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  • Writer's pictureAdil Malia

Shahnameh - The Saga Of The Shahanshahs

This ancient Persian odyssey by Firdausi narrates many deep tales with lessons to learn from ( bizarre as some of them may at times sound). This one narration explains the journey of life beautifully. Thus I share with you.

Zal is the son of Saam. Zal falls in love with Rudabeh daughter of King Mehrab & Sindochist. King Mehran ( for the uninitiated, is from the enemy lineage of Zohak). Saam was a Persian affiliated to King Minuchehr and the lineage of Zohak was the enemy lineage from Tooran for them.

Zal crosses into enemy lines and falls madly in love with Rudabeh. He thus seeks his father Saam's permission for marriage. Saam sends him to seek Shahanshah Minucher's approval.

Minucher is at first very angry with this proposition. But considering the services Saam and Zal had rendered to him he willy-nilly agrees if Zal passes the tests of wit, wisdom & riddles given to him by the wise men of Persia.

One of the many questions posed to him by the six wise men was to explain what the following meant :

" I saw on a mountain a city with buildings rising towards the skies and whose citizens preferred a hedge of hawthorn to a waste uncultivable area of land. The memory of the city has gone now but someday the earth will wake, and people will remember it , and they will be filled with regret. Explain the meaning of this if you can."

Zal's explanation is deep and profound and thus I thought of sharing with you.

Zal remained deeply absorbed in thoughts and then answers the test riddle as under...

" The city built upon the mountain is our eternal home, where we have to give our account. The waste-land is our present abode - that place of pleasure, pain and sorrow - which exalts us at one moment , but casts us down the next. We leave our work behind in the brake, and seek the city that is built atop the mountain; someone else takes our place in the meantime but he, too, will not remain forever. If we have done good deeds, and left behind an honoured name, our souls in the other world will be held dear, but if our deeds are of greed or shame, these will appear against us in the next world. Although we may raise our houses here high enough to reach Saturn, we shall still have a shroud after that, and no more; dust and bricks will be placed over our heads."

Rustam - the Great was the son of Zal & Rodabeh.

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Aug 24, 2021

Wonderful and so impactful! Thanks for sharing Adil. Not only a good analysis but helpful guidance for living life with wisdom and right values.

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