Priestly Authority

Human religious authority rests primarily with the dasturs (high priests), although some is with the mobeds (priests). Dasturs are usually (although not exclusively) sons of dasturs, although mobeds must be sons of mobeds.

The authority of a mobed is essentially restricted to the temple, and that of the dasturs is said to ‘lie within the walls’ of their Atash Bahram (‘Cathedral’ fire temples). Both mobeds and dasturs wear white caps and long flowing robes as a sign of purity. Prayers (manthras) are recited in the Avestan language whilst standing, and are said aloud in order to remain ‘alive’; with this in mind, there is little tradition of silent prayer.

In theory Parsis see the dasturs in India as the senior religious authority; however, the Diaspora is beginning to question this, arguing that the dasturs do not fully understand life in the West. This view is more common in America than in Britain where the dasturs are still viewed with great respect.

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