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.