Thursday, April 28, 2011


Атасыздык
Кайын журтумда (Швецзарияда) болгондо мен кыргызстан жөнүндө билген бир адам менен жолуктум. “Кыргыздар атасыз эл сымал болуп калды. Өз теңири-атасынан айрылган жетим эл болгондуктан, өз жолун таап албайт - деди мага. Ал Християн болсо да аны Бишкекке бул тема тууралуу талкуулоого чакырдым. Өз динин үгүттөгөнгө тыйуу салдым. Бир гана өзүнүн пикирин далилдеш үчүн ыйык китептерди пайдаланганга уруксат берерибизди айттым. Ал макул болду. Мен бул тегерек столго 5-20 билимдүү кыргызды чакыргым келди. Катышкандар пайгамбарлардын жазууларын баалаган кыргыздар болсун: Чыңгиз Айтматов дүйнөлүк ыйык китептерди окуп, бирок динин сатпагандай эле болсун. "Атасыздык" темага кызыккандар мага кайрылса болот. Өзүңөр жөнүндө бир аз кошуп жазгыла.
Рысбек

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

  International University of Kyrgyzstan
Richard Hewitt
April 2007

Kyrgyz and Biblical Migrations

The previous character comparisons provided a fascinating analysis of the two narratives. By cross-examining the composition we can better determine if the stories shared a common composer. In this section I will make a comparative analysis of the recorded Kyrgyz and Israeli migrations or exoduses. The exoduses represent scenes from each larger narrative. These samples or fragments will be laid side by side and examined, just as a geneticist would examine two portions of DNA to determine their relationship to each other. Amazingly the following cross examination reveals a striking affiliation between Kyrgyzstan’s great epic and the world’s most popular literature.  Unfortunately acknowledging this relationship is controversial in Kyrgyzstan.
Introduction to the Exodus
The Manas Epic and the Torah (or Bible) have major sections devoted to exoduses from the land of exile or slavery back to their former fatherland.  The Kyrgyz hero, Manas, brought his people from Altai in Siberia to Talas in modern day Kyrgyzstan. This is recorded fairly early in the epic.  The biblical leader, Moses, brought his people from Egypt to Canaan.  This story is found in the early chapters of Exodus and the book of Numbers.

As we compare these two great exodus stories we will find that there are differences, some are huge. Two significant differences are:
  • The people of the two nations came from affluent geographic areas and
    migrated to different locations.
  • Moses delivered his people from captivity using the famous 10 plagues,
    parting the Red Sea, and other miracles. On the other hand, Manas
    and the Kyrgyz leaders knew great masses of their enemy were coming
    after them, so they decided to return to Talas, their ancient
    fatherland, where they would make their stand.
Kyrgyz scholars generally agree there are many layers to the Manas Epic. Therefore we can investigate the epic, not only like geneticists, but also like archeologists unearthing various layers in an excavation
site. The migration on the top layer is a historical migration from
Altai to Talas that some believe took place about 1000 years ago.
1
As we sift-through this upper level of the migration story, we
eventually find elements of an early migration that took place over
3000 years ago.
Exodus of Manas and Moses
Both exoduses have a pre-story. The Kyrgyz leader, Jakyb, was a spoiled
son, separated from his brothers when he was seventeen years old, and
deported to Altai where he eventually became the richest man in the
region. The Torah’s account, on the other hand, says Joseph,
the spoiled son, was torn from his family when he was seventeen years
old and sold as a slave to Egypt where he eventually became governor
and one of the richest men in the region. Let’s start from the
beginning:

Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his children, because hewas the
son of his old age...”
2

And another verse from the Torah:


Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers...


Soon after this, Joseph’s brothers became very angry with him for being over bold about his dreams. The older brothers decided to sell him to slave traders.  Likewise, the Kyrgyz brothers, Jakyb and Bai, were also parted from each other when Jakyb was seventeen years old. Later, when the brothers were

reunited, Bai exclaims:

You were only seventeen
spoiled by father and mother had been.
Careless you were, and over bold.…
Scarce seventeen you were that day.
Parted from you I knew no rest”4

Both the biblical and the Kyrgyz narratives mention a “brother” who was seventeen when separated from the family. Why is this minute and seemingly unimportant detail retained in both narratives?
The biblical account does not tell us how old Isaac was when Abraham offered him as a sacrifice to God or how old David was when he killed the giant, or Daniel’s age when he went to the lions, or
Jeremiah’s age when he started proclaiming God’s message, but here we have an obscure age mentioned in both narratives – when brothers parted. This is a detail we should not ignore.

As mentioned earlier, Carl Jung tries to explain literary similarities, which he calls archetypes, in his theory Collective Unconscious.5  However, we see resemblances between the Manas Epic and Bible that
no longer fit within his definition of an archetype. The numbers and names listed in each narrative reveal striking resemblance which demand a new perspective.

There are other interesting semblances building up to the two exoduses.  The Torah recounts:
All the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy.6
The Kyrgyz account indicates seventeen year old Jakyp was torn from his brothers and moved with seventy families to Altai in Siberia.

Those who were hungry, had no home,
Those, whom father and mother left,
Those who came of homes bereft,
All together he gathered them in,
Seventy families made his kin.7
Both the ancient Kyrgyz and biblical tribes were nomadic, and both refer to twelve tribes in reference to their national compilation. Bai makes this statement when reunited with Jakyb:

My Kirghiz, of a dozen tribes,
were not near, I grieved besides,
And I yearned and burned for them,
And I thought of my brother then.
Three times a day, Jakyb, I wept,8
Barely my hold on life I kept.”9

The biblical text continues to align with the Kyrgyz epic.

All 
these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this iswhat their father spoke to
them…10

Jesus’ disciple, James also known as Jacob,11 writing in the first century A.D. continues to refer to Jacob’s descendants as the “twelve tribes.”

From Jacob, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve
tribes
in the Dispersion...”
12

The Qur’an also affirms the nomenclature “twelve tribes” to describe the people of Moses:

And of Moses' folk there is a community who lead with truth and establish
justice therewith. We divided them into twelve tribes, nations; and We inspired Moses, when his people asked him for water, saying: Smite with your staff the rock! And there gushed forth theretwelve springs, so that each tribe knew their drinking place...”
13

The Qur’an also acknowledges Jacob and the tribes in what may have been an important creed recited by early Muslims:

Say: we believe in Allah and that which was revealed to us and was
revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes,
and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets
received from their Lord.”
14

During their years of captivity both Jacob’s seventy people and Jakyp’s seventy families grew into formidable nations. They eventually decided to commence their exoduses and return to their
ancient fatherlands. The Kyrgyz fatherland was sometimes called “Naaman.”
15
The biblical fatherland was sometimes called “Canaan.”

Now Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land
of
Canaan.
16

Manas summoned the people to the exodus with this eloquent speech:

Land which my forefathers left to me,
Shall I let those Kitais grab it all?
Honor’s path I shall boldly storm!
If I don’t get our old lands back…
If Naaman, which from father came,
In half a year I don’t restore,
If our land I don’t gain once more…”17

In the Bible God gave the prophet this proclamation about the land of Canaan:

am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.”18

I hope to do a proper etymological study of Kyrgyz and Aramaic, but since their etymology may be complicated by other local languages like Persian, I will leave that research for another time. For now,
let us take stock of the etymological data. There are two men that may have related names, Jacob and Jakyp, from Canaan and Naaman 
respectively, with sons named Manasseh and Manas, and beauties Rebekah and Rabiyga who married in from the outside.19 If there is no historic connection between these two documents this would certainly rate as a first class coincidence. The more likely answer is that we have a strange mystery on our hands. It would appear that an ancient biblical account was woven into one level of the Kyrgyz epic. If so, how? The Silk Road had its Jewish and Islamic merchants, Nestorian Christians, nomadic Khazar Jews, sedentary Jews from Bukhara to Keifeng, missionaries of every religion including Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism,20 and tales of Israel’s Lost Ten Tribes existing in places like Afghanistan and Japan21 - all which may have brought stories about Jacob, Joseph, Moses and the biblical exodus. But would they and the Kyrgyz transmitters have preserved such minute details, like 17 years old and 70 families, in a Kyrgyz epic? Why were such minute details preserved?

There is more, the two men who led these two exoduses also have similar births. The pharaoh of Egypt was afraid Jacob’s people were becoming too powerful.22 Esenkhan, the enemy king ruling over Kyrgyz had similar fears and started taking Kyrgyz boys:

From each family they took a boy
And gathered all of them, not leaving one.
Their mothers cried out
And stirred up the people,
Their fathers, frenzied,
Even broke the irrigation ditches.
All the people created chaos.23

In Egypt Pharaoh started killing the boys.24 In the midst of such terrible oppression a special male child was born and hidden:

Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite
woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he
was a fine child, she hid him...
25

Manas’ parents also had to hide their special son to keep him alive. First notice how he was marked from birth:

When your son came out from the womb,
His ear tips were pierced,26
He was already circumcised.27
Those who saw him were scared,
Oh, my Jakyp, think about it,
Your son who came out from the womb
Showed such great signs.”28

The Kyrgyz sent Manas to the mountains to hide him from their enemies.

We should keep him out of sight,
Not letting the Kara Kalmyks, and Manchus know,
Not letting any of them know,
And any of them find out,
We should hide and rear Manas in the mountains.”29

Manas was hidden in the mountains where he shepherded his father’s
flocks. Later in life, Moses hid in the wilderness, also herding
sheep.
30
These particular “shepherd-becomes-leader” similarities
are more typical of archetypes and would not support our case linking
the Manas Epic and Bible if they stood alone. However, against the
backdrop of countless connections these likenesses add proof to
proof. Intellectuals can no longer deny a link between these two
classic narratives.
Detective Work
At this point in our comparison it would be good to ask again, “Did biblical stories influence the Manas Epic?” Kyrgyz historians say the epic Manas contains biographies of many heroes in their long
history. Perhaps Moses was one of the heroes in Kyrgyz history. Or maybe Jewish merchants or perhaps Islamic or Christian missionaries brought biblical stories to Kyrgyz hundreds of years ago when the
Silk Road was alive with trade and religion. The epic mentions that Jews (жөөт) and Tarsa came to Kokotoi's feast and probably had a common goal with Kyrgyz.
The Manas Encyclopedia also suggests that some Kyrgyz may have joined the Tarsa.31
Тарса seem to have been Christians or some sort of Bible followers.
Finishing the Journey
Both Manas and Moses had fathers-in-law who gave aid during these stressful exoduses. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, came to visit Moses. During the visit he noticed Moses was struggling to
lead the people. The elder offered the younger leader counsel that changed Moses’ leadership style and helped the community.32 Manas, on the other hand, was struggling to build an army that could
travel back to Naaman. Manas’ father-in-law, Kaiyip, came with troops to help the Kyrgyz reclaim their ancient territory.
33

The numbers of fighting men that migrated in the exodus with Manas and Moses is also
the same. Manas moved with 600,000 soldiers:

Six-hundred thousand war-fit men
Took the road towards Naaman.34

And

No small squad for that one there waits –
Six hundred thousand added to them,
With their chieftains too they came,
Leaving behind the weak.”35

Moses’ exodus to Canaan has this amazing similarity:

And the people of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six
hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.”36

And more specifically:

So all who were numbered of the children of Israel, by their fathers’
houses, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war 
in Israel—all who were numbered were six hundred and three
thousand five hundred and fifty.”
37

Comparing these migrations gives enormous validation to each narrative. If Kyrgyz descendants of Manas claim they migrated with 600,000 warriors, and Israeli brothers of Manasseh claim their ancient
migration had 600,000 fighting men. Then we have two witnesses testifying about migrations in their national histories they very likely overlapped.
Complainers
Both Moses and Manas had to deal with complainers who wanted to go back to the land of their oppression. These complainers were more satisfied with the submissive life of oppression than the risks and hardships of freedom.

Aidarkan and Numar looked black:
What if these heathens we don’t attack,
But return to our homes again?”
Thus they spoke, those counselors twain.
And at once that provoked a reply –
Lion Manas was angry, that’s why!
Having heard their senseless speech,
Some kind of reason he had to teach…”38

Even Manas’ father, Jakyb, wanted to return:

Back to Altai to go, I’m inclined
So said Jakib, to return resigned.39

Angry Manas taught reason and got his people back on track. So did Moses.
From the Israeli complainers comes the following:


“… on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the
land of Egypt. Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel
complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to
them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land
of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat
andwhen we ate bread to the
full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this
whole assembly with hunger.”
40

A further similarity, and not a small one, is that Manas and Moses both
encountered hostile kings on their exoduses: Og in the Torah and Orgo
in Manas’ Epic. The biblical account follows:


And they turned and went up by the way to Bashan. So Og
king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to
battle at Edrei.... So they (Israel) defeated him, his sons, and all
his people, until there was no survivor left...
41

The Manas Epic also reveals Orgo’s annihilation:

Coming to grips with lion Manas,
Khan Orgo was slaughtered thus.42

I have not studied the etymology of Og and Orgo, but I did note some
interesting affinities: both battles against Og and Orgo are the
second major battle listed in each exodus. Note also that Og ruled
over Bashan and Orgo ruled over Eki Bash.43 Both grassy mountainous 

regions are excellent for grazing livestock. Both Og and Orgo try to impede Moses and Manas from passing to their original fatherlands. Both Kyrgyz and Israelis move on from their
victories against Og and Orgo to displace pagan foreigners, “giants,”
living in the land of their forefathers. Manas in the epic and
Manasseh’s tribe in the Bible take time to dwell in Og’s or Orgo’s land.44

Finally, both exodus leaders, Manas and Moses, died. Their bones were hidden
in a place where no one could find them. To date, no serious claim
has ever been made about the discovery of their tombs. The following
is a summary from the Manas Epic: Manas’ wife led a small night
expedition to bury Manas at the base of a cliff. The team covered
the hole so no one could find his grave. Manas’ wife and his
closet companions then made a false mausoleum in a separate location
to fool the people.45

To this day Kyrgyz don’t know where Manas was buried. They do
know his mausoleum is not his real gave. Moses’ story is
similar:


… Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to
the word of the Lord. And He buried him in a valley in the land of
Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day.
46

Mausoleums of great leaders dot Kyrgyzstan’s landscape, but not Manas’.
The fake mausoleum does not have his bones. Mausoleum locations of
biblical heroes are well recorded in the Bible, but Moses’ is
noticeably missing.
Conclusion about the Exodus
The two exoduses are different at many points, but our findings reveal
many “artifacts” from Moses’ ancient exodus coming
through in Manas’ more recent exodus - as if narratives from
two different cultures and eras were built on the same site. The
matches mentioned reveal a clear relationship between these two
narratives, as if they shared matching DNA. Reasons for the
relationship remain a mystery for future researchers to resolve. The
thing we have discovered is that the two narratives, pitted against
each other in an epic battle are now looking more like siblings.

This essay is not the first to compare the mysteries between the Manas
Epic and the Bible: Chingis Aitmatov, in his introduction to Ashim
Jakypbekov’s book, “
Tengiri Manas,” mentions
similar mysteries and riddles in the Bible. Film producer, Bolot
Shamshiev has written articles about biblical connections to Kyrgyz
culture. And one controversial journalist would not attend the 1000
year anniversary of Manas’ epic in 1995, because he claimed
Manas was Hebrew.
47
After giving this treatise to the translation company “Sleng”
I was informed that the August 28, 2008 edition of
Kutbilim
Newspaper had an article about this Manas-Manasseh topic. Historian,
Tabyldy Akerov, whom I reference in this paper, also tried to explain
why the epic and Bible have striking similarities.
48

It is my hope the mysterious links mentioned here will harmonize
divisive worldviews.


Reference

1
The date of this migration is still debated among Kyrgyz scholars.
Some believe the migration took place much earlier. Both sides of
the debates recognize that Kyrgyz have a history in modern
Kyrgyzstan that predates the migration from Altai. More will be
discussed later.

2
Genesis 37:2-3 (New King James Version) All Bible quotations are
from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

3
Genesis 37:2 (New King James Version). Author’s emphasis
added.

4
Orozbakov, Sagymbai, Manas;
translated by Walter May. Rarity Bishkek, 2004) Vol I,
6260-6266, 6292-6293, Author’s emphasis added.

5
Jung, C. G., The
Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious
. (Princeton, N.J.:
Bollingen. 1981), Collected Works Vol.9 Part 1

6
Genesis 46:27 (New King James Version). Author’s emphasis
added.

7
Orozbakov Sagymbai; Manas:
Translation by Walter May (Rarity, Bishkek, 2004) Book I,
1276-1282. Author’s emphasis added. Note that some version
say Jakyb was deported with forty families, not seventy.

8
The biblical book Daniel (6:10) says Daniel (or Danyar) also wept
three times a day for Jerusalem, the land he had been torn from.

9
Orozbakov, Sagymbai; Manas;
Translation by Walter May( Rarity, Bishkek, 2004) Book I,
6381-6386 Author’s emphasis added.

10
Genesis 49:28 (New King James Version)

11
“Jacob” is often translated into “James” in
Western Christian literature and sacred texts.

12
Jacob 1:1 (or James 1:1). Author’s emphasis added.

13
Qur’an 7:159, 160 (Marmaduke Pickthall’s translation,
Istanbul, 1998). Author’s emphasis added.

14
Qur’an 2:136, (translated by Marmaduke Pickthall). Author’s
emphasis added. This creed is repeated in
Qur’an 3:84.

15
Kyrgyz Republic’s National Academy of Sciences; Manas
Encyclopedia
, (Bishkek, 1995) Vol. II, p. 120

16
Genesis 37:1 (New King James Version). Author’s emphasis
added.

17
Orozbakov, Sagymbai; Manas;
Translation by Walter May (Rarity, Bishkek, 2004). book II,
405-417, 424-426 Author’s emphasis added.

18
Leviticus 25:38 (New King James Version). Author’s emphasis
added.

19
Genesis 49:1-6. Kyrgyz still have the custom of taking their
grandson as their own son. The grandson becomes the grandfather’s
youngest son and takes his name.

20
Foltz ,Richard C.; Religions
of the Silk Road
, (St. Martin’s Griffin, New York,
1999) p. 15, 16

21
For more information about Afghanistan read: Parfitt, Tudor “The
Lost Tribes of Israel, the History of a Myth
” (Phoenix,
2003) p. 141. For information about Japan read: Kubo, Arimasa, a
Japanese author who has researched this subject.

22
Exodus 1:8-11

23
Karalaev, Saiakbai, Manas;
Translated by Elmira Kochumkulkizi, Ph.D. Candidate in Near and
Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington (Seattle) lines
2777-2784.

24
Exodus 1:15, 16

25
Exodus 2:1 (English Standard Version). Emphasis
added by author.

26
From a personal interview with
Dr. Khuplam, from the Kuki Tribe in Manipur, India in April
2006: Khuplam had pierced ears.
Kuki boys born circumcised are called “one with an ancient
penis”. Israel accepted the Kuki as descendants of the
biblical Jacob, from the lost tribe of Manasseh in March, 2005.
Also Almambet’s mother, Ainagul pierced his ear to verify his
Kyrgyz identity in “Manas, Kirgizski narodni epos” (Manas, the Kirgiz Popular Epic)
by Semen Lipkin. And, according to Archeologist Kubatbek Tabaldiev
the balbal stones found in Kyrgyzstan reveal carvings of male Kyrgyz
with pierced ears (Tabaldiev, The Stone Carvings at Burana Tower).

27
Similar to Jewish tradition about Moses’ birth.

28
Karalaev, Saiakbai, Manas;
Translated by Elmira Kochumkulkizi, Ph.D. Candidate in
Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington (Seattle)
lines 3994-4000.

29
Karalaev, Saiakbai, Manas;
Translated by Elmira Kochumkulkizi, Ph.D. Candidate in Near and
Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington (Seattle) lines
5249-5257.

30
The Qur’an says Allah hid Jesus on a mountain with springs and
flocks. David also grew up in obscurity, shepherding.

31
Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences; Manas
Encyclopedia
; Vol. II, p. 270.

32
Numbers 10:29 and Exodus 18

33
Orozbakov, Sagymbai, Manas;
Translated by Walter May (Rarity, Bishkek, 2004) Vol. II,
661-664

34
Orozbakov, Sagymbai; Manas;
Translation by Walter May (Rarity, Bishkek, 2004) Vol. II, 709-710.
Emphasis added by author.

35
Orozbakov, Sagymbai; Manas;
Translation by Walter May(Rarity, Bishkek, 2004). Book II,
952-955 Author’s emphasis added.

36
Exodus 12:37 (English Standard Version). Author’s emphasis
added.

37
Numbers 1:45, 46 (New King James Version)

38
Orozbakov, Sagymbai; Manas;
Translation by Walter May (Rarity, Bishkek, 2004) Vol. II,
1009-1016

39
Orozbakov, Sagymbai; Manas;
Translated by Walter May Vol. II, 6439, 6440

40
Exodus 16:1-3 (New King James Version). Author’s emphasis
added.

41
Numbers 21:33-35 (New King James Version). Author’s emphasis
added.

42
Orozbakov, Sagymbai; Manas; Translated by Walter May (Rarity, Bishkek, 2004) Vol. II, 2873,
2874. Author’s emphasis added.

43
Manas Encyclopedia, (Bishkek, 1995) Vol. II, p. 361

44
Deuteronomy 3:1-13 & Orozbakov Vol II, 3072-3083

45
Jakypbek, Ashim “Tengiri Manas” p. 525-526, and Jakiev, Beksultan “Manas
Kyrgyzdardyn Baatirdyk Epocu
” p. 220

46
Deuteronomy 34:5-12

47
Stoloitsa Newspaper, “Why Are You Celebrating the 1000 Anniversary of the Hebrew, Manas?
by Janybek Janyzak, 1995

48
Akerov, Tabyldy; Kutbilim Gazeta, August 28, 2008; p. 13

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