The article below explains the concept of Farvardin, the significance of our Fravashi and how it can help each one of us to lead a true Zoroastrian life. It has been written by WZO Board Member Kayomarsh P. Mehta (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Zarathushti Learning Center of North America in Burr Ridge, Illinois, USA. We extend our thanks to him for allowing us to publish this.
Kayomarsh P. Mehta email@example.com
Zarathushti Learning Center of North America
Burr Ridge, Illinois, USA
Farvardin is synonymous with Fravashi, Farohar or Arda-fravash. Fravashi is the Divine Spark of God within us. Fra means forward motion and Vasi means to evolve. So, it is something that makes things Grow and move Forward. It is the Divine Essence of God that dwells within each and every object of Creation of God. Ahura Mazda preserves His contact with each of His Creations through the Fravashi that is within each object. He sustains, maintains and advances every single object in creation towards perfection with the help of its Fravashi. In simple words, we have a part of God within us that guides our soul – Urvan to make the right choice in every single thought, word or action that it initiates. It is an eternal concept. Farvardin represents Immortality.
As this concept has such a paramount importance, Farvardin is the 1st month of the Zarathushti year and also the 19th day of the month. We refer to Farvardin as Farrokh Farvardin, Farrokh meaning very auspicious. As Farvardin represents the Essence of God, it is neither an Amesha Spenta nor a Yazata.
Roj Farvardin and Mah Farvardin is held very sacred by Zarathushtis.
This day is popularly known as Farvardian in Gujarati language. The day is set aside to revere and worship Ahura Mazda by performing a Jashan to adore and remember all Good Souls. It is customary to visit the final resting place of the Departed Souls at the Doongerwadi or Cemetery as a mark of remembrance and respect.
It is believed that the Guardian Spirit, Fravashi will help and assist anyone who asks for its help. Our prayers include such invocations:
ASHA-O-NAAM VAN-GHU-ISH SOO-RAA-O
SPENTAA-O FRA-VASH-AYO YAZA-MAI-DEY!
I pray and worship the Fravashi that are Righteous, Good and Brave and those that help in my advancement. In the Afringaan prayers, we invoke the Fravashi of those Unborn, those Living and those who have passed away, of all Good men and women, everywhere.
In the Avesta our body is composed of nine aspects. Three of them are physical, three are ethereal and three are spiritual. The physical entities are Gaetha, Tanu and Azdi; the ethereal composition comprises of Ushtana, Keherp and Tevishi; the most important are the last three constituents that are spiritual. They are Baodhangha which is consciousness, Urvan which is our soul and Fravashi which is the eternal spark within us, a part of God that is always available to guide us to make the right choices in our day-to-day life. See the illustration on page 3.
Function of Fravashi
The function of the Fravashi is to guide our Urvan to choose the right path, to assure his progress towards perfection (Khordaad) and immortality (Amerdaad). It defeats all evil tendencies and renders it impotent.
Fravashi is described in the Avesta as Anamanthvao. This means that Fravashi is a concept that cannot be conceived of in human thought. It is hard to imagine what
Fravashi is. Fravashi is referred to as Uruvinaiti, or Of Vast Vision; Vasoyaona, or Extending in all direction without limit, and Duraesuka, or of far illumined vision.
Fravashi is fully capable of guiding our Urvan. However, it does not and cannot interfere with the free will of the Urvan to act as it chooses. It is the duty of the Urvan to seek and ask the assistance of the Fravashi that is within us. Not only must the Urvan ask for guidance, but it must follow the advice of the Fravashi.
If the Urvan does not ask for help, the Fravashi will not interfere. Even after giving its advice, the Fravashi does not force or compel the Urvan to follow and carry out its own advice. The Urvan still has a choice. It can follow the advice of the Fravashi or follow its own inclinations. This is why, in spite of having an element of God within us, we can end up in all kinds of trouble, sin, chaos, sorrow, pain and grief.
The concept of the Fravashi is presented in the Yasna, Y23 and Y26, and has been fully developed in the Farvardin Yasht. The Pahlavi term for Fravashi is Farohar. It is indivisible just like God. The word is used in a plural-sense – Fravashis – only to facilitate our mental concept. Fravashi projects the light – USHTAA – onto the Urvan thru the agency of Baodhangha, which is consciousness. Baodhangha acts as a step-up transformer in the projection of light onto the soul.
Fravashi is an eternal spiritual aspect with no beginning and no end. She exists before the individual is born and on bodily death separates itself and returns to the spiritual world. We always honor and remember the collective Fravashi of the holy souls. Her help is invoked through our prayers and rituals. Fravashi’s blessings and help are esteemed as most effectual.
Relevance of Fravashi
The relevance of this concept is that I must realize that there is a Divine Spark of God within myself. The indwelling Fravashi can help and assist me, if I ask for its help and follow its advice. It can Guide me in my daily decisions and lead me on the correct path of life, if, I choose to seek and then follow its advice. To progress and succeed, I need to develop the habit of invoking the aid of the Fravashi, in every single thing that I do. If I constantly ask Fravashi for its guidance and put that into practice, my life will begin to change positively. Through daily prayers and a sincere understanding of them, I can achieve spiritual progress. If I constantly seek assistance from my Fravashi and follow its advice, my life will begin to change for the better.