A Buryat Mongol tale

Buryat is an autonomous republic of south Russia in Asia next to Mongolia and east of Lake Baikal with the capital in Ulan-Ude. The indigenous religion is a kind of shamanism that has persisted in the spite of the Russian presence in the region since the 17th century.

In the distant past Ulgen Tenger created human beings, who lead an idyllic existence without disease or any sort of disturbance. However, his brother, Erleg Khan, who ruled the spirits of the eastern direction, wasn't very happy with the conditions humans enjoyed. Consequently he sent disease and tribulation to them and they began to die and fight among themselves. Ulgen and his spirits of the western direction gathered in the Pleiades to discover what could be done to reverse the work of Erleg. Finally they decided to send Eagle to be mankind's shaman.

When Eagle descended to earth, he tried to tell people that he was sent to be their shaman. But he didn't know how to communicate with them in a human language and finally he had to return to the western spirits to tell them that he could not help humankind. They instructed him to return, but this time look for a woman, with whom he would mate. Their child would be the first shaman. Eagle found a beautiful woman sleeping under a tree, he impregnated her and eventually her son became the first shaman. Even today shamans remember the flight of the eagle in their dances and fly up to heaven when they functioned as a shaman.

One of the most famous spiritual descendants of the first shaman was called Hara-Gyrgen. Ulgen Tenger, observing the arrogance of this man decided to teach him a lesson. Tenger removed the soul of the daughter of the clan and the girl appeared to be dead. The arrogant shaman was summoned and he saw at once that the girl's soul had been removed. When he ascended to the upper world he saw that Tenger had placed it in a bottle that he was was holding, covering the top with his thumb. Hara-Gyrgen took the form of a bee and stung Tenger's cheek, whereupon Tenger dropped the bottle to slap the bee. Hara-Gyrgen grabbed the girl's soul and flew back to the earth.

Ulgen Tenger was so angry at the power of the shaman that he made him jump up and down on a mountain so that when the mountain was beaten down completely shamans will no longer have their powers. After jumping 100 years Hara-Gyrgen was becoming tired. That is the reason why shamans now are not as strong as they used to be, and why people no longer understand many of the shaman songs.

Source: A Buryat Mongol Tale

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