Cosmological belief and practices associated with the Koubru Mountain

* From the Meitei cosmological beliefs
Oral tradition occupies an important place among the folk and indigenous societies. These oral treasures, belief system and practices are deeply woven into the life and culture of Meitei people. One such folk belief concerning the Koubru Mountain whom they believe as their guardian deity controlling the Northern direction.

It is believed that earlier there was a vast expanse of water and earth was submerged in the water. At the time of creation, the Taibang Panba Mapu (creator) drawn up the earth to form hills. These hills were Koubru, Nongmaijing, Thangjing and Wangbrel which forms the foundation of the world. Koubru was the first to be drawn and represents the head in the bio-physical structure of the land. Rivers originated from these hills forms the arteries of the body and Loktak Lake as the pelvic zone.

After the divine creation when the water gets gradually receded, extension of the valley settlement took place. The place where first joyful play and merry making eve of the gods and goddesses took place is called Kouba Haraothel It is situated at the foothill of the Koubru Mountain encircled with the seat like vegetations and still regarded as the place of divine congregation. The physical structure of the Koubru Mountain has its divine representation and it looks like human. The ancient text Koubru Chingoirol describes its first humanly appearance and manifested to be the ear of Lord Koubru.

This beliefs and practices are deeply rooted among the Meiteis that even today the person who pay visit to worship this mountain never fail to spells the message to the ear of Lord Koubru stating that,

Oh! Lord Koubru

Your children are here to get your blessings

Accept our arrival.

The two caves existed on either side of the mountain is believed to be the eyes of Lord Koubru. One should offer beautiful dances, colourful flowers and paintings to the lord etc. that would be visible to the Lord in his appeasement.

A protruding stone boulder present below the two caves is regarded as the nose of Lord Koubru. One should offer fresh fruits and burn incents here so that Lord can smell and feel happy to bless you.

The presence of two pointed stone boulders below signifies the teeth of Lord Koubru.

Here one should offer meals and sweets to appease the deity.

The water coming out from the teeth like boulders of Koubru Mountain flows down to the steep valley passing through the tough terrain of clods and stone hills. It is therefore referred to as Leitum Nungdum Ee in the Meitei ancient hymns.

This is well reflected in the Kanglei Haraoba (the annual merry making festival of the God and Goddesses).Hymns enchanted in appeasement of the deities controlling four different directions are indespensable part of this merry making festival.

The coarse of this river takes its curve highly intricate after passing Awang Sekmai and Awang Potshangbam villages which resembles the serpentile form of Lord Pakhangba- the ruling deity of Manipur. This marks the divine assumption of Pakhangba and hence the river in this place is called Hangen Meirongbi.

Nine branches of river flowing from different directions of hills and mountains have their confluence in the heart of Loktak Lake. This is woven into the hymns of the people enchanted in glory of the genesis of Loktak lake and popularly known as Eesha mapal (Ee/ Eeshing= water; Sha/ Masha= branches; Mapal =Nine)

Lai Haraoba gives a universal expression of human life from birth to death. Besides, it also indicates the concern over the harmonious relation with nature. The Lai Haraoba concluded with a lyrical charm of Hiching Hirao sung by the Amaiba (priest).