Thanksgiving Celebrations in the USA: Op-Ed by Ervad Soli Dastur


November 28, 2019

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Our dearest friend and mentor Ervad Soli Dastur writes on the occasion of Thanksgiving in the United states.

Ervad Soli writes

On Thursday, November 28th, the whole USA will celebrate one of the major family holidays, Thanksgiving, with families and friends! This tradition was started by the Pilgrims sometime in 17th century and is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. It became an official Federal holiday in 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November!

Jo Ann and I have our daughter Shirin, son Marv, grandsons Taj, Zain, Nev here for Thanksgiving. Also my brother Pesi’s son Tehmton’s son Rushaad who is taking Arts Management at the Philadelphia’s Drexel University will also be with us for his second Thanksgiving and we are very grateful to Daadaar Ahura Mazda for keeping us all together! In that spirit, we all wish you all and your families a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving! May Daadaar Ahura Mazda shower HIS Choicest Blessings upon you all and may you have a wonderful year with Health and Happiness with your loved ones, family and friends! Atha Jamyaat, Yatha Aafrinaamahi!!

This WZSE is then dedicated as a Thanksgiving to Dadar Ahura Mazda for all the wonderful bounties gifted to us all by HIM in HIS beautiful world! We US Zarathushtris also should give thanks to HIM for the wonderful country we live in!

This sense of Thanksgiving is well presented in one of our beautiful short Paazand Prayers, Doaa Naam Setaayashne! This prayer is always recited after the opening Atash Nyaayesh in all Jashan ceremonies. It is also supposed to be recited last just before Doaa Tandoorasti in our daily Farajiyaat.

According to Dr. Purviz Kolsawalla: “Doaa Naam Setaayashne prayer is a wonderful entreaty to Ahura Mazda who is glorified as the Benevolent Giver of Blessings and the Nourisher.”

With this in mind, let us repeat today, as our annual tradition, our previous WZSE to say thanks to Daadaar Ahura Mazda using the first 3 verses of this beautiful Paazand Prayer – Doaa Naam Setaayashne:

US Thanksgiving Celebrations – Give our thanks to Dadar Ahura Mazda – Doaa Naam Setaayashne – Verses 1 – 3!

Weekly Verse #80: US Thanksgiving Celebrations – Give our thanks to Dadar Ahura Mazda – Doaa Naam Setaayashne – Verses 1 – 3

(1) Khshnaothra Ahuraheh Mazdaao. Ashem Vohu (1)

Ba naameh Yazadeh, bakhshaayandeh bakhshaayashgareh meherbaan!

Naam setaa-eshneh Ahura Mazda!

Hamaabood hamaahasht, O hamaabade,

Naameh Yazadeh Spenaamino andarach Minoaan Mino.

Azash khudash yak naam Ahura Mazdacha.

Khodaae Méhést O Tavaanaa O Daanaa O Daadaar,

O Parvartaar O Paanaa O Khvaavar, O Kerfehgar, O avakhshidaar!

Avizeh veh daadastaani Hamaa-zor.

(2) Sépaas oeh burzorg hastiaan, keh aafrid avanid,

O pa khesh angaambati zor daanaai,

Avartar shesh Ameshaaspandaan avad vesh Yazdaan,

Roshan behesht Garothmaan,

O gerd aasmaan, O khur taavaa,

O maah baami, O satareh vash-tokhm,

O Baad, O andarvaae, O aav, O Aatash, O zamin,

O orvar, O gospand, O ayokhshast, O mardum.

(3) Yazashneh O niaaehshneh az oeh Khodaaeh kerfehgar,

Keh meh kard az  har gehtihaa dehehshnaan,

Mardum pa gavaaesh, maadaan daad,

O Sheheriaaresheh angaam raaenidaaresh daamaan,

Pa rakhma anghehzashneh parhez devaan.

US Thanksgiving Celebrations – Give our thanks to Dadar Ahura Mazda – Doaa Naam Setaayashne – Verses 1 – 3 Translation

(1) May there be gratification of the creator Hormazd!

I begin this prayer in the name of Ahura Mazda who is bestower of good things, forgiver of sins and merciful!

I sing and praise HIS name, Ahura Mazda, who always was, is and will be.

Whose name is God, the Beneficent Spirit; and who is the Spirit amongst the Spiritual ones.

HIS Own one special name is Hormazd.

That Lord is the greatest, powerful, wise, creator, nourisher, protector,

care-taker, virtuous, forgiver of sins, dispenser of justice and all powerful!

(2) I offer thanks to that Exalted Lord amongst the existing ones

who is the Creator of the entire creation and is the designer of its end;

and who with HIS own selfhood, strength and wisdom created most sublime six Ameshaashpands, many exalted Yazatas, the bright Heaven, Garothmaan, the revolution of the sky, the shining Sun, the brilliant Moon, Stars of many kinds, the winds, atmosphere, water, fire, the earth, trees, beneficent cattle, the metals and mankind!

(3) I worship and pay homage to that virtuous Lord

who made mankind the greatest among all worldly creatures

through the faculty of thinking and by bestowing intellect

for combating the evil ones, for opposing them

and even abstaining away from them!

Translation from Ervad Kangaji’s Gujarati Khordeh Avesta Translated Into English Pages 51 – 52)

Explanation by Ervad Soli P. Dastur

1. In his thesis, Dr. Purviz Kolsawalla, Sydney, Australia, writes about Doaa Naam Setaayashne:

“It is a complete prayer which in itself could be used as such when due to lack of time, we cannot go through our regular schedule of prayers.”

2. Our most eminent scholar Dr. Ervad Jivanji Jamshedji Modi travelled extensively in Europe and Iran in 1925-26 and in the city of Baku, Azerbaijan, he discovered a 7-story high tower that he believed was an ancient Atash Kadeh! Standing on its highest floor terrace, he said:

“There must be an Aatash Kadeh here!

This minaret is taller than 80 feet. The climbing steps are on one side and its diameter at the top is as large as forty feet.

From the top, you can see the vast seashore of Vourukasha sea (Caspian Sea), and from its ramparts you can observe the nature’s sun, moon, and stars.

This reminds me of our Doaa Naam Setaayashne prayer: ‘O khur taavaa, O maaha baami, O sataréh vash-tokhama, baad andarvaaeh, O aav, O Aatash, O zamin, O orvar, O gospand, O ayokhshast O mardum.’  ‘He created the light giving Sun, full of light Moon, many types of Stars, wind, air, water, fire, land, trees, animals, metal and man.’

And imagine praying this at the top of this seven-story high Atash Kadeh!”

Would we ever have a seven-story high Aatash Kadeh in North America?!?

May the Flame of Fellowship, Love, Charity, and Respect for all burn ever eternal in our hearts so we can do HIS work with humility, diligence, and eternal enthusiasm!

Atha Jamyaat, Yatha Aafrinaamahi! (May it be so as we wish!)

In HIS Service 24/7!

Love and Tandoorasti, Soli