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Navroz Mubarak

 

It is the twenty-first of March

the spring equinox

the first day of the rest of the year.

 

The days of Muktad* are over.

Steeped in remembering and praying for

the fravashis of so many of her dear ones,

the souls of the departed,

she senses their spiritual presence,

and of her own farohar, her ever present guardian.

 

The darkness of winter

with its season of somnolence,

hopelessness

its sense of faithlessness

fades away.

 

The sun, symbol of light and creation

glows with greater clarity.

Now is the time for creativity

the awakening of dormant seedlings

a renewal of the spirit

the very possibilities of life.

 

Daylight

extends itself

overpowering

the hours of darkness

just as the light of wisdom and asha*

will prevail

over death and despair.

 

Today is Navroz

the most joyous of celebrations

rich in symbolism.

This good Zoroastrian warrior*

 has cleaned her home, the walls, the drapes, the floors

sweeping away 

 the hurt and the disappointments

the detritus of the past.

The perfume of hyacinths and tube roses

wafts through gleaming rooms

the mesmerizing smell of sandal wood

to ward off evil spirits and to honor

those of the dead,

burning in silver chalices.

 

 

Her family has bathed,

donned festive garments for a festive day.

“Have you said your prayers?” she admonishes

her young son, reminding him

that truthfulness

is the essence of all believers.

 

She draws in a long, deep breath

 with a sense of renewal.

Today begins a regeneration

of her own life,

her relationships

her home

 her community,

leading, she hopes,

to a renovation of this present world.

She promises to herself

to be diligent,

to seek improvement daily

until it becomes an enduring part of her being,

for that is her mission.

 

It is a day of special kindness,

bundles of presents await eager fingers,

and nourishing food

to be distributed to those in need.

The Sofreh, the Navroz offerings

are spread across her white, linen covered table.

Seven dishes representing the creator and six

Zoroastrian abstract attributes or archangels

invite the partaker.

There is the Ajlis, seven dried fruit and nuts

 pistachios, roasted chick peas, almonds, hazelnuts,

fine skinned figs, newly dried apricots and golden raisins.

Today she has added her favorites

dry walnuts, ruby red pomegranate seeds

and luscious purple mulberries plucked just yesterday

from her backyard tree.

 

In a prominent spot,

flames in a silver filigreed afargan,

a symbol of wisdom, goodness and purity

dance in the morning breeze.

In a little bowl is her specialty,

grain, sprouted carefully over five days.

There is wine, sugar, milk, syrup, honey,

candy and rice pudding.

As she lays the table she remembers that the

 seven attributes of this temporal planet,

fire, air, water, earth

plants, animals and human beings,

are also to be revered and depicted in her offerings.

 

She has recited a confessional patet*.

This soldier examines her thoughts,

words and deeds.

Not only will each be weighed

on the scales

 determining her afterlife,

but on her shoulders

rests

the destiny of the world

its very resurrection.


 

*Muktad-the days before the new year in which prayers are said for the souls of the dead.

On the last day a gambhar or communal feast is held, with the souls of the dead invited to partake.

*asha-righteousness.

*Zoroastrian warrior- Zoroastrians are warriors engaged in a ceaseless cosmic struggle against evil and our own temptations. When our “good thoughts, words and deeds” outweigh their evil counterparts, a resurrection of the world will be brought about in the light of the creator Ahura Mazda’s wish.

*patet-prayers of repentance for past sins.

 

 

Deenaz P. Coachbuilder

March 21st. 2016

    

Young Zoroaster

 

The silver crested moon paused along its journey

as a million stars in anticipation

polished their crystal points.

Even the volatile wind, diverted from its destination,

lingers quietly among Veh Daiti river’s rocks.

Grains of dry amber sand shift impatiently

along the garden’s edge.

A leaf from the flowering pomegranate tree

catches a current and floats through the window

to rest in anticipation beside the empty cradle.

 

For three days, a shining light bathes this little village.

Luminous beams shoot downwards.

They brighten Ahura Mazda’s khoreh* that since birth

surrounds the spiritual young Dogdo.

Lying beside protective Pourushasp Spitama her husband

she labors to birth

   infant Zoroaster.

 

   Hushed Creation awaits this magical moment.

 

Early in the morning on Roz Khordad, Mah Fravarden

we hear not an infant’s cry, but a baby’s delighted laugh

as Athravan* infant Zarathushtra

greets the world he is destined to transform.

 

All nature rejoices

   the moon nods and begins once more to move along its arc

   the wind sings a hushed lullaby

   the leaf has found a safe haven ‘neath the hallowed cradle.

 

From his birth onwards, young Zoroaster is engulfed

by a gentle light

which comforts many, but threatens those who wish him harm.

 

The chieftain Dorasrun attempting to kill him, throws him into the fire,

but the flames are cooled by Adar Yazad, the Yazata*

who is the guardian of fire.

 

When he places the babe in the pathway of a herd of cattle,

a white cow straddles him in protection, and there

she takes her stand until all the animals have cantered by.

She has been placed by the divine Gosh Yazad.

 

Dorasun and others attempt again and again, over many years

to harm the divine child, but they are thwarted

by the forces of good.

 

From a very early age, the prophet is aware

of the forces of good and evil. He yearns

to understand his own life’s purpose,

why good friends and neighbors are afflicted

with pain and misfortune, why injustice prevails.

 

At the age of seven, he receives guidance and instruction

from the sage Burzin Kurush. An apt pupil, he quickly absorbs

the tenets and beliefs of the time.

But his continuing queries cannot be satisfactorily answered

by his guide.

   He is recognized by all as an unusual child.

 

By the time the prophet is fifteen, his quest for answers

to humanity’s problems intensify.

He finds solace in prayer, in caring for those in need, for in all

he recognizes the presence of a spirit beyond his understanding.

 

Then, at the age of twenty, Zarathushtra leaves his home

his loved ones, all things familiar and comfortable,

to meditate in the bleak mountains of Ushidaren.

He leaves behind him his still young life, in a spiritual journey

to discover the highest truth, years of searching that will lead him

to commune with the creator Ahura Mazda, and receive

the revelations of the religion of the “good” life

followed to this day by his adherents

   the Zoroastrians.

 

 

 

*khoreh-halo

*Athravan-carrier of the fire of truth.

*Yazata-Divine being

 

 

Deenaz P. Coachbuilder

June 21st. 2016

 


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External Links of Interest


Zoroastrian Calendar (hosted by ZANC)

Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America

Documentary on an Ancient Underground Zoroastrian Dwelling (Youtube)

The Zoroastrian Journey - a video on the evolution of Zoroastrianism (Youtube)

4-year-old Zara Commissariat recites the 101 names of Ahura Mazda (Youtube)