SAROSH YAZAD AND EFFICACY OF AVESTA MANTHRAS
by Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha
Saroshem Asem Hurodhem Verethrazanem Fraadat Gaethem Ashavanem Ashahe Ratum Yazamaide
(Sarosh Yast Hadokht, SYV)
Sarosh Yazad, a most revered character in Zoroastrian Scriptures is today unknown to many of us, who have not yet visualized the presence of the Spiritual Being in their everyday life. We invoke His presence in everyday pra
yers (Farzyats) and, several times in our rituals and high liturgical ceremonies like Yazashne, Visparad, Vendidad, and Nirangdin. In fact, our life and existence in this world is incomplete without His presence. We yearn for His presence during a child birth, Navjote, Wedding and Funeral ceremonies. He is the one who guides and protects us by interpreting our thoughts, feelings and emotions through our ‘Kharenangh’ (Khoreh, aura, glory) to help us attain the grand goal of ‘Uru’ Spiritual unfoldment.
In Gatha Ahunavaiti (XXX111; 5; ) we recite :
Yaste vispe mazishtem sroashem zbaya avanghane
I invoke Sraosha for help who is the greatest of all thy Yazads.
It is generally through Him that prophets and even righteous men are inspired by God. He protects the souls of men both during the day and during the night. His protection is greater at night. In Sarosh Yast Vadi (Karda 7, 11, 12) it is said that in order to protect the creations from the attacks by evil powers, He keeps himself awake and armed with His spiritual weapons traverses the whole earth three times during a day and also at night (i.e. wherever there is darkness due to lack of Divine Wisdom), riding on His shadowless horses and destroys evil everywhere. Hence it is that the Yasts in praise (Yast X1 and Yasna Ha LV11) are specially recited at night.
In Sarosh Yast Vadi (Karda 10) Sarosh Yazad is called ‘Daeno-Diso’ (i.e. a Religious Teacher) and the Supreme Head of the Department of Religion in the Inner Government of the World. He is the one who passes on to the World Teachers various facets of Divine Truths as may be most desirable at the relevant age and time. Sarosh Yazad acts as the protector and guide of the holy from birth to ‘transition’. For this reason religious ceremonies such as ‘Sarosh-nu Patroo’, Baj, Yazashne, Vendidad, etc. are specially performed during the first three days after death during which the souls remain under His protection from the very day of birth down to death, and even thereafter (Sarosh Yast Vadi Nirang).
SAROSH YAZAD - HIS ROLE AND POSITION IN THE DIVINE KINGDOM OF AHURA-MAZDA:
Sarosh means ‘obedience’. It is derived from the Avesta stem sru ‘to hear’. Obedience implies hearing. So He is the yazata who hears from God, communicates to Man what he hears from God and asks Man to obey God’s message which he communicates. Sarosh Yazad ensures strict obedience of the entire creation to the laws of nature. Consequently, Sarosh is called the leader of the Creations (Saalaar-i-daamaan) in the visible as well as the invisible parts of the whole Cosmos. There exists what is called ‘Anjuman of the seven Ameshaspands (Vyakhanem Ameshanam Spentanam: Rapithwin Geh and Sarosh Yast Vadi, Karda 5), a veritable Inner Government of the World. Under these Ameshaspands, great Yazatas, Angelic hosts and spiritually far-advanced souls do their allotted work as Hamkars or co-workers. Of them all, Sarosh Yazad only has the priviledge of being a sitting member of the said Celestial Anjuman (Yo..Paity jasaity Vyakhma Ameshanam Spentanam: Sarosh Yast Vadi, Karda 5). On account of this special status Sarosh Yazad is often delegated the work of bestowing initiations on highly advanced human beings, i.e. making them 'Dakshatas' (Yasna 43-15). In his Shahnameh, Firdousi describes the visit of Sarosh Yazad to Shah Jamshed with a Kusti "made in heaven" and how Sarosh Yazad invests Shah Jamshed with a "Divine Girdle " on his initiation.
ATTUNEMENT TO SAROSH YAZAD:
Now the question arises, how can we 'invoke' or attune ourselves with Sarosh Yazad and how He is related to Urvaan, Manthra and Asha. The Urvaan or soul requires for its unfoldment certain units of vibration and Staota, in proportion to its own stage of present progress. In fact the staota produced by means of recital of Avesta Manthras is the kind and the rate necessary for a Soul born in the Zoroastrian fold and following the laws of Ashoi propounded in the Law of Unfoldment taught by the prophet Zarathustra. The necessity of the Stoata produced by Avesta Manthras serves as food as it were for the Soul.
Thus when a soul attunes itself with Sarosh by means of Asha according to the canons taught by the prophet for smiting the Druja or all unseen evil magnetic influence it is fit for responding to the vibrations of all Yazads collectively through Sarosh, and hence to the vibrations of all Yazads individually in accordance with the laws of attunement by means of Staota. When the soul has thus made itself worthy of these higher vibrations it realizes the efficacy of the chanting of Avesta Manthras which, when recited sacredly or with the observance of Ashoi, produced Staota corresponding to the universal Staota, and thus there is a perfect harmony or attunement of the soul with the ruling Yazads. Hence we learn a fundamental rule of Zoroastrianism: that Ashoi is the first requisite for the enjoyment of the efficacy of the Avesta Manthras recital, and it is only on account of the present-day life of the majority of Zoroastrians without the observance of Ashoi-principles that the efficacy of Avesta Manthras is not consciously perceived by them. Instead, majority is interested in learning meaning and interpretation of our prayers than the prayer itself. (Refer to Prayer Schedule based on Hamkars.)
Sarosh Yazad is a part of our life - He guides us and protects us every moment, wherever we go, whatever we do. However, He does not always personally come down on this earth and directly impart occult knowledge to souls who yearn for His presence. In some inexplicable way, He brings such aspirants into contact with His advanced disciples living on the Physical Plane and in this way they receive elementary instructions in the occult lore. When such an aspirant makes sufficient progress in the course of his present life or thereafter, a very close relationship is brought about between him and an Abed Master of Wisdom, working under that great Yazad. As a matter of fact, in the course of Kusti ritual we pray for a wise teacher (Ratum Chizdi) working in concert with Vohu Mano and Sarosh Yazad, so aptly referred to as 'Saroshavarez' (Uziren Geh). Saroshavarez Saheb unites a part of the aspirants aura with His own, with a result that He at once comes to know the good or bad behavior of the aspirant-disciple, his success or failure on life's struggles etc. This technique enables Saroshavarez Saheb to advise and guide that aspirant from time to time as when occasions arise. Such guidance is usually given in vivid dream or by way of a vision.
If we humans have the divine wisdom (like of Magavans) to formulate, interpret and translate His Staota, there is no reason for Ahura-Mazda to send our prophet with 21 Nasks to lead us in this material world!!! Just as an unfortunate blind person cannot understand what is sunlight, gas-light, electric-light, blue, yellow, red and other colors in the same way, we, who are spiritually blind cannot understand the vibration-colors and the laws thereof which are at the bottom of the 'great spiritual potency' of the Manthras, as said in the Gathas. Remember, we are gifted with those 'Divine Formulas' to live a Zarathustrian life; do not attempt to understand it, just follow it because that's what it is meant for. It goes like this, very few understand the laws of digestion of food and yet when food is swallowed the digestion does not take place inspite of the eaters ignorance of the laws of digestion. In the same way, the Manthras when recited produce their own vibration-colors effect no matter even if the recitor does not understand how the laws of vibration work.
My dear Zarathusti, Avesta was never a living language of ordinary everyday use. In fact, it has not been the language for the use of social communication. It was originally vibrations that were later expressed in a form of language. These vibrations were transformed into Manthras and in ancient times they were recited and chanted very carefully according to the prescribed rules. This is because our prayers produce certain rates and modes of vibrations. Each letter of an Avesta word has certain effects. And, that is why Avesta is called 'Raazeng' or 'mystic words' and 'Guzraa Senghaango' - hidden words as depicted in the Gathas (Yasna 50.6 and Yasna 48.3). Talking about the Gathas, it is very sad to observe some associations in North America and elsewhere having the Gatha Translation fund and, thousands of dollars are donated for such purpose to help some student of our religion who volunteers to translate our Gathas. Even though money is collected and used for a noble cause, this is not what our community needs at this time, since we have dozens of Gatha Translations available - from the most orthodox to the most liberal - in India and abroad. Some few more additions to this collection will not make our present and future generations more knowledgeable or religious- minded. Neither it will compel our prophet to take rebirth and reevaluate His authentic conversation with Ahura-Mazda. The need of this hour is to educate our community with the knowledge of our prayers (with correct pronunciations) and its efficacy on their material and spiritual life, besides imparting religious and historic background of our community.
ORIGIN OF AVESTA MANTHRAS:
The Avesta Manthras has been formulated in accordance with the Laws of Staota Yasna or Laws of Attunement by means of higher unseen colors produced by vibration of sound. In Pahalvi it is named as 'Farhangan Farhagha Manthra Spenta' - the knowledge of all knowledges, the science of all sciences - the Master Science is Manthra Spenta. The entire Avesta scriptures are based on the Law of Staota (vibrationary colors) which are composed from the 21 Nasks of Zarathustra. Prophet Zarathustra Spitama was the first practitioner - perfect of Staota. Since He was the first to comprehend the manifestation of the entire universe in accordance with the Celestial Tune of Ahuna Var by means of the Staota Yasna Laws, He formulated the Word Yatha Ahu Vairyo in rhythmic parallelism with the Ahuna Var. He then elaborated the word Yatha Ahu Vairyo into 21 Nasks of Avesta Manthras having their special rates of acceleration and intensity. His elaborated formula into 21 Nasks implies that the progress of the soul is possible only through genuine absorption of higher Manthric vibrations and colors through the medium of Ashoi principles. This will help to promote the subtleties of the physical and ultra-physical tenements of the Soul - the physical comprising 'Tanu' or body proper, 'Gaetha' or vital organs, 'Azda' or etheric and nervous body; and the ultra-physical including 'Kehrpa' or invisible counterpart of the physical body, 'Ushtaana' or life or vital heat, 'Tevishi' or desire shell, the root cause of thought-activity, all of which are mentioned in the very first line of Yasna Ha 54:1
The following are the names of those 21 Nasks corresponding to 21 Words of Yatha Ahu Vairyo (Ahunavar) prayer:
Yatha - Sudkar or Satudgar,
Ahu - Varshtmansar or Vahishtmansar,
Vairyo - Bago,
Atha - Damdad or Duazdeh hamast,
Ratush - Nadar or Nadur,
Ashaat - Pajako Pajeh, Pajam or Pazun,
Chit - Ratoshtaid,
Hachaa - Barish,
Vangheush - Kashkisrob or Kashasrob,
Dazda - Vishtasp Yast or Gushaspad,
Manangho - Vashtag (Dad or Dadok),
Shyaothnanaam - Chithradad or Chidrast,
Angheush - Spend,
Mazdai - Bagam Yast,
Kshathremcha - Nikadum,
Ahurai - Dubasrujd,
Aa - Husparam,
Yim - Sakadum,
Dregubyo - Videvdad or Vendidad,
Dadat - Hadokht,
Vastarem - Stud Tast.
These 21 Nasks could be divided into three classes according to their contents: -
DATIK (Pertaining to laws):
HADHAMANSRIK (Intermediate between two):
STAOTA - MANTHRA - ASHOI: A DIVINE FORMULA FOR THE EFFICACY OF PRAYERS
In Gathas, Paigambar Saheb Zarathustra Spitama is referred as a Yazad (and not an ordinary human being, as most of the foreign scholars often describes Him). He was a 'divine light' in the form of human being, attuned with Ahura Mazda. As described in Persian Rivayats, He was divinely inspired by Ahura Mazda to formulate these 21 Nasks for the Mazdayasnans, to guide and protect them towards "One Divine Event" or Frashokereti. In His Laws against Evil (Vendidad, 19th Nask), it is an implied requisite for the effectiveness of the Staota that the Avesta Manthras should be recited in original pronunciation and Ashoi principles should be strictly observed for its efficacy.
It is said that, the Staota produced by the Manthra and the Ashoi principles are very powerful and capable of disintegrating the graphs of vibrations and forms unseen created by Daevas or people of evil thoughts and mal-practices. Since the Manthra has the vibrationary effect of overwhelming and destroying the undesirable vibrations and colors which hinder the unfoldment progress of the soul, several of these Manthras which are most powerful in their efficacy - such as the Ahuna Var, the Haftanghaiti, the Fshusho Manthra and some Yasna chapters employed by Sarosh Yazad as His own weapons against Druja. Similarly Ahuna Var, Asha Vahista and Yenghe Hatam, the three fundamental Manthra of the first rate important are desired to work their efficacy throughout earth and sky foe smiting and repelling the Evil Spirit. Airyaman. which is the most excellent Manthra, is most powerful in crushing and shattering the Evil Spirit (Relevant Prayers: Yatha Ahu Vairyo, Ashem Vohu, Yenghe Hatam, Haptan Yast, Atash Nyaish, Ardibehest Yast and its Nirang).
The Avesta Manthra must always be the only true vehicle of Zoroastrian prayers. The efficacy of Manthra is best revealed when 'Manthra' is regarded as the direct messenger coming from Ahura Mazda and when Manthra is honored equally with Ahura-Mazda by Zarathustra. This vibrationary effect of Manthra works as a grand medium in attunement with Sarosh and Ahura-Mazda for bringing the Fravashis of the Holy for help whenever desired. Hence it is said that the word of Manthra does it function at any time or place or in any danger and asserts its original essential efficacy. The Manthra is formulated by means of the fundamental rules of acoustic vibrations. It is said that special intelligence, special wisdom and special vocal power, which are as it were pertaining to Ahura-Mazda, are necessary for the understanding, recital and utterance of Manthra Spenta. The special vocal power for the practice of Manthra prayers requires the precision and exactness in the pronunciation of all the proper Manthra with a certain necessary spiritual potency resulting from the observance of all the rules of Ashoi.
Let us not misunderstand our prayers and usage of Manthras for expressing our condition physical, mental or material in the form of complaint or application or thanks to God. This certainly not the Zoroastrian idea of prayer. Zoroastrian prayer does not imply any sort of solicitation for the gratification of our material desires. The Zoroastrian prayer does not mean conveying of our materialistic thoughts to the divine. The Zoroastrian prayer implies the necessity of Ashoi or practice of holy canons of life, and Good Mind resulting from Ashoi and along with these two necessary forces Ahu-Daena i.e. Right Conscience which can be developed only by Ashoi-practice.
With these first requisites the devotee has to learn all the primary thoughts attached by Zarathustra to each and every Avesta word. Now, these original thoughts created by our Avesta Manthras does not come out from some magic box but through the Good Mind resulting from the Holy Right, Conscience and Ashoi. There are rules of the recital of Avesta Manthras according to the different seasons of the year, and the various departments of life to which the recitor belongs. When Avesta Manthras is recited properly with a simultaneous flow of higher thought vibrations pertaining to them, it produces certain vibratory color effects (as explained earlier) upon the soul and bring the soul to a level of response to the vibrations and colors of all other angels and archangels, through Sarosh, leading this channel up to Ahura Mazda through the connecting link of Ahuna Var or Celestial Song. Such a deep meaning has been attached to Avesta Manthra prayer by Zarathustra and not that of vehicle of carrying our worldly ideas to the godhead.
In passing, it is worth remembering that when a disciple is spiritually ripe His Master knocks at his inner door; hence it is not necessary to go in search of a spiritual Guru or Master. Recite prayer everyday in correct pronunciations besides following Zarathustrian principles of life (Humata-Hukhta-Havarshta) and you have proved yourself a true Mazdayasni Zarathustri in the eyes of Ahura Mazda.
Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami
Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha