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DASTUR JAMSHED ERVAD SOHRAB KUKADARU SAHEB
Dasturji Kukadaru's name and fame has spread far and wide both in India and abroad. Even today, his portrait adorns the walls of several Atash Behrams, Agiaries and Zarathushtrian homes. He is said to have performed many miracles during his lifetime. His fravashi continues to bless and bring succour to those who remember him and invoke his name in prayer.
The greatness of this man lies in his simplicity and humility. He was born on 26th May 1831 (Mah Avan, Roj Jamyad) at Surat. He always used to remain engrossed in prayers. His material needs were frugal. A strict vegetarian, he would eat just one meal a day - usually khichdi and a little ghee. It is said he used to cook the rice himself b placing the vessel in the sun and recite certain manthras. He lived the life of a hermit.
He was an intuitive astrologer. He is believed to have accurately predicted the day and time (to the hour) of Dastur Peshotan Sanjana's death. He had also accurately predicted the death of Queen Victoria and Sir Dinshaw Petit.
Once, when a marriage procession was passing through Chira Bazaar in Mumbai, Dasturji sent word that the procession should halt for about an hour. No one paid heed. Within a short time, there was an accident and the bridegroom perished on the spot.
Dasturji had developed qualities of clairvoyance as a result of certain tarikats (spiritual discipline), amal (ritual power), manthravani (prayers) and leading a life of ashoi (righteousness).
Dasturji also had knowledge of Avesta and Pahlavi. He had served as a teacher at the Seth Jijibhai Dadabhai Zend Avesta Madressa at Fort, translated certain volumes of the "Dinkard" and contributed regularly to a journal called 'Yazdan Parast'. He had also brought out various booklets, one of which was 'Khoasa-e-afringan' in which he advocated reciting the 'Tao ahmi nemane' karda.
As a Panthaky of the Seth Shapurji Kappawalla Agiary in Mumbai, he commanded tremendous respect among the behdins. Although the title of Dastur was conferred on him posthumously, the behdins regarded him as a Dastur (High Priest) even during his lifetime. Whenever he attended a wedding or navjote, the whole gathering would stand up as a mark of respect.
One day, a Muslim Pir (Saint) appeared at the gate of the Kappawalla Agiary with a view to test Dasturji's spiritual powers. After some discussion, the Pir challenged Dasturji to bring the water level of the Agiary well to the surface. Dasturji agreed, but warned that if the water overflowed, the sin of wasting water would be on the Pir's head.
After performing the Padyab Kushti, Dasturji began to pray. Towards the end of the prayers, the water level began to rise. When the water surfaced right upto the top, the Pir implored Dasturji to stop. The water receded and the Pir left singing Dasturji's praise.
Dasturji was also a healer. The Zarathushtrian scriptures speak of various types of healers, including those who heal with the power of ashoi (holiness/righteousness) and the power of manthras (prayers). Dasturji, with the power of his ashoi and manthravani, healed a number of ailing and suffering persons. When Mr. Jehangir Karkaria, a teacher at Bharda New High School, was just three year's old, he had a severe attack of jaundice. Doctors had lost all hope and his life was in danger. When all seemed lost, the child's grandmother took the ailing boy to Dasturji at the Agiary. Dasturji made the old lady sit at a certain spot with the ailing child in her lap. Dasturji sat at some distance and began to pray. He also placed a brass bowl full of clean well water between them. As Dasturji prayed, the water in the bowl began to turn yellow and the child began to recover. The child grew up to be a well-regarded teacher and mathematician and died at a ripe old age.
The miracle for which Dasturji is most remembered is the one connected with the establishment of the Anjuman Atash Behram. Dasturji Kaikhushru Jamaspji, while raising funds for the new Atash Behram, approached Kukadaru Saheb for his contribution. Kukadaru Saheb requested Jamaspji to go to the next room and sell the item which he would find there. The item happened to be a gold brick which, in those days, fetched a sum of ten thousand rupees. It is likely that Kukadaru Saheb was also wellversed in the science of Alchemy. We know today, in the light of modern science, that when the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom of any element is changed (i.e., increased or decreased) the element itself can change from one to the other. Perhaps Dasturji with his ashoi and manthravani had the power to alchemise metals.
To conclude, Dasturji Jamshed Sohrab Kukadaru was an able astrologer, a divine healer, a scholar and teacher, and able panthaky, alchemist and, above all, a simple and pious priest who worked ceaselessly to remove pain and suffering. He passed away on 4th October 1900 (Roj Behram, Mah Fravardin) but continues to abide with the community in spirit.
Many continue to be blessed with his vision and healing touch even today.
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