Sudra is a special shirt of nine seams worn just next to the skin made of cotton and white in colour and prepared from one whole piece of cloth. On such a Sudra round the waist is girded a kusti.
The Mazdiyasnis before the advent of Zarthustra, used to put on sudra and kusti. It was optional then. But Zoraster made it compulsory. The wear of sudra and kusti with their special cut and make were blessed and given to His votaries as instruments with which the faults of the flesh can be improved upon when the path is treaded upon. Nine seams of the sudra show the significance of our birth on the globe. The girda the first seam on the back show the burden of sins, which one has to bear and square by Tarikat. The gareban, the second seam on the chest in the heart region shows the significance of honest dealings and obedience to the cannons of morals thus preparing a holy halo round about the body. The third seam of a triangular shape is situated on one side of the lower round border. In the case of males the triangular seam is on the right side and in the case of females it is on the left side.
Its significance is to attain the purity of heart and life according to the aroused consciousness and conscience. The fourth and the fifth seams are the two right and left sleeves covering the arms uptil the elbow. They indicate that one has to attain the power of reading the thoughts and knowing activities not only of humanity but of the natural laws and the creation subject to them as animal, vegetable and minerals, these powers being that of Airaman and Saok. The sixth seam is denoted by the front half of the sudra. It puts the wearer in mind of the fact that the life is very dear and given with a purpose. It should attain the above-said powers which by the sequence of events due to rigid observances of Tarikat with the further help of the girdle of kusti gain for him the powers of Ashi i.e. powers of Ashoi possessing perfect mastery over the five senses the cause of all passions. The seventh seam is denoted by the back half of sudra which indicates the unknown and unseen Nature and Yazat, nay the very Ahurmazd. It indicates that the Ruvan finally, when the above powers are attained at making the body lustrous and truthful, will attune with the other two members of its trinity Baodung and Faroher attaining a power called ‘Naf-e-Bavri’ when the Ruvan will become a peg in the divine machinery of Ahurmazd which creates the universe.
The eighth seam of the straight line is situated on one side of the lower round border. In the case of men it is situated on the left side, and in the case of women it is situated on the right side. In the case of ordinary men and women who have not approached the Khaetvodath, i.e. salvation the seam in the straight line is situated on the front half of the sudra. But for those who are advanced men and have approached Khaetvodath it is sewn on the hinder half of the sudra.
The ninth seam is indicated by the double sewn round lower border which indicates the rameshni all joy of Ram Yazat accompanied with the fitness of the Ruvan to attain Khaetvodath i.e. assimilation of both masculine and feminine parts of Ruvan which were separated in the beginning of the creation of the body in lieu of the covenants made with Ahurmazd. The matter is described in the chapter of the universe.
This round seam puts the wearer in mind of the fact that all events in a life of joy or woes are in the wise dispensation of Ahurmazd. Such a life is meant to take him to salvation, which shows many steps the final being those of Khaetovdath and tan-e-pasin. Woes of life should be borne with contentment as they lead to salvation as soon as possible. In short this round seam of the lower border shows that life should be contended indicating joyous peaceful contended mind named as Tushna Maiti.
Kusti is made of the best wool woven of 72 threads with the two ends each divided into three woolly parts making six in all. 72 threads of kusti show 72 steps of Ashoi, which a man has to attain at, the significance of which is shown in 8th and 9th seams of sudra. The six woolly end threads of kusti denotes that a man has to acquire the powers of six Gahambars. Ahurmazd has created the universe by the powers of four Gahambars. He will relieve the universe of sin by the powers of the remaining two Gahambars. When a man attains the significance of the 7th and 8th seams of sudra he becomes a peg in the divine machinery of Ahurmazd of creation because he had acquired the powers of the six Gahambars. We know that Gahambars are festivals. Festivals denote that some grace is showered on the creatures of this earth from on high. It is due to these Gahambars that the munificance of God is enjoyed by men. The earth gets power to grow the vegetables, trees etc.; men, beasts get power to propagate their species etc. etc. All such munificence is due to first four Gahambars. The fifth Gahambar consists of right dealing of man with man, beasts and God and Nature. The sixth Gahambar is that which opens the door of Paradise for man. So much about the festivals of Gahambar. But Ahurmazd with his holy Yazats also perform Gahambar when the universe with its habitation come into existence. Thus Gahambars are natural powers, which are utilized by Ahurmazd in creation and by man in his life procedure on the Earth. When a man attains the significance of nine seams of sudra and 72 threads and six woolly end threads of kusti he is said to have attained and enjoyed six Gahambars to his benefit and to the benefit of the rest of the world.
– Extract from the book “A Sequel to Essentials of Zoroastrianism” by Dr. Saheb Framroze S. Chiniwalla