Values of Folktales and Mahajanaka’s Values and Function as Advocacy of the King’s Philosophy

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Teetima Potchanakaew

Abstract

The purposes of this article aimed to 1) review the documents and study the stone reliefs and edifices which are related to folktales 2) identify the values of folktales as found in the documents, stone reliefs and edifices in Thailand, Lao PDR., and Cambodia 3) study the values of King Bhumibhol Adulyadej’s Mahajanaka and compare with the values of folktales that found in documents, stone reliefs and edifices in Thailand, Lao PDR., and Cambodia 4) describe how His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej used Mahajanaka to advocate his philosophies. This study was divided into 2 parts. The first part used the ethnographic qualitative research methods consisting of 1) document study, reviewing the documents regarding folktales 2) field work study of important folktales-related stone reliefs and edifices in Thailand, Lao PDR., and Cambodia. Data were collected by using non-participant observation method by interviewing the informants. The second part was document research about His Majesty King Bhumibhol’s Mahajanaka. The retrieved data were analyzed, made a comparison, and drawn a conclusion. From the study of related documents, stone reliefs and edifices, the art and values of folktales were largely glorified in four dimensions: 1) preserving ancestral wisdoms, cultural and archeological sites 2) being a source of entertainment 3) advocating and help preserving culture and ecology, and 4) being used as teaching method about ethics. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Mahajanaka, reflects these four values vividly. For ecological preservation value, it showed agricultural knowledge of how to restore a mango tree. For entertainment value, it was translated into Thai, English, and Sanskrit. Later, the cartoon and animation versions were broadcast for mass entertainment. In preserving the ancestors’ wisdom value, it portrays the genius method in the way that His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej used meteorology and astrology in locating the ancient cities, especially Suwannabhumi. For moral teaching value, it teaches about perseverance and self-sacrifice for the good of the people. Mahajanaka was employed as a tool to spread the key ideas of his philosophies.

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บทความวิจัย (Research Articles)