Tunsuriban (of the C^epan of southern Nepal)

pp. 120-121 personal accounts of shamans’ dream-travels

p. 120 p. 120 pp. 120-121
[by shamaness]
"When I shake, ... I see a sort of darkness, but as soon as I find out what I am looking for, ... the darkness suddenly becomes light and my body feels very light. p. 120 "When a divinity enters me, I am extremely strong : I feel my body to be extremely light, like that of a butterfly. ...
I fly into the Sky with ... the bird and "I fly in the Sky with the bird Jatayu [vimana-guarding pet of Rama-candra].
But if there is a storm when I am flying, I have to go into the patal, playing [plying?] with the underground carriage. ... [p. 121] I go to the patal on a palanquin and
{cf. Yemeni^ saga of travel in a flying basket.} I fly to the skies in a bamboo basket. ... The palanquin is carried by various naghini [Italian spelling for /nagini/] : the white naghini, the black naghini and the yellow naghini. ...
When I am in the plane, I have to stand up because, if I were to fall asleep {to fall asleep in a dream!} ... I fly the plane alone ... This aeroplane is made of silver. If someone disappears from the village and their relatives come to me and tell me his name, I can find him immediately when I use this plane. ...
go down to the patal on the back of a fish, which, when it moves, causes earthquakes. There are two fish, one male and one female : Suna-Macha [S`unya-Matsya?] and Kapur-Macha [Karpura-Matsya?]. I only ride on the male one. I go into the patal with the fish Urmi. Urmi is male : there is also a female fish, but I cannot ride it. When the fish moves the Earth from one shoulder to another, there are earthquakes." {cf. the [S^into] catfish which, when it moveth, causeth earthquakes. (NDSMJ, p. 116)}
The bird is called Panchi ... The bird cannot be seen by man ... {cf. "east o’ the sun, west o’ the moon"} I can also use an eagle to send my soul to the sky. This eagle sometimes lives to the right and sometimes to the left of the sun and moon. It is not a normal eagle ...
I had a dream : I was falling from a high mountain when I saw a lovely fruit tree with oranges. ... I saw a large black snake which wound itself around my body and squeezed tightly. ... [The bird] arrived and took me up into the seven mountains. ... I called the bird who came immediately and put me on its back and took me home." {cf. snake Ladon in fruit-orchard of the Hesperides : the orchard of the Hesperides, was, according to mythographers, located in Hispania. Is this the [<ibri^] hadar = [As^s^urian] adar ‘citron’ (CI)?}
(cf. [Daoist] flights to heaven by shaman in the form of a flying insect.} Sometimes I turn myself into a bird or insect ... to go to the patal".


NDSMJ = BRILLS’S JAPANESE STUDIES LIBRARY, vol. 6 = Helen Hardacre & Adam kern (eds.) : New Directions in the Study of Meiji Japan. 1997.


CI =

souls of the dead

121 "it is believed that ... one of the souls of the deceased will leave the body during the funereal ceremony in the form of a bird, which is usually the maina (... gracula religiosa)".
127 "In the patal, the souls of the more honourable deceased can still live".
180 After a death, the "funeral ceremony ... is usually held thirteen days later". "the pande are also responsible for accompanying all the souls of the dead to the world of the ancestors, not just those which are deemed to be restless."
"It is believed that the soul leaves the body not long after death and this in the form of a bird, usually a mynah bird (Gracula Religiosa) which is only the first of eighty-four reincarnations. ... After the last reincarnation which is thought to be that of a dog, the soul goes into the foetus of a pregnant woman : a man will be reborn as a woman and a woman as a man." {this alternation between odd-&-even-numbered re-incarnations as male and as female, is also South American Indian belief}
"The ancestors do not all live in the same place : some of them live in the West, where the sun sets; while others, the worthier, live in the Underworld not far from the divinities."
181 Souls of some of the dead "initially refuse to leave the world of humans. Recalcitrant souls ... need ... complex ceremonies and ... are behind the red light which can be seen at times at sunset, and which appears when, with the help of the pande, they cross the threshold into the world of the ancestors which live in the West".
"a third type of soul together with the vital force ... decide to remain on the Earth and in this case they walk behind men, who cannot see them ... The pande may also continue to live in the world of humans, with the ban-jha~kri in the jungles though they remain invisible. Those pande whose childhood gurus are believed to have been the sun or moon are thought to be accompanied by two divine stars in whose carriage they will reside".
"irrespective of whether the funeral is for a pande or a commoner, the pande must hold a complex ritual which is always held at night and during which it must first call the soul which has been wandering freely about the Earth and Heavens for thirteen days and then, after it has been fed with offerings of its favorite food, the soul must be accompanies to the place where its ancestors are waiting." {cf. [Maya] god ‘Thirteen Death’ (alluding to the 13-day cycle), etc.}

deities who originated the earth & humanity

126 "many Namrung (usually one hundred), who are brothers and generally divided into two groups, the Gorkha Namrung Shikari and ... require offerings of blood before the hunt begins and this is then followed by an offering of ... the entrails of the animals caught.
the Namrung Pachabaiya Shikari. ... only accept offerings of milk".
127 "the Chepang religion could be compared to the Yakut religion which believes there are two categories of divinities called high bis and low bis, the former being ... very far away from the world of humans and completely disinterested in it."
127-8 "In the patal there were two sets of brothers, Batise’ and Tiwase’, and Above ... (in the Heavens) there were two sisters, ... who had never seen anyone or anything apart from themselves. {cf. [Na-s`i] origin-myth of primordial men on earth, primordial women in the sky} The oldest of these sisters was Soboti’ and the youngest Devkli’."
Kesardin and Lawardin.
128 The frog Thakur-din was asked to take a message {cf. frog as messenger of the deities, according to the Popol Vuh} inviting the 2 sistren to come down into Patala, in order for those 2 sistren to lift the [uninhabited] world (which was to be created for prospective humans) upward out of Patala. "As the frog [Thakur-din] knew that Soboti’ and Devkli’ could not look on anyone’s face {cf. the Tuareg rule that women are not to look on the faces of men}, he hid in the fountain where they were going to wash ... When the sisters arrived, they said, "... Let us turn our faces in the opposite direction ..." ... Batise’ and Tiwase’ ... decide to send their army to bring them [the 2 sistren] down to the patal. {cf. the army sent to capture Durga & Kali.} ...
129 The two sisters dressed themselves in white and then ... flew down to the patal and arrived before the army. When they arrived everything became dark, and the frog was sitting there and they began to kick him ... and the other gods said, "If the frog closes his eyes there will be no more sun in the patal ..." {cf. the [Kemetian] anxiety of the netherworld-deities about the vanishment of the sun travelling therethrough} So one of the sisters took the frog and blew upon him {cf. antient Hellenic whores, commonly named "phrune" (‘frog’), giving "blow-jobs"} ... From the moment they had arrived in the patal the two sisters had kept their eyes closed {was this done in order to make vanish 2 planets, the 2 "morning-stars"?} ... When it was completely dark, Soboti’ and Devakli’ undressed ... and ... extracted a large part of the pillar {cf. [Siberian] shamans’ travel through a dark region in the netherworld to a hitching-post} that was in the Underworld and threw it up high. A strange snapping sound ... underneath the pillar ... was a crab {cf. the crab under the mountain, according to the Popol Vuh} One of the sisters ordered the frog to open his eyes and then told everyone to look up. Everyone saw the pillar in the air.
In the patal there was a large cow called Lendemuri [or, ox called Lindyan-Marisha (p. 146, n. 170)]. ... The sisters gave them [Bati-se` & Tiwa-se`] a knife ... The brothers found it very difficult to lift the knife and it took them three attempts to kill Lendemuri. ...
130 origin of the earth for humans, from the body-parts of Lende-muri :- "the larger bones became mountains and rocks while
the smaller bones became hills and low mountains; and
the skin became the earth."
"However, there was no sun in the world of humans because the sun was still in the patal" until it was induce to come forth by the chirping of the little female bird C^iper-kala, who was the sister-in-law of the sun-god. {cf. the chirping of the bird which woke the [Maori] netherworld-goddess Hine-nui-te-Po}
131 "the world of humans ... was created because of their [Kesar-din’s & Lawar-din’s] fear that the first man ... would have contaminated the land of the gods by urinating, spitting and defecating which are all activities thought to be exclusive to humans."

pp. 136-137 meteorological deities

136 "The sun and moon, called Nyem and La^ in Chepang, are seen as two sister deities ["in the districts of Chitwan and Makwanpur." (p. 146, n. 178)] : the sun is the older sister ... The moon is the younger sister and is ... very important for the pande who carry out most of their ceremonies at night, often according to different phases of the moon. ... It was only because of the bird Chiperkala and her beautiful song that the sun decided to come up into the sky to bring light to the Earth and her sister the moon was forced to follow, as the two were ‘as close as the blades of the mill’ {cf. petals of waterlily etc.} ... Both Nyem and La^ prefer to stay in their homeland, the patal, where they live in a pond of fire and a pond of milk respectively". {the pond of milk was milked from does, tigresses, and she-wolves in "Little Anklebone" (TP); Dudh-kunda ‘lake of milk’ is in lower Solukhumbu (RT)}
137 "the stars are smaller divinities in the form of stones who populate the celestial level closer to Earth which is likened to a dense jungle."
"The flight of the gods of the clouds, urged on by the wind, has been compared to that taken by the souls of the pande on their way to the Heavens."
"The rainbow divinity, who is called Indreni as she is believed to be the wife of the god Indra, should ... span the sky and the ends of the rainbow, which are seen to be the mouth and feet ..., go right down into the Underworld. ... Indreni ... is always accompanied by a servant called Sarkini or Chattrak". ["a second rainbow in the sky over the first ... is Chattrak." (p. 147, n. 180)]


TP = Flora Annie Steel : Tales of the Punjab.


RT =

pp. 163-165 illness caused by deities

p. name characteristics illnesses caused
163 Kal grey-haired certain death
Niu " any
Sai Kumar (‘100 Princes’) in valley of Kathmandu attack children. cholera, dysentery
Chattrak female servant of rainbow-goddess during monsoon season.
nau-tara (‘9 Stars’) in caelestial levels eye-infections
Nag snake-divinity in Patala leprosy
Vayu wind-daimones in "the form of a monkey with a particularly long nose and large belly." problems for animals; in humans, stomach-pains & ae:rophagia
164 Bhut-Pret at edge of jungle headaches, dizziness
Vir in form of wild swine; "in cemeteries where they ... live in seven rooms." madness
Mas`an dwell "on the banks of rivers and feed exclusively on fish; ... take on the form of dogs." pains in the articulations [arthritis]
Pis`ac (Agati) "the souls ... of children who have died early on in infancy before they have learnt to speak." fever in children
Raksas dwell "in iron" [in "the form of headless humans." (p. 165)] very high fever
165 Namrun S`ikari hunters "in the form of wolves." cardiac problems
Belam Bharu females : ban-boksi {cf. [Irish] BANSHEE} (wives of the ban-jha~kri) & kitchkanne [kica-kanya] – "The kitchkanne ... appear to humans in the form of beautiful women ... : if you were to look behind them [at their backs] you would only find an empty space. {likewise with the [Inuit] sun-goddess} The kitchkanne bewitch men and every night go to have intercourse with them." {cf. Kirke} violent states of trance

Diana Riboli (translatrix from the Italian : Philippa Currie) : Tunsuriban. Mandala Book Point, Kathmandu, 2000.