Roj Rashne Mah Tir, 1383 Yz.
‘I wish to meditate for some time, mother, could you please ensure that no one crosses our threshold and comes inside to disturb me?’ The old lady looked upon her son with some concern. His handsome face, fair and shining, seemed different. The high forehead, always clear, seemed filled with furrows today. Those eyes – luminescent orbs of great learning and understanding, bore a trace of sadness, portending some impending tragedy. The imperial nose seemed to quiver with high tension. The ever-smiling lips appeared shut today; the great, white long beard which reached to his navel looked as though it was trembling.
As she looked closely at him, the old mother wondered: what could have happened that could have disturbed the composure of her exceptional son? For her son was no ordinary person. Dasturan Dastur Dinyar, a.k.a. Behzad (‘the well-born’) was the highest priest in the entire empire of Iran, numbering over 30 crore Zoroastrian souls. He was the adviser to King Khosrau I, Anoshirwan (501-579 AD), more popularly known as King Noshirwan-e-Adil – the Just King in whose reign even an animal was not denied justice. In the grand capital of Ctesiphon, the King held court in a magnificent palace. There, amongst the nobles and the warriors, the jewels of the court, none, except Dastur Dinyar was given the honour of sitting on a low stool made of pure solid gold, on the right side of the Emperor, signifying his position as the closest adviser. To the left of the Emperor sat his most famous and exceptionally wise Vazir or Prime Minister, Buzurgmeher-e Bokhtagan. Not one secret of the Empire escaped these two great men. Not one decision of the realm was taken by the Emperor without consulting these two great Zoroastrians.
Here is the famous statue of the King. Dastur Dinyar is towards his right, and Buzurgmeher on the left.
As Dasturan Dastur, Dinyar oversaw the vast apparatus of the Zoroastrian religion in the Sassanid empire. Lakhs of Fire Temples, thousands of seminaries, over a million priests spread throughout the length and breadth of the empire. As a spiritually advanced soul, Dastur Dinyar dealt with all problems in a wise and sagacious manner. His rulings were strict yet within the confines of the Zoroastrian religious system. His manner was merciful, his conduct awe-inspiring. Nothing could shake the faith and fervour of this demi-god. But that day, as Dastur Dinyar returned to his humble abode from the court, something was wrong. Something was very wrong. Even at his advanced age (probably around 70 years at that time), Dastur Dinyar was troubled.
On that fateful day in court, a question had arisen. A dream had to be deciphered. A verdict had to be given. As the challenge rang out in the court, Dastur Dinyar and Buzurgmeher looked at each other. What they had often discussed in hushed tones, what they had feared for so many years, what they thought could never happen, was now slowly beginning to unravel in front of their eyes. The emperor saw the confusion within his two most trusted lieutenants. He had never seen them in this state, ever. His curiosity aroused, Khosrau Anoshirwan demanded answers. Buzurgmeher tried to appease the King but Khosrau saw through his ruse. As he looked expectantly at Dastur Dinyar, the wise sage requested some time to unravel the mystery. ‘You have 72 hours, Dastur Dinyar!’ the emperor spoke. ‘Whatever may be your answer, O Wise Abed Saheb’, Buzurgmeher interjected gently, ‘please ensure that the safety of Iran and its ancient religion is always safeguarded!’
As he walked back home, Dastur Dinyar was engrossed in his thoughts. He decided that he would need complete peace and quiet to attempt to answer the Emperor’s queries. He needed solitude so that he could attune his mind with nature and look in to the future and then make his decision. It would be a difficult 72 hours. Dastur Dinyar saw his aged mother, over 90 years old, waiting at the door to receive him. The old woman could see that her son was disturbed. Some gentle questioning did not bring forth any answers. The old lady relented. It was probably some matter of state, something top secret. How the Emperor burdens my poor son! Yet how proud she was of him! Radiant, a walking Yazata, someone whose every footstep was gladly accepted by Mother Earth! How proud she was of her little Dinyar! Her memory passed by from the time he was a suckling kid, to his amazing growth and progress to the very top of the Empire. His every wish was her command!
As Dastur Dinyar changed his clothes and began his preparations for his quiet meditation, he once again reminded his mother, gently: ‘Please ensure I am not disturbed, mother, I must have solitude.’ The old lady nodded slightly. She took a chair from the room and positioned herself at the door of the entrance to their humble home. No one could enter without passing her. Inside, the home branched into many rooms, with criss-cross ways. It was purposely made this way, so that a stranger could never know in which room the Dasturan Dastur was present. There, in the solitude of his home and the presence of the Dadgah Fire, Dastur Dinyar retired to one of the smallest and most difficult rooms to enter and began his earnest prayer.
As the Wise Abed prayed, his face relaxed and the worries seemed to fall away. Slowly, step-by-step, his mind began the intricate process of opening the hidden senses, of attuning the hidden senses with the Divine Song of Nature which played incessantly. As he got deeper and deeper, Dastur Dinyar suddenly felt the presence of someone in the room! As he opened his eyes, he saw that it was a Dervish, a mendicant, a wandering Zoroastrian mystic priest. ‘Give something for the Holy, O Wise Man!’ the Dervish pleaded. Dastur Dinyar was surprised at how the roving mystic had managed to get inside! Sending him away after giving him the necessary alms, Dastur Dinyar walked outside and chided his mother gently: ‘I asked not to be disturbed, mother, then why did you let the Dervish enter inside?’ His mother looked up startled: ‘I did not let anyone inside, Dinyar! From the time you started your prayers I have been sitting here, right at the entrance. Who could have gone inside?’ She must have possibly dozed away and the Dervish must have walked inside, thought Dastur Dinyar. ‘Very well, mother. But please ensure I am not disturbed again.’
to be continued…
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram