DADYSETH AGIARY. In 1771 c.e. Dadibhai Noshirwanji Dadyseth established an agiary (see ātaškada) with an Ādarān fire for the sake of the soul of his first wife, Kunverbai, in the Fort district of Bombay. The fire was tended with Shenshahi rites by Bhagaria priests from Navsari (Vatcha, I, p. 309). Dadyseth having subsequently become a Kadmi, his son Ardashir after his father’s death built a finer temple on adjacent land and had the fire installed there, with Kadmi rites, on the day of Sarōš, month of Farvardīn, 1173 Yazdegerdī/25 September 1803. The anniversary of its installation is accordingly celebrated since then on the same day as that of the Dadyseth Ātaš Bahrām.
The Dadyseth Ādarān was thenceforth tended by priests from Persia, providing them, in what were still harsh times for Zoroastrians there, with an opportunity to live for a while tranquilly and in relative prosperity. The Dadyseths were thus indirectly instrumental in saving some invaluable Pahlavi texts from almost certain destruction, for Tahmuras Dinshaw Anklesaria frequented this agiary to learn Persian and the Zoroastrian Persian dialect from its priests, made friends among them, and through them acquired and so rescued several unique manuscripts from Persia (Modi, pp. 36, 38). There was still a Persian priest (the last) serving at the agiary in the 1980s.
A Persian rite introduced by the Kadmis was to take the embers of their Ādarān fires each year on one of the “Gāthā” days to grow cold “at the foot of the throne” (pāy-e taḵt) of the Dadyseth Ātaš Bahrām (the “spirits” of the lesser sacred fires being thus united annually with that of the most sacred fire of all). The Parsis in general were opposed to this unfamiliar practice. In 1847 Dastur Rustam Kekobad Mulla Feroze wrote a book in Gujarati called Ādar khoreh (The glory of fire), in which he defended it, but in the 1870s the trustees of the Gamadia Ādarān in Mazgaon resolved to discontinue this custom, and their example was followed by the trustees of all other Kadmi Ādarāns (Unvala, p. 319).
Meetings of the anjoman of the Bombay Parsis were sometimes held at the Dadyseth Agiary (Paten, pp. 136, 139, 145, 150, 870, 884, 887, 897).
J. J. Modi, “Introduction” in T. D. Anklesaria, ed., The Social Code of the Parsees in Sasanian Times, pt. II, Bombay, 1912.
B. B. Patell, Pārsī dharmasthālō (Parsi places of religion), Bombay, 1906.
J. M. Unvala, “Some Old Zoroastrian Customs,” Acta Orientalia 4, 1926, pp. 311-19.
R. F. Vatcha, Munbainō bāhār (The blossoming of Bombay), 2 vols., Bombay, 1874.
(Mary Boyce and Firoze M. Kotwal)
Originally Published: December 15, 1993
Last Updated: November 11, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. VI, Fasc. 5, pp. 559-560