In our previous article “Phra Jaktukam Ramathep: A Frenzy Culture Within and Beyond Thailand” we categorically helped our readers to correlate facts to their beliefs in identifying who Phra Jakukam Ramathep really is by first distinguishing between facts and falsehoods amongst the numerous stories surrounding the Deity. Consequently, we all came to a firm conclusion by virtue of archaeological evidence, puranic records, and historical verifications that Phra Jaktukam Ramathep is in fact one of Hindu’s supreme God Lord Vishnu. Therefore, in this article, we are going to cross reference the godly abilities of Phra Jaktukam Ramathep with that of Lord Vishnu to enable believers to have a better understanding of their belief.
The Iconic Images of Phra Jaktukam Ramathep
As evidenced in the market, amulets, pendants, and images of Phra Jaktukam Ramathep are made with different materials and come in numerous styles that can prove really confusing to those who do not possess an in-depth understanding about the Deity. However, if believers are observant enough, traditional amulets, pendants, and images of Phra Jaktukam Ramathep contains either an image of the Deity Himself or together with one or more of the following emblematic images such as nagas, sun and moon, and Phra Rahu. More flexibility is accorded only to the rear side of amulets and pendants which may include talismans, images of chedi, Luang Phors, Phra Pidta and et cetera.
However, it has to be emphasised from the outset that these emblematic images are not designs out of whims and fancy but are rooted in puranic records. Each emblematic image that appears with Phra Jaktukam Ramathep is representational of a specific or a series of specific purposes of which can be explained and traced back to puranic records. Therefore, if any emblemtic design accompanying Phra Jaktukam Ramathep that is not traceable and explained in the Puranas, then the origin of those amulets, pendants, and images become fundamentally questionable.
Pursuant to the aforementioned, Phra Jaktukam Ramathep and His abilities is the principal effect of His amulets, pendants, and images whilst other emblematic figures possess secondary effects. Therefore, it is the responsibility of amulet dealers to educate their customers and carefully match the latter’s needs with both the principal and secondary effects of amulets and pendants.
For the rest of this article, besides elucidating the capabilities of Phra Jaktukam Ramathep, we are also going to explain how associations between Phra Jaktukam Ramathep and those emblematic images such as nagas, sun and moon, and Phra Rahu occur and what their secondary effects thereof are.
The above amulet originated from one of Thailand’s historical temple Wat Phutthaisawan in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district and has once rose to the market value of 100,000 baht during the Jaktukam fever. Today, it remains one of the highly sought after amulets which resulted in many imitations.
Price of the amulet aside, the unique feature here is Phra Jaktukam Ramathep has a five-headed naga acting as His sunshade. The five-headed naga is called Adishesha, the King of all nagas. We will not be delving into the story of Adishesha in this article but suffice to state herein that its five heads represent the five pillars or directions of the universe which it supports and that Adishesha is Lord Visnu’s companion. Adishesha is the protector of life and continuity. Therefore, when Phra Jaktukam Ramathep appears with his naga companion, it is actually Lord Vishnu with his companion Adishesha and it means offering protection to His believers.
Amulets and pendants featuring Phra Jaktukam Ramathep with the sun, moon, and Phra Rahu may be traced back to the Hindu mythology pertaining to the Churning of the Ocean of Milk as per the Vishnu Purana. This is yet another long and complicated story which is beyond the scope of this article. However, to help our readers correlate the significance of the various emblematic figures we shall provide a brief summary on the Churning of the Ocean of Milk.
Churning of the Ocean of Milk
The Devas, under the curse of sage Durvasas, were losing their powers and needed the amrita in the deep ocean to recover. However, the Devas were already too weak to churn the ocean of milk by themselves and, hence, they tricked the Asuras into helping them by promising the latter a share of the amrita. Nonetheless, after retrieving the amrita, Lord Vishnu transformed into an attractive and captivating damsel to distract and trick the Asuras of their share of the amrita whilst the Devas drank theirs. Only one Asura, that is Rahu, saw through Lord Vishnu’s trick and disguised himself as a Deva to drink the amrita. Nevertheless, Rahu was discovered by Sun God Surya and the Moon God Chandra who exposed Rahu to Lord Vishnu. Just before the amrita took full effect, Lord Vishnu cut Rahu into half but, because of the effect of the amrita, Rahu’s upper body remained immortal. Consequently, Rahu vowed revenge against the Sun and Moon Gods and attempted to swallow them whenever he has the opportunity (the Hindu’s rationale behind eclipse). Nevertheless, the Sun and Moon pass through his belly and end the eclipse. Therefore, when Phra Jaktukam Ramathep amulets and pendants come with the Sun, Moon, and Rahu, it signifies that Phra Jaktukam Ramathep will help His believers to remain unharmed.
With this explanation and association amongst the various emblematic figures, we believe readers are now in an even better position to understand the actual relationship between Phra Jaktukam Ramathep and Lord Vishnu. If we are to believe any of those flawed speculations such as the four guardians of the city, or King Chandra Banu or Lord Sri Srinagarang, also known as “Black King of the South Sea” and the second of the Srivijaya Throne or Avalokiteshvara Bodisattva or anything along this line of propagation then we will equally not be able to explain and categorically elucidate the association and relationship amongst each of those emblematic figures as we have done above.
As regards how an Asuras like Rahu from the nether world is able to gain His own worshippers and help dispel “small people” like backstabbers, gossipers, and et cetera will be fully elaborated and explained in one of our upcoming articles on Phra Rahu.
Where does Phra Jaktukam Ramathep Gets Money to Give Believers?
Remember in our previous article “Phra Jaktukam Ramathep: A Frenzy Culture Within and Beyond Thailand” under the sub-header “The Connection between Sacred Objects and Believers” we postulated that “Faith in Thai Buddhism far transcend the primary prerequisite of mere believe and necessitate a clear description connecting past, present, and future. The same theory applies to the faith connecting believers and sacred objects. Believers need to know the origin (past) of the sacred object, its ability to intervene in a situation (present), and bringing about a desire outcome (future)”? As we all know, Phra Jaktukam Ramathep is known to bestow wealth and fortune on His believers and, consequential thereof, we need to know where lays the means to that end.
To answer this question, we would actually have to return to the Hindu mythology on the Churning of the Ocean of Milk again. Amongst the various Treasures that were churned out from the Ocean of Milk was the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune, Lakshmi, who chose Lord Vishnu as Her consort. The unlimited wealth and fortune is logically from Goddess Lashmi and bestowed on believers in the name of Phra Jaktukam Ramathep.
As we have promised in our earlier article we will not be joining the crowd to just plug information from the thin air when we come to describe Phra Jaktukam Ramathep’s devine abilities and we will provide readers with a cross reference pertaining to each of the afore-stated abilities of Phra Jaktukam Ramathep with that of Lord Vishnu’s to help our readers make senses out of their belief, we believe we had done nothing short of our promises in this article and we earnestly hope you enjoyed it.
Phra Jaktukam Ramathep, a God of Wealth in Thailand and Southeast Asia, has driven billions of dollars in transactions within Thai amulet market, and so many legends have emerged in pertinence thereto. Some people say that He is the two Siamese princes respectively named Jaktukam and Ramathep. Some people claim that He is the four guardian Gods of the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat, whilst some people speculate that He is either King Chandrabunu Lord Sri Srinagarang, also known as “Black King of the South Sea” and second to the Srivijaya Throne. Yet there are alsopeople who think He is the manifestation of Avalokiteshvara Bodisattva and so on. In these many legends, which is true or who exactly is Phra Jaktukam Ramathep?