A human is born with a gift to think. How far we are thinking in attunement with HIM is a question that every one of us should ask to ourselves. Lets think on the following questions and evaluate ourselves, how far we have done justice to our physical and spiritual identity? What is the reason of birth as Zarathustri? What things we have to accomplish in this world? What responsibilities are assigned to us by nature? How our good and bad deeds will be accounted after death? What is life after death and our Urvaan's position? These questions have never bothered our community until the middle of last century when Parsee Panchayat was involved in issues like intermarriage and conversion. Our forefathers knew the reason of their existence and living a meaningful religious life; that is why we have all our prayers, rituals and Tarikats preserved and handed down to us since generations. Due to economic development after the Second World War, like many other communities, Zarathustri community also got scattered around the world. People started targeting their physical, social and mental needs more than their spiritual needs. Today we have society that is constantly exposed to controversies, because people lack knowledge of religious practices and traditions especially among those groups that are widely scattered in western countries. Despite the existing diversities, it is the responsibility of every male and female to access or learn the answers to above questions to lead a spiritual life. It is like this, if you don't know who you are, and where you are going, how do you make sense out of your living? Or justify your actions and decisions to what you want to accomplish? Very few Zarathustris think on those lines keeping in mind their spiritual needs from their 'assigned Path' (Religion).
Veil of Ignorance:
The first reason of taking birth in this world is removing the veil of divine ignorance from Urvaan to educate oneself with the knowledge of divine light (Noor of Ahu) and practice HIS Daena. In the presence of all kinds of Drujih and destructive magnetism (electricity) around us, it is difficult to remove this veil of ignorance from human to get enlightened and WORK for the spiritual progress of soul by practicing HIS Divine Wisdom. Until we WORK for achieving that goal, every Urvaan has to return back and continue contributing towards its progression by following HIS Daena in its pristine form. However, as mentioned above, because of ever-increasing Drujih in the nature, we have to struggle hard to learn and practice HIS messages. Happiness, misery, poverty, personal problems, natural disaster, war, flood, famine, disease, insufficient rain for vegetation etc. - all such events and happenings are the result of human attitude to explore, experience and reap benefits from HIS creation. With the advent of electricity and ever-increasing human needs to possess wealth and property, we are exposed to several destructive forces in nature that has lead us to perform bad deeds with destructive thought process (ideas & imaginations) contrary to HIS Plan. Our religion teaches us to PRACTICE Avesta Manthra (prayers) & follow Tarikats to control such thoughts and promote attunement with divine forces by remaining conscious of Urvaan's progression and following Tarikats of Zarathustri religion.
A SPECIFIC PATH:
Each individual Urvaan is destined to take birth in a specific religion, a Path that is designed for its life on earth. We are duty-bound to learn "Ahum-Ashim" (Truth in nature) and develop our inner wisdom. If we want, we can get rid of all bad forces and establish Vohu-Mano i.e. to say, be guided by the thoughts attuned with Ahu to cultivate the power of Ahu within us. On the other hand, if we prefer to be guided by our material wisdom, 'Ako-Man' is our unwanted guest to make our thoughts contrary to Ahu, destroying the power of Ahu within us. The birth in this world is more of a misery than happiness in material sense. We are back in this Drujo-Deman to correct all our deeds from the past rather than having fun from the materialistic possessions and benefits. Instead of spending time in acquiring materialistic gains and pleasures we should be repenting for our pass deeds and WORK to compensate them for your spiritual progress. Repentance means to work for accumulating those 'treasures of life' (Avesta Manthras, following religious Tarikats, Manashni-Gavashne-Kunashne) that can be used to help Urvaan in two ways: -accumulate more spiritual food for Urvaan to compensate for the past bad deeds (Panje-Zarvekarshe Batem) and, help Urvaan's progression to the next domain rising towards Tanpasin and Farshogard. Thus, Urvaan gets relieved from these birth-cycles and becomes 'Noori' for 'Ahu' in 'Garonamana'. A task is difficult but, we all have to pass through its composition by attuning ourselves to HIS Daena, regardless of whether or not we believe in reincarnation, Urvaan's progression, or following religious Tarikats as the means to attain salvation.
WANTED FAITHFUL RATHESTARS:
We need very strong Rathestari (a warrior attitude with humility, dedication and knowledge of religion)) to defend the future of HIS-GIVEN PATH in the prevailing complexities of life. A Rathestar is a person who has knowledge and skill to defend our Faith and its supporters, an attitude that our community lacks in facing the socio-religious controversies. Those were the days when Zarathustris (professionals and non-professionals) aggressively protested against the anti-religious elements in the society, both within and outside. Today we hardly see such attitude in the community to drive out people like Ali Jafarey , K. Irani, Y. Rustomji; instead, personal attacks are launched against the Priests who would like to practice religion in its pristined form. This is a perfect example of how evil is succeeding in stopping us 'grow' (spiritual progression) on HIS Path. If such attitude prevails within our community, that time is not far away when you will see your children getting married outside the community and engage in activities that are termed as immoral, non-social and anti-religious. It will be too late then to show your Rathestari and become religious and preach your children what not to do. Some of those families who lacked Rathestari in past and became the victim of religious ignorance, can vouch for my statement.
Majority has no interest or attitude to learn and defend our religion. I agree, every religious community faces problems in practicing their Faith in various diversified communities. Those of you who are from India, visit some Muslim areas and check out their open-air religion schools for kids and adults. Our parents need to learn from these poor and middle class people of Muslim and other religions who despite their poor economic condition, afford to send their kids to religious training. And, in our community, there are Priests available to teach children and adults free of charge but, very few are willing to come and gain from them. About dedication in Islam, try to criticize their religion in public or through press and wait for their response. I am sure, you won't have time to wait and feel it because you won't be alive until then. The point that I am trying to convey is, we are basically a very tolerant community. We tolerate everything written or spoken against our religion. WHY? Because of our feeling of insecurity and that same Parsee attitude of ignoring everything that is not physically dangerous or harmful to thyself or thy family. When someone's name is mentioned in reference to committing anything contrary to our social and religious norms, responses full of commonsense defenses fly across all Parsee newspapers and internet. People refer all kinds of psychological, humanitarian, and philosophical references to prove themselves right in the presence of clear-cut religious taboo or regulation. We have 7% people writing on religioius matters and only 2% Kaviani-Flag bearers who can actually take part in defending our Faith. Such is the state of affair and here we are, organizing Zoroastrian Congress and Conferences to show the community that we are the most organized group.
My dear Zarathustris, utilizing corporate and journalists skills in resolving socio-religious issues is not the kind of Rathestari we need to protect our religion. It is merely a self-defense technique of proving someone wrong to make your point valid. Such approach is not good for preserving our religious sanctity and tradition. In order to be a Rathestar, first one need to educate himself/ herself about religion and mystical implications and applications of its components and PRACTICE it in daily life before joining the Rathestar force. Such individuals should support (if not maintain) our orthodox Athravans and those who are putting efforts in spreading our Daena. Living in vacuum does not qualify you to practice Rathestari, neither your self-created defenses to protect your image and inability to defend evil are going to help our future generations to preserve our religion and heritage. Some of us act to be more civilized in resolving socio-religious controversies. Such people are among those to whom we call hypocrites. There are Zarathustris who recognize them as their leaders, as they have a gift to temporarily bury the controversies in question with their eloquent presentation. Now, who are the victims of their action? Obviously, present and future generations, who will continue to lack religious arsenal to understand and practice our religion. This is one of the reason why the presentations of foreign and self-made scholars are successful propagating ridiculous expositions of our religious terms and issues analyzing the surface meaning of our sacred Avesta Manthras. There presentations are obviously self-contradictory and ineffective as it lacks intrinsic, spiritual expositions for a ZARATHUSTRI SOUL to lead a Zarathustri life. There are some scholars who say that Ahura-Mazda is NOT omnipotent or omnipresent; rituals and ceremonies can be performed anywhere and in the presence of non-Zarathustri; or our Prophet Zarathustra approved intermarriage and so on. Now, their research evaluations does not become an authentic precedence over what is given in our scriptures simply because they thought it is 'reasonably justifiable' or 'appropriate' in the light of its grammatical compositions. My dear Zarathustris, for them it is just a research paper to earn name, fame, money and qualification, whereas for us, it is a question of life and death. Religion is certainly not an outcome of a human effort, because if God wanted human to make his own Path (religion) to salvation then, there was no need for Paigambar Saheb Asho Zarathustra, Shri Krishna, Moses, Christ or Mohammad to arrive on earth to spread His word. We could have survived with so-called intelligent minds across the oceans to be our Massiah's. Apply your Baodhang and think about it.
DO WE NEED GOD AND RELIGION?
IF THIS LIFE IS ENOUGH for attaining Farshogard , especially for people like us (Dravands), who are constantly exposed to Drujih and, who does every other act contrary to HIS divine laws and regulations given in Zarathustri Daena, there is no reason to believe in God or any spiritual being and its contribution in life, as salvation is automatic at the end of this life, whether you do right or wrong. My dear Zarathustris, cultivate His divine wisdom within you (Baodhang) and think religiously to understand your mission in life. Our birth is destined and designed for our Soul's Progression to achieve the final goal - release our Soul from DrujoDeman and this life-death cycles for the final event (Farshogard) by following a prescribed Path assigned to the Soul by birth. There is no clear-cut solution to this spiritual process. One has to understand the classes of Soul described in our scripture (Ashonam, Ashaonam, Paoryotakeshan, Nabanazdishtanam) to justify the reason of our existence and responsibility that we have in this material world for our Urvaan's progression. Many of us have witnessed stories and incidents like: a person is very religious, does everything according to our religion, but his own son or dauther is ethiest, married outside, or died at a young age. There are some parents who are ethiest, care less of religion but their kids are very religious. Whereas, there is a person who does prayers and follows Tarikats but could not afford minimum standard of living, (just like our Udvada Priests). Why so much of injustice? Do those religious people deserve such children? Why a religious person has to suffer harassment, injustice or lack of respect because of his economic or social condition? Why a child is born with physical deformity when his/ her soul has not even committed any good or bad deed? Such questions should enlighten you and make you realize that HE IS THE MAKER OF OUR SOUL'S DESTINY BASED ON OUR PAST KARMA. Whether or not you like to do prayers and follow religious Tarikats and be guided by your materialistic wisdom, whether or not you do Farzyat everyday and during your presence in rituals and ceremonies, your SOUL IS THE RECIPIENT OF YOUR ACTIONS AND DECISIONS that you make in this life. Every Soul that takes rebirth is given an opportunity to improve his/her spiritual counterpart with the help of HIS-GIVEN Path. How far that Soul achieves benefits from its physical consciousness is what goes against or in favor after its arrival on the Chinvat Bridge.
Our Soul's journey towards Garonamana is free from our material consciousness; its movement towards Farshogard is purely as a result of its deeds in the physical world. Lets understand consciousness and how does it affect our spiritual progression. There are three kinds of consciousness:- Physical consciousness, Ultra-physical consciousness and, Soul's consciousness. The consciousness of Soul remains dormant during our physical life. Unlike human who is exposed only to the material consciousness, the Ashavan's consciousness of Urvaan remains much alive during his life-time and, when He can actually communicate with his Soul or it can leave the body during the lifetime of that Ashavan. A perfect example is of Arda-e-Viraf whose Soul left the body to witness the world of Ahura-Mazda and returned back to life after several days of its divine journey. His journey is well established in a book called Arda-e-Viraf Namag. Such miracle happens only if the person is a Ashavan, whose Soul is completely attuned with HIS constitution. As for our human (Dravand) life, if Soul leaves the body, death occurs because our soul yet to be freed from the 'weight' of Dravao that attaches us with this world (Drujo-Deman). Everywhere in our prayers we ask for attunement (a divine process) that our Soul is not yet ready for. Thus, we learn that our Soul is at the mercy of our physical conscience to contribute towards its progression. It is already aware of its status and progression and how it will advance in His Minoi world. Our Urvaan has already accepted HIS jurisdiction and agreed to release all Dravao's attached with it by attuning (Yazamaide) itself with Ahu by remaining inside this physical body. (A hint for those who are familiar with Cosmogenesis: A series of events involving Anhuma, Khao-Afragiemana, & how Fravashi came to the help of Urvaan etc will justify this statement).
The Avesta word 'Yazamaide' (attunement) means to come in connection with a particular spiritual entity through prayers. Yazamaide is the final goal of our Soul for which we, (Dravands) may not be qualified but, one must not forget that we are preparing ourselves in that direction and aim at such a divine union. That is why we have a long list of Tarikats, rules and regulations to follow before, during and after doing prayers and in this life. It is our physical conscience that has to accept HIS divine connection with Urvaan and WORK for its progression by following a particular Path assigned to it by birth. My dear Zarathustris there are books and people across the ocean to provide you religious nourishment through various mediums of communications. Learn and practice Mithra-Manthra-Yasna-Tarikat and make your life meaningful FOR YOUR SOUL. There is no better meditation than reciting Avesta Manthras. You may have abundant wealth and wisdom to live in this world but, if you fail to practice your religion, you have contributed nothing to your SOUL, which remains suffering because of your spiritual incompetancy and lack of respect for HIS wisdom & HIS Divine Plan. You are gifted to born as a Zarathustri. Be proud to live like one by FOLLOWING HIS COMMANDMENTS.
Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami
In His Service,
Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha
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