Cultural healing in Nepal

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  • 2021-02-28

The Shamanism in Nepal | Spiritual and Cultural Healing (2020)

The Shaman was originated 20,000 years or more, and that the word shaman originated from a Siberian tribe called as the Tungus. History says ‘Shamanism was initiated by Siberian. The history of shaman is ‘members of indigenous tribes would gather the sometimes poisonous and highly psychoactive mushroom, Amanita muscaria’. Once it was recognized and classified as shamanism, it became apparent many cultures around the world conducted similar practices. It might just be the oldest spiritual practice in the world – one that is not necessarily based on faith in a particular god, but rather based on animism, the belief that everything is living and has a spirit. There are many says about origin of shamanism; however most authentic research says it was originated more than 20,000 years ago.

A video about Tradition of Simon was published by BBC Russia. A Shaman high priest takes Jonathan to his ancestors’ land to visit a spiritual place of worship.

Since, Shamanism was originated around 20,000 years ago, there are similarity in shamanism in the world. Some common beliefs of shamanism are: spirits exist (can be good or evil); they can communicate with the spirits and they can cure sickness caused by them; they can induce trance-like states to incite visionary ecstasy; and they can tell the future.

Samanism in Nepal

In Nepal, Shamanism was practiced before the arrival of Hinduism and Buddhism. Now it is integrated within both of these religions. Shamans are commonly known as dhami or jhakri though ethnic communities have various terms assigned for them (For Kirat community they called ‘Nachhung’). Shamans act as mediators between the spirit world and the human world.

Nepali shamans wear a peacock feather headdress and carry a double-sided drum. They have been defined by some as magico-religious specialists, part herbalists, part priests whose technique is spiritual rather than biological and whose business is to determine the nature of the spirit, and then either to placate it or drive it from the ill person’s body. As healers, they examine animal entrails for signs, collect medicinal plants, perform sacrifices, exorcize demons, and chant magical incantations. Most jhañkris will prescribe medicinal herbs, about which they are very knowledgeable. As soothsayers, they go into trances and act as spokesmen of the gods while as spiritual sentries, they ward off evil spirits and angry ancestors through either greater strength or trickery. They also officiate during funerals, hand out amulets and promulgate myths.

In some cultural they need dhami to remember the death people they called it as ‘Pitra’ (that exists in Rai, Tamang, Limbu Community).

A shamans can be either a kul–dhami or just a dhami-jhankri. The former are believed to be more quickly possessed by the lineage deities while similar possession of dhami-jhankris involves much drumming and the gradual entering of spirits into their bodies. A typical dhami-jhankri’s paraphernalia consists of: a drum (dhyangro), bells around the waist, long necklaces (mala) of rudracche and ritho seeds around the neck and shoulders, a special headdress, and a jama (a long white skirt like garment). The main spirit of the dhami-jhankris is the ban–jhankri (a spirit inhabiting the nearby forest). Jhankris are also said to counteract the power of witches.

While it is true that dhami-jhankris are regarded with more respect in rural areas, it is also true that even cities like Kathmandu has its fair number of shamans. Even in a city like the Capital with its numerous hospitals, there are many people who prefer to have their ailments treated by shamans or jyoitishis rather than by qualified doctors. While jyotishis (astrologers) are different from shamans, they too claim to deal with common ailments. A Brahmin priest in the Bhairav Nath temple in Lagankhel says, “If it’s a small matter, I can take care of it through some jhar-phuk; but if it’s a complicated case, then one should go to Baglamukhi temple in Patan where one will find a shaman.” One can well imagine, what must be the situation regarding this issue in the villages of the country. As Adrian Storrs says in his book on Jhañkris, “From time immemorial, jhañkris have given medical care to the rural people, much of the jhañkris’ success is due to the fact that they are well known, respected and accepted, especially as intermediaries between man and spirits. Furthermore, the jhañkris will go to patients at any time and treat them in their homes.” In Nepal, shamans or jhankris can be of any caste; more of them, however, are found to be of Tamang, Gurung, Chhetri or Sherpa ethnicity or caste.

During janai purnima (full moon of August or September), shamans have a special day when they gather at holy sites and perform rituals. It’s also a day to boost power among the other shamans. There was a time when all shamans were men. Today, however, though not too significant a change, a small number of women are also shamans.

Shamons are used in different rituals things except treatment, they use for pitra in Rai, Limbu community, Dewali in (Bramhim and Chhetri Community).

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