SILPAKORN UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, HUMANITIES, AND ARTS, Vol. 7, 2007

Thai Kingship during the Ayutthaya Period : A Note on Its Divine Aspects Concerning Indra

Woraporn Poopongpan




Abstract


This article is an initial attempt to highlight the divine aspects of Thai kingship during the Ayutthaya period, the interesting characteristic of which was an association of the king’s divinity with the Buddhist and Brahman god, Indra. Thai concept of the king’s divinity was identified closely with many Brahman gods such as Narai, Rama or Siva (Isuan) but the divine aspects concerning Indra had a special place in Thai intellectual thinking as attested by ceremonies associated with kingship/ recorded in Palatine Law and other sources.

Thai kingship associated with Indra was reflected in the following elements:
1. The Royal ceremonies
2. The names of Indra’s residences
3. The number of the king’s consorts

The article concludes that the emphasis on the king’s divine being as Indra derived not only from the influence of Brahmanism on the Thai society but more importantly from the high status of Indra in Buddhist belief. This can be easily understood since Buddhism is the main religion of Thai society. While some aspects of kingship are derived from Brahmanic Indra because Thailand adopted several conceptions of state and kingship from India, it was the Thai Buddhist understanding of Indra as a supporter of Buddha that had a more significant impact.

Key Words: Thai Kingship; Indra.

Full Text: PDF