Nov 8, 2008

Kirat Religion and Culture with Muigum Ongsis

DB Angbung Limbu
Kirat religion is a religion of those who themselves regard as Kirat peoples. Though, it doesn't need to be Kirat to follow the ways of this religion. It is because; no religion is only for a caste or ethnic people and community. It's a common property for all of human beings.This Kirat religion had been in existence with the civilization of Kirat peoples. At first, it was nameless. It remained as animism for a long period of time. But later on, it has existed as Kirat religion in the course of time and circumstances.The existence of this religion had not been entertained by the Government of Nepal before the National Population Census of 2001. With the result of strong pressure and request of Kirat peoples to the government many times, eventually the state obliged to accept the existence of this Kirat religion, and kept a column of it on census form to be filled up. According to the National Population Census of 2001, the population of Kirat Religion is 8, 18,106(3.60 in percent). But, it is not real data of Kirat religion. They must be more than this number now and then. Even being this, as 4th great number of Kirat religion followers in Nepal, the state has not been entertaining it yet. Now, Nepal has been declared as a secular state constitutionally. However, we can not get to realize the nature of secular state in practical behavior till now. For this, perhaps we may also need here to upraise a religious movement in Nepal.
Even now too, most of the government and private mass media are just announcing as Hindu and Hindu's only in every context. They do not see Kirats and Buddhists here. We do not mean that they shouldn't say so. But, what we mean and hope is that may they also, at least, accept the existence of this Kirat religion. We do not listen and see any programs about Kirat religion on government TV and radios. Private media are also not taking care about it. If we wish to do so, we need to expend money for. But, in the case of Hindu one, it doesn't need to expend as so; state itself manages for all. State is not concerning about all religions equitably.
Kirat religious holy books Mundhum had been burned out in Sakhuwasva of Limbuwan in the time of Chandra Samher Rana. Kirat Limbu Te-Ongsi Sirijonga was chased out of country and killed him in Sikkim when he was teaching about Kirat religion, culture, Limbu language and Sirijonga script in Nepal. As the same way, Muigum Ongsi Falgunanda had also faced so many obstruction and problems caused by the contemporary Hindu Kingdom of Nepal. In this way, autocratic rulers dominated Kirat peoples of Nepal. To love own religion and culture is not to hate others', rather to love own is to respect others' too. We should understand this matter.
In the course of study in schools, we could not get any chance to read about Kirat religion and culture. No lesson is there about Tagera Ningwabhumang, Yuma-Theba Sammang, Sumnima and Paruhang and about Sirijonga etc. We were just taught about the mythical story of Ram-Sita, Krishna, Bishnu Bhagawan, Siva-Parvati, Ganesh, and Jesus Christ, etc. Just Hindu religion and Brahmin culture were taken as Nepali national religion and culture.So, how could Kirat people understand, apply and develop their life ways as their own cultural norms and values as well religious philosophy? These are just some glimpses of religious and cultural inequality as well domination in Nepal for a long period of time.
Kirat religion and culture is wounded now because of these past days' domination upon it. So, this is just crawling in a sense, and raising its hopeful hands to be caught up by all communities.
We should not erase out the existence of any existed religion and culture forcefully. It is better to warm up rather than dominating it. If it is not suitable for the society then it will itself go out from the scene in the course of time and circumstances. However, we can take or apply the good things of any religion and culture. So, it is needed to protect all of these by the people and for the peoples. Religion relates on spirituality. Spirituality is the root of life. To grow up high, there is needed to root our roots of life deeply into the ground. The more roots root into the ground deeply, the more the tree of life goes of high towards the sky and gives us sweet fruits too. Again, we should not mean and understand the spirituality as just offering all of life and duties in the hand or name of the poor god. We have to do all of our duties and responsibilities by ourselves. If we can not do any thing at any cost, then only, we should leave it in the name of god being positive and hopefully.
In kirat religion and culture, the word 'Tagera Ningwabhu' refers to the name of god. Here, 'Tagera' means as 'available everywhere' and 'Ningwabhu' means 'source or store of mind as well knowledge or wisdom.' So, Tagera Ningwabhu Mang refers to the source or store of own mind or wisdom. Therefore, we do not need to go here and there in the search of god. It is enough, if we could search the god in our own mind and wisdom. So, to find out the god in own mind is to be spiritual and to have wisdom of this life and world. What I mean here is, at first, we should find the god in our own mind or wisdom. Then only, we can see and view the outer life and world meaningfully, mysteriously as well naturally as what it is. Perhaps, from this point, starts the real journey of life with meaningful imagination and clear visions of life by stepping steps on the way of life ways.
We know human life in not just for having born, to live and die. According to Mundhum, human life is for making this world better and to see or take care of all living animal beings of this world. For this purpose, the god created us as advanced and the most beautiful creation at last. According to Kirat religious and cultural belief, nature is the god. So, Kirat people worship the natural things like water, earth, fire (light), plants, air and animal beings, etc. Without which human existence is not existed and possible. That's why; these are the gods for Kirats. This Kirat religion and culture is not limited in this process of worshipping the things only. But, it also reflects a distinct philosophy of understanding and behaving with life and world. Even till now, most of these holy Mundhum are on oral transmission. Mundhumaba or persons, who know Mudhums, are saying same Mundhum in one subject. If we could record and rewrite in written form then publish out as a book form, it would be very important and interesting job for Kirats as well all peoples. By collecting all Mundhum as that way, we should edit and synthesize it by combining all aspects and perspectives. Such works should be done by social, cultural or religious institutions made and accepted by all peoples. What have been done in this field by individual or institutionally will be helpful materials on that great job. Muigum Ongsi Falgunanda has already initiated this job. And, now Muigum Ongsi Aatmananda is keeping continuity of this great responsibility.
It is the time of unity in every aspect of activities. In every work, unity of people is necessary. Without being united, there can not be developed the religion too. Religions should also be revived according to time and conditions. But, main essence or theme should not be left out. Rulers will try to divide the peoples in all aspects such as culturally, religiously and politically to rule them forever. If culture and religion is united then it helps people to be united politically. Some conservative people may say and regard as politics is a dirty game. But, what should we understand is that dirty and clean as well sacred and profane matter depends on human mind and cultural context. In Nepal, politics is a dirty game for indigenous peoples. And, same politics is a sacred thing for non-indigenous rulers of Nepal. So, indigenous peoples are always made a football and played by so called dirty politicians. Therefore, politics itself is not a dirty thing or game but the mind or thinking and player is so. In the past, religious and political leaders were same persons. For instance, Ongsi Yehang was both religious and political leader of that time. So, he divided Mundhum and its leaders into eight divisions as a work division. These eight divisions and leaders became Muigum Ongsi Mnudhum and Ongsi(higly learned or well versed ascetic man, saint), Phejikkum Phedangma Mundhum and Phedangma(Basic ritual performer, wise person), Sawali Samba mundhum and Samba(Like a historian, who goes on dancing and singing stories of creation, evolution and tradition), Yebhung Yeba Mundhum and Yeba (Mundhum performer or ritual manager of accidental cases, psychological caretaker), Yebhung Yema Mundhum and Yema (Woman same work as Yeba specilly for woman), Sam-Mundhum Yep-Mundhum and Sam-Mundhumaba (Singers or Mundhum reciters), Sawanding Sida mundhum and Sidasaba (Users of Medical Herbs); and, Chumphogen Chokyem Mundhum and Tuttu Tumyahang (civic society).
Above mentioned, Mundhum and their performer specialist persons show an institution of Kirat religion and culture. This institution protects, develops and reflects norms, values and lifestyle of Kirat religion, culture and society in real sense according to Kirat philosophy. But, this institution is in danger of extinction now. If this institution doesn't remain in existence then there will be danger in the existence of this Kirat religion and culture.
Eventually, Muigum Ongsi Falgunanda understood this matter and re-institutionalized the existence of Kirat relgion and culture by establishing Manghims(Temples), writing Mundhum in written form and teaching peoples to follow good ways in that of critical situation.According to the tradition or culture of existing Ongsis, Muigum Ongsi Aatmananda Seing is taking care of people by educating them religiously after Falgunanda. If we have to mention the series of Muigum Ongsis- Yehang, Sodhungen Lepmuhang, Kandenhang, Lasahang, Mabohang, Sambanghang Yet-Inghang, Vedohang, Sirijongahang, Sirijonga, Falgunanda, and Atmananda Seing have been representing this ways from the beginning. In this way, the process of being Ongis is coming in continuity from Yehang to Atmananda Seing in Kirat religion and culture.

Courtesy: 124th Falgunanda Souvenir, 2008.
Kirat Relgion and Literature Upliftment Association, Limbuwan, Nepal


Someone! said...

Tanka Ji,
Thanks for publication of this article.
Some correctons:
The words 'Mundhumaba' is for 'Mudhumsaba'[Person, who knows mundhum]. Sorry for mistakes.
- DB Angbung
Limbuwan, Nepal

Marohang Limbu said...

DB, it is a great article.


Prem said...

Sewaro DB Adangbe,

It's a great work you are doing for our culture and identity. My hat off for your nobel effort.

Prem Phyak
Institute of Education,
University of London

Padam said...

DB Dai sewaro
i wish you,great future and thanks a lot for great article.

www.tejants_limbu said...

sewaro Limbuwan Kirat Religion and Culter utthan garo koma hreedaya bata nai subha kamana ka sath utar utar pragati ko lagi hardik manggalamaya subhakamana!!!

www.tejants_limbu said...

Kirat Religion and Culture uthan grekoma hardik badhai and subhakamana !!!

ranlimbu said...

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like it join. it

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Serma Lila said...

Dear Admin,


Thank you for the valuable information regarding Kirat and Kiratis. It was great to know about our own culture.

I hope to see and learn more about it as I am also a part of it.

Best Regards & Many Thanks
Serma Lila
Hong Kong

Leela Limbu said...

Dear Admin,


Thank you for the valuable information regarding Kirat and Kiratis. It was great to know about our own culture.

I hope to see and learn more about it as I am also a part of it.

Best Regards & Many Thanks
Serma Lila
Hong Kong

Pramod Thebe said...

hamila kirat dharma pani failau nu parcha..............manis haru aafno dharma birasara bidesh ko dharma mannu thalisaka......i really am proud that yo hamro dharma ma aaruko help garnu bhanara lekhako rahacha. teasaila hami lob gardainau rahachau,...............