ĀŠIRVĀD, “blessing, benediction” (Skt. āśīr-vāda) in Gujarati (called payvand-nāma in Persian), a set of prayers and admonitions recited by the two officiating Parsi priests in the Zoroastrian marriage ceremony. It follows the actual marriage vows (paymānī, consisting of the priests’ questions and the couple’s response), which are recited before the witnesses three times; and it completes the solemn part of the ceremony. The āširvād is divisible into a set of exhortations directed to the couple and a blessing of some length which invokes the beneficence of the Amahraspands and other yazds. In Parsi usage the paymānī and āšīrvād are recited in Pazand and then repeated in Sanskrit. The latter is followed by three passages from the Avesta (Yasna 59.30-31, 54.1, 68.11), the Pazand Āfrīn ī wuzurgān (Blessing of the ancestors), and the Doʿā-ye paymānī (a well-wishing to the married couple).
According to tradition (see Modi, Ceremonies, p. 39), when the Parsis settled in Sanjan, they promised the “Jādi Rānā” to celebrate their weddings after sunset and to conduct the service in the Indian language, i.e., Sanskrit. Until recently the āširvād ceremony was performed twice, once after sunset and again early in the Ušahīn Gāh (dawn day-division), about 2 a.m. Sunset remains the usual time of the ceremony, in contrast to Irani Zoroastrian usage, which prefers the morning.
The Pazand text of the āširvād is edited in E. K. Antia, Pazand Texts, Bombay, 1909, p. 112ff. Cf. a Pahlavi version of it in B. N. Dhabhar, Zand-i Khūrtak Avistāk, Bombay, 1927, p. 217ff. A transcription of the Pazand text in Gujarati characters appears, with English and Gujarati translations, in P. S. Masani, Pazand Prayers Series, no. 2, Bombay, 1920; another English translation is given by Modi, op. cit., pp. 35-39. For the Sanskrit version, see S. B. Bharucha, Collected Sanskrit Works of the Parsis I, Bombay, 1906, pp. 42-48.
See also I. J. S. Taraporewalla, “The Marriage Service of the Parsis,” Professor Jackson Memorial Volume, Bombay, 1954, pp. 216-60.
M. N. Dhalla, Homage unto Ahura Mazda, Bombay, 1942.
D. Menant, Les Parsis. Histoire des communautés Zoroastriennes de l’Inde, Paris, 1898, pp. 144-78.
Cf. also D. N. MacKenzie and A. Perikhanian, “The Model Marriage Contract in Pahlavi,” K. R. Cama Oriental Institute Golden Jubilee Volume, Bombay, 1969, pp. 103-09.
(M. F. Kanga)
Originally Published: December 15, 1987
Last Updated: August 16, 2011
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