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Nongthang Leima

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Nongthang Leima
Goddess of enchantment, seduction, thunder and lightning
Member of Lairembis
Goddess Nongthang Leima, born from the primordial chaos (void)
Other names
  • Penu Nongthang Leima
  • Kajeng Nongthang Leima (Old Manipuri: Kacheng Nongthang Leima)
  • Nongthang Lairembi (Old Manipuri: Nongthang Lailempi)
  • Nongthang Lairemma (Old Manipuri: Nongthang Lailemma)
  • Langmai Sana Chingjaroibi (Old Manipuri: Langmai Sana Chingchaloipi)
AffiliationMeitei mythology (Manipuri mythology) and Meitei religion (Sanamahism)
Symbolsthunder and lightning
TextsLeithak Leikharol
RegionAncient Kangleipak (Antique Manipur)
Ethnic groupMeitei ethnicity
FestivalsLai Haraoba
Personal information
ConsortsSanamahi and Pakhangba[1]
OffspringLaisang Khekwaiba (with Sanamahi)
SiblingsSanamahi and Pakhangba
Greek equivalentAstrape and Bronte
Roman equivalentFulgora

Nongthang Leima (Meitei: ꯅꯣꯡꯊꯥꯡ ꯂꯩꯃ) is the goddess of seduction, thunder and lightning in Meitei mythology and religion.[2][3][4][5] She was created by Atingkok (or Salailen) to attract Haraba (Pakhangba).[4][6][7] She mastered thunder and lightning in the chaos in the early world. She predicted the first rain.[8] She limits the chaos and helps creation.[9]

Etymology[change | change source]

The female first name "Nongthang Leima" (ꯅꯣꯡꯊꯥꯡ ꯂꯩꯃ) is made up of two Meitei language words, "Nongthang" (ꯅꯣꯡꯊꯥꯡ, /noŋ.tʰáŋ/) and "Leima" (ꯂꯩꯃ, /lə́i.ma/). In Meitei language (Manipuri language), "Nongthang" (ꯅꯣꯡꯊꯥꯡ, /noŋ.tʰáŋ/) means lightning. The word "Nongthang" (ꯅꯣꯡꯊꯥꯡ, /noŋ.tʰáŋ/) itself is also made up of two words, "Nong" (ꯅꯣꯡ, /noŋ/) and "Thāng" (ꯊꯥꯡ, /tʰáŋ/). "Nong" (ꯅꯣꯡ, /noŋ/) means rain and "Thāng" (ꯊꯥꯡ, /tʰáŋ/) means sword.[10] In Meitei language (Manipuri language), "Leima" (ꯂꯩꯃ, /lə́i.ma/) means queen. The word "Leima" (ꯂꯩꯃ, /lə́i.ma/) itself is made up of two words "Lei" (ꯂꯩ, /lə́i/) and "Ma" (ꯃ, /ma/). "Lei" (ꯂꯩ, /lə́i/) means land and "Ma" (ꯃ, /ma/) means mother.[11]

Description[change | change source]

Nongthang Leima is a pre-historical maibi. She is the first goddess maibi to compose a dance form. Later, her dance form was reposessed by other goddesses.[12]

Mythology[change | change source]

Birth[change | change source]

Sanamahi (Ashiba) was creating the earth. But he was frequently disturbed by his younger brother, Pakhangba (Haraba). Unable to do any work, Sanamahi complained about the matter to their father, Salailen (or Atingkok according to different versions of stories). Salailen produced a divine feminine being. He released her into the great space (void) of the universe (cosmos). In the vast emptiness of the great space (void), the divine feminine being became a beautiful and radiant goddess. She was named "Nongthang Leima", the Queen of Lightning.[13][14][6]

In another version of the story, Sidaba ordered Sidabi to produce "Nongthang Leima", the divine female being to lure the destroyer from the cosmic creation.[15]

Seduction (Attraction)[change | change source]

Nongthang Leima, the Queen of Lightning, filled the empty space (void) with bright light. Seeing her, Pakhangba (Haraba) fell in love with her. He forgot about bothering his elder brother in the creation of the earth. Haraba came to her in the great space. During that time, Sanamahi (Ashiba) completed his creation of the earth.[16][14][4][6][17]

Family[change | change source]

When Ashiba (Sanamahi) saw Nongthang Leima, he wanted to marry her.[18] Thus, they united. So, Nongthang Leima was the wife of both Sanamahi (Ashiba) and Pakhangba (Haraba).[1] Nongthang Leima is also known as Langmai Sana Chingjaroibi (Old Manipuri: Langmai Sana Chingchaloipi). With the union of Chingjaroibi and Sanamahi, a son named Laisang Khekwaiba was born.[19]

Two divine forms[change | change source]

According to "Politics, society, and cosmology in India's North East" written by N. Vijaylakshmi, the goddess Nongthang Leima (Nongthang Lairembi) took two divine forms after the completion of the creation of the earth. One form is Panthoibi. This form lives in the home of gods. Another form is "Apanthoibi". This form lives among the living beings.[20][21]

Basis Panthoibi Apanthoibi
Existence of representations or manifestations in the universe No Yes
Existence of particular forms No Yes
Existence of forms as animate as well as inanimate objects No Yes
Representations in all virtues and beauty Yes No
Supreme creator (mother) of all the seven salais (clans) No Yes

Music[change | change source]

Among the nine forms of musical rhythms (Seisaks) of Pena (musical instrument), Nongthang Leima Seisak is one.[22][23] All these rhythms are categorised into three movements, slow rhythm, medium rhythm and fast rhythm. Nongthang Leima song belongs to the fast rhythm.[24]

Festival[change | change source]

During the Lai Haraoba festival, devotees dance to please various deities. Among them, male dancers act after the styles of Haraba (alias Pakhangba) and female dancers act after the styles of goddess Nongthang Leima. Goddess Nongthang Leima represents the lightning.[25]

Identification with other deities[change | change source]

Goddess Nongthang Leima is often identified as Leimarel Sidabi. The former is considered as an incarnation of the latter.[26]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ray, Asok Kumar; Chakraborty, Satyabrata (2008). Society, Politics, and Development in North East India: Essays in Memory of Dr. Basudeb Datta Ray. Concept Publishing Company. p. 79. ISBN 978-81-8069-572-8.
  2. Singh, L. Bhagyachandra (1991). A Critical Study Of The Religious Philosophy. p. 51.
  3. Moirangthem Kirti (1993). Folk Culture of Manipur. Manas Publications. ISBN 978-81-7049-063-0.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Folk-lore. Indian Publications. 1991.
  5. The Anthropologist: International Journal of Contemporary and Applied Studies of Man. Kamla-Raj Enterprises. 2003.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Session, North East India History Association (1995). Proceedings of North East India History Association. The Association.
  7. "Incarnations of Goddess Nongthang Leima By James Oinam". www.e-pao.net. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  8. Koenraad Elst (2002). Who is a Hindu? Hindu Revivalist Views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Other Offshoots of Hinduism. p. 165.
  9. Rao, Nitya; Rürup, Luise (1997). A Just Right: Women's Ownership of Natural Resources and Livelihood Security. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. p. 175. ISBN 978-81-7440-044-4.
  10. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.Nongthang". dsal.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  11. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.Leima". dsal.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  12. Palicica, Maria; Raţă, Georgeta (2011-09-22). Academic Days of Timişoara: Social Sciences Today. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-4438-3401-8.
  13. Roy, L. Somi (2021-06-21). And That Is Why... Manipuri Myths Retold. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. p. 11. ISBN 978-93-91149-65-9.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Brara, N. Vijaylakshmi (1998). Politics, Society, and Cosmology in India's North East. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-564331-2.
  15. Dr. Chirom Rajketan Singh (2016). Oral Narratives of Manipur. p. 215.
  16. Roy, L. Somi (2021-06-21). And That Is Why... Manipuri Myths Retold. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. p. 12. ISBN 978-93-91149-65-9.
  17. Narayan, Shovana (2005). Indian Classical Dance. Shubhi Publications. p. 85. ISBN 978-81-8290-023-3.
  18. E. Ishwarjit (2005). Manipur, a Tourist Paradise. B.R. Publishing Corporation. p. 82. ISBN 978-81-7646-506-9.
  19. Samiti, Kāmarūpa Anusandhāna (2005). Journal of the Assam Research Society. Kāmarūpa Anusandhān Samiti. p. 145.
  20. Brara, N. Vijaylakshmi (1998). Politics, society, and cosmology in India's North East. Internet Archive. Delhi ; New York : Oxford University Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-19-564331-2.
  21. Pani, Jiwan (2000). Celebration of Life: Indian Folk Dances. Publications Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 129. ISBN 978-81-230-0790-8.
  22. Meitei, Mayanglambam Mangangsana (2021-06-06). The Sound of Pena in Manipur. Marjing Mayanglambam. p. 34. ISBN 978-93-5473-655-1.
  23. Khiangte, Zothanchhingi (2016-10-28). Orality: the Quest for Meanings. Partridge Publishing. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-4828-8671-9.
  24. Devi, Dr Yumlembam Gopi. Glimpses of Manipuri Culture. Lulu.com. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-359-72919-7.
  25. Devi, Dr Yumlembam Gopi. Glimpses of Manipuri Culture. Lulu.com. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-359-72919-7.
  26. Kaushal, Molly; Arts, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the (2001). Chanted Narratives: The Living "katha-vachana" Tradition. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. p. 250. ISBN 978-81-246-0182-2.

Other websites[change | change source]