7 hours in a Rickshaw, Part II – The Pune Fire Temple


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.


About EssentialYoga Studio

Roberta has been practicing yoga since 1988 and has been teaching yoga since 1994. She has trained under master yoga teachers Swami Padmananda, Patricia Walden, Manouso Manos, Father Joe Pereira, Zoë Stewart, Karin Stephan, Liz Owen and others. She continues to study with her Iyengar teachers, Patricia Walden and Peentz Dubble. Roberta has studied yoga at the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Memorial Institute in Pune, India during June 2011, February 2014 and attended Abhijata's intensive in Pune, India December 2016. Roberta is currently enrolled in Peentz Dubble's two year Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training Program. Additionally, Roberta completed training and certification with Elise Browning Miller as 'Yoga for Scoliosis' instructor. She completed a 500 hour Hatha Yoga Certification program with AURA Wellness Center and is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500. She has been a Certified Meditation Teacher since June 2007 and has been an Usui Reiki Practitioner since 1989. Roberta's Personal Practice Philosophy: Health issues have changed and deepened my practice. You will see many photos of me using a variety of props. On days I don't feel well, instead of saying, "I can't practice today", Iyengar Yoga has taught me to say, "How can I practice today".
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