Monday, June 19, 2006

A part of my enjoyable sweat moments are specified to reading the poems of Hafez. If you are Iranian, of any race or extraction, certainly you know him and may also love him and his poems, as I do and if you are not, you may have heard of his masterpieces, since he is one of the greatest poets of the world.
You may also have known him through Susan Marrandi’s blog, if you are one of her blog- friends. She has published a picture of his tomb, either. Any way, I have a good English translated copy of some of his poems, and I thought, that would be a good idea to share it with you. No matter who he is, let’s just enjoy it.

LOVE’S AWAKENING

Ho, saki, haste, the breaker bring,
Fill up, and pass it round the ring;
Love seemed at first an easy thing-
But ah! The hard awakening.

So sweet perfume the morning air
Did latly from her tresses bear,
Her twisted, musk-diffusing hair-
What heart’s calamity was there!
Within life’s caravanserai
What brief security have I,
What momently the bell doth cry,
(Bind on your loads; the hour is night!)

Let wine upon the prayer-mat Flow,
An if the taverner bids so;
Whose wont is on this road to go
Its ways and manners well doth know.

Hafiz, if thou wouldst win her grace,
Be never absent from thy place;
When thou dost see the well-loved face,
Be lost at last to time and space.

J. Arbery

Hope, you have enjoyed. This, was the translation of the famous ode (ghazal) , which begins with this verse
(الا يا ايها الساقي ادر كاسا و ناولها كه عشق اسان نمود اول ولي افتاد مشكلها)

In all Hafez’s versions, this poem is put at the beginning of the book, as the first ghazal.

WHEN HE WAS BORN.

I was 4 when my brother was born. I don’t remember much about the time my mother was pregnant exept that she wasn’t as energetic as before and we had more motionless plays together.
The last days of her pregnancy we went to grandma’s house and I exactly remember the evening that mom left to the hospital. I was sad, I didn’t want her to leave and was just looking for excuses. Anyway mom and dad left me with grandma and want to the hospital. The hours of her absence were full of lonesome for me. I was even worried about her, I felt that she needs me with her. I imagined mom alone at the hospital needing help, and would see myself as the only one she needed. I felt my mother and I were seperated by an unknown obligation and this feeling would make me awfully sad, frightened and angry. I was thinking of her every moment, but the coming baby was completely ignored. I remember my father took me to the hospital at about 12 that night. I wasn’t allowed to see her more than five or ten minutes. I exactly remember the mid-closed door between me and mom. I wasn’t let in and she wasn’t let out. After that short formal visit, although mom’s calm face somehow calmed me, yet the feeling of obligation I had and also experienced in the hospital bothered me a lot.
The following evening dad drove the car into grandma’s yard and mama got out of the car and grandma came after her with a baby. Still I wasn’t paying any attention to the baby, the only thing I would care was mother and that she needed rest. Although the house was crowded and I was busy playing with cousins, I wouldn’t forget mom. I would go to her room some often and check everything carefully-everything exept the baby- to make sure that she was comfortable and then I would go back to playing after getting sure and even being promised that aunts will take care of her.
After two or three days I began to get curious about the baby. I had heard several times that he is white and blond and that cries and screams a lot; and I would of course hear his voice over and over. I remember the first time that he was put on my leg so vividly. I sat on the floor cross-legged, he was put on my legs and I kept my hand up, under his head. I didn’t let it last more than three or four minutes. I somehow didn’t have any clear feeling to him. I wouldn’t go to him so often specially the time that we were in grandma’s home. Even after that, till some months maybe, he was someone or something that belonged to mom. I had my own little life and actually nothing in share with him. But gradually he found a very specific place in my heart, as little brother, as Hamid, whose sister was me.
I just loved my sweat beautiful little Hamid. I would really enjoy being by his side, hugging, kissing and actually having him. The love I experienced toward him was just sweat and sweat.



ANAHITA, THE GODDESS OF ALL THE SEAS

Anahita is one of the most important legends of the world. She is also named Nahid or Anahid. Anahita was the goddess of water, war, fertility and also the guardian of women in ancient Iran. She was known to be resided among the stars. Her name has come to mean innocence and guiltless; (‘Ana’ meaning ‘without’ and ‘Hita’ meaning ‘sin’). Her image is visualized as a virgin with a golden quilt-like mantle and a diamond-shaped apex on her head. All the seas are known to belong to her. She is as great and vast as all waters of the earth-exactly like her Indian peer, Ganga. Anahita is considered as Ahura-Mazda’s accompanying. In Zoroastrian religion, she was the keeper of Zarathustra’s zygote in Kianessi Lake. For just a virgin, who is innocent (Anahita’s nickname), can keep the zygote or raise it in herself. She is known as the mother of Mithra in Mithraism that had been impregnated by Zarathustra. Artaxerxes highly honored this goddess at his time and established temples for Anahita in Sosa, Ecbatana and Babylon.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


MITHRAISM AND CHRISTIANITY

When Tiridates of Armenia acknowledged the Roman emperor, Nero, as his supreme lord, he performed a Mithraic ceremony, indicating that the god of contract and of friendship established good relations between the Armenians and the mighty Romans. In the year 66 AD, he converted Nero to this religion and it was about the 3rd century that it turned into powerful religion and spread all over the Roman Empire. It was accepted by a large number of Romans, and became a strong rival of christianity. When Christianity flourished and became widespread, it adopted many customs and rituals from Mithraism. The followers of Mithraism believed that Mithra was born from a virgin and just a few shepherds had witnessed the event. Some people believed that Mehr had appeared to the shepherds with a shining face in a cave.
Considering Mithra as the god of the sun, the Romans held Sunday as a holy day and called it “the Lord’s Day” before the advent of Christianity and this tradition too the Christians adopted.


I read an article recently in a magazine about Mithraism. It's an ancient manner or actually a religion in which Mithra has been worshiped.Mitra is a persian name for girls in Iran.It means "Mehr" which is a persian word with two meanings;one, passion, and the other which belongs to old persian,sun. The name "Mitra" is always refered to the second meaning. I've searched for Mitra and Mithraism and now I have somethings to share with you.Hope to find it interesting, as I did.

MITHRAISM

Mehr or Mithra is often said to be the name of the ancient gods in whom many people believed, among different nations and at different times. The name of Mithra was first seen by archeologists, in the past century, in the Achaemenian inscriptions dating back to 5th century BC. According to researchers this religion was transferred from Persia to Europe by Cilician pirates in 67 BC, and found many followers there, and within a century it became widespread.
Mithraism originated from the Aryan Mithra, but in the course of time the belief and his traditions went through many changes. Mithraism is the worship of Mithra, the Iranian god of sun, justice, contract, and war in pre-Zoroastrian Iran. Herodotus, the Greek historian, in his writing called Mithra the “Heaven’s God”. Mehr is called Mithra in Avesta and Mitra in Pahlavi. The Yashts, hymns that make a part of the Avesta, and which were added to it in the course of time, were composed in the honor of the old gods. There is a Yasht dedicated to Mithra, in which the god is depicted as the all-observing god of heavenly light, the guardian of oats, the protector of the righteous in this world and the next, and above all, as the arch-foe of the powers of evil and darkness-hence, the god of battles and victory. Ahura Mazda, the great god, the god of truth and brightness, considered Mithra as his partner in battles against Ahriman or Evil. Mithra’s life reached its climax when he fought a bull and killed him. When the bull’s blood shed on the ground, it became fertile. The bull also gave the holy seed and every creature on earth was shaped with an admixture of the holy seed. In honor of this event, the followers of Mithraism created stonereliefs on their altars and and in their religious centers.


WISDOM

The wise man is he who loves and reserves God. A man’s merit lies in his knowledge and in his deeds; not in his color, faith, race, or descent. For remember my friend, the son of shepherd who possesses knowledge is of greater worth to a nation that the heir to the throne, if he be ignorant. Knowledge is your patent of nobility, no matter who your father or what your race may be.
Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.


Gibran Kahlil Gibran.

DAMAGES TO PERSEPOLIS

After the devastation of the city by Alexander the Great, the whole place fell into ruin and after that was not disturbed;but the damage caused by Alexander, as the excavators have found, was not so great as at which befell the palace at Susa various subsequent dates, for this moment has virtually vanished.
Susa was destroyed by Alexander in 331 BC, but it was still further ruined by Shapur ll,and rebuilt under the name of Iranshahr-Shapur. Rebuilding and reconstruction do more damage to a building than one violent catastrophe, and at Persepolis the very destruction caused by Alexander covered up much of the palace in its own ruin.

Sunday, May 07, 2006



WHICH COUNTRY TO VISIT?
All the countries and cities of the world are certainly worth visiting for the first time.Asian countries all have beautiful natural scenes and are rich in culture and history.India,china,
Japan,Iran,Turkey,Russia,and some other countries are visited by lots of tourists every year.But there are some other small countries, beautiful but not really known to others.Maldive is one of them.
I’ve got a little information about the place.The country does not have a large population.The major occupation of Maldivians is fishing.Most of the people live in small villages in islands where water is available.There are small vegetable gardens,and some trees also,usually coconut and breafruit.The most interesting thing about Maldive,I think, is that this country is made of several islands and the most thing you see is water.The country is flat and the islands very small, over 90% of the surface of the country is mainly deep blue water.There are no significant geographical features that could create a micro-climate,thus all over the Maldive the climate is oceanic and very variable.
Imagining the unique shape this country has, makes anyone eager to see it.Maldive as I saw in some pictures is green and the fresh green it has makes a perfect scene when located beside the blue of the ocean.The country is actually old and it must be full of customs and historical events.For sure it is worth visiting.I hope to enable to travel there sometime.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006




Iranian New Year, 2565 (1385), begins on Monday March 20, 2006
Tehran:09:55:35 PM , Toronto:01:25:35 PM , Los Angeles:10:25:35 AM , London:07:25:35 PM , Sidney:06:25:35 AM








Norooz, Persian New Year
Year of 2565 (1385)



In harmony with rebirth of nature, the Persian New Year Celebration, or Norooz, always begins on the first day of spring, March 20th of each year. Norooz ceremonies are symbolic representations of two ancient concepts - the End and Rebirth. About 3000 years ago Persian's major religion was Zoroastrianism, named in honor of its founder Zoroaster, and arguably the world's first monotheistic religion. Zoroastrians had a festival called "Farvardgan" which lasted ten days, and took place at the end of the solar year. It appears that this was a festival of sorrow and mourning , signifying the end of life while the festival of Norooz, at the beginning of spring signified rebirth, and was a time of great joy and celebration. Norooz was officially acknowledged and named "Norooz" by mythical Persian emperor, Shah Jamshid, from Achaemenid Dynasty (500 BC). Ashaemenied created the first major empire in the region and built Persepolis complex (Takhte Jamshid) in the city of Shiraz. Norooz in Persian means "New Day" and brings hope, peace and prosperity to the world and has been celebrated among people regardless of ethnic background, political views or religion in many countries around the globe such as Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Georgia, Iraq, Tajikistan, Syria ,Armenia and India. Some of the activities during Norooz are Spring cleaning, buying new cloths, painting eggs, family reunion, giving presents, visiting neighbors and friends and celebrating by having a picnic on the 13th day of Spring. Happy Norooz!



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Norooz Customs
In harmony with the rebirth of nature, the Iranian New Year Celebration, or NOROOZ, always begins on the first day of spring. Norooz ceremonies are symbolic representations of two ancient concepts - the End and the Rebirth; or Good and Evil. A few weeks before the New Year, Iranians clean and rearrange their homes. They make new clothes, bake pastries and germinate seeds as sign of renewal.



Haji Firooz

is a character who is the traditional herald of the Norooz. Haji Firooz disguise themselves with makeup and wear brightly colored outfits of satin. Haji Firuz sing and dance and parade as a carnival through the streets with tambourines, kettledrums, and trumpets to spread good cheer and the news of the coming new year Norooz.



Chahar Shanbeh Soori
happens on the last Tuesday evening of the year. Every family gathers several piles of wood or brush in the streets or parks to be lit shortly after the sunset. Then all the family members line up and take turns jumping over the burning fire and singing “sorkheeyeh toe az man, Zardeeyeh man az toe’. “I give my paleness to the fire and take fire red healthy color”. Yellow or paleness symbolizes the sickness and pain and red symbolizes heath. Fireworks can be heard throughout the night.




Haft seen
Haft SeenIs a spread with seven items which each symbolizes a wish or theme. All seven items in this ceremonial table starts with the Persian letter Seen or S in English. The Haft Seen spread is usually put out a week before the New Year, which sets the mood for celebration. The seven items are Sabzeh (grown wheat or lentil) for rebirth, Samanu (flour and sugar) for sweetness of life, Sekeh (coin ) for prosperity and wealth, Senjed ( dried fruit of Lotus tree) for love, Seer (garlic) for health, Somaq ( sumac berries) for warmth and Serkeh ( vinegar) for patience. Also there other items on the Norooz spread such as painted eggs, which represent fertility, a mirror that represents image and reflection of life, and a goldfish in a bowl that represents life.

Seezdah Bedar
is the 13th day of Norooz and Persians to overcome the bad luck they spend the entire day out of the house with families and friends in the parks having a picnic. They sing and play games and celebrate a happy and healthy holiday season and end the holiday season on a positive note.



Norooz International Cultural Foundation, Toronto, Canada

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City of Passargad is located 70 km North of Persepolis, on Morqab Plain.
Here there are some remains of the first capital of Achaemenids, which can truly be called the cradle of Iran's documented history. "Passargad" means "The Camp of Persians".
Unlike Persepoli, Passargad is not located on a terrace. It is composed of several separate and sporadic places in a vast plain.

Although, the capital was later transferred to Persepolis, ceremonies of coronation were held in Passargad, so it never failed to be an important center.

From the cultural viewpoint, too, Passargad is very significant. Cyrus the Great made the greatest and most powerful kingdom all over the world of Persian nomads, in the shortest conceivable period of time. He was also the founder of a new and splendid style in architecture, which involved in Persepolis and became known as Achaemenid style. All the places of Passargad have been situated in beautiful lush gardens. The most important remains of Passargad are:

Tomb of Cyrus
The name of Passargad is always associated with that of the Tomb of Cyrus. The construction is located at the beginning of Passargad Complex. It is constructed of huge, white limestone blocks, without any window, resting on a rectangular, stepped plinth, with six receding stages.
It has only one entrance door. In spite of its simplicity, the tomb suggests the power and authority of the founder of Achaemenid Monarch.

Gatehouse
There is a construction, located 1 km Northwest of the tomb of Cyrus, which is supposed to be the entrance of Passargad. The hall of this palace has eight soft and polished stone columns. The entire floor is covered with two layers of white stone.

Bridge
Remains of a bridge across a stream have been found 150 m West of the Gatehouse. Two stonewalls have been built on both sides and there were 9 stone columns on the bed of the stream. Apparently the bridge was a connective route between Gatehouse and Audience Hall.

Audience Hall
There is a palace with huge columns, 100 m to the left of the bridge. The palace was used to receive the agents and nobles of different countries, who came to see Cyrus the Great. The central hall of the palace had 8 columns, of which only one has wonderfully remained on its place since 2500 years ago. Four doorways to the central hall were ornamented with relief.

Cyrus' Private Palace
It is located 300 m away from Audience Hall. Design of the palace is like the letter "H" and its central hall is ornamented with 30 columns. The Eastern Veranda of the hall also has 40 columns. There is an inscription in cuneiform on a wall of Veranda written in 3 languages:
"I am Cyrus, The Achaemenid King."
The Western Veranda also had 24 columns. Wall of the palace and verandas were ornamented with a lot of relief, which are not left.
It is supposed that this palace was the private palace of Cyrus the Great.

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MODERN TEHRAN IN ANCIENT IRAN





Altitude between 1,200 and 1,700 meters. Mehrabad Airport to the west of city. Railway: European link through Tabriz and Istanbul, internal lines to Mashad, Yazd and Khoramshar. Regular coach services in all directions.
Nearly 12 Million people live in Tehran Bozorg in contrast to two hundred thousand in 1920. Tehran is immense and proliferates like a coral reef, but in an orderly manner. Nine-tenths of the built up area is in square blocks with absolutely straight boulevards. The visitor who has been away for a while can no longer find the way around the city. New roads link the western part of the city to the northern quarters. Towering buildings have been erected right and left. Large stores, super-markets, self-service shops have been opened, public buildings, government departments and monuments have been built and an array of giant cranes show the development fever.


"North Tehran -- city view"

Tehran is pleasant, it derives its originality from its dry climate, always cool in the evening, its pure sky, the nearness of the mountains, its numerous parks and gardens where flowers blossom throughout the year, the alleys of young plan-trees in the avenues or even smaller streets, the water which runs down from the upper city along deep and wide gutters which look like small rivers during spring.




"Golestan Palace"

The Golestan (Rose Garden) Palace was the Qajars' royal residence. Its garden is an oasis of coolness and silence in the heart of the city. The main building, architecturally unpretentious, houses a museum with objects from the Qajar period in the overloaded and pompous style of last century. In the Golestan garden, a one-story pavilion to the right and slightly behind the entrance, shelters one of the best organized museums in Tehran. Do not be discouraged by its scientific title. It contains about thirty show-cases presenting everything which makes up the basic originality of Iranian life in the various provinces of the country.




"Buildings"

Tehran became a capital in the 19th century. Its more ancient monuments bear the marks of that period when everywhere in the world, taste had degenerated. Furthermore, its rapid growth explains the proliferations of houses without any style, fortunately laid out in square blocks, but anonymous, without harmony, grey, with never a flower on their window-sills. The baroque and pretentious appearance of certain facades, particularly banks, built twenty or thirty years ago, do nothing to improve the city's appearance.




"Alborz Moutains"

The Alborz range separates the central plateau front the lush Caspian littoral, the only part of the country where the rainfall is plentiful. The highest peak in the country, Mt. Damavand, is an extinct volcano covered in snow for most of the year.




"The Beautiful Mt Damavand"

Mount Damavand, the highest mountain in Iran, has for centuries, attracted mountaineers, nomads and legends to its snow-covered slopes. The epic hero Feraydun wrestled and defeated the evil giant Zahhak, chaining him to a cave on the mountain peak. Villagers living near the base of the volcano still remark that Dahhak is straining to be free at the first signs of smoke or rumbling often heard deep within the mountain. On a clear day, the 18,550 foot cone is visible from Tehran, fifty miles away.



"North of Tehran, Tochal Cable car" "One of many Ski Resort"


In winter, the mountain hotels and ski-clubs at Shemshak, Shahrestanak and Dizine are full several days a week. Some expert skiers people consider the snow quality in northen tehran to be one of the best in the world.











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