Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) :: Translated from Meeteilon
- Part 11 -

James Oinam *

 Peybet (cat and bird) 'Chayom Thupki'
'Peybet (cat and bird)' : An illustration of 'Chayom Thupki' by James Oinam

Chayom Thupki (Translation): Part 11

Book Title: Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy)
Author: Makar Luwang
Publisher: S. Achauba Khaba Nganba, Khurai Khongam Leikai
Year of Publication: 1995

Chatpa okle paiba tamlo

[Satisfied with walking then learn to fly]

If one lifts something that is beyond one's capacity then he will drop it. There are those who does not know and pretends to know. They create hurdles for others to do things.

Follow the spiritual path of your native land. Save the land by learning about it. Like the Peybet learn to fly so that you are beyond the reach of Haudong Lamboiba.

Chingda charang paire tamda mikap thokle
Thaupal turel eyaida nganuna wak wak khonglakle

[In the hills dragonflies are flying, in the plain people are awaken
In the middle of Thaupal river, the ducks are quacking]

In Manipuri 'charang paiba' is used idiomatically to mean 'to be in chaos'. When people in the plain converted to another religion, there was chaos in the hills in search of something to cling to. The ducks plunge their heads under the water to dig up fertile soil from beneath the water. Similarly, those who are awakened searching to save the land.

Athaubaga shagonnau angambaga thagonnau

Athouba means the 'sharp'. It used to refer to soldiers, general, prince and king. Shagonnaba means not leave someone and keep him or her under constant watch without blinking an eyelid. If one is close to the king, he will enjoy a lot of benefit.

Angamba means one who wins. Wisdom and intelligence is something that can win even the 'sharp' things. If a sharp sword is carefully put inside the scabbard, it will not do harm. The maichaus (scholar and advisor to the king) are the angamba. They can make or break the kingdom because they dictate the athauba. Hence, keeping them close is important.

Monchingda soilauge Napchingta ngafauge
Phaudagchai ngari yanhange ayongna ngatha pige

The water bodies that should not meet would meet and time will come when water instead of flowing down will flow upwards. That will be the time when people will eat 'ashi heibong'. The water that should have flowed into the lake has been stopped at the Mon mountain (Monching) by building dam in Ethai river.

In the adjoining village Napching, fish are caught. In Phaudakchai fish are rotting. Arong where there used to be enough fish, now have to ask for their share to be given. That is why it is like eating the ashi heibong fruit, half of which is thrown away for the dead and half of it is eaten.

Nungsha O thoraklo urum leima changkharo
Kabo leite phe leite kona laba ting ting

Children used to sing this after the rain, asking for the sun to come out and the shadow (clouds) to vanish. The reference Kabo leite (Kabo no more) makes it clear that it is referring to the land (Manipur, which lost Kabo Valley to Myanmar) to come out of darkness and into the sunshine.

Not having Kabo is like not having cloths (phe leite). Ones that come later (kona lakpa) ting ting. (I think ting ting is referring to a Manipuri lullaby 'ting ting chaoro', wishing the baby to grow up and be strong.)

Hingnabagi machak eshingda
Hinglaga leipham kanphalda

A fire enveloped in air will exist in water. It is called thawai (soul). That is why it is said there is god in water. If that fire is introduced into a dead body, there will life for some time. That is why amaibi (female shaman) while taking up the god from water (lai laukhatpa) use living thread along with the dead offerings. The men has to look after the garden for the gods, that is why it is said live in the land.

Ngarungbana ngashak khang-e
Uorungbana uoshak khang-e

[Fishermen know the fish
Woodcutters know the wood]

One who is involved practically in a profession knows it well. In Manipuri, the word 'khutloiba' means knowing just by a touch because one has been doing it for a long time.

Yungaobana yum shanglani phingau maibina wai chairani

[The drunk will take of the house, maibi in white cloth will be everywhere]

Time will come when the incapable will be responsible for looking after the ancestral property. And what is without a head or tail (nonsensical) will be everywhere. There is a saying, 'yum leitradi changpham leiroi' (if there is no house, there will be no entrance). (I think this also means if you do not protect your ancestral culture and tradition there will be no place of solace for you.) Someone who does not know this will take charge of looking after the tradition.

Moithokpi moithokpi tai tai
Yendai potai tai tai
Phanda phambi moijaobi
Taret leima takhap chong
Shut pet tung

When we (the author) were children, we used to sing this. Farting was made fun of, especially when in company.

Just like farting whatever is said without thinking does not have any substance (value) is not worth listening. Who has farted (or said those words)? One who is sitting on the stool (someone in high position). That is why he will spin the people like spinning a spinning wheel. However, one who knows people will sniff out (shut pet) and will be able to tell (tung) who is responsible.

Moi pot thok shamu mari pat tat
Leipung keithel wa kai

[An expected fart, the chain of the elephant is broken, and the market is scattered.]

When something is said without taking heed to others will result in breaking of relations with those responsible of looking after the land. And the discussion on the well-being of the land will be broken.

Lupak makhum tamang khutsha marolthok
Chandol natol thibet pet

When the basket is open, the hands will speak (it will be freefall for everyone to loot the ancestral treasures). When the nose is smeared with chandol (sandalwood paste), know the time has come.

 Cover of 'Chayom Thupki'
Cover of 'Chayom Thupki'

To be continued.....

* James Oinam wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on September 16, 2019.

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