What is Simurgh? This is the first question which comes to a visitor's mind while visiting my page (If the person doesn't have any prior knowledge about it). So today I introduce Simurgh to such readers.
Simurgh is a mysterious, benevolent, mythical flying creature in Iranian mythology. A reference to Simurgh is found in the poem "The Conference of the Birds" (Mantiq at-Tayr) written by Sheikh Farid ud-din Attar (born 1145-46 in Nishapur – died c. 1221) . To understand Simurgh as portrayed by Attar, we first have to know the story as constructed in this poem. Here is a short summary:
Birds of the world hold a conference to search for their king, as they have no leader. The hoopoe encourages them to the quest to find their king, called "Simurgh", who lives behind the far-away mountains of Kaf. Soon, under the guidance of hoopoe, a group of birds start a journey to find Simurgh.
But the journey comes out to be very difficult. They pass through seven valleys, namely:
1) Aban (Flash) (or "Talab" which means Quest)
2) Ishq (Love)
3) Marifat (Gnosis)
4) Istighnah (Detachment)
5) Tawheed (Unity)
6) Hayrat (Bewilderment)
7) Fuqur o Fana (Selflessness and Oblivion)
In each of these stages, there are several events by which the birds learn different lessons. One by one, in each of these valleys, birds give up the journey, not being able to endure it. Only thirty birds are left when they cross their final valley and reach the land of Simurgh. There, only what they see is their own reflection in a lake, and not the mythical Simurgh.
There in the Simorgh's radiant face they saw
Themselves, the Simorgh of the world - with awe
They gazed, and dared at last to comprehend
They were the Simorgh and the journey's end.
They see the Simorgh - at themselves they stare,
And see a second Simorgh standing there;
They look at both and see the two are one,
That this is that, that this, the goal is won.
They ask (but inwardly; they make no sound)
The meaning of these mysteries that confound
Their puzzled ignorance - how is it true
That 'we' is not distinguished here from 'you'?
As "Si" means thirty and "Murgh" means birds in Persian, so Si-murgh means Thirty Birds. Interestingly, these birds found their king in their Collective Self. This Collective Self appears when one and many are the same thing.
(The above summary has been made with help of wikipedia and free texts available online. Translation quoted is by Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis)