PROPHECY OF CHILAM BALAM
Synthesis of Sources
In this page I have collected the translations of the Chilam Balam prophecy from four sources: (1) David Bolles, current web page, (2) Ralph Roys, 1967, (3) Eugene R. Craine and Reginald C. Reindorp, 1979, and (4) Alfred M. Tozzer, 1921. In addition I have given Tozzer's publication of Bernardo de Lizana, originally 1633, and Juan Martinez Hernandez, sometime prior to 1920.
I note here that Tozzer's translation is choppy and sometimes incoherent. It would appear that he translated words, rather than trying to make sense of the passage. He must have felt that his effort was inadequate because he then offers a substitute of a second "Free Translation." I also noted Tozzer's difficulty in the manner in which he showed break down of the words into syllables, sometimes even falsely combining them. All in all, I believe he did not have a good grasp on the language.
The prophecy of Chilam Balam, the priest to the chanter of Cabal Cħeen Mani
On 13 Ahau the katun will end in the time of the Itza, in the time of Tancah, lord, the sign of one and only god on high. The cross shall return. It shall be shown in the towns. Light (enlightenment) shall happen in the world, lord. Quarreling returns, jealousy returns when the bearers of the sign of god shall come. Then there shall be priests, lord. One shout away, one league away they come. You see the prognostication which appears with the cross. It shall dawn in the north, in the west. Itzam Na Kauil shall awaken. Our lord is coming, men of the Itza. Our older brother is coming, men of Tantun. Receive your guests, the breaded ones, the ones from the eastern lands, the bearers of the sign of god, lord. Will the word of god which comes amongst us be good? The day is coming when we will live. Do not get lost here on earth, lord. You one and only god created us. Will the word of god be good, lord, the guardian of our souls? Whoever is going to receive the true belief in heaven is going with him, but there is the beginning of the two-day men. Then the sign should be set up on high. Then should our vision be set there. Then the cross should be set up on high. Misery of the change comes forth today, the change of the bark of the ceiba (first tree) of the world. It shall be shown today to the world. Thus is the sign of the one and only lord on high. Thus shall you worship Itza. Then you shall worship today the sign of the godly god on high. Then you shall worship thus to the true belief. Then you shall worship thus our true god. Believe in the word of the one and only god. Your commandment came from heaven. Console yourselves Itza. Dawn shall come to them. They believe during the next katun it seems. My word shall augment itself. I Chilam Balam, I have interpreted the word of the true god everywhere here on earth, because I go everywhere in the world. The word of the true god, lord of heaven and earth, in the ninth year of One Ahau Katun it seems. Will the word from heaven be very good lord? We cry the rule, we cry our souls true god. But thus returns lord the three children of lice, the younger sisters of the natives. Be alert! Dead is their heart towards the flower also those who back talk, the captain of the fighters. Nacxit Xuchit is the plumeria of the others, the two day rulers. They will be rabid on their daises, they will be rabid in their plumeria flowers, two day men they say. Two day their chair, their cups, their hats, the rabid day, the rabid night, the hobgoblins of the world. They twist their necks, they close their eyes, they spit out on the rulers of the world lord. Then it comes that there is no truth in the words of the lords of the towns. They shall say very mysterious things, the children of the men of Seven Deserted Houses, the children of the women of Seven Deserted Houses lord. Who will be the prophet? Who will be the priest who will correctly speak the words of the hieroglyphs thus?
The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel [translated] by Ralph L. Roys, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1967.
On <the day> 13 Ahau the katun will end in the time of the Itzá, in the time of Tancah <Mayapan>, lord. Dawn in the north, in the west. There is the sign of Hunab-ku on high. The raised wooden standard shall come. It shall be displayed to the world, that the world may be enlightened, lord. There has been a beginning of strife, there has been a beginning of rivalry, to bring the sign <of God> in time to come when the priestly man shall come, lord. A quarter of a league, a league <away> he comes. You see the mut-bird surmounting the raised wooden standard. A new day shall Itzamná Kauil shall rise. Our lord comes, Itzá. Our elder brother comes, <oh> men of Tantun. Receive your guests, the bearded men, the men of the east, the bearers of the sign of God, lord. Good indeed is the word of God that comes to us. The day of our regeneration comes. You do not fear the world, Lord, you are the only God who created us. It is sufficient, then, that the word of God is good, lord. <He is> the guardian of our souls. He who receives him, who has truly believed, he will go to heaven with him. Nevertheless <at> the beginning were the two-day men. Let us exalt his sign on high, let us exalt it <that we may gaze upon it today> with the raised standard. Great is the discord that arises today. The First Tree of the World is restored; it is displayed to the world. This is the sign of Hunab-ku on high. Worship it, Itzá. You shall worship today his sign on high. You shall worship it furthermore with true good will, and you shall worship the true God today, lord. You shall be converted to the word of Hunab-ku, lord; it came from heaven. Oh it is he who speaks to you! Be admonished indeed, Itzá. They will correct their ways who receive him in their hearts in another katun, lord. Believe in my word itself, I am Chilam Balam, and I have interpreted the entire message of the true God <of> the world; it is heard in every part of the world, lord, the word of God, the Lord of heaven and earth. Very good indeed is his word in heaven, lord. He is ruler over us; he is the true God over our souls. But those to whom <the word> is brought, lord: thrice weighed down is their strength, the younger brothers native to the land. Their hearts are submerged <in sin>. Their hearts are dead in their carnal sins. They are frequent backsliders, the principal ones who spread <sin>, Nacxit Xuchit in the carnal sin of his companions, the two-day rulers. <They sit> crookedly on their thrones; crookedly in carnal sin. Two-day men they call them. For two days <endure> their seats, their cups, their hats. They are the unrestrained lewd ones of the day, the unrestrained lewd ones of the night, the rogues of the world. They twist their necks, they wink their eyes, they slaver at the mouth, at the rulers of the land, lord. Behold, when they come, there is no truth in the words of the foreigners to the land. They tell very solemn and mysterious things, the sons of the men of Seven-deserted-buildings, the offspring of the women of Seven-deserted-buildings, lord. Who will be the prophet, who will be the priest who shall interpret truly the word of the book?
Craine and Reindorp
Eugene R. Craine and Reginald C. Reindorp, The Codex Perez and the Book of Chilam Balam of Mani, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1979
The words of the true God which Chilam understood.
At the conclusion of the Katun 13 Ahau, the Itza will see, perhaps in Tancah, the sign symbols of the one God [Hunab Ku], the erect tree which will be shown so that the world will be enlightened. Lords, console ourselves, discord and confusion will be finished, when the bearer of the cross [sign] comes to us. in the future, priests everywhere will be enlightened. Mighty Itzamna, your master, will come. Itza, the true God will come to enlighten you. Receive your guests, the bearded ones, who will be the bearers of the standard of the true God who shall come to arrange the day of resurrection. The Itza will accept and worship the one True God who comes from heaven. Oh, Itza! thus enlightened you will believe in Him in the next Katun. Believe my message. I, Chilam Balam, have explained the word of the True God, in the ninth year of the Katun 11 Ahau. The commandments of the true God will be good and the new truth will be substituted for the old one. In the old books we are taught that the world will change.
A Maya Grammar, Alfred M. Tozzer, Peabody Museum, Cambridge, MA, 1921, Page 129
His prophecy Chilam Balam of singer Cawich Chen of Mani
In 13 Ahau its established Katun at this time the Itzas at this time in Tancah oh Father his sign the only God on high his cross (2) of wood a demonstration to the world with which day breaks above the earth, oh Father a long time ago there began fighting with one another a long time ago there began confusion when we came carrying the sign; at another time the priest of the men the Father one quarter (of) one league so that it comes you will see fame appearing with his cross of wood illuminate the earth one south one west illuminate Itzamna Kahwil; he is coming your father, Itzas he is coming, your brother, place him ahead of others; receive your guests the bearded ones the east, the villagers the carry his sign God the Lord to arrange his word God who may come in (your) company, he is coming (to bring) order the time again living: you do not fear him above the earth Father, you the only God created us good for themselves his words, God, Father and the caretaker (of) our soul he who goes to receive very true faith to heaven goes ahead but begins our day of men. We extol his sign on high we extol we see (it) now we extol his cross of wood misery it changed discord now restore the first, tree of the world: a demonstration now to the world: this his sign only god on high come, lower all reverence you oh, Itzas and reverence now his sign reverence on high and reverence with true good will and adore him our true God now oh, Father: receive his word only God he came from on high the commandments to invigorate your good-will Itzas illuminate the earth for them cause to enter the spirit within its other Katun, afterwards believe (in) my words I am Chilam Balam and I interpreted his word the true God among all above the earth to know I go ordered many portions of the pueblo.
Contained in the Tozzer Reference Above
At the end of the 13th epoch being in power the Itzas (and) Tancah the sign of a God (who is) on high (will come) the cross will show itself to the world with which was lighted the earth, there will be a division among the wills when is brought the sign (in the future) before arriving the priests, men a quarter (and) a league you will see appearing the cross illuminate from pole to pole (the worship of) vain gods will cease; he is coming your father, oh, Itzas he is coming your brother oh, Tantunites; receive your guests the bearded ones (of) the east (who come) to carry the sign God (It is) God who comes, (he is) gentle and pious, he is coming the new in our life: you have nothing to fear from the earth you (are) the only God (who) created us good (are) the words of God. (Let) us praise his sign on high (let ) us praise it by seeing and adoring it, we must praise the cross falsehood in exchange today will appear against the first tree of the world a demonstration to-day (is made) to the world: (there is a) sign of a god on high worship itoh, Itzas we shall reverence with true good-will: we shall adore our true God receive the word (of) the true God (who) comes from heaven to you speaks: recover your will (and be one) of the Itzas will be enlightened those who believe in to come the age: if you care (for what) I say (to you I charge Chilam Balam your interpreter; I say (that which) the true God . . .
Contained in the Tozzer Reference Above
. . . it may be ye Itzas it may be ye citizens Sirs, will come from heaven (to us) the cross will he shown to the world so that be enlightened the world, Sirs, for a long time there has been political divisions for a long time there has been . . . discord . . . in that time ye priests of the idols . . . quetzal bird . . . the Maya cross will illuminate the world in the four cardinal points . . . they are coming your brothers . . . to establish the day of resurrection . . . with all your heart or good faith believe the commandments of the only God
Tozzer Free Translation
Translation offered by Tozzer in the Tozzer Reference Above
The Prophecy of Chilam Balam, the singer of Cawich Chen of Math. In the Katun beginning in Ahau 13, the Itzas were in Tancah at this time. Oh, Father, the sign of the only God on high is the cross, the wooden cross. This will be shown to the world so that the world will be enlightened. Oh, Father, a long time ago, there began wranglings and confusion when we came bringing the sign. At another time, the priest of the Indians arrived. From a quarter of a league away you will see fame coming with the cross lighting up all parts of the world, also Itzamna Kawil. Your Father, oh Itzas, is coming. Your brother is coming. Place him ahead of all. Receive your guests, the bearded men, the villagers from the East, the bearers of the sign of God, the Father. The Lord is coming in your company to promulgate his commandments. He is coming to arrange the day of resurrection. You do not fear him who is above the earth. Oh, Father, you are the only God who created us. Good are the commandments of God, the Father, the caretaker of our souls. He who accepts the true faith, goes upwards to heaven. Our time has come (?).We extol his sign above, we extol it by looking at it, we extol his cross. In ex-change for misery and discord restore the first tree of the world. Show this now to the world, the sign of the only God on high. You, oh Itzas, reverence all, reverence the one on high, reverence with true good-will and worship him, our true God. Now, oh Father, receive the commandments of the only God who came from on high. Invigorate your good-will, oh Itzas, the earth is enlightened. The spirit enters in another Katun. Believe my message. I am Chilam Balam. I interpreted the commandments of the true God among all the places of the earth. I go to all parts of the country.