The fourth King of the Peshdadian dynasty to adorn the throne of ancient Iran was the radiant and glorious Jamshed. Not only the Mazdayasnis (good people), but even the daevayasnis (evil people) regarded him as their King. In the Shahnameh he is referred to as King Tehmurasp’s son, but in the Avestan scriptures he is mentioned as the grandson of King Tehmurasp and son of Vivanghan. Vivanghan was the first person to pray to Hom Yazad (a divine being) and as a result he was blessed with an illustrious son, Jamshed.
The Golden Age
King Jamshed was a divinely inspired King. He had received the Kayanian Khoreh (Divine Energy for the Kings) for his devotion and obedience to God and commitment towards his duties. He was offered the mission of being a prophet by Ahura Mazda, but he politely declined, as he did not consider himself fit for that big task. Instead, he chose to further the progress of the material world.
On account of King Jamshed’s just rule his subjects were very healthy and happy. Ill-health and vices had vanished from his kingdom. Nobody became old. Father and son looked alike. There was neither extreme heat nor cold in his kingdom. It was indeed a Golden Age in the history of ancient Iran. As a result of prosperity and healthy living conditions, the population increased manifold, and thrice King Jamshed increased the boundaries of his kingdom, towards the South.
People in King Jamshed’s reign were introduced to many new arts and trades like the art of brick-making and clay-plastering, which gave rise to the art of building houses and palaces. For the first time, people started living in houses. King Jamshed also introduced the craft of boat-making, which gave rise to diving and pearl-fishing. Metals were made from ores and from metals several useful implements like the plough and the hoe were made. Swords, spears, helmets and armours were also made to be used for warfare. Horse-shoes were fitted to horses giving them greater mobility. Mining of precious metals and stones like gold, silver and diamonds gave rise to the making of ornaments.
King Jamshed introduced his people to the concept of perfumes, extracted from musk, amber and sweet-scented flowers like rose and also the art of fumigation by frankincense, amber, myrrh and camphor.
The art of cloth making was developed in King Jamshed’s reign by the introduction of spinning, weaving, warping and woofing. Zari (golden and silvern threads) and silk were also used. King Jamshed introduced many medicinal plants and herbs by the use of which he was able to relieve many diseases and restore health.
The discovery of wine
The fourth King of the Peshdadian dynasty was the radiant and glorious Jamshed. He was the son of Vivanghan.
King Jamshed was divinely inspired. He had received the Kayanian Khoreh (Divine Royal Glory) for his devotion and obedience to God and commitment towards his duties. His divinity was evident on his brilliant and pious face.
On account of king Jamshed’s just rule his subjects were very healthy and happy. Ill-health and vices had almost vanished from his kingdom. Nobody knew old age. Father and son looked alike. It seemed that even mother nature was helping King Jamshed in his task of giving maximum comfort to his people, since there was neither extreme heat nor cold in his kingdom. It was indeed a Golden Age in the history of Iran. As a result of abundant prosperity and healthy living conditions, the population of Iran increased manifold, and thrice King Jamshed increased the boundaries of his kingdom.
People in King Jamshed’s reign were introduced to many new arts, skills and trades like brick-making and clay-plastering, mining, cloth making, making musical instruments and practicing medicine.
The practice of using wine as a medicine started from King Jamshed’s time. There were huge orchards and vineyards in the king’s palace. Fruits from the trees were plucked and stored in gigantic vats. In one of the vats, the grapes had fermented and foul smell emanated from it. The King and his physicians labelled it as poison and it was kept aside in a desolate place, to be disposed off later.
Once, a maid from the palace was suffering from an incurable disease. Her colleagues and family ostracize and shunned her. The maid was in great distress and so she decided to end her life. When she saw the vat labeled as poison, she decided to drink its contents. She drank a cupful from that vat and soon fell asleep. When she awoke, she was not sure as to where she was.
She thought she was in heaven, as much of her pain and discomfort had vanished. However, to her surprise, she realised that she was breathing and very much alive. Not sure about the cause of her well-being, once again she drank a cupful from the vat and again she felt dizzy and went to sleep. This time, when she awoke she was feeling healthier. Her pain and illness had vanished. She was jubilant and decided to inform the king about the miraculous property of the drink in the vat.
The following day she went to the King and said, “O King of the World, I have a wonderful news for you, but before I disclose it, I ask your forgiveness for disobeying your order.” The King was puzzled at this statement and told the maid to clarify it. The maid recounted the story of her illness and her miraculous cure. Immediately the King sent his physicians to have the brew in the vat tested. The miraculous curative properties of the brew were confirmed and thereafter started the practice of taking wine in moderate quantities as a rejuvenating and health-giving drink.
Four professional groups
King Jamshed divided his subjects into four professional groups Athornans “priests,” Ratheshtars “warriors,” Vastriyosh “farmers” and Hutaokhsh “craftsmen and artisans.” One of the reasons for this fourfold division was to enhance the work quality, as the respective trades would be handed over from father to son, which would provide an opportunity of learning the trades early in life, perfecting them and then passing over the superior techniques to the following generation resulting in greater efficiency.
A few highly devout priests specially resided on mountains to devote their time to prayers and invoke the blessings of God and other divine beings on the kingdom. So exalted was the position of priests during King Jamshed’s reign, that the King regarded himself as a ruler as well as a priest.
King Jamshed had developed a gadget known as Jām-i-Jamshed, by which, he was able to know the past and the future. Though the word jām literally means a goblet, it was probably a gadget, somewhat like a modern telescope. It may even have been a full-fledged observatory from which King Jamshed saw the heavenly bodies and using the art of astrology came to know the past and predict the future from the stars, planets and constellations.
King Jamshed was greatly favored by God and other divine beings on account of his piety and benevolent activities. God often guided him through Sarosh Yazad, the Yazata bringing intuition. It was through one such insights from Sarosh Yazad that King Jamshed introduced the practice of tying the Kasti (the sacred girdle) on the waist to protect the wearer against evil influences, attracting goodness and leading a life of moderation. Even today, the Kasti is worn on the waist by Zoroastrians.
The world is submerged
Once God guided King Jamshed through Sarosh Yazad about the arrival of a terrible snow-storm which would submerge the entire world under snow. King Jamshed was not only fore-warned of this catastrophe, he was also advised to take a pair of each species and create a Vara “an enclosure” on a mountain to save himself and other good creations from this great catastrophe.
King Jamshed went on a mountain taking with him a pair of most species of animals and plants and established a settlement which came to be known as Var-e-Jam-Kard “the enclosure made by Jamshed.” In this Vara, King Jamshed was coronated on the new year day, that is, the day on which the sun enters the house of Aries. It was also the day which heralded spring. King Jamshed sat on a jewel-studded throne wearing a golden crown. He established his benevolent reign and completely subjugated the evil.
King Jamshed’s ascension to the throne was celebrated with prayers, followed by wine, music and singing. This day came to be known as Jamshedi Navroz and was announced as a day of rest and festivity. Even today the festival of Jamshedi Navroz is celebrated with great joy and revelry. In the reign of King Jamshed there was health and happiness and plenty. Hunger and thirst were not known. There was no aging, debility and disease.
Pride and fall
By and by King Jamshed completed his long reign of about 700 years. Today it seems improbable, but it is possible for healthy and highly spiritual people to live quite long. As time went by, the prosperity and plenty in the kingdom made the king proud of his achievements.
One day he proclaimed before his ministers and subjects: “I have realised that there is none in the world like me. I have improved the world and relieved pain and suffering. The skills and trades in the world are because of me. Your life and consciousness owe me their existence. The very clothes that you wear and the food you eat is by my grace. It is in fitness of things that you call me your God.”
As soon as King Jamshed uttered these words his Divine Energy fled in the form of a bird. His subjects lost respect and regard for him King. Within a short period his entire army deserted him. When King Jamshed realised his folly, it was too late to amend.
The people of Iran were very unhappy with their King. They went in search for a new king and found one in Babylon by the name of Zohak. In their eagerness to overthrow their King, they did not realise that Zohak was a very evil man.
Zohak sent a message to King Jamshed to surrender. King Jamshed challenged Zohak for a battle. Zohak came to Iran with his army and a battle ensued for forty days. In this battle King Jamshed proved stronger. However, the crafty Zohak changed the battle to a duel between the two Kings, which he won by treacherous means.
King Jamshed fled Iran. Changing his identity, he wandered from place to place. He reached Zabulistan, on the border of Afghanistan and Hindustan where King Kurang ruled. He lived in the king’s court. He revealed his true identity and married princess Samannāz. After some time, a son was born to them, who was named Tur.
After some time king Kurang came to know his true identity. Jamshed had to leave, as king Kurang was afraid of being found and punished by Zohak for keeping king Jamshed with him.
He went in hiding once again, moving from place to place. Finally he was located in China by none other than his own half brother Spityur who reported him to Zohak, who ordered to have Jamshed mercilessly killed. Thus came the sad end of one of King Jamshed, one the greatest Kings of Iran.
A great lesson we learn from King Jamshed’s life is that we should never be proud of our achievements. Every act of ours is guided by God and we should dedicate all our good actions to Him.