Mewahan Rai of East Nepal

[N. = Nepali; M* = Mewahan]

pp. 38-38 origins of evil spirits

evil spirits originated from __ who __
hillasi Tiger & Bear killed and ate (respectively) their own mother
ma:maksi the said mother was killed and eaten while praegnant
c^anu unborn child who was in the womb of the praegnant mother

p. 52 the divine ancestors

"Somnima ... is in search of a husband ... is in search of a husband, and eventually finds Paruhang in the sky. Because of his huge goitre, however, she rejects him. Paruhang nevertheless manages to impregnate her ... after drying up the world and leaving his semen on a leaf as the only remaining liquid, which she is forced to drink."

p. 65 initiation into shamanhood by ban jha~kri (initiating deity)

"One day the would-be shaman disappears into the forest, being lured by the deity to its place. ... the person is unapproachable or "mad", and walks as if sleepwalking, not stumbling, but apparently seeing in the darkness everything illuminated, and even crossing rivers without bridges. ... "possessed" by the deity, the novice stays out alone for several days in this trance-like state. ... The people of the village search for the missing person, beating cymbals, and after he or she is found an initiated shaman does ... identify the deity concerned. A long shamanic session will be held to gain control over the "kidnapping" forest being which, from now on, will be the main tutelary deity – the guru deuta – of the newly initiated shaman.

p. 66 subcategories of makpa (shaman)

makpa description


"a particularly powerful makpa who is able to celebrate the selewa in order to escort away the i:si> after a "bad death". A selemi ... has dreams of a particular drum, the d.hol, which ... is made of kaulo wood (Machilus sp.) ... for chasing away evil spirits." ["d.hol, ‘double-sided drum’ (p. 67)]

jha~kri "a shaman who does not use a drum, but only a metal plate (N. thal)."
baidan "not initiated through dreams but acquires his knowledge through ... books (called baidangi [veda-anga]) in which the necessary mantras are written."

p. 67 ritual assistants

assistant description
pha:kuyan "person who is in charge of erecting the altar (N. than)"
bha:gimi "person ... responsible for plucking the "flowers" (bunwa la:ma) which ... are presented to the deity ... the bha:gimi also requires initiation through dreams."
kurimi "those elders who form a ... choir that sings the kuriwa while presenting the offerings to the hearthstones during nagi rituals."
cuptunmi besunmi "they ... look for kat.uj (chestnut) leaves".

pp. 75-76 dream by a nagire

p. dream
75 "We have seen the following in dreams : Below the earth there is an ocean. ... Below hell there live big, big snakes, shining like gold. They sit there ... and talk with each other. The King of Snakes sent a soldier (N. sipahi) who told me : "Go there!" ... You have to go through Seven Oceans (N. sat samudra) [...] and so he takes you through the Seven Oceans. ... Going down you ... have to open the gates one after the other. For this one needs the great, great knowledge of the King of Snakes, and there are 52 gates. {cf. Meso-American 52-year cycle} ... So I searched and searched, opening 52 gates, going downwards".
76 Then he [the King of Snakes] gave me a finger ring ..., a sword (N. tarawar), a wooden container (salakhon), feathers (wasan) ... Then he shows you a calabash (i.e. ... a dried gourd, N. cin.d.o) ... If you have seen in your dream that the calabash is at a particular place, you have [when awake] to look for it [a calabash] there [in that particular kind of place, in the waking world]. ... Then he sends you up the river, on sandy ground ... all along the river. So I reached ... the source of the Sankhuwa River ... Up at the source were little oil lamps, flickering."

pp. 77-79 dream journey to the sky, by a bha:gimi

p. dream
77 "I dreamt that I flew ... So I flew to this ridge over there and ... I flew from this sharp rock; ... in my dream I had only two bundles of flowers on my head, and in my hands I held the water vessel and mugwort leaves. ...

I went on and came to a whole crowd of pigeons ... The offering of grains ... you have to scatter it (for them to eat). Then one goes to the Village of Ducks (ha~saten) ... There you take the seeds of the fern (M* lolobun), ... you take out the seeds and give them, and then you have to pass through quickly while the duck is swallowing them up. Otherwise these guards will not let you pass. ...

As we go along, following the way to the shops (N. dokan), we come to a horse ["ghorapu (M* ‘horse guard’)" (p. 77)] which is tied to the bottom of a banyan tree (Ficus indica). It’s huge! There you have to offer the rice grains. ...

Then comes the Village of Dogs (M* sapku`mi-ten). ... I reach the village, but ... on the path there is a Tibetan dog as huge as a house, and there is no way to pass. The path is like this : above there is a steep path, below there is a steep cliff. ... Realizing this is the village of Dogs, I begin to recite : "O King of Dogs (M* sapku`mi-han-o tayami-han-o). ... Here I show you the tawaribun (flower). With this tawaribun I open the path [the Kemetian jackal (rather than hound)-god is WP-W3wt (‘opener-of-ways’)] ..." ... So he gives free passage once you make a request ... Then we arrived at the shops. ... On the shelf are the flowers and they keep shaking."

79 "I showed the offerings up there. ... "... If you accept the offering, then make me tremble ..." When you say this, then the trembling comes, provided the flowers have been accepted. ... So when the deity has accepted the offering then the trembling comes ... After the offering has been accepted he ... enquires ... which deities are causing trouble, naming one possible afflicting agent after another. When the responsible superhuman agent is named, again the trembling comes."

myth of the origin of humanity

p. 124 "nagi, the snake deity living in the waters, made a mud clod flow downriver ... in the plains where it burst with a loud bang, resulting in the creation of the first divine human being." [Zulu] The 1st man, Unkulunkulu, emerged from uhlanga, "a reed, which exploded". (M&LB)


M&LB =

pp. 130-136 souls

p. soul description
131 lawa ‘free-soul’ "If a person dies the lawa leaves the body and roams around as a ca;p (‘spirit’) until ... it joins the other ancestors in the land of the dead. However, ... shock or surprise causes lawa to escape". "lawa is like a butterfly ..., as it has a tendency to be fugitive and fickle."
133 ru`ru` ‘soul’ "is "bought" "
134 tobu ‘vital-soul’ "is in charge of long life"
saya ‘head-soul’ "the changes of saya... may be "high" or "low." "
135 nu`nwa ‘ego-soul’ "character and self-control." "happiness or unhappiness"
136 som ‘mind, heart’
same ‘ancestral identity’

p. 133 "The Chicken ... is senior to man and has "brought" him up from the nplains."

pp. 268-291 1st journey to the sky [continuous #ing of verses of the 2 journeys + epilogue]

p. v. journey
268 -- "Sarandew ... "consists" of ... quasi-royal "shop-keepers" (dokana-han) in a heavenly bazaar." "When ... the Mewahang brother found out that his elder brother, Khanbuhang, had tricked him into killing his own sister, he laid upon his brother a curse of diarrhoea". "Symptoms caused by Sarandew are : becoming unconscious, stumbling, making noises like a goat, chare rog (N.) ‘epilepsy’, khoran.d.o (N.), ‘lameness’, ‘limping’ ".
275 19 "Heap up and raise the head-soul, high as the Sisiri {cf. [<ib.] SISRa>} and the Thenmari" [mountains, fn. 12].
279 54 "With the tarika flower, we cross the ancestral bridge
55 and arrive in Chatala village, Bombala village."
280 62 "(Passing) through Napcili,
63 I ward off the illness of itching and the illness of lameness."
65 "up in the stars we arrive.
66 (Passing) through the stars,
67 hey Ducks, hey Pigeons!"
69 "So then, o Horses, don’t use the fetters".
281 71 "O Dog, O hound, ...
73 O Guards, O Gatekeepers ..."
289 133 "O Lords of life-soul, Lord of Shops, Astrologer Lord!
134 I am bringing ...
136 the soul of grains, (with) the souls of cattle,
137 also the souls of chickens, the souls of pigs".
290 140 "I am collecting (them all), on my shoulders."
149 "Up in the stars, in the sky, we arrive,
150 and from the stars I come and stand in the village of Napcili, the village of Nambopili.
291 151 Warding off the disease of lameness,
152 chasing away coughing, I come and stand."

pp. 292-302 2nd journey to the sky

p. v. journey
294 183 "bless me with trembling, ...
184 O Brahman Lord, O Astrologer Lord, O Newar lord, O Magar Lord!"
295 190 "On the dream stairway, on my own stairway I proceed (downwards)."
298 212 "Through the Lord of Life-souls I dispel illnesses of cold and fever."
214 "Illnesses of the hands, illnesses of the feet,
215 the illness of coughing, the illness of lameness,
216 through the Lord of Life-souls I dispel."

pp. 302-304 epilogue : addressing the bur.heni-s

p. v. address
302 244 "Molu s`ikari ... Su`takrokwa ...!
303 252 "Here, for the evil death spirits ["M* su`ru`mla maktuwa, ‘envious ghost’ " (fn. 91)],
253 (for) the barmansi ["which cause ... stomach ache, diarrhoea, and giardia." (fn. 92)], ...
255 (take) these rice grains and ginger!"

PERFORMANZEN, Band 4 = Martin Gaenszle : Ancestral Voices. Lit Verlag, Mu:nster, 2002.