Yvymarae'ỹ upéa ko yvy porã
Upéa yvy ju

Yvymarae'ỹ is Guaraní for "tierra sin mal", or, "land without evil". This is one of the religious ideas the Guaraní people held; it was home for Ñanderuvusu, the great creator, and heaven for all the Guaraní people. A land where nothing was wrong, everything was healthy, everyone was happy, and the people knew not of pain, fear, hate, sadness, or horror. A land where one reaches aguyjé, perfection, and contentment.

The main difference between Yvymarae'ỹ and what is popularly considered "heaven" in most religions is that the Guaraní people did not consider it a post-mortem paradise; instead, they thought it was a physical land lost somewhere in the world they were supposed to get to. This, finding Yvymarae'ỹ, is supposed to have fueled most of the Guaraní migrations across South America.

Yvymarae'ỹ is a special kind of heaven. While most religions have a reward system as far as the afterlife goes (be good, and you're in), Yvymarae'ỹ does not. Yvymarae'ỹ does not exclude or include individuals according to their actions, but since finding it is so difficult, it presupposes a filter of people worthy of entering it–only those who are brave and persevering enough to find it.

Since Yvymarae'ỹ is heaven, a place of perfection, one would think it would be empty of "sin" or "evil". Here, "evil" is not what is considered wrong-doing by the people, but situations that make people unhappy. Therefore, in Yvymarae'ỹ, nothing is wrong because everything is permitted. There is no work to be done, no effort, the people indulge in their every whim, they unleash their hunger and satisfy themselves with the products of the perfect land, they allow their daughters to form romantic liaisons with anyone they wish. Outside, in the other land, all of these actions would be considered negative, or having a negative outcome, but not so once one enters Yvymarae'ỹ.

Yvymarae'ỹ was a real place for the Guaraní, which would mean there was no spiritual afterlife for them. This isn't the case, however. Once entered the realm of Yvymarae'ỹ, they were granted eternal life. There was no hell, only oblivion for those who died without being able to reach Yvymarae'ỹ.

Now that the Guaraní population has been decimated, and its culture imprisoned outside a careless modern society, the influence of Guaraní religious rituals and beliefs still lives on in Paraguayan rural culture. Yvymarae'ỹ spawned a fervent cult of the land. It glorifies it; there is no better destiny, no better fortune than to find this land. Nowadays most of the rural population doesn't delve in agriculture and farms because it's the way they can earn a decent living, they do it because they have been taught and fed that their land is the most important thing they can own. It's their only profession and trade. So, landless peasants who protest against great latifundia owners, who demand agrarian reform and a land of their own, seem stubborn to be stuck in the same problem for years and years. But they don't look for other sources of income or other professions, because they just don't know that they can. They believe their land is the only thing they have, and they will defend it with every weapon they have, they will kill people for it, and they will even sacrifice their own lives in the struggle.

Ñaguahẽ upépe javeve hápe
Upépe ojeroky avei

Meliá, Bartomeu. El don, la venganza. Centros de Estudios Paraguayos Antonio Guasch. Asunción, Paraguay – 2004.
Clastres, Hélène. La Tierra Sin Mal: El profetismo Tupí-Guaraní. Ediciones del Sol. Buenos Aires, Argentina – 1993.
González Torres, Dionisio. Cultura Guaraní. Editora Litocolor. Asunción, Paraguay – 1991.

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