Function of holy numbers in lyrical and epic poetry

In this regard, the main purpose of the article is to identify the ways they reflected in a human communication with the concept of cognition, the origins and stages of its formation. Thus, numerology in folklore is a massive topic so the paper examines the significance of one, seven, forty numbers. In the research, the opinions of prominent scientists were taken into account, moreover the main arguments were proposed by proving conclusions using a comparative approach to be justified. The main outcome of the issues in the paper was the relationship between the national cognition and the established and unchanging laws of nature, as well as the scope of the usage of sacred numbers in oral folklore. The cornerstone of the sacred numbers in the knowledge of the Kazakh people is that it is in harmony with the universal cognition in other cultures. It is resulted in the recognition of Kazakh folklore to be an integral part of universal folklore. The results of the article show that the use of phenomena, which has emerged from the cognition of the people in the works of art increases the beauty and attractiveness of these works, and unites with the reality of the country. Authors have been emphasized the relation between people's cognition and the phenomena in epic poetry.

Folklore is ‘a folk treasure'. All people make their contribution to the culture of the world. That's why it's important to respect and safeguard all cultural heritages. One of the most frequently recurring issues in protecting cultural heritage is the difficult relationship between the interests of the individual and the community. The largest contribution of the folklore heritage can be seen in its help to define the ancient epoch of our ancestors, living conditions. It is true that their essence refers to the national identity. Therefore, a fundamental study of such values has not yet revealed its core value. Oral tradition develops as the community looks for a recreation of memory in community life. Oral tradition is not an attempt to remember exactly what happened, but is rather a return into the symbols of the tradition that could explain an event. It is concerned to be inexhaustible wealth that running through veins.

One of the most well-known and popular works of the Turkic world is «Kozy Korpesh - Bayan sulu». Among the lyric-epic poems, this work is distinguished by its unique features. In general, epic heritage is another endless source of national values in the community. Prominent researchers have thoroughly examined them. The poem «Kozy Korpesh - Bayan sulu» is a solid form of such high quality works. In this regard the academician S.A. Kaskabasov says: «Its origin dates back to the ancient Turkic Khanate, it is very similar to the works of that period by its general content, characters, mythical plot, the names of lands and lakes and other stylistic components» [1; 7]. It also provides a number of evidences to prove the accuracy of the statement [1; 8]. The work is considered to be a pearl of oral tradition for Kazakh people and other cultures in the world. It is found in Bashkir and Altai's culture with a slight difference in naming, due to their specific sounds featured in their languages. The epic work is based on a love story. The line of events well depicts the people's life, traditions, and religious beliefs of that historical period. Thus, the richest illustration of this creative destiny is found in the Kazakh version which is distinguished by its aura of folk heritage.

One of the significant genres in Kazakh folklore is lyrical and epic poetry. In this connection, it's clear fact that it requires a comprehensive study of this heritage. The nature and the outlook of the Kazakh people reflected in this works in wide range. We would say without any exaggeration that traditions, language, religion, culture are described in detail in the article.

Phenomenon of outlook is formed commenting on the concept and sensation inherent in every nation. Of course, one can not exclude that there is a common human perception and cognition. Ultimately, it's true that outlook comes to one direction. The problem of cognition is referred to well-known numbers. Human being analyzing amazing phenomena in human nature, considered a definite numbers that they have property, and to use them individually has become the tradition as the respect for the holy ones. Kazakh people also have this property.

Kazakh folklore has merry nesting phenomenon that has not yet fully taken into consideration and studied, but still has eye color. They are a diverse group of numbers that are continuously repeated and used innecessary contacts. The majority of such pictures are holy or sacred and we limit by making known the scope of their usage. In a bulk of epic works sacred or holly numbers have been widely used and a well-known as significant ones. One of the most urgent issues for today is to determine sacred numbers bound up with the relativity of human knowledge. For example, in the tales: «jumped one time managed, jumped twice managed, jumped the third time and was lost» and why are the words of the second or fourth is not controlled, but namely in the the third time, and we don't answer this question.

And it goes without saying that there is a question why not till eight, nine, as well as the admonition tells «young children get sticks from the earth till the age of seven». Or, after the age of seven a child couldn't get hurt? Otherwise, as far as one gave special attention to the sound harmonization, harmony the word «land» can be combined with the number «seven»? Let's slightlyconsider the national outlook.

With the usage of such holy numbers lyrical and epic works hadn't been out of attention. But we set a target to express thought according to the meaning holy, not the scope of usage, emergence, and the history of the development. In the course of the research, we have made a careful study of the works of well-known scientists who have made a great contribution to the national folklore. We also used a comparative approach to make a convincing argument in revealing the nature of sacred numbers in oral traditions and culture. There is an interesting principle in national tradition. Illustration of the concepts that were born on the basis of finding and ephemism are also said to new born. If there is a boy he «keeps a horse», «pulls over a rope», if there is a girl «she sews a cap», «forty seven». Here the concept «forty seven» as we know was considered to have been connected with dowry. Certainly, one can not deny that the dowry was connected with the number. But, there hasn't been given an answer to the question why it is definitely: «forty seven, not forty eight?». And it was scientist Guzyhan Akpanbek who expressed opinion concerning to the holy basis of this digital expression [2; 25]. From the point of view of the scientist the number «forty seven» is made up from numbers «forty» and «seven» as holy numbers. Provided, multiply «forty» to «seven» we get the number two hundred eighty(280). The main duty of women in life is to give a birth to new generation. She keeps her baby in her womb nine months and ten days [3; 65]. It is 280 days (9x30+10=280). Then, to call the woman «forty seven» is the way to inform people by expressing her main duty. It is the outlook of our people. That is to say, if there is a philosophical basis to any holy number, it goes without saying that it's the view of perfect vision of Kazakh people in the process of knowing creation.

The number «One». In Kazakh custom to respect and honor single person takes an important role. As an example, if single tree grows in the valley to tie white fabrics on its branches, and if there is only individual mountain to respect it as the saint landed near it and there are other examples. In our opinion, it shows that the creator is single. Because in lyrical and epic poems the number «one» was used as a unique identifier to confirm that the creator is single. For instance, in poem «Kozy Korpesh and Baiyan Sulu» it was given as:

Kareke, do you cheat wisely [4; 493].

DO you cheat creator being false?, in epic «Kyz Zhybek» when Tolegen responds to his sister-in-law:

The only Allah that created me,

I'm satisfied with the death [4; 605],

that means the death from Allah. The same usage is in epic «Aiman-Sholpan»:

Firstly, I tell about Allah,

Who forgave your many sins [4; 628].

Now, we try to pay attention to the content of the number «one».

The number «one» first of all identifies the concept «there is everything». That is to say, if there is «one» there is everything, if there is no «one» there is nothing. In order to clarify this notion let's identify our thought. Provided, we are having a book in our hands. If someone asks it we answer that we have. And, if there is no book, we can't say that we «have». Why? Because we haven't got. In order to say that we «have» we should have book not less than one. What conclusion one could make from this point? That is to say, «one» expresses the meaning the beginning of everything. And there can be a question is there a zero before «one»? Its answer is clear. «Zero» gives the notion «nothing». The existence of «zero» grade for «one». Here it's enough to quote great Abay's poems:

When the «one» disappears

What will be with the «zero».

The next peculiarity of «one» is feature of individual property. In other words, it's different from other substances. Its reason is its uniqueness. And if one can find similar one, then it's clear it becomes two. But «two» can't be «one». «One» must be separate, stand-alone. Though we understand and accept «one» we can't find separate «one» in life and whole world. Though each of us consider ourselves as stand-alone«one», but there is large quantity of human being? Even everyone considers «one» there are so many «ones». There is one more example. The earth is the single planet itself. But we know that there are also other planets. If so, «the earth» is not alone. There are numerous examples that identify our opinions. But there is no similarity among them, it expresses that there is no «one» alone. Anyway, there is no doubt that «one» exists. If so, the «one» must be out of creation.

Third, «one» in the sense of its usage, picture, meaning, etc. doesn't look like other numbers, others doesn't look like «one».

Forth, each number depends on «one», but «one» doesn't depend on any number. Because, the creator of all the numbers is «one». Integers as ten, twenty, thirty, etc., two-thirds of one of the two retail figures, etc. there is no basis. Integers– ten, twenty, thirty, etc., the retail numbers – 2\1, 3\2, etc. occur on the basis of the number one. And, other numbers can't do «one». Here we assume that, other numbers depend on «one», and «one» doesn't depend on any number.

Fifth, there is no start and end in the number «one», because it's only one. For example, let's take the number «five», it starts with «one» and ends with «one». Also, «thirty» starts with «one», and ends with «thirty». And, what with the «one»? It has its beginning and its ending. So, first of all, we can say that «one» doesn't have ending. It makes other numbers; it exists on its own.

In Surah «Yhlas» of holy Koran: (Done in Mekke. Four verses.) I start with the name of very careful, merciful Allah (Muhammed g.c.) tells them: This Allah is the only one (1) Allah is without sadness. (Everything needs him). (2) He wasn't born (3). And no one is equal to him (4)», — it is characterized this way [5; 604]. The content of this Verse and the peculiarities of the number «one» are coincided with each other. So, concluding, one can systematize the peculiarity of the number «one» as following:

  1. One – exists.
  2. One – only.
  3. One – no similarity, stands alone.
  4. One – independent.
  5. One – creator.
  6. One – has no ending.
  7. One – manager.

Here, whether in epics, or in other folks in the statement «One Allah» there is such a core in the base of «One». Then we can call this type of usage as the system that has philosophical importance and meaningful.

The number «Seven». Does not need to be clear and convincing in his holy resist the notion of the meaning of the number «seven». The number that does not need to be clear and to be convinced, that was set in national concept with its holy notion is the number «Seven». This number's role is very important as far as it was used in daily life and in extremely difficult situations.

In traditions of Kazakh people girls are not given and taken to marriage to the rank of seven. There is a superstition «a child gets sticks from the earth till the age of seven». The number «seven» is widely used in lyrical and epic works. In «Kozy Korpesh and Baiyan Sulu» it is stated as following:

Eighty thousand and eight palaces in eight years,

Ohh Allah, you gave me fortune from my seven great-grandfather! [4; 482], and in poetry «Kyz Zhibek» it is stated as following:

When reached to seven ridges,

Ear heard musical call [4; 589].

In this regard, this question is appropriate: why great-grandfather are seven, but not eight, nine or why seven ridges, not five, four ones. Thus, in poetry like, «Aiman-Sholpan» there are lines:

Seven hundred arms will be set out to your courtyards

Will deliver to Shecti until morning [4; 664], — and here there is a question why not five hundred or eight hundred arms, but seven hundred.

There are so many usages, and they are comprehensive, figure-conscious. What is the core idea here in this number in order to take it as holy one? Let's share with ideas.

Well-known research scientist Bertels A.E made analysis in his work called «Artistic image in the art of Iran» to the poem of Nizami called «Seven Beauties» and says: «in order to disclose the meaning, semantics and, accordingly, the artistic design of the whole construction of Nizam, here it is necessary to give some data relating to the «background knowledge» to the epoch [6; 307]. Thus, scientist disclosed the meaning how Nizami consolidated colors, planets, people (since ancient) as the sun set down. Indeed, here we realize that in terms of this harmony there is a connection with validity of creation. And that the week consists ofseven days is based on this fact. That is to say, the fourth part of the twenty-eight days that is renewable and aging of the month is a week. And one mustn't minimize or maximize it. The same the colors are seven. Others are made of their mixture. They have their own pairs: black – white, yellow – brown, green – blue, and red. Here red colour is joint point, or confrontation and coordination center. (Blood (its colour is red) in human organism functions as connecting the soul and body). Why we start with black one? The black colour has the same meaning as «none». The validity of creation is – firstly, existence of something appears from the «none». Then: black is — none; white is — there is; yellow is — energy; brown is — weight (mass); green is — existence; blue is — layer of the air. This is the order, now let's systematize them by order:

Black is the first day – Saturday.

Yellow is the second day – Sunday.

Green is the third day – Monday.

Red is the third day – Tuesday.

Blue is the fifth day – Wednesday.

Brown is the sixth day – Thursday.

White is the seventh day – Friday.

Green concerns to the third day. If we consider it by Islam, it is – Monday. Also notes that illustrates different musical notes are seven (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si). That regulates the status of the listening devices to fortopïyano, piano notes is a tuning fork - la. It means that coordinator note correlates with red color. let's systematize them by order:

black – Saturday– mi.

yellow – Sunday – fa.

green – Monday– sol.

red – Tuesday– la.

blue – Wednesday – si.

brown –Thursday – do.

white – Friday – re.

The status of the two stringed instruments is sol – re; midday: Monday – Friday; in the afternoon: green – white. We mentioned that the layer of air consists of seven (troposphere, strotosphere, ozonosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, ionosphere, esosphere). Here one can make a conclusion that the number seven has a special place in the creature. Feeling this phenomenon of creator our ancestors limited numbers in seven (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven with suffixes. Eight and nine are not said with the suffixes.

The number «Forty». In epics that we consider there are many usages of the number «forty». In epic

«Kozy Korpesh Baiyan Sulu» in order to show foolishness of character Karabai, showed this way:

You couldn't see foolish person as Karabai,

Less foolish is his wife.

Removed to hot desert for forty days,

Got to the yellow steppe [4; 500], —

in epic Kyz Zhybek trips of character Tolegen were described as: «Then Tolegen took the blue pacers among horses, made harness made of gold and silver, set stones from diamond, took with him eighty guys, loaded forty camel with food and loaded camel with bullion metal and set out in Nauryz» [4; 571]. Also, the view of the number forty was stated in Tolegen mother's speech:

If you are leaving, look,

Choose forty paces among horses

And take them with you to trip [4; 574].

And now, let's consider what peculiarities the number forty has.

Ultimately, one can realize that the number «forty» is used in the contexts with people and time in majority of cases. If so, it seems to search the core of its property here.

We above mentioned why born girl child was named as «forty seven» in national philosophy. This number is the identifier of the development of baby in mother's womb. «Forty»- number of the week, «seven» are – days in the week. That is to say, baby is in the mother's womb forty weeks or 280 (40x7=280) days. This belief can be traced to Muslim traditions from celebrating forty days since the birth of a child, commemorating the death of a young member of the community 40 days after his/her funeral.

Summarizing, the ubiquitous use of certain sacred numbers and ratios can be found throughout history, influencing everything from art and architecture to the development of religion and secret societies. Its power is beyond the range of human perception. The people empowered numbers with sacred power, concealmeaning and strongly believed that they can influence to the world surrounding by their magic, they say that Gods used numbers for ruling the universe.

Number one symbolizes self-sufficiency and freedom on one hand and the loneliness and aloofness on the other side. In its positive sense, number one is associated with leading skills, guidance, activeness and courage. Number seven is complete cycle, a dynamic perfection of nature, and the fact that the «forty» number is associated with human beings is a phenomenon that has been manifested throughout the history for many centuries. It is based on human perception.

In the faiths of Islamic, Jewish and Christian cultures the number one is associated with the unity of God.

The number «seven» has been widely used by writers in order to enhance the attractiveness of the artwork. It gives a certain charm to the fiction.

In conclusion, the number forty (40) is the time of creation of human being. In proverb «One of forty is Kydyr» the meaning is one of human being is — Kydyr. In 41 pebbles «One» is in honor of Allah, «forty» is - in honor of the person that is the mirror of creature. One thing that should be mentioned is that in epics the time of child in the mother's womb consists of nine months and nine days, and tenth day is child's birthday. Another issue is that epic poems refer a mother carries her baby inside the womb for nine months and nine days or nine months and ten days. Nine months and nine days indicate a period in a mothers belly and the tenth day is a day of birth. Different interpretations may lay on this conception. In this regard, the reason of it's appearing in two different ways.

Briefly, epic works of folklore are artistic works of nation, which is in a close relationship with other spheres of life, which reflect the ancient people's perception of the world. The heritage and identity of the nation, the ways of exploring the creation of the universe, its attitude to the environment, and its concepts are depicted through these cultural heritages. As a result, the philosophical conclusions that drawn from consciousness led to the isolation of sacred numbers from other numbers. Therefore, sacred numbers are in a special use in artistic works.



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  2. Akpanbek, G. (1993). Kazakh halkynyn dunietanymy [The outlook of Kazakh people]. Almaty: Kazakh universiteti [in Kazakh].
  3. Kaplan, A.L. (1974). Akusherstvo [Obstetrics]. Moscow: Meditsinskaia literatura [in Russian].
  4. Kazakh eposy [Kazakh epos]. (1958). Almaty: KMKAB [in Kazakh].
  5. Altay, Kh. (1991). Kuran-Karym: Kazakhsha mahyna zhane tusinihi [Kuran-Karym: meaning and concept in Kazakh]. Medine: Eki Haramnyn kryzmetkeri Fahd patshanyn Kuran Sharif basym kombinaty [in Kazakh].
  6. Bertels, A.E. (1997). Hudozkestvennyi obraz v iskusstve Irana v IX–X veke [The artistic image in the art of Iran in ІХ–Х century]. Moscow: Vostochnaia literatura [in Russian].
Year: 2018
City: Karaganda
Category: Philology