The Story of Khosrow and Shirin (IV)

Let me tell you one of the most beautiful love stories ever written in Persian Literature. It will be summarized. If you would like to read more or in Farsi, let me know and we will figure out a way to make sure you get to see this gem of an Iranian tale. Remember this story. Tell it to your children. They will always remember that they heard about love from you first. Celebrate love Persian style. (Part I here. Part II here. Part III here. Part IV here. Part V here. Part VI here.)
In her lonely and melancholic castle, Shirin's only sustenance was milk. Transporting milk to the castle through the mountain was a difficult feat, and Shirin was aware that her caretakers had a hard time doing this everyday. She asked Shapour one time about a solution and Shapour told her that he had an old schoolmate, a young engineer, an expert sculpture artist who could create a canal through the mountain through which milk would run to Shirin's castle. He introduced Farhad to Shirin who fell in love with her on sight.
Farhad's love for Shirin motivated him to cut the canal through granite (sang-e-khara) in one month, complete with a beautiul pool by Shirin's castle. When Shirin saw the completed canal, impressed with Farhad's art and his obvious love for her, she removed her earrings and gave them to Farhad as his reward. Poor Farhad who couldn't talk, returned the earrings and took off into the wilderness where he pined after Shirin, becoming famous for his undying love for her, writing love poems and telling the world about his love. Soon Khosrow learned of the talk of Farhad's love for Shirin. Knowing that another man loved Shirin made him jealous and determined again to keep Shirin and her love to himself.
Khosrow had to figure out a way to get Farhad out of Shirin's life, as Farhad was an excellent artist, good looking, in love with Shirin, and with enough potential to win Shirin away from him. He knew he couldn't leave him alone, but he was a king and honorable enough not to want to kill Farhad. So he called Farhad to his castle to try and bribe him and get him out of Shirin's life. (*In what is probably one of the most beautifully written passages of Nezami's story, Khosrow and Farhad have a poetic dialogue about Shirin, by the end of which Khosrow knows Farhad would never forget about Shirin and would never give up on winning her heart.) Khosrow told Farhad that if he could cut a passage through the mountains outside of his castle, he would let him marry Shirin. Khosrow knew that the project was so immense and so treacherous, it would surely take Farhad the rest of his life to complete it. Farhad agreed and his work, his labor of love, started.
*نخستین بار گفتش از کجایی؟ بگفت از دار ملک آشنایی
بگفت آنجا به صنعت در چه کوشند؟ بگفت انده خرند و جان فروشند بگفت از دل شدی عاشق بدین سان؟ بگفت از دل تو می گویی من از جان بگفتا عشق شیرین بر تو چون است؟ بگفت از جان شیرینم فزون است بگفتا دل ز مهرش کی کنی پاک؟ بگفت آنگه که باشم مرده در خاک


Assal said...

It's such a strange feeling. But I am going to share something very intimate with you, Nazy Joonam. I read your post, all the English. Then, for a moment, being tired or lazy, or what...I thought about skipping the lines in Farsi. Then, I thought, I would be missing so much, because the Farsi must be there for a reason.

So, I read the lines, first slowly, putting together the sounds. Then, stronger, more clearly flowing...and I read the last line, over and over, and when I was finally finished...I was crying.

But the strangest weirdest part is that I wanted to thank you for this blog and what you do, because this moment of crying felt better than my entire day so far!

Aida said...

Salaam Nazy jaan,
So so nice.Thanks.Just wondering if there is any available farsi version of the story online ?

Nazy said...

Assal Jan, Lovely Iranian Girl. Your comments have touched me to no end. I'm so glad you tried to read the Farsi and that you could make it out! Though I keep on translating the story, I am feeling sheepish about attempting to translate an Iranian masterpiece, hoping nobody would rightfully criticize me for it. Your words mean so much to me my dear. Here, let me try and translate what that poem selection means. I hope everyone forgives my boldness in touching Nezami's gem.

The first time he (Khosrow) asked him (Farhad): "Where are you from?"
He said: "I am from the land of friendship."
He said: "What is the industry in those parts?"
He said: "They buy sorrow and sell love."
He said: "Did your heart make you fall in love like this?"
He said: "You call it heart, I call it life."
He said: "How does Shirin's love feel?"
He said: "It is sweeter than sweet life."
He said: "When will you get her love out of your heart?"
He said: "When I am dead and in my grave."

Be good and in love all the time Assal Jan.

Nazy said...

Sweet Aida: Salam and thanks for coming again. I hope you are enjoying the love story. I tried to find Khosrow and Shirin online in Farsi or in English, but was not successful. It might be easier if someone searches for it using a Farsi search engine.

I think if ever you own this book, or the collection of five stories by Nezami (Khamseh Nezami), you have invested in a gem you can enjoy for the rest of your life. If you have visitors from Iran, perhaps they can bring it to you. Alternatively, try ordering it here: http://www.iranbookshop.com/search/More.cfm?ID=44

Be good Aida Jan and have a good evening.

jeerjeerak said...

Wow, a new episode:)
You know Nazy Jan, i'm beginning to like it this way. It's like your favorite tv show that you look anxiously forward for the next episode to come out! And the great thing about it here is that there are no reruns:))))

nimshab said...

salaam Nazy joon, really enjoyed reading this summary.

Nazy said...

Jeerjeerak Jan, you crack me up! Haha, my posts don't lend themselves to "first runs" sometimes, let alone "re-runs!" You are so sweet. When I'm done with this story (o.k. I tell you the truth now, because I know for sure--2 more episodes, one for Shirin & Farhad and the other for wrapping the story up), if you guys like, we can have another Iranian love story. I hope I haven't bored your Armenin friend--is she still reading? Take care my friend.

Nazy said...

Nimeh Shab Jan: Welcome back! I have missed you my friend! I hope your summer holiday was an enjoyable one and that you are ready for your new job. I fully expect to get a chance to see you and Arman first chance I get. Thanks for visiting my friend. It feels good to know you are around.

! said...

I really have noting to say about khosro va shirin ...
I think the beautifull poem at last is obviouse ...

Nazy said...

Yes Universal Jan. The poetry of Nezami speaks volumes. No need to say more. Be happy my friend and have a good weekend.

Pardis said...

Nazy jan,
Thanks a lot. I really like this story and I am looking forward for the rest. I can't wait.

Nazy jan,let me share a funny memory of myself with you. We had the poem "Monazere beyne Khosrow va Farhad" in our Farsi book in the last year of high school. One day our farsi teacher announced that we will have an exam on that poem and it is so important with a high effect on our final grade.... any way, we were busy with that and on the exam day we had chemistry class before literature... When our chemistry teacher entered the class (A man who only knew chemistry and no literature) told us ok, put a paper in front of yourself for a quiz... we all said Oh, please we have a literature exam in an hour... he said really?? What is that?? and we replied: from "Khosrow and Farhad" poem! He said No way!!, you think I don't know it is "Khosrow and Shirin" ??? You are playing games with me who is like your father?? You will take the quiz and I will reduce points from you so that you all learn not to lie to an elder person! :))) We were all looking at one another.... any way that day we took the quiz and the exam and after school asked our literature teacher to explain for our chemistry teacher to get back our points!!! It was a funny day... and I really like this "Monazere Khosrow and Farhad".

Thanks Nazy jan,
Your post reminded me of my funny school days...

_Best wishes,

Nazy said...

Pardis Jan, that was one of the funniest stories I have ever heard! I rolled on the floor! You should know that among our audience, we have quite a few chemistry students, and a chemistry professor, all of whom know chemistry and poetry at the same time! The "Sohrab" post is a testament to that.

Just the same, "The story of Khosrow and Farhad" was truly hilarious! Goft "man jaye babaye shoma hastam, ba man shookhi mikonin?"?! That's really funny!

Thanks for sharing this story with us. It was great.

jeerjeerak said...

I propose Leili and Majnoon;) But sriously any other story would work too. You are a good story-teller Nazy Joon.

Nazy said...

Jeer Jan, Salam. Thank you for your vote of confidence! Let's first finish this one. There are several other Iranian love stories less noticed over the years. I can tell you about them when the time comes and we can choose. Leili and Majnoon, as Nezami says it, is a lot more romantic than its original Arabic version; however, even with Nezami's craftiness, the story does not have a lot of nuance and action in my opinion, compared to Ferdowsi's account of couples in love. We will cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, I toil away with this one! Thank you my friend.

ا. ش said...

از اول نیز می‌خواستم بگویم که تَراگویی (دیالوگ) خسرو و فرهاد از زیباترین بخش‌های این مثنوی‌ست. اما صبر ‏کردم تا ببینم روایت شما از قصه چگونه است. حالا شما را در همان موضع می‌بینیم! زیبایی این هم‌پرسِگی ‏‏(پرسش و پاسخ متقابل) نیز به نظر من نه در تقابل دو عاشق دلداده با یک‌دیگر، بلکه در مواجهه‌ی یکی (خسرو) ‏با جلوه‌ای از دلدادگی دیگری (فرهاد) است که به او شیفتگی و از خود گذشتن را در عشق پایدار و اصیل ‏می‌آموزد؛ زیرا پیش از آن عشقش با تن‌خواستی عجین بوده، و بعد از آن عشق فرهاد به شیرین او را با این حقیقت ‏بزرگ آشنا می‌سازد که بهای رسیدن به "منظور" نه در نظارت و نگریستن صِرف (ناظری که به چشم خریدار به ‏منظور ِ نظرش می‌نگرد و خود را چیزی جدا از آن می‌پندارد)، بلکه درهم‌آمیختن ِ دو روح با یک‌دیگر است ‏‏(درهم‌تنیدگی ناظر و منظور). ‏

Nazy said...

Alef Shin-e Aziz: I see you were quizzing me! Boy, I am so relieved to have marginally passed!

It is an amazing piece of poetry, that dialogue, but as you so aptly pointed out, it is the content of that dialogue that is so moving. Farhad made Khosrow humble. He made him feel inadequate in the competition, because he lacked the freedom, dedication, and devotion Farhad had. He also felt unsure of himself facing an artist who had not inherited his art, but had had to work on it all his life to perfect it, rendering him original and self-sufficient (bi niaz) of any money, power, or title. I hold that Nezami's idea of the perfect woman was Shirin and his idea of the perfect man was Farhad.

Thank you for your valuable contribution, as usual. Be good my friend.