by Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha

The unofficial survey on Zarathustri attitudes on religious matters conclude that despite their awareness of ignorance, majority has developed a characteristic to argue in religious matters just to prove themselves superior or more intelligent; regardless of how ridiculous their argument sounds to themselves as well as others. Giving advantage to such a crowd, unfortunately, we have some half-hatched Priests who have no objection performing rituals and ceremonies for non-Zarathustris. Whereas in the western countries, there are groups like FEZANA and local Associations like Zoroastrian Association of California who welcome membership of non-Zarathustri spouse, and practices of rituals and ceremonies in the presence of non-Zarathustris. In the midst of these diversities, we have some traditional Priests who try to establish our religious traditions, preserving the sanctity of our prayers and rituals by boycotting non-Zarathustri presence in religious activities. In western countries, presence of non-Zarathustris in our religious ceremony is more prominent than in India or Pakistan. There are three main reasons for such a dilemma: 1) Ignorance of religious beliefs, 2) Scattered society around the world and influence of western culture and traditions on Zarathustri life, 3) Absence of Religious Authority to control religious activities. I have elaborately described these problems in my article "Zoroastrian Catastrophe" posted on this website. The current topic has aroused many conflicts among many families, groups and Associations around the world. I myself have faced situations in which I have to refuse my services to those Zarathustri families who were insisting on calling non-Zarathustris or their non-Zarathustri spouse in prayers. Hope the following explanation will throw light on the sanctity of our rituals and ceremonies which is extremely important for each Zarathustri to preserve in this ever-increasing complexity among the national and international community.

There are various questions arise in the minds of Zarathustris when a traditional Priest request a family to exclude their non-Zarathustri friends and relatives from mix-marriages from attending our rituals and ceremonies. "Why can't I have Navjote & wedding done in Baugs in the presence of non- Zarathustris?" All Priests including our three High Priests in Bombay willingly does such ceremonies in the presence of non-Zarathustris?" "Why exclude non-Zarathustris? They are also human being, besides what difference does it make if a non-Zarathustri is present?" "Our ceremonies are open for everyone; universality of religion is what our Prophet preached. Besides, what harm does it make to our rituals if a non-Zarathustri is a part of the audience? That's discrimination" "We have Christian friends who are very religious-minded, they would also like to attend Jashan at our place. I cannot say no to them" " I have too many non-Zarathustri friends and people with whom I work. I cannot tell them not to come to my house-warming Jashan and sons Navjote or wedding?" "What difference does it make if a non-Zarathustri attends a funeral ceremony?" "Why can't our Priests recite prayers in the presence of non-Zarathustri? Don't you think they are fault if they refuse to do their duty?"

Some of you can recognize the above questions as the part of your own curiosity or could have heard among your friends, families or acquaintances. My dear Zarathustris, it is alright to accept ignorance of HIS PLAN and HIS WISDOM. No one is perfect. However, there is no harm in making an effort to do the right thing! If you want about our religion or want answers for your curiosity, books and people are available. You just have to make an effort with an open mind and willingness to learn and, garbage your attitude to challenge our religion before you proceed any further. Whether you call your non-Zarathustri friend or non-Zoroastrian spouse in Jashan, that will not benefit your Soul to advance; which is the ultimate outcome of such prayers and the way you live this life. Your calling them may satisfy your material consciousness but what about your Soul? Eating, sleeping, mingling, earning money and enjoy material luxuries; is that all we are here for? Then, why request these prayers and ceremonies? Let us all be Atheists.

First of all one has to understand that our life is for our Urvaan's progression. All these prayers and rituals that we are practicing by taking birth in Zarathustri family, and a Priest performing higher-liturgical ceremonies in Agairy and Atash-Behram, all that is to help our Urvaan to progress in a specific Path and remain attuned with a medium of our spiritual composition. Each individual is "programmed" by HIM to take birth in a particular Jzhirum (religion) with some sacred elements that are connected to its Urvaan and body by spiritual and material exercises. We have to gather 'food' for our Soul through material consciousness, which is constantly under pressure from the outside Drujih and this Drujo-Deman (material world). Our salvation depends on our material consciousness that arouse good elements (SpenaMino) by dissolving bad (GanaMino) within us. To initiate these processes, Ahura-Mazda send Paigambar Saheb Asho Zarathustra Spitama with Avesta Manthras and Vedaevo-Dat (laws against Evil) to teach those Mazdayasnian who were destined to receive Ahura's message. From those time until today, we Zarathustris are practicing HIS divine wisdom to relieve our Soul from this Tanasak (life & death cycles) for Tanpasin to proceed towards Farshogard (Merging of male and female portions of the Soul for Perfection). Ask yourself, why not in some other religion, society, place and time that I was born and why I came as Zarathustri in India or elsewhere? Why not as a Christian, Chinese, Kurd, Arab-Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, communist Russian, etc? Why am I born as Zarathustri? Think about it.

After reading this much, I am sure one can derive some glimpses of obligations toward HIS Daena and reason for taking birth in Zarathustri religion Now coming back to the main body of this article, allow me to describe the reasons of "why not non-Zarathustris" in the following paragraph. Once human mind and body were the topics of curiosity but, today most of its aspects were reasonably known to the mankind. 'Veren' or 'inner confidence' and 'Varna' (Hamkar), 'gradation' are two intrinsic parts of every religion. When we say inner confidence, acceptance (Veren), it is a built-in factor attached with the Soul that is later gets connected to our life through genetic composition. A spiritual component is transmitted through genes and food intakes by pregnant women (origin of 4 Anasars) to help Urvaan secure its place in perfect attunement with a 'designed Path'. The inner confidence is a key part of our conscience that we express through eyes. The eyes are medium of expressing or emitting the internal energies within our body that are originally developed during our residency in the mother's womb. The sixteen energy circles that helps in physical and spiritual functioning of our body, working for our Urvaan's attunement with Jhirem or HIS designated Path, is something that one should understand at this point before reading any further. Nature works in different ways and through different sources. Since our Soul resides within our body, there are many spiritual elements of our life, within and outside our body that are working in conjunction with 4 Anasars (Water, Fire, Air and Earthly elements); Aipi (surrounding atmosphere), Kharenah (glory, aura) and 16 energy circles within our body. There are many aspects of our life and its connection with various spiritual forces, which I omitted except the above four to relate the contents of this topic to the highly developed and inquiring minds of our community on this current subject.

As mentioned earlier, our body carries certain forms of spiritual energies that gives boost to certain processes unknown to mankind. Lets touch one element of body connected to such energies. Our body carries 75% of water and even during prenatal development it remained under water for bodily formation and survival. Within water, there exist a form of energy 'Ravai' that has capacity to produce spiritual components connected to the Urvaan's Jhirem and its class. We have six types of divine lightening ingredients of 'Frado' mixed with the amount of liquid in our body; their names are given in Ava Yast and Ava Ardveshur Nyaish. Such composition of water helps in various spiritual processes of life. The emission of Frado from eyes has a significant value in nature. Whatever we see through eyes forms a Kehrpa, a form of structure composed of thoughts and vibrationary energies emitting from the body (which becomes a part of our Kerdar). These energies can also create negative influence on anything that is not compatible with its spiritual composition.

Now lets understand the flow of these spiritual energies. The 'Veren' or confidence (spiritual connection) evolves or expressed through Vanthvo-Frado from the eyes whereas 'Varna' means 'coworker' or a particular category of Jhirem. In nature, there are differences in 'Veren' and 'Varna'. There is veil of 'Dravao' of ignorance or incompleteness between Veren and Varna of two people. When Vanthvo-Frado of a particular type of Varna and Veren emits from someones eyes it differs from Vanthvo-Frado of other persons Varna and Veren. Similarly, Zaothra or Alaats used in our rituals and ceremonies has certain form of vibrations based on a particular Verna and Varna. Each Alaat has Aipi (surrounding atmosphere) in which it carries the power of Rathviya Chakra meaning, it has power to execute the orders of Dadar Ahura Mazda. A Zarathustri is responsible for preserving the purity of Alaats and its efficacy. If a person from different Varna-Veren witness the Alaats or remain present during our religious ceremony, unknowingly he/ she will emit certain forces from the eyes that are contrary to the Aipi or controlled atmosphere under which our Alaats are designed to emit maximum spiritual products that are physically unseen by humans. That is why, presence of any non-Zoroastrian or their sight will vitiate the entire ritual or ceremony which includes even Navjote, wedding, Afringhan, Farokhshi and Jashan that can performed anywhere outside the Pavikat area of our Holy places.

Jashan, Navjote, Wedding and Death ceremonies are very common ceremonies performed by Priests in places all around the world. A Priest has to understand the meaning, purpose and ritual related Alaats and Tarikats that he is supposed to observe before, during and after performance of these ceremonies. Here I would not go into details but for the knowledge of every Behdin and Priest here is a list of things one needs to observe and practice for the efficacy of that ceremony.

1) Clean clothes, doing Padyab Kusti, recite Farzyat prayers, (Sarosh Baj, Geh, Atash Nyaish, Nam Setayasni) is a MUST for Behdins and Priests prior to initiation of the above ceremonies.

2) Wash the area with water by reciting three Ashem Vohu.

3) Non-Zarathustris and spouses of Zarathustris married outside (including himself or herself) should not be allowed to attend the ceremonies.

4) Prior to Jashan or any ceremony, everyone attending must do Padyab Kusti. While Jashan is being performed, everyone in the audience must recite Sarosh Baj, Geh, Atash Nyaish and Nam Setayasni. You will gain abundant blessings from the visiting divinities by participating in our religious ceremonies. Yes, you can participate just by reciting the above prayers.

5) If there is Jashan, never share Chashni with any of the above-categorized people.

6) For Zarathustris, cover your head while eating Chashni. Fruits or any dry eatables (NO MEAT) consecrated in Jashan or related ceremony emits certain divine energies that has become of a part of its internal structure by getting consecrated through Avesta Manthras. The blessings that it emits are meant for a certain type of Soul and its spiritual composition. Except Zarathustri no one can fit into such a category as those Avesta Manthras and its divine energies are MADE for Zarathustris ONLY. If you share such consecrated fruits with your non-Zarathustri friends and relatives it will not only cause a terrible disorder in nature but will put you in the stream of disaster, which may lead you to award punishment sooner or later. What would you prefer, to get punished by nature or please your non-Zarathustri friends and relatives? Remember, when HE is the Judge of our actions, there is no place to hide; just be prepared to face serious consequences. You cannot see HIM but HE sees you very clearly.

7) All consecrated fruit skins, water, flowers should be disposed off by either exposing to the sun, leaving untouched by any non-Zarathustri or do proper burial. NO, not in your trash can with all those impurities. For God sake, respect the products of our ceremonies.

[Though this article will cover the reasons of restrictions stated in the above seven points, I will elaborately describe the related issues in a separate article.]

Inside our holy Atash Adarans and Atash-Behram, there are numerous forces of divinities and the internal atmosphere has a particular kind of Varna-Veren established with Rathviya Chakra. (Refer to my article on Zarathustri Ignorance of Agiary/ Atash Behram Karsh on this TZ website). Such a divine environment gets distorted not only by the presence of non-Zarathustri but even by Zarathustri (with similar Varna-Veren who) possess Drujih-spreading Arathviya Chakra. That is the reason why Nahn ritual is recommended for Zarathustris to enter such holy places especially after attending certain places or events eg. Funeral ceremony, visiting from foreign country, 40 days after delivery, etc. As mentioned earlier, Atash Adaran and Atash Behram is build under PaviKat and there are various levels of Pavi within the structured place for maintaining sanctity of our ritual and ceremonies. These Pavikat areas are full with the energies of Rathviya Chakra and Kehrpas of certain divinities and Avesta Manthras - reason why people say, "I feel very relaxed and peaceful while reciting prayers in our Agiary." One has practice Mithra- Ashoi-Tarikats and recite Avesta Manthras in correct pronunciations to feel such vibrations by practicing our prayers. You cannot become holy just by visiting to our Agiary with a piece of sandalwood in hand neither your million dollars donation or philanthropist services will make you divine. Referring to the subject matter of this topic, when a non-Zarathustri or spouse or children from mix-marriages enter our holy places, it shakes or distorts the strength of its PaviKat areas made of certain Veren-Varna and the rays of Rathviya Chakra existing within these Pavikat. It even demolishes the strength of PaviKat and Aipi around the Padshah Fire disturbing the power of Khoreh (blessings) within Aipi or the surrounding atmosphere. Regardless of how difficult it is to maintain these Pavikat areas and, controlling people of mix-marriages and non-Zarathustris presence during religious ceremonies, we must continue educating our community about such issues. And, if necessary, educate those non-Zarathustris who feel offended by such discrimination or those who challenge our religious prohibitions. IN SHORT, NON-ZARATHUSTRIS AND THOSE ZARATHUSTRIS WHO ARE MARRIED OUTSIDE CANNOT PRACTICE OR PARTICIPATE IN ANY OF OUR RELIGIOUS RITUALS AND CEREMONIES, PERIOD.

There are many Priests in India western countries who conveniently accommodate outsiders in religious ceremonies including Jashan, Navjote, wedding and death ceremonies. Yes, wedding and Navjote are religious ceremonies that have to be treated as sacred as any other rituals & ceremonies. When such prayers are performed in the presence of non-Zarathistris, it has no meaning or effect in nature and the souls for whom they were initiated. If performed in the presence of non-Zarathustris, those prayers should be treated nothing more than a speech in public place for personal reasons or publicity. Whether it is Hoshmordi Rituals (Stum-Afringhan-Frokhshi prayers & Navjote, Ashirwad ceremonies are called Hoshmordi rituals for our Aipi. They effect earthly elements made of Margarzaan or Apakhtar Druj and Dravao) or PavMahal (Baj, Yazashne, Vendidad, Nirangdin - Performed only in consecrated places like Agiary), non-Zarathustris are not permitted to attend or even glimpse at, according to the tenets prescribed in our scriptures by Paigambar Saheb Asho Zarathustri Spitama.

My dear Zarathustris, you do not have to impress someone outsider by calling them at our religious gatherings. If you tell them reasons for their exclusion from a religious standpoint, I am sure they will respect and willingly keep themselves away. My dear Behdin Zarathustris, if you want a Priest for Ashirwad (wedding ceremony), Navjote (Initiation ceremony), Jashan, death ceremonies or performing prayers for any other reason, and wish that his prayers will help you and your family, help him to maintain such atmosphere to extract blessing from nature, instead of making farce calling outsiders during those religious events and occasions. Those Priests who does any prayers in the presence of non-Zarathustris will have to answer HIM for his deeds on Chinvat; we cannot say anything about HIS Judgment. However, what Behdins can do to gain maximum benefit from prayers performed by Priests is to support our them, or in some cases, educate them through a proper channel, and compel them to do the right thing, instead of extending your hand in compromise to be a part of debtor of his deeds on the Chinvat Bridge. Remember, one day we all have to pay for our deeds (Kerdar) and our Soul will be judged based on its accomplishments in this world for its continuing progression. Wake up Zarathustris, Wake up.

All humans who are destined to come to this world are categorized under five group or five religions. A child born to a Zarathustri has Urvaan that has acquired 72 Aspandis (72 spiritual limits). After a Zarathustri death, with the help of 72 Aspandis, a Zarathustri Urvaan can take his own route towards the designated place of resting with the help of tools (Alaats) provided by nature. People who are born with 18, 36 or 54 Aspandis has to rely on Ell (divine spirit) attached with their Jzhirem (religion) to proceed towards its designated group of Urvaans categorized as per their progression level. After death, these non-Zarathustri Urvaan have to take help of Ell of its religion to proceed towards its specified house of Jhirem from where it has to proceed further for progression.

My dear Zarathustris, prayers recited by people of a particular Veren-Varna and their presence in a particular spiritual environment are significant factors for a meaningful religious practice. Using our material wisdom over the spiritual laws, rules and regulations that are obviously perfect according to HIS plan, is not what is expected from humans. There are many Zarathustris who question the spiritual atmosphere generated by our Avesta Manthras within and outside our holy places. My dear Zarathustris, things you cannot see through your eyes does not mean that it is fake, outcome of imagination, mythical belief or it does not exist. Inconsistencies are in human, nature is PERFECT in all of HIS CREATIONS. Respect and practice HIS Daena following the tenets of Zarathustri religion. Respect our forefathers sacrifices and commitments toward our religious beliefs and, understand the needs of our future generations to maintain the sanctity of our religious practices.

Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami

In His Service,

Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha

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