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J.J. Modi: The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsees (Bombay, 1922.) Part 5.

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Meaning of the word Vendidad. Its divisions. Its place in the Avesta literature.

The word Vendidad comes from the Avesta word Vî-daêva-dâta, i.e., the Law given against the Daevas or the evil spirits. The word is Javid-shedâ-dâd in the Pahlavi, It is Jud-div-dâd in Persian. It is so called, because a large part of it contains rules, regulations, and instructions as to how to withstand best, the evil influences of the Daevas, i.e., of all evil spirits or forces that lead to the impurity and decay both of body and mind. A part of it may be called the sanitary code, and a part, the criminal code of the ancient Iranians. The divisions or chapters of the different parts of the Avesta are known by different names. The chapters of the Yashts are known as Kardâs (Av. Kareta) or sections. Those of the Yasna are known as Hâs (Av. hâiti). But the chapters of the Vendidad are known as pargards or fargards, (para-karêta, a greater section), a word which corresponds exactly, as Dr. Haug points out, to 'pericope,'1 i.e., sections. The Vendidad has 22 chapters in all. The first chapter seems to be very old.

1. Essays, 2nd ed., p. 225.

According to the Denkard (Book VIII),2 the Vendidad formed the 19th book of the 21 books (nasks) which contained the whole of the Avesta literature of ancient times. It corresponded with the word "Dregubyo" in the Ahunwar prayer, the 21 words of which are, as said above, believed to have corresponded with the 21 books. Some of the Rivayats take it to be the 20th book in the list corresponding with the word 'dadat.' Of the three groups in which the nasks are divided, — the gâsânic, the dâtik, and the Hadha-manthrik, — the Vendidad belongs to the second group, viz., the dâtik or the [351] groups of books containing Zoroastrian laws, rules, and regulations on religious, sanitary, social, and other matters.

2. S. B. E. Vol. xxxvii., p. 7 n, 3, Chap. i; 1 11-12.

The Vendidad ceremony. Preliminary preparations for the performance of the Vendidad ceremony.

Two priests participate in the performance of the Vendidad ceremony. They must be those who have observed the great Khub. Again, the Vendidad proper is preceded, as in the case of the Yasna, with the paragnâ. The ceremony is performed in the Ushahin Gah, i.e., at midnight after 12 o'clock. In the case of the Vendidad performed for the Nirangdin ceremony, a part of the paragnâ ceremony is performed in the preceding afternoon in the Uzerin gah. It is the Zaothra ceremony, i.e., the ceremony for preparing the consecrated Zaothra or Zor water that is so performed in the preceding afternoon.

The celebration of the ceremony. The order of recital.

The celebration of the ceremony consists of the ritual of its 22 chapters, not successively but with additions of the different chapters of the Yasna. and the Visperad. The Vendidad thus formed is known as the "Vendidad Sadah." As far as the ceremony or the recital itself goes, most of it is performed during the recital of the Yasna and the Visperad chapters. The following list describes how the different chapters of the Vendidad are recited with those of the Yasna with some sections here and there omitted and the Visperad during the ritual.3

3. Vide K. R. Cama's Zarthusht Nameh, 1st Edition, p, 194. Vide Ervad Tehmuras's Yazashna bâ Nirang. Therein, in the Visperad portion, the portions of the Yasna as interspersed are given in brief.
  1. Yasna 1:1 to 8.
  2. Visperad, 1, complete.
  3. Yasna 1:10 to 2:8.
  4. Visperad, 2, complete.
  5. Yasna 2:10 to 11:8. [352]
  6. Visperad 3:2-5.
  7. Yasna 11:9 to 15.
  8. Visperad 3:6 to Kardeh 4.
  9. Yasna 11:16 to Ha. 14.
  10. Visperad 5.
  11. Yasna 15.
  12. Visperad 6.
  13. Yasna 16 to 17.
  14. Visperad 7 to 8.
  15. Yasna 18 to 21.
  16. Visperad 9.
  17. Yasna 22.
  18. Visperad, 10 to 11.
  19. Yasna 23 to 27.
  20. Visperad 12.
  21. Vendidad, Pargards 1 to 4.
  22. Yasna 28 to 30.
  23. Visperad 13.
  24. Vendidad 5 to 6.
  25. Yasna 31 to 34.
  1. Visperad 14.
  2. Vendidad 7 to 8.
  3. Visperad 15.
  4. Yasna 35 to 42.
  5. Visperad 16 to 17.
  6. Vendidad 9 to 10.
  7. Yasna 43 to 46.
  8. Visperad 18.
  9. Vendidad 11 to 12. [353]
  10. Yasna 47 to 50.
  11. Visperad 19.
  12. Vendidad 13 to 14.
  13. Yasna 51.
  14. Visperad 20.
  15. Vendidad 15 to 16.
  16. Visperad 21 to 22.
  17. Vendidad 17 to 18.
  18. Yasna 52 to 53.
  19. Visperad 23.
  20. Vendidad 19 to 20.
  21. Yasna 54.
  22. Visperad 24.
  23. Vendidad 21 to 22.
  24. Yasna 55 to 72.



IV. The Baj Ceremony

The derivation, literal meaning, and different significations of the word Baj.

The derivation of the word is doubtful. (a) Some derive it from the Avesta word vach (Sans. vâch, Lat. vox) meaning word or speech. So, the word Baj means, certain words or prayers religiously recited in honor of particular beings, such as the yazatas or angels and the Fravashis (Farohars) or the guarding spirits of the living or the dead. (b) Perhaps, it is the Persian bâz or bâzh which means a tribute. In the Baj ceremony and prayer, certain things which serve as representations or symbols of the different kinds of creation, such as animal creation, or vegetable creation, are submitted as offerings. So these offerings are, as it were, a tribute to the glory of the particular Yazata or heavenly being, or to the memory of a particular dear departed one. Ordinarily, the word Baj has several significations in the religious phraseology of the Parsis. They are the following:—

I. The anniversary of the death of a person, when the Baj ceremony is generally performed.

II. The offerings of sacred bread, fruits, etc., submitted during the recital and celebration of the Baj.

III. A peculiar suppressed muttering tone in which some prayers are recited, or in which conversation is held on certain religious or solemn occasions when a kind of Baj is recited.

IV. A certain class of prayers recited on particular occasions with certain formalities.

I. Baj, the anniversary of one's death.

We will now speak of these different significations. Baj is the name of one of the liturgical services which form the funeral services after one's death. The first three days after death are the principal days when these ceremonies are performed. [355] After this period of the first three days, the principal occasions during the first year after death are, as referred to in the Pazand Dibache of the Afrinagans, the following: 1. Chehârum, or the Fourth day. 2. Dehûm, or the Tenth day. 3. Sirouz, or the Thirtieth day. 4. Sâlrouz, or the Anniversary.

During the first year, the Baj ceremony is performed every month on the ruz or the day of the month of the death of the deceased and the day is known as pehlâ mahinâni Bâj, bijâ mihinâni Bâj, i.e., the first month's Baj, the second month's Baj, and so on. After the first year, the Baj ceremony is generally performed on every succeeding anniversary, which anniversary is known as the Baj of the deceased. Just as an Englishman would say, "Today is the fifth or sixth anniversary of the death of A or B," a Parsi would say, "Today is the fifth or sixth Baj of A or B." At times, he would speak a little more definitely and say, "Today is the Baj of the fifth or sixth year of A or B." It is considered to be the duty of the son or the nearest heir to perform the Baj ceremony in honor of the deceased person. The name of the deceased person is recited in the Baj prayers.1 The name of the person who gets the ceremony performed is also recited as Farmâ-yashnî, i.e., as that of the person giving the Farmân or the order to get it performed. At times, persons in their lifetime, or by their wills, set apart certain sums, out of the interest of which such ceremonies known as the Baj-rozgâr ceremonies are performed. There are cases known of deceased persons whose Bajs have continued to be performed, i.e., whose death anniversaries have been religiously celebrated every year, for more than hundred years. In the case of some great worthies who have done yeoman's service to their towns, their Bajs or death anniversaries are celebrated by public subscriptions. For example, the anniversaries of the deaths of Dastur Meherji Rana and of Desai Khorshedji of Naosari are [356] observed with religious Baj ceremonies by their townspeople even now, about 300 years after the death of one and 150 years after the death of the other person. After the ceremonies, solemn dinners are held in which the subscribers participate.

1. Vide above p. 81. 'Funeral Ceremonies' for the form of the recital.

II. Baj, the offerings made for the celebration and recital of the Baj.

In the celebration of the Baj, certain offerings are necessary. These offerings, when placed in an utensil or vessel, are also called a Baj. The utensil containing the offerings is called the Baj of the particular deceased whose funeral ceremonies are performed. For example, suppose that a certain day is the anniversary of the death of more than one person. Then for each such person, such vessels with offerings are prepared. Then each of the vessels containing these offerings is said to be the Baj — or, to speak more correctly, the vessel containing the Baj — of A, B, or C as the case may be.

The requisites of a Baj.

The most essential requisites of the Baj, i.e., of the offerings are (a) the dron, or the sacred bread, (b) some kind of fruit, (c) some kind of animal production.

(a) Of the Dron or the sacred bread, we have spoken at some length in the description of the Yasna ceremonies.2 The Rivayats say that each of the named Drons, i.e., the sacred breads with the sacred marks, must be about 31 tânks3 in weight, and each of the unnamed drons or Farshasts, i.e., the sacred breads without the sacred marks, must be about 33 tânks.

2. Vide dron in the Yasna ceremony. Vide above, p. 296.

3. 72 tânks make one seer.

(b) As to fruit, it is generally the practice to place in the Baj some fruits of the season. In India, where plantains or bananas are plentiful and are obtainable throughout the whole of the year, they form an essential requisite. One plantain or banana is placed in each Baj. Ordinarily, it is believed that for the poor or for those who cannot afford much, one or two dates [357] or a few grains of the pomegranate are sufficient as representative of the offering of the vegetable creation of God.

(c) As to some products of the animal creation, in India, an egg is considered to be an essential as easily obtainable. But for those who cannot afford, a very small quantity of ghee or clarified butter as representing an offering of the animal creation of God is sufficient.

III. The recital or utterance in a suppressed tone known as Baj.

In the Parsi prayers there are several portions which are recited not in the ordinary tone but in a suppressed tone. The mouth is shut and the utterance is given expression to in a suppressed tone. The tone under these circumstances is generally nasal. This kind of expression is often referred to by Firdausi as 'Zamzamê.'

(a) The Parsi prayers are mostly in the ancient Avesta language, but latterly some portions in the later Pazand language are added. These Pazand portions when they occur in the beginning or at the end of an Avesta prayer are recited in the ordinary way, but when they occur in the midst of long Avesta prayers, they are recited in a suppressed tone and are then said to be recited in Baj. In the case of such Pazand portions, the prayer-books say in brackets "Bâj ma bhanvun," i.e., to recite in Baj, i.e., in a suppressed tone.

(b) Again when a person is reciting a long prayer and if he has unavoidably to say something for business, he speaks in Baj or in a suppressed muttering tone. For example, the celebration and recital of the Vendidad lasts from midnight to about 6 or 7 in the morning. If, in the midst of this ceremony, the priest has to ask for something or say something, he has to do so in Baj.

(c) Not only during prayers but on other occasions when one has recited a Baj (Vide below, the fourth signification of the word) if he has to say something, he must say that in Baj. For example, if one has recited a Baj for meals, i.e., said [358] grace before meals, he is not to speak anything unless it be in Baj, i.e., in a suppressed tone. After taking his meals, he finishes the Baj. It is after this finishing prayer that he can speak in the ordinary way.

IV. The Baj, or Baj prayers recited on particular occasions with certain formalities.

The principal signification of the word Baj is a certain class of prayers known as Bajs and which are recited on different occasions with certain formalities, great or small. Some of these Bajs are recited only by the priests observing the Barashnom and the Khub. The others are those that can be recited even by the laymen. So we will divide theme Bajs into two classes.

(A) Bajs recited by the priests with offerings as a part of their liturgical service.

(B) Bajs recited on smaller occasions without any offerings.

(A) Bajs recited by priests observing the Barashnom, etc.

The Bajs of this class are the principal Bajs.

The principal occasions — though not the only occasions — on which they are recited are the Baj days, i.e., the anniversaries of the deaths of persons. The necessary formalities or conditions required for this class of Bajs are the following:

(a) They must be recited by priests, holding the Barashnom and qualified with a Khub.

(b) They must be recited over a Baj or a collection of certain offerings such as Drons or sacred breads, fruit, water, milk-product such as ghee or clarified butter.

(c) Fire burning in a vase with sandalwood and frankincense is essentially necessary during their recital.

(d) They must be recited in a specially enclosed place; for example, in the Yazashna-gah of the temples or when in a private residence, in a place specially cleaned, washed, and enclosed in 'pavis.' [359]

Requisites of this class of Bajs.

The following are the requisites which the priest must have before him within the pavis or an enclosed space.

1. Atash or fire burning in a vase, with aesma and bui, i.e., sandalwood and frankincense.

2. Âp or water made pâv, or ceremoniously pure.

3. Drons or sacred breads. The number of these Drons are four in the case of all Bajs but six in the case of the Baj of Srosh. Half of this number are nâm pâdelâ, i.e., named or marked with nine marks in their preparation, and half vagar nâmnâ, i.e., unnamed or unmarked.

4. Urvarâm, or a few grains of the pomegranate.

5. Goshudo, (gâush hudhâo), i.e., ghee or clarified butter.

6. An egg.

The following figure shows the respective places where the requisites are placed within the enclosed pâvi: The requisites numbered 1 to 5 are placed in a tray or vessel.

Fire vase
Small stone-slabs for
Aesma bui, i.e., sandalwood and frankincense
No. 3 Dron (named)
5 egg.
No, 4. Frashast (i.e., unnamed Dron with urvarâm over it).
No. 2 Frashast (i.e., unnamed Dron).
No. 1 Dron (named) with goshudô over it.
A small vessel containing âp or water
Place of the priest who recites the Baj either standing or sitting

Chapters recited in the great Baj.

Chapters three to eight of the Yasna are known as Srosh-Dron. They are so called because certain selected portions of these are recited in the celebration of the Baj for the consecration of the Dron. At first, an introductory prayer in Pazand which is [360] known as the Dibache is recited. Therein, the name of the person -- either living or dead -- for whose naiyat, i.e., for whose intention or purpose the ceremony is performed, is mentioned. The name of the particular Yazata or angel in whose honor the Baj is recited is also mentioned in the Dibache. After the recital of the Dibache, the chapters of the Srosh Dron are recited. During the recital of the eighth chapter, the priest makes the Dron-châshni, i.e., partakes of the sacred bread consecrated by him. He partakes of it five times in small bits.

Different kinds of the liturgical Baj.

There are different kinds of the Baj, recited by the priest as a part of the liturgical service. The chapters of the Yasna recited are mostly the same, but the difference arises from the difference in the Beings in whose honor the ceremony is performed. The following is the list of the different Bajs as given in Parsi books of ritual:

  1. Baj of pânch tâi or five wires of Barsom.
  2. Baj of Srosh.
  3. Baj of the Fireshti or Firashtâ.
  4. Baj of Pantha Yazata.
  5. Baj of Neryosang Yazata.
  6. Baj of Haptoiringa.
  7. Baj of Agrêras.
  8. Baj of Vanant.
  9. Baj of ruz Aspandad and mah Frawardin.
  10. Baj of ruz Hordad and mah Frawardin, or Khordad Sal.
  11. Baj of Jashan-i Tiragan. Ruz Tir mah Tir.
  12. Baj of Jashan-i Mihragan. Ruz Mihr mah Mihr.
  13. Baj of Jashan-i Abangan. Ruz Aban mah Aban.
  14. Baj of Jashan-i Adargan. Ruz Adar mah Adar.
  15. Baj of Frawardigan. Ruz Frawardin mah Adar. [361]
  16. Baj of the Disa, (i.e., the anniversary of the death) of Zoroaster. Ruz Khwarshed mah Deh.
  17. Baj of Jashan-i Vohumanyan. Ruz Vohuman mah Vohuman.
  18. Baj of Avardad Sal-gah. Ruz Hordad mah Aspandad.
  19. Baj of Din Beh Mahraspand. Ruz Mahraspand mah Aspandad.
  20. Baj of Ardafrawash, i.e., of all the Fravashis or Farohars.
  21. Baj for the performance of the Khub in the Gatha days.
  22. Baj of Gatha, (or the intercalary) days.
  23. Baj of Chehârum ni Bâmdâd, i.e., the Baj to be recited at dawn on the fourth day after death.
  24. Baj of Mino Râm for the zindeh ravân of the survivor of a married couple to be recited on the dawn of the fourth day after the death of any one of the two.
  25. Baj of the Gahambar.
  26. Baj of the Haft Ameshaspand or the seven Archangels.
  27. Baj of Siroza.
  28. Baj of Nao Nawar, i.e., the Baj recited by the Nawar or the new initiate into priesthood.
  29. Baj of Rapithwin.
  30. Baj Shehan.

We will shortly describe these different Bajs and their occasions.4

4. Vide my paper on "The Ketâb-i-Darun Yashten" in the Journal of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute No. 1, for some other Bajs.

(1) Baj of Pânch tâi

This Baj is so called, because, in its recital, five tâis or wires of Baj of Barsom (Vide Barsom ceremony) are used. It is recited by the priests for the performance of the small Khub, the celebration of which is required for the ceremony and recital of all the Bajs and of the Yasna, etc. The Barsom tied for the performance of this Baj is not [362] used for the performance of any other Baj for which the Barsom must be freshly tied. The Barsom tied by a priest, who has performed the small Khub with this Baj of five wires, can be used for the recital of three more Bajs. The Barsom tied by a priest with the great Khub of Mino-Nawar can be used for the recital of nine Bajs. For the recital of more Bajs than nine, the Barsom must be freshly tied with its ceremonial.

During the recital of this Baj, the Pazand Dibache of Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta, wherein, the name of the person -- living or dead -- for whom it is recited is mentioned, is repeated thrice. At the end, after the recital of Ha 8.4, the priest makes the 'châshni' of the Dron or the sacred bread, i.e., eats a small part of it. The châshni (i.e., the tasting of the bread by the priest) forms an important part of the Baj. In the case of this Baj, the châshni is made five times. 1. At first, a small bit of Dron No.1 (Vide figure above) with a little goshudô or ghee, is eaten. 2. Secondly, a bit of the Farshast No.2 with a little goshudô (from No.1) is eaten. 3. Thirdly, a bit of the Dron No.3 with a little goshudô and with a little âp, i.e., water, (i.e., being dipped a little into the vessel of water) is eaten. 4. Fourthly, a bit of the Farshast No. 4 is similarly eaten. 5. Fifthly, a little of the goshtudô, urvar and âp is eaten.

Other members of the congregation, if any, afterwards partake of the châshni. The sacred bread and other things are passed round for all to take a bit for châshni.

(2) Baj of Srosh.

While in the recital of all other Bajs four Drons or sacred breads are used, in the recital of this, six are used, half of which are 'named,' i.e., marked with nine marks made with the recital of the words Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta, (i.e., good thoughts, good words, and good deeds), and half 'unnamed.' The three 'named' ones are arranged on the left-hand side in a tray and the three Farshast or unnamed on the right-hand side. The first one, i.e., the one nearest to the priest in the left-hand row carries over it the goshudô or the ghee, i.e., the clarified butter. The last one, i.e., the one furthest from the [363] priest in the right-hand row carries over it the urvarâm, (i.e., some product of the vegetable world) represented generally by a few grains of the pomegranate or a date. The recital of the Baj of Srosh generally concludes the recital of all Bajs. It is generally recited in all the Gahs or the five periods of the day during the first three days after death in the name of the deceased. In its recital, the Pazand Dibache is recited twice. In the case of the Srosh Baj, as there are six sacred breads instead of four as in the Pânch tâi and other Bajs, the officiating priest makes the châshni, (i.e., partakes of the offered sacred bread, etc.,) seven times instead of five as in the other Bajs. The two additional châshnis are of the two additional Drons, one of which is 'named' and the other 'unnamed' (Farshast). This Baj of Srosh is also recited for the consecration of gehâns or the iron-biers. At times, on the death of a person, his relations wish that a new bier may be provided. They get this bier consecrated before being used. That consecration is effected with this Baj.

According to an old custom still prevalent, the contents of the Srosh Baj, i.e., the offerings of sacred bread, fruit, etc., offered in this Baj, are taken by the priest as a part payment in kind of his fees.

(3) Baj of the Fireshtes.

This Baj is recited in honor of the 33 Fireshtes (i.e., Yazatas or angels). The recital of the Baj for each of these 33 Yazatas is the same (a large part of the Yasna, Ha 3 to 8) except in the following points:

(a) The Pazand Dibache of Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta is recited twice (once in the very beginning and for the second time, after Ha 7.25) in the case of the Bajs of all the Yazatas, but in the case of the Bajs of those Yazatas, (e.g., Day-pa-Adar, Day-pa-Mihr, Day-pa-Din) in whose Khshnuman the formula of Vispaesham Yazatanãm occurs, it, as in the Bajs of Pânch tâi and Ardafrawash, is to be recited thrice (the third being recited with the Kardah of staomi zbayemi just before the recital of Ha 7).

(b) The Khshnuman for the Baj of each Yazata varies. The small Khshnumans recited in Has 3, 4, 6, and 7 are taken from their respective Khshnumans in the smaller Siroza. The larger Khshnumans recited once in Ha 6 are taken from their respective Khshnumans in the larger Siroza.

(4) Baj of Pantha Yazata.

The word 'pantha' is Av. 'Pathan' (Sanskrit panthan, German pfad, English path). In the Khwarshed Niyayesh (verse 8) a straightforward road or path is considered as an object of praise (pathãm khâstâitîm yazamaidê). The word is figuratively used for a course of life and for prescribed rules for that course of life as in the case of the English word 'path.'5

5. Cf. "He marketh all my paths," Job 33.11; "Hold up my goings in thy paths." Psalm 17.5.

Now a good spirit or a heavenly being was supposed to guide this path. From this idea, there was one step more, and it was supposed that some heavenly spirit or guide, guided all our movements even in our ordinary roads of travels, if one moved on straight and straightforwardly.6

6. Cf. "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies," Psalm 25.10.

So, this Baj of Pantha Yazata or the angel presiding over paths and roads was recited on an occasion when one went on a long journey, so that God may guide his movements. It is rarely recited now.

(5) Baj of Neryosang Yazata.

Neryosang is the name of a Yazata. He is the messenger of God. He presides over a particular fire or a kind of vitality supposed to live in the navel of kings. He seems to resemble the Narâshâns of the Vedas who also is a messenger of God and is also the name of a fire. As he presides over a kind of fire, he has some connection with the phenomenon of Light, and as such he is the collabateur of Mithra, the angel of light. The Baj under consideration is recited in honour of this Yazata. It is not recited now, but seems to have been recited in old times on rare occasions. [365]

(6) Baj of Haptoiringa.

Haptoiringa is the Avesta Haptôiring of the Yashts (Yt8.12; Yt12.28; Yt13.60). It is the name of a heavenly body. Dr. West thinks it to be Ursa Major. It is associated with Tishtrya (Sirius), Vanant (Vega), and Satvas (Canopus7). It has great influence on the waters of the northern seas (Bundahishn, Chap. 8.12). It is the Saptârashayahi of Pânini. The Yazata presiding over it guards, with 99,999 Farohars or good guiding spirits, the gates of hell and prevents the 99,999 demons residing there from escaping into the world to do harm to the good creation. This Baj is not recited now. It seems to have been recited in former times when people had greater faith in astrology.

7. Vide Mr. M. P. Khareghat's paper on "The Identity of some Heavenly bodies" in the Sir J. J. Z. Madrassa Jubilee Volume (pp. 116-58.)

(7) Baj of Agrêras.

Agrêras is the Agraêratha of the Avesta (Yasht 13.131; Yt9.22; Yt19.77). He is the Agraêrâd of the Bundahishn and Agriras of Firdausi. He was the brother of the Turanian King Afrasiyab [Franrasyan] and of Karsevaj, the Machiavelli of ancient Iran. It appears from the Shah-Nameh and from the Bundahishn, that when Afrasiyab shut up Minocheher, the king of the Persians, in the mountains of Pâdashkhvârgar and reduced them to straitened circumstances, Agrêras, though a brother of Afrasiyab, the enemy, like a kind, honest and straightforward man, prayed for the release of the Iranian king, and his army. He helped them to free themselves from their confined position in the mountains. Afrasiyab is said to have killed his brother Agrêras for thus helping his enemy. Firdausi places this event in the reign of Naodar. (Vide the word Agraêratha in my Dictionary of Avesta Proper Names, pp. 7-10). For this exceptional service, Agrêras was considered to be one of the saintly worthies of ancient times, and, though a non-Iranian, was canonized in the saints' calendar of the Frawardin Yasht. Now, though the Parsi books of the Zoroastrian rubric give in the list of the Bajs, a Baj [366] in the name of this Turanian saint, it cannot strictly be called a Baj, because there is no separate Khshnuman in his name. The Baj enjoined to be recited as the Baj of Agrêras is simply the ordinary Baj of Ardafrawash, with the instruction that the name of Agrêras may be recited in the place where the names of the departed ones are recited.

The reason for a Baj connected with his name as given in the list of the book of rubrics seems to be, that in former times, on exceptional occasions, perhaps people celebrated the anniversary of his death or celebrated the Baj of Ardafrawash in his honor in the fulfillment of a vow for a particular object. We have a recent instance of this kind. About 139 years ago, (in 1783), a Parsi of Broach named Homâjee Jamshedji was hanged by the British Government for the murder of a Parsi lady. The cause of the dispute which ended in the death of the lady arose from the controversy of the Kabiseh or the intercalary month which had produced a great schism among Broach, Surat, and Bombay Parsis. Many a people considered Homâjee to be innocent and to be a saintly person. So, even now, there are several persons who, on the anniversary of his death, celebrate his Baj, i.e., get the Baj of Ardafrawash recited in his honor with his name. Some take a vow, that if they would succeed in such and such an object of their life, they would get his Baj celebrated.

(8) Baj of Vanant.

Vanant, according to the Avesta, is the name of a star (Yasht 20.1). It is supposed to be the star Vega. According to the Bundahishn, (2.7) at the end of summer, it was a southern star. It is an associate of Tishtrya (Sirius). It has an Yazata of the same name presiding over it. This Yazata observed a watch over the Alburz mountains. It enabled the Sun, Moon, and other heavenly bodies to move undisturbed in their movements. With Tishtrya who presided over rain, it had some influence over rain. It was supposed to have a special influence in withstanding the evil influences of the Devs or the evil spirits. To emphasize [367] this belief, the priest, while reciting its Khshnuman (vanantô stâro mazdadhâtahê aôkhtô nâmanô yazatahê) in this Baj, strikes a stick over a stone, thereby showing that the evil influences may be struck and annihilated. In the recital of this Baj, the priest makes five chashnis as in the case of the Baj of the five wires (Panch tâi) of Barsom and of other Bajs (except that of Srosh), but with this difference, that four of the chashnis, instead of being made from the four sacred breads, are made from only two of the breads — one named and the other unnamed (frashast). This Baj is recited only on ruz Ohrmazd mah Frawardin, i.e., on the New Year's Day [Nawruz]. In the recital, the frashast is required to be lifted up and then lowered and then turned round in all directions (Dasabhoy Kawasji's Avesta Bk. II. p. 184).8

8. Cf. The Christian ritual, wherein also the sacred bread is lifted, lowered, and turned.

The ceremony of Vanôt Kâpvi, connected with this Vanant.

There is a ceremony known as Vanôt Kâpvi, i.e., to cut the Vanôt, which is connected with the name of this Vanant Yazata, whose Baj is under consideration. The word Vanôt is the modern corrupted form of Vanant. By the name Vanôt is meant a Dron or sacred bread prepared and consecrated in the name of the Yazata. A priest takes, i.e., recites the particular Baj known as Vanôt ni Baj. It consists in the recital of the ordinary Pazand prayer of "Pa nãm-i-Yazdãn" with the Khshnuman of Vanant. After reciting the larger Khshnuman, the priest recites a Yatha Ahu Vairyo and divides the bread with a knife into four parts. For each bread that he has cut, he recites a Yatha Ahu Vairyo. Having done so he finishes the Baj. This ceremony is also performed on the New Year's Day. The Dron of Vanôt differs from other Drons in this that it is sweetened a little. That the prayers and ceremony connected with the Vanant Yazata were believed to have a charm-like effect in withstanding the influence of evil spirits [368] or mischief-making bodies, is shown by the fact that a part of the recital of the Vanant Yasht, which can be recited even by a layman, is accompanied by a clapping of hands, Once, twice, and thrice, to emphasize thereby that the evil influences are struck, beaten and annihilated.

Bajs of other Jashan days. Bajs from No. 9 to No. 22.

The other Bajs, from Baj No.9 to Baj No.22 require no particular mention, except this, that they have their own particular Khshnumans. The Baj of the day known as Zartosht no diso, i.e., the anniversary of the death of Zoroaster (Ruz 11th Khwarshed of the 10th month Deh), though named as a separate Baj (No.16) in the list of Bajs given in the Parsi books of ritual and rubric, is not strictly speaking a separate Baj. The Baj recited on that day is the Baj of Ardafrawash recited in honor of the dead. The name of the Prophet is mentioned therein as that of the person in whose honor it is recited.

(20) The Baj of Ardafrawash.

The Baj of Ardafrawash in the above list requires a little explanation. The word Arda in Ardafrawash is the later form of asha (cf. Asha Vahishta and Ardi-behest) and Frawash is the later form of Fravashi. So Ardafrawash is the later form of "ashaonãm Fravashinãm," i.e., the Farohars or the guiding spirits of the holy. Hence the Baj of Ardafrawash is the Baj in honor of the Fravashis or the Farohars, i.e., the spirits of the departed ones. The liturgical services in honor of the dead, whether the Yasna, the Vendidad, the Afrinagan, or the Baj, are celebrated with the Khshnuman of Ardafrawash which is the Khshnuman of Frawardin, the 19th Yazata. The chapters of the Yasna recited in this Baj are the same as in other Bajs, but the Pazand Dibache of Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta, wherein the name of the deceased person is mentioned is, instead of being recited twice as in the case of all the Bajs, is repeated thrice as in the case of the Baj of Pânch tâi and of the Baj in whose Khshnuman the formula of Vispaeshãm occurs. The third Dibache is repeated with the additional recitals [369] of the prayer of staomi zbayemi (Yasna, Ha 26), which is a special prayer in honor of the dead and which is known as Satum no kardô, i.e., the section or chapter of Satum or the prayer for praising the dead. (Vide below for the Satum).

(23) Baj of Chehâram ni Bâmdâd.

The dawn (Bâmdâd) of the fourth day (chehâram) after one's death is held to be the most important occasion in connection with the funeral ceremonies of the dead. The soul of the deceased is believed to hover for the first three days in the precincts of the world. It is at the. dawn of the fourth day, that it passes away, out of the precincts of this world, to the other world. While so passing away, the soul is judged by Mihr Dâver, i.e. Mihr the Judge. So, this is considered to be the most important occasion for the recital of the Baj. Four Bajs are recited on this occasion, i.e., in the Ushahin Gah or after midnight of the third day. They are the following:

1. The Baj of Rashnê Astâd, i.e., with the joint Khshnuman of the Yazatas Rashn and Ashtad, who help Mihr in his work of justice. Rashn presides over Truth and Justice. According to the Menog-i Khrad, he holds the balance of justice in his hand. Ashtad presides over Truth.

2. The Baj of Ram. The Yazata Ram presides over air and over ethereal substance. The soul now passes to the other world through the ethereal sphere of space. The Yazata Ram also presides over Ramashni or joy. So, the occasion being that of the transition for the soul, and therefore mournful for the survivors, the words Râmnô Khâstrahê which refer to his function of spreading joy is omitted when the Baj of Ram Yazata in honor of the dead is recited on this occasion. They are recited on other occasions after the third day.

3. The Baj of Srosh or the angel who protects and guards the souls of all persons whether living or dead.

4. The Baj of Ardafrawash.

These four Bajs are generally, though not always, repeated with the name of the partner of the deceased, i.e., with the name of the husband, if the deceased is a woman, or of the wife, if the deceased is a man. The ceremonies of the first four days are generally performed for both members of the married couple, whether the other partner is living or dead. It is then spoken of as "Jodâ ni Kriya," i.e., the ceremonies of the (married) pair.

(25) Baj of Gahambar.

This Baj is recited only on the occasions of the six Gahambars - or seasonal festivals.

(27) Baj of Siroza.

Siroza means thirty days. It is so called because therein all the thirty (si) Yazatas which preside over each of the thirty days (ruz) of the month are invoked in the words of their respective Khshnumans, This Baj is recited on the thirtieth day after one's death, and on the days preceding the day which finishes the periods of six months and a year after one's death. It is also recited by the new initiate into the priesthood, the Nawar, on the third of the last four days when he officiates at the completing ceremony.

(28) Baj of Nawar.

This is recited by the Nawar or the initiate into priesthood in the afternoon of the first of the last four days when he officiates at the ceremony of the concluding days.

(29) Baj of Rapithwin.

This is so called, because it is recited on the Rapithwin day, i.e., the third day, Ardwahisht, of the first month of the year.

(30) Baj of Shehan.

The word Shehan comes from Shêh or Shâh, i.e., king. It means royal. It is rarely recited now. It was recited formerly on very rare occasions when any great calamity or difficulty was believed to have overtaken the king, the community, or the country. Its recital is longer than all other Bajs because it is recited with two repetitions of the Khshnuman of Siroza, two of that of Srosh, and two of that of Ardafrawash. [371]

(B) Bajs recited are recited on smaller occasions.

Now we come to the second class of the Bajs -- the Bajs that are recited on smaller occasions. They are recited without any offerings and some of them are recited even by the laity. While the recital of the Bajs of the first class (A) takes from about a quarter of an hour to half an hour, the recital of the Bajs of this second class (B) takes from half a minute to five minutes.

The following is a list of some of the smaller Bajs recited on different occasions:

(1) Baj or prayer of grace to be said before meals.

(2) Baj to be recited when answering calls of nature.

(3) Bajs for consecrating certain things used for ceremonial purposes.

(4) Baj for bathing.

We will speak of some of these smaller Bajs.

(1) Baj or prayer of grace recited at meals.

There are three kinds of Jamvâni Baj or prayers of grace recited before meals.

(a) The great Baj with the Barsom.

(b) The great Baj without the Barsom.

(c) The small Baj recited at ordinary meals.

(a) The great Baj with the Barsom.

This Baj rather belongs to the Bajs of the first order A, but we speak of it under this head for the sake of conformity with the other Bajs of meals.

The priests who observe the Khub for the performance of some great liturgical services, as the Yasna or the Vendidad, have to say this great liturgical Baj referred to above before taking their meals. It consists of the recital of a large part of chapters 3 to 8 of the Yasna with the Dibache. The recital is the same as that of the first kind of Baj which is recited as a part of the liturgical service. It is recited with the Barsom. The priests who observe the Khub cannot even drink [372] water without reciting this great Baj. When there are several priests who observe the Khub, each and all of them need not recite the whole of this Baj. One of them recites the whole and the others join him at the end at the recital of the 8th chapter of the Yasna wherein the officiating priest makes the châshni. They participate in the châshni and then take their meals. This Baj is recited in a separate place enclosed in pâvis.

(b) The great Baj without the Barsom.

This Baj is recited by the priests with their meals before them. It is a short recital lasting for a few minutes. It is recited at solemn feasts, e.g. at feasts on the anniversaries of deceased persons, at the celebration of Gahambars, Jashans, etc. The diners first perform the padyab kusti and then wash their hands, and then, having their meals before them, recite 3 Ashem Vohus and Fravarânê, mentioning the particular Gah or period of the day at which they take their meals. They then recite Yasna, Ha 8.3-4, Ha 37.1. Then they recite in Baj the Pazand Dibache of Humata, Hukhta, etc., therein mentioning the name of the person in whose memory the solemn dinner is given. Having recited this they take their dinner silently.

In such solemn dinners, it is generally the custom to set apart a morsel of bread for the dogs of the street. The morsel is called Kutrâ nô book, i.e., the morsel for the dog (Vide below Satum). After finishing their meals they wash their hands and then finish the Baj. To finish this Baj (Baj mukvi), they at first say in Baj the Pazand prayer of Tan-Dorosti, naming the person who gave the dinner and invoking benedictions upon him. They then recite Yasna 8.5-8 and the Yasnemcha, etc.

(c) The small Baj recited at ordinary meals.

This Baj is to be recited at all ordinary meals, even by laymen. It takes about half a minute to recite it. It consists in the recital of a part of the first passage of the 37th chapter of the Yasna with a few introductory words in Pazand. It appears from Firdausi that even in the recital of Bajs or prayers of grace [373] at the table, it was a religious custom in Sasanian times to use the Barsom. It was a custom that led to a dispute between Bendui, a courtier of King Chosroes II (Khosro Parviz) and Nyâtush, a courtier of the Emperor of Rome. (Vide my "Glimpse into the work of the B. R. R. A. Society" p. 89).

Silence observed during the meals.

It is enjoined that after the recital of the Baj or grace before the meals, one must hold silence and take his meals in silence and not to talk or speak during the meals. If one has to speak for urgent purposes, he may do so, not with his mouth open and in the open ordinary tone, but in a suppressed tone, and that as little as possible. This utterance with a suppressed tone is technically said to be "speaking in Baj" (bâjmâ bolvun).

Reasons assigned for holding silence during meals after the recital of Baj.

Xenophon refers to this custom of holding silence during meals, and says that it was enjoined with a view that there might be no excitement while partaking of meals. This explanation of the custom corresponds with what is said to be given by medical men at present that a meal when disturbed with some exciting conversation is not easily digested and that therefore there must be a perfect peace of mind during the meals. Maçoucdi (Vol. II, p. 108) says that it was Kayomars who enjoined silence from a health point of view (Vide my Asiatic Papers Vol. II, p. 283). The Indian Purâns also refer to this Iranian custom.

Albiruni, a Mahomedan author, says that this custom of holding silence during meals was introduced in ancient Persia in the time of its Peshdadian king Faridoon. When this monarch freed Persia from the tyrannous yoke of Zohak, the people resolved to observe this custom as an expression of gratitude to God for the boon of freeing them from the thralldom of Zohak (Albiruni's Chronology, p. 209). Ammian is said to refer to this custom. He says that the ancient Persians were prohibited from speaking [374] while dining. The reason which he is said to have given, viz., "nothing might get polluted by the spittle"9 does not seem to be correct.

9. The Religion and Customs of the Parsees, by Dr. Adolph Rapp, translated by K. R. Cama, p. 302.

Completion of the Baj. Baj dharvi and Baj mukvi.

The recital of the Baj or grace before meals is technically spoken of as Baj dharvi, i.e., to hold the Baj. After the meals, a small prayer is again recited. That is technically spoken of as Baj melvi or Baj mukvi, i.e., to give up the Baj. It is only after reciting this that the eaters are to break their silence. After this recital they generally perform the kusti, i.e., untie and retie the kusti with the recital of its nirang or prayer.

(2) Baj recited at natural functions.

A person when going to answer the calls of nature has to take a Baj and after performing the function, to finish it. It is generally known as "pishâb ni Baj," i.e., the Baj recited while passing water. When at about three steps from the appointed place for the purpose, he recites "Guneh shekastê sad hazâr bâd" (i.e. May wrong actions be done away with hundred thousand times) and an Ahunwar. Then after performing the natural function, and after retiring for about three steps, he finishes the Baj. To do this he has to recite Ashem Vohu thrice, Yasna Ha 35.2, twice, Ha 35.5, thrice and then Ha 18.9, once.

(3) Baj for the consecration of certain religious requisites.

There are several Bajs or prayers which are recited for the preparation and consecration of certain things required in the ritual. For example, the sacred thread [kusti], after being prepared by the women of the priestly class, is cut and consecrated by the priest with the recital of the smaller Srosh Baj and a particular nirang. (Vide above p.184). [375]

(4) Baj for bathing.

Before bathing, one recites the Srosh Baj up to the word Ashahê in the "kem nâ Mazdâ" prayer and then unclothes himself and bathes. Then having put on the clothes, he finishes the Baj commencing with the words "nemaschâ yâ Armaitish izhâchâ" and then puts on the kusti.

Technical phraseology about the Baj.

In the recital of all the Bajs there are three stages:—(1) The commencement of the recital of the Baj. It is technically spoken of as "Baj dharvi" or "Baj levi," i.e., "to hold the Baj" or "to take the Baj." (2) Then follows the function itself, whether it be that of taking the meals, bathing, consecrating a thing or anything else. (3) Then follows the recital of the concluding portion of the Baj which is spoken of as "Baj mukvi." i.e., to lay down or finish the Baj.

The object aimed at in the recital of the Bajs and Nirangs.

Some of these Bajs and Nirangs, which are lesser forms of prayer formulae, recited on small petty occasions, are rarely recited now, and most of them are recited by the priestly class. The object which led to their composition and compilation at first was to indicate that a man must take a serious view of life, and see that even in the enjoyment of God's blessings and in all kinds of work, there is always, what can be called a religious side of the question. When a thing has to be done, let it be done with the ultimate view of doing good to all around us, It meant to indicate that as Ruskin said "There is religion in everything around us."

A religious bent was thought to be given to every action, so that, in the end, it may lead to ennoble the mind. As a writer10 says: "Every act and function of the body should be consecrated to the soul and mind; the traveler on this way should pray unceasingly, by devoting his every act unto his God, thinking [376] when eating: "As this food nourishes the body, so may the food of wisdom nourish the mind;" and when bathing: "As this water purifies the body, so may the water of life vivify the mind;" or when freeing the body of impurities: "As these impurities pass from the body, so may the refuse of opinion pass from the mind."

10. G. R. Mead, The Gnosis of the Mind, London, 1906, p. 13.





As said above, by the Outer Liturgical Services, I mean, "those religious services which may be, but need not necessarily be, performed in a Dar-e Mihr or a place specially allotted for the purpose. They can also be performed in any ordinary or private house or place. Again, they may be performed by any priest, even by one who does not observe the Bareshnum, or by one who has only gone through the Na.var and not the Martab initiation." These Outer Liturgical Services are:— I. The Afrinagan. II. The Farokhshi, and III. The Satum.

I—The Afrinagan of the Parsees and the Âpri of the Brahmins.

The word Afrinagan comes from the root fri, Sanskrit pri, to love to praise. So an Afrinagan is a prayer expressive of love or praise. Perhaps, it has received this name from the fact, that that part of it which is common to all Afrinagans begins with the word âfrinâmi. (Âfrinâmi Khshathrayân danghu paiti, etc.) i.e., I pray for, etc. According to Dr. Haug, "in the Afrinagan ceremony of the Parsees there may be discovered a trace of the Brahmanical Âpri ceremony ..... The name is the same: â-pri in Sanskrit, â-fri in the Avesta, which literally means 'to invite;' with which invitation the name of the being or beings, in whose honour the ceremony is being performed must always be mentioned."1

1. Haug's Essays, second edition, p. 284.

The Participants. The Zoti and the Râthwi.

The Afrinagan prayers may be recited by all priests, even by those not observing the Barashnom and even by those who have not gone through the second degree of Martab. They are performed generally by two or more priests. At times—and that very rarely when a second priest is not [378] available — they are recited even by one priest. The senior, who begins the ceremony with the recital of the Dibache, is called Zoti or Joti which is the later form of Avesta Zaotar, lit., one who performs the ceremony. He is so called, because he is the principal performer of ceremonies. The other is called Âtra-vakhshi, i.e., one who keeps up or feeds (vakhsh) the fire (Âtar). He is so called, because he sits near the fire vase and feeds the fire. He is also called Raspi, i.e., assistant, from Avesta root râs to help. He is also spoken of as Râthwi, i.e., an offerer from or râd, to give. The two priests who officiate at the Yasna, the Visperad, and the Vendidad ceremonies are also similarly called the Zaoti and the Atravakhshi or Raspi or Râthwi. Any number of priests can take part in these ceremonies. Only one can act as Zoti, the rest who join the Atravakhshi act as Raspi. Even laymen can participate in the prayer as Raspis. Again, the Afrinagans can be recited anywhere, even in private residences and need not have any special or enclosed space. Their recital must begin, as in the case of all prayers, with Padyab-Kusti. Though any number of priests can take part in an Afrinagan ceremony, it is only two who perform the actual ceremony.

Parts of an Afrinagan.

Each Afrinagan is divided into three parts. I. The Pazand Dibache, II. The Afrinagan proper in the Avesta language and III. The Pazand Afrin.

Of these three parts, the Zoti recites all the three and the Atravakhshi, Râthwi or Raspi recites with him only the second part. We will describe these three parts:—

1. The Dibache.

In the matter of all liturgical services, the Dibache is the principal part. One must clearly understand what the Dibache is, so that he may have a clear grasp of the object of the Liturgical services.2 [379] The word Dibache is Persian and means "preface." It is made up of dibâ brocade and the diminutive particle cheh. So, literally, it means "the lesser brocade." As brocade, which is a kind of silk stuff, is superior to other stuffs, so, the preface (dibache) which precedes a book is superior to other parts of the book, inasmuch as it is often written in a good ornamental style and prepares the reader for what he expects to read in the book. In the Afrinagan prayer also, the Dibache is the principal part, wherein the reciter announces the subject or the name of the particular Afrinagan which is to be recited, the name of the person, living or dead, in whose honour the prayer is recited, the name of the person who directs (farmâyashné) the performance of the ceremony, etc. The more proper rendering of the word in the case of the Dibache of the Liturgical services of the Parsees would be, I think, "Exordium," meaning the introductory part of the service which prepares the audience or the congregation for the main rmbject of the service. The Dibache plays a prominent part in all liturgical services — in the Yasna, Vendidad, Visparad, Baj, Afrinagan, Farokhshi, Satum, Pâvi, etc. All these services have a Dibache which is almost common. It is written in the Pazand language and, as its name implies, is to be recited in the beginning of prayers. It is so recited, for example in the beginning of the Afrinagans. But in the case of long services which have long recitals of more than one prayer or of an aggregation of prayers, it has to be recited in the midst of these services. For example, though in the case of the Afrinagan it precedes, as its name implies, every Afrinagan, yet the Afrinagan ceremony as a whole being an aggregate of several Afrinagans, the Dibache, besides being repeated in the very beginning, has to be repeated in the midst of the whole ceremony or recital before each separate kardeh or section of the Afrinagan.

2. Vide for translation, Spiegel, translated by Bleeck, Khordeh Avesta, 172. Spiegel is wrong in speaking of it as "Prayers after the Afergâns," It is a "Prayer before the Afrinagans."

Now the general rule of the Zoroastrian rubric is this: All prayers written in the Pazend language or even in the later Persian language, when they precede or occur in the beginning [380] of the Avesta prayers, or when they occur at the end, are recited in the ordinary open loud tone in which we ordinarily speak. But, when they occur in the midst of Avesta prayers or of an aggregate of prayers, they are recited in a suppressed low muttering tone which is then said to be uttered in Baj.3 So the Pazand Dibache, when recited in the beginning of a prayer, is recited in the ordinary open loud tone, but when recited in the midst of a prayer, a ceremony or an aggregate of prayers, it is recited in Baj.

3. Pers. "baj "a silence observed by the Magi at meals and while performing their ablutions" (Steingass, Persian Dictionary). The prayer muttered in a low tone is also said to be uttered in bâj. The Zamzama referred to by Firdousi and other Mahomedan writers, is this recital in baj. As Maçoudi, says, the illiterate speak of the Avesta as Zamzama. "Il. (Zeradecht, fils d'Espiman) fut le prophête des Madjou (Guèbres) at leur apporta le livre que le vulgaire appele Zemzemeh, mais dont le vrai nom, chez les Madjous, est Bestah (Avesta)." (Maçoudi traduit par Barbier de Meynard, Vol. II, p. 124).

The Dibache of the Afrinagan is like the Dibache of all liturgical services, but it has one additional thing, viz., that in the very beginning it announces (a) the number of Ahunwar prayers that are to be recited with the Afrinagans proper, and (b) the gah or period of the day in which the ceremony is performed. An Afrinagan can, like the baj, be recited in any part of the day.

We said above that the Dibache or the exordium announces to the audience or the congregation the main subjects of the service. Those main subjects are two:

(A) It announces the name of the Yazata or the Heavenly being in whose honour, or for whose glorification or invocation, the service is celebrated or the ceremony performed. (B) It announces the name of the person — living or dead — in whose honour or memory the service is held and the name of the person at whose instruction or direction it is held. The technical phrases for these two kinds of announcements are—

(A) Khshnûman, and

(B) Yâd. [381]

We will speak of these two here at some length, so that these words which occur often may be clearly understood.

(A) Khshnûman.

The word "Khshnûman" comes from the Avesta root khshnu (Sanskrit khshnu) to please, to rejoice, to gladden, to satisfy. So the word Khshnûman means "joy, satisfaction, pleasure." Now all the Parsee liturgical ceremonies are performed and the accompanying recitals are made for the Khshnuman of God, his Amesha Spentas or the Archangels, his Yazatas or angels, — in short, for the Khshnuman of God and His Heavenly Beings. They are celebrated in their Glory, to glorify them, to rejoice them, to satisfy them. All Parsee prayers, whether great or small, whether liturgical or non-liturgical, begin with the words "Khshnaothra Ahurahê Mazdâo, Ashem Vohu ......." i.e. "I say this or I do this) to please or glorify the Great Omniscient Lord." So, the Dibache announces the Khshnuman of the particular Heavenly Being or Power in whose honour or for whose glorification the ceremony is performed and the recital made. For example, if the service is for the Khshnuman or glorification of Ahura Mazda, the Dibache announces it in the words "in Khshnûman i-Hormuzd Khudâi be-resâd," i.e., "may this (service) be (lit. arrive) for the pleasure, joy or glorification of Ahura Mazda." If it be for the Yazata Vohuman, then the words used are "in Khshnûman-i-Bahman Ameshâspend be-resâd," and so on, according as the Yazata or the Heavenly Being or the angel be one or another. If it be in the celebration of a Gahambar, i.e., a season festival, then the particular Gahambar which is being celebrated or commemorated is mentioned. The general formula for the announcement of the Khshnûman is "in Khshnûman-i-N. N. ...4 be-resâd."

4. Here the name of the Yazata or the Gahambar, etc., is mentioned.

When the Khshnûman is thus announced in the Dibache, then, in the Afrinagan proper, the recital of which follows that of the [382] Dibache, after the recital of the particular Gah or time of the day in which the service is held, the appropriate respective formula praising that particular Yazata and describing his attributes is recited. These formulas are said to be the particular respective Khshnumans of those particular Yazatas. These Khshnûmans are two: one is said to be nâni or the small Khshnûman, and the other vadi or greater Khshnûman. They are taken from the Siroza prayer or the Siroza Yasht, which also is aaid to contain the nânâ or the small Sirozas and the vadá or greater Sirozas. The small Khshnûman is recited after the word frasastayaêcha in the recital of the Gah and the greater after "Vidhvâô mraotû." In the recital of the Khshnûman of the Yazatas, the Khshnûman of Ahura Mazda and the Amesha Spentas always precedes, i.e., the worshipper first declares, that the service is held for the Khshnûman or glorification of Ahura Mazda, or God himself, and of His Amesha Spentas or the Archangels, and then for that of the particular Yazata named. The small Khshnûman is repeated in the Yasnemcha prayer which generally ends all prayers.

The following words in the recital of the Dibache draw our special attention: Pa ganj-i Dâdâr Ahura Mazda rayômand khorehmand Ameshaspand be-resâd, i.e. "May these (celebrations) arrive to the treasury of the Brilliant and Glorious Ahura Mazda and the Amesha Spentas." What is meant is this: The worshipper has to pray with a view to ask for God's blessings over all. His prayers are to go to the treasury (ganj) of God, from which there may be a general distribution to all. The influence of even one individual worshipper is far-reaching. His prayers spread their influence round about, in his household, in his city, in his country. He is to pray, not for himself but for many round about him. The words of the Afrinagan point to what Herodotus (Bk. I, 132) says of the ancient Persians, that they prayed not only for themselves but for the whole community, at the head of which stood the King. [383]

(B) The Yâd in the Dibache. The Zindeh ravân and the Anousheh-ravân.

The word yâd is Persian and means "remembrance." All the liturgical services, besides being performed in honour of a particular Heavenly being or beings, are celebrated in the name or in the memory of somebody who is named in the recital. The words used are "aidar yâd bâd," i.e., "may be remembered here." The services may be performed in the name or in the memory of the living or the dead. If it is performed for the living, it is said to be performed for the Zindeh-ravân, i.e., for the living soul. If for the dead, for the Anoushêh-ravân, i.e., the immortal soul (of the dead). The word Anoushêh-ravân is Anaosha-urvan of the Avesta, i.e., immortal-souled. It is an epithet applied to the dead in religious phraseology.5

5. It is this word Anousheh-ravân, which gave to Chosroes I, his Persian name Noshirvân. The modem Parsee name Nosherwanjee or Nusserwanjee comes from it.

The following are the different forms of the nomenclature used for the Yâd in the Dibache. Suppose that the ceremony or service is for one Jamshed who is the son of Rustam. 1. If Jamshed is living his name is recited thus: "Nam chishti6 Zindeh-ravân Behedin Jamshed Behedin Rustam aidar yâd bâd," i.e., "May the person with a living soul and bearing the name Behedin Jamshed (son of) Behedin Rustom be remembered here." 2. If the person is dead, his name is recited thus: "Nam chishti Anousheh-ravân Behedin Jamshed Behedin Rustam aidar yâd bâd Anousheh-ravân ravâni," i.e., May the immortal-souled person bearing the name Behedin Jamshed (son of) Behedin Rustam be remembered here. In the first case, [384] viz., of the Zindeh-ravân, if the father of the person be living, for the last words "aidar yâd bâd" the word "be-resâd" i.e., may good or help reach him, is used.

6. Nam-chishti, from Av. nâman, name, and chishta from chish or chîsh to give, bestow, attribute, means "the person to whom such or such a name has been given or attributed." The word may also mean famous, celebrated. Later translators translate the word by nâm-ba-nâm (K. E. Kanga's Khordah Avesta, 8th ed. Afrin-i Ardafarosh s. 13) when it occurs in the Afrinagan and Afrin. But that meaning does not seem to suit there. It may suit in the Pahlavi Vendidad (1:21; 3:41; V, 34, etc.), where it occurs in the sense of details. (Nam-chishtik lâ goft ikvimunet, i.e., the details are not given).

The word Behedin in the above formula means a layman, lit. one of the good religion. If the person belongs to a priestly class and has gone through the first degree of priesthood, the epithet 'Ervad' (Pahl. herbad from Av. aethra-paiti, i.e., a master of learning, a teacher) is used instead of 'Behedin.' If he belongs to the priestly class but has not gone through the degree of priesthood, he is spoken of as "ostâ (Av. hâvishta a disciple, a learner). If the person is a lady of the priestly class, she is spoken of as "Osti." If the person is a high priest, he is spoken of as "Dastur." Similar appellations are added to the name of the father according as he is a priest or otherwise.

Farmâyashna, or the name of the person directing the performance of the ceremony.

The recital of the name of the person, whether dead or alive, for whom the ceremony is performed, is followed by a mention of the name of the person who directs that the ceremony may be performed. The formula adopted for this announcement is "Farmâyashna Behedin N.7 Mazdayasni be-resâd, i.e., "This ceremony is performed at the direction of the Mazdayasnian Behedin N. N. May help or good come to him." The name of the elder or the head of the family is generally mentioned as the person directing the performance of the ceremony.

7. Here the name of the person directing the performance is mentioned.

II. The Afrinagan proper. Its (a) variable and (b) invariable parts.

The Afrinagan proper consists of two parts: (a) The Variable part and (b) The Invariable part.

(a) On the completion of the Dibache, which is recited by only one of the priests, the other priest joins him in the recital of the Afrinagan proper. At first, the number of the Ahunwars, which varies according to the nature of the Afrinagan as referred to above, are recited; then follow the recital of the formula of [385] the gah or the period of the day, and that of the Khshnûman of the Heavenly Being in whose honour it is recited. Then follows the particular Kardeh of the Afrinagan. The following table gives the names of the Afrinagans and the particular Kardeh or section of the Avesta that is recited in it and the number of Ahunwars with which each Afrinagan begins (vide Darab Hormuzdyar's Rivayet by Ervad M. R. Unwala, Vol. I, p. 15):—

 Names of the Afrinagans.No. of Ahunwars. Names of the Kardeh or sections recited. When to be recited
1Afrinagan of Dadar Ohrmazd10 Tâo ahmi nmânê (Y60:2-7)On any day.
2Afrinagan of the Fireshtes or the Yazatas7 Ditto (Some recite "Yâo Visâd" Kardeh.)On any day.
3Afrinagan of the Sirozas7 Ditto.On any day. Especially the 30th day after death and on the day preceding the first anniversary after death.
4Afrinagan of Ardafrawash8 Yâo Visâd.* Yt. 13.49-52, 156, 157. * (Some recite "Tâo ahmi nmânê," restricting "Yâo Visâd" to the last ten days of the year.) On any day. It is the special Afrinagan for the dead. [386]
5Afrinagan Dahman2 Tâo ahmi nmânêOn any day. These Afrinagan Kardehs are recited after all kinds of Afrinagan.
6Afrinagan of Sraosha5 First three sections of Srosh Yasht (Y57:1-8.)On any day. These Afrinagan Kardehs are recited after all kinds of Afrinagan.
7Afrinagan of Rapithwin12 Athâzi mraôt. (It has a special Kardeh of its own.) Only on the Rapithwin Jashan day, i.e. the 3rd day (Ardwahisht) of the 1st month (Frawardin).* (That is the present practice, but some books of ritual give ruz 6, mah 1, and ruz 29, mah 7 also.)
8Afrinagan of Gahambar4 Dâtâcha aêtê Mazdayasna. (It has a special Kardeh of its own.) On the five days of each of the six Gahambars.
9Afrinagan of Gatha8 Yâo Visâd During the five Gatha days, i.e., the five intercalary days at the end of the year.
10Afrinagan of Dahm Yazata7 Tâo ahmi nmânê On any day, but especially on the dawn of the 4th day after death.
11Afrinagan of Mino Nawar7 Ahurem Mazdâm. (It has a special Kardeh of its own.) To be recited by the Nawar or initiate on the first of the four last days of his initiation.

(b) After the recital of the particular Kardeh which forms the particular Afrinagan, the second priest, the Atravakhshi gets up from his place and standing before the fire and holding a flower, now given him by the first priest, the Joti, recites with him the Kardeh of "Afrinâmi Khshathrayân Danghu paiti."8 This Kardeh is invariable and is repeated after the variable part of all Afrinagans. It contains an excellent prayer, invoking blessings upon the ruler of the land, on whose stable, just and kind rule depends the prosperity of the country and of the people. It is as it were an Avestan "God save the King."

8. Westergaard, p. 321 Afrigan-i Gahambar 14-19.

III. The Afrin. Its different significations.

The word Afrin [Âfrin] literally means "benedictions." This part of the Afrinagan prayers, which is, like the first part, written in the Pazand language, is so called, because it is full of benedictions. These Afrins are generally recited, but they do not form a necessary part of the Afrinagan ceremony. One can, if he likes, finish the Afrinagan ceremony after the recital of the Afrinagan proper, by reciting the finishing-Baj. For example, in the Afrinagan of Sraosha, recited for the first three nights at the house where a man dies, no Afrin is recited. There are several kinds of Afrins. Some of these are such as must be recited on particular occasions and after particular Afrinagans. The recital of others is optional. They are the following:—

  1. Afrin of Gahambar.
  2. Afrin of Rapithwin,
  3. Afrin of Ardafrawash.
  4. Afrin of the names of Buzorgs, or the departed worthies.
  5. Afrin of Myazd.
  6. Afrin of Spitaman Zarthosht.
  7. Afrin of the Hamkaras, or the Afrin of Dahman.
  8. Afrin-i Gahambar pâvi.

I will describe these Afrins in brief. [388]

1. Afrin of Gahambar.

It is an Afrin which can only be recited after the Afrinagan of the Gahambars on each of the five days of the Gahambars or the six season festivals. This Afrin consists of three parts, the first and the last of which are Afrins proper.9 1. In the first part the worshipper prays that the spiritual strength of the ceremony and the ritual may reach all. 2. It is the second part which renders this Afrin the Afrin of Gahambar, because, in it particular references are made to the six Gahambars of the year, to the periods of the year when they occur and to the different grand objects10 of God's creation connected with those periods. 3. The third part again contains some benedictions.

9. Vide Spiegel, translated by Bleeck, Khordah Avesta, p. 179.

10. The order in which the grand objects were created is well nigh the same as that in the Genesis, viz., the Heavens, Water, Land, Trees, Cattle, and Man. The Genesis speaks of the Creation on six consecutive days but this Afrin gives intervals of days between each of the six creations as follows; 45, 60, 75, 30, 80, 75, thus completing the 365 days of the year, the first creation, viz., the Heavens being created on the 45th day of the year.

2. Afrin of Rapithwin.

It is so called because it is the Afrin which is specially recited after the Afrinagan of Rapithwin, which is recited on the third day, (Ardwahisht) of Frawardin, the first month of the year. It may be recited after other Afrinagans on other occasions. This Afrin can be divided into two parts:—1. The first part contains the general form of benedictions found in other Afrins. 2. The second part contains a list of the names of the departed worthies of ancient Iran. Their Farohars or guarding spirits are remembered and commemorated. It contains, as it were, two lists of canonization; one, of the worthies of the time of the cycle of Zoroaster, and another that of the cycle of the Sassanian times.

3. Afrin of Ardafarosh.

It is so called because it is generally recited after the Afrinagan of Ardafrawash or Ardafarohar or Ardafarosh,11 which is the Afrinagan generally [389] recited in honour of the dead. The worshipper prays in this Afrin that the spiritual strength of the ceremony performed, or of the recital made, may be a source of pleasure and help to the Farohars or the spirits of all who have departed and all who may depart, from the time of Gayomard down to that of the coming Soshyos.

11. Ardâ is Av. arêta, i.e., asha holy and farosh is Av. Fravashi. The word thus means "the holy spirits."

4. Afrin of the names of the Buzorgs.

It is an Afrin in the strict sense of the word. It is so called, because it contains a list of the names of of the some of the departed worthies (buzorgs) of ancient Iran, such as, Zarir, Siavakhsh, Bejan, Gushtasp, Sam Nariman, Rustam, Asfandyar, and Jamasp. The particular traits of character in which they excelled are mentioned, and it is prayed that the living person, in whose honour or for whose benefit the ceremony is performed or the person at whose direction (Farmâyashnê) the ceremony is performed, may possess those traits of character. In this Afrin, the name of the director is specially mentioned and good wishes expressed for him. This Afrin is generally recited after the Afrin of Ardafrawash as an additional Afrin. Being a prayer of benedictions in the ordinary sense of the word it forms a part of the marriage service also. When so recited, the names of the marrying couples are mentioned therein and blessings invoked upon them.

5. Afrin of Myazd.

This Afrin has fallen rather into disuse. It is recited rarely. It seems to have been so called because it was recited with the Myazd (the offerings of fruit, flowers, water, milk, etc.) before it.

6. Afrin-i Spitaman Zarthosht.

While all the Afrins above referred to are in the Pazand language, this is the only Afrin in the old Avesta language. Strictly speaking, it cannot be put into the class of Afrins, by which term is generally understood prayers recited after the Afrinagans as benedictions, because it is never recited during the Afrinagan ceremony. But in the strict and literal sense of the word Afrin, it is a real Afrin or a benediction. It is addressed in the second person. It is so called [390] because it is said to have been composed by Zarthosht or Zoroaster and addressed to his royal patron king Gushtasp. Such being the case, its phraseology is to a great extent adopted, even now, by the Dasturs and other priests when they present laudatory addresses to personages of the Royal family.12

12. For its translation vide Spiegel, translated by Bleeck, Khordeh Avesta XL, p. 140.

7. Afrin of Hamkârâ.

This Afrin is generally recited after the Afrins of Ardafrawash and of the Buzorgs. It can be recited alone after any Afrinagan. It is known by several following names: (a) Afrin of Hamkara. It is so called because the Hamkars (colaborateurs) of the Amesha Spentas are mentioned therein.13

13. The colaborateurs of the seven Amesha Spentas are the following:—
1 Ahura Mazda—Dae-pa-Adar, Dae-pa-Mihr, Dae-pa-Din.
2 Vohuman (Vohumana)—Mah, Goshorun (Dravasp), Ram.
3 Ardwahisht (Asha Vahishta)—Adar, Srosh, Warharan.
4 Shahrewar (Khshathra Vairya)—Khwarshed, Mihr, Asman, Aneran.
5 Spandarmad (Spenta Armaiti)—Aban, Din, Ard (Ashishwangh), Mahraspand.
6 Hordad (Haurvatat)—Tir/Tishtar (Tishtrya), Ardafrawash (Frawardin), Wad/Gowad.
7 Amurdad (Ameretat)—Rashnu, Ashtad, Zam (Jamyad).
[See also below, p. 483.]

(b) Afrin of Haft Ameshaspand. It is so called because the seven (haft) Ameshaspands or archangels are one by one mentioned therein; and the demons or Evil spirits whom they combat are referred to.14

14. Spiegel translates it under this head. Vide Khordeh Avesta, translated by Bleeck, p. 176.
(c) Afrin-i-Dahman. It is so called because the Dahmân, i.e., the pious, the good, who had long since departed — from Gayomard, the Peshdadian King, to Asfandyar of the Kayanian dynasty — are remembered therein.

8. Afrin-i Gahambar Châshni or Afrin-i Gahambar Pâvi.

This Afrin is not strictly an Afrin, but it is spoken of as such. Only its first two sections form an Afrin, the rest being the Dibache referred to above. It is recited over wine and milk [391] on the occasions of the Gahambars or season festivals. It is so called because at one time, the celebrants sat within a place enclosed by a pavi.

Ritual of the Afrinagan.

Having described at length the different parts and kinds of the Afrinagan, I will now describe the ritual:— Two or more priests perform the Padyab-Kusti, as is usually the case, before commencing the prayers. They seat themselves on a carpet. On a sheet of white cloth, the Zoti has before him in his front a tray which contains myazd, i.e., fruits and flowers of the season. At times, when there is a large quantity of the mycwl, there are more than one tray. Besides fruit and flowers, there are milk, wine, water and sherbet (or syrup) in the tray in small vessels or glasses. Then, next to the tray containing fruit, flowers, and the above things, there is a fire vase opposite to the Zoti. Near the vase, there is a tray containing sandalwood and frankincense. The following diagram shows the position of the priests and the arrangement of the trays, etc.

arrangement of trays for Afrinagan

A The seat of the Zoti.

B The seat of the Raspi or Atravakhshi.

C Vase of the Fire with a ladle and tongs.

D Tray containing sandalwood and frankincense.

E Tray containing the myazd, i.e., fruit, flowers, milk, wine, water, sherbet, etc. [392]

Myazda and its châshni or communion.

The word myazda comes from the Avesta root "mid" Sanskrit mid to bestow. So, it means things religiously offered in ceremonies.15 The dron or the sacred bread, fruit, flowers, wine, milk, etc., which are offered, and over which prayers are recited are all jointly known as myazda. The Fravashis or the guarding spirits of the departed ones take delight in coming to the place where such myazd is offered. We read in the Frawardin Yasht (Yasht 13:64): "We worship the good, strong, beneficent Fravashis of the faithful ... who run by tens of thousands into the midst of the Myazdas."16

15. S. B. E. XXIII p. 196.

16. Gathas, by Dr. Mills, p. 134.

In the Gathas, myazd is offered to Ahura Mazda. "O Ahura! We offer Myazda to thee and to Asha with humility (or, with prayers nemanghâ. Ha, 34:3). " Among the different things offered, such as water, milk, wine, fruits. flowers, etc., fruits are specially spoken of as the myazda. For example, in the above passage of the Gatha, the Pahlavi translator renders the word myazda by fruit (bar). He says: "I place the fruit within thy possession (bar pavan khvesh-i-lak yakhsenunam).17 Neryosang also translates the word by "phala," i.e., fruit. So, nowadays, the Parsees generally understand by the word myazd, which is corrupted into mej, "fruit used in religious ceremonies."

17. Essays on the Parsis, 2nd ed., p. 139.

Haug derives the word otherwise. He says: "Originally it meant "flesh," as may be clearly soon from the cognate Armenian mis, "meat" (comp. Sans. mânsa) being identical with "meat." Some derive the word "mass" of the Christian ritual from the same source. Others derive the word "mass" from missa in the Latin phrase "Ite missa est," i.e. "Go, it is dismissed," but this derivation is supposed to be wrong and the initial conception is said to be of "flesh" and of a flesh-offering [393] offering in sacrifice.18 In old High German, the word is maz, in Gothic matz. In this sense, the word "massacre" is taken to be masskhwar i.e., flesh-eater. Lat. mensa, which is a table or the food spread thereon, has a similar connection. Similarly in Persian miz is "table" as well as a guest. Mizbán means a "host." The word myazd in Persian also means a "banquet." In Latin "seconda mensa" similarly means "a second course."

18. Vide Sir E. Cox's articles in 'The Nineteenth century of March 1905' wherein the Christian ritual is said to have existed long before Christianity, in the Eleusian and Mithraic Mysteries.

Originally the dron, i.e., the sacred bread was included in the word "myazda." For example, in the Yasna, in one of the chapters known as those of Srosh Dron (Ha 3), the word myazda includes the dron. But, latterly, the word dron has often been mentioned separately; for example, in the Afrin (Darun yashtahom, myazd hamirâyenim). In a town like Naosari, in the ordinary parlance of priests, the word myazd has come to mean the ceremony of Afrinagan.

All the things offered as myazda are eatables (Kharethem myazdem, Ha 3:1) and the worshippers partake of them in a ceremonious way. This partaking of the eatables presented as myazda is spoken of as "châshni" (lit., tasting). It is only those who are deserving, who have deserved it by their righteousness (asha) and good conduct (frêreti) that are asked to participate in the châshni (Yasna, Ha 8:2). As Prof. Darmesteter says, the public gatherings for offering the myazda and for eating them (châshni) were, as it were, gatherings for religious trials. He says: "Cette communion est une sorte d' épreuve religieuse. Il faut que le fidèle se sente en état de grâce pour y toucher et il semble, d'aprés l'adjuration solennelle faite par le Zaotar, que les effets du Myazda trahissent celui qui le consomme en êtat de péchê." (Le Zend Avesta, Vol. I, p. 75). The ultimate object of these offerings is, that they may suggest to the [394] worshippers, that the best offering is that of righteous actions. Prayer, praise and righteousness are the best offerings acceptable to God.

Wine in the Afrinagan ceremony.

Wine is generally used in the Afrinagan and other religious ceremonies. There are some Parsees now, who, being total abstainers abstain from using wine in the ceremonies at their place. If we look to the time of the Avesta, we find no prohibition. But, we find that the wine then used was the juice of the grapes. That it was a sweet, nourishing and health-giving drink appears from several facts:—

1. Firstly, the very Avestaic word for wine shows, that it was a drink as sweet as honey. This Avestaic word is madhô which corresponds to the Sanskrit madhû, Lat. mel, and French miel, i.e., honey.

2. Secondly, the root of the word shows its medicinal virtue, It comes from an old Aryan root mad or madh Sans. madh Latin mad-êri, meaning to make a remedy, from which comes our English word medicine. "Dâru," the later Persian word for wine which is now commonly used in Gujarati, also has the etymological meaning of medicine. Davâ-dâru is a colloquial phrase for medical treatment. It comes from an old Aryan root dru, Sanskrit dhru, meaning to be strong, to be healthy.

3. Thirdly, it was prescribed as nourishment to ladies in their accouchement (Vendidad 5:52).

4. Fourthly, being a nourishing drink, its use was permitted even among the priesthood (Vendidad 14:17).

5. Fifthly, in one of the later writings, the Afrin-i-Gahambar, where they speak about the six Gahambars, it is said that the merit of celebrating the last season festival of the year, ihe Hamaspathmaedyem Gahambar, in honour of the creation of man, is just the same as that of feeding the poor and the pious. In the food referred to here, wine is spoken of as a part of the diet. At one time, it was generally thought, and [395] even now it is thought by some, to be very meritorious to wste a little of the wine used in the religious ceremonies of the Gahambar festival.

6. Sixthly, an allusion to wine in the recital of the blessings of the marriage ceremony of the Ashirvad, shows that the wine used in the old Parsee books was not the wine that intoxicated. The officiating priests, in the recital of a long list of blessings that are invoked upon the marrying couple, wish the bride and bridegroom to be as sparkling and cheerful as wine.

Coming to the time of the Pahlavi literature of the Parsees, which flourished during the period of the Sassanian dynasty, we find Pahlavi writers permitting the use of wine and preaching moderation. Adarbad Marespand, in his Pand-nâmeh, or Book of Advice, thus admonishes his son: "Make a moderate use of wine, because he who makes an immoderate use, committeth various sinful acts." The Dadistan-e Denig (ch. 50, 51) allows the use of wine and admonishes every man to exert moral control over himself. To the robust and intelligent who can do without wine, it recommends abstinence. To others it recommends moderation. Only that man is justified to take wine, who can thereby do some good to himself, or at least can do no harm to himself, If his humata, hukhta, and hvarshta, i.e., his good thoughts, good words, and good deeds are in the least perverted by drink, he must abstain from it. The book advises a man to determine for himself once for all what moderate quantity he can take without doing any harm. Having once determined that quantity, he is never to exceed it. The most that a man should take is three glasses of diluted wine. If he exceeds that quantity there is a likelihood of his good thoughts, words, and deeds being perverted.19 The Denkard (Vol. I, p. 4) considers excessive drinking to be a sin as it keeps away a person from prayers.

19. On the subject of the trade of wine-sellers, the Dadestan-e Denig says, that not only is a man who makes an improper and immoderate use of wine guilty, but also a wine-seller who knowingly sells wine to those who make an improper use of it. It was deemed improper and unlawful for a wine-seller to continue to sell wine, for the sake of his pocket, to a customer who was the worse for liquor. He is to make it a point to sell wine to those only who can do some good to themselves by that drink, or, at least, no harm either to themselves or to others. For the use of wine among the Persians, as referred to by the Classical writers, etc. Vide my paper "Wine among the ancient Persians" (1888).

Flowers in the Afrinagan Ceremony. The Language of Flowers.

Flowers play a prominent part in the Afrinagan Ceremony. If flowers are not available, leaves of any fragrant plant like the sabza (basil) are used. It appears, that in former times special flowers were used for the Afrinagans of particular Yazatas or angels in whose honour or with whose Khshnûman the separate Afrinagans were recited. It appears that the ancient Persians had, as it were, a language of flowers of their Own. The Bundahishn (Chap. 27:24) gives a list of the different flowers which were said to be the special flowers of the different Yazatas. The association of the different flowers with the different angels depended upon the moral qualities or characteristics believed to have been associated with those angels. For example, the Amesha Spenta Shahrewar (whose Avesta name is Khshathra Vairya) represents the Sovereign Will of God. Then he presides over the sovereign power of kings. He typified sovereignty, both physical and mental. The sovereignty of a king implies Order, Equity, or Justice. So Plutarch represents Shehrewar as the god of Order, Equity, or Justice. Now, according to the Bundahishn, the flower known as "Shâh-Asparêm" or the Royal Asparem is the special flower of this Amesha Spenta. This specialisation is very appropriate. The Shah-asparem of the Bundahishn is the flower "basil." The word "Basil" comes from Basilicus. This flower is the "Königskraut" of the Germans. It is the "plant royale" of the French. We thus see, that the flower Shah-asparem or the Basil is very appropriately specialized as the flower of Shahrewar who presides Over sovereignty — sovereignty of body and sovereignty of mind. It appears then, that, in former times, when one recited [397] the Afrinagan with the Khshnûman of Shahrewar, he used eight Shah-asparem or Basil flowers which symbolized sovereign will. In the same manner, in the recital of the Afrinagans of different Yazatas, different flowers, which were special to them and which symbolized the special characteristics or qualities over which the Yazatas presided, were used.

The following list shows the connection of different flowers with different Yazatas.

 Name of the Yazata. Pahlavi name of the flower Probable equivalent names in English.
1Ahura Mazda Mûrd YâsminJasamine with leaves like the myrtle.
2Vohuman Saman-i-safidTrefoil.
3Ardwahisht Merezan goshSweet Marjoram.
4Shahrewar Shah-sparemBasil-royal.
5Spandarmad Faranj-mashkA sweet Basil, lit., the musk of the Firangis or Franks.
6Hordad SusanLily
7Amurdad ChambêIt is the Sanskrit Champak.
8Dae-pa Adar Vâdruz (vâdrang) bui.Orange flower.
9Adar ÂzergunThe Anemone or the Marigold.
10Aban Nilo-parWater-lily.
11Khwarshed Marv-i-spedCat-thyme (Ger. katzen-kraut. Fr. Le Marum).
12Mah RugesRush or Leek.
13Tir/Tishtar VanaôshFlower of the Wan tree.
14Goshorun MerenVine-flower (Fr. Fleur de vigne. Ger. Weinblüthe).
15Dae-pa-Mihr KâradA flower of the species Pandanus odoratissimus.
16Mihr VanushViolet.
17Srosh Kheri SorkhPepper grass. [398]
18Rashnu NistarunNarcissus.
19Frawardin AorozCock's comb.
20Warharan SisenbarWater mint.
21Ram Kheri zerdYellow Pepper grass.
22Wad, Gowad Vâdrang-buiMountain-balm.
23Dae-pa-Den Shambalit.Fenugreek.
24Den Gul-i-sad vargRosa centi-folia.
25Ard Hamâk hamâk Vahâr Buphthalmus.
26Ashtad Hamâk Hom-i-SafidWhite Haoma.
27Asman Nanâ nânu sparamBread-vegetable.
28Zam KalkamSaffron, Crocus.
29Mahraspand ArtashirânA bitter plant.
30Anagran Haoma datô ai HomHaoma.

The arrangement and the Exchange of the Flowers. The Expression of Approval.

The flowers are at first generally kept in a small tray on the left, and, on the commencement of the recital of each Kardeh or section of the Afrinagan, eight flowers are taken into the principal tray containing the myazd, i.e., milk, water, wine, sherbet, fruit, etc. The eight flowers are arranged in two rows. The first flowers lower down in both these rows point toward the fire vase opposite. The three next are arranged face to face. The following diagram shows the arrangement of the flowers:

arrangement of flowers

The flowers are arranged as above before the commencement of each Kardeh of the Afrinagans. At the end of the recital of the first or the variable part of the Afrinagan, the Raspi or the Atravakhshi gets up from his seat on the carpet and the Zoti gives him the lowest flower on the right hand side and himself holds the lowest on the left hand side. The former, while receiving the flower, utters the words "Ahurahê Mazdâo raêvato Kharenanghatô," i.e., "of the Glorious and Brilliant God." Then both recite together the second or the invariable part of the Afrinagans, the Kardeh of Afrinami. As said before, this part of the Afrinagan invokes the blessings of God upon the ruler of the land. Both recite this portion holding the flowers in their hands.

In Persia, the Zoroastrian priests hold up their finger instead of a flower. It seems that in ancient times, there was the practice for people to hold up their fingers to show approval and consent. In Tibet, even now, when a person with whom you converse, wants to show his approval or agreement with what you say, he raises up his finger. Just as you nod your head a little to show, that you follow what another person with whom you converse says, the Tibetan, now and then raises his finger. We learn from Firdausi that that is a very old custom. When Pirân entrusted young Kaikhosru to some shepherds to be brought up under their care, in order to save him from the grasp of his maternal grandfather Afrasiyab, who, as the result of a dream, thought of killing the boy-prince, the shepherds now and then raised up their fingers to show their approval and consent:20

20. (Johann August Vullers’ Firdusii. Liber Regum, Tomus secundus p. 673, l. 2648. Macan's Calcutta ed. Vol. II p. 482 l. 3. Mohl's Paris ed. Vol. II p. 420.) Vide my paper on "A Tibetan form of Salutation, suggesting an explanation of a Parsee ritual," in the Sir J. J. Z. Madressa Jubilee Volume, pp. 408-14. Vide also my paper on "Tibetan Salutations and a few thoughts suggested by them." (Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay of 1914. Vide my Anthropological Papers. Part II, pp. 120-21.)

This part of the ritual seems to indicate, that, as there is one God above to rule over the world, there must be one King here as his representative to rule over the country. He must be powerful enough to over-rule all impiety, injustice, misrule, oppression, and immorality.

On finishing this second part, both the priests exchange their flowers. This exchange symbolizes the exchange of lives between this world and the next. Souls are born and souls pass away. How do they do so? That is indicated and symbolized by the next process in connection with the flowers. The priests recite twice the prayer of Humatanam, etc. (Yasna Haptanghaiti, Yasna 35:2), wherein the reciters say that they praise those who practise good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. Now the Parsee books say that a pious righteous soul passes away to the other world, to the paradise, with three steps reciting, at each stage, the words Humata, Hukhta, and Hvarshta, i.e., good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.21 So, at this juncture, the Zoti, while reciting the above words Humatanam, etc., lifts up the three flowers on the right hand side, one by one, beginning from above. Then, reciting the same prayer of Humatanam for the second time, similarly lifts up the three flowers on the left hand side, but commencing from below. This process and this recital symbolize the above view, that a pious righteous soul has to come down to and move about in this world and then to pass away from this world to the other with the triad of good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. Having thus lifted up the two sets of three flowers with the above prayer praising goodness of thoughts, words and deeds, he gives them into the hands of the Raspi, who in the end, returns them to him. He finally places them on one side in the tray. At the first recital of the Humatanam prayer and at the first lifting up of the flowers, the Raspi stands on one side of the Fire-vase, i.e., on the right hand side of the Zoti, and, at the second recital, on the other side. He, thus, changes his situation, to symbolize the change of situation on the part of the soul, after death.

21. Vide also the Vispa humata prayer: "All good thoughts, good words, and good deeds lead us to Heaven."

The pointing of the directions with the ladle.

After the above recitals and after the abovesaid two processes of lifting the flowers from their two rows, the Raspi, who was all along standing before the fire-vase holding in his hand the ladle with which he placed sandalwood on the fire-vase, presents the ladle to the Zoti. The Zoti holds it from the side of the broad blade and the Raspi, from the side of the end of the handle. Both recite an Ahunwar and an Ashem Vohu. While reciting the Yathâ, the Zoti moves the ladle in the tray before him pointing out the four sides or directions. While reciting the Ashem, he points to the four corners. In short, he points, as it were, to the different directions of the movements of the sun. In pointing out the first four directions he draws, as it were, a cross X. We know, that anthropologists say, that the Cross existed before Christ. that it symbolized to some extent the ancient sun-worship and pointed out the different directions in connection with the sun. In that respect, it resembled, to a certain extent, the savastika [swastika] of the Hindus which similarly symbolized the movement of the sun. Thus, the pointing of the different sides and corners with the ladle was something like describing a savastika.

After reciting the Ahunwar, and the Ashem, two more Ahunwars and an "Yasnemcha" are recited. Then the two priests pass their hands into each other's hands in a particular way. This process of passing hands is known as Hamazor. Then a short recital of the Humatanam, etc., finishes the Afrinagan prayer. The Zoti then recites one or more Afrins. The priests are, at this last stage, paid their fees spoken of as asho-dâd. I will here describe the terms (a) Hamazor and (b) Ashôdâd above referred to.

(a) Hamazor.

The hamazor (hamâzor) plays an important part in several ceremonies of the Parsees. It is a particular way in which, at the end of several ceremonies, one person passes his hands into the hands of another person. One person, say A, holds forth both his hands flattened out [402] and in the position of the thumbs being uppermost and the palm of one hand facing parallel to the palm of the other. Another person B, with whom he makes the hamazor, similarly holds forth his hands, placing his flattened right hand between A's flattened hands. This process places the flattened right hand of A, in turn, between B's flattened hands. Thus, each holds the right hand of another in the folds of his hands. Having thus placed them, they, with a graceful movement withdraw the right hands and similarly pass their left hands in the folds of the hands of another. After thus passing their hands into each other's hands they lift their hands towards their heads just as if to touch them with the tips of their fingers, which is the usual way of saluting elders or superiors. This graceful movement of hands is spoken of as "hamazor karvi" or "hamazor levi," i.e., "to make the hamazor" or "to take the hamazor."

The Ceremonies or ocoasions during which the hamazor is performed.

The following are the ceremonies at the end of which the hamazor is generally performed. 1. The Yajashne [Yasna]. 2. The Vendidad. 3. The Visperad. 4. The Afrinagan. 5. The recital of Niyayeshes jointly by a number of persons forming a congregation.

During the first three ceremonies, it is generally the two priests who take part in the ceremonies that perform the hamazor. In the case of the Vendidad when it is recited for the Nirangdin, the second priest, i.e., the Raspi, or the Atravakhshi, at the conclusion of the ceremony, performs the hamazor with other priests and laymen assembled to superintend and witness the ceremony.

In the case of the Afrinagan ceremony, the two priests, the Zoti and the Atravakhshi, perform the hamazor at the end of each Afrinagan, i.e., at the end of each Kardeh of the Afrinagan. If there is a large number of priests present and if there is a large congregation of laymen before which the ceremony is performed, at the end of the recital of the last Kardeh of the Afrinagan, the Atravakhshi goes round the assembly and performs hamazor [403] with the other priests and laymen. This custom of making hamazor with others is getting a little out of practice in Bombay, but is still in practice in the Parsee towns of Gujarat.

In the case of the recitals of the Niyayeshes jointly by no congregation, the hamazor is performed by the persons assembled with several persons standing next to them. For example, the Oothamnâ ceremony on the third day after death is such an occasion when there are joint recitals of the Khwarshed and Mihr Niyayeshes. There, after the recital of the Pazand Doa Nam Setayashne, which always follows the recital of the Niyayeshes, this performance of the hamazor follows. Again, at some ceremonial gatherings, the Atash Niyayesh is jointly recited. There also the hamazor is performed after the recital of the Doa Nam-setayeshne.

In such religious and ceremonial gatherings, people generally take their stand according to their seniority or superiority. The Dastur or the Head Priest or a senior has his place generally in the middle and in the front. At the proper time, he performs the hamazor with a few near him, beginning with the next juniors, standing next to him. The latter continues it with those next to him, and so on. Thus, the whole assembly makes the hamazor, each person making it with the few round about him.

The hamazor of the Parsees and the Kiss of Peace of some of the Bene-Israels of India and of the Early Christians.

I think, that the hamazor of the Parsees resembles the Kiss of Peace of some of the Bene-Israels of India, and the Kiss of Peace of some of the Early Christians. Rev. J. H. Lord thus describes the Kiss of Peace of the Bene-Israels:

"Emanating from the chief minister, who bestows it on the elders nearest to him, it passes throughout the congregation. Each individual seeks it, as far as possible, from his senior or superior. Extending the arms with the hands flattened out, and in the position of the thumbs being uppermost, the person [404] approached takes the hand between both of his own, similarly held, and the junior then probably places his remaining hand on the outside of one of those of the person already holding his other hand. The hands of each are then simultaneously released and each one immediately passes the tips of his fingers which have touched those of his neighbour to his mouth and kisses them. He then passes on to receive the same from, or to bestow the same on, another; and so on, till all in the Synagogue have saluted one another. Two or three minutes may be occupied in the process. A movement is going on all through the Synagogue, and a distinctly audible sound of the lips is heard through the building, till all is finished."22 As to the occasions when the Kiss of Peace is observed among the Bene-Israels, he says: "It is, of course, not difficult to believe in the possibility of the practice having been handed down amongst the Bene-Israels, and having been without break used by them on occasions of their meeting together at circumcisions, and for such other communal meetings as they may have kept up amongst themselves from the first."

22. The Jews in India and the Far East, by the Rev. J. H. Lord (1907) pp. 30-31. Vide my paper, "The Kiss of Peace among the Bene-Israels of Bombay and the Hamazor among the Parsees" (Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, Vol. VIII, No. 2, pp. 84-95. Vide my Anthropological Papers, Part I, pp. 283-94).

The points of similarity between the hamazor of the Parsees and the Kiss of Peace of the Bene-Israels, when observed in congregations, are the following: (a) The movements of hands is similar. (b) In both, they emanate from the chief minister. (c) In both, each makes it with, or bestows it upon, the elders nearest to him. (d) In both, they pass throughout the congregation.

The only point of difference is this, that, while among the Bene-Israels the process ends with a kissing of the tips of the fingers of the hands, among the Parsees, it ends with the taking of the tips of the fingers to the forehead with a gentle bow. [405]

The meaning of the word hamazor.

The word hama in the word hamazor is Avesta, hama, Sanskrit sam, Latin simul, similis, English same. The word zor is Avesta Zaothra and comes from the root zu, to perform a ceremony. So, the word hamazor means "to be the same or to be one in ceremony." One of the principal participants or performers of the ceremony, by passing his hands in the hands of others, symbolically makes them participate in the ceremony he had performed. The members of the congregation by performing the hamazor with one of the principal celebrants make themselves participants in the ceremony. After the performance of the hamazor and at the end of the ceremony, they subsequently make the châshni, i.e., they eat a little of the consecrated things and thereby further show themselves as participants in the advantages or good resulting from the ceremony.

The formula recited while performing the hamazor.

While performing the hamazor, they recite the words "hamazor hamâ asho bêd," i.e. "May you be one (with us) in the ceremony and may you be ashô or righteous, The recital of the words signify and emphasize the object and aim of the performance of the hamazor ceremony. The ultimate object of all ceremonies, rites and sacrifices is to elevate the mind of the performers or the worshippers. A "sacrifice" does not fulfil its object unless it makes the participant "sacred," unless it elevates his thoughts, and makes him a better man. So, after performing the sacrificial service, one of the principal celebrants passes his hands into those of the other members of the congregation and lets them pass theirs into his, and by this symbolic mixing of hands, makes them participants in the ceremony and wishes them or rather asks them to be ashô, i.e., righteous.

The hamazor on a New Year's day.

From the fact, that a hamazor was performed in the Liturgical Services with a view to signify participation and unity and with a wish that the person with whom it was performed may be righteous, the hamazor has [406] come to signify a religious or solemn way of communicating one another's good wishes on the Nawruz or the New Year's day. To the laymen, it is best known in connection with thla New Year's day. Early in the morning of that day, after washing and putting on new apparel, the male members of the family exchange this form of salutation and of expression of good wishes. Friends do the same when they meet one another. "Sâl mubârak," i.e., "May the year be auspicious," and "Dêr zi va shâd zi," i.e., "May you live long and may you live happy," are other additional words, at times, uttered with this form of the exchange of salutations. Members of a family, or friends, if at variance, are expected to forget on the New Year's day their differences and to unite and be friendly with the performance of the hamazor. A generation or two ago, it was a custom for the head of a family, i.e., the head, senior or elder member representing the block from which several chips had descended, to call a mijlas or a gathering at his place in the morning of the New Year's day for the purpose of the hamazor. All the members of the family met together and exchanged hamazor.

Spiritual hamazor.

We see from what is said above, that behind the outward passing of hands in the hamazor which signifies unity, harmony, participation, there lies the inner idea, which demands that the participants must unite in the works of righteousness. So, behind, what we may call, the "physical hamazor", there is what we may term the "spiritual hamazor." The participants in the ceremony, in the ritual, in the recital are asked to be one with the chief celebrant in some religious acts which may lead to an increase of righteousness in the world. From this view of the ritual there is not only the hamazor — the physical hamazor — between Man and Man, but there is also a kind of hamazor — a kind of spiritual hamazor between Man and Nature, between Man and Nature's God. The Pazand Afrins recited in the above-described Afrinagan ceremonies are replete with expressions about this kind of hamazor with God and his Nature. For [407] example, in the Afrin of Ardafarosh, there is a long list of hamazorhamazor with Ahura Mazda and hamazor even with many abstract ideas, all leading to a conception of righteous moral life. The purport of this part of the Afrin is, that one must try to be one with the Harmony, Order, System established by God in Nature. The hamazors with the divisions of Time and the divisions of Space in the Great Infinity of Time and Space — divisions brought about by the movements of Heavenly bodies — are all intended with a view to that Harmony, Order, or System. Let man try to be one with that Harmony, Order, or System.

(b) Ashô-dâd.

Ashô-dâd literally means "what is given (dâd) to the righteous to the holy (ashô)." Hence the fees, or gifts given to the members of the Holy Order or the priesthood are generally spoken of as "ashôdâd." Afterwards, now-a-days, the word is sometimes employed even for the money-gift given at the temples to the Parsee poor, whether priests or laymen.

The ashôdâd, or the fees to the priests, does not only consist of payment in money, but also payment in kind. At the Uthamnâ ceremony, on the third day after death, besides payment in money, payment in cloth is made. A sudre or a sacred shirt is given to each priest invited for the ceremony. Again, the drons or sacred breads and the myazd offered in the Srosh Baj are taken by the family priest as a part payment. In some ceremonies, such as the Naojote and the Marriage, a part of the payment consists of grain. These grain payments are generally known as 'akhiânâ.'





The word Farokhshi is another form of Fravashi. The prayer recited under this name is so called because it is intended to remember, invoke, and praise the Fravashis of the dead. Like the Afrinagan, it is generally recited over fruits, flowers, milk, wine, water, etc., and before fire. Its recital consists of the recital of the Satûm and the Avesta portion of the Frawardin Yasht. At times, and that very rarely, the recital of the Frawardin Yasht is proceeded with the recital of the Yasna chapters of the Baj recital, which, in that case is spoken of as Baj dharnu (lit. holding the Baj) of the Farokhshi. It is recited by one priest and has very little of ritual. As Farokhshi is the recital of the prayers for the Fravashis, and as these Fravashis or Farohars plays very important part in the religion of the Parsees, and as many ritualistic ceremonies refer to the Fravashis, a description of the Fravashis is essential.

The Fravashis or the Farohars.

Fravashi is the original Avesta term and Farohar is its later form. The word is too technical to be sufficiently and properly rendered into English. Prof. Harlez says: It is difficult to determine their nature (leur nature paraît assez difficile à determiner.)1 Rev. Dr. Oasartelli says: "Il y a peu de sujets qui presentent plus de difficulté, tant dans le systéme avestique que dans celui du mazdêisme plus rêcent, que celui des esprits appelês fravâhars, farôhars, fravash ou frôhars. L'embarras principal provient de ce que Ie nom est appliquê à une faculté de l'âme humaine unie au corps pendant la vie, et à cette faoulté détachée du corps et menant la vie, [409] Indépendante d'un esprit céleste."2 The word Fravashi comes from Avesta prefix fra, Sans. pra, Pers. far, Lat. pro, German vor, Eng. forth, meaning forward, and the Avesta root vakhsh, Sans. vakhsh Pers. vakhshidan, Germ. waschen, Eng. wax, meaning to "grow." So Fravashi is that power or spiritual essence in a substance which enables it to grow. Neryosang in his Sanskrit translation, renders the word by vrudhdhi, i.e., increase. The proper name Frawartish which we come across in the Cuneiform Inscriptions (Behistun II, 5) and the name Phraortes which we find in Herodotus (Bk. I, 73, 102) are derived from the word Fravashi. We learn from the etymological meaning of the word and from all that is written about it in the Avesta books, that Fravashi is a spirit, a guardian spirit, inherent in everything, animate or inanimate which protects it from decay and enables it to grow, flourish and prosper. Every good object in Nature has its Fravashi which protects it and helps its development. Dr. Haug's definition gives some idea of what it is, though I would rather use the word "spirit" in place of "angel." He says, "these Frohars or protectors, who are numberless, are believed to be angels, stationed everywhere by Ahura Mazda for keeping the good creation in order, preserving it, ann guarding it against the constant attacks of fiendish powers. Every being of the good creation, whether living, or deceased, or still unborn, has its own Fravashi or guardian angel who has existed from the beginning. Hence they are a kind of prototypes and may be best compared to the "ideas" of Plato who supposed everything to have a double existence, first in idea, secondly in reality."3

1. Avesta, Livre Sacrè du Zoroastrisme: Introduction p. CXIX.

2. Le Philosophie Religieuse du Mazdéisme sous lea Sassanides, par C. Casartelli, pp. 76-77.

3. Haug's Essays on the Parsees, 2nd edition, p, 206.

All the Farohars were created by God before the creation of the Universe (Frawardin Yasht, 13:76). The Frawardin Yasht (Yasht 13:59-62) gives their number to be 99,999. But one must understand from that number, that, in the Avesta, it gives an idea of being innumerable. In this Yasht. 99,999 [410] Fravashis or individual spiritual essences are spoken of as protecting and looking after the sea Vourukasha (the Caspian). The same number looks after the constellation of Haptoring (Ursa Major), the body of Kersasp, and the seed of Zoroaster. So their number is innumerable. As the grand universe, the whole Nature is made up of innumerable objects, animate or inanimate, large or small, and as each object has its own Fravashi or some individual inherent spiritual essence which maintains and supports it, it is evident that there are innumerable such spiritual essences all emanating from that Great Divine Essence of God who has created them, and who has made use of them.

The Fravashis are Spiritual Essences. Their Relation to the other Higher Intelligences.

Ahura Mazda is the Great Architect of the Universe. He is the Creator of the Material as well as the Spiritual world. The Fravashis form the creation of the Spiritual world. In the spiritual hierarchy, they stand, as it were, fourth in the order of supremacy. There is believed to exist a beautiful relation between the different Higher Intelligences of the Hierarchy.

  1. Ahura Mazda (The Omniscient Self-existent Lord) is at the head of all.
  2. Next come his Amesha Spentas (The Bountiful Immortals) who are his own creation (Ohrmazd Yasht, Yasht 1:25). Ahura Mazda who is self-created (Khadhâta, Khudâ) is himself one of the Amesha Spentas (Yasht 1:3; Yasht 3:1).
  3. Then come the Yazatas (lit., those who are worthy of being worshipped). The Amesha Spentas who stand higher in the order and Ahura Mazda himself who stands at the top are also included in the list of the Yazatas. They stand first in the list of the Yazatas. In later books, Ahura Mazda is spoken of as Yazdân, i.e., the Yazds in the plural, or the Yazata of the Yazatas. [411]
  4. Then come the Fravashis (i.e., the guarding or protecting spirits). Now, each of the Yazatas, who precede the Fravashia in the above order of hierarchy, has his own Fravashi. The Amesha Spentas who stand higher have each their own Fravashis, Then Ahura Mazda who stands at the top has his own Fravashi (Yasna 23:2; 26:2, 3).

The Work of the Fravashis in the creation of the Universe.

Ahura Mazda, the Omniscient Lord, has allotted to the Fravashis the work of helping the creation, (Frawardin Yasht; Yasht 13:1, 19). They help in sustaining the sky (Ibid, 2, 22, 28, 29; Yasna 23:1), in letting the great river Aredvi Sura flow (Yasht 13:4), in supporting the earth (Yasht 13:9, 22, 28 ; Yasna 23:1). They help mothers in maintaining the children in the womb and in the work of delivery (Yasht 13:11, 22, 28; Yasna, 23:1, 15). It is these spiritual essences, these guiding and guarding spirits that help the waters to flow (Yasht 13:14, 22; 28;. Yasna 23:1), the trees to grow, the winds to blow (Yasht 13:14, 22, 28), the Sun, the Moon and the Stars to move in their orbits (Yasht 13:16). To them, the cattle owe their growth and spread (Yasna 23:1, 12). The purport of all this is, that there is the Divine hand of God in everything. Through His Fravashis or the protecting, guiding and guarding Spirits, He maintains all and rules over all.

Two classes of Fravashis.

We learn from the Frawardin Yasht, that all the objects of Nature have their Fravashis, but artificial objects have none. Ahura Mazda and the Amesha Spentas have their Fravashis (Yasht 13; Yasna 23:2-4; 26:2-3). The Yazatas and mankind have their Fravashis (Yasht 13, Yasna 23:2-4). The sky, waters, earth, fire, trees, cattle, all have their Fravashis (Yasht 13:2). All the objects of Nature, as divided into three classes, 1. the Vegetable world, 2. the Mineral world, and 3. the Animal world, have their Fravashis. [412]

From what is said above we may divide the Fravashis into two classes:

(1) The Fravashis of Natural objects, i.e., the transcendental essences of the objects. (2) The Fravashis of men.

(I) The Fravashis, or Transcendental Essences of natural objects.

According to the Avesta, all natural objects have their Fravashis, but not the objects that have been made from those natural objects. For example, the trees have their Fravashis, but not the chair or the table that has been made from the wood of the tree. God has created the Fravashis of these natural objects from the very beginning of creation. Before the creation of the object, there existed the Fravashi of that object, perfect, complete and correct. This conception of the Fravashi leads us to think that the Almighty had conceived the creation of every object in the Universe from the very beginning. In fact, he had conceived a complete, perfect, and correct idea of the whole Universe before its creation. He had created or formed the transcendental spiritual essences of all objects before He created the objects themselves. The spiritual essences existed at first, and then the objects resulted from them. For example, the Avesta says that the earth itself has a Fravashi. Now, as it also says that the Fravashi existed before the creation of the object itself, it follows, that the Fravashi of the Earth existed or was created by God before He created the Earth itself. What does that mean in common parlance? It means that God had conceived beforehand a complete, perfect, correct, harmonious, orderly system of the Earth. From that perfect conception, that correct idea, proceeded the creation of the earth. It existed in spirit before it existed, in body. The earth, as we see it now, is not a haphazard result of some kind of creation or formation, but it is the result of a correct order, a perfect system, which was conceived before the earth came into existence. Again, take the case of the Heaven which also has, according to the Avesta, its Fravashi or a transcendental spiritual essence which existed before the creation of the Heaven. This also signifies that the [413] Heaven also is not the result of some haphazard chance of circumstances. No, the Almighty had created its Fravashi beforehand and had thus conceived a perfect system of its creation, evolution and development. The Heavens, as we see them now, are a result of such Omniscient Intelligence.

The Zoroastrian belief about the Fravashis is connected with the idea of Eternity. Ahura Mazda is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, and his omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence consist in this, that he conceived, from the very beginning of beginnings, if we may say so, from time unlimited (zravâna akarêna), a most complete, a most correct, a most harmonious, a most orderly system of the universe. The Fravashis or the Farohars played an important part in this conception, because the Fravashis of the Universe and its objects were the transcendental spiritual essences from which God evolved gradually the great universe.

This view of the Fravashis as propounded in the Avesta shows beautifully the power and the wisdom of God. Take, for example, a tree. It has its Fravashi, i.e., a transcendental spiritual essence, pure and perfect, which existed somewhere before the tree came into existence or assumed its present form and shape. With the birth, if we may so call it, of the tree, its Fravashi continues with it. It is its guiding spirit. After a certain time, the tree dies, but not the Fravashi. It continues to exist somewhere in nature as a perfect and pure transcendental essence. This Avestaic view of the Fravashis teaches several facts.

1. That there is something real, substantial, true, correct perfect, undying, behind the form and the figure of a thing which is always changing. That something real is always existing, is eternal.

2. That God is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent and his omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence consist in this system [414] of the Universe which has come from eternity, which exists at present for eternity, and which will continue to exist for eternity. There is nothing spontaneous. Everything evolves from something, from transcendental essence which is something connected with the very essence of the Almighty.

The Fravashis of the Avesta, (a) the Ideas of Plato and (b) the Patterns of the Bible.

(a) The Fravashis of the Avesta remind us, as pointed out by Haug, of the ideas of Plato and of the patterns of the Bible. Ideas or the transcendental spiritual essences formed an important part of the system of Plato's philosophy. According to him, the material and phenomenal world is the result of some pre-conceived ideas. Matter existed from times eternal. That matter took form at some certain time, but that form existed somewhere, long before the matter took that form. These forms were Plato's ideas. The ideas are eternal, invisible, and imperishable, but the substances which take forms are subject to frequent changes. For example, just as, according to the Avesta, the Earth has its Fravashi, according to Plato it has its idea. The "idea" of the Earth existed before the Earth itself. It was with that "idea" before Him, with the help, as it were of the "idea," that God created the world out of chaos. Milton uses the word "idea" in that sense in the following lines:

"Thence to behold the new-created world
The addition of his empire, how it showed
In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair
Answering his great idea." (Paradise Lost, Book VII, ll. 554-557.)

(b) Again, according to Dr. Haug, the Fravashis of the Avesta resemble the patterns of the Bible. That resemblance is not very great, but it does hold to a certain extent. God shows to Moses the pattern of the tabernacle which he wishes the Israelites to construct. He says: "According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all [415] the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it." (Exodus, 25:9). These patterns shown by God to Moses are the ideas or spiritual essences which led to the construction of the objects. The reference to the patterns in the New Testament more vividly suggests the "ideas." In the Epistle to the Hebrews by the apostle Paul, we read: "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should he purified with these" (Hebrew 9:23).

(2) The Fravashis of man.

Burnouf's definition of the Fravashi, as understood by the Parsees, gives a correct idea of the Fravashi of man. He says: "By the Farohar, the Parsees understand the divine type of every being endowed with intelligence, his "idea" in the thought of Ohrmuzd, the superior genius which inspires him and which watches over him." (Par Ferouer les Parses entendent le type divin de chacun des êtres doués d'intelligence, son idée dans la pensée d'Ormuzd, le génie superieur qui l'inspire et veille sur lui" (Burnouf: Commentaire sur le Yaçna, p. 270).

As every object of Nature has its Fravashi, so every man has his Fravashi, which God had created before the creation and which therefore existed somewhere before his birth. Thus, the birth of a child today is, in one respect, not a new phenomenon or event. It is an event which God had conceived at the very beginning of creation. The Fravashi of the child was created by God, milleniums before the date of the birth of the child. It existed from the very beginning, but it associated itself with the soul (urvan or ravân) of the child at its birth in this world. It will continue to remain with the child or rather with the soul of the child as long as the child enjoys life (gaya, ahu, or ushtâna). On the death of the child, whether as a child or as a man, it will continue to exist as perfect, as pure, as sound, and as innocent, as when it was first created. On death, it will separate itself from the body (tanu or asta, lit., bones) and from the soul (urvan) of the child and mix itself among all the holy Fravashis (hamâ ashô Farohar). [416] Thus, in the matter of the Eternity of Existence,the Fravashi of a man may be said to have three periods of existence, though a continuous existence: (A) Before the birth of a man, his Fravashi had a "pre-existence." (B) With his birth, it has "co-existence" or what may be termed "earthly conscious existence." (C) After his death, it has before it an eternal "future existence." Under these forms the Fravashis of men are spoken of as

(A) Those of unborn persons (fravashayô a-Zâtanâm).

(B) Those of born persons (fravashayô Zâtanâm or Zavantâm).

(C) Those of the dead (fravashayô irirathushâm).

The work of the Fravashi of a man under the three states.

Now what part does the Fravashi of a man play in connection with man. What work has it to do?

A. The Fravashi of an unborn man.

As to what the Fravashi did in what we have termed its pre-existence, we know simply this, that, like the innumerable Fravashis, it did its work in the field of evolution. The world, or rather the universe as it is, is the result of development, of evolution, in which all the Fravashis take their part; so, with all the other Fravashis, the Fravashi of a particular man in its unborn (a-zâtanâm) state had to do its work.

B. The fravashi of a born man. Difference between Urvan and Fravashi (Soul and Spirit.)

Then, with the birth into this world of the man whose special Fravashi it is, its special work begins. To understand that work, one must understand the relation between a man's urvan or ravân and his Fravashi, or to speak in ordinary parlance, between his soul and guiding spirit. According to the Avesta, a man's soul (urvan) is different from his guiding spirit (Fravashi). Several facts lead to show this.

(a) In the Khwarshed and Mihr Niyayeshes, a man invokes separately his soul and spirit (Haôm urvânem yazamaidâ. Haem [417] Fravashîm yazamaidê). (b) Urvan is masculine. Fravashi is conceived as feminine. (c) In, the Frawardin Yasht, not only the Urvan and the Fravashi are considered to be separate spiritual parts of a man, but other spiritual parts, such as Daena (Conscience), and Baodha (Intelligence) are spoken of as separate spiritual parts (Ahumcha Daênâmcha, Baodhascha, Urvânemcha, Fravashîmcha Yazamaidê. Yasna 26:4). (d) The Yasna. (23:4) speaks of each urvan (soul) having a separate Fravashi. There, it is said: "I invoke the Fravashi of my own soul" (âyasê yêshti havahê uruno Fravashéê). (e) The Pahlavi books like the Arda Viraf Nameh, the Menog-i Khrad, the Bundahishn, the Ganj-i-Shayagan, all speak of them as two separate parts.

Now the relation subsisting between the soul and its Fravashi will be better understood by comprehending what we may call the "spiritual constitution of man."

The spiritual constitution of man.

A man is made up of physical and spiritual parts. His urvan (soul) and Fravashi form his spiritual parts. Ushtâna, i.e., the animal life keeps up his body. The animal life is kept up by the five senses. A moderate use of all the five senses is good for keeping up animal life. An immoderate use of the senses turns into a passion and is bad. The attachment of the soul to the body is a trial, an ordeal for the soul. As the enjoyment of the five senses is necessary and unavoidable to keep up animal life, the soul, while associating itself with the bodily life of a person, must look very sharp, lest an immoderate or undue use of the senses may contaminate it. It is good if the soul of a man separates itself in a pure, unalloyed uncontaminated state at the time when the animal life becomes extinct. If it does so, it is said to have passed the trial of this world well. One has to think, that the body is to be fed with the enjoyment of the senses in order to live and that it is not to be kept living in order to be fed. One must eat to live and not live to eat. [418]

Now it is the Work of the Fravashi or the Farohar of a man to guide the urvan or soul and not let it be contaminated by an immoderate enjoyment of the senses. The Fravashi has to guide the Urvan or the soul through the Baodha or the Budhi or the spirit of intelligence. Just as a guide leads a wayfarer, so the Farohar guides the soul of a man. A man or a soul who accepts that guidance is a wise man. If one were to ask from this point of view "Who is the most fortunate man in this world?" We may reply in the spirit of the above quoted passage (ahumcha daenâmcha baodhascha urvânemcha fravashîmcha yazamaidê) that "A fortunate man is he, who accepts the guidance of his Fravashi, communicated to him through his intelligence (Baodha), and accepting the guidance, makes such an use of his five senses which lead to support his life (ahu) as would keep his soul (urvan) pure and uncontaminated, so that when he has to pass on to the other world, he can present himself before his God with a pure conscience (daena)."

The Fravashi of a man in the Avesta, and the Genius of the Romans.

The Fravashi of a living man among the Zoroastrians resembles, in good many points, the Genius of the ancient Romans. The roots of both the words signify well nigh the same thing. Fravashi comes from a root which signifies "to increase." Genius comes from a root gignere, to generate. Dr. William Smith says: "The genii of the Romans are the powers which produce life (dii genitales) and accompany man through it as his second or spiritual self. They were further not confined to man, but every living being, animal as well as man, and every place had its genius. Every human being at his birth obtained (sortitur) a genius, whom he worshipped as sanctus et sanctissimus deus, especially on his birthday, with libations of wine, incense, and garlands of flowers. The bridal bed was sacred to the genius, on account of his connection with generation, and the bed itself was called lectus genialis. On other merry occasions, also, sacrifices were offered to the [419] genius.... He (Genius) was worshipped on sad as well as joyous occasions.... The genii are usually represented in worb of art as winged beings." (Classical Dictionary, word Genius.)

This passage shows that there are many points common to the Fravashis of the Zoroastrians and the genii of the Romans. (a) As among the Romans, so among the Zoroastrians, the Fravashis were invoked on both, sad as well as joyous, occasions. (b) The Fravashis also, are, like the Roman genii, represented in old-Persian works of art as winged beings. In the Frawardin Yasht (Yasht 13:70) they are represented as coming from the heaven like birds (Yatha nâ mêrêgo hupêrêno). (c) Among the Zoroastrians, as among the Romans also, the Fravashis are invoked on bridal occasions. (d) They are represented as helping women in their labour of delivery (Yasht 13:15). (e) Flowers, incense, and wine are used among the Zoroastrians as among the Romans in the ceremonies invoking the Fravashis.

The Fravashis of the Zoroastrians and the Daimons of the Greeks.

The Fravashis of the Avesta resemble the daimons of the Greeks in several respects. The Greeks took the Daimon to be a protecting spirit. Plato said that "daimons are assigned to men at the moment of their birth, that they accompany men through life, and after death conduct their souls to Hades." Pinder spoke of the daimon as "the spirit watching over the fate of man from the hour of his birth." The daimons are further described as "the ministers and companions of the Gods who carry the prayers of men to the Gods, and the gifts of the Gods to men." In the Frawardin Yasht the Fravashis also are represented as doing a similar errand (Yasht 13:151).

(C) The Fravashis of the Dead. Future Life or the Destiny of Soul after death.

Almost all nations, whether old or new, of the East or the West, the educated or the uneducated, have one form or another of venerating the dead. This veneration is connected with the belief in Future Life. Zoroastrianism [420] believes in the immortality of the soul. The Avesta writings of the Hadokht Nask and the 19th chapter of the Vendidad and the Pahlavi books of the Menog-i Khrad and the Arda Viraf Nameh treat of the fate of the soul after death. The last mentioned book contains an account of the journey of Arda Viraf through the heavenly regions. This account corresponds to that of the ascension of the prophet, Isaiah. Its notions about Heaven and Hell correspond to some extent to the Christian notions about them.4

4. Vide my papers before the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. XVIII pp. 192-205 and Vol. XXIII pp. 189-216, on "The Divine Comedy of Dante and the Virâf-nâmeh of Ardâi Virâf," and on "An Iranian Precursor of Dante and an Irish precursor (Adamnan) of Dante." Vide My Dante Papers.

A plant called the Hom-i-saphid or white Haoma, a name corresponding to the Indian Soma of the Hindus, is held to be the emblem of the immortality of the soul. According to Dr. Windischmann and Professor Max Muller, this plant reminds us of the "Tree of Life" in the garden of Eden. As in the Christian scriptures the way to the Tree of Life is strictly guarded by the Cherubim, so in the Zoroastrian scriptures, the Hom-i-saphid, or the plant which is the emblem of immortality, is guarded by innumerable Fravashis or guardian spirits whose number, as given in various books, is 99,999. A good deal of importance is attached in the Avesta and in the later Pahlavi writings to this question of the immortality of the soul, because a belief in this dogma is essential to the structure of moral principles. The whole edifice of our moral nature rests upon its ground work. Dr. Geiger says on this point: "Nowhere, I think, does the belief in the future life after death stand out more prominently, nowhere are the ideas respecting it expressed more decidedly and carried out in all their details more fully, than among the Avesta people. Here the doctrine of immortality and of compensating justice in the next world forms a fundamental dogma [421] of the whole system. Without it the Zoroastrian religion is in fact unintelligible."5

5. Dastur Darab Peshotan's Translation, Civilization of the Eastern Iranians in Ancient times. Vol. I, p. 98.

Again, Zoroastrianism believes in Heaven and Hell. Heaven is called Vahishta-ahu in the Avesta books. It literally means the "best life." This word Vahishta has passed into Persian as "behesht," which is the superlative form of "veh," meaning "good," and it corresponds exactly with our English word "best." Hell is known by the name of "Achishta-ahu," i.e., "the worst life." Heaven is represented as a place of radiance, splendour, and glory, and Hell as that of gloom, darkness, and stench. Between heaven and this world, there is supposed to be a bridge, named "chinwad." This word — from the Aryan root "chi," meaning to pick up, to collect, — means the place where a man's soul has to present a collective account of the actions done in the past life.6 For three days after a man's death, his soul remains within the limits of this world under the guidance of the angel Srosh. If the deceased be a pious man or a man who led a virtuous life, his soul utters the words "Ushtâ ahmâi yahmâi ushtâ-kahmâi-chit." i.e., "Blessedness to him, by whom that which is his benefit becomes the benefit of anyone else." If he be a wicked man or one who led an evil life, his soul utters these plaintive words: "Kãm nemoi Zâm? Kuthrâ nemo ayeni?" i.e., "To which land shall I turn? Whither shall I go"?

6. The "Chinwad" bridge of the Parsees reminds one of the "Sirat" of the Arabs, the "Wogho" of the Chinese, and the "Gioell" and "Bifrost" of the Scandinavians.

On the dawn of the third night, the departed souls appear at the "Chinwad Bridge." This bridge is guarded by the angel Mihr7 Davar, i.e., Mihr the Judge. He presides there as a judge assisted by the angels Rashnu and Astad, the former [422] representing Justice and the latter Truth. At this bridge, and before this angel Mihr, the soul of every man has to give an account of its doing in the past life. Mihr Davar, the judge. weighs a man's actions by a scale-pan. If a man's good actions outweigh his evil ones, even by a small particle, he is allowed to pass from the bridge to the other end and thence to heaven. If his evil actions outweigh his good ones, even by a small weight, he is not allowed to pass over the bridge, but is hurled down into the deep abyss of hell. If his meritorious and evil deeds counterbalance each other, he is sent to a place known as "Hamastgehân," somewhat corresponding to the Christian "Purgatory" and the Mahomedan "Aerâf." His meritorious deeds done in the past life would prevent him from going to hell and his evil actions would not let him go to heaven.

7. Cf. my paper on "Mithra, the Yazata of the Zoroastrians and Michael, the saint of the Christians."

Again Zoroastrian books say that the meritoriousness of good deeds and the sin of evil ones, increase with the growth of time. As capital increases with interest, so good and bad actions done by a man in his life increase, as it were, with interest in their effects. Thus a meritorious deed done in young age is more effective than that very deed done in advanced age. For example, let that meritorious deed be valued in money. Let two friends, A and B, at the age of twenty-five, propose doing an act of charity, viz., a donation of £1,000 to a charitable institution. A immediately gives the amount, and B postpones the act for some time and does it at the age of fifty. Calculating at the rate of four per cent., A's gift of £1,000 at the age of twenty-five is worth twice that of B at the age of fifty, i.e., twenty-five years later. Thus, the Dadestan-e Denig recommends man to follow the path of virtue from his very young age. A virtuous act performed by a young man is more meritorious than the same act performed by an old man. A man must begin practicing virtue from his very young age. As in the case of good deeds and their meritoriousness, so in the case of evil actions and their sins. The burden of the sin of an evil action increases, as it were, with interest. A young man doing an evil act has long [423] time and opportunities at his disposal to wash off, as it were, the effect of that act, either by repentance or by good deeds in return. If he does not take advantage of these opportunities, the burden of those evil deeds increases with time.8

8. The belief of the ancient Egyptians about the future of the soul after death, was similar to that of the ancient Persians in several points. There was some similarity between the Fravashi of the Zoroastrians and the Ka of the Egyptians. For further parcticulars, vide my paper on "The Belief about the Future of the soul among the ancient Egyptians and Iranians" (Journal B. B. R. A. S. XIX, pp. 365-374, vide my Asiatic Papers, Part I, pp. 37.46.)

Relation existing between the living and the dead through the Fravashi.

Now, the veneration for the dead among the Zoroastrians, rests on the belief, that the dead have a future existence somewhere and that there exists some relation, though invisible and spiritual, between the dead and the living (Yt. 13:49-52, 156-57). A father who did all his best to look after the welfare of his children does not cease to do so altogether after his death. He continues to do 80 in an invisible or spiritual way. On the other hand, the living who were loved and looked after by the deceased father do not and must not, forget the dead altogether. There exists some relation between the living and the dead. The channel through which this relation continues is the Fravashis of the departed ones. We saw above, that on the death of a person, his soul (urvan or ravân) meets with justice according to his merits or demerits. If he has deserved well, he goes to heaven, if not, to hell. His Fravashi, which guided him through life as a guiding spirit, parts from his soul and goes to its abode or place among all the Fravashis. It is the soul (urvan) that meets with good or evil consequences of its actions. The Fravashi or the guiding spirit, was pure and perfect, unalloyed and uncontaminated from the beginning and has passed away as such. So it is this pure and perfect spiritual entity, the Fravashi, that is the medium, as it were, of the continued relation between the living and the dead. After the third day after death, the Fravashi of the [424] departed dear one is invoked. It is the Fravashi of the deceased that comes to the help of the living dear ones, provided they live a pure virtuous life and hold their departed dear ones in veneration.

Nature of the relation.

The relation subsisting between the two is, according to the Avesta, reciprocal. The dead expect to be remembered by their living dear ones, and in their turn offer their help and assistance. We learn from the Frawardin Yasht what the wishes of the Fravashis of the departed ones are. They exclaim: "Who will praise us? Who will offer us a sacrifice? Who will meditate upon us? Who will bless us? Who will receive us with meat and clothes in his hand and with a prayer worthy of bliss? Of which of us will the name be taken for invocation?"9 These words of the Fravashis then show, what they expect from the living deer ones. They expect to be remembered and held in esteem and respect. In return, they offer the following blessings: "May there be in this house flocks of animals and men! May there be a swift horse and a solid chariot."10 Bearing in mind, that in those early days the cattle and the horse formed the wealth of a person, we understand by this, that the Fravashis in their turn offer to pray to God to give to their living dear ones prosperity and a progeny of children. Again, we read: "May these Fravashis come satisfied into this house; may they walk satisfied through this house! May they, being satisfied, bless this house, with the presence of the kind Ashi Vaughuhi! May they leave this house satisfied! May they carry back from here hymns and worship to the Maker, Ahura Mazda, and the Amesha Spentas! May they not leave this house of us, the worshippers of Mazda, complaining!"11 (Yasht 13:156-57.) Again, we read that those who "treat the Fravashis of the faithful well"12 become independent and happy, their [425] difficulties are got rid of,13 they are rewarded with success, health and glory,14 and with an earnest desire to help the good and the virtuous15 and to break the power of those who oppress the poor and the innocent.16

9. S. B. E. Vol. XXIII, p. 192. (Yasht 13:49).
10. Ibid, p. 193.
11. Ibid, p. 184: Yasht 13:18.
12. Ibid, p, 230.
13. Yasht 13:20.
14. Yasht 13:24.
15. Ibid, 25, 39.
16. Ibid, 31, 33, 39.

Here, we see the relation supposed to subsist between the good that are living and the good that are dead. Those that are gone wish and expect to be held in esteem and regard and to be remembered and respected. The living, on their part, also desire that the dead may be remembered in their houses well and worthily and that they may return satisfied and contented. The Fravashis of the dead on their part pray for and offer blessings to the living that they may be blessed with worldly and spiritual wealth, that they may be happy and virtuous, that they may help the virtuous and punish the vicious. So, in short, the relation between the living and the dead is respect, regard, remembrance and esteem from one side and blessings from the other.

The one essential thing for the living to receive the blessings of the good dead who are gone is, that they should be ashavan, i.e., righteous. When the Fravashis are invoked in a house, they feel satisfied and contented if they see piety, virtue, righteousness in the house. If they do not see that, they return unsatisfied and distressed. All the prayers recited in the house in honour of the dead must be prayers that "reach righteousness" (asha nâsa nemangha). The Yasna (Ha 16) again says, that "the dead rejoice at the brilliant deeds of righteousness, by the living." If they will find the house virtuous, they will move therein, as it were. with pleasure and satisfaction, and bless the house with the gift of Ashi Vanghu. If they will find the contrary, they will leave the house "complaining." Righteousness in the house is the sina qua non of their hearty, good reception. If that is not seen in the house, hundred other things [426] done for them go for nothing. If they will receive satisfaction from the house in point of righteousness they will be the means of carrying the prayers of the living to the throne of Ahura Mazda. In that case, they (the Fravashis) will carry to the house17 "the healing virtues of (their) blessed gifts as wide-spread as the earth, as far-spread as the rivers, as high-reaching as the sun, for the furtherance of the better men, for the hindrance of the hostile, and for the abundant growth of riches and of glory."18

17. S. B. E. Vol. XXXI, p. 311: Yasna 60:4.

18. The veneration of the dead among the Zoroastrians, resembles, in some points, the veneration of the Manes of the dead among the Romans. The word "Manes" comes from Latin manus, good, and the Fravashis of the Avesta are also spoken of always as "the good" (vanghuish). The Manes of the virtuous were known as the Lares. The Fravashis in the Avesta are spoken of as those of the house, of the street, of the village, of the country, (nmânayâo, visyâo, zantumâo, dakhyumâo), I think somewhat similar division or nomenclature seems to have been made in the case of the Manes of the Romans. The Fravashis of the house (Fravashayo nmânyâo from nmâna, house) correspond to the Lares domestici (domus, house) of the Romans: The Fravashis of the street Fravashayo visyâo (from "vis", street) correspond to the Lares compitales (parts of a city marked out with campita or dots) of the Romans. The Fravashis of the village (Fravashayo Zântumâo from Zantu, village) correspond to Lares rurales (rus, ruris, the country) of the Romans. Lastly, the Fravashis of the whole country (Fravashayo dakhyumâo) correspond to the Lares præstites of the Romans. The Lares publicii of the Romans correspond to the Fravashis of the public benefactors remembered in the Frawardin Yasht (vide my paper in Gujarati on Farohars in my "Anahita and Farohar").




Satum, a Hymn of Praise for the dead.

The word Satûm means "praise." It comes from Avesta stu, Sanskrit stu, to praise. It is a prayer recited on meals in honour of the dead. It is so called from the word "staomi" which occurs in the commencement of the 26th chapter of the Yasna which is recited in the the prayer of the Satum as its principal portion. The Chapter opens with the words "I praise (Staomi), remember, and extol, the good, brave, and beneficent Fravashis of the pious." The word Satûm corresponds to the Sanskrit stom which means a "hymn of praise," as well as "a sacrifice, an oblation." Thus the word Satûm means a "Hymn of Praise."

As seen from the sentence quoted above (Yasna 26:1) it is a hymn of praise for all the Fravashis. At first, the Fravashis of all the Holy ones are invoked generally and then specially those of Ahura Mazda, His Amesha Spentas, of the pious Poiryô-tkaeshân, i.e., of the Mazda-worshippers who preceded the time of Zoroaster, of Gayomard the first man, of Zoroaster, of King Gushtasp in whose reign Zoroaster flourished, of Isad-vaster, a son of Zoroaster who was a chief priest. of the Nabânazishtas, i.e., of the contemporaries of Zoroaster who worshipped one God, of all pious souls, of all who were profound in religious lore and of all who were still acquiring that lore, and of all the pious, whether males or females, whether adults or minors.

The praise consists in remembering the dead, in remembering their good deeds and actions. But a most praise-worthy praise consists in your acting up to the high standard of the person or being whom you praise. So, in the Pazand Dibache [428] which is recited after the recital of the above chapter of the Yasna which is known as "Satûm nô Kardo," i.e., "the section of Satûm," the worshipper expresses a desire to that effect and says, "May my Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta, i.e., good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, go to delight the Fravashis of the holy." Thus the worshipper is enjoined to act up to the standard which Hana More points out in the lines.

"Sweet is the breath of praise when
          given by those
Whose own high merit claims the
          praise they give."

To praise the dead is more praise-worthy than to praise the living, because in the latter case, it may be, that you perhaps expect something substantial from them in return, but in the former case, you expect nothing substantial from the dead. What little you do is a kind of self-sacrifice. A Hymn of pure praise is better than a prayer wherein you want something from the Higher Powers.

Satûm recited over meals.

The Satum prayer is generally recited over meals. In the Haoma Yasht (Yasna 10:18) we read: "O Haoma! these Gathas are for thee, these satums (staomayô) are for thee, these meals (chîchashânâo) are for thee, these words of truth are for thee." Hence the custom seems to have arisen to have a meal placed in a tray and then to recite the Satum prayer over it. The presentation of the meals is symbolic, showing that there exists a kind of communion, mental or spiritual between the living and the unseen higher intelligenccs of the dead. In the case of the dead, the living present their meals. as it were, to the memory of the dead, and, while presenting them as an offering for them, offer at the same time, as said above, an expression of their will to offer their good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, [429]

The meals are prepared carefully with an idea of purity and cleanliness. If in a Parsee household the daily meals are prepared by a non-Parsee cook, in the case of a meal prepared for the Satûm prayer, the members of the family carefully wash the utensils clean, and prepare the meal themselves or engage a Parsee cook for the purpose. One or more dishes prepared according to the means of the family are arranged in a tray. A pot of pure water and a glass of wine are also placed in the tray. Then a vase of fire is placed in the front between the tray and the priest who recites the Satûm prayer. The priest, while reciting the Satûm, burns sandalwood and frankincense on the fire. In the recital of the Pazand Dibache, he mentions the name of the particular person in whose memory the Satum is recited. Together with his name the names of the other departed ones of the family may also be remembered.

When the recital is finished, one or more members of the family place frankincense on the fire referred to above. Lobân mukvun, i.e., to place the frankincense, is a part of the ceremony in which the ladies of the family take a special consolation for the separation of their dear ones. They remember the name of the particular dear one or dear ones whose memory they wish to honour, and, while doing so, place frankincense over the fire.

The morsel of the dog.

Before the large tray containing the meals, there is a small plate containing a part of the meals, not necessarily a part of all the dishes. This plate is for what is called Kutrâ no bûck,1 i.e., a morsel (lit. share) for the dog. It reminds one of olden times, [430] when every Parsee street had a dog, not only for religious purposes as the sagdid but for Police purposes as well. Even now in a Parsee town like Naosari, some people feed, on some occasions, the dogs of the street. Up to a few years ago, it was a practice, even in Bombay, to send a bread or breads to the Towers when a corpse was carried there, to feed the dogs kept there for the sagdid. After the recital of the Satûm, this plate of meals is given to the dog or dogs of the street for food. When there are no such dogs, it may be given to the poor as charity, or to young children of the family, on the principle, perhaps, that "charity begins at home."

1. The word bûch now used by the Parsees seems to be Av. baga (Lat. frangere to break) a broken piece. Or, perhaps it may be the Arabic word used in Persian, buk meaning "having little milk" (Steingass). It is a practice with some to give to a dog, on such an occasion, a little milk, and a meal may be a substitute for such milk.

Occasions for reciting the Satûm.

The occasions of the monthly Baj, i.e., the monthly day during the first year after death on which a person died, and of the anniversaries of death are the principal occasions for the Satûm. It is also recited on other religious holidays like the Gahambars, the Frawardegan holidays, the Jashans, etc. Its recital is not necessarily connected with the dead. It may be recited even on joyous occasions.




Having described at some length, the liturgical services individually, I will now describe certain ceremonies or rather groups of ceremonies which are observed by celebrating a certain number of the difierent services. Among such groups of services are the following:—

  1. The Hamâyasht or Homâsht.
  2. The Geti-Kharîd.
  3. The Sarosh.
  4. The Zindeh-ravân.
  5. The Nirangdin.
  6. The Gahambar.
  7. The Jashan.
  8. The Frawardigan.
  9. The Farestâ.


The word "Hamâ Yasht" means the praise or celebration (Yasht) of all (hamâ) Yazatas or angels. The ceremony consists of several celebrations of the Yasna and the Vendidad. It is performed in honour or in memory of women either living or dead. The belief is, that women are, in their state of menstruation, and accouchement, enjoined to observe certain observances (Vide Purification ceremonies). There may have been or there may be derelictions in the observance of those customs or in other worldly or religious duties. So, the performance of these ceremonies act, as it were, as some means to make up for the deficiencies in the observance of the customs.

The Hamâyasht consists of 12 kardas or sections. Each Karda or section consiete of twelve recitals in honour of one [432] particular Yazata. The recital varies according to the nature of the Hamâyasht. There are two kinds of the Hamâyasht:—

(a) Moti or the great Hamâyasht.

(b) Nâni or the small Hamayasht.

(a) The first, i.e., the great Hamâyasht consists in the recital of 144 Yasnas and 144 Vendidads with their rituals. The 144 Yasnas and Vendidads are recited in honour or with the Khshnuman of 12 Yazatas or angels, i.e., 12 Yasnas and 12 Vendidads are celebrated in honour of each Yazata. These 12 Yazatas are the following:— 1. Ahura Mazda. 2. Tishtar. 3. Khwarshed. 4. Mihr. 5. Aban. 6. Adar. 7. Hordad. 8. Amurdad, 9. Spendarmad. 10. Gowad. ll. Srosh. 12. Ardafrawash (Frawardin). The above list is given in the order in which the celebrations in honour of each Yazata are performed.

If one pair of priests, i.e., two priests, would peform the whole ceremony, it would take 144 days, i.e., about 5 months to complete it, as only one Yasna and one Vendidad can be recited every day. More than one Yasna can be recited by two priests during the Hawan gah or the morning hours of the day, but, as only one Vendidad can be recited during the Ushahin gah or the hours after midnight, one Yasna and Vendidad only can be celebrated per day. So, if one wishes the ceremony to be finished during a shorter period, one or more Jôrs or pairs of priests can be engaged for the service. While the ceremony lasts an Afrinagan and a Baj in honour of the same Yazata in whose honour the Yasna and the Vendidad are recited, are also performed.

(b) The smaller Hamâyaaht consists of the recital of 144 Yasnas and 12 Vendidads. At the end of each Karda or section, i.e., at the end of the recital of 12 Yasnas in honour of one Yazata, one Vendidad is recited in his honour. Now, as one pair of priests can celebrate during a day more than one Yasna and as the Vendidad is to be recited at the end of each Karda [433] of 12 Yasnas, the smaller Hamâyasht can be finished sooner than the larger one. Again, if more than one pair of priests are employed, it can be finished much sooner.


The word Geti-kharîd literally means, "the purchase (Kharid) of the world (geti)." It corresponds, to a certain extent, to the Christian word "Redemption" which also comes from a root emere, meaning to buy. It is intended to be a ceremony for seeking salvation from the sins of the world. The original idea suggested by the name seems to be, that one should redeem his time and make the best use of it so as to save himself. It was something like that suggested by the following words of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians (Chap. 5:15-16) : "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." As the Patet says it is not money with which one has to purchase his salvation, but with his heart. One has to give away the money which he has when required for the good of others. He is to sacrifice even his life for the sake of truth. We read in the Patet (Karda 1): "The whole powers which I possess, I possess in dependence on the Yazatas (Yazdân, i.e., God). To possess in dependence upon the Yazatas means (as much as) this: if anything happens, so that it behoves to give the body for the sake of the soul, I give it to them."1 So, the original idea is that of self-sacrifice.

l. Spiegel, translated by Bleeck, Vol. III. p. 153.

The ceremony that is now known by this name consists in the recital of nine Yazashnas or Yasnas. The first six Yazashnas are those of Mino-nawar. They are performed for six days, one at a day, each of the two priests who perform them serving as Zaota alternately. Then, on the sixth and the seventh or the seventh and the eighth day, they perform three more Yazashnas, one in honour of Srosh, another that of the Siroza, and the third the Visperad. [434]


Sarosh ni Kriya, i.e., the Ceremonies of Sraosha.

By the name Sarosh are known the funeral ceremonies that are generally performed in honour of a deceased person during the first three days after death. At times some repeat these ceremonies even some time after death, even after months or years after death. These ceremonies are known by the name of Sarosh, because the prayers therein are recited in honour of, or with the Khshnuman of, Sraosha. We will here shortly describe the functions of Sraosha, the Yazata or angel, which will enable one to see why the prayers are recited with his Khshnuman.

Sraosha, the Yazata.

In Zoroastrian angelology, Sraosha (Srosh) occupies a very high position. As said by Dr. Geiger, he is a "characteristic figure in the Avesta religion" and "exemplifies clearly the ethico-philosophical spirit which predominates in the Zoroastrian system."2

2. Civilization of the Eastern Iranians in Ancient Times, Introduction, translated by Dastur Darab P. Sanjana, Vol. I, p. LI.

The word comes from the root sru, Sanskrit shru, to hear, or to cause to hear, and thence to obey. So he presides over the abstract idea of obedience, — obedience to God. Obedience implies hearing. So he is the Yazata who hears from God, communicates to Man what he hears from God and asks Man to obey God's message which he communicates. Hence he plays, to a certain extent, the same part in the Parsee books, as that which Gabriel plays in Christian books. He is a messenger of God communicating to Man the wishes and orders of God. It is generally through him that prophets and even righteous men are inspired by God. He protects the souls of men both during the day and during the night. His protection is greater at night. Hence it is that the Yashts in his praise (Yasht 11 and Yasna 57.) are specially recited at night. The dog, who watches a house at night, and the cock, that crows during the last part of the night and wakes men trom sleep, are therefore the animals [435] that are associated with his work. (Bundahishn, Chap. 19:33). He protects man against the evils of ignorance, anger, sloth, and intoxication. The pith of all that is said of him in the Avesta and Pahlavi books is this: By obedience to the Commands of God, by conformity to His laws as seen in Nature, man protects his soul and moves in the proper path. Obedience to the Laws of God, as seen in his Nature over which Sraosha presides is everything. As M. Harlez says: "L'accomplissement de la loi est la source de toute la prospérité"3

3. Le Zend Avesta: Introduction, CXV.

From all this we see that Sraosha is the guardian angel who protects the soul of man. He protects the soul of man not only during life but even after death (Yasna 57:25). His help or co-operation is required by the soul during its passage to the next world, especially during the first three days, when it is passing to a new plane of activity from the plane of this world to that of another. We read in the Menog-i Khrad (Chap. 2:115): "The fourth day in the light of dawn—with the co-operation of Srosh the righteous, Vâê the good, and Warharan, the strong .... (the soul) goes up to the awful, lofty Chinwad bridge to which everyone, righteous and wicked is coming."4 "And the righteous soul pesses over with the co-operation of Srosh the righteous" (Chap. 2:124).5 (Vide also Shayesht Ne-Shayest, 17:3; Dadestan-e Denig, 28:6-7). Thus, we see that the ceremonies are performed with the Khshnuman of Sraosha, because the soul in its passage to the next world has his help and guidance. So, the Sarosh ceremonies are on the one hand intended to signify thanksgiving to Sraosha for the protection that he had offered to the soul during his life-time and that he offers after death. They are at the same time intended to pray, that he (Sraosha) may continue that protection after death. After separation from the body, the soul, finding itself, as it were, on a quite new plane, in other spheres of activity, is in more need of help and protection.

4. S. B. E., XXIV, p. 17.

5. Ibid. p. 19.

The Sarosh ceremonies consist of the following:— (The Pahlavi Vendidad 8:22 refers to some of these ceremonies).

  1. The recital of 3 Yasnas with the Khshnuman of the angel Srosh during the morning hours. This recital is indispensable. For a child under seven, one Yasna is permissible. (Ibid.)
  2. The recital of the Vendidad at midnight from one to three in number. This is not necessary; it may or may not be made.
  3. The recital of the Srosh Baj during each of the 5 gahs or periods of the day during the first 3 days. This recital is not indispensably necessary, but it is generally made.
  4. The recital of the Afrinagan of Sraosh (Yasna 57:15-18) in the first part of the night (Aiwisruthrem gah). This is indispensably necessary. It is generally recited in the house near the spot where the remains were placed before being carried to the Towers. This recital is ordinarily spoken of as "Sarosh no Kardo, i.e., the particular section in honour of Sraosha.
  5. The recital of the Niyayeshes and Yashts in each of the five gahs or periods of the day. During the three periods of the day, the smaller Srosh Baj, gahs, the Khwarshed and Mihr Niyayeshes and Patet are recited; and, during the night, the smaller Srosh Baj, the gahs, the Yashts (Yasna 57 and Yasht 11) and the Patet are recited. These recitals are not indispensably necessary.
  6. The recitals at the Uthamnâ ceremony. They are necessary. Some perform this ceremony twice, once during the after noon of the third day and the second time at the end of the third night. Only one of these two is necessary, and especially that at the end of the third night.
  7. The recitals of the Four Bajs with a Siâv or suit of clothes during the latter part of the third night, (Vide Baj for the description of these). [437]
  8. The recital of the Afrinagan of Daham on the dawn of the third night.
  9. The Chehârum, or the fourth day ceremony.

All the different ceremonies which make up the Sarosh ceremonies do not require any fuller explanation, as they have been treated under their respective headings, but the Uthamnâ and the Chehârum require a special mention. We will describe them at the end of the article on Sarosh.

Jorâni Kriyâ.

In the matter of the Sarosh ceremonies for the first three days after death, and subsequent ceremonies during the first year or even after the first year, the practice is that if the deceased is a married person, the ceremonies—if not all, the principal according to one's means—were performed not only in the name and in honour of the deceased but also in the name of his or her partner, i.e., of the husband if the deceased is a female, and of the wife if he is a male, whether the partner be living or dead. The performance of this double set of ceremonies is spoken of as "Jorâni Kriyâ," i.e., ceremonies of the pair. This double performance is not referred to in old books and seems to be a later introduction. In case the deceased has gone through a second marriage, the ceremonies are threefold. For example, if A dies and had married a second wife C after the death of his first wife B, then on his demise, some of the ceremonies are performed in the name of all three A, B, and C. This is not a general practice, but is resorted to by those able to afford. The custom of this double set of some ceremonies seems to have arisen from the belief that a pair once married is married for life and death.

Expenses of the funeral ceremonies for the first four days.

The Trustees of the Funds and properties of the Parsee Punchayet pay the funeral expenses of the poor of their community who are not able to defray them. In case of those that have died utterly destitute and without anybody to perform the funeral ceremonies after them, they (the [438] Trustees) get the ceremonies performed in a Fire-temple under the charge of a head-priest. I give below a list of the charges which will give one an idea, not only of the expenses, but also of the ceremonies that are thought to be absolutely and indispensably necessary. The total cost paid for the poor in Bombay, which is a big and rather expensive city is Rs. 45.
Fees received at the Tower of Silence for the wages of the corpse bearers, etc., in the vase of poor persons ... 240
Fees of two priests who perform the Get Srnâ ceremony before the removal of the corpse ... 300
Recital of the three Yasnas of Srosh ... 600
Recital of the Ardafrawash on the Chehârum, i.e., 4th day ... 200
Recital of four Bajs on the 3rd day after midnight ... 200
Recital of the Karda of Srosh for three nights ... 300
The Uthamnâ and the Afrinagan on the dawn of the fourth day ... 400
The Afrinagan Baj of Chehârum on the 4th day Fruit, flowers, flour, sandalwood, etc., ... 680
The meal for the Satum on the Chehârum day ... 100
Siâv vâsan (i.e., a suit of clothes, utensils, &c.) to be consecrated at the recital of the four Bajs on the 3rd day ... 740

Total ...


Uthamnâ ceremony.

The word Uthamnâ comes from an Indian verb "uthvun" meaning "to get up, to depart." According to the Parsee books, on the death of a person, his soul remains within the precincts of this world, generally at the place where he died, or at the place where his body had its last resting place. It is at the dawn of the [439] third night, it gets up, as it were, and departs from this world to the world above. So, the ceremony performed on the third day after death is called "Uthamnâ," i.e., the ceremony of the day of the departure" of the soul from this world.6 The most proper occasion for the ceremony is the dawn of the third night when the soul is believed to depart from the precincts of this world. The ceremony is performed at that time, but generally the custom is, that it is also performed in the afternoon of the third day in order to make it convenient for the friends and relations to attend at, and participate in, the ceremony.

6. Some say that it is so called because, after its celebration, members of the family, get up from their deep mourning and go out for their usual avocations.

Friends and relations and the invited priests assemble at about 3 p.m. at the place where the ceremony is to be performed. The place may be either the house of the deceased, if it is convenient to accommodate the assembly there, or at an adjoining Fire-temple or another kind of public place. At three o'clock when the gah (Uzerin) changes, most of the persons assembled perform their ablutions and perform the Kusti Padyab. They then stand turning to the West and recite the Khwarshed, Mihr Niyayeshes, the Doa nam Setayashna and the nemô-aônghâm prayer known as the nemâz of the four quarters of the world (Yasna 1:16). The Khwarshed and the Mihr Niyayeshes are repeated twice. It is considered to be the duty of every Zoroastrian to say his Khwarshed Mihr Niyayeshes three times (Hawan/morning, Rapithwin/noon, and Uzerin/afternoon) during the day. So, the first set of the Niyayeshes is recited with a view to do their own duty. The second is believed to be recited out of their duty and respect towards the dead. After the conclusion of the above prayers, all assembled perform the Hamazor with one another. They then sit down on the carpet and recite Uzerin gah and Srosh Hadokht (Yasht 11). They then recite the Patet or the prayer of repentance mentioning the name of the deceased person in the last Kardeh or section. [440] In all these prayers, the head or the senior priest leads the recital. During the recital of the Patet by the whole assembly, a priest standing before the fire, which burns in a vase, and with trays of fragrant flowers and of pots or vessels containing rose water and other perfumes before him, recites the Dhup-nirang (see below) mentioning the name of the deceased person. If the deceased person is married, two priests say the Dhup-nirang prayer. In that case the ceremony is said to be that of Jorâni Kriyâ, i.e., the ceremony of the married pair.


At the conclusion of the Dhup-nirang prayer, one of the heirs of the deceased, generally the eldest son or a near relation is presented before the senior priest who makes him recite a form of obligation which is spoken of as "Sôsh bhanâvvi" wherein a son or a near relation undertakes to perform certain religious ceremonies in honour of the deceased. The word Sôsh seems to be a corruption of Srosh which is the principal ceremony for the dead. The obligation is to get the following recited or done:—

(a) Lâkh bhanâvvi, i.e., to get recited one lac, five hundred Ahunwars.

(b) Three Yasnas.

(c) Three Vendidads.

(d) Twenty-four Drons.

(e) Ashodâd, i.e., the gift to the righteous.

This obligation nowadays has become well nigh stereotyped. It seems that formerly the obligation was only for the ceremonies which the surviving relations wished to be performed.

Then, if the deceased is a male of the age of 15 or above. an announcement is made as to who has been adopted as his son. Donations in charity in honour or in memory of the deceased are then announced. Then the assembly recites the Tandarosti prayer praying for blessings upon the surviving head of the family. Consecrated flowers are then distributed among, and rose-water besprinkled upon, the persons assembled. [441]

Lastly, the family priest goes round among the persons assembled and makes salâms or salutations. This is the way of thanking the people for their kind presence on the occasion. Formerly, the head of the family also followed the family priest in bidding the salutation. But that custom is not observed generally, though it is prevalent even now in mofussil towns like Naosari.

The Ahunwar or Yatha Ahu Vairyo is a short prayer like the Paternoster of the Christians. The relations undertook to get one lac (lâkh) and five hundred Ahunwars recited in honour of the deceased. They need not and cannot be recited at once. They can be recited at convenience during the first year after death. They may be recited by a priest or may be recited by a member of the family.7

7. For a fuller dtscription of this ceremony, vide my paper on "the use of Rosaries among the Zorastrians" in the Sir J. J. Zarthoshti Madressa Jubilee volume. Vide my Memorial Papers, pp. 63-64.

(b) (c) (d). The recital of the Yasna and the Vendidads refer to the recitals of these ceremonies during the first three days. The 24 Drons refer to the sacred breads in the Baj ceremony performed at the latter part of the third night.

The Ashodâd.

The word Ashô-dâd means gifts to the righteous. The voluntary payments to the priests are generally known by that name now. In the Uthamna ceremony, at the end, the head of the family or somebody in his behalf pays the priests their fees. The sums given vary according to the means of the family. The head or the senior priest is paid more than others according to his status in his profession. Besides payment in money, each priest is generally given a sudra or sacred shirt. The suit of clothes that is consecrated with the four Bajs on the third day after midnight and which is known as Siâv is also spoken of as Jameh Ashodâd, i.e., the clothes to be given as gift to the righteous [442] poor. This suit of clothes is generally given to the family priest.

Gâe bhanâvvi.

It seems that formerly the family priest was given a cow in addition to payment in money and clothes. This custom seems to have arisen in India where Hindus presented cows to their Brahmins. Though the custom of giving a cow is no longer observed, its remnant has remained in a money payment to the family priest which is called the fee for Gâe bhanâvvi, i.e., the declaration in prayer for the gift of a cow. He is now given a sum varying from one Rupee to 5 Rupees under that name. As this fee is now given at the time when the above referred to Shos (or Sraosha) declaration or obligation is made, it is at times called the fee of sôsh (Srosh) bhanâvvi.


Dhup is an Indian word (Sanskrit dhup) meaning perfume. Dhup saroi is the modern Indian name of the ceremony, of which the ancient Persian name is nirang-i-bui dâdan, i.e., the ceremony of giving or distributing the perfumes. The ceremony is so called because during the performance of this ceremony, fragrant flowers, rose-water, and other perfumes are placed in trays on carpets on which the assembly is seated. At the end of the ceremony these flowers are distributed and the rose-water sprinkled among the persons assembled. Again. during the performance of the ceremony, fragrant wood like sandalwood and the agar and fragrant incense like frankincense, are burned.

Now, what do these perfumes of the fragrant flowers, rose-water and other odoriferous liquids seem to signify and symbolize? The ceremony seems to signify that the path of the righteous (ashavan) souls in the next. world is besprinkled with fragrance and joy. It moralises and says, as it were, to the people assembled: "A righteous soul that passes away to the next world has his way beset with fragrance and joy. Let us all think of that and bear that in mind and let us all so behave, that when our turn of [443] departure comes, our way also may be so perfumed with fragrance and joy." The Arda Viraf Nameh, which, like the Divine Comedy of Dante gives a picture of what the righteous soul meets on his way to the next world, says that "on the dawn of the third day the righteous soul moves about in the midst of fragrant plants" (Arda Viraf Nameh, Chap. 4:15). So, the occasion when this Dhup ceremony is performed being that of the Uthamnâ. (q. v.) or the ceremony of the third day after death, fragrant flowers, and perfumes are presented as symbols.

The Dhup ceremony forms a part of the Uthamnâ ceremony. It consists in the recital of the Pazand Dibache, which precedes the recital of the Afrinagan ceremony. The Dibache is preceded by a few additional words in the commencement (az hamâ gunâh patet pashemânum. Ashem, etc.) expressing repentance of sins, if any. It ends with a few more sentences expressive of good wishes for the deceased and for the living creation.

The recital of the Dibache is spoken of as "Dhup sârvi." There are three ceremonies with which the verb "sârvi" is connected. The verb "sârvi" is Persian "Sarâidan" which means "to cause to hear, to chant, to sing." It is the Avesta "Srâvaya" which is the causal form of "sru," Sanskrit "sru," a root from which come the English words "celebrate" and "laudation." The two other ceremonies with which this verb is connected are the Ashirvad or marriage ceremony and the Geh sârnâ ceremony or the recital of the Gatha over the dead body before its removal to the Tower. One is spoken of as "Ashirvad Sârvâ." and the other as "Geh Sârvi." The use of this verb suggests that the recital of the prayers at these three ceremonies must necessarily be with a loud voice so as to be heard aloud by all the persons who assemble on the occasions.


The word Chehârum means "the fourth." The fourth day and the ceremonies of the fourth day are known by that name. Though this day's ceremonies do not strictly belong to the Sarosh ceremonies [444] properly so called, they are generally considered to form a part of these ceremonies. They consist of the recital of an Yasna, an Afrinagan, and Baj, known as Chehârum ni Ardâfarosh, (i.e. the recital of the Yasna in honour of the Farohars or Fravashis on the fourth day) and Chehârum nu Âfringân Baj. The recital of the "Satum" at about midday on the mid-day meal generally completes the ceremonies of the day. The priests who had been performing the Sarosh ceremonies for the preceding three days at the Fire-temple or Dar-e Mihr are generally invited to dine at this Chehârum midday meals. They partake of this solemn dinner with the recital of a Baj or prayer of grace mentioning the name of the deceased in the Dibache of the Baj. At the end of the meals the priests are given some small money gifts. For the first three days after death, meat is prohibited. It is allowable from the fourth day. Wine is considered necessary in its celebration (Vide Pahlavi Vendidad 8:22 for the Chehârum ceremony).


The word Zinda-rawan means a living soul and is opposed to Anosheh-rawan, i.e., the dead (lit., immortal) soul. All the Parsee liturgical ceremonies are performed both in honour of the living and of the dead. As far as the recital of the prayers goes, the prayer is the same except this, that at that part of the prayer where the name of the person, in whose honour the ceremony is performed, is mentioned in the Dibache, if he is living, the word Zinda-rawan is mentioned as an epithet before his name (e.g., Zinda-rawan A or B), and if he is dead, the word anosheh-rawan is mentioned.

Zinda-rawan, the name of a ceremony.

The word Zinda-rawan has come to assume a technical name for a ceremony. It is the ceremony in honour of Srosh. On the death of a person, the funeral religious ceremonies are performed with the Khshnuman of the Yazata Srosh who is believed to be the angel protecting the souls of men. It is not only the souls of the dead that he protects [445] but also the souls of the living. So, a Zoroastrian gets the Sarosh ceremony performed in his life-time. This Sarosh ceremony thus performed for one in his life-time is called his "Zinda-rawan." So the Zinda-rawan is the Sarosh ceremonies performed in one's life-time. At times, it is continued for the whole year, i.e., all the religious ceremonies during the first year—like the Chehârum, i.e., the Fourth day, the Dehum or Dasmu, i.e., the Tenth day, the Sirouz, i.e., the thirtieth day, and each subsequent 30th day or monthly day and the Salrouz or the anniversary—are performed for a year. It is the ladies who generally get their Zinda-rawan performed. During the last generation, Parsee ladies, when they got their Zinda-rawan performed, looked to the event with satisfaction as having done a necessary righteous work in their life. They looked to the event with satisfaction from the point of view, that, if on their death the necessary Sarosh ceremonies were not performed in their names by their relatives, or if some mishap—e.g., that of dying in an out of the place locality where there was not sufficient convenience for getting the ceremony performed—prevented their being performed, the Zinda-rawan as the funeral ceremonies in honour of Srosh performed in their life-time would stand them in good stead and would have his protecting or beneficial effect.

One hears here and there the story of an orthodox Parsee of the last generation taking so serious a view of the matter that he not only got the funeral ceremony of Sarosh performed but also got the ceremony of gêh sârnâ performed, i.e., he washed and laid himself on an iron bier as if dead and got a couple of priests to say the funeral service.

This reminds one of one of the Kings of France—it was one Louis—who is said to have got a solemn funeral service performed over himself, and this to such an extent, that he was carried to the graveyard and there laid in a grave, where the last of the services was performed, in which he himself joined solemnly. He then left the grave after all others had departed. [446]

The object of this ceremony was that it enabled one to take a serious view of life, and to consider, that in life he was in the midst of death, and that therefore it behoved him to lead a good settled virtuous life.


Nirangdin is the name of the ceremony which consecrates the gomez or the urine of the bull for ceremonial purposes. It consists of a Barashnom ceremony by two priests, then the Khub ceremony, then the six Gewrâs, and then the final Vendidad. (Vide above (pp. 253-57), the Consecration Ceremonies for details).


Gahambars, their importance from two points of view.

The Gahambars are six holidays or periods of holidays, each of the duration of 5 days, that occur at stated times of the year. They derive their importance from two points of view.— (A) Agricultural or seasonal.

(B) Cosmogonical.

The Avesta itself refers to them as agricultural or seasonal. The later writings connect them also with cosmogony. We will speak here of these two points.

A. Gahambars as season festivals.

There are three facts which lead to show that the Gahambars are season festivals. They are the following.

(a) The root and the meaning of the word.

(b) The meanings of the words which bear the names of the six Gahambars.

(c) The description of the Gahambars found in the Parsee books.

(a) Root and meaning of the word Gahambar.

Gahambar is a later word, the exact corresponding word for which is not found in the extant Avesta. If one were to coin a corresponding word, it would be "Gâtuhâmbar." But the [447] Avesta word which carries the meaning borne by the word Gahambar is "Yâirya" (Yasna 1:9). The word "Yâirya" comes trom "Yâré" which is the same as English "year." "Yâirya" means "seasonal divisions of the year." The word Gahambar itself is the Pahlavi Gâsânbâr. As the word "Yâirya (Yâre, English year) comes from the root "" to go, so the word gâs in gâsânbâr and gâh in Gahambar comes from the root , to go.

Dastur Peshotan gives the meaning of the word as "prayer (gâthâ) or the gift (bâr, bar) of God." Mr. K. R. Cama thinks the last part of the word "bâr" to be the same as "-ber" in September, October, etc. and understands it to mean "time" (cf. the Gujarati word vâr). He takes the whole word to mean "the time for singing the Gathas." He thinks that the word may also mean an assembly (ambâr, Avesta hâm-bairya) of a particular time or place (gâs or gâtu). I think the word means "collection (ambâr) of time (gâh)," i.e., "the full time," "the proper (season) time."

(b) The six Gahambars and the meaning of their names.

The Gahambars are six in number. Their very names signify that they are season festivals.

1. The first Gahambar, which occurs from the 41st to the 46th day after Nawruz or the New Year's day, is Maidyozarem. Its name signifies "Midspring." (maidhya, middle and zaremya, spring from zar, Sanskrit har to be green.)

2. The second from the 101st to 105th day is Maidyoshahem i.e., Mid-summer (shem, Sanskrit, samâ, summer).

3. The third from the 176th to 180th day is Paitishahem. The word comes from paiti and hahya, Sanskrit sasya, corn and means "the time of reaping the harvest." It is the time of autumn.

4. The fourth from the 206th to 210th day is Ayathrem. The meaning of the word is not clear. It is thought to be the [448] time of prosperity and nourishment (thrima from thrâ to thrive). It is thought to be the breeding season of the cattle.

5. The fifth from the 286th to 290th day is Maidyarem, i.e., the season of Mid-winter. The word means "the midst of airya" i.e., rest. Mid-winter is the time when, owing to extreme cold, all agricultural work generally ceases.

6. The sixth from the 361st to the 365th day is Hamaspathmaedyem. It seems to signify the time when the path (pathan) of the year is the same (hama) or in the middle (madha). It is the time of the Vernal Equinox when the days and nights are equal, when the heat and the cold are the same, i.e., moderate.

Though each of these six Gahambars lasts for 5 days, the principal day of the Gahambar is the last day. The preceding four days are as it were, of preliminary preparation and enjoyment.

(c) The description of the Gahambars in the Parsee books.

The description of the Gahambars as given in the Parsee books also tends to show that they are season festivals. The principal description of this is found in the Visperad (1:2). The Bundahishn also refers to this fact. (Chap. 25.)

B. Gahambars, as connected with Cosmogony.

In the Pahlavi Commentary of the Afrinagan of Gahambar, and in the Afrin of the Gahambar, these holidays are connected with the following six principal creations of God:—

1. The Heavens. 2. Water. 3. Earth. 4. Vegetable Creation. 5. Animal Creation. 6. Man.

The object of celebrating the Gahambars.

The consideration of the above facts shows that the principal and the first object of the celebration of the Gahambars was to offer thanksgiving to God for the institution of the different seasons, on the regularity of which depended the prosperity of the world. To this primary object was latterly added [449] the object of offering thanks for the creation of the six best and grand objects of Nature. The Menog-i Khrad (Chap. 4) speaks of seven principal acts of righteousness. Among these Charity (râdih) is placed first; then Truth (râstih) and then the celebration of the Gahambar. There it is said, that Gahambars or the phenomena of the seasons are one of the great acts of Wisdom worthy of the Omniscient Lord.

The Shayest Na-Shayest (Chap. 12:31) enumerates some liturgical ceremonies which a Zoroastrian should celebrate. Among them the celebration of the Gahambars stands first. The Sad Dar (Chap. 6:1-2) also places the celebration of the Gahambars at the head of a list of six religious acts. The Vohuman Yasht (2:45) prophesies that the non-celebration of the Gahambars will be an evil day for the world. To put it into ordinary language, what it means is this, that it will be an evil day when man will cease to offer thanks to God for the creation of the phenomena of the seasons and for the different gifts that result from the phenomena. King Jamshed is said to be the first monarch of Persia who celebrated the Gahambars.

The two principal functions in the Gahambars.

There are two principal functions in the celebration of the Gahambars.

(A) The performance of the Liturgical services relating to the Gahambars.

(B) Solemn feasts accompanying the services. Of these two, though the first is more important it is the latter that has appealed and appeals most to the generality of people. We will here describe these two functions.

(A) The different Liturgical services of the Gahambar ceremony.

The following are the Liturgical services that are generally celebrated on the occasions of the Gahambars:

  1. The Afrinagan of Gahambar.
  2. The Baj of Gahambar.
  3. The Yasna of Gahambar, known as the Visperad.
  4. The Pâvi of Gahambar.

Of these four, the first two form the necessary services. The next two mayor may not be celebrated. Of these four, the first three have been referred to under the heading of Afrinagan, Baj, and Visperad. So, we will describe the Pâvi here.

The Pâvi of the Gahambar.

Two or more priests take part in this ceremony. One of the priests must have recited beforehand the Baj of the Gahambar with Barsom. (Vide above pp. 369 and 371). The other priests then take the Baj, i.e., recite the first part of the second Baj of meals or grace. (Vide above p. 371.) They then recite in Baj the Dibache three times. (Vide above p. 377.)

In the first recital of the Dibache they mention the Khshnuman of the Gahambars, mentioning, out of the six names of the Gahambars, the name of the particular Gahambar during the period of which the service is being celebrated. During the second recital, the Khshnuman of the particular Hamkara is mentioned. During the third, the Khshnuman of Srosh is mentioned. In each of these recitals, the Yâd (p. 381) is made in the name of the person, for whom or in whose niyat or memory the Gahambar is performed. During these recitals, especially during the second and the third, the whole of the Dibache need not be recited. Half of it, up to the part where the names of the persons are commemorated, is generally recited.

In the ceremony of the Pâvi, no fruits or flowers are required. The only thing required is milk. Each priest has before him a small metallic cup or glass in which, at each recital of the Dibache a little milk is poured. Thus, all the recitals are made over milk. After this recital of the three Dibaches by all the priests, the particular priest who has performed the ceremony of the Baj of Gahambar recites alone the Dibache again. At the end of each sentence of the Dibache, the other priests say in chorus "aidun-bâd," i.e. "Amen."

Between the first three recitals of the Dibache by all the priests together and this fourth by the priest who had recited the Baj of Gahambar, there are two points of difference. [451]

1. During the first three recitals the three Khshnumans of of (a) the particular Gahambar, (b) the Hamkara of the day, and (c) Srosh, are recited separately, each in each of the three Dibaches, but in the fourth recital, all the three Khshnumans are recited together.

2. During the first three recitals. the sacred thing offered or produced is milk. Some make the recital on wine also. But in the case of the fourth recital it is made over pure water which the priest makes pâv, i.e., ceremoniously pure before the recital.

The reason why thil ritual is called Pâvi.

The reason why this ceremony is called "Pâvi" would, at first sight, seem to be that during its performance, the priest while reciting the fourth Dibache commences by making the ceremonial water pâv or ceremoniously pure. But the proper reason seems to be, that the ceremony was, in former times, performed in an enclosed space which is known as pâvi.8 Of course, many liturgical services performed by the priests observing the Barashnom are performed within a pâvi, but as distinguished from these, this particular ceremony is called and specialized as pâvi. because while in those other services, the priests only take part in this ceremony of the pâvi, the laity also take part.

8. Vide the word Pâvi in the chapter of Purification of ceremonies.

Aa a matter of fact, now-a-days the ceremony is not performed within an enclosed space or pâvi. So the name pâvi would seem to be a misnomer. But, it appears) that though it may seem so now, it was not so formerly. It appears from Anquetil Du Perron, that as late as about 160 years ago, the ceremony was performed in a pâvi or an enclosed space. Anquetil, while describing this ceremony says: "Les Parses étant rassemblés dans un jardin, et placés dans un endroit entouré d'un keisch, disent le Vadj Khordan, (i.e. the prayer of grace): et l'Herbed après avoir béni trois Navés (vases qui contiennent ce qu'on [452] va boire ou manger), prononce au milieu de l'assemblée cet Áfrin du Roi Gahambar" (Le Zend Avesta, Vol. II, pp. 121-122).

B. The second function of the Gahambars: the solemn feast.

The Gahambars are generally accompanied with solemn feasts, wherein members of the family, or residents of a street, or a town participate. "Gahambar-ni-chashni," i.e., the ceremonial and communal eating of the things offered in the Gahambar ceremonies, forms an important part in the Gahambar celebration.

How to celebrate the Gahambars.

As said above, it was considered to be the duty of a Zoroastrian to celebrate the Gahambars. Then how were the poor to celebrate these? The Afrinagan of the Gahambar suggests a way for that. It says that all may participate in the public Gahambars and pay their mite, however poor, according to their means. Every Zoroastrian need not celebrate separately a Gahambar. There may be public Gahambars, celebrated by the members of a family or by the inhabitants of a particular street in a town or by those of a particular village or town. All may participate in these public Gahambars. If one can afford, he may pay his mite in money or in kind. For example, the Afrinagan says, if one can afford, he may offer as his mite, a fat healthy goat or sheep or the public feast. If he cannot afford to do that, he may give a quantity of wine. If one cannot afford even to do that, he may give a bundle of dry wood or fuel for cooking the food. If one cannot afford to do that even, let him give even one piece of fuel. If a poor man cannot afford to give even this small thing, never mind, let him go there and participate in the celebration by remembering his God there. He may join the celebration, say his prayer, and participate in the feast of the Gahambar. The four words used in the Afrin of Gahambar —Yazad, sâzad, khurad, dehad, i.e., pray, perform, eat, or give— seem to suggest the different ways in which one can participate in the celebration of the Gahambars or season festivals to which [453] a good deal of importance is attached in Parsee books. The ways are the following:—

  1. One may join in the prayers recited and pray.
  2. One may do some manual service.
  3. One may participate in the feast by offering some article of food.
  4. One may give something in kind or money.

The Shayesht Ne-Shayest (Chap. 19:4) enjoins, that in returning from a Gahambar feast one must say four Yatha Ahu Vairyos. This injunction seems to have been suggested by the fact of the recital of four Yatha Ahu Vairyos at the commencement of the Afrinagan of Gahambar, and, I think, this number four symbolizes the above four ways in which one can participate in a Gahambar.

Gahambar feasts of the Zoroastrians and the sacred feasts of the ancient Jews.

The above description of the celebration of the Gahambars in ancient Iran reminds us of the following description of similar sacred feasts of the ancient Hebrews as described in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 12:6-7, 12):

6. And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks.

7. And there ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand into, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee......

12. "And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your men servants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; for as much as he hath no part nor inheritance with you."

The washing of the hand in such solemn feasts.

One of the solemnities observed in solemn feasts like those of the Gahambars is that of washing the hands before the meals. Though this custom is now-a-days not generally observed [454] by the laity, the clergy do observe it still. A servant passes round with a water-pot and a large vessel and lets the guests wash their hands before the meals. It is this custom that is alluded to in the Bible where we read:

1. Then came together upon him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
2. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen hands, they found fault.
3. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
4. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not ......" (Mark 7:1-4).

The present practice of celebrating the Gahambars.

At present, private individuals or families celebrate these Gahambars. In the case of families, they generally celebrate the six Gahambars of the year during the first year of one's death in the family circle. They celebrate the Gahambars with the Yâd or remembrance of his or her name in the recitals of the prayers. But, besides these private celebrations, there are public celebrations in almost all Parsee towns. In some places, there are, what may be called, "Subscription Gahambars," where only those who pay their mite, as fixed and arranged, may join. In some places, there are generous donors who celebrate public Gahambars and invite all Parsees of the town to the feast. In case of subscription Gahambars, at times, there are Gahambars of different tradesmen. For example, the Parsee cloth-merchants of Bombay have their own Gahambars. Different Parsee offices have their own Gahambars.

Public Gahambars in Bombay.

In Bombay, the Trustees of the funds and properties of the Parsee Punchayet hold a fund of about Rs. 150,000 made up by public subscriptions. From the income of this fund they celebrate six public Gahambars. They spend Rs. 780 for the [455] celebration of each of the Gahambars. About Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 go for the religious or ceremonial part, and the rest goes in giving a public dinner, called Niât (lit. caste dinner, to the whole community). A public invitation goes round and from about two to three thousand people take part in the dinner. The first Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy Bart. had great faith in the celebration of the Gahambars. He has set apart a large fund for the celebration of these Gahambars, not only in Bombay but in some of the big Moffusil Parsee centres like Surat, Naosari, Broach, etc.

Gahambars, occasions of communial gatherings.

Of all ceremonial occasions, the Gahambars were considered to be the principal occasions for ceremonial gatherings. Universal Brotherhood which we often hear spoken of, was one of the principal objects aimed at in the public Gahambars. The rich and the poor—rich and poor not only in wealth but in intellectual knowledge—of the town were expected to meet together and to learn from each other's company what Was best in it. The inferiors coming into contact with the superiors learnt from them good manners and the traits of their nobility. The rich came to know the wants of the poor and pondered over their shortcomings which they thought of removing.


Meaning of the word Jashan.

The celebration of an important event or occasion, whether joyful or melancholy, in a religious and solemn way with liturgical services, is known as Jashan. The Jashans are known by special designations according to the occasions which require their celebration. For example, if it is to celebrate the anniversary of the death of a person, it is said to be the "Jashan of A or B's Baj." If it is to celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of a Fire-temple, it is said to be the "Jashan of the Sal-gireh, i.e., anniversary of the Fire-temple." If it is to celebrate a Gahambar or season [456] festival, it is said to be the "Jashan of the Gahambar." The Parsees have celebrated by Jashans, important events like the Golden and Diamond Jubilees of Her late Majesty, Queen Victoria, and the Coronation of Emperor, Edward VII. Similarly they have celebrated Jashans to pray for the suppression of scourges like those of famine and pestilence, mutiny and war.

The word Jashan is another from of Yazashna or Ijashna meaning an homage of praise, from the root yaz to praise, to worship. Some derive the word from "chash" to taste, to eat, from the fact that the Jashans end by a kind of communion, wherein all the persons assembled partake of the dron, the consecrated bread, and myazda, the consecrated fruits, and other eatables. Some later Mahomedan authors give the word as "chashan" instead of "Jashan," thus suggesting the above derivation of the word from "chash" to taste.

What Southey says of Festivals generally is specially true of Parsee Jashans. They, "when duly observed, attach men to the civil and religious institutions of their country; it is an evil, therefore, when they fall into disuse."

The liturgical ceremonies which are generally performed in a Jashan are the following:—1. The Afrinagan. 2. The Baj. 3. The Yasna. 4. The Farokhshi. 5. The Satum.

The last three, or anyone or more of them, mayor may not be performed. But the first two are generally performed. Out of these two, the first, i.e., the Afrinagan is indispensably necessary. In fact it is the ceremony of the Jashan or it is the Jashan proper. It is generally performed in a large hall where many people can assemble and witness the ceremony.

Three kardas or sections are generally recited in the Afrinagans of the Jashans. Of these three, two that are invariably recited always (except during the 5 days of the Gathas which are the last 5 intercalary days of the year when the Daham Afrinagan is not recited) at the end are the Afrinagans of Daham and Srosh, The first karda varies according to the occasion of the Jashan. [457] If the Jashan is for the anniversary of a deceased person. the karda of the Afrinagan of Ardafrawash is recited. If it is the anniversary of a Fire-temple or any such institution, the Afrinagan with the Khshnuman of the Yazata, Warharan (who presides over Victory) or with the Khshnuman of the particular Yazata which presides over tho day is recited. If it is the Jashan of Gahambar. the Afrinagan of Gahambar is recited. If it is the Jashan of Rapithwin, the Afrinagan of Rapithwin is recited, and so on.

Jashan Holidays.

There are particular Holidays in the year which are specially known as the Jashan Holidays and they are specially known as the Jashans. These Jashans or special Holidays can be divided into three classes.

I. Jashans connected with seasons or season festivals. Under this class fall the Jashans like those of (a) the Gahambars, (b) the Jamshedi Naoroz, (c) Mihragan, (d) Rapithwin, (e) Tiragan, (f) Khordad-Sal.

II. Jashans in honour of the dead. Under this class are included Jashans like those of—(a) The 10 days of the Frawardegan Holidays. (b) the Frawardin Jashans, i.e., the Jashans of ruz Frawardin (the 19th day) and mah Frawardin (the first month). The 19th day Frawardin of each month also is held sacred to the dead, through not to such an extent as the 19th day of the first month and the 19th day of the 9th month (Adar). (c) the Jashans of the 4th, 10th, 30th, and the anniversary day after one's death (Pahl. Vendidad 8:22).

III. The Jashans that have some connection with some historical events in ancient Iran. Some of the Jashans that fall under the first head fall also under this head, e.g., (a) the Jamshedi Nawruz, (6) the Mihragan, (c) the Tiragan.

The object of the public Jashans.

Firstly, the object of most of the public Jashans, e.g., the Jashans of the Season Festivals is to offer thanks to the Almighty for His bountiful blessings and to pray for a continuance of the same. To a great extent they are thanksgiving services. [458]

Secondly, the public Jaahans are intended to cement the tie of brotherhood. They aim at not only physical brotherhood, but spiritual brotherhood. The celebrant says in the recital of the Dibache that the reward of all his prayers may go to the treasury of Ahura Mazda, i.e., for the good of all his fellow creatures. This is what one may call "spiritual socialism."

The Jashan days in a Parsee year.

The following are the Jashan holidays during the year among the Parsees.

I. During the first month FRAWARDIN:

1. Nawruz or the New Year's day. This day corresponded at one time with the Jamshedi Nawruz day (the 21st of March, the day of the Vernal Equinox), but as the Parsees have ceased to observe intercalation since their imigration to India, this Nawruz does not fall on the 21st of March. It is known as the Jamshedi Nawruz day, because, according to Firdausi, king Jamshed of the Peshdadian dynasty first observed it with eclat on the Vernal Equinox day (M. Mohl. I, p. 53). On this day. the Parsees, when meeting each other, perform the hamazor.

2. Rapithwin. On the 3rd day. The word, means the pith (pithwa) or the middle portion of the day, the midday being the hottest part of the day. The Jashan day at the season when the sun begins to be hot is called the Rapithwin day. From the New Year's day (the Vernal Equinox), the winter being over, spring sets in and the sun begins to be hotter. The Rapithwin Gah prayer is recited from that day. So, the first of the month would be the proper day for the observation of the Rapithwin Jashan, but the third day Ardwahisht is observed as the day for the celebration, because Ardwahisht is associated with Fire which is the visible form on the surface of the Earth of the heat of the sun.

3. Khordad Sal: 6th day. This day is spoken of in some old books as the Nawruz-i khaç, i.e., the special New Year's day, while the real New Year's day was known as Nawruz-i Âm, i.e., common New Year's day. It was specially (Khâç) observed by [459] the King and his nobility. It is said to be the day on which many historical events of old Iran are said to have happened.9

9. Vide K. R. Cama Memorial Volume, p. 122-29. Dastur Kaikhusru's paper.

4. Jashan of Frawardigan. Frawardin, the 19th day of the first month Frawardin is a Jashan day in honour of all the dead. The Yazata Frawardin presides over the Fravashis or Farohars. So, the day bearing the name of that Yazata occurring in the month which also bears the name of that Yazata is sacred to the memory of the Fravashis of all the dead.10

10. It is something like the day of "All soul's day" of the Christians which falls on the 2nd of November. I remember having visited the cemetary of "Pée la Chaise" in Paris on the 1st of November 1887, the day of all saints (Tous saints). What I saw there reminded me of the Frawardigan Jashan of the Parsees of Bombay. I saw hundreds, nay thousands, going to the above cemetery with wreaths and crowns of flowers, real and artificial. In Bombay you see hundreds of Parsees going to the Towers of Silence, which, like the above cemetery of Paris, are situated on a hill, with pieces of sandalwood for the sacred fire burning in a temple on the hill. Hundreds of priests go up the hill with fruits and flowers for the Afrinagan ceremony to be performed there. In Paris I saw a number of Parisians giving their candles to be ignited at the altar. In Bombay, a number of Parsees give pieces of sandalwood to be ignited on the sacred fire.


1. Ardwahisht Jashan. The 3rd day of the second month. Each of the 30 days of the Parsee month bears the name of the Yazata which is believed to preside on that day. Again, each of the 12 months bears the name of the Yazata which is believed to preside on that month. So, that day of the month which bears the name of the Yazata who presides also over the month or whose name is also borne by the month, is held as a sacred Jashan day. So the 3rd day, Ardwahisht, of the second month Ardwahisht is the Jashan day of Ardwahisht.

2. Maidhyozarem Gahambar Jashan days. From the 11th to the 15th day. Vide above, Maidhyozarem, in the article on Gahambar. [460]


Hordad ruz Jashan. The 6th day Hordad of the 3rd month Hordad is the ordinary Jashan day.


1. Maidhyoshahem Gahambar. From the 11th to the 15th day. Vide Maidhyoshahem in the article on Gahambars.

2. Tiragan [Tiryân]. On the 13th day Tir of the 4th month Tir. This day is also connected with an historical event in the reign of King Minocheher, when a dispute about the boundary of Iran and Turan was decided by the throwing of an arrow (Tir) by an archer Erekhsha.


Amurdad Jashan. On the 7th day Amurdad of the 5th month Amurdad.


1. Shahrewar Jashan. On the 4th day Shahrewar of the 6th month Shahrewar.

2. Paitishahem Gahambar. From the 26th day to the 30th day. Vide Paitishahem in the article on Gahambars.


1. Mihragan. On the 16th day Mihr of the 7th month Mihr. It is also connected with an event in the reign of Faridoon. It was on this day that he took Zohak prisoner and ascended the throne of Persia.

2. Ayathrem Gahambar. From the 26th to the 30th day. Vide Ayathrem in the article on Gahambars.


Aban Jashan. On the 10th day (Aban) of the 8th month Aban. It is a festival in honour of the Yazata presiding over waters. Hundreds of persons, especially the ladies, go to the sea-shore, to the banks of rivers and say prayers in honour of Aban who presides over water. [461]


1. Adargan. On the 9th day Adar of the 9th month Adar. It is a festival in honour of the Yazata presiding over Fire. Hundreds of persons go to the Fire temples and recite Atash Niyayesh in honour of Adar, the Yazata that presides over Fire.

2. Second Frawardigan Jashan. This second Frawardigan Jashan occurs on ruz Frawardin, the 19th day of Adar, the 9th month. On that day, a number of Parsees go to the Hill where the Towers are built, present pieces of sandalwood to be burnt on the sacred fire there and say their prayers. The priests recite the Afrinagan prayers. This is a day for the remembrance of the memory of all the dead.

This day is important in connection with the dead in another way. When a person dies in a way as would not enable his relations to know the date of the Parsee month on which he died, then the ruz Frawardin, i.e., the 19th of the month is taken to be the date of his death. When even the month is not known, then the 9th month, the Adar, is taken to be the month. For example, suppose a man goes on a voyage and his boat founders and he is lost, and his relatives do not know the date on which the ship or boat foundered and he died. Then, for the observance of the day and for the performance of the obsequies, they assume Frawardin the 19th day of the month to be the date of the mouth of his death. Suppose even the month of his death is not known;11 then they assume Adar, the 9th month, to be the month of his death. So, in such cases they take the 19th of the 9th month to be the anniversaries of the deaths of persons whose date and month of death are not known, (Pahlavi Vendidad, Chap. 8:22). The reason why the month of Adar and not any other month, was assumed to be the month of death. is said to be this that the injunction was made at a time, when, owing to the fact of an intercalary [462] month being added in turn at the end of every 120 years, Adar was considered to be the last month of the year. In the case of persons dying on one of the five Gatha days, i.e., the intercalary days at the end of the year, there being no corresponding day for that day in the subsequent months, the day Frawardin is taken to be the day of his month and the monthly religious ceremonies are enjoined to be performed on that day every month.

11. In these days of fast and better travelling and voyaging, such a contingency hardly arises, but in old Iran it very frequently arose.


1-4. Day/Deh-Dadar Jashans. The 10th month Day/Deh is sacred to Ahura Mazda. himself. Day-pa-Adar, Day-pa-Mihr, and Day-pa-Den are the Hamkars (lit. co-workers) of Ohrmazd. So the 1st, the 8th, the 15th, and the 23rd days of the month which bear the names Ohrmazd, Day-pa-Adar, Day-pa-Mihr, and Day-pa-Den are held as the sacred Jashan days of Day/Deh Dadar.

5. Zartosht-no-Diso [Jarthoshtno-Diso]. The 11th day Khwarshed of the 10th month Day/Deh is held to be the anniversary of the death of Zoroaster. So, this day (diso) is observed as a Jashan day.

6. Maidyarem Gahambar. From the 16th to the 20th day. Vide the word Maidyarem in the article on Gahambars.


Bahmangan. On the 2nd day (Vohuman) of the 11th month Vohuman. Vohuman being the Yazata that presides over cattle, the Parsees abstain from meat diet on this day and also on the Hamkar days of Vohuman during the month, i.e., on the 12th (Mah [Mohor]), 14th (Goshorun) and 21st (Ram) days.


1. Spandarmad Jashan. On the 5th day (Spandarmad) of the 12th month Spandarmad. Spandarmad is the Yazata presiding over earth. On this day the Parsees used to get particular Avesta Pahlavi passages written on pieces of paper which were meant as charms for the destruction of small insects like, ants, serpents, [463] etc.12 They fixed these charm papers on the doors of their houses on this day, so that the house may be free during the year from the pest of these insects. It is also known as Jashan-i-Burzigaran (cultivators), because they used to use the charm for their fields.

12. Vide my paper on "Nirang-i-Jashan-i-Burzigaran (Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay. Vol. V, pp. 398-405). Vide my Anthropological Papers, Part I., pp. 122-130.

2. Avardad Sal gah. On the 6th day (Hordad) of the month Spandarmad. It is said that at one time, when the Parsees of some part of Persia observed intercalation at the end of every fourth year, they added a day at the end of every fourth year and called it by that name. Since they ceased observing intercalation, the Jashan has been attached to the sixth day (Hordad) of this last month, because Hordad is associated with time.

3. Mukhtad Jashan Holidays. From the 26th day to the 5th Gatha day. (Vide Frawardigan).

4. Mino-Mahraspand Jashan. On the 29th day. It was supposed to be the day when Zoroaster convinced Gushtasp about the truth of his new religion.

Jashans mentioned by Firdausi.

Firdausi often mentions three principal Jashans of the ancient Iranians. They are:

  1. The Nawruz, i.e., the New Year's day, the first day of the first month Frawardin.
  2. The Mihragan. Properly speaking, this Jashan, which is that of the antumnal equinox, must fall on the 1st day of the seventh month, i.e., exactly six months after the Jashan of the Vernal Equinox which fell on the 1st day of the 1st month. But the month being Mihr, it was thought proper to celebrate the Jashan on the day which bears the name (Mihr) of the month. Hence it is, that it is celebrated on the 16th day of the month Mihr. It is the Jashan latterly shown as the feast of Mithras. [464]
  3. Jashan-i-Sada. On the 10th day (Aban) of the 10th month Day/Deh, They say that a large fire was kindled in the fields on this day to symbolize the approach of winter which necessitated the kindling of fires.

Special Buildings for the celebration of these Jashans.

According to Firdausi, the ancient Iranian Kings took pride in celebrating these Jashans with great eclat. In the years succeeding great wars and victories, the Jashans were celebrated with greater eclat to commemorate the events of victories. Other great events of a King's reign were also commemorated by observing the Jashans of the year with great eclat. There were special spacious buildings attached to Fire temples for the celebration of these Jashans. For example, there were the "Aiwan-i-Nawruz," i.e., The Hall for (celebrating) the Nawruz Jashan, and the Kâkh-i-Sada, i.e., the Mansion for (celebrating) the Jashan of Sada (M. Mohl V. p. 356, 558; VI p. 140, VII p. 36, 402). Kings Shapor I, Behramgore (Bahram V), Noshirvan the Just (Chosroes I), Khosro Parviz (Chosroes II) and Shirin, the queen of Khosro Parvis, are mentioned by Firdausi as celebrating the Jashans of Nawruz and Sada and as endowing the Halls for the celebration of these Jashans (Ibid.). The Kings had a public audience of the great men of their country, even of state prisoners, on these Jashan days.

The Jashans of Iran according to Masoudi.

Masoudi mentions the following Jashans of ancient Iran:—1. Nawruz. 2. Mihragan. 3. Abangan. 4. Kaoosaj. 5. Azerkhoosh.

The first three are mentioned above. The fourth is not referred to in old Parsee books, but it seems to be a later celebration to mark the departure of winter. The fifth Jashan seems to be, as indicated by its name (Azer), some Jashan connected with fire. [465]

Jashans as described by Albiruni.

Albiruni's list of Jashans includes most of the Jashans enumerated above. The following are the principal of some of those mentioned for the first time.

1. On ruz Srosh (17th) mah Frawardin (1st month). Albiruni says that the custom of saying grace at meals and eating in silence first came into practice on this day.

2. Jashan-i-Nilofâr, i.e., the Jashan of the Water-lily, on ruz 11th of the 4th month (Tir).

3. The great Mihragan, or ruz 21st of month Mihr, i.e., 5 days after the ordinary Mihragan.

4. Bâhâr Jashan, i.e., the Jashan to mark the approach of spring. It was on the first day of the 9th month Adar. It seems to be the same as that of the Kaoosaj of Masoudi.

5. Jashan of Khurram ruz, on the 1st day of the month Day/Deh which was also called Khur Mah.

Jashans according to other authors.

Various other authors, and among them, Tabari and Mirkhond and the writers of the Dabestan and the Ain-i-Akbari, refer to the Jashans of the Iranians. Malcolm and Ousely describe at some length the Jashan of Nawruz as observed even now in Persia. (Vide my Lecture on Ancient Iranian Festivals in my (Gujarati) Lectures and Sermons on Zoroastrian subjects, Part III, pp. 121-145).


Frawardigan or Mukhtad Holidays.

The last ten days of the Parsee Year from ruz Ashtad, the 26th day of the last month Spandarmad, to the day of the Wahishtoisht Gatha, are known as the Frawardigan or the Mukhtad Holidays. They are the principal holy days for the remembrance of the dead. In the case of the death of a member of a family during a year, these holidays are particularly observed [466] ceremoniously by the family during the first year. In other years, the ceremonies are often performed in turn jointly by several families that are chips of the same block. For example, A has left behind him three sons, B, C, D. After the death of A, the three sons observe the holidays ceremoniously and perform all religious ceremonies in turn every year in their own houses. In case B has a death in his family in a particular year, he generally prefers to perform the ceremonies at his house, though it be not his turn, because it is the first year of the death of a member of his family. In the case where ceremonies are performed in turns, the others pay their mite as a part of the expenses. For example, if it is B's turn, then C and D pay, a certain sum as their mite for the expenses.

These holidays are known by the following two names of which the first is the older name:—1. The Frawardigan Holidays. 2. The Mukhtad Holidays.

1. Meaning of the word Frawardigan.

The word Frawardigan is the plural of the word Fraward which is another form of fravart of fravarti which word, in its turn, is another form of Avesta Fravashi. So the word Frawardigan means the ceremony in honour of the Fravashis, the Farohars or the guardian spirits (vide Fravashis). This is the proper Iranian name of the Holidays, as referred to in old Parsee books.

2. Meaning of the word Mukhtad.

At one time, I was inclined to think that the word Mukhtad is a Sanskrit word and that it came to be used in India since the time of the Sanskrit translation of the Avesta texts by Dastur Neryosang Dhaval who lived in about the 12th Century. Neryosang translated the words "ashaônâm fravashinâm," which often occur in the Avesta, by the Sanskrit words "muktâtmânâ vrudhdhi" the word muktâtmâ in this phrase is supposed to have given to the holidays its name "Mukhtad." As the last ten days of the year are the days for the remembrance of the Holy Fravashis or Farohars, i.e. the guardian spirits of the dead [467] and are therefore called Frawardigan days. so they were also thought to have been known as Mukhtad days from the word Muktâtmâ, the Indian or Sanskrit equivalent of the Avesta "ashaônam Fravashinâm." The Mukhtad holidays were thought to be the days for the remembrance of the Holy souls that have got their Mukhti or salvation.

But a Persian Rivayat, known as Nariman Hoshung's Rivayat leads us to think that the word Mukhtad is a corrupted form of Persian Mukhtâr, i.e., supreme, highest, choice. The Holidays are called Mukhtar, i.e., the supreme or the highest, because they are the most principal among all Parsee holidays.

The number of Frawardigan days.

The Frawardin Yasht, (Yasht 13:49), the Denkard (Bk. 8, Chap. 7:10-13),13 the Din-i-Vajarkard,14 the Vajakard-i-Dini,15 the Pahlavi Vendidad (8:22),16 the Pahlavi Rivayat, the Nirangistan,17 the Sad-dar,18 the Persian Rivayats,19 and other later books all give 10 as the number of Frawardigan Holidays. Vide for the original passages my Gujarati book An Inquiry from Pahlavi Persian and other Works on the subject of the Number of Days of the Frawardigan.

13. S. B. E. XXXVII, p. 17.

14. Ibid., p., 440.

15. Dastur Peshotan B. Sanjana's Text, p, 56.

16. Spiegel's Pahlavi Vendidad, p. 111, l. 4.; Dastur Jamasjji's Gujarati Text, p. 68; Dastur Hoshang's Text p. 321.

17. Photo-zinco Manuscript, edited by Dastur Darab P. Sanjana, folio 52a, folio 122a. Le Zend Avesta, par Darmesteter, Vol. III, p. 99. The Nirangstan, translated by Mr. Bulsara, pp. 111-114; Ervad Dhabhar's Text.

18. (a) The Sad-dar Bundahishn. Vide the lithographed Rivayat of Mr. Maneckji R. Unvala, Vol. II. p. 500.
(b) The Sad-dar-i-Nazam (chap 41). (c) The Sad-dar-i-Behar-i-Tavil (Chap. 41. Dastur Jamaspji's Gujarati Translation, p. 216).
(d) The Sad-dar-i-Nasar (Chap. 37, Mr. Maneckji R. Unvala's lithographed Rivayat, vol. II, p. 494). Vide S. B. E. XXI V, p. 298.

19. (a) Nariman Hoshang's Rivayat, S. B. E. XXXVII, p. 429.
(b) Kama Bohra'a Rivayat. Mr. Maneckji R. Unvalas lithographed Rivayat, Vol II, p. 609.

Menander Protector, the Byzantine historian, who had lived in the reign of king Mauricius (Mauricius Flavius Tiberius, 582-602) and who refers to these holidays as Furdigan, also gives ten as the number of these holidays.20 Albiruni21 (973-1048) also gives the number as ten. Anquetil Du Perron22 who was in India from 1755 to 1761 also says that the Parsees at Surat observed 10 days as the Frawardigan holidays.

20. Vide Darmesteter's Le Zend Avesta, Vol. II, p. 503, n. 11.

21. Albiruni's Chronology of Ancient Nations translated by Sachau, p. 210.

22. Zend Avesta, Tome II. p. 576.

Though all the old authorities give 10 days as the period of the Frawardigan holidays, the Parsees seem to have extended the period to 18. They seem to have added at first to the period of 10 days, the day preceding the first day, which was held as a day of preparation for the Holidays. Again during the next seven days, i.e., the seven days of the New Year, there occurred some other great holidays, like the New Year's day or the first day of the New Year, the Rapithwin Jashan on the 3rd day, the Khordad Sal on the 6th day. So these days and the intervening days were subsequently added to the Frawardigan holidays. Then the seventh day seems to have been subsequently added as the Amurdadsal holiday. So now, generally 18 days are observed as the Frawardigan days, though there are families who have reverted to the custom of observing only the original 10 days.

As to what the Fravashis or Farohars are, for whose remembrance the 10 days of the Fravardegan are appointed, see the word Fravashi.

The first five of these 10 days are known as the Panj-i-keh, i.e., the lesser five days and the second five, which are the Gatha Gahambar intercalary days, as the panj-i-meh, i.e., the greater five days. The latter are held in higher veneration [469] than the first five from the fact (a) that they happen to be the last five days of the year, (b) that they are, in addition, the days of one of the Gahambars, (c) and that they are the intercalary days known as the Gatha days.

The Frawardigan holidays are especially for invoking the Fravashis of the dead.

Though according to the literal meaning of the word, they are the holidays for the invocation of all Fravashis, they are principally for the invocation and remembrance of the Fravashis of the dead (Vide the word Fravashi). The Frawardin Yasht (Yasht 13:49) connects them with the dead. They remined us of the Lerentalia, the Ferolia or the Parentolia of the ancient Romans and the Anthesterion of the Greeks.

The object of the Holidays.

The object of these Frawardigan holidays is to remember and honour the Farohars or the spirits of the departed dear ones. Of course, the survivors do so on particular occasions like that of the anniversaries of their death, but the Frawardegan days are general holidays for the remembrance of all the departed ones. The Frawardin Yasht which treats of the subject of the Farohars in whose honour the Frawardigan holidays are observed and the Frawardigan ceremonies are performed, thus refers to the subject of remembering the spirits of the dead in these last ten days of the year. It says: "We worship the good, strong, beneficent Fravashis of the faithful. who come and go through the borough at the time of the Hamaspathmaidyem; they go along there for ten nights, asking thus: 'Who will praise us? Who will offer us a sacrifice? Who will-meditate upon us? Who will bless us? Who will receive us with meat and clothes in his hand and with a prayer worthy of bliss? Of which of us will the name be taken for invocation? Of which of you will the soul be worshipped by you with a sacrifice? To whom will this gift of ours be given, that he may have never-failing food for ever and ever.' "23

23. S. B. E. XXIII, p. 192: Yasht 13:49-50.

From the above passage of the Frawardin Yasht (Yasht 13:49-50), we learn that the Fravashis of the dead expect to be invoked by their names being mentioned in the ceremony. Hence it is a custom that in the recital of some of the liturgical ceremonies, especially the Afrinagan ceremony, the names of the deceased members of a family are recited from a list called nâmgrahan.


The word nâm-grahan comes from Avesta nâman, name and garew, Sanskrit grah, German ergreifen, to gripe or take. So nâm-grahan means "taking or remembering the names." Every family has a manuscript book or list known by that name. It contains the names of the departed ones of the family. Those who have died lately head the list. The priest while reciting the Pazand Dibache in the Afrinagan, Satum, Farokhshi, etc., recites all the names in this list. At first he mentions or invokes the name of the particular deceased in whose honour the ceremony is performed and then the names of other deceased of the family. He then recites also the names of some of the departed Zoroastrian worthies of ancient Iran and of India who have done valuable services to their community.

The Holidays just before the Spring.

In ancient Iran, the holidays, which occur at the end of the year on the Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar days, happened to come just before the setting in of the season of spring. On the expiry of these 10 holidays, the New Year began with the Vernal equinox. It is not so now because since the Arab conquest of Persia, the Parsees have not been regularly keeping the leap year and so they are now much backward in their calculation of time. Among the Romans and the Greeks also their holidays to commemorate their dead occurred just before the commencement of the spring. As Prof. Darmesteter says: "The souls of the dead were supposed to partake of the new life then beginning to circulate through nature that had also been dead during the long months of winter."24

24. S. B. E. XXIII, p. 192 n. 1.

Importance of the Holidays.

Memory and Hope both render these holidays very important— Memory for the dead and Hope for our future. They are the days for keeping green the memory of those who have departed and have laid us under some obligation either by their love and affection or by their services—services physical, mental, or pecuniary. People march and march during the whole of the year in their different avocations snd walks of life. The arrival of these days calls upon the Zoroastrians to halt in their march, to cast an eye over the past and to look to the future. Looking to the past, they have not only to remember with respect, esteem, and gratitude their departed dear ones and their departed worthies, but to remember or to take stock of their actions during the year and then to hope for the better in the future. They have to reflect that as they have to remember with esteem and gratitude their departed dear ones, a time will come in future when they in their turn will expect to be remembered by their surviving dear ones. So, it would be well if they behaved in a way as would enable them to be remembered. with esteem and gratitude.

The principal observance during the Holidays.

The principal observance during the holidays in several Parsee families is that known as Mukhtad-mâldvâ, i.e., to arrange or lay the Mukhtad, signifying thereby to make arrangement for remembering the pious souls of the dead. The house is cleaned and generally white-washed before the holidays. If not the whole house, at least a room where the ceremony is to be performed is washed clean with water and white-washed. Then on an iron stand or on a table, water pots or flower-vases containing water and flowers are arranged. The place where the ceremonies are performed is lit up at night. Fire is kept burning with fragrant sandalwood and frankincense for a great part of the day. Visitors at the house during the holidays feed the fire with their own hands and remember at the same time the particular departed ones, to pay homage to whose [472] memory they have paid the visit. The whole process is spoken of in the Vajarkard-i-Dini as "Hurak itibunashna", i.e., "to get a hurak seated." The Rivayats speak of it as "hurak nashândan" which is a Persian rendering of the Pahlavi expression. In ordinary phraseology, one hears the word "Doslâ mâdvâ," i.e., to arrange for the Dosla or the Dosâ, i.e., the old because it is the old who generally form a large number of the dead.

The Vajarkard-i-Dini thus refers to the subject: "During these ten days, in the house or in the Fire-temple a clean and decent place may be chosen, away from the place where women seclude themselves during their menses. There a "hurak" may be arranged and it is necessary that a good deal of the Avesta may be recited there. For the first 5 days, the Yasna in honour of Srosh must be recited. The chapter of Frâ-mraôt, which is one of the chapters of the Yasna,25 must be recited during the first five days with the Baj of Ardafarosh. If that is not possible, i.e., if one cannot recite the chapter, he must recite 1,200 Ashem Vohus with the Baj of Ardafarosh. During the five days of the Gatha, the Has or chapter of the Gathas must be recited ....... If that is not possible, there is no help for it, and one must recite 1,200 Yatha Ahu Vairyos."26

25. Ha 20.

26. Translated from Dastur Peshotan's Text, p. 66.

The Sad-dar-i-Bundahishn says: "During the Frawardigan holidays, the spirits of the dead revisit this world. They go to their respective houses.... There it is necessary for men to burn fragrance over fire during these ten days and remember their dear departed ones. They must perform the Dron, Myazd, and Afrinagan ceremonies and recite the Avesta. The spirits of the dead are thereby felicitated and pleased and they bless (the living ones). Again it is necessary that during these ten days men must perform works of charity and be free from other ordinary work. The spirits of the dead thereby return [473] (to their mansions in heaven) much pleased and they bless (their living dear ones)."27

27. Translated from the Sad-dar in the lithographed Rivayat, by Mr. M. R. Unvala , Vol. II p. 500.

Albiruni's reference to the custom.

Albiruni describes what was done in Persia during the holidays about 900 years ago. His description, though not quite correct, gives one an idea of what was done and is still being done. He says: "During this time, people put food in the hall of the dead.... They fumigate their houses with juniper, that the dead may enjoy its smell. The spirits of the pious men dwell among their families, children, and relations, and occupy themselves with their affairs, although invisible to them."28

28. Albiruni's Chronology of the Ancient Nations, by Dr. Sachau, p. 210.

Anquetil's reference to the custom at Surat.

Anquetil Du Perron refers to these holidays as observed by the Parsees of Surat 150 years ago, and says, that "they give them (the Fravashis) the most magnificent reception. The houses are purified and decorated. They do not go out of the houses."29

29. Tome II, p. 574.

With reference to the custom referred to by Anquetil of not going out of the house during the ten days, we find, that that was due to the injunction, that these days may be best spent in prayers and works of charity. We learn from Menander, referred to above, that it was for this reason, that Noshirvan (Chosroes I) had postponed the reception of the embassy of the Roman Emperor.

Technical terms about the arrangement of flowers, etc.

One comes across the following words in the matter of the observation of the Frawardigan Holidays:—

1. Hurak.
2. Mâchi.
3. Tâkchê.
4. Behrun.

We will explain these words and the observances connected with them. [474]


The whole ceremony and process of arranging stands or platforms on which flowerpots or vases are arranged to hold water and flowers is spoken of as "hurak itibunashna," in the Pahlavi Vajarkard-i-Dini and "hurak nishândan" in the Rivayat. The expression means "to get the huraic seated, arranged or placed." The signification of the word "hurak" is not clear. It seems to be the diminutive of Persian hur, i.e., the sun. As the place is decorated with flowers and kept perfumed with burning fragrant sandalwood and frankincense, it was perhaps thought to be a place reminding of the heavens wherein the sun moved, and so it was perhaps taken as a small model of the paradise. The Parsee books speak of several paradises one of which was Khwarshed-paya, i.e., of the dignity or the place of the sun. In this connection, one must remember that in the preparation and arrangement of the stand for the flower-pots, etc., some give a part of the stand the form of a gumbad, or the dome of the sky.

Mâchi or the stand for the Mukhtad ceremony.

The metallic stand on which the flower-pots or vases are arranged is called mâchi, a word that comes from Sanskrit manch meaning "a raised seat, a dias, a platform, a seat of honour, or a throne." It is so-called because is is generally on a raised stand that the flower-pots are arranged. The flowers, fruits, and the water of the vases may be, and are generally, changed every day, but they must be changed at least at the interval of every five days. Each of those days when they must be changed is also called a mâchi from the fact that all the things on the mâchi or stand have to be changed on that day. So, during the period of the 18 days of Mukhtad as now observed by most of the Parsees, there are three such Mâchis or days for the change of the fruits, flowers, etc. As observed generally now, the holidays begin on the 25th of the last month of the Parsee year. So, the first mâchi is five days after that, i.e., on the [475] 30th day of that month. The next mâchi called vachli mâchi, i.e., the middle mâchi falls on the Wahishtoisht Gatha, the last of the five intercalary days. The last mâchi occurs on the fifth day of the first month of the new year.

The short prayer recited in honour of the Fravashis at the place for the Mukhtad ceremonies is known in some books as mâchi nô nemaz or namaskâr, i.e., the prayer of homage of the mâchi. The formula recited is very short. It says: "I repent of all my sins. We praise the good, brave, beneficent Fravashis of the holy."

Tâk or Tâkchê.

In former times and even now in some houses, they arranged the flower-pots, etc., in a large niche in a wall. Some houses formerly had a special room built for the purpose of the Frawardigan ceremonies wherein was provided a large arch-like niche with a platform. This arrangement was called a tâk, i.e., an arch. The word tâkchê occasionally used is a diminutive of the word tâk, as bâgichê of bâg (garden).

Behrê or the quota for each Fravashi.

The Mukhtad ceremonies are generally performed, as said above, in one branch of the different branches of the chief stock. For example, A dies leaving three sons B, C, and D. Then the three sons, B, C, and D generally perform the mukhtad ceremonies in turn every year. If it is B's turn, he performs the ceremonies at his house, and C and D generally pay their share of the expenses. One whose turn it is to perform the ceremonies generally bears the brunt of the expenses, the others merely paying a fixed sum as their share. Now for each dead of the family, there is at present the custom to place a separate vase or flower-pot for several number of years after death. For example, suppose a family has lost two persons during a year, say E. and F. Then two separate vases each in memory of E. and of F. are provided and placed on the stand or on the platform. That particular flower-pot or vase is said to be E or F's Behru. Some say that the word comes from Gujarati be, i.e., two and means [476] a pair, because the flower-pots in honour of each dead are generally two or more, one placed over the other. But I think, that the word is Persian "behreh" meaning "share." The head of that branch of the family in which death has occurred during the year has to pay his quota in the general expenses. He pays that either in money or in kind, by sending some articles of food. etc. He likewise provides a flower-pot which also is considered something like paying in kind. It is the payment of a pot for putting the flowers in. So it is called Behreh, i.e., share. After a certain number of years after, one's death, which is not fixed, they discontinue providing a separate flower-pot for each particular deceased.

During these holidays, the family is visited by near friends and relatives. They carry strings of flowers called jâri with them and place them upon the behrân, i.e., flower-pot or pots of the particular departed whom they wish to honour. This is particularly done during the first year after the death of a person.

Flowers and the Memory of the Dead.

Flowers play a very important part in all Parsee religious ceremonies. In the ceremonies for the dead, they are necessary in the Afrinagan ceremony. During the Mukhtad holidays flowers are kept day and night at a separate place of room in the house set apart, as said above, for the purpose of the ceremony. Almost all nations connect the memory of the dead with flowers. One of the objects of the ceremonies in honour of the dead is to keep their memory "green." So, the flowers are the best medium which could symbolically help men to keep the memory green.

(a) In the Frawardin Yasht which treats of the Fravashis, the Fravashis or the spirits of the holy dead are associated with water and trees (Yasht 13:147). There we read: "May the good waters and the plants and the Fravashis of the faithful abide down here! May you be rejoiced and well received in [477] this house! Here are the Athravans of the countries, thinking of good holiness. Our hands are lifted up for asking help, and for offering a sacrifice unto you, O most beneficent Fravashis!"30 In this passage we find, as it were, the origin of the Muktad ceremonies in which water and flowers are placed in a particular clean part of the house, where they are invoked and praised by the Athravans or Fire-priests in the presence of fire and where the members of the family, offering flowers and fruits, ask the blessings of their dear departed ones.

30. S. B. E. XXIII, p. 228; Yasht 13:147.

(b) Water, flowers or plants, and the holy Fravashis are associated together in the Ohrmazd Yasht also (Yasht 1:9). There, we find Ahura Mazda saying: "Worship me, O Zarathushtra, by day and by night, with offerings of libations well accepted. I will come unto thee for help and joy, I, Ahura Mazda; the good holy Sraosha will come unto thee for help and joy; the waters, the plants, and the Fravashis of the holy ones will come unto thee for help and joy."31 There are several passages in the Avesta that point to water and flowers as the objects of nature with which the Fravashis of the dead are pleasantly associated.

31. S. B. E. XXIII, pp. 25-26.

(c) In the Arda Viraf-Nameh, the souls of the departed are represented as moving in the midst of fragrant trees on the third dawn after death. There we read: "On the third dawn, that pious soul moved about in the midst of sweet-scented trees" (Viraf-Nameh, 4:15). The fruits, flowers, water, etc., that are offered and over which the prayers are recited form the myazd, in the midst of which the Fravashis take delight to move about. We read in the Frawardin Yasht (Yasht 13:64) : "We worship the good, strong, beneficent Fravashis of the faithful. ... who run by tens of thousands into the midst of the Myazdas."32

32. S. B. E. XXIII, pp. 195-196.

The Frawardigan ceremonies symbolize some religious ideas.

Just as the Christmas tree and the representation of the stable and the farm-yard during the Christmas holidays remind one of the events of Christ's life, the decoration of flowers, etc. at the place of the Mukhtad and the remembrance of the Fravashis of the dear departed ones in connection with the fragrant flowers reminds the survivors of the past righteous deeds of some of their fore-fathers, deeds which have spread moral and spiritual perfume as strong or rather stronger than that of the flowers there.

The prayers recited at the place during the holidays.

During these holidays the prayers that are generally recited by the priests at the house of the laymen where the Mukhtad ceremonies are observed are: (1) The Afrinagan, (2) the Satum, and (3) the Farokhshi. In the Fire-temple, they perform the Baj ceremony. The Yasna, the Visperad, and the Vendidad ceremonies are not performed in all cases but only in those where the family is able to afford to pay for them. The laymen are required to recite during the first 5 days. the Ha of Framraot (Yasna Ha. 20) If a person is illiterate and is not able to recite that Ha, he may recite the short Ashem Vohu prayer 1,200 times with its Baj.

During the next 5 days of the Gathas, the laymen are required to recite the Gâthâ nâ Hâ, i.e., the chapters of the Gathas, each Gatha having to be recited on the particular day which bears its name. For example, on the first of the second batch of 5 days, which is the Ahunwad Gatha day, they are to recite the seven chapters of the Ahunavaiti Gatha, and so on. If a layman is unable to recite these Gathas, he may recite the Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayer 1,200 times with the proper Baj.

Frawardiân [Fravardian].

Again there is another ceremony known as Frawardiân, a word which is another form of Frawardigan, which is at times performed during the Frawardigan holidays by the priests at [479] the Fire temples in honour of a particular dead person. The ceremony consists in the recital and the performance of the following prayers and ceremonies:

(a) The recital of two Yasnas by the priests at the Fire-temple during each of the ten days. During the first five days (panj-i-keh), except that on the fourth day (ruz Mahraspand), one of the two recitals is in honour of Srosh and the other in honour of Ardafarosh. On the fourth day, one is in honour of Srosh and the other in honour of the Yazata Mahraspand. During the second five days, (the panj-i-meh) one of the two recitals is in honour of Srosh and the other, for any four days, in honour of the Gathas, but on one of the days in honour of the Gahambar (the Visperad).

(b) The recital of 5 Vendidads on the following days:

  1. Ruz Ashtad, the 26th day of the last month; the first of the 10 days.
  2. Ruz Mahraspand, the fourth of the 10 days.
  3. Gatha Ahunawad, the 6th of the 10 days.
  4. Gatha Wohukhshathra, the 9th of the 10 days.
  5. On ruz Spandarmad, the fifth in the new year.

Then, there are the further recitals of one Yasna, the Yasna of Rapithwin on the 3rd of the 1st month Frawardin, of two on the 5th day and of one on the 6th day.


Meaning of the word Fireshte.

Fireshte is Persian Firasta or Firashta, lit., one who is sent, meaning a messenger. and then an angel. Fireshte or more correctly Firasta is the later name of the Avesta word Yazata. Fireshte is the name given to a ceremony wherein all the angels (Firastas), or more properly, all the Yazatas are invoked. There are a large number of Yazatas, but 33 are specialized. Of these thirty-three, thirty are those [480] that preside over the 30 days of the month and three are extra. The Fireshte ceremony consists in reciting 33 Afrinagans and 33 Bajs with their proper ritual in honour of, and with the Khshnuman of, these 33 Yazatas or angels. It would take very long for one pair of priests, who ordinarily perform the Afrinagan ceremony, to recite the 33 kardas or sections of the Afrinagans for 33 Yazatas, so more than one pair, generally two, are engaged to perform the ceremony. The same is the case with the Baj. More than one priest, generally three or four, are engaged in reciting, with its ritual, the Baj in honour of and with the Khshnuman of these 33 Yazatas.

The Fireshta ceremony is almost always performed on merry occasions, like marriage, birthday, Naojote, the occupation of a newly built house, the fulfilment of a long cherished object. The ceremony is intended either as thanksgiving for desires fulfilled or for invoking blessings of the Almighty and His Higher Intelligences upon particular events of a man's life or his undertakings. We will here shortly describe what a Yazata is and then enumerate them.


The word Yazata comes from the Avesta root yaz, Sanskrit yaj, "to praise, to invoke." So it means, "one worthy of being praised." These Yazatas are all believed to be spiritual beings. Zoroaster was the only man, who, in the literal sense of the word "Yazata," was considered to be worthy of being praised, adored or invoked. So he is considered to be an Yazata (Yasna 16:12), a great and known Yazata (Yasna 7:21; 3:21). In some later writings, supposed to serve as Avesta amulets, even King Faridoon, who was supposed to be a great physician has been raised to the rank of Yazata (Westergaard, Text of the Avesta, p. 331: Miscellaneous Fragments II).33

33. Vide my paper on "An Avesta amulet." Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, Vol V. No.7, pp. 418-21. Vide my Anthropological Papers, Part I.

Two classes of the Yazatas according to the Avesta.

The Avesta speaks of two classes of the Yazatas: I. The Yazatas of the spiritual world (Yazatanâm mainyavanâm: Yasna 3:4). II. The Yazatas of the physical world (Yazatanâm gaêthyanâm: Yasna 3:4).

The Yazatas of the spiritual world.

All Yazatas are spiritual beings. So, by the phrase "the Yazatas of the Physical World" are meant those that are believed to preside over grand physical objects of Nature. The 30 Yazatas, whose names are borne by the 30 days of the months, may be divided into these two classes as follows:—

I. Yazatas of the Spiritual World.34 II. Yazatas of the Physical World.
1. Ohrmazd.
2. Vohuman.
3. Ardwahisht.
4. Shahrewar.
5. Spandarmad.
6. Hordad.
7. Amurdad.
8. Day-pa-Adar.
15. Day-pa-Mihr.
17. Srosh.
18. Rashnu.
20. Warharan.
23. Day-pa-Den.
24. Den.
25. Ard.
26. Ashtad.
29. Mahraspand.
9. Adar.
10. Aban.
11. Khwarshed.
12. Mah.
13. Tir/Tishtar.
14. Goshorun.
16. Mihr.
19. Frawardin.
21. Ram.
22. Wad/Gowad.
27. Asman.
28. Zam.
30. Anagran.
34. The figures before these names give the number of their position in the regular order in which they give their names to the 30 days of the month.

The Yazatas of this class are those that preside over abstract ideas, most of which are moral characteristics. The first seven Yazatas of this class stand higher in the rank of the Yazata and are also called the Amesha-Spentas.

The Amesha-Spentas.

The word literally means the "Immortal Bountiful ones." They are seven in number including Ahura Mazda himself who is one of them. As archangels, their number corresponds to that of the seven Shadim or archangels of the Jews. Dr. Kohut says on this subject: "It is worthwhile observing that the fluctuation between the number six or seven of the Amesha Spentas, indeed, according as Ahuromazdao is counted or not in the class of the Amesha Spentas of Yst. I, 36; 2, 1-6, recurs also in the Jewish scriptures. Thus the so-called Jerusalem Targum to Deuter. 34, 6 and the book of Enoch C. 20, where the list of "watching angels" is counted up —— gives only six; the book of Toby 12, 15 and of Enoch C. 90, 21 gives seven as the number of the Archangels."35

35. The Jewish Angelology and Demonology based upon Parsiism translated from the German of Dr. Kohut by K. R. Cama, p. 4, n.

The Christian Scriptures also speak of seven Archangels or the Seven Spirits of God. We read in the Revelation (5:6): "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." (Vide also, Ibid. XV, 1 and 6-7 ; XIII, 2; XVI, 1; Zechariah 4:10). The Apocryphal Book (Tobit ch. 12:15) also speaks of "The seven holy angels ....... which go in and out before the glory of the Holy one." So Milton sings:

"The seven who in God's presence nearest to His throne Stand ready at command."

The "Divine Powers" of the Neo-Platonic philosophy of Philo Judæus, who also corresponded to the Amesha Spenta of the Avesta and who stood "closest to the self-existent,"36 [483] were six in number. Including the self-existent, their number was seven. The Gnostics also said that "the universe was created by the Seven Great Angels."

36. "Philo Judæus or the Jewish Alexandrian Philosophy" by J. Drummond, Vol II., pp. 82-83.

These seven Amesha Spentas had the rest of the Yazatas with them as their Hamkars, i.e., Co-operators or Co-laborateurs.

Hamkars. Their groups.

The word Hamkar means co-laborateur. The thirty Yazatas or angels that preside over the 30 days of the month are said to be the Hamkars of the first seven of those who are the Amesha Spentas or the Archangels. They are grouped as Hamkars or co-laborateurs, because, to a certain extent, in their sphere of work, they are supposed to have some connection. The following list gives the groups of these Hamkars:—

Ohrmazd—Day-pa-Adar, Day-pa-Mihr, Day-pa-Den.
Vohuman—Mah, Goshorun, Ram.
Ardwahisht—Adar, Srosh, Warharan.
Shahrewar—Khwarshed, Mihr, Asman, Anagran.
Spandarmad—Aban, Den, Ard (Ashisang), Mahraspand.
Hordad—Tir/Teshtar, Ardafrawash (Frawardin), Wad/Gowas.
Amurdad—Rashnu, Ashtad, Zam (Zamyad).

Thus, Day-pa-Adar, Day-pa-Mihr, Day-pa-Den are spoken of as the Hamkars or co-labourateurs of Ohrmazd; Mah, Goshorun, Ram of Vohuman and so on. This Hamkarship of co-labour is, as it were, recognized even in practice. For example, the Ameshaspand Vohuman, presides over cattle. So many an orthodox Parsee, out of respect as it were for this Ameshaspand, abstains from meat diet not only on the ruz Vohuman, i.e., the second day of each month, but also on the days of his co-laborateurs, Mah, Goshorun, Ram, i.e., the 12th, 14th and 21st days of each month. Some abstain from meat diet also on the days next to these four, i.e., the 3rd (Ardwahisht), the 13th (Tir/Teshgtar), the 15th (Day-pa-Mihr) and the 22nd (Wad/Gowad), because in a big city like Bombay, they know that the goats or sheep are slaughtered a day previous. If they were to eat meat on, say, ruz [484] Ardwahisht (the 3rd day) they would virtually be eating the meat of the cattle slaughtered on ruz Vohuman (the 2nd day), for the Yazata presiding on which they wanted to show their respect. Some abstain from meat diet during all the 30 days of the 11th month which bears the name Vohuman.

Take another practical example of Hamkarship. The Ameshaspand Ardwahisht, presides over Fire. So, the third day of every month is held sacred to fire. The Fire-temples are lighted more than usual on that day and the sacred fire is at times fed with a larger quantity of sandalwood. The temples are visited in a greater number on that day than usual by the worshippers. Many an orthodox family abstains on that day from frying dried fish which gives a little stench when placed on fire. Now all those observances are also observed on the days Adar, Srosh, and Warharan (the 9th, 17th, and the 20th day) which bear the names of the Yazatas that are the Hamkars or co-laborateurs of Ardwahisht. In the Afrinagan of Dahman and in the Afrin of Dahman, these Hamkars or the Yazatas that are supposed to be co-laborateurs are remembered and commemorated together.

Hamkar, a technical term for the priestly class.

The word Hamkar has come to assume a technical meaning in a town like Naosari which is the head quarters of the priesthood. There, all the qualified priests are spoken of as Hamkars or co-laborateurs. Really speaking, members of all professions are the Hamkars of that profession, but in Naosari, the headquarters of the priests, the members of the priestly profession are particularized as Hamkars. On certain solemn occasions, solemn dinners are given to all the qualified priests (Hamkars) of the town. These dinners also have therefore came to assume the name of Hamkar or of Hamkar-sâth, i.e., the whole company of co-laborateurs. In Naosari, when one says "There is Hamkar-sâth today," he means "There is a dinner for all the qualified priests today."