushtra. The Fravashi of the Prophet Zarathushtra is present at the time of every child’s Navjote (which is why the Navjote should be done in the early morning in the sacred precincts of an Agiary or Atash Behram and not in a hotel or a open Baug in the presence of non-Parsis), and blesses the child and enters into a lifelong relationship. As the child prays the ‘Jasa me avangahe Mazda’ prayer, he or she gives a solemn vow to the Fravashi of the Prophet Zarathushtra present there. The child undertakes to follow the Mazdayasni Zarathushtrian faith only and promises to uphold and practice the teachings of only our religion. Of course, given the sad state of religious education in our community today, all this is not imparted to the child (although I think it needs to be imparted to the parents first!)

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  • Jamshed

    Nice….well said.

    we need to educate out next generation more about our religion, so that they dont go stray with other beliefs and intercaste marriages

  • Good article with a sensible message but dear Er.Marzban, there is slight flaw. You are correct when you say, that Navjotes should be performed in the mornings and the venue should not be a Hotel or a baug. Pray, Er. Marzban, barring Aatashbehrams, most Adarians and Dare Mehers employ,’first generation Parsees”.So what earthly diffrence will it make because any way ‘Non Parsees are present , wearing sudreh kusti.’ in many Agiaries of Mumbai.
    So the first task, before educating the parents should be to educate Panthakies of Fire Temples who employ rural semi literate half Parsees as Chasniwallas. “Shoo Kariyan, Mannas nathi Malta, can not be an excuse.Trust you will appreciate this fact.
    I would like to narrate an incident in a South Bombay DareMeher, where the wife of the Panthaky thought that a non Parsee had entered the Fire Temple. Immediately, the Padshah Saheb was shifted and some ceremony was conducted lasting for several days, perhaps to purify the environment. This happened more than a year or so back. Immediately, thereafter during Muktaads days half Parsees were employed for menial work. So what was the purpose of ‘Purificatory ceremonies’, except causing inconvenience to devotees and wastage of money?.
    If you have doubts on what is stated here by me, please feel free to ‘interview’ such menial workers in Mumbai Fire Temples. The way they converse and abject ignorance of our Religion is an indicator of their origin.Thus your suggestion to avoid Baugs will only result in closure of Albless Baug, Cama Baug,etc. Their income will fall and land grabbers will be to willing to seize such an opportunity. Please note that this not a criicism but my aim is to point the obvious.

  • Aban

    Navjotes and Weddings are solemn occassions but emphasis is more on skimpy outfits, boozing and worst, non vegetarian food.
    Ervad Hathiram should address the community on virtues of abstainig from flesh foods on auspicious days.

  • Delnavaz


    Nice article. Very informative.

    Please continue to post more such articles.


  • Religious but Rational

    It seems to be a hobby with some persons or their pastime to sermonise and propagate without looking into their own back yard.(i.e of Priestly class)If we want to observe the concept of ‘purity’ then those who preach it should set an example.It is the priestly class. more particularly the self-designated ‘high’ priests who have set examples of double standards.
    And we have self appointed sole selling agents of our Religious beliefs operating from opposite Metro Adlabs.In the name of WORLD Association, they have sold themseves to their patron in Amdavad.

  • @Piloo.
    Thanks for your comments. I cannot pass judgement on any Agiary but can only say that my Daremeher at Jogeshwari does not employ such persons, normally or during Muktad days.
    Your comment on the Baugs is incorrect. I have only advised people to do the religious and ceremonial part in the morning in an Agiary or Atash Behram. The reception can always and should always be held in the Parsi owned Baugs. Thus there is no danger of non-occupancy of the Baugs.

    @Religious but Rational
    Rather than understanding the thrust of the article – on religious adultery, you are using it as an excuse to flog a much flogged and dead horse. Every profession has dark sheep, that does mean the profession stops working or educating people about what is right and wrong. That is the duty of Priests and I will continue doing it.

    Best regards,
    Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

  • Er. Hathiram,
    You have missed my point.
    When many Agiaries (yours can be an exception) employ ‘first generation Parsees’ as menials.What spiritual difference would there be if navjote or wedding is performed in an Agiary or a Baug, in such a fire temple.
    First, excommunicate Panthakies who employ such persons as menials. That would mark a begining.It is no use displaying a Board outside the Fire Temples “Admission only for Parsees” The Panthakies themselves have to blame for employing such first time Parsees as Chasniwallas.
    Extremely sorry for plain speak.

  • Religious but Rational

    Dear Mr.Marzban,
    Please do not overlook the facts as they are. The issue here is that the Priestly Class have an Apex Body called Athornan Mandal. If this organization has the will, it can issue a writ directing the Priestly class to decline performing the Navjote ceremony in places other than in Fire Temples,(in the same manner as they do not perform four days ceremony in case the deceased had opted for alternate mode of disposal of mortal remains). The main issue is do the priests themselves have the willingness in this regard. If the priestly class are not interested in observing the ‘Tarikats’ as suggested by you, what is the use of berating the laity?
    The Comminity will be glad to see unity in this regard among the clergy themselves. Would like to see a Resolution passed by Athornan Mandal forbidding their members from performance of Navjotes at places other than Fire Temples. Needless to add that I have no intention whatsoever to prevent any person from ‘performing his duties’ be it a priest or anybody. Further do not mistake me -I am not in favour of allowing entry of non Parsee/Non Zoroastrians in our Fire Temples.
    But at the same time, I am not flogging dead horse. The horse is kept alive and kicking thanks mainly to the clergy group. Responsibility of all adulterations and Religious ‘adultery’ as you choose to call, is more on the priestly class. Desired purpose can not be attained by shifting the onus.


    The title should be Religious Adulteration and Parsees not adultery.


    The title should be Religious Adulteration and Parsees not adultery.


    The title should be Religious Adulteration and Parsees not adultery.