Ilm-i Kshnoom

Doctrines This is an exclusively Zoroastrian occult movement. Its doctrines have been characterised as a variant of Theosophy, due to the belief in one impersonal God and reincarnation. According to Kshnoomic teaching, a person's spiritual self is invested with a material body and enters the material world, encountering a series of 'rebirths' as it evolves. Attainment of spiritual purity is the ultimate aim, achieved through successive rebirths, so that the soul is released from the material world. An essential means to salvation is the esoteric knowledge of the nature of the universe, a significant element of which is the effectiveness of prayers recited in Avestan. The right faith (ie the Kshnoomic interpretation of Zoroastrianism) is also essential. Kshnoomist Zoroastrians believe that they are experiencing their final rebirth. Purity laws are strictly observed and vegetarianism and an ascetic way of life are advocated.

History The movement took its name from the word 'kshnoom' that occurs once in the Gathas, intended to mean 'Science of Spiritual Satisfaction'. The movement was founded by Behramshah Shroff (1857-1927) who was born in Bombay. Travelling to Iran with some Muslims at the age of 17 he came to Mount Demavand where he was enlightened by the 'Masters' who explained to him the esoteric meaning of the Avesta. Returning to Surat he remained silent for thirty years until 1902 when he first began to preach. Shroff gradually gained a small following both in Surat and Bombay. Today, two agiaries exist in Bombay and one in Udwada.

Symbols Unlike Parsi Theosophy, which has led to the development of distinctive rituals, Kshnoom has not become so distinct and has no separate temples or rituals. However one observance which is specifically maintained by Kshnoomists is that the laity as well as priests may undergo the 'barashnom', the most elaborate Zoroastrian ritual purification. The barashnom consists of triple cleansings with cattle urine, sand and water, performed by priests whilst reciting holy words.

Adherents There are no official statistics indicating the size of the movement.

Main Centre
 The main centre of this movement is Bombay, India.