Author: dalai
October 07, 2015

The Ancient Religion of Tengriism

Tengriism or Tengrism is a shamanistic religion practiced in Central Asia. Tengriism was also followed by many other nationalities apart from the Mongols such as the Huns, Bulgars, Turkic, and Altaic people. It is characterized by shamanism, totemism and animism. It is both monotheistic and polytheistic. Ancestor worship is also a big part of Tengriism.

The chief deity in Tengriism is Tengri or the Sky God, who is unknowable, infinite and timeless. Followers of Tengriism believe that the universe was created by Tengri. It also recognizes gods such as Yer-sub, the goddess of the earth, Erlik, the god of the underworld and nature spirits.


Genghis Khan was a follower of Tengriism

Mongolia's national hero, Genghis Khan was also a Tengri believer. He attributed his success to Tengri. He said that he did not become great because of his strength and bravery. He became great because of his love for Tengri. He was able to defeat his enemies because of the grace of Tengri. He did not become Khan because of his prowess. He became Khan because of his love for Tengri. He was able to defeat alien enemies because of the grace of Tengri”.Tengriism was actually the religion of the Mongol lands until Genghis Khan's fifth generation descent Uzbeg Khan converted to Islam in the 14th Century.

Tengrism is tolerant of other religions

The early Mongol rulers, though followers of Tengri, were tolerant of other religions. One of the unique features of Tengriism is its non-dogmatism. It did not force its dogma on other religious though other religions succeeded in doing the same. The Mongol rulers believed that they were the sons of Tengri and they could rule as long as they were upright and followed the laws of Tengri. If they became wayward, Tengri would withdraw his grace and support, and the ruler would fall.


Here are some more basic concepts of Tengriism:

Belief in one supreme God

Tengriism believes there is only one supreme God. His name is Tengri and he is unknowable. He is aware of everything and knows everything. So a lot of Mongols and Turks are often heard saying 'only Tengri knows.'

There are other demigods
Tengri also created other spirits. Some of these spirits have a bad temperament. They may be demigods or spirits of land, water, earth and the underworld. Some spirits are in charge of certain tribes. These spirits can speak to people, but only some specially chosen ones.

Accepts that there is 'no one true religion'

Tengriism believes there are many paths to God. As Mongke Khan, the fourth great Khan said that just like Tengri gave man five fingers, he has also given different ways to reach God. If you are righteous in your thoughts and upright in your spirit, it doesn't matter which religion you follow. Tengri will accept you.

In conclusion, Tengriism is a non-dogmatic, monotheistic religion, born in the Central Asian steppes. There is no one code in Tengrism, which was why it was able to attract so many people. The religion is slowly being revived in many parts of the Eurasia and Central Asia.