The Illness of Intermarriage.
Intermarriage is a Deadly Sin for the Zarathushtris,
as per a great Zarathushtri Sage:
"If a man commits intercourse with a woman of (a) different
religion, what is (your) view? .... Reply: ("There is) a
HEINOUS SIN in coition (with such a woman);..."
No mention of a Zoroastrian female is made simply because NO
TRUE ZARTHOSTI LADY OF THOSE TIMES EVER DREAMT OF YOKING
HERSELF WITH A NON-ZOROASTRIAN.
- in the article that follows.
Fellow Mazdayasni Zarathushtris,
The following article was published in the heroic "Deen Parast" Zoroastrian magazine of India. I am proud to reproduce it here, with special permission from the General Editor Noshir Dadrawalla, who is a staunch young religious Zarathushtri with tremendous faith in our Holy Scriptures. May our Zarathustri KOM (race) produce many more such as him, with courage to stand up for the religious truth.
Pahlavi Rivayat or Persian Rivayat which is more authentic?
"The text (Rivayat) of Aturfarnbag i Farrokhzatan, a monument of literary and religious past, comprises 147 queries and may be regarded as one of the oldest Pahlavi expositions extant today of the legal, religious and social customs, usages and practices of devout Zoroastrians about two centuries after the downfall of the Sasanian Empire."
--- Dastur Dr. Kaikhusroo M. Jamaspasa in his Preface to Behramgore T. Anklesaria's `The Pahlavi Rivayat of Aturfarnbag and Farnbag-Srosh' (March 1969).
The operative words in the above quote are "a monument of literary and religious past", "one of the oldest Pahlavi expositions extant today", about "legal, religious and social customs, usages and practices of devout Zoroastrians". Before coming to the pertinent extracts fnom the text, which is the raison detre of this article, a few lines on one of the most sagacious DASTURS of the 9th century A.D. - Aturfarnbag Farrokhzat and his works.
In PahIavi, he is always referred to as Hudeenan Peshopay(e), "the leader of the faithful". There were other "leaders of the faithful" also. They were supposed to have descended from the last Raenidar (Renovator, Saviour), Dastur Aderbad Marespand.
In a revealing statement, the late Mr. Behramgore T. Anklesaria, an outstanding Pahlavi scholar. who has translated the Pahlavi Rivayat of Aturfarnbag, points out:
"As there was no descendant of the Sasanian Emperor Yazdkart Shahriyar (A.C.632-652) who could guide the destinies of the conquered Zarathushtrians who clinged to their religion and remained steadfast to the statutes and laws of Zarathushtra,the descendants of the Magopatan Magopats (Magi of the Magis), led the Zarathustrian Nation from AC. 652."
It is the same Aturfarnbag who had refuted the "accursed Abalish" in the court of Khalifah Mamun.
"When all attempts were made to trample under foot the religion of the worship of Ahura Mazda, to subdue and in fact to crush and eradicate the ARYAN nature and traits, in order to replace them with the Semitic ways and modes of thought, God sent down on Iranian soil a patriarch such as Atar-frenabag for the renaissance of Iranian spirit and Iranian culture, of Iranian ethics and Iranian glory. No rhetoric is needed to prove the greatness of the work done by this `leader of the faithful' to whom the epithet `hu-fravart',`saint', has been applied in the Pahlavi literature.
"We learn from the 420th chapter of the final edition of the third book of the `Dinkart'... that after the calamity and disintegration which befell the royal court and the treasury of the kingdom at the hands of the Arabs, Atar-frenabag-i- Farokhzatan, leader of the faithful, had brought together in his court all the scattered fragments of the copy of the `Dinkart'.
"The 142nd chapter of the third book of the `Dinkart' refers to a statement of the `hu-fravart Atar-frenabag-i-farokhzatan-i- hu-deenan peshopay(e)', made from the sayings of the ancient preceptors of religion as regards `Dinkart', `the usages of religion'.
"These two references to Atar-frenabag show that the leader of the religion was an authority as regards `the usages of religion' and his authority was quoted six generations after him...." (Emphasis supplied.)
(The above quotations are from B.T. Anklesaria's `The Pahlavi Rivayat of Aturfarnbag and Farnbag-Srosh')
Aturfarnbag's Pahiavi Rivayat comprises 147 questions asked to him by the Zonoastrians of Iran living in his time, when Iran was under the rule or the Muslins. These queries deal with a variety of subjects - from adoption, guardianship and borrowing to ablution, rights of women and conversion! One question put to `Saint' Aturfarnbag, and his reply thereto, merits our special attention. This question appears as the 138th question.
"If a man commits intercourse with a woman of (a) different religion, what is (your) view? How (wilt it be) if (the) woman becomes pregnant,and if impregnated by him? How (will it be) if the woman (is) in (her) menses, (and) if (she) is not, what (is your) view?"
Reply: ("There is) a HEINOUS SIN in coition (with such a woman); if (she) becomes pregnant, (it) is possible several sins will occur; and if (she is) in (her) menses, (the) expiation (is) that which (is) written (above)*; and if (she be) not in (her) menses, and not impregnated, (he is) liable to atonement, besides (the sin of) coition (with a) NON-IRANIAN, for the wound to (the) body, fear (unto the) soul (and) temporary involvement; and if (he) is involved therein, (the) decision (is) that of wasting (the) semen even with (a) woman in (her) menses, which (is) not (emitted) in her body, a `tanaphor' sin or wasting (the) semen (and of) defiling (the) body (accrues)." (Emphasis supplied.)
(* The explanation for copulating with a woman in her menses are given in reply to the preceding question and "(the) details of atonement (are) numerous." For instance, killing of thousands of noxious creatures, offering of large amount of fuel and fragnant wood to the Atash Behrams, performing of certain big inner liturgical ceremonies, etc.)
But, for our purpose, what matters is the first line in the reply, about a Zoroastrian man having sexual liaison with a non- Zoroastrian and the consequence thereof, from the Zoroastrian viewpoint.
Naturally, many points and questions arise, which deserve to be considered and answered satisactorily. For example:
a) Here, the relationship referred to is an illicit or an illegal one and not a marriage with a non Zornastrian.
b) No mention is made of a Zoroastrian woman's physical relationship with a non-Zoroastrian male.
c) No temporal punishment, like ex-communication. is suggested.
d) Could it be that the words "of a different religion" meant only Muslims....
e) Can Pahlavi works be relied upon and considered as evidence per se?
f) Were the parties to the Parsi Punchayet Case (Jeejeehhoy vs. Petit) aware of this reference? Was any evidence of this kind cited before the Court of Justices Davar and Beaman?
a) For a legitimate marriage,in the Zoroastrian religion. three factors are necessary :
i) It should be between two Zoroastrians;
ii) It should comprise the Zoroastrian Ashirwad ceremony:
iii) It should be performed by properly ordained Zoroastrian priests.
All these three points have been incorporated in the Parsi Marriage & Divorce Act, today. In ancient Iran, to call any other man-woman relationship a "marriage" was not only unheard of, but also unthinkable. There was nothing as absurd like a dotted line to sign on.
b) No mention of a Zoroastrian female is made simply because NO TRUE ZARTHOSTI LADY OF THOSE TIMES EVER DREAMT OF YOKING HERSELF WITH A NON-ZOROASTRIAN.
c) This is a difficult question. But an answer, and a plausible one at that, can be attempted. Even at present, there is nothing like ex-communication in our community, though the practice was prevalent until the last century when the Parsi Punchayet had the authority to do so. Today, instead, what is demanded of those who prefer to "marry" outside the community is that they should not visit our consecrated fire temples and they cannot be consigned to the Towers of Silence....the biggest deterrent for a Zoroastrian man "marrying" an alien was to be aware of the fact that he was COMMITING A TANAPHOR GUNAH OR SIN. This is the same sin mentioned in our Patet Pashemani (Karda 3) as Tanvalgan Gunah. In Avestan; it is known as the Tana-Peretha sin. It means that the sin is so heinous that the Sinner prevents/delays Frasho-Kard (the Final Renovation)!
d) Here, the Pahlavi word used is specific, jyit-deen or what we today call juddin, which means a person of any faith other than Zoroastrlan. In the Pahlavi Rlvayats,when the word ak-deen is used, it is believed to have been used for a Muslim.
e) Most of the Pahiavi works, particularly those belonging to the Sassanian times and those written by sages like Aturfarnbag or Hemit-i-Ashavahishtan or Farnbag-Srosh, etc., are VERY reliable. They are infinitely more dependable than any of the much later `Persian Rivayats', which our present-day Dasturs have vaguely proferred as evidence for the `navjote' of Mr. Neville Wadia!
f) It is extremely doubtful if this Pahlavi text was cited as evidence in the Parsi Panchayet Case. We, today, are lucky that we have Behramgore's translation with us.
This Pahlavi Rivayat provides sufficient evidence for the practice and usage among the Parsis in India, who, at least, till the beginning of this century, refused to permit a Zoroastrlan male "marrying" a non-Zoroastrian to be considered a full-fledged Zoroastrlan. Isn't it time, some resourceful Zoroastrian takes it up with the Bombay Parsi Punchayat to undo the grave wrong that is perpetrated today, of allowing a Zoroastrian man who has "married" a non-Zoroastrian to go scot-free in matters religious. The Hudeenan Peshopay(e) would, we are certain, have strongly disapproved!
This article appeared in the heroic "Deen Parast" Zoroastrian
magazine of India and is reproduced by permission of the
General editor Noshir Dadrawalla.
Please forward this article to as many Zarathushtris as you know. This will help to defeat the LIE that the evil one is spreading, in the garb of the "liberal" propaganda in the Internet mailing list. We, as soldiers of righteousness, must fight against this lie.
* "Hormazd Dadari, ahreman marochinidari", Ardibehest Yasht Nirang
* Ahura Mazda is the Creator, the evil one the destroyer
* Fellow Mazdayasni Zarathushtris, please dont destroy your religion.
Chapters of the Saga
Saga of the Aryans Home Page
Traditional Zoroastrianism Home Page
How to get the Saga in book form