Understanding Religious Ceremonies (Kriya-Kam)

by Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha

In Zarathustri Religion, KriyaKam or ceremonies performed for the living as well as deceased people are broadly divided into two parts: 1) Hosmordi (common) Kriya and, 2) Pao-Mahal Kriya. A word Kriya means ritual/ ceremony. Hosmordi Kriya is categorized under three main headings: Afringhan, Farokhshi, Stum, however, there are various ceremonies - Jashan or Afringhan of Gahambar, Siroja, Fravadighan (Muktad Prayers), Rozghan (daily prayers for the departed), Mahighan (Monthly prayers for the departed), Salighan or 'Varsi' (Yearly prayers for the deceased) - that are similar to Afringhan ceremony which comes under the above category. Although each ceremony is categorized under different name, it includes recitation of the same chapters except one unique chapter(s) depending on the occasion for its performance. We have 33 Fravashis including thirty Roz and additional three Yazads: Berezo, Haoma, Dahm. A knowledgeable Priest will invoke a particular Fravashi in a Jashan or an Afringhan ceremony (besides reciting four mandatory chapters - Dadar Ahura-Mazda, Ardafravash, Dahm, Sarosh) depending on the occasion. Whether the Jashan is for the departed Soul, living members, or celebrating an occasion like house-warming or Gahambar, the Priests must perform the chapters related to that occasion to invoke blessings for the living members. Unfortunately, very few Priests are knowledgeable about this practice and thus, whenever a Priest is asked to perform a Jashan or Afringhan, he will do only three chapters (Ardafravash, Dahm &Sarosh) regardless of the occasion or event for which it is requested.

PavMahal Kriyas are categorized as Yazashne, Visparad, Vendidad, Nirangdin, Hamayast, Baj. These Kriyas can be performed only in Urvish-Gah or in PavMahal, that is to say, a place that is specially sanctified and excluded under special PaviKat area within Atash Adaran or Atash Behram. Only the Priest who has undergone Bareshnoom ritual can enter this place and, such Priests are only qualified to do PavMahal ceremonies as mentioned above. These Kriya's has a special kind of magnetism that remains within the vicinity of the Atash Adaran or Atash Behram. A separate article on Pav-Mahal will be posted in future for its detail understanding.


The Hoshmordi Kriya can be performed in any clean place however, according to our religious implications it is preferable to perform these prayers only within the vicinity of 1) place where the family of the deceased resides, 2) place where friends and relatives of the deceased are sheltered. This practice arise from the fact that these places are surrounded by the Aipi of those individuals who are biologically or by relationship tied with the deceased person. The Aipi of those individuals contents a strong magnetism to activate similar thought process with their internal energies which encourages attunement with the deceased. The power of collective thoughts and its magnetism within their Aipi invites the Fravashi of the deceased in such places. (Urvaan and Fravashi are two different things, which I will discuss in separate article.) That is why I have emphasized in my article on Jashan Tarikats to recite specific prayers during the Jashan or related Hosmordi Kriya and help yourself to gain their blessing by 'creating an atmosphere' receptive to your spiritual development. For those who are not familiar with the term Aipi, it is our surrounding environment (composed of thought process, deeds, events happening in daily life) or personal magnetism that determines our limit (Aspandi) on our Karmic status from the past to the present and in the future. Without 'Aipi' of the living family and relatives, there is no attraction between the Urvaan's consciousness and this world. In the absence of any family or relative, the prayers of the deceased is recommended to perform Shayast-La-Shayast (Kriya for Urvaan's Aipi) in the house of Priest (Panthaky of a particular Agiary/ Atash-Behram) who has regularly remained in charge of the deceased family prayers.

After death, the Urvaan is constantly seeking attunement of Mithra with its family. If the family members are absent during the death ceremonies and this attunement does not takes place, then all those prayers recited for the deceased will remain ineffective for the living relatives as they cannot receive the blessings from the deceased member. Not only their presence but, they should continue to recite prayers and make sure all Hosmordi Kriyas are performed (Sarosh-nu-Patru, GehSarnu, Uthamna, Ardafravash & Dahm Afringhan, etc) during the first four days after death. During this first four days, Soul remains in this world in connection with its worldy relationships. All of the above Hosmordi Kriya's are meant for releasing its connection with this world to concentrate on its journey ahead. This is a time when our Soul needs our presence but, one must not involve in emotional roller-coaster by crying and doing something physically destructive (like morning or committing suicide etc) in order to distract the deceased Urvaan from its Path towards His divine world. It is the sole reason why we discourage people crying on death of a family member. Our emotions should not become an obstacle in their Path towards the divine progression. Recite Farzyat prayers with Sarosh Yast, Fravardin Yast instead, and help the soul reach its destination.


Just a clarification for those who misunderstood the above attunement process; the four days prayers for the deceased helps the Urvaan to remain protected under the PaviKat of Sarosh Yazad in its divine journey to HIS world. However, during those four days it strives for attunement with its family, relatives and earthly attachments. Here word attunement refers to Urvaan's attachment by Mithra (by thought process). Our four days ceremonies (Chahrum) are respectively designed to helps the Urvaan to release its worldly connection to proceed towards the divine world. Whereas on the other hand, the ceremonies like Afringhan, Jashan etc requested on Rozghan and Mahighan etc are designed to invoke the Fravashi of Urvaan (and not Urvaan itself) for its blessings to the living relatives. In order to understand the concept of Fravashi, one has to study the origin and functioning of Paourva-Fravashi in precosmogenesis. Thus, our Avesta Manthras are designed to aid Soul in its progression and not to have its custody within the boundaries of this world. That is why, if proper ceremonies were performed for the deceased, a Zarathustri Soul will never return in the form of spirit or any other form to harass or disturb the lives of its acquaintances. Our Avesta Manthras has the power to dissolve any evil that comes in the Path of Soul passing through this DrujoDeman to attain its rightful place in the divine world. We must never attempt to apply any magic, the so-called candle-light 'Soul-Calling' methods or witch-craft to invite the deceased soul as they do in other religion. One must remember that those kinds of invitations bring Arvahi's (spirits, that could be good or bad), and NOT Urvaan of the deceased. Such 'invitations' are very dangerous for the living relative or the individual who initiated this process. Here again, living people are not 'inviting' Soul of the deceased, but a spirit that has power to assume the soul's identity. The origin and functioning of the spirit world is clearly described in Zoroastrian precosmogenesis. For those who are familiar, Paigambar Saheb Asho Zarathustra had successfully confined all monstrous evil from the Arvahi world with HIS Manthric powers. In short, our religion condemns any supernatural activity to disturb the natural order of His divine world. Please restrict yourself from such anti-religious activities.


The Hoshmordi Kriya should be performed under Aipi of the family or the closest aquaintance in order to make it effective for the deceased Soul. Preparing Dron (wheat bread) or offering fruits and food in the ceremonies, are though helpful but not the qualification and requirements to invite Fravashi of the deceased. One must realize that Minthra-Manthra-Zaothra (Priest) and the contribution of family members by way of reciting certain prayers (Stum-no-Kardo, Fravardin Yast (or Farokhshi prayer), Sarosh Yast, Haom Yast) is a gift package for the deceased person. Mithra means attunement by thoughts, Manthras are prayers, and Zaothra (Priest) role in making this attunement process effective by way of following proper ritual-related Tarikats and Manthras. Minthra and Manthra plays a dominant role in this attunement process where Urvaan gets benefits from specific Manthric compositions (Hosmordi Kriya) which enables Urvaan to shower its choicest blessings to the people requesting such prayer for that soul. The Fravashi of a Soul always anticipates to visit (under the protection of "Ashaunam Fravashi") the place where the Aipi of its living relatives is established. It is preferable to request Hosmordi Kriya within the house of its relative and PavMahal Kriya under the boundaries of sacred Atash Adaran or Atash Behram. In olden days, all four days prayers were performed inside the house of the family or relative. It is only through the medium of Aipi (surrounding atmosphere) that we can reach the deceased and receive their blessings. The Avesta Staots and Mithra (thoughts) are two important ingredients to attune ourself with the Urvaan through its Fravashi, and such attunement will work more significantly in the place where Aipi of the family or relative is established. We will see this later in this article.

However, after four days prayers (Chahrum), when the soul is advancing towards Chinvat for judgement of its Kerdar, prayers are offered to help its progression towards Tanpasin (a stage before the final event Farshogard), the most ideal condition one can attain after death. In the final benediction during Uthamna ceremony, following paragraph is recited by the Priests with a wish that, may the soul attain salvation and Tanpasin on its judgement day or return back to this world by rebirth if it has more number of bad deeds to restrict entry to the divine realms of Ahura-Mazda.

"Yesha keshan duz-myazdan khar khutam om Veh-Din-e Mazdayasnan ravan dad hend, Oem veh-Din-e Mazdayasnan be-ayand, Agar na ayand, guzarg umed, Meher Fragayod Davar-e Rast zutar pistar be-rasad."

Meaning:- May those who have to partake of evil food (i.e. suffer the consequences of their bad Karma) come back (Be-Ayand) among the good religion itself. However, if they are not liable to come, i.e. take rebirth (Agar na Ayand), may they speedily and at the earliest advance towards Meher Yazad of vast pastures.

That is why, during any kind of Hosmordi Kriya (like Jashan), it is very important that each family member should recite Avesta Manthras to help the deceased to attain its goal, and simultaneously, we can receive its blessings through its divine Fravashi. Whether the prayer is dedicated to living or dead, the chapters recited in Hosmordi Kriya's are invoking a group of divinities who spread their blessings across the people who are in the group of "Farmayashne" (those who have requested and present during that ceremony). We also remember Asho-Nars and spiritual beings in these prayers to help the spiritual counterpart of ourselves and/ or deceased Urvaan to attain its maximum growth potential in the progressive cycle towards Frashokereti. Thus reciting prayers during Hosmordi Kriya help us get attuned with the divine kingdom to earn an opportunity to advance in the spiritual realm.

It is normal to feel sad and get emotional on somebody's death however, if our emotions are harmful for the departed soul one should try to control it in the interest of its smooth journey. In Zarathustri religion, death is a part of HIS DIVINE PLAN, which we all have to accept it and do everything as per the scripture to help the departed soul attain its place in HIS Divine kingdom. Death is that part of life which is more divine and obvious for every human except for the Prophets who visit us in the form of human with their highly divine soul and depart when they are completed their assignment between us. No evil spirit or human can kill any Prophet to death as those 'highly evolved' souls have already attained salvation. One who has attained salvation is not subject to temptations, family life or death in this material world. (Pardon me for diversion.) Referring to the Prophets, lets see what our sacred Vendidad states on the death of our Paigambar Saheb; an evidence that clears up a misconception that Paigambar Saheb was killed by evil Turbaratur. In this Vendidad Chapter 19, Angre-Manyu sends Bueti Dev to kill Paigambar Saheb who returns with an answer that "Prophet Zarathustra is untouchable; he cannot even go nearer to Him and besides, there is no death written for His life." My dear Zarathustris, if our scripture describes the undefeatable power of His (Paigambar Saheb) divine Rae, Kharenah and Manthric body, it is ridiculous to even think that evil Turbaratur was successful in stabbing Him to death. Here without going any further, I wish to leave this point to the rest for a separate article to clarify these misinterpreted issues related to His birth, children, death etc. A point that I am trying to make is, all creations are subject to death and Farshogard. Whether we like to WORK for His 'Noor' within us or not, we are responsible to redeem it following a prescribed Path (Religion), living through every second of this life on DrujoDeman (world of Druj, evil) with a thought that, one day our soul has to attain salvation and only we can make it happen by WORKING for its progression.


However there is a restriction on performing such ceremony inside the residential place. All females living under that roof must have observed or observing proper Tarikats during Menstruation, otherwise prayers performed under that roof is ineffective and thus prohibited. In the recent times, majority of the families in our community is unable to follow this stringent law because of several physical disadvantages. Obstacles like small house, poor economic condition compels the female members to work; a couple in India where we have serious housing problem, cannot afford to maintain separate place, and Barsnoom-type atmosphere during the time of menstruation; disadvantages of urban life with lack of facility to maintain Ashoi are some of the obvious reasons for noncompliance of religious Tarikats. These reasons are not excuses but obstacles that one need to overcome for keeping the place clean for Hosmordi Kriyas. These conditions are seldom applies to majority of our community settled in the western countries however, as always, Zarathustris have some excuse to compromise or challenge, our religious taboos. Those of you who are unfamiliar with a term Barshnoom, it is a higher purificatory ritual that a Priest undergoes before performing any higher liturgical ceremony (Yazashne, Nirandin, Vendidad, Baj etc). This ritual has stringent rules for maintaining purity lasting for 10 days, which restricts that Priest to remain in certain area excluded from the external life. He cannot come in contact with anyone; he has to wear separate clothes for each functions of the day; certain designated people have to feed him from distance; he cannot touch water for a certain number of days etc. The Bareshnum-type atmosphere in house is very difficult to maintain however, one must aim at the ideal condition and achieve whatever one can to establish sanctity of our rituals.

In the above paragraph, I was referring to the highest amount of Ashoi that needs to be observed for keeping the house clean and effective for the Hosmordi Kriya. Because majority of us not practicing this restriction at home, it is better to have it performed in Agiary or Atash Behram, a place which has Manthric shelter from outside Drujih and destructive vibrations in nature. As a community, it is our collective responsibility to safeguard the boundaries of our sacred places from 1) Drujih attached with our body & personality, 2) destructive energy flowing through the presence of electricity, and 3) restricting entry of people from other religions with different spiritual framework, 4) helping the Priests to maintain Ashoi-filled physical status to make prayers effective. This is a least that one can do to help our Priest perform ceremonies in a sanctified place. The lesson to learn is, practice our religion as much as you can, without entertaining any exception or compromise, and protect & preserve our holy places under the sacred PaviKat area for making our prayers effective for our Urvaan's progression.


There are also ceremonies for the living that are categorized for different events and occasions:- Navjote, Wedding, Navar/ Maratab, ceremonies for consecrated fire etc. Even Hosmordi & PavMahal Kriyas can be performed for the living members. The ceremonies for the living helps our Urvaan & Fravashi to remain attuned with our spiritual and material life for divine progression. There are many forces in nature working for and against the reason for our birth (discussed in previous article). Dedicating prayers for the living helps the individual to generate inner strength and wisdom through the blessings from several divinities and Asho-Nars remembered in the above ceremonies. These Zinde-Ravan prayers also help the Soul after death for its journey towards the divine world. If an individual does prayers during Hoshmordi ceremony, he/ she is entitled to additional blessings from those divinities, besides glowing Atash-e-Vohufriyan within to help nurture his/ her spiritual progress during this life time. One must not forget that Avesta Manthras are composed for the Zarathustri soul. It is spiritually effective and meaningful to recite prayers in the presence of Zarathustris ONLY, whether or not a particular ritual or ceremony is a celebration or requested for the living or deceased. ALL OF THE ABOVE CEREMONIES INCLUDING NAVJOTE, WEDDING, JASHAN SHOULD BE WITHIN THE VICINITY AND PRESENCE OF ZARATHUSTRIS ONLY. Performing Navjote & Wedding in open Baug's, Hotel, and other non-Zarathustri places, is highly detrimental to the spiritual growth and material life of that person undergoing such ceremonies. Unfortunately, our religious leaders and those Priests who are performing such ceremonies in places other than Agiary or Atash Behram are not familiar with or object to discontinue such practices. On the other hand, those Priests who wish to practice our religious traditions are becoming victims of humiliation and ridicules from the community ignorance of our sacred rituals and ceremonies.


My dear Zarathustris, we all have to suffer the disadvantages of living the urban life. We are not born to live a saintly life on the Himalayas, and neither we are expected to give up our family responsibilities and obligations to dedicate our life for the spiritual exercises which our Soul is not 'made' to receive or practice. We HAVE TO LIVE our everyday life, perform family, economic and social functions, and follow HIS GIVEN PATH with no exceptions to achieve that goal towards Tanpasin. Nature works in its mysterious way. Those who are blessed with wealth, time and space to practice Tarikats has underdeveloped sense of HIS gifts to neglect spiritual life. Whereas those who are living in poverty has more faith and dedication for practicing our religion but lack facilities to practice our Tarikats in complete. One must realize that both groups of people are under HIS TEST, and we all are the recipients of products 'awarded' from our pass good or bad deeds. We must not get discouraged or give up our Faith or dedication to practice our religion because of prevailing obstacles and disadvantages but to accept such conditions as HIS DESIGN, providing us the opportunity to WORK for our Urvaan.

Our material life however, does not disqualify us to practice our religion AS MUCH AS WE CAN. Neither it is a Zarathustri teaching to remain single and give up all family responsibilities for HIS attunement. In fact, the only way we can dissolve evil attached to our Urvaan is by facing all phases of life, regardless of our economic or social condition; living in wealthy atmosphere or in poverty, happiness or in misery. My dear Zarathsutris, give birth to more and more Rathestars of Zarathustri Religion and give opportunity to more and more souls to take birth in this world to release evil attached to attain Frashogard. We have to live everyday, every moment of our life facing all kinds of Drujih, evil and the products of the impure mind. Those who can survive the dangerous forces in nature can prevail to be the true Rathestar of his/ her Urvaan and Mazadayasni Zarathustri religion. My article on Jashan Tarikats is primarily based on those lines for the Priest and Behdins to maintain Ashoi and follow Tarikats to maintain effectiveness of prayers and inviting the blessings of the Fravashis of the departed souls. Each and every thought, word and deed in life is subject to HIS scrutiny, whether or not you like or have any knowledge of HIS organization.. The way we spend our time in this world will affect our Urvaan in its journey towards the divine world. Every action, thought and decision gets recorded in nature, for which no one else but our own Urvaan has to take its consequences. Why to wait for that day of suffering when today, right now, you can do one good thing and multiply it everyday for that 'glorious event' (Farshogard) and give your Urvaan its rightful place by Tanpasin.

This article contents some jargons and allegories, which requires detail understanding. Those who are interested in clarification may contact me by e-mail at aathravan@hotmail.com .

Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami

In His Service,

Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha

Traditional Zoroastrianism Home Page

Chapters of the Saga

Saga of the Aryans Home Page

How to get the Saga in book form