Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) :: Translated from Meeteilon
- Part 12 -

James Oinam *

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

Chayom Thupki (Translation): Part 12

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

Uchi lumli awun chakthiri
Shangom thumpet chinnum tangli

[The mouse is hiding, searching the given food
The milk is sweet, taste it a bit]

God has given the food. The cat envies the milk and the looks for the mouse too. Go to the market, look (tastes) the varieties available there, but stick to your profession (do not be swayed by the glitter and the gold).

Ponshang wanau panthada utong chadum namhauro

Utong chak is so-called not because in it rice (chak) cooked in utong (bamboo internodes). Here, utong (canal) is referring to the stomach. That is why, the cup used to measure the amount of rice for cooking is called utong meruk.

If the utong is filled properly it remains healthy. Fill with a handful (chadum). (The author highlights the importance of rice cooked in bamboo. How it has magical quality. How the king Pamheiba eating utong chak led to Kongba ruling for 300 years.) (I feel either the development of the argument is weak, or my comprehension of the later part of explanation is faulty due to illegibility or otherwise, particularly the Kongba part.)

Awangbada tonganu atongbada leppu

[Don't ride on the high, stand on the mound]

Riding on something that is not established properly has the danger of falling. The mound on the other has known all the places where to fall and accumulate—it is stable and well known.

Chingda kaduna sindagba
Tamda kumduna laojenba
Awonba changdo uraniye

The size of the land will shrink. The hill people that used to climb the mountains on a daily basis for their needs will come to the plains even leaving the tasty food available there.

(114) Nauringeida meisha lang
Kuira kuira meinil kan

[When young felt the warmth of the fire, with time the fire becomes stronger]

Seeing the sacrifices of the mother for the land, later one takes the hands of brethren and leads remembering and resolving for the land.

Ubaga tabaga khubak maphei thapnagadra

The distance of the five fingers is the khubak (palm) maphei. Btween what is heard and what is seen, will there be a distance of 'khubak maphei'? Food is eaten with bare hands in Manipur, traditionally. When one sucks all the fingers then the heart is full. Not just hearing a news, but seeing it gives complete fulfilment.

Achanbagi tankhai kak
Ashibagi tankahi kok

[Half for the living
Half for the dead]

Here half dead is referring to traditional religion and the script. What has been given has been split into two for the living and the dead. The living snatch it up its share while other is dropped for the dead.

Nungshu eini eishu nungni
Loynaba magi mayani

[You are me and I am you
All is His illusion]

What you do I see, what I think you know is what my shadow says. (In Manipuri the shadow is one of the souls.) Even in the dark if one steals another's bamboo from the gate, you may not hear a thing, but at least you yourself is seeing what you are doing.

Sana keithel taklani
Chaktha keithel manglani

[The golden market will be broken
Small market for daily food will be everywhere]

A time will come when there will be so much conflict that the big market will be scattered and people will depend on small markets for daily survival.

Mit nahana haonida sholli
Ya matolna thumnida haibi

[The iris murmurs it will be tasty, tip of the teeth says, it will be sweet]

In the old age when one is unable or does not want to eat, the young shows to the elderly what he wants to eat. One should not presume without knowing. It is not the eyes but by licking the tip of the teeth that one knows what will tastes good.

Mekhut chankhre nungi oidre
Potshak khangdre pungmang mangle

If it changes hands, you lose ownership. If it not recognizable anymore, it is completely lost.

If the cow is stolen you no longer own it. But if its eaten by wild animals, and you find the bones left behind, then it is certain that you have lost completely.

Nomjen chenba ahanbani
Ama madi leitarabani

Following the current trend, one thing on day, another the next day. Running here and there, nothing is followed to conclusion. The one (in Manipuri, the God) is stable and does not change.

Yamna yamna khikta launu
Khajik khajik yamna phangjau

When one is well settled in the house, if you ask to give a little, without specifying the amount, he will not give anything. If you ask for a large specific amount, you might have to go there more than once.

Pukningi yahipham phamungni
Wakhalgi yatapham phamnungni

[Bed is the place to rest one's heart
The sit of the elder is place for thoughts to discuss]

The family needs looking after by the elderly wisdom, otherwise led by emotions the family will break. There is a saying, 'anina semgatpa anina thugaibani' (what is made up two is broken by two).

Namabu ngauduna chage washakpa
Nongmadi soiraroi matamna watemba

[Swore that you'll fry and eat your mother
One day sure, time will judge]

Here mother is referring to the land. Before passing the land to younger generation, present generation has broken it into pieces. However, the younger generation has promised to accept the way it is.

Mang thababu chingli mana
Tungthabana elli mabu

The one walking in the front leads, and the one behind follows. They are referring to previous generation and younger generation. As the previous generation has experienced things, it leads the way.

Wari sharaga lamben telli
Tubak nateina lamba phang-e

[Talking makes the road shorter
Short-cuts makes things within reach]

Company makes the journey of life enjoyable. One who is not enjoying life looks for short-cuts to gain things in life.


* James Oinam wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on October 17, 2019.

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