Imoinu

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Imoinu
Goddess of household, hearth, family, fireplace, kitchen, wealth, peace and prosperity
Member of Lairembis
Emoinu - Goddess of wealth.jpg
A terracotta idol of goddess Imoinu
Other names
  • Imoinu Ahongbi
  • Emoinu Ahongbi
AffiliationMeitei mythology (Manipuri mythology) and Meitei religion (Sanamahism)
AbodesPhunga Lairu (fireplace), Sanamahi Kachin and Kitchen
ArtifactsCoin containers
SymbolsSenphu (Coin container), Chengphu (Rice pot) and Yotsabi (Tripod)
TextsPuYas
GenderFemale
RegionAncient Kangleipak (Antique Manipur)
Ethnic groupMeitei ethnicity
FestivalsImoinu Iratpa (Emoinu Eratpa)
Greek equivalentHestia
Roman equivalentVesta
Hinduism equivalentLakshmi

Imoinu (Emoinu) (Meitei: ꯏꯃꯣꯢꯅꯨ, ꯏꯃꯣꯏꯅꯨ) is a goddess in Meitei mythology and religion of Ancient Kangleipak (Antique Manipur). She is the goddess of household, hearth, family, fireplace, kitchen, wealth, peace and prosperity.[1][2][3] She is frequently associated with Leimarel Sidabi. She is regarded as one of the incarnations or representations of goddess Leimarel Sidabi.[4][5]

The personality of Emoinu and other goddesses like Panthoibi and Phouoibi depict as well as influence the boldness, courage, independence, righteousness and social honour of Meitei women.[6]

Name[change | change source]

"Imoinu", the divine name, written in archaic Meetei Mayek abugida

The meaning of the name "Emoinu Ahongbi" ("ꯏꯃꯣꯢꯅꯨ ꯑꯍꯣꯡꯕꯤ") can be found by splitting it up word by word. Here, "E" ("ꯏ") refers to human being. "Moi" ("ꯃꯣꯢ" or "ꯃꯣꯏ") refers to rearing. "Nu" ("ꯅꯨ") refers to female deity or goddess. So, "Emoinu" means goddess who rears the human beings. "Ahongbi" means giver of plentiful household properties.[5]

Description[change | change source]

Dr. Parratt described Emoinu Ahongbi (alias Emoinu Ahong Achaubi) as another form of Goddess Leimarel Sidabi. Leimarel Sidabi is the supreme mother. Imoinu is regarded as an ever resourceful lady. She always gives wealth and prosperity to the mankind. She was shown as having a human appearance. She resides near the fire hearth. The goddess is believed to be the controller and regulator of good conduct and behavior of the human beings.[7]

Imoinu Ahong Achaubi is a deity for good moral behavior, besides wealth and prosperity. As a social code of conduct, a Meitei woman should go out from home only after prayers and worship of the goddess and other household deities. When she returns home, she should pray to the deity.[8]

The Meitei people believed that goddess Imoinu lives in the houses of those who strictly obey her favorite social and moral behavior norms. Imoinu blesses such people with nungai yaifaba (well being and prosperity), watta padaba (having neither shortage nor excess), tekta kaidaba (unaffected by troubles of life) and punshi nungshangba (long life). These are the basic needs of life in the human world.[8]

Mythology[change | change source]

Origin[change | change source]

After the creation of the sky and the planets, Sidaba (Old Manipuri: Sitapa) (the Supreme Being) ordered His wife, Leimarel Sidabi (Old Manipuri: Leimalel Sitapi) (the first woman) to produce another Leimarel. The second Leimarel would be the second woman. Her responsibility was to take care of the mankind on the planet called earth. Goddess Leimarel Sidabi obeyed her divine husband's order. She created another Leimarel. The appearance of the second Leimarel was similar to the first Leimarel. The first Leimarel named the second Leimarel as "Emoinu Ahongbi".[5]

Lover[change | change source]

Once goddess Imoinu fell in love with a man. The two became lovers. They swore to be husband and wife. One day, she visited his house in his absence. She discovered that he was already married to another woman. After knowing this, she sacrificed her love. She swore on not to see the man again. She never married to anyone. So, she remained as a virgin goddess.[9]

Worship[change | change source]

Ancient worship[change | change source]

Imoinu (Emoinu) is a hearth deity. She is annually worshipped on the 12th of the Meitei month of Wakching (December-January interface month). Despite this annual event, she is also worshipped everyday. The daily worship is a part of a Meitei ritual. It is done in every Meitei household with the offering of little cooked rice before eating.[10]

Modern worship[change | change source]

Nowadays, there is little or no households with proper phunga lairu (traditional fire hearth). So, a modern fireplace is developed. Here, traditional rites and rituals are performed in honor of the goddess.[10]

There are a lot of changes in the way of worshipping Goddess Imoinu. However, the essence and the importance always remain the same as forever.[10]

Festival[change | change source]

The Imoinu Iratpa (Emoinu Eratpa) is a religious festival dedicated to goddess Imoinu (Emoinu). It is celebrated on the 12th of Wakching month (December-January interface month) every year. Traditionally, worship and prayers are performed inside every households. Nowadays, Imoinu Iratpa festival is also celebrated in a larger way in public gathering clubs also.[11][12]

Wherever the festival is performed, seasonal fruits, vegetables and fish are offered to goddess Imoinu.[13]

Namesakes[change | change source]

In commerce[change | change source]

Ima Keithel (English: Mothers' Market) is the world's only women run market. It has three major building complexes.[14][15][16] Imoinu Ima Keithel is the Complex Number 2 of the market. It is preceded by Leimarel Sidabi Ima Keithel (Complex Number 1) and followed by Phouoibi Ima Keithel (Complex Number 3).[17] This 500 years old market is in the center of Imphal, Manipur.[16]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Singh, Rocky; Sharma, Mayur (2014-07-25). Highway on my Plate - II: the indian guide to roadside eating. Random House India. p. 44. ISBN 978-81-8400-642-1.
  2. "A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu". e-pao.net.
  3. "Meiteis celebrate Emoinu". telegraphindia.com.
  4. Devi, Dr Yumlembam Gopi. Glimpses of Manipuri Culture. Lulu.com. ISBN 978-0-359-72919-7.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "EMOINU AHONGBI THOUNIROL (A Traditional adoration to Goddess Emoinu)". e-pao.net.
  6. Kipgen, Tingneichong G. (2010). Women's Role in the 20th Century Manipur: A Historical Study. Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-7835-803-1.
  7. A Critical Study Of The Religious Philosophy. archive.org. August 1991. p. 75.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Critical Study Of The Religious Philosophy. archive.org. August 1991. p. 165.
  9. Gill, Preeti (2014-02-13). The Peripheral Centre: Voices from India's Northeast. Zubaan. ISBN 978-93-83074-65-5.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Oral Narratives of Manipur. archive.org. 2016. p. 231.
  11. "Emoinu day". e-pao.net.
  12. "Emoinu Eratpa celebrated". e-pao.net.
  13. "Imoinu Iratpa extensively held all over". e-pao.net.
  14. Gupta, Om (2006). Encyclopaedia of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-8205-389-2.
  15. Shivhare, Vishal (2016-08-17). Vyapar Shastra. Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-8495-898-0.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Singh, Dr Th Suresh (2014-06-02). The Endless Kabaw Valley: British Created Visious Cycle of Manipur, Burma and India. Quills Ink Publishing. ISBN 978-93-84318-00-0.
  17. "All-women Imphal market reopens after 10 months". m.timesofindia.com.

Bibliography[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]