Tuesday, September 1, 2009

NORBU CHU SHEY MEY SHEY

…this was a story of an old Gomchen called Mentong who came from a remote village. All his life he saved all the money he could by reading scriptures to go on pilgrimage to India. It took three years of saving for him to finally feel his dream become a reality. He was so much excited that he went to Bodh Gaya three weeks before the “Moenlam Chenmo”, the great prayer session actually began.

Permitted within his provision of food and money, he traveled to all the pilgrim sites including Varanasi, Rajgriha, Sarnath and ancient university of Nalanda. Wherever possible, he offered butter lamps and money and he prostrated before each statue as others did. He was taken with surprises by the size of the statues and temples .He gazed at the multistoried buildings and more than the colonies of antlike count of people.

As the Moenlam Chenmo started, the number of people started to swell to the extent that all empty spaces were filled with pilgrims residing in tents and makeshifts huts. There were monks and lamas who in the throng looked like ripe oranges and apples. Never in the life of Mentong did he see such a huge assembly of monks and Lamas. He was filled with so much devotion that he ate tshogs(food and fruit offerings) and duetse(elixir) , given during the meonlam with closed eyes and prayed that he gets another opportunity to come back to this place again next year also.

Soon the moenlam chenmo ended and people started to return to the places they had come from. Most of them had come from the places he had never heard of or even thought that there was anything like he had heard about.

Before he finally bundled up his clothes and the remaining of the provisions, he went round the temples nearby to make his final prayers and prostrations.

As he returned to his own bamboo hut, which was about to fall on its own, he vied upon a small nut like mysterious piece of thing collecting dust just outside his hut. Picking it up, he gazed through it like studying the distant stars with the telescope. There he saw the fire burning inside the frozen water cut into shape, which would melt only when the world perished. He had heard about a very very rare treasure called Chu Shey Mey Shey and the one in his hand now fit the descriptions of it. “Ya lama, this is a Norbu (treasure) Chu Shey Mey Shey”, thought he. “Whose must it be? He wondered . Whosever it was, he would now be taking it. It was his lucky day while it was the owner’s bad luck.

Now he was in great hurry to go. He picked up everything he could in a little time and bundled them into his old bag. He covered his newly found treasure with Khada (ceremonial scarf), and placed it inside the prayer wheel he took everywhere he went. The scriptures inside the prayer wheel had to give place to Norbu now. He placed the scriptures alongside the other scriptures, which was distributed by some rich Jinda, patrons, during the moenlam chenmo, great prayer assembly. Then he walked out suspicious of all the strangers he met on the road. His chest could not handle the excitement of getting such treasure so the heart raced against the usual rhythm of speed.

Once in the bus, he held the prayer wheel very dear and slept holding it and woke many times as it fell out of his grip. He cursed himself many times for letting it happen and going to sleep. Once he reached Phuentsholing, the border town of Bhutan, he was relieved of the fear that the real owner of the Norbu would be coming to claim it. He was so much shocked that no one ever breathed of the lost Norbu. “Maybe the owner didn’t as yet know that it is lost or maybe it fell from the sky with the rain,” he thought.

When he finally reached home, he was ecstatic to see the Norbu Chu Shey Mey Shey. He closed the door, put on the light and unwrapped the treasure. It reflected the light from the lamp and he was unable to sleep that night again. He put it under his pillow and wanted to see what kind of dream he would see. He saw the people trying to snatch his Norbu from him and also heard a voice telling him that the place of the Norbu is not under his pillow but inside the altar with the statues of Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and his manifestations.

Waking up the next day, he wrapped the Norbu in all colors of scarves. He then offered his prostrations and finally putting it on his head and getting its blessings, he placed it in the altar near the statue of Buddha.

The village people came in the afternoon to meet him and also to hear the stories he had to tell them. He told them of his experiences of not finding a forest to relieve himself in times of stomach disorder, having to travel by the three wheeled motor and also of the hugeness and sizes of the temples, statues and other buildings. He told them of his experience of riding a train whose head and tail was impossible to see. Most people were fascinated with the stories of his travel. He told them of the story of the Norbu Chu Shey Mey Shey and how he got it but he never allowed them to see it. He gave a wang (blessing) with it.

The words went round the village that the Gomchen has the Norbu which was very very rare not just in this country but in the whole world. The men folks just teased him to sell it to them or change it for half a dozen milking cow but he refused. He said that even if the whole world was given to him, he still would not change it and let alone selling it off. It had simply become priceless.

Over the years many people came to hear about the Norbu and most exaggerated its power but the faith was such that everyone believed it. There was nothing sacred than the Norbu he had in the world now and let alone the village. So the villagers took his house as more sacred.

One day a group of villagers had come to collect some contribution for the festival. They found that the Gomchen had died that very night in bed. They passed on the message to his relatives who gathered there at his house. They prepared for his funeral rites and also for the cremation. Other village monks were also called and many had gathered for his last session as is always done in the villages. The villagers talked of the Norbu but no one dared put hands on it for fear of being accused by others. Some readily said that the rarity of the Norbu is also associated in possessing it and not all people get to possess it except those who have accumulated so much virtue in their previous lives.

Soon Mentong’s Norbu had been passed on to his Nephew, who was his closest relative alive. The nephew who had come for the funeral of his uncle was given the Norbu in presence of all the villagers.

Nephew unwrapped the khada and to his surprise, the Norbu that they so much talked about was the glass nuts, which the children played and called marble. It was small and the bubble inside was red so the frozen flame covered by the frozen water.

The Nephew however, didn’t let the truth known for it was the matter of faith of his uncle even though it was the fruit of the ignorance. There was no ways that his uncle would have known that there was anything like that. He never had an opportunity to play the glass nuts or marble anytime in his life before nor did he see any children play in the villages he had been. He never had the opportunity to see and know what the real Norbu Chu Shey Mey Shey looked like for the rarity of it never allowed anyone the privilege except in the folklores and scriptures heard from some other people.

Be it any monument or the chorten, it is still stones carved to shapes. It is the faith and devotion that made it sacred. The marble turned into the epitome of faith and devotion and more precious than the actual Norbu Chu Shey Mey Shey. The nephew put it inside a statue of Manjushri, the God of Wisdom, whom he purchased and donated to the village temple dedicating it to his late uncle’s name with all the other things required for one and immortalized him forever. There talked the people then not of the small glass nut but the tale of Norbu Chu Shey Mey Shey and made the faith and devotion of one man the monument, holier than the life itself. There, the lives remain scattered everywhere but faith and true devotion was blessed to few only.