Hormazd IV had a son called Khushru who was very dear to him. However, he had a strict upbringing. Later the son came to be known as Khushru Parviz.
Behram poisons the king about prince Khushru
Behram Chobin, Hormazd IV’s commander who had become a rebel, devised a wicked plan to poison the mind of king against his son Khushru. He issued coins in the name of prince Khushru and asked his people to circulate it in such a way that they come to the attention of king Hormazd, who would then think that his son has become rebellious and is challenging him.
Thereafter Behram informed the king that his son was planning to overthrow him. He also mentioned that he personally would prefer Khushru Parviz as a king, and that he would be faithful to the son but not to the father.
Behram was hoping that king Hormazd would start doubting Khushru Parviz, and perhaps have him killed, which would pave his way to defeat and overthrow the ageing king Hormazd and takeover the throne of Iran.
As Behram had schemed, his devious plan had the desired effect. On seeing the coins, Hormazd IV was furious at his son Khushru. Without asking his side of the story, the king jumped to the conclusion that his son was planning a rebellion. He asked his advisor Ain-Goshasp to have his own son Khushru killed.
Khushru flees for his life
One of the king’s guards of the king, who had overheard the conversation, was a well-wisher of Khushru. He went to the prince and cautioned him about the plan hatched to take his life. Khushru immediately fled the palace and went to Azarbaizan. When the courtiers and commanders came to know of this, they were disgusted with the king.
Some of the courtiers like Bādān, Piroz, Pilzor, Estāy, Khanjast, Sam and Asfandyar went to Khushru and pledged their support to him. They assured him that they will fight in his favour if the king tried to do anything to him. They went and took an oath at the Atash-kadeh of Azar Goshasp to always be loyal to the prince.
When the king came to know about the prince’s escape and the courtiers defecting to his side, he became very angry. He imprisoned Khushru’s maternal uncles Gastaham, Bandui and some other relatives, suspecting them of complicity in his escape.
King Hormazd was extremely heart-broken. On the one hand he feared Behram and on the other hand he was anxious about Khushru. He stopped going to court and lost interest in life. News about this spread all around.
Taking advantage of the anarchy, maternal uncles Gastaham and Bandui, broke out from the prison and led a revolt against the king in order to get Khushru on the throne. They stormed into the palace, and snatched the crown of king Hormazd. Instead of killing him, they blinded him and left him writhing in pain. When Khushru received the news of his father’s deposition, he was saddened as he did like his father, and had always been willing to serve him. People had created misunderstanding between them and so he had to flee in order to save his life. Gastaham asked him to come back to Iran and rightfully claim his throne.
In 590, Khushru reached the capital and occupied the throne. At night he went to see his father and cried his heart out on seeing his plight.
“Father”, he said, “Why did you not trust me? If I was with you, none would have dared to harm you. Even now I want you to be the king, and serve you.”
The father realized his mistake, but it was too late.
He told his son, “Now we are good at places where we are. I just ask for three things from you. First, every morning come to meet and greet me, even for a short time. Second, send an old courtier or commander to talk to me, read to me and spend time with me, and third blind your two maternal uncles who have blinded me.”
Khushru agreed to the first two, but about the third wish, he said, “Father now the time is not right to punish my uncles, as now we have to focus towards fighting Behram Chobin.” So saying the dutiful son bid his grieving father a tearful farewell.
When Behram came to know that king Hormazd was blinded and imprisoned, and that Khushru had taken the throne, he took the opportunity to attack and overthrow the new king.
When Khushru came to know of this, he sent spies to Behram’s camp to ascertain the strength of his army. The spies returned with a very positive review about Behram, that he was a wonderful commander, he communicated well with his soldiers and always based his opinions on first-hand information, rather than on hearsay or other’s advice. Moreover, he was a voracious reader, had read most books on wisdom and always kept books as his companions and advisors.
Khushru was impressed by Behram’s good qualities. He desired to have him as his advisor, and hence he would offer him truce. Khushru had never met or seen Behram before. He went to Behram’s camp and asked one of his commanders to identify him from a distance. When Khushru saw Behram on his black horse, he realized that he was quite ugly, and hunchbacked.
Khushru, on his white horse, went to meet Behram, asked for truce and offered him commandership of the army. Behram declined the offer. They talked at length about blaming each other for their faults and being ungrateful to their benefactors. Then the two went their way.(To be continued…….)