Abridged Translation of Sanamahi Laihui
- Part 2 -

James Oinam *

 Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple at Wangoi, Manipur as captured through the lens of Sanjiv Meetei
Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple at Wangoi, Manipur as captured through the lens of Sanjiv Meetei

Abridged Translation of Sanamahi Laihui: Part 2
Manuscript (Puya): Sanamahi Laihui
Book: Sanamahi Laihui (Translated from ancient Meetei script to Bengali script) (Awarded with Manipur State Kala Academy)
Translator: M. Gourchandra

Some Personal Interpretations

* I have used Guru Sidaba as used in the translated book by Gourchandra. However, opinions differ among people, with some believing the word "Guru" is a later addition used in place of Tengpalpa Mapu or, more probably, Salailel Sitapa.

The word Salailel seems to be a variant of Sorarel (sky). The other word for Sorarel is Atiya. In the story, we saw that Sidaba (a variant of the name Sitapa; one who does not die) asked his middle son Atiya to become one with him; thus we get the compound name Salailel Sitapa.

** "Ching-u asembadi unbi pukning ngaklabada Khoiyum Sidabana hakchang pukning pirabada Khoiyum Ashibana Gurugi mamiyengna shanasemlabada Guru Sidabagi pukning haraokhre."

The above statement seems very important. Although I am unable to do a word-by-word translation, the overall meaning seems to contradict a general belief. As per the general belief, Guru Sidaba appeared before his son, and the latter made human in his image. However, the statement above does not seem to convey this interpretation.

I feel there are two key terms here "unbi pukning" and "hakchang pukning". If they are translated as "stomach-heart" and "body-heart", the following conjecture can be made: "Stomach-heart" is referring to sensual or erotic love and "body-heart" is referring to platonic love.

When the three sons of Guru Sidaba were born, they were endowed with sensual or erotic love. This can be seen in the attraction felt by the younger king toward goddess Tampha. It can be further assumed that Guru Sidaba granted "body-heart" later to the elder son. With the platonic love he could feel, he decided to make humans in the image of his father.

The father, Guru Sidaba, would naturally feel happy to this. If the story is thus interpreted, it shows Guru Sidaba in a more loving light. He was happy to see the platonic love shown by his son. Mention may be made that the Greeks divided love into various kinds.

One cannot help feeling if the story of Guru Sidaba and his three sons in the manuscript predates the second half, that is, the story of Ashiba incarnating as the son of Khagemba and coming of Hinduism under subsequent kings.

The notion of the earth as the mother goddess and the sky as the father was prevalent in other ancient cultures. Fruits and flowers grow on earth as if the earth has given birth to them like a mother.

However, patches of earth where sunlight and air cannot reach like under stones and in caves, the land is barren as if "seeds" must come from the sky. Hence, the sky is father. Also, the sons of Guru Sidaba going around the earth can be related to the story of Da Yu of China (refer my article Yubu and Lai Haraoba on this website).

Word Meanings Listed in the Book

Ashiba = Sanamahi
Awangphalaukhomba = Sanamahi
Angauba chanu = Angom ningol (a girl of Angom clan/lineage)
Ana laikokle = ana phare (cured of illness)
Amam Leishahanba = Sanamahi

Apong ingkhol = Kangla gi nongpokta leiba lam ama (a piece of land to the east of Kangla; literally "apong" garden)
Emom = echanupi (daughter)
Enungsoiyaimada = ahing nongyaida (in the middle of the night)
Enungsilyomnungda = garvda (womb)
Enongyai = eshu (grandchildren)
Eshingtamlennungda = eshing manungda (under water)

Unbi = puk (stomach)
Korau nongleita malem leireitaringei = akash amashung prithibi leitaringei (while going around the sky and the earth)
Korau nonghau-o malem leishem-o = akash prithibi sem-o (make the sky and the earth)
Kangla phamdongnongda = Kangla kaba numitta (the day of ascension to Kangla)
Kamakhya = Hiyangthang Lairenbi (Goddess Hiyangthang)

Khoiyum = lai (god)
Khambi = mei (fire)
Khamgol = nungshit (wind)
Khoiyum Ashiba = Sanamahi
Khaurau khangsetnana = khaurau khwangda yenta (wearing "khaurau" in the waist)
Khoiyum Namungbadi = Sanamahi di

Ngai-khamli-ngeida = ngairingeida (while waiting)
Charei makaphong mallau mimangtak = phijet phajaba settuna (wearing beautiful clothes)
Tarang = eshing (water)
Tamlennungi = manungi (inside)
Tethok tesin-ngeine = handok hanjin-ngeine (re-doing)
Tangshakte = thaushade (complacent)

Taushikne = taubane (doing)
Tanglau = ahing (midnight)
Taukhangle = taure (to do)
Tarang epakthakta = eshing mathakta (on surface of water)
Thupkhare = mangkhare (to lose)
Thanilnong = purnima (full moon)

Thangnga yumbum = yum (house)
Thongnang mayamba = Garibniwaz
Nonglenkhi = matam lenkhi (while away time)
Numit yungkhakpa = numit yungba (midday, noon)
Nayu = nabudhau (grandfather)
Ningjakhankhiye = khankhi (to think about)

Ningde mangde leiringei = khangjanringei (while considering pros and cons)
Nongpok khagi lamhabadi = Meitei Ningthau Khagembadi
Paring langshangtha ukak mairongyanana = paringthaba (planting in lines?)
Pari sana wapihan = echanupa ahal (elder son)
Painama khoijangbi tillang khoidabi-o = pukningna pambi-o (of heart's desire)

Panaidabi = mapa leitabi (fatherless)
Pinaidabi = mama leitabi (motherless)
Pacha nanamda senku thaudingda = haina singnaba leitriba (who is not spoken to yet?)
Phuigabara = pokkabara (will it give to)
Meitreng = mei (fire)
Mashanau atonbana = manao atobana (younger brother)

Malem leimitamna = prithibi mawong lakna (imitating the earth)
Mitmei teranha = mitchina yengba (glance sideways)
Meitreng khanikna = meigi phijet settuna (wearing fire as clothes)
Malang fenji oikhare = nungshitta tinkhare (merge with the air/wind)
Meitengu = Meitei ningthau (Meetei king)

Leithin nongthinkhaire = leibak ningthau sembabu thugaire (destroyed making the king of the land)
Leithin kharage = leibak thugaige (shall destroy the land)
Leitinthok = tinthrok (earthworm)
Laij epal langbada = erujaba eshing sokpada (fetching water for bath)
Shanglau mathaurangnaringeine = mana sinba thaurang oirigani (must have been organized by him/her)

Shalkhanglabagi = khanglabagi (to know)
Shansemle = semle (made)
Shayeng panga paina = makhung shayeng paina (holding one's hand)
Shaulyamba = mapok yamba (with many lives [rebirths/incarnations])
Hakokpham = macha pokpham (place of giving birth to children)
Hayi haya he he khoiyum Laiyingthau = epa ema oiba he athauba lai (great god who is father and mother)
Hangoi loidamchabu = hangoibu (frog)

Translations of Some Related Translations Gathered from Social Media

Momnu = nupi (girl)
Chenglau = maithong (face)
Khoijangbi = pukning da akaoba leitana ningsinglibi (eina) (one who the heart always remembers)
Khoidabi = ka henna apam mihau poklabi (outrageously attractive)
Tillang khoidabi = tin chobamakhei apam mihau poklabi (one who makes one salivate with desire)

Kanano momnu = whose daughter
Kori = copper
Pithrai = brass
Senzeng = bronze
Kansh = bell metal
Kongou = aluminum


* James Oinam wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on April 08, 2021.

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