‘Kem Na Mazda’ is a powerful prayer which invokes Dadar Ahura Mazda’s protection and compassion. It is also a powerful Nirang which can be recited as a stand-alone prayer. It stands next only to the ‘Yatha Ahu Vairyo’ in terms of its protective powers.
‘Kem Na Mazda’ is the third prayer in the Pak Khordeh Avesta, after praying the ‘Yatha Ahu Vairyo’ and ‘Ashem Vohu’ – two of the mightiest mystic mantras. However, Kem Na Mazda is the first prayer with which our Kasti ritual begins.
In this prayer, Zarathushtra asks Ahura Mazda, “Who will give me and my followers protection when evils look at me with the intention to hurt, except Thy Fire (Divine Energy) and Mind (Consciousness), by whose actions the progress of the world takes place. Please reveal to me the religious knowledge associated with that. Which are your words for protection which smite the enemy, and which are for victory and protection. Do show me a spiritual teacher who can lead me to knowledge of material and spiritual worlds, so that Divine Guidance (Sraosha) can come through higher consciousness (Vohu Manah). Such wisdom comes only to those unto whom Mazda wishes and considers deserving. Oh Mazda and Spenta Armaiti! Protect us from pain and injury. Flee Oh! Evil; Flee Oh! Origin of evil; Flee Oh! Acts sown by evil; Flee Oh! Acts increased by evil; Flee away Oh Evil, run away Oh Evil, Flee far away Oh Evil towards the North. Do not make the orderly material world chaotic and vulnerable to destruction. Homage unto Armaiti, who is giver of prosperity.”
While divine vibrations are created by the chanting of any of our potent Manthravani prayers, the Kem Na Mazda prayer is one of the most powerful in this sense, with 65% of the prayer drawn from the Gathas and 35% from the Vendidad. Hence, it is considered one of the most powerful prayers.
Kem Na Mazda talks about the different types of protections. Firstly, Protection with Divine Energy, then Protection with Divine Wisdom and our own mind. Thereafter, Protection through the help of a Teacher who can guide us on the path of true knowledge and help us attain self-realisation – this is protection from ignorance. Finally, Protection from Nasu or physical contagion and impurities. Protection is sought through Spenta Armaiti, Mother Earth, who absorbs all the organic unwanted things. Even the Manthric, performative effect of this prayer is to give protection. Meaning, that just by reciting the prayer we get protection from unseen evils.
It is essential to pray Kem Na Mazda before untying the Kusti. We have the Sadra and Kasti on our body all day and night, protecting us from all evil. However, when we do the Kasti ritual, we untie and re-tie the Kasti. In this process, we have to remove the Kasti from our waist for a few minutes. Our religion considers it essential to have both – the Sadra and the Kasti on our body, at all times – even for the couple of minutes when we are without the Kasti. When doing the Kasti ritual, we have to recite the Kem Na Mazda prayer so that it can protect us when we are without the Kasti.
The Kem Na Mazda is included in the Sarosh Baj and in numerous other prayers. Being a prayer for protection, Kem Na Mazda is included in the Sarosh Baj, as it is in other prayers, like the Hoshbam prayer. It’s also recited in the Nahvani Baj, Paydast ni Baj, Nahan ritual, Bareshnum ritual, Sackar ritual, Geh- Sarna ritual and Vendidad ritual. Even the Nase-salars recite it while handling the corpse and depositing it in the Dakhma.
Through this powerful prayer, we come across the following tenets and teachings which we can apply in our lives:
- Ahura Mazda’s Energy (Khoreh) and His wisdom protects us from evil. (thwahmāt āthrascha mananghaschā).
- Ahura Mazda’s Energy (Khoreh) and His wisdom helps the Universe to progress (ashem thraoshtā Ahurā).
- The words of prayers give us the best protection (thwā poi senghā).
- Adequate knowledge of the material and spiritual worlds from a teacher protects us from the harm that comes on account of ignorance (Dām Ahumbish Ratum Chizdi).
- The above knowledge will help the coming of Sarosh Yazad and Bahman Ameshaspand who bring us wisdom and guidance (At Hoi Vohu Seraosho Jantu Mananghā).
- After getting divine help, the grace and decision of Ahura Mazda is necessary for us to be wise (Mazdā Ahmāi Yahmāi Vashi Kahmāichit).
- We have to make a strong commitment and mental preparation to keep away from evil in all its forms (Nase Daevi Drukhsh).
- The place of Evil is towards the North (Apakhedhre Apa-nasyehe).
- We pay homage to Mother earth for protecting us against tons of organic decay and decomposition by absorbing it within herself (Nemascha Ya Ārmaitish Izhāchā).
The meanings of other phrases include: ‘Mavaite Paayum Dadat’ which means – ‘protect me and my disciples’; ‘Sarosh Asho Jantu Manangha’ means ‘May Sarosh Yazad and Bahman Ameshaspand come’. The prayer ends with the words ‘Nemascha Ya Armaitish Izaachaa’. This beautiful line is from the Spentomad Gatha. It means ‘Homage unto Armaiti, who is giver of prosperity’. Here, Armaiti refers to Spenta Armaiti, i.e., Spandarmad Ameshaspand, who presides over Mother Earth. By reciting this line, we are thanking Mother Earth for her tolerance and beneficence on account of which we are able to live happily on this earth. That is why we touch the earth while saying this line. It is not necessary to recite this line thrice in the Kasti prayers.