TODAY -

Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) :: Translated from Meeteilon
- Part 8 -

James Oinam *

 Monkey holding stick  'Chayom Thupki'
'Monkey holding stick' : An illustration of 'Chayom Thupki' by James Oinam



Chayom Thupki (Translation): Part 8

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

(75)
Epam meihaure lanching meichakle
Eduningthau yaobara khambi meichakle


'Epam' is the place of birth. 'Lanching' is a compound word meaning mountain of wealth. The mountain of wealth (referring to the Puyas) of the birthplace is burning. Who can save it? Someone who is ready to work until they die should come forth without being asked to do the job.

(76)
Mamang leikai thambal shatle khoimu ille khoiraba
Shabi lao lao chatshi lao kalakpa yammi
Kanjaoba yammi mangda tharo lao


What is opposite me or in front of me is called 'mang'. Hence, 'nongpok' (east) is sometimes called 'mang'. (Traditionally Manipuri houses face east.) Here it is used in the sense of past time. From the past the phrase 'leikok-leikai' is used. The head of the family who is looking after all of them is called leikok.

The elderly person of the family who is no longer responsible for the family but who is devoted to the well-being of the society/village is referred to as 'leikai'.

The society of the ancestors that used to be, when there were no wants, households were run beautifully, people were well mannered and brave, it was like the flowering of lotus. Although that time has long gone, one remembers afresh. The bees that came, flying across huge mountains, many will fly away seeing there are no more flowers, but some will remain.

'Shabi' means to become big or grown up. Jealous people will now encircle. Walk in front of me, I will follow. To be unmindful of who will follow is a great fault. The brave is the one who is not afraid of dying. That she, despite being physically weak, can sacrifice for her child, knowing that the child rushes to her when faced with danger for safety. That is why child owes a great debt to her.

(77)
Phijet phigai ngamdainabiga tangjamayek naibiga chilloknau

The parents provide food and clothing to the child. This is called phijet (piece of cloth) phigai ngamdaibi. It is said that those who have been there can show the way. As the older generation have lived life they know it. Those who do not know what they are saying are to be 'mayek naidabi' (without clear picture).

The older generation is referred to as 'tangja mayek naibi'. Chilloknaba means to discuss. They are the ones who saw the sun and moon first (before us) and saw what happened to the land in the past. Hence they are the ones with whom we should discuss before the time is out.

(78)
Tingkhang amana yuradi tingkhang amana hangani

[If stuck by a thorn then it can only be taken out by pricking with another thorn]

Here the thorn is analogy for religion. When the heart is 'pierced' by a thorn (foreign religion), then to remove it another sharper thorn (referring to Meetei/indigenous religion) will be required.

(79)
Pan chaduna sikhiba mairen chaduna hallak-u

[One who died eating taro, come back after eating pumpkin]

Taro is a wholesome food. The tuber (pandum) is like rice. And the leaves and stem (maka) can be used to make curry. The story is while the old man was planting taro, a monkey came and persuaded him to boil the tubers before planting so that they will be fully grown the next day. The old man did as he was told. At night the monkey came with his friends and ate all the tubers and planted wild taros (lamban).

The next day the old man ate the wild taro and died. At this point, the old man's wife cries, 'One who died eating taro, come back after eating pumpkin.' Here wild taro is the foreign religion. It brought destruction upon us. The question is then what is the significance of pumpkin? There is a belief that if you point finger at pumpkin it will putrefy.

The wise old men kept important things secret and did not tell every young men. The pumpkin is kept for two-three years, until its navel is dry, before it is ready for consumption. Similarly, it is only to the mature people that it is told that they need to save the land. Also, the word 'mairen' is a corruption of the word 'mailen'. One that has almost come to an end from the fire but few that survived embracing the parents should come back grown up (len?) as a part of an army.

(80)
Chatna chatna ngang-naba, phamna phamna shonnaba

[To talk about while walking, to pray to while sitting]

Life is a journey. Two kinds of lifestyles have been portrayed in this saying. The greedy and rich people who live on their own. They wear the old clothes and keep the new ones in the wardrobes. They are stingy and live frugal lives, although they have piled up huge wealth. Although there are only a few people in the house, they built large houses with many rooms. But when the man died and the woman became old and about to die, people while walking on the roads discussed who will live there.

On the other hand, generous people, after keeping whatever they can use, donate the rest of their wealth to worthy causes. They built schools for small children and temples for the older people. When they die, every year the schools and temples are renovated for use. And while doing so, people remember these people, which is like praying them.

(81)
Ei uraga ma kao-e, ma uraga ei kao-e
Kanana saribano? Eina phajare hai
Kanana samlibano? Eina sam-e haibu khangdrene
Kanana thugairibano? Eina kalle hai.


When I see myself, I forget him, when I see him, I forget myself
Who made [it]? I said beautiful
Who joined [it]? I one can't even tell it is joined
Who broke [it]? I said strong

'I' has become proud and because of pride and self-importance it has forgotten that something made it. If it drops its pride and self-importance, it will see the other.

Related story for this proverb is as follows: Once upon a time, there lived two friends, one was 'lukrak' (culm sheath of bamboo) and the other was 'leitum' (a piece of dried soil). If there was wind, leitum would sit on the lukrak, and keep it in place.

If there was rain, lukrak would cover leitum and protect it from getting wet. As time passed, they became obsessed with themselves and proud.

Then storm came one day. The wind blew away the lukrak and leitum was soaked with rain and disintegrated.

 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 31, 2019.



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