Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Jatukharm Ramathep and Fries on the Side

Jatu (should be catu) means four, kharm (gaama) means village. Rama is the name of the mythical Hindu warrior who went to the forest (ramo vana.m gacchati - yay, Sanskrit class) and won the woman Sita. Thep comes from deva and means angel or god. The adventures of Arthur Dent come to mind:

The word bulldozer wandered through his mind for a moment in search of something to connect with.

The bulldozer outside the kitchen window was quite a big one.

He stared at it.

"Yellow," he thought and stomped off back to his bedroom to get dressed.



The word Jatukharm wandered through his mind for a moment in search of something to connect with.

The Jatukharm around the man's neck was quite a big one.

He stared at it.

"Ramathep," he thought and stomped off back to his bedroom to meditate.


Here's an article on the issue:

http://www.andrewbiggs.com/blog2/?p=202

My thoughts mirror this blogger's thoughts more or less, but I would put more emphasis on the "craving-for-material-isn't-Buddhist" argument. We are backsliding into a religion where we ask God for everything and refuse to do anything of any value ourselves. I've talked at length about this before (not here though) and it is the one argument we have against the veritable plethora of faith-based religions in the global village: even if God could give me everything I wanted, I would still find no reason to worship, praise or follow after Him on that basis, because if I kept getting all of the things I asked for, I would never have a moment of peace. I would always be thinking about what to ask for next, and my mind would be a mess.

God cannot give contentment; I have every reason to believe that he is very happy with me and what I do because I haven't asked him for anything in the past eight years, and don't plan to start. Yet in the same amount of time, the universe has given me more than I would have ever have thought to wish for. So no, I don't have any Jatukharm, and no, I am not a หมอดู - ให้ดูตัวเอง

Update - I found a Wikipedia article in Thai which tries to explain things. It seems the word jatukharm (จตุคาม) should actually be Khad-dtugaama (ขัดตุคาม) which is even more incomprehensible. As expected, the names (two people) were originally from Brahmanism, and adopted by Buddhists as guardian angels and eventually as a Bodhisatta. How convenient to justify the worship of angels as paying respect to a bodhisatta (by asking for riches and luxury no less). Pray away, stones still sink and oil still floats.