Blood is the source of Meetei religion and philosophy
The Origin of Sanamahism

Puyam Nongdrei Khuman *

Keithel Lairembi Ekou-khatpa gi thouram
Keithel Lairembi Ekou-khatpa gi thouram

Our religion and philosophy is not complete without blood (Ee). Blood is the origin of the living beings on earth. This blood is Sitapa Mapu/Ama/Yaibiren Sitapa/Epuroi Sitapa etc. This life-blood spreading the realm of all living beings is again manifested as 'Sanamahi'. Therefore, we called him Sanamahi Mahirel.

This concept of life-blood is the representation of the whole living beings and their common genetic pool. The Sitapa Mapu being the origin of this common genetic pool is the life-giver of all. He came down again on earth as Salailel Sitapa and Leimalel Sitapi's first son Sanamahi to spread living beings. This is why we prefer to call this ancient religion Sanamahism. We have few things to know better why this understanding of the origin of life on earth is significant from the point of view of Meetei philosophy.

The Concept of Shumang Kangleipung/Tulsipung:

The most significant practice still observed by the Meeteis is the leipung at courtyard of the house. This tradition of worshipping the 'primeval mound/hill' as the first centre of creation and spreading of the Taipangpal is priceless heritage of the Meeteis. This is very much connected with the Egyptian concept of 'primeval hill/mound' and the pyramids.

Because the civilization that flourished in Mesopotamia constructed pyramids to represent the primeval mound which emerged first as part of their creation myth. Besides this, every centre of human settlement is identified with such mounds by the Mesopotamians. This is not different from what Pakhangba did for his seven sons by distributing them seven Kangleipungs.

Every Meetei cannot visit 'Kangla Impham' for all their spiritual and religious purposes. To cut the distance short, every Meetei family keeps a 'leipung' known today as 'Tulsipung'. Planting tulsi plant is related to Hinduism but it should not be the point of quarrel.

Both 'langthrei' and 'tulsi' can grow together on the leipung. Both are medicinal plants and used for ceremonial purposes. But the Meetei philosophy says that these leipungs should not be kept without any plant life. Why so? It is the microcosmic representation of the primeval mound which was the centre of first creation. Therefore, life must flourish is such mound and should not look barren. We need this mound (leipung) for birth ceremony, death ceremony, marriage ceremony and so on. This is the centre of our spiritual life.

Species Survival and Continuity in Meetei Philosophy:

Other interesting traditions of 'Uyallon', 'Shafaron', Lanfaron, and 'Ushil Shinba' are clear examples of a civilized human race respecting this life-blood. Before cutting a big tree (Uyallon) for any purpose, after killing enemies in battles (Lanfaron-lanturon) and after hunting animals (Shafaron-shaturon), we generally observe these rituals to keep us away from any misfortune following those acts.

What is the significance? These are to say that trees should not be cut; animals and human beings should not be harmed and killed without any valid reasons. This is for 'species survival and continuity' and safeguarding the planet's biosphere. We also have the traditions of Ngamu Ushil Shinba and Koubruda Thadokpa which are acts of species conservation/preservation.

The practice of making few cut marks on the tree as part of the Uyallon ritual can be the scientific explanation of the old trees having poisonous gases releasing during its cutting thus affecting the tree cutter. The few cuts are to make way for such poisonous gas to leak out beforehand. Therefore, we need to critically question the 'phei-phatte' (do's and don't's) of the forefathers to get rid of unwanted superstitions accumulated in our course of civilization because of many influences.

Taking these things into account, Meetei race should not give up spiritual growth of the race only to be overtaken by martial spirit. Our martial skills are not for destroying the neighbours or occupying the foreign lands. It is meant for safeguarding the race and the knowledge storehouse handed down by the forefathers. Keepers of every martial arts tradition will stand against brute use of such knowledge against anybody. It is for self-defence and other higher purposes. We should not go against this tradition. We should protect what is ours but should not encroach upon other's spheres.

Origin of Life and its Spread: I have the following song taken from other books and one line taken from WHTSAP (Wakoklon Heelel Thilel Salai Amailon Pukok) puya to clear doubts. Please read them between the lines.

Awang Koupalu Asuppa
Leima-Lai Khunda Ahaanba
Nongthak-lei Mau lingliba
Eelik Mapaan thariba
O Lainingthou
(There are slightly different versions of this song though the meaning is the same).

The line, "Hei-na mapaan thaba Haa-na mau lingpi koupati phampi kontaki Angang naowa malu hunpane" is telling what reproduction is by telling that father transfer the sperm to mother and the new life is born. Comparing this with 'nongthak-lei mau lingliba, Eelik Mapaan thariba', we can conclude safely that Mt. Koupalu was the place where first centre of habitation was established by the lai race.

Epu Wangkhemcha Chingtamlen has written a lot about this in his articles and books (please visit The only difference I have with Epu Chingtamlen is my extra-terrestrial origin of the lai race while he emphasizes on the lai race as the first evolved human beings on Mt. Koupalu. Many scholars of the Meetei puyas will agree that in our world view, the first life forms were created on Mt. Koupalu and hence it is the centre of spreading throughout the world.

Who is Sitapa Mapu?

Without knowing Sitapa Mapu, one cannot grasp the fundamentals of Meetei cultural life. We have many puyas and religious books telling who he is. Both blood and script is represented by the word 'Eyek' in Meetei puyas. Why did the Maichous do so? It was to keep the knowledge secret till the inhabitants of this planet can understand the complexity of science in the long period of human civilization.

Our ancestors knew that one day human beings will start asking the questions regarding the origin of life. I strongly believe that scientific advancement is pre-destined for an intelligent species like human beings. The Meetei puyas give the most elaborate genesis of human and other life forms on earth. Wokoklon of the Meeteis is the genesis most detail and elaborate for any surviving civilization on earth. Human scientific advancement could have happened much earlier had these puyas been properly safeguarded by our forefathers.

According to many books and manuscripts human beings were engineered successfully by the extra-terrestrial race with their genetic materials. The manifestation of Sitapa Mapu as Ama (One) is the beginning of science in Meetei puya.

The Ama is nothing but sperm and egg representing male and female life-blood. Therefore, we called Sitapa Mapu/Tingpalpa Mapu as combination of 'Pa-Pi' (Father-Mother). It does not mean being hermaphrodite (having both male and female reproductive organs). The safest conclusion is to say that 'AMA' is Sitapa Mapu's simple representation of being the seed of life to create the Taipangpal.

The human body is the construct of the blood originating from the extra-terrestrial beings beginning with Sitapa Mapu. When it is written that 'Ama' is the source of all living beings on earth, it means the life-blood. And to have this 'Ama', there are Eyek Epee Laiyek/Mayek, Lolshum Mayek and Cheitap/Cheinap Mayek. These letters of our alphabet system are the components to form 'One', i.e., the seed of life. 'Ama', the combination of 'Pa' (male) and 'Pi' (female) is thus born. We must remember that 'Ama' came from outer space.

The puya 'Wachetlon (Pathup)' is written to tell this truth that every living being is born from male-female intercourse leading to fertilization of the sperm and ovum except in the case of 'Nongdamba Mapu/Sitapa Mapu' intervening. This kind of birth without male-female intercourse of one or the other sort can be achieved only through scientific means.

Sitapa Mapu is present in our blood because we are his descendants through some other stages of development. Therefore, the religious books say that god is in our body. Body is the temple/church of god. We can say our great grandpa is in my body as my genetic material. We need not mystify such knowledge to say that God is sitting inside my body to watch over my conducts.

According to Wakoklon Heelel Thilel Salai Amailon Pukok puya, Sitapa Mapu is transformed into the eighteen (18) 'Eyek Epee Laiyek' and the 'Cheising Sinthalon Ama (One). The hidden meaning is: He is the material components making the ONE (seed of life containing sperm and egg).

Other books write about how these letters build up the full human body (langpum) inside the womb (Naoyom; Shiyomnung) of the mother. The book on "Lai Haraoba" by Lairenjam Manglem Meitei is a good reference though later fabrication has made much destruction to the puya. The different combinations of the letters create different parts of the body whether it is blood, flesh, arteries/veins, nerves, brain, bones etc. I hope this can easily explain why the Meetei script is named after the parts of the human body and Aatinga (space). The Lai Haraoba ritual dance has 'Laibou Khuthek' imitating the development of the human body in the womb till birth.

Our forefathers did this for some higher purpose indeed. Why did they think so complex? We should try to find the answers. Do we have another such dance form depicting the development of a human body inside the womb in any part of the world? If there is any other human race whose myths tell us about human body organs and dance movements imitating the development of the human body, it will be really helpful to understand the great mythmakers of our race. How many scripts in the world have alphabetic letters contributing to the development of different organs of the human body before becoming a simple script to write the language?

The puya Wakoklon Heelel Thilel Salai Amailon Pukok has shown clearly that these letters of the Meetei Mayek are the genetic materials which are needed to build up a full human body starting from 'AMA'. This is supported by emphasizing that human body cannot be complete without the 'Eyek Epee Mayek', Lolshum Mayek and Cheinap Mayek. 'Eyek Epee Mayeks form the head, the Lolshum Mayeks form the feet and the Cheinap Mayeks are hands of a complete human body figure (Huksang Kayat Philep). In simple language, the puyas say that these letters are parts of the whole human body.

The knowledge of the developing foetus inside the womb of the mother throughout the ten months is another great achievement. They knew when the foetus starts moving and having senses. Such things written down clearly hundreds of year before human scientific advancement made the similar discoveries left me utterly shocked. This was the beginning of my serious study of the available puyas and the books published by many of the Meetei scholars based on such puyas.

It is also clear that the cheising sinthalon mayek (numeral system) starting from 'AMA' is the development of the foetus inside the womb in ten months. 'AMA' signifies the sperm and egg of the male and female leading to fertilization inside the body of the female. The beginning of this cycle with differing shapes and position of the foetus in the subsequent nine months leading to birth is represented by child separated from the womb.

Here the 'AMA' loses its earlier characteristic forming a full body (langpum) separated from the womb, i.e., PHOON. The shapes and positions of the foetus before birth in second, third, fourth… months till ten led to the development of Meetei numerals.

The concept of Zero (Phoon) in Meetei numeral system is very significant. Ama da Phoon Tala is ten (10) - the realization of a new life. It means the emptiness of the womb and its successful creation of a new life. The empty womb is thus ready for another cycle of life creation. This is my understanding of the origin of our script and civilization.

Origin of Priesthood (Amailon) in Meetei Society:

The origin of priesthood as the first form of authority in every civilization is still debated. In our case, the first Amaiba and Amaibi were Salailel Sitapa and Leimalel Sitapi. They were the first Maichou (Maiba Achouba) and Mainou (Maiba Anouba). The mother and father of every child are the source of great knowledge for the child. They are his/her first teachers teaching many things as written in the puya.

This is the part of 'Amailon' written in the WHTSAP puya. Amaiba and Amaibi (priest and priestess) were not those who say chants and sing hymns only. It was later conceptual developments in the long course of human civilization.

One can read the WHTSAP puya and see how education was imparted to Konchin Tukthapa Pakhangpa and Konsen Tulei Sengpa Sanamahi by their father and mother respectively. These are the significance of our religion and philosophy revolving around blood- the source of life.

Religion plays its own role in human society but the origin of religion is science hidden to suit the purpose of the whole design started by Sitapa Mapu. The Meetei religion (Laining Leechat) and philosophy (Wang-ulon) is therefore, knowing the origin of the blood and safeguarding the planet including the living beings from destruction by evil designs.

* Puyam Nongdrei Khuman contributes regularly to
The sender can be contacted at khuman_mei(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was posted on November 20, 2011.

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