Why do we refer to fire as a Padshah, that is, “a king”? (TMY-Jame Jamshed of 31-12-17 and 7-1-18)

  1. In Zoroastrian religion, sacred fires are either divinely manifested or specially consecrated. Such fires are given the title and position of a Padshah, that is, a king. This is not just figurative as will be seen from the following description of the exalted status of fire.
  2. The similarities start after the consecration of the sacred fire. First, it is taken in a procession for the enthronement, just like a king who would be taken in a procession for his enthronement. Priests in their full priestly regalia follow the sacred fire with swords, gurz (mace) and spears in hand, much as soldiers would follow their king.
  3. The process of establishment of a fire is referred to as takhtanashin which literally means “sitting on the throne.” The ‘hindhorā’ which is the stone pedestal of the fire, is the sacred fire’s throne. The dome (Gumbaj) of the sanctum sanctorum (Keblā) signifies the sky, which is the jurisdiction of the sacred fire. The metallic canopy hanging above the fire is its crown.
  4. Much like a king, the sacred consecrated fire has a body and consciousness. It has its own eyes and ears. It is capable of bestowing gifts and rewards and giving retributions to the guilty.
  5. One of the first tasks performed by the displaced Zoroastrians after coming from Iran to India and settling in Sanjan was to consecrate an Atash Behram, which was later referred to as Iranshah “the king of Iran.” This name Iranshah was given so that the Parsis can feel that though they are staying away from their original motherland Iran, they are looked after by a spiritual king from Iran.
  6. Whenever a few Parsi families used to settle at any place, they would first establish an Atash Behram or Atash adaran, so that they have a ‘sacred king’ to look after them.
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