Miraculous Energies In Our Wells!

Our wells contain water which is charged with invisible energies bestowed by Ahura Mazda. Speaking with PT Reporter Jamshed Arjani, our esteemed religious scholar and priest, Er. Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia offers excellent insights into the significance of wells in the Zoroastrian religion.

PT: What is the importance of wells in the Zoroastrian religion?
Er. Karanjia: The Zoroastrian religion enjoins the use of flowing water (as opposed to stagnant water) which is open to the rays of the sun, to be used for religious and ritual purposes. Two easily available sources of flowing water are wells and rivers. A well is a source of flowing water which is easier to get near our home as rivers and springs are not easily available in most cities. Wells fulfil the need of water for ritual purposes. These are located essentially in compounds of Agiaries, Aatash Behrams and other places where religious rituals are performed. A well must always be open to receive the purifying rays of the sun. This is one of the reasons why we should not draw water from the well after sunset. Avaan Ardvisur Banoo, the Yazad of water, presides over well water.

PT: Why do we still light lamps near the wells, covered and uncovered, in colonies and temples?
Er. Karanjia: Well water draws strength from the sun in daylight. At night, an oil lamp serves the purpose of keeping away evil influences from the well water, in the absence of the sun. It also comforts the good forces which stay in and around the vicinity of the well.

PT: Please tell us about the Bhikha Behram Well.
Er. Karanjia: The Bhikha Behram well is one of the oldest wells in Mumbai, located near Churchgate station. Built in 1725 by a Parsi merchant named Bhikhaji Behramji Pandey, a prominent person of his time, he was also a leader of the Bombay Parsi Panchayet. Later, his family also built a fire temple in Teheran, known as the Bhikha Behram Atash-Kadeh. The inception of the Bhikha Behram well is miraculous – Bhikhaji Behramji was then wrongly arrested by the Marathas who mistook him for a Muslim. He was released after he showed them his Sudreh-kasti. Later, he had this well built as a mark of thanksgiving. The miraculous properties of this well are that it is supposed to grant the wishes of sincere devotees. It’s also known to have healing properties, expediting recuperation of the ill. The Bhikha Behram well contains sweet water despite being very close to the sea. It is highly unlikely that a well draws water from the same underground source for almost three hundred years – this can also be considered miraculous. Since the past 6 to 7 years a Hum Bandagi is organized on every Avan Roj at the Bhikha Behram well, which is well attended showing the faith and respect that our community has for this place.

PT: Why was well water served to lodgers at Dharamshalas/hotels in Udvada and other places in Gujarat decades ago?
Er. Karanjia: In the past, till about the 1970’s, no piped potable drinking water was available in Udvada. A well was one of the only sources of drinking water in Udvada and most other villages. Hence every Dharamshala and hotel in Udvada had one or more wells.

PT: In the compound of the Dahanu Agiary there are two wells, one completely covered and the other is functional. The Panthaky, Er. Behram Patel explained that many years ago, a person had committed suicide by jumping into the well. Is it because of Naso that such a well should be covered and unused?
Er. Karanjia: If some sort of naso (dead matter or contagion) accidentally gets into a well, our religion enjoins us to remove it, remove most of the water, clean the well and re-use the same. It is not necessary to close down the well or stop its use altogether. The sanctity of water lies in its miraculously pure and unblemished abundance in our wells.

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