Who are Kiratas?
The word Kirata (Sanskrit word) derived from Kirati or Kiranti who are the group of people in the Eastern part Nepal. Kirati people are known as an indigenous form of Kirat ethnic group from the Himalayas. The Kirata was mentioned early in the Sanskrit literature describing as hunter tribes from the Himalayas and was mentioned in Yajurveda and in Atharvaveda during the 16th century. The Sanskrit Kavya titled “Kiratarjunia” mentions that Arjun adopted the name and guise of a Kirata for a period to learn archery and use other arms from Shiva, who are known as the deity of the Kirata. Talking about the Myth of Hinduism, Lord Shiva imitates married a Kirati lady who later becomes Parvati.
According to History of Nepal about Kirat people, they are described as the combination of three races knows as Khambos, Mongols and Chinese. The Khambos known as the first immigrants to the Himalayas and the Mongols and Chinese people came later period and intermingled with Khambos and constituted a great human race (Chumlung, 2003).
RULING PERIOD AND IMPORTANT INCIDENT
Kirat traveled central Nepal from the eastern part of the Himalayas around the 7th or 8th century and ruled for more than thousands of years by 29 Kirati kings. Kirat dynasty started in Nepal from the rule of Yalamber after he achieved victory over the Mahispals dynasty and the last king was Gasti Hang.
|S.N||Kirat Kings of Nepal|
|1||Yalambar (Yellung Hang)|
The first Kirat king is Yalambar also known as Yellung Hang who founded the Kirat Dynasty after he got victory over Bhuvan Singh and conquered central Nepal and extended his kingdom Tista River of Bhutan to Trisuli River in the west.
After the death of King Humati, his son Jitedasti becomes a king known as the 7th king in central Nepal. This period is also known as the first revolution of Kirat people because, during his rule, the administrative chiefs of Kirat revolted against the king and ceased to regard him as their overlord. They held a meeting and by the common consent of all the chefs, they elected Bhaiphutta Hang as their overlord around 500 BC. And also all Kirat chiefs of eastern Nepal paid him tribute and rendered military service in a manner resembling the feudal system of Medieval Europe. It is also believed that, during the reign of Kirat ruler Jitedasti, Lord Gautama Buddha (Light of Asia) travel Kathmandu valley and preached his new faith to the people. He was successful in gaining as many as 1,350 disciples and some famous known disciples of Gautama Buddha were Sariputta, Moudgalyana, and Ananda.
After the reign of the fourteenth Kirat king Stungko in Central Nepal, King Asoka from India visited Nepal during 269-265 BC. As he was the great follower or believer of Buddhism, he visited holy Buddhist places in Nepal and built various monuments in Nepal. He built Buddhist stupa at Patan is known as a famous monument. He arranged the marriage of her loving daughter Charumati with a local young prince named Devpal. Although Stungko was not a follower of Buddhism, Asoka being a great enlightened king of his time made him treat well and also allow foreigners to preach his new faith in his territory.
The second revolution was taken place during 125 BC. Seven generations after king Parbate, there was a second revolution again king Samyuk Hang in eastern Nepal. The children of Madhesia Kirat could not tolerate the oppression of King Samyuk Hang and raise against him under the leadership of Bazdeo. The Kiratese of the Tibetan origin helped the madhesia Kiratese and was defeated of kin Samyuk hang and elected Bazdeo as their king ruling Eastern Nepal making his capital as Libang.
Gasti Hang is known as the last king of the Kirat Dynasty and because of his weak strategy on his rule, he was overthrown by Sombanshi ruler Nimisha. Then they moved to the eastern hills of Nepal and settled down there.
The third revolution or final taken place on the emergence of the name “Limbuwan”.
Kirat people, in the beginning, were rationalistic idolaters. They do not have temples, altars or images because that was not necessary during their time and also because they believed in the god as the light and the fire. And they also worship the spirits and believed to be the resident of fire and the sun. They classify spirits into two i.e. Good Spirit and Bad Spirit. Good Spirits are believed as the most powerful spirit with knowledge and wisdom. When these good spirits come on earth, they help protects mankind, people regard them as their grandmother and call Yuma Sammang (Chumlung, 2003).
They also believe that God Ningwaphuma loved all human beings so he often sends good spirits and helps them. What good spirits does he send?
Heem Sammang- Good spirit to look after the prosperity of the house of people.
Thoklung Sammang- looks after the health of mankind.
Nehangma Sammang- proved energy and ambition to mankind.
Theba Sammang- Guide mankind during the war.
Pung Sammang- Looks after the production of the field.
Khambhuling Sammang- guide first class priest who does not kill and offer blood at the time of worshipping.
Okwanama Sammang- Guides second class priest who sacrifices birds and animals for recovery of the sick person.
Sammang literally means – The spirit of God.
Bad Spirits are the second class spirits that are known as evil spirits which is less powerful than the good spirits of God. They believe that the main leader of bad spirit is Tamphung Sammang meaning Spirit God of the Forest. He has the freedom to move and work as he wants, however, when he made injustice towards humankind, good spirit controls him. Tambhung Sammang causes lots of troubles to mankind resulting in various diseases or bad lucks.
A Kirat person never uses medicine for the treatment of sick people. They want their good spirits to direct him and until evil spirits do not get satisfied by the humble prayers and scarifies, they perform various rituals to drive him away from their presence.
They also believe like other religions, that sinful people never go to heaven after death. And people who commit sinful activities will have unnatural death.
Chumlung, K.Y. (2003), History and culture of the Kirat people. Kirat yakthung chumlung.Central office, Mahalxmisthan, Lalitpur.