11th April, 2019 will mark the 188th Birth Anniversary of one of Zoroastrianism’s most revered, loved and worshipped saints – Jamshedji Sohrabji Kukadaru Saheb. Known as the Zarthosti Saint of the 19th Century, Dasturji Kukadaru was born on 26th May, 1831 in Surat, Gujarat, (Zamyad Roj, Avan Mahino) and is as well known for his humility and simplicity as he is worshipped for his piousness and ability to perform miracles. He lived a simple life with asceticism and unflinching adherence to his priestly discipline of chastity. He moved to Bombay later where he served as a Priest at the Kappawala Agiary.
With his portrait adorning the walls of several Atash Behrams, Agiaries and homes, Dasturji Kukadaru Saheb was known for having performed numerous miracles through his lifetime and helping all who approached him for guidance and assistance. Numerous instances include saving the life of a young boy nearly dying from jaundice; transforming a brick into a bar of gold – the proceeds of which were used to build the Anjuman Atash Behram in Mumbai.
He was a great astrologer and miraculously predicted a number of incidents including the deaths of Empress Victoria of England, Sir Dinshaw Petit and various other personalities. His spiritual guide was Dastur Azar Kaiwan Bin Azar Gushasp Saheb. Dasturji had developed qualities of clairvoyance as a result of certain tarikats (spiritual discipline), amal (ritual power), manthravani (prayers) and leading a life of ashoi (righteousness).
Dasturji Kukadaru had deep knowledge and insightful comprehension of the Avesta, as also Pahlavi and Persian languages. He served as a chief instructor at Seth Jijibhai Dadabhai Zand Avesta Madressa (at Fort) from its inception. He translated volumes of the Denkard and would regularly contributed religious articles to the weekly magazine, ‘Yazdan Parast’ (1868-1889). He also published a few booklets on religion and community matters.
Living a life of absolute modesty, Dasturji Kukadaru even cooked his own meals consisting mainly of khichdi and ghee, with the help of solar heat, while continuously reciting the Avestan prayers. The peoples’ faith in Dasturji Kukadaru Saheb spread considerably due to the power of ‘Nirangs’ or short prayers that he instructed all to pray during times of difficulties. Dasturji Kukadaru advocated the power of prayers and projected unparalleled devotion to Ahura Mazda, Zarathustra and their beautiful creation – the Mazdayasni-Zarthosti Religion.
Dasturji Jamshed Sohrab Kukadaru was an able astrologer, a divine healer, a scholar and teacher, an able and revered Panthaky, an alchemist, and above all, a simple and pious priest who worked ceaselessly to remove pain and suffering. He passed away on 4th October, 1900 (Roj Behram, Mah Fravardin) but continues to abide with the community in spirit.
Remembrance Through Prayers: To honour Dasturji Kukadaru’s Birth Anniversary, you can offer the Afargan, Farokshi, Baj and Satum prayers in his memory. Devotees can also offer a Jasan in his memory. May his Fravashi continue to bless all who remember him.