Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Go away, you sexy demon!

Razen Manandhar
Newars, a small community in Nepal, celebrate a score of festivals throughout the year. It is strange that no other community in the multi-ethnic county has this many festivals. Sometime it’s a matter of pride, and sometime, actually, it is a burden to new generation that has to do so many things in this competitive world, than rejoicing festivals.
Among others, the festival of Gathamuga (गथांमुगः) is unique, strange or even bizarre. This is not even religious, one can say. It is, just a cultural event, which is not related to any of religions the Newars follow. So, no particular god or goddess is worshipped on this day, as it usually happens with other Newar festivals. This year, in 2018, the festival fell on August 9th.
Chasing away a horrible demon is what is done on this day, basically. An effigy, made of freshly cut reed plants, which must have a huge mask with terrifying eyes, teeth showing face, big ears with bells as ear pendants. Interesting thing about this demon is, it does not matter whether it has any other detail or not, but a quite big and noticeable sexual organ, of course male, is what it must carry. Isn’t obscene? I will talk about it later.
The making of effigy is related with a legend. As the legend has it, once upon a time, there was a man-eating demon (some call it helpful ghost). People, tired of his atrocity, chose a Trantric to take this story to an end. He disguised himself as a frog and when in front of the demon and started teasing him. The demon was quite furious and started chasing him. The frog led him to a marsh and he died. The locals were delighted with his death and they all cremated him in the jungle. Now, people celebrate the death of this legendary demon every year.
And, some elites, or say, theists, have another version of the story. They believe that Gathamuga was not a demon, but just an atheist. He did not like to hear name of any god and so, he had bells as his earrings. And he was rejected by the society. When he died, he died so miserably that he did not have anybody to cremate his body. So, people picked a boy to collect donation and his body was cremated in the river. This is the reason that people in Kathmandu these days take the effigy to the river, led by a boy, who begs money for the last ritual. However this boy’s role in the story is seen only in Kathmandu.
Author stands with a smart effigy of Gathamuga in Bhaktapur
This festival is called “boy’s festival”, where girls don’t have much to do. It might be said so because, the effigy is made which looks obscene. There is particular reason why the demon is male (I know there were some female demons too, which also were made with their organs equally visible, but they are, I am afraid it is extinct now). One should not have any objection about these things because Nepal is one of the countries where phallus is worshipped publicly. In Nepal and India, the Hindus worship giant phalluses are worshiped in the form of Shiva, one of the major deities of the religion. And apart from the Hindus of this region, others also have a kind of religious affection to male genital organs, for example the Japanese and the Bhutanese, and this is all no nonsense. Everybody knows that it is the source of origin or, at lease we can say now, reproduction. Yes, some like Hindus have explanations with philosophic coating and others are all name rustic or barbarians who practice phallus-worshipping without explaining. Thank god, we don’t encourage or glorify male chauvinism or rapists or molesters by doing this. Apart from this, some obscene slogans are shouted in the procession. They also don’t have answer when asked why they have to shout like this. All they have to reply is, “We have been doing this for ages. And we have to do.” But we know this is one simple way to vent out frustration, anger out of their mind and a chance to express their hard-trodden desire to say some “prohibited” words, at least once a year.
Well, what do they do on this day? From the morning, women folks clean their houses and paint their main door’s with crimson-colored-clay with some mixture of cow-dung. Even though we say that girls don’t have role, this part of the difficult task is mostly done by the women. People love to wear iron rings on this day, saying that this will protect them the demon’s touch.
And boys erect small effigies in most of the crossroads in the morning. And again, most of talented women make dolls or leftover clothes and hang them on those effigies. They say that it is the demon Gathamuga and the dolls symbolize those poor children, taken away by him.
By afternoon, the local boys, mostly adolescent boys go around the locality to collect some money to buy reeds. They used to shout some obscene slogans too! With that much of money, they buy other stacks of freshly cut reed plants.
And by evening, grown up men of the locality make another giant effigy of the demon (some seven to ten feet tall), erect it at the crossroad and add big colorfully painted posters of masks as well as those organs.
The locals pick a boy, obviously a beggar, to play role as the “son of Gathamuga”. They also paint something obscene on his body and take him along the street to collect money from shops and households. All the money becomes his (and the locals guard that boy carefully, because most of the time such boys are clever enough to collect all the money and scape the scene without doing his final rites).
The locals give the boy a plate of curd and rice-flakes and make him ready. They give him a bunch of burning reed and ask him to set fire on it. As he does, people fell the effigy, make that boy sit on tit and pull it along the road to a nearby river. And they all throw the reed in the river and come back home, saying that the demon will not disturb us again we need to clean our home and get ready for the series of the festival that are to follow throughout the year. Apart from this, people in each home prepare three bowls with rice husk, some pieces of meat and flowers and take them to three corners of the locality. This is how the festival ends in Kathmandu that I have been watching curiously since childhood.
This year, I decided to go to Bhaktapur, a city around 9 km east of Kathmandu. This city is famous for their wood-work, brick-work and magnificent masons for constructing traditional house. And of course, for their immense love for their culture too. Now, it is not difficult to go on motorcycle, thanks to the Japanese government for making us new highway.
I always enjoy being there for sometime. It is not very far but they have been doing their best to keep it safe from outsiders, encroachers and squatters. This is the reason that they have been successful to preserve their tangible heritage, that is those 17th century marvelous temples, courtyards, rest-houses and water spouts. And so are they determined to preserve their intangible heritage like, say, this Gathamugaa.
Well, it was freshly trickling when I left home but the sky was clear there. As it was too early for the events to begin, I thought it would be nice to meet some Nepalbhasha writers there. They offered me some cold yoghurt and hot momos. We talked about culture, festivals and literature of our mother language. It was such a nice time to be with them. A small but all committed to safeguard our mother language, which is now endangered, so to say.
Then they led us to some core of the old traditional settlements. The effigies were being erected and the symbols were being joined. All men, women, boys and girls were watching it, laughing and being little blushed. But they have internalized that it is not shame, it is just some fun for them. This is how they teach growing adolescent in those days.
Specially, in the potters’ square, they make huge masked heads, out of some freshly baked pots. They work so hard, for some days, to make that gigantic face of the fiercely smiling demon, and the signs too. And, they know that those things of art will be destroyed after half an hour. But, they do their best to decorate the effigies, because they know the people form their neighboring crossroads are coming to see who is doing the best in the whole city. What a competition !
The effigy of Gathamuga being burned in Bhaktpur (Photo : Razen Manandhar)
The evening was getting darker and the whole area was changing smoky. The two-sided drums and big copper cymbals were supporting people’s daring shouts. You wont ask them to repeat the slogans, once you get hints that it was terribly obscene. Some people were carrying burning straw-bunches and moving them to the air. They were also carrying those demons, shaking them terribly from two sides. The horrible masks were making faces at the passersby.
They crossed the small river, much encroached these days, and took the effigy there. That part of the city must be barren jungle in the past, nevertheless, now surrounded by newly built buildings. They erected it in the middle of the road somehow and suddenly bright yellow flame gulped the whole of the reed effigy. The boys were shouting the slogans and the drums where smart to make the slogan voice dim, so that others may not pay attention to the meaning of them.
Goodbye demon. Come again next year, we will burn you again.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

लुम्बिनीइ बौद्धतय्के छाय् ध्यबा काइ ?


राजेन मानन्धर
बुद्ध नेपालय् छाय् जन्मे जुल ? थुकिया लिसः थीथी विद्वानतय्के थीथी दइ । तर छता खँ सकस्यां सिउ, बुद्ध नेपालय् सत्ताय् वःपिंत निगः प्यंगः ध्यबा फ्वनाः नये दयेमा धकाः धाःसा पक्का हे जन्मे जूगु मखु । थुलि खँयात लुमंकाः लुम्बिनी विकास कोषं नकतिनि हे अन वइपिं दक्व भक्तजनतय्के ध्यबा म्हयेगु धकाः याःगु निर्णययात बःचाहाकलं विश्लेषण यायेगु कुतः थन जुइ ।
लुम्बिनी विकास कोषं २०७५ श्रावण १० गते लुम्बिनी क्षेत्रया योजनावद्ध विकासया लागिं धकाः भाद्र १ गतेनिसें लागू जुइ कथं लुम्बिनीइ वइपिं तीर्थयात्रु वा मेमेपिंके ध्यबा कायेगु निर्णय याःगु दु । व कथं आः वनीपिं दक्वं बौद्ध तीर्थयात्रुत (भिक्षु भिक्षुणीतय्त बाहेक) याके प्रतिव्यक्ति २० तका अले विद्यार्थीतय्के १० तका दां काइगु जूगु दु । व बाहेक क्यामेराया शुल्क ५० तका, भिडिओ क्यामेरा शुल्क ५०० अले छायांकन शुल्क ५००० नं काइगु दु । थ्व शुल्क रुपन्देही, कपिलवस्तु व सुस्ता पश्चिम नवलपरासी, गन बौद्ध धइपिं हे लुइके थाकु, अनयापिंत धाःसा काइ मखु ।
थन आः वयाः लुम्बिनी धइगु छु अले आः तक राज्यं थुकियात गुकथं कयाच्वंगु धकाः वाला स्वयेमाःगु दु । झी सकसियां धया वयाच्वना — लुम्बिनी धइगु शाक्यमुनि गौतम बुद्धया जन्मभूमि खः । थ्व न्हापांनिसें बौद्धतय्सं थीथी थेरवादी व महायानी ग्रन्थया लिधंसाय् धया हे वयाच्वंगु खः, धाःगु मथूसां, लुम्बिनी गन दु धइगु मसिउसां पाठ ला याना हे वयाच्वंगु खः । लिपा सन् १८९६ य् अकस्मात् अन अशोकया थां लुया वयेवं उत्खनन् न्ह्यात, व हे बुद्धया जन्मस्थल धकाः बय्बय् जुल । न्हापा गबलें सरकारं लुम्बिनी वा बुद्धजन्मस्थलया बारे चिउताः मकयाच्वंसां क्रमशः थुकियात अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय ख्यलं सम्मान व श्रद्धा बीवं थन ध्यबा वा गाइगु दु धकाः चायेकाः सरकार वा अबलेया शाही खानदानया मनूत लिसें सरकारपक्षया मनूत छम्ह छम्ह यायां थन थःगु थाय् काःवल । यःसां मयःसां विदेशी संस्थातय्गु दबाबं हे जक सां, अले इलय् ब्यलय् लुम्बिनीया नां ज्वनाः सितिकं विदेश चाःहिउवनेगु ह्वःताः चूलासेंलि जिन्दगीइ गबलें छकः धकाः तक नं बुद्ध, धर्म व संघया नां काये म्वाःपिं वा म्हाःपिं नं निगः प्यंगः बुद्धधर्मया खँ ल्हाये सयेकाः उमि लिउलिउ जुया हल, फाइदा कया हल ।
विभिन्न चरणं लुम्बिनी विकास कोषं थःगु रुप काल । नामं हे क्यं थ्व लुम्बिनीयात धार्मिक क्षेत्रया रुपय् मान्यता बीत मखु, न त थन धार्मिक आस्था व श्रद्धा ज्वना वइपिं श्रद्धालु तीर्थयात्रुतय्त हे सम्मान दइ । थन ला ध्यबा वा गाइ धकाः हे जक कोषय् थःत तक्यंकाच्वनी, अनया थीथी परियोजनाय् थःगु ल्हाः द्यःने लाकाच्वनीगु रजाइँ जुयाच्वंगु दु ।
लुम्बिनी नेपालय् दयाः सुं अबौद्धं बुद्धया शरणय् वंगु दु ला ? भारतया नागपुरय् छन्हुं हे खुगू लाख अबौद्धतय्सं मेमेगु धर्मया द्यःत दु धइगु विश्वास मदु धकाः पाः फयाः बुद्ध धर्म अवलम्बन यात । अथे हे न्हापा गबलें बुद्धया नां तक मन्यंपिनिगु देसय् नं आः बौद्धतय्गु जनसंख्या अप्वया वयाच्वन । थुखे नेपालय् बुद्ध जन्मे जूगु धकाः तिंतिं न्हुइगु फेसन ला वल, तर बुद्धया शरणय् वना, धर्मया शरणय् वना धकाः धाइपिं मवः, बौद्धतय्गु जनसंख्या थहां मवं ।
थुकिया छगू जक हे कारण धइगु उमित बुद्ध धर्म, बुद्ध दर्शन लिसे छुं कालबिल मदु, दुसा विदेशय् च्वंपिं बौद्धतय्सं लुम्बिनी धाल कि ध्यबा प्वंकी धइगु आसाकुति मनोवृत्ति जक दु । उकिं ला विकास कोषया नां वल कि भ्रष्टाचार, हडताल, तालाबन्दी, विरोधया खँ जक वइगु । छम्ह छम्ह पदाधिकारी नियुक्तिलिसें करोडौंया कालबिल व चलखेलया गाइँगुइँ अथें न्यने दइगु मखु जुइ । याये मजिउ धाधां अन छु छु जुयाच्वनी, अन थ्यन कि जक सी । छखे याये मजिउगु धकाः नियमं पंगः थना तयेगु अले वहे ज्या सुरुसुरु जुयाच्वनेगु छाय् जुइ धइगु न्हियान्हिथं भ्रष्टाचारया समाचार ब्वँब्वं वाक्क वःपिं नेपाःमितय्त थुइकेत थाकु मजू । कोषय् वइपिनिगु मिखा हे ध्यबाय् जक तक्यनाच्वनी । अथे जुयाः हे विदेशी बौद्धत अन कोषयापिंलिसे खँ ल्हाये ग्याः। कोषय् ध्यबा मदयेकं छुं ज्या जुइ मखु, ध्यबा बिल कि न्ह्यागुं जुइ धकाः अनयापिं विदेशी भिक्षु व लामापिंसं ख्याःथें नीथें कना हइगु सकस्यां सिउ हे जुइ ।
लुम्बिनीइ दशकौंनिसें मदिक्क उत्खनन् जुयाच्वनी तर उकिया उपलब्धि थन मखु उखे वनी धइगु हुइनाभुइना वइगु, यायेमाःगु संस्थां ज्या मयाइगु, अनुसन्धानया प्रतिवेदन पिमदनीगु आदि इत्यादिइ नं कोष खनेदयेक खनेमदयेक संलग्न जूगु दयाच्वनी । बी मजिउपिन्त विहार दयेकेगु प्लट बीगु, छगू हे देशयात तःगू प्लट बीगु, ततःजायेक देगः दयेकेगु, गेष्टहाउस चायेके बीगु, देय् मदुगु संस्थायात प्लट बीगुनिसें कयाः आः वयाः सिँ तस्करी, नक्कली टिकट मीगुु, पवित्र बगिंचाय् अस्थि थुनेगु अले सुनां मसीक सुन्दरी प्रतियोगिता याकेगु ज्याय् मखु मखु धाधां विकास कोष संलग्न जूगु झी सकस्यां सिउ । कोषं यायेमाःगु मयाःगु अले मयायेमाःगु याःगुया छगू सफू हे तयार जुइ, जि उखेपाखे वने मखु ।
आः तप्यंक प्रवेश शुल्कय् वये । दानपात्रय् तीर्थयात्रीतय्सं कुर्काथकूगु ध्यबा पारदर्शी यायेफूगु मदुनि, हानं शुल्क कायेगु खँ वल । शुल्क गन काइ ? थःगु व्यक्तिगत थासय् थम्हं लगानी यानातयागुया लबः कायेत । लुम्बिनी अज्याःगु थाय् पक्कां मखु । यदि धार्मिक महत्व मदुगु धरहराय् ध्यबा काये मजिउसा लुम्बिनीइ जिउ ला ? संरक्षण यायेत धाये धाःसा व ध्यबां अन संरक्षण जुइगु मखु, व दक्वस्यां सिउ । संरक्षणया नामय् विदेशं वःगु ध्यबा खर्च यायेमफयाः अन उकुसमुकुस जुयाच्वंगु कोषयात ध्यबा हे छाय् माल ? यदि उकिया ध्यबां हे अन खर्च यायेगु खःसा सरकारं वार्षिक बजेट छाय् बीमाल ? अन कन्हय् २० तका दां पुलाः धर्म याइपिं बौद्धतय्सं राज्ययात न्हापा हे पुलातःगु कर दुथ्यानाच्वनेधुंकी, गुगु अनया वार्षिक बजेट जुयाः उतुउतुं मुनाच्वंगु दयाच्वनी । आः दोहोरो कर छाय् ? जाबो राष्ट्रपतिया निघौ फ्यतुइगु टहरा दयेकेत प्यंगू करोड खर्च यायेफुगु कोषं स्वनिगलं वा मनांगं वा सोलुखुम्बुं वयाः पुण्य मुंकः वःपिं बौद्धतय्के २० तका दां कयाच्वनेमाःला ?
मेगु, लुम्बिनी थज्याःगु हे मेगु छगू नं धार्मिक स्थल दु नेपालय्, व खः पशुपति । निगुलिं धार्मिक स्थलयात विकास यायेत सरकारं अज्याःअज्याःगु हे विकास कोष दयेकातःगु दु, निगुलिं ज्वलिंज्वःगु ऐनं मार्फत सञ्चालन जुइ । तर छु पशुपतिइ वइपिं नेपालीत व भारतीयतय्के संरक्षण शुल्क धकाः ध्यबा कायेगु ज्या यायेगु सुनां आँट याइ ला ? पशुपतिइ संरक्षण यायेत धाःसा राज्यं ध्यबाया खुसिबाः वयेकेगु (अले अन तीर्थयात्रीतय्सं छाःगु ध्यबा विदेशी पुजारीयात प्वःचिका छ्वयेगु) थन धाःसा तीर्थयात्रीयाके ध्यबा फ्वनाः संरक्षण यायेमाःगु ला ? छखे छगू धार्मिक स्थलय् विदेशीतय्त तकं ध्यबा मकासे द्वलंद्वः तीर्थयात्रीतय्त छ्वयेगु, लाःलाःथे अश्लील हरकत यायेगु छुट बीगु, मेखे छुं कथंया मभिंगु ज्या मयाइपिं विदेशीतय्के जक मखु दतंफतं व हे ९ प्रतिशत नेपाली बौद्धतय्के तकं जगाः कायेमाःगु बिचाः मखुसा सरकारं छाय् याइ ? उकिं थ्व धइगु ध्यबा मालाः स्वयाः नं लुम्बिनीइ यक्व तीर्थयात्रुत वःगु स्वये मफयाः उमित हतोत्साही यायेत हःगु षडयन्त्र जक हे खः, बुद्धया जन्मस्थलया बौद्धतय्त मचायेकं बौद्ध जुइगु धइगु अपराध खः धकाः मानसिक यातना बीगु हे जक खः ।
लुम्बिनीइ नेपालीतय्के प्रवेश शुल्क कायेमाः धइगु बिचाः अन थौं स्वयाः नीदँ न्ह्यः हे वःगु खः, गुगु अबले भिक्षु सुदर्शनया कडा विरोधं दित । आः अन वक्व तीर्थयात्रीत मध्ये ८० प्रतिशत हे नेपालीत जुसेंलि उमित जक छाय् सितिकं दुत छ्वये धकाः लुम्बिनीयात थःगु पुख्र्यौली सम्पत्ति तायेकीपिंं कोषया पदाधिकारीतय्गु हे थ्व ज्या खः धकाः धायेत लिचिलेम्वाः ।
आः मेगु खँ । थःगु धर्म, पहिचानया अले आस्थाया केन्द्रविन्दु लुम्बिनीइ दुहां वयेगु लँपु बन्द याना बिलं नंं लुम्बिनी लुम्बिनी धकाः लय्लय् पतिं विदेश चाःहिलाः लुम्बिनी मिउ वनीपिं नेपाःया बौद्ध धर्मगुरुपिं व बौद्ध विद्वानतय्सं आःतकं गनं छसः मतःगु मेगु रहस्यया खँ जूगु दु । उमिसं सिउ हे जुइ, आः अन वनाः परित्राण पाठ तक याकेत नं उपासक उपासिकातय्सं म्हतिं नीतका दां लुखाय् पुइँ हायाः जक दुहां वने खनी । उखे थःमांबौया नामं निप्वाः देवा च्याकः वने खनी मखु, जजमांतय्सं सत्वपूजा याकेगु गथे ? आः अन प्यद्वः न्याद्वः महायानीत मोलम यायेत गथे वनी ? छखे भारतया महायानीत अथे हे सुचुकाः ध्यबा बी मफयाः थन दँय्दसं याःवयेमाःगु मोलम पुजा याः मवयेधुंकल, आः नेपाली बौद्धत हे नेपाःया लुम्बिनी वनेगु स्वयाः भारतया बोधगया, सारनाथ वा कुशीनगर वनेगु अःपुइगु अवस्था वयाच्वंगु दु ।
कीक्वः मजुइगु लुम्बिनीयात झःझः धाःगु लुम्बिनी दयेकेत नेपाःया बौद्धतय्सं गुलि योगदान बिल व इतिहासय् च्वयातःगु दु । उमिसं छेँ मधाः, मचाखाचा मधाः, आः उमित हे म्हिगः तिनि नयेगु खनाः वःपिं छखलः अबौद्ध अभिजात मनूतय्सं दुहां वये मदइगु नियम दयेकलं नंं थनया बौद्धत चुपचाप मसिउ, मताःपह यानाः च्वनाच्वंगु खनेदु । अले धायेमाली, छु नेपाःया बौद्धत धइपिं सुसु सत्ताय् वल वयागु चाकरी चाप्लुसी यानाः निगः प्यंगः फ्वनाः नयेत जक जन्मे जूपिंं ला ? थ्व धइगु नेपाःया बौद्धतय्त न्हापा गुब्सं मवः कथंया मार वा हाथ्या खः, कि वाःचायेकाः अधिनायकवादीत लिसे सः तयाः ल्वायेमाल, कि देय् त्वःताः वनेमाल, नेतृत्व बियाच्वना धकाः मान व सत्कार नयाच्वंपिंन्सं बिचाः यायेगु ई वःगु दु ।
Published in Nepalbhasha Times on 2018 08 03

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