Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Ervad Zarrir Bhandara’s Talk at the Ripon Club Mumbai

The following speech was delivered by Ervad Zarrir Bhandara at the Ripon Club Mumbai on Saturday November 2nd, 2019.  “Mobed’s Heart to Mobeds’ Hearts” event. This event was organized by the Global Health Guru and the Holistic Health Coach Dr. Mickey Mehta. The young and dynamic BPP trustee Mr. Viraf Mehta was the chief guest and Dr. Ervad Ramiyar Karanjia principal of Dadar Athornan Madressa was the guest of honor. This event was attended by about 20 mobeds which included the ex principal of Cama Athornan Madressa Ervad Kersi Karanjia.

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Dr. Mickey Mehta thanked everyone and requested Mr. Viraf Mehta to introduce the speaker Mobed Zarrir.

Zarrir started his presentation by asking all present to hold each other’s hands and requested Ramiyar to lead the Hum bandagi of 2 Yatha and 1 Ashem Vohu.

Zarrir thanked everyone present and asked the audience how are you feeling? Then asked them to shake hands with the person on their right and left saying “I am a great Mobed and so are you”

He asked who are we. -Mobed which comes from the word Magu- Paiti, the word magic comes from the word the Magis- our ancestors who were able to perform super natural things due to the power of prayers combined with the knowledge of Astrology, Astronomy and Alchemy, we were  the teachers, leaders and role models of our Society what happened? What went wrong? How come the people who were once looked up to are looked down upon? How can we bring the faith of our community back into our own religion? We the priests are the back bone of our community.

How do we shape the will of the community without shaking the spirit which will bring about the life time of transformation?

What is our role and responsibility? Before we examine our role, we need to start FEELING GOOD because when we feel good, we can do good. How do we feel good? He emphasized on the importance of mindfulness and the mental faculty as taught by our prophet Zarathushtra in the Gathas by quoting”For the uncontrolled, there is no wisdom, nor is the power of concentration without concentration there is no peace of mind and without peace of mind how can there be happiness.”- Zen in the Martial Arts, Bhadwad Geeta and Gathas

We have to realize that we are very privileged to be in this profession as this is the most noble profession “Mobedi Pesho, A ek dam uttam pesho che”. Provided it is practiced correctly. He asked many questions and fortunately or unfortunately it was only Dr. Ervad Ramiyar Karanjia was able to answer his questions. He asked which is the outer ritual in which, we enact the role of Ahura Mazda Himself, bringing about the blessings from the spirit world to the physical world. Namely, the Jashan/Afringan, what could be of more significance than this. (Thus boosting the self esteem of mobeds).

It is also a great responsibility as we are the mediator between the worlds by means of rituals.

Talking about ethics, he quoted “If you are true to the art the art will be true to you” Hanshi Vispy Bahadur Kapadia- my Karate teacher. Here instead of art I would say profession. Instead of chasing money, be a true service provider and the money will chase you. It is necessary to pray with proper pronunciation to create desire effect and initiate communication with the spirit world by means of vibrations.

We priests need to be steadfastly dedicated to proper performance and pronunciation, show that we care about what we are doing by being caring and loving by investing our feelings in our prayers  and performing rituals, rather than just performing mechanically and yes, there are no shortcuts to it. Do it right or don’t do it at all.

Also it is important to acquire correct knowledge of performing rituals, especially the higher inner liturgies- PavMahal ni kriya  and here in India you are blessed to have stalwarts likes Dasturji Dr.Firoze Kotwal a living legend, a reservoir of knowledge, Dr. Ervad Ramiyar Karanjia, Dr. Ervad Roointon Pir, Dr. Ervad Parvez Bajan, Mobed Aspandiar Dadachanji more.

Further equip yourself with scholarly and Esoteric knowledge by reading Kangajis/ Taraporewalla’s, Daboo’s, JamaspAsa’s, Kotwal’s and also books on Kshnoom which will make the rituals more meaningful  to yourself and you can explain the significance of the same to others. Take the example of performing a Kusti which you know it’s a purification ritual, you can compare it with running a Virus scan before downloading any program in the hard drive. Essentially, you are cleaning your astral body- aura- removing impurities thus making room and becoming receptive to receive blessings from the spirit world by first reciting the 101 names of Ahura Mazda, which are His qualities which we download in ourselves thus becoming like Him as we all are made in His image. Further, when we make two loops reciting Manashni, Gavashni and Kunashni, which signifies the two worlds namely the physical and spiritual with a bridge in between signifying that when we traverse through this bridge of separator, we take with and leave in this world only the thoughts, words and deeds that we performed. Hence, it is so important to lead an ethical life.

Think priestly duties as divine privilege, even if charging money, put your best effort into it, be disciplined, be dedicated, be devoted. Do it from your heart (etekad sathe) thus breaking this vicious cycle of carefree priests which influences the community to be careless about their religion.

Also if you are in any other profession apply the good things from those professions into your priestly duties to compliment your priestly duties to make you a better priest. For example I being in the field of Martial Arts, every time we block or punch has to be a better than the previous one similarly, every time I perform ritual it has to be better than my previous one. Also, being an ex model I know how important it is to look good. Hence, as a mobed you should look presentable and pleasant, so that you can be willingly and easily approached. Also, having a background in alternative medicine- helps me to do spiritual healing- combining Mathra and Mithra. Being an electrician, I know how important the connection is, which helped me to make sure that I am connected with the ground – Earthing and with the implements to be consecrated and at the same time also forming a connection between the laity-the physical world and their dear departed ones-the spirit world thus completing a circuit.

When you include ethics as the most important component in your priestly duties and in life, and live your prayers then you are the one more than anyone else, who is going to benefit the most by progressing in both worlds physical and spiritual.

He shared his success story and how his life was saved through power of prayers after a traumatic road accident and also his Journey as a priest giving credit to Athravan Education Trust.

Start educating people with simple yet important things like Sudreh and Kusti the golden tools as mentioned in Khorshed and Meher Niyaesh “Zarvanem Surem Yazamaide”

The key principle to follow is the principal of Asha- righteousness in all your endeavors to be full of Asha HOPE.
When you follow Asha for the sake of Asha Righteousness, you experience Ushta Happiness the Ashem Vohu prayer.

The physical entity or the creation that comes under Asha Vahishta is Fire son of Ahura Mazda. Fire is the manifestation of that energy which is present in all living beings, in other words God’s spark/ energy is present  in all living beings,  which gives us the notion of oneness  in the universe, which is unity in diversity in our community and in the world. Hence we celebrate our different calendars, sects beliefs even religions, as paths are many spirit is one. 

I am not saying it’s going to be a rosy path, you have to strive as you will still come across a lot of criticism and controversies, talking about criticism and controversies, the people who are often most criticized are the trustees who are performing a thankless job whether in US or in India, look at BPP trustees Noshir Dadrewalla, Kersi Randeria, Viraf Mehta Xerxes Dastur who are the most honest people yet they are challenged and criticized every day.  In such situation, you diffuse the issue with love and light rather than shove and light.

He asked what is common between past highly evolved souls like dasturji Kookadaru and many others of that status, Dasturji Daboo and our Mickey Mehta. It is the Ethical, responsible and compassionate eating which is very important for spiritual development, it is also good for you, the environment and animals.

We are the role models we have to practice extreme devotion and piety then we can expect at least a few, if not all, community members to be inspired by this.

He concluded the talk by expressing his gratitude to Xerxes Dastur, Viraf Mehta, Fr. Mickey Mehta, Dr. Ervad Ramiyar Karanjia and also his mentor and friend Dr. Huzan Kharas/Daver, his son Zerkxis Bhandara and his friend Meher Amalsad for helping him with this presentation.

Caption from left to right:

Ervad Kersi Karanjia ex principal of Cama Athornan Madressa, BPP Trustee Viraf Mehta, Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia principal Dadar Athornan Madressa, Dr. Mickey Mehta, Ervad Zarrir Bhandara