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The use of Katus in our rituals : Story in Mundhum (part 1)

The Mundhum says that in ancient times mother deity Sumnima, in order to protect mankind and to make the Mangpa ( Khambu shaman ) powerful , gave life to five important plants . She then gave order to the first mangpa (Salutli) to use these five plants during all the rituals.
1. Waahi /वाहि: ( Musure Katus / मुसुरे कतुस ) for protection and represents purity.
2. Raahaang / राहाङ : (Bhalayo/ भलायो ) to be used on the enemies.
3. Selle / सेल्ले : ( Amliso / अंम्लिसो ) to be used as weapon during war.
4. Tampu / तम्पु : ( Kaulo / काउलो ) used to block the path of the enemies/ souls
5. Seula / सुक्सङ: (jhakri seula/ झाक्री सेउला )
Sakaikwaa / सकैक्वा : ( Ghungring/ घुङ्रिङ ) to look at the enemies / souls

Waahi (Musure Katus), scientific name is Castanopsis tribuloides, belongs to the Fagaceae family. This plant is found mainly in Burma (Myanmar), China, India, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.

In Khambu Rai culture the leaf of Katus rather than the tree is considered very important. The leaf of the Katus is considered to be the purest among plants. Having a leaf in your possession gives you protection from evil eye and black magic. As a symbol of purity, leaves and twigs of the Katus is used by Sili dancers during Sakela.

It is said that in the ancient times there was no barrier between the living and the spirit world. Occurrences of conjugation between the living and the other worldly spirits became common. This created a great imbalance in nature. It was then that the generation of the Katus tree brought equilibrium in the two worlds by creating a barrier between the two worlds.

Hence Katus leaves are used in all the important rituals and sewa (pooja) of the Khambus.

This plant has its own medicinal uses, The bark of this plant is applied to cure snake bites. The bark paste is also applied on the chest to cure chest pains.

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