Songte

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Songte
YuanshiTianzun.jpg
A painting of Songte from the Dan ear
God of the Universe
Transliterations 嵩帝 (Ventzi)
Сонгте (Shintzi)
Religion Namorese folk religion (Txoism)
Children Sikun
Ninshen
Rishen
Hoshen
Nushen
Vanho
Yenfang
Weapon Jenjinten
Consort Murong
MurongI
Height 13 chi (4.33 m)

Songte (嵩帝, Сонгте) is a Txoist deity who is regarded as the ruler of the universe and ancestor of all living beings born during his reign.

A major figure in Namorese mythology, Songte is featured in many stories concerning the gods and the creation of the universe. Born at the time of the previous universe, he is believed to have been a talented scholar and warrior — a quality that made him a favorite of Taiyi, the former ruler of the universe. However, Songte and Taiyi fell out after Taiyi tried to prevent his daughter, Murong, from marrying Songte. The dispute over Murong led to a colossal war between Songte and Taiyi that resulted in Taiyi's death and the destruction of the universe. With the help of his clan, Songte built a new universe and became its ruler. Other famous myths involving Songte include Songte's expulsion of Murong and his usurpation by the demon Teyu.

Txoists believe Songte is nearing the end of his reign, an event that will be marked by the destruction of the current universe and the emergence of the next. However, there is no single view on how long Songte has ruled or will continue to rule.

The name Songte, which means "highest god," is also used in Namorese as the name for God in monotheistic religions such as Kansism and Lutheran Catholicism. Consequently, the Txoist Songte has sometimes been referred to as "God" in English.

Mythology

Birth

Songte was born at the time of the previous universe. According to the Book of Gods, Songte was born in Daifu, a kingdom located in the peripheries of the old universe. His father, Fuvang, was the king of Daifu, and therefore Songte was known during his youth as the Prince of Daifu.

It is said that on the day of Songte's birth, a bright ray of light emanated from the land of Daifu and was seen by everyone in the universe, including the ruler Taiyi. After consulting the sages about the light, Taiyi learned that it was a sign that the next ruler of the universe had been born in Daifu, though no one knew who it exactly was.

Marriage with Murong and war with Taiyi

Despite his desire to have a son, Taiyi was never able to father one; instead, his wives only gave birth to daughters. Knowing that his successor would have to be his son-in-law, Taiyi started searching across the universe for the husband of his eldest daughter, Murong. When he discovered that everyone wanted Murong regardless of their ability, Taiyi built Kosan — a mountain so large that none could see its entirety from any distance. He then required that anyone qualified to marry Murong must be able to destroy Kosan.

Hearing of Taiyi's challenge, Songte left Daifu for Kosan; with his sword, he cut the mountain into pieces. Amazed by this feat, the people praised Songte's strength and hailed him as Taiyi's rightful successor. Staying true to his own word, Taiyi agreed to let Songte marry Murong. Songte and Murong were married in Taiyi's palace, and the two traveled to Daifu by chariot.

Just as Songte and Murong were traveling to Daifu, Taiyi had a nightmare where he was crushed by Kosan. His soothsayers interpreted the dream as a sign that he would be killed by Songte, now that the prince had a wife. Terrified by the prophecy, Taiyi tried to undo the marriage. He crept up to the married couple while they were resting in the wilderness; then, disguising himself as Songte, he tricked Murong into following him and brought her back to his palace.

When he discovered that Taiyi had abducted Murong, Songte declared war on Taiyi. The war is said to have lasted a total of 450,000 years, spread to every part of the universe, and caused at least a million deaths per day. Some religious scholars have associated the war with entropy. In the final battle, Songte shot an at the mountains, causing an avalanche that buried Taiyi and his soldiers alive. The avalanche was so strong that it created a massive crater on the ground that later became a lake.

Treachery of Murong

Songte and Murong ruled the new universe for many years. During that time, Murong gave birth to four children — Sikun, god of time; Ninshen, goddess of peace; Rishen, goddess of the sun; and Hoshen, god of the river. The four children helped rebuild the universe that the war with Taiyi had destroyed.

However, the relationship between Songte and Murong ruptured when Murong developed an interest in the continuation of earthly life. Seeing that Tin, the son of Rishen and Hoshen and the first earthly man, was lonely, Murong had sexual intercourse with her brother Harashen and gave birth to Na, the first earthly woman. Na and Tin thus became progenitors of the human race on Earth.

When Songte discovered Murong's affair with Harashen, he angrily renounced his ties with Murong and banished her and Harashen to the depths of the underworld, where they reside to this day. Songte also turned Tin, Na, and their descendants into mortals. He then married Murong's sister, Vangmu, but confined her to his palace, afraid that she would repeat Murong's acts.

Usurpation by Teyu

As life on Earth continued, the demon race multiplied and became a powerful force in the universe. The demon king Teyu, who believed the time was ripe to seize absolute power, gathered an army and besieged Songte's palace. Various accounts provide various explanations for why the siege succeeded; the Nushenshi claims that the siege occurred as Songte and the other gods were having a feast, and all the gods — including Songte — were too drunk to fight back. The Book of Gods, however, omits any references to a feast, suggesting that Songte was no longer powerful enough to stop the demon — a sign of his declining power.

In any case, Songte and MurongI were imprisoned in the Demon Realm for a million years. During the imprisonment, Vangmu gave birth to three daughters — Nushen, Vanho, and Yenfang — whom soothsayers predicted would rise up against Teyu and end demon rule. For that reason, the three sister-goddesses were separated from their parents and abandoned in the mortal world. However, this did not prevent the prophecy from unfolding, and Nushen eventually killed Teyu in battle and liberated the universe from the demon race. In turn, Songte blessed Nushen by entitling her descendants to greatness.

Songte in Txoist eschatology

The general consensus among Txoists is that Songte is currently in the latter days of his reign, which means the universe he created is also approaching its end. However, there are disagreements between various traditions over when Songte's reign will end. Recently, some religious scholars argued that the end of Songte's reign will occur in 2.8 billion years, which is when some physicists also think the universe will end. While this theory has gained prominence in the Txoist community due to its "scientific" outlook, it is not universally agreed upon, with major Txoist associations declining to comment on the theory.

Txoist sects also disagree over Songte's successor; most Txoists believe that either Sikun, Songte's eldest son, or Nushen, Songte's favorite daughter, is most likely to rule the next universe. According to the Sikunites, Songte's successor, like most successors, can only be his eldest son. Nushenites, on the other hand, cite Nushen's accomplishments and Sikun's lineage to Murong, a disgraced consort, as reasons why Nushen is the legitimate heir. Most Txoists identify as Nushenites.

Nushenism (not to be confused with Nushenites) — a new religious movement that developed in the late 20th century — rejects the mainstream Txoist belief that Songte's reign is approaching its end; rather, it argues that Songte's reign had already ended, and the end of the Volatile Century was marked by the beginning of the reign of Nushen. While Nushenism identifies itself as a Txoist reform movement and follows Txoist rituals, it is widely regarded as its own religion due to its rejection of Songte's authority, a core tenet of Txoism.