The Stum and Farokhshi are rituals performed in honour of the Fravashis with the invocation of Ardafravash,thecollective of righteous Fravashis.
The Fravashi is the essence of Ahura Mazda in every creation. Every human being has a personal Fravashi, which acts as the Guardian spirit for the soul during and life. It not only reminds man of his relationship to other creations, it also constantly reminds him of his divine origin and purpose. The Fravashi is the incorruptible component of a human beings. Apart from humans, all creations like animals, fire, sky, earth and trees have their Fravashis.
The Fravashis helped Ahura Mazda in the process of creating and upholding the creations. They gave motion to heavenly bodies and put them in their orbits. They help waters flow, plants to grow from seeds, clouds to go where they are needed, and the sun, moon and planets to go around in their orbits.
They help children sustain and survive in the mother’s womb, help people lost on the road and people on dangerous, treacherous paths. They fight evil and give strength to good people. They are protectors and helpers of kings during wars. They come in the form of a winged bird with human face, whenever summoned by righteous kings and warriors.
The Stum ritual
The word Stum literally means “praise” and refers to a short outer ritual. The name is derived from the Avestan word staomi“praise.” It has 10 paragraphs from Yasna 26, followed by the Pazand Dibacheh.
In it food cooked by a Zarthoshti is offered to the Fravashis and souls of the dear departed ones. It is generally performed thrice a day at the time around breakfast, lunch and supper. For the breakfast Stum, tea or milk and certain sweetmeats are offered. For the afternoon and supper Stum, regular cooked food is offered, which may include rice, curry, vegetables, non-vegetarian dish (optional), sweet dish, Salad and Chapatis.
Since ancient times Zoroastrians offered food in rituals. The Stum ritual is mentioned in the Persian Rivayats written between the 15th and 18th centuries. Though the souls and Fravashis do not partake of the food, they seem to take the aroma of the food and feel remembered and contented. The idea of offering food stems from the desire expressed by the Fravahis in the thirteenth Kardeh (para 50) of the Fravarden Yasht: Ko no stavāt ko yazaite ko ufyat ko frinat ko paiti janat gaomata jasta vastravata ashanās nemangha“Who will praise us, who will honour us, who will love us, who will welcome us with offerings of clothes, food and sincere prayers.”
In the same Yasht we are further told in paragraph 52 that being satisfied with the offerings, the Fravashis bless the persons: “May there be in this house an increase of cattle and men! May there be a swift horse and a solid chariot! May the man who prays to us with offerings of food and clothing be famous and powerful.”
Translation of Stum no Kardo
i. We venerate the “I praise,” “I invoke” and “I weave (songs of praise)” (expressions of prayer) and (Fravashis of righteous, good, brave and beneficent ones) pertaining to the house, village, town, country and (the highest spiritual authority of) Zarathushtrotema.
ii. Here, we venerate (the memories) of all those Primal Fravashis, that Fravashi, which (is ) of Ahura Mazda, (which is) greatest, best, most beautiful, firmest, wisest, most well-formed, uppermost on account of righteousness.
iii. We venerate the Fravashis of righteous, good, brave and beneficent ones, which (are) of the Amesha Spentas, radiant, having an effective glance, exalted, all pervading, strong, pertaining to Ahura, who (are) indestructible among the righteous.
iv. We here venerate the Life, Conscience, Intellect, Soul and Fravashi of righteous men and righteous women who were the Paoiryo-tkaesha (among the first to follow the Teachings) (who) first heard the Admonition. We venerate the soul of the Good-giving Cow, which had striven for righteousness.
v. We venerate the righteous Fravashi of Gaya Maretan who had striven for righteousness. Here we venerate the righteous, blessed Fravashi of Zarathushtra Spitama. We venerate the righteous Fravashi of Kavi Vishtāspa. We venerate the righteous Fravashi of Isat Vāstra (of the family) of Zarathushtra.
vi. Here we venerate Life, Conscience, Intellect, Soul and Fravashi of Nabānazdishta (next-of-kin) righteous men and righteous women who had striven for righteousness, along with all righteous Fravashis which (are) of the righteous departed ones, which (are) of the righteous living ones, which (are) of men yet to be born, of (those who) work for Frashokereti and of the Saoshyants (Future Benefactors).
vii. Here we venerate the souls of the departed ones, which (belong) to Fravashis of the righteous. Here, in this house we venerate Fravashis of all Nabānazdishta (next-of-kin), departed ones, of teachers, of male and female disciples, of righteous men and righteous women.
viii. We venerate Fravashis of all righteous teachers. We venerate Fravashis of all righteous disciples. We venerate Fravashis of all righteous men. We venerate Fravashis of all righteous women.
ix. We venerate righteous Fravashis of all children and pious workers. We venerate righteous Fravashis of nearby countries; we venerate righteous Fravashis of the yonder countries.
x. We venerate the Fravashis of righteous men. We venerate the Fravashis of righteous women. We venerate all righteous, good, brave, beneficent Fravashis, who (are) from Gaya Maretan upto the victorious Saoshyant.
i. With good thoughts, words (and) deeds, with good thinking, good speaking (and) good actions, may this invocation reach Ardafravash.
ii. May the ritual be successful. May the Glory of the Mazdayasni religion become current in seven regions (of the earth). May it become particularly fulfilling in desire.
iii. Among the existing cities, may (the citizens) of _______(city) be full of success and their souls be happy and joyful. iv. May the Divine Energy (Khoreh) which (is) auspicious be on the increase, may it increase more. May the Divine Energy be auspicious, may this invocation reach Ardafravash.
v. May every Yasna I have performed, Drōn I have consecrated, Myazd I have conducted (under) the sovereignty of whatever time and day collectively reach the treasury of radiant and Divinely Glorious Creator Ahura Mazda and the Ameshāspands.
vi. May this invocation reach Ardafravash with strength, power, force, might, courage and success.
vii. May our collective ceremony be accepted, so that for us it may be protection-giver, goodness-distributor, withstander against calamity (and) withholding (the calamity) afar, fulfiller of gifts. May I be able to prepare offerings (better than) whoever other (prepares) offerings, (even) a thousand men may (prepare) offerings, this one, our (ritual, though it) was performed with lesser hardship and effort, may our (ritual) be accepted thousand times.
viii. Among the immortal souls, the soul of _________ is individually remembered here. All righteous Fravashis are remembered here. May (the merit of this ritual) reach the Mazdayasni ________ at whose instance (the ritual is performed).
i. May all Fravashis of the righteous, from Gayomard to Soshyos, be collectively remembered here on the fourth, tenth, thirtieth and anniversary days (of their death).
ii. May (the Fravashis of) those who are living, those who were living (that is, departed ones), those who will be (born), those who have taken birth, those who have not yet taken birth, those of this country, those of yonder countries, of the pious men and women, of children and adults, of any one who belonged to the Iranian (pairi) Mazdayasni fold and has passed away, all the Fravashis of the righteous, from Gayomard to Soshyos, be collectively remembered here.
iii. May (the Fravashis of those) who have passed away (from) this house, village, town, country and province (and) all Fravashis of the righteous, from Gayomard to Soshyos, be collectively remembered here.
iv. May the righteous Fravashis, brave Fravashis, successful Fravashis, victorious Fravashis, Fravashis of the Paoirya-tkaeshas, Fravashis of Nabā-nazdishtas, and all Fravashis collectively from Gayomard to Soshyos, be remembered here.
xiii. May the souls of the fathers, mothers, grandparents, ancestors, offspring, relatives, faithful ones, the next-of-kin (and) the Fravashis of the righteous, from Gayomard to Soshyos, be collectively remembered here.
xiv. May (the Fravashis of) all priests, all warriors, all farmers, all artisans and Fravashis of all righteous ones collectively, from Gayomard to Soshyos, be remembered here.
xv. May the Fravashis of all righteous ones belonging to in the seven regions of the earth – Arzah, Savah, Fradadafsh, Vidadafsh, Vourubaresht, Vaourujaresht, Khwaniras Bāmi, righteous ones of Kanga-dez, the Vara (enclosure) created by Jamshid (and) the treasury of Mānthra, all Fravashis of righteous ones and all (Fravashis) collectively from Gayomard to Soshyos, be remembered here.
xvi. May his radiance and Glory increase, may this invocation reach _________. viii. (If for the deceased): Among the immortal souls, the soul of _________ is individually remembered here. (If for a living person): May the (merit of the ritual) individually reach the living soul of ________.
All righteous Fravashis are remembered here. May (the merit of this ritual) reach the Mazdayasni ________ at whose instance (the ritual is performed).
xvii. May the collective meritorious deeds of all good ones belonging to the seven regions of the earth reach (us). I keep back from (sins) and am repentant and penitent for all sins (committed by me).
Rituals in the Satum: No ritual gestures are involved in the Stum.
Requirements for the Stum ritual: Food cooked by a Zoroastrian. If cooked food is not possible, one can even pray Stum on milk and fruits, at least a banana and a piece of pomegranate. water (from a well or a flowing source), diva/ Fire vase, sandalwood, pieces of wood, incense, metal trays and tongs (chipya).
Those who invoke Fravashis with prayers and rituals like the Fravashi, Stum or just by reciting the Frawarden Yasht, are bestowed with gifts. They prefer being invoked with gifts and rituals. They give gifts of divine energy, health, happiness, progeny, protection, longevity and prosperity, power and leadership to those who invoke them.
The Farokhshi ritual
In the Farokhshi ritual, the Stum prayer from the Khordeh Avesta and the Frawarden Yasht are recited one after another with slight modifications. The Frawarden Yasht has 31 Kardas. The first 3 Kardas tells us about how the Fravashis helped Ahura Mazda in the process of creation. One third of the paragraphs (96-132) are names of departed men and women. From about 250 names, the identity of only about 25 is known. The 24th Kardeh is almost entirely about prophet Zarathushtra.
The Farokhshi forms a part of the 4 death commemoration rituals – the Afringan, Baj-dharna (Dron Yasht) and Stom. Nowadays, on account of shortage of priests, some fire temples have done away with the performance of this ritual as part of the set, after the first year after death.
This ritual is especially performed on Frawarden roz of every month especially on the Frawarden roz of Farwarden month – referred to as the Farwardiyan, which can be referred to as the Zoroastrian all Souls Day.
Rituals in the Farokhshi: The Farokhshi involves a very simple ritual of arranging 8 flowers at the beginning of the ritual and picking up these flowers towards the end while reciting eight yatha ahu vairyos, as follows:
Requirements for Farokhshi ritual: A Prayer book containing Farokhshi, 8 Flowers, Fruits (at least a banana and a piece of pomegranate), water (preferably from a well or a flowing source), diva/ Fire vase, sandalwood, pieces of wood, incense, metal trays and tongs (chipya).