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Home Articles Ancient Vedic Kingdoms - Thailand

 

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Ancient Siam, its original name was "Syama" a name familiar to Vedic India as it depicts the "dark complexion" of Lord Krsna, who is known as "Syama" meaning "dark". In Angkor Wat a 12th century inscription mentions the Siamese as "Syam" meaning "dark coloured people". The European sea farers of the 16th century referred to the sea route as "the road to syam". And when we consider that the capital of Siam was "Ayutthaya" named after "Ayodhaya" the capital of the great Indian epic "Ramayana" we can see that its reasonable to question if "Siam" has as its source "Syam" a Sanskrit word meaning "dark" and the name for Lord Krsna who bears a "dark" complexion.

 

Vedic India may or may not be the source of the name "Siam" what we do know however is that Vedic India is the source of their ancient culture. Around 2000 years ago Buddhism, under the patronage of King Ashoka, left the shores of India and spread throughout Indonesia and the Indo/Chinese peninsula. History records these events, however, beyond 2000 years, and the reason Buddhism so easily and peacefully assimilated these lands, was the presence of the ancient Vedic culture, a culture which had been there for thousands of years.

 

"In the high plateau of eastern Iran, in the oases of Serindia, in the arid wastes of Tibet, Mongolia, and Manchuria, in the ancient civilized lands of China and Japan, in the lands of the primitive Mons and Khmers and other tribes of Indo-China, in the countries of the Malaya-Polynesians, in Indonesia and Malay, India left the indelible impress of her high culture, not only upon religion, but also upon art, and literature, in a word, all the higher things of spirit." Rene Grousset (1885-1952) French art historian. Author of several books including Civilization of India and The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia.

 

 

The first thing to notice when we run our Vedic eyes over the land of Siam, Thailand, is the 76 provinces which are predominantly Vedic/Sanskrit names. The capital of Thailand is officially Bangkok, however the natives of Thailand call their capital “Krung Thep” and even this is incomplete as its full name fills four lines of writing.

 

" The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the emerald Buddha, the impregnable city of Ayutthaya, of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous royal palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn “.

 

This is the capital of Siam, the capital of Thailand, a name which is full of Vedic nomenclature, Indra, Visvakarma the heavenly architect, Ayodhaya the great city of Lord Rama and Lord Buddha who is an incarnation of Visnu, a fitting name for the capital of a once magical country whose roots are all Vedic.

 

“Looking at the cultures of the peoples of Asia in general and south east Asia in particular, the awareness grows upon us that what we see in Burma or Siam or Indonesia is but an extension of Indian culture – they could be legitimately called a Greater India.”  Wilhelm Von Humboldt (1767-1835) German Indologist, Prussian minister of education, a brilliant linguist and the founder of the science of general linguistics.

 

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Above is the city of Ayutthaya, once the great capital of Siam as mentioned previously in the name "Krung Thep". Ayutthaya is "Ayodhya" the capital city of the great Indian epic Ramayana. In Thailand the Ramayana is known as "Ramakian" the "glory of Rama", for centuries it has been Thailands national epic, its whole culture and style infused with Ramayana and expressed through drama, dance, art and architecture.

 

The current ruling dynasty of Thailand is known as the Chakri dynasty. Its emblem is the chakra of Lord Visnu and the trident of Lord Siva. From the 18th century onwards all the kings of Thailand have been named Rama, ten kings from Rama the 1st to Rama the 10th.

 

Ayutthaya is just one of the many cities which have Vedic/Sanskrit names, the following are -  Singburi Sanskrit for lion city  -  Ubon Ratchthani the city of kings  -  Sukhothai the city of happiness  -  Narathiwat the residence of wise men  -  Suphanburi the city of gold  -  Saraburi the city of wealth  -  Surathani is a replication of Surat a city in Gujarati, India meaning the city of good  -  Phitsanulok the province of Visnu  -  all Sanskrit/Vedic names, whose etymology is Sanskrit, such as the city of Samut Prakan, the Samut being the Sanskrit Samudra meaning "ocean" and Prakan is Sanskrit Prakara meaning "fortress" a city in Thailand whose location by the sea gave it its name meaning "ocean fortress".

 

"Indian art had accompanied Indian religion across straits and frontiers into Sri Lanka, Java, Cambodia, Siam, Burma, Tibet, Khotan, Turkestan, Mongolia, China, Korea and Japan. In Asia all roads lead from India.”  Will Durant (1885-1981) American historian

 

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Above, the statue of Queen Camadevi, who even to this day, some 1300 years after her reign, the people of Thailand visit her shrine and seek her blessings. Her Sanskrit name is Kama meaning "love" and Devi meaning "Goddess" the "Goddess of love". She represents the golden age of Buddhism, an age of mysticism, romance and chivalry as this new religion swept throughout the Indo/Chinese peninsula complimenting a pre-existing culture, the ancient Vedic culture of India which had been there for thousands of years.

 

Her fathers name was King Chakravati, a Sanskrit name the Chakra meaning "wheel" the Vrata meaning "rolling" "turning" a name for kings whose prowess was such "the wheels ( chakra ) of their chariot could roam ( varta ) freely with no obstruction". He was the king of Lavapuri, a Sanskrit name meaning "the city ( puri ) of Lava" the "Lava" being the name of the son of Lord Rama.

 

An ancient sage named Suthep approached the King on behalf of the Buddhists and requested that his daughter, Princess Camadevi, become the Queen of their Kingdom. The King agreed and Queen Camadevi named their kingdom "Haribhunjaya" a Sanskrit/Vedic name meaning "the victorious land of Hari". Her citizens were the Lavas, most probably the citizens of Lava and also the mysterious "Mons" a Vedic dynasty whose kingdoms spread throughout Burna ( Myanmar ) and the Dvaravati Kingdom of Thailand.

 

Shortly after being coronated, in true Ayodhya style, she gave birth to twins, one of which would be her successor. Camadevi is a popular figure among the people of Thailand, not just because she was a great Queen and part of the early history of Thailand but also as an icon of female emancipation. Her statue has become a place of devotion and people go to seek her many blessings. Her son, King Mahanadayok built the Chama Devi Wat as a memorial where he stored her ashes, her comb, her mirror and the ashes of her favourite elephant. The successors to Queen Camadevi are - Rudantra - Samsara - Padumaraj - Kusadeva - Dasaraj - Yuvaraj - Vasudeva - Ganga  -  all names which reflect the Vedic/Sanskrit culture of ancient Siam.

 

 

Above, a unique style of architecture, if you do not recognise it, think of Angkor Wat, think of Cambodia and then think of the ancient Vedic dynasty known as the Khmers who built it. "Phanom Rung" is the name of this temple complex, built over a thousand years ago, its situated upon the rim of an extinct volcano some 400 metres high. The Khmer dynasty dedicated this beautiful temple to Lord siva and Mount Kailash.

 

The city in which it is built is called Buriram, a province of Thailand. The "buri" is the Sanskrit "Puri" meaning "city" and the "Ram" is Sanskrit for "pleasure" as in "the city of pleasure". Other provinces of Thailand which all have Sanskrit names are  -  Samut Songkhram meaning "war ocean"  -  Samut Sakhon meaning "oceans lake"  -  Ratchaburi meaning "the city of kings"  -  Yala meaning "net"  -  Nakhon Sawan meaning "heavenly city"  -  Uttaradit meaning "northern city"  -  Mahasarakham  -  meaning "great wealth of gold"  -  Pattani meaning "pure woman"  -  Songkhla meaning "lion city"  -  all Sanskrit/Vedic names.

 

"Of the cursory observations on the Hindus, which it would require volumes to expand and illustrate, this is the result, that they had an immemorial affinity with the old Persians, Ethiopians and Egyptians, the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Tuscans, the Scythians, or Goths, and Celts, the Chinese, Japanese, and Peruvians.”  Sanskritist Sir William Jones  -  Asiatic Researches, Volume I

 

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The Wat Sri Sawai temple which dates back to the 12th century. As usual it was taken over by the Buddhists as Siam and Thailand made its transition from Vedic to Buddhist. The three towers represent Brahma, Siva and Visnu, built by the ancient Vedic dynasty known as the Khmers.

 

The temple resides within the province of Sukhothai, the "sukho" being the Sanskrit "Sukha" meaning "happiness" and the "thai" may be the Sanskrit "Sthana" meaning "city" as in the "city of happiness" though some interpret it as "the dawn of happiness". As we have seen, many provinces throughout Thailand all have Sanskrit/Vedic names  -

 

Chaiyaphum means "land of victory"  -  Chainat means "victory city"  -  Sakhon Nakhon means "city of cities"  -  Pathum Thani means "lotus flowered city"  -  Kalasin means "black water"  -  Uthathani means "northern city"  -  Surin means "Lord Indra"  -  Pretchabun means "the city of abundant crops"  -  Nakhon Ratchasima means "the city of the lion king"  - Nakhon Si Thammarat - City of the auspicious Dharma King  -  all Sanskrit/Vedic names and all expressing the ancient Vedic culture which one pervaded Thailand.

 

"In the veins of every one of my people flows the blood of Indian ancestors and the culture that we possess is steeped through and through with Indian influences. Two thousand years ago people from your country came to Jawadvipa and Suvarnadvipa in the spirit of brotherly love. They gave the initiative to found powerful kingdoms such as those of Sri Vijaya, Mataram and Majapahit. We then learnt to worship the very Gods that you now worship still and we fashioned a culture that even today is largely identical with your own". Suharto Sukarno (1901- 1970) Indonesian nationalist leader and the first President of Indonesia.

 

 

A world heritage site, the Prasat Preah Vihear temple was built over a thousand years ago. Imagine the power and authority one must possess to build such a complex in so prominent a position as the Thailand/Cambodia border, such was the dominance of the ancient Vedic dynasty known as the Khmers, the same dynasty which built Angkor Wat. The landscape has changed, the cliff walls are now bare and the greenery has disappeared, yet one thousand years ago this ancient Vedic temple was majestic.

 

Its name "Prasat Preah Vihear" is the Sanskrit "Prasad" meaning "temple" the Sanskrit "Priya" meaning "beloved" "sacred" and the Sanskrit "Vihara" meaning "abode" as in "the temple of the sacred abode" or "the temple of the celestial abode". Sitting some 2000 feet above sea level, similar to Angkor Wat it was built as a duplication of the cosmic axial mountain known as "Meru" and known throughout various ancient wisdom cultures as "Asgard" and "Olympus". Below we see it from a different angle where we can more appreciate its beauty and the scenic view it afforded as it lies upon the edge of the precipice, which most probably determined its location.

 

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" There is an obstinate prejudice thanks to which India is constantly represented as having lived, as it were, hermetically sealed up in its age-old civilization, apart from the rest of Asia. Nothing could be more exaggerated. During the first eight centuries of our era, so far as religion and art are concerned, central Asia was a sort of Indian colony. It is often forgotten that in the early Middle Ages there existed a "Greater India," a vast Indian empire. A man coming from the Ganges or the Deccan to Southeast Asia felt as much at home there as in his own native land. In those days the Indian Ocean really deserved its name." The Civilizations of the East - By Rene Grousset Vol. II

 

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And finally Garuda the vehicle carrier of Visnu. Thailand know him as Phra Khrut Pha meaning "Garuda as the vehicle". Garuda was officially adopted as the national emblem by Rama VI in 1911, however, Garuda has been a symbol of royalty in Thailand for centuries, depicted on seals used by Thai Kings and governments to authenticate documents.

 

The language of Thai is mainly Sanskrit and Pali which is derived from Sanskrit. Over half the words in Thai language are from Sanskrit and Pali, and many scholars agree that the Thai script is old Khmer which is modelled after the Brahmic script of the Indic family. From the 1st century AD to present day Thailand the monetary coins have been inscribed with various Vedic symbols such as conchshells, Dharma wheels, Sanskrit words, swastikas, Lord Sivas Trisula, Srivatsa, chakras, Airavata, ect.

 

"The culture of India has been one of the world's most powerful civilizing forces. Countries of the Far East, including China, Korea, Japan, Tibet and Mongolia owe much of what is best in their own cultures to the inspiration of ideas imported from India. The West, too, has its own debts." "But the members of that circle of civilizations beyond Burma scattered around the Gulf of Siam and the Java Sea, virtually owe their very existence to the creative influence of Indian ideas... No conquest or invasion, no forced conversion imposed them. They were adopted because people saw that they were good and that they could use them." Philip S. Rawson  -  The Art of South East Asia.

 

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 07 November 2017 20:01)

 
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