It was a rare event, that all of the 5 High Priests/Vada Dasturs came together to give blessings and a message of love, peace, joy, health, and prosperity to our community. They addressed the Global community after the Behram Yazad Jashan to welcome the “GOOD TIMES” performed by Ervads Jal Birdy, Zerkxis & Zarrir Bhandara at the ZAC LA Atash Kadeh on Saturday, September 4th, 2021. It was attended by 201 Zoroastrians ,192 attended over Zoom, from all over the world and 9 in person.
After the Jashan Ervad Bhandara thanked his son Zerkxis for officiating the Jashan & the 86 year old Ervad Jal Birdy for participating as well as the executive committee of Zoroastrian Association of California for having this Jashan done & all the attendees for participating in the Jashan. Thereafter, he explained the importance of this Jashan by giving a brief history: “It all started in June 2021, when I saw the paidusts/obituaries in Parsi Times and Jame, which was about over 50/week and I felt the need to do something as a priest for my community in India. That is when I got a divine vision to perform a Behram Yazad Jashan to help the lives of Zoroastrians in India. A Jashan was performed on Dae mah Behram roj. About 3 weeks later the number of obituaries went down to approximately 10/week. Hence, on Bahman mah Behram roj a Jashan of Victory was performed. A few days ago, I received a divine message to perform yet another Jashan to welcome ‘Good Times’ and to invite all of our high priests to address our community. People ridiculed me saying “what good times? We are into the third wave” to which I said we need to invite Good Times and shift our focus from virus to good health because where our attention goes, energy flows.”
Ervad Zarir then read Dasturji Dr. Firoze M. Kotwal’s message first by introducing Dasturji Kotwal- the Yozdathregar Mobed and a living legend- who is sought by well known universities around the world for his knowledge & who has been guiding our community for the past 75 years. Dasturji Dr. Kotwal’s message to the community:
Thank you for your recent email but as I have explained earlier, I am not in a position to participate in Zoom calls and at my age, I find it troublesome and difficult to do.
I am happy however to send you a message as given below which you can read out to the community:
‘May your Jashan ceremony create Peace and Harmony in the community and may the Holy Haft Ameshaspands restore Goodness and Good Health in the world.
May the prayers recited in the holy Jashan ceremony restore order in the world and May Bahram Yazad bring the victory and the prevalence of Good over Evil.
” May in this world, religious discipline overcome atheism,
Peace over discord,
Generosity over Miserliness
Humility over Arrogance
Rightly spoken word over Falsehood
And the Truth over the Lie
(karda from tå ahmī nmāne , Yasna, 60.)
May the Blessings of the Padshah Saheb, be on the Parsi Irani Zarthoshti community and may the community seek enlightenment, gain knowledge about the Religion and find the strength to preserve our ancient rituals.
Atha Jamyāt Yatha Āfrināmī ‘May it come about as I Bless’
Dastur (Dr.) Firoze. M. Kotwal
High Priest H.B. Wadia Atash Bahram
Thereafter Ervad Bhandara introduced the second speaker as one of the most well known high priests in the world and a viceroy of the Iranshah, Dasturji Khurshed Dastur of Udwada who gave a his LIVE via Zoom as follows:
With the merciful grace of Dadar Ahuramazda and the Blessings of Iranshah we are fortunate to be present here to celebrate the beginning of yet another year. I take this opportunity to wish you a fulfilling, peaceful, prosperous and above all a very healthy year ahead. May the future years bring you joy and many reasons to celebrate.
You have rightly begun this day with a Jashan Ceremony invoking and receiving the blessings of Dadar Ahuramazda and His Ameshaspentas. Today is an auspicious day, the first Beheram Roj of this new year. We believe Beheram Roj to be an auspicious day because Beheram Yazad is the most glorious and the most powerful. We seek the blessings of our Protector Beheram Yazad by worshiping him. I thought it appropriate to recite a line from the Beheram Yasht that personifies His Qualities.
Āat ahmāi amavastemō, ama ahmi amavastemō, verethra ahmi verethravastemō; khvarenangha ahmi khvarenanguhastemō, yāna ahmi yānavastemō, saoka ahmi saokavastemō, baēshaza ahmi baēshazyōtemō.
In troubled times as well as in good times, we Zoroastrians turn to Beheram Yazad to seek his protection against all evil. It is Beheram Yazad, the Victorious One, the Courageous One, the Vanquisher of all foes, the most Favouring One the giver of good health – who provides us with courage and shows us the righteous path.
I am aware that it may seem rather insensitive of me, to bring up, on this auspicious day, even the mention of the crisis we have dealt with, in the last one and a half years. Nevertheless, I would like to think that the impact of these difficult times has given us a fair opportunity to face new challenges. I would like to believe that most of us found within ourselves renewed hope, renewed faith and renewed energy that helped us emerge as stronger and better individuals. And this was possible, because we believed! We believed in the power of the divine and we took respite in the power of prayers to reach inward and tap our reserves of inner strength and conviction.
Even as I speak, we are living in extreme uncertainty, the only thing we are sure of is that the way we will live and work is going to change. This uncertainty reminds me of the famous phrase “the only constant in life is change”. So, I reckon that the best thing for us to do is embrace the uncertainty of what lies ahead rather than fight it and take this chance to reinvent ourselves. We definitely cannot rewrite this last chapter of our lives but we most certainly can learn from it and adapt to the changes of time and try our best to evolve as better humans and even better Zoroastrians, at heart.
The next speaker was Dasturji Keki Ravji- Meherjirana, he is the vada Dastur of the Dharam ni tekri (the headquarters of our religion in Navsari). In the Oct 2020 issue of Parsi Times an article on Dasturji Meherjirana was penned by Mr. Meher Amalsad, in which he said:
“ I believe that Prayer Changes Things In You, Not Just For You. With that sentiment and immense pride, we introduce this very special ‘Treasure Cove Of Prayers’ beautifully recited by our respected Vada Dasturji Keki Ravji – High Priest Of Navsari Atash Behram, India.
This special endeavor serves as a landmark of dedication for providing easy access to our special prayers – an outstanding service to our Global Zarathushti Community. This TREASURE COVE OF OUR ENTIRE AVESTA PRAYERS comprises: Everyday 40-Prayers, Navjot Prayers, Mobedi (Navar/Martab) Prayers, The Pao Mehel Prayers (Baaj Dhurnu, Vendidad, Visparad, Yasna) as well as all the Yashts and Nirangs.For impeccable clarity, these prayers have been recorded in a recording studio and available on the internet for easy access.
Vada Dasturji Ravji holds the proud and stellar record for having performed 70-Nirangdin Ceremonies, over 5000 Ijashnes and over 3000 Vendidad Ceremonies in India! He has served our Zarathushti community in India for the past 60-years and as a Boiwalla Saheb at the Navsari Atash Behram for 20-years. He has consecrated two varasyajis (our sacred, white bull) as well as the Gumbad of Navsari Atash Behram. We thank you Dasturji Ravji for your selfless dedication towards promoting the bounty of our Zarathushti prayers through the gift of your valuable commitment! “
The following message by Dasturji Ravji was read out by Ervad Zarrir:
“Dear Zarir wishing you all good health, wealth and prosperity. May dadar Hormaz Bless you all
Best wishes Dasturji Keki C. Ravji”
After that, Dasturji Cyrus Dastur- vada Dastur of Surat- was introduced as a man of many talents. No matter what, he could make you laugh with his excellent sense of humor and he is also a Karate Black belt, grand student of Hashi Vispy Kapadia. Dasturji Cyrus has tremendous faith in our prayers with which he helped heal himself from Covid.
Dasturji Cyrus addressed the community in Gujarati quoting from the “ Sudreh, Kusti and Navjote” book published by the Athornan Mandal of Surat, which stressed the importance of following our Tarikats in order to live a happy Zarthosty life.
The last speaker of the event was introduced as one who believes that the hands that heal are holier than the lips that pray, being a cancer surgeon and also a high priest who heals souls with his prayers and bodies with his skill & knowledge. He is none other than the son of late illustrious Dasturji Dr. Kaikhushru JamaspAsa, Dasturji Dr. Jamasp JamaspAsa, who gave an erudite speech LIVE via Zoom in which he said the following:
Respected Ervad Bhandara and members of the ZAC
I would like to firstly thank you for inviting me to address our Zoroastrian community in North America and the wider community globally on this auspicious Behram Roj. It is truly pleasing to see our traditions and prayers being upheld by the widespread Zoroastrian diaspora and I fervently hope this will remain the case globally for millennia to come. I commend Ervad Bhandara for continuing this rich tradition and upholding the values that are so dear to our community. I have fond childhood memories of him praying at our beloved Anjuman Aatashbehram in Bombay many a year ago under the auspices of my late father Dasturji Kaikhusroo Minocher JamaspAsa.
Behram Yazad has always held a special place in our prayers and scriptures. A Yazata that presides over success and victory, He gives us the strength to overcome various hurdles in life and in doing so always allows us to fight the righteous fight for the triumph of Good over Evil. Often we must overcome our own internal struggles and Behram Yazad gives us the courage to face these head on and overcome them. It is thus no wonder that He is also invoked as Perozgar, dushman zadaar and Fattehmand – all of which stand for ‘ victorious smiter of ones enemies (both internal and external)’. It is also believed that Behram Yazad helps us overcome ill health.
Having touched upon, albeit briefly, the significance of Behram Yazad in Zoroastrianism, let us move towards the significance of todays Jashan ceremony which we are grateful our Mobed sahebs have performed for us. Today we see a world significantly changed due to a global pandemic and significant climate change. Many of us have had to endure time away from loved ones, the loss of near and dear ones, changes to our personal and financial situations and our younger generations having to forego school and college. Things we once took for granted became impossible and a single virus showed us what a small part we play as human beings in an ever changing and much more powerful universe. There have been several lessons to learn – what have we missed the most? What is really important to us? The answers have been simple – our family visits to the grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, our friends, our colleagues, hugs, human contact, going outdoors and enjoying a walk or a run. We have once again re-discovered nature and its importance in our lives.
But through this difficult period, we have also seen numerous acts of kindness, of courage, of resilience, of human beings coming together to help each other. Health care workers have given their all globally to look after their fellow human beings even at the expense of their own well being – some sadly paying the ultimate price. Closer to home our Mobeds and Boiwallas have ensured that our Aatashbehrams and Agiaries are looked after with diligence and the Holy Fires tended to daily – the everlasting flame kept burning! These acts all over the world each in their own way have shown how kindness, righteousness and good will always overcome the bad. I pray that in invoking Behram Yazad in todays Jashan, He continues to give us all the strength to overcome the hurdles in our lives and constantly helps us become better human beings.
To my fellow Zoroastrians worldwide, I urge you to continue living a good life that embodies the three basic tenets of Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds. To be proud of our Zoroastrian roots, to pray daily at home and at our peaceful and serene AatashBehrams and Agiaries, to have faith in our powerful Manthravani and prayers. Zoroastrianism has always been associated with kindness, charity, tolerance, strength, and honesty and it is upto us and our future generations to carry forward this priceless legacy.
I am certain despite all the struggles our community faces today that with the blessings of Ahura Mazda and Behram Yazad, we shall overcome these and continue to proudly be the flag bearers of this rich faith and tradition. I would once again like to thank Ervad Bhandara for today’s Jashan and for the blessings invoked for our community and for humanity as a whole.
Yours in His Service
Dastur Jamasp Dastur Kaikhusroo JamaspAsa
The event was concluded with special gratitude to Team Parsi Times for making the announcement in the same