The foreign scholar's understanding of Ilme Khshnoom

by Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha

Recently, I had the opportunity to read e-mail from Maneck Bhujwala to a foreign scholar and her response in reference to Ilme Khshnoom philosophy revealed by Ustad Saheb Behramsha Shroff . As a full-fledged Udvada Priest with 22 years of religious experience, I would recommend the reader to ignore the writings of foreign scholars on the religious matters.

My dear Zarathustri, divinity cannot be understood or explored by scientific experiments. That is why He is the creator and we are His creation. Our senses and intelligence is limited to only selected sectors of nature and its movements. You cannot prove everything in the world just to make sense to you or prove that you are right and rest of the world is wrong. The history of academic explorations of our religion has recorded several incidents where the scholars have experienced their ignorance in interpreting our scriptures or allegorical explanations of our rituals and ceremonies.

This lady is no different from other scholars. The outsider lady's expressions are though very creative and interesting to read, it lacks knowledge of Ilme Khshnoom and fundamentals of our religious beliefs that are well rooted in our prayers. No matter how much she struggles to learn our religion, she has to confess limitation of her mental capability, like other scholars, to comprehend Avesta Manthras for understanding the intrinsic value of our beliefs and traditions. This is where wisdom of intellectuals stop working and faith acts as the final carrier to ones spiritual development. The FAITH is the most critical element in evaluating Zoroastrian beliefs in Ilme Khshnoom philosophies. As mentioned earlier, its roots are in our prayers that has to be practiced to feel the effect in ones life.

Ms. S.., let me quote a line from Bible; Hebrews II:I

"Faith is substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Ms. S... writes, "there is also the faculty of critical thinking and historical research, which evaluates religious doctrines as authentic or inauthentic. I am dedicated to finding authenticity as truth, in scholarship and religion both." She further categorizes Ilme Khshnoom as "nineteeth-century eclectic occultism."

I am not annoyed as much as I am sorry for her ignorance in Zarathustri religion. It seems like her mind is shrouded by the preconceived notions of establishing authenticity in matters of religion. In religious matters one has to accept things as "prescribed" by HIM for its effectiveness. She is trying to prove faith and authenticity of religious beliefs of our religion, which are allegorical compositions of almighty. Only He or someone from His world with His spiritual inspiration can interpret and change any prescribed path or formulas expressed in vibrationary form.

Ms. S... should understand that we don’t need her explanation on what we should believe in and what is right and authentic. She is wasting her intellectual capability to understand something that is not a part of ‘her feast.’ Besides, we have enough resources to preserve our faith and religion in its entirety. Unfortunately, people like her bring out different versions of the same faith and instigate people to form different groups like we see in Christian faith. Ironically, we have Churches on every street corner practicing different versions under two main categories - Catholics and Protestants - of one message from His son Jesus Christ. And the most unfortunate part is ignorance of people to believe in His messages and encouraging people like her Part-time scholars - whose efforts are properly categorized as (in her words) "gobbledygook" and "hodgepodge". We do not wish to split our faith and beliefs in different scholarly versions, neither we need someone to ‘enhance our religion and faith by critical and scholarly thinking.’

In testing a research hypothesis, one has to consider various assumptions to draw its conclusion. The foreign scholars are famous for their deductive reasoning method of research to analyze a particular phenomena or fact. They fail to realize that religion is composed of various laws, rules & regulations governing feelings, actions, emotions and practices of day to day life. One cannot prove something that is beyond human capability to understand and sense its existence. There is something called Faith, which is free from, constrains or limitations. Unlike in research analysis where you either accept or reject the hypothesis based on certain assumptions, in religious matters you have no such choices at free will. You have to accept everything in its original form because that is prescribed and created by His wisdom and not through human effort or scientific study. Neither your acceptance should have any assumptions or exceptions to compromise your role as Zarathustri.

She interprets our religious beliefs in search of scientific explanation by logical or deducting reasoning that is acceptable from the scholarly viewpoint. However it will suffer from serious pitfalls when it gets weighed against the authentic structure composed by HIM with a vision that is beyond human understanding. She questions the authenticity of our faith and beliefs in Ilme Khshnoom. How do we know what is authentic and what is not? Again she fails to realize a fact that its authenticity is related to the practice of rituals and ceremonies which is beyond her physical and mental capability to experience in life.

My dear Zarathusti, the Avesta was never a living language of ordinary everyday use. In fact, it has not been the language for the use of social communication. It was originally vibrations that were later expressed in a form of language. These vibrations were transformed into Manthras and in ancient times they were recited and chanted very carefully according to the prescribed rules. This is because our prayers produce certain rates and modes of vibrations. Each letter of an Avesta word has certain effects. And, that is why Avesta is called ‘Raazeng’ or ‘mystic words’ and ‘Guzraa Senghaango’ hidden words as depicted in the Gathas (Yasna 50.6 and Yasna 48.3).

My dear Zarathustris, our religion is based on rituals and ceremonies. We do not recite prayers in local dialect or any convenient language. When we recite prayers in Avesta, we create certain atmosphere within and around our body which develops a certain form of awareness and feeling that could be described only by that devotee and no one else. In other words, our prayers are the most comprehensive structure of Manthra that is prescribed by Asho Zarathustra through his Soasyants and Rainidars. Besides, realization of Manthras is not automatic by practicing Zoroastrian faith or reading books on Zoroastrianism. Only a Zarathustri can activate Manthras to make meaningful composition through his/ her assigned spiritual elements that are attuned with individual Urvaan and its evolutionary cycle. It also requires Tarikats to activate Manthras to create a positive effect and thus, a non-Zoroastrian is automatically disqualified to practice our Alaats and Tarikats as such elements are related to spiritual attunement of Urvaan by birth.

Religion is not something that is available in supermarket for your material conveniences and everyday mental exercises. It has certain rules, regulations and practices to help not just body and human consciousness but something beyond its existence. A soul takes cover and born at certain place on certain time in certain family for some reason. One has to realize that life of each Urvaan is a divine plan of Ahura-Mazda and each one of us has a prescribed mission to accomplish before the end of this journey on earth. HIS divinity is not open for inquires or interpretation. We have to live by it because we are HIS creation. We are here to follow HIS prescribed path and not to create one in competition to prove ourselves superior.

All major religions started in Asia and their Prophets have had brought HIS message for certain people at certain time, which is an undisputed fact. Why in Asia only and no where else in the world? Why a particular religion started at certain place at certain evolutionary stage of mankind and for certain group of people only? Only HE knows why? Here you may apply evidences of scientific discoveries and ancient civilizations however it limits your knowledge in answering why part of the above questions.

Ms. S... is not a Zoroastrian and neither she can practice our religion or experience the outcome of reciting Manthras which only a Zarathustri can describe. Each individual is born with a divine plan with specific spiritual composition to accomplish certain tasks in this world. The Manthric vibrations must be attuned with spiritual composition of that Urvaan to derive a meaningful effect in his/her life cycle. In order to understand why, how and what is meant by spiritual composition, one has to believe in something called Urvaan, Aipi, 16 energy circles in the body, influence of inside and outside non-receptive forces and Urvaan’s connection with many other spiritual and natural creations unknown to mankind.

These foreign writers are under the impression that they have the intellectual capabilities to understand HIS plans and strategies for the mankind and other creations. If they claim to derive such judgement than they should be rightfully addressed as Prophets with divine wisdom to lead the mankind to salvation.

Based on my past experiences and problems facing the Zoroastrian community in India, U.S. and elsewhere, I would like to convey to all Zoroastrians that practice your religion as traditionalist. Stop making compromises or conveniences to skip our age-old traditions. Stop funding, encouraging and responding to foreign scholars who obviously lack understanding of the basis of our religion. Let destructive activity of ignorant religious controversy die out so that the constructive energy of enlightened propaganda may began to work for the future edifice of a glorious revival once more of all the most beautiful and most charming teachings of the Law of Zarathushtra.

Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha

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