Shreeji Pak Iranshah Atashbehram Celebrates 1304th Salgreh

20th April, 2024 (Roj Adar, Mah Adar; YZ 1393) marked the most auspicious day in the Parsi calendar, the birth anniversary of our holy Fire and the 1304th Salgreh of our sanctum sanctorum – Shreeji Pak Iranshah Atashbehram, in Udvada. The Udvada Nine Family Shahenshahi Athornan Anjuman extended an invitation to all Zarthostis to commemorate the auspicious occasion, which started with a Jashan in the Aatash Behram. The occasion witnessed over 1,000 devotees who visited the Atashbehram to pay their respects.

This year, the celebration was even more special in keeping with, not only the presence of the newly instated second High Priest (Vada Dasturji) of the Udvada Atashbehram – Er. Tehmton Burjor Mirza, but also the commencement of the new practice of inviting celebrated religious scholars to speak on the occasion. Er.

The main speaker of this year’s function was the highly respected legal luminary and religious scholar – Er. Rohinton Fali Nariman, former Supreme Court judge. The dais was also graced by Sr. Advocate Er. Firoze B. Andhyarujina, alongside the Vada Dasturjis. Welcoming the 1,000+ devotees, at the venue, Vada Dasturji Khurshed said, “Mubarak to all on the auspicious occasion of Paak Iranshah’s 1304th Salgreh! Every year, we do a Jashan and Gambhar and we return home, but this time we thought let us also consume some food for the mind which will increase our knowledge. Thus, starting from now, we will always invite esteemed religious scholars and personalities from our community to address this very special occasion each year, which will also greatly add to its relevance. We are very fortunate this year enough to have with us today Er. Rohinton Nariman and Er. Firoz Andhyarujina, and we are grateful to them both who accepted our invitation instantly and are present here today. May the blessings of Iranshah be always upon you and your families.”

Er. Rohinton Nariman and Er. Firoze Andhyarujina were then felicitated with a shawl as a mark of respect and token of appreciation by Vada Dasturji Mirza and Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor, respectively.

Taking the mic to introduce the main speaker, Er. Firoze Andhyarujina shared appreciation for the new idea of a religious lecture saying, “It is indeed a very novel and innovative idea that the Adar Mah, Adar Roj Parab or the birthday of Pak Iranshah be paid a tribute with a religious sermon. What makes it even more special is that we have a foremost religious scholar – Er. Rohinton Nariman, who has been kind enough to speak on the importance of the kusti prayers. His illustrious legal career has brought much pride onto our community, being the former Solicitor General of India as also the first and only lawyer to be designated as Senior Counsel at the age of 37, instead of the prescribed 45. The international Human Rights named him as one of the five ‘Leading Warriors of Democracy’.

He has the unique distinction of delivering an address on the origin and working of the British Parliament, at the House of Lords… Dispensation of justice for justice Nariman was as good as doing and performing a religious function.” He further commended Er. Rohinton’s multi-faceted accomplishments as an author having written numerous books interpreting the Gatha as also an insightful lover of classical music. Er. Andhyarujina lamented on how many Parsis are not wearing the sudreh-kusti regularly and emphasised that these need to be worn through day and night.

In his very enlightening religious speech, Er. Rohinton Nariman shared, “Today is a remarkable day – one of the holiest days of the year – it is the birthday of our holiest of holy Iranshah Atashbehram and it is also the birthday of Hitler! This brings out the duality of all creation by Ahura Mazda and how one can choose the path of Righteousness or Evil.” Speaking about the kusti prayers, he called it a work of genius, adding, “It was devised by Adarbad Maraspand, who was a Sassanian king that lived during the time of Shahpur – II. This prayer was taken from 21 nasks. The Kemna Mazda is reflective of the prayer in the nask and how it protects us from any kind of threat, how we overcome evil with guidance received from our Prophet Zarathushtra, through Sarosh or divine consciousness.”

He had the attention of the audience rapt with his excellent oratory skills as well as its religious content. “Never leave our faith – it is our rock. It protects you from troubles. It keeps evil away from us… Even the Ashem Vohu prayer stresses that do good simply for the sake of good. Live by truth – that alone brings happiness which comes to an enlightened mind and do it because it is good in itself to do it… The Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayer constantly affirms to live by truth and how power is a false path and can lead one astray, Choose truth, every time… Live by Zarathustra’s dictum in the Gatha – it makes the soul whole when you do good deeds for the love of God,” he added. He also spoke on the importance of wearing the sudreh-kusti at all times and the importance of being humble always. He said to always follow Zarathushtra’s guidance and always live as per the dictum of Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds. He received a standing ovation for his passionate speech.

Dasturji Khurshed then thanked both the esteemed speakers, commended Er. Tehemton Mirza and expressed gratitude to all the devotees who were part of the memorable occasion. He concluded with the promise of continuing the practice of getting acclaimed religious experts to speak every year. A delectable meal was yet again sponsored by Sir Dinshaw Manekji Petit Charities, as it has been, year after year. The Gambhar, which was catered by Mac Caterers went on till nearly 3:30 pm, after which all the devotees returned home with much learning and joy.

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