Dr T Levin - Reciting the manas
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Where Rivers and Mountains sing – Dr T Levin
On August 17, 1983, after two months during which Rysbek said he was neither able to eat or sleep, he obeyed the oracular advice of Mirbek, and went to the mezar near his home in Darxan to prepare a sacrifice with the hope of recovering his health and restoring his connection with the spirit of Manas. The Darxan mazar boasts no link to a saint, but centers around an ancient poplar tree that rises from a plain of scrubby grass and bushes on the southern bank of Lake Issyq-Qul. Close by, four lesser poplars, evidently seedlings of the original tree, spread their roots, but beyond this small grove no other trees are visible for miles in any direction. The mazar was protected by spirit-masters, Rysbek told me, who assumed the form of an old man.
I took seven people with me on that evening in 1983," Rysbek recounted. "We slaughtered a lamb and boiled it, and for the first time in months, I ate meat and fell soundly asleep. During the night, while I slept, my companions were awakened by a tremendous whooshing noise coming from the mountains. They woke me up, and I heard it, too. I couldn't believe my ears. My companions said that it was the sound of a spirit. I don't know, it was some kind of sign from God that a road was being opened."
"After what happened at the mazar, did it become easier for you to recite the Manas?" I asked.
"Yes. Before going to the mazar, I had become very weak. I was living alone - my parents had both died - and after the night at the mazar, everything changed. It was as if I'd bumped up against something that led to an opening. Soon after that, a film crew came and filmed me. And I had more dreams in which I saw Sayakbay reciting the Manas in a beautiful form – one of the largest parts of the Manas - and in the dream, Manas's forty knights came to me. I married and had children. I had three girls, and after I started to recite, I had a son. I answered the call of God and was rewarded. I named my son Syrghak, one of the main characters in the epic'