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Errichiello, Mariano (2023) 'Ilm-e-Khshnoom.' The Database of Religious History . Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia.

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Abstract

Ilm-e-Khshnoom 'Science of Bliss' refers to the religious group primarily composed by members of the Zoroastrian diaspora currently settled in India (henceforth Parsis). They follow the system of beliefs (also named Ilm-e-Khshnoom) introduced by Behramshah Naoroji Shroff (1858-1927) at the beginning of the 20th century. Shroff’s teachings are based upon an esoteric interpretation of the Avesta, which is the collection of sacred Zoroastrian scriptures. Ilm-e-Khshnoom emerged from colonial India, when the Westernisation process exposed the religious vulnerability of the Parsi community. The teachings of Shroff are based on a set of universal laws of nature that span from the idea of reincarnation to that of the vibrational power dwelling in the practice of Zoroastrian rituals. Shroff, a Parsi himself, claimed to have been initiated to Ilm-e-Khshnoom by the Sāheb Delān 'Master-Hearts', a secluded community of Zoroastrian spiritual masters in Mount Damāvand, Iran. During his stay, he allegedly acquired abilities like telepathy and divination techniques such as astrology. The Parsis who follow Ilm-e-Khshnoom nowadays are a small minority of the approximatively 50,000 Zoroastrians who live in India, mainly in Mumbai and in some cities of the state of Gujarat. There are not exclusion or inclusion criteria for the membership of this religious group other than being born from a Zoroastrian family. Nevertheless, ethnocentrism characterises not only the adherents of Ilm-e-Khshnoom but a large part of the Parsi community, in contrast to another part of the community which promote religious reformism and conversions. Furthermore, the transmission of Ilm-e-Khshnoom across generations has occurred through the familiar nucleus. In effect, families continue to exert a durable impact on the religious canons as well as on the communal ideology and responsibility of Parsis. The followers of Ilm-e-Khshnoom emphasise a strict observance of the Zoroastrian rituals and adopt particular principles in the ritual practice. These principles remark the importance of addressing precise thoughts while reciting a given portion of the Avesta correctly accompanied by a specific kinetic motion. They also represent distinctive elements of contradistinction of the followers of Ilm-e-Khshnoom against the wider Parsi community. Another distinctive element is the adoption of the liturgical calendar. While the Shenshai is the most widespread calendar among the Zoroastrians of India, the adherents of Ilm-e-Khshnoom advocate the adoption of the Fasli calendar. From the 1980’s, Parsis who follow the teachings of Shroff can be found in US and Canada as well as in Australia.

Item Type: Other
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2023 21:25
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/40626

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