By Dr Ervad Karanjia 

Dastur Jamshedji Sorabji Kookadaaru/Kukana (Birth: 26th May 1831, roz Zamyad of mah Avan; Death: 4th October 1900 (Roz Behram mah Fravarden) was born in Surat, but spent most of his life in Bombay. His name and fame has spread far and wide.
He was simple and humble priest, who spent much of his time in prayers. His material needs were frugal. A strict vegetarian, he would eat just one meal a day – usually ghee (clarified butter) and khichdi, cooked by his own hands. He used to wash his clothes himself. He always used to walk and rarely took vehicles to go from one place to another.
He was an astrologer. He accurately predicted the day and time (to the hour) of Dastur Peshotan Sanjana’s death. He had also accurately predicted the death of Queen Victoria and Sir Dinshaw Petit.
Once, when a marriage procession was passing through Chira Bazaar in Mumbai, he sent word asking the procession to halt for an hour. No one paid heed. Within a short time, a building collapsed and the bridegroom perished on the spot. Had they waited for an hour, the accident could have been averted.
Dasturji Kukadaru had deep knowledge of Avesta, Pahlavi and Persian languages. He had served as a teacher at the Seth Jijibhai Dadabhai Zend Avesta Madressa at Fort, translated certain volumes of the Denkard and contributed regularly to a journal called ‘Yazdan Parast.’ He had also brought out various booklets.
As a priest at the Seth Shapurji Kappawalla Agiary in Mumbai, he commanded tremendous respect. The title Dastur prefixed to his name is unique in a sense, because he neither inherited it nor was he nominated as a Dastur. The title was given to him posthumously on account of his piety, knowledge, simplicity and the deep understanding of Zoroastrian religion, rituals, history and spiritual practices.
Dasturji Kukadaru also knew the art of healing by prayers. He healed with the power of his ashoi (righteousness) and manthravani (prayers). He was able to cure jaundice, which was quite a fatal ailment in those times. To cure jaundice, he would place a brass bowl full of clean well water near the ailing person. As he prayed, the water in the bowl began to turn yellow and the person began to recover.
The miracle for which he is most remembered is connected with the establishment of the Anjuman Atash Behram. Dasturji Kaikhushru Jamaspji, while raising funds for the new Atash Behram, approached Dasturji Kukadaru for his contribution. He requested Jamaspji to go to the next room and sell the item which he found there. The item happened to be a gold brick which, fetched closed to ten thousand rupees. In commemoration of his contribution, the main hall on the ground-floor of the Anjuman Atash Bahram bears his name.
Today, his portrait adorns the walls of several Atash Behrams, Agiaries and homes. His Fravashi continues to bless those who remember him in prayers.
Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia


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