TODAY -

Discussion on Koubru Chinggoirol
- Part 2 -

Dr Mangangcha Thoudam Laiba *

Beautiful scenic view from top of Mount Koubru as seen on April 5-6 2015
Beautiful scenic view from top of Mount Koubru as seen on April 5-6 2015 :: Pix - Lamdamba Oinam



"A flower that supplements both internal and external worlds,
A flower that can beautify seven generations,
A flower that lasts along with seven lines of grandchildren,
A flower that can do away evil,
A flower that can fill up what is wanted,
A flower that resembles Chahuikangba,
Give this flower as a covered bunch
."

Lainingthou Koubru incarnated representing the Supreme God (Atingkok, Atingnga, Atingkham) as a divine human being. The supreme God has no visible form. We, the human beings, look upon the creator as our parents. Thus the supreme creator is described as follows:

"When the knotted bun of hair sits on top of the head he represents both father and mother; he represents the father and responds with a 'hao' when the bun of hair sits on the forehead, and the responds as a mother with a 'hao' when the knotted hair is placed at the back of the head".

The human body is regarded as the image of the creator, and as the human body is looked at as a temple we touch our forehead with a finger when a body is defiled with a touch of our feet. A person starts searching the inner spiritual world when he deeply looks for the origin of the three Lotuses, two at the feet, one at the navel. Such a search is spiritual in nature.

Every living and non-living beings are believed to have their origin out of the Koubru. There are many truths when looked at from the scientific angle. The ancient manuscript, 'Sakok Thilen" indicates that our souls will return to the Koubru at the moment of death. This place is talked of as "The beginning and the end". The cortex is the origin of this world.

As such the human body is believed to have seven sacred places. They are eyes, ears, nose, lips, navel, abdomen along with 108 sacred sites. It is the centre of life-indicating the pulse. Externally when someone visits the sacred place of the Koubru, he/she should look for the above mentioned seven sacred spots.

If water is not released from Engel Ching when it is requested for, it indicates that there will be an end of life. It is said that the world will come to an end if the big pond located at the peak of the Koubru dries up.

Thus there will be no end in discussing these sacred places of the Koubru. Oral traditions relate that the Kabuis, Maos, Marams are related with the Koubru. Kapuilu, the head of the Kabuis settled in the Koubru and came to be known as Kapuiluching; later it came to be called as the Koubruching.

The Koirengs also inhabited the Koubru and they worshipped Koubru in the belief that they are protected by Lainingthou Koubru. It is a tradition that those settlers around the Koubru worshipped Koubru as a tradition.

The might and qualities of Lainingthou Koubru is thus praised by the priests and priestesses of the land: "...let the evil forces go towards the south and fall into the widely-opened mouths of the big and small tigers that are in Lamlen Chingnunghut. Let the good, happiness and deathless go towards the north and be embraced at the courtyard of Lainingthou Koubru Asuppa as the white big and divine elephant embraces its baby elephant into its bosom.

The sacred places of Lainingthou Koubruching and others: The sacred place of Lainingthou Koubru is at the top of the Koubru mountain. There is a tradition of going on a pilgrimage to the top of the Koubru starting from March to May when the heavenly door is open. The pilgrims should proceed towards the south after reaching the top of the Koubru. There are two paths on the ridges. The sacred place of Koubru and Kounu can be reached following the right-side path."

Besides being the origin of the 361 sylvan deities and those four deities who are in charge of protecting the directions, it is the origin of the seven clans. The sacred place, Haraothel is believed to be the first place where for the first time the supreme creator Salailen and the 365 sylvan deities performed the Laiharaoba festival (sylvan deities' festival).

There are many sacred places along the Koubru mountain range. They include the sacred sites of Lainingthou Koubarel and Lairembi Thoudu Nungnang Leima, mother Imoinu, Lainingthou Loyalakpa, Nongkhaklen Ningthou, Laimaton Khourumba, and thus mention can be made of them. The pond that pilgrims come across is a divine spring. The divine cave near the pond is the palatial spot.

Near it there are divine stone bed, stone rice-pounding pestle, stone winnower and stone rice pounding rod. Once there grew a peepal tree to the north of the pond and Nongthou Kongnga Chalik, used to grow there. The stone found to the east is the one that received the divine image of the supreme creator.

The sacred cave near it is the gateway of cattle. To its north, the big stone found there is the gateway of elephants; the name of the monolith is Pokpi Leisanu. The one to the south is called Okpokpi. The mound found in the east is the divine site of the supreme creator. Just as the name of Koubru is called Mihinglen-Mipokpa, the name of the supreme lord is Nongkhaklen Nong Ningthou.

When anyone goes on a pilgrimage to the Koubru he/she should worship the sacred spots of Imoinu who is known as Wanggol Laira Atengbi. The six peaks have sacred places of goddess Imoinu. They are Hikubi, Yaikubi, Hileima, Yaileima, Yaisana. Firstly we should take a bath in the pond. Rice, fruits, flowers etc. should be offered to Ireima Ima.

Next offering should be made to the hill deities and protectors of the four directions when one reaches Laimora which is a meeting place of deities. After praying there, pilgrims should proceed towards the blessed throne of Lainingthou and Lairembi. After that more offerings will be made to Ipa Salailen and Ima Leimaren. As the peak is scaled we should move towards the south.

The hallowed area of Lainingthou Koubru and Kounu can be met. This orderly visit is a serious matter and this is mentioned in the ancient text, 'Koubru Chinggoirol'. Again the ritual of offering should be done. While on a pilgrimage to the blessed hill of the Koubru, it is believed that heaven can be reached after crossing the six gorges and the six peaks.

The gorges and the peaks have different names. They are Kouba Meisa Langba Lok, Malangphaicham Lok, Kumdam Lok, Ingen Khumkhai Lok, Ikou Lok, Itha Lok etc. In some texts it is referred to as Amam Leisalok. The six peaks are Meiwai Langba Ching, Malang Nongphai Icham Ching, Inga-Kumdam Ching, Kouba Ingen Nongphaiching, Eeshing Thembi Nonghou Ching, Koubru Yairel Salailen Laimaru Laiphamlen etc.

A big bamboo plant grows between Lamyang Lamkhai and Lokchao; another small species grows starting from Lokchao upto the peak of Koubru mountain. The Imphal and the Nambul have their source out of the Koubru. The Koubru mountain range forms a part of Patkai hill range. It is mainly formed with stone of Barail Series.

The Koubru Hill range has stone of Disang series dating back to (Eocene to Oligocene) 65105 =65,000,000 to 26106 ); again it has stones predated (upper Cretaceous to Eocene 71106 to 65106 ). The fossils found in the Koubru belong to the Barail Series. The Koubru mountain range emerged along with the European Alps and the Himalayas out of sea of Tethys.

Many flora and fauna are found in Manipur which has a sub-tropical climate and Alpine meadow that is found only in high altitudes. The low part of the peak of Koubru known as Lai Mora, is an example of Alpine meadow. One white and rare rhododendron found mainly in the Himalayan region, grew to the eastern side of the pond. This rhododendron is found along the Saramati and Siroi ranges.

Some of the animals found are orangutans, elephants, monkey, black monkey and others belonging to the line of the tiger. There are evidences that show that human beings once settled there.

Conclusion: Besides being worshipped as a protector of the four directions and as a sylvan deity, those who follow Lainingthou Laining (3,100 BC, the reign of King Kangba) worship Him during such occasions as the birth of a baby, marriage, death of a person by performing rituals mentioning of Lainingthou Koubru. Along with that fish and animals are also offered.

Along with Him the 61 evil spirits are also propitiated. On the concluding day of the festival of a sylvan deity, the priests sing of lai nonggaba as thus
"..Oh father take along the bag,
a fire is lit at the top of the Koubru,
along with a horse saddle,
playing the pena,
along with the song let us head for the heaven
".

After the departure of the deity, He is given a farewell. Therefore this deity is taken as one that has been with the Meeteis inseparably from time immemorial. The ancient manuscript "Nung Lon" says thus about Koubru and Kounu's sanctified place, temple and their images and ceremonial practices there is one stone known as Sumda Yai along the path of Kangla. The stone takes a rest there. It is black in colour.

Its name is Koubru. There is another stone called Hee. It has a divine face. It faces the path. Its name is Kounu. A stone known as Hee is on the path of Ushoi. It has a celestial appearance. It also faces the path. Its name is Koubru. He is the deity of both winter (six cold winters) and summer (six rainy summers). This Koubru is sacred to Lainingthou Koubru and Lairembi Kounu.

Therefore, the Koubru is taken as the cortex of a human being, Kangla as the navel, the Loktak as the centre of fertility and Chingnunghut as the rectum. It is a cultural and religious tradition of the Meeteis to pray to Koubru for the welfare of the land. Even king Bodhachandra, who practised Vaishnavism, did not give up following the old religious traditions of the Kangleis.

According to Cheitharol Kumpaba "1863, (1941) Wednesday is the first day of December on Monday, the fifth day after Wednesday a propitiatory ritual was performed for the four deities who protect the directions the ceremonial prayer was performed by Pandit Chandrasing."

In 1953 (1875) the first day of June is Tuesday on the 15th lunar day, Monday, the king goes on a pilgrimage to the Koubru. 1955 (1877) Saturday is the first day of September on the eleventh lunar day, Tuesday, a golden Leihao (Champaca) was offered to Koubru by Haobam Mantri and Pandit Thongam Madhav on the order of the king. It is instructed by religious scholars that a person born on this earth will get salvation if he/she can visit the blessed places of the Koubru.

It is believed that our departed souls are blessed by Lainingthou and Lairembi. When our souls are in heaven the heavenly deity Chingu Lai Pangganba, puts such questions to the souls standing by the heavenly gate Oh! Human beings, did you visit the sacred sites of Koubru, Marjing, Nongpok Ningthou, Wangbren, Thangjing, Loyalakpa, Waroiching etc. Did you come without looking back at Mingsenkhong ? How did you cross that heavenly river after climbing Langching, taking a rest of Khamnung Khundin at Potthapung ?

Did you pray to your grandmother, Thonggak Lairembi, who is guarding the Langgol hill range after crossing the river ? Did you take a bath and wash your clothes at Nungsi Khongham Eepak ? Thus our scholarly religious elders teach us that such questions are put to the departed souls by the heavenly deity, Chingu Lai Panggalba and the seven Lainuras.

Therefore, we should know the inner and outer concepts of the sacred place of Kanglei when we visit them. In conclusion I would like to say that this land is based on the human physique; even a house is built after the image of the supreme god, known as Taibang Semba Mapu. Both the script and language are based on the human body. Everything has its origin out of the head.

Thus customary rules should be followed. This land is known as a heavenly abode because of the presence of these rare traditions.


(Concluded)


* Dr Mangangcha Thoudam Laiba wrote this article for The Sangai Express and Imphal Times
This article was webcasted on February 15 2021.



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