People have birthdays, and places do too. Sacrosanct places that are awash with a vibrancy which the passing years just cannot wear away – and sustain us with a grace that gets more generous as time goes by.
For many Parsis, one such sanctuary for the soul is the Sorabji Thoothi Agiary at Walkeshwar, which turns 150-years-old today.
What a beautiful and bountiful bastion of faith this is, with its blessed well skirting the shimmering rim of Mumbai’s Queen’s Necklace, and sanctified by the waters of the Arabian Sea.
The Thoothi Agiary was recently renovated by the generous endeavours of the Bapuna siblings, and it’s mobed, Ervad Kersi Gonda, the righteous priest who has devotedly tended to the Holy Fire for close to a quarter of a century, affirms that countless faithful folk have had their wishes fulfilled down the years, following the timeless tenets of the Zoroastrian faith without compromise or controversy.
It is his fervent wish on the occasion of the 150th birthday of the Agiary that the Parsi community should preserve, protect and prudently propagate its unique legacy, without falling prey to petty and pernicious politicking, or rushing recklessly into reform, so that the flame of our faith continues to burn bright forever.
This brings us to another haloed precinct of the Parsi faith, the Banaji Limji Agiary at Fort, which celebrates its 300th anniversary on April 24. Three awesome centuries of nurturing, inspiring, blessing and bestowing its boons upon generation after generation of Parsis!
These two ancient, sacred fires should, fittingly, be the beacon of hope that brings all of us out of the dark alley of despondency… and the self-destructive dramatics that could well bring the curtains down on us. Unless we, like our forefathers, stay unwaveringly devoted to the very reason why they fled Iran and came to India: to preserve our fires and our faith.
The prayer hall at Thoothi Agiary, with portraits of our illustrious forefathers, none of who ever advocated radical reform as the solution for our survival!