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A visit to one of the Zoroastrian places in Yazd

Yazd

MehrizThe city of Yazd, the Bride of Iran’s deserts, Darolmomenin (House of Faithful People)…

People from this desert city are famous in Iran for their good deeds, honesty, civility, and dignity. The city of Yazd is located on a plain, in the central plateau of Iran. This city, which is located between the mountains of Shirkooh and Kharaneq, is bordered by the cities of Meybod and Ardakan to the north, the cities of Taft and Abarkuh to the south, the city of Isfahan to the west, and the cities of Ardakan and Bafq to the east.

If you are interested in getting more information about Isfahn city, do not miss  article “Traveling to Isfahan, the capital of islamic art and culture” and “Isfahan is the best destination for tourists traveling to Iran“.

The city of Yazd has been the center of attention for a lot of tourists across the world for many reasons, including the historical textures, the spectacular desert, its delectable sweets, its authentic architecture, adobe structures, Zoroastrian sacred places, etc.

In this article, we will make a brief excursion to one of the Zoroastrian places in this historical city. Follow us if you are interested in exploring this city.

 

The History of the Ancient Fire and Bahram Fire Temple

Atash Behram yazdIf you ask any one in Yazd about the popular places of interest in the city, they will definitely name ‘Bahram fire temple’.

This fire temple was built in 1934 on a piece of land, donated by the Amanat brothers in memory of their father (Ardeshir Mehraban Rostam Amanat). The construction cost of this structure was paid by a Zoroastrian named Homabayi.

During his five trips to India and negotiating with a group of his coreligionists in that country, Jamshid Amanat succeeded to get the cost of construction of this building from a righteous Indian. Jamshid Amanat had five challenging trips to India through the Indian Ocean and sea, hoping to obtain capital for constructing this building and finally he achieved his goal.

The fire temple building was built at the center of the donated land with a height of 21 meters. This building’s importance and its reputation among the people is due to the fire in one of the central rooms of the building.

The fire in this temple has been kept lit for more than 1500 years. In Zoroastrian religion, fire is the medium between the Creator and Creature and most rituals are carried out in the presence of the fire.

Fire symbolizes light and wisdom and is a medium between the Creator and Creature.

The fire in this temple was one of the three major and sacred Fires in Sassanid era and has had high dignity. According to some historical documentation and narratives, this fire was formerly named Azarfar Nabq and was kept in Darabgerd in Fars province. At the time of Anoushiravan Dadgar, it was moved to the Karian Fire Temple in Larestan, Fars province.

If you are interested in more information about Fars Province and Shiraz City, do not miss this article.

History of Fire

In the tenth century, this fire was transferred to Yazd province to stay safe from violations and possible robberies. In Yazd province, this fire was initially held in a cave for 30 years and in Zoroastrian villages for 200 years. It was finally transferred to Oqda in Yazd. According to some narratives, since arriving in Yazd province, the fire has been held there for 700 years and then, in 1174, it was taken to Ardakan and has been held in Ardakan and Torkabad for nearly 300 years.

Finally, in 1474, the fire was transferred to the city of Yazd.

The fire was first kept secretly in the house of one of the Zoroastrian priests in Dastooran neighborhood (the priests’ neighborhood), and then after constructing this place it was transferred to this place.

Remarkably, over all these years and despite all the transfers, the fire has burnt incessantly and has not lost its flame.

Visitors coming to this place can just see the fire through the glass. This is because of the sacredness and importance of the fire; it means that no one should blow on this fire and infect it.

There is a guard with the fire, called Hirbod, who is in charge of protecting the fire and keeping it lit. He does this everyday by adding a few pieces of dry wood, with more resistance than other kinds of wood. It can be the wood of trees like apricots and almonds.

The Guardian also has to cover his face with a mask while he is near the fire to avoid disrespect to the fire.

A symbol that catches your eyes while visiting and exploring the temple, is the symbol of Farvahar.

Farvahar

FaravaharFarvahar is one of the best known Zoroastrian symbols which can be seen in many historical places.

Farvahar is mostly known as the symbol of this land and it associates with the name of Iran and Iranian.

Farvahar, mainly known as “Farahvahar”, is a divine power against the world, which existed before creation of creatures, and it returns to its divine home after all the creatures die out.

For better understanding of this symbol and the reason for its importance, we will now have a brief description about the figure.

The Face of the Old Man

Farvahar is mainly a figure of an Old Man representing a monotheist and godly person who is exemplary due to his appropriate behavior, and the public use his/her experience and honor him.

Farvahar is a symbol of a Man of Wisdom and a man of all Knowledge and Efficiency.

The Old Man’s Right Hand

The Old Man (the symbol of wisdom and knowledge)’s right hand is raised to the sky, and implies praising and worshiping “Ahura Mazda, the creator of the universe”, the only God of the Iranians (in the Zoroastrian religion).

4000 years ago, the Holy Prophet Zoroaster gave this religion as a gift to his people.

What occupies any curious mind is the reason for the existence of Farvahar symbol in places such as Persepolis and Pasargad, since these places date back to more than 4000 years ago.

If you are interested in getting more information about Shiraz, the capital of Achaemenid civilization, do not miss this article.

In response to this question, we should say that the people of this land were familiar with this symbol before Zoroaster, and when people all around the world were idolaters, they were mostly monotheists.

The Ring in the Old Man’s Left Hand

Atash Behram yazd 3There is a ring in the left hand of the old man that shows a covenant between Ahura Mazda and Man. Man ought to worship the only God and believe that God is observing, listening to, and caring about humans and what they do.

Some historians and thinkers of traditional rituals believe that the marriage ring originates from the Farvahar ring, and they consider it as an Iranian tradition, today used throughout the world.

Couples pledge their loyalty to each other and declare their love and their covenant pledges by giving the ring to each other as a gift.

The Wings

The wings in Farvahar figure are spreading, which are the symbol of progress and ascendance. This is the progress and ascendancy to the heaven, since the intention and the final goal of this progression is Ahura Mazda (the symbol of the Lord of the World).

Three Rows of Feathers on the Wings

The three rows of feather on the wings are representing the three messages and commands by the everlasting elderly man of wisdom and knowledge of the world, “Ashur Zoroaster”.

These messages and commands are “good thoughts, good words and good deeds”.

Today, this message has been added to Farvahar icon and undoubtedly it will be lasting for up to millions of years, as long as the world is turning. This message is a guide to people in the world who search for the truth and righteousness.

The Circle at the Waist of the Wise Old Man

In the middle of the wise Old Man’s waist in Farvahar figure there is a big ring that is the symbol of the wheel of time. The Old Man of wisdom is there inside the ring and it can be inferred as the symbol of humanity in the wheel of time.

To achieve ascendancy, humans ought to put themself in this cycle.

The Two Streamers

Atash Behram yazd 2There are two streamers/loops hung downward in Farvahar icon. These two streamers, on either side of the circle, signify the two aspects of reality in ancient Iran: the one on the right representing the Good Spirit and the other on the left representing the Evil.

In ancient Iran and in the Zoroastrian ritual there are two spiritual forces, one to the right and the other to the left.

The force on the right is referred to as “Spenta Mainyu”, the good spirit and Divine Force of Ahura Mazda.

The force on the left is referred to as “Angra Mainyu”, the angry spirit and the evil force.

Humans are surrounded by these two forces, and in case of a mistake or slip, they will be pulled toward corruption and evil. The man, employing the Farvahar message, “good thoughts, good words and good deeds”, must live in such a way that the force of Spenta Mainyu always be with him and help him reach perfection and prosperity.

The Tail

The feathered tail below, the lower part of the Old Man of Wisdom’s costume also consists of three rows, representing the well-known and beautiful message “good thoughts, good words and good deeds”.

So the best and the most beautiful way to live prosperously, in the “Zoroastrian” and “Ashur Zoroaster”’s point of view, is applying the three commandments of “good thoughts, good words and good deeds”.

If you are interested in more information about Yazd and its beautiful places, do not miss this article.

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