Pahlevani culture, precious Iranian heritage

IRNA – Pahlevani and Zoorkhaneh rituals, deeply rooted in Iran’s antiquity, brings along itself a culture and a lifestyle whose void of absence is thoroughly felt in today’s world.

Many of Iranian traditions have been practiced since ancient time in the vast land of Iran (formerly known as Persia) and the people who used to live in this great land, no matter if they are living in separate and individual countries today, have always had close contact with these traditions and cultures.

By practicing these traditions, the cultures and lifestyles of those traditions emerged and became inseparable parts of peoples’ lives.

Pahlevani and Zoorkhaneh rituals are one of those traditions which carry a rich ethical culture within. The name has been inscribed by UNESCO for ‘varzesh-e pahlavani’ ‘heroic sport’ or ‘varzesh-e bastani’ ‘ancient sport’ which refers to traditional wrestling or a system of athletics originally used to train Iranian warriors in Persia and the adjacent lands since the Achaemenid Empire (550 BC-330 BC).

It combines martial arts, calisthenics, strength training and music and pursues a state of spiritual peace and self-control in human’s body and mind.

Recognized by UNESCO as among the world’s longest-running forms of such training, it fuses elements of pre-Islamic Iranian culture (particularly Zoroastrianism, Mithraism and Gnosticism), which is clearly seen in Ferdowsi’s versified Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), and later with Islam’s entering Iran with the spirituality of Shia Islam and Sufism.

‘Pahlevan’ (a traditional wrestler), is a Farsi term referring to an athlete whose actions and deeds are heroic both from physical and spiritual points of view. He is practicing Pahlavani sport, which is a symbol of chivalry and generosity in public minds.

As a physical training for a Pahlevan, Koshti (wrestling), also known as Koshti Pahlevani, is a kind of grappling, using some combat techniques, that its spirit strongly relies on chivalry, bravery and generosity contrary to some other sports and traditions that are mostly practiced to abuse power and oppress the weak.

Practiced in a domed structure called Zurkhaneh (House of Strength), training sessions consist mainly of ritual gymnastic movements and climax with the core of combat practice, a form of submission-grappling.

The spiritual power of Pahlevani Sport is so high that in today’s world we see it as one of the widespread, influential and popular sports throughout the world and the culture it carries within is so rich.

In Iran, the Pahlevani Sport has a special role among Iranians and its culture and spiritual as well as physical elements are so influential and impressive on people’s lifestyles and even the society’s trend and orientation.

The Olympic Committee, in a unfair attempt, tried to remove this ancient sport from the games, but all efforts were in vein and those who supported this attempt with their budgets were frustrated.

Pahlevani culture, beginning in ancient Iran (Persia), has affected all the nations and countries that once upon a time were part of this great land.

Due to this Pahlevani culture of the Iranian nation, terror and terrorism and whoever supports this vicious phenomenon is considered as demonic and devilish and an intolerable entity because the Palebvani culture totally rejects the belief of terror and terrorism which contradict the chivalry, courtesy and bravery.

Also it is not accepted for the people with Pahlevani culture and Islamic teachings in their lives to be indifferent witnessing the oppressors doing what they want to the oppressed or the terrorists spreading the terror and savagery and inhumanity everywhere.

As being part of the Iranian people genetics and make-up, keeping promises is a commitment also derived from the Pahlevani culture and its breaching is considered a taboo and those not loyal to their commitments have no place among people and are somehow isolated from the society.

Being considered as something unacceptable by the social norms, breeching ones commitment is one of the issues deeply blamed by Iranians who are so sensitive and cautious about keeping their words and not only do they sacrifice their everything to do so, but they also despise those who do not fulfill their promises.

As a brazen and up-to-date example of Iranians loyalty to the Pahlevani culture and their commitments to their promises, the historic nuclear deal between Iran and the world major powers called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is something that the Iranian nation is truly committed to and the world has observed their loyalty toward what they have promised to do regarding their nuclear program.

However, two years after signing the landmark deal in July 2015, what we see is breeching this agreement by mostly one of the sides of the deal and that is happen to be the US, since they are famous in Iran as those who break promises.

The US, in general, and its new administration, in particular, have always portrayed an image of disloyalty about themselves in Iranians minds and by doing so, with regard to Pahlevani culture which cannot take such things, they have always added to the amount of hatred toward themselves in the eyes of the Iranians.

Pahlevani culture can be a beneficent, good, moral way for living in today’s world which truly lacks ethical and moral elements for the betterment of human beings.

As an ancient culture and heritage, it must be preserved and spread throughout the world, since, due to their rich civilization, Iranians have always been offering and presenting the people of the world many inspirations and concepts.

The Cyrus Cylinder itself with the human rights declaration scripted on it is enough for one of the greatest offering of the Iranian nation to the whole world.

A recent and contemporary example of keeping promises due to our Pahlevani culture and also based on the Islamic teachings, is that the Leader of the Islamic Revolution has repeatedly announced that Iran is neither seeking nor desiring to make atomic bombs. The Islamic Republic has kept this promise and is never going to break it.