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Religion of the Turko-Mongolic Steppe / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Tengrism (also known as Tengriism, Tengerism, or Tengrianism) is an ethnic Turkic, Yeniseian, Mongolic religion originating in the Eurasian steppes, based on shamanism and animism. It generally involves the titular sky god Tengri,[1] who is not considered a deity in the usual sense but a personification of the universe.[2] According to some scholars, adherents of Tengrism view the purpose of life to be in harmony with the universe.[3]

Peak of Khan Tengri at sunset

It was the prevailing religion of the Tujue, Xianbei, Bulgars, Xiongnu, Huns and possibly the Hungarians, as well as the state religion of several medieval states: the First Turkic Khaganate, the Western Turkic Khaganate, the Eastern Turkic Khaganate, Old Great Bulgaria, the First Bulgarian Empire, Volga Bulgaria, Khazaria, and the Mongol Empire. In the Irk Bitig, a ninth century manuscript on divination, Tengri is mentioned as Türük Tängrisi (God of Turks).[4] According to many academics, Tengrism was, and to some extent still is, a predominantly polytheistic religion based on shamanistic concept of animism, and was first influenced by monotheism during the imperial period, especially by the 12th–13th centuries.[5] Abdulkadir Inan argues that Yakut and Altai shamanism are not entirely equal to the ancient Turkic religion.[6]

The term also describes several contemporary Turkic and Mongolic native religious movements and teachings. All modern adherents of "political" Tengrism are monotheists.[7] Tengrism has been advocated for in intellectual circles of the Turkic nations of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan with Kazakhstan) and the Russian federation (Tatarstan, Bashkortostan) since the dissolution of the Soviet Union during the 1990s. Still practiced, it is undergoing an organized revival in Buryatia, Sakha (Yakutia), Khakassia, Tuva and other Turkic nations in Siberia. Altaian Burkhanism and Chuvash Vattisen Yaly are contemporary movements similar to Tengrism.

The term tengri can either refer to the sky deity or refer also to other deities (compare this with the concept of Kami). Tengrism includes the worship of the tngri (gods), with Tenger Etseg ( – also Gök Tengri; Sky father, Blue sky). While other deities, such as Ülgen or Kaira, are personified gods, Tengri is an "abstract phenomenon".[8]:23

In the Mongolian folk religion, Genghis Khan is considered one of the embodiments, if not the main embodiment, of Tengri's will.[9]