Dr. Visham Bhimull

The domains of Hindu influence


The domains of Hindu influence

The Ramakien, literally “Glory of Rama”; is Thailand’s national epic,derived from the Buddhist Dasharatha Jataka. “King Rama VI was the person who shed the light first on the Ramayana studies in Thailand, by tracing the sources of the Ramakien, comparing with the Sanskrit Valmiki Ramayana. He found that Ramakien was influenced by three sources: the Valmiki’s Ramayana, the Vishnu Purana, and Hamuman Nataka.”, in addition to its core story based on Buddhist Dasharatha Jataka. A number of versions of the epic were lost in the destruction of Ayutthaya in 1767. Three versions currently exist, one of which was prepared in 1797 under the supervision of (and partly written by) King Rama I. His son, Rama II, rewrote some parts of his father’s version for khon drama. The work has had an important influence on Thai literature, art and drama (both the khon and nang dramas being derived from it).

While the main story is similar to that of the Ramayana, differences in some tales still prevail, many other aspects were transposed into a Thai context, such as the clothes, weapons, topography, and elements of nature, which are described as being Thai in style.

Here are some characters that are synonymous with popular characters of the Ramayan:

Phra Ram – Shri Ramachandra
Hanuman (Same name in both epics)
Thotsakan (from dashakantha) – Ravan
Nang Spanmatcha – Makara
Matchanu – Makardhwaj

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