Aspi Maneckjee
  My Published Article 3
Rambling of Canadian Parsi from Nova Scotia I want to tell you about a woman columnist from Canada who wrote last month in “National Post” (a respected Journal in Canada), that “ A corporate world without lies would collapse as fast as a world without money,”she added that ” Lies are necessary... ..The corporate world demands lies. It cannot function without them, so we should stop being so hung up about it.” She also quoted several examples: complimenting people when you really think they are fools. Telling people how interesting they are when they are not. Making promises you know you will not keep. She wrote everybody lies, and she claims that “workplaces are hierarchies, which involve kissing up, and kicking down. Offices are competitive, which involves putting your best foot forward, and making yourself look better than you are. Selling anything usually means stretching the truth and seeing things only from only one side.” She further stated that “ The rules about organizational life also invite workers to coverup any infringements. People lie about taking days off, being late for work, or slacking. Unrealistic targets and budgets make lying essential. So since everybody is doing it , why the guilt?” All she has written is against our religious tenets, and what we Parsis were brought up with. Can a honest or righteous Parsi survive in this evil world? I tend to agree with the author about what is happening in most (not all), Government Offices in Ottawa, and she is correct about what she has written. I was also a victim at my work place; because, I refused to take part in such schemes and lies, and worked with honesty and integrity (because of my Zoroastrian Parsi upbringing). However, under such working environment, not many good honest persons can survive, as everyone becomes very jealous and envious, and dislikes the good person. Once, or may be twice, I commented on goings on at the Parsi Jashans in Ottawa (at the old Mehdad’s alias in the 90's), that few “parsis” were not wearing the caps of scarfs, and talking loudly during the actual Jashan ceremony. Also in another Jashan non Parsi bosses of the “parsi man” who had contributed for the food at the Jashan were given seats in the front rows, and they showed no respect for our prayers and rituals, and were laughing and joking during the Jashan, and commented at our rituals. I was condemned for speaking the truth, and was out-casted by the Ottawa Parsis, and told that I was “Bashing the Parsis of Ottawa” in public. Also my daughter Sherin (10 y of age then), was told by the other Parsi children that “I was a bad man.” The exactly same thing happened in my marriage, it failed , as I believe in true love, soulmate for life, and commitment to the family with love and care, and living a simple and moderate life of righteousness (according to our Zoroastrian tenets). Most Parsis in Ottawa (not all), have become very materialistic and accumulate wealth by dishonest means. I think by now, most people (I know), know that I have been made homeless and penniless by my separated wife and her male “parsi” friend from Ottawa, Ontario. You may ask me how this is possible, and I can tell you that it is true, and happened to me, if you wish to know the details please contact me by email and I will tell you the whole truth. Nowadays, Parsis are getting married to get immigration, and to live off their husbands separately for life without morals . I am not from a priestly family, nor I am a scholar of our religion; however, I am from a good Parsi family, and my earlier education was at B.V.S. Parsi High School. My dad was a very honest man, and I was brought up with good high thinking and up-bringing, I was taught to always speak the truth whatever the consequences, and to work, as hard work is the secret of success. As I am not a scholar of our religion; but, just a student, I will quote what Zoroastrian religion has to say about tenet of ASHA or righteousness from late Roni Khan writings, Roni Khan wrote” ASHA” is a JEWEL IN THE ZARATHUSHTRIAN CROWN. The following are extracts are from “Selected Writings” of Late Roni K. Khan: What is Asha? Why is it mentioned in the very first line of the sacred ‘Yathaa Ahoo Vairyo’, the maanthra of creation? Why is the sacred ‘Ashem Vohoo’, the maanthra of salvation, dedicated wholly to it? Why do our sacred Avestan scriptures mention this word hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times? Why does this idea of Asha run through the entire gamut of the Zarathushtrian lore like an unbroken golden thread? Why is the exalted title ‘Asho’ prefixed to the sacred name of Zarathushtra? Why? Because Asha is the life-blood and crown Jewel of the religion of Zarathushtra, because it is the excellence of excellences of the Zarathushtrian faith, because it is the foundational principle in the transcendental revelation of Zarathushtra, … and because it is the first and foremost eternal divine law of creation. ASHA IS ABSOLUTE, INDISPUTABLE, UNEQUIVOCAL, UNCOMPROMISING & UNCONDITIONAL RIGHTEOUSNESS AT EACH AND EVERY LEVEL OF EXISTENCE, BE IT CORPOREAL OR INCORPOREAL, MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, ULTRA-PHYSICAL OR SPIRITUAL – AND AT EACH AND EVERY LEVEL OF ACTIVITY GREAT AND SMALL, BE IT IN THOUGHT, IN WORD OR IN DEED. As the First Prophet, Zarathushtra rendered the Law of Asha into a Path of Asha for his adherents to tread, and the essence of his message is captured in these immortal words: “Aevo pantaao yo Ashahay; veespay anyaeshaam apantaam” = there is only one Path, that of Asha; all others are non-paths. This monumental line comprises the final and summative stanza (colophon, 72:11) of the Book of Yasna in which the Gathas are also contained. This one powerful sentence consigns to the spiritual rubbish heap all the mumbo-jumbo of the seductive and seemingly miraculous services offered by “godmen” who roam the marketplace of religion and prey on the gullible and the desperate. As in Asho Zarathushtra’ s time so also in our own, we witness the ignorant and the impatient being intoxicated with spiritual cocktails concocted from impure ingredients – these heady potions provide an instant “high” and temporary “relief”, but the hangover left behind is painful and permanent. In today’s plastic age we also witness the roving tribe of jet-set purveyors of religion who try to market instant nirvana like instant coffee. Sooner or later, all these so called paths betray themselves as the non-paths or dead-ends that they really are. The divine is not attained on a minimum-input maximum-output basis. Reaching out to Ahura Mazda is not a low-investment high-return business. The secrets of creation are not yielded up to those who are on the lookout for quick-fixes, or those who require a religion of material ease and personal convenience. Asho Zarathushtra promised no shortcuts, no cheap thrills, and no five-star packaged tours. His faithful follower sets store only by this: “Through the best Asha, through the highest Asha, may we catch sight of Thee (O Ahura!)” (Yasna 60:12). The religion of Zarathushtra deals with Asha in its totality, and projects the Path of Asha as its central moral message and keynote ethical teaching with a weight of emphasis, frequency of mention, single-mindedness of purpose and directness of diction that is second to none – as may well be expected from the world’s first revealed religion. With matchless clarity, conciseness and comprehensiveness, the concept of Asha is contained in a nutshell in the triple formula of: Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta = Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds. This string of three small words encapsulates the entire philosophy of Asha ! But to philosophize is one thing; to practice is another. The Zarathushtrian religion is not just a philosophy of Righteousness; it is a practice in Righteousness. The question is: How is the abstract philosophy of the “Three H’s” of Asha to be translated into real life for the practicing Parsi? Asha is the master-key to salvation. Only through Asha can the redemption of the soul be achieved, and only then can the perfect epoch of Frasho-kereti be ushered in and the purpose of creation be fulfilled. The case for the salvation of our souls, as presented by the ‘Ashem Vohoo’, rests on two sequential propositions of peerless purity, which I explain below: Life and religion are empty without uncompromising ethical standards of conduct. No action is spiritually justifiable unless it is firmly anchored in ethics. Actions with a shaky ethical foundation are simply not acceptable in the sight of Ahura Mazda – even the purest of ends cannot be justified if means are not pure. The ‘Ashem Vohoo’ indicates that Asha is the highest height of ethics and therefore enjoins us to perform not just any action but only those that are righteous. This, then, is the necessary condition for the attainment of salvation (but not sufficient yet). Any action, whether righteous or unrighteous, inexorably attracts a commensurate reaction under the stringent administration of the Law of Kerdaar (= Karma, a trailblazing revelation of Zarathushtra) . A righteous action will receive an equivalent reward just as an unrighteous action will receive an equivalent punishment. In the epochal words of Asho Zarathushtra who was the first to reveal this universal natural law to the world: “Akem akaai, Vanghuheem Asheem Vanghaovay” = Evil to the evil and Good blessings to the Good. (Gatha Yasna 43-5). I want to add one last thing, and that is our ancestors in Iran and then in India have left us a legacy of ASHA or righteousness, so I beg all Zoroastrians throughout the world not to abandon our most precious tenet of our religion for self, and to accumulate materialistic goods. Our community has survived and flourished because of this unique tenet of Asha or righteousness, and if we abandon it now the community may disappear also with it! Aspi Maneckjee 6, Wharf Road, RR3, Antigonish Antigonish, Nova Scotia. B2G 2L1. amaneckjee@yahoo. ca References: “Selected Writings” of Late Roni K. Khan.
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