§ Широкогоровы §
toggle menu

48. Preliminary Note to Chapter XIII: Classification, Terms, Diseases, Roads, Complexes, And Forms

The group of spirits discussed in the present chapter differs from the groups which have already been discussed in the previous chapters. First, as a rule these spirits introduce themselves into the people and thus they ought to be managed by special methods; this is the difference between the usual behavior of the first group (Chapter XI) and that of the present one. Second, these spirits are not of ancestral origin; in this respect they differ from the spirits discussed in the previous Chapter XII. Third, although these spirits are not «benevolent» spirits, practically they may be so. Fourth, these spirits are in majority, spirits of foreign origin.

Although the Tungus realize the existing difference between this group of spirits and other groups they do not often make a very sharp dividing line between them. The chief reasons are that the Tungus opinions are not uniform; the Tungus are not all equally versed into these theories and hypotheses; and the Tungus approach to this problem is mostly practical, i.e. how far the activity of these spirits, regardless of their origin and character, may be turned to serve the Tungus interests; and last, the terminology itself may be responsible for misunderstandings. For instance, the Tungus when angry with the spirits may call all of them s'irkul and xutu, or when the spirits are not particularly malevolent and may be used for helping the people the Tungus of Manchuria may say so in a literary manner: tar burkan — endur'i adali, i.e. that spirit is like an endur'i (chiefly «good», benevolent). So that the last word adali i.e. «similar», «like», may be easily dropped and burkan will become endur'i. I have often observed such discussions when the Tungus wanted to find the place of some spirits in their system. Yet the same terms are very often referred in a «wrong way» by the Tungus themselves, the chief reason for which is the semantic changes. For instance, although the original meaning of burkan was that of Buddhistic spirits, the same term is often referred to the spirits borrowed from the Russians (among the Tungus of Transbaikalia) and newly discovered spirits, e.g. amongst the Tungus of Manchuria. Owing to these conditions the classification which I give here cannot absolutely cover all the spirits, they can not all be included in the units created by me. However, for the time being I do not see any other way of systematising the spirits for the practical purpose of exposition, and when there are multiple characteristics of the spirits I shall point them out.

A good light is thrown on this group of spirits when we analyse the origin of terms and their present meaning, and when we make clear our idea regarding Tungus theory of diseases and «theory of roads».

The term burkan is known among all Tungus groups here discussed, except the Manchus among whom the idea of these spirits is associated with Buddhism and some spirits of this group are called fuch'k'i. Let us point out that fuchixi of Manchu Writ, is exactly «Buddha», but it is also referred to all Bodhisattvas and to religion as a whole. As to the origin of this term it might be origin of this term it might be received from two sources, namely, from the Chinese and from some other groups which existed at the time when the Buddhism made its first appearance amongst the ancestors of the Manchus. As a matter of fact, in present Chinese Buddha is fo or in some Chinese dialects but admitted by Bar. A. von Stael Holstein (Bibliotheca Buddhica, Vol. 12, p. 141 et seq.) as possible bur [304] also in some other dialects fut (Fuchow, Sinning) whence P. P. Schmidt (cf. Grammar p. 50) compared futixi-fuchixi. Of course, it is possible, but the question remains about — xi. Indeed, such a suffix might exist in Manchu, and yet such a suffix might exist in the language spoken by the ancestors of the Manchus, but that will be a mere hypothesis. Yet, the final t in the Chinese dialects considered as a stable final consonant also is a hypothesis, for such a t does not exist [305]. Still more, the existence of a Chinese form from which futi derived is hypothetical. On the other hand, the neighbours of the Manchus, — the Koreans and Mongols, — have pul[306] and bur respectively. The latter was received from another source, the Uigurs, among whom Buddha was burqan, burxan, purqan dissected by W. Bang into bur+qan [307]. In the light of the Kuchean language, which is responsible for the migration of many words from India, and where there is found pud [308]. N. D. Mironov referring to W. Radloff's table of letters suggests that the Uigur characters for r and t might be confounded and adopted in reading one for another, whence there might originate pud (Kuch.) >but—>bur. In this setting of the problem Bar. Stael's supposition as to a Chinese origin of Uigur bur may be shortened, for the Uigurs were in a direct contact with the Central Asiatic groups. In favor of a Central Asiatic origin of Uigur burqan speaks its compound character. In fact, burqan is a simple translation of Kuchean pudnakte in which the component n'akte, in its turn, corresponds to Sanscrit deva (of Buddhadeva), as it has been indicated by N. D. Mironov and confirmed by necessary similar cases.

There is no question that the Mongol term burkan [with dialectal variations borxan, burxan, boroxan, burxyn (Rudnev), also p'urcan, burxan (Smedt-Mostaert), etc. has been received by the Tungus, probably from the Mongols. It is usually found in the form burkan (Barg. Nerc. Bir. Kum. Khin. Mank.) (Ur. Castr.) and rarely as burkan (Nerc. Khin.). In so far as I know, no such a term is known amongst the groups living beyond the contact with the Mongols (and Buriats). It is unknown amongst the groups living East from the Birarchen, such as groups of Goldi, Udehe, Oroci, and Negidals; yet it is not used amongst the Tungus of Amur Gov., Yakutsk Gov., and Yenissy Basin. Amongst the groups which are in contact with the Manchus and Chinese this term is not needed because of the existence of fuch'k'i and fu referred to Buddha (and Buddhism).

This term is referred, as we have already seen, to the spirits of different origin (cf. supra Chapter XI) and yet as a new word, fashionable and convenient, it may be sometimes referred even to the spirits which formerly used to have different names, e.g. buya among the Barguzin Tungus may be called burkan together with others, and evidently new dii minores. Yet, it may be referred, but very rarely, to the spirits which have originated from the souls of dead people. In this respect a separation of spirits based only upon the term burkan is not satisfactory. At the present time burkan is often used in the same indefinite manner as s'irkul and xutu. Yet the burkan's placings are very often called savak'i which, as will be shown, is a term of an earlier origin.

However, there are some limitations for using this term namely, it cannot be referred to the ancestors-spirits and it cannot be referred to the spirits which are mastered by the shamans, although there are shamanistic spirits of similar names. Amongst the groups which have adopted term endur'i a large group of spirits being included in this term may also be eliminated.

The existence of these spirits is very closely connected with the ideas regarding origin of diseases and with the idea of managing them for practical use in various daily affairs. So now I will proceed to the Tungus conception of diseases. Another aspect of the spirits is their organization, ways of their activity, and their relation to the people. Therefore, I will give a general description of these spirits before proceeding to the description of particular spirits.

* * *

In the previous chapter I have several times referred to the sickness caused by the spirits. It would be erroneous to assume that in the Tungus mind all DISEASES are due to the activity of the spirits. In fact we have always seen that the Tungus recognize not only sickness due to the mechanical causes, but also to the presence of small (microscopic) animals (kulikan) which may produce various troubles. In this way a great number of diseases may be excluded from those which are explained by the spirits' activity. Apart from the cases when the abnormal condition of the people is understood as temporary absence of the soul, — a case very common, — it may be perhaps generalized that the Tungus are inclined to see the activity of the spirits in all cases when the psychic activity is shaken. So for instance, the condition of delirium either complete or partial, is explained as due to the activity of the spirits. The action of spirits may be twofold, namely, when the spirit enters the body and when it affects the body, so to say, from outside, e.g. by spreading special waves through the air, the nature of which is immaterial in the Tungus sense of this conception. However, sometimes the mind may not be affected at all, while the body will be affected by the spirits. Indeed, with the accumulation of experience, the supposed activity of the spirits is either limited or extended, which depends upon the analysis of facts observed, — the finding of causes of diseases which are not ascribed to the activity of the spirits, — and upon the intrusion of new ideas (hypotheses) regarding spirits, produced by other ethnical groups. Therefore among different groups we observe different attitudes towards the same diseases and towards the same spirits. More than this, the opinions of individuals differ too. This may be compared with the similar ideas among the European ethnical groups at different periods, in different social strata, and in different regions. As a matter of fact, the variations are numberless. It is impossible to describe them all, so we must confine ourselves to only a general outline and to finding of common ideas regarding pathogenic spirits and particular cases of special interest.

* * *

In the theory of the spirits treated in this chapter there are two points of importance, namely, the spirits act along ROADS and their character is complex.

The Tungus including the Manchus suppose that the activity of spirits is going along the roads called in Tungus okto in Manchu Sp. joyun (jugun Manchu Writ.) the original meaning of both being «road», «way», «journey along the road», etc. So that every spirit has its own okto (joyun) lying in the direction from the spirit to the people. The «roads» are called by the name of spirit, e g. in Bir. buniln'i okto (the lower world spirits), seren'i okto (the special shamanistic spirits), sumu burkan'i (sumu spirit) okto, etc.; in Manchu mavari (special group of spirits mava) joyun, pucheye samanti (dead shaman's) joyun, pusuku (spirits busuku) joyun, etc. These roads are classified according to their general directions and locations, e.g. upper roads, middle roads, lower roads which correspond to the threefold system of the world; also they may be classified according to the time of day, — the day [inengi (both Tungus and Manchus)] roads and night [dolbor (Bir. Kum.), jemj'i (Manchu Sp.)] roads. The roads may be called «black (sayale, Manchu Sp.) road, etc. There are also roads according to the points of orientation, e.g. southern, western, northern and eastern, and roads of directions between N and W, N and E, S and E, S and W. As a matter of fact, the spirits in general may be classified according to the roads, but that would bring us to great difficulties for the spirits may have several roads. Three roads, — upper, middle and lower — may be identified with three worlds, but these roads are not particularly «good» or «bad», — they merely are different. The day and night roads cannot be identified as that of upper and lower worlds and as «good» and «bad». These are roads the movement along which is easy (and even perhaps possible) only during limited periods of day light and dark. For these reasons I do not classify these spirits according to their roads.

The theory of road is also known amongst the Tungus of Transbaikalia where, however, I was not able to investigate all details. The neighbours of the Tungus of Manchuria and Manchus — the Goldi — evidently have the same theory [309]. Beyond the Tungus area we meet with this idea among the Yakuts described by V. Sieroszewski [310]. He has given a summary on the occasion of a description of a Yakut method of divination The idea of roads is also known in Lamaism and Buddhism which seem to be the source of Tungus idea.

When the Tungus use a placing for spirits they also use some «placings» for roads, These may be represented in the form of long things, e.g. silk ribbons, ropes, thongs etc. So that the spirits are supposed to descend along the «road» into the plating reserved for them. In the same way, if the Tungus should want to show to the spirits their direction, they would make a «road». The spirit first descends on the antenae, by which it reaches the post and descends, then it follows the road which is attached to the post and at last it reaches the placing. Such a placing may also be human body. For this reason the Tungus are rather careful with posts and possible roads — as for instance, ropes, ribbons, etc. — in order to avoid accidental self-introduction of the spirits.

* * *

The spirits may be simple and they may form a COMPLEX of manifestations. The instances of simple spirits we have seen before in the group of spirits treated in the Chapter XI. The group of spirits here discussed includes some simple spirits which may have only one road and only one manifestation, but most of them are complex spirits. By this term I shall thus designate related groups of manifestations, the number of which may vary from two to seventy-two as observed, for instance, in ain'i burkan. The manifestations may have therefore different roads and corresponding placings. The complexity of the spirits must be understood as various possibilities of spirits' activity. The manifestations may have their own names, as in the complex mafa burkan, or they may be designated as a certain road of a certain spirit. When the Tungus deal with these complex spirits they address themselves to the whole complex or to a particular manifestation of the spirit. The distinction of different manifestations, as will be shown, has very great popularity among the Manchus in their conception of shamanistic spirits. The same may be seen in the Goldi complex. Amongst the Birarchen and Kumarchen some spirits are extremely complicated and include an always increasing number of manifestations. The idea of manifestations is one characteristic of Buddhism, so it may be supposed that among the Tungus (and Manchus) it has been modelled on this pattern.

As to the origin of these spirits they may be of local origin, but most of them are borrowed by the Tungus from other eth nical units and this is the reason why the designations among them are either burkan or fuch'ki which as shown are Buddhistic spirits. The other spirits of the same group may be also borrowed from the neighbours and although they do not belong to the group of Buddhistic spirits they may be called so, for this term is convenient for all spirits of non-Tungus origin. The discovery of new spirits is made in two ways. First, the Tungus may learn from their neighbours that the latter have some spirits which are unknown amongst the Tungus. Then they would inquire what are the characteristics of these spirits, and then they would decide whether the Tungus themselves have similar spirits or not. In case there is a complete or a partial but essential coincidence of characters, the Tungus would say that they also have these spirits, but they are called by different names. It is likely that the name of the spirit would be changed, if the Tungus group is under a strong linguistical influence from the neighbors. In case the Tungus have no such spirit they would investigate to determine whether similar phenomena are met with in their own group. In case the inquiry reveals these phenomena, the spirit will be adopted usually together with the name. If the inquiry gives negative results there may be two issues, namely, (1) admitting that such a spirit may also be active amongst themselves, they would accept it, which is likely to occur when the group from which they learn about the new spirit is very strong and influential among the Tungus; (2) admitting that such a spirit cannot be active amongst themselves, they would not accept it but they would keep in mind that a certain group has a certain spirit of no importance for the Tungus. Newly discovered diseases are subject, for instance, to such a treatment. For instance, before coming into contact with the Chinese, the Tungus distinguished some diseases like typhoid fever, from influenza. From the Chinese they have learnt that these diseases are different. Therefore they accept the idea that pathogenic spirits are also different, so the new spirits have a great chance of being introduced. The life in villages very often results in essential change of the psychic stability. Therefore, if this phenomenon is explained as due to some particular spirit, the latter has a great chance of being adopted. In this way the complex of spirits is always subject to variations and new spirits are continually introduced, while the old ones are rejected.

The Tungus enter into relations with these spirits the expression of which may take different form. The spirit may remain data (Bir. Kum.) or ddn'i (Bir.) (i.e. «foreign, alien») burkan and quite incidental in Tungus dealing with them. But when the character of the spirit is investigated and the Tungus know how to deal with it, they may make the placing and keep it with the family belongings. In this way the spirit would remain near to the family and, when carefully looked after, it may seem even useful to the members of the family. When the spirit receives recognition from many members of a clan, placings for it are made by many families and at the gathering of clan meeting this spirit may receive a regular sacrifice. In such a case the spirit would become a clan spirit or mokun'i burkan [311].

The number and character of the clan spirits are different when clan complexes are compared. They cannot be regarded as real «protectors» of the clan, but they must be better regarded as spirits whose pernicious influence is neutralized by the clever and skillful methods of the clansmen. Naturally, since for the spirits there are permanent placings, which are called savak'i or savak'ichan, i.e. spirits' small placings, for brevity these placings also may be called burkan instead of «savak'ichan» of a given burkan». Yet, reindeer and horses of different colour are reserved to them, for carrying the placings and for use by the spirits [312].

Another modification with relation to the clan spirits is that of the spirits brought by the woman from another clan when she marries. They are called naj'il burkan. Conflicts between naj'il and mokun burkan are possible, for in the relation to the clan spirits those brought by the woman are dona. The naj'il burkan problem is also complicated by the fact that the woman has her monthly blood discharges to which mokun'i burkan are not indifferent. Indeed, as to the manifestations of mokun'i burkan they do not differ from that of mokun'i burkan of the woman's clan. However, usually the placings include only those of the malu burkan which is only one of mokun'i burkan.

A further function and partial modification of the burkan happens when they may be mastered by the shaman. As a matter of fact, most of the spirits may be mastered and from that moment they are not only harmless for the members of the clan to which the shaman-master belongs, but they may also be used on different occasions. In this function the spirits are not called burkan; they are called seven, and so they will be treated in the following chapter.

We can now see that the conceptions of clan spirits among the Manchus and the Tungus are entirely different. While amongst the Manchus these clan spirits are real or supposed ancestors, i.e. as in the Chinese complex, amongst the Tungus they are various spirits adapted to the needs of the clan and by tradition transmitted from one generation to another. Owing to this it has been necessary to include them in different chapters. Another point of difference is seen in the fact that the group of burkan and fuch'k'i are not alike amongst the Manchus and Tungus of Manchuria. Fuch'k'i are not so complex as are the burkan. Usually they have very limited manifestations and remain very closely connected with the Buddhistic spirits in general. Yet, the group of mafa (mava, Manchu Sp.) is lacking in the Tungus complex. This group among the Manchus is a composite one consisting of spirits of various origin, in this respect being similar to the dona burkan of the Tungus. However, with the increase of relations between the Tungus of Manchuria and the Manchus the mafa began to penetrate the Tungus complex.

304. Originally bur was discussed still earlier (cf W. Bang Turkologische Briefe, Zweiter Brief p. 249).

305. B. Karlgren who is one of prominent partisans of the possibility of restoration of old forms of «Chinese language» and dialects, which naturally turns into a scaffolding of hypotheses, in his Analytic Dictionary gives b'iu't (p. 48) as «Ancient Chinese» form of fo. Fortunately, we do not need all these hypotheses for showing an alien source of Manchu and Tungus terms.

306. It may be also noted that A. Forke {Der Chinesische Dialekt) in Fuchow finds an indefinite final sound, something between t, I, and b. Indeed, such «indefinite» sounds do not exist, but seemingly this sound has not been analysed by the investigator. Is it not L (cf. my phonetic Notes on a Lolo Dialect», Section IV), whence it may be reduced to / in Korean pull Or, is it from Uigur-Mongol bur ?

307. Cf. W. Bang, op. cit. pp. 249-250. The possibility of dissection is illustrated with a series of instructive examples. In reference to the Tungus language the possibility of dissection has been discussed by myself (cf. Sramana-Shaman pp. 119-120), in Uigur it is admitted by Bar. Stael and P.P. Schmidt (cf. Der Lautwandel. etc. p. 63). Here I omit other discussions and suggestions dealing with the term burkan, as for instance that of P. Pelliot, B. Laufer and others who did not contribute to the clearing of the problem and thus may have only historic interest.

308. Cf. N. D. Mironow Kuchean Studies. 1. Indian Loan-Words in Kuchean, in Rocznik Orientalistyczny, Tom VI, pp. 89-169; vide pp. 162-163 (pp. 74-75 of reprints).

309. Cf. I. A. Lopatin, op. cit. p. 215. It is evident that this author underestimated this theory so he did not pay due attention to it during his investigations among the Goldi. In so far I can see from the description of the spirits the Goldi have a well developed system and theory of roads.

310. Cf. The Yakuts, vide Scheme, p. 671.

311. It may be here noted that mokun in the sense of clan is used by these Tungus only in recent time, cf. SONT.

312. Vide Chapter XVI, Section 62.

Электропочта shirokogorov@gmail.com
© 2009 - 2024