Rostam Nameh: part 5: The birth of Rostam

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Roj Spendarmad Mah Dae, 1382 Yz.

“Basi bar neyaamed barin roozgaar; ke aazaadsarv andar aamad babaar”

“It wasn’t many days before the stately cypress bore fruit.”

With these apt words, Firdausi begins his account of the birth of the greatest warrior the world has even seen. Soon Rodabeh became pregnant. Her happiness was short lived and soon gave way to misery and heartburn. The extreme size of her foetus caused her great discomfort. At three months, she could not even walk, and as the pregnancy advanced, it seemed certain that either mother or the unborn child would have to be sacrificed. As she reached nine months, Rodabeh began to get spells of fainting and it was at one of these times, that those around her feared the worst. As her nurses rushed to Zaal and gave him the worrying news, the great warrior remembered his Mazdayasni master, the Simorgh. Immediately he held the talisman given by the saint in the fire and ere the Bird of God appeared in front of him and blessed him.

The Mazdayasni Master reassured the worried father-to-be, and reminded him that befitting the stature of his unborn child as the greatest forerunner of Prophet Zarathushtra, both his entry into and exit from this world would be unique and unparalleled. The Simorgh explained to Zaal that it would not be possible for the child to descend into the world through the normal route, and advised him to contact a noted Mobed, who was also a Master Surgeon of that time.

As the learned one arrived, the Simorgh directed that a certain type of sleep inducing wine be administered to Rodabeh. As her consciousness dulled, the Master Surgeon made an incision on the mother’s abdomen and delivered the child safely. He then applied certain pain relieving and wound healing herbs on the incision. After his departure, the Mazdayasni Master, through his Amal of certain Manthras caused the wound to heal immediately, and the mother to recover speedily. In this manner, we see that just as the Prophet Zarathushtra was born in a unique manner, laughing at His birth and praying the Ahunavar, so also his principal forerunner Rostam was born vide the world’s first ‘Caesarean’ operation.

It is of course a different matter that this event took place nearly 6000 years before Julius Caesar’s so-called birth which lends its name to the procedure even today! This wonderful illustration from an old painted manuscript of the Shah Nameh vividly captures the scene.

The Wondrous Birth of Rostam

The Wondrous Birth of Rostam

As Rodabeh regained consciousness, the baby was paced next to her. Firdausi describes the scene:

“They quickly placed the baby next to its mother, praising it as a celestial baby. The one day old baby looked as big as a one year old, like a bouquet of roses and lilies. The stately cypress-like mother was overjoyed on seeing her child and she noticed his imperial stature. As she saw her famous child, she became aware of the lifting of the great load from her body, and she cried out: ‘I am relieved and my pain has disappeared. Hence I shall call this child of mine “Rostam” (I am delivered).’”

The exceptional character of Rostam was evident right from his birth. Firdausi writes thus:

“Ten nurses were kept to feed the child milk, because only they could satisfy his hunger and give him strength and nourishment. As he graduated to solid food, he began eating mutton and naan (unleavened bread). His appetite was equal to five grown up men, and everyone used to wonder at his diet. When he completed eight years, he emerged as tall as a cypress and looked as a shining star – one whom people would keep staring at. In build, intelligence, looks and wisdom, he was as if a copy of the Pehliva Saam himself. Skill itself was his teacher, and time itself was his helper.”

These couplets of Firdausi are not exaggeration or mere poetic license, but are real pointers to the exceptional stature of Rostam. Our revered Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah Shroff explained that the spiritually very advanced soul of Rostam was born with a certain aura and many skill-sets relating to his future mission were already ingrained in his body. He never had to be taught how to use the various weapons of his age – he was born with their mastery. These wonderful revelations of the spiritual stature of Rostam and the exalted position of his family and lineage are explained in the fifth lecture of the series.

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 Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram