I once wrote a post on “Laser Art of the Jatukarm Ramathep Lucky Charm”, and now I want to write about “The Jatukarm Ramathep Lucky Charm Fever,” but first let me give you a little history of the legend, and who is Jatukarm Ramathep?
There are many legends about the origins of Jatukham Rammathep, the name used to identify a certain kind of amulet, but it is generally agreed that it goes way back in the mists of time, long before the northern kingdoms emerged.
Perhaps the most credible account is provided by late crime-buster Phantharak Rajjadej, who helped to create the famous amulets, as described in an almanac authored by Seawrite Award winner Jamlong Fangchollajit, a native of Nakhon Si Thammarat, where the history of it is set.
Jatukham Rammathep is two people, not one. The names are the aliases of brother princes Inthara Sairen and Inthara Khao Kheo, sons of King Jantharaphanu, who ruled the Sri Thammasoke realm, the capital of the Krung Srivijaya Kingdom (757-1257) in southern Thailand, after his father who founded it.
The Sri Thammasoke realm began to degenerate as a result of their father’s absence of 20 years during which he expanded his dominion to as far as eastern India. The brothers founded a new capital at Chang Khom Sirithammarat (present day Nakhon Si Thammarat), and renamed the realm Srivijaya Suvarnabhumi.
Some legends say Jatukham Rammathep was another royal person living in a different era altogether, while others suggest it was a name given to King Jantharaphanu himself.
But all legends – under the influence of Mahayana Buddhism which was widely observed during the period – commonly believe that whatever king or royal person the name belongs to, the right holder of the name is an Avalokitesvara, a future Buddha after numerous rebirths committed to intense self-dedication and intense sacrifice.
Long after their deaths, the two princes continue to be idealised by succeeding generations of residents of Nakhon Si Thammarat and today are remembered by their preferred names of Jatukham and Rammathep as guardian angels.
Once upon a time, many centuries ago (about 1700 years ago), it was a time of war and trouble. There lived a king and his princes in Central Siam. The elder prince named Jatukam and the other named Ramathep. After many years of war, the King finally conquered and managed to secure Sri Lanka into part of his Kingdom. There was a saying that the King possessed a sacred treasure, this was none other than the holy relics of Lord Buddha. Before the King began his journey to the newly conquered land, he tasked the protection of the relics to his two princes, & ordered them to guard it with their lives.
Some time later, the princes received information of plan by their enemies to capture the relics. They immediately informed the King in Sri Lanka. The King instruction was to quickly take the relics away by sea and head to Sri Lanka. Halfway through the journey, a thunderstorm struck and their ships were sunken. Except the two princes, the rest of the crew did not survive. The two princes were washed ashore, but well. Without the sea transport, they could no longer bring the relics to Sri Lanka. They started praying sincerely to the relics, saying: “Dear Enlightened One! If this land we step upon is a holy piece of land, then please guide us let us live a new life here. With our people, we shall guard and protected your relics forever.”
Later the two princes built a temple on this holy land and with much hard work; they also establish a wealthy and strong city. They brought new hope and peace to all the people. In remembrance of the great deeds by the two princes, they named this place Nakhon Si Thammarat in their honor. This is now located at Southern of Thailand at the present time. The temple that the two princes built for the relics is called Wat Mahathat – as it is known now.
Ever since then, after a few centuries, many people had traveled to Wat Mahathat to locate the relics that were buried by the princes. Finally, they found a stone carving and the relics buried at the Wat. The stories of the two princes were found engraved on this stone. The two princes had done many great deeds and the greatest is by erecting the temple to house the relics. And they promised to guard the Relics with their lives. They had earned respect from both the heavenly and earthly beings.
Later, the people combined the two princes into one and named him Tao Jatukam Ramathep when praying to him. Tao Jatukam Ramathep becomes one of the most respected and popular deities in the South of Thailand. In olden days, Tao was used to address noble ones. It is believed that those that pray to Tao Jatukam Ramathep will be blessed with fulfilling life and better in all aspects in everyday work.