What is the contribution of king Jamshed towards Mazdayasni religion and progress of civilisation? (TMY, JJ of 9 & 16-6-19)

Jamshed, the fourth King of the Peshdadian dynasty, was the son of Vivanghan. He was a very devoted worshipper of Mazda. He was a Saoshyant who added many good practices to the Mazdayasni system. Though he was offered the position of prophet by Ahura Mazda, he had politely declined.

2. On account of his many beneficial changes, his subjects were always healthy and happy. It was a Golden Age in the history of Iran. As a result of abundant prosperity, the population increased manifold, and the king thrice increased the boundaries of his kingdom, towards the south.

3. It was king Jamshed, who first divided his subjects into four professional groups: Athornans “priests,” Ratheshtars “warriors,” Vastriyosh “farmers” and Hutaokhsh “artisans.” This helped to enhance the work quality and increase efficiency. A few Athornans were required to reside on mountains, devote their time to prayers and invoke the blessings of God to ward off evil from the kingdom.

4. King Jamshed developed a gadget, known as the Jām-e-Jamshed, by which, he was able to know the past and predict the future. The jām, which literally means a goblet, was probably an astronomical device to see the heavenly bodies.

5. He was inspired by Sarosh Yazad to introduce the practice of wearing the Sadra and tying the Kasti. This was to protect the wearer against evil influences. 

6. To further the civilisation and enhance the comfort of his subjects, he introduced many arts, skills and trades like brick-making, clay-plastering and house building. He also introduced the art of swimming, diving, pearl-fishing and boat-making.

7. Mining started on a larger scale in King Jamshed’s time. Metals were made from ores, from which several implements like the plough and the hoe, as well as swords, spears, helmets, armours and horse-shoes were made.  Mining of precious metals like gold and silver, and precious stones like diamonds, was also done.

8. King Jamshed taught his people to extract perfumes from musk, amber and flowers.  He also introduced the practice of fumigation by the use of frankincense, amber, myrrh and camphor.

9. The art of making cloth and sewing of clothes was developed in King Jamshed’s reign. Spinning, weaving, warping and woofing were introduced. Clothes from zari (golden and silvern threads) and silk were made. The crafting of musical instruments and composing of music also started during his reign.

10. He introduced medicinal plants and herbs to relieve diseases. The practice of medicine as a profession started.  Wine was discovered and used in moderate quantities as a medicine and a rejuvenating drink.

11. King Jamshed was guided through Sarosh Yazad about the arrival of a terrible snow-storm which would destroy the world. He was advised to take a few pairs of each species and create a Vara “an enclosure.” Accordingly, he established a settlement which came to be known as Var-e-Jam-Kard.  In this enclosure, he was coronated on the day on which the sun enters the house of Aries. A  Jashan was performed and there were celebrations. This day came to be known as Jamshedi Navroz.

What is the most important virtue in the Zoroastrian religion? (TMY, JJ of 26-5 & 2-6-19)

1. Every religion has three aspects to it – Ethics, Teachings and Practices. While the teachings and practices may differ from religion to religion, based on its world view, the ethics of all religions are more or less the same. However, the emphasis on the ethics differ, and each religion has its own dominant ethic / virtue.

2. Asha “truth” is the most important virtue in the Zoroastrian religion. This word is translated in many different ways, like “truth, righteousness, honesty, holiness, orderliness, piety and purity.” It is easy to understand the underlying similarity amongst all these different meanings, if one looks at the literal meaning of the word Asha, which is “to go on the right path.”

3. There is no one individual word in the English language which can properly translate and reflect the spirit of the word Asha. There are words similar to Asha in other traditions too, like Rita among the Hindus and Tao among the Confucians. Broadly speaking, all these 3 words, Asha, Rita and Tao mean the same “to go on the right path.”

4. Other important virtues like honesty, sincerity and integrity are based on the virtue of truth. All these virtues are not possible without being truthful. Druj, that is lies, is the opposite of Asha. Druj is also the name of the demon who presides over falsehood.

5. The concept of Asha is connected to the larger concept of Asha Vahishta. Whereas Asha is the individual Truth at a personal level, Asha Vahishta is the Universal Truth at the cosmic level. It is also a reminder of the fact that personal truth alone can alone lead one to the Universal Truth. Asha Vahishta also means “the primordial cosmic law”, which includes the “law of cause and effect.”

6. The word Asha is the most often used word in the Avesta language. It is the only word that comes in all the three short prayers of Yathā ahu vairyo, Ashem vohu and Yenghe hātām. The term Asha is applied as an adjective to Ahura Mazda, Zarathushtra and all divine beings. This shows that this word is above the general translations and points to a cosmic and divine understanding. The line “ashavanem ashahe ratum yazamaide” is often repeated in Zoroastrians prayers.

7. The word Ardibahesht is the later form of the Avestan words Asha Vahishta. The co-workers or allies of Asha Vahishta are Airyaman (noble mind), Saoka (illumination), and also Adar, Sarosh and Behram Yazads. At a physical level fire and fiery energies are the embodiments of Asha Vahishta.

8. Asha Vahishta, at another level also means “the best truth.” This does not refer to ordinary worldly truth, but to the “Divine Truth” of Ahura Mazda which is His Divine Plan, which all humans need to know understand and follow. By living out Asha “the truth of our life”, or in other words, “our Life’s Purpose,” we can reach Asha Vahishta “the Divine Truth” of Ahura Mazda and get Ushta that is “inner happiness.”

9. The Ashem Vohu prayer is entirely about Asha and Asha Vahishta. In it, we are told, that Asha “Truth” helps one reach Asha Vahishta “The Best Truth.” It further states that it is realised through vohu that is “a good and evolved Mind.” Finally it says that practising Asha brings about Ushta “inner happiness” in our life. riority47 \lsdl

Why is the entire Kem na Mazda recited before untying the Kasti during the Kasti ritual? (TMY, JJ of 12 &19-5-19)

1. Kem Na Mazda is a powerful prayer to invoke Ahura Mazda’s protection. It is a prayer which can be recited separately by itself.  It is next only to the Yatha Ahu vairyo in efficacy, for protection. Almost one-third of it is from the Gathas, and the rest is taken from the Vendidad.

2. In the Kem na Mazda prayer, different types of protections are mentioned. First is the protection with divine energy, then with divine wisdom and divine intelligence. Thereafter protection from ignorance through the help of a teacher, and finally protection from Nasu, that is physical contagion and impurities. Protection is sought through Armaiti (Aspandad Ameshaspand), that is, mother earth, who absorbs all the organic impurities, and changes them to goodness. Just by reciting the Kem na Mazda prayer, a person is assured of protection from unseen evils.

3. Kem na Mazda is recited right at the beginning of the Kasti ritual. Only after reciting it can one untie the Kasti. Zoroastrians have the Sadra and Kasti on the body 24 hours of the day, which protects them from seen and unseen evils. However, while performing the Kasti ritual, when one has to untie the Kasti and remove it from the waist for a few minutes. It is at that time that the prayer of Kem na Mazda gives protection, when one is without the Kasti.

4. In present times, it is very beneficial to recite the Kem na Mazda before going to sleep and before going for bath, swimming, or whenever one has to be without the Sadra Kasti.

5. Kem Na Mazda is incorporated in larger prayers like the Sarosh Baj and Hoshbam. It is recited in the Baj taken before bath, the Bāj of Paydast, as well as in Bareshnum, Sackar, Geh-sarna and Vendidad rituals.

Since it is a potent protection against the deadliest Nasu, emanating from the corpse, even the Khandhias and Nase-salars recite it while handling the corpse and placing it in the Dakhma.

6. While reciting the words ‘Vohu Sarosho jantu Mananghā’ in the Kem na Mazda, the person is calling Sarosh Yazad and Bahman Ameshaspand for help.

7. The last line of this prayer, ‘Nemaschā yā Ārmaitish izāchā’ is from the Spentomad Gatha. It means “Homage unto Armaiti, who is giver of prosperity.” Here, by invoking Armaiti, that is Spandarmad Ameshaspand, we are thanking mother earth for her tolerance and beneficence on account of which we are able to live happily on this earth. That is why we bow down and pay homage to the earth while saying this line. Some people recite this line thrice, but it is not necessary to do so.