collection of hauma hamiddha's scattered posts

Posts tagged ‘tengri’

The Northern Alliance and history repeating itself

Following was written in Nov. 2001:

The current events in A’stan have an uncanny resemblance to some very
less known events in Central Asia that affected India’s history in a
significant way. I just felt that I must post this as there may be
lessons to be learnt from this in today’s context. After having
smashed many Indian rulers, Shihab-ad-Din Muhammad Ghori, the Afghan
Sultan, decided to settle scores with his Northern neighbor Muhammad
Shah of Khwarizm. In 1204 AD Ghori marched on Muhmamad Shah with a
large force to seize territory north of the Amu Darya. His forces
were strengthened by the mercenaries and cannon-fodder (there were no
cannons then) he had acquired from the Ghaznavid territory of Punjab
after he had taken over that. Compare this with the struggle between
TaliPaks and the NA of today (Literally the descendents of these
respective parties). Ghori routed Shah on the banks of the Amu Darya
and marched into Khwarizm. The great Mongol ruler, the Ghur-Khan of
the Qara-Kitai, had excuses to open hostilities with the Moslem Ghori
as his troops had executed buddhist merchants (In return the Ghur-Khan
had some Mullahs nailed to their mosque doors). The Khwarizm Shah
Muhammad who was his vassal saw a great opportunity in this, and
humbly approached his suzerain, the Ghur-Khan, to make common cause
against the Afghan Sultan Ghori who was now marching straight into
Central Asia (A superpower, and the NA make an alliance!). The
Qara-Kitaian Mongol cavalry was sent forth under their able commander
Tayanku-Taraz who defeated Mhd. Ghori near Hezarasp and Shah got to
occupy the territory. Then, the Mongol cavalry trashed Ghori in a big
way in Andkhoi, west of Balkh and sent him fleeing into India with all
his entourage. Here, he was of course killed by the the Khokars in
1206. Soon aided by the Mongol suzerain of his, Muhammad Shah seized
most of A’tan starting from Herat, then Ghor and finally Ghazni. This
ironically drove the whole Ghorid clique into India to take shelter in
Delhi with their agent Qutub-ad-Din, who invited them with open hands
and used them extensively in India in war against the infidels. The
most prominent of the hordes that migrated in this event was the
Khalji horde- one of the biggest nightmares we have ever seen in our

The fleeing TaliPaks of today being redirected to India is a real
dangeras the Ghorid agents in Delhi. Also note the western press until
a few days ago was waxing eloquently about the Afghani invincibility.
The true superpowers of the past ages- the Mongols on two occassions
and Timur-i-lang, have thrashed them badly. So after all history is
repeating itself- is it not ironical that even the USA has to follow
the footsteps of the Kha’Khans of yore (from Baghdad to Balkh)!

Indo-Iranian and Mongolic deities

While the general thought has been that the Indianisms have infected
the Mongol religion rather later in their history via the buddhists, I
feel some of the material entered it an early period. Examination of
Buryat, Oirat and Chingizid material discussed in Chabros and
Heissig’s works and provide much evidence for this.

One set of influences can be traced to the late Iranian period:
1) The Supreme deities of the Northern regions are called Qormusda and
Adar. These are derivatives of Ahura Mazda and his son Atar. One of
the deities of the southern regions is Chagchi, the god of time. who
is described as a white old man riding a Lion. This matches well with
the late Iranian deity Zurvan and perhaps entered the Mongol world
from the Iranian colonists in central Asia rather than the earlier
steppe Iranians.

Heissig records a fragment of a chant prior to 1500 that goes as:
“The highest of the 99 gods is Moengke Tengri; The the 33 gods are led
by Qormusta Khan Tengri.” The number 33 also appears clearly
Indo-Iranian and the above chant suggests a syncretic development
where the original Altaic deity Moengke Tengri is invoked along with
the Ir Qormusta. Another chant states “Burqan (Buddha) struck the
first light but it was Qormusta who made the first fire”. Thus the
fire cult is also associated with Qormusta. The Western visitors to
the court of the Chingizid Mongols records their worship of the fires
suggesting that it was acquired well before expansion of the Mongol

The fire worship amidsts the Mongols, with libations of ghee, has many
parallels to the I-Ir fire worship. Important fire rituals are
performed at the end of the year, spring equinox and summer solstice
like the mahAvrata rite. Further the marriage cermonies were also fire
rituals with a chant asking for good children and brides. However, the
fire was mainly invoked as a female deity Ghalakhan Eke. This
suggests a development through an even earlier contact with the I-Irs.

The Mongols make a fire offering similar to the svAhA offered by the
Indo-Aryans. One such hymn to the supreme tengri of heaven is recored
as being used when the banner of Chingiz Kha’khan was planted when he
was ordained supreme Khan of Turko-Mongol tribes:
Above is my eternal Koeke Moengke Tengri,
Below is my mother Earth,
Through the prior decision of Koeke Moengke Tengri arose fire,
From him was the cattle born. (Fire offering)
Tengri Echige, sacrificing I pray to you,
you who protect my body,
who takes illness and sorrow away from me,
who keep far from me the danger of the sword. (Fire offering)
Tengri Echige, sacrificing I pray to you,
you who defeat brigands and bandits,
those who act covetously,
you who keep far from me the danger of the deity of death. (Fire

A distant echos of the ancient common Eurasiatic culture shared by the
Indo-Europeans and Uralo-Altaics with the later layer of the fire
offering from an Indo-Iranian source become apparent.

The Mongols also worship sets of gods arranged analogous to Indian
deity hierarchies:
doerben jobkis un tengri: Gods of the 4 directions
nayiman kijaghar-un tengri:Gods of the 8 directions
with Maqagala Darqan guejir tengri (mahAkAla) in the center.
mahAkala is also called Mal-un tengri*- the cattle god (as pashupati)
This suggests a possible syncretization of an original ancient rudra
like deity with the later Indian import mahAkAla (via Tibet).
Maqagala is also associated with two later Indian imports bisnu tengri
and Bisman (viShNu and kubera respectively).

Indra was brought in via the Tibetans. As lamaism spread he was
clearly identified with a much older deity Khan Atagha Tengri, not
traceable thus far amidst any of the Turkic branches (other than
perhaps the early Uighurs). It may suggest an early acquisition from
Indo-Iranians from an Indra like deity. A fragment chanted by a Buriat
shaman has been preserved (note the ancestral similarity to Indra):
We worship Khan Atagha Tengri,
your thundering voice is heard close to the abyss,
unifier of thoughts of the Mongols,
With a gigantic, great body, with a thunderbolt,
Ruler over the many clouds, with a thousand eyes,
My Atagha Tengri supreme over all,
May you grant me the blessing and good fortune of your protection.

(*Hindi word mAl?)

Tag Cloud