What are the similarities between fire and man? (TMY, JJ of 11 & 18 -11-18)

1. Though it sounds very unusual, and at the first sight there seems to be no apparent connection between fire and man, at further scrutiny, one realises that there are so many similarities between the two, that at the end of the examination, they start appearing like twins.

2. Although priests are referred to as Āthravan, that is, “protectors of fire”, fire and humans depend on each other for their physical and spiritual sustenance and survival, and one is always incomplete without the other. There are several striking similarities between the two:

a) Both are living, breathing entities requiring oxygen for survival.

b) Both require food to survive. The food of fire is fuel, especially wood. Man can find his own food, but fire cannot, so the fire has to depend on man for its food.

b) Both have hierarchical status. There are different grades of fire like Dadgah, Adaran and Atash Behram, and there are several levels of humans from ignorant, to knowledgeable and evolved. However from the outside all look similar and it is not possible to know about the hierarchical status from outside, both of fire and of men.

c) Both have physical and spiritual constituents. Man has a body and soul. The fire too has a physical body and a spiritual consciousness.

d) Both are links between physical and spiritual worlds. Man takes prayers to the divine world, and fire gets divine energy (khoreh) from the spiritual realms.

e) No two are ever the same. Though any two may appear similar, no two human beings nor any two fires are ever the same.

f) Both are able to create another like them, which, though similar, is unique. A human can give birth to another human and a new fire can be ignited from an existing fire.

g) Both can be used for good or evil. A man can create, nurture and produce, and also destroy, annihilate and end. So can a fire be used to cook, create and give shape, but if not used carefully and wisely, it can destroy life and property.

h) Both are considered Ratheshtars, that is, fighters and warriors against evil.

i) Both are Ahura Mazda’s favourite creations as they have been assigned the special task of fighting evil and bringing about Frashokereti – the final renovation. 3. The above similarities show the close co-relation between fire and man, as both have been created as the favourite creations of Ahura Mazda. It is thus very meaningful, that in the Avesta fire is figuratively referred to as the “son (puthra) of Ahura Mazda” and Ahura Mazda is mentioned as the “father (pitar) of man.” fff

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