When asked if travelling can free one from the circle of life and death the Buddha answered it was impossible to forego the two even if one were to travel at the velocity of light. The most supreme act of travelling was, according to him, to travel deeper inwards: “to [merely] touch the world of no-birth and no-death.” Perhaps for most of us this circle is desirable, but the handover journey of a soul undergoes the same strains of on implosive travelogy as the human life undergoes in a lifetime.

 

Handover-journey of a Kirati1 Soul

After a long acquiescence to malady
When a soul departs its covers
The prehistoric faith of the ethnic Limbus
Still lives young. My father, the descendant
Of the King of Chempojong Palace2
Bids goodbye to his earthly life
Here, did I enlighten to my rich legacy of faith, belief
And religion, learning my mongoloid physiognomy
In the ambience of mourning.

With the train of well-wishers
The soul-less body in the kho:ng3
Is marched with the shout Ho! Ho! Ho!
Until submerged into the earthly bed
But the reluctant soul hovers around: lost
(As the Limbus believe)
Then on the final ninth of mourning night
Phedengma4 enchants the mundhum

Our mythology and philosophy
Incants with oceans of memory
In rhythm and rhymes like a cascading waterfall
Collecting souls around with the strayed soul
He commences his voyage through the Thongsing5
Luring the reluctant soul
Through eight gates above the earth
Through plains, rivers, brooks, lakes, forests, gardens,
Caves and hills, until the peak of Sagarmata6
Where he finally handovers the departed soul
To the palace of his ancestors
Availing all its need
Crossing over the magical diagrams of divinities
Worshiping the house of protecting deities:
Tagera Ningwa Phuma, Poro: Kmima and Wambhamiba, Yumamang,
Akwanama and Himsamangs
Makes a return journey with the other souls
To the bodies awaiting, below,
The end of the journey
Till the sleepy dawn
The souls are returned to the earthly frames
With all their richness and spiritually distinguished
Psalm of Limbu.

 

References

[1] Kirati is a community inhabiting mostly in Nepal, north eastern part of India and Sikkim.
[2] Chempojong Palace was in Ilam, Nepal earlier Limbuan. The king referred to here is King Chemjong Hang.
[3] Wooden coffin.
[4] Limbu priest.
[5] Ritualistic ceremony of death.
[6] Nepali word for Mt Everest.

 

Prem Prakash Limbu

Prem Prakash Limbu

Prem Prakash Limbu is a poet from Mirik, and Vice Principal of SPDJV School, Lalgola, Murshidabad. He graduated from IGNOU in English Literature. His work has also appeared in Eastlit Journal and Pebbles in the Pond.

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