Thursday, April 2, 2009

Religion, cultivated to the absolute neglect of Science would produce a reign of superstition, Tyranny and Barbarism like that covered Europe in the Dark Age of Church, Science cultivated to the utter neglect to Religion would produce a reign of Identity, Impiety and sensuality. ……….Shield, C.W


As revealed through sacred indigenous oral literature.
..Gyati Rana.
Mythology refers to stories or explanation of the origin and meaning of the worlds and Universe and their relation to a particular culture or civilization. It tends to integrated in the religious doctrine of a culture and is considered sacred and it also contains supernatural and divine subjects. Apatanis of Lower Subansiri District is decedents of Abotani, ardent followers of a culture and faith, which is known by the world as Donyi-Poloism or Danyi Piiloism and have such vast sacred oral literature as AYYU-BARI and MIJI-Migun. This Ayyu-Bari and Miji-Miguñ is an Epic ballad songs and Mythological short Stories describing the Creation of matter, time, Space and Universe with more logical and scientific approaches than the other contemporary religions of modern time. It describes the different attribute of Almighty God along with Socio-Religious Codes, cultures and moral values from primordial time. The many Mythological concepts of different prominent religions and culture of the world can not stand to the scientific scrutiny, The principle and the approaches of the Dony-Poloism, a Indigenous Faith and Culture, dealt in this article seems to be more scientific than mythological concepts of some contemporary and prominent religions.

In my initial involvement in Indigenous movement through Meder Nello, I listened Mythological songs Stories from our elders Popi Sarmin, Miji and Nyibus, who are the god gifted repository of Indigenous sacred literature and have collected and documented some couplets/verses revealing the earliest period of creation. The excerpts from rhapsodic song Ayyu saying from Migun are from the Ayyu Abang or Miji Akha sang and told by Shri Gyati Tajo and Shri Gyati Taming both a prominent Nyibus of Hari Village. The interference are theirs however I’ve tried my best to transcribe it into in English with same flavor and fragrance expressed in our indigenous dialect success of which is limited to my hold on English. Since this is my new venture to write and the subject is also a vast one and un-chartered theme of Mythology of Indigenous Faith and Culture, Donyi Poloism, I have dealt the subject . Therefore, any ellipses cannot be ignored.

The theories of some prominent religion regarding Birth/creation of Universe are diluted with certain degree of superstitions committed due to commission, omission during compilation and edition in course of time and are ambiguous and difficult for scientific minded people to digest.
As per modern Scientific Theory of Big Bang developed by the modern Scientists based on the equation developed by Albert Einstein in early 1900s which predict an expanding Universe is that the Universe was created with a big explosion from a point mass. The different Myths of the world have different version of Birth and creation of Cosmos, Universe Earth and life. But it does not explain, what existed prior to Big Bang? How did this point mass came into existence? Scientist all over the world is being hunted by the question. These question has been answered in our mythological Songs AYYU true to the popular saying, “ Where Science ends Religion begins.” ;-
“Kolyuñ Aragyagya doh
Kolyuñ Jimi doh
Kolyuñ Jima doh.
Kolyuñ Ji rara doh.
In Primordial and initial time “Kolyuñ,” there was “Aragygya” infinite emptiness and “Jimi-Jama” neither light nor darkness, Ji rara deep silence.

Uei Jidu jibu niiñ, Uei Gondu gombu niiñ
Uei Jisuhu mi, Uei goñshu mi.
Uei Jishu ka Uei Jishu hulu,
Uei Gonsu ka Uei Gonshu hulu hii
Uei jima mi , Uei goma mi parisiibii la
Aguñ biijer jarliñ,”
In primordial time “Uie” the Universal spirit/Self was in complete inactive only in form of thoughts. The thought to do the creation , by self instruction (Jidu, Jisu-Gonsu,Jima-Goma) Almighty God/Spirit rouse from deep slumber with a big sound.
Kolyuñ Lodu ka dutu duri niiñ hii,
Añchañ Lodu mi Dutii tii,
Kiidi Lodu mi dutii tii.
Kolo Lobiñ ka bero beniiñ hii
Añdo lobiñ mi beñtii tii,
Miido Lobiñ mi bero chatii.
That “Lodu” and “Lobin” sound and vibration which touched the six directions. “Anchan-Ando” four corner and “Kiidi-Miido” Ups and down). The Gods who was in active state became active and creation started by putting the Universe in flux .
Ucher Hubyañ ho Taker huliñ ,
Ure Hubyañ ho Tarsi Huliñ,
Jortu Hubyañ ho Danyi……..,
And than out of the bosom of “Ucher” and “Ure” the Stars “Taker and Tarsi” was born; from the bosom of Jortu the sun; from the bosom of Jorma the moon was born; so on and so fort all the heavenly celestial bodies of the Universes was born from different bosoms and came into existence.
(Thus these verses describing what was the state of Universe and what existed prior to the Big Bang was known to our fore fathers, before the evaluation of Big Bang Theory by Albert Einstein that the Universe came into existence with Big “Lodu” Sound in primordial time. This knowledge is orally transmitted from generation to generation and is still with our God gifted repository of indigenous sacred knowledge, our Nyibus, who can neither write nor read was never exposed to different views of various schools of thought of present period.)
As per our Indigenous sacred literature, the creation of Earth “Chantii”, animals and humans were not made or created in seven days as propagated by some popular religious scripture. It was daughed in Kolyun and took million of years to set right the earth to bear and sustain the lives.
Kolyun ho
Gyotu Radu Mide pyara dugyii nyima,
Gyotu Radu, Mide Pyara Dugyii pa.
Kolyuñ Tiirañ mi darsa, Kiidi dola mi jisha,
Miido dola mi jisha hiisu lala,
Kolyuñ Tiirañ mi dari thii.

God required sustainable for his creation the Human and living being. So, Gods initiated his initial Creation (Kolyuñ Tiirañ ).In primordial time Kolyun, the Universe was filled with discomposed and huge matters and voids (Kolyun ho,Siitii Liidu- Siimyo liidu adin dotii).
Kolyuñ Siitu ka Siitu Tiirañ mi Darkele,
Kolyuñ hii Chañko Gulyu dho,
Kolyuñ Siimyo ka Siimyo Tiirañ mi Darkele,
Kolyuñ hii Piiro Gyagya dho
Huge discomposed matters was set right and broke down (Tiirang means to create something from some other thing. Hubyan means to give birth) and the universe became filled with full of smaller matters (Chanko gulyu) and voids (Piiro Gyagya).
(This expresses initial state and picture of Universe similar to that of Picture of Super Cluster published in Reader Digest’s Illustrated Atlas of World. Chankos are similar to or may be a milky way, Piiros are similar to voids and spaces. However, this is author’s personal perception.)
Kolyuñ Chibyañ ka Chibyañ Tiirañ mi darkele
Alyi Darbu Biilyi,
Kolyuñ Chibyo ka Chibyo Tiirañ mi Darkele,
Yashi Darbu biilyi.
And with “Chibyan Tiirang” Celestial Air was created, with Chibyo Tiirang” Celestial water was create.
Kiidi dola mi sanii taking
Miido dola mi chanko borkin
Ho dola jila.
Ami Pipi, Pipi Biinyi dulin la,
Ami Nallo Biinyi Dulin la,
Kiidi Miio mi nalyan Nanda biilyi
Followed by daughing of Earth in a Chanko Atmosphere in a Sanii from celestial dust, air and water. When earth was daughed, two Goddesses Pipi Biinyi and Nalo Biinyi was born to set right the Baby earth. They put the Earth Below and Atmosphere above and named the two balls as Chantii the Earth and Dotii the atmosphere..
(There are more verses or couplets which describes in logical chronological sequence the ways and events how the earth came into the perfect setting to sustain live. It is not possible to reproduce all of them here in this small article).

Some prominent established religion script does not say how, when, where the initial life begin on this earth, either they are silent or is full of ambiguity and covered with superstitions. The following excerpts tells with similar the modern scientific approach ,when , where, the early life begin and was visible.
Kolyun Siigyii ka Siigyii Kotin ho,
Kolyun Lonii ka Hisso Hissi Ho,
Tiirii Barii Yalu Rudu hiido.
Kolyun Mai ka mai apyun mi gandha cheya siila.
Today modern Science also agrees the primary living being started in water. Similarly, the above verses/couplets says that when Earth was in later period of Kolyun and set right to sustain lives. In Kolyun Siigyii kotin, in a primordial Pounds/Lakes visible life begins in form of amphibian Frogs (Tiirii and Barii). Who were quarreling for their place of procreation (Mai apyun). Form kolyun Mother Earth Chantu enter into Kolo where other secondary animal came into existence from Kolo to Uei and from Uei to IIpyo.
When Earth enter into the bosom of IIpyo, it was completely set right to sustain the Human being with her all physical feature like Ocean, Mountains, Plains, Hills, Lakes, Rivers, vegetation and etc.
IIpyo Hubyan ho Chantu Huke le
Chantu Hubyan ho Tani hulin thii”.

Thus, this verses says that when the Earth (Chantu) enter into the bosom of IIpyo, Tani (Human) was born from the bosom of Mother Earth (Chantu).(The verses of Tani’s struggle for survival has not been dealt in this article.). The Earth enter into the period of “Miido” and from “Miido” to “Supung” the present period.

The most ancient basic rule of Eco-harmonic and harmonious existence amongst fellow being and animals have been forgotten/ lookdown by the modern cultures is still alive in Doni-Poloism. The living example is the Apatani Society, which has a living system with almost perfect norms of co existence between human, animal and nature. It is vividly expressed in their way of cultivation, maintenance of Fine Groove, community Forest, Bamboo Garden and Fish-cum-Paddy Culture a unique one in the world. These techniques adopted by Apatanis evolved by our fore father Ane Donii and Aba Liibo. after experimenting on different types of soil and lands varities of food grains as revealed by the following excerpts from Migun.
Donii Ganda Jinii hii,
Miido Riiji pu Asang Ganda mi jika kiile,
Pyapin kontii pyare kontii dalyi aya ma”.

Our fore Father Ane Donii and Aba Liibo applied their technique in Land of Miido Riiji pu Asang but soil was not good only Pyapin and Pyare veraity of paddy could be cultivated .
Nyompu tiikun, Nyomo Taya ganda,
Dikhe Atte ka Diha ate ka Ganda ho.
Donii pabur pala la , obur ola la,
Ato Hachan,Puyi Hachan duling
Bholin khoma mi khola la,
Siiling khoma mi khola la,
Ringo patu palin giitii”.
So they search for the best land for cultivation and selected “Nyompo tiikun, Nyomo Taya Ganda”, which was with abundance of humus soil and natural manure “Dikhe atte ka diha atte” and constructed the Dams (Bholing) and channels (Siiling) to irrigate by Ato Hachan Pui and started cultivation.
With such knowledge and Techniques of our fore father of later period who came to present Ziro valley selected and settled there. Recently, I come across a publication in National News paper “The Times of India” that, statics figures, show that average output from the agriculture against lobour input in Apatani Plateau with primitive tools is far better than that of USA and Japan who cultivate with their latest modern technology. The United Nation has proposed to declare it as a world cultural Heritage site. Such is our globally established culture.
The primordial Lodu sound and Lobin vibration started is eternal, Universal and never ending always moving forward like time from that point mass( thought of Almighty God) universal pulsation of this Universe and creations. We are engulfed in that vibrational field. Therefore our Nyibu when ever any ceremony is initiated at the beginning they starts the prayer and connect themselves with this vibrational field, the Universal pulsation.
Siiro dodu so,
IIja anii shi,komang chalyi so.
Kolyun Lodu shi kiidi lodu shi dutu chalyi so.
Kolo lobin shi Miido lobin shi bero chalyi so.
rupu gongii la , Rada gonta la.
Siiju Gongii la, Siimer gonta la.
IIjang Anii ka kotii kobii ho,
Komang chalyi so.
Jinii miilang ka Jirii nyalyi so
Danii miilang ka darii nyalyi so
Ayo Danyi mi karii du……..”
“This morning,
When Sun ray appears in the horizons
with primordial sound(Lodu.)
and eternal vibration (Lobin).
Upon the touch of sun ray on this earth with thy blessing.
It has became golden sound and sustaining vibration,
seeing this human, animal, Birds and vegetation are venerating and rejoicing At such auspicious occasion I pray upon thee for………”.

Annalee Skarin has rightly conceived this principle in her revelatory book “Pen dipped in Heaven” I quote, " We are immersed in, engulfed in, surrounded by, held sacredly by and mortally alive with vast no stop vibrational field. Our thought itself are most powerful vibratory universal pulsation that exist. Our movement of body, mind, soul and spirit is inspired or motivated by Vibration”.
Based on such principles our indigenous culture and Tradition is an art of living harmoniously not only with own fellow being but also with nature including other animal and vegetations. It is eco-harmonic in nature, every living being lives in two plan, i.e. Physical plan and Spiritual plan. In the context of spirituality, Danyi-Piilo/Donyi-Polo refers to ultimate truth, the Almighty God. In the complimentary physical plan, Danyi the Sun is uphold as the manifestation of that Almighty God with unending love and compassion in form of sources of energy for plant and animal, one cannot imagine existence of life without the sun.
Our age old Tradition Faith and culture is still pure, pristine with the essence….‘Let various flower blooms in the Garden of Almighty.

Gyati Rana,
……..Gyati Rana,
In ten years time there will be a considerable body of educated young men and women. Will they find it possible to maintain their faith in old religions? Will they return to their villages and introduce religious reform as many educated Hindus reformed Hinduism in the last century? Or will they adopt a new religion, Buddhism, Hinduism or Christianity.” Dr. Verrier Elwin speculated future Society in his book “A philosophy for NEFA”
Till 2000 the penetration of alien religions in and around Lower Subansiri District was reportedly as negligible. Now a day there is rampant conversion of indigenous people to other religions. It is evident from mushrooming up of so many religious places like Mandir, Maszids, Churches and etc.
Indigenous faith is based on various customs and rituals performed in various socio-religious, socio-cultural and traditional practices. This age old concept is the basis of all religion, but is considered indefinite in nature. Only those traditional practice with philosophical back ground supported by written scriptures with organized set up are recognized as religions.
Though Indigenous faith has vast oral literature on the concept of faith, has strong philosophical background but has no written scripture, making it beyond the reach of most of the populace specially youths. Resultantly, their ignorance of sacred knowledge and easy prey for conversionist.
The Faith, culture and tradition is well spelled out in oral scripture Miji-Migun as I am told by Gyati Tajo, a prominent Nyibu of Hari Village that, “Miji Migun Kolyun Kolo Hokii siilo loye pa lukoh, Sanii Hiilyang pa du.Ura loda hii abu lusii giima, chiran paban hiilyang do. Ago dalyi hoya sanii halo hiilyang miji-migun lenda byalyang rido.” Which implies that our sacred oral scripture Miji-Migun is like a tree. The beginning is like the trunk of a tree upon which there is nothing much to say, but following chapters has lots of oral literature on culture, customs, traditions, ethos, values etc. like that of the branches of a Tree.
Earlier our parents, grand parents use to teach their children. Right from the infancy they carried them on their back through whole days of their daily activities, teaching starts with the lullaby songs by mother. This is followed by folklores and folk tells by grand parents. During adolescence, they are assigned to learn Miji-Migun sacredknowledge beside helping their parents in daily works and household chore,
The festivals are so programmed that while participating in the festivals the dissemination and assimilation of sacred knowledge through competitions on sacred songs Ayyu-Bari, amongst contemporary friends of all age groups during the festival is must. Thus the sacred knowledge was passed orally to next generation in a compact Apatani Society.
Due to impact of modern education and development it has change the ways of life from rural to modern by engaging in Govt. service and other professional jobs. It has dispersed them all over the state, country and even over world. The traditional system of dissemination and assimilation of knowledge has become impracticable in a changed society. People who are in Govt. service could not attend the festivals due to their responsibility, preoccupations and eventual coincidence of these festivals in the last quarter of the financial year.
Over and above this, the introduction of modern educational system, and non incorporation of lessons of Indigenous cultural importance in the syllabus being prescribed by the Central Board of Secondary Education has made young peoples ignorance on their sacred knowledge, consequently, diminishing of love towards own culture. The youth who should have been competing in the sacred oral songs during Myoko festival, it is disheartening to see them singing the latest Bollywood songs in the festivals. I personally feels that the parents though they are busy in their works should take out some time for their children to inculcate traditional and cultural values to them along with modern educations. Childrens also should cultivate interest in their own faith.
It is evident from the world histories that a Society is non-static and tends to change in time line, otherwise it became a dead culture, fit for museum and libraries. Our Indigenous Faith and Culture is living culture, it is bound to grow in time line. I do not subscribe to the idea of abandoning once own faith nor am an orthodox who are afraid of and against the societal changes in time line. I perceive the changes as its growth, otherwise our faith and culture would be dry and dead tree
An Indigenous Australian, observed at Pasighat during Indigenous Youth Festival, 2008 that people of Arunachal Pradesh is lucky to have 50 – 60 % of their own Culture still alive, they have lost their mother culture and are searching for it at library and museum . And are intelligent enough that they are working through Meder Nello, Nyedar Namlo, Gangin to preserve, protect and promote their indigenous faith.
Therefore, our people should ponder and act to preserve, protect and promote own faith and culture. The parents should extend help to the management of the Meder Nello to conduct seminar, symposium etc participate in competition of AYYU during festival. This will generate interest amongst our brethren and ensure dissemination and assimilation of our sacred oral literature.
The Meder Nello, a platform to organize our faith and culture with the objective to assimilate, disseminate and document the sacred oral literature. I perceive this as the best available concept upon which every sensible indigenous people should contribute, morally, physically and financially and Intellectuals, Elders and Nyibus should extend their guidance and knowledge for establishment of vibrant and strong platform with the essence of our culture. “ Let various flower blooms in the Garden of Almighty.”
……..Gyati Rana