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Navjote :

The word means "the new initiate" of the faith.

Significance :

The child becomes directly answerable to Mazda for all one's thoughts, words and actions. In other words, the young initiate.   

The Navjote or Initiation ceremony is one of the most essential and inspiring Zoroastrian ceremonies through which every Parsi child must undergo soon after the attainment of the age of seven.  

In the term “NAVJOTE”- the “Nav” denotes ‘New life’ for one who is admitted into the fold of the ancient Zoroastrian religion.

The word “NAVJOTE” religiously means “a new disciple of God”.

“The Navjote” – is the initiation into spiritual responsibility.  

In very ancient times, before Prophet Zoroaster, the wise shepherd king, Jamshed Vivangum of Iran introduced the ‘Sudrah’ and the ‘Kusti’.

The ceremony itself consists of the purification of the body and the soul, as purity or Ashoi is the very essence of Zoroastrianism.  

The ceremony begins with giving the child a holy bath.

The initiate is then brought before the priest who says certain prayers and makes the child wear a “Sudrah” and “Kusti” – the emblems of the Zoroastrian religion, which the wearer binds himself to follow conscientiously, as an armour of God for the war against evil.  

The Sudrah (meaning ‘Sud” = right or true & “rah” = path) which means ‘Right Path’ or the ‘advantageous path’, is like a vest made of spotless white muslin cloth and this garment’s main characteristic being the “GAREBAN” – a small pocket or a spiritual purse at the neck which should symbolically, be kept full with good thoughts, words and deeds. 

The Kusti is made of white lamb or sheep’s wool.

White colour is symbolic of purity, religion, innocence & brightness and as such is the symbol of the Zoroastrian Religion.

These symbols thus act as perpetual monitors, advising the wearer to lead a life of Purity – physically as well as spiritually.

“One alone is the Path, and that is of Purity” said Persian Prophet Zoroaster.

The Kusti (Scared thread) of white sheep’s wool is symbolic of the Kundalini Shakti (Serpent Power) which is used to drive away the evil force and of the fact that the wearer should lead a simple & innocent life as that of the sheep. It's 72 threads represent the 72 chapters of Zoroastrians Scripture – Yasna Whilst the priest and the child recite the prayers, the priest ties the Kusti round the child’s waist in three rounds which are intended to remind the wearer of the basic cardinal principles of Zoroastrians Religion “HUMATA, HUKHTA, HUVARESHTA” meaning “GOOD THOUGHTS, GOOD WORDS AND GOOD DEEDS”. Whilst tying the Kusti, two knots are formed – one in front and one at the back. A knot is always held to be a symbol of resolution or determination. Thus, two knots of the Kusti symbolize, as it were, two resolutions, viz.  

After the Kusti is tied around the waist of the initiate on the Sudrah, the priest recites benediction, showering grains of rice, raisins and small pieces of coconut over the child’s head.

Rice is the symbol of prosperity & good fortune and as every part of the coconut tree serves some useful purpose, the use of the coconut is suggestive to the child to lead a useful and noble life.  

The Sudrah and Kusti protect the child against all the forces of evil and falsehood. And makes his path in the right direction. Thus the child treads upon the path of Truth & Righteousness, like a true Zoroastrian.  

Wearing the Sudrah & Kusti is important primarily because it is a declaration of the covenant of faith in Ahura Mazda.

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