Our fourth author in the Everyday Parsi 2014Everyday Parsi 2014 series
Neville Sorabji Gandhi writes
My name is Neville Sorabji Gandhi. I was born and graduated in Mumbai. I am happily married to a Parsi and have a Teenaged Son. For the past few years I am employed in the UAE handling Finance & Administration. My family vacations to Mumbai are mostly during July and August every year. Incidently schools in UAE are closed for summer during July and August. We are fortunate to experience Divine Blessings of Muktad also known as Farvardegan Days that are observed 10 Days before our Shehanshai New Year in August every year. .
I am a Traditional Parsi Zarathushti and fairly religious minded. During my school and college days I stayed in a cosmopolitan society and hence did not know much about our religion. My parents did send us to a Religious Class every Saturday conducted by Late Ervad Rustomji Panthaky, Principal of Dadar Madaressa. However due to lot of other distractions, religion did not play an important part of my life then. Thanks to my Sincere Traditional Parsi friends, they guided me to the Right Path.
The 10 Days of Muktad are days of remembering the Fravashis and Souls of our Departed. The Farvardegan Days start from Roj: Astad, Mah: Asfandarmad until Vahistoisht Gatha. It is believed that all Fravarshis and Souls of the Departed descend in this physical world. Parsi / Irani Zarathusthis maintain purity and cleanliness during these days. Some very staunch members even abstain from cutting nails, hair and also avoid stitching. Muktad Days are Joyous and Festive occasion to welcome the Fravashis.
For me Muktad Days are very Holy Days when we maintain purity,recite prayers, rituals and goodness. We offer reverence to the Souls of the Departed and seek their Blessings. Mumbai has a the largest population of Parsis and hence Muktad Days are predominantly evident in August. Each and every AtashBehram and Agiary make all the necessary arrangements. Vases (Behras) are kept with Fresh Flowers in remembrance of the Departed Souls. Water in the Vases and Flowers are Conduits of Divine Blessings. It is beneficial to have Small Afarganya Fire in houses or atleast a Diva to keep the surrounding pious. Flower Vendors are seen near every Fire Temple selling Fresh Flowers. Every Fire Temple is full of Fragrance, Prayers and Rituals. I like the Serene Environment experienced during the Holy Muktad Days.
Muktad are the days of enhancing communication between physical and spiritual worlds. The Blessings of the Fravashis are required to add meaning to our lives. I am happy that atleast during these Farvardegan Days people give priority to religious practices. Our community is suffering from Religious Apathy. There are groups like Orthodox, Heterodox, Kshnoomists and Pundoles in a miniscule community like ours. I wish we all Unite for the sake of our Community and to preserve our Sacred Mazdayasni Zarathushti Deen.
Thanks to Parsi Khabar for starting these Muktad Series since last year. Hope our Youth are inspired by reading the experiences of people from different walks of life.
WISH YOU ALL MY DEAR PARSIS A VERY HAPPY SHEHANSHAI NEW YEAR 1384 Y.Z.
You can follow the entire series here: http://parsikhabar.net/category/everyday-parsi/