Zoroastrian / Mazdayasnian Initiatic Rite: the Navjote

One of the most important events in a Mazdayasnian’s life is the initiatic rite, the Navjote or Sedreh Pushi, in which the Mazdayasnian is invested with a kusti and sudreh. The Navjote takes places between the ages of 7 and 15, though if it is delayed after 15 for any reason it may still be performed. It is preferable to initiate children at age 7. Before the initiation begins, the child is made to take a sacred bath (nahn). After the bath, the child is given a sheet of cloth to wear and is made to sit before a priest as his friends and family watch. The priest hands the child the sudreh and recites the Patet, a prayer of repentance, which the child also recites at least parts of if they are able, and if they are not, they recite the Ahuna Vairya several times. Now the child and the priest stand. The child recites the Declaration of Faith. The Declaration is in Avestan, but an English translation is as follows: “Praised be the most righteous, the wisest, the most holy and the best Mazdayasnian Law, which is the gift of Mazda. The good, true, and perfect religion, which God has sent to this world, is that which Prophet Zoroaster has brought in here. That religion is the religion of Zoroaster, the religion of Ahura Mazda communicated to holy Zoroaster.”

The child finishes with the Ashem Vohu, then the priest recites the Ahuna Vairya and puts the sudreh on the child. Next, they both face East if it is the morning and West if it is the evening. The priest stands behind the child and recites the Nirang-i-kusti prayer[1], which the child recites at least part of along with him. A short prayer, the Nirang-i-kusti, is recited. A translation is as follows: The Omniscient God is the greatest Lord. Ahriman is the evil Spirit that keeps back the advancement of the world. May that evil spirit with all his accomplices remain fallen and dejected. O Omniscient Lord. I repent of all my sins; I repent of all the evil thoughts that I may have entertained in my mind, all the evil words that I may have spoken, of all the evil deeds that I may have done. May Ahura Mazda be praised! May the evil Spirit Ahriman be condemned. The Will of the Righteous is the most praiseworthy.”

During the recital, the priest ties the kusti on the child. While tying the first knot, the priest recites the Ahuna Vairya twice, and while tying the second, he recites the Ashem Vohu twice. Then the child recites the Articles of Mazdaism, which have been translated as follows: “O Almighty! Come to my help. I am a worshiper of God. I am a Zarathushtrian worshiper of God. I agree to praise the Zarathushtrian religion, and to believe in that religion. I praise good thoughts, good words, and good actions. I praise the good Mazdayasnian religion which curtails discussions and quarrels, which brings about kinship or brotherhood, which is holy, and which, of all the religions that have yet flourished and are likely to flourish in the future, is the greatest, the best, and the most excellent, and which is the religion given by God to Zarathushtra. I believe that all good things proceed from God. May the Mazdayasnian religion be thus praised.” 

The last part of the ceremony is a recital of the Tan-dorosti by the priest. This is a prayer of blessings. The priest is paid and the guests are presented with flowers.

[1]   According to one source (http://tenets.zoroastrianism.com/navrit33.html), a part of Hormuzd (Ahura Mazda) Yasht is recited together by the priest and child before the Nirang-i-kusti.

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