Kükün Nazbekova, Talas region
This text was published in the book ‘Mazar Worship in Kyrgyzstan: Rituals and Practitioner in Talas’ by Aigine, Bishkek, 2007. Translated from Kyrgyz.
During the Soviet time they were persecuting me strongly for three or four years. It was prohibited to treat people, to visit mazars, to all such things. People would come at nights to be treated. There are different people in holding kyrgyzchylyk; some of them keep those patients who could be healed by physicians, not letting them go to doctors, saying that they will recover, will get better. Then that person may die or worsen. If that happens, it would make matters worse as regards prohibitions from going to bübüs, to those who hold kyrgyzchylyk. That is why they did not allow us to treat people, accusing of not having knowledge, saying that there are doctors for healing, etc. They feared us helping females in childbirth, thinking that they would bleed. As for me, I helped about a hundred of women in their childbirth, May God save us; all of them are alive and have recovered. Actually there are also diseases that can be healed by doctors. If for a bübü it is impossible to heal sick persons, she should send them to a doctor or some other person.
In those times I would visit the mazars on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I would visit Manas Ata, Booterek, and a spring of Kanykei’ Apa very much. We did not have much time to visit mazars, fearing that somebody would come but nevertheless we tried to worship.
Even if the Soviet time had been prolonged further, in spite of the fact that prohibitions to these actions went on, kyrgyzchylyk would not have been fully destroyed. No, it will not disappear; it would not have been stopped. This is the will of God and nobody can stop it. Now everybody heals themselves with herbs. Liquorices is good for skin diseases. Animals would eat liquorices in the case of being injured. This was noticed by people and then used by themselves to heal injures.
When I was persecuted and in spite of this, visiting the mazars, my parents would take care of me well; they were not against me but surrounding people were against me. I was not persecuted much. One or two men came to me and told me that I was said to be engaged with kyrgyzchylyk. But I said: “No, darling, I simply help people in taking off kirne (q.v.), nothing more I do”. He insisted that people came to be treated. But I understood what he was doing and said: “No, I do not treat grown people, I treat only children”. Even before that, militia men had come to me but that time I mention now, that person who came was not in his uniform. He had come to me with a special aim – to catch me. Of course, this was not their own idea; they were sent by the authorities, but some of them exaggerated their mission.
At that time I did not go outside of Kyrgyzstan to visit mazars. Once I visited one mazar in Jambyl. There was a mausoleum and a shai’yk inside it. I read Quran and came out. Judging by the presence of the shai’yk there, one can guess that in Kazakhstan it was not prohibited to perform such activities.
My master was a young girl from Kirovka, whose name was Myskal. I would treat children from the beginning. When I was forty years old, I met Myskal, and she told me: “Wear white dresses, otherwise you will fall ill, treat any disease”. My master put only once a white dress on me, only once took me to the mazar. I think that one should have only one master.
I do not have students, I feared to prepare students. It is dangerous to prepare students if they do not keep kyrgyzchylyk up to the end, if they do not go the right way, and if they do not practice it with pure heart. If one is a master s/he has to control him until her/his student becomes stronger than his master; and you should help him reach that honor. He himself also should improve himself, and have his own direction.
When one is on this way he should have a master. There are different ways of kyrgyzchylyk: one may become an ai’tymchy (q.v.), while others heal with herbs. For example, if one is ai’tymchy, he tells the future, he cannot help telling it. His master would remind him not to speak of the person loudly in the presence of other people, and to call that person of whom you are speaking and speak to him in a low voice. He will show by example. If one does not have a master, he could lose his way, what we call as tabypchylyk (q.v.) is of different kinds. There were those who told me to be their master. I tell them to follow the way of God; if I make them my students I would need to bring them to that level as well. If they manage with it, it will be good, but what if not?
Based on the interview of Nazira Satisheva, a student of the Talas State University, Department of History