Our religion is full of mystics and allegories unknown to the western world. Every Zarathustri, whether he is Harvard or Columbia graduate (Ph.D.), he/ she is no more than a student of our religion. With this idea in mind one should explore the mystic nature of HIS messages, with open mind and willingness to learn from others. There are many so-called Avesta scholars who depend on the Avesta grammar and dictionary to analyze a term or event in our prayer that has highly allegorical explanation, much beyond human capability to interpret with linguistic exercises. A difference between a western scholar and Priest can be explained with an allegory - a scholar tries to understand the ingredients of food whereas, a Priest knows how, when and why it has to be digested. Now tell me, who would you believe and follow?
We are Dravants because we could not or do not practice all the canons of Ashoi as prescribed by our Prophet. A very nature of this quality disqualifies us to understand Avesta Manthras in its original prescription. Now that does not mean we should not make an effort to advance our soul by practicing HIS Daena. That is why, I have always emphasized on PRACTICING our religion, as that is the only source of attaining our Urvaan's progression. If you are unfamiliar with the origin and meaning of the above terms (Dravant & Ashavan), read my articles on "Avesta Manthras & His Divine Plan, "Qualities of Athravan" and my explanation of "Asho Nar" on this Traditional Zoroastrianism site, before proceeding any further.
Allow me to give you some anti-Ashoi examples, Tarikats that we practice everyday to self evaluate your status as Dravant or Ashavan. Being Ashavan is far from reality for us. Only an Ashavan can interpret and transcribe our Avesta Manthras. Lets talk about achieving only 1/ 10 of qualification of Ashavan and see whether we stand capable of achieving that with the amount of Avesta Manthras that we have at present.
1. Just to make it simpler for a layman, I would like to refer our basic prayer book Khordeh Avesta. If you have Tamam Khordeh Avesta with Nirangs, Setayasts, and short prayers for daily practices, you should know that those prayers were given to us to practice and not to preserve in that book. The following are some examples or times when we all are supposed to follow as per our religion:
a) morning after getting up from the bed,
b) before and after coming out from the bath-room,
c) before and after eating food,
d) before going to bed,
e) before and after removing nails & hair,
f) For Females: observance of restrictions during menstrual period and after delivery.
g) Taking Nahn and Bareshnoom after engaging in Drujih-generating activities or, just by coming in contact with any kind of Drujih.
The following issues are related to our religious injunctions, observances and Tarikats that I would like to question each and every one of you:
2. Do you eat meat? (Druj-I-Nasu)
3. Do you use water in disposing off your dirt, hair and nail in the bath- room?
4. Do you keep a separate pair of clothing and sleepers for going to the bathroom?
5. Do you wear cap at all times?
6. Do you observe Gahambers?
7. Do you recite Farzyat prayers including Geh, Nyaish & Yast, on its corresponding Roz & Mah.
8. Do you follow all Tarikats related to various religious activities, obligations and responsibilities attached to our prayers, rituals, traditions and practices that attunes our Soul/ Body with the canons of Ashoi ?
If your answer to the first three is YES and, NO for the rest, you are no different than a Dravand, not fulfilling the requirements of your birth as Zarathustri. There are religious injunctions and practices designed for the above observances. No matter how intelligent and obedient we are in our daily religious practices, we are no different than belong to a Dravand category, and thus, it disqualifies us to have a divine wisdom "Baodhang" to understand Avesta Manthras and its hidden meanings Do you & everyone in your family PRACTICE all of these Nirangs or Practices? For a layman, this question should be; Do you KNOW such prayers and Nirangs exists or prescribed in our religion? Now, even if you do all that, you cannot call yourself an 'Ashavan' or 'Asho Nar' and start interpreting our Avesta Manthras with an assumption to have a complete spiritual qualification. The above list indicates just a few practices that we partially or completely ignore or compelled to leave 'unattended'.
There are some people who are ignorant of the mystical connotations by Kshnoom. Forget about Kshnoom beliefs/ writings (not philosophy) for a moment, assume that there is nothing ever said about Kshnoom by anyone in the past or present. What is your opinion on the above list of observances and tarikats? These are Zarathustri practices as per Vendidad, Yazashne, Yast and other scriptural evidences. What do you have to say on that? My dear Zarathustris, we are Dravands and will remain Dravands until we practice HIS commandments of Ashoi in complete, which may take so many number of our visits to this world - depending on HIS Judgment and Plan. We are not capable of transcribing HIS messages based on grammatical acrobats to understand Avesta Manthras. We need people who want to PRACTICE our Avesta Manthras rather than investing their time in transcribing it. The mystic nature of our prayers has puzzled scholars and scientists since generations. Every new version is a challenge to its previous one. What are they trying to prove? My dear Zarathustris, for scholars it is an intellectual exercise but for us, it is a question of life and death. If we depend on them or wait until they translate our prayers to practice our religion in its entirety, there is no reason why you should not give up this Faith and hope to WORK FOR OUR SOUL in this world.
Now, some of you may have questions on interpretation of Avesta Manthras and how does it relate to practicing the principles of Ashoi. If you have read my above mentioned articles as references, you should not have or need to question, neither I wish to repeat those explanations at this point as the below references from Gathas, Yast and Vendidad will sufficiently cover my justification.
The following references from Ervad Phiroze Masani's book "Zoroastrianism: Ancient and Modern" may inspire you to learn to respect our Prayers for its implication and application in daily life.
Reference No. 1
"Yada ashem zevim anghen mazdaoscha ahuraongho,
Ashicha armaiti vahista ishasa manangha,
Maibyo Khshathrem aojanghvat yehya vereda vanaema drujem." Ha 31;4
"When Mazda and the lords are propitiated with Ashoi, I desire to have for me Ashi or piety, Armaiti or gentle perfection of mind and the best mind with vigorous Power by means of which we must smite the Druj."
When a soul puts all the rules of Ashoi into practice, the natural result is the attainment of Ashi and Armaiti or Perfect Wisdom, and these are accompanied by the Right Will Power which alone can vanquish the collective force of evil i.e., the Druj. In this paragraph also we notice that the desire to overcome Druj should be the ideal aim of all aspiring souls, and the spiritual development resulting in the qualifications of Ashi-power can be achieved only by a perfect sway over Druj by means of Asha.
A word Drujih is described as, forms of evil magnetic influences with varied intensities. We can easily understand why the charm or Manthric effect of Avesta recital is looked upon as the best weapon against the attacks of all kinds of Drujihs. 'Angreh Mainyu' is the arch-fiend, the leader of all those who create Drujih in any form and who are therefore termed 'Daevas'. 'Aesham' is the arch-Drujih - the parent of all the species of Drujih e.g., Hashi, Gashi, Saeni, Buji, Nasu, Paesish etc. The 'Manzaini' or thought-destroying magnetic influence is produced by the evil currents emanating from the detached hair and nail, which are termed Drujih-I-Heher or Hayir. The Nasu is the evil magnetism issuing from a dead disintegrating animal body, and the Vendidad enjoins strict order of remaining far from this Druj-I-Nasu, and this order is quite in keeping with the modern principle of science, of avoiding all bacteria and microbes or of destroying them. In the Zarathustri science of Drujih, it is taught that there are innumerable bacteria and microbes term "Iiariri" which are unseen and beyond the power of any microscope. The magnetic purity is given utmost importance in Vendidad and all other Avesta Scriptures, for without magnetic purity, the aura (Khoreh) cannot be maintained in its required high level of efficacy, and in the absence of efficient and holy halo of the aura, the Kehrpa or invisible subtle body in the human constitution cannot accelerate the response-capacity of the soul. Magnetic purity is the main spring of spiritual unfoldment and hence we are taught in the Gatha 48; 5 and Vendidad V;21 that "the maintenance of purity is the best thing for mankind from the very birth." "Yaozdao meshyai aipi zathem vahishta."
"Ashava vanat drujim; ashava vanat dravantem."
"The practitioner of Ashoi vanquishes Drujih; the practitioner of Ashoi vanquishes the producer of drujih."
This is the most fundamental rule of practice of Zarathustrianism. For the sake of spiritual unfoldment Drujih must be annihilated or transmuted into Ashoi, and this can be achieved only by a person professing a strict practice of Ashoi as taught in the Zarathustri religion. Such a professor of Ashoi and vanquisher of Drujih has the power of producing the genuine efficacy of Avesta Manthra by means of which he is able to overpower the magical operations of any practitioner of Drujih who is termed a "Dravant" or one who runs away or deviates from the path of Ashoi.
"Conquest of Drujih" should be a qualification of every Zarathustri and especially of the Priest. Hence in Khordad Yast; 9, it is said that the one qualified to learn the mysteries of Avesta Manthra must be "of good conscience, holy, over-powering, and the vanquisher of all Drujih." ("Yo hu- daeno, ashava, aurvo, vispo-drujem ramayehe.") Unless a Zarathustri has become "vispo drujem ramayehe" he cannot be termed drujih-proof, and therefore he cannot be said to have fulfilled the goal of spiritual unfoldment required of him from his very existence. Khordad Yast thus teaches us that we have to be "Ashava" or "practical professors of Ashoi," and at the same time "Vispo- drujem ramaya" i.e. "subjugators of entire species of Drujih."
"Atcha ahmai varenai mazda nidatem,
Ashem suidyai tkaeshai rashayenghe drukhsh,
Ta vangheush sare izya manangho,
Antare vispeng dregvato hakhmeng antare-mruye." Ha XLIX;3
"O Mazda then for the sake of this benefit-giving Law Ashoi has been fixed, and Druj has been fixed as the law of destruction. In order that I may long for the leadership of Good Mind I denounce all the friends of the wicked ones."
The two poles Tarikh and Roshnih are rules respectively for two potentates Drujih and Ashoi. For the sake of the benefit of spiritual unfoldment Zarathustra has declared Ashoi to be the guiding rule, for Drujih is meant for annihilation spiritual progress. Hence it is seen from this that the cardinal teaching of Zarathustrianism for the sake of Unfoldment of the Soul is the duty of over-powering the Drujih every moment by means of the observance of the principles of Ashoi. A similar idea is found in Gatha 51; 9 where it is stated that -
"Rashayenghe dregvantem savayo ashavanem i.e. the wicked is for destruction, the holy one is for the benefit." -
And this implies that "Dregvant" (Dravant) or practitioner of Drujih brings spiritual destruction unto himself and others, whereas "Ashavan" or professor of Ashoi does good to his own soul as well as to the souls of others.
"Tat thwa peresa eresh moi Vaocha ahura.
Katha drujem nish ahmat a nish nashama,
Teng-a ava yoi asrushtoiash perenaongho,
Noit ashahya adivyeinti hachemna,
Noit frasaya vangheush chakhnare manangho." Ha 44; 13
"O Ahura speak unto me the truth for what I question unto Thee. How are we to dispel Druj from this entirely, along with those who are full of dissertations of Good Mind."
Those who do not pay attention to religious teachings and even those who do not practice Ashoi are looked upon as professors of Druja, and a desire is entertained in this paragraph to remove this Druja in order to effect a SPIRITUAL TRANSMUTATION OF THE WICKED FOLLOWERS OF Drujih. The idea contained in the Gatha Ha 44; 13 and 14 is generally the same - that of removing or repelling Druja in order to re-establish the jurisdiction of Order Divine or Asha.
"Katha ashai drujem dyam zastayo
Ni him meranzdyai thwahya manthraish senghahya
Emavaitim sinam davoi dregvasu,
A-ish dvafsheng mazda anashe anstanscha." Ha XLIV; 14.
"O Mazda, how shall I deliver Druj or the aggregate force of evil into both the hands of Asha or aggregate force of goodness, in order to annihilate the same by means of the Manthra of Thy Words, in oredr to give a smart blow to the practitioners-of-druj, so that their delusion and fascinating-fraud may cease to spread."
In this para the prophet wants to learn the Tarikat or rule by which to transmute all sorts of Drujih into Ashoi, and thus to annul the deluding and alluring fascination of the attractions of this world which are strengthened by the force of Drujih. Unless the soul is saved from the fangs of this serpentine drujih, and unless it is protected by the stronghold of Ashoi, it cannot be said to have been marching along the rails of the Uru or Unfoldment.
"Atcha yada aesham kaena jamaiti aenangham,
At mazda taibyo Khshathrem Vohu Manangha voividaiti,
Aeyibyo sasti Ahura yoi ash I daden jastayo drujem." Ha XXX; 8
"And when the revenge of these jealous goes out, then Mazda intimates them of Khshathra through Vohu Manangha, and Ahura teaches those who deliver up Druj into both the hands of Asha"
Here also the same idea of delivering druj into the hands of Asha, or fighting all evil forces or Asar-I-Tarikih by means of the good ones or Asar-I-Roshnih is illustrated, and it is further declared that spiritual knowledge comes to those alchemists who have already vanquished Druj out of themselves by means of Asha.
The western scholars are the cause of destruction of our Faith in India and abroad. They discredit our sacred rituals, ceremonies and traditions by using their literal knowledge of Avesta grammar designed by human mind, which is proved to have impurities and inconsistencies in analyzing HIS Divine Plan. My dear Zarathustris, I recommend everyone of you to concentrate on PRACTICING our religion more than reading translations of our prayers.
Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami
In His Service,
Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha
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