TODAY -

Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) :: Translated from Meeteilon
- Part 9 -

James Oinam *

 Man on tree and tiger 'Chayom Thupki'
'Man on tree and tiger' : An illustration of 'Chayom Thupki' by James Oinam



Chayom Thupki (Translation): Part 9

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

(82) Chakcha ahum yahip ahum mashak khang-u
Punsibane laining lik kaidabane


[Three meals, three sleeps, know them
Attain longevity, doesn't waver of one's faith]

As soon as one is born, the milk of the mother provides sustenance. To gain strength one ate food with the mother and slept in the same bed. After that, on growing up, one's wife cooked and fed him. After these two stages comes the old age. At this stage, being cared for by the daughter-in-law is necessary. At this point one should remember the saying, 'chabada chilhao thiphade, haote kaobada haiphade' (One should not be choosy about food, one ought not to say the food tastes bad).

Also, there is a saying, 'chaminnababudi hipminnabana henla lui' (sleeping together to more complicated than eating together). Here, eating together is referring to be being related. In the first two stages, one is very close to mother and wife and knows them well. But the third one is difficult to understand and needs to be asked for her opinion.

(83)
Phau sangbai achonba eshing pul athalba
Ngari pareng achumba warak tayal angangba


[Bag of bulging paddy, pitcher full of water
Dried, fermented fish strung straight, in discussion would stand out like red tayal]

This proverb is in praise of the land of the Meeteis.

A bag of bulging paddy looks good and also it shows abundance, lack of want. A pitcher full of water is peaceful. Dried, fermented fish is indication of secure future. This bountifulness has resulted in houses being built in line. If there is any discussion on dress and food, the land of Meeteis will be mentioned because it will stand out like a red tayal in the green. (Tayal is a kind of red flowering plant that grows among bamboos.)

(84)
Atanbagi matengna wadana panbani
Huranbana senabagi mapu oiba ngambani


[Because of the lazy we are living in comfort
Because of the thief looking after things, one is the owner]

As the population increased, food, clothing and other necessities have become scarce. It has become necessary for even those who have settled far away to be in touch to exchange things to have all the necessities of life. Travelling long distances and moving the goods are not easy. However, because of those who are lazy in body but well-endowed in thinking faculty, vehicles and various tools were invented and that made life comfortable.

The thief is always looking for an opportunity to steal things. The owner has to be alert all the time, lest he loses his belonging and the thief becomes the owner. So the thief forces the owner to take good care of his things so that he remains the owner.

(85)
Uchi chi chi, chichi kharong mapan khaushaba
Sat-tang lak-e frang


Earlier nothing was wanting in the land. But now healthy and wholesome food (machi oiba chinjak) are on the brink of disappearing. In the Sana keithel (market) local fish are not available. People used to live for a hundred year, but now people are becoming senile at seventy. Everywhere one sees poverty and squeezing of the last drops (chiba).

Desperation drove them to following the religion of the west. Nobody is to be blamed. Do not worry, when the time comes suddenly the wisdom will emerge (sat-tang = suddenly, lak-e = comes, frang = sound made by sudden emergence).

(86)
Keinau wayel thauraba katini

In this saying, the words 'keinau wayel' is corruption for 'kainau wayen'. It means a justice (wayen) where parties are expected to contribute a little (kainau). This is probably done to mislead those who do not look closely into it. 'Thauraba katini' means a sharp pair of scissors.

Only the local elderly who knows the hearts and minds of the parties to a conflict can deliver proper justice. They also know that often behind conflict and seeking justice, there is desire for power.

In the rainy season, when a young man came and asked the old man Chaoba to lend him a big basket (sangbai) of paddy and that he will return it the next year, Chaoba gave it to him. But three years passed and the young man did not return the paddy. Chaoba approached the elders of the village for justice. The elders asked, 'This young man was fickle. You should not have trusted him with your paddy. Why did you give it to him?' Chaoba said, 'I knew, but I gave it out of love.'

Then the elders turned to the young man, 'You took a big basket of paddy from this man and did not even think of returning a part of it. Both of you need to contribute to settle the matter.'

And so the elders went to the house of the young man and confiscated some item. When it was sold, an amount equivalent to a small basket of paddy (lukmai) was recovered and given to the old man. The old man was happy that a part of the paddy was recovered and the young man was happy that from now the old man would not be coming to his house asking to return his paddy.

(87)
La kannaba namana lokpani

The place where the 'chang-changda' (literally, living and dead, used to count auspicious and inauspicious) is called 'la'. For human beings, the motherland is the 'la'. Manipur is shaped like a 'yangkok' (a flat basket made of bamboo used for drying paddy).

Hence, yangkok is used symbolically for the land. After six complete days of birth, the baby is put on the yangkok. Then the amaibi (female shaman) asks the mother if she wants the baby or the yangkok (the motherland). The mother answers, she needs to the baby for the sake of yangkok (to save the motherland). Hence the saying above: la (motherland) + kannaba (to save) + namana (your mother) + lokpani (to bring up).

 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 August 17, 2019.



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