TODAY -

Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) :: Translated from Meeteilon
- Part 2 -

James Oinam *

 Lady in Pond 'Chayom Thupki'
'Lady in Pond' : An illustration of 'Chayom Thupki' by James Oinam



Chayom Thupki (Translation): Part 2

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

(3)
Ayingbabu shahanba ngammi
Ashababu enghanba ngamde


[What is cold can be made hot. But the hot cannot be made cold.]
Here cold stands for tranquillity and peaceful mind (eng-tappa). A mind that is in peace can comprehend things. It can deal with hot-headedness. However, anger and hatred, just like a hot water cannot be made cold, once they enter the heart, they are not easily forgotten.

(4)
Mitki hidak eshing yagi hidak thum
Yumgi pangal faklang meegi pangal khwang


Water is the medicine for the eyes, salt is the medicine for the teeth
The strength of the house is in the walls, the strength of men is in the waist

(5)
Ngaranggi wapham khannashi
Hayenggi wapham neinashi


Let us think of the past (yesterday)
Let us discuss the future (tomorrow)

(6)
Apiba lau pik thangani
Munduna lauganu punmut mutkani


[Take what is given and it will be full
Do not snatch or all will ruin]

One is giving out of love. One takes what he deserves for his work. As two people are involved in the give and take, the amount is adjusted and just. And the person who receives it takes care of it and in time it is full. Snatching is about the strong taking from the weak. There will be another who is stronger and take it away and all will be ruined.

(7)
Kwakki chakcha yengjau
Yengi yahip tamjau


[Look at the ways crows eat
Learn the way the hens sleep]

The advice is learn to wake up/start your work early like the hens. There is another popular saying related to eating, namely, food tastes better when eaten together. The author interprets this advice to mean ‘learn the way the crow search for food, calls for friends to share it, even if it is just a morsel, so that the others call them in return’.

(8)
Lau-uba pukning nungai
Lausinba meewa tai
Laurangba puk yek-e


At the time harvest, when the farmer sits on the stack of straw and looks at the harvests it gives pleasure (puning nungai).
At the time of growing the paddy, the farmer has to guard the field. This can cause occasional conflict with neighbours.
When the farmer borrows everything, the cattle, farming equipment and even the fan to farm, it gives a lot of headache (puk yek-e = pain in the stomach). Because after harvest he has to give part of the paddy for the borrowed equipment.

(9) Pektuna lauba perukni
Gri-gri namba shaugrini
Hakchangdagi sharu-shayangda changkhraba ariba nungshit makhei pektuna tashillaga khada thadaba ngammi haibagi mabu peruk kaubani.
Khoidau makhagi komda nungshit ashabana eshingbu pumduna thakta pruk-pruk shaugatlakpada gri-gri namthaba ngambana mabu shaugri kaubani.


[Broadly, the above passages may be translated as: Peruk (vernacular Manipuri name, common name Indian pennywort, scientific name Centella asiatica) is so named because it collects (pekpa) ‘old wind’ (causal agents of illness in the body?) from bones and muscles and helps the excrete the same.

Below the navel, because of ‘hot wind’, when the water of the pond putrefies, and bubbles emerge on the surface, making ‘pruk, pruk’ sound, the Shaugri (vernacular Manipuri name of roselle, scientific name Hibiscus sabdariffa) can suppress it, making ‘gri, gri’ sound. Hence the herb was named Shaugri (shauba = boil + gri).]

(10)
Lei khujok katpana hei khuya phangani

[If a hand full of flowers is offered, then one will get as many fruits as the hand can catch]

If one makes many efforts, some might fail, but some are bound to bear fruits or be successful. The author draws an analogy here to a children’s play of Manipur. Called Khullokpi play, a handful of pieces of stones or marbles are thrown up. Then the player tries to catch as many stones or marbles on the back of the palm. These are again thrown up and whatever one catches in the palm are one’s winnings. The author says this throwing up in the sky represents making offering to god. And what one catches in the palm are the fruits one gets for one’s efforts.

(11)
Shagonnaba akhangbada hang-u maru phangani
Lentheinaba aheibada chang-u machu phangani


Someone who has been taught by the now dead ancestors and become wise is called shagonnaba akhangba. Ask them and you will get the essence of things. Those who are clever and do not care about the right or wrong are talented. They have wealth earned through unfair means. If you seek them, your colour will change (become wealthy). But that brightness is like the bright lamp just before going out.

(12)
Chei kariba hangoibu shamuna netpane
Shamuna netpada yerum kaide


A frog that is climbing up a stick thinks no one can stop it from doing anything it pleases. But even an old and sick elephant can squash it under its feet. The frog cannot be stronger than what nature intended.
On the other hand, if an egg is appropriately placed, even if an elephant steps on it will not break.

(13)
Shadagi lai khaire, meedana lai changle

[From the animals god split, into human god entered]

Animals are strong and can take care of themselves. There are plenty for them to eat. So after making them, the god left them. They also need not worship the god. However, humans are different. They are weak. To ward off cold they wear cloths and light fire. They wear shoes to protect their feet from hard grounds. And they use equipment for harvest. So after making them, the god thought about them. Men also needed god and so a corner was dedicated for the god in the house.

(14)
Ama chatpa apumba, ani chatpa ashiba, ahum chatpa achangba

[If one goes then putrefaction, if two go then death, if three go then alive]

If only one person goes on a journey and dies, his body will putrefy because there is no one to tell others that he has died. If two people go on a journey, then if one dies the other can inform other people about his death. If three people go on a journey, and if one falls sick, then one of them can wait on the sick person while the other can call for help. And so he can be saved.

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




To be continued.....


* James Oinam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 28, 2019.



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