* 1 Deprecated terms
* 2 Description
* 2.1 Priesthood
* 2.2 Influence of
* 3 See also * 4 Notes * 5 Further reading
Gurung shamanism has been often cited in scholarly texts as well as Hindu world of thought as Gurung dharma, but the latter term is considered inaccurate as it is not considered a form of dharma by its adherents, but rather an ancient shamanistic belief system.
Gurung villages have their own local deities. Gurung shamanism ascribes fundamental symbolic significance to death . The rites, called pae (also pai and pe), are often shamanistic analogs or compliments to Tibetan Buddhist rituals. The funerary rite is the central ceremony, entailing three days and two nights of rituals to send souls to the Land of the Ancestors. These rituals may be officiated by either Klehpri, Pachyu, or Lamas. Among the Gurung, death involves the dissolution of bodily elements – earth, air, fire, and water. These elements are released in a series of rituals, nine for men and seven for women. One ritual in the freeing of souls involves a "Klehpri" injecting the spirit of the deceased through a string into a bird, which then appears to recognize family members and otherwise act unnaturally. The bird is symbolically sacrificed with the plucking of a few feathers, received by family members, after which the bird is released. Once in the Land of the Ancestors, life continues much as in this world, however the spirit is able to take other incarnations . From the Land of the Ancestors, spirits continue to take an interest in their surviving kinsmen, able to work good and evil in the realm of the living.
According to Gurung shamanism, the dead are either cremated or buried . After the cremation or burial, the family of the deceased constructs a small shrine on a hill to offer food to the spirit, which remains and may cause misfortune. Sons of the deceased observe mourning for six to twelve months, during which they fast from meat and alcohol. A final funerary ceremony takes places a year or more after death, for which an expensive funeral rite is performed. This rite includes an effigy (called a pla) of the deceased, draped in white cloth and decorated with ornaments. The death rituals close as klehpri addresses the spirit and sends it to its resting place, after which the hilltop shrine is dismantled. Further rites ensue, during which the priest recites supplications to the "spirits of the four directions" for kind treatment as the deceased makes his way to the spirit realm, advises the departing soul on its choice between reincarnation and remaining in the Land of Ancestors, and admonishes it to stay away from its worldly cares and not to return prematurely.
Gurungs employ three categories of priesthood – Ghyapri, Pachyu and
The ghyabri are involved with funerary rituals and play drums and large brass cymbals. The ghyabri have no sacred literature, learning all prayers and rituals by heart over several years. These sacred oral scriptures are called Pye tan Lu tan. The sacred language, Gurung-kura, is no longer understood by laity nor practitioners, and may be derived from an ancient religion.
Shamans called pachyu operate in Gurung communities and in tribal and Hindu communities of Nepal, being most numerous in the Modi Valley. Their practice is largely in the realm of interpreting the supernatural. While their ritual language is also archaic, it is more readily understood by practitioners and laity. Practices of pachyu have been influenced by Buddhist teaching, and they are often associated in various rites with lamas. They are also believed to communicate with spirits and local deities and are often employed by persons suffering illnesses or misfortunes to draw up horoscopes.
Both pachyu and ghyabri/klehpri are called upon to exorcise possessed people, perform mortuary rites, and officiate ancestor worship.
INFLUENCE OF BUDDHISM
Centuries of cultural influence from Tibet resulted in many Gurungs
Tibetan Buddhism over the centuries, especially
* ^ A B C D E Mumford, Stanley Royal (1989). Himalayan Dialogue:
Bonpo Lama and Gurung Shamans in Nepal. Madison, Wisconsin: University
of Wisconsin Press. pp. 6–10, 30–32, 182–194.
* ^ A B C D E F G H Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf (1985). Tribal
populations and cultures of the Indian subcontinent. 2. Brill
Publishers . pp. 137–8. ISBN 90-04-07120-2 . Retrieved 2011-04-02.
* ^ Fisher, James F. (1978). Himalayan anthropology: the
Indo-Tibetan interface. World anthropology. Walter de Gruyter. pp.
171–172. ISBN 90-279-7700-3 .
* ^ A B "Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies".
University of London
* Suvedī, Rājārāma (2003). History of Kaski state. Vidyārthī Pustaka Bhaṇḍāra. ISBN 99933-55-34-8 .
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