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The character of the nation in Abay's edification words

In the article the edification words of the great poet Abay Kunanbayev are presented. Abay Kunanbayev is a great poet, composer, philosopher, politician, educator, founder of the new Kazakh written literature. In the article the meaning of the words of edification, characteristic of national being are revealed. Words of edification carry a meaning, have the scale of the theme, ideological depth, political and social balance. In his works, the great Abay thought about life a lot, as well as the world, nature, existence, their laws, tried to find answers to his questions. Abay's legacy is the source of human education, the formation of a fully developed intellectual personality. About the full person, about whom he spoke, is a way of love to young generation, respect, patriotism, high morality. In addition, not only to strive for world-class knowledge, but also to manifest itself from the very beginning — this is an undeniable direction, the orientation of our national existence, human goals and objectives to date.

Abay Kunanbayev is a poet who has glorified centuries-old folk wisdom and Kazakh literature for the whole world. In his works he was the founder of the new realistic humanistic literature, the poet, who gave the reference point of the Kazakh poetry on the advanced level of development in the public environment, accurately told about the most relevant issues of the time and made correct conclusions. He spared no effort for the future of his nation, contributed to the cultural heritage. He was responsive to the requests of a certain historical period and also developed the country's literary league. The goal and objectives of the great poet were achieved through literary works. The heritage left by the poet covered various problems of his time and revealed the truth of the Kazakh people of that time. He is not only a humanist poet, but also a teacher and researcher of the art of his nation, a teacher of history and literature. «Abay is the conscience of the Kazakh people, national pride, honour. Abay is a combination of all nomadic culture from ancient times. Abay is a sign of the nationality of the Kazakh nation and the right to live as a nation. Abay is the person who has awaken the Kazakh consciousness and shaped it. This is definitely true. Abay is unique in all nomadic worlds that have mastered the spirit of peace, with his spirituality, wisdom, wisdom of steppe geniuses. Abay's life and work is a manifestation of the intertwining of lifestyle, culture, spiritual life, law and traditions, life and worldview between sedentary and nomadic lives. Abay's personal life itself was full of great spiritual tragedies. He was saddened by the old nomadic life and new social relations, the colonial conquest of his country and «slavery of soul freedom» of his nation. Abay was the first great personality of the last new order of the nomadic era. That is why the mental anguish in his works became a mirror of the tragedy and spirituality of the Kazakh people. He overcame all good and bad, as well as his people. That is why he says: «Everything is burning inside, however I pretend that nothing happened. The person who has cognized Abay's soul, will find also mental torments — it is a historical regularity [1; 13]. The poet is a realist writer who has studied the realities of his era and revealed truth. He criticized social life, saw all the contradictions and was not afraid to criticize it. Abay is recognized as a severe critic-satirist in his works. Pleasant, cunning representatives of groups among the nation, intriguers were also criticized. His themes are focused on critical realism.

Abay's writings were dramatic and accurate. Abay promoted cultural, social and civic consciousness in his works. In his writings, the voice of a citizen defending the interests of workers is heard. Despite the fact that he was a representative of the highest class, he made it clear that he understands the historical development and social truth, and has a great influence on the people. In this direction, he is recognized as a psychologist poet who spoke about the needs of people, dreams, the consequences of class representatives, the needs of the entire population. He harshly and rightly criticized the environment in which he lived. This is clearly seen in Abay's work «Oh, my Kazakh! My poor people!». He was angry at the officials who destroyed the unity of the people and made a mess. «Everyone is bi (judge) himself, tsar, only small, miserable crumbs, didn't they spoil and disfigure the face of the people?», he singled out an unsuitable group of human and characteristic qualities among the people. «If you don't have one, you have lost your own will, your own power», Abai means spiritual independence by it. Dependent subordination. Power, strength, power, all people are in obedience to the other people. People do not want to obey. There is no fair law, no proper economic policy. Only people exploitation. An ignorant country, its ruler have put people in a desperate situation. Abay called it «a cruel government».

Abay knew that the ruler's order to baptize the Kazakhs was being prepared. For Abay, the change of religion meant spiritual slavery and dependence. The man who got into it could never get out of there. Abay sought the freedom and purity of his soul from Allah. They wanted to take away the faith from our people. For the Kazakh people, this meant destruction and loss as a nation. If the mind is dependent, no nation can achieve freedom. Achieving spiritual freedom does not mean complete liberation from spiritual dependence, psychological dependence. For example, in the people that existed a thousand years ago, which was dependent on another people, in the knowledge of its people, traditions, a sign of the country that had seized it remained undoubtedly. Let us consider the Kazakh people: they adopted religious beliefs from the Arab people, adopted the system of Genghis Khan's rule, adopted all possible European scientific discoveries from the Russian Empire. Our history was written «from their point of view» [1; 27].

Critical works of the poet show that the critics of Russian realism of the XIX century were an example for him, he was in search in this direction.

The poems recognized by critics reflect the example of criticism of Russian realism of the XIX century, its search and style. Talented students surrounding the thinker Abay made a new contribution to the development of Kazakh literature and contributed to the growth of samples of world literature on the basis of Kazakh literature. Abay called mankind to justice. He wrote in his poem «May your mind be as the ice»:

«Then the fate with the motherland will separate,

May the heart only keep its wisdom?

Otherwise, evil will possess you,

Remember, there's no other way to be.

Madmen are always evil, they have no feelings,

Since there is no heart, happiness is alien to them for a moment.

Because if you deprive them of their unity,

Science will even be a hard way to go».

The poet pointed out that a man should have a mind, courage and goodness, brought to the next generation, that the heart kindles beautiful feelings, overflows the man and gives warmth to others. Poor heart that perceives superiority for pride, power for nobility, turmoil for feeling, gloating for courtesy. Even if it's cold inside, you take the false light for a bright one, and revive the warm embrace. After the imaginary ray cannot stop the tremor of your heart, you emit a hot steam on this imaginary, and soothe yourself and live your life.

Nobody cares. We rejoice, we mourn because of our hearts. The human heart can be hard as a stone, but at the same time soft, gentle as cotton. The heart is the organ that stabilized the senses in the human body. The fact that a person is good or bad is directly related to the heart. The heart is like a pool. If the pool receives water from four pipes, and if this incoming water is clean and transparent, the pool will be clean. If the three pipes are clean and one is dirty, the pool will be a bit dirty. If dirty water flows out of all pipes, the water in the pool will turn into a puddle. The same thing is with the heart. There are four pipes that have access to the heart. These are: ears, mouth, eyes, and thoughts. If we absorb good things through pipes as if pure water is poured into the pool, then our heart will be clean. If we listen to the good, watch the good, think about the good, and say the good, then the heart will be clean. And if we use our hearts for bad things, like watching, listening, talking the bad, having bad thoughts all the time, then our hearts will be spoiled like a pool of mud. The poet Abay's works about love lyrics touched all the strings of the soul with his opinion. Time passes, the world changes, but people never give up in Abay, with time they open new facets of his greatness, learn about new secrets. Abay remains with his people forever, for centuries he calls his country, the Kazakh people to new heights, to go beyond. Abay was well aware of the culture and civilization of the East and West. He was well aware of the works of a number of world thinkers.

«Words of edification» written in the style of a philosophical treatise have a great meaning for their breadth of theme, depth of outlook, political and social significance. Abay's «Seventh», «Thirty-first word» speaks about art and education. In «Seventh word»: born into this world, an infant inherits two essential needs. The first is for meat, drink and sleep. These are the requirements of the flesh, without which the body cannot be the house of the soul and will not grow in height and strength. Another is a craving for knowledge. A baby will grasp at brightly coloured objects; it will put them in its mouth,taste them and press them against its cheek. It will start at the sound of a pipe. Later, when a child hears the barking of a dog, the noises of animals, the laughter or weeping of people, it gets excited and asks about all that it sees and hears: «What's that? What's that for? Why is he doing that?» This is but the natural desire of the soul, the wish to see everything, hear everything and learn everything. Let's take a closer look at the words «need of the flesh» and «need of the soul» that Abay speaks of. The need of the soul implies a spiritual need, and the need of the flesh means a natural need, animals have it as well. And the human being is formed by the spiritual need. That is, Abay held an opinion on human strength and intelligence, science and teaching. The essence of human life is to comprehend science and knowledge. The wise poet attached great importance to science in the world phenomenon, believed that science is a special kind of human cognitive activity, plays a great role in society. In his 32 words of edification, he explains six different conditions for teaching science. Those who want to learn about science must love science sincerely at first. Abay says that love for science should be like a mother's love for her child. All people must live in peace and tranquility in order for a person to get on with his or her life. Their work must be honest and clean. In addition, prudence and goodness are needed. Then there will be an opportunity for people to live in peace. Of course, people should constantly read and learn, be in search. Nothing can be achieved without knowledge and science, without which it is simply impossible to become a cultural person. All the wealth is in science and knowledge. This wealth should be used for the benefit of all people. The poet paid attention in his works to humanity, morality, education, world civilization. He called on young people to refrain from harmful habits, to be calm, to be kind in their words of edification from childhood. He spoke about the need to get rid of laziness and desire for education. Although the poet did not believe in the young people of his time, he expressed great trust in the future youth. Through «Twenty-fifth word» he called the Kazakh people to culture and gave his direction. Meanwhile, he put national independence first in order to be a citizen «protecting the Kazakh people». Spiritual independence was in the front rows.

Everyone should first of all know his or her own spiritual culture for the development of Kazakh culture and its growth. Without this knowledge, «it will become a weapon against the Kazakhs» [1; 57]. Everyone should first of all know their culture, history, traditions. Absorb all this in yourself, then follow the path of knowledge. Then learn «Arabic and Persian». Arab and Persian culture is spiritually connected with the Kazakh people. Their history and religious interests are common. Abay studied under this system himself. Therefore, he is against the severance of spiritual ties. And Russia's colonial policy was powerful. The main focus was on baptism, the educational system, and exposure to spiritual dependence. The ultimate goal of the colonists was to overthrow our country, destroy our religion, our language and traditions. At the moment there is no need to worry about it. We are mastering science and education to become an independent nation. The spirit of independence is a holy spirit. It is necessary to preserve the spirit of independence, the spirit of freedom in the daily life. It is not known if there were a lot of people who didn't understand the words of Abay or nowadays, the only thing is known is that everyone who blames the government or another, being literate or illiterate, doesn't recognize further from the present, doesn't have peace, doesn't know how to spill out, suffocate and kill each other for the wealth. Abay wrote his edifications in order to make someone better; he also wrote his words to the Kazakh people, his heart was beating with them in unison. And at that time, uneducated ignorant people, to whom the works were dedicated, said, thump their chest, that they did not need it.

No, I think Abay's words were written for us at this time. With the birth of man, all his mistakes and good deeds, creativity and sincerity, love and haughtiness, not missing the moment were written on paper. Reading Abay's words of edification, I knew how rich Abay's language was, how he called for science and education, how he thought the future of the people. Although Abay's words did not contain such concepts as existence, cognition, matter as in Western philosophy, in the words of edification of Abay — there is a deep philosophy, they put in the foreground such concepts as the essence of life, the importance of science, purity of religion. The main idea in Abay's words was not to waste time.

The main theme of his words of edification is human, personality, and his main goal is to educate human. Being a man, working for the sake of mankind, a developed man in every way. In Abay's language, it means «a competent citizen». He was looking for an answer to the question of what should be «a real man», «a competent man», and gives the answer to this question in his words of edification. He comprehensively considers the man, his character, self-knowledge, calls to refrain from inadequate behavior and brings up in him high feelings: love and duty, dignity.

The poet describes the qualities of a competent man, saying: «Three things are human qualities: indestructible energy, clear mind, warm heart» (Word 17). It is necessary to know which of the properties of body and soul are given from birth and which are acquired as a result of labour. The need to eat, drink, and sleep are involuntary needs. The desire to see and know something is the disposition of involuntary instinct, but the mind and knowledge are the acquisition of human labour. Hearing by ears, seeing with eyes, touching with hands, trying by the tongue, breathing in the nose, a person gets an idea of the outside world. The received sensations, pleasant or unpleasant, perceived by the five senses, kept in the memory in a given pattern, create certain imagery. Getting a good impression of the good and turning away from the bad is a person's natural ability. At first, these prerequisites are very weak. The person develops and strengthens these abilities, without attention and development they are blunted, disappear or remain in the primary stage, appear to be unsuitable for anything. In 43rd word Abay shows the difference between flesh and soul, and specifies that the information arrives to the person by means of five sense organs consciously or unconsciously, and achievement of a spiritual condition depends on the person. How not to bow your head before the greatness of Abay after that? Now read this word of edification: We can name four means that promote the perception and memorization of what is heard:

  •  first, you should acquire spiritual firmness and determination;
  •  secondly, you should heed wise counsels attentively and with an open heart, eager to grasp the meaning of what is said;
  •  thirdly, you should ponder over these wise words and repeat them over and over again so as to imprint them in your memory;
  •  fourthly, you should avoid harmful states of the mind and resist them even in the face of temptation.

These states of mind are: careless sloth, indifference, senseless amusement, the inclination to morose reflection and destructive passion. These vices can destroy both your mind and your talent. In this word, Abay said that the words he had heard or seen were forever remembered, if they took an example from what they had seen, took possession of themselves, guided the thought in a positive direction. What a person has seen or felt does not disappear, it is only forgotten for some reason. «As a progressive thinker of his time and nation, Abay couldn't help but notice existence. Since his people were dependent, he could not live independently. Abay spoke of economic dependence both in his edification and in his songs. The existence of the people was obvious. Abay's greatness lies in it. Even if economic independence wasn't a reason to talk, then how we understand and can explain:

You cannot reveal power over your own good.

Sleep in an anxiously and worry during the day [1; 67].

As you can see, economy and poetry cannot be compared. If you look at it from the point of view of the commoner, economy and poetry — the notion that they do not go together like a cat and a dog. Consequently, the economy and the poet are opposing personalities. But there is no limit in the minds of wise men. Great, magical, sacred notions have emerged, which spiritually reconciled economy and poetry, economist and poet, even dog and cat, and turned into an image of poetry. One of them is freedom. If a person serves liberation, spiritual freedom or independence, then any contradictory notion will find its correspondence [1; 68]. One of the educational aspects of Abay's works is self-education, that is, «everyone should look at himself, develop himself! In his work, «Plunged into thoughts, pondering»:

If you count your foibles of the character,

No less than rocks in the mountains.

I notice my heart,

It's not clean at all», he said that he is not perfect, he's dissatisfied with himself, and he addressed to the reader, «Don't be arrogant, watch yourself!

In the poem «Do not believe in the raptured praise of the crowd

It's flattery!» Abay calls for self-education:

«Believe only in yourself and know: your mind,

your honest labour is that strong hold where is your salvation», it says that one should not give in to flattery, one should bring up work and mind in oneself and rely on it. He calls for getting rid of bad habits and calls for positive qualities. The person reading Abay's works does not notice how he is filled with aesthetic upbringing. That is, to admire the beauty, to perceive art beautifully reflected in the poems. In the poem «Caress the hearing, melody and the word»: the lines «Following the song, I reject all the deeds, forget myself, life bustle», he says about how the strength of the song takes over the body, and in the song «Quietnight at the moon» in the lines «Leaves of dormant forests speak to each other, dark woodland covered the ground», he instills love for the wonders of nature.

In the poem «Language of love is resting inside, Get to know it and rub your eyes», he speaks of true feelings. He develops qualities in a person through which he learns a passion for beauty, love for nature, is able to distinguish the beauty. It is true that destiny has hardships and irony. There is no need to be stubborn and hide. But if you look at the lives of other greatest in the world, no one was directly engaged in their activities that have left a mark on history. It was an indirect, entertaining or additional activity in their spare time. Goethe was the palace minister, Omar Khayyam was a scientist, Tyutchev was an ambassador, Saltykov was the head of the treasury, and there were few talented people who earned their living by literature. Almost nobody was. In the twentieth century there were such people. Most of them did not get pleasure from writing, as it was not profitable. Abay was a minority. He is well known to people as a public figure. From the age of fourteen he was a bi, head of volost. He did it diligently.

His activity was governance, honest governance. There was not a single person who knew more about the steppe traditions. The laws of one country were not the best for another. He did not recognize the government regime, he treated it negatively. The way of the law is the white way. Abay was skeptical that the law of Russia was a fair one. Their law only protects the interests of colonial power. «Rules» adopted by the Russian Empire were not based on the Kazakh tradition. A law not based on tradition is a crime. The Russian Empire organized this crime intentionally. Thus, unity, solidarity and the sacred interests of the country were put in nothing. They wanted to destroy the spirit through the law. The Kazakh land was completely subjugated. All Kazakh traditions were recognized as illegal. All traditions like sybaga, korimdik, suinshi were recognized as actions against the law. The terms such as an independent law, a law based on tradition, a law protecting the interests of the nation had disappeared. Instead, a law protecting the interests of the empire emerged. Being the bi, Abay's main struggle was to maintain the link between law and tradition so that nomads could take advantage of the power of thousands of years to get rid of Russian colonial law. It is clear why those who were obedient to Russia and who had a blurred mind did not recognize the great poet's struggle against colonialism and remained silent.

As Abay was «offspring of his era», he survived that folk traditions had been violated, rights had been violated in accordance with the articles of the law accepted in the interests of power, was forced to resolve the dispute in order to maintain a balance in the controversial judging. Finally, the law was fully oriented towards national traditions. Abay had the full right to think about the interests of his nation. In the past, there had not been a single genius who had such feelings. The fact that Abay was a head of volost does not drop shadow on his life, on the contrary, it is the merit in front of people. The model of Abay's rule over the Kazakh people had a great influence. Abay called on the authorities to love the nation, to take care of it, to be fair and honest. At a time when Abay was interfering in government policy, there were rules about the management of the Kazakh steppes with colonial intent. They were called the New Law. Abay was obliged to lead the power against it. These rules were not created to govern the Kazakh people honestly, but to enslave them, simplify them, and destroy their customs and wealth. «Rules» were not folk, but the law created for litigation. Abay expresses his distrust of the law through these lines:

Who tirelessly serves their homeland?

with humanity,

who's not jealous will support an innocent man,

his soul won't fade, it shines!

«What I've made sure of is that there are no bad people. There are only ignorant people. The enemy of ignorance is a smart man. Because for an ignorant person, a smart person seems cunning and nimble. But there is another problem: not all people are considered smart. Among the clever there are many civilized ignorant people, and such clever ignorant people are more dangerous than predatory animals. These ignorant people are armed with knowledge. Their weapons against the world correspond to time. It is not easy to defeat them. Therefore, the age of such ignorant people lasts a long time», said Akbergen Yelgezek that Abay fought against ignorance throughout his life. He was ready to give his life to the people. Therefore he spoke bitterly. This phenomenon was experienced by all great people. He tried to explain before the people reach a certain level of knowledge.

Moving towards perfection, he revealed the problems of his people, exposing them with a formidable appearance. The experience of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Balzac confirms it. Abay has also achieved perfection like them. He even feared his harsh criticism: «Do I love the Kazakhs, or do I hate them?» Every nation should have a critical look at itself. A sharp language is like a blade of national pride. Individualswho criticize the good and bad, show the right way are not always born. This has happened for the Kazakh people. Because our people have a great personality — Abay. Whatever happens to the people, they always rely to Abay's wisdom and knowledge. Whatever national event happens, it cannot step over Abay's words. Everyone bows head before Abay. Although Abay did not write any textbooks, the Kazakh people consider him their teacher. Kazakhs love Abay, and probably there is no one who criticizes like Abay did. He said: «No one can beat Kazakh people in friendship, hostility, pride, strength, search for cattle, and robbery».

He has such words: «We follow each other, conquer, and steal without closing our eyes». Are our people so hated? No. The intellectuals understand these words of Abay. Because Abay's thought is a common idea for all mankind. Abay spoke not only about the Kazakh people. He gave an example to the whole mankind. Abay openly told the world the bitter truth about his people without contempt. Therefore, he trusts his people. The Kazakhstani nation is a worthy nation for building a self-confident and wise society. False national honour is evidence that the nation is still imperfect. Abay believes that his nation has reached a conscious level and that he understands the importance of human language. Then why is it necessary to hide a common idea? The world's thinkers highly appreciate Abay for his open-hearted, sharp word. «Words of edification», added to the moments that translation of the poems did not, thus revealing the truth of his «secret heart» [2; 34].

It helped to explain the inner world of the nation, which has become an undefined world, and demonstrated its sadness, purpose-interest, dream, spiritual abilities, ability to live and the degree of thinking. Reading Abay, no one can offend his nation. Abay's works will humiliate those who humiliated. He loved his people to death. That is why he spoke with bitterness. All great people have gone through this. They try to explain until the people reach a certain level of knowledge. By taking the direction of perfection, he revealed the problems of his people in a formidable way. The legacy of the great thinker is not only a source of knowledge, but also a source of education. In this transitional generation, so that the younger generation could remain unscathed from the unfortunate cases they need to worship of Abai.



  1. Zhurtbay, T.K. (2001). Kuıesіn, zhurek... Suı esіn [When you love suffer]. Аlmaty: Sanat [in Kazakh].
  2. Zhurtbay, T.K. (2016). Beı net susyny [Т hirst for torment]. Almaty: Khan Taniri [in Kazakh].