PT: Why do we venerate the aquatic bodies?
Er. Karanjia: By praying the Avan Nyaish or the Avan Yasht, near any aquatic body, especially flowing water, ‘Avan Yazad’ blesses us with protection and abounding our life with joy, piety, good health, prosperity and wisdom. The 7th section of the Avan Nyaish says “I, Ahura Mazda, created the powerful force of Ardvi Sura.”
PT: Can you explain the term ‘Avan Ardvi Sur Anahita’?
Er. Karanjia: The word ‘Avan’ is derived from the Avestan words ‘Apas’ or ‘Apam’, meaning water. ‘Ardvi’ describes the ability of this Divine Angel to lead us to spiritual and physical perfection. ‘Sura’ refers to her weapons, comprising of electro-magnetic forces abounding in flowing waters. The second verse of the Avan Nyaish describes five such forces, called Fradho, namely Adhu-Fradho, Vanthvo-Fradho, Gaetho-Fradho, Kshaeto- Fradho and Danghu-Fradho. Ancient manuscripts about our scriptures have revealed a sixth Fradho named Zantu-Fradho. These forces aid righteous people by answering all their prayers, ensuring smooth childbirth, ascertaining purification in rituals and daily ablutions, agricultural irrigation and growing foliage, and all other human functions and requirements. Kshaeto–Fradho protects the water bag containing the foetus within a woman’s womb, enabling smooth child delivery. ‘Ardvi’ is also the name of a symbolical river flowing through Iran in ancient times. The word ‘Anahita’ means pure and undefiled.
PT: How does praying Avan Yasht help us?
Er. Karanjia: Recitation of the Avan Yasht, the 65th Ha of the Yasna prayers, harmonizes us with Avan Yazad. Priests who perform the strenuous Ab-Zohr (Water purification) ritual pray the Avan Yasht towards the conclusion of the ritual. This ritual arouses the five Fradhos who then proliferate in all the flowing water of the world. We receive boons by sincerely praying either the Avan Yasht or the Avan Nyaish consecutively for 40 days. However, Avan Yazad sternly spurns supplications made by devious and malicious people. The Avan Yasht or Avan Nyaish should only be prayed in the Havan, Rapithwan and Uzerin Gehs because negativity prevails near the sources of water after dusk. The 6th to the 20th sections (Kardas) and the 22nd section of the Avan Yasht inform us that Avan Yazad granted boons to virtuous Shahs and Prophet Zarathushtra as their wishes were solely beneficial for mankind. The 8th and 11th sections of the Avan Yasht tell us that Avan Yazad disregarded the supplications of evil monarchs like Afrasiab and Zohak.
PT: How is Avan Yazad described in the Avan Yasht?
Er. Karanjia: The 16th, 19th and 30th Kardas of the Avan Yasht describe the symbolic body (Keherpa) of Avan Ardvi Sur Anahita as an enthralling noble maiden, tall, strong and pure. She wears a mantle embroidered with gold and, most importantly, dangling gold earrings with four corners which signify the ebb and flow of tides and their influence on the destiny of human beings in accord with the gravitational attraction of the Moon towards Earth. Her gold earrings signify her power to help good human beings and subdue evil throughout the four corners of the Earth, with its four elements, viz, air, water, fire and matter. The gold ensures that all changes in the Universe contribute towards the eventual advent of ‘Frashogard’, the golden age. Perpetually holding a ‘Baresma’, a bundle of consecrated twigs to maintain purity, She rides in a chariot drawn by four magnificent horses, symbolizing Wind, Rain, Cloud and Sleet, indicating that climatic elements are not an obstacle for Her. Karda 101 of Avan Yasht tells us that Avan Ardvi Sur Banoo resides in magnificent palaces.
Our hearts too, can be a royal palace for Avan Yazad when we adhere only to the Mazdayasni Zarathushti Religion, adhering always to Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds.
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