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 Cult of the god Bindu

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PostSubject: Cult of the god Bindu   Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:02 pm

Ancient beliefs of the Illyrian tribes which inhabited Bosnia and Herzegovina remained present in folk beliefs, mostly connected to the cult of water healing, in which the god Bindu is clearly manifested. When one analyses the folk cult of healing and the practice of it, which is essentially pagan in nature, then it is difficult to explain how that ancient system managed to survive in Bosnia especially in the midst of a strong expansion of Christianity and later Islam?! However, the answer should be sought in the fact that Christianity, especially after the appearance of Bogomils, or Islam had enough influence to fully assimilate the Bosnian people and to fully disengage them from the ancient Illyrian religion. And that it is true is perhaps best shown by the cult of god Bindu.

As it is known god Bindu was the god of springs of the Bosnian Illyrians whose spring-temples were found all over modern Bosnia and Herzegovina and the neighbouring Croatia. One of the best preserved holly places was found in Privilice near Bihać which is located in nature, next to a spring. At that location dozens of dedicated sacrifices to Binud were excavated, as well as a chapel with numerous animal bones sacrificed in his honour.

In the ritual practice of pilgrimage towards springs one can notice the influence of three religious cults of the Bosnian Illyrians: cult of the sun, cult of the moon and cult of Bindu.

Cult of the sun: the largest number of holly and salutary springs are located on the east side of the settlement. One would visit it exclusively at dawn, before sunrise, in order to pray, wash one's face and drink water. In such a way the diseased would expect the blessing of the sun which would shine the light and warmness on the person once it rose from the east.

Cult of the moon: the holly springs were visited in the first week of the new moon, precisely on odd days i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Cult of Bindu: after washing their faces and drinking water or placing it into vessels and carrying it home, the diseased would leave some money next to the streams, usually coins, food, eggs or they would hang some of their clothes on the nearby branches.

In the mentioned descriptions of rituals one can notice influences of three deities, which could point to the fact that Bindu was the son of the sun god and moon goddess and as their son he represented the perfect example of vitality and health which gives life and defeats evil, in this case over diseases. The sun that would appear in the east in the morning, according to folk belief the sun was "born", and the first seven days after the appearance of the new moon undoubtedly point to the idea of renewal of life energy, health and generally luck and prosperity. The sick would ask for blessings from the heavenly deities who again resurrected in their eternal cycles and the manifestation of their divine power was exactly the water over which Bindu had patronage and power.
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PostSubject: Re: Cult of the god Bindu   Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:04 pm

During the beginning of the 20thcentury, Emilian Lilek, a professor from Sarajevo, recorded a dozen examples of spring worshiping in Bosnia, the springs were equated with healing powers. His ethnological work has been published in the National Museum BIH under the title "Religious antiquities from Bosnia and Herzegovina" in the chapter "Water worship". Examples that professor Lilek gathered and recorded have, besides their ethnological value, a historic significance because they confirm the long practice of worshiping the cult of god Bindu, deity of the Bosnian Illyrians to whom spring were dedicated i.e. natural temples.

It is clear that the Bosnian people haven't forgotten about the religious practice of their ancestors which survived despite numerous restless decades which were characterised by the arrival of the Slavs and monotheism. In all of the descriptions one can clearly see the practice of pilgrimage towards the streams whose water was considered to have healing properties as well as the practice of leaving money as a gift, food or a piece of clothing which was a substitute for human or animal sacrifice. Behind such a ritual there existed a belief in a supernatural being, whose name was forgotten by the people, and to whom a sacrificial offering had to be made in order to get help i.e. help from disease.

The following are only some of the examples given by professor Lilek:

On the left side of the river Miljacka there is a spring Pišće-water, from which you mustn't drink until you leave some money next to the stream or a piece of one's clothing. Bosnian women visit Pišće-water before sunrise, leaving money next to the spring, and tying pieces of clothing onto the branches of the willow next to the stream.

Catholic women visit the stream above Kovačević before sunrise and leave some money there.

In Tešanj there is a stream outside the city where the Bosnian women bring their sick children, and bathe them in that water. When they head home they leave some money next to the stream, or they take off a piece of clothing from the child and leave it next to the spring.

In Travnik there is a spring called Safa's source and it is visited by Muslim's and Christian's alike, especially around May 6th, in particular those that have headaches or fever. They bathe themselves at the spring. When they head home they throw some money in the water or leave a piece of clothing there.

In Pritoka next to Bihać there is a spring which is visited by sick people in order to bathe in it. If a diseased arrives who is also a sinner, the water from the spring disappears immediately, but if a man without large sins comes the water appears in order for him to bathe in it. The spring is gifted with money, clothes, etc.

Next to Modriča there is a spring called Šičara. When someone has a fever, one visits the spring in the first week of the new moon's appearance, Wednesday or Friday, and it bathes in its waters before sunrise. One leaves some money next to the spring or hangs a piece of its clothing onto a tree next to the spring.

In Tuzla there is a spring called Istočnik, Christians visit it during Friday or Wednesday, in the first week of the new moon's appearance. They bathe at the spring and leave some money or some food.
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