The fire has been burning in this temple since 1844. I thought it would be a fascinating place to visit. When I got to the temple I was told that only Zoroastrians can visit the fire. Only male Zoroastrians. I had two strikes against me.
I can be very persistent and kept presenting numerous reasons, to the very patient security guard, why I should be allowed to enter the temple. There must be a way for me to see this fire that has been burning for over a 170 years.
Finally he gets up and signals for me to wait. He walks toward the temple and begins speaking with an older gentleman who was sitting in a chair in front of the temple entrance. The man listens, gets up, and comes over to me. He greets me and tells me his story.
This is a very important place for the Zoroastrian people. I am Zoroastrian and have spent many years praying inside the temple.
It is a deeply spiritual place, a holy place, a pure place, and the fire has been kept burning by priests who have never let the fire die out, not once. I watched this for many years.
Then I got cancer, the doctors took one of my kidneys, part of my stomach, and most of my intestines. I now have a bag where all of my ‘impurities’ from inside my body flow into this bag. I am not pure and I am no longer allowed to enter the temple. So I sit on the porch daily to pray and I am content to do so because the temple must be kept clean from impurities.
So you see, this is why you cannot enter.
I thanked him and took a photo of this wonderful man who told me about his family, his life and struggles, and shared with me the depth of his faith.
This meant more to me than seeing the fire that has been burning for over a 170 years.
‘God Bless’, he said.
‘God Bless and thank you’, I said.