It is with great sadness we share the news that Ervad Asphandiar Dadachanji passed away at 8:30 AM India Time on Friday October 22nd, 2021. Ervad Dadachanji was a legendary figure for his immense ritual knowledge and service as a Mobed and the Panthaki Saheb of the Vatcha Gandhi Agiary at Hughes Road in Mumbai.
I had the privilege of knowing him from childhood when his sons Marespand and Hormuz joined the same Cub Scouts pack that I was a part of. At Sethna’s 18th West Bombay Scout Group, Ervad Dadachanji became a part of the Scouting family. Every year he would perform our Jashan Ceremony, at first leading it himself, and later on his sons Marespand and Hormuz continuing the tradition. For our scouting activities I would often land up at their house behind the Agiary, and it was always great to meet him and Dhun Aunty.
Ervad Dadachanji also attended the 7th World Zoroastrian Congress in Houston in 2000 and the 11th World Zoroastrian Congress in Perth, where he led the inaugural Jashan.
He was by far the most knowledgeable Mobed when it came to all of our rituals and practises. His role and explanation of the Yasna ceremony is beautifully captured in the MUYA Project led by Prof. Almut Hintze from SOAS.
As a child we were fascinated by his Morris Minor car. In the early 80’s when he was a Panthanki in Nagpur, an opportunity opened up for him to take on the mantle of the Panthaki at the Colombo Agiary. The family of 4, packed themselves in to the vintage car and drove from Nagpur to the tip of India and then took the car by sea to Colombo.
He was a regular figure at all the Vintage car rallies and shows, and he inculcated this love for vintage cars in his sons, especially Marespand who today is the leading vintage car restorer in India and has won several trophies at the very highest level at car shows around the world.
Ervad Dadachanji’s legacy will continue to live on through his sons and his grandson Varzavand who is also an ordained priest following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father and kaka.
We express our condolence to the entire Dadachanji family and Garothman Behest to Ervad Dadachanji’s ruvan.
Ervad Asphandiar Rustomji Dadachanji (1940-2021) Punthaky of Modi Sorabji Vatcha Gandhi Agiary.
Below are some messages shared by those who loved him and knew him well.
Ervad Zerkxis Bhandara, California USA
“…Garothman Behest to the sweetest kindest most proficient Yaozdarthregar mobed of our times. May your souls progress onwards swiftly. So honored to be ordained as navar by you Saheb. “
Firoza and Khojeste P. Mistree, Mumbai India
We are heart broken that our dear beloved Aspandiarji is no more. He was a wonderful yaozdathragar priest from the old school. His ritual expertise and his recitation of prayers was unparalel in conveying a sense of holiness. We have lost the finest ritual priest of the faith. May his soul rest forever in Garothman.
Rayomand J. Patell, Mumbai India
In loving memory of an iconic sight in Vintage and Classic Rallies in Bombay. Dasturji Dadachandji was always smiling the most when around his beloved Morris’.
Garothaman Behest Hojoji.
Noshir H Dadrawala, Mumbai India
The passing away of Ervad Apandiar Dadachanji is a tragic loss for the Parsi Zoroastrian community. He was an authority in matters of Zoroastrian higher liturgical ceremonies and had himself performed several Vendidad and Nirangdin ceremonies. He guided and led the shifting of the Holy Fire at Tavri near Navsari to Godrej Baug in Mumbai.
Under his guidance and supervision several young boys including from overseas have been initiated as Navar and Maratab. He was a spiritual mentor to many. He would guide both priests and laity in matters of religious observances without being pedantic. He was gentle, soft spoken and kind to all.
Above all he was witty and had a great sense of humor. He was also fond of cricket and going on long drives.
I was privileged and blessed to know him closely and personally. He had accompanied me and my dear friend Coovershah Mehta of SVG Pune on several tours to Iran. His presence among the pilgrims had a serene and spiritual effect on all including fellow Zoroastrians residing in Iran. In the bus he would patiently answer queries on what to pray and how to live a pious Zoroastrian life. In fact when Coovershah and I met him recently, which happened to be his Roj Birthday, he expressed a desire to visit Iran one more time. Zoroastrian religious texts say the soul goes to the other word via the Albroze mountain range in Northern Iran. He will now travel to Iran in spirit.
With his flowing white beard and radiant face, he exuded rare piety and simply being in his presence was humbling and awe inspiring.
May his pious soul progress in the spiritual world and continue to bless us all.
Shervin Farridnejad, Berlin USA
RIP. He was a beautiful soul and most proficient Yaozdarthregar mobed of our time and a master of Zoroastrian higher liturgical ceremonies. I was privileged and blessed to know him personally and to learn from his great knowledge of Zoroastrian rituals. In Mumbai, I was allowed to attend the Yasna as well as Nāvar and Martab preparation course at the Dadar Athornan Boarding Madressa. Ervad Dadachanji was a learned and kind preist, who was always ready to answer my questions and explaine me all details with an exemplary patience. Recently he made me specially some drōns with the 9 marks to be photographed for a paper of mine under publication. He will be deeply missed and remain alive in my thoughts.
ગરોથમાન બહેસ્ત હોજો
Dan Sheffield, New Jersey USA
This is such a huge loss. Ervad Dadachanji was such a kind person, someone who spoke gently but with the authority of decades of wisdom and experience. Sincere condolences to his friends and family.