Do you know which is the oldest religion in the World? Sanamahism is the oldest religion in the World. Lainingthou Sanamahi is the supreme deity in Sanamahi religion.
Hinduism conquered most of South Asian Nations, Islam conquered several middle east nations and Christianity conquered almost entire world. But, Sanamahism conquered Universe.
Sanamahism started in Meetei Leibak (now Manipur) and mainly worships by the Meetei tribes inhabiting in Manipur, Assam, Tripura, Myanmar, Bangladesh and other Northeastern Indian states.
With the dawn of proto history, group of early men started to settle in groups ( during the New Stone Age) and they have been worshiping natural gods like the Sun, Water, Sky etc.
Islam and Christianity are new two new religions. But, they started invading new land and people. Sanamahism never invaded nor forced other people to adopt.
The Lai people or the Meetei people followed Sanamahism. Meetei worships natural objects and later regarded Sanamahi – the son of “Tengbanba Mapu” as the supreme deity.
How old is Sanamahism?
Written evidence says that Meetei people first settled in Koubru mountains. From the hills, the Meetei (also called Lai people) descended to the valley and made civilizations in Kangla.
Ningthou Kangba established his kingdom at Kangmong village near Nambol Keithel of Imphal West District. He lived around 2000 BC. It is believed that Sanamahism also started to develop from his reign.
Archaeological finding suggests that oldest religion in the World existed more than 20,000 years ago. Early inhabitants at Koubru peak and the Kangla suggest the ages of this oldest religion in the World.
Several kings of Meetei Leibak – Nongda Lairen Pakhangba, Ura Konthouba, Loyumba, Ayangba, Kiyamba, Ningthoukhomba and Mungyamba have promoted Sanamahi region. This religion reached its zenith during the reign of Ningthou Khagemba.
However, Sanamahism began to decline when Maharaj Garibaniwaz ascended the throne, renaming Kangleipak into Manipur.
The king embraces Ramandi religion and destroyed holy puyas (scriptures, books and documents).
The Manipur king even demolished the Umang Lai and Lainingthou Sanamahi etc. Thus, Sanamahi religion was forced to decline till 1930.
Revival of Sanamahism in Manipur
The year 1930 is the revivalism of Sanamahi religion in Kangleipak. Naorem Phulo (also known as Naoriya Phulo) founded an organisation called “Apokpa Marup” in 1930.
Thus, the oldest religion in the World got its revival. People started to follow the religion again. Today, less than five lakh Meetei followed Sanamahism.
Indeed, this is one of the oldest religion in the World, also a minority religion in India. The Manipur government and the Central Government of India have recognised Sanamahism.
Later, the Manipur government constituted the Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple Board Act 1976 to protect and safeguard Lainingthou Sanamahi shrine inside the First Manipur Rifle Compound in Imphal.
Now, we need to promote our religion. We are fortunate to have our own religion, which is a symbol of rich civilisation and cultural heritage.
And we are also proud to have Sanamahism which is the oldest religion in the World!