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Hamazor to Mobed Zarrir Bhandara
A present celebrity – A future legacy

Author of
Bread For The Head™

















“Appreciating the efforts of human beings in their lifetime is so much more appropriate rather than ‘singing praises’ after one is gone.” says Toxy Cowasjee – Past President of Karachi Zarathushti Banu Mandal. This sentiment is not only in harmony with Zarathushtra’s philosophy of venerating people promoting righteousness during their lifetime but also the cornerstone of honoring Mobed Zarrir Bhandara for his 33-years of selfless religious and spiritual services to our Zarathushti community on April 16, 2005 at the California Zoroastrian Center – a function that was well attended by about 20-representing delegates and 250 members of our Southern California Zarathushti community.

Felicitation by:
Anahita Amalsad

The commemorative plaque presented to him reads:

“Under the guidance of Ahura Mazda with Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds, the Southern California Zarathushti Community honors Mobed Zarrir Bhandara in recognition for 33-Years of Outstanding Dedication, Commitment & Service to our Zarathushti Community.”

Plaque Presentation by:
Armita Dalal

This special function was graced with felicitations and salutations from High Priests, North American and Global Zarathushti Leaders.

Our Vada Dasturji’s message was read by Ervad Dr. Khushro Unwalla, Member of the North American Mobeds Council

I am very pleased to know that the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America, the North American Mobeds Council, the Zoroastrian Association of California & the California Zoroastrian Center are recognizing the meritorious services rendered to the Zarathushtis of North America by Ervad Zarrir Bhandara by felicitating him. I wish all success on this auspicious occasion and pray to Ahura Mazda to bestow His divine blessings on Zarrir till the last breath of his life. So may it be as I Bless.   Yours in His Service.

Dasturji Dr. Firoze M. Kotwal, High Priest, Mumbai, India.

Mobed Bahram Shahzadi leading the Benediction Prayer

As the head priest of the California Zoroastrian Center, it gives me great pleasure to honor the dedicated religious service offered by Mobed Zarrir Bhandara to our Southern California Zarathushti community.  Mobed Zarrir, I wish you a life blessed in the service of Ahura Mazda & pray that you will continue to inspire our future generation to serve our community by keeping the flame alive.

Mobed Bahram Shahzadi 
Head Priest California Zoroastrian Center


From the forefronts of North America we have the following felicitations:


“On behalf of FEZANA and the Zarathushti community of USA & Canada, we are pleased to join the California Zoroastrian Center, The Zoroastrian Association of California and the North American Mobeds Council to honor Mobed Zarrir Bhandara for recognition of his exceptional community service. We also wish to show our gratitude for his selfless service, priestly dignity and deep sense of religiosity. His efforts in creating awareness of our faith amongst the community-at-large, has made him a goodwill ambassador of our Zarathushti community,” says Firdosh Mehta – President, Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America.

Presented by:
Rashid Mehin
Treasurer, FEZANA



From the Forefronts of North American Mobeds Council we have the following felicitations:


“On behalf of the North American Mobeds Council it is my pleasure to convey our felicitations and good wishes to Mobed Zarrir Bhandara for rendering over 33-years of selfless service to the Zarathushti community in India and North America.  It is gratifying to see that his services in creating heightened awareness of Zarathushti religion are duly recognized by the community members. We at NAMC appreciate the fact that Zarathushtis on this continent recognize & value Mobeds. May Zarrir be blessed with a peaceful, blissful and long life of happiness and success through the Grace and Guidance of Ahura Mazda,” says Dr. Jehan Bagli – President, North American Mobeds Council.

Presented by:
Er. Jehangir Dastur
Member, NAMC



From the Forefronts of Southern California we have the following felicitations:


“On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the California Zoroastrian Center, we like to honor Mobed Zarrir Bhandara for his 33-years of selfless religious service to our Zarathushti community. We are very proud to have a young and dedicated Zarathushti Mobed like him within our Southern California Zarathushti community and pray that he continues to serve as a shining role model for our Zarathushti youth,” says Mahinbanoo Sassani – President, Board of Trustees, California Zoroastrian Center, Westminster, California, USA.



“On behalf of the Executive Board of Zoroastrian Association of California, it gives me great pleasure to honor Mobed Zarrir Bhandara for his 33-years of relentless religious and community service. We are very proud to be an integral part of this auspicious occasion and grateful for the blessing of Zarrir’s wisdom in promoting the message of Zarathushtra through his prayer services and religious classes among the Southern California Zarathushti community for the past 14-years. May Ahura Mazda shower his choicest blessings on him,” says Dr. Khushroo Lakdawalla – President, Zoroastrian Association of California..



“On behalf of the Board of Directors, it is our distinctive privilege to honor Mobed Zarrir Bhandara on this auspicious occasion commemorating 33-years of his devoted religious service to our Zarathushti community. We are very grateful for the religious classes that he started at the California Zoroastrian Center for the spiritual training of our Southern California Zarathushti children. He has been a ray of hope and inspiration to all of us for which, we wish him the very best that life has to offer,” says Mehrdad Mondegari – President, Board of Directors, California Zoroastrian Center.

Presented by:
Dr. Mehrdad Zomorrodi



“Mobed Zarrir Bhandara, as an individual, has an unmatched dedication in helping all of our Zarathushti community members in their time of need regardless of their affiliation to any Associations and more than any individual in California. He is the only priest in California to perform well over 1000 funeral ceremonies in his 33-years of priestly practice.  He has relentlessly fulfilled the spiritual needs of our Zarathushti community – especially our youth. I wish him the best in his future endeavors and hope he continues to render his Priestly services to all mankind,” says Dolly Malva – Past President, Zoroastrian Association of California.




Rev. Leland Stewart

Founder, Unity Diversity World Council and Compiler of World Scriptures thanked our Mobed  Bhandara for working closely with the council, representing the Zarathushti faith at Inter-Faith celebrations; and for his scholastic, spirited and religious contributions to the formation of the WORLD SCRIPTURES.



Dr. Jafarey

Shared the Gathic perspective of venerating those who promote righteousness and the importance of embracing those who dedicate their lives in the service of Ahura Mazda – especially during their life time instead of after they’re dead.

Mobed Bhandara was also blessed to receive a MOTHERLY BLESSING from TWO Z-GODMOTHERS.

Roshan Motivala, the Past President and the founding member of the Zoroastrian Association of California said:

 “Dear Zarrir: We are grateful for the precious religious services that you have conscientiously offered to our Southern California Zarathushti families. I was touched by the soulful and graceful moral support you offered me when my husband passed away. And I know that you have offered the same dignified support to countless other Zarathushti families in their time of need through your special prayers. May Ahura Mazda continue to bless you and your family in the spirit of love and light..”

Dina McIntyre, our veteran Zarathushti scholar in North America said:

 “Dear Zarrir: My sincere respect and admiration for your many years of service as a priest to our community. You exemplify Zarathushtra’s idea of a good priest, which is one who nurtures the souls under his care with good thinking, in harmony with ASHA. Such leadership will help us to meet the challenges of the 21st century in a productive way. May Ahura Mazda help you to be a WORLD HEALER – ONE SOUL AT A TIME.”

Our Zarathushti youth members from the Zoroastrian Association of California (ZAC) and the California Zoroastrian Center (CZC) read the following salutations from global Zarathushti leaders.

“We wish Mobed Zarrir Bhandara a long and distinguished career as a religious, spiritual and business leader. Our scriptures are replete with mention of Religious Leadership, Governmental Leadership and Business Leadership within our communities and Mobed Bhandara exemplifies all three. His exemplary service to the community in the role of a spiritual and religious leader has been an inspiration to many in our North American Community.  We shall look to his support to energize the entrepreneurial spirit in our community, which is the mission of the World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce,” says Rohinton M. Rivetna – President, World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce.

Presented by: Ferzin Chichgar

Youth Member, ZAC



“No community can survive without a strong religious foundation. At the same time no religion can survive without an enlightened clergy. The success and survival of our Zoroastrian community is directly linked to our religion and our Mobeds. For his sterling contribution towards satiating the spiritual needs of Zoroastrians for over 33 years, I wish Mobed Zarrir Bhandara good health and a long and happy life with his loved ones, and pray that other Mobeds will emerge on the scene to follow in the footsteps of Mobed Zarrir Bhandara,” says Dinshaw K. Tamboly – Chairman, WZO Trust Funds & Trustee, Bombay Parsi Punchayet.

Presented by: Nikan Khatibi

Past-President, CZC Youth



In the western world, where we have few mobeds and the system of full-time mobeds does not exist, we depend on priests like Mobed Zarrir Bhandara to fulfill the religious and social needs of our community. We at Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe would like to join hands with FEZANA, NAMC, ZAC & CZC in recognizing the silent and honorary services of religious nature rendered by Mobed Bhandara and congratulate him for his 33-years of service to the Zarathushti community in India and Southern California,” says Dorab Mistry – President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe Inc., United Kingdom.

Presented by: Porus Mistry

Youth Member, ZAC



“Appreciating the efforts of a human being in their lifetime is so much more appropriate, rather than ‘singing praises’ after one has gone. And for this FEZANA, NAMC, ZAC & CZC need to be commended, but most of all for unifying and celebrating a life well spent. Mobed Bhandara, my congratulations to you for your contribution to our Zarathushti community in India, California and North America,” says Toxy Cowasjee – Past President, Karachi Zarthosti Banu Mandal, Pakistan.

Presented by: Nahid Dashtaki

President, CZC Youth Committee



“Mobed Bhandara, your work is not only priceless for the Zarathushti community in Southern California but also for the World Zarathushti Community. People who achieve greatness are not the ones who give great speeches but the ones who perform selfless actions. Our hats off to you for you have achieved greatness in our books. We are all proud of you the world over,” says Darius Mistry – On behalf of Zoroastrian Community of New Zealand.

Presented by: Ava Afshari

Youth Member, CZC



“Mobed Bhandara, we the Zoroastrians from Singapore and South East Asia commend you for a journey well traveled remembering that a journey is the beginning of a destination. Our heartfelt congratulations for your 33-years of religious service to our community. May Ahura Mazda give you the strength to continue your good and honored work for many years to come,” says Rustom M. Ghadiali  – President, The Parsi Zoroastrian Association of South East Asia, Singapore.

Presented by: Danish Bhandara

Youth Member, ZAC

This was an occasion not only for Mobed Zarrir Bhandara but also for all those who over the years stood beside him and for every Zarathushti priest across the globe who now have a chance to be honored in the future because a special door has now been opened for all of them. Mobed Bhandara felt honored to be the first one in pioneering this special trend. We hope that it will ignite a spark of appreciation for all our Mobeds and create a model of inspiration to emulate a future tradition that will encourage our Zarathushti youth to take on the initiative for becoming future religious leaders of our community.

The foundation of his priestly training was laid at the Athornan Madresa in Andheri under the able guidance of Dasturji Dr. Kotwal, the High priest of India. Training followed this for Navar at Dadar Rustam Faram Agiary and Maratab at the Banaji Agiary. Zarrir received the best student award in 4 years of postgraduate and advanced priestly training, from the Vice Chancellor of Bombay University.

In the past 14-years of his service in California, Zarrir pioneered a tradition, of holding a unified communal festival of the souls, through only one prayer ceremony, for all departed members of our Zarathushti community. He also started religious and spiritual training classes for our Zarathushti children in Southern California. Presently, he is training post-Navjote kids for Navar. He also intends to organize a weekly communal hum-badagi for our Southern California community members.

Even though Zarrir was born in a priestly family, his father was not an ordained priest. It was kind of destined for him to be initiated into priesthood, because from his early childhood, he has been a clairvoyant and a healer

Mobed Bhandara with local and global Representing Delegates

Honoring Mobed Bhandara & Family

I believe that priests can promote healing but to me healing starts from within. With that sentiment, I now want to talk about one of Zarrir’s accomplishments that touched my heart and spirit because to me, he is truly a walking talking miracle.

In October of 1994, Zarrir was involved in a major motorcycle accident in which his left leg was sandwiched between a speeding car and the center divider of the freeway. By the time he was rushed to the ICU he had lost so much blood that the attending physicians were not sure if he would survive and asked him for his last wish. But he survived.

The next day the attending orthopedic surgeon told Zarrir that: “Seldom people walk after this kind of injury. You will never be able to walk.”

Guess what! Not only did Zarrir walked after 1-month but he also traveled to India after 3-months. It was because he was able to invoke the spirit of self-healing through prayers, meditation and a positive mental attitude.

Mobed Bhandara believes that a priest should be a living witness, reflecting a life of a true Zarathushti and taking care of all living beings, as Zarathushtra did. Their lives need to attract and inspire everybody they meet. We know that Mobed Bhandara lives what he believes. It is because in his love of truth he has demonstrated the truth of love and instead of the love of power he has always focused on the power of love for which we salute him with the following blessings from Dasturji Dr. Firoze Kotwal – High Priest, Mumbai, India. “I wish all success on this auspicious occasion and pray to Ahura Mazda to bestow his divine blessings on Zarrir till the last breath of his life,”  and Mobed Bahram Shahzadi – Head Priest, California Zoroastrian Center,

Mobed Bhandara with Program Co-hosts Armita Dalal & Meher Amalsad

“Mobed Zarrir Bhandara, I wish you a life blessed in the service of Ahura Mazda and pray that you will continue to inspire our future generation to serve our community by keeping the flame alive.”

Sources and Resources to gratefully acknowledge for the composition of this article: 

  1. Dr. Mehr Soroushian for giving me the opportunity to write this article for www.Vohuman.Org

  2. Jamshid Varza for taking the time to post this article on the www.Vohuman.Org website.

  3. My daughter Anahita Amalsad for her editorial assistance.