Our sixth author in the Everyday Parsi 2020 series is Ervad Khushru Master of Auckland, New Zealand.
Khushru shares the “Memories of a 12 year-old-mohbed”
All of 12, I vividly recall how excited my younger brother Neville and I were for our first muktad at Sir Jamshetjee Jeejebhoy Agiary better known as Sir ni Agiary.
It may be something due to the fact that our father Khursetjee Vajifdar was a devout and dynamic dastur who got us started with public service as a young age.
In spite of a head bath so early in the morning there would be sleep in our eyes, however we would be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the minute we but all set foot in the agiary.
The hustle-bustle of the people, the dasturjis praying loud, each one trying to drown the voice of the other when they recited the names of the departed souls, so that they can be heard by their respective behdin and bow down in reverence…. the energy, the fragrance of the sandal wood, the atmosphere was so beautiful with a multitude of lamps glowing and the tables decorated with roses and lilies was a sight to behold–especially at the break of dawn.
A feeling of divinity enveloped the agiary and the people in it.
There is no hiding the fact that we were partly excited because as young kids it was the time to earn some good pocket money.
All the asudaats that the behdins would give us for praying was a great motivator to get up early in the morning at 4am and prep up to go to the agiary.
The moment we stepped into the sacred precincts of the fire temple, we had to get on with the morning satum.
Often, the behdins were eager to get their prayers done and get on with their day. And whilst I prayed with all the sincerity of a 12-year-old, I couldn’t help noticing what was laid out for satum— for that’s what we would be eating for breakfast.
Yummy bhakras today! How exciting was all that for a young lad.
Apart from the prayers and a feeling of serenity and peace, catching up with all the new mobeds who had come from different cities especially for muktad prayers and the chasniwala boys mostly from Petit School (Boarding) was the fun element. We all shared a great bond and a sense of camaraderie.
By the end of the day we were exhausted, yet exhilarated …and by the ninth day we couldn’t wait for the Parsee New Year to arrive. We made new friends, felt rich and important, and so satisfied with a perfect start to the year.
From the memories of a 12-year-old praying during muktad times, cut to the time we moved to Auckland 16 years ago…..and we had our first mukatad at the Forud Shahalori Dadgah that Aspi Shahlori had built singlehandedly 15-years-ago.
We were overcome with a feeling of joy and gratitude that we could have the prayers for the departed souls in a faraway land…literally at the end of the world.
The anticipation was no less—not for the asudaat now but just that it would bring solace to all the people who have lost their near and dear ones, as they found comfort in the prayers. Bringing in the New Year with a jashan at the dadgah was always a special event that brought the community together.
Most of the prayers are done on a voluntary basis and my older and wiser self is filled with a sense of reverence.
It is a huge privilege as we collectively pray to all our Fravashis followed by the remembrance of individual souls and Fravashis of the departed souls.
Ervad Khushru Master lives in Auckland with his wife Farida. Besides being actively involved in the local community at various levels, he is one of the regular mobeds performing various religious ceremonies, and will be performing the community muktad prayer ceremonies at the Shahlori Darbe –Mehr in Auckland.