Daisy P. Navdar is a teacher by profession and a firm believer in the efficacy of our Manthravani. She is focused on ensuring that the deep significance of our prayers is realized by our youth. She credits her learnings and insights, shared in her articles, to all Zoroastrian priests and scholars whose efforts have contributed towards providing light and wisdom for all Zarthostis.
The past few days have given us a brand-new perspective of our lives. Our lives, which revolve around our daily routine work, have been disrupted. We are in forced isolation, facing a challenge that none of us even imagined we would have to face! But, all is not dark in these days. We are battling an unknown and most strange and unpredictable enemy – one we can neither see nor believe, and yet it is there, an ever-looming threat.
This has enforced a stepping back, a slowing down, an almost refreshing respite from our day to day struggles. It has brought about a sense of camaraderie and togetherness in our separation. In some, it has instilled fear, and in some, an opportunity to do all that we dreamt of but never gave ourselves the time to do. And yet we all know what we need to do and wherein lie our priorities. I think this story from the Bible amply illustrates the need of the hour…
The battle of Jericho featured one of the most astounding miracles in the Bible, proving that God stood with the Israelites. After the death of Moses, God chose Joshua, son of Nun, to be the leader of the Israelite people. They set about to conquer the land of Canaan, under the Lord’s guidance. God said to Joshua: “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God, will be with you wherever you go.”
God commanded Joshua to have the priests carry the Ark of the Covenant into the center of the Jordan River, which was at flood stage. As soon as they stepped into the river, the water stopped flowing. It piled up in heaps upstream and downstream, so the people could cross on dry ground. God performed a miracle for Joshua, just as he had done for Moses, by parting the Red Sea.
A Strange Miracle: God had a strange plan for the battle of Jericho. He told Joshua to have the armed men march in tune with each other around the city once each day, for six days. The priests were to carry the ark, blowing trumpets, but the soldiers were to keep silent. Just the rhythmic thump of their feet marching together in unison. On the seventh day, the assembly marched around the walls of Jericho seven times. At Joshua’s command, the trumpets were blown, the men gave a great shout, and Jericho’s walls fell down flat! The Israelite army rushed in and conquered the city. This was a biblical story.
A few right-minded individuals have started a chain of prayer to be recited by Zarthostis, daily, at 6:00pm. And many of us have joined in. We recite 5 Yatha and 3 Ashem Vohu, together, in unison at 6:00 pm everyday. Just like the marching feet of the soldiers created the vibrations to bring down the walls of Jericho, our manthras too, will bring down the effects of this deadly virus.
Yatha and Ashem are easily recited by all Parsis, young and old alike. Like the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders, our priests continue to perform their daily duties, despite the Fire Temples being shut to the general public. They carry on with their spiritual responsibilities despite the perceived threat. The vibratory power of our Temple Bells will dispel the darkness that is around us. The effects of the virus will not be able to stand up to our Holy vibrations for long. It will have to recede with the onslaught of our prayers.
The key here is to keep up with the prayers. We have to be in tune with each other. It is a most invaluable contribution that we can give to our country and to the world, at large. Stay home, stay safe, stay together and pray together!