1) I understand Arda Viraf Nameh deals only with "Wahisht" (Heaven), "Dozakh" (Hell) and "Hamistagan" (Purgatory). The pious Dastur's Soul went into a spiritual trance for seven days during which time he was able to perceive and experience the fate of various souls in the spiritual world. He had a vision of Ahura Mazda proclaiming "There is only one path, that of righteousness. All other paths are false". The subject of "Re-birth" does not apply here.
2) As you say, we Zarathushtis are supposed to abstain from sins. It is well-known that our internal evils are: selfishness, envy, pride, lust, greed, hatred, grudge, deceit, etc. We may overcome all these evils but there may still be a little bit of 'DRUJ" left in us, e.g. something may make us angry. This is also a kind of 'DRUJ" and we have to try and overcome the feeling of anger in us. So till we get rid of all bad things which envelope us, our Soul is not pure.
I would like to give you a little bit of information on "Re-birth and Re-incarnation" from the book 'COSMOGENESIS' edited by Dr Mrs Meher Master-Moos from the manuscript books of lectures and teachings of Ustad Saheb Behramsha Shroff. As you all know, Behramsha Shroff was given this knowledge during his stay with Abed Sahebs of Demavand Koh for more than three years. Hence what is given in this book is authentic information.
Cosmogenesis, evolution of souls, differences in degrees of spiritual evolution, different ranks, grades and status of souls, differences between religions, how & why these differences occur under the Divine Universal Natural Laws relating to JZHIRUM? The entire Universe and all its creations are governed from Cosmogensis to Frasho Kereiti by Divine Universal Natural Laws. These Divine Universal Natural Laws are unchangeable and unfailing in their operative action. Amongst these Divine Universal Natural Laws are those relating to JZHIRUM. Spiritual evolution is the subject leading to Frasho Kereiti.
Zarathushtrian Ilm-e-Khshnoom is a sublime understanding of these Divine Universal Natural Laws revealed to us by our Paigambar Asho Zarathushtra whose Soul was the most highly evolved of all the souls in the whole of Universe. We human beings with our materialistic involvement are still poor in our power of understanding these Spiritual Laws. To evolve spiritually, it is necessary for every human being to daily practise the "Tarikats" (spiritual disciplines of life) in order to develop our inner vision for the Soul to progress on the path of Ashoi, to the ultimate goal of creation which is Frasho Kereiti (union with God Almighty).
Do you think, with just one life, our Soul becomes completely pure to become one with God ?
To attain this ultimate goal, different prophets have revealed different levels of the Divine Universal Natural Laws and different spiritual practices suitable for performance by those souls who have reached that particular level of spiritual development, in accordance with the root connection of those souls with their respective Jzhirums.
What is JZHIRUM? It is Persian word meaning - the source of celestial light vibrational energy, spiritual luminary - "ROSHNI". The 10th plane of Minoi Alam, the abode of "AHU" (God Almighty) is the source in creation of ASHOI (spiritual purity of righteousness), the fountain source of the creation of different vibrational energies of different spiritual qualities (referred to in the Divine Universal Natural Laws revealed by our Paigambar Asho Zarathushtra as "16 Atash" [not fire as we know] spiritual vibrational energies) was passed into the Jzhiramani Alam. Thus were created seven different Planes of seven JZHIRUMS, in the course of Cosmogenesis. These seven Jzhirums are composed wholly of Spiritual Light "ROSHNI - NOOR" vibrational energies. Souls are connected to these different Jzhirums through their respective religions. For example,
Khur & Dae are not to be confused with Khur (Sun) and Dae (Moon) of our Solar System.
Khur & Dae Jzhirums are the chief transmission agencies/transition stages for souls to pass and progress gradually from one grade of Jzhirum to another. They function as transitional stages between one Jzhirum and another for progress of souls to higher degrees of Spiritual Ashoi purity (to a higher ASPENDI), i.e. to a connection with a higher level of Jzhirum. The goal of spiritual progress for elevations is to reach BURJISH JZHIRUM, the Jzhirum of the highest Aspendi (the greatest degree of spiritual purity and light speed).
NOOR is the essence spiritual light vibrational energy. ASPENDI is the measurement of this NOOR energy, i.e. degree of quality of purity and acceleration speed of its own spiritual light vibrational energy. The purer the quality of NOOR spiritual light, the faster is its accelation and the higher is its ASPENDI (in Gujarati "Gati"). Spiritual light energy is measured by ASPENDI.
What is ASPENDI? Just as on earth physical matter is measured by kilogram etc, speed of vehicles is measured as miles per hour, spiritual light energy is measured by ASPENDI.
We are born with connection to particular Jzhirums in accordance with the continuous operating Divine Universal natural Laws (which includes the Law of KESHAS - Destiny) to progress to the higher level of ASPENDI.
Degrees of ASPENDI for different JZHIRUMS are :
In Zarathushtrian Daena, a Soul is considered to have cut itself off from the cycles of re-incarnation when it crosses the Chinvat Bridge and enters into the "Aa Dakhyu", i.e. 3rd Dakhyu, under Meher Yazad's jurisdiction. Chinvat bridge has its lower end in the 4th Upairi Dakhyu and higher end in the 3rd Aa Dakhyu. For souls connected to Burjish Jzhirum, the general rule is "no re-incarnation" on this earth, IF ALL THE TARIKATS PERTAINING TO BURJISH JZHIRUM ARE PRACTISED (which of course, we are not doing). Re-incarnation and Re-birth occur when souls do not practise all the TARIKATS pertaining to Burjish Jzhirum.
Every soul must eventually progress upto and reach the degree of spiritual purity (ASPENDI) of the Burjish Jzhirum. This means cycles of "Re-incarnation" till a soul reaches Burjish Jzhirum. Without attaining this level or degree of spiritual purity and perfection, a soul cannot progress higher to Ahura Mazda, since the stubborn deep-seated traits and characteristics of a soul are hard to remove and it takes many thousands of cycles of re-incarnations for some souls to remove and purify themselves for higher spiritual progress. We have to understand that spiritual progress is very difficult to achieve, whereas spiritual regress is easy.
When a soul passes out of a physical human body, it is just embarking on a long, long journey through the regions of the lower Dakhyus. The physical body (Tanu, Gaitha, Azde, bones, soft parts & liquid body) is corporeal and perishes. The three semi-eternal parts, Keherp, Tevishi, Ushtan continue to exist. So long as the slightest trace of physical corporeal body survives, there is an attachment which continues between the Kehrp and the body and this attachment is transmitted to the soul through the Tevishi (emotional psyche) and the Ushtan (blue thread, silver cord of life). This attachment keeps the soul tied down to its corporeal body and prevents the soul from acquiring sufficient spititual speed (Aspendi) to progress into the Dakhyus. To enable the soul to be free of the body so that the soul can ride its Kehrp and leave earth, to enter into the higher regions of the Dakhyus, we have been given the most scientific and spiritually powerful prayers and ceremonies of DOKHME NASHINI.
Souls born with connections to different Jzhirums have to go through different destinations within the regions of the 7th Aipi, 6th Pairi, 5th Adairi and 4th Upairi Dakhyus. Souls connected to Kaiwan (Christians), Nahid (Jews) and Hashem (Muslims) Jzhirums have to reach certain places in 7th, 6th and 5th Dakhyus. Souls connected to Tarad (Hindus) Jzhirum have other places in 6th, 5th & 4th Dakhyus. Souls connected to Burjish (Zarathushtis) Jzhirum must endeavour to reach the destination of the 4th Dakhyu, the foot of the beginning of the lower end of the Chinvat Bridge.
For those not knowing the spiritual world, there is HASTI REALM consisting of two planes (9th & 8th) of Minoi Alam and seven planes of above-mentioned Jzhirumani Alam. 10th plane is the abode of "AHU". There is also NISTI REALM consisting of Aiwi (1st), Antare (2nd), Aa (3rd) known as Upper Dakhyus and Upairi (4th), Adairi (5th), Pairi (6th) and Aipi (7th) known as Lower Dakhyus.
All manifestations of souls as life-forms touched with matter (i.e. Anaseres) exist within these four Lower Dakhyus of NISTI REALM. A soul may take 'Re-birth' in any of the numerous globes and "planets" existing in the lower 4 Dakhyus of NISTI REALM. It does not necessarily have to take 're-birth' only on this earth. If in accordance with its "Keshas" (karma), it is necessary for the soul to be re-born on earth for accomplishing its spiritual progress, it is said to be re-incarnated in the form of a human being on this earth. Re-birth can take place anywhere in any globe within the lower 4 Dakhyus.
I can only say this much. To understand this important subject properly, one has to read this book available with the Mazdayasnie Monasterie, Mustafa Bldg, Sir P M Road, Mumbai 400 001.
The aim of Ustad Saheb Behramsha Shroff was that this book of his lectures be read by present-day Parsees to gain an understanding of the Divine Laws in their spiritual progress if they realised the consequences of REGRESS of the souls (which brings about re-incarnation). He wanted to bring about an understanding that our souls are linked spiritually to BURJISH JZHIRUM and then to decide for ourselves to choose the path of spiritual progress by practising the "TARIKATS" of Zarathushti religion despite all the difficulties of modern times' way of life for such practices. This means strict observance of the rules of our religion and stopping all non-Zarathushti worship like Saibaba, Ganpati, Mt. Mary/Mahim Church Novina, narrating kathiara story every Friday, etc etc etc which majority of Parsees are doing wrongly.
It should, therefore, be the main endeavour of Traditional Zarathushtis to make this knowledge available to our youth of today, as per the wish of Ustad Saheb Behramsha Shroff. One of the reasons for our youth to gain this knowledge is, I hope, it will reduce the rate of inter-caste marriages if one values the progress of his/her soul more than mere physical attraction. Le us hope, a day may come when there will be full-stop to such marriages.
Traditional Zarathushtis have to discuss and decide as to how the contents of this precious book of Ustad Saheb Behramsha Shroff be made available to our community at large. I will be glad to render whatever help is required to proceed in this matter further.
With all the best wishes to you and everyone,
Aban B Colabewalla Tata International Ltd Mumbai, India.
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