Roj Dae-pa-Meher Mah Ardibehesht, 1383 Yz.
The final help which the Simorgh offered Rostam was one that would change the history of Iran forever and mark the beginning of a new dynasty which could be called the Golden Period of our civilization. As seen earlier, after the demise of Padshah Keresasp, there was no person in the known world at that time who possessed the Farrah Yazadi of sufficient power to ascend the exalted throne of Iran. This was a dangerous situation, since the lack of a King would embolden the enemies of Iran to strike at her defences in this moment of leadership vacuum and indecisiveness.
Soon news reached Iran that a large army under the leadership of Afrasiab had reached the banks of the Jayhun river and was preparing to cross over into Iranian territory. At this moment of crisis, the Simorgh advised Zaal to send Rostam to the Elburz mountain. The Wise One revealed the mysteries of time to Zaal and explained that a new dynasty was set to take the reins of power in Iran. This new lineage of Kings owed their ancestry to Faridun and the Farrah Yazadi of the old was to be replaced by another Divine Lustre, called Kyan Khoreh. These Kings would ensure the safety and prosperity of Iran and would prepare for the advent of the Prophet of Prophets who would descend in a few hundred years’ time. The task of finding the first born of this dynasty, called Kai Kobad, and escorting him to Iran under these trying circumstances should be given to Rostam, the Simorgh explained, since Rostam’s entire life and career would be intertwined with the lineage of these Kings.
Now Zaal explained the words of wisdom of the Simorgh to Rostam and detailed his mission. Not only was it difficult and dangerous, but it also needed to be executed within a very short time, since the enemy was at the gates. Rostam gladly accepted his mission and mounting Raksh, along with a few soldiers quickly started on the route to Elburz.
But the ears of spies were everywhere, and soon Afrasiab got the news that a new person with Farah Yazadi had been found and a young lad called Rostam had been despatched to the Elburz to escort him back to Iran and anoint him the King. Afrasiab sent out scouts all the way to the Elburz to gather more information and, if possible, stop the young lad in his tracks. After all, what kind of fight would a young man barely out of his teens put up?
On the other side, Rostam rode Raksh like the wind, his sensory perception enhanced by the divine trinity of Dami Upaman, Sherevar Ameshaspand and Behram Yazad. As he rode, he realized that there were spies everywhere, watching his moves. Without any warning Rostam attacked the spies and single-handedly routed them all. Many were killed. Wherever he went, rivers of blood flowed. Finally the scouts of Afrasiab accepted defeat and went back to their leader and explained what had happened.
Afrasiab got alarmed and immediately summoned a veteran warrior called Kaloon and entrusted him with the mission of going to Elburz and finishing off this young lad, and also the to-be-appointed new King, so that all the troubles of Afrasiab would get over. Taking his master’s leave, Kaloon quickly gathered a legion of men and riders and some elephants and riding fast, with the scouts in front, soon reached the foothills of Elburz and began to plan a trap for the Iranian party who would soon be returning with Kai Kobad.
Meanwhile Rostam began the ascent towards Mount Elburz. About one mile from the mountain, Rostam entered a flat plain, a maidan on which were camped a group of large tents. Thee was lush greenery all around and the scent of musk and roses pervaded everywhere. There in the centre of the ring of tents was placed a throne of pure gold, on which was seated a young man of amazing radiance. Around him stood wise old men, with cummerbunds around their waists, conversing softly with him. As the group saw Rostam galloping from there, they bade him welcome and asked him to join the majlis. As per the rules of Iranian protocol, guest was always welcome at an assembly and it was considered rude to not stop and sit down with them for some time.
Rostam dismounted and accepted their invitation, at the same time explaining that he would not be able to join them for long since his father had entrusted him with a mission of critical importance. The wise men asked Rostam as to who or what he was looking for at Elburz. Since they were residents of the same area, maybe they could help him in his search. Rostam replied that ever sicne the death of Padshah Keresasp there was no King in Iran. This was leading to disorder and suffering. The wise Zaal had explained to his the existence of Kai Kobad, of the lineage of Faridun who would become the next King of Iran. Hence he was looking for Kai Kobad.
On hearing these words, the young man on the throne turned to Rostam and said that he knew very well where Kai Kobad was. But he would tell Rostam about him only if he would dismount from his horse and join the group on their picnic. Rostam quickly dismounted and joined the group. The young man took a goblet of wine and placed it in Rostam’s hand and toasted the Holy Men of Iran. He then asked Rostam more questions as to how he had come to know about Kai Kobad. Rostam answered but indicated his urgency and requested the youth to kindly let him know where he could find Kai Kobad.
Ze goftare Rostam delire javaan
Be khandido goftash ke ay Pahelwan!
Ze tokhme Faridun manam Kai Kobad
Pedar ba pedar naam daaram bayaad!
“On hearing Rostam the brave youth laughed and said: ‘O Pahelwan! I am myself Kai Kobad, of the lineage of Faridun! I can tell you the names of my ancestors, from generation to generation.”
On hearing these words, Rostam immediately got up from the throne and bowed down and invoked the blessings of the Wise Ones on the young King-designate. After many rounds of toasting and drinking, the party uprooted the tents and began the preparations for the journey back to Iran. Kai Kobad put on the clothes of war and mounted a fleet steed. Under the leadership of Rostam mounted on Raksh the party swiftly descended from the plains and began the long ride to Iran. After riding non-stop for a day and a night, the troop arrived at the place where Rostam had routed the Turanian scouts, and where lay in wait the fresh platoon of Turanians under the leadership of Kaloon.
As Rostam and his team rode to the spot, the Turanians emerged from their hiding place and challenged them. When Kai Kobad got ready to fight, Rostam politely asked him to step aside as the opponents were not worthy of sparing with the King of Iran! Letting out a great roar and holding aloft the massive Goraz of his father, Rostam fell on the Turanians, slaughtering them here and there. So mighty were Rostam’s blows that Firdausi’s graphic description is very apt:
Yakiraa gerefti zadi bar digar
Ze bini ferurikhti magz-e sar.
He would pick up one and smash him against the other (with such force) that the brain would get crushed and ooze out of his nose!
Kaloon saw his comrades falling one after the other and rushed to give fight to Rostam pointing his spear at him. With a roar like thunder on a mountain, Rostam snatched the spear from Kaloon’s hand and threw it on the ground with such force that it remained standing. He then picked up Kaloon from his saddle and flung him towards the spear. Firdausi writes:
Kaloon gasht chun morgh bar baabzan
“Like a chicken mounted on a barbeque rod, Kaloon was affixed on the spear!
Seeing the state of Kaloon, the remaining soldiers fled from the scene, leaving Kaloon’s body affixed on the spear. The last hurdle being cleared, Rostam escorted Kai Kobad to the outskirts of the capital. There they waited for darkness to fall, and using the night to t heir advantage, Kai Kobad was safely deposited in the palace of Zaal. There the Mobed Council met again, and for one week they deliberated and discussed matters with Kai Kobad, testing his suitability for the exalted throne of Iran.
Finally after one week of discussions, the decision was made. On the eighth day the coronation took place: Firdausi writes:
Ba hashtum beyaaraastah takhte aaz
Beyaavikhtand az bare aaz taaz
Ba shaahi neshast az barash Kai Kobad
Hamaan taje gaohar basar barnehaad.
“On the eighth day they decorated a throne of ivory and placed the crown on the throne, Kai Kobad ascended the throne to begin his rule and wore the bejewelled crown on his head.”
In this manner, due to the wise counsel of the Simorgh, the advice and encouragement of Zaal, and the exertions of Rostam, Iran finally had a new King. Kai Kobad ascended the throne and started the Kyanian dynasty. Now, over a period of nearly 800 years, the Kyanian Kings would hold sway over the world, helped in no small measure by the incredible exploits of Rostam – the greatest warrior the world has ever known.
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[to be continued…]
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram