The Legend of Padjitt and Orapima

by Toy Tuanphimai, Dec 12, 2006 | Destinations: Thailand / Nakhon Ratchasima / Phimai

Once upon a time there was a Prince who was also a Bodhistava (a highly revered monk belived to have similar spiritual awareness to the Lord Buddha) named Pajitt. He was the son of the King of Brombana province and was of an age where his father wanted him to take a wife. There were no suitable partners for Pajitt in Brombana so Pajitt travelled the countryside searching for a wife befitting a Prince and a Bodhistava.

He travelled for many months until he reached the Moon river at Benares. Here he encountered a pregnant light skinned widow (light skin is highly prized desired by Asian men) who was surrounded by a visible aura. This corona was protecting her and her unborn child from the sunlight. Pajitta knew that he had found his mate, however as the lady was no longer pure (she was after all pregnant) he could not marry the widow, his future bride was the unborn child.

He arranged with the matriarch that he would be her servant until her daughter was sixteen at which time he and the girl would marry and return to Brombana.

A girl, Orapima, was duly born and over the years grew into a beautiful, captivating, and spiritual young woman who enchanted all who met her. Pajitt was very much in love with her and she with him.

When the time came for them to be married Pajitt returned to Brombana to obtain a wedding settlement from his father. As he had been working as an unpaid servant for the previous sixteen years he could not raise the required “milk money”, a payment made to a bride’s mother to reimburse her for caring for the child. A desirable bride such as Orapima demanded a very large payment.

Before her betrothed could return the unprotected Orapima was kidnapped by Prince Bhramadhat Kumara of Benares, who was also in love with her. He imprisoned her in his castle and attempted to “persuade” her to marry him. Orapima was pure and was saving herself for her beloved Pajitt, each time Bhramadhat came near her she created an aurora of intense heat which made it impossible for her captor to approach her.

In time Pajitt returned with his settlement. He rescued Orapima under cover of darkness while Bhramadhat and his guards slept. They escaped to the surrounding forest. As they were resting a woodsman who was also under the spell of Orapima’s beauty stumbled upon their hiding place.. He struck down Pajitt with his axe and spirited Orapima away to his hut in the middle of the forest.

Orapima, in time, was able to escape the woodsman’s clutches, she killed him as he slept with the same axe that had killed Pajitt. In disguise she returned to the Phimai to pray to Indra (the God of new life) that she would reincarnate the spirit of Pajitt.

With the wedding settlement that Pajitt had brought back from Brombana, Orapima built a sanctuary <a href="">(Prasat Hin Phimai)</a> within which she painted and sculpted scenes from her life with Pajitt. As she studied to become a monk in the sanctuary she requested that all the novices studying with her keep a look out for anyone who was moved by the murals on the sanctuary’s walls and doors.

One day a distinguished looking young man cried uncontrollably when he saw the illustrations, he was brought before Orapima and she recognised Pajitt’s spirit.

They lived happily ever after, and the town was renamed Pee mah (you’ve come back).

Interestingly enough Pi mah also means the spirit comes.

Over the years Pee mah has evolved into Phimai.

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