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....

Appendix VIII

Function of Kusti, The Zoroastrian Sacred Thread Girdle

(Abridged from pamphlet in Gujarati written by learned Dr. J. M Pavri and published by the Parsi Vegetarian and Temperance Society of Bombay).

The term 'Kusti', the Zoroastrian sacred thread girdle is derived from Karsha, (magnetic) circuit. It is also referred to in the Avesta as Aivyaonghan, meaning what is 'Worn around the waist (lit., Aiwi, around and Vangh, to wear).

The performance of the Sudreh-Kusti rite is the basis of all daily prayers, and all religious ceremonies. Both Sudreh and Kusti in all their details represent or remind one or other of the Nature's noumenon or phenomenon or principle. Thus the nine seams of the Sudreh represent the nine holy, ever-living, everblissful lustrous potentialities emanating from Ahunavar, the WILL-divine of the Lord God Ahu, the Light of lights. These potentialities comprise seven Ameshaspends and two Data, the the deified laws of Infoldment and Unfoldmeht that function in Nature for the Reformation of the souls in the mortal worlds, and their repatriation to the immortal worlds.

Similarly, the three rounds of the Kusti are reminiscent of the three stages of the colossal Ahunavar Plan, which (stages) are:

  1. Creation of worlds and souls;
  2. exile of souls to mortal worlds for their Reformation:; and
  3. repatriation to the immortal worlds after Frasho-Kereti, their spiritual Renovation.

Khshnoom teaches that lambs (from whom the wool is drawn) are under the joint planetary influence of the Sun and Jupiter. Jupiter is styled the Just and Righteous or the planet benefic. Owing to this the lamb possesses the blissful propensity of the principle - "Live and help Live" -in Nature, as against "Kill to live" (principle) of the noxious animals and sinful people. The blissful propensity of the lamb is lent to its wool through the circulation of blood.

Moreover, wool attracts and stores the vibrationary colours produced in the atmosphere. The purer and finer the colours, the more forcefully they are attracted, to the wool.

In this connection the following instance will be found interesting of a Persian woolen carpet attracting and reproducing the beautiful vibrationary colours of the lofty song sung by Zoroastrian ladies in Iran while weaving the carpets.


Mr.W. T. Stead, And the Music Heard From the Persian Carpet

The following account given in "Review of Reviews" in the year 1910 (or so) by its learned editor the late Mr. W.T. Stead (who was a spiritualist) would be interesting. It is stated that an English nobleman had purchased a beautiful carpet woven by Iranian Zoroastrian women. Persian carpets have been held in high esteem by European and American tourists. This nobleman had a little daughter. It is said that whenever she was laid on that carpet, she used to start singing instead of falling into sleep.

She used to tell her parents that what she was singing was what she heard from the carpet. Since what she sang was in a language other than English, and the girl was taught only English, the parents got concerned, and tried to impress on the girl that what she said was nothing but a wrong notion. The surprising factor was that on such occasions if she was picked up and laid on her own bed she used to go into slumber immediately.

On the other hand, when the girl was fast asleep, her father at times laid her very gently on the carpet, without disturbing her from sleep, and she would after a short time start singing in a language unknown to the parents and would press her parents to do likewise. This led the parents to imagine something supernatural. Three or four eminent physicians were consulted who reported her to be fully healthy in body and mind.

Mr. Stead having heard about the girl, wished to get at the facts first hand from her father. The latter informed him that the carpet was Persian and was purchased straight from the dealer. This led Mr. Stead to the firm belief that the language of the music was Persian. He thereupon with the permission of the father, brought his Persian knowing friend and got the girl laid on the carpet. The friend jotted down the song verbatim and informed that the language was Persian and contained very lofty spiritual admonitions, in chanting which the singers extolled the holy path of purity taught by the Holy Prophet Zarathushtra, and exhorted themselves to walk an the path and lead a pious life.

The nobleman was highly pleased that the song was so lofty but wandered why none else but that girl alone could hear and be attuned with it, and reproduce it clearly though its language was foreign. Mr. Stead explained that her inner ears being sensitive she could hear sounds by her power of clairaudience, which ordinary people could never hear, and besides, her self-intelligence being also of advanced nature, she could reproduce what she heard.

Mr. Stead then sent that song to the then British Consul in Iran for investigation, who wrote back that when Zoroastrian ladies sit for knitting or embroidery work, it was their custom to sing such songs. Upon this Mr. Stead has opined as a spiritualist that the woolen threads from which these carpets are woven, possess the excellent property of absorbing the colours produced by vibrations of sound, and when such a carpet comes in friction with the wind, it reproduces those vibrations in the shape of sound, for listening which requires the power of clairaudience.


Property of Woolen Fibres Employed in Phonograph Record Discs.

There is another proof of the wool imbibing and reproducing the sound vibrations. In the making of phonograph record discs fine fibres of wool are mixed with the chemicals employed in the preparation. On account of this, when the record disc is ready, those fibres absorb the vibrationary colours produced by the music, so that when the plate is put on the phonograph machine and set revolving with the pin over it causing friction, the plate reproduces the musical voice caught in it. This knowledge was known to our Holy Prophet 9000 years ago.

In the case of Avesta Manthra (prayer formulae), the Kusti absorbs the blissful vibrationary colours and spreads them in the close surrounding (of the body), and thence to the Kehrp, the invisible body, and through the Kehrp to the soul to which those vibrations serve as manna, spiritual food. It is for this reason that the Holy Prophet has enjoined the Kusti to be made of wool.

While the Sudreh is to be made of white cotton cloth, the Kusti is to be woven of a special type of white wool shorn of lambs called 'Balota', which is one of the five species of lambs mentioned in Bundehesh. Wool possesses the property of absorbing sound vibrations, good as well as bad. These vibrations spread in the close surrounding (Aipi and to the Kehrp, invisible body of the person concerned and in the end reach the soul.

The above mentioned Balota lambs by their instinct eat leaves of vegetables in which there is preponderance of blissful effect (Gava). Thus such food is of balanced type, which is nutritive, and not harmful, thus creating blissful propensity. Wool draws the good effect of this blissful propensity from the blood formed from the wholesome, innocent type of food consumed by the quadruped. A soul needs for its Reformation sublime vibrationary colours, which a Zoroastrian can receive from the holy Avesta Manthra (prayer formulae).


Wool is not Hair

Wool is not hair and hence does not create microbes when separated from the body. Hair does not permit of being spun into continuous yarn like cotton. Thus wool is not akin to hair, but to cotton thread. Unlike wool, hair when examined under a microscope is found to be tubular or canal-like when cut vertically. Again chemical means will show that the yarn of wool can be b1eached like that of cotton, but not so the hair.


Kusti Must Be Of White Wool

It is stated above that wool attracts vibrationary colours, both superior as well as inferior. While saying (in whispering tone) the Pazand Nirang formula beginning with "Hormazd Khodae" we shake off the inferior vibrations by lightly cracking the Kusti, thereby casting them to the ground. The wool must necessarily be of white colour because the white colour represents the equilibrium of varied colours_ and is the emblem of the Mazdayasni-Zarthoshti Faith. The weaving of the Kusti must be effected by the priestly class of either sex, who are better observers of Zoroastrian laws of purity. The Kusti is usually woven by priestly class ladies, though both the sexes are permitted to spin and weave the Kusti.

The Spinning must be Accompanied with Recital of Avesta Formulae

It is enjoined by the Holy Prophet that the spinner of wool must be the practitioner of Zoroastrian tenets, and before beginning the work, must perform the Kusti rite, then say the Sarosh-Baaj prayer (up to "Astavaitish Ashahe") and then begin the work of spinning. During the process, the lady spinning must keep repeating the holy spells of 'Yatha', 'Ashem' and 'Yenghehatam' prayers. On completion of the work or on leaving it partially done, the remainder of the Sarosh-Baaj prayer must be completed. By this process, the woolen yarn imbibes the sublime vibrationary colours from the very beginning of the process. From this it will be understood that neither the spinning of the yarn nor the weaving of the Kusti must be done on an iron or any metallic machine, for if the muddy and the dark red colours leading to materialism, produced by the friction in the machine, get woven in the wool, that Kusti would not catch fine vibrationary colours of the Avesta Manthra (prayer formulae). For this same reason in the case of water used for holy ceremonies like Yazashne, Baaj, etc., the tap water cannot be used because in running through the pipes, friction is caused which nullifies the Frado, electro-magnetic power, on account of which the effect of the ceremony does not reach the departed soul in the ultra-physical region above.


Doublilng of the Yarn

The yarn is spun on two separate spindles by the priestly class ladies. The two threads thus spun are then formed into a ball. Next the two threads are twisted together, and wound on another spindle bigger than the above one. In this way what we call Kusti of 72 threads is really of 72 duplicated threads, i.e., of 144.

This unification of the two threads into one is reminiscent of the law of Duality_ which operates in the immortal worlds as 'Limit and Justice', and in the mortal worlds of the Space and this material world as Spenamino and Ganamino, the Blissful Spirit and the Destructive Spirit respectively, for the preservation of Kisas (Retribution) and Khoreh-Aura (subtle personal emanation). A Zoroastrian must always be on the alert to the guiles and wiles of the Satan, must direct all thoughts, words and deeds in life on the line of Spenamino, the Blissful Spirit, so as to glorify the Holy Prophet Spitaman Zarathushtra, and the Holy Creator Ahura Mazda and other divine Intelligences by leading a life of piety by overpowering Druji, microbes (ashava vanat Drujim; Yt. 1,28,).


Weaving of the Kusti

At the outset it must be stated that the weaving of the kusti is highly technical and intricate. Formerly, Kusti used to be of two categories, one for the laity and the other for higher class priests who are strict practitioners of the Zoroastrian laws of Asha, purity (Yaozdathregars), who can impart purity to others. In the weaving of the Kusti, a small wooden peg called 'Visi' (of about 2 inches in length) with three dents on top is used for the laity and another with four dents on the top is used for the special class. In either case 72 duplicated threads (i.e. 144) are installed with certain technique on the weaving frame. This weaving frame must necessarily be of wood, and never of iron. Besides the above mentioned Visis, two small wooden tubular pieces are also employed each of which is called a "Khanga'. The two are held together in a certain way by means of a piece of thin cord, and are meant for dividing the threads into certain numbers over, between and under the pair of Khangas. During the process of weaving one, continuous thread runs breadth-wise throughout, which uniformly knits together the duplicated 72 threads and keep them united. This kind of interlacing of threads reminds us of the spiritual inter-relation (Padvand) of every Zoroastrian with each and every creation of Ahura Mazda, not only with other human beings but also with animals, vegetables and minerals, as also with angelic (Yazadic) Intelligences and other creations, making one stupendous whole.


Kusti for the Laity

With regard to the Kusti of three-dented Visi (small dented wooden peg mentioned above), 12 threads are passed through each dent making (12 X 3 = 36), which are put on the weaving frame. Again, another (12 X 3 = 36) are put an the weaving frame, which make (36 x 2 = 72) duplicated threads.

The numeral 3 reminds one, of the three stages (Mustasela) of the Ahunavar Plan. In the first, all worlds and souls are created; in the second, imperfect souls are transferred to the mortal worlds of the Space and this known material world for their Reformation; and in the third (stage) the souls are repatriated to the Immortal world after they are sanctified.

The numeral 12 is reminiscent of the 12 signs on the 8th heaven of the Zodiac, where sits dame Fate, who prescribes the weal or woe or both, one must enjoy or endure on this known material world proportionate to the degree of deficiency of divine knowledge possessed by the soul.

Besides this, the above said 12 threads are in groups of 6 each. These are reminiscent of the six important duties of a Zoroastrian:

(1) A Zoroastrian must keep on the lines of Spenamino, the Blissful Spirit, by walking on the path of Asha, holiness, based on Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta, the pure thoughts, words and deeds as of the angels;

(2) A Zoroastrian is enjoined to offer prayers five times during the five Gahs (divisions of the day). Though it is true this is not feasible in this age, yet, if one tries, at least during two or three Gahs in the day ought to be possible;

(3) The ceremony of consecrating the occasion of Rapithven, (a potentiality,) which occasion falls on Roj (day) Hormazd, Mah (month) Farvardin (21st March). Rapithwen spreads blissfulness and defeats satanic activities.

(4) Perform Gahambar ceremony six times during the year, each at the proper time on anyone of five days of each Gahambar. (In modern times this is not done, the ceremony of 'Gahambarioo' is performed in ceremonies after the dead);

(5) Celebrate monthly Jashan ceremonies on right calendar days (with New Year beginning on 21st March the day on which the Sun enters the sign of Aries), and lead life in tune with those occasions; and

(6) Perform ceremonies for propitiation and benefit of the departed souls on day Farvardin of every month and on the last ten Muktad days of the year of above said natural calendar (vide footnote under head "Light out of Darkness" in chapter VII). Perform ceremony for development of one's latent consciousness, so that the soul may be able to attune with its Farohar, share of divineWisdom whereby Ahura Mazda may be glorified.


Kusti for Strict Practitioners of Purity

Kusti for the special class, i.e., for strict practitioners of Asha, purity, and observers of the Zoroastrian anti-microbe Baaj rites, is of four dented Visi (small wooden peg). For this, nine duplicated threads are passed through each of the four hollow reed-pieces (Khanga). Thus (9x2x4=) 72 threads are installed on the weaving frame. In this the numerals 4,9 and 72 suggest that the four basic or pure elements fire, air, water and earth are to be turned into their original condition of light, and for this the soul has to develop the (nine Gena (lit. maidens), i.e., potentialities of Fravashi. This can only be accomplished by ascending the 72 steps of Asha, holiness. Moreover, the numeral 72 is reminiscent of the 72 talismanic names in Hormazd Yasht, which put one in mind of repeating them; besides, it reminds one, of the 72 Haas of Yazashne.

Thus the two types of Kusti, of 3 Visi and 4 Visi woven, and when about 12 to 15 inches remain (unwoven) it (Kusti) is taken out from the machine. Then that incomplete Kusti is given to a priest for cutting in a certain way. This priest performs his Kustirite_ takes Sarosh-Baaj, i.e., recites it up to 'Astavaitish ashahe' occurring towards the end of the Kemna Mazda prayer, folds the Kusti in a certain way (Vekri), recites Vekri-Baaj, and cuts the Kusti with the word 'Shyaothnanam in the Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayer, before doing which the knife used is washed with well water. Then the priest completes the remainder of the Sarosh-Baaj prayer, and makes over the Kusti to its owner.

The author (Dr. Pavri) then quotes the following technical exposition from Ervad P. S. Masani's book "Pazand prayer series" No.3 (with translation in Gujarati; Preface and pp. 35-36):

"The whole Kusti is woven tubular (resembling an uninflated bicycle tube) and its two ends have to be separated by cutting, and then the two ends are knitted separately in the shape of two Lar (resembling a knitted cord) with three tassels at each end called Lari.

The function of a Kusti woven with due observance of tenets (Tarikat) is to constantly circuit the waist and imbibe the vibrationary colours of the prayers offered, and so, before forming the two ends as two pales by cutting, it has to be charged with the vibrationary colours (Staota) of the relative Nirang formula.

The three invisible vibrationary colours-blue yellow and red produced in the recital of the three lines of (Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayer) are created by the above Nirang and in the weaving of the Kusti the three colours blue, yellow and red of Asha, Vohu-manangha and Khshathra (i.e. Ardibehesht, Bahman and Shehrevar) are imparted to it and in order to firmly establish them, these three colours are especially taken in the Nirang also for cutting the Kusti.

Woven in the Kusti are also the colours of Aap (water), Urvar (vegetation) and Ashaunam Fravashinam (divine Wisdom), which function in attunement with Yazads (angels) working for the benefit of the souls. Hence it is enjoined to recite the above Nirang before cutting the Kusti."


Inversion of the Kusti

The Kusti cut in accordance with the above tenets is then placed on a raised board, and then inverted with the aid of a long needle, whereby the smooth inner side comes up, which can very easily attract and collect the vibrations of holy prayer formulae pronounced. Thus in the process of inverting, the above two purposes are served. Besides, this inverting is reminiscent of the great future event of collective 'Restakhiz', which is otherwise known as 'Frasho-Gard', Renovation of the soul. It reminds that one day the whole of the vast limitless world of the Space (including the earthy globe) will merge into the immortal worlds. For this purpose God has endowed man with reasoning power and wisdom so that he may lead a life of devotion and love for all good men and all the good creations, and keep on the path of light, which embodies purity of the body and sanctity of the soul so as to earn 'Ushta', bliss immortal.

Next the end-pieces are knitted leaving three tassel-like extremities at both ends. Each knitted portion is called a 'Lar' and each tassel, a Lari.

The two Lars remind one, of the two laws of infoldment or Involution, and Unfoldment or Evolution, which tell why man comes to this wicked material world and what is his final glorious destiny. The six Laris (tassels) represent the six Gahambars (growths or stages), and remind a Zoroastrian that the soul has trailed down to this known material world for crossing the fifth Gahambar (Maidyarem) through which he or she is passing. The fifth Gahambar concerns retributive compensation and universal adjustment of a soul with every visible and invisible object and force in the Universe.

In this fifth Gahambar there is spiritual bargaining (Kharid-Farakht), i.e., balancing of obligations with human beings and absorbing his or her particle souls in animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, as explained in Cosmography, whereby the soul, whether male or female, becomes perfected and saintly as far as its own sex is concerned. After crossing the fifth Gahambar, the next stage is of the sixth Gahambar in which the soul now saintly ascends to the top of the Space and awaits the arrival of its tardy counterpart. When the latter arrives likewise sanctified, the two counterparts give themselves up to each one's own relative which act is called Khaetvadatha (Ysn. 12.9). In other words, the two counterparts blend together farming one perfected saintly WHOLE SOUL called Magavan (Ysn. 33,7).

In this sixth and last Gahambar, the Magavan enters the Lunar heaven in the immortal world. Reverting to the two ends of the Kusti, the extremities of the Laris (tassels) are left unknitted so that when the lower half of the Kusti is lightly cracked in the air (like a whip) the residual powerless vibrations caught in the Kusti are cast off through the tasselled extremities and the Kusti becomes fit for imbibing new ones.


Three Rounds of the Kusti

As stated in the beginning, the three rounds of the Kusti on the waist remind us of the three-stage Ahunavar Plan, and of the linking of the chain of Hasti and Nisti, the immortal and mortal worlds. This linking suggests that we have to remain unshaken in adherence to our noble Faith, and be as warriors in the army of the Holy Creator, Ahura Mazda, ever fighting against all kinds of vice and leading a truthful pious life, so as to help in spreading peace and prosperity in the world, and transmuting Evil into Good.

The object of tying the Kusti on the waist is that thereby Khoreh, personal emanation or aura, is kept attracted to the middle of the body. Besides this, the 12th plexus (of Kehrp, invisible body) which is at the navel is connected with Jupiter under whose influence is the Zoroastrian Faith. The Kusti on the waist helps in drawing the holy currents of this planet Jupiter from above to the plexus at the navel. When a devotee observes the laws of Kusti, these currents are conveyed to the 10th plexus of the Kehrp, which (plexus) rules over the heart, the hollow organ in which resides the soul during a person's life on earth.

The above holy currents of Jupiter are helpful in bringing about the counterpoise between the good and evil desire-forces (Tevishi), The 11th plexus of the invisible body located between the heart and the navel is related to the centre,- i.e., source of desire-forces[3]-both good and evil. In worldly people there is incessant conflict[4] at this 11th plexus between these two contestants, viz., good and evil. When these conflicting desire-forces[3] are brought at counterpoise, the selfish propensity turns into philanthropic, in which great task the holy currents of Jupiter ab.ove mentioned are helpful.

Another reason why Kusti is enjoined to be tied on the waist is to prevent the evil currents of the 13th plexus connected with the private organs, from rushing and overpowering the higher plexuses of Nos, 12 (on navel), 10 (on heart)" 4 (higher up on the forehead between the two eyebrows) and 1 (on the crown of the head), so that the inferior currents from the lower plexuses may pass direct to the ground.

Kusti performs the function of drawing magnetc circuit around the body. During its long journey from the immortal worlds to the earth, souls give promise to the Holy Creator on their arrival at the top of the Space that they could transmute into light, Akhti (Av. Ahiti) the imperfection of spiritual ignorance (Hoviat). By keeping the Kusti on the waist like a belt, we are bound to serve as soldiers in the spiritual army of the blissful Creator, fighting against the Satanic forces. The very object of the joint investiture of Sudreh-Kusti is to confine in the 'net' (Sudreh), the evil currents of waste-matter incessantly emanating from the physical body at every thought, word and deed in life, and to transmute the same into purity through the holy magnetic circuit of the Kusti.


Pondering at Knotting the Kusti in Front and at Back

In the rite of the Kusti, the latter (with its middle point at the navel) is wound round the waist twice, i.e., front to back and to front again, followed by the recital of two (Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayers). The first fastening of the two remaining lengths (of the Kusti) is done by the right hand with the word 'AHU' saying in the mind 'Thou', i.e., the Unnameable Lord God Ahu, and when uttering the word 'Shyaothnanam the crossed pieces (or lengths) are pulled close to the body with the pondering 'HE is Kawi-ul-Kawi', Most Powerful of powerfuls.

Again, while reciting the second Yatha, the second knot is effected with left hand with the pondering 'Thou' as above when uttering AHU; and when uttering 'Shyaothnanam' the fastening is completed with the pondering 'Holy Zarathushtra is the Prophet of the Path of Light'. This completes the knotting on the front. Then the ends (of the Kusti) are carried behind and knotted while reciting the 'Ashem Vohu' prayer with the pondering "I may be surrounded with Asha, holiness or purity".

Footnotes and references:


Chakhra (Yt. 13, 84), plexus (see Kehrp below).


Kehrp (Ysn. 55.1), invisible body comprising 16 plexuses, subtle network of nerves. Every visible limb and organ is developed from the respective invisible plexuses;


Tewishi (ibid) from tu, force and Ish, wish or desire.


Yaokhedra (Ysn. 12,9), conflict.


Ranoibya, two contestants-good and evil within the body.

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