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40. Construction Of The World

In the previous section we have already touched upon the problem of the location of the spirit apkai endur'i but then the Tungus idea about heaven, earth, sky etc. was not clear. In order to facilitate the references to these conceptions in the following sections I must now give a short description of Tungus ideas and hypotheses as to the «world». This task is not easy at all, if one wants to have the Tungus idea and not its interpretation. First of all, there are several hypotheses which are accepted but in different degrees among the groups and yet with individual preferences for some of them. Moreover, an extensive «folklore» (so understood by the Tungus themselves) exists which gives, sometimes in a poetic form, description of the world. Such descriptions are not also uniform amongst the groups. In which degree the poetic interpretation of the world is accepted by the Tungus depends upon the individuals too. In fact, the Tungus who are familiar with the hypotheses regarding the construction of the world do not accept a «folkloristic» (in their eyes) interpretation of natural phenomena and regard this interpretation to be mere fancy-stories good for children. However, since the line of demarcation between the two is not sharp at all. The Tungus sometimes hesitate as to whether some «facts» or hypotheses are the product of «folklore» or they are the product of critical «scientific» cognition of the world which even without being completely understood still may be accepted when supported by the authority of culturally «superior» people like the Mongols, Chinese, Manchus and Russians, who have their books from which they may learn many facts and «truth». However, the Tungus who are not versed in the theories, especially children, may very easily accept a «folkloristic» interpretation as a «truth».

The task is not difficult if we postulate that the Tungus do not make a distinction between the «scientific theories» which they have, and «folklore» — a product of poetic cognition of the world. As stated in the Introduction the investigators used to make the most striking pictures for the readers. I believe that such a representation of the Tungus ideas may become absolutely misleading. However, it is not easy to distinguish these two different approaches, though both of them are Tungus. Therefore, I want to warn my readers that what they find in the present section is only an attempt at giving Tungus ideas which are more or less generally accepted by the adult intelligent persons.

One of the most diffused and accepted conceptions of the world known to the Barguzin and Nerchinsk Tungus is that [255] the world is a complex which has always existed and was not created [256]. It is called turn. It was and it is divided into three worlds, the upper world uyidunda; the middle world — dunda, which is composed of the land — jorko — and the sea — lamu — in the middle of which jorko is found; and the lower world orgidunda=org'idunda, or bunil. It may be here pointed out that turu ~ tur in different dialects has different meanings. So in Borz. Nomad and Barg. it is used in the sense of «world-universe»; however, in Bir. Kum. and Khin. tur is used for «earth -soil», dunda seems to be connected with the Mongol term for «middle» [257] and is used only in the sense of «middle world»; however, the same word in the form dunna (a case of assimilation) (RTM) is used for «earth-soil,» «earth» as opposed to the sea, also an «elevated locality» or even an «elevated position of flat land»; jorko (Ner. Barg.) — is the «land», «earth-soil»; uyi and orgi=org'i mean respectively «upper» and «lower» in the sense of relation; bunil is from buni — the «dead», from the stem bu — to «die»; «l»is a suffix of plural, so the whole means, — «the dead men». The upper world is organized as a system of skies, where are located the sun, moon, stars and a series of spirits and burkan or buya: the souls of some people may also reach this world. The system of skies actually plays no important role and many Tungus believe it to be a Buriat conception. The middle world is also a complex system. According to the shamanistic idea, there are two snakes (kulin) which being in the sea support the land (jorko), but the Tungus would reservedly add: «so the shamans say». This world is peopled by the animals, man and also spirits. The lower world is dark and peopled by the dead people (their souls) and a series of spirits. The life is organized there in a more or less similar manner to that of the middle world. The entrance to this world is located in the north-western sector of the middle world. Amongst the same Tungus groups there is another conception too, — it denies the existence of uyidiinda, but recognizes only diinda and bunil. With this conception the location of spirits is changed: the spirits supposed to live in the upper world are brought to the earth and placed on high peaks. The question as to the sun, moon, and stars remains unanswered. My informer, — a shaman, — told me that such was his opinion but he pointed out that the opinions differ.

In all probability the «three worlds» conception is not a Tungus conception which becomes evident especially in view of the shifting of the term tur, introduction of a Mongol term, and attributes of the upper world which will be later described.

Nearly the same conception of the world is found among the Tungus of Manchuria, Birarchen. The universe is buya and the worlds are the upper uyillan, the middle — ergin, orgu bojen and the lower — bum; uyillan is uyil + la (direction) + n, which may be thus understood «the (world) upwards»; ergin, — «the living (world)»; orgu bojen — the lower people, as opposed to buni [from the same stem orgi (Barg. Ner.)]. However, the upper world consists of nine heavens; the three first strata are occupied by the spirits endur'i, the fourth — by the sun, the eighth — by all the stars (and planets), and the ninth by the moon. According to some Birarchen, the lower world also consists of at least two strata: buni and still further ela gurun. The latter is not a Birarchen term but is borrowed from the Dahurs, who themselves received it from the Manchus (gurun). This is connected with the theory concerning the fate of the soul and it will be discussed later. The middle world is located in the ocean and is supported by a snake the movements of which produce earthquakes. However, this hypothesis is not shared by all Tungus. This Tungus groups familiar with the theory of galbu [cf. galap||galab||yalba (Mong. Rud.), cf. Kalpa, Sanscrit]. The world, according to these Tungus, changed several times due to fires, after each of which new people and new spirits appeared. (These catastrophes are explained also by floods which is accepted by the Manchus). After the fire the earth turned upside down. In Birarchen it is called galbu kallaren — the world changes. It is evident that the conception galbu is borrowed.

The other Tungus groups have about the same conceptions of the world with minor variations chiefly depending upon the degree of influence of neighbouring groups. As to the Manchus, they recognize the existence of the universe consisting of three worlds as it is amongst other Tungus groups. However, together with Buddhism some more complex apka («heaven»), na («earth») and natolorg'i («earth outside») [cf. tulergi (Man. Writ)] ideas have also penetrated the Manchu complex. The complex structure of the upper world is described in the books known to the Manchus. The lower world is also described in a special book Nisan Saman which is regarded by some Manchus rather like a «story» and not «history». Therefore the description of the lower world does not gain the absolute credence of the Manchus. In this section I will omit the folklore regarding sun; moon, stars etc. which is not accepted by all Tungus as credible hypotheses.

247. P. P. Schmidt compared this stem with Mongol bogdo («holy») and old Persian baga («god») (cf. Neg. p. 240). This may be still extended for we meet with bugas — «god» of the Kassites (cf. N. D. Mironov Aryan Vestiges, etc. pp. 145-6) and naturally Russian and Slavonic bogu («god»). The Manchu, Japanese, Korean and Northern Tungus ba~ba~pa- the «place», «locality» etc. may be perhaps regarded as a modification of boya—> bowa —> boa = ba. As a matter of fact in the above indicated dialects buys has this meaning as well.

248. I am not sure of it, for the dictionaries of these dialects were made by the missionaries and travellers who did not go very far in their investigations. In fact, as a rule a Tungus always gives those swords and meanings which may be better understood by the question. Therefore it is very likely that being asked the name for «god» or «highest spirit», he would give that which was already used by foreigners, e.g. savaki, enduri, etc.

249. Opyt, 1919, p. 14.

250. Cf. Der Ursprung der Cottesidee, Vol. III, 1931.

251. Ch. de Harlez (op. cit p.p. 14 — 15) did not want to accept this connection but he could not oppose any other explanation to both L. Langles and C. von der Gabelentz. As a matter of fact sangsi is not a Manchu name and the Manchus had another name for their own spirit — apkai enduri. The reason why t'i (Chinese) —> s'i (Manchu) is probably that in Manchu t+i in which t is palatalized t' is used almost exclusively in the Chinese words; s'i in Manchus linguistical complex is nearer to the Chinese t'i than to the Manchu ti cf. tingeri || singeri in Manchu.

252. This investigator says (op cit. p 211): «The form of enduri is so diffuse and its cult is so simple that the strangeness to the Goldi psyche strikes ones eye. But most surprising is its nonconformity and even hostility to the shamanism. Enduri never patronises the shamans and the latter never address him in their prayers.»

253. This description corresponds to that ot buya and enduri amongst other groups. These characteristics of enduri have brought I. A Lopatin to the idea that enduri is of Chinese origin, which idea I cannot, naturally, share with him.

254. Cf. E. K. Pekarskii (op cit. p. 48) urun ajy tojon. S. V. Jastremskii (op. cit. p. 5) describes it as an anthropomorphic and human being a spirit. However, the situation amongst the Yakuts is greatly handicapped by two conditions; namely the introduction of the Christianity which long ago began to penetrate the Yakut complex (the Russians appeared amongst the Yakuts at the beginning of the seventeenth century) and the fact that most of the investigators were not indifferent to that it was possible to discover and in which way their discoveries might help the cause which brought them to Siberia (most of them were political exiles). Yet at that time the ethnographers in gathering their data usually followed questionaires (vide supra Chapter III) and approached the groups investigated basing themselves on their own ethnographical complex. So the adaptation of the facts to the theories was not rare amongst them.

255. A brief description given supra needs some addition. Instead of sending the reader back, I shall now again reproduce some facts.

256. However, it is admitted that at that time which is named merely nono-kon («earlier», «before») there was no land or sea, and these were created by burkan (buya).

257. Cf. my Aspects, p. 144.

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