Of all the lands of the world,South east Asia was most influenced by Hindusim.Sri Vijayama,Kataram,were some of the Empires which were ruled by the Tamil Kings.
Names of the people in the region are more Sanskritic than even Indians.
‘The epic, Ramakien, is based on the Ramayana. The city, Ayutthaya, is named after Ayodhya, the birthplace of Rama. Numerous rituals derived from Brahminism are preserved in rituals, such as use of holy strings and pouring of water from conch shells. Furthermore, Hindu deities are worshipped by many Thais alongside Buddhism, such as the famous Erawan Shrine, and statues of Ganesh, Indra, and Shiva, as well as numerous symbols relating to Hindu deities are found, e.g., Garuda, a symbol of the monarchy. The famous Hindu rituals of the Giant Swing and the Triyampavai-Tripavai ceremony depict a legend about how the god created the world.
The élite, and the royal household, often employ Brahmans to mark funerals and state ceremonies such as the Royal Ploughing Ceremony to ensure a good harvest. The importance of Hinduism cannot be denied, even though much of the rituals has been combined with Buddhism.’
Sri Siridhornkul arranged an interview with Phara Rajaguru Vamadevamuni, the Royal Priest of the Royal Household of Thailand, for Saturday evening. We met at Rajaguru’s temple, called Devasthana Bosth Brahmana, located in the Sao Ching Cha area of Bangkok. Rajaguru’s lineage of brahmins had been in Thailand so long, and intermarried with the Thai community, that he is completely Thai in appearance. When I first met him, I could just not take my eyes off his charming and royal face. His pony tail hair added to his divine looks. Rajaguru, a graceful, divine and soft-spoken person, discoursed at length in a down-to-earth manner about the challenges faced by the Hindu community in Thailand. [See sidebar opposite for the interview.]
One person I spoke with later shared an incident which illustrated the Rajaguru’s influence. Two years back, I was told, a company started using Lord Hanuman in an advertisement for an anti-itching medicine. This person complained to the company, and to other Hindu organizations, but to no avail. He then brought the matter to the Rajaguru, who in turn spoke to the police. The police requested the company to discontinue the advertisement, which they did.
Hurditya observed, “The role of Rajaguru today is to conduct pujas for the Royal Family. I do not think that what he does has much impact on the youth. And then only one person cannot revive the five million population of Bangkok. I see that he wants to revive Hinduism, but it is a hard job. If it continues the way it is [with the youth not being interested], Hinduism is going to disappear from this country in the future, for both Thais and Indians.”