Presented by Ervad Brigadier Behram Maneckshah Panthaki
At The North American Mobed Council AGM
Montreal, Canada April 14-15 2006
The beauty about Âtash Neyâyesh is that this prayer can be recited at
any time of the day. There are no restrictions on recitation of this
Neyâyesh unlike some other prayers. As we all know it is a combination
of three paragraphs of Yasna 33.12-14 (beginning), Yasna 62.1-10 (main
portion) and Yasna 34.4 (end) in that order.
Variation: Content and Sequence – Kadmi Âtash Neyâyesh
1. The introductory para “Az Hamâ Gunâh” is not there.
2. “Us moi uzâreswâ …, Rafedrâi vouruchashâne…., At râtâm
Zarathushtro….” (Paras from Yasna 33.12-14) are at the end
and are recited three times.
3. The Fravarâne para (“Âthro Ahurahe Mazdâo Puthra….”) is
4. Recitation of Bâz (low tone) para at the end of main portion is
5. There is no “At Toi Âtrem” (Yasna 34.4) para, after Yasnemcha
6. The sequence after Yasnemcha Vahmemcha is Ahmâi
Raeshacha …….. followed by “Us moi uzâreswâ …, Rafedrâi
vouruchashâne…., At râtâm Zarathushtro….” recited three
7. Followed by Hazanghrem, Jasa me Avanghe Mazda …..Short
ending para in which roj mâh and gâh is recited.
8. There is no Kerfe Mozd…...
9. There is no “Dâdâre Gehân………” Para
10. Âtash Behrâm – Is recited as Âtash Behrâm Neyâyesh
11. Âtash Âdarân – Is recited as Âtash Âdarân Neyâyesh
12. Âtash Dâdgâh – Is recited as Âtash Dâdgâh Neyâyesh
I have looked at translations of Âtash Neyâyesh of a few individuals – T. R.
Sethna, Kanga, Dastur Minocheherhomji and Oktor Skyaervo (FEZANASummer
2004, Pages 39 and 40).
Dastur Minocheherhomji’s elucidation is very philosophical and emphasizes
divine attributes of an individual. Kanga’s explanation leans more toward
corporeal (physical) elements. Sethna’ s work is an amalgam of both
versions where, at places, spiritual characteristics and at others physical
traits are highlighted.
To a lay man the translation of Ervad Kanga would be most appealing as it
is written in simple terms and is easy to comprehend. However, my
narration is not based on translation of any one particular individual in its
During the presentation I shall read out translations of selected paragraphs
of the Neyâyesh of all three authors to highlight their respective approach
and tenor. However, I have, in my notes, full translation of the Neyâyesh
of all three authors as reference for our later discussion.
I have also done my own analysis based on these translations to arrive at a
simple and less philosophical version of my own to understand what this
Let me state at the outset that I have omitted from my assignment the initial
and end passages from the Gâthâs that form part of the Neyâyesh. I have
deliberated on the main portion of the Neyâyesh i.e. what forms portion of
Translation - Âtash Puthra Ahurahe Mazdâo
Before I proceed with the main text of the Neyâyesh, let me address the
phrase Âtash Puthra Ahurahe Mazdâo. As you are aware there is a
controversy about its widespread translation as “Fire, son of Ahura
Mazda”. According to Kanga the ordinary meaning of the word “Puthra”
(Sanskrit ‘Putra’) –is “son” but he derives the meaning of this word from
the Sanskrit root ‘pu’ meaning to purify, to render pure, “source of
purifying, cleaning” and translates it as “purifier” throughout the
Kanga translates the phrase as “O Fire, the purifier (of all things)
pertaining to Ahura Mazda”.
Sethna translates as “O purifying Fire of Ahura Mazda”.
Dastur Minocheherhomji translates it philosophically as “Light Divine”.
Âtash Neyâyesh is allegorically composed of five distinct sections.
Section One - Ethics and Philosophy - The beginning 3 paragraphs from
Ahunavaiti Gâthâ, Yasna 33.12-14 (Us moi uzâreshvâ …….)
Section Two - Admiration (Paragraph 1), Adoration (Paragraph 2), and
Veneration (Paragraph 3)
Section Three – Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 – Devotee asking for blessings
Section Four – Paragraphs 7, 8 and 9 – What Fire expects from a devotee
Section Five – Paragraph 10 – Blessings that Fire gives to devotee
Kanga – Times New Roman 16
Sethna – Times New Roman 16 Italics
Minocheherhomji – Times New Roman Bold
Paragraph 1 – Fire is worthy of praise and homage - Admiration
In Paragraph 1 (Yasnemcha vahmemcha huberetimcha), the reciter
praises the fire by saying “ The purifying fire of Ahura Mazda, you are
worthy of praise (worship) and homage (invocation) in the abodes of
mankind and may there be happiness (greatness) and good fortune unto
that man who shall always worship thee with:
fuel (aesmo), Baresman (baresmo), milk (gao), and mortar (hâvano) in
With shining hands, with exalted hands, with praying hands, and with
With illumination, with inner exaltation, soul sustenance, soul
To me it implies that every household should have fire burning in his home
which in olden days (before the advent of electric and gas fire) was the norm.
And what is more if you recall in our childhood when we said our evening
prayers we went into the kitchen to recite Âtash Neyâyesh in front of the
Paragraph 2 – Fire accorded exalted position - Adoration
In Paragraph 2 (Dâityo aesme buyâo, Dâityo baoidhi buyâo)
O Fire, the purifier of all things
May you have the right wood
May you have the right incense
May you have the right food
May you have the right fuel
May thou be provided nourishment for a long time
May you become bestower of light (Aesme)
May you become bestower of intellect (Baoidhi)
May you become bestower of nourishment (Pithvi)
May you become bestower of high praises (Upasayene)
May you become protector of life of abundance (Harethre)
May you become protector of pious life
O purifying fire of Ahura Mazda
Thou become worthier in: Illumination, self consciousness, soul
sustenance, exalted position of dignity. Mayest thou be tended and
tenderly cared for by devotees of maturity and wisdom.
In physical sense it means that for lack of fuel the fire should not get
extinguished. Also it is like any living being, that needs proper
nourishment to remain healthy, the fire should also be nourished well for
it to continue to blaze. The reciter wishes that the fire gets its proper
Paragraph 3 – Compliments to Fire - Veneration
Paragraph 3 (Saoche buye ahmya nmâne, mat-saoche buye ahmya
nmâne), to me, is the most appealing part of the prayer. Very often I
recite and translate this paragraph when I do a Jashan in someone’s
home. It says
O fire of Ahura Mazda!
May you burn (be a blazing fire) in this house–tabernacle (human body)
May you ever burn (be a blazing fire) in this house (human body)
For a very long time till the Renovation (Restoration)
May you bring brilliance (be light) in this house (human body)
May you bring prosperity (on your growth) in this house (human body)
May the mighty flame be in hearth and heart: ever growing, deep,
ever constant and steady, ever bright and clear, ever unquenchable
– ever waxing never waning till the renovation be achieved along the
milestones of eternity and soul’s consummation.
One can interpret the meaning of this paragraph in two different ways.
One - these are blessings for a home. Two – fire is revered as a visible
symbol of the inner light, the inner spark that dwells in every human
being, and the inner flame that burns within each of us. We need to keep
that fire ignited and keep it blazing. In physical sense – it is to be active,
industrious, and progressive.
Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 – Seeking gifts and wishes to be fulfilled
In next three paragraphs the person who recites the Neyâyesh asks for
gifts to be bestowed through the fire and wishes he/she desires to be
Paragraph 4 (Dâyâo me Âtarsh puthra Ahurahe Mazdâo, âsu
khvâthrem, âsu thrâitim)
O fire of Ahura Mazda! The purifier, grant me,
Joyous welfare (comfort - Khvâthrem) and sustenance (Thrâitim),
Long life (Jitim) and happiness (Khvâthrem), Greatness (Mastim),
Wisdom (Spâno) , good memory, fluent (quick) tongue, (Khshviwrem
hizvâm), Intelligence (Ushi) (reason) for (holiness of) my soul (Urune),
Intellect (Khratum) (wisdom) which may increase in proportion and May
not diminish, and manly vigor
Kanga and Sethna – almost the same.
Grant unto me O Light Divine dignity (of humanity)
Wisdom, clear convincing speech to expound the Gospels
Consciousness of my soul to comprehend the deeper meaning
Intelligence – Reason all comprehending
Humanity all encompassing
Paragraph 5 (Eredhvo-zangâm, akhvafnayâm, thrishum asnâmcha
Strength for standing firm-footed, wakefulness (akhvafnayâm) one third
(thrishum) of the days (asnâmcha) and nights (khshafnâmcha),
steadiness in one’s duty (âsito-gâtum)
May I be ever active
Never drowsy and dull (resting only one third of the day)
Watchful even when seated and at rest
May I be blessed with progeny (frazaintim)
Who is nourishing (tuthrushâm),
Of innate wisdom (âsnâm), - intelligence
Ruling over regions (karsho-râzâm), - Self sustaining
Sitting in the assembly (vyâkhanâm), - Guiding the Anjuman
Thoroughly developed (hâm-raodhâm), - With all round development
Possessed of good respect (hvâpâm), - Accomplishment
Delivering from distress (ânzo-buzim), - Self-redeeming
As powerful as a hero (hvirâm) – Superior intelligence
An offspring who may render my home (nmânemcha),
my family (visemcha), my town - province (zantumcha),
my country (dakhyumcha) and the religion of my country (danghusastimcha)
Kanga and Sethna – almost the same.
Such a progeny that would advance life at various levels and stages of
Paragraph 6 (Dâyâo me Âtarsh puthra Ahurahe Mazdâo yâ me
O fire, the purifier pertaining to Ahura Mazda!
Do thou grant me such knowledge and point out such a course
So that I may perform virtuous deeds,
I may pay homage to Ahura Mazda
And lead my soul to goodness,
So that after my passing away I may obtain
For my good deeds the exalted place of Heaven in return.
Good rewards as a good return for prayers and a long time of
happiness for my soul
May I deserve that result of my life dedicated to virtue, devotion and
duty. Such is the blissful life of the soul ever-enduring.
Paragraph 7 – Yearning for Dedication
Paragraph 7 (Vispaeibyo sastim baraiti Âtarsh Mazdâo Ahurahe)
That Fire of Ahura Mazda carries admonition (sastim) unto all for whom
that (Fire) cooks (hâm pachâite) the evening and noon meals
(khshafnimcha suirimcha) (i.e. gives them good understanding) (and)
from all he solicits a good (huberetimcha), healthful (ushta-beretimcha)
and friendly (vanta-beretimcha) offering – dedication of virtue and
Paragraph 8 and 9 are questions and answers
Paragraph 8 (Vispanâm para-charentam Âtarsh zasta adidhayâ)
The Fire looks at the hands of all comers and says:
What does the walking friend bring to the sitting friend?
We praise the Fire, the beneficent, powerful, shining warrior.
(Walking friend means the person going near the Fire and the sitting
Friend should be understood as Fire which itself cannot walk.)
Kersey Antia (FEZANA – Fall 2002, Page 63) translates it as:
The (inner) fire looks at those coming to it (as if to ask): Has the friend
who is able to move around (the human body) used his energy to
develop his inner friend (soul, who is locked inside and hence unable to
Isn’t it a common practice that when we get invited by a friend or a
colleague for a meal, you carry a small gift as a token of your
appreciation and to convey your gratefulness?
Paragraph 9 (Âat yezi-she aem baraiti aesmem vâ ashaya beretem)
But if any person brings unto that fire
Fuel with sincere heart or Baresman spread, or the fragrant plant
Hadhânaepata unto that offerer sanctimoniously
Then the Fire of Ahura Mazda being pleased,
Revered and satisfied gives a blessing
The blessings is in the next paragraph
Paragraph 10 – The blessings
Paragraph 10 (Upa-thwâ hakhshoit geush vânthwa, upa viranâm
Unto thee (i.e. in thy family) may the flock of cattle increase - have
Unto thee may there be an increase of heroic men (sons having heroic
strength) – Blessed with many worthy sons
May thou have an active mind (may thou be clever and intellectual) –
Endowed with active and alert mind
May thy life be active (may thou perform benevolent and virtuous
deeds) – Spending the life for others
Mayest thou live a joyous life – Enjoying life of larger interests
Those nights that thou livest.
This is the blessing of the Fire (for him) who brings to that fire dry fuel
Examined in the light and purified with the blessings of righteousness
Such is the range of blessings for the person who offers his/her
efforts for Inner Illumination that is free from pollution – Tested by
wisdom and truth and purified by sublimity of righteousness
The significance of the sentence “fuel examined in the light and
purified” is that the fuel is selected after examining in the light and after
removing the bark wherein small insects and polluted objects may not be
covered. The fuel and any other incense which may be put on fire
should be absolutely dry and cleansed. Any kind of wet and dirty fuel
should never be put on the fire.
I consider that Âtash Neyâyesh emphasizes important tenets of our faith,
guides devotee to fulfill his/her commitment to life and carry out the
message of our prophet:
Reverence to fire (Para 1), be alert and active (Para 3), self improvement
(Para 4), be industrious (not lazy) (Para 5), no discrimination of genders
(Para 5), not to be selfish (think of your clan, town, country and the
religion of your country) (Para 5), to be environmental conscious (not to
pollute atmosphere) (Para 10), concept of reciprocity-thank you (Para
It is also a prayer where the reciter requests that certain blessings and
character traits be bestowed on the narrator.
Let me end with a quote by Dr. Dr. Eruch JS Taraporewalla
“No scripture in the world can be understood merely by analyzing its
words and its grammar: it has to be practiced. And when we live the life
according to the rules laid down in a scripture we are following some
Divine Messenger and we are trying to work for the Lord.”