(published in The Jam-e-Jamshed Weekly of 21-10-2001)
The survival of Zoroastrian religion and Parsi community should be the highest priority for all right-thinking Zoroastrians. In the past, several rules were framed and Resolutions passed by eminent Dasturji Sahebs and scholars to safeguard the community against un-Zoroastrian practices which threatened the existence and identity of the community. Time is once again ripe to remind my beloved community members of some of these essential practices.
I earnestly appeal to the respected Trustee Sahebs of all Agyaris and Atashbehrams to take steps and ensure that Panthakis and priests of the sacred places of worship under their jurisdiction neither perform and participate nor encourage in any way un-Zoroastrian practices like:
1. Performance of Navjotes of children whose either parent - mother or father - is a non-Zoroastrian.
2. Performance of ceremonies by so-called priests who have married non-Zoroastrians.
3. All religious rules, regulations and traditions are adhered in the performance of the solemn Navar and Maratab rituals. Permission should be granted for performance of Navar or Maratab ritual in the premises of the Agyaris / Atashbehrams only after ascertaining that the candidate has the minimum required ecclesia-stical qualifications.
4. Priests who flout these rules should not be allowed to practise in the sacred premises under your care. Priests, when officiating outside the sacred premises of Agyaris and Atashbehrams, should not perform solemn rituals like Jashan and Fareshta in the presence of non-Zoroastrians. Navjotes and Ashirwad ceremonies should be performed during the morning hours, preferably in an Atashbehram, Agiary or at one's residence.
Of late, it has come to our notice that Panthakis and priests of a reputed old Atashbehram in Mumbai have performed and aided such un-Zoroastrian acts. Some of them are purported to belong to the dedicated 'Nine families' serving the holy Iranshah for centuries, of which the Udwada Athornan Anjuman should kindly take note.
Only by observing the above time-tested practices can we strengthen and ensure the survival of our religion and community. This is the responsibility of each and every right-thinking member of the Zoroastrian community.
As a prelate, it is my sacred and bounden duty to guard the community in matters religious and guide those misguided souls who have strayed from the path of Asha. I am now awaiting the formation of the Council of High Priests of India to tackle and solve these issues.
Till then, Ahura Mazda be our guide and protector.
In His Service,
Dasturji Saheb Kaikhusroo Dastur Minocher JamaspAsa.
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