The Journey to Sanjan
The Journey to Sanjan
After the end of Shah Yazdezard, the Arabs had full control over Iran though the Iranian rulers of several provinces continued their rule and for several years resisted the Arabs. Yet the major portion of Iran had come under Arab rule. They forcibly compelled the Iranians to accept their religion. Those who did not embrace Islam had to undergo unlimited suffering. Due to such merciless tyranny, a large part of the Iranian population embraced Islam.
A group of Iranians had settled in Kohistan and remained there for almost three decades after the death of Shah Yazdezard. But thereafter it was becoming increasingly risky so they settled in a town called Hormuzd. For 15 years they resided there; but finally there too, it was found impossible to protect their religion. The strength of the enemies of the faith was increasing day by day. They began to see the possibility of failure of the purpose for which they had left their home and settled in Kohistan and later at Hormuzd. They discussed possible measures to be taken to save themselves from difficult circumstances if they wanted to save their religion. Finally for the sake of being loyal to their religion, with a heavy heart they decided to forsake their fortunate motherland – the sacred land where their Prophet was born and had established His lofty religion and take refuge in some foreign land.
They prepared boats for the voyage. They took the name of God on their lips, respectfully remembered the Pious Soul of Prophet Zarathushtra, desired the Blessings of Divine Powers and chanting the miraculous Ahunavar prayer they boarded the boats, lifted the anchors and started moving. The Iranians bowed for the last time to their land of Iran and bid farewell to It with saddened hearts.
Thus by forsaking their dear country they had lost everything. But even then they still had with them something that had much greater and everlasting value – their pure Iranian blood, strong religious faith and the greatness of their culture – (something we need to recognize and respect in order to keep our religion shining like a pearl in this ocean of crores and preserve our purity no matter what our numbers may be, so that the Eternally Ever Increasing Brightness of our religion may spread far and wide because, no matter what, Its’ existence can never ever be harmed).
Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval, a scholarly and pious religious leader was with this Iranian fleet and was their leader and guide. When they reached the Port of Diu, it was under His leadership and guidance that they settled there and lived happily for 19 years. But difficult circumstances arose once again and they found it impossible to live there. This scholarly religious leader predicted the future and declared his intention to leave Diu and move towards some other place. So once again boats were made ready and entrusting their safety to the ocean they kept on moving.
As the boats moved speedily all were enthusiastic about reaching some port in Gujarat when suddenly the wind started to blow and took on the form of a storm, which intensified every moment. Clouds spread over the sky and there was thunder and lightning with heavy rains. Darkness spread all over and the environment was dense. The storm assumed dangerous proportions with the waves rising to gigantic heights, tearing the sails and tossing the boats like balls. The navigators were unable to control the boats. Water started entering the boats and it looked like they would sink alongwith the precious load.
Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval examined the situation and thoughts started to race through his mind. He thought that this group was not doing all this for worldly selfishness but they had the high ideal of preserving their religion and men who possess such lofty ideals must get help from Pak Dadar Ahuramazda instead of having such a tragic end. He thought of seeking Gods’ help for which he issued a directive. All the Zarthushtis then did ‘padiyaab kushti’, faithfully recited Avesta prayers and bowed their heads before their Creator Father and prayed with a true heart the prayer, whose meaning follows herewith, : –
Meaning : –
“O all knowing Father! Today You reach out to us, help and save us from our troubles – protect us! O Behram Yazad, Giver of Victory! Come to our help and bring us out of this calamity!
As God worshippers, we always declare that none else except You is our Protector. So, O Sir! You Yourself be the Saviour of we humble ones and show us mortal faithfuls the True Path!
If we are saved from this dangerous storm and reach the shores of India with joyous hearts, then we shall establish the Holy Fire of Atash Behram. O Ahura Mazda! You with all Your Strength, save us from this dangerous calamity and protect us.”
The actual prayer can be got from the book – The history of the Holy Fire Iranshah by Ervad Faramroze Phiroz Mirza.
They prayed to Behram Yazad to save them from this storm, promising to consecrate a great Fire Temple in his name as a token of their gratitude.
Through the power of this prayer their hearts experienced relief and peace and this prayer, which was full of true faith was accepted in the Court of Daadaar and in a few minutes Its’ effect was observed. Slowly the rains stopped completely, the clouds dispersed and the shining sun seemed to welcome them as representatives of God, spreading cheerfulness all around. The boats continued their advance and at last, shoreline was sighted from a distance. The boats arrived at this port, which was later known as Sanjan.
The Parsis landed at Sanjan on Roz 2 Mah 4, 85 A.Y.; 25th August, 716 A.C.
It is at this place that King Jadi Rana ruled. At first the ruler was a bit skeptical and so he sent a bowl filled to the brim with milk signifying that his kingdom was full of good people and that there was no place for more. There are two versions about how Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval responded. According to certain sources Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval removed his golden ring and slid it in the bowl of milk thereby conveying that like the gold ring they would mix with his people and enrich the country, which was like milk. As per other sources it is said that Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval mixed sugar in the milk which also conveyed the same message. The king was so impressed by this response that he invited Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval to his court.
Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval with other religious leaders went to the King and narrated their story and requested the King to give shelter to his people in this country. The king could see that they were physically well built people from whose eyes flowed bright rays of courage and strength. The aura of their pure Iranian blood and bravery showed on their faces. Hence initially he hesitated to give shelter to such visibly strong people but he thought of his duties as a true Rajput and agreed to give them asylum on the condition that the following five conditions were acceptable to them : –
1. I should be acquainted with the details of your religion.
2. You must use the language of this country.
3. The ladies must dress like the Indian ladies.
4. No weapons should be used.
5. The marriage ceremony should be performed after sunset.
Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval accepted these conditions as they were not contrary to directives of our religion. He explained the main tenets and traditions of the Zarathushti religion and ended it by blessing the King – details of this account also can be got from the same abovementioned book. Jadi Rana was very pleased with the account given by Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval and he granted them permission to stay in his kingdom.
The Parsis chose a vast area and settled there and from the town named “Sanjan” in Khwaf province of Kohistan in Iran, they gave the name Sanjan to this place.
So now, after settling in Sanjan, their one big desire was honour their promise to establish a sacred Atash Behram (these details also can be got from the same book) to revere Ahura Mazda through the glowing light of the Atash consecrated according to the laws of the religion. So after taking the permission of King Jadi Rana, all necessary arrangements were made and under the guidance of Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval, the rituals commenced with a large number of pious mobeds. Finally on Adar mahino Adar Roj, Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval enthroned Shree Atash Behram with his own hands and performed the first ‘boi’ ceremony. Everyone bowed in respect to The Spiritual Glowing Light and expressed their gratitude after which Dasturji Nairyosang Dhaval declared that since they had to leave their dear country Iran and had lost their Shahenshah rthey now had no Iranian Shah of their own. Hence he directed the entire Zarthusti Anjuman to consider this sacred Atash Behram as our King and declared that It will always be known as Shree Iranshah reminding us of our Motherland, our Prophet Zarathushtra Saheb and His Splendid religion and our famed Iranian Shahs. It will be the Spiritual Umbrella of our community and by Its’ Lustre, Truth and Power will always guide us and Protect the Zarthushti religion.
The Yazata Behram, known in the Avesta as ‘Verethraghna’ (lit. ‘smiting the enemy’), occupies a pivotal role in the minds of Zoroastrians. His popularity stems from His appellation as The Vanquisher of all foes – ‘Dushman-zadaar’ and One Who gives victory – ‘Firozgar’ to all those who ask for His help.
The above information has been taken from the following two books : –
1. The history of the Holy Fire Iranshah by Ervad Faramroze Phiroz Mirza
2. Farshogard – The Journal of Ilm-e-Khshoom by Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram
Peace and Happiness Always…….
Mazdayasno Ahmi, Mazdayasno Zarathushtrish.
Re arrival at Sanjan, pl read the book in english Kisseh-e- Sanjan by H. Edulji available from Parsiana book shop. tel. 22074335/ 22074347
Coming soon : The establishment of Shree Iranshah – Watch this space