- A young Irani girl is wearing the sacred girdle.
The ceremony of the initiation consists of the investiture of the child, between the ages of seven and twelve, with a sacred shirt called sudreh and a sacred thread called kusti (or koshti in its Persian pronunciation). A Zoroastrian may put on any dress he likes, but he must put on the sacred shirt and the thread as the symbol and badge of his religion.
Many books and articles treat about the ceremonies related to the sudreh and kusti or their symbolism, but none explains the philosophical reasons of this tradition. This void is now filled by the latest work of Raham Asha: Treatise about The Reasons for the Sacred Girdle. Its based on a short work which survives in the Pazand and Sanskrit versions. There is also a “Pahlavi” rendering from the Pazand.
According to Raham Asha, the sacred girdle has distinguished, from olden times, those of the “Good Din” from all others. It was Yima who is said to have introduced the wearing of the sacred girdle as a sign of membership of the Aryan people. It is worn by men and women alike (“the men and women of Zaratushtra”). Fifteen is the age at which it is enjoined to initiate a young: whoever, either man or woman, being over fifteen years of age, and walks without wearing the sacred girdle and the sacred shirt, becomes non-Aryan.
The book comes with a very rich iconography and is useful for both scholars and wide audience. Its content is:
- The sacred girdle and the sacred shirt
- Treatise about the reasons for the sacred girdle
- Editions and Translations
- abar cim ī kustīg
- Reasons for the Sacred Girdle (Kusti)
- Pāzand Version
- Sanskrit Version
- Old Gujarati version
- “Pahlavi” text, reproduced from the Pāzand version
Treatise about The Reasons for the Sacred Girdle (Text, Transcription and Translation)