Ignorance of religion is widespread in our community. In the midst of diversities and various socio-religious controversies, Zarathustris are more attracted to other religious practices, tricks and techniques to satisfy their materialistic needs and pleasures. In India and abroad, our religious practices are misused and corrupted by following local non-Zoroastrian customs, traditions, and practices. Practicing Reki, Pooja, idol worshipping, and visit to various non-Zarathustri holy places have become more important than our Sacred Fire-Temples and Paigambar Saheb Asho Zarathustra Spitama and HIS Mission & HIS messages to Zarathustris. Staota-Yasna, rituals and ceremonies including regular & high liturgical ceremonies are used with human compromises. The following article will highlight some inconsistencies and correctness in Zarathustri practices. Though explained in short, it is incomplete without detail explanation on each and every element of these Tarikats. The author is willing to guide anyone who is interested in practicing these Tarikats in daily life. We do sins like any other person in this world. We are constantly surrounded by Druj influences which tempts us do everything contrary to His Path & teachings for our material life. If our Soul gets benefited by following these Tarikats, why not make an effort to comply?
1. What would you do or follow if you have to do Kusti? A Zarathustri will answer; start reciting Kemna Mazda and complete the prayer. This answer is only 25% correct because it says only about the end-result and not the initial steps. Before performing Kusti, one has to follow a series of step. In the morning, one has to take shower, put on new clothes (including Sudreh) and wash Kusti with water. This is a MUST for maintaining Ashoi which is a requirement for the efficacy of our Avesta Manthras. All of our Tarikats are based on Ashoi. Without practicing Ashoi, all your prayers are null & void. Once you finish with this step, wash your face, hands and legs (exposed parts) with water by reciting two Yatha Ahu Vairyo, one Ashem Vohu and complete Padyab (the most basic purificatory ritual). Wipe it with a clean cloth.
Do not use any used kitchen towel, or your bath towel. Face the sun, Divo (oil lamp) or light except North Direction. NOW you are ready for a Kusti. Start your Kusti Prayer by reciting "Kshnothra Ahureh Mazdao, Ashem Vohu-1" followed by Kemna-Mazda, Ahura-Mazda Khodai & Jasa me avangeh mazda. If you are doing a Kusti to do Farzyat prayer during the day time, follow the above steps until you are ready to recite Kusti prayer. Make sure you hold your Kusti with both hands from the centre when you start reciting Kshnothra Ahureh Mazdao, Ashem Vohu-1. Kusti must not be released until Kemna-mazda is recited in complete. Recite Kemna Mazda only when Kusti is on your body. During your Kusti prayer you must not answer phone calls, talk with anyone, or even engage in any activity regardless of whether you speak or not. When you are performing prayer your thoughts should not be of any person, or thing but full of Manthric vibrations. You do not have to know the meaning of Avesta Manthras to recite prayers. Those are Soul-tested formulas designed for us by Paigambar Saheb and His subsequent messager (Rainedars). You just have to practice it without any excuse. Make sure to kindle a light after performing Kusti prayer.
2. Wear proper Sudreh with its nine parts. Sleeveless Sudreh is not designed to include all of these nine parts that makes a simple cotton white cloth, a spiritual weapon against Drujih. Females are not excluded to omit any of these parts to wear a bikini-style Sudreh. Those who wear such Sudreh are making fun of our religion by their worldly conveniences. As per Patet Pashemani "Those who abuse our Tarikats will be punished." Remember, we all have to pay our dues one day. Why to add more when we know, we can avoid such practices by following HIS WISDOM. Make sure to put on clean Sudreh everyday.
3. A Kusti must be of a proper length. It is not authorized to tie a knot in the center to make it convenient to hold from the center to fix center on the waist. Only time you tie a knot(s) on Kusti is while reciting Kusti Prayer. By tying Kusti three times around your waist, you are actually drawing three Karsh's to protect your spiritual parts to come in contact with Drujih- generating lower portions. It also protects your surrounding atmosphere to degenerate your spiritual parts within and outside your body that helps you make decisions free from corrupted mental abilities.
4. While reciting Ahura-Mazda Khodai prayer hold Kusti at your chest level. Whip only during words "Aherenman Avadeshan", "Ahereman Divan" and "Az Aan Gunah". By doing so, you clean your physical Aipi (imaginary field) around your body filled with Drujih to restore the spiritual energy (through your prayer) to help you follow HIS PATH. While reciting Manashni-Gavasni-Kunashni make sure to bring in three loops (one on right on two on left) instead of making only two loops. While reciting Ahura-Mazda Khodai, bow your head towards Kusti instead of bringing your Kusti up to your forehead. Respect my dear, Respect. When you say "Angare-Manyeush" release all three knots on the side and tie Kusti on the waste only when you say "Haithyavarshtam. Release each string in the loop only by saying "Shyothananaam." While reciting Ashem Vohu, the first string from your right must be released in the loop Only when you say word "Ushta" and tie both the knots before ending Ashem Vohu prayer. Hold your Kusti from the center with both hands and recite Jasa me Avanghe Mazda. Holding Kusti during Kemna Mazda and now, is like a Payvand (connection) that you build while spreading Manthras to build a Drujih proof fortress around you.
5. Wear Sudreh & Kusti everyday, everywhere and at all times. Remove Sudreh & Kusti while taking bath or swimming exercises but, you must wear it immediately after completion of these tasks. Now, that does not mean standing anywhere and start reciting Kusti Prayer. Find a clean place away from the presence of non-Zarathustris. Please do not take Kusti at home or recite Kusti prayer in the bathroom. You must find a place that will allow you to do Kusti after swimming lessons. Where there is a WILL there is WAY. You must never leave the house without Sudreh & Kusti on; even when you are about to go for the hair cut. Make sure, you have a separate set of Sudreh & Kusti for visiting a saloon for hair-cut, pedicure, manicure etc. On returning from such places, you must take shower immediately. Do not come in contact with anyone or anything. No tasks should be initiated or performed after visiting the above place and before taking shower. My dear Zarathusris, this is not much to ask from you. You can do it if you are serious about practicing our Daena.
6. Nails or hair must be removed only in the bath-room with a shower to follow after that. Under no circumstances, one should cut nails on the bed, living room or in anywhere outside, in the middle of the day. In our religion any kind of Nasu (nails, hair or dead matter) has to be disposed off as per the religious injunctions. There are Nirangs and prayers given to recite before and after releasing Nasu from our body. Because of worldly circumstances and time through which our soul is traveling, we are unable to follow all injunctions, but we MUST follow what we can do to avoid furthering the strength of Drujih surrounding us. Disposing of Nasu in a particular place and taking shower right after that, is a MUST. No exceptions.
7. After your bath, make sure to wear clean clothes straight from the drawer, closet, cupboard, instead of leaving them earlier on the bed, table or some "impure" place. Bed is considered a Drujih-filled place. No matter how clean your bed sheets are, it is not acceptable to even go nearer to bed during the day time unless, you are sick or sleepy. In short, do not leave anything on the bed, neither use it as a place to relax or hang-out with your friends. Zarathustris, there is no excuse for ignorance. There are people who can guide you on the right path. There are only two sides of a coin and similarly, either do it right or do it wrong. Whatever you select, be prepared for the consequences. It is your choice. Think about it.
8. DO NOT add water to the Oil Lamp. This conservative practice of using less oil and more water is absolutely wrong. It is like splashing water over Atash Dadgah because of your convenience. Your prayers have power to consecrate this fire at home to emit some divine energy for your material and spiritual life. You do not want to use your conveniences to abuse the greatness of Atash Dadgah. Those authorities in Agiary and Atash-Behram who use such conservative approach does a serious sin that is unforgiven as per Patet Pashemani. Atash Adaran and Atash-Behram is full of divinities and Mantric products that are useful to our material and spiritual life. Having a telephone and electric connection for any facility within the operational area causes distortion to the sanctity of the internal atmosphere. (Read my article on Zarathustri Ignorance of Agiary Karsh for more details on this subject.)
9. There is no true picture or birth date of any Prophet that has been known to the human race. The Prophets arrive and give their messages to those human Souls that are destined to follow them. Their "arrival" and "departure" is more divine than our human mind can interpret. It is devotional to have a picture of Paigambar Saheb at home and and in office however, one must not ignore reciting prayer in front of the Fire and keep it glowing 24 hours a day. There is no need to have fifteen pictures in the house or printing done in several copies on post-cards, calenders etc which has to be destroyed at the end of its use. Paigambar Saheb never ask us to be the idol worshippers by having HIS picture on every book, post-card and so on. In fact, he discouraged idol worshipping and ask us to follow the divine light "Atash Puthra Ahure-Mazdao" and recite Manthras in the presence of Fire. HE is within you, in those sixteen divine energy circles, allegorically stated in Vendidad as 16 cities. We do not have to worry about where, when and how HE was born or how HE looked like when HE delivered HIS messages. We are here on earth to follow and not to question HIS integrity and divinity.
10. It is very disgusting to see a Zarathustri sticking lips on the picture of Paigambar Saheb in Agiary and Atash Behram. It is very unhygienic practice to stick impurities on pictures of any divine beings, as it generates nothing but Drujih in the form of impurities, which is anti-Ashoi practice. Your affection and devotion for Atash and Paigambar Saheb has to be expressed by following HIS divine formula Mithra-Manthra-Tarikats. (Read my article on Tarikats for Zarathustris). Wearing a picture of Fravashi or Paigambar Saheb will not make you more devotional or truthful in life. Your identity is not designated by your wearing such emblematic items neither you have to prove yourself to anyone that you are Zarathustri. We are expected to be faithful to HIS Daena and practice that divine formula Mithra-Manthra-Tarikat to make our life meaningful to achieve HIS divine goal.
11. NEVER EVER recite Avesta Manthras, even a shortest prayer (Ashem Vohu) without covering your head and in the presence of a non-Zarathustri. Avesta Manthras are based on Staot-Yasna (divine vibrationary colors) that is given to us by our Prophet to recite only in the controlled environment for its efficacy. Each individual's spiritual make-up is different based on his/her soul's progression level and religion. Since Avest Manthras are made for the spiritual progression of Zarathustris ONLY, it will be distorted if practiced in the presence of non-Zarathustri and thus damage the person's spirituality. Covering head while reciting prayer enables a person to develop "divine wisdom" to be guided on the Right Path at all times. Somebody will ask, how do we know we are on the right Path because our thinking is corrupted and is not always right? The answer is, if you PRACTICE HIS GIVEN PATH, HE WILL NEVER LET YOU GET STRAYED, regardless of whether you are rich or poor, in India or abroad, jobless or employed. (Read my article on Wearing Cap for Zarathustri Urvaan for details.)
12. NEVER EVER display any idols, or pictures next to DIVO or anywhere in your house. Remember, your life is designed for a ZARATHUSTRI DAENA ONLY. NO idol worshipping will help your Urvaan or satisfy your materialistic needs. It is a false belief that there are some God's, Saints who give lots of materialistic gifts & pleasures if a devotee remembers Him/Her by a particular practice. You being a Zarathustri, should remember that Paigambar Saheb Asho Zarathustra Spitama is your Savior and HIS teachings ONLY is made to influence your life-style and your Urvaan's divinity. In fact, any non-Zarathustri practice will jeopardize your Soul's progression through Zarathustri Daena.
13. If you have a fire-place or convenience in your house, it is recommended to maintain fire 24 hours a day for your spiritual safety and benefits. As mentioned earlier, if that fire (Atash Dadgah) remains lighted free from any Drujih or unauthorized connection (including seen by a non-Zarathustri or connection with a women in menstruation), it can be consecrated by a devotees everyday prayers. There are abundant benefits of having a lighted Divo or Fire in house, which can be explained in a separate chapter.
14. There are specific Alaats (instruments) for each ritual and ceremony. A Priest is NOT authorized to display any picture, statue, or any materialistic offerings in these ceremonies other than Alaats. Allat includes silver or stainless steel plates, Afringhanu-Sarkosh, Chipyo, Chamach, and offerings like fruits, milk, non-alcoholic wine or lime-juice, water, Sukhad-Loban is authorized in the above prayers. Non-vegetarian food in Stum ceremony or any other man-made fancy products is non acceptable and restricted as per our scriptures.
15. Jashan, Afringhan, Farokshi, wedding or Navjote ceremonies should be restricted to Zarathustris ONLY. Non-Zarathustris and Zarathustri woman in menses is restricted to attend any of our ritual or ceremonies in or outside our sacred places. The officiating Priest must follow our scriptures and stop such intruders/ non-invited people otherwise, he will be held responsible in HIS court upon the judgment day. According to the principles of Bunak-Pasbani, if any Zarathustri (male or female) married outside the religion is considered non-Zarathustri and thus, such individuals are also excluded from witnessing our sacred rituals and ceremonies. They are also restricted to enter any of our sacred places in India and Pakistan. The Priests who are married outside cannot practice their Priestly duties and those individuals who are initiated and married by such Priest, is spiritually null and void.. After Jashan or similar ceremony is performed, the displayed items (fruits etc) "Chasni" should be consumed by covered head. Chasni should not be distributed or even exposed to the non-Zarathustris & woman in menses who joins your family/group after the end of ceremony. The reason is, those fruits contains Manthric vibrations that were recited for a Zarathustri Urvaan who is following the principles of Ashoi. By consumption of these "blessed fruits", you are actually absorbing the accumulated blessings and its effect on your spiritual and material life. My dear Zarathustris, please refrain from sharing with non-Zarathustris and abuse the sanctity of our prayers and ceremonies.
16. An Athravan or Priest is duty-bound to follow the scriptural-based Tarikats and practices. He is not allowed to make or suggest any alterations in our prayers and ceremonies. Perfection is far from reality which also applies to the Athravans however, despite diversities and controversial surroundings, a Priest CAN practice as per HIS prescription if he is dedicated, sincere, and above all, realize his role as given in our scriptures. Ignorance or religion is not a valid excuse for a Priest to drift or perform his duties incorrectly. A Priest must be knowledgeable in what chapters to recite and Tarikats that needs to be followed before, during and after his religious duties. There are strict restrictions imposed on his duties and responsibilities which has been evidently abused by some so-called money-minded Priests in India, Australia, UK and United States.
17. Navjote and Wedding ceremonies should be performed in Agiary/ Atash- Behram. Such occasions are coming only once in a life-time. Zarathustris, please do not give-up your privilage of having it done in a sacred place, which is far more spiritually helpful to the initiating child for Navjote and wedding couple than, having it done in a Baug, public hall or hotel.. NO CULTURE, SOCIETY OR LAWS OF THE LAND HAS AUTHORITY TO MAKE US PRACTICE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT HAS BEEN PRESCRIBED IN OUR RELIGION. Those promises given by our forefathers to Jadi Rana was for abiding by the local customs and traditions of that time. Though anti-Zarathustri in its contents, they were accommodated and followed to meet the local demands. Now, the time has changed. None of those demands apply to our community in India neither, we have any restriction to practice our religion in India unlike Iran. As mentioned earlier, no laws or practice is acceptable if it is not as per our religion.
Navjote and Wedding must be performed during Bamdad time in Agiary and Atash Behram. By following this scriptural-based practice, we are not doing anything against the religious taboos and restriction. There is nothing better than following our scripture and Manthric compositions as prescribed by HIM. We deeply respect those promises but one must not forget that they were purely political and out of obligation and conveniences WHICH DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A PART OF OUR SACRED TARIKATS.
18. Cover your head at all times as it helps you to conserve the divine energy that is stored at the highest Lahiyan circle located at apex of the head. It helps you to conserve Avesta Manthras that you recite everyday in your Farzyat to repel all Drujih to enter in your Aipi to corrupt mental exercises. (Read my article on Wearing Cap in Zarathustri Religion.)
19. Never recite some prayer that you think may not be completed in your daily schedule. You cannot recite Avesta Manthras just about anywhere you like. As mentioned earlier, you have to recite it following certain prescribed Tarikats to make it effective. You cannot recite sitting in your office, and suddenly your non-Zoroastrian coworker enters and you remove your cap and close the book. Such practices should be completely avoided. If you cannot recite at certain time then so be it. There are 24 hours in a day. You may spare some time and do Farzyat and even a Kusti in each Geh won't hurt but, cannot be substituted with a Farzyat prayer.
20. Topics related to Fire, wearing cap at all times, why not mix-marriages, Tarikats and Zarathustri Identity has been significantly covered in my articles published on www. traditional zoroastrianism .com Reader is encouraged to read these articles to understand the meaning of certain practices listed above.
21. Zarathustris are famous for joining the local bandwagon whether they are in India, UK, US or Canada. Just to remind you all, it is not a Zarathustri custom to decorate house with Christmas tree during Christmas. We respect all religions but, be a part of one and only one - Zarathustri Daena.. Majority of us know the significance of December 24 every year. Every young and adult will say: Birth of Prophet Jesus Christ. Now, let's name the ROZ and MAH of our Prophet Asho Zarathustra Spitama's birth and death anniversary. Would you be able to answer that? Please note our Prophets' Birth Day: Mah Fravardin and Roz Khordad & Death anniversary falls on Mah Dae, Roz Khorshed. Obviously these days are also debatable but, we MUST remember Him by performing prayers on these days. A point that I am trying to make is, educate yourself and your family about your own religion first before they get wandered in the wilderness of materialistic world. Be their role model by following our own Tarikats and help them to understand our religion.
Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami
In His Service,
Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha
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