Boi ritual: The word Boi comes from the Avestan word baodha, Pahlavi-Pazand boe, both of which mean “fragrance.” The boi ritual is to feed the sacred fire with fragrance and fuel. A boi ritual is performed over consecrated fires of Ādarān and Atash Behram in each of the five watches of the day. For the Dādgāh fire, the boi ritual is performed at least once a day.
During the performance of the boi ritual of an Atash Behram, the hindholā “stone platform of the sacred fire is ceremoniously washed. The Atash Nyash is recited in varying numbers. At the recital of the first Nyash, three to nine bells are rung at the words dushmata, duzhukhta and duzhvarshta “bad thoughts, bad words and bad deeds.”
When the boi ritual is performed for an Atash Behram, the Māchi, comprising of 6 to 9 pieces of sandalwood, is always offered to the sacred fire.
The Māchi can also be offered to the Adaran or the Dadgah fire at the time of the boi ritual, but that is optional.
The word Māchi is of an Indian origin word and can be derived from the word manch which means a seat or a platform. In the context of the sacred fire, the platform is the seat or throne of the sacred fire and hence māchi means 6 to 9 pieces of sandalwood, about 8 to 10 inches long, which are arranged in the shape of a throne, which is a gift for the sacred Fire who is referred to as the Pādshāh “king.”
Offering Machi to Atash Behram at the time of boi ritual is mandatory, offering Māchi to Dadgah and Adaran fires at the time of boi ritual is optional. Though Māchi is almost always of sandalwood, if that is not possible, it could be of any dry, clean wood.
In Iranshah Atash Behram Māchi of 9 pieces is used, because it is believed that the fire of lightening used in Atash Behrams was drawn from the ninth level of the āsmān “heavens.” In the Dadyseth Atash Behram the Māchi is of 7 pieces, in the other Atash Behrams the Māchi is of 6 pieces.
After the requisite number of Atash Nyash are finished, the priest recites the Doa Nam Setayashne after going out of the pavi. Then, if the Machi is for happy occasion, the priest recites the Tandarosti and if it is for a departed one, he recites the Patet Ravan-ni.
Finally, then the priest offers Rakhyā “sacred ashes” to those present as a mark of their participation in the boi ritual.