Gunni is the name of one of the three major religious/racial/cultural groups of the massive city of Taglios and its surrounding regions. The other two are Shadar and Vehdna. The Gunni are the largest of the three groups. They are known for their innumerable cults and internal disagreements over their sprawling pantheon of deities and spirits.
Characteristics and doctrineEdit
- Afterlife – Gunni believe in karma and the Wheel of Life, a system of reincarnation through which a soul is reborn until the good actions outweigh the evil. Then, the soul reunites with the cosmic generative force of light. They do not believe in a permanent paradise, as the Vehdna do, nor do they believe in a posthumous, punitive hell, as the Shadar do. However, the Gunni do believe in Swegah, which is where the soul visits after death and prior to the next reincarnation. If a soul has not accumulated enough good karma to finally exit the Wheel of Life, it receives doses of a temporary heaven and/or hell before reincarnation. Swegah is very similar to the Nyueng Bao concept of cao gnum.
- Deities – Gunni are polytheistic and have a gigantic pantheon of deities, each with various avatars. The Gunni deity which is the most commonly-mentioned in the Annals is Ghanghesha, the god of luck with two elephant heads. According to Lady in Dreams of Steel, the Gunni do have a chief god known as the "Lord of Lords of Light". An archaic name for this Gunni deity is "Sheda" and one of his major omens are comets, called "Shedalinca" or "Tongue of Sheda". Sheda's comets are greatly feared by the Deceivers, the practitioners of a tiny, separate religion from Gunni who nevertheless share some of their mythology. The Shadar are also polytheistic like the Gunni but have a more prominent main deity. The Gunni and the Shadar all stand in stark contrast to the Vehdna, who are strictly monotheistic.
- A major point of doctrinal contention between the Gunni and Shadar is whether Hada and Khadi are separate deities or just one with two faces.
- Some Gunni myths told the stories of nagas, legendary evil serpent people who emerged from deep underground to plague humanity from time to time.
- Diet – Gunni are vegetarians and consider cattle and sheep to be sacred. But Gunni farmers have no qualms regularly selling sheep to the Vehdna for eventual consumption.
- Disposal of the dead – Gunni burn their dead, to purify the soul for reincarnation. But the major bones are commonly not consumed by the flames, causing them to pile up when they cannot be deposited in a nearby river. (Vehdna bury their dead.)
- Dress – Gunni wore robes colored depending upon their sect, whereas wealthy Vehdna wore kaftans and glamorous turbans, and Shadar wore white, simple shirts and pantaloons.
- Ghosts – Gunni do not believe in ghosts, unlike the Vehdna and the Nyueng Bao, who do.
- Hair – In Dreams of Steel, Lady records in her Annals that some Gunni men let their hair grow long, whereas, Vehdna men wore their hair short. Shadar and Vehdna also tended toward curls.
- Idols – Gunni have a very wide variety of idols and images in their temples. This is in contrast to the Shadar, who have only one god of sufficient magnitude to warrant an idol, and the Vehdna, who are forbidden to have any idols at all.
- Population – Gunni are the most numerous religious group in Taglios, with the Shadar being next, followed by the Vehdna. But even the Vehdna dramatically outnumber tiny minorities like the Nyueng Bao and the Deceivers.
- Seating – Gunni fashion is to squat down on one's heels. It is the same among the Nyueng Bao. Whereas Vehdna favor sitting on the floor or on a cushion, cross-legged; and the Shadar, who use low chairs or stools.