Frequently Asked Questions
I am in Canada. The priest says prayers for me in Mumbai. Do these prayers "count"?
We have asked several religious experts and priests now about whether prayers can help people if they are not able to attend them in person. All the experts and priests have confirmed positively: in Zoroastrianism, it is believed that rituals and prayers can help, even if you are not physically there to witness them being carried out. This is why one will often hear Tan Da Rostis for people who aren't actually at the Agiary or ceremonies for souls who have already passed on.
That being said, there is nothing like experiencing a ritual in person. Seeing a ceremony in person – say a Jashan – oftentimes brings a remarkably calming and tranquil feeling that we cannot pretend to replicate online. Therefore the services offered on this website are not a substitute for attending ceremonies in person. Instead, these services are designed as the next best thing for people who do not have access, while the site as a whole is designed to get everyone interested in the rituals and spiritual side of the community.
Is it wrong to ask for things from God?
The Zoroastrian religion is filled with prayers to request certain things from God. There are certain days which are more auspicious than others, and some people believe that there are even "wishing Fires" where requests presented to certain fires are likely to be made true.
There is nothing wrong with asking for things from God, provided that these things help you live a better life as a good Zoroastrian. Ahura Mazda and his angels have a great track record of responding to such requests.
By creating a site where Americans can support religious rituals, won't you drive up the costs for services and "price-out" the poorer Zoroastrians who go to the Agiaries in person?
Absolutely not. Over the course of setting up Agiary Connect, we have met several priests now who say that the laity are simply not utilizing their services enough. Consequently, several of these priests have encouraged their sons to go into professions that are more lucrative instead of joining the priesthood full-time. In economic terms, the priests are finding that there is not enough demand for their services and they are adjusting supply by discouraging future generations from taking up the profession. The problem that could potentially arise is cause-for-concern: those with outside options will go into the secular world, including the most intellectual and hard-working. Those without outside options will remain. The hope with Agiary Connect's Religious Services section is that if we can make it financially worthwhile for even a few young talented priests with good options to remain in the fold (and learn higher rituals in particular), then we will preserve our practices.
What if there is a service that I would like to get performed, but I can't afford it?
Services should be available to all. Just contact us and we will do our best to help you out.
Are the services at Agiary Connect tax-deductible charity donations?
It is important to recognize that there is a difference between giving charity and paying someone for performing a service. At Agiary Connect, we are not giving hand-outs: priests perform a service and they are compensated for doing it. We do not see such services as charity.