Category: Blog

A Nostalgic Walk Down Memory Lane

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The meeting was going to start at 10am and as usual I was very early – a habit I had picked up from my very dear Mrs Bomanji whom I used to call the inspection teacher or what our batch used to call the dragon lady.

Absolutely loved being at school. I am very happy I made it. Oh it truly was a wonderful nostalgic happy memorable walk down memory lane right from the time I got off the station, walked up to the school, and then the school itself. So many memories, so many years, just rolled by all refreshed in my memories, all of it was just simply awesome. I went to attend a condolence meeting but I was smiling all the way to school and all throughout the meeting remembering the school days from the station to school, then taking round the school, popping into classroom, the assembly hall, everything. As one of my very dear batchmate Vaijanty said, “Made me nostalgic as hell!…..It felt great belting out! What was even more heartening was that no one missed  a single beat while singing our anthem. What a feeling that was!”

Was walking towards the School from Grant Road Station after 34+ years and it felt like I was going down memory lane. Walked past Bhaji galli, past my friend Dimple’s house the post office, Wallace apartments, stationery shop, the kurmura shop, the aarey milk tiny shack like shop, etc. While I was walking I remembered that there is a way from my friend’s house I used as short cut to school but forgot the way so continued walking on the outside road. Don’t know why I remember the way to school being a bit longer not so short maybe I felt that then because I was walking with a heavy school bag don’t know.

I remember the school building being white when did it turn green? I remember Girton High School name written on the building don’t remember Master Building written on it. The ground has completely changed. There is an ultra tech modern CCTV camera screen showing all the angles of the play area and grounds. The ground used to be just mud now it has a play area and no mud. I remember playing with the mud. I remember making the hopscotch squares with tiny stones lying all over the school and playing hopscotch in sand which would turn the white shoes brown by the time I went home. Had to wash and blanco them myself daily. The stage where we had our annual day functions I remembered that it was open on all sides but now its closed from the top as there is a covering put.

The principal’s office layout has completely changed. To my utter dismay it had shrunk drastically. It used to be a big open space outside the principal office but now it’s all enclosed. The classrooms on the ground floor have either disappeared or are under renovation as I couldn’t see them. There used to be a sofa outside the principal office now it’s just completely a closed area and there is a tiny digital display which shows the name of the school and the passing board results. The administrative office has gone from its original place. That’s when I realized God it’s been so very long. It’s been 34+ years since I left school when I passed out when I was in 6th Grade after that from 7th Grade I went to another school and that’s another story.

I saw the big black board where my friend and her mother used to draw with different coloured chalk for festivals like Holi, Diwali, Eid, Christmas, Parsi New Year, Annual Day Functions etc.

Since I was very early decided to take a walk round the school grounds that’s when I noticed that there were so many plants around don’t remember tiny shrubs or plants before. I saw the tiny square benches that were still used in pre-primary and primary school. Then I decided I would go to the most eerie place in school the back side of the school building it used to be full of rubble, gutters, broken pieces of basins and toilets, etc. But to my pleasant surprise the backside was completely revamped no rubble, no gutters, no broken pieces of basins and toilets. I saw that and realized I have been walking around and no eerie feeling I used to get before when I was studying in school. Infact after seeing it I think it’s the most kid friendly play area I have seen in a long time in any school. Instead of being eerie it was peaceful, calm, and serene. It was absolutely beautiful, colourful, and very much catered and geared towards kids. The whole ground had become a big play area where tons of kids can play all at once.

Just before the meeting started I went up to my classroom and peeped in. The first thing I saw was the horizontally opening windows. I was so happy seeing them despite the fact that I had to clean them during detention. Then my eyes fell on the black board with duster and white chalk my most favourite daily saviour. I remembered thinking Thank God for white chalk!!! I used to go to school very early so I could sneak in the classroom, drop my bag down and take the biggest 2 pieces of white chalk I could find and rub it all over my white shoes and then I used to go to assembly and inspection. For quite some time poor Mrs Bomanji could not understand why my shoes were always white despite the fact that I came walking on dusty roads until she caught me one day and sadly that was the end of my dear saviour white chalk.

Then I went to the assembly hall and was met with a cool blast of AC air. Aah heaven as I had stepped in from the heat. I remember thinking this hall had no AC and I remembered PT, playing sakli, and other games with my friends. Then I turned around and was shocked. Where has the beautiful piano disappeared from the assembly hall? I remember Mrs Prabhakar playing piano and us pestering her to bring her daughter Sharon Prabhakar to school. Met an ex teacher Mrs Engineer and the daughter of another ex teacher Meher – Mrs Mistry’s daughter.

The condolence meeting was for Mrs Mistry and Mrs Wadia mainly but also for other teachers and staff members who had passed away.

Remembered having met Mrs Wadia randomly at Mahim Station once. She was on her way to school and I was on my way to work. She immediately recognized me and said you are Mohnaz Balsara I said yes very surprised and asked her how she remembered. She said I was the only student who shocked her during the hearing test and I remembered that day I went into splits remembering what I had done during the mandatory hearing test and I told her the real reason why I did what I did. She being the stern principal that she was smiled but didn’t laugh nor chuckle but just smiled and I could see a naughty twinkle in her eyes. That day during the test the poor technician was just doing his job. So while adjusting frequencies he kept asking me can you hear this can you hear that. I got fed up so finally I told him I cannot hear anything. Poor fellow must have got scared and he adjusted all the possible frequencies asking me if I could hear and I just replied no. Mrs Wadia got a shock of her life and she immediately called my parents. Poor mum rushed to school thinking what happened why I couldn’t hear. She immediately took me home and on reaching home when I told her the reason she was certainly not very pleased and gave me a good solid piece of her mind so loudly that forget the whole building a seriously deaf person could have heard her that day.

Always remembered Mrs Mistry’s story telling sessions and her elocution class after school. It is because of her efforts that my English Language and Diction improved so drastically. Years later when I went to the corporate sector or travlled abroad for holidays people would be astounded hearing my perfect diction. Every time someone praised my diction I would tell them thanks to Mrs Mistry. Every time I said that my memories of her would rush back to me.

Oh btw our school has a YouTube page just incase you all want to see today’s pictures and videos.

I even went up to the 4th floor where we used to have our needlework class. Couldn’t see the lunch room as it was closed. But standing there remembered Josephine and Hilda and their Pepsicolas and Samosas. Remembered that during lunch time we were not allowed to eat till we had a proper table mat, fork, spoon, and plate and I remember the neighbour’s maid Savita bringing my lunch daily.

When I was walking up the stairs to go to the 4th floor I remembered one day none other than who else Mrs Bomanji caught me because I was a bit tired and my shoes were making that typical dragging sound. She made me walk up and down the stairs till I learned how to walk without my shoes making a sound. I even went to the toilet to check if I got that eerie feeling I had felt several times. But I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of white walls and white tiles on the toilet floor there were coloured tiles with a teddy bear balloons and floating clouds and it felt like a happy place. I never felt that eerie ghost feeling I felt a few times infact it felt quite peaceful, calm, serene, and beautiful the entire time I was in school.

Looks like the ghosts were either exorcised or they left or they were as our teachers always said overactive imagination or what one of my dear batchmate Freny said Moni ghosts got scared of us and left.

Core Essence of Zoroastrianism

The Core Essence: Find yourself. Do so by consciously taking the decision to walk in the path of Righteousness. What is righteousness? It is your original, core essence and exists within you by default. The ‘Righteous instinct’ reposes within you as the spark of the Divine. Given form, it is the highest mind within you defined as VohuManah. If you rediscover this within, then what you think and thence speak and in what you do – will be just, will be appropriate, will be right regardless of perspectives of good and bad. This is the state of the highest good. We call it ‘Vahisht’.

‘Take the decision of being good unto others and so be fair into yourself. Therein is your true identity which is a spark of the Divine’.

The Divine can be experienced in all you do. The only stipulation here is to do it purely for yourself unto others.

Every Ritual is Valid. Ritual in the hands of him or her that is innately good, is a priceless and enabling tool. Ritual serves to expedite understanding of the spirit. Ritual followed with heart and with passion serves only to elevate and redeem the worshiper.

Ritual in the hands of those who seek material result is a tool of power. Power is rooted in cause and its effect thereon. Ritual used to bring social good toward a material end succeeds; yet, there will always be a book to be balanced.

Why does rituals turn into dogmas for some religions (Abrahamic)?

It has oft been said that a rolling stone gathers no moss. This is strictly not true. Take the case of a flake of snow, lighter than the lightest feather; beautiful, stark; ethereal. It falls from the sky; nay, for it floats through the cold air and settles down amongst the remains of its compatriots, all snow; all white. In turn, these cling together and turn into particles of ice around which gathers more snow. In time, this turns into a large clump and upon a slope, begins to roll. What was once a flake gathers more of itself around its core; grows in physical size. Lose the ethereal, weightless beauty; lightness turns into solid mass; turns into a snowball. Down the slope it gathers more of itself and grows larger. Its core is of a flake. Yet, from a flake it has turned into a boulder of snow. A thing of beauty now has lost its subtle existence; hardened into matter and this carries on inexorably. It gathers speed and gathers more mass and now, it is no longer the heavenly ethereal thing; for it is solid weight traveling down faster; and will eventually meet something its way. There is going to be a catastrophic collision with something that will reduce the snowball into its original flakes. In this process, it will take lives and draw deep and painful furrows in its path.

Such is with some religions and rituals, especially the Abrahamic religions. A thing of beauty, through time, gathers believers and traditions. It’s inner core is lost in its outer traditions and culture, picked up along the way. This is how ritual takes over religion; what was once spirit, pure and simple, is turned into dogma and unshakable law. Dogma and law are meant to arrest growth; they work to preserve what is known; and abjure conscience itself, which explores the unknown. In such a situation, thought, free thinking, free exploration and freedom of choice is forbidden. Liberty is lost upon the alter of belief. Unless the intrinsic culture of a nation, people and race is reformed, its evils will only grow. Evil cannot be suppressed. No container possesses such tightness so as to restrain evil, for evil reposes as ideas put into nefarious action. It is the mind that must be amended, so as to contain evil. To reform a person, one must cleanse the mind with examples both kind and cruel.

As far as Zoroastrianism is concerned, its inner core reposes intact. It is known as the “Daena Vangehui”. To find that, you must also simultaneously find yourself. You must find what you are; what it is that limits you and beyond these limits, the infinity that beckons. What you will discover is not dogma or the self-serving theosophy of knowledge. You will discover only your own simplicity; discover the quiet joy of restoration and redemption thereon.

Do not be swayed by the politics of religion. Liberation reposes not in debating politics; religion is politics. Liberation reposes in the soul of him or her that journeys through life and rediscovers compassion and the will to do what is in the greater good.

The highest form of worship then is to live for others. The Daena Vangehui is precisely a constitution for mankind because it finds the Divine within all, reflected within the self. Which is why it is a ‘doing mandate’ and the resultant Zoroastrian structure is essentially philanthropic in its core essence. Ritual plays a very deep part in this and this is why Zoroastrians are loved everywhere.

Even if a Zoroastrian abuses, it is with the noble and absolutely crucial need to retain the purity of their ancient ritual. To do so is their God given right and may every success attend their endeavours. Zoroastrianism has endured because our Zarathushti predecessors did not negotiate upon ritual and preserved these reverently. These are passed down through untold generations. This is a unique aspect of Zoroastrian history that no one speaks of.

Good thoughts. Good words. Good deeds. These are expressions of ceaseless self-enquiry and introspection. For all action flowers from the ‘self’. This is not an easy path in this day and age. And yet, the slightest inclination to know the depths of the words “Shyaothnam Angeush Mazdai” brings forth in inner contentment that is beyond measure of every yardstick of material.

“Shyaothnam Angeush Mazdai”. Translates loosely as – “The Deeds of Life unto Mazda”. What are the deeds of life? Adding fragrant wood to the Afarghan is as much a deed of life as is driving a steam engine through the wilderness of 19th century.

Having a drink with friends one evening accompanied by the joy of filthy language and bawdy jokes is as much a deed into Mazda as is commuting for work every day, sweating and swearing at the niggers stamping upon your toes.

To do all of this in one’s possession of why one does it all, for the simplest reason of self- sustaining and for finding happiness without judging another who does a different thing for the sake of the same completion and happiness is the “Deed unto Mazda”.

To do something for the sake of doing it is a deed unto Mazda. To pretend for the sake of pretence is a deed unto Mazda, for in that pretense, there are seeds of honesty.

The deed unto Mazda is the instinctive human deed that wishes no evil upon anyone and desires good for others so that the self may be quietly content.

To need to be happy; to do unto others and bring completion upon the self is the Deed unto Mazda.

Ushta Te

 

Indonesia

indonesia

On my various trips around the different countries and across waters and different parts of India my memoirs and my camera have been my constant companion. This time it’s a slightly funny but a hugely humbling, grounding, and heart touching experience on my travel time spent touring the length and breadth of Indonesia.

Since ASA Convention was going to be held in Indonesia I decided to take a 15 days tour throughout Indonesia prior to the Convention. Before setting out as usual I always buy forex of the country I am visiting so went to the forex branch I always go to but was told we only give USD for Indonesia you will have to exchange USD in Indonesia with Indonesia Rupaiyya (IDR). I thought it was a bit strange but then again I needed the forex so I said yes.

On landing I checked in and didn’t have any local currency so gave a 1 USD coin the person who brought my luggage in to my room and he almost fainted in happiness and I suddenly remembered the forex branch saying they can’t give IDR but dismissed the thought but dismissed the thought and didn’t think much about it. However during check in I had seen a sign on the reception saying money exchange done here so I went to the reception to exchange my 100 USD note and the receptionist said sorry mam you will have to go to the bank we are not allowed to exchange anything above 50 USD. I was a bit tired but needed local currency so I went to the bank with the directions provided by the reception. I went to the counter and said I wanted to exchange a 100 USD note the woman at the counter said please wait the manager will meet you in a few moments. I was like its just 100 USD why the manager needs to meet me but they insisted so I took a seat. In a few seconds the manager came out smiling almost gushing with happiness. I told him I needed to exchange USD 100 note and a very elated manager just said sure. In a few minutes he got IDR notes and said here thank you so much for using our bank services. I was thinking in my mind its only 100 USD why is he thanking me so profusely but then dismissed the thought and went to the hotel room and started counting the IDR and it shocked me as the manager had given me literally several million IDR and not thousands or hundreds as I expected. I had never seen a million in my hands ever in my entire life and was so shocked seeing a million IDR note and I had quite a few of them that my mind went numb I was very scared and called my mum immediately using the room phone. My mom got really wild as to how much did I exchange but I assured her I had only exchanged a single 100 USD note that’s when she said please go to the bank immediately and point out the error as the manager must have made a grave mistake if you don’t go back the poor fellow will have to pay millions. I agreed and immediately set out for the bank clutching the millions in my hands very tightly and with a pounding heart I went to the bank really scared as I was carrying so much money and I had never seen so much in my entire life. I told the manager that there was a big error made as I exchanged only a single 100 USD and I received millions of IDR the manager assured me he hadn’t made a mistake but I was holding millions literally MILLIONS in my hands so I made the manager count again not once but twice and he assured me it was the correct amount. I was not sure what to do with millions that I had in my possession. I went to the hotel room still seriously scared that I had millions and because of that I could not sleep the whole night.

It was only the next day I realized why the bank manager said he had not made a mistake despite giving me millions. I needed to buy water but I did not have any note less than a million denomination. I was absolutely certain that I would be shooed away as I had nothing less than a million Rupaiyya note. The 2 litre water bottle normally costs only 15-20 INR in India and I was wondering what to do how to buy. But I needed water so I nervously entered a shop which was selling water bottles. I picked a 2 litre water bottle which showed 3,5 I did not see the coma and thought it was 35 IDR but I had nothing less than a million IDR note and very timidly and sheepishly gave one million IDR note to the lady at the counter bracing myself for her ridicule and anger. I was absolutely sure that she was going to tell me to get lost as I was going to exchange a million IDR for just 35 IDR water bottle. But to my utter surprise she simply smiled and immediately exchanged the million IDR note and gave me change. In the car I counted my money and realized that I was short by a few thousand as she took 3500 IDR instead of 35 IDR but I thought maybe she did not have so much change so gave me what she had and didn’t say anything. On seeing my troubled look the driver inquired what had happened and I told him. He stopped the car and with a very shocked look and asked if he can see the price tag on the bottle. I gave him the bottle and he said no mam its 3500 and not 35. He pointed out that see there is a coma between 3 & 5 so it reads as 3,5 that means 3500 IDR. Now it was my turn to be utterly shocked as I had just paid IDR 3500 for a 2 litre bottle!!! I was thinking OMG I have to be very careful with my consumption of water because it is so expensive!!! Looking at my shocked expression the driver said this was very cheap and I was thinking in my mind CHEAP I just paid IDR 3500 for a 2 litre water bottle. The driver must have seen a very bewildered look on my face and he explained to me why the bottle cost IDR 3500 and yet it’s cheap and why the bank manager gave me millions when I had exchanged only 1 single USD 100 note. He explained to me that Indonesia was unfortunately sitting on 3 natural disaster belts ie volcanoes, flash floods, and earthquakes. Natural disasters were a very frequent and constant part of their lives having an omnipresent presence at all times no matter what. Every alternate day there is either a volcano exploding or a flash flood gushing or an earthquake shaking Indonesia and yes I had seen flash floods, I had felt tremors and my volcano flight was cancelled as there was a thick black smoke coming out of the volcano when I was touring Indonesia. This situation unfortunately is a perfect recipe for creating havoc literally to the Indonesian
economy as everything they strive for is destroyed by nature on almost on a daily basis.

After that humbling experience I was a completely changed person. After careful calculation I realized that 1 IDR = LESS THAN HALF A PAISE INR!!! After that throughout my trip I never took the change back and always insisted on overpaying because I realized that a tiny single INR 5 coin can provide a single person 2 square meals a day for a full week. Despite living in the shadow of constant natural disasters they are still satisfied with their life and are so peaceful, calm, and serene. I realized how much pampered, spoiled, and lucky we are in India are and yet we take so much prosperity for granted. We fight over petty things like religion, caste, reservations, etc. Then there is a country like Indonesia which is so devastated by nature almost on a daily basis and yet doesn’t fight. I was a completely changed person after my Indonesia trip and never took a single thing or a single moment for granted and was always grateful for what I have.

Mohnaz Balsara

Sole Proprietor – DeiaMo Paradiso

Outlook

 

OUTLOOK

 

 

Teach me to see in things, only positive.

And ignore things bad, mean or negative.

Since You have made me so sensitive;

Frequently I am touchy and emotive.

See I must, the good side in every circumstance.

Make a decision wise; to take the right chance;

Be it connected to society, Country, relationships or finance.

Help me O Ahura to keep a mind positive n balanced.

Armin Dutia Motashaw

 

Intolerance Through The Eyes of a Parsi – By: Mr. Marzban Ardeshir

Intolerance Through The Eyes of a Parsi

By: Mr. Marzban Ardeshir

Zoroastrianism has a proven history of being the most tolerant religion worldwide. By most accounts, Cyrus the Great was a tolerant ruler who allowed his non-Iranian subjects to practice their own religions. He ruled by the Zoroastrian law of Asha (truth and righteousness), but didn’t impose Zoroastrianism on the people of Persia’s conquered territories. The tenets of Zoroastrianism helped to shape the major Abrahamic religions—including Judaism, Christianity and Islam—through the influence of the Persian Empire. The expansion of Zoroastrianism was spread to three continents and for many centuries. This was possible through strong value systems, which included “tolerance” as one of the main principles.

Below is an excellent Video Blog, by an enthusiast Zarathusti, Mr. Marzban Ardeshir, who explains how tolerance is retained in the value system of Parsis, in the era where so called “intolerance” is hyped. A very good message to all the citizens across cultures;

“Be like a Parsi and make an impact to your country”.

 

Marry Boyce very aptly said: “Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed world-religions, and it has probably had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith.” Mr. Ardeshir has proved the same through this excellent video.

We thank Mr. Ardeshir to have shared this video with us and hope he continues to contribute more such blogs in the interest of the community and mankind as a whole.

USHTA TE !

****

Mr. Marzban Ardeshir is an enthusiast Zarathusti, a columnist and a patriot. He retired in 2012 from an IT company. He was working as Global Head Mobility for HR division. He is passionate about writing articles on community and have been writing for Jame Jamshed and Parsi Times. His column in Jame was “Through the eyes of a Parsi” and “Just out of my mind” in Parsi Times. He has also directed plays in TV and have acted in them as well. Currently he is based in Toronto with his daughter Farah Ardeshir, who is a well known culinary artist and the owner of M5 Bakes.

Seven Ameshaspentas on Navrooze Table – By: Farzana Cooper

Seven Ameshaspentas on Navrooze Table

By: Farzana Cooper

Zurvan : not really an Amshaspand, but the divinity of time. ‘Time’ where the whole universe thing is believed to have started.  Ancient Zoroastrian texts say, the time has no start in Mazda Yasna, nor an end but sometime along the way, a divinity of Time comes into the picture to give a better explanation about eternal Good v/s Evil conflict and its impact on natural phenomena like two equinoxes. Today a clock is a good representative of time . In old times when they did not have a clock, they would place an egg on a mirror and watch it very carefully to see when it would move because they believed that the world was placed on one horn of a cosmic Bull that stood on the back of a cosmic turtle and that the turtle swims in a shoreless ocean of time. At each exact time of Novrooz, the Bull would get tired of keeping the earth on one horn and shift it from one horn to the other. This would cause the Spring and winter Equinox and that could be detected if you watched the egg on the mirror very carefully and registered its shaking! ( Good stuff to keep kids busy!)

The mirror reflects the time ( Zurvan) and infinite possibilities that in store for future. The egg is a representative of creative powers of Mother nature and of constant renewal. This is the principle why a Mirror and colorful Eggs decorate Novrooz tables.

Spenta Armaiti/ Spandārmad:  A female Amshaspand. Reflects modesty. Represented by the Earth – Soil/Mud/ Stones on Novrooz table also by the decorated eggs.  Symbolizes fertility of Earth and all living world, which is a mighty force and progress.

Color of this Ameshaspenta- Deep Blue.

Haurvatat /Khordad: A female Ameshaspenta. Reflects wellbeing and perfection. Represented by Water/ Wine on the Novrooz table. Symbolizes robust health, peace, harmony, and balance in life.

Color- Light Blue.

Ameretat/Amardad :  A female Ameshaspenta. Reflects immortality. Represented by plants/ grass /fruits on the Navroze table. Symbolizes defiance to extinction by shedding their seeds and procreation. Also keeping alive good memories as a reflection of immortality.

Color- Green.

Kshetra Vairyu / Shahrevar:   A male Ameshaspenta. Reflects dominion/control over self. Represented by metal/coins on the Novrooz  table, preferably gold coins because it resists rust most. Symbolizes Mind over matter. Dominion over one’s own mind and Self-reliance.  Has the same attributes as ‘Khoddawand’ ie. Khod= Self, therefore Khoddawand is Self-realization. (This idea is dramatically different from that in the Abrahamic Faiths where nothing should come from the self and everything should come from Above.)

Color- Yellow

Vohu Manah/ Bahman: A male Ameshaspenta. Reflects good mind and compassion. Represents soul of the animal kingdom and on the Novrooz   table, it’s again eggs/ live fish in water.

Color- Orange.

Spenta Mainyu / Ahura Mazda :  Gender neutral  Ameshaspenta. Reflects wisdom and knowledge. Represented by a book on the Novrooz   table that has the ability to impart good knowledge.  Many Zoroastrians display a book of Zend Avesta.

Color- White.

Asha Vahishta /Ordibehesht: A male Ameshaspenta. Reflects Justice, truth and Universal Order. Represents  “The Best Asha” and on the Novrooz   table it’s an oil lamp or candle lights.

Color- Red.

All Ameshaspentas together make up all colours that reflect out of prism when white light passes through it… So Spenta Mainyu is the white light that breaks into various colours of Ameshaspentas because they are the attributes of Spenta Mainyu also called Ahura Mazda.

*****

This is article is written and illustrated by Mrs. Farzana Cooper, an enthusiast Zarathusti. We thank her for contributing this article.

RESONATE WITH GOD – By: Cyrus Mahernosh

Resonate With GOD

By: Cyrus Mahernosh

I am not a philosopher or a mystic, but just a regular guy.   I had a persistent voice in my head asking me to share my learnings that have been acquired through varied life experiences. The lessons of my life, helped me believe in a very sacred magic of life. It put my life on a wonderful journey of self-discovery & creative productivity. I hope this write up helps you understand & move to a better place in your lives…

In no way I claim to totally know or understand “GOD” .but over the years of my life experiences, I have come to understand myself in more light. Have been able to relate to The Infinite Supreme Almighty Energy in every possible way.

We all differ in our ways of perceiving people, things, situations, events, life & Universe.

My way of resonating with the most powerful word “GOD” on this planet is by relating to  its very name as follows…

G ~ GIVING: In its true essence relates to Receiving.

This law of the universe is very prominently prevalent in the wonderful sayings…

·         As you sow, so shall you reap.
·         What you give to nature, nature gives it back to you.

As we have all have experienced in our lives through varied life situations or with varied people, whatever we give out, we tend to receive back viz… when we share our love, joy, happiness & peace with the situations or others, we receive the same, infact more in return. The same goes for negative emotions as well, when we pass on our anger, hatred, jealousy, mistrust, & low energy or depression to the situations we face, we tend to receive the same in return. This same rule also applies with your relationship with your ownself, ie. If you’re true to yourself or love yourself, you’ll find meeting up with people & situations, which relate same kind of feelings to you…who’d be true to you & love you.

O ~ ONENESS: Experiencing Oneness with one & all. All are connected.

This word has got a very unique meaning in my way of thinking. It encourages feelings of oneness with everyone & everything. It means to consciously be aware in experiencing being one with all kinds of humans, i.e. to see ourselves or part of ourselves in all humans. Even with the humans with all kinds of defects (blind, deaf, dumb, handicapped, varied kinds of disabled / differently abled people, etc)… This understanding leads to experiencing equality between everyone i.e. sects, tribes, genders, rich & poor, mighty & weak , young & old, etc. It further leads to have a connection in being one with All Living beings (animals, birds & all kinds of creatures) &  the mesmerizing ALL nature around you, i.e. the Trees, plants, lakes, Ocean, etc…. the ever evolving beautiful Mother Earth. The Oneness I’m talking about is, that which has a feeling of inclusiveness for ALL things that permeate on this planet. The theory that “Universe already belongs to us & we to it”, is even supported by science as well. When we observe that we are very similar to our planet. As our Earth is made of 70% water & remaining of mass, so are we.

On more simple way to understand our relation with Universe is to observe the expanding ocean along the coast. The single droplet of ocean water when separated from the ocean, retains it true quality of the ocean, or we may also term it as though the entire ocean manifest itself in a single droplet of water.

We need to feel that strong faith of being one with The Infinite Supreme Energy/Universe, even though we have chosen to individually manifest on this physical realm. There is connectedness everywhere in everything, we just need to open our eyes to. The emotion of Oneness is nothing but love moving beyond selflessly & multiplying into thousand fold, which would result in experiencing “Bliss”.

D ~ DESTINY:  Life is an unopened present, what you do with it is totally your call. Accordingly, the consequences you face will be based on the decisions you take in your life. This Universe always demands an exchange of energy for everything that you would want or desire to happen. To truly experience unfolding of your Destiny,….is to have yourself totally immersed in practicing the earlier 2 important & valuable aspects of “Giving & Oneness”.

Once you start truly respecting, appreciating & honouring the values of “Giving & Oneness” then the Infinite Supreme Almighty Energy/Universe begins to shine upon you the true essence of “Destiny”.  Entire Universe starts to conspire in working towards opening paths & channels in helping you to claim your higher purpose. “Destiny” is the real true purpose of your existence. To fulfill it, it starts by revealing our hidden talents & honouring us with sacred unique gifts in all its might & true essence. It does all of this to empower us in productively creating something extremely wonderful & sacred on this planet. It makes our existence meaningful & joyfull in its truest form.

This purpose defines your true existence at the soul level, the purpose for which your entire life should be dedicated to.

The above mentioned perception of “GOD” may be taken as guidance, but it is in no way a defined meaning to influence anyone.

I’m grateful to everyone, for reading this article.

******

Curious what a small shift in consciousness can bring to you…This blog is one of my attempts to share my experiences & learning. I’m based in Mumbai, currently working as a Sr. Marketing Manager in International Trade of a Shipping line. I learn & evolve daily. The best blessing one can have is to be a blessing to & for others.
Warm Regards,
Cyrus Mahernosh

To Surrender To A Higher Intelligence – By : Adil Firoze Rangoonwalla

To Surrender To A Higher Intelligence

By: Adil Firoze Rangoonwalla

“WORSHIP” implies superiority of the deity over the worshipper; an idea of higher and lower seems to come in. In the Zoroastrian religion, there is thanksgiving Jashan wherein we profusely thank Dadar Ahura Mazda and other Sacred Beings for their Grace and Benevolence.

Cicero has said, “The whole universe is one commonwealth of which both gods and men are members.” Sounds good but we do not enjoy anything like the power of gods. We know it is not easy to progress either materially or spiritually. There are obstacles in the paths. We cannot know as many things as we want or need to know. We cannot acquire the amount of wisdom we wish to acquire. Of course, the most common desire, “money”, always leaves us craving for more. So human beings have made it a habit to pray to God to acquire things which do not come with their own efforts.

We realize we cannot solve all our problems without someone’s help. When that help fails, we turn to God and seek His help. The problem that we face today is not just of gross evil but also a lot mischief and skulduggery of other to spoil the shape of our lives. People harm others even if there is no direct or real benefit. The harm itself seems a source of pleasure for many people. Life is hard.

When we are overwhelmed with any strong emotion like despair, grief, helplessness or hopelessness, we are often advised by wise people to surrender to what is happening to us. Many people say this is the Will of God. Many others however do not believe that God, our Benevolent Creator will throw us in a ditch. Intellectual people feel compelled to ask why would God have us fall prey to evil. The present discussion is not about why bad things happen to us but to the idea that we surrender to something higher than us.

Many people are not happy to hear the word ‘surrender’. They feel the loss of their own free will to the will of some other person. It suggests submissiveness. That is bad. We cannot do what we want; rather we have to dance to his tunes. Let us see all that the word ‘surrender’ suggests:

  1. Acceptance of despair.
  2. A verbal act of admitting defeat.
  3. The actual physical act of giving yourself up to your adversary.
  4. To give up or agree to forego something precious to the power or possession of another.
  5. To relinquish possession or control over.
  6. To relinquish to the power of another; yield to the control of another.
  7. To hand over to the authorities of another country.

Even in the practice of religion, surrender to God is important but the underlying notion is that HE is Omnipotent and we have but little power hence surrender. The idea is that of inferiority. ‘Surrender’ may even be presented as a compulsory thing to start with. Most people who blindly worship God, may imply ‘no surrender, no worship’.

The true reason for the surrender is not inferiority but equality and oneness. The sooner we come out of all our faulty conditioning and preconceived notions, the sooner we shall be united with God. That union is something that religion suggests. Every time we chant the word “yazamaide” we wish for that unity with Amesha Spentas and Ahura Mazda. We wear sudreh and kusti to keep that bond with Dadar Ahura Mazda. There should not be any lapse in this contact with God.

Obstacles in the Path

If Ahura Mazda has made a whole system that we can always be with Him, they why do we drift away? Obviously we do not come up to the mark. The first biggest problem is our EGO.

Ego tells us we know better. We do not see the need to see or hear the truth. Love is often sacrificed at the alter of ego. Ego leads to self love; we have seen people obsessed with themselves. Such persons may find themselves abandoned by their family and friends.

Second big obstacle: desires. We have so many desires we do not know where to start and what to strive for. Fulfilling them never brings them to an end. In fact, they grow bigger and fancier. They take up all our time and energy. Some spiritualists look upon desire, vasana as they cal it in other languages, as an enemy. Your desire can be your friend if it propels you into hard work; to earn righteously what you wish to have in your life.

Much spiritual instruction tells us that we are already born in ignorance or delusion. We do not enjoy an awakened state of consciousness this life in. We are in a slumber. We have to make a conscious effort, a concerted deliberate effort to change this clumsy existence and lead a glorious life.

Our thinking and life must be wrong as we face so many problems. We  cannot blame others for everything. We seek Dadar’s help in our prayers e.g., “jasa me avanghe Mazda”, that is, come to my aid Mazda.

Our own self image, ego and self awareness prevent us from developing a divine chakshu (sight or vision) to see Him as He is. Whose loss is it? So it is better we drop all that we carried in the past and approach Him in a spirit of self surrender. Remember, there is no right time to surrender. Everything happens in the now. Do not worry what you did in the past. That can be overcome. Surrender in a flash, in one moment. It does not take hours. Just the thought can do the trick if it is strong enough. Let that thought be the conviction; only conviction in life now.

The moment I step out of myself and go to Him, self love and ego are left behind. If they do not go away in a moment, they will keep melting away like snow in the heat of Sun. That should happen because that is our true nature. We are spiritual beings.

To surrender needs obedience to our senior and superiors. Too much intellect and worldly knowledge makes this difficult. We have lost our simplicity and innocence. The people in past were different. They lived under spiritual righteous kings. They were in tune with the laws of spirit and the law of the world. They lived in harmony. We will not be regarded as simpletons if we are obedient. You see the trait of obedience in developed and advanced nations. Without it people can only live like wild lawless people.

Self consciousness and ego are troublesome things. They stay glued to us no matter what we do. They do not get off our backs even when we worship. They are right there. Sometimes some people rise after their prayers more egoistic people. They think they are closer to God, worse, His chosen ones as contrasted from “others”.

The first important thing any Zarathoshty will try to understand well is the revered Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayer. It is called “AHUNAVAR”. Literally, it is as we say in Gujarati: “Ahu no var”. Ahu’s Will. Ahu means Lord. It refers to Ahura Mazda, the Lord Supreme. His Will is in His Divine Intelligence. In it lies the creation of all the worlds and galaxies and universe and more. His Will prevailed before creation and His Will shall prevail after Frashokereti.

Charity is an important teaching of ‘Yatha Ahu Vairyo’ prayer. It speaks of giving charity to the ‘drigu’ (literally beggar). What beggar? There are so many. We need to understand we all are in need of something. We lack something. We spent our life trying to fill up that emptiness but we failed. Our inner resources are depleted; our inner strength is exhausted. We can acquire many things but for some inscrutable reason one particular thing always evades us. Some do not get money, some do not get love and so on and so forth. In that sense, we are all drigus; we all want something. It is quite clear we will not get it on our own. We need help. Someone outside of us, a totally different type of person, with different set of skills has to help us.

Spiritually how are we drigus?

We all have three qualities in us in varying proportions. They are, tamas, rajas and Sattwa. There is lot of tamas in us. Tamas means indolence, sloth, indifference, tendency to delay and procrastinate. A very young child sleeps a lot. And boy, does that slumber go! If we were 90% tamas, we would be so lazy we would hardly take care of our body and physical needs but we are not like that. Then rajas represents activity and hyperactivity we indulge in for the selfish fulfillment of our desires and to acquire objects of our desire. Rajas is better than tamas.

We earn, live properly and take care at least of ourselves and our families. Rajas keeps a man selfish and entangled in the pursuits of this world leaving almost no time for higher spiritual pursuits.

Sattwa of course then appears to be the best part. We cannot be without tamas and rajas. However, we need a lot of Sattwa less of rajas and little of tamas.  Sattwa represents truth and purity. Finally, we have to develop Sattwa to make proper sense of this world.

Just as a beggar can hardly do anything to help himself, a man drowned in too much tamas cannot lift himself by himself. that is where spiritual help comes in. we can help him by way of giving knowledge and awakening him to a better way of life. He improves a little and then slips back into old patterns of behaviour. And we have to start all over again.

Likewise, another man caught up in rajas, also needs help to go toward Sattwa. As he progresses, he slips back slips back into old patterns of behaviour. And we have to start all over again. We have to help them no matter what. That is our duty on the path of righteousness.

GREATNESS OF GOD

We do all this and more for His Glory. In Hormazd Yasht, Ahura Mazda says He is Self Existent. No one created Him. HE is Supreme. If there is any other source that created Him or existed with Him, then he would not be Supreme. But He is! Zarathosht Saheb acknowledges him as the first one at creation. Then He calls himself as our Protector.

He declares Himself as the cause of all holiness or righteousness.

GOD HAS SIX OPULENCES

WEALTH (meaning abundance, prosperity), POWER, FAME, BEAUTY, WISDOM AND RENUNCIATION (He is in His creations but not limited thereby).

GOD TELLS US WHAT NOT TO DO

  1. “Stop Worrying”: Have u forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you?
  2. Put it on List: – not yours but My List. I cannot help you until you turn it over totally to me.
  3. Trust Me: Once you’ve given me your burdens quit trying to take them back or trying to handle the clumsy way you did in the past before. Have faith that I will take care of all your needs, problems and trials. I am always glad to help u but you have to ask, and come to me.
  4. Leave It Alone. You gave me your burdens, I am taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Leave them with me and forget about them. Just let me do my job
  5. Talk to Me: I want you to never forget this one thing-please don’t forget to talk to me often. Include me in all things going on in your life. Look upon me as your dearest friend and I also look upon u as my dearest friend.
  6. Have Faith. From my station, I can see much more you can almost see nothing from the ground level where you are entangled in your problems.
  7. Share: Share with lesser fortunates. Rajasik man thinks others wealth is for my pleasure; Sattwic man thinks my wealth is for the welfare of others. Give encouragement to those who need it. Share your happiness, your laughter, your tears, your FAITH with those who need it.
  8. Be Patient: Trust in my timing for that is perfect. Your sense of time, that is what to get when is based on emotions, mine is based upon perfect knowledge of your Karma. I give and with hold; both are to your advantage.
  9. Be Kind: To others I love them as much as I love you. his problems bother him as your problems do you.
  10. Love yourself. Stop blaming and being angry with yourself. You are precious to me.

BENEFITS OF THE SURRENDER

Ego becomes less

We are more at peace

Imagined differences between people become less

You drop your faulty vision, u can see truth as it is.

We pray to be attuned to HIM. We are attuned to HIM in thought, word and deed. If this union becomes perfect and perfectly irrevocable, then the Creator and the Creation are one. We carry His holiness in ourselves. We are as pure as Him. In this world, we forget that purity and fall prey to evil and pollute our lives. Otherwise, we are totally pure.

At the level of an individual the plan is of Humata-Hukhta-Hvarshta so that a person can do good, become righteous, contribute to  making the world better and merit his place in Light in the hereafter.

The mention of good deeds generally brings “charity” to mind.

Surrender can only bring humility. We often review the traits and virtues represented by the Amesha Spentas. Spenta Arimaity, so called feminine divinity, represents devotion or piety. We should be receptive or we will not get divine knowledge or intuition. All these Amesha Spentas give us some spiritual power. We grow with them, under their Grace. That Grace is but an extension of the Grace of Dadar Ahura Mazda.

If we dissolve ego and become pious, we become kind and compassionate. These are the virtues of the brave. Kind forgiving people are not weak but powerful people. If we tread the path with perfect unflinching devotion, we will be more powerful; we will receive the Grace of Kshathra Vairya, Shahrewar Ameshaspand.

*****

We thank Mr. Adil Firoze Rangoonwalla, for sharing this article and giving us the permission to publish it, in the larger interest of the community.

The Lost Meaning of TRUSTEES

trustees.jpg

The Lost meaning of TRUSTEES

The Parsi community members of Mumbai are witnessing social media fight between the Trustees of the grand old institution, The BPP. The New Year fire crackers over social media are much louder, of longer duration and spectacular, than even the Burj Khalifa fire crackers, which holds the world record. To most of the community members, it is absolutely disgusting, ridiculous and shameful.

It seems the role of a trustee is unclear to most stakeholders, including many trustees & leaders of BPP. Trustees are supposed to be the lead actors in the founding stories of every institution. Trustees are also understood to have a duty of loyalty, a duty of care, and a duty of obedience. The duty of loyalty requires directors and trustees to put aside their personal interests in favor of the interests of the community they serve. A trustee ethic begins with trust being extended and with the acceptance of that trust. Those who are chosen, selected, or elected as trustees respond in trust, fidelity, loyalty, and care. In the reciprocity of trust, a moral relationship to the community members is aroused. A relationship rooted in trust is the motive force in engendering a sense of moral accountability and stewardship. It is precisely because trustees are entrusted that a sense of moral responsibility for community is created.

The moral responsibilities of trustees extend beyond legal obligations. It is important to state that ethics is not a matter of simply enunciating rules or moral codes, rather it is the application of moral understanding to situations and contexts. Community members look forward to each Trustee as their role model and look for true leadership qualities.

Let me list down some of the points, what we understand and expect from our Trustees/Board:

Definitions of Trustee:

  • Group of members who manages money of the community
  • One to whom everything is entrusted
  • One occupying a position of TRUST
  • One who has fiduciary duty to act in best interest of beneficiary (community)
  • One who ensures no misuse of community assets

Moral Duties:

  • To be role model for the community they serve.
  • To be morally bound to handle matters in responsible and productive manner
  • Under absolute moral obligation to act solely for the benefit of community and not for personal interests.
  • Morally accountable to preserve faithfully the institution’s founding purposes.

What the community looks for in each one of them:

  • Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds from each member.
  • Leadership Qualities, create good examples and resolve their issues
  • Teamwork between the Board members demonstrating UNITY.
  • Creating congenial environment in the society
  • A Role Model for the future generations.
  • One who will passionately stand by for the community rights.
  • Most importantly one who demonstrates the teachings & principles of Zarathustra, in their day to day interactions.

What is our community witnessing now?:

  • Mud Slinging, Naming & Shaming and ridiculing each other on daily basis
  • Allegations of criminal offenses
  • Cross allegations and defamation threats
  • Police threats and what not.

As many community members said, it is nothing less than washing the dirty linen in public. While some advice ‘Please don’t hang your dirty laundry on social media”. It also gives a feeling that probably no community in the recent past has washed more dirty laundry in public than we have.

It seems we have forgotten Zarathushtra’s prime objectives, and we judge ourselves and others by the prestige of our positions, the size of our bank accounts, the make of our cars, the size of our houses. In the light of all the above, we may say BPP today needs the true spirit of Zoroastrianism for revitalizing itself. There seems to be restlessness and fights due to loss of spiritual and ethical values.

Wordsworth put it well when he said:

“The world is too much with us, Late and soon, getting and spending, We lay waste our powers. Little we see in nature that is ours….,.”

To sum up, it is my humble suggestion to all the stakeholders/trustees/board members, to absorb the wise words of Zarathustra in true spirit, who said: Think creatively, constructively, rationally, originally and independently with your head; love fully, universally and joyously with your heart; and live dynamically in total goodness by using your hand to serve mankind in the cause of unity and peace.

Ushta Te

Yashan Jokhi

This post is not meant to demean, insult or ridicule any individual, group, or institution.

 

ZOROASTRIANISM ALPHABETS

ZOROASTRIANISM ALPHABETS (with a Persian touch)

A is for Afrinagan

Afrinagan is a blessing ceremony for the congregation or a memorial service for the departed members of the community. Afrinagan ceremony is also known as the flower ritual because flowers play an important role in this ceremony.  Afrinagan is also the name of a vessel for holding the sacred fire.

B is for Bahman

Bahman or Vohuman means Good Mind. Bahman is one of God’s sixth qualities or aspects. These aspects are collectively known as Amesha Spentas or Bountiful Immortals. Good Mind helps us decide what’s good or evil. If we choose to live our life based on Bahman (Vohuman), then we will get closer to God and we will be blessed with happiness and immortality. ​
Bahman is also the name of the second month of winter in the Zoroastrian calendar. Some Zoroastrians believe that Bahman is the protector of animals.

C is for Chahar Shanbe Suri

Chahar Shanbe Suri is celebrated every year on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year. On this day, people set up bonfires at their homes or parks and jump over them to be healthy and happy. Another ritual is to cover oneself in a white sheet to look like a ghost and go door to door banging on the pots and pans asking for money and treats (much like the Halloween).

D is for Denkard

The Denkard is a Zoroastrian medieval text written in the 10th century CE. It contains many different myths and stories about Zarathushtra’s life and birth. The   Denkard had nine volumes originally, but the first and the second volumes have   been lost. The Denkard is an important book because it gives us a lot of information about Zarathushtra’s life.

E is for Ervad

Ervad or Herbad is a title for Zoroastrian priests. Another name for a Zoroastrian priest is mobed. A Mobed teaches the Zoroastrian beliefs. Mobeds usually perform prayer services in a fire temple in front of a sacred fire. A fire temple is a Zoroastrian place of worship. Fire is important for Zoroastrians because it is God’s seventh creation, and it is the symbol of light. Zoroastrians honor fire but they never worship it.

F is for Faravahar

Farvahar is a symbol of Zoroastrianism and its history goes back to ancient Egypt and Persia. Farvahar represents good thoughts, good words and good deeds. The symbol shows a man holding a disc in his hand and having two wings. The man is the symbol of wisdom, while the wings represent good and evil. Today Farvahar represents Iranian nationalism and identity. Many non-Zoroastrians use the Farvahar to show their love of Iranian ancient history and culture.

G is for Gahambar

Gahambars are seasonal festivals celebrated in honor of God’s six creations: Sky, Waters, Earth, Plants, Cattle and People. There are six different Gahambars in a year. Gahambars are good occasion for Zoroastrians to get together for prayers and feasting. Gahambars are usually celebrated for five days.

H is for Haurvatat

Haurvatat (Khordad) means perfection and it is one of God’s six aspects. Haurvatat is always accompanied by Amartat (immortality), and they are both members of the Amesha Spentas. The Gathas tell us that we should try our best to gain perfection and immortality by being truthful.
It also tell us that the truthful people will be rewarded with perfection and immortality. Traditional Zoroastrians consider Haurvatat as the guardian angel of waters. Haurvatat (Khordad) is the third month of spring and it starts on May 22nd.

I is for Iran

Iran is an ancient country in the Middle East. Although majority of Iranians today are Muslims, Iran has a rich pre-Islamic history which goes back to 7000 BCE. Zoroastrianism started in Central Asia among the Iranian tribes more than 3500 years ago, but it eventually became a dominant religion in the Iranian plateau.
​From Iran, Zoroastrianism spread to Mesopotamia and Asia Minor.  Zoroastrianism has influenced Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Ideas such as belief in one God, the afterlife and good and evil have all originated from Zoroastrianism.

J is for Jashan

Jashan is a Zoroastrian thanksgiving ceremony. It is conducted to celebrate the birth of a child, a graduation, an engagement or some other happy occasion. The ceremony can take place in a temple or at home. A Jashan is usually led by one or more mobeds.
Jashan is usually performed around a white tablecloth set with various items such as flowers, fruits, milk, water, fire or a divo (oil lamp) among other things. The ceremony starts with a prayer service and ends with a reception accompanied by food and music.

K is for ​Koshti/Kushti/Kasti

Devout Zoroastrians always wear a white shirt known as Sadreh under their clothing, and they tie a sacred cord around their waist. This cord is known as Koshti. The Sadreh is the symbol of purity and Koshti symbolizes the commitment to service and truth. A Koshti has 72 strands which symbolizes the 72 chapters of Yasna (a section of the Avesta).

L is for Loban

Before bedtime, some traditional Zoroastrians burn a small fire with incense, sandalwood or frankincense.  They take this fire and walk around their homes fumigating the entire home while reciting prayers. This ceremony is called Loban. It is said that Loban helps with sleeping and disinfect the house at the same time.

M is for Mashya and Mashyana

According to the Zoroastrian creation story Ahura Mazda created the First Man named Gayomard (Kiyomars). The First Man was attacked by the Evil Spirit, Ahriman and was killed.
From his dead body grew a rhubarb plant and from this rhubarb plant came out a man called Mashya and a woman Mashyana who were connected together. They were exactly the same and equal.
According to this myth, Mashya and Mahyana promised God to follow good thoughts, good words and good deeds, so God gave them body and soul. After that, they went on to have 15 twins who scattered all around the world and made various races.

N is for ​Nabor

Zoroastrians do not believe in fasting. However, they avoid eating meat 4 days a month. These 4 days are called Nabor which means “don’t cut.”  In the Zoroastrian calendar each day of the month has a name. Nabor always falls on Gush, Ram, Mah and Vohuman, which coincides with  2nd, 12th, 14th and 21st day of the Zoroastrian month.

O is for Ohrmazd

​Ohrmazd is another name for Ahura Mazda the Zoroastrian God. Zoroastrians believe in one God who is the Creator of the world. They believe that people have been created to help Ohrmazd make the world a better place to live. That’s why destroying poverty, protecting the Earth, and fighting injustice is very important for Zoroastrians.

Ohrmazd (Ahura Mazda) has created the freedom for people to worship and live their lives as best as they can. That’s why Ohrmazd does not get angry, take revenge or hate. God is kind, peaceful and generous to everyone.

P is for Pir-e Sabz

Pir-e Sabz is the most sacred Zoroastrian shrine. It is located beneath a cliff near the desert city of Yazd. The legend says that a daughter of Yazdigird III, the last Zoroastrian King of Iran, fled to these mountains and took refuge there from invading Muslim army. Zoroastrians visit this shrine every year on June 14th to 18th.

Q is for Qissa-i Sanjan

Qissa-I Sanjan in Persian means the Story of Sanjan. This story was written by Bahman Keikobad in the 17th century. The Story of Sanjan tells the story of those Zoroastrians who migrated to India in the tenth century to escape Muslim persecution. These Zoroastrians are known today as the Parsis. Many Parsis became successful businessmen and contributed greatly to the development of India. They built factories, hospitals, schools and many orphanages.

R is for ​Rivayat

The Rivayat are a collection of letters in Persian sent from Iran to the Parsis of India. These letters were composed between 15th to 18th centuries. The letters consist of answers from Iranian mobeds to Parsi mobeds’ various religious questions.

S is for Soshyant

Soshyant is someone who is a benefactor. Zarathushtra calls himself a Soshyant. Anybody who makes the world a better place to live is a Soshyant.  Later tradition, however, says a Soshyant is a future savior who will appear at the end of the world to save the people from injustice. Traditional Zoroastrians believe in three different Soshyants who will appear in future.

T is for Topi

Topi is a prayer cap worn by Zoroastrian men and youth when they want to pray. Topis are usually white and made of cotton. However, some people wear colorful satin or velvet topis. Zoroastrians believe wearing a topi will strengthen their prayers. ​

U is for Ushahin

Zoroastrians traditionally divide a day to five different periods or gahs and pray at each gah. The gah (period) between midnight to dawn is called Ushahin. Devout Zoroastrians clean themselves. Then they stand toward the sun or a light and pray.
The Ushahin prayer says, “We worship Ahura Mazda who is highest in righteousness. We honor all the teachings of Zarathushtra. We honor all the good deeds done in the past, present and future. We honor all the good people, both men and women, whom Ahura Mazda knows best. We honor them as well.”

V is for Vishtaspa

Vishtaspa was a powerful king who helped and supported Zarathushtra. After King Vishtaspa converted to the Zoroastrian religion, his minister Jamaspa and his wife Queen Atoosa followed.  King Vishtaspa’s conversion to the Zoroastrian religion helped Zarathushtra spread his Message. The tradition says that Jamaspa later married Zarathustra’s youngest daughter, Pourchista.

W is for Wadia

Wadias are a successful Parsi family originated from Surat, a city in Western India. Wadia means shipbuilder. In the 18th century, the Wadias started a company making ships and later buildings, bridges and dams.
​One member of the Wadia family was Ness Wadia who established the first wireless company which connected India and Britain for the first time. In 1919 he became the first Indian to be awarded the Knighthood of the British Empire. Today Wadia family members contribute greatly to India’s culture and economy.

X is for Xerxes

Xerxes was a Zoroastrian king who lived in the fifth century BCE. Xerxes’s grandfather was Cyrus the Great. Cyrus conquered many places and freed the Jews from captivity in Babylon. Cyrus respected the conquered people’s religions, customs and language. His human rights charter is knowns today as Cyrus Cylinder and it’s the oldest declaration of human rights in history.

Y is for Yazatas

Yazatas are the divine beings worthy of worship. Traditional Zoroastrians consider them as guardian angels while other Zoroastrians see them as God’s different aspects.  The Gathas do not mention the Yazatas by name, but today some Zoroastrians pray to them for help.
​One of the most important Yazatas is Anahita who was a divine water goddess before Zoroastrianism.  People today consider Anahita as an guardian angel,  and they pray to her for health and happiness. ​

Z is for Zarathushtra

Zarathushtra Spitaman is the founder of the religion of Zoroastrianism (Din e Behi). The ancient Greeks knew him as Zoroaster. In Iran today, people lovingly call him Ashu Zartosht (the righteous Zartosht). Zarathushtra was the first monotheist. This means he was the first person who believed in one God. He was also the first environmentalist because he asked his followers to protect the environment.

The above Alphabetical representation is compiled by Rebecca Cann and we thank her for giving us the permission to publish it here, in the larger interest of the Zoroastrian Community.

We hope our children will benefit from this wonderful pictorial compilation.

Ushta Te.