Pätat, self-examination and the knowledge of good and evil
One of the most beautiful rituals associated with the new years celebrations in Zoroastrianism is the 10 days of pätat. The word pätat is derived the Avestan paiti “to go by, PASS.” (Armenian bozpayit or bazpayit occuring only in the chronicle of Elišē, has the same sense.)
In the ancient Aryan faith of Zoroastrianism, salvation comes from true knowledge. In Mazdyasna, the knowledge of good and evil is the key to immortality and unlocking the great possibilities of destiny.
Going over and weighing our past record in the 10 days before new year, understanding our mistakes, acknowledging our good and bad and learning from our past experience is Pätat.
We are all spirits/mind energies. Some of us are in physical form, some are in a period of renewal and regeneration, and some have ascended and have become guardian angels or fravashis. Guardian angels have realized the pristine formula, the first word or wisdom. (fra-vaóčá, fra-vaxshyá) of their creation. They have fulfilled their mission, learned their lessons and passed to a higher level of consciousness.
A beautiful table with flowers, candles, holy water and fragrant flower extracts is laid in their honor during this holy days.
There are 4 pätat texts that are recited especially during these 10 days before the new years. There are 2 versions of the pätat pashi-máni (pashi-máni literally means “to put before the spirit/mind, ponder,” in later Persian pashi-máni has acquired the meaning of “repent, regret.”)
There is a pätat raváni or pätat vidar-dagán for the departed souls.
There is a pätat Airani, or the Aryan pätat for going over the Aryan responsibilities and duties. And there is a pätat xvad/svad “self examination.”
In Zoroastrianism, it is highly recommended to open up and talk about our fears, insecurities, shortcomings, and evils. But the opening up and confession shall be shared confidentially only with a ratü (wise counsel,) dastür (scholar priest) and/or a genuinely good, luminous person.
Till we truly learn and understand; pain and suffering is inevitable. Pätat is going over our past thoughts, words and actions with genuine knowledge between good and evil and learning from it.
I loved this article, very inspiring-the Jews also go over their sins before their New Year-
Heavenly books opened–According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to “seal” the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven by God.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur
Maimonides, in his book Mishneh Torah writes in Hebrew:
כיצד מתודין? אומר: ‘אנא ה’ חטאתי עויתי פשעתי לפניך ועשיתי כך וכך הרי נחמתי ובושתי במעשי ולעולם איני חוזר לדבר זה’ וזהו עיקרו של וידוי וכל המרבה להתוודות ומאריך בענין זה הרי זה משובח
–Mishneh Torah: Hil. Teshuvah Chapter 1, Law 2
How does one confess? [He or she] says: ‘Please God! I have intentionally sinned, I have sinned out of lust and emotion, and I have sinned unintentionally. I have done [such-and-such] and I regret it, and I am ashamed of my deeds, and I shall never return to such a deed.’ That is the essence of confession, and all who are frequent in confessing and take great value in this matter, indeed is praiseworthy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vidui
Zoroastrian heritage also speaks of Guardian Angels/Fravashis-
A person’s spiritual components, that is, the person’s urvan (soul), mainyu (spirit), fravashi and khvarenah can unite and the spirits of the departed are generally referred to collectively as that person’s (united) fravashi:
havahe uruno fravashi [from Y (Yasna). 23.4]
Free rendering: My own soul’s fravashi.
khvanvaitish ashahe verezo yazamaide, yahu iristinam urvano shayente ya ashaonam fravashayo… (from Y. 16.7)
Free rendering: We extol the asha (abiding) khvanvat deeds of those urvan (souls) of the dead that dwell with the asha (abiding) fravashis and we extol the highest goodness of the bright (enlightened) wholekhvathra.
If the spirit, soul and khvarenah are in harmony with asha, they come together to form a united fravashi. If they are not in harmony with asha, then there is separation from the fravashi in this life, and by extension in the after life.
The united soul and fravashi of the departed can be thought of as a spiritual soul, while the soul of the living – a living soul.
The united fravashi of the righteous have the ability to become guardian angels.
In the Farvardin Yasht (at 13.70): Tao he jasaonti avanghe yezi-she bavainti anazaretao khshnutao ainitao atbishtao ughrao ashaunam fravashayo, tao dim ava nifravayente manayen ahe yatha na merekho hupareno.
Free rendering: They, the asha-abiding fravashis, come to assist those who are beneficent and not hurtful or offensive. To them, the fravashis will assuredly come flying like birds well-winged.