A Comparison Of Two Cultures The Mongols

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A Comparison Of Two Cultures: The Mongols And The Pakistanis Essay, Research Paper In the following paper, I will be comparing the five institutions between the Mongols and the Pakistanis, discussing the unique qualities that distinguish these cultures from one another. These five institutions include topics such as religion, economics, education, politics, and family. Religion The Mongols religious beliefs and practices come into the category that is usually called Shamanism. I find that a shaman can be best described as being a tribal witch doctor. Shamanism involves a solitary practitioner that uses the aids of psychotropic herbs and hypnotic drumming in order for him to travel to the “spirit world.” Once there, he is able to retrieve the help and spiritual guidance

that the tribal society needs. Shamanism seems to have originated from ancestor worship. Images of the ancestors, called ongghot, were kept in the family’s tents, and were thought to provide protection if satisfied. The shaman had an elevated position in the society, wore white and rode a white horse, and carried as insignia as staff and a drum. His function were intercession with the spirits, various kinds of exorcism, the recital of blessings over herds, hunters, children and had the gift of prophecy. Prophecies were carried out by burning the shoulder blades of sheep and examining the cracks that resulted. Among the shamanist devotee’s rituals was the worship of high places, since from there was an uninterrupted access to heaven (tengri.) the devotee would kneel nine times

on top of the chosen hill, with his head uncovered and his belt around his neck. A necessary supplement in understanding Mongolian shamanism is the large number of orally transmitted hymns and prayers. The Mongol’s lack of religious ethnocentricity is demonstrated in one of their most praised characteristics, their strict policy of religious tolerance. Toleration is achieved through indifference, by a feeling that any religion might be right, and also by the fact that nomadic society was accustomed to the practice of many religions. Today, one sixth of the world and 95 percent of the people of Pakistan are Muslim. Most Muslims in Pakistan take religion much more seriously than Americans or Europeans do. There are much fewer agnostics or freethinkers in Pakistan than there are

in the West. For most Pakistanis, religion is not so much a matter of individual belief as it is a matter of revealed truth and a lifetime duty. A quarter of all Pakistanis pray five times a day. Many more pray at least once a day. The times a day when a crier, or an amplified taped recording of a crier, gives the azan, or prayer call, are just before dawn, after noon, an hour before sunset, about an hour after sunset, and about two and a half hours after sunset. Before entering a mosque (a Muslim temple) men take their sandals off at the entrance. (Women usually do not go to mosques.) Then they wash their hands and feet at an outdoor basin before and imam (priest) leads them on prayer. A rural imam is usually a poorly educated man who teaches children to read the Qur’an

(religious book), delivers sermons on Fridays, deeps up the grounds of the mosque, and presides at weddings and funerals, like his father and grandfather did before him. Villagers commonly call their imam a “mullah,” but in cities this is considered to be a disrespectful term to use. In an urban mosque, the imam who leads prayers is more likely to be a maulvi, someone who is educated in the scripture and doctrines of Islam, or a maulana, a maulvi who has studied at the highest lever. Imams, Maulvis, and maulvanas together are known as the ulems, or clergy, even though there is no organized faction of clerics in Islam, except among members of the Siha sect. Prayers are in Arabic (learned from memory) and usually last about 15 minutes. One of an imam’s most common sayings