On this day. Zoroastrians converge at Doongerwadi, where the Farokshi prayer, which begins with the Satum Kardo, followed by the 31 sections (Karda) of the Farvardin Yasht, are recited by our priests to invoke the blessings of the Fravashis and souls of the departed. Offerings of fruit, flowers and water are made.
PT: What does the word ‘Farvardin’ mean?
Er. Bajan: The word ‘Farvardin’ is dedicated to Fravashis who are the protectors and guardian spirits of all Er. Pervez Karanjia elucidates, “A Fravashi is the guardian spirit of all souls – the living and the deceased. It is said that after Dadar Ahura Mazda created the universe and the Fravashis, He gave them the option of either living in the spiritual world – pristine and unaffected by abomination and monstrosity, or living in the material world – to fight evil by living virtuously and acquiring blissful eternity after death. The Fravashis opted to send their essence on Earth as human beings because Mother Earth is known as Spenta Armaity (spiritual progress and prosperity). Our soul is cocooned in our body and is guided through life by our Fravashi in the spiritual world. However, our soul is accountable for all our thoughts, words and deeds in this material world, not our Fravashi, which serves to guide our soul in its journey in this transitory world. All forms of life, animals and nature, including foliage, the Earth, the sky , the Yazads and Amesha Spentas who exist in the spiritual world, indeed Dadar Ahura Mazda Himself, have a Fravashi. All bodies of water are protected by 9,99,999 Yazads and even the moon, sun and all heavenly bodies function due to the presence of the Fravashis. The 22nd section of the Farvardin Yasht tells us that they take care of the development of physical organs of a child when it is in the mother’s womb. The 13th Section (Karda) of the Farvardin Yasht, named the Arda Fravash Afringan, is in praise of all the Fravashis collectively.”
PT: Can you explain the concept of Fravashis?
Er. Bajan: Fravashi is a word in the Avesta language, derived from ‘Vaksh’, meaning growth or ‘to increase’ and ‘Fra’ means to move forward. Hence, the meaning is growth and progress. The word ‘Asho’ means righteous and holy. When we invoke the presence and blessings of Fravashis during the ten Farvardegan days (Muktad), we venerate them by offering them prayers, fruit, flowers and clothing (Siyaav).
PT: What does the prayer ‘Ashaunam Vangheush Surao Spentao Fravashiyo Yazamaide’ mean?
Er. Bajan: The prayers on Farvardigan begin with the words ‘Ashaunam Vangheush Surao Spentao Fravashiyo Yazamaide’, meaning that we invoke and venerate the righteous, brave, beneficent and holy Fravashis. It is vital to listen to the voice of the Fravashis guiding our lives, thereby always thinking good thoughts and performing them into virtuous words and actions, thereby safeguarding the purity of our soul.