TODAY -

Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) :: Translated from Meeteilon
- Part 7 -

James Oinam *

 Lady Fishing   'Chayom Thupki'
'Lady Fishing' : An illustration of 'Chayom Thupki' by James Oinam



Chayom Thupki (Translation): Part 7

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

(63)
Semba yaba mawongni samba yadaba masakni

[The façade can be made, but one cannot stick the face]

The surface of the rock is visible while its inside is not. The look may be imitated. The look of a dog may be changed to that of a cat. However, it will not meow like a cat. In other words the intrinsic nature cannot be changed. A stone broken into pieces cannot be stuck because we do not know how to melt it.

(64)
Matamna kanabu ngaibide hunna phaoba yenglamde
Kanabu mana khoidade ngaibatani mana kiba


Time waits for no one, it does not even look back
It does not envy anyone, it is only waiting that it is afraid of.

(65)
Nga makok yamna chao nokna mahao fangbani
Engkholda keithel kahallu leidana lenba yagani


[Eat a lot of fish heads, you will enjoy the taste laughing. Go to market in the garden, and you can live without buying]

The saying is on practicing economy. Fish head is quite tasty. The first line says eat a lot of fish heads. This is possible if you one consumes the small fish often. They cost less than big fish; so one can enjoy eating them, laughing. To go marketing to the garden means growing one's vegetables. There will be little need to buy from the market.

(66)
Lau ingkhol lengdaba lanni
Tauheide thauraba khutlaini


Agricultural land and home are immovable wealth. What is forbidden (mores) is a sharp weapon.

(67)
Ama tek khuningtek ani tek khut-u-tek

For a long time, the mountains served as barricades while the plains served as home. And so the Meiteis lived peacefully. But slowly, unknown to the rulers, foreigners came through the narrow passes of the mountains. First they asked for a small space to put in their heels so that they may sit and later they asked for some space for their knees and then they lied down.

(68)
Uchekki mashak yeng-u yawagi makhol tao

Those birds that live in the house and are well known are called 'pombi'; those that fly to the trees making 'wa' sound and fly away making 'ya' sound are called 'chekla'. Those birds that are close to you can be observed for how they look (how present themselves). However, to know the true voices (how they are really), one needs to hear the free birds. Similarly, people when staying close might present themselves nicely to us, but to know their true nature, we need to observe them in their own environment.

(69)
Say say saybotti laisham macha phubotni
Nungga eiga kaonaba kanana ngamge yengnashi


Say, say is an exhortation calling those who consider themselves linked to the god (lai [god] + sam [link]) and call themselves his children (macha) and hence his property (mapot) to fight with me (nungga (you) + eiga (I) + kaonaba [kick fight]). Let us see who wins. The author is referring to a competition held between Santidas Gosain (Hindu missionary) and Kekru. The story is Santidas chanted the name of god Ram one lakh times but the water did not catch fire. Kekru chanted the name of Sanamahi and the water caught fire.

(70)
Shagol paobu kishira keithel paobu ngakshira

[Should one fear the message sent via the horse? Or should one be amazed to hear message (information) received in the market?]

The saying narrates a story to show that in some ways the common people and the king are equal.

The king wanted to test how much the common people respected and feared him. So without any reason he sent out a message on horseback that all the people are to assemble in the court on a certain day. It so happened that a rumour spread in the marketplace that the month was a holy month—a month for prayers. Like any other rumour in the marketplace no one knew who said it, that is, it was like a message from the god.

Now due to the fear of the king all assembled at the court. Then the rumour also spread there. When the king heard about it, he was also amazed. The king had no other choice but to organize prayers and festivities for the whole lunar month (thabum). In this way he had to spend his treasury. And thus the king who was beyond the common people was punished by the god.

(71)
Nung taorani lashing luplani

[Stones will float, cotton will sink]

This is prediction for changing times. Stones will be in plenty. The use of stone in construction will make it available everywhere. Cotton which was commonly used for weaving cloths will no longer be used in plenty. It will disappear.

(72)
Wathi sana parengbu ahoba uningda happara

[Golden chain of ugly words, should it be put in a box with hole in it?]

Here golden chain is referring to wise words of ancestors who came by the knowledge after serious study. But the proud and self-important people do not take them to their hearts, that is, do not listen to them. It is like putting the golden chain in a box with hole in it. (Here 'uning' has been translated as 'box'. Literally, uning means the bottom of wood. Probably it is some kind of container made of wood used for keeping fish [dried/roasted?].)

(73)
Yeknabaga marup shanau
Ashoibaga oja oiyu


[Befriend you enemies, let mistakes be teacher]

The proverb is on leadership. Leaders need to be friend with strong people. If they part ways they become enemies. Hence the need to make compromises to maintain friendship. If one remembers one's past mistakes, one can avoid making the same mistakes again. Hence the saying let mistakes be your teacher.

(74)
Melei leimana nungjumpal kadanbadi leinungshi

A raised floor is called 'men' in Meetei language. Elders, who are images of gods, their sits are called 'phammen'. The place of birth (the bed), the cries of baby being born is heard, and human life being highest of all the forms and hence comparable to flowering, is called 'melei leimana'.

Leinungshi (lei = flower, nungshi = love) is the god father. This is the root or essence that flowed from the 'stones' of god father. A thirst to meet this god father was again born. However, he was left in the 'room' from where one can come out but cannot enter into.

 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 July 16, 2019.



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