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- This article is part of Project Genesis
Ainism is a Korati monotheistic religion which developed in The Korat in the 42nd century from the teachings of the messianic Ematan of the Valley, who proposed that God (known as Ai or Aina) exists as a singular pantheistic being manifested in all that exists. This fundamental belief developed in opposition to the quaternary nature of God proposed by Ramvokism, and led to Ematan being branded a heretic in many parts of Kai-Meridia whilst undergoing his missionary voyages. Today, Ainism is the world's largest religion, having over 2.9 billion adherents, and is most practiced in the regions of Assai and Tersa in central and southern Kai-Meridia. As an Ematanist religion, many of the key beliefs of Ainism are related to the teachings of Ematan of the Valley and his disciples, who preached throughout Assai, Cadisia, Tersa, and Riden throughout the 42nd century. Of these teachings, beliefs surrounding the Path of Ematan and attainment of Ematsu (literally 'Ubiquity', or congruency with Ai) are most important, as are beliefs in reincarnation and the force of Aeos operating in opposition to Ai.
Key to Ainist theology is a belief in the two opposing pantheistic beings of the universe - Ai, who represents passivity and life; and Aeos, who represents chaos and agency. Although a number of creation myths exist within differing Ainist traditions, it is generally believed that the world was created by Ai from the Void (that is, the nothingness that exists outside of the material universe) as the First (or Great) Sphere, in which all souls (called Hashiir in Old Church Koratic, that being the traditional language of the Ainist faith) existed in total harmony and spiritual ecstasy with Ai. Shortly after the creation of the Great Sphere, the being of Aeos entered into the world and broke the Sphere, creating Sabel and fracturing the until then unified Hashiir into numerous Taar, or 'Fragments'. Some fragments became aligned with Ai, while others became aligned with Aeos to create an imbalance of spirits and the ending of spiritual congruency with Ai. As such, free will and the capacity for both good and evil were introduced into the world. Through the teachings of Ematan of the Valley, who is believed by all Ainists to be either the direct mortal manifestation of Ai or enlightened by him, the Path of Ematan was revealed to humans which allowed the Taar within one's soul to be realigned until reaching a state of Ematsu, or total spiritual unification with Ai, and thereby the end of all suffering. Ainists believe that all souls exist in a state of reincarnation until, inevitably, a soul becomes entirely aligned with Ai or Aeos, at which point that soul is no longer reborn and becomes imbued with their master spirit. It is this believe in reincarnation and the ultimate goal of life being to assure spiritual happiness that forms the basis of the teachings of Ematan of the Valley as well as the system of ethics and traditions within Ainism as a whole.
Within Ainism a number of key religious practices and rituals also exist which are largely derived from these aforementioned beliefs on metaphysics and spirituality. The religious lives of Ainist practitioners are largely governed by their adherence to the Path of Ematan and its four so called Great Rites - Etayandi, or purification of the mind; Karandi, or purification of the body; Ritoandi, or purification of society; and Tarandi, or purification of the soul. Each of these Rites consists of a number of different rituals which usually take place over the entirety of one's lifetime, and are supplemented by participation in auxiliary Lesser Rites, which include Saratai (mass), First Annointment, any number of three types of Marriage, and Burial. Also intrinsic to Ainism is a belief in the power of Heshhari (spirits) in everyday life, with Hashiir of either Ai or Aeos often being called in ritual to assist with numerous tasks, often associated with the summoning of Greater Heshhari such as the Erakai and Dzar (good and evil spirits respectively). Spirits thus play an important role in both the more academic theology and popular mythology of Ainism as a religion.
Ainism as a religion has played an important role in the history of the various regions which have adopted it, particularly in Western Assai and Riden, where it saw violent religious conflict against the earlier religion of Ramvokism. As a religion which places heavy emphasis on developing an understanding of the universe (particularly as a result of the belief that all physical objects are imbued with a spirit), the Ainist church has oftentimes facilitated the development of some of the most technologically advanced societies in Sabel, as well as fostering the establishment of some of Sabel's oldest scientific institutions, such as the Ákadiras in Ria. As the largest religion in the world, Ainism has also seen throughout its history numerous splits and schisms which have resulted in the establishment of many different Ainist institutions, the largest of which are Assai Ainism, with over 700 million adherents led by the Tsai of Ria; Reformed Southern Ainism, with some 400 million adherents led by the Great Aikazc of Warczebs; the Church of Safira, with around 100 million adherents led by the Tsai of Safira; Kainism, with around 150 million adherents throughout Riden; and the Church of Tersa, with around 80 million adherents throughout Tersa.
Ai and Aeos
Ainists believe that the universe exists in its entirety as a single omnipotent and omnipresent being known as Ai (or in some traditions, Aina). Ai is believed to be androgynous, eternal, and passive in that it does not directly interfere with happenings in the world, and imbues everything with its existence. Contrary to Ai exists an opposing force referred to as Aeos, which is equally androgynous and eternal. Aeos represents the manifestation of the Void that exists outside of all which is Ai, and is the agent of Chaos within the realms of existence. Thus, Ainists believe in the dualistic nature of the universe as belonging to two opposing but complementary beings, each of which hope for total control of the universe. Ainists believe that life represents the struggle between both Ai and Aeos in their attempts to achieve this aforementioned total control, that being either the complete absorption of everything into the unity and ecstasy of Ai for eternity (ie, the attainment of a state of complete peace and passivity, in which nothing changes forever), a state called Ematsu (or 'Ubiquity'); or a state of complete chaos and the joining of the universe with the Void, which is called Kyorasku (or 'Destruction'). It is this belief, generally referred to as the 'Great Conflict' by Ainist Theologians, that forms the most basic tenet of the Ainist faith across all its denominations, and which similarly distinguishes Ainism from its predecessor of Ramvokism.
It is important to realise that these two 'deities' within Ainism are not antagonistic and do not represent moral polarities (ie, a being of supreme good and evil), but rather polarities of agency. Ai represents that which is eternal and unchanging, that which can never be altered and remains in the persistent ecstasy of purity and perfection; whilst Aeos represents agency and that which can bring about change, or chaos. As such, then, free will is itself a product of Aeos, whilst stagnancy is a product of Ai. Within Ainism every object, whether living or otherwise, is believed to have a spirit called a Hashiir in Old Church Koratic, that being the language of Ainism's holy scriptures. Every Hashiir is itself a patchwork of Taar, or 'Fragments', belonging to the collective spirit of either Ai or Aeos. The balance of Taar within an individual Hashiir determines that object or being's level of agency. Objects or beings which have the most free will and capacity to cause change are considered to have a greater number of Fragments of Aeos than Fragments of Ai, and vice versa.From a mythological perspective, Ai is also seen as the creator of the universe, which was, in the beginning, of perfect proportion and quality. Ai is seen within all Korati Religions as the epitome of that which is beautiful and perfect, with the 'First World', or 'Perfect Sphere' (that being the first creation of Ai, see Cosmology), existing in what is termed "rapture of perfection" - that is, its beauty was so perfect and great that all that existed within it achieved perfect happiness. It is important to note that within the Perfect Sphere no 'life' as we would understand it existed (ie, no beings with agency such as animals), rather the world considered of souls and light in complete harmony and spiritual ecstasy. This notion of the 'Congruency of Souls' is very important within Ainism, an idea which postulates that true spiritual happiness comes from the union of an individual soul with that of Ai.
|“||For from the depths of the Abyss came the quiet voice of Ai, who in his might and infiniteness called forth a sphere of perfect proportion and quality, so as to make all the souls of the universe come into being within the perfect balance and ecstasy of Ai's divine creation. They were at one with him, and as such were at one with all that had come from the Darkness.||”|
|— The Book of the Dawn, Part 1 - 1:4-5|
It is this first state of being which, to Ainists, represents the ultimate goal of all existence as the manifestation of Providence, as this state of the divine bliss of souls was lost by the appearance of Aeos shortly after the creation of the universe. The Book of Dawn, itself the first book of The Books of the Morning as part of Ainist scripture, describes the insidious manifestation of Aeos as a being from the Void created from the same source as Ai itself:
|“||And from the Great Darkness there seeped through a being of equal source to Ai himself who is named Aeos, the Bringer of Change. And in the rending of the Great Sphere corruption was brought to the souls of Ai, which were fragmented into the creatures and objects of the Earth ... For the Darkness had broken the Great Sphere and brought about Sabel, where souls now roamed between the Spheres of Ai and Aeos and searched for new meaning in the First Dawn of time.||”|
|— The Book of the Dawn, Part 1 - 2:8-9, 12|
Ainists hence see the world as having being created perfect by Ai but then being corrupted by Aeos, the manifestation of chaos and change. It is this rending of the First Sphere which saw the breaking of souls in Taar, and as such the creation of beings with agency and the capacity to cause change. Ainists believe that the ultimate goal of all existence on Sabel is to end the Great Conflict of Taar by achieving one of two states - Ematsu, or total congruency with Ai, which is achieved by eliminating Fragments of Aeos within one's soul by following the Path of Ematan; or Kyorasku, or total congruency with Aeos, which is achieved by eliminating Fragments of Ai within one's soul by causing chaos. The achievement of any one of these states by all souls will result in the End of the World, in which time will be frozen forever and the universe shall remain in an eternal state dominated by either Ai or Aeos in the Second Great Sphere, which may or may not be broken again to bring about the Second World, or a repeated breaking of souls and renewed desire to achieve either Ematsu or Kyorasku. It is important to note that Ematan of the Valley and his disciples preached of the attainment of Ematsu rather than Kyorasku, and as such the vast majority of all Ainist sects follow similar principles of ethics and ritual to achieve permanent spiritual peace. Some radical groups exist however which aim to achieve Kyorasku, and do so through the committing of violent acts and attempted social upheaval. Interestingly, throughout history it was widely believed that Zhautan, the God of the Vespian religion of Zheaniism, was the manifestation of Aeos on Sabel, and that the Black Scourge of the Vespians represented the attempts of Aeos to disrupt the universe and bring about Kyorasku.
Ematan of the Valley
- Main Article: Ematan of the Valley.
Ainism is an Ematanist Religion, meaning it derives its theological foundations from the teachings of the ancient Korati prophet, philosopher, Rájija, and teacher Ematan of the Valley. Ematan is believed by orthodox Ainists to be the Manifestation of Ai on Sabel, that is, Ematan represented the actual word and teachings of Ai himself, although some denominations of Ainism believe that Ematan was not a direct manifestation of Ai but rather enlightened by him (see Manifestation-Enlightenment Schism). As a central figure within Ainist theology, the life and teachings of Ematan have been extensively studied and discussed, with many different interpretations of his teachings existing. However, a number of key tenets regarding his divine nature and the truthfulness of his teachings have come to be regarded as accurate within Ainist theology, particularly in regards to the Path of Ematan and Ematan's writings.
Ematan was born as Emhatan ezh'Shahir in the small town of Shahayish (Emrit for 'The Valley') in what is now the Talozh District of the Republic of Zhatsai in northern Western Assai around 4154 Ʋ. At the time, Shahayish was part of the Korati Theocracy led by a Ramvokist Priest-King in the city of Samatar. Religious separatism within the four Cults of Ramvokism had begun to become more and more aggressive, eventuating in The Rupturing in 4201 Ʋ after the teachings of Ematan throughout the Korat triggered extensive religious upheaval and renewed proselytism. Much of the early life of Ematan remains unknown, with only few sources elaborating on the topic in the Books of Ematan (notably the Books of Maarbakh and Ashar Nivosh), which describe Ematan as having grown up in an agrarian family and having being educated in the local Osobu. Ematan was brought up as a Ramvokist of the Sonderi Sect, as was the dominant sect of southern Zhatsai, although became well appointed with scripture regarding all four Goddesses as he entered adolescence and reportedly became increasingly interested in religion and Ramvokist doctrine.According to the Book of Maarbakh, an account written by one of The Fourteen disciples of Ematan, Ematan was training to become a Rájija of the Cult of Sonder when he became 'opened' to Ai. Here, the word 'opened' is the closest translation of the original Old Koratic word marakush, which can mean 'to be enlightened of', 'to become possessed by', or 'to realise a goal' - an issue of translation which later resulted in the theological Manifestation-Enlightenment schism of later centuries. According to Maarbakh and other members of The Fourteen who also describe this 'opening' of Ematan, Ematan had traveled to the mountain village of Sazhaar for a family wedding where he became lost travelling through the Korati Mountains. Stuck in the cold and snow of the mountains in the midwinter, Ematan became increasingly lost as he diverged from the small and ill-defined mountain path, until stumbling upon a Great Lake that seemed frozen in the midst of springtime:
|“||And Emhatan found himself suddenly under the warmth of two springtime suns, their light glittering on the deep silver of a Great Lake. All around him the winter had disappeared and been replaced by blossoming flowers and young and pregnant animals, all of which presented themselves before him and bowed their joyful faces. And suddenly an impulse overfilled Emhatan so that he was driven to take off his rucksack and descend into the still waters, which held within themselves the Great Mysteries of the universe ... For within the waters of Ai Emhatan was opened ... he saw the Great Spheres and the Heshheri were commanded unto him, and the quiet voice of Ai became one with his own, unending and omnipotent in its quietness.||”|
|— The Book of Maarbakh, 4:18-20, 22, 24.|
Having been 'opened' to the will of Ai, Ematan returned to the Osobu of his hometown of Sahayish where he TBD, symbolising his rejection of Ramvokism and its teachings regarding the quaternary nature of Ai/Jäh. Ematan began to preach, teaching of a new idea of who Ai was and of the nature of Hashiir and Taar. As Ematan began to travel throughout Talozh he performed miracles at small towns, summoning Heshhari and allowing reincarnated Hashiir to speak to their children. As Ematan preached he accumulated followers, the first of which were his brother Eyosh and Ashar Nivosh, a local of Shahayish. Ematan and his disciples made their way to the regional capital of Talozh in western Zhatsai, where he preached to large crowds in front of the Great Osobu. According to the Book of Basknaan, another of The Fourteen disciples of Ematan, a great crowd mustered in anger against Ematan's teachings, which they decreed were blasphemy. They desired to arrest him, as did the powerful local rulers of the Osobu. Ematan however, resisting arrest, summoned the Great Erakai named Eyash, who, as a great spirit of Ai, spoke to the crowd of the truth of Ematan's words. Amazed, the people were converted in what would be termed the Miracle of Talozh. Two more disciples joined Ematan, Basknaan and Hjantaar, and Ematan began the first of his journeys towards the Korati capital of Samatar.
The Journeys of Ematan
- Main Article: Ematan of the Valley#The Journeys of Ematan.
According to the books of Ematan, written largely by his various apostles known collectively as The Fourteen, Ematan and his increasingly large group of followers then set out from Talozh on a number of journeys to spread Ematan's new teachings. Ematan firstly headed north throughout much of the northern Korat, ultimately arriving in Samatar around 4177 Ʋ, where he was immediately arrested for heresy by the Supreme Rájiji of the Cult of Samatar. While in prison, Ematan is described as receiving his second set of visions, describing the beginnings of discordance among the people of Sable and its eventual causation of a number of catastrophic events. These events, whilst being vaguely described in a number of books of Ematan, are believed by many to have described key scenes of destruction of Korati culture in future centuries, including the second Vespian invasion of the Korat, War of the Four Circles, and, it is believed, the Great Assai War. Concurrently to Ematan's receiving of these visions, the four closest of Ematan's apostles - Eyosh, Basknaan, Ashar Nivosh, and Hjantaar organised Ematan's escape from prison. Upon being released, Ematan ran to the Pillar of Ram in the center of Samatar's Temple District, where he began to speak to the crowd assembled there:
|“||"And, standing on a small platform that had earlier been erected for the purpose of selling Asars, Ematan began to speak unto the crowd ... and though they heard him they were unmoved by his words, and began to cry with great vehemence "kill the blasphemer! Stop these vile words!" ... and seeing that they would not believe his words alone Ematan ventured that a miracle would be necessary ... to convert the fiery crowd. And so, taking great care unto his words, Ematan began a prayer to AI, most whole, to bring down a sign from Ubiquity ... And thence appeared the greatest of Erikai, Balis Qhatar, brother of Istrak and Parakhensaar, Highest of servants to the Most Whole, who bedecked himself in the Jewels of the Everything, and thus blinded the ten thousand in his Glory ... And thus he said: "This is He who is All, and to whom All is Destiny. Listen to Him", and thereby disappeared into the Aether above."||”|
|— The Book of Hathan, 3:14, 16, 18-20, 22-25|
Ematan's miracle, and subsequent Sermon of the Ten Thousand, thereby saw the near complete conversion of Samatar to Ainism. Having successfully converted the capital of the Korati Theocracy, Ematan and his followers then set out for the far lands of Tersa, where they would continue to preach. While in Tersa and elsewhere, Ematan's followers would continue to write to the leaders in the Korat, as Ainism rapidly spread outwards from Samatar and Talozh throughout much of the north-western Korat.
Thus began Ematan's journeys in earnest. Ematan and his followers returned to Samatar in 4189 Ʋ from Tersa, where Ematan and his followers were imprisoned and famously branded for heresy with the Ecis (X), a symbol still used by many Ainists today as a symbol of their faith. Heading subsequently southwards towards the city of Ria in what is now Euros, Ematan and his followers then departed for the Riden Peninsular and Kaishuri, where their conflicts with Ramvokists led to the conversion of a small minority of Ainists west of Kaishuri that remains strong to this day. Ematan then returned to Western Assai, travelling southwards from the Assai capital of Ashe (now Old Assai) to the Kholen capital of Warczebs. There, Ematan's teachings would later be used to found the Southern Ainist Church, based under the leadership of the Great Aikazc of Warczebs, which would spread throughout Southern Assai via missionary orders under the First Assai Empire.
From Warczebs, Ematan then headed to the far north-east of Western Assai, where he and his apostles founded what is now the holy city of Vbarskoj in the north-east of Metsia. Ematan remained at Vbarskoj for some 30 years, meditating and teaching to those who came to him from the surrounding lands and mountains. It was here that Ematan developed most of his later philosophy surrounding the Path of Ematan, and where many of his followers began to write down much of his theology. Principally, three key documents emerged from this period - the Book of Merzesis, the Book of Nevak, and the Books of the Evening, the later being a set of apocalyptic texts describing the end of the world. Collectively, these documents form the foundation of many worship practices performed by Ainists today, and Vbarskoj remains an important pilgrimage site within the Ainist tradition.
In 4249 Ʋ, aged 73 years old, Ematan and his surviving followers set out for their final journey to Cadisia. Passing again through Warczebs and proselytising throughout the fertile watershed regions of the Perses River, Ematan ultimately arrived in the eastern Cadisian city of Safira around 4255 Ʋ. There, local authorities opposed to Ematan's religious teachings ordered his execution by drowning in the River Sem, thus ending Ematan's final journey with his death:
|“||"After they had condemned him Ematan was brought roughly to the river that ran violently through the center of the street, where, despite his advanced age, they stripped him of his clothes and beat him. Seeing the Echis on his back and chest, they sought to mock him by tying him such that his limbs were in the shape of an x, after which they held him such on the water so that his back could feel the current. Saraka, the chief of that town and the one who had condemned him, then came to Ematan and offered him his final rites in accordance with the local tradition. Ematan refused and asked instead to be given the opportunity to speak once more unto the crowd, which he was promptly refused. Signing a circle, Saraka then ordered Ematan be drowned in the river, to which there was much weeping from myself and the others ... Then miraculously a voice spoke as though coming from the sky, and we knew it instantly to be Ematan's ... "do not fear for my death, but remember to live as AI has taught you. Eja Ai Ematsu, Ejisdi Karan" ... And then the earth shook and the sky began to weep, as the day suddenly came to night"||”|
|— The Book of Qyo, 53:26-29, 33, 36.|
Following Ematan's death, it was agreed that the eight of his remaining Fourteen should each establish a new church in various areas of their teachings, thereby establishing eight centers for Ainism in the known world. All but one of the eight managed to return to where key centers for Ainism had been established - Samatar, Ria, Warczebs, Vbarskoj, southern Tersa, and eastern Riden, with Qyo electing to remain in Safira to continue Ematan's mission there. In the subsequent centuries Ainism rapidly spread from these centers of religion, establishing a firm foothold across nearly all of Western and inner Eastern Assai, southern Tersa, and eastern Cadisia. Central to their missions would be the teachings of Ematan as taught during his lifetime and documented in the key writings of the Fourteen, which would come to form a codified holy text known as The Eriya in coming centuries that forms the basis of modern Ainist theology.
Manifestation of Ai
The Path of Ematan
Eschatology and Reincarnation
Heshheri and Spirituality
Heshheri = spirits
Rites and Rituals
A number of rites and rituals exist within the Ainist religion, each of which are usually categorised into one of three broad groups of rituals - the Lesser Rites, which includes common practices such as Saratai (mass) as well as particular special celebrations such as Marriage and Burial; the Greater Rites, which consists of the Path of Ematan, a series of sacraments and lesser rites which lead to the attainment of Ematsu; and the Supreme Rites, which consist of those practices considered most holy within the Ainist faith, namely ordination as a rush (priest), ritual sacrifice, and the Invocation of the Spirits. Important to note is that there is a great deal of overlap between these various rites, particularly between practices normally considered Lesser Rites and Greater Rites, as many of the Lesser Rites serve an overall function in the pursuit of Ematsu in the Greater Rites.
The Lesser Rites
Three types of marriage:
- Amarabe (love marriage), can occur between any two individuals (regardless of sex) who are not related to create a new family bond of love between them.
- Karabe (body/sex marriage), can occur between any two individuals of opposite sex who are not related and involves the sanctification of the marriage via conception (this marriage results in the creation of a new family and is the most common)
- Tarabe (spiritual marriage), can occur between any two individuals regardless of sex to create a spiritual bond. This is the rarest but most sacred form of marriage, and results in two souls becoming intrinsically linked.
The Greater Rites
(purification of the mind)
The cleansing of impure thoughts and opening of one's mind to appreciate the greatness of Ai.
(purification of the body)
The cleansing of physical sin and desire so as to be at one with nature, to not be glutenous and to live in harmony with the environment.
(purification of society)
The cleansing of social deeds, performing social services within a small community of people who love one another to create solidarity and connection between people.
(purification of the soul)
Developing an understanding of Ai and the Ainist faith, performing the Lesser and Greater Rites to achieve ecstasy of the soul.
purification of the body and the soul, includes seven steps:
- Meditations (greater (mass) and lesser (prayer))
- Participating in Etayani Festivals (such as the month of fasting)
- Creation of a Sacred Place