The legends of thai mythology show the influence of Buddhism and Hinduism on this culture, but they also have a large share of originality. Mythology includes many heroes and gods, as well as fabulous animals, not to mention ghosts. Here you go. 10 legends of Thai mythology to discover.
Apsaras are nymphs of great beauty. Through their dances and grace, they often prevent the wise from accessing enlightenment. They are close to the gods and they are able to change shape. Urvashi is one of the best known apsaras. In the Rigveda, which is a collection of Vedic anthems in sanskrit, she is the only apsara who is named.
According to legend, Indra, the king of the gods, wanted to prevent two wise men, Narayana and Nara, to acquire powers through meditation. He asked two apsaras to distract them so that they would not access the wisdom that would make them close to the divine. One of the wise men, before this appearance, had the reflex of hitting an apsara on the thigh. Thigh appeared an even more beautiful woman than the other apsaras.
This woman was named Urvashi, her name coming from uru, the thigh. The apsaras failed and the two wise men completed their meditation. The beautiful apsara was welcomed to the courtyard of Indra where it occupied the place of honor. She was to one day marry a human king, Pururavas.
Urvashi was one day kidnapped by the demon Keshin and then rescued by Pururavas, who pursued the kidnapper on his tank. This is how he first laid his eyes on the nymph and it was a reciprocal lightning strike. Queen Aushinari, the king's wife, though jealous, did nothing to prevent this love. The apsara had, however, been recalled to heaven. After many peripeties, the lovers were finally reunited until Purururavas died.
Under the reign of King Mongkut, Nak and Mak, gave perfect love. She was pregnant by the time her husband was called to war and while Mak was in battle, her wife died in childbirth, as did the child. Without knowing anything about the drama, Mak returned home and found his wife and child at home, without doubt that they were their ghosts.
The husband was however troubled by his wife's pallor and strange appearance. He understood the truth when he saw his wife stretching his arm out of measure to pick up a lemon that had fallen to the ground. He fled and his wife was exorcised twice. On the second occasion, she was allegedly imprisoned in the belt of a monk. This belt would still be in the possession of members of the royal family.
A wizard monk possessed great magical powers. He even had the power to turn into a tiger. He acquired the attributes of it to the point of eating his disciples when he turned into a great feline. The monastery where the wizard monk lived was in emois since every night a new disciple disappeared. After a long investigation, the disciples eventually discovered bones under the magician's bed.
The monks and went away from the wizard monk. He remained alone and asked the inhabitants of his neighbourhood to send him children to attend him in his daily duties. The children disappeared one by one and no one came to the monastery. The tiger monk then had to settle for eating the dogs and pigs he found on his way.
One day, a caravan of buffalo merchants stopped at the monastery of the sorcerer monk to ask him for shelter for the night. The monk knew that he would turn into a tiger and devour his hosts, so he warned them that a tiger prowled in the vicinity. The leader of the group did not seem afraid of extra-measurement. He had already crossed tigers on his road and he decided to stay on the spot for the night.
The merchant leader also had some magician gifts. Before falling asleep, he fashioned three buffaloes of wax to keep the guard. When the tiger appeared, the buffalo took life and attacked the tawn. In the morning the merchants, waking up, found the corpse of the wizard monk pierced with horns. The corpse was burned and the troupe took its way back. The places remained abandoned and feared.
Krasue is a woman wandering at night, with its internal organs hanging from the neck. His floating head is illuminated by flames. The bottom of her body is invisible and it seems to float in the air.
In Thailand, Krasue is considered a woman who has suffered a curse and has led a previous life full of crimes and debauchery. Others present her as the unfaithful wife of a nobleman. She is said to have been condemned to the pyre. She is continually hungry and often has to feed on waste. The blood of the injured also attracts him.
A magician would have tried to cancel the curse that weighed on her, but she would have acted too late. Only the head, viscers, and intestines were protected, which would explain the form in which its spectrum appears during the night. She would always appear in our time.
Hanuman, the monkey god, is borrowed from the mythology Hindu and adapted to Thai culture. He is of great strength and courage, but he sometimes shows himself facetious. In several accounts, he assists King Rama, who is one of the avatars of the god Vishnou. The monkey god is the son of Vayu, the god of the wind, and an apsara.
One of the high facts attributed to Hanuman is that he helped Rama in his quest to save his beloved Sita, a prisoner of the demon Tosakan who wanted to make him his wife. For this, hanuman rallied an army of monkeys in order to fight the demon. The monkey god sometimes forsaken his quest as soon as he met a pretty woman, but he eventually killed Tosakan himself and allowed Sita to find Rama.
Garuda is another mythological character who appears in Hinduism and Buddhism as well as in the thai mythological accounts. It is a half-man half-bird creature. Garuda is most often depicted with a crowned head, bill, wings, greenhouses, and a man's bust.
In Thai mythology, Garuda makes a noticed appearance when he comes to help Hanuman, the monkey god. As mentioned, Hanuman is endowed with great strength and courage, but he once found himself in trouble. The son of the demon Tosakan once raised an army of magical snakes against the apes army. The reptiles inflicted severe losses.
It was at this point that Rama appealed to Garuda, a great predator of snakes, who exterminated his enemies and freed Hanuman and his army.
Krahang is a spirit represented by a naked chest man who moves while flying in the night. He can tackle night walkers who move away from the beaten paths. In his earlier life, he would have been a wizard who practiced black magic. It can fly through two rice baskets that it uses as wings. It can rise thanks to a long wooden pill placed between its legs. He is always designated guilty when a woman is assaulted at night.
Phra Mae Thorani is a goddess of the earth very appreciated for the help she gave to the Buddha. One day, in the form of a young woman, she rode her hair to get it out of the water she used to drown the demon Mara. But this demon had been sent to the world by evil forces to attempt the Buddha, which then meditated under the bodhi tree. So she helped the wise man achieve enlightenment.
Ganesh, the god with elephant head, is very present in temples Buddhists Thai. Son of Shiva and Parvati, god of knowledge, he removes obstacles. According to legend, he was born with a human head. When he was a child, his mother asked him to keep the door of their home while she washed herself, unaware that Shiva was about to return. Ganesh prevented Shiva from entering. He, furious, sliced the child’s head.
Parvati then went out and explained what had happened to Shiva who, repenting, sent his army to the hunt asking him to bring back the first head she would find. He was brought back the head of an elephant, with whom he gave life to the child.
Phra Luang Phor Thuad is a legendary feat monk. Still young, he would have led a snake to give him a pearl instead of inoculating his venom. He would also have stopped a terrible storm while he was aboard a boat. It would even have changed the water from the sea to drinking water.
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