Item Open AccessDanara Dordzhieva, About fortune-telling, astrology and accepting gods(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-10-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Sandzhiev, Artur Item Open AccessDanara Dordzhieva, About folk healers and fortune-tellers(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-10-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Sandzhiev, Artur Item Open AccessMikhail Dolganov, Traditional body and head massages(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2016-09-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, Anton; Churyumov, AntonMikhail shows how to do body and head massages. Item Open AccessIvan Ulyumdzhiev, About Monks(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-08-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Korneev, Gennadiy; Churyumov, AntonIvan says that in the past monks used various methods in their healing practices, including reading prayers, using cleansed water and giving pills made from herbs. Many monks were also good at bone-setting. Some monks even could control the weather with their prayers and rituals. Item Open AccessIvan Ulyumdzhiev, About Folk Healers(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-08-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Korneev, Gennadiy; Churyumov, AntonIvan talks about two female folk healers, Bashkhanova and Nastaeva, who were both from Uldyuchin. Both women carried rosaries and cured sick people with the help of special prayers. They also knew how to set dislocated bones. Item Open AccessDanil and Sergei Orusovs, About our father(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-10-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Churyumov, AntonSergei and Danil reminisce about how their father cured sick people. One day their older sister had a swelling on her head. Their father boiled a cow’s horn in water. Then he cut the swelling open with a knife and put the horn on the cut. After the procedure, their sister recovered. Also, one of their older brothers had his leg frozen. Doctors wanted to amputate it, but their father did not allow it. He operated on his son himself at home. He made a cut on the leg and removed the rotten bones. The brother survived the operation, but is limping. One day their father had a young patient who had a hump growing on his back. Their father fed the patient with some kind of broth made from a hedgehog. The boy grew up a healthy man. Item RestrictedMingiyan Lidzhiev, about a folk healer and a ritual to remove fear(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-05-04) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, Aleksandr; Sandzhiev, ArturMingiyan relays a story about an old woman who was a healer and explains how to perform a ritual to remove fear from frightened children: On a collective farm called Commune in the Volgograd region there lived an old woman who cured people from all sorts of disease, including alcoholism. To cure alcoholism she asked her patients to bring a bottle of water with them into which she read mantas and spat. By drinking from that bottle every day, the alcoholics could cure themselves from alcohol dependency. Not only was she a healer, she also could protect livestock. For this she also read mantras and walked around. Where she lived, livestock did not die. When children are afraid of something, a ritual involving molten lead is used to cure the fear. First, a piece of lead is melted on a fire and poured into a bowl with water. Sometimes the lead freezes in the water forming small grains, sometimes it takes the shape of cats, dogs or other things that caused the fear. Item Open AccessYuriy Bembeev, About Buddhist Healers and Astrologists(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-07-18) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, AleksandrYuriy relays the following story: We had a relative, lama Naran, who studied with ‘Tsagan-Aman Aava’. I was very active in my childhood and my parents thought that I would become a bandit and got killed. Once lama Naran offered to look at my destiny. He tasted my urine, tapped on my body with his hands, listened to my breathing, and measured my chest. After, he looked into a sutra and said to my parents, ‘Everything will be fine with your son’. I once met Namka. After enquiring about my background, he said to me that there were healers among my ancestors. Indeed, there were. One of our relatives was a well-known bone-setter who lived in Karabulak. Lama Naran was a monk, specialising in astrology and medicine. He cured many people from our region. After his death, all the graves in the cemetery where he was buried were levelled out, except for his. As rule, lamas are buried in a sitting position facing the east. Their graves are decorated with special signs and the depictions of the moon and the sun. Women are prohibited from going to cemeteries. In the house of the deceased all windows should be closed, and people are expected to control their emotions and not to cry. At a funeral it is forbidden to consume alcohol or eat meat. Item Open AccessLarisa Shoglyaeva, An Interview(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-02-05) Terbish, Baasanjav; Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, Anton; Okonova, Altana; Babaev, AndreiIn this video Larisa talks about herself. Larisa: I was born in Siberia in 1946. When I was born, my father was already 56 and my mother 44. My mother told me later that she felt ashamed to tell people that she had given birth at her age. I was born in the evening. We lived three families in the same house. My older sister, who had no winter coat, wore an old sweatshirt that she dried on top of the oven in the house. One day when she came home, she learnt about a new baby. I was born in the 241st sovkhoz in Maryanskiy rayon of Omskaya oblast. In our village there lived Germans, Estonians, Ukrainians and Kalmyks. We all lived in friendship. Later (in the 1990s), I returned to my Siberian village on the train ‘The Children of Siberia’. There were four people from our village on that train. Upon arrival, we collected the local old people, gave them presents and talked. We cried. So did the local elders. One old woman asked me: ‘Are you not the daughter of the Davaevs?’ I said: ‘Yes, I am Shura Davaeva’s daughter.’ My mother’s Kalmyk name was Chenzh though. Later we went to a cemetery. In the past when Kalmyks died, their corpses were piled up on the outskirts of the village. We took with us candles and food as offerings. My father is from the Avnra clan. I’ll tell you how I ended up in Orgakin (in Kalmykia). In Kalmykia, after finishing my studies at a pedagogical institute – I was a Komsomol member then – I met the minister Sharapov who asked me about where I wanted to work. I said to him: ‘Send me wherever I am needed. Send me to a place where they need a teacher.’ Sharapov proposed that I go to Iki-Burul’skiy rayon, to which I agreed. At that time I did not know that it was 500 kilometers away. In 1956, I came here in Orgakin. I worked for 39 years as a teacher. Today I live with my children and grandchildren. The land of Orgakin is a happy place. The local people are good people. (When I was younger) the old people knew about their genealogy very well. When we were young we did not pay much attention to this sort of thing. Now I understand that what the elders used to talk was a fountain of wisdom. Here lived Boskhomdzhiev who knew the history of this land very well. We used to listen to his stories. There was another old woman called Tagcha, who was very knowledgeable too. Today there are a few old people left. I should have written down what they had told us. We thought that we would never need their stories. When people get old, they think of their land, their people and good friends. On 18 December people who are younger than me – people in their 50s – invited me to the local club to talk about how we celebrated Zul in the past. Why? Because their parents are already gone and they themselves know little about this celebration. For us, the lama Tsongkapa is like a god. Zul is on the 25th day of the month of the mouse. On this day people pray to Tsongkapa. Our elders used to tell us that the Kalmyks have three important holidays, Zul, Tsagan Sar and Ur Sar. (Larisa talks about Zul in detail). I am happy that today the young people listen to our advice. In my 30s when we lived in the Soviet Union I knew nothing about traditions. We used to go out during Zul, did not perform rituals, ate meat and drank vodka. Question: Can you say a well wish for Zul, please? Larisa: ‘Let the old year depart and the new come/ Let all people live well without illness/ The coming year will be good, with plenty of rain/ Let people live in friendship/ Let all the bad go away and the good stay around/ Live well with your children, grandchildren and livestock’. People said well wishes before drinking tea. Children were given sweets and gingerbread. In the past, people wore their national dress. In front of their dress women had a white cloth hanging that they used to clean their hands. They also had a pocket filled with white and yellow coins that they gave to children. White coins, made from silver, symbolize life without illness and problems. Yellow coins symbolize abundance. In the past, there were no candies but sugar lumps. It was put on the hand, split into smaller pieces, and then given to children. I remember all this very well. (Larisa talks about how people celebrated Tsagan Sar in Siberia; how people celebrate Ur Sar today in Orgakin village; rituals connected with children; Kalmyk dress; hairstyles; the ritual of worshipping the spirit-masters of water; clan rituals and the hill of Kermen Tolga; and rain-making rituals). In the Soviet times, we knew little about god. Nevertheless, we prayed, because god was inside us. My father died when I was 2, and my mother when I was 21. The Kalmyks knew their traditions and taught them to their children. When I was a pioneer, then became a member of the Komsomol, I did not understand these things well. But I memorized whatever my mother taught me. My mother and I secretly did all the necessary rituals during traditional holidays. Whatever I learnt from my mother, today I pass this knowledge on to the next generation. In Kalmykia, the first national classes opened only in 1991, with 23 teachers. I was one of them. We read books and attended the lectures by professors from Xinjiang (China). Whatever I learnt from the professors I taught it to my students who were very interested (in cultural topics). Afterwards, I fell ill. I went to see healers who said to me that I had to accept 15 gods (as my protectors). Before that I used to read prayers to myself only. When I fell ill, I was very scared, because I was told that my condition would deteriorate. I decided to accept gods as soon as possible. Anya Molokanova gave me (the images) of gods. I accepted Tsagan Aav (as my protector) three times. After that, Anya gave me other (images of) gods. I also received books and the statues of Buddha from Yurda Rinpoche from Tibet. (Today) I help people. If someone needs my advice about how to organize one’s altar, I help. On the 15th day of the lunar month I read prayers at the temple, although I skip them from time to time. When I forget and eat meat or sausages on these days, I ask gods for forgiveness. I also read prayers on the 2nd and 16th days of the lunar month, which is the day of Tsagan Aav. I received books of prayers from our lamas. Whatever our lamas read, I read them too. When I feel up to it, I read prayers. (Larisa shows her altar and talks about her dreams). Question: Could you tell me what is the attitude of people towards people like yourself (i.e. towards folk healers)? Larisa: Different people have different attitudes. Today people want to learn more about spirituality. People ask questions, I answer them. Today almost all people are religious (in Kalmykia). In the beginning, some people thought that I was crazy. Later they understood that I am an adequate person. What I really appreciate is that the young people became curious, they want to learn more, and that they respect lamas. Question: What do you think of Buddhist monks? Larisa: You already know about this without me answering this question. There are real lamas and there are those who are fake. I am a psychologist by nature. The teaching work suits me. I look at people’s eyes, because the eyes show the soul of that person. By nature, I am a mysterious person who is connected to gods. I do not like talks about the hereafter though. You can learn about a person by looking at his/her behavior, the way that person sits, speaks, from that person’s facial expressions. Question: I understand you do not work with the world of hereafter, but only with the upper worlds, is that right? Larisa: Yes. I do not understand (the hereafter). The most important thing for me is to help others. If people are well, their children will be too. We, old people, need nothing. We have had our lives. The only thing that we are worried about are our children and grandchildren. We sit and pray. I used to pray from morning to evening. Item Open AccessKhongor Dzhavinov, About Bone-Setter Shuurga Khartsyzov(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-08-21) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, AleksandrKhongor talks about a bone-setter named Shuurga Khartsyzov who lived in the same village as him: Gakhan Avgnr. Shuurga could heal the broken legs of racehorses. After setting the broken or displaced bones, he put on a pine stick and bandaged the leg. Horse keepers from the Rostov stud farm used to bring their horses to Shuurga. He also healed people. Once in his childhood Khongor’s father had the temple on his skull displaced. Shuurga cut a stick, put it on the head of the patient and bandaged the head. That is how he cured Khongor’s father who lived 72 years. Shuurga’s son, Damba Khartsyzov, was also a bone-setter. Item Open AccessElena Ledzhinova, An Interview(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-12-05) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, Anton; Sandzhiev, ArturElena is a traditional healer. In this interview, she talks about her healing methods and her grandmother. In the beginning, Elena shows the relics that she inherited from her grandmother, Anna Mudzhikova. These relics include a sutra and a prayer drum, which she uses in her religious practices. Elena prays to Buddha Shakyamuni, Ochir Vaani, White Tara, Green Tara and Tsagan Aav every morning. In the past, Elena says she was sick and no medicine helped her. One night she saw a dream in which her deceased grandmother asked her to find their family relics, which she later found in her aunt’s house. Although Elena had a wish to heal sick people, in the beginning she did not take it seriously. Later she decided to perform a ritual of accepting gods (as her protectors). Some people said to Elena that her mother was supposed to heal people, which she did not do. After the ritual of accepting gods, Elena started to heal her relatives, and later other people as well. Her healing methods include reading prayers and massaging. Elena talks about the following two rituals: Ritual One. A ritual of ‘pouring lead’ (vylivanie svintsa) is done as follows. The head of the child is covered with a white cloth, while the healer melts lead on the oven. Then the healer reads three prayers and pours the hot lead into a bowl with water three times. First, the bowl has to be held over the head of the child, then at the level of his/her chest, and finally at the child’s feet. After the ritual the water has to be poured in a clean place where people do not walk. The lead can be re-used. This ritual is performed to protect the patient from jealous eyes, negative words, and to remove fear. Ritual Two. A ritual of ‘healing a patient with burning matches’ (lechenie razjiganiem spichek). 9 grains of rice, 9 pinches of bread, and 9 pinches of salt are put into a bowl with cold, clean water, which is held over the head of the child. While reading prayers, the healer lights a match and smokes the child by moving the match around the patient’s body. When the match burns out, the healer throws it into the bowl with water. This should be repeated 9 times with 9 matches in total. Then the healer moves the bowl around the patient 3 times clock-wise and 3 times anti-clock-wise. After that the child spits into the bowl 3 times and washes his/her face and neck with the water from the bowl. The patient waits until his/her face dries naturally. Elena says that when she reads prayers with her rosary, she communicates with her grandmother, asking various questions. Her grandmother usually answers the questions. Item Open AccessDzhidzha Araeva, Fortune-Telling With a Stick(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-05-14) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Shovunov, Sanal; Sandzhiev, ArturDzhidzha says that her father used a three-sided stick for divination. He made cuts on each side of a stick, then peeled off every second cut. The number of remaining cuts was used for fortune-telling. Item Open AccessBulgun Mankirova, Sanal Badmaev, About Folk Healers(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-08-17) Terbish, Baasanjav; Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, ElviraIn this interview Bulgun and Sanal talk about folk healers, rituals and stories about spirits or ghosts. Bulgun: I cannot say that I am a deeply religious person. I cannot talk widely about Buddhism either. I try to attend general prayers at the Central Temple in Elista and put food offerings (for gods) on the altar on fasting days (matsg odr). At home, we perform rituals to cleanse our house, to prolong one’s life, and to open one’s road. Sanal: I am a religious person, I am a Buddhist. Question: Do you go to see folk healers when you are sick or when you want to learn about something? Bulgun: There are people with special healing abilities. In Elista, many people go to see folk healers whom they already know. Sanal: Buddhism says that we need to take refuge in Dharma only. Before the adoption of Buddhism, the Kalmyks believed in shamanism, which continues to exist today. Buddhism is mixed with these beliefs. People perform clan rituals and give offerings to the spirits of lands. This is a sort of dualism. Bulgun: Folk healers often say that they can perform a ‘ritual to cut the black tongue’ but advise to go to a Buddhism temple for a ritual to open one’s road. It is a kind of symbiosis. Question: Could you tell us based on your personal example about when you go to see folk healers and the rituals that you have already performed? Sanal: When I was in secondary school and later a student at a university, before the beginning of each academic year I went to see folk healers. When someone fell sick, I also did this. People often take their sick children to see folk healers, which helps. Bulgun: My parents told me that when I was a child I was sick, cried day and night and did not lift my head. My parents took me to a folk healer. After several rituals, I recovered. Today I go to folk healers when I think I need to, although it is better not to go too often. People should go to folk healer whom they trust. There are many impostors around. Black magic exists, which can harm people. Question: Which rituals do folk healers perform? Bulgun: I participated in a ritual to appease my ancestors and a ritual to cut the black tongue. Sanal: When I was a child I had a stomach ache. The folk healer who healed me used a coin. Another ritual involved an action when my brother and I had to rub ourselves with raw meat and then give it to a dog. Question: Did these rituals help you? Sanal: Yes, if you believe that they will help. Question: Is Tsagan Aav a Buddhist or an earthly god? Sanal: Tsagan Aav is an earthly god by his primordial nature. He is the protector of the Kalmyk people and land. Its statue stands in front of the (Central) Temple (in Elista), and he is also acknowledged in Buddhism. Question: Some people say that they saw Tsagan Aav. Did you hear such stories? Bulgun: Yes, I heard that in some village somewhere someone saw him. I don’t know whether it is true or not, but it is possible that it is true. Sanal: I heard stories about people who saw evil spirits (shulmus). Question: Do you believe in such stories? Bulgun: I heard that it happens in the steppe when people go in circles unable to reach the place they are looking for. I believe in these stories, because it is very scary in the steppe at night. Sanal: The epos Jangar has passages about people fighting with monsters. Whatever we hear in childhood we think of them when we grow up. If people did not hear such stories in their childhood, they may not believe in them. Bulgun: I was brought up in a village where we have many beliefs and legends. My grandmother knew a lot about signs and omens. When I came to Elista to study, I understood that those who grew up there did not believe in such stories. Item Open AccessAnatoliy Dzhavinov, About Gucha Khartsyzov(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-08-21) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, AleksandrAnatoliy talks about his uncle Gucha Khartsyzov who was a bone-setter. In Anatoliy’s family there were many healers and Gucha was one of them:We had Gucha Khartsyzov, who was my father’s brother. He was a bone-setter. When he studied in a Buddhist temple, his teacher would break a bird’s leg in front of his disciples and ask them to put the bones together. Gradually, his teacher increased the size of broken bones from that of lambs to bulls to horses. Only after such a training, his disciplines were allowed to set human bones. Once I broke my hand so that a bone was sticking out from under the skin. My father took a bottle of vodka and we went to see Gucha. He was sitting with a large cup in front of him. My father poured the vodka into his cup. After drinking it, Gucha began to examine me, while talking to me about this and that. As I got relaxed, he suddenly jerked my hand so that the bone immediately fell into its place. I did not even have time to understand what had happened, so I did not have time to cry. Item Open AccessKanur Byurchiev, About Maani Bagshi(2015-06-21) Churyumova, Elvira; Seleeva, Tsagan; Terbish, BaasanjavKanur is from the Baga-Chonos clan. His father was the famous Kalmyk monk and healer Maani bagshi (his secular name was Kheeche Baburkievich Baburkiev). At the age of six, Maani bagshi was sent to a local temple and the next year was sent to Mongolia to pursue a religious education. From Mongolia he was sent to Tibet where he spent around 20 years studying Buddhism and medicine. According to Kanur, upon his return to Kalmykia, Maani bagshi served as the head of several temples. When the Soviets came to power, he left the temple he was then head of and married Kanur’s mother. He practiced medicine at home. In 1931 Maani bagshi was arrested and spent four months in prison in Saratov. In prison he cured a sick person who, it turned out, was a close friend of Mikhail Kalinin, a well-known Bolshevik revolutionary. A grateful Kalinin provided Maani bagshi with a document saying that his healing methods did not contradict Soviet medicine. Maani bagshi had many patients, both young and old, Kalmyk and Russian. He did not charge for his services, although the grateful patients would leave money on his domestic altar. Kanur recalls that his father made medicine from various herbs. He also kept pills made in Mongolia, consecrated butter, and water, as well as modern tools such as a thermometer and a pair of scales to weigh medicine. Maani bagshi was also a clairvoyant. For example, he predicted World War Two and the deportation of the Kalmyks. A patriot, he loved his country and always taught others to seek education, be honest, and help the weak. Maani bagshi himself was a kind- hearted person and never held a grudge against even those who hurt him. He also taught his son Kanur special prayers. Maani bagshi died at the age of 85 in February 1943 the day before the traditional holiday of Tsagan Sar. Kanur was 12. Kanur says that the soil from his father’s grave has medicinal properties. People use it to cure not only themselves but their cattle.