In the Zoroastrian calendar of twelve months the Mah or month of Dae is considered most holy because it is dedicated to the Supreme Amesha Spenta (Bounteous Immortal), Dadaar Hormazd (Dae Dadaar) – The Creator. It is also the month for thanksgiving to the Creator with performance of Jashan ceremonies either at home, at the office or at an Atash Bahram or Agyari.
Four Extra-Special Days: It is considered particularly blessed and meritorious to perform Jashan on the first day of the month (i.e., Hormazd), the eight day (i.e., Dae Adar), the fifteenth day (i.e., Dae Meher) and the twenty-third day (i.e., Dae Deen). All these four days of the month are dedicated to the Supreme Creator and the Yazata having the Creator’s aspect – presiding over fire (Dae-pa Adar), presiding over light and justice (Dae-pa Meher) and presiding over the good religion (Dae-pa Deen). Each of these four days is referred to as Jashan of Dadvah (Creator).
The term gratitude comes from the Latin word gratus which means, ‘pleasing’ or ‘thankful’. Thus, gratitude is a feeling of deep appreciation of what one already has and/or what one has received. Those who sense gratitude often express profound, positive emotions and thankfulness which is can be shown towards others through reciprocity in one form or another.
While the English poet William Blake believed that the “thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest”, the American poet Maya Angelou recommends that “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
‘Ikigai’ is a Japanese concept that means your ‘reason for being’. The term ‘Iki’ in Japanese means life, and ‘gai’ describes value or worth. Thus, ikigai is your life purpose or your bliss. It’s what brings you joy and inspires you to get out of bed every day. It is the search for our true purpose in life.
Gratitude and ikigai are correlated – without an appreciation for your purpose in life, there is little benefit to you or those around you. There is little chance that you would actually be living happily. In Japan, the colloquial translation of ikigai is “the reason to wake up in the morning.” You need to ask yourself what is your ikigai or the reason to wake up in the morning? Is it to only to make a living or to get a life or make someone’s life better or happier?
Gratitude is many things to many people. It is wonder; it is appreciation; it is looking at the brighter side of a setback; it is fathoming abundance; it is thanking people in your life; it is thanking God; it is counting your blessings. The average human being associates gratitude simply with saying thank you for a gift or benefit received. However, gratitude is much more than saying ‘thank you’. Living in gratitude and with gratitude is a way of life.
Gratitude or thanksgiving is a powerful positive force. It has real impact on physical health, emotional wellbeing, motivation, engagement and belonging. Gratitude is also the root of happiness, an antidote for negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, greed, hostility, worry, and irritation.
Emerging research enumerates multiple benefits of gratitude. People who are consistently grateful have been found to be relatively happier, more energetic, and more hopeful and experiencing more frequent positive emotions. They also tend to be more helpful and empathic, more forgiving and less materialistic than others who are less predisposed to gratefulness. The more a person is inclined to gratitude, the less likely he or she is to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, or neurotic.
Dae Mah Celebrations In Ancient Iran:
In ancient times, when Zoroastrianism was the state religion of Iran, on Roj Hormazd of Mah Dae, the great kings of yore used to descend from their throne, dress in simple white garb, suspend for the day the duties of all royal attendants and make themselves available to any common citizen who wanted to interact with the king.
The kings would hold meetings with small landowners and farmers – even share simple meals with them. This tradition was an annual reminder that to the Supreme Divinity, Dadaar Hormuzd, king and commoner are all one and the same. It celebrated friendship with God and all his creations – particularly friendship among human beings, rich or poor, royal or commoner.
Friendship With God:
In certain religious traditions God is perceived as a fearsome divinity (the adjective – God fearing is quite common in the English lexicon) or as the Lord or Master. However, in the Zoroastrian tradition Ahura Mazda is neither to be feared nor to be worshipped out of fear. In the Zoroastrian tradition and particularly in the Gatha, the Supreme Divinity is referred to as ‘Frya’ (Sanskrit Priya) or ‘Friyai’ which means friend or beloved. In other words, a Zoroastrian’s relationship with God is built not on the basis of awe and fear but on the basis of friendship and love.
God is to be loved not feared for his wrath. God is to be considered as a friend and not as a demanding or domineering Lord who constantly put’s his subjects to tests and sacrifices. In the Zoroastrian tradition God is not to be pleased with sacrifices or torturing the body. In fact, as a ‘friend’ Ahura Mazda wants all His friends to enjoy Ushta or happiness.
How to befriend God? How best can we befriend Dadaar Hormuzd?
Those who pray the Hoshbam at dawn may recollect praying: “Asha vahishta, asha sraeshta, daresāma thwā, pairi thwā jamyāma, hamem thwā hakhma.”, which means – “Through the best righteousness, excellent righteousness, O Ahura Mazda, may we catch sight of Thee and may we come near Thee and attain Thy eternal friendship.”
From the above one can see that we can earn God’s eternal friendship simply by walking on the path of Asha (Truth, purity and righteous conduct).
This Holy month of Dae, may each one of us endeavor to earn Ahura Mazda’s friendship through our daily endeavor to walk on the path of Asha. For indeed the Colophon to Yasna asserts: “There is but one path, that of Asha. All other paths are false”
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