Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ринчeн гуайн энэ зохиолыг англи хэлээр орчуулсан байна, урьд нь огт сонсоогүй уншаагүй өгүүллэг байна.

Byambyn Rinchen: THE HAND

The melodious sound of the flutes, accompanied by the reading «jalvi-in damba-a rim-bu-u-ucheh-eh, darshin je-e-e-var jur-ej-e-e-eg» for evening prayers was clearly heard in the still of the night as serenely and solemnly as always.

In ordinary days he listened to the moving melody with reverence letting himself sink into its sweetness with semi-closed eyes, but that evening he did not pay any attention to it for he was completely wrapped up in his work. Having already finished the mould to cast bronze and food he blew the fire with a pair of bellows to embody his dream of creating sculptures in dazzling bronze. In the ger, having twelve sections of lattice wall, before the entrance to which the sign «NO ADMITTANCE» had been standing for many days, his favourite disciple sat watching the uniform motion of the hands of his teacher who had replaced and worked the bellows instead of him, it was impossible to see in the dazzling light when he blew into the fire which made a sound like « shur-shur-shur» but like a big beast of prey sending out a short and quick breath. In the evening twillight Undur Gegen* cast his long shadow on the sections of the wall and the eyes of his disciple were kept on the shadow of the hands and its measured motion. In the light of the fire Undur Gegen’s tall and mighty figure seemed to be still more impressive. As result of his hard work for many sleepless nights his bronze face had grown thin, his eyes were sunken, and his broad brow was grooved by deep lines indicative of the great mental power of a thinker. His assistant could not tear his eyes off the master who was so sagacious, benevolent and weary, and he forgot to dry his face covered by beads of sweat. All that showed his love and reverence for his teacher.

In the workshop ger everything reminded him of his late wife-work mate, the shiny steel tripot seemed to be waiting for the touch of her gentle hands, the silver tea-pot with a nice ornament symbolizing happiness and smelling of the fine aroma of wellbrewed tea, the sandal table with four leggs, like heads of lions, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, the silver plate with its lid made of lapis lazuli coralli with a picture of four continents of Sumeru*. All these had been made by the skilled hands of his beloved wife who would never return to the ger. Now wonderful it was to think of the good time when he and his wife, mixing silver with bronze in the melting pot for a new kind of precious bronze, worked with the bellows in turn... The open hearted herdsmen loved her truly. They had had to adopt the religion of all conquering Dzonkhopa in the time of the khan who was named Abtai. This serious name was given to the new-born as symbol of the victory over his enemy. According to common talk he was born with blood-stained forefinger to the vengeance for the thirty three heroes and forty four leaders of the tribes and sixty one zanzin-generals.
But the people having a great belief in shamanism composed a legend about her: All kinds of evils indignant with Undur Gegen’s wife for her casting a sculpture of a god alien to them. They made circle around the fire and began to blow at it with their cold and dead breath in order to reduce the power of the flame. Then the women sculptor got angry with them, caught them and threw then into the boiling metal. The devils burned with a hissing sound and gave out a smell of burning, and the results of her work turned out brilliant and the sculpture created by the woman looked better than the figure made by even the master of Heaven, Bishgarma.Undur Gegen smiled recalling the naive legend, but his heart was aching at the sad thought of his poor wife who would never melt bronze in the pot again. Her name was very popular among the kind people who composed the legend about her. But the thought of the irretrievable loss rushed into his memory and his strong hands became weaker and he stopped working with the bellows. The noise of the high-flaring flames suddenly died away like a heavy sign of grief. Noiselessly the youth rose from his place and came up to the bellows to replace the teacher and the fire blazed up again. The master returned to his little sandal table and removed the silver cover of the bowl and poured himself some tea sending out a pleasant smell of nutmeg and other spices. Mopping the sweat from his brow he took a sip. The tea, brewed by his disciple, again reminded him of his late wife who had taught his assistant to prepare such a kind of tea drawn by nutmeg and spices.
-I must not outlive you, dear. There is no point in living lonely. Those Lamas of yours hate me. I don’t want to meet sufferings in hell. I, an ordinary woman, fully understand the gospel truth in the great teachings of Dzohnkopa and my duty is to follow them, but i don’t . do it. My heart rejects it. If i follow the teachings of his Holiness i’ll have to refuse you, the one whom i love most of all in the world. Now can i act like that, my dear. Let the triumphant Lord forgive me. I want nothing to have but you, and i think of neither of Bodhisatwa nor his teachings. If the Buddha Bodhisatwa exists really i believe that his Holiness will understand me and will have mercy on the poor woman who fell in love with you. I don’t conceal my feelings of happiness to live together with you even from the pure and evil spirits of our ancestors, and all-seeing ones have already noticed my eyes fixed on you, i think. If all the kinds of spirit exist they must understand me. They must not hate me for my love to you. Formerly they were living creatures like me, and then they felt as i fell now therefore they must understand human feelings although they are now incorporeal and their food is the smell of our meals. It seemed to him that her soft voice had been heard and his hot forehead had been touched by her gentle hands and she had fanned it with a light multi-coloured sink scarf. He opened his eyes and felt an evening breeze blowing through the toono* of the ger. His favourite disciple blowing the fire with the bellows disciple blowing the fire with the bellows gazed at his teacher with eyes full of respect and compassion. The youth sat listening to the smelting bronze attentively in the evening stillness.
Finally, the master indicated with a slight movement of his head that the alloy was ready. Soon both of them, teacher and disciple, began to pour into the mould the stream of the fusion of the bronze in the pot. Listening to the sound of the stream running into the mould, which indicated that the metal was casting well their faces lit with a joy that made them forget fatigue and strain. In a minute they noticed wrinkles forming on the surface of the bronze. At last the ingot was ready and they sat down to have a rest for a moment. The young man took his brown wooden bowl out of his bosom and poured himself tea, which he began to sip with pleasure, blowing carefully to cook it, and wiped the perspiration off his forehead.The master also picked his bowl up from the sandal wood table and took a few sips of the cooled tea. Then he reached for the bronze bell standing on the trunk behind his back and rang it. Slow steps were heard outside, and the cook entered the ger with a basin and a jug of water in his hands. Placing the basin on the ground by the door he stood at the lintel bolding up the jug in the right hand and waiting for his teacher to wash himself. The master took off his smock and washed his hand and face. Then he made room for his disciple that he might do the same and put on his gown. While he was resting the cook carried away the basin and jug, soon he returned with a dish of meal and a tureen of rice soup, and went out noiselessly. The master ate little and pushed the dish towards his assistant, then he reached for the tea but the disciple respectfully hastened to pour tea for him, the handle of teapot with both hands.
-Teacher, you have eaten little today, -he said to the master.
-I am full up, -the master answered, -you must have supper.
Watching his disciple Undur Gegen recalled how the three of them used to sit down to that table to have supper in deep silence. Without his beloved wife who used to bring joy and light into the ger he felt lonely. His past life came into his memory, it seemed to him that he saw the face of the old Tibetan bishop who had welcomed him back from his journey. It was dark, as sandlewood, lined with deep wrinkles. He met him with gloating smile and opened his thin dark purple lips widely showing the yellow teeth. The froglike mouth grinned maliciously. Never before had the old Tibetan bowed so servilely and spitefully. The other obese Tibetan lamas of the old bishop’s suite also gloated over his misfortune. Only his favourite disciple bending before his teacher in a respectful bow felt sorry for him. Everything was clear to Undur Gegen. His heart was filled with compassion on her. When he stepped over the threshold of the large ger he immediately saw the Sutar; «Banzaragch» written on the palmtree leaves by Zanchubii, the teacher of Bogd Dzonkhopa, on the orphaned couch of the woman who had passed away. All formal greetings had been uttered and a few sips of tea served, Undur Gegen asked:
-When did she die? Where are her remains placed? Putting his palms together the old Tibetan bishop answered:
-Three days ago.
-Where are her remains?
-he repeated his question.
-According to the custom of your people she has been placed on the sunny side of the mountains.
-You knew i was about to arrive. Couldn’t you wait for a short while?. Prepare good horses for them. They will snow me the place.
The Tibetan lama, who used to plume themselves on their high holy orders and to mount the most docile horses with the help of special servants who led the horses by the bridles, were afraid of the quick spirited horses brought up by the order of the Gegan. Undur Gegen was an excellent rider. He jumped on his horse and set off at a gallop not waiting for them to mount their horses because he was in a hurry to see the place, where the woman who had been closest to his heart had been taken. The obese Tibetan lamas, not daring to get behind him, followed him praying the Heaven for help lest they should be thrown off. Undur Gegen came galloping to the place and saw that the birds and beast of prey had left nothing of the late woman’s remains, but the right hand. Undur Gegen jumped off his horse and wrapped the hand in a silk scarf and passed it to his disciple with the words;
-In Outer Mongolia there are many people who remember me. May they preserve this fine hand.This time the lamas arrived at a gallop and dismounted with belp of the servant and ran to the Gegen breathing heavily but he jumped on his steed and galloped away without turning his head. The fat lamas mounted again and followed him holding the front pommels of their saddles with their two hands.

Soon after this it was rumoured that the right hand of the woman, wrapped in a silk khadag* had of returned to the grey ger. Her death rejoiced the Tibetan lamas but the common people hearing the news of the returning of her right hand, thought that outer Monglia would he always rich in skilful craftsmen, that its people always be generous and kind. The rumour among the people gave Undur Gegen the idea of casting 21 statues of the Goddess Tara out of Bronze to commemorate his beloved wife. The master decided to make a mould two tugee* in height and create the statues like an Indian woman but bearing in his mind the Tibetan lamas of high rank who had hated her he kave them severe look. As to the 21st and the largest he gave it the features of his sweat-heart to whose memory he was dedicating the statues. When the young man saw the statue ready for casting his face shone with joy because he recognised her and could not tear his eyes off the nice smile on her face. It was the last evening for them to work in the ger with the taboo sign at the entrance to the ger so that the lamas could not interfere with the statue would be very good and they were impatient to see the bronze statue which would be cleared of the mould the next day.
Suddenly he noticed tiredness on the face of his assistant and said to him:
-Go and have rest, and i’ll spend the night here watching the bronze.
-No, teacher, i shall stay here while you sleep in the northern ger. I shall try to do my best. Everything will be right. I want to make my little contribution to the work at the conclusion. The master would not refuse his disciple’s request and cast a glance at the docile and angery faces of the twenty statues of Tara-standing in a row along the wooden lattice of the ger. The statues stood as though waiting for the 21st statue, the main Goddess among them. Undur Gegen nodded and went out. The young man lit the way to the large ger with a lantern for his teacher.

It was quiet in the ger. There was a fine aroma of the Indian incense in the air of the ger. A dim light of the icon lamp in a silver goblet before the altar made the master mournful in his large ger and in that semi-darkness the ger seemed desolate. He walked up to the left hand side couch in the living ger and sank upon it. Listening to the footsteps of his disciple directing to the workshop ger the sculptor undressed and went to bed. Then he heard the sound of the lantern when it was placed on the ground and the hair cord of the erukhe* slapped againest the cupola of the workshop ger when the toono of the ger was covered by his assistant for the night. Soon the lamp died out. In the darkness Undur Gegen lay on his back looking at the sticks of the ger. He felt the fatique and grief which had been the cause of these sad reflections and unpleasant hallucinations, and tried to divert himself and closed his eyes. But the alarming feeling did not pass. The common people believed that he had been a kubilgan** of Daranad and they were devout before him. Nobody believed that he was mortal as a man. The only woman had known and understood him, who had been his heart’s support, was his beloved wife but she died, or had she been forced to die? He knew that the Tibetan lamas had hated his wife. He visualised the face of the hairless head of the Tibetan bishop with thin lips and a broad froglike mouth, the face expressing a secret vice with the false smile. And he opened his eyes and began to think of his past life. He had studied the works of Indian and Tibetan thinkers from his childhood, understood the real contents of the doctrine. The pure-hearted herdsmen considered him as living Buddha. It was his duty to pretend to be all-knowing in order to console those who suffer from those teachings. But now, when he himself was stricken by the grief of an irreparable loss, even the profound and lofty teachings were incapable of easing the pain of his desolate heart. There was nothing in the world that could be compared with her gentle look. One glance of those dear eyes would have been much better than all the writings of the sagas collected in his library. Thinking of all these he sank into a beneficient sleep.
The master used to wake early in the morning and he, half a sleep heard the foodsteps of his disciple behind the ger. Coughing to let his assistant know that he had awakened the sculptor rose and dressed quickly. The young man opened the toono of the ger and entered with a wash-basin and a jug. Wishing his teacher good morning he stood by the door waiting for him to wash.
At that time the cook brought dishes for breakfast.

The master had his breakfast quickly and hurried to the workshop ger to see the bronze from. He put on his apron and they began to dismantle the mould. The statue one-and-a-half arms in length appeared before their eyes in all its beauty. Through the toono of the ger the morning sunlight brightened the beautiful statue of a slender woman who was smiling gently. Undur Gegen created the fine figure of a common Mongolian woman who had been hated by the powers that-be the Tibetan and Mongolian lamas of high rank. From her body only the right hand wrapped in a silk khadag remained in he grey ger. The sculpture was the embodiment of the image of Tara. His disciple estimated highly the good results of his teacher’s work and bowed to the ground before him. The master gazing at the lovely statue said in a low voice’
-This is my last work.

The re-teller of this legend wants to add the following: The historians can fully appraise the life and activities of a person who is well-known under the name Undur Gegen as an artist, on the one hand, as a sculptor, on the other, Then they have to remember the name of the woman sculptor, whose name the learned lamas, who had hated deeply her, had purposely not mentioned in Undur Gegen’s biography. They wanted the common herdsmen to forget the name of the woman, sculptor and artist. With that end in view they took the opportunity of the taboo under which her name had been before. (According to the custom of Mongols the names of most honourable persons are forbidden to be pronounced). The monks achieved their goal but they miscalculated, people composed legend in order to preserve the image or this woman in the memory of the generations to come that very image which has been perpetuated by the work of the sculptor. In former times great Italian masters created the chef-doeuvre of beauty and immortalised an ideal image of an Italian woman in their pictures of the Madonna. The ancient Greek master, Prakcital created the image of the Virgin Mary so called Venus in a picture of a charming Greek woman. That had been a wonderful creation in the world. In the Middle ages an Italian artist and sculptor Boynarrot Mikel-Angel had immortalised the mother of Christ by creating an ideal image of an Italian beauty, as a model of her. Thanks to his talent and mental facilities which hadn’t subdued by the burden falling on him Undur Gegen, the great representative of the Yellow sect of religion which reigned in 17-18 cc., was very influential in Mongolia of that time and left us an interesting monument of the Mongolian art. Thinking of the time to come when the art critics would be interested in the pleasant smile on the lips of the statue of the Mongolian woman forgotten by dint of the monk’s insidiosness... The statue reminds us of the wonderful smiling face of a woman called Dozo-kond or Mona Lisa created by in the Leonardo Davinchi who lived and created in the time of Rapheal, the famous Italian painter of the Middle Ages. The re-teller thinks of it every time he visits the Ulan-Bator Musuem and stands before the beautiful statue of a Mongolian woman whose name is unknown to the people. His dream of writing down the folk legend which he had heard from the old men, has come true thirty years since he first intended to do.

* Undur Gegen - nickname given by the people, means «His highness ». His own name is Dzanavazar, born in 1635, killed in 1724 by hired assassin in Peking, Son of Tushet Khan, one of the Outer Mongolian khans 5th Dalai-lama, a famous artist and sculptor of Mongolai.
*Sumeru – the great world mountain of ancient tale, the Mongolian Olympus.
*Toono – the opening for smoke at the top of the ger.
*Tugee{to} (measure) - the long span between the tip of thumb and that of the middle finger.
*Erukhe- the foursquare felt-rug used for covering of the upper of a ger
*Khubilgan – a man supposed to have been reincarnated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi. хэн орчуулсан юм бэ?