Heaven’s Lord as a Heaven
Since the prehistoric period, Mongolian shaman has explained the origin of their tribes, clans, and people in relation to Upper Heaven and with the animals, such as wolf, white goose, and Gua Maral |Siberian stag| who were related to it. They worshipped these animals as Heaven’s Master/Lord or totem.
However, Chinggis Haan named his own Heaven Lord or Guardian Heaven as “Eternal Heaven”.
Meanwhile, the belief in Heaven’s Lord developed such that it came to be synonymous with a Shaman Ongon. Researchers of the nineteenth century found a similar concept to “Totem” in a Native American tribe that meant their origin or relationship.
According to shamans, on the one hand, the Blue Heaven was visible to everybody as a natural phenomenon that influenced the fertility of the land. On the other hand, human activity is conducted by the blessing of the Blue Heaven, and every person is cared for and protected by it, so they are considered as a force or spirit too. In this regard a shaman invocation says:
…During the change of generations up to a root,
Please bless me with white paths,
For which I am directing to the Visible World,
Worshipping Heaven’s Lord…
Shaman believers considered there are a number of activities necessary to ensure that their own Heaven did not desert them. Firstly, they had to be faithful and respectful to their Lord and grant it proper respect. Secondly, one’s property and livestock protected by his or her Heaven Lord should also be respected as sacred.
Since the emergence of Shaman belief, the Mongols worshipped Heaven or the sky as the main source of life, the source of intelligence, and the master of all things in the universe. Suchlike has been the main conclusion of every study on Mongolian Shamanism since 1846. In this regard, a Mongolian Shaman invocation for an Ingon’s annual worship says:
…Please watch over me at night, my Heaven,
Please be my companion by day, my Heaven,
For which I am offering you this seasonal dinner,
Offering you this annual thanksgiving,
By milk products of your bounty cattle,
By chosen parts of their dairy products,
I beg the grace of your Majesty, Asar Heaven,
That no one will fall ill,
That none of the cattle shall be lost,
That the family members will all be healthy,
That our relatives will all be at peace,
Until this time of the next year…
After Chinggis Haan defeated the Taichuuds in 1202 on the Tsaityn Tsagaan Tal |steppe|, he prayed to the father of Heaven:
I became a leader through no power of my own,
I became a Haan thanks to the blessing of my father of Heaven,
I defeated my enemy thanks to the father of Heaven’s aid,
I became a Haan not through my own power,
I became a Leader thanks to the father of Heaven’s grace,
I defeated my enemy thanks to the Heaven aid…
In this regard Rashid-ad-Din wrote in his Sudaryn Chuulgan |Sutra’s Assembly|:
One who wishes to dry his felt sock in sunshine cannot, for it is customary not to leave them in the open in order to avoid Heaven’s wrath, such as being struck by lightning. Thus, they must be dried in a fully enclosed place such as indoors a ger or hut. Of course, it was one of the special customs of the Mongols, who live under the direct influence of diverse natural disasters such as thunder lightning, snow storm, fierce hail and so on. Moreover, any of these phenomena is considered by the Mongols themselves as a Heaven’s Wrath”.
This is not just an ancient custom, for the Shaman of today is also strictly prohibited to leave any dirty clothing worn below the waist in the open.
For many centuries the Mongolian people have revered and valued bright blue sky, fresh air, and clean earth. If anyone is inactive in society and whose business is somehow unsuccessful, the Mongols considered him or her to have “deserted their Heaven”. It is generally accepted that anyone who has finished their childhood must have upset the Lus and Savdag Lords in some way. In this regard, the Shamans consider that any child, Heaven’s Lord. However, as the child becomes older and more involved in human transgressions |such as theft, sexual immortality, smoking, and drinking|, so his innocence is gradually defiled. In this way, everyone becomes filthy or wicked.
The Shamans considered that every kind of natural and religious item such as game spoils, incense, or medicinal plants and sutras |Holly Books| are clean and therefore sacred. If someone “filthy” wants to take any of them, they should defile them first. Putting it under one’s gown or placing another “dirty” one’s soiled hat on it achieves this. Subsequently, wrapping the object in a white cloth ritually makes the object the defiler’s property. If this procedure is not followed, the Shamans believe that Heaven would take it back because it is still that Heaven’s property.
Thirdly, Mongolian Shamanist believers have to adhere to the customs of the Heaven Lord. So they have to make offerings and libations of all kinds of fresh food and drink for their Heaven. Rashid-ad-Din wrote in his work, “The Mongols say if someone sheds milk on the ground, his herd of horses will be struck by lightning. If there were shed arhi |milk vodka|, a herd of cattle or their ger would be struck by lightning. So, they consider it taboo to conduct these actions”. Those customs have survived up to now and one that shed milk, arhi or tea has to anoint it to his forehead, shoulder, and inner skirt with the index and middle fingers. This confesses the sin before the Heaven Lord.
In addition, Heaven is the meaning of life for every Mongol, so they believe that the Heaven Lord influences their instincts. The final condition is that the individual should react to these instincts. When the Mongols satisfy all of these conditions, they believe that they will be successful in everything they do. When people insult Heaven Lord, then success eludes them and they are led to downfall and death.
In the Mongolian Secret History, there are many characters who were able to receive influence and power from Heaven Lord by their instinct such as Temuujin, Tiv Tengger Zayran, Horchi, and Dei Setsen. By observation of the ages and works of people under the clear influence of Heaven Lord, they could correct mistakes and mend their ways.
In his childhood, hiding in the forest, Temuujin managed by instincts favored by Heaven to evade the encircling Taichuud for nine days. Thereupon, he lost his self-control; driven by hunger he was unable to stay in Heaven’s favor. So, he left the forest and was immediately captured. This confirmed that Temuujin was not yet strong enough to receive the full influence of Heaven. Tiv Tengger Zayran also did not possess the necessary psychological training, so he too lost his patience and suffered the consequences. Nevertheless, Heaven Lord helped Temuujin and gave him good friends such as Boorchi and Mukhulai. Under the guidance of the Oulun-mother, her children were well-behaved, cheerful, patient, courageous, and friendly. Because of Chinggis Haan gained the wisdom necessary to receive the favor of Heaven Lord. Thanks to this, he was able to defeat his enemies.
Heaven Lord is a spirit of fortune |”Hii-Mori” “Wild invisible horse”|, who knows the future. In 1202, Chinggis Haan’s Heaven foresaw the attack of the Taichuuds and helped him to defeat the enemy by sending the enemy’s guardian Heaven, a black male mountain goat, to Chinggis, who killed it immediately. Afterward, his armies defeated the enemy with the case. Moreover, it is said that Chinggis foresaw the victories of his companions in a dream on a mountaintop.
Thus, Chinggis Haan was able to feel the Heaven Lord’s influence before events took place, so people had respected the wisdom and magical powers. Borokhul, who was one of the “Nine Paladins” of Chinggis Haan, confirms this:
…Let the magic body of Trusted Lord
Never be touched by a blade…
On the basis of the belief in Heaven Lord, Mongols divided Heaven into many types, including the Heavens of property, of the father, mother, husband, wife, livestock, and other domestic animals. If children misbehave, their parents are distressed because their Heavens might leave them, shortening their lives. If a man or woman offends his/her spouse then the spouse’s Heaven may be angered and abandon them. Misuse of property can cause Heaven to desert the owner. Thus, people first have to establish which Heaven has been offended. Afterward, they have to invite a Shaman to their household to appease the offended Heaven by calling it on its mercy and protection. For example, to mollify the dog’s Heaven, a family has to carry out Shaman worship. For this ritual, a rectangular white cloth is spread out to the door side of the fire-health. On the cloth is the dog tethered by a red thread to the right leg of the fire hearth-trivet. In front of the dog is a bowl of offerings prepared by the Shaman to be eaten by the dog. In this case, there are specific ritual duties fro all the members of the household.