About 11 years ago, Er. Zarrir Bhandara, the much-respected and loved priest, heading the Zoroastrian Association of California (ZAC), and known for his dedicated commitment to the Zoroastrian religion as well as community service, suggested the commencement of a Humbandagi to further the coming together of the Zoroastrian community. He believed rightfully that coming together as group enhances channelizing the flow of positive energy of our prayers and there is greater power in our prayers when chanted collectively as a group.
What started with a few handful of attendees under Er. Zarrir Bhandara, soon turned into a beautiful ritual where people traveled from far and wide, across cities to come and religiously attend the Humbandagi. At the end of every Humbandagi session, he would give an interesting and informative speech on different aspects of our religion, and conclude with a question-answer round from the attendees. In the years that followed, his son Er. Zerkxis Bhandara also conducted this Humbandagi alongside his father, and also occasionally on his own, when required.
18th December, 2022 marked the completion of 11 years of Humbandagi by ZAC, when the community came together in prayer and to honor Er. Zarrir and his son Er. Zerkxis by a group of attendees who have been regulars from the start.
Er. Zarrir Bhandara shared illuminating insights into the ‘sound of prayers’: “The sound of prayer is powerful – it is very significant. It’s a science of sound. Every sound has a form attached to it – if you feed any sound into an oscilloscope, it will give a particular pattern, just like when we get an Electro Cardiogram done, we see the pattern that is the sound emanated by our hearts. Similarly every organ in our body emanates a sound, as it works on the electromagnetic field through the direct current generated from within our bodies, which synchronizes with the universal sound, as our universe also works on the same electromagnetic field. Every sound has a form in it and every form has a sound in it. When we recite/chant prayers, the sound connects us with the universal sound which transforms us and our environment into a positive field. Thus, Mathravani has the maximum impact on us, the sound is existential and it has power, this power of the sound of Mathravani reverberates with the universe created by Dadar Ahura Mazda.”
Er. Bhandara went on to praise Zara and Zain Commissariat, who started attending the Humbandagi when they were just 3 and 5 years old, respectively. Vira Santoke then gave a short speech thanking Er. Zarrir for his contributions towards the Humbandagi. She mentioned how when the present Atash Kadeh was not constructed, the Humbandagi would be conducted in the adjacent community hall where a group of participants would meet every Sunday, presided by Er. Zarrir.
Marzi Mody, member of the local community also felicitated the father and son, expressing thanks for their commitment over the years and saying they were the real ‘super-heroes’ of the community. Houtoxi Contractor also honoured Er Zarrir, saying his prayers helped in healing and how his selfless work has touched all their lives. In keeping with the Humbandagi tradition, lunch is served at the end and the members celebrate the birthdays of members in the month, by cutting a cake.
Kudos to Er. Zarrir Bhandara for his selfless service towards our religion and the community!