Kalum Kai (House of worship) : Its origin and significance
Dr Budha Kamei
Contd from previous issue
It consisted of one room with bamboo benches the whole length of each side wall. From a cross beam in the middle hung an oil lamp. At the far end was a bamboo platform, with a railing round three sides, and a flight of steps on the fourth side. Facing the platform were four wooden chairs on each of which was a white felt hat.”
The second temple was located in the upper part of the village. In this temple, images of God Bisnu and his wife wearing typical Rongmei dress were installed on the way of Hindu idolatry worship. But, he did not worship Hindu deities. “In design it was similar to the first except that there was a long narrow room on each side, parallel to the long central room. The central room contained bamboo benches similar to that in the old temple. There was a shrine in place of the pulpit approached by a flight of steps, ornamented in black and white.
At the top of the steps was a door, behind which was a red covering the opening of the shrine. On the top of the shrine was a platform, approached by a second flight of steps on which was a chair. Just above the chair was a python, curled upon on the ridge pole of the roof. In front of the shrine was a sacrificial block made out of a log at which goats were sacrificed.” In the fronts of these temples there were wild creepers hanging up to be the strings or ropes. Rani Gaidinliu also built a temple at her Nungkao village with the initiation of her Guru.
These Temples were erected facing to the east. Stephen Fuchs wrote that the new religion of Jadonang was a synthesis of Christian Monotheism and Hindu idolatry and temple culture.
In the first temple, there was a pulpit from where the worshippers used to worship. He gave guidance to his followers in worshipping Tingkao Ragwang, the Supreme God. “Worshipping consists of facing east, putting the hands together and saying Tingkao Ragwang Do what is good for us.” He composed songs to be sung in worship and also gave instruction for the composition of dances to be performed by the worshippers. These hymns, songs and dances were revealed by God.
However, worshipping or preaching from pulpit was not a feature of Kabui (Rongmei) religion. One finds the influence of Church pulpit preaching. Sitting on benches/chairs inside the temple in worshipping was perhaps adoption of Christian mode of worship. In other words, one finds the outward influence of Christianity in the church like temple for religious congregation and services. Worship of Tingkao Ragwang was strongly stressed. He emphasized that one has to worship God with clean body and mind. One cannot go before God unclean. He constructed two houses for bathing near the Rah Kai; one for male and the other for female. Husband or wife who had been sleeping together had to wash before approaching the God.
(To be contd)