There are various views and explanations given on Kirati “Mundum” or “Mundhum” by various philosophers, historians and writers. Because of various views and explanations from different sources, Mundhum has been mistified. Here, authour has made an attempt to give his views extensively about Kirati “Mundhum” in order to demistify.
What is “Mundum or Mundhum”?
Mundhum is the Kirat religious scripture.
It narrates about creation of universe, humankind on Earth, Kirat culture, tradition, customs, habits, rituals and myths which have been passed down by Kirat ancestors from generation to generation. Kirat society existed before vedic period in Himalayan regions of Indian subcontinent. Mundhum serves, as customary laws, which guide Kirats in their daily life. Mundhum contains the stories of creation of the universe, creation of humankind, life cycle, cause and effect of sins, creation of evil spirits such as the evil spirit of envy and recitation of Kirati prayers or Mantras.
All four Kirats Rai, Limbu, Yakkha and Sunuwar have slightly different religious texts. Limbu call it Mundhum, Mewahang as Muddum, Yakkha as Mintum, Sunuwar as Mukdum, Kulung as Ridum and Chamling as Dum.
There are two types of Kirat Mundhums, Oral Mundhum and Written Mundhum. In Kirat Limbu, it is called Thungsap (Oral) and Peysap (Written Scripture). Thungsap Mundhum is preserved and passed on word of mouth and folklore until the art of writing was introduced. Oral Mundhum originated from Paruhang and Sumnima when they gave life to Kirat and Nayuma (Marima) from mud statues by blowing air, speaking to mouths of statues and ears. Kirat and Nayuma (Marima) learnt how to speak from Sumnima & Paruhang devine power, since they got life. From this era, Oral Veda or Thuthuri Veda started and it is the oldest veda on Earth.
Peysap Mundhum is a written book on religion. When the art of writing was introduced by Kirats, since then Written Mundhum prevailed.
Historians have said that Kirats had Kirat scriptures and written Mundhum during Kirat rule era, but during Prithivi Narayan Shaha’s rule, ancient Kirat scriptures were burnt and destroyed. Also use of Kirat scripture and languages were banned in schools and administrative offices. Since destruction of Kirat scriptures, Kirats had to depend on Oral Veda or Thuthuri veda (Thungsap) in Kirat society and it is still prevailing.
According to Kirat Rai, Muna means man. Dum means talk. In Nepali language “Muna means “Manis”, Dum means “Kura”. Also “Dhum” or “Dum” means the perform rituals from birth to death and after death too (traditions) in Kirat Rai. So when you join these two words Muna and dum, it became “Mundum” or “Mundhum.” Mundhum is a spiritual, rhythemic and shamanic form of scripture. Mundhum rituals and teachings are used and performed by very special Kirat religious masters and shamanic gurus of Kirat. In ancient time, Kirat priest is called Samba. Mundhum was written in very ancient native Kirat language. Mundhum mostly cover origin of earth, creation of human beings, air, water, fire, life, medicine, god, all rituals, birth, marrigae, death, prayers and Mantras.
Mundhum is Kirat religious scripture. Also “Mundum” or “Mundhum” is oral recitation of Mundumi Prayers or Mantras when performing religious rituals in Kirati languages on the following occasions:
(1) Worshipping/Praying to Paruhang and Sumnima by Kirat Rai. Paruhang is called as Ninama (Sky God) which is considered as Heaven and Sumnima as Mother Earth ( Mother Nature), (Henkhama).
Kirat Limbu worship and pray to Tagera Ningwaphuma: tɑgɛrɑ niŋwɑphumɑ is personified as Yuma Sammang as female and Theba Sammang as male in earthly form. Actually Sumnima Paruhang by Kirat Rai and Tagera Ningwaphuma by Kirat Limbu are one and the same. It is just because of language differences due to geographical settlement and social distancing over a long period, diffrent names have been given to Gods and Goddesses.
(2) Performing Chenbee Mang (God of Wealth) and Chasuum Mang; (God of Food Grain) Puja.
(3) Performing Sakenwa Puja or Bhumi Puja. It is called Ubhauli and Udhauli.
Ubhauli is in the Baisakh (April/May) and Udhauli is in Mangsir (Nov/Dec). In this month the festival is celebrated. Sakela Udhauli is the harvest season, and it is a way of giving thanks to nature for providing good harvest. Sakela Ubhauli is also called Bhumi puja (Land worship) and is taken as worship for good farming and plantation. Basically this festival is the celebration of praying to the Goddess of nature for good crops and protection from the natural calamities.
(4) Purification or Cleansing of homes: Cleansing prayers after 5 or 6 days delivery of a child;
(5) During bride departure from her home;
(6) During Entry of bride at the bridegroom’s house;
(7) During purchasing land in Heaven or “Ninama” “Paruhang” for the deceased soul;
(8) During offering Dakbati to the deceased at the funeral time;
(9) During cleansing or purifying of the deceased house and family members;
(10) During reaching the deceased soul to Heaven or “Paruhang” “Ninama”.
11. Kirats worship Buda Sekari (Hunter God). If you pray to Buda Sekari, you will be successful in hunting and return home with your kill. These days Buda Sekari is worshipped less by Kirats because change of livelihood of Kirats.
“Mundum or Mundhum” mainly expresses about the following:
1. How human beings originated on Earth (Henkhama);
2. How Marriage and Ceremony done;
3. Child Birth: Cleansing of Home and
Naming of New Born Baby; (Nung Pawma)
4. Wearing New Clothes by new born baby;
5. Giving first time food grain to new born baby; (Coke pawma).
6. First Hair Cut of Boy Child; (Tangma Cupma)
7. Purchase land for the deceased soul in Heaven or (“Ninama Paruhang da Bakha Khitma”) by keeping One Rupee coin on the grave or cremation.
8. Offering Dakbati to the deceased at the funeral time;
9. Prayer for cleansing or purifying of the deceased house and family members;
10. Prayer or “Mantra” for reaching the deceased soul to Heaven or “Paruhang” “Ninama”. This is performed by “Doewa” “Mangpa” “Nakchong” “Faydangma”.
11. Udhouli and Ubhouli; Dongdawa and
Donglasa; (Henkhama Puja or Bhoomi
12. God of wealth and Food Grains; (Chenbee Mang and Chasuum Mang);
13. Buda Sekari;
14. Healing or treatment to patients.
This is performed by “Doewa” “Mangpa” “Nakchong” “Faydangma”.
Hindus have religious texts called Vedas; Bhuddhists have religious text called Tripitakas; Christains have religious text called Bible and Muslims have religious text called Quran. Similarly Kiratis have Mundhum instead of veda, tripitaka, bible and quran. Mundhum is equivalent to veda, tipitaka, bible and quran.