Nirang-din ritual

The loftiest Zoroastrian ritual in the present times is the Nirang-din ritual. The word Nirang-din is generally translated as “power of the religion.” It is an eighteen day ritual performed by two priests of the highest caliber.


The two priests first undergo the 9 day Bareshnum purification. On the eleventh day the two priests take the bigger khub by doing the Mino Navar Yasna and  then do  the Gevra for six days and do the ham-kalam on the 17thday. Then they prepare 2 kaharna (metallic pots), 2 kalashya (small metallic urns), 2 metallic plates and  3 fuliyas (small metallic cups) by first ritually cleaning them and then drying them on fire.


On the 17th day, a Varasyaji and about 8 to 10 bulls are brought to the premises where the Nirang-din ritual is being performed. In the Uziran geh, the two priests collect the Varasyaji’s taro and pour it in the kaharna. Then they collect the taro from other bulls and fill up the kaharna. Thereafter they cover it with a small metallic plate.


Then the Rathwi performs the Paragna in the Uziran gah in preparation for the Vendidad to be performed in the night. After midnight the kaharna having the taro is placed in a metallic tray (khumcha) filled with sand. To the right, another kaharna filled with well water is kept. The chief priest dries his hand in the heat of fire, opens the kaharnu of taro and looks into it. Then he repeats this process for the second kaharna.


In the Ushahin Gah, the priests start the Vendidad ritual with the invocation to Sarosh Yazad.

While praying certain words the priests look inside the 2 kaharnas of Nirang and water. In the 19th Fragard of the Vendidad, small pebbles called sangreza, 2 pieces of muslin cloth and two balls of cotton thread are ritually cleaned, dried and kept in a ritually clean metallic tray.


Thereafter in the same Fragard, in the last 9 of the 200 ahunavars recited therein, 9 sangreza are thrown in the metallic pots. The following day, after the ritual is complete, the metallic pots are closed by the muslin cloth folded in three layers.


Nirang: Cow and bull’s have great significance in the Indo-Iranian cultures since pre-historic times. In the Nirang-din ritual the urine of the Varasyaji and other bulls is consecrated, and this is referred to as Nirang. The nirang is considered an important alat (ritual requirement), and is used in several rituals. One has to sip it while undergoing the ritual purifications of Nahan and Bareshnum. The sipping of Nirang during the purification rituals has physical and spiritual benefits.


Generally bacteria start setting in ordinary bull’s urine within six hours, but the Nirang remains bacteria free for years. In 1975 a sample of six year old Nirang was chemically analysed and tested at St. Nochlas Hospital by Dr,. Saunders in London and was certified free of bacteria.


Varasyaji: The most important requirement of nirang is the taro (Av. gaomaeza) of a consecrated whi­­te (albino) bull referred to as Varasyaji, which has to be  uncastrated and without deformity. Traditionally every priestly group had its own consecrated Varasyaji.


A white bull without a trace of black either in the hair, hoof or on the body is selected, generally from villages. Aat the age of about two years, he is consecrated and hair (Av. varesa) from its tail is ritually cut and used in every inner ritual. Hence the bull is referred to as Varasyaji. No inner ritual can be performed if the consecrated Varasyaji has died and another Varasyaji is not yet consecrated.


Hair from the varasyaji are tied on a metallic ring, resembling a finger ring, and it is used to charge the water in the metallic container (Guj. kundi) by the Rathwi priest who performs the paragna ritual to prepare the implements for all inner rituals.


The performance of the Nirang-din ritual is supposed to be of great merit to the soul of a person. Generally it is performed for the soul of deceased person a few years after death. There are a very few priest among the Parsis who can perform the Nirang-din ritual.