Rostam and Sohrab part 1:Rostam Nameh 13a

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Roj Bahman Mah Bahman/Revaji Baj of Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shroff

 

Kunum razme Sohrabo Rostam shanavDegarha shanidasti in ham shanav.

Yaki dastanast pur abe chashm

Dele nazuk az Rostam aayad bakhashm

Now listen about the battle of Sohrab and Rostam, you may have heard other accounts, but now listen to this one.This story is most sorrowful and hearing it, your tender heart will bear enmity towards Rostam. 

With these words of warning, Firdausi begins the chapter of the battle between Sohrab and Rostam, perhaps the saddest of stories ever told. All readers of Frashogard must, no doubt, have heard some accounts of this mournful incident, but here, in this series, we will go into great details about the story and the great spiritual facts behind the visible story.

So far Firdausi has described Rostam in most glowing terms. In his eventful life, Rostam has been the torch bearer of the Iranian empire, the King maker, the mightiest of warriors, the most feared of all knights. But how did such a mighty warrior, always under the watchful eye of his spiritual Masters, commit such a series of errors that led to this tragic event? How did one who could do no wrong, suddenly fall down from such lofty heights? Firdausi himself is unable to answer this riddle. In his justification of Rostam’s actions, Firdausi uses some beautiful poetry and similes to show that even those chosen of the Lord have to undergo much trial and tribulation.

Agar tund baadi baraayad ze kunjBakhaak afgand naarasideh turanj,

Sitamgaarah khaanamash ar daadgar

Honarmand guyamash ar bihonar.

If a stormy wind arises from a corner and causes an unripe lemon to fall from the tree, then should I call the wind an oppressor or call it  just; is it proper or improper? 

 

When the wind blows, it unsettles many things. The ripe lemons fall off the tree, but often an unripe one too is plucked off by its force. Does that mean that the wind is an oppressor, an unjust thing. Is the fact that an unripe lemon fell to the ground proper or improper? Taking the simile of the lemon further, Firdausi now talks about death. He says:

Agar marg daadast bidaad chist?Ze daad in hamah, baang-o-faryaad chist?  If death is just then what is injustice? If death is proper then why this shouting and lamentation?  

We say that death is the end of all things, the ultimate justice. If that is so, then what is injustice? If all consider death to be proper and ordained by God, why does man lament and cause so much disruption at the time of death? Why this hullabaloo about a pre-ordained event? What is the mystery behind this contradiction? Firdausi explains:

Azin raaz jaane to aagaah nistBadin pardah andar toraa raah nist.

Hamah taa dare aaz raftah faraaz

Bakas vaa nashud in dare aaz baaz.

But you will never be able to understand this mystery, what is behind this curtain will never be revealed to you. We all want to go to that greedy door – that greedy door which has never opened twice for anyone.

The real mystery of our lives will be explained only when we cross over to the other side. But the irony is that we cannot ever come back through the door which we all have to pass. Once shut, it remains so forever. Thus the mystery is revealed, but we have no one to share it with.

Dame marg chun aatashe haulnaakNaddarad ze barnaao fartut baak. The breath of death is like a blazing fire, neither afraid of the young or the old.

 

Death spares no one, and is favourable neither to the young or the old. The grim reaper cuts all with his sickle. None is spared. Does this mean that we should not have faith in God? How do we reconcile our faith with this seeming injustice of a young person losing his life while the old one lingers on? Firdausi explains:

Javaanio piri ba nazde ajalYaki daan chu dar din nakhaahi khalal

Del az nure imaan gar aaganda-i

Tora khaamoshi beh ke tu banda-i

If you do not want your faith to be shaken, then consider death as equal for both the young and the old.

If the light of faith shines in your heart, then it is best to keep silent like a slave.  

We must never sit in judgement to the will of God. Whatever He does, is the best for everyone. One who has pure faith, one who has left it all in His hands, will never utter a word of protest, however much he may be in pain or grief. Rather he will spend his time in prayer. Firdausi advises:

Parastesh hamaan pisheh kun baa neyaazHamah kaare ruze pasinraa besaaz.

Barinkaare Yazdaan toraa raaz nist

Agar div baa jaanat ambaaz nist.

Ba geti daraan kush chun bogzari

Saranjaame eslaam ba khud bari!  

Always be occupied in preparations to leave this world, let your sole job be to offer prayer with full devotion!

There is no mystery in praying to God, but make sure the evil one does not trap you.

For as long as you are in this world – be ever eager to pray, so that you may depart for and reach the ultimate destination in  peace and tranquility!

Prayer is the answer to all our troubles. In prayer only we shall find our solutions, in prayer we shall find peace. This world of a few days is but a temporary place, the real destination lies much ahead. Rather than be attached to the joys and trappings of materialism, it behoves everyone to be aware of the final destination and to work towards reaching it at the earliest.

Readers of Frashogard, these words of Firdausi are like a healing salve to all those who may be suffering some personal grief. Who amongst us does not grieve for someone or something? Who amongst us has not experienced the pain of separation and sorrow? Have we not all, at some point or other raised our eyes up to the heavens and asked Him – ‘why me, O Lord?’ At such times of distress and suffering, of pain and sorrow, we can derive some bitter sweet relief from these healing words of Firdausi. We can identify and empathize with them and we can lighten the heavy load we carry in our hearts.

The story of Rostam and Sohrab is not just the story of a father’s fight with his son. It is much more. It is the encapsulation of the Primordial Principle of this earth. As long as we are away from God, even the mightiest of us have to suffer and pass through trials. He who is of pure faith and devotion will rise above the pain and proceed further on the road to salvation. He who drowns in sorrow is lost forever. With this brief introduction, we now begin the story of Rostam and Sohrab.

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

Editor’s Note: I apologize to readers of Frashogard for the long gap between posts. My own family is passing through a period of grave crisis and our own hearts are filled with pain and suffering. At such times, it becomes difficult to write on a regular basis. By some coincidence (but there are no coincidences, only reality), the story of Rostam and Sohrab has come precisely at the point where our own cup of sorrow seems to be overflowing. Perhaps He wishes to make the writing of Rostam and Sohrab even more poignant by filling our own hearts with pain. Whatever it may be, your Editor remembers the words of Zarathushtra in the Gathas: ‘Atha ne anghat, yatha hvo vasat.” ‘Only that will be done, as He desires.’ We shall carry on, step-by-step, day-by-day.

MJH

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Comments

  1. Mohnaz  June 16, 2014

    Nice to read the continuation after a very long time gap… keep it up (Y)… very captivating .. seems to be re lived with Firdausi’s words

  2. Jehan  June 25, 2014

    Dear Ervad Marzbanji, this is a truly miraculous tale which most of us are unaware of the History / Culture totally hidden until now…
    I guess all true subjects of HIM are going through testing times so as you have correctly said We shall carry on, step-by-step, day-by-day. May the Lord give us all the strength & the will to carry on until the promised one comes…
    To the Editor’s Note: Please do let us know if you require any help from us, we are here to support you in your time of despair, we might be scattered far apart but YOU have made us near together, (I am sure other readers would agree with me on this point) so please don’t hesitate.