Fauna Of Himapan Forest (Thai Mythology)

Fauna Of Himapan Forest (Thai Mythology)By ALfie Mella
Perhaps the most popular realm in Thai mythology, HimapanForest is the invisible woodland believed to exist in theHimalayas, in the India-Nepal border, just below the equallylegendary Buddhist heaven. The fabled forest is home to a greatnumber of mythical beasts that have become symbols of exemplaryThai traits. Some of such fabulous creatures are describedbelow.
*GARUDA: Royalty and Supremacy* Half human and half bird, Garuda has the torso and arms of aman and the head, wings, tail, and feet of an eagle. The kingof all birds is the favored mount of Vishnu, a deity shared byboth the Hindu and the Thai faiths. The Thai people honorGaruda as a symbol of royalty and supremacy. In fact, herepresents the Thai monarchy or government, and an artist’srendition of the majestic creature appears on Thai bank notesand on the royal flag of Thailand.
*NOK HASADEE: Ambivalence and Balance* A gigantic elephant-headed bird, Nok Hasadee inhabits thetangled, thorny rattan-cane areas of Himapan, where hepatiently waits in camouflage for ungulates—his favored prey.During heavy rains, especially when he is neither furious norfamished, Nok Hasadee fancies making noise by playing anenormous 'khawng wong yai' or, simply, smelling the scent ofthe forest with his proboscis. This is the reason many Thainatives, especially those of the Central Plains, viewthunderstorms as one of Nok Hasadee’s destructive pranks.Nevertheless, they describe him as a paradoxicalcharacter—playful yet lonesome, childlike yet predatory.
*NAGA: Comfort and Safety* A multiheaded serpent whose main head sports a beard and wearsa typical pointed Thai crown, Naga inhabits the densest part ofHimapan Forest. It is a half sibling yet a sworn enemy ofGaruda. Naga is a familiar motif in Thai architecture, featuredfrequently on stair handrails of many temples. Thailandersregard the serpent as a symbol of comfort and safety.
*PRANORN PUGGSA: Agility and Dexterity* The Thai folk derived the name of this creature from the Thaiwords ‘pranorn’ (monkey) and ‘pugg’ (bird or birdlike). PranornPuggsa has a monkey’s head, torso, and forelimbs; the lower bodyof a bird; and a prehensile feathered tail. Ambidextrous, he isexcellent in climbing trees, moving from branch to branch withagility. Pranorn Puggsa fancies mangoes and apples. Peopledescribe him as “the tireless and spirited inhabitant ofHimapan Forest.”
*RAJASI: Grandeur and Magnificence* People depict Rajasi, the king of fierce forest mammals, as alion whose mane, tail, and paws are burning with golden flames.Most inhabitants of Himapan Forest dread the lion king not forhis slyness but for his splendor. Although Rajasi symbolizesgrandeur and magnificence, many Thailanders, especially thosewho are living in the North, blame him for the forest fires.
*KINNARI: Gracefulness and Elegance* Half human and half bird, Kinnari has the head, torso, and armsof a beautiful woman and the wings, tail, and feet of a swan.Her voice is enchanting and her gait graceful. She is sometimesdepicted playing a 'khryang ditt,' making her a patroness ofdance, poetry, and music. Many Thai parents encourage theirdaughters to emulate the gracefulness and elegance of the swanlady. A favorite subject of artists, Kinnari’s graceful formappears frequently in sculpture and murals.
*KINNON-NUA: Swiftness and Serenity* Partly human and partly artiodactyl, Kinnon-nua has the torsoand arms of a muscular man and the antlers and lower body of adeer. The swift creature roams Himapan Forest seasonally,safeguarding the realm’s endangered fauna and flora andpromoting serenity. Whereas the satyr of Greek mythology playsthe panpipe, Kinnon-nua plays the 'pi chawa.' The sylvan Thainative will readily regard him as a symbol of nature.
======== Vocabulary: ======== 1. ambidextrous, adj. able to use both hands in equal ease. 2. artiodactyls, n. ungulates that include all types of deer,like antelopes and elks. 3. prehensile, adj. adapted for grasping. 4. proboscis, n. a long snout. 5. sylvan, adj. fond of wooded areas. 6. ungulates, n. hoofed mammals. ============================================================== References: [http://www.china-on-site.com/three.php] 02/15/04. [http://www.thailandlife.com/a_culture.htm] 10/09/03. “The Literature of Thailand.”[http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/7153/tathome.htm]10/09/03. [www.pages.drexel.edu/~sg94ep84/PCpage.htm] 02/15/04.
©2004 eLf ideas
About the Author: aLfie “eLf” vera mella was born in 1971 inMetro Manila, Philippines. He was a very inquisitive child whohad shown fondness for reading and writing at an early age. Hegraduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing,but the literatus in him never left his heart. A true artist,eLf was the vocalist of a New Wave band, named Half Life HalfDeath, which served as the musical vehicle for his poetry.Before he left his beloved country in 2003, he was working asan editor of and writer for scholastic books and magazines. eLf is currently living in British Columbia, Canada, serving asa caregiver for his maternal grandfather. He may have left awell-loved work but for a noble reason, and he never ceasedfrom doing what he loves most since childhood—writing.Virtually always home, he usually spends his solitary nightsreading, researching, and writing about various subjects of hisinterest—chiefly, Culture, History, Literature, Mythology,Music, and Science—with New Wave music always lingering in thebackground like a gentle breeze on a quiet sea. A writer atheart, eLf started inditing his thoughts around the age of six;and he intends to continue documenting his feelings and ideasuntil his twilight. /http://www.elf-ideas.blogspot.com
Source: http://www.isnare.com


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