The Baj, Afringan, Farokhshi and Satum Ceremony
The Baj ceremony, forming part of the funeral services after death, is performed on various occasions in a Zoroastrian house. The first three days after death are the principal days when these ceremonies are performed. The subsequent occasions are Chaharum, or the fourth day, Dahum, or the tenth day, Siruz, or the thirtieth day, and Salruz, or the anniversary.
It is the duty of the son, or the nearest heir of the deceased, to perform the Baj ceremony, wherein certain items which serve as symbols of the different kinds of creation, such as animal or vegetable creation, are submitted as offerings, a tribute either to the glory of the particular Yazata or heavenly being, or to the memory of a particular, deceased relative.
Expressive of praise to God and the Higher Intelligences, the Afringan prayer corresponds to the Apei of the Brahmins.
A fire is kept buring in a censer before the officiating priest and is fed with sandalwood and frankincense. The offering consist of fruits, flowers, milk, water, wine and sherbet.
This prayer is intended to remember, invoke, and praise the Fravashis of the dead.
Like the Afringan, it is generally recited over offerings such as fruits, flowers, milk, wine and water, before fire.
The Fravashi is that power or spiritual essence in a substance which enables it to grow. It is the spirit inherent in everything, inanimate or animate, which protects it from decay and enables it to grow, flourish and prosper. Every object in nature is believed to have its Fravashi.
These Fravashis are a kind of prototype, and are analogous to the "ideas" of Plato who believed that everything had a double existence, in idea and in reality. According to the Fravardin Yasht, their number is legion and they are spoken of as protecting and looking after the Vourukasha sea (Caspian).
The same number looks after the constellation of Haptoi rang (Ursa Major), the body of Keresapa, and the seed of Zarathushtra. As the universe is made of innumerable objects, animate or inanimate, large or small, and as each object has its own Fravashi, or some individual, in herent, spiritual essence which maintains and supports it, it is evident that there are innumerable such spirit essences, all emanating from the great Divine Essence of God who has created them and who has made use of them.
Ahuramazda is the Great Architect of the universe. He is the Creator of the material as well as the spiritual world. In the spiritual hierarchy, they stand, as it were, fourth in the order of supremacy.
Ahuramazda (The Omniscient, Self-existent Lord) is at the head of all; next come the Ameshaspentas (The Bountiful Immortals), who are His own creations; then the Yazatas (i.e. those who are worthy of being worshipped); and the Fravashis (i.e. the guarding or protecting spirits).
Zoroastrianism preaches veneration for the dead. It is believed that the dead have a future existence somewhere and that there exists some relation between the dead and the living. The channel, through which the relation continues, is the Fravashi, or the guiding and guardian spirit of the dead, who come to the help of the living, provided they live a pure and virtuous life and hold the departed ones in veneration.
Farokhshi is the recital of the praise of these Fravashis in honour of the dead. It consists of the recital of the Satum prayer and the Fravardin Yasht. The offerings are the same as in the case of the Afringan.
This is a prayer in praise of the Fravashis of the dead, generally recited over meals.
The meal of the day is served in a tray and placed before the priest during its recital.
The name of the dead, in whose honour it is specially recited, is mentioned first in a Pazand prayer.