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The Legendary King Jamshid of Ancient Iran

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Navroze is celebrated throughout the world by several religious communities in various countries.  King Jamshid of the Peshadadian Dynasty of Iran which was the first Iranian Dynasty was anointed King on this auspicious day of 21st March.  His progressive reign which paved the way for abundance and prosperity at all levels was known as the GOLDEN ERA in the history of ancient Iran writes Dr. SHERNAZ BAJI AVARI.

Navroze was always known as ‘Nawrooz’ in Iran & Persia.  It was in the late 19th century that the Parsis of India named it Jamshedi Navroze.  It celebrates the advent of spring after a cold winter. It also symbolizes victory of the force of light over darkness and evil. It stands as a day of renewal, hope and joy forsaking the old and redundant.  It is believed that King Jamshid received his first revelation on this day and legend has it that his Golden Rule full of progress and accomplishments in various fields lasted for over 600 years! Legend also has it that on this day King Jamshid forced the demons to carry him from Mount Demavand in Iran to Babylon.

King Jamshid’s persona was radiant, glorious and pious.  He invoked the help of Avan, Ram and Mino Ashishwang (angels) on different occasions and received boons whereby he could prosper and further God’s creations and over power every evil in the world.  He was offered Prophethood by Ahura Mazda, the Supreme God but he politely declined saying that he was not fit for this onerous task. He would rather devote his time and duties to the progress of God’s creations and the material world.

During his reign, his subjects were healthy, happy and comfortable.  Ill-health and old age was conspicuous by its absence. Father and son almost looked alike! This was due to healthy living conditions.

King Jamshid introduced many new arts, skills and trades – the art of brick-making, clay-plastering to build houses and palaces was introduced during his regime. It was for the first time in the history of the world that people started living in houses! The art and craft of boat-making, swimming, sea-faring and diving for pearlfishing was introduced during his regime.

Mining started on a large scale. Metals were made from ores and from the metals useful implements like ploughs, hoes, swords, spears, helmets and armours were made to be used during warfare. Horse-shoe was fitted on horses, giving them greater mobility. Mining of precious metals like gold, silver, diamonds and precious stones was intiated by King Jamshid.

Perfumes were extracted from musk, amber and other sweet-scented flowers like roses. The art of fumigation by the use of amber, myrrh and camphor was seen.

The art of cloth-making took shape during his reign when spinning, weaving, warping and sewing clothes developed for the first time. Clothes were even woven with gold and silver threads!

What’s life without a little music, right? The idea of musical instruments was flagged off during the reign of King Jamshid.  The ills of pills were not known in his era.  Many medicinal plants and herbs were used to cure diseases and restore good health. The use of fermented grapes removed discomfort, pain and bodily illness. Why not we try this now?

King Jamshid divided his subjects into 4 main groups.  They were Athornans (priests), Ratheshtars (warriors), Vastroyish (farmers) and Hutokshans (craftsmen and artisans). The respective trades were taught and handed over from father to son who carried out the tradition by passing and perfecting the skills. The position of the Priestly class, the Athornans was highly exalted.

King Jamshid developed a gadget known as ‘jam’ by the use of which he was able to know the past and the future. This concept was known as Jam-i-Jamshed. ‘Jam’ means a goblet from which he was able to know about the past and predict the future through astrological calculations by the divine action of the stars, planets and constellations.

Due to his piety, King Jamshid was greatly favoured by God and other divinities. God guided him through Sarosh Yazad the angel of intuition.  It was during such intuition that the practice of tying the ‘Kusti’, the sacred girdle on the waist was introduced. The rationale behind this practice was that the wearer would remain protected against evil influences so that he could lead a life of goodness and moderation while remaining on the right path of truth and righteousness. During one of his intuitive sojourn, he anticipated that a terrible snow-storm would submerge the entire world in ice and snow.  King Jamshid was forewarned of this catastrophe and asked to take a pair of each species and settle on a mountain top to save himself, his subjects and God’s creations. So King Jamshid went on the mountains and established a settlement there.  It was an enclosure made by King Jamshid known as the Var-e-Jam-Kard. King Jamshid was coronated on this New Year day that is the first day of Hormuz of the first month of Farvardin. It was this day that heralded spring, when day and night stands equal in length, space and time as the Sun enters the Zodiac sign of “Aries”.  He sat on a throne studded with jewels wearing a golden crown. As said earlier King Jamshid had a complete sway over the demons and instructed them to lift him and carry him to far off places he desired to visit. For his ascestion to the throne, celebration became the order of the day with wine, music and song. This day came to be known as JAMSHEDI NAVROZE and is marked by festivities, celebrations and revelry even till this date by many all over the Globe.

It is believed that King Jamshid completed his reign for over 6 to 7 centuries but as time went by, the King became proud of his achievements. He summoned his subjects and proclaimed that there was none in the world like him. All the progress and existence was because of him. So now he felt that it was the right time for his subjects to proclaim him ‘God’.

As soon as he uttered these words, his divine glory flew away in the form of a bird! His subjects lost respect for him and within a few years his entire army deserted him.

When King Jamshid realized his folly, it was a little too late.  The people were disillusioned and wanted a new King. They found one in Babylon by the name of Zohak who was evil personified and was overjoyous to overthrow King Jamshid. Zohak sent a message to King Jamshid asking him to resign and surrender his kingdom. King Jamshid was terrified and challenged Zohak for a battle which lasted for 40 days.  Fortunately, King Jamshid’s side was stronger.  However the evil and crafty Zohak changed the pattern of the battle and made it a battle between the two kings.  Zohak won by using treacherous means. King Jamshid lost the duel and fled Iran changing his identity and wondered from place to place and finally landed on the border of Afghanistan. He married the ruler’s daughter (at 700 years!!!) Samannaz who immediately recognized Jamshid’s identity. In course of time a son was born to them. Samanaz’ father had to persuade Jamshed to leave his palace lest Zohak had any suspicion due to his physical likeness with his son and attack him. Jamshid too realized that it was dangerous to prolong his stay so he left Samannaz and their son Tur and set off for Hindustan.

He went for hiding from one place to another and was finally located in China.  He was recognized by his half-brother who reported the same to Zohak who had him mercilessly killed. This ended the glory of one of the greatest Kings of Iran.

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