A Manual of Khshnoom

The Zoroastrian Occult Knowledge

by Phiroz Nasarvanji Tavaria | 1971 | 160,667 words

An introduction to the mysteries of Khshnoom, an ancient occult movement. Khshnoom stands for 'Divine' or 'Spiritual' knowledge and originated from Zarathushtra. This book contains knowledge not to be found in Zoroastrian religious works. The second part contains documentaion of the life of Prophet Zarathushtra....

The author of this book passed away on the 3rd April 1968. The Manuscript was however, completed a few years before his death and was waiting finance for the publication. The book is now in your hands because of the generous patronage of the Parsee Vegetarian and Temperance Society and the Zoroastrian Radih Society, which Societies not only bore all the costs of printing and publication but also decided to sell it at a discount. We are greatly indebted to Mr. Sorab Phiroze Masani (the scion of the great Savant the late Ervad Phiroze Shapurji Masani) and Mr. Hormusji Jeejeebhoy Suntoke, the respective presidents of the aforementioned Societies, whose enthusiasm and co-operation have made possible the publication of this book.

The late Mr. Tavaria wrote the book not for any personal gain. He laboured on it because of his intense craving to share, with his fellow Zoroastrians, the divine pleasure of knowing a few Truths of Zoroastrian Occultism. He wanted the Parsis to look to those Truths for an understanding of their great Religion and to imbibe it in their daily lives.

The word 'Khshnoom' occurs in the Gathas at two places Yasna; Ha 48-12 and Ha 53-2. Ha 53-2 declares:

"Jamasp and Frashostar (Zarathushtra's great disciples) shall lead to the truthful path of Ahura's Daena (Religion) those who have faith, by thought, speech and deed, in khshnoom and Yasna".

"Khshnoom" means the knowledge of Daena (See Translation by Ervad Kavasji Kanga) and 'Yasna' denotes the deeds as prescribed by the Prophet. To be led on the true path of Daena, it is necessary to have faith in those two, and the faith must be expressed by thought, speech and deeds.

Khshnoom is, therefore, not a school of philosophy or theology putting forth certain doctrines in variance with those propounded by some other such school. Khshnoom is Zoroastrianism itself. It is the occult knowledge taught by that great Religion.

Religion by its very nature must have and has an occult side. It is not exaggeration to say that Religion means occultism. Let us examine this point a bit closely.

Man is sent on this earth with some Divine plan and purpose.

He has, at-some point of time, a goal to achieve. Several names are given to the goal - Frashogard, Nirvan, Sakshatkar, God realization,Mookti,Moksha. Common man walking on the earth is unable to see the goal and does not know how to go about it. But his Religion and his Prophet have prescribed a path for him to tread on. It is a way of life he has to adopt during his stay on earth. And the prophets have promised that by living that life, man will come nearer to his goal. (For the promise of Zarathushtra see Gatha: Yasna 30-2; 45-3; 45- -5).

The first step in this direction is to know that the world revealed to us by our five senses and understood by our three dimensional intelligence is only a very small part of the whole creation. A large part of it is beyond us, hidden from us, and cannot be known without following the prescribed directions of Religion. Let us call such hidden world as 'the unknowable'.

There are, on our earth, such uncommon men and women who have experienced the unknowable. They have gained some knowledge of the unknowable and know to a certain degree, how the events in the unknowable control the events in our known world. These mystics (as they are sometimes called) publicize to, a limited extent some facts and truths from the unknowable for the guidance of the ignorant. Mysticism or occultism is the orderly arrangement of those facts and truths. It can be very well named as the mystic science or the occult science, as the object of all sciences is to know and understand the world we live in.

Mysticism is thus science taken beyond the boundary separating the knowable and unknowable. Since our religious goal lies beyond that boundary, Religion cannot be devoid of mysticism. All Religions have therefore their occult sides. Khshnoom is the occult side of Zoroastrian Religion. It has been sent to the Parsis of India by certain Zoroastrian Saints (called Saheb-e-Delan) through one Mr. Beheramshah Navroji Shroff (1857-1927). You will find in this book the miraculous circumstances under which Khshnoom was gifted to us and some glimpses of the Truths revealed by it.

In his Introduction the author has given a swift glimpse of certain fundamentals of the Zoroastrian Mysticism. Bernard Shaw, who prefixed his plays by long prefaces, once wrote that his wise reader reads his play first and then the preface. I suggest that a reader of this book, who has no idea at all of the subject, may adopt the wisdom of reading the book first and Introduction afterwards.

After giving a short idea, in the first four chapters, about the western and eastern studies of Zoroastrianism, the author has devoted 4 chapters on the life and mission of the late Beheramshah Shroff. You may perhaps be surprised to read about the miracle of his life and wonder whether it could really happen. Is it possible in this scientific century to believe that he met a sect of Zoroastrian ascetics at a place deliberately hiddenfrom common man?

Beheramshah was not a man of the remote past. He died, in 1927. His chief disciple Dr. Faramroz S. Chiniwala (who has written several books on Khshnoom in Gujarati) died as late as in 1962. Some old disciples are still alive. There is a mass of indirect but sufficient evidence to show that the miracle did happen. The author has referred to a part of such evidence.

Chapter 9 to 18 contain some fundamentals of Khshnoom, such as, the origin of creation, the occult geography of the universe, man's place and mission in nature and the earth he lives on, the mystery of the soul, its goal and the procedure to reach it. This is followed by 30 supplements on varied subjects of the 'Zarathushtri Daena'. Some of them are: 16 fire energies, classification of souls, the concept of evil, classes of souls, power of Avesta mantras, composition of the human body and the mystic numerology.

The second part of the book contains a brief account of the life of Zarathushtra and a discussion about His age. It also contains some glimpses of Iranian civilization and history and other subjects like the Zoroastrian method of disposal of the dead and an explanation of Sudreh and Kusti.

A big question may occur to many. In the modem times, when man is stated to have reached the moon, can mysticism and the unknowable survive? When modem science seems to have explored and understood the nature surrounding us, can we talk of existence beyond man's senses and intelligence? Does the unknowable exist? Is it not a delusion?

No! It is not. Many of us are unaware that the delusion is the other way round. To believe that science has understood and conquered all nature, or is just on the point of doing so, is the greatest delusion of our times. Science has not understood even a speck of dust. This is an absolute truism. Science did try to understand a speck of dust, but in doing to it has come very near to the border of the Unknowable and is completely bewildered.

Speck of dust is a small piece of matter. Matter is made up of 2 types of atoms. And what is an atom?

I would not lead you into a technical account of atomic physics. It is sufficient to say that inside an atom there are tiny particles revolving like a solar system. Some of them are named electrons and protons. When physics enquired as to what an electron was, the results were most baffling. An electron had contradictory nature, some time it was a wave and some time it was a particle; it could behave in anyone of these modes.

Sir Arthur Eddington, the Astronomer Royal and one of the great scientists of our century, says, after describing some of the stratling discoveries of the Atomic Physics:

"It means that we have been aiming at a false ideal of a complete description of the world. There has not yet been time to make serious search for a new epistemology adapted to these conditions. It has become doubtful whether it will ever be possible to construct a physical world solely out of the knowable, the guiding principle in our macroscopic theories. If it is possible, it involves a great upheaval of the present foundations. It seems more likely that we must be content to admit a mixture of the knowable and unknowable.

This means a denial of determinism, because the data required for a prediction of the future will include the unknowable elements of the past. I think it was Heisenberg who said: the question whether from a complete knowledge of the past we can predict the future does not arise, because a complete knowledge of the past involves a self-contradiction'.

"It is only through a quantum action that the outside world can interact with ourselves and knowledge of it can reach our minds.A quantum action may be the means of revealing to us some fact about Nature, but simultaneously a fresh unknown is implanted in the womb of Time. An addition to knowledge is won at the expense of an addition to ignorance. It is hard to empty the well of Truth with a leaky bucket".

"Nature of the Physical World"
by Sir Arthur Eddington

This is not the-place to explain in details the quantum of action. It is a ghost which has walked into physics at the beginning of our century and has since then baffled it. It has indicated in no uncertain terms that it is not possible for ordinary man to go beyond a certain limit in the quest of nature. In his very art of looking at nature, he disturbs it and is unable to know how was the undisturbed nature!

The mystery of the quantum of action is not yet solved. There are explanations, of course, but each goes on confounding the mystery. I quote here from another science writer:

"In the evolution of scientific thought, one fact has become impressively clear: there is no mystery of the physical world which does not point to a mystery beyond itself. All highroads of the intellect, all byways of theory and conjecture lead ultimately to an abyss that human ingenuity can never span. For man is enchained by the very condition of his being, his finiteness and involvement in nature. The farther he extends his horizons, the more vividly he recognizes the fact that, as the physicist Niels Bohr puts it,

'we are both spectators and actors in the great drama of existence.’

Man is thus his own greatest mystery. He does not understand the yast veiled universe into which he has been cast for the reason that he does, not understand himself. He comprehends but little of his organic processes and even less of his unique capacity to perceive the world about him, to reason and to dream. Least of all does he understand his noblest and most mysterious faculty: the ability to transcend himself and perceive himself in the act of perception".

From "The Universe and Dr. Einstein"
by Lincon Barnett.

Let me give you a list of books if you want to be aware of the fact that modern science is very far from understanding even a speck of dust and that it has touched the border of the Unknowable.

  1. TheMysterious Universe by James Jeans.
  2. Nature of Physical World by Arthur Eddington.
  3. Universe and Dr. Einstein by Lincon Barnett.
  4. Atomic Physics Today by Otto Friseh.
  5. Limitations of Science by J.W.N. Sullivan.
  6. Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland by George Gamow.

The evidence for the Unknowable does not come only from physics. A new science has come up in the West. It is called Para Psychology in America and Psychic Research in England. Its subject matter is known as Extra Sensory Perception or ESP. It explores the unknown avenues of the human mind.

It has observed that one human mind can communicate with another human mind without using any known methods of communication. This is known as Telepathy.

It is also observed that some minds become suddenly conscious of some event happening very far from them without the use of any known means. This is called clairvoyance.

Psychic Research has also found that some minds become conscious of an event, which is yet to happen in future. This is called precognition.

All these point out to the truth that the nature does not come to an end where our senses cease to register it and that there is an unknowable beyond.

Many events happen pointing beyond the border of the knowable. Paul Bruton experienced several of them in Tibet and in India. See his "A Search in Secret Tibet" and "A Search in Secret India".

Several miracles are described in these books. "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Swami Yoganand has a miracle written practically on each page. There is a well-recorded miracle of Theresa Newmann, A German Woman who on particular Fridays seemed to suffer the same agony Lord Jesus Christ suffered on the Cross - with the blood dripping from the head where the thorn cap was thrust and the scars on the hands where nails were struck. (See "Circle of Faith" by Dr. Marneus Bach). There is a place in France where thousands of the hopelessly ill are cured by a mere immersion in an ordinary, looking spring, a miracle and mystery examined thoroughly by thousands of medical scientists, who remain baffled ("Mystery of Lourdes" by Ruth Cranston). The spring first started its trickle when a 14 year old girl Bernadette dug the earth at the direction of a mysterious Lady, known to be Virgin Mary. Dr. Alexis Carrel, the father of the science of transplantation of organs and the Nobel Prize Winner, has referred to this miracle in his well-known book "Man, the Unknown". He says that the miracle clearly points towards the unknown in man.

The unknowable exists, We need not, therefore, be puzzled by the occult science glimpsed in the book. Khshnoom itself is a miracle of our century. You have to look to it not only as an occult science but also as a way of life - the way shown by our Prophet Zarathushtra.

This is the first English book of its size which deals with the Zoroastrian mysticism. It is a result of a life-long study. You will immensely benefit by reading it with faith and devotion towards our Great Religion. May it lead you to become a Zaothra' -a battery receiving the spiritual currents of our 'Daena' and transmitting them to all mankind and the Universe.

Dhun Apartments,
66, Worli- Hill,
Bombay –18.
3rd June, 1971.

Kaikhushroo Navroji Dastoor.

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