Panel on Issues of Spirituality, Rituals and Beliefs in the Great Kyrgyz Epic Manas

General description:The Kyrgyz epic trilogy“Manas, Semetey, Seitek”is a set of genealogically interrelated parts of the orally transmitted story. Manasis a hero who managed to unite the fragmented and scattered tribes into a single nation – theKyrgyz, delineate the territory they inhabited as the “Kyrgyz land”, and protect his people and land from external enemies. The early episodes of the trilogy emerged more than a thousand years ago. According to one of the versions, the first episode of the epic was born out of the lamentations, when the great leader died.Semetey,the hero’s son continued on his father’s tracks, followed by his own sonSeitek. Thus, the trilogy“Manas, Semetey, Seitek” has become the embodiment of the spirit of the Kyrgyz people and a symbol of their ethnic identity, integrity and independence.
Currently, the epic“Manas” is not just a symbol of antiquity and not simply storage of collective folk knowledge. The surprising uniqueness of the Kyrgyz trilogy is in that unlike other epics of the world it has been a living, developing phenomenon to the present day. The Kyrgyz people say “There is no epic without the narrators”. The epic trilogy continues its being through the community of the narrators. The never ending narration can run for hours – the longest non-stop narration the Aigine Cultural Center witnessed in August 2004, when Ulan Ismailov narrated the epic for 12 hours and 45 minutes without a break. According to the tradition, the true narrators are chosen by the spirits: they narrate the trilogy not based on memorization, but through receiving it from the heroes and narrators of the past.
The uniqueness of this panel is in its form of delivery, as seven epic well-known and widely recognized chanters- manaschys have share their concepts and ideas from the viewpoint of spiritual practitioners and epic bearers. The panel has aimed at discussing and unveiling relevant issues related to spiritual calling, spiritual dreams, synthesis of different religious beliefs, rituals, sacred site pilgrimage practice, the state of contemporarymanaschysand space and time dimension depicted in the epicManas.
The topics presented:
1. Kuban Almabekov, manaschy:The rituals indicating human being’ s life cycle in the epic Manas («Манас» дастанындагы адам жашоосун чагылдырган ырым-жырымдар)
2. Salimbai Tursunbaev, manaschy:Marvelous dreams and ways of their interpretation in the epic Manas («Манас» дастанындагы кереметтүү түштөр жана аны жоруу ырымы)
3. Rysbai Isakov, manaschy:The spiritual sapacity to shant the epic Manas and contemporary state of manaschys («Манас» айтуу касиети жана азыркы учурдагы манасчылардын абалы)
4. Zamirbek Bayaliev, manaschy:There is no story without a spiritual message (Аян болбой – Баян болбойт)
5. Doolot Sydykov, manaschy:The phenomenon of sacred site pilgrimage in the epic Manas («Манас» дастанындагы мазар кыдыруу көрүнүшү)
6. Kamil Mamadaliev,manaschy:Interweaving of various religious beliefs in the Manas («Манас» дастанындагы диндердин айкалышы)
7. Ulan Ismailov,manaschy:How did the epic Manas survive from the ice age to 21st century («Муздоорунан бери пайда болгон “Манас”, бүгүнкү күнгө кантип жетти?»)
The panel has been presented at the International Symposium Altay Communities: Religion and Belief Rituals – Language and History Issues, Antalya, Turkey, July 20-22, 2015.