Jashan Ceremony for Zoroastrian Studies Graduate and PhD Students

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On Thursday Dec. 11th 2008, Jashan ceremony was performed for Dr. Rose and her Claremont Zoroastrian studies graduate and PhD students and guests.
Jashan ceremony was performed by Mobed Rostam Vahidi and Mobed Bahram Deboo in the spirit of solemnity and spirituality and to bring students in touch with Zoroastrian rituals and community.
Before the ceremony Mobed Deboo talked about meaning of Ahura Mazda and His attributes, Amesha Spentas, and significance of Jashan. After Afrigane Dahman and Afrine ArdaFravash were performed, everyone stood up and held each other’s hand and prayed one Ashem Vohu. Mobed Vahidi prayed Tandorosti for all. Everyone was impressed when Professor Jennifer Rose and her students covered their heads as a respect to the Jashan ceremony and prayers.

Below is content of Mobed Deboo’s talk and summary of the prayer:

Jashan Ceremony – Afringans:

The word Jashan means Worship, Praise and Thanksgiving to Ahura Mazda for His bountiful blessings.  In this ceremony, God and His attributes, all His powers and forces in Nature are invoked and thanked for providing the blessings of life.
The ceremony is divided into 3 parts: preface, blessings and benediction.  The ceremony is of two types.  One is performed for seasonal festivals, happy occasions, birthdays and historical events, and the other for memorializing the death anniversaries of the departed souls.
The six attributes came to be known as Amesha Spentas after they were given concrete forms, which are not found in Gathas.  On the human level, we are guided by Zarathushtra to emulate these attributes.  The articles that are used, symbolize the various aspects between man, nature and God.
1. Glass of milk represents God’s Divine Mind (Vohu Manah) and animal kingdom.
2. Fire represents Asha, the fire of God, truth, righteousness, universal law governing the Cosmos, mental-spiritual purifier and giver of light to a devout soul.
3. The metallic fire urn represents Vohu Khshathra, the Sovereignty, power and domain of God.
4. The earth on which we are standing or sitting represents Aramaiti, the Mother Earth, harmony, peace and right-mindedness.
5. Glass of water represents Haurvatat, perfection, integrity, and wholeness.  What an ideal society ought to be for the welfare of the world.  Water removes impurity but always remains pure on evaporation. Thus, there is a deep spiritual meaning.
6. Flowers represents Ameretat, the vegetable kingdom and, on the spiritual level, immortality, or continuity of life.
Jashan ceremony uses 24 flowers for three main prayers, each requiring 8 flowers.  The first two flowers represent dual aspects of creation, material and spiritual.  The priest picking up 3 flowers downwards on the right side represent descending of the soul with good thoughts, words and deeds from the spiritual world to the material world.  While picking up the left hand side flowers upwards signifies   ascension of the soul to the spiritual world with good thoughts, words and deeds.  Holding of the flowers denotes merging of the soul with the Creator after attaining perfection on this earth.
The act of touching the four directions E, W, S, N and the coordinates NE, SE, SW and NW of the urn or glass of water with a ladle represents the movement of the earth and the crossing of the matter.  Also may goodness spread in all the directions and corners of the earth.

The summary of the prayer:
May the glory of light and wisdom of this good religion spread seven regions of the world.  May there be success, joy and happiness among the people and may their souls be rejoiced.  Whatever goodness is performed, may it reach to the Treasure of the House of God and be distributed among all good people. In this house, may noncompliance to the Divine rule be removed. May peace, not discord, enter here.
May charity and generosity come instead of malevolence.
May humility overcome arrogance and may the truth triumph over falsehood.
May we unite in oneness with truth and uprightness.

Following pictures are taken by Ardeshir Baghkhanian.

The ceremony was attended by Dr. J. Rose , Dr. A. Jafarey, Zoroastrian Studies students among other guests.

Jashan ceremony was performed by Mobed Rostam Vahidi and Mobed Bahram Deboo.

Everyone stood up and held each other’s hand and prayed Ashem Vohu.

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