Zoroastrianism & The Modern Youth

A Talk by Ervad Dr. Minocher Dadabhoy Karkhanawala (BA, MSc, MS, PhD)

[Ervad Dr Karkhanavala was born in Mumbai. He passed his B Sc with chemistry and physics, completed his BA and then MSc from Wilson and Elphinstone Colleges. He did his MS in glass technology from New York State College of Ceramics and PhD in organic chemistry from Philadelphia University, USA. He was ordained as a Navar and Martab at Navsari. Ever since he was initiated as a priest at a young age, he wore the white priestly robes with white pugree daily throughout his life in India as well as abroad, at college/university and at his job at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). He represented India at the Geneva Conference on “Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy” and was Group Director, Health Physics Division and Chemical Group at BARC, Trombay when he passed away due to an untimely and tragic accident on 17th November, 1979. Dr Karkhanavala was a devoted scientist, a gifted teacher, an organiser, an administrator, a humanitarian thinker and a staunch follower of the Zoroastrian religion. He practised what he preached. He believed that, like an escalator, science takes us there, that far but no further. It stops at the material world and that it is partial whereas religion is complete; it sees man as a whole  mental, physical as well as spiritual. Religion takes over where science stops.]

My topic for discussion, “Zoroastrianism and the Modern Youth”, is a subject very relevant to today’s times, as today’s youth will be the future leaders of our community.

I have chosen certain prayers to start with. The first is the
Kem nâ Mazdâ which we recite and should recite on all occasions and several times during a day. This is very pertinent for the modern times and the modern youth because therein we say, ”O Ahura Mazda, when evil threatens us and our own, who can provide protection to our hearts and minds? Announce to us that knowledge because of which we may further righteousness in our actions.”

Elsewhere in the Avesta we pray, ”O Ahura Mazda, we put our complete faith in Thee as taught by our holy religion”.

We are then told the purpose of life, “O Ahura Mazda, we come into this world, we live and we pass away for Thy Glory, for Thy Veneration and Adoration. As devout believers in Thee, we accept whatever rewards Thou has to give us.”

Finally, we end by saying, ”Through the best righteousness, through the most sublime righteousness, may we see Thee, Ahura Mazda, may we come near Thee and attain Thy eternal friendship.”

Friends, on the subject of modern youth and modern times, I want to discuss with you a few things frankly and fearlessly. I am sure all of you are intelligent people, able to comprehend and to think. The trouble is that things have not been put to you in the way they ought to have been. Today we have a craze to be modern. What does the word, “modern”, tell us? Modern tells us to be with the times. Whatever time it is, if you can be with the times, we call that being modern. And in this aspect of being modern, we really do nothing but take for granted things which happen in the West. We are obsessed with the idea that whatever advances, whatever greatness, whatever goodness is supposedly there, is only in the West and unless we copy everything, we are not being modern, we are not being civilized. This is a great fallacy.

During the British regime in India we were exposed to a certain amount of western education and influence. We have, to that extent, identified ourselves with the west and have developed an inferiority complex about our religion, which dates back to more than 8000 years, as very ancient: a matter of regret and shame, when we should really be proud to belong to it. We think if we want to be modern, we have to abandon our religion, our venerable practices, our rituals and, only by cutting off all our roots with the past, can we be really modern. For this so-called progress, I emphasise so-called progress, we look only to the west.

There is, here, an irony. We pride ourselves, in these modern days, of being rational and thinking. But in all these aspects, have we been really thinking? It is to the glory and greatness of the Zoroastrian religion that its express purpose is to make a thinking man into a thoughtful man. There is a lot of difference between a thinking man and a thoughtful man. Today, in spite of all your outward pretensions to be thinking and rational, I want to show you that you are not rational, you are not thinking. You are not using the God-given faculty to think and to reason but are following, like dumb animals, merely mimicking whatever is there from the west. You must reason to see what is good, and only then accept. Unfortunately, this is what many of us fail to do.

Now let us see what is the result of this so-called westernization in India as well as in the west itself. We have had the so-called apostles of the west inciting the youth to freedom, to do what they like. Even the words of the Prophet have been twisted to convey that he has given every man freedom of thought, and if there is one sentence in the Avesta which has been twisted and mutilated it is Yasna 30 para 2  narem narem khakhyâi tanue parâ maze yâongho ahmâi ne sazdyâi baodanto paiti meaning ‘each shall think and make firm his faith’. That sentence has been twisted out of context to imply and to indicate that we have got the freedom to do as we like! However, I know that when things are put to you in their true perspective, you will appreciate that this is not the meaning. And it is my very purpose here to leave with you a few thoughts on which you can think and ruminate and realise the truth.

Let us survey the current scene. Because you witness a certain growth of science, a certain growth of education, a certain amount of affluence and material comforts, there is an easing out of God, an easing out of religion from the daily activities of mankind. Some are beginning to question: “Is religion necessary?” Others go a step further and not only doubt the very existence of God but even come out with statements that God is dead. Recently the TIME magazine created a controversy by carrying a banner headline on its front page in an article, saying that “God Is Dead”.

We have a false notion that we are being bound by the shackles of the past and, to progress and forge ahead, we must cut all our moorings, cut ourselves from the past. Aren’t some of the stirrings of the youth manifest in endeavours to throw off the shackles of the past? But let us pause for a moment and reflect. Can we throw away the shackles of the past so completely?

For a tree to grow and new leaves to appear, you cannot cut off the roots and the trunk. The roots may be old. The oak tree may be centuries old. But, to nourish the tree, to make it grow, you need the roots. The deeper the roots, the firmer is the growth. The more “living” the roots, the more vibrant is the growth. You cannot, therefore, hope to achieve growth by merely cutting off with the past. Sadly, that is what many are trying to do. In the process, we have created a vacuum  filled with nothing.

Today’s younger generation has no purpose, no guideline about the purpose of life. What should they attain? What must they live for? Why are they here? These are questions that harass the mind  when it starts thinking.

Many times today, we equate license with liberty. What the younger generation wants is freedom to dress, to speak and to act in whatever way they like. But let us pause and ask why are they doing this? The answer often given is, because it gives them pleasure. Today many things are done to derive pleasure. But, as a thinking human being, you need to distinguish between ‘pleasure’ and ‘happiness’. Pleasure is transient. Happiness is permanent. In our search for pleasure we pay millions to the entertainment world.

Our sense of values is warped and distorted. We like to mimic and copy in every way the so-called film stars, people of low character or hardly any character worth emulating. We set them on a pedestal and worship them simply because we want transient entertainment, the need to escape from facing the realities, the trial and tribulations of life. We want a religious escapism.

I would like to ask: how many of you have really seen recently and enjoyed, a beautiful sunrise or a glorious sunset? I call it a pity, a shame of modern times that the best part of the day when one should be watching a glorious sunset, we sit in a crowded theatre watching a lousy movie, whereas we should be out in the open with nature.

Today you open the newspapers and what do you read? Reports of murders, rapes and free sex. A craze we are trying to mimic from western countries. Where is all this leading us? Given all the free sex and all kinds of pleasures, what is happening in the United States? There have been murders more cruel than anything we have ever seen. A youth of 18 goes into a beauty parlour, makes all the women lie down and then shoots them one after the other. Another person goes up the University Tower in Houston, Texas and shoots a whole host of people below  because it gives him so-called pleasure!

By contrast, in early days in our poor country, if there was a murder, there was a motive, a reason for it. Maybe the man’s wife had run away with someone or somebody had not paid him his dues and he wanted to avenge that. But here we find murder and sadism at its worst  simply because it gives one man sadistic pleasure and, therefore, he believes he has the right to do it. Remember that, despite the youths in the USA having their pleasures with free sex, heroin and the shots, nothing gives them the kicks very long. They get bored and graduate to all sorts of perversions and deviations that the mind can conjecture.

Recently the trial of a boy and girl shocked all England. The pair believed that marriage is outdated for the modern youth and were living out of wedlock. Soon their attraction for each other died down and they resorted to other types of perversions for kicks. They kidnapped young children, tape-recorded their screams and, often, murdered them in cold blood for sadistic pleasure. Why do such things happen? Because of the limitations of the mind, because of the so-called permissiveness that the youth can do what they like and there should be no shackles to bind them and their actions.

Let us talk about dress. There was a time when we thought that the topless was for the natives, the Aborigines and the Africans: the uncouth and the uncivilized. The young say that the way they dress should be no concern of others. Our young girls try to dress in a fashion which, they claim, makes them desirable. I would like to ask them: What is it that you are asking of your man, to be desirable for a shoddy evening or to be venerated for life? Ask yourself that question when you look into the mirror. Satisfy yourself whether you want to dress up like a street walker and become desirable only for sexual enjoyment and the transient pleasures or do you want to be desirable for your virtues and for him to venerate you all your life, as a life companion?

Today we see modern youth on the rampage. Their desire to sever themselves from the past is hurting them. It is hurting humanity. And, to that extent, I would lay the blame upon the elders also. Because in our so-called aspects of modern psychology and trying to be friendly and goody-goody with the children, you have confused them  by not setting them standards to follow.

In all this, we have destroyed one very fundamental thing which is necessary for the youth of all times  that is faith. We have destroyed the faith of the younger generation in their adults, in their seniors and in their parents. We have destroyed the faith of the younger generation in their teachers, in their peers. We have destroyed their faith in their religion and in themselves.

Today we have a false notion in our heads that all we can see with our senses is the only reality, and only in that can we put our faith. Let me tell you that faith and learning are never incompatible. But today what is peddled out as learning in our schools, colleges and institutions is at best information, not knowledge. In learning we have to distinguish between two things: information and knowledge. I will illustrate with a story about a minister. At election time, a minister, accompanied by his secretary, went into remote villages and lost his way. He stopped his car at the roadside and asked a villager, “Where am I?” The villager said, “Sir, in your car.”  The minister turned to his secretary and said, ”This is the most parliamentary reply I have ever heard. It is short, truthful and it does not give me any knowledge than what I knew before.”  So this is where we have to distinguish between what is information and what is knowledge, for we are seeking not information but knowledge.

Now I want to ask you: “Do you really have faith in this information we get from actual realities?”

You will answer, ”Of course I have faith in whatever I can feel and see. I have no faith in what I cannot see.”

Next I ask you: “What is the colour of the cloth in which I am dressed? Is it not white? You have faith in it? Is it real?”

You will say again, “Yes.”

My answer to that is a very firm “No”. Because in reality, there is nothing white. It only appears to be white, depending upon the light under which you observe.

 When you observe me in natural sunlight or in this fluorescent light which has got a wide spectrum of colours (it is composed of all the seven colours from violet to red) they come on my cloth and are reflected back to you and therefore, they give you the appearance  mind you there is nothing real  it only gives you the appearance of white.  So, if you have faith that there is something white because you saw it, you are sadly mistaken. Science tells you that there is nothing white. There is no such thing as white. There is no colour such as white in the entire electromagnetic spectrum. So where is your reality? Where is your faith in what you see?

I will ask you something else: “Am I standing up or standing down?” You will say, “What a stupid question! Of course you are standing up.” But I will ask you another question: “What is up? How do you know that it is up? Just because you think that my head is sticking up from the floor? But we are on this round earth which is like a sphere. While to me it looks up, to the person below, say in Australia, what is up for him? So, your observations, your faith in this so-called reality, depend upon the point of observation, the conditions of observation.

There is no absolute reality that you can perceive with your senses. What you observe is only that which your senses permit you to observe. The true reality can never be observed.

Let me ask you another question: “What is the colour of the sky?” You will say, “blue of course.” I ask you, “Do you have faith in it?” You answer, “It is blue, it is real.” I tell you that the colour of the sky is not blue, it is black. Here also the sky appears to you to be blue because you are observing it through your atmosphere. You are observing it from earth which is surrounded by the atmosphere. The light which is coming through from the sun is scattered. If anyone here is a scientist or a physics student, this would be the forced powered law in which the scattering is inversely proportional to the forced power of the wavelength of the light. Therefore, the blue is scattered and the sky appears to you to be blue. But it is not blue. If you go above, like astronauts, then between the sun and the stars, the so-called firmament appears to be jet black. So where is reality? Can you really put faith in it? I would say, “no”.

As a man of science I can say that all this so-called reality that we observe and in which we put faith is really not the reality that exists. Einstein rightly said: “All the theories of science are mere word pictures by which we tend to describe the observations that we make”. It may not be real  and this is very important. If you have faith in science, I would say there is nothing like science because all we do is merely try to categorise what we observe, rationalize our observation, deduce generalizations from those observations. The ‘observations’ may be real but they may not give us a true picture of ‘reality’.

And also remember what Goldwyn Smith, another learned scientist had said: “Compared with the incomprehensible Universe and with conceivable time, not to speak of infinity and eternity, ours is the observation of a mere point, the experience of an instant”. This is why we have these earth-bound observations, these deductions.

What has that got to do with the Zoroastrian religion?, you will want to know.

In these modern times, when we are beset with many problems and doubts about our faith, when we are beset with troubles and tribulations, there is no religion which can offer us the salvation, the sanctity as the Zoroastrian religion. Because the Zoroastrian religion has, 8000 years ago, made discoveries of some of the more fundamental and eternal truths which, over all these periods of time, nothing has been able to change. It has given us several things, the most important of which is faith.

Men cannot proceed in this world without faith. All forms of human endeavour, all forms of human co-operation, are based on faith  whether you appreciate it or not. When you travel by a night train, you go to sleep peacefully. Why? You have faith that the driver will not go to sleep. You don’t realise that otherwise you would keep yourself awake all through the night. When you sit in a bus, you talk with your friends, laugh and be merry. You are not constantly looking to see whether the driver is doing his job or not. You have faith in him.

Every form of human endeavour is based upon faith. Faith in our fellow men and, of course, faith in ourselves. When you go to sleep why are you so confident that you will get up the next morning? It is only because you have faith that you will get up the next morning. Physically there is nothing to say why you should get up the next morning. Many don’t. Why should you be the exception? Why do you have that faith? It is because of that faith that you plan to do certain things the next day. You postpone doing things simply because you have implicit faith that you are going to be there tomorrow to do it. That faith builds up. But where is the root cause of that faith which we many times forget? It lies in our religion emphasizing 8000 years ago that the human personality, the human being is not just in the physical.

Today we are so engrossed with the physical that we do not think of anything else. Our so-called modern science has now realised that there is something called the mind, which is subject to some ills and unless we cure the mind of its ills also, the body cannot be cured. These are what are called the psychosomatic illnesses.

In the western countries nearly 60% of all illnesses are of a psychosomatic nature. Herein lies the glory and the grandeur and the excellence of our religion that it was told 8000 years ago that the human personality is composed of three parts  the physical, the mental and the spiritual. Even within these three parts, there is a further breakdown into three physical, three mental and three spiritual. And it was told to us that the express purpose of religion is that man be one with his environment, the hamâzor. That hamâzor has to be in the physical, in the mental and in the spiritual.

When you say that you have no faith in anything but the physical, you are like the earthworm who digs and burrows itself in the ground. When it reaches the roots of a giant tree, it can only see the roots: not the trunk, or the leaves or the branches. So it is beyond its comprehension that the roots, the trunk and the leaves are all parts of one whole. You cannot sever one from the other. It is the same with human existence. The leaves and the trunk are the physical; the roots we do not see are the spiritual and the mental. We have to have religion as a solace, to have faith in human beings, in our fellowmen, eventually leading to faith in Ahura Mazda. That is the root. Without faith in Ahura Mazda, without faith in God Almighty, you can have faith in no one.

Today if our world is becoming dishonest, (we Parsis, of whom people said that you can always and implicitly trust the word of a Parsi, in business and everywhere else, no longer holds), it is because when man has lost faith in God, he has also lost faith in his fellowmen and wants to take shortcuts.

Isn’t philosophy enough? Why must religion tie us down and shackle us with certain rituals? Aren’t good thoughts, good words and good deeds enough? It is truly said that the path to hell is paved with good intentions. If manashni, gavashni and kunashni could, by themselves take man on to his final goal, nothing more would be needed. The Prophet has given us, therefore, the real path: aevo panthâm yo ashahevispe anyeshâm apanthâm  the one and only path and that is the path of righteousness. This path of righteousness is not only in our body (in the physical) but also in the mind and in the spirit. We have got to be righteous, therefore, in mind, in body and in soul.

For this reason our venerable Prophet has given us the various rituals which are necessary. Here let me digress a little to something else. What concept of God and what concept of Divinity has our Prophet given us? What form of worship has our Prophet given us?

Human beings haven’t changed down the ages and even today we tend to propitiate God because we want to believe that we can bribe God. We think that because we can succeed with bribery in the physical world, we can get away with it even in the court of Ahura Mazda.

Nothing can be further from the truth. We have the feeling that all the prayers and rituals given to us are merely to secure heaven. It is not so. You secure heaven by your own deeds, by your own thoughts, by your own words. Also, conversely, you secure hell. But the prayers, the rituals help you on the path to attain your goal and your salvation. Here also the concept of God that has been given to us is not a vengeful one, but it is the most philosophical concept of God that man has ever obtained.

The Reverend Dr Mills has this to say about the divination of God in the Gathas: “Zarathustra has given mankind the most philosophical concept of God that man has ever known.” He goes on to say, “Nowhere in the Old Testament and hardly in the New Testament do we have the delineation of God as we find in the Gathas. This is because other religions, in many ways, have centered upon the narrow aspects of the Creator. But Zarathustra was the first to have comprehended Him fully in all His aspects and has given us that concept of the Creator as the first primordial thinker, the source of truth and righteousness.”

The very word Ahura that we utter means the source of creation, Ah, “to be”. What better delineation of God can you have than Ahura, the source of all existence and creation? And having given us this concept, what is required of us is introspection  looking within. We have no confessions of faith as in some other religions. Christians would go to a confession on Sunday, confess that they have sinned, and come Monday, the same operation starts all over again. We do not have in our religion such rituals that you go to a priest, tell him you have done wrong and you are automatically forgiven. To be forgiven, you have to be really repentant. Repentance has been defined as being sorry enough to quit and that is why we have in the Patet, a long list of confessionals. Many people who are ignorant of the religious texts and the entire religious philosophy, vainly try to tell us why we should have the Patet There is no single human being, I will admit, who has ever committed or is capable of committing all the possible sins listed. But what do we say in the Patet ? “If I have done this, then I turn back” and we always say in our Kushti prayers “az hamâ gunâh patet pashemânum” meaning  from all sins I turn back and repent.

Let us realise that our religion is so scientific, so full of psychology. The Prophet has shown us the path to our ultimate goal. But, just as when we go to a new place and miss the turning point to our destination and continue on the wrong path till realisation dawns on us and we turn back and take the right path, so it is with life.

There is no confession, no redemption that any Pir or Sai or so-called saviour can ever give you. That is why we have never had such a myth. Of course, we Parsis who call ourselves thoughtful, intelligent, educated beings, are fools to go after Sais and Pirs, believing that we can get something for nothing. In life, you can never get something for nothing. It always obeys the laws of nature, the laws of Asha. Whether you call these laws natural or supernatural, everything happens as per the laws of Asha.

And therefore we are enjoined to introspect daily not just in our actions  but also in what we have thought and spoken. Here again is the glory and the greatness and the excellence of the Zoroastrian religion. It is the first and only religion to emphasise thoughts. The first one that has told us that man is made by his thinking. Of course, subsequently, others have also said that man is made as he thinketh.

So whenever something wrong happens to you, introspect. Your thoughts can bring upon you lots of misery. Thoughts are things. Today modern science recognises that wrong thoughts can trigger various diseases. We all know that ulcers can be caused by worry. Many other diseases can be caused. So the first thing to do is to cure yourself in the mind. Make your thoughts pure. And it is for this reason that our religion is not passive. It is aggressive. It has told us not merely to be good by withdrawing ourselves from the world but to go forth actively, bravely fighting all temptations and wrongs that we face. Because as I said in the earlier prayers, we come here, we live and we pass away for only one thing: staotarascha mânthranascha Ahura Mazda for the worship, the adoration and the glory of God and the furtherance of good creation. We are like soldiers for goodness against the evil, in whatever form and wherever it may occur, while we are awake or asleep, with the sudreh and kusti as our armour. Because you have to control your thoughts.

Many times the dreams we conjecture, the hopes and the aspirations we have for ourselves, are moulded in our minds. In order to attain and achieve greatness, we must actively do away with all evil thoughts. It is for this reason that all the time, in our prayers, we have lauded ashoi. We pray frastuye humatoibyascha hukhtoibyascha havrastoibyascha mânthvoibyascha vakhedhavoibyascha varashtavoibyascha. Aibigairyâ daithe vispâ humatâchâ hukhatâchâ havarastâchâ. Paitirichyâ daithe vispâ dushmatâchâ djukhtâchâ duzvarastâchâ (From Khorshed Niyaesh para 3)  I completely dedicate myself with my mind, with my words, with my thoughts for the veneration of the good thoughts, good words and the good deeds and I abjure actively from all evil thoughts, evil words and evil deeds. It is only when we constantly strive for that goal that we realise it is not such a simple matter.

Let your mind wander for a few minutes and you will be surprised at what ugly thoughts can enter your mind. We shudder to go into the slum areas of the city, the physical slum. But do we shudder at letting our mind go into a mental slum? We derive sadistic pleasure letting our mind wander with jealousy, hatred, avarice. But as our Prophet has said, “We have to distinguish between these pleasures from true happiness. Happiness can only be had from righteousness. Ashem Vohu Vahistem Asti Ushtâ Asti.  righteousness is the best happiness. There is no other happiness.”

The material wealth and material comforts we seek do not bring us happiness. As anyone who has lain wide awake all night, full of fears, on a Dunlop mattress has realised. All the physical comforts of an air-conditioned room and a soft mattress have not brought him peace of mind. Whereas a labourer who has done a hard day’s honest work, sleeps peacefully on the pavement, with a hard stone as his pillow.

As the poet in The Miller of the Dee says, “I envy nobody and nobody envies me”. But we want a life of ease and comfort. We pray for tasks equal to our powers. Whereas we should be praying for powers equal to our tasks. What do we pray in the fifth para of Âtash Niyaesh? Grant me the strength to stand on two legs and do my duty. And it is this when we constantly exercise our mind. But today, we are falling prey to a sedentary life of ease.

Nobody does physical exercise any more. We have in the modern generation, weaklings. Many of our girls, as someone had very wryly remarked, are like bad photographs: over-exposed and under-developed. Let us realise that to achieve anything, to achieve greatness, we have to strive for it. Without struggle, nothing can be achieved. The man who wants to climb Mount Everest has to struggle to reach the top. He may fall but he has to pick himself up and get going. Here again the Zoroastrian religion shows its greatness. It gives us faith in the ultimate victory of good over evil. It is this which gives us the zest for living, which the modern generation lacks.

Someone recently asked Averell Harriman, the roving ambassador of the United States, when he completed his 75th year, what gave him the liveliness. He answered, “Choose your ancestors wisely and have enthusiasm.” There is a lot of truth in this statement which, again, our Zoroastrian religion has always emphasised. You cannot choose your ancestors but you can certainly choose your life partners who will give you that progeny and thereby your progeny will have worthy ancestors.

Nowadays we have another misconception that we can marry anyone. After all a man is a man and a woman is a woman, so why should there be any bars on inter-marriages? I will ask you a very simple and straightforward question. When you take your dog to the Kennel Club why do they check its heredity and its pedigree? Why should the dog be of pure breed for three generations upon either side? If heredity is so important for that pup, is it not important for human beings?

Today science tells us something more. And it is here again that the Zoroastrian religion has shown its deep insight. Thousands of years earlier it has shown very clearly that the diseases and the characteristics of the parents could be transmitted to the children. It is for this reason that we have always emphasised the purity of the buniyad, the purity of blood. Today modern science tells us that various characteristics and several diseases are hereditary. This is nature. You can’t change nature. You build on what is nature and then nurture that, as Averell Hariman has truly said. The Avesta mentions that when our ancestors chose their mates, they never chose a husband because he looks like Clark Gable or a wife because she looked like Marilyn Monroe. But as the Vicar says in the Vicar of Wakefield , “I chose her, I chose my wife like she did her wedding dress: for the qualities that wear well.” It is these qualities that we have to choose because that sustains us through our ups and downs in life, and for what our future generations  our children and grandchildren  will bless or curse us for whatever diseases or good characteristics we have passed on to them. It is for this reason that our religion has emphasised this very fundamental aspect, to which science lends a lot of support today.

The second thing, which I told you, was the zest for living. Today we hear of a number of young people committing suicide. They have no interest in life. There is the so-called art of non-living. You ‘spend’ your time, you don’t actively ‘utilize’ it. There is no greater wastage than the wastage of time. We spend three hours in the cinema or maybe at a play when it could be spent in reading a good book or enjoying the glories of nature. Many have lost that zest for living. Little things upset us. That sustenance, that nourishment, which religion alone can give and sustain is the fervour to the foundation of life.

Let us also realise that to advance and attain our goals, we must be confined. You cannot have your freedom of mind. When man began living in a society he gave up his rights. Today, when I live in society, I must subject myself to the welfare of that society. It is for this reason that we have our codes of conduct. Not only that. Our mind must be controlled. Our thoughts and our bodies must be exercised and controlled. And here, someone has said very rightly, that no horse gets anywhere unless it is harnessed. No Niagara Falls generates electricity till it is tunneled. No life becomes great unless it is focused, disciplined and dedicated.

Friends, if we are to attain that final goal of ours: to be one with Ahura Mazda, to attain that high state which for us is the aim of life, our aim is not merely physical entertainment. We are not here to provide a mere physical entertainment to our fellow beings, but to further the world. And each one passing to leave behind us a world better than we found it.

In that respect the words of the late US President, John F Kennedy, should be with us: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” Let us ask ourselves what we can do for our society, for our fellowmen. To do that we must live righteously, we must live morally, we must live straight  according to the bindings of our religion.

I haven’t gone into many details but let me assure you that there is no religion as modern, as scientific as the Zoroastrian religion. And we, who live in this so-called modern age, have absolutely no reason to hang our heads in shame. Let us, instead, thrust our heads out in legitimate pride that we are Zoroastrians, Mazdayasni Zarthostis, and say with a fervour and a conviction that we have embraced
Âstuye daenâm vanghuhim mâzdayasnim fraspâyokhedrâm nidhâs naithishem khaetvadethâm ashaonim, yâ haitinâmchâ, mazistâcha, vahistâchâ, sraeshtâchâ which means I have complete and utter faith in the good Mazdayasni religion, which is holy and which, among its other attributes, is the greatest, the noblest and the most sublime of all religions that are and will be.

Atha jamyât yathâ âfrinâmi
May it be so as I pray

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