4/29/2011

Igbo Spirituality

The traditional philosophy and religious beliefs of the Nri like that of other Igbo peoples, are interwoven and centered on five interdependent major concepts which are as follows: Chukwu, Alusi, Uwa, and Ike Mmadu….


Chukwu is the Great Creator of all things. The Great Creator has four major aspects which are manifestations of his existence. First, Chukwu is Anyanwu, in the symbolic meaning of the sun. Nri believe that as the sun's light is everywhere so is the presence of Chukwu manifested everywhere; as the sun is all powerful so is Chukwu all powerful and as the sun is the light that reveals things so is Chukwu the source of knowledge. Secondly, Chukwu is Agbala, manifested in the fertility of the earth and the beings that inhabit it. Thirdly, Chukwu is Chi, manifested in the power and ability of living things to procreate themselves from generation to generation. Fourthly, Chukwu is Okike, manifested in the
creation of everything visible and the invisible. Chukwu as Okike creates the laws that govern the visible and the invisible. These laws are neither good or bad. They are simple laws that enable things to work. Both good and evil are the products of the invisible beings and forces, the Alusi."


 NRI KINGDOM AND HEGEMONY, A.D. 994 TO PRESENT.
By Maazi M. A. Onwuejeogwu (Prof.)
“The spirituality of the Igbo is not founded upon man but for man: he does not make attempts to equate God to man. No man, we believe, is so good that he should be deified, considered God, or even worshiped as a special son or prophet of God. Consequently, you cannot find a human in Igbo spirituality who is the prototype of Jesus Christ, Buddha, or Bahai. All these were humans whose character ranked highest in their respective and contemporary communities. Igbo has produced men and women of similar noble lives, but they were never deified, because a real God is invisible and superhuman.
If it is necessary to give a name to the Igbo spiritual systemso that it may be more clearly understood by those who like definitions, the word is OMENANA. It is a system which holds that man's activities are limitable by what is good for all. The name comes from the word  ana, which, as I told earlier in connection with the functions of the village leader called amana, means the earth, the soil, the land, and also custom, tradition, law, constitution. Doing things in conformity with the constitution of the land or the good of all is called Omenana.
For us, religion and law are unalterably interdependent. Religion establishes the social reason for the ideal, while law or government regulates how the ideal can be attained."


My Africa
By Maazi Mbonu Ojike

"Man is MMA NDU - the crown of creation, the beauty of life, and the glory of creation. Conceiving man in this highly romanticized way, the lgbo granted him the greatest possible right to autonomous existence. Hence the Igbo concept of the self is ONWE, a contraction of two words "ONYE NWE”" The (own) possessor "OWN LORDSHIP". The lgbo sees a given human being as "ONWE YA" a lord unto himself. To lose freedom to the proper lgbo is, therefore, a logical equivalent of death. And he would prefer the death option, under situations of un-freedom, as history shows. To understand the Igbo or the lgbo worldview is to empathize with these ideas. When the lgbo say that the kolanut cannot speak other than lgbo language he means that some of these fundamental concepts are not easy to translate to other languages.


To the lgbo FREEDOM IS LIFE .
To be enslaved, to be owned by another is to not be. To become a living dead - O di ndu onwu ka mma!
A society in which individuals are granted such far-reaching freedom would be chaotic, pure anarchy, unless there is a counter-balancing force.


This force is TRUTH.
I recently showed in a paper, "Dynamics of Truth Within lgbo Cosmology" that the Igbo conceive of Truth as analogous to ORDER and falsehood as analogous to CHAOS. This conception, which marries the hearts of philosophy and modern science, allowed the lgbo to make an equation between truth and life - EZIOKWU BU NDU! Because truth equals life, which is the supreme value and because man is granted freedom for being the crown-of-creation, the ancient lgbo held the values of I. LIFE, ii. TRUTH, and iii. FREEDOM extremely dear and do not subject them to compromise. Many things the lgbo do and did, historically, derive from the logics of these values and their relationships. The Igbo individual might deviate from them, but he cannot defend his action within an lgbo community or carry lgbo people along…
But the culture would not accept achievements, except through the IKENGA-FRAMEWORK of UPRIGHT ACHIEVEMENT. This reconciles the need for material independence and sanctity of Truth."
World Struggles for a Just World.
By Maazi Chidi G. Osuagwu, PhD.

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