Sacralization of the Kazakhs' consciousness

In the Kazakh people the concept of «sacred» has a wide range of meanings. For our people, everything connected with nature, toponymy, tradition and with oral folk art has a sacred meaning. Due to the natural abundance in the territory of the whole Kazakhstan, each resident, in spite of the geographical location, calls his region «Zheryyk», that is «promised land» giving life. The presence of all the conditions for full-fledged multifaceted human activity became the basis for the formation of the idea of the holiness of the earth. Today, «Nationwide sacred objects of Kazakhstan» are understood to be especially revered monuments of the natural landscape and cultural heritage, secular and religious architecture, mausoleums and places associated with historical and political events that have lasting value in the memory of the people of Kazakhstan. Objects that are important in the historical and cultural heritage and in the socio-political life of Kazakhstan, act as a symbol of national unity and rebirth. This article gives a historical concept of sacralization of consciousness and closely links it with the national identity of the Kazakhs.

When we talk about sacred objects, first of all, you need to reveal the content of the concept of «sacred», what it means. As a rule, the sacral is understood as «holy», «sacred». Not only religious buildings, such as mosques and mausoleums, but also many natural objects, such as mountains, hills, lakes, have sacral significance. In determining any object to the «sacral», scientists also take into account the opinion of the people about the sacredness of this place.

The surrounding nature played an important role in the livelihood of the peoples of Eurasia at all stages of their development. But it played an important role in the Kazakh people. The occupation of cattle breeding and farming depended on natural and climatic factors, which in the popular conscience gave rise to new superstitions. The management of the cattle-breeding and agricultural economy depended on natural and climatic factors and contributed to the generation of new superstitions in the national consciousness. Perhaps it's gave rise to an abundance of different ideas, beliefs associated with nature. Even today, after a thousand years, we meet toponyms associated with sacred space. For example: «Aulie-agash» — the sacred tree, «Aulie-kudyk» — the sacred well, or the old name of the city of Taraz «Aulie-ata» — the sacred father.

The sacred space of the Kazakhs is so broad that even the words «happiness» and «death» sometimes have a sacred character. For example, the Kazakhs by the word «happiness» understand the physical health of a person and his close relatives, large families, economic and social well-being. The phrase «Bakytty, bai- kuatty bolayyk» — literally translates as «we will be happy, rich and healthy». The Kazakh people believe that all these components of happiness are rarely destined to have in full. One finds happiness in wealth, the others — in health.

Also, in the prohibition or in the taboo, the Kazakh people have opposite categories of words that have sacred meaning, for example, «kesrn tiedі» or «kiesі tied^, «kyrsyk shalady». What literally translates as comprehending the misfortune or not joining him in life, meaning fatal trouble.

In Kazakh everyday traditions there is always a cult of something, the cult of Water, the cult of Fire or the cult of Earth. Originally, there was a steady idea of the correlation of happiness and wealth with respect for honoring and offering sacrifices to fire. Relics of ancient beliefs are still present in some Kazakh customs. Ch. Valikhanov writes: «Kyrgyz people add a special power «kie» to some elements, for example, some animals, birds and various objects, useful in their nomadic life, and give them a certain kind of honor, believing that the execution of these ceremonies of honor will affirm their wealth and the happiness of «kyt», and not fulfillment — poverty or some evil. Objects that have such a power «kie» are called Kieli (sacred), and their punitive force is kesr or kesir (harm)» [1].

In the ethnographic works of Ch. Valikhanov you can also find examples related to color. Indeed, in Kazakh language, when using words denoting color, a different, second meaning is often inserted. For example, the word «Kara» — black color — can be translated as big, significant. For example: KarakipshakKoblandy — Koblandy from the family of numerous Kipchaks, not from the Black Kipchaks, Karabai — Big rich man, not Black man, Karagash — big tree, Karasu — big water, Karaotkel — big ford. The word «Kok» — blue or green — is sometimes translated as sky, heavenly. For example, the Kazakhs do not talk about a white horse — Ak at-white horse and say Kok at — heavenly horse, but never translate this expression as a blue horse (and in the Chinese calendar there is a year of a blue horse, by the way, this proves once again that the Chinese borrowed the calendar from the Turks and misunderstood the meaning of the word Kok at). The word «Konyr» — brown — also has a second meaning — good, sacred. There are many names — Konyrkhan, Konyrbike, Baykonyr, Konyr aulie, Konyrkum, the etymology of which can often be explained without applying the translation brown, but using the word sacred. In the same way, you can translate the word «Ak» — white. «Ak» is translated as pure, immaculate, etc. For example, the names Akmaral, Akerke, Aksu are translated as pure, immaculate [2].

Probably all over the world not to find a single subject and object that would not have a name. Obviously, the role of place names is great for the development of human society. It would be impossible to perceive even the most insignificant information without toponyms without referring to ancient history. Consider the names of geographical objects that appeared before the eyes of the current generation: Temirtau (Iron Mountain), Zhezkazgan (Copper layer), Yntymak (Unity, consent), Zhenis (Victory) and others. Hence the conclusion therefore every historical period leaves its mark on the earth in the form of toponyms. For our ancestors who managed to use as a source of life a vast steppe, who lived in unity and harmony with nature, who managed to organically adapt themselves to the change of seasons, the importance of geographic names was especially important. The Kazakh people, by virtue of the dependence of their existence on the earth, thoroughly understood its essence and features. Our ancestors believed in the sky, the Earth was accepted as Mother (Jer-ana), because all their life, its meaning, joys and miseries of existence were connected with the earth. For example, it is surprising that a deep meaning, a meaningful geographical memory, a subtle poetic sense in the legends of Asan-kaygy, who was searching for earthly paradise (Zheryyk) for his people. Here you can consider the name of geographical objects as historical factors of folk art. The popular basis of the names is not only the attitude of the people to the environment and the concept of it, but it is also an echo of various historical events related to the life of an individual, family, tribe, people. In geographical names, the ability to discern the so-called «sacred consciousness», as well as the unique beauty of nature, is clearly expressed [3].

Although for many centuries the way of life of the Kazakh people was nomadic, its spiritual essence was stable, differed by surprising constancy, certainty. This is largely due to the sacralization of the consciousness of the people. Also, the cultural and spiritual stability of the Kazakh people is connected with the surrounding ecosystem, where, again, sacral thought lies in the core. This statement is not difficult to substantiate with concrete facts, evidence, empirical examples. Such a justification is necessary not only in order to render the accuracy of the above statement, but also because it provides an opportunity to develop the idea expressed by us with concrete examples.

When we talk about the Kazakh people we immediately pay attention to the culture and customs of the Kazakhs. Here we would like to especially emphasize that the customs they have maintained since ancient times, the skills acquired in the creation of spiritual, sacred and material values, the traditional established norms of being, all this is the main indicator of the long life of our people. The acquired life experience of a people forms its consciousness of the knowledge of the world, as well as sacralization of consciousness. The historical path traveled by the people is not only milestones of the overcome route, but a storehouse of experience gained by many generations and transmitted by the relay of time. Without having mastered the achievements of the past, it is not worth thinking about linking the present with the future. The community of each nation with its ancestors is transmitted not only through blood kinship, but also through the life experience acquired by past generations.

The old is replaced by the new, and the new serves its time — it is an eternal uninterrupted process. Each socio-historical community of people has its own traditions, reflecting the public consciousness. Any evidence of culture: mythology, aesthetics, ecology, philosophy, pedigree, prohibitions (taboos), nature management, philology — all these aspects are closely related to the sacral concept and are organically dependent on the traditions of the Kazakh people. Sacralization of human consciousness appears from the first steps of his earthly existence. In the process of human life, in communication with people through which he becomes a person, and this is facilitated by natural and historical conditions, the stability of traditions, the succession of culture. Learning the experience that gained many generations of our ancestors who have mastered the land on which they lived, comprehending the experience of being on it. All this knowledge wastransferred from father to son, from generation to generation, from century to century, turning into a whole complex of successive socio-historical traditional practice, without which no progress would be possible. If this connecting thread of social experience were interrupted, then each person in his difficult life existence would strive to repeat what was already mastered by the ancestors. Each individual by nature harbors the collective experience of countless generations of ancestors, has, as it was, in the bud, the whole process of practical possibilities left to him as a genetic inheritance, has an integral system of unconditioned reflexes. Each person sees an invaluable example of the historical experience of their ancestors. Only having mastered this cultural and historical layer, a person achieves a truly moral perfection. And it allows him to stand in difficult life situations, go against the wind and not to stop on the way [4].

Although the life of the Kazakh people was nomadic, but their spiritual existence and spirituality were not somehow believed. Nomads loved their native land, rivers, lakes, mountains, cliffs, forests and groves, no less than sedentary peoples. Perhaps this is why our ancestors did not spare their lives and blood for the protection of their native land. Therefore, they sang it in their songs and melodies, gave their places the most poetic names, left monuments in their own land, conquering with their beauty and grandeur. The spiritual world of the nomads was constant, sedentary, although life forced to be in constant movement. To understand the sacred (sacral) meaning of these great traditions and to live in accordance with the laws of these traditions, it is important, first of all, for the living generation, that is, for us.

The organic connection of the ethnos and the ecosystem, production activities, manifestations of human qualities, customs and manners, biopsychological traits and properties indicate that the nomadic life of the steppe people with strong roots is inextricably linked with the surrounding nature. Our ancestors considered the peculiarities of the seasons and made their permanent migrations, respectively, with climatic cycles. Material production and the nomadic life of the Kazakhs were not discontinuously merged into a single whole, into a single economic structure and constituted a common socio-economic and socio-cultural system. Complete dependence and absolute correlation of the nomadic life of the Kazakhs with nature and natural conditions is more advantage than some kind of impairment. This is, above all, the key to life in these climatic zones [5].

Our ancestors treated the environment carefully and with love. They were convinced on their own centuries — old experience — the deeper their knowledge of the ecosystem will be, the easier and better life will become. Therefore, they sacralized the weight of the spectrum of natural phenomena and they explained their appearance with something other worldly or the act of God. Therefore, they were imbued with the consciousness that it is necessary to adapt to nature, to live in accordance with its requirements and procedures. This was the basic morality of the nomadic society, the moral and ethical norms of which must be faithfully followed. That is why everything around the Kazakh, and the mountains, and the valleys, and the rivers, lakes, and groves, forests, and stars in the sky, not to mention the sun and the moon — everything was personified, animated, perceived as living images of a huge motley and life-giving world and the universe. Countless expressions in the Kazakh language testify to this perception of the world. For example: in astronomy, the Kazakhs always closely watched the changes in the sky, not having a special observatory, the Kazakhs celebrated the birth of the moon — a crescent, the ripening of the month — the full moon. Between the birth of the month and the full moon, the time when the moon is at a loss and its «death» takes 28 days, this is four weeks, another two days pass before the birth of the new moon, the Kazakhs call these days «Oliara», that is, intestine death. This once again shows how the Kazakhs lived in hormone with nature, and treated nature as a personified personage who has his own soul. Constantly living in the lap of nature, depending on its character, whims, favors and manifestations of anger, the nomads improved their knowledge, deepened their experience with it [6].

Remarkably, the attitude of the Kazakhs to nature and to all living creatures had a sacred meaning, and sounded like a message to their generation. For example, they gave «bata», that is, blessings, to the birth of the month. Wishing well-being to the whole living world for these two weeks of time.

For nomadic life on the expanses of Eurasia, in order to establish strict order in this nomadic life, so that it becomes a factor of stable human existence, it is necessary first of all to assimilate the concepts of time and space. Without mastering these categories, human life in the nomadic steppe will not be uncontrollable; you will not find any beginning or end in it. To know the benefits and dangers of the space that you chose as your habitat, to relate the phenomena occurring in this space with the time to which they are confined — this meant for the nomads of Eurasia a measured, quite tolerable and sometimes very good life [7].

Perhaps that is why the nomadic Kazakhs did not separate time from space, but, on the contrary, established the interrelation of these categories. Indeed, in the Kazakh people there is a space-time connection,where one can clearly trace the natural phenomena that have been fixed by the national consciousness. Nomadic Kazakhs found the necessary conditions and means for existence in the environment where they lived and created the conditions for improving their life. In other words, between human society and nature, time established interactive communication. Wherein, the nomad obeyed nature, adapting to it, and nature itself never obeyed human society.

In the process of strengthening simple and very close relations between human society and nature, in the process of transforming these ties into a strong and integral structural unity, prohibitions, that is, taboos, play a special role. This can be seen in the example of the Kazakh nomads, whose world is most organic connected with the ecosystem. Our ancestors to adapt to the harsh conditions of the arid steppes of Eurasia and find a common language with its nature, needed will, aspiration, and a clear awareness and understanding of their position. Not only society but also each member of society had to protect the ecosystem and to have the desire to properly preserve it. This circumstance ultimately became the cause of the emergence of various types of prohibitions relating to different areas of society. These bans formed the sacralization of the consciousness of an ordinary nomad. From the point of view of nomads, in particular, among the nomads of the Kazakhs, the prohibitions accompanying their life activities, compared with the prohibitions arising from mythological or religious ideas, are dictated by reality, desire and desire to strengthen their life situation. Being in harmony with nature for dozens of centuries and on the basis of this agreement, our ancestors established their customs and traditions well, where the mythological illusion is and where the socio-economic reality is. The life of a Kazakh nomad demanded from him not blind faith and fear, but a strong rational relationship with nature. Almost all taboo bans, whether it is connected with an ecosystem, way of life, customs and traditions, the older generation and others are closely related to sacralization of the knowledge of the Kazakhs. Some bans seem to be in contact with mythological and religious beliefs, but in reality they have rejected the desire to establish reasonable relationships between people, within society, in a harmonious biocenosis. In this regard, for the Kazakh nomad, taboos in the broad sense are a means of helping to streamline life. They were formed in proverbs and sayings and used artistic form in oral works. For example: «do not spit in the well from which you drink water», or «do not throw dirt into the crowd». Such bans not only brought up the character and morality of a simple nomad, but also shaped his system of community toward society and the outside world [8].

In connection with the foregoing, many taboos for the modern Kazakh have not become alien, but, on the contrary, have become increasingly sacral and become a kind of common factor in the self-preservation of national identity.

Today, thanks to Elbasy N.A. Nazarbayev's article «Looking to the Future: Modernizing the Public Consciousness», every citizens of Kazakhstan understand the special project «Sacral Geography of Kazakh- stan» and emphasizes the importance of strengthening the spiritual shrines of Kazakhstan in the mind of the people. The cultural and geographical belt of the shrines of Kazakhstan is one of the elements of national identity, and this allows us to ensure the integrity of our historical consciousness and, in general, to form a national consciousness. Unfortunately, we still have so many faults in society according to values, language, culture and political events. These symbols must carry unity. This is not limited to the time of the implementation of the program «Sacral Geography of Kazakhstan». It must be permanent.

 

References

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  7. Төлеубаев Ə.Т. Қазақ халқы этнографиясының мәселелері / Ə.Т. Төлеубаев. — Алматы: Service Press, 2015. — 300 б.
  8. Сейдімбек А. Шыɪармалары: [Алты т.]. — Т. 2. Қазақ əлемí. Этномəдени пайымдау / А. Сейдімбек. — Астана: Фолиант, 2010. — 816 б.
Year: 2019
City: Karaganda
Category: History