FASCINATNG INDO -THAI CULTURE
It has been over a month already, yet the excitement of having gotten into this transformational course feels like I am still going thru day 1. Coming from South India, there are many things that fascinated me here in Thailand; some of them seemed very familiar to me. Without getting into too much of analysis, here are the similarities that I could see between Indian and Thai cultures
- Greeting someone with joined palms and folded hands before chest and bending forward. While Thai say Sawadti kaa/krap, Indians say Namaste.
- Respecting elders and teachers with polite vocal tone and body language.
- Common mythological story of Ramayana, which is also sculpted or painted, depicting many characters in most of the temples. Characters like Naga, Garuda, are commonly seen sculpted in many temples.
- Huge respect for ‘Budha’, Respect for Budha that I see in India and in Thailand is more than what one gives God. While most Indian Hidhu’s believe in many Gods and worship, it is deeper respect than just faith that comes to one’s heart when we think of Budha.
- Thai massage – Marma shastra in Ayurveda. Having studied Ayurveda medicine, I was amused to learn how much similar is this Thai massage science to Indian Ayurvedic science describing ‘Marma Vignana’. Knowledge of all vital points in body (marma vignana) demands good anatomical knowledge, so that one knows what the effect of pressing that point, also the consequence if such vital points are damaged (with over pressure or other accidents).
- Apart from Vital points, Yoga postures are sculpted in some temples which again left me stunned. Yoga and Ayurveda sciences seem to be so strongly embedded in Thai culture, so much so that many women know those herbal home remedies which are described in Ayurveda science.
- Sanskrit derivation for many of the Thai words can be easily identified, sometimes I thought the person was miss-pronouncing the Sanskrit word. Name of the city ‘Ayuthaya’ which is derived from ‘Ayodhya’, ‘Sawasti’ greeting from ‘Swasti’ which means welfare/goodness.
- Culture of removing footwear while entering temples, and homes. Wearing non proactive clothing, covering body appropriately in places of worship, enabling a positive space to connect to faith, and higher conscious.
- Culture or ‘take it easy/ sabai-sabai’, not being aggressive in approaching almost anything; may it be a conversation, short term goals or a career oriented choice; it is more obvious when compared to other Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and China which are known for their aggressive workaholic culture. Indo-Thai culture seem to endorse “slow and steady wins the race” concept.
- Religious beliefs, doctrines, philosophies of the major religion in both India and Thailand, i.e., Hindhu and Budhism seem quite similar in so many ways.
I also got to see so much of cultural adaptations among Indian and Thai cultures, I must admit that western culture has equally influenced both the countries and both the countries have slightly adopted western culture too.
Spurana H G – India
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 28