In the course of time the queen mother, Ka Pahsyntiew imparted several cultural attributes in the province. She composed and introduced the thirty-six sacred tonal pattern known as ‘Skit’ in the musical melody of the royal instrumental refrains. She choreographed the modesty of female folk dance and the dignity of male strident movement in folk dance. The queen mother, Pahsyntiew initiated various other traditions of arts and cultural presentations. Meanwhile, the queen mother bore children and her firstborn son, Saitni Syiem became the reigning Chieftain thereafter, his foster father of the Mylliemngap clan was conferred with the status of the chief noble known as ‘Lyngskor’. She became the ancestral mother of the royal clan or ‘Syiem’ and involved the nobles in the sacred royal performances known as the ‘Shad Tyngkoh’. Henceforth, the Pomblang Hima ceremony became part of the traditional sacred royal festival, presently known as the ‘Nongkrem Dance Festival’. It is pertinent to mention that the sacred royal home is an inclusive shelter for the citizens or ‘Ki Khun Ki Hajar’ and the subjects or ‘raïot’ for the allegiance that they pledged to the royal council of nobles or ‘Dorbar Hima’. Therefore, it is different from the concept of an exclusive palace of the royal monarchy with the stronghold of a magnificent fortress and castle; the ‘Ïingsad’ is a sacred royal habitat of the royal family and the shelter home for the destitute citizens and subjects protected with the decent boundary fence and defensive gateway. The royal family is the custodian and protector of the people and the status of the chieftain and the queen mother is more of the bounded duty and responsibility to serve the public. The tribute and homage paid by the people during the performances of ceremonies and festivals is the obligation and gratitude for the services rendered, and this is the egalitarian structure of Khasi democratic traditions.
Further, the royal status of the chieftain is that of the caring and responsible guardian of the people. The Khasi linguistic binary terms are always found in almost every other word known as ‘Ktien Kynnoh’. The pair of words could be an antonymous, synonymous, or metaphorical expression in a specific context. The significant binary terms for the royal clan are ‘U Syiem U Kmie’ and ‘U Syiem U Mraw’, which literally denote ‘a king a mother’ and ‘a king a slave’ respectively. The allegory of these terms depicted the chieftain or any royal entity as the maternal caretaker of the inhabitants, and the other described the parity among the rulers and the slaves in the society. Furthermore, after the prince ascended the throne, his mother Ka Pahsyntiew all prepared for departure and bid farewell to her children, the nobles, and the people of the Shyllong province. She is the spiritual being that has accomplished her task in the temporal world and the season has arrived for her to resume charge at the divine sphere. Everybody was disheartened and pleaded with her to stay back, particularly her children; however, it is written that she must leave for the heavenly abode after her mission is accomplished. Ka Pahsyntiew went away to the Marai cave and disappeared at the sight of the disheartened and desperate crowd of people with tearful anxiety and despair.
Nevertheless, Pahsyntiew had established a stable and systematic administrative system, instituted admirable and graceful ceremonies and festivals, and furnished various colourful and magnificent cultural traditions among the people and the land. She was revered as the daughter of the Shyllong or Shulong deity. Literally, ‘Shulong’ means self-created in the Khasi language, which denotes that the Shyllong deity is the naturally emerging divine entity dedicated to state formation and the national defense system. The Shyllong deity is the spiritual guardian of the land and its people, which essentially signifies that the people belong to the land, mother earth. In the Khasi mythological chronology, the Sohpetbneng, or the navel of heaven relates to the genesis of mankind that humanity descended from heaven through ‘Ka Jingkiengksiar’ or the divine golden umbilical vine to settle on earth and was entrusted with the task of the custodian and caretaker of every being and creatures on earth. Consecutively, the myth of Lum Ka Meikha, or the peak of paternal mother speaks of the divine menstrual season of cleansing of the female organ of the human fertility cult, which is the primary component of the universal matrilineal system. Subsequently, the myth of Diengïei, or the fearful tree narrates about the concept of conservation of the environment; where the spiritual guardian represented by the tiger succumbs to the feats of human indulgence to destroy nature represented by the giant fearful tree. Ultimately, the myth of Shulong deity described the natural conception and germination of the divine being through the virgin woman, ‘Ka Lar’ who was castigated and stigmatised by society for the alleged meretricious relationships; but her begotten child, Shulong became the harbinger of the democratic political constituent in Khasi society. The series of mythological episodes occurred at specific cultural landmarks, marked with significant natural heritage at the Sohpetbneng peak in Ri-Bhoi District, the Lum Ka Meikha peak or the famous Hindu tantric Kamakhya temple situated at Guwahati, the Diengïei peak near the villages of Mawmih Lawmei areas and the Shyllong peak at the plateau of Laitkor and Pomlakrai villages. These four natural and cultural landmarks are the cornerstone of Khasi ethnic culture and the cradle of Khasi folklore.
There are certain elements of oral history that correlated with the myth even with the lack of documentary evidence. Therefore, the mythology might not be taken in a literal sense while the literary interpretation could be merged together for a holistic approach towards concrete logical analysis and scrutiny. These natural heritage sites have had logical explanations and scientific exploration in consonance with Khasi mythology.
The site at the summit of the Sohpetbneng peak is believed to be the place where the sixteen huts of the spiritual being communicated through the golden vine connecting heaven and earth. After the golden vine was detached from the earth, the nine spiritual beings remained in the celestial sphere and separated from the rest of the seven huts that became the mortal human beings to settle on earth. The umbilical root of the golden vine on earth was raised into the sanctum sanctorum for the performance of the ceremony. Thus, human beings were granted freedom to live on earth as they continue to communicate with their counterparts in heaven through chants and prayers. It is heartening to mention that archaeological excavation by Dr. Marco Mitri and his team of experts was conducted at Law Nongthroh in the foothill of Sohpetbneng peak where remnants of human settlement and Neolithic implements were discovered to substantiate the ancient folk myth.
The Kamakhya temple or the Lum-Ka-Meikha is believed to be the core of the Khasi myth about the fertility of the human reproduction process based on the reverence of the mother as the feminine organ of fecundity and the primary constituent of the matrilineal system of clan lineage. On the other hand, the Hindu tantric tradition emphasised the physical action of the consecration of the female genital organ. Therefore, the origin of Kamakhya is related to the paternal mother or ‘Ka Meikha’ in Khasi myth about the ceremony of paying obeisance to the ancestral paternal mother known as ‘Ka Shad Nguh Meikha’ that must have evolved into the Hindu tantric temple of the consecration of the female genital organ. The Ambubachi ritual performance also is the Khasi essence of natal nourishment of the germinating life being during conception and after birth. The word Ambung in the Amwi or Amwai dialect of the Khasi language means the lactating liquid for the nourishment of infants. Therefore, in Khasi parlance, the myth of Ka-Meikha encompasses the reproduction and sustenance of life. Interestingly, both the words Kamakhya and Ambubachi in Hindu tradition do not have any Sanskrit etymological references.
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