The tragic life-story of King Khosrau Parvez – part 7

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Roj Behram Mah Dae, 1381 Yz.

Meanwhile the rebellious courtiers were growingly increasingly worried over Shirooy’s inability to take any decision on the end of Khosrau Parvez. They met in secret and decided on their course of action. On a predetermined day, the courtiers all got together and marched into Shirooy’s court. Seeing them all together, Shirooy thought his end was near. In one voice, the courtiers demanded to know why Shirooy was delaying the final end of the deposed king. They reminded him, in a strong voice, that there could never be two Kings alive. One would have to go and the other would stay. The courtiers were worried that in case there was a turn of events and Khosrau Parvez recaptured the throne, they would all be dead men. But the weakling Shirooy was incapable of taking any decision. He therefore instructed the courtiers to themselves come up with a final solution. Shirooy reminded them that there was no one in the Kingdom who would dare to assassinate the deposed King.

The courtiers grew happy that they had been given a free reign to do as they pleased. Soon they came upon a person perfectly suited for the job. He was a ugly-faced vagabond, a mercenary, with no scruples or relatives, totally bereft of emotion. He was interested only in earning a quick buck and did not care about the consequences of his action. This mercenary had the unlikely (and unsuited) name of Meher Hormuz. He was taken to the leader of the rebels, Farrokhzad who quickly convinced himself of the assassin’s ability to do the needful. Promising him untold riches, Farrokhzad gave him a mean dagger of good Indian steel and an accomplice soldier to make him find his way to Khosrau Parvez. In the dead of night, Meher Hormuz approached the palace of Mahrespand along with his guide.

At that time, Khosrau Parvez was alone in his room, with a young helper boy at his side. As Meher Hormuz entered the King’s chamber, Khosrau Parvez realized that his time was up. He instructed the young boy to quickly get a basin and a jug of water, along with a set of new, white clothes. As the assassin waited, the young slave carried a gold basin in to the King’s presence and jugs of pure water, along with a set of new, white clothes. The poor boy did not understand what was happening. The King asked the boy to leave the room. He then rose up, washed his hands, face and body with the pure water. He put on the set of new clothes and then took the Holy Barsam (the sacred twigs of the Haoma plant) which were used  by the Kings of that time to recite prayers before every meal. As he sat down to perform his last Baj, the King offered genuine Patet for all his sins and thanksgiving to the Yazads for all they had bestowed on him.

Finishing his prayers, the King silently nodded to the assassin, who (despite all his roughness and lack of emotion, had enough courtesy to allow the King his last wish) waited with his dagger drawn. Khosrau Parvez lay down on his couch and covered his face with a white sheet so that he may not have to see the ugly face of his murderer. Meher Hormuz moved in quickly and with one hand tore off the sheet from the King’s face, and with the other expertly plunged the sharp dagger into the Kings liver, thrusting and turning it as he quickly and efficiently finished his sordid act. With a silent prayer on his lips, Khosrau Parvez left this earth, to begin his journey to the other realm. In this manner, one of the greatest Kings of the Sassanian monarchy met his tragic and ignoble end. Here is a miniature painting depicting this tragic scene.

As morning came and the news of King Khosrau Parvez’s death spread like wildfire, there was great discontent in the Kingdom. The populace roundly cursed the weakling Shirooy and the courtiers for their treasonous activity. But soon, life went back to normal. Khosrau Parvez’s wife Shirin, went into mourning for her lost husband. Fifty three days after the King’s death, Shirooy sent a message to Shirin, asking her to be present in the court to answer charges that she had practiced witchcraft and made Khosrau Parvez turn against Shirooy. The Queen was much displeased with Shirooy’s foolishness and asked him to call an assembly of wise men, where she could put forward her defense. Shirooy agreed and called fifty wise and aged men to the court to listen to Shirin’s defense.

On the appointed day, the Queen dressed in the mourning colours of black and blue and approached the court, preserving her modesty and royal stature behind a silk screen. But seeing her regal stature and amazing beauty, even from behind the silk screen, Shirooy’s mind turned from anger to lust. He now instructed Shirin to become his queen. Shirin answered loudly – ‘on one hand you accuse me of sorcery, and now you want me to join your harem?’ The lust in his mind made Shirooy go crazy. He regretted his accusation and said that it had been said in a moment of anger.

But Shirin would not let him off so easily. She addressed the court: ‘O assembled leaders and wise men! There are three things which proclaim the virtue of a royal lady: firstly, modesty even in the lap of luxury; secondly giving birth to illustrious sons who would take forward the legacy of their father; thirdly impeccable and angelic beauty which would set a standard for other ladies of the court to follow. Ever since I became queen of Khosrau Parvez, I acted with great modesty, performing works of charity for the old and the poor. Secondly, I bore four illustrious sons – Nastoor, Shaharyar, Farood and Mardanshah. Yet, tragedy has struck my family and they are now all with their heavenly father! Regarding my beauty, I am the same now as I was when I first met the king, there is not a single line on my face! Behold ye all, the real beauty which is God given and not from sorcery!’

Saying so Shirin stepped out from behind her curtain and exposed her face to the assembled court, and made her long lustrous hair lose and tumble on to the floor. Nobody had seen such beauty anywhere. As the elders gaped with mouths dribbling with saliva, Shirooy was further inflamed with lust. He could not muster control over his body and shouted out: ‘I want none but you. You shall be my queen!’ The charming woman replied: ‘I will be queen after you have agreed to two of my conditions.’ ‘Name them!’ panted the lusty weakling. ‘Return to me all the things which have been confiscated from my palace’, said the Queen. Shirooy immediately agreed and the Queen returned to her palace to find all the articles returned. She then assembled her trusted servants and assistants. She gave them costly gifts and freed all the slaves. She then made a list of donations to various Daremehers around the Kingdom, and gave away the rest to the poor. She set up Trusts for celebrating the festivals of Navroze and Meherangan and the Gahambars. She kept aside a large amount of money for carving out homes from the rocky mountains where wise sages could sit and meditate. She then put on white, camphor-scented clothes and placed around her a neck a thick gold chain with a special capsule strung through it.

She then went to the King and asked for her second wish: ‘I wish to open the Dakhma of my beloved husband and see his body one last time.’ The weakling Shirooy agreed. Shirin was escorted to the special Dakhma where Khosrau Parvez’s body had been laid and the watchman opened the door for her. Seeing her husband’s body there, the noble lady started lamenting and cursing her fate and that ignoble step son of her’s who had the indecency to want to sleep with her. Offering her last prayers, the Queen opened the capsule from her necklace and emptied the strong poison into her mouth, and then sat with her back resting on the Dakhma wall, next to the body of her husband. Soon her breath became shallow and as the poison performed its function, the Ruvan of Shirin was on its way to join her husband in the other realm.

When Shirooy heard what had happened all his lust vanished and he fell intensely ill. He ordered another Dakhma made for Shirin. As he rued his fate, Shirooy became increasingly isolated. In a few months, he too was poisoned. Thus ended his ignoble reign. His son Ardeshir ascended the throne but within six months he too was killed by Piruz, another son of Khosrau Parvez. The crown now passed on to Goraz, another favourite of Khosrau Parvez. But within a few months, trouble erupted between the King and his sons, who were eager to ascend the throne. Soon, Goraz was killed by one of his own son’s Shahran. In the internecine fighting, all the sons also killed each other.

The throne now passed on to the daughter of Khosrau Parvez, called Purandokht.

Her reign lasted six months, the notable feature of which was her killing Piruz who had in turn killed Ardeshir. She fell ill (probably due to poisoning) and was soon gone. Now another daughter (or sister) called Azarmidokht ascended the throne of Iran.

She lasted all of four months before she too died mysteriously. Now Farrokhzad ascended the throne. But he could not even last one complete month, before he was given poisoned wine by a slave whom he had punished.

In this manner, the throne finally passed on to Yezdezerd Shaharyar on Roj Ashishvangh of Mah Spendarmad (the day the Holy Muktad starts). The noble, illustrious, brave but tragically unfortunate emperor ruled for twenty years, before the battle of Qadisiyah (16th to 19th November 636 AD) and the disastrous battle of Nehavand  (December 641-Jan 642 AD) turned the tide in favour of the Arabs. The Sassanian empire was finished. Yezdezerd Shaharyar was on the run for 10 years, trying to rearrange his forces and attack the Arabs. But it was not to be. Tired and in hiding, he came up to a miller and asked for food. As bread was given, he asked for the Holy Barsam, so that he could recite the Baj. The miller realized who he was and murdered him, robbed him of his royal jewels and threw away his body in the nearby river. It was retrieved later by some Christian priests who then arranged for a Zoroastrian funeral.

Readers of Frashogard, this is the way our empire disintegrated and fell apart. The days of glory ended and the days of misery started. Two hundred years later, the descendants of those brave warriors made their journey to India, landing on the shores of Sanjan. We are the descendants and remnants of those brave and spiritually advanced souls. As our community faces grave threats and dangers from within, those of us who have the faith, wait and prepare for the coming of the Promised One, so that we may be led, once again to our motherland Iran. May that day come soon!

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

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Comments

  1. H M Mistry  June 4, 2012

    Thank you for this brilliant exposition. Once again, our community is passing through tumultuous times. May the advent of the Rainidarsaheb be soon so that we are able to see a new dawn!

  2. Burzin  June 4, 2012

    Dear Ervad Saheb,

    Truly well written.
    The downfall of the Sassanians came about when the royals started ignoring religious injunctions (e.g. indulged in intermarriage) which in turn caused immense strife and unrest. Alas, when will we learn from history?

    Dear, H.M. Mistry, may we see the new dawn soon.

  3. Mehlli Bhagalia  June 6, 2012

    RESPECTED ERVAD SAHEB,

    I CRY FOR OUR COMMUNITY IN INDIA.

    THE SAME THING THAT HAPPENED THEN, IS HAPPENING NOW IN INDIA

    WE HAVE JUST NOW, TOO FEW GOOD MEN/WOMEN STRONG ENOUGH, WITH THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES NEEDED IN OUR COMMUNITY, TO UNITE OUR COMMUNITY TOWARDS THE RIGHT PATH.

    ALL THE LAWYERS AND WEALTH ARE WITH SATAN.

    THEY ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF DEMOCRACY AND GOOD LAWS WITHOUT REMEDIES IN INDIA, TO HARRASS THE GOOD PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

    WE ARE TOLD THAT, WE HAVE ONLY TO WAIT UNTIL THEY OVERPLAY THEIR HAND, SO THAT NATURE (KHUDRAT) CAN PLAY THE FINAL HAND. THAT MAY BE TOO LATE.
    THE SINS OF OUR COMMUNITY MUST BE REALLY TERRIBLE TO DESERVE THE PRESENT SITUATION.
    IT CANNOT GO ON, LIKE THIS.
    IN THE USA, SOUTH AMERICA OR EUROPE OR THE MIDDLE EAST, RELIGIOUS PEOPLE WOULD NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN.
    THEY WOULD EITHER A.
    FORM A MILITANT UNDERGROUND MOVEMENT AND ARRANGE TO DISPATCH THE DIN DUSHMANS WITH “EXTREME PREJUDICE” IN A WELL COORDINATED WIDESPREAD OPERATION, TO A TIMELY END, SO THAT OTHER DIN DUSHMANS MAY KNOW WITH CERTAINTY, HOW THEY ARE GOING TO END UP IF THEY “MESS” WITH OUR RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS AND PRACTICES. WE WOULD PUT THE FEAR OF GOD IN THESE DIN DUSHMANS WITH THE WRONG END OF A GUN IN THEIR MOUTHS OR
    B. UNITE AS A STRONG GROUP, INVITING DONATIONS FROM CORPORATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS FROM INDIA AND ABROAD, TO HAVE THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO FIGHT THE DIN DUSHMANS IN A COURT OF LAW OR IN THE LEGISLATURE TO INTRODUCE LAWS TO PROTECT OUR RELIGION.

    TO SAY AND DO NOTHING, EXCEPT RECITE OUR PRAYERS, HAVE FAITH AND DEVOTION IN OUR PEGUMBAR AND HOPE THAT “THIS TOO SHALL PASS” WHILE THE GIANT STEAM ROLLER OF SATAN, MOWS US DOWN– IS COWARDICE, RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL.
    WE TRADITIONALS ATLEAST SHOULD UNITE, POOL OUR RESOURCES, WAKE UP OUR CLERGY AND VADA DASTURS TO REFUSE TO PERFORM CERIMONIES FOR THE COMMUNITY, UNTILL REFORMS ARE IMPLIMENTED TO EMPOWER THE CLERGY BY LEGAL MEANS, AND WITH LEGAL PROTECTIONS TO TAKE THE RIGHT RELIGIOUS ACTION AGAINST THE DIN DUSHMANS LIKE–NOT PERFORMING NAVJOTES, WEDDINGS AND OTHER CERIMONIES FOR THEM.

    IF OUR COMMUNITY IN INDIA UNITES TO DO THIS AND WAKES UP OUR COMMOTOSE CLERGYAND VADA DASTUR TRIBUNAL AND PARSI PANCHAYAT, I AND MANY OTHERS LIKE ME IN FOREIGN LAND WILL SUPPORT YOU WITH DONATIONS FOR YOUR STRUGGLES, JUST LIKE COUNTRIES ARE SUPPORTING STRUGGLES, AGAINST TYRANTS TODAY.
    BUT FIRST, PARSEES HAVE TO STAND UP FOR THEIR RELIGION IN INDIA, FOR OTHERS LIKE US TO HELP YOU..

  4. Eddie P. Behramkamdin.  June 7, 2012

    Dear Ervad Saheb Marzban,
    Well written and really touching writeup. One cannot stop water flowing from one’s eyes.
    May Dadar Hormazd bless you with happy, healthy long life and with your and such like minded mobed sahebs’ prayers, we sincerly hope that history does not repeat to create more and more sadists in our community.
    God bless and look forward to read subsequent writeups of yrs.
    Best Regards,
    Epb.