The migration of Parsis to India – 3: Dastur Dinyar

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Roj Behram Mah Tir, 1383 Yz.

As the sagacious Dastur began his prayers, once again his mind relaxed and his inner senses opened up. Dastur Dinyar began to converse with Nature, relaying the question of the King and working the intricate tables to summon up the right answer. As he was lost in his meditation, a voice suddenly broke the silence. ‘Some alms for the holy one please!’ It was another Dervish, this time! Dastur Dinyar was slightly irritated. How did this fellow manage to come inside? As he gave him the alms and sent him on his way, Dastur Dinyar strode up to his mother and asked her once again: ‘O mother I am trying to pray and once again you let someone inside? Why are you doing this? Do you not understand? It is very important that I not be disturbed!’ The poor mother looked up to her angry child and replied: ‘dear son, I promise I have not let anyone inside. I have been vigilant and I have sat here near the door the whole time. Where is this Dervish? I did not see him enter or leave!’

The third time, Dastur Dinyar began his prayers. Once again his mind began the gentle probing, the insistent questioning of Nature, to try and find the answers to the riddle set by the Emperor. As his mind went deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Nature, Dastur Dinyar’s probing became more persistent and unrelenting. But Nature was not giving up her secrets easily that fateful day. As Dastur Dinyar inquired, and his mind worked the secret calculus, things seemed to be finally revealing themselves. Suddenly his entire concentration was broken by a noise: ‘Some alms for the holy one please!’ the Dervish stood in front of him, unmindful of the mental havoc he had wreaked in Dastur Dinyar’s mind. Despite his years of training, his highest pedigree, his noblest service to the cause of the Zoroastrian religion, something snapped inside Dastur Dinyar. He strode out to his mother.

How can mere mortals stop that which is destined to happen?

‘O careless woman! This is the third time you have allowed a mendicant to disturb my prayers. I trusted you to remain on guard and help me in my meditation but you have failed me!’ In frustration and anger, Dastur Dinyar picked up a reed pen from the table nearby and threw it at his mother! The old lady could not take it any more. ‘By the Pak Yazdan, I swear I have not let anyone inside! I have sat here, all alone, without food or water, while you were inside. I have guarded this house and your meditation with all my heart. Never in my 90 years have you, my son, ever been angry with me. And yet today, for no fault of mine, you have hurled this pen at me! It is not a pen, it is a spear that has split open my heart! I am sorry to have failed you!’ Saying so, the shocked old lady fell down and gave up her life-breath.

The terrible deed had been done.

As the heartbroken mother fell down and died, the haze lifted from Dastur Dinyar’s eyes. Where was the Dervish? He was nowhere to be seen! Was he real? Or was it time itself, playing its dirty tricks once again. O cruel time! How you raise the fortunes of some, only to roil them some years later! There was no need for any mental calculations any more. The answer to the riddles of the King were all apparent to Dastur Dinyar now. Those years of wondering as to his destiny were now over.

The news of the happenings in Dastur Dinyar’s house reached the Emperor. Noshirwan-e-Adil, was known for his justice. A great dilemma arose in the King’s mind. What should he do? The punishment for one who killed his parent was instant death. But this was no ordinary criminal. This was Dasturan Dastur Dinyar. At the same time, justice should be seen to be done, whatever the societal position of the offender. The King conferred with the wise Buzurgmeher and other nobles of the court. After some time they reached a decision.

As the court convened, there was pin drop silence. Everyone waited with bated breath for the decree of the King. What would he do? There in the centre of the court stood Dastur Dinyar, his head bowed low, his mind marvelling at the turn of events. How clever everyone is in hindsight! The King spoke, softly but firmly. The punishment was announced. For his heinous crime, Dastur Dinyar was stripped of all his titles and privileges. Moreover, he was to be exiled from the Iranian Empire, never to return. As the Emperor announced his judgement there was a palpable murmur at both his wisdom as well as the thought as to where would the Wise Dastur go. The Iranian Empire comprised of the entire civilized world, save Rome and Greece! Here is a map showing the extent of the Sassanian Empire.

Map of Sassanian Empire


As his last minutes in the court of the Sassanian Empire drew to a close, the Emperor spoke gently to his ex-right hand man. ‘And now, Dastur Dinyar, the answer to the riddle please?’

The Wise Sage looked up to face his Emperor, and with tears flowing down those luminescent orbs and on to the snowy white beard spoke: ‘O Shahenshah e-Iran! The days of glory of your empire are drawing close. A new power is now destined to arise. A new religion will be established. Its buildings will have minarets and its emblem will be the crescent moon. Soon they will come into Iran and destroy your lineage and your dynasty. In 100 years, the defeat will be complete and Zarathushtrian Iran will cease to exist. In this scheme of things, I have a particular part to play, and with a heavy heart I leave you and my beloved country to do what is destined for me. This is the answer to the dream which you had, my Lord! Farewell, my Emperor and all my friends, and farewell to my country!’

A sudden hush descended in the court as the words of the Wise One rang out. All were quiet as their minds worked overtime to comprehend what had just been announced. All except one, of course. The Wise Buzurgmeher bowed low to Dastur Dinyar and reminded him gently:‘please ensure that the safety of Iran and its ancient religion is always safeguarded!’

They led him out of court. For his services to the Empire, they gave him a horse, a camel skin of water and some food. The soldiers escorted the Dastur on the long journey till the edge of the Sassanian Empire. This was the end of civilization, the last outpost of culture. Beyond lay the vast desert of Arabia, home to nomadic and idolatrous tribes like the Bedouin, who kept fighting with each other and carried out some rough trade in dates. There they left him, alone, a solitary figure, sitting atop his horse and walking aimlessly amongst the dunes of Arabia. That was the last the Iranian Empire would see of Dastur Dinyar. What more could Nature have in store for him?

As Dastur Dinyar kept up his wanderings, his mind awash with tears for the horrible deed he had committed, his face downcast with the heavy burden that the Merciful God had given unto him, a voice seemed to call out to him, guiding him to his ultimate destination.

After many years of wandering, Dastur Dinyar met a caravan of Arab traders, proceeding from Mecca towards Syria.

Caravan Arabian desert

They were from the Quraysh tribe, and they ran a small trade in dates and other crude items between Mecca and Syria. The leader of the caravan was the head of the Banu Hashim clan, called Abu Talib. Accompanying him in the caravan was a teenager, a nephew of Abu Talib, called Muhammad bin Abdullah. The teenager was marked out for much greater things in future. Between his shoulder blades, was a protruding fleshy enlargement, marked by hair and warts. As he saw the young boy, and the tell-tale mark on his back, Dastur Dinyar felt a huge burden lift from his shoulders. The hazy visions of his mind now became clear. The years of roaming were now coming to an end. The days of Dastur Dinyar were coming to an end. The young boy would soon become Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Dastur Dinyar was to become Salman-al-Farsi, the Wise Persian who would be one of the closest advisers and constant companions of the Prophet.

In this manner, the foundation for the migration of Parsis to India was laid, in around 595 AD.

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram



  1. Maneck Daruwalla  December 6, 2013

    The narration is mind boggling. The way in which the story unfolds seems that we are not mere reading, but living in that era and period. Awaiting your next episode. Thank you very much for your time and insights.

  2. Shahnaz Irani  December 7, 2013

    Can’t wait to read futher.Tks for enlighting us with such deep and rich historical stories.

  3. Dhanju Chichgur  December 7, 2013

    From this Blog we learn that it was destined that the glory of Zoroastrian Iran would end with the Sassanian Empire, but the irony is that a Zoroastrian Sage of the highest caliber was instrumental
    in its downfall. The Almighty must have had his own reasons for mankind. I would have loved to live in the time when Zoroastrianism was at its peak in Iran. Even after Islam took over Iran, they could have
    co-existed peacefully with the Zoroastrians and not try to convert them. Today we in India are living happily with people of so many different religions including followers of Islam.
    Looking forward to the next blog.

  4. Rayomand  January 18, 2014

    Sir eagerly awaiting for the next blog and many more