Who was Dasturji Jamshedji Sorabji Kukadaru? (TMY – Jame Jamshed of 18 & 25-6-17)

  1. Dasturji Kukadaru (also known as Kukana) is one of the most revered Zoroastrian priests of recent times. People devoutly remember him. His blessings and help are sought, especially on his death anniversary on Roj Behram of Mah Farvarden. He is also remembered on his birthday on Roj Zamyad of Mah Avan. He was born in Surat, but spent most of his life in Mumbai. His name and fame has spread far and wide.

 

  1. He was simple and humble man, who was engrossed in religious studies and prayers for most part of his leisure hours. His needs were frugal. He would eat just one meal a day – usually ghee (clarified butter) and khichdi (yellow rice), which he would himself cook. He used to wash his clothes himself. He preferred to walk and rarely took vehicles to go from one place to another.

 

  1. He was also a reputed astrologer. He had accurately predicted the day and time (to the hour) of the deaths of Dastur Peshotan Sanjana, Queen Victoria and Sir Dinshaw Petit. He had tremendous inner strength. He had outwitted a Muslim pir who had challenged him. Once, when a marriage procession was passing through Chira Bazaar in Mumbai, he sent word asking the procession to halt for an hour, but no one paid heed. Within a short time, a building collapsed and the bridegroom was crushed on the spot. Had they waited for an hour, the accident could have been averted.
  2. Dasturji Kukadaru had deep knowledge of Avesta, Pahlavi and Persian languages. He served as a chief instructor at Seth Jijibhai Dadabhai Zand Avesta Madressa at Fort from its inception till it closed down. He translated a few volumes of the Denkard and regularly contributed religious articles to the weekly magazine Yazdan Parast from 1868-1889. He had also published a few booklets on religion and community matters.

 

  1. As an erudite priest, he was invited to deliver lectures on religion as well as on social issues like the census. He commanded tremendous respect as a priest at the Kappawalla Agiary in Mumbai, which he served as a Panthaki right since its inception.

 

  1. Till 1861 he was referred to as Ervad, however since 1862 he was referred to as a Dastur, which was given to him on account of his piety, knowledge, simplicity and the deep understanding of Zoroastrian religion, rituals, history and spiritual practices.

 

  1. Dasturji Kukadaru also knew the art of healing by prayers which he acquired through his ashoi (righteousness) and manthravani (prayers). He was able to cure jaundice, which was quite a fatal ailment in those times, by placing a brass bowl full of clean well water near the ailing person. As he prayed, the water in the bowl turned yellow and the person began to recover.
  2. Dasturji Kukadaru is most remembered by the miracle connected to the establishment of the Anjuman Atash Behram in Mumbai. He was a member of the managing committee of the Anjuman Atash Behram during the time of its construction. Dasturji Kaikhushru Jamaspji, while raising funds for the Atash Behram, approached Dasturji Kukadaru for his contribution. Dasturji Kukadaru requested Jamaspji to go to the next room and sell the item found there. The item happened to be a gold brick, which fetched close to ten thousand rupees. He was publicly thanked for this munificent gift. For this magnanimous gesture, it was decided that the ground floor hall be named after him. He was also presented with a shawl at the time of the opening of the Atash Behram, as a mark of respect.
  3. Today, his portrait adorns the walls of several Atash Behrams, Agiaries and homes. His Fravashi continues to bless those who remember him in prayers. Spiritual men like Dasturji Kukadaru constantly remind us of the great power in Zoroastrian religion and spirituality and the immense possibilities it offers.
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