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....
When the teachings of Khshnoom were in a primary stage, because of the excitement created in Karachi about the knowledge of the Master, Mr. Ferozeshah R. Mehta of Karachi requested the learned scholar of Avesta-Pahlavi the late Mr. Khudabukhsh Poonegar to give his independent and impartial views. The explanation given by Mr. Khudabukhsh Poonegar under his signature was published in Karachi by Mr. Mehta for the information of the Parsee inhabitants of that city. That explanation has been published again on page 142 seq. of the Ustad Saheb Memorial Volume. And the same being worthy of notice it is translated and reproduced below.
Among the allegations leveled against the Master was one that he was a religious impostor.
The Reply to the Charge of Imposture In this connection Mr. Poonegar says:
"The systematic knowledge that Behramshah imparts, if it is only his fabrication, then doubtless it ought to make us feel proud of him and to command our respect. As long as his chain-like teaching, which is in harmony with our religious literature, helps to increase our devotion and inspires faith in our sublime ceremonies, nothing can be more false than to call his teaching false. I wish that after my humble but long and continuous connection with our religious scriptures I may find it in my competency to produce such faith-inspiring false fabrication."
The Supposed Persian Book
Another accusation against the teaching of the Ustad Saheb was that Mr. Mehta was informed by a friend of Mr. Poonegar that Mr. Behramshah Shroff's teaching was given in a Persian book. About this book it was said that through some reason or the other it was lost. In refuting this, Mr. Poonegar says:
"I was and am too anxious to know from what writing or book Mr. Shroff had drawn his teaching. And in pursuance of this curiosity I had let loose spying friends as so many hounds after him far getting the information sought. But I beg to state with some hesitation that the hounds let loose by me have not succeeded to catch their prey."
The Views of Behramshah and Philology
In this connection Mr. Poonegar says:
"Similarly with my humble but constant attempts, I have failed to understand in which subject his teaching runs counter to the religious literature. On the contrary at times by listening to his teaching I have been able to solve same of my philological difficulties."
The Plea of a Secret Book being Source of his Knowledge does not hold Water
Mr. Poonegar adds:
"Even if we assume for the sake of argument, that a book might have come in his possession, from which he 'plagiarized' and dazzled us, still question arises 'Can there be just one such book in all the world, because a book embodying ideas such as are expressed, in his teachings has till now not been known to exist? And if such a book does exist, then he can justly pride himself on such a possession".
Again the question arises
"If a single book comprising the teaching does exist, what must be its size? A concatenated teaching which would (continue for days and days and a number of such similar teachings if they are all contained in just one book, it is difficult to imagine how voluminous it must be, and where it could be kept".
The Teaching of Behramshah is not Destructive
"What we have to see is only this that his teaching is not of a destructive nature but it supports our sacred ceremonies and religious commandments, and is constructive, and that suffices."
Theosophists and Mr. Behramshah
One allegation was that he was put up by the Parsee Theosophists who had imparted knowledge to him. Replying to this allegation Mr. Poonegar says:
"Mr. Shroff entertains no favourable views for Theosophy. At times his views are diametrically opposite. He looks on the Theosophists as if with sorrow and pity, and he considers them to be wellintentioned and possessing religious enthusiasm, but thinks that in the absence of the genuine light they have been led astray.
If as alleged Theosophists have brought him forward then it would mean that they dug their own grave which does not appear reasonable".
Explanation Regarding the "Secret Sect"
One more allegation was that Behramshah having been to Peshawar and from there having received at the hands of the Master of a Secret clan all his knowledge about the Zoroastrian religion, was all a concocted piece of falsehood.
"I only attach importance to the merits or demerits of his teachings. Nevertheless till it is proved that he had never been to that side, so long I consider it just and fair to abstain from calling it all a piece of falsehood. As stated by me above, we should not pay attention to such extraneous matter, but it should be considered fair to attach importance only to the merits or demerits of his teachings."
One more disbelief expressed was that if Behramshah visited a secret sect and imbibed knowledge from them, why did he not then take other Zoroastrians to such a secret sect?
Mr. Poonegar says that such a thought had also occurred to him. In this matter his (Behramshah's) reply was to some such effect that when he received orders from there, he would take a few (Parsees) from here.
The Late Learned Mr. Khurshedji Cama and the Teachings of Mr. Behramshah
One more misconception about the teaching of Behramshah was that the late learned Mr. Khurshedji Cama did not give credence to anything Mr. Behramshah said. In answering the above misconception, Mr. Poonegar informs us:
"For several days prior to the demise of the late Mr. Cama, I was given a pleasant opportunity to come in close contact with him for rendering some service to Avestan literature. During that period on many occasions I was surprised to find that Mr. Cama was impressed by the teachings of Mr. Behramshah".
Mr. Poonegar further adds:
"After listening to and learning whatever was new in Mr. Shroff's lectures and views, I used to follow my own ways without caring to attach any particular importance to his ideas. On the contrary, however, Mr. Cama used to recall to mind Mr. Shroff's views, as it were, analyzed them and assimilated them with his own".
Mr. Cama's Note-worthy Opinion of Mr. Behramshah
Mr. Poonegar further adds:
"Not only Mr. Cama used to speak with enthusiasm about the teachings of Mr. Shroff, but with regard to certain words and views, Mr. Cama used to say without hesitation, 'Our students of Avesta do not understand the exact import of this; what Behramshah explains, is alone right."
Another charge against Behramshah was that he was unable to quote references with respect to his teachings.
While refuting this charge, Mr. Poonegar states:
"In the beginning when Mr. Shroff was, as it were, dragged to Bombay against his will, he had told me open-heartedly that his attention be drawn whenever and wherever his teachings seemed contrary to our religious: writings."
"Because of my humble study, I was fully capable of doing so; but barring few exceptions I could notice no views running counter to the religious writings_ despite my ardent attempts, and wherever differences of opinion did exist, Mr. Shroff's explanation seemed convincing but to me it appeared at times that it was not possible to find testimony for it in the Avesta writings".
Lastly Mr. Poonegar says:
"Because Mr. Shroff's awn views are not drawn from the books of Avesta or Pahlavi, it is in the fitness of things that he could indicate no testimony. But in his lectures one could notice frequent quotations of testimonies and authorities."
"Mr. Shroff used to give expression to his views in a chainlike manner according to his own method and these thoughts I find scattered here and there in the Avesta literature and in greater proportion in the Pahlavi. Further in Behramshah's teachings we find something of a collection of ideas to be found in different places. I had requested my scholarly friends to produce such a systematic collection, neatly five years ago, but have not yet received response to my request."