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Baira Goryaeva, About Namka Kichikov

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Baira talks about the famous lama Namka who lived in her village: I was born in the 1970s, when everything that was connected with religion was forbidden or hidden. In our village there lived a former monk, a well-known person in the republic, named Namka Kichikov. In his youth he studied somewhere far away, and upon his return he helped many people. In my childhood, although officially religions did not exist, even high-ranking party apparatchiks secretly visited that lama. Ordinary people queued in front of his house every day. I was also taken to him. I remember how he read spells on a coin and gave it to me as an amulet. It was sewn into my pillow, on which I slept until I got married. My aunt also told me a lot about him. Once when she had a toothache she went to see Namka, as she always did. He picked up plants, mixed them with some substance and made small balls from it. Namka told my aunt to put the balls on her aching tooth, after which she was cured. Namka himself collected necessary medicinal herbs at a certain time. The ones he could not find locally, he procured via his contacts in Buryatia and Mongolia. I remember he always kept incense burning in his house. I also heard that people whom he could not cure himself he used to send to a woman who lived somewhere in the North Caucasus. Doctor Mark Steklov wrote down many healing methods from Namka himself. Some of his methods were Kalmyk, others of Tibetan origin. Today Namka’s belongings are kept in the Museum of Ketchenery. His daughter, who also treats people, lives in Yashkul.



Namka Kichikov

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin