Now Reading
The Legend of Phra Lak, The Golden Deity

The Legend of Phra Lak, The Golden Deity

 

 

The Legend of Phra Lak
, The Golden Deity

 

The story of Phra Lak, has its roots in the Thai epic, the Ramakien

. Deferring slightly from the Vedic legends that they were based on, these stories were often adapted and modified to suit Thai tastes, straying a little further from the source material, with each successive translation, the creative license undertaken.

 

Phra Lak is a major character in the Ramakien. His name derives from the Sanskrit “Lakshmana

“, meaning “he who has the signs of fortune or auspiciousness”. Unusual for a deity, Phra Lak is humanlike in form, with a face and two hands. He is often depicted and described as wearing the Mongkut Yod Dern Hon
crown.

 

Picture : The character of Phra Lak

 

As the legend goes, he was both Phraya Ananta Nakarach

(dragon); the throne of the God Narai
, as well as his holy conch; God Narai’s weapon. He was reincarnated to come to the aid of Phra Ram
(himself a reincarnation of Narai) in ridding the universe of the gargantuan devil, Thodsakan
. Phra Lak is seen as a symbol of love, loyalty and commitment, because of his unwavering bond with Phra Ram, his elder brother.

 

Picture : Phraya Ananta Nakarach, the royal throne of God Narai and the conch the weapon of God Narai

 

Phra Lak is the son of king Thodsarot

and queen Samudhacha
. He had 3 brothers; one brother from the same mother named Phra Sattarut
, and two other brothers from different mothers, named Phra Ram and Phra Prot
. Phra Lak is closest to Phra Ram.

 

The loyalty shared by these two brothers was apparent to all, and they demonstrated the strength of their bond on many occasions, such as when Phra Ram and Phra Lak were young, and the king of the Mithila

city organized a Yok Sorn
(lifting of the magic bow)  ceremony, to help his daughter Nang Srida
choose a partner. The first person to successfully lift the bow, would win the fair maiden’s hand in marriage.

 

Men from cities across the Kingdom, and even the gods and deities in heaven, descended upon the city to witness the event, among them, the brothers, who were eager for their own shot at winning her affections. Phra Ram told Phra Lak, to try to lift the bow first. Upon touching the bow, Phra Lak realized that he could very easily lift it, but hesitated, as he knew that his brother fancied Nang Srida. In an act of sheer loyalty, Phra Lak pretended to be unable to raise the bow, moving aside for Phra Ram to win.

 

Picture  : The ceremony Yok Sorn; Phra Ram is shown lifting the bow.

 

In another incident, Phra Ram was exiled to the forest for 14 years, where he lived as a hermit. Phra Lak followed his brother into the forest, ready to help him face all the hardships and dangers that could befall them.

Picture : Phra Lak followed Phra Ram to go to the forest

 

During the war, Phra Ram was renowned for his bravery, and his brother, Phra Lak was never far behind. Phra Lak himself was severely wounded on several occasions. First, by the spear Hok

Mokkhasak
of Gumphrakan
(brother of the demon Thodsakan). Next, he took the arrows Sorn
Nakkhabas
and Sorn Phommas
of Inthorachit
(Phra Inn’s
nemesis
, who had defeated him in combat) for Phra Ram when he was attacked. He was also stabbed by the spears Hokkaew
Varavuth
of Mullaplam
(a great warrior who could fight on every plane of existence), and Hok Kabillaphat
of Thodsakan. With their combined strength, they were later able to bring down Gumphrakan, Innthorachit (son of Thodsakan), Mullaplam, Jitphrairi
, and Thodsakiriwan
and Thodsakirithorn
(the two sons of Thodsakan).

 

Picture  : Phra Lak in the war

 

Superstition related to Phra Lak

The Ramakien is widely regarded as sacrosanct in Thailand, and thus, its influence on Thai spirituality is undeniable. Many practices in Thai spirituality, are modelled after characters from the Ramakien. The legend of Phra Lak consists of many segregated parts. Although he is hardly a central figure of the story like his brother Phra Ram, he exemplifies many desirable attributes. Many forms of Wicha

and amulets are inspired by him.

 

Wicha affiliated with Phra Ram, often deals with the art of warfare. Those affiliated with Phra Lak however, pertain to the pursuit of popularity and compassion. One of the most popular is Wicha Phra Lak Na Thong

.

 

Wicha Phra Lak Na Thong

Wicha Phra Lak Na Thong is derived from beliefs related to Phra Lak’s appearance. He is described as having a beautiful physical appearance, with bright, golden skin. His name in Sanskrit is “Laksamana”, or a person whose visage is tremendously auspicious. In Thai, “Rak

“, meaning “Love”, is a close homophone for “Lak”, which is also similar in phonetic pronunciation to the English word “Luck”. Both his appearance and name are considered to be symbols of Metta Mahasaneh
and Metta Mahaniyom
.

 

Phra Lak Na Thong, is an extremely powerful form of Wicha Metta Mahaniyom. Khon

(Pantomime) dancers and opera actors often pay tribute to him through this form of Wicha, believing that it draws adoring audiences in to their performances.

 

Picture credit: Noraphat Vorakijroongroj /Shutterstock.com)

 

See Also

Wicha Phra Lak Na Thong (refer to our article on this) has been used to create many types of amulets, such as the Yant

and Phra Kreung
. It is also used to Sek
a powder for anointing the face and body, a popular technique among Khon (Pantomime) groups.

 

Picture  : Yant Phra Lak Na Thong

 

Picture : Phra Kreung Phra Lak Na Thong

 

Phra Lak amulets continue to be popular among collectors, particularly those seeking a little supernatural intervention with their personal charms, or matters of the heart. There is a significant following for Phra Lak Na Thong among enthusiasts in China and Singapore.

Does literature influence superstition, or does superstition in fact influence the stories we pass on through generations? In the case of Phra Lak, we can see that these two elements of the human experience are in fact inseparable, particularly when they involved relatable emotions.

 

(Picture credit: bhanupong chooarun/ Shutterstock.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2018 - 2021 The World's Knowledge Base for All Things Mystical. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top