Mantar- A Cynic’s Approach

It is faith that subsides, subdues and dismisses skepticism, disbelief. But should that draw a concluding line to doubt or skepticism?

Does mantra possess a healing power? And why does the Koch Rajbangshi community still nourish it?  Nagendranath Roy, the recipient of 2011 Sikhyaratna Award, says “it is a source to our roots”. In his article “Tarai Anchaler Rajbangshi Samajer Mantar: Bhashatattik Ichiron-Bichiron” he confirms they are “tepurani” or very primitive, perhaps older than Veda. It is accordingly a weapon in life’s struggle enabling us, mentally to fight better, like some “therapy”.

He classifies it into two primary groups in reference to the Koch-Rajbangshi community, the first branch pertaining to devotion-education- worship or appeasing gods.  The second branch is related to the healing of diseases, ailments: “lagani-jhapani-firani-chomkadhomka-hashapakura-bishjhara”. And the ones who practice them are referred to as- “1. kulguru/kaanfuka goshai, 2. Adhikari-kan- tulsiya, 3. Dhami, 4. Dhemda , 5. Mul gidaler ghor (bishohori, rabaniya, shaoityapeer), 6. Ajha > ojha/mahan/guniya.” Each mantar-mantra is called “bhasha” recited by particular professors, for example: “adhikari bhasha, teestaboorir bhasha, ojhali bhasha, poirir bhasha, shanbaner bhasha, ojhali bhasha”.

He also refers to certain qualities that these incantations reflect- local linguistic variations, simplistic style, lyrical overtones, history of the mantras, geographical facts, social-economical situation, materialistic approach, poetical language, folklore-folk philosophy-folk culture-folk belief. He cites many of the mantras and goes on to define its linguistic implication. One such example is

Kaach bondu kachuni bondu kache jomdut.

Mui deha bon korechu aai kalir put.

Haat noroshingh pao noroshingh noroshingh shorbbogao.

Shil pathore bondi gao? Rati noi din.

Fennar shorire jeba chorabe ghao.

Dohai eshwar mohadeber mathat

Muchibo dui pao.

Bondu gurur pao

Joy chandi kali tui mor mao.

This is a typical “dehabon montor” or the mantra to safeguard oneself from impending harms. It is an inevitable reaction to man’ mortal insecurities, poetically and religiously expressed, a belief system which works on faith and mutuality between the professors and the believers. Moreover, it is a language that is still essential to the Koch-Rajbangshis to communicate with the world and its unknown, irrational forces.

But with a mind well trained in scientific and rationally driven thought process, confirming ones’ faith to mysticism, magic, unacknowledged or undiagnosed power is against some ethic, which will entail shame or at least a sense of un-belongingness from the skeptic new world. Or maybe this is the state we have evolved to, as skeptic humans, valuing the goodness of doubt.

Nagendranath Roy, is sure that they possess some power, as “word is- Brahma”, and someone else added a traditional maxim that belief eliminates argument. However, confirming to it fully will self-imprison us in the particular, whereas complete disapproval will allow us to wonder in chaos. Perhaps a controlled dependency will grant us the vision of its’  beauty and mysticism.

REFERENCE-

  1. “BHOGA” ( second edition )

 

-NABANITA ROY (NOYA)

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