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Parsi

Parsi


Parsi or Parsee    refers to a member of the larger of the two Zoroastrian communities of the Indian subcontinent. The term was originally used by the ancient Persians to refer to themselves. The influence of Arabic led to a drop in the 'p' sound in the Persian language, changing "Parsi" to "Farsi" (the name by which the language is now known).

According to tradition, the present-day Parsis descend from a group of Iranian Zoroastrians who emigrated to Western India during 10th century CE, due to persecution by Muslims in Iran. The long presence in the region distinguishes the Parsis from the Iranis, who are more recent arrivals, and who represent the smaller of the two Indian-Zoroastrian communities.

Many non-Parsis often wonder what the crux of Zoroastrianism, the religion we Parsis owe our allegiance and existence to, is. As revealed by the Prophet Zarathushtra, or Spitama Asho Zarthost Sahib, as we call him, it is the divine triumvirate of Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds.

There it is – as simple as that! But to live by it is a challenge.

GOOD THOUGHTSThe mind is where it all begins. Hence, it’s imperative that it be kept clear of unnecessary clutter, negativity, jealousy, hatred, pride, and their ominous ilk. Prayer, and the power of positive thinking, can keep the mind on course at all times, and that is the key to living a balanced life.

GOOD WORDSNext in the Zoroastrian triumvirate comes Good Words, because words have power – and what you say can manifest into your reality. So unless you have something good to say, refrain from doing so for words, like arrows, once expelled cannot be retracted. Words can devastate and divide even the closest relationships, and they are an external manifestation of one’s inner state. So if the mind is attuned to piety, as the Prophet Zarathusthra ordains, words must follow in the same vein.

GOOD DEEDS
Finally, everything comes to naught without Good Deeds. All the best intentions in the world are useless unless followed up with timely and effective action. Zoroastrianism is a faith that stresses greatly upon “doing”. You are not required to sit in prayer or penance for hours on end. But if you go out and actually help someone or do a good deed, it is a prayer in action.

FIRE OF FAITHThere is yet another potent force that epitomises the Zoroastrian faith: Fire. However, the Parsis have wrongly been called “fire worshippers”. In reality, the holy fire is an embodiment of the Almighty. It bestows its radiance and munificence upon a Zoroastrian seeker, illuminating his/her path through life. The Zoroastrian religion does not demand too much from its followers. All you need to do is stay on the right path and be a righteous soul, living by the Truth to the best of your ability.

Values are placed at a premium on the Parsi list of priorities. Integrity, grace, goodness, generosity, and decorum are inculcated from early on, and it’s hoped most Parsis would abide by them through their lives.

Of course, times have changed and so has the community. Many would bemoan the loss of values in society overall, and amongst Parsis as well. But, by and large, there’s still the sense of standing by the right thing. And that is what has kept the community going all these years. And will see us through the testing times we are navigating right now.


Parsi Festivals
- Jamshed Navroz
- Zarthost No Deeso
- Khordad Sal
- Pateti