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Nepal is not only a typical garden of many groups and traditions but is also a repository of long lineage wisdom carriers and transmitters. In this Khaas community and Masto culture, Dhami shamans and Vedic priests work hand in hand for the spiritual and religious welfare of the community. Both co-exist and are necessary for the everyday functioning of society. Another important component of the society is the Damau community, who are the musicians and tailors.
The difference between shamanic practices in this part of Nepal compared to the rest of the country is that the shamans themselves neither beat drums nor metal plates or any trance-inducing instruments. Instead, they play only Chamar (yak tail) and Ghanta (handbell). To accompany shamans in a trance state, the Damau play rhythms on drums, trumpets and many other instruments. Every shaman has a different lineage, and so has their spirit who inspires them. Each spirit also has its preferred rhythm. However, there are also general rhythms suitable for all spirits, which are called Chau Ghai.
The community’s social, cultural, spiritual and religious lives are guided by Dhami-Shamans, Vedic priests and the Aathpaharia Damau musicians. They are at the service of the community whenever they are called. All these three groups are necessary, which makes a tripartite pillar that holds together the society!
Shamans as healers: This role involves healing imbalances or diseases of the body, mind, or spirit within • An individual • A community • The environment • Planetary or cosmic forces
To perform these duties, shamans use many different methods and tools. They may use local herbal medicine or other remedies, or physical manipulations(there is no use of any mind-altering plants and mushrooms here). They also provide social counselling, offer guidance or instruction, and perform ritual actions. The shamans are collectively honoured and expressed gratitude from the community for the services they provide to the people. Here is one of the annual ceremonies performed in a rural village of west Nepal in 2016.
Sincere gratitude to the general public, village headman and functionaries. All my love and respect to the Dhami- shamans and lineage holders, friends and colleagues who facilitated me to film and collect information for the preservation and fostering of the Khaas-Masto-Shamanic Culture. And my hearty thanks to my family who supported at all the levels of this creation.
FULL DOCUMENTARY WILL BE AVAILABLE VERY SOON.