The Tiger General and his amulets

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pra kru wat chanasongkram

Pra Kru Chanasongkram
Tiger General – Right Hand Man to Two Kings – Chaophraya Surasse / Maha Sura Singhanat
พระกรุวัดชนะสงคราม

History has sometimes overlooked Chaophraya Surasee’s contribution to the building of the New Siam perhaps because he was devoted to his older brother, Rama I, and the collective ideals of creating a new order in Siam.

From 1767-1782 during the Kingdom of Thonburi, Boonma fought along and served King Taaksin in at least 13 battles against internal competitors and external enemies.

After the death of King Taaksin in 1782 and the enthronement of General (Chaophraya) Chakri as King Rama I, General Surasee was honored and elevated by his brother, the new king. He was appointed Uparaja or Second King (in modern terminology this would be Deputy King or Crown Prince) and continued to serve as an able and imaginative Supreme Commander. An aggressive leadership style, where Forward was his most common command, earning him the nickname Phraya Seua or The Tiger General from soldiers in the field.

chaophraya surasi

Perhaps the Tiger Generals most illustrious battle was in 1785, at Laadya, Kanchanaburi, three years after King Bodawpaya of Burma took over the throne when he led 30,000 Siamese troops against a formidable Burmese force of 90,000. Strategy, again, by moving swiftly, and with surprise, Uparaja Chaophraya Surasee prevented the Burmese settling in and picking their own battle position. A lack of iron cannon balls didn’t deter the Tiger General who quickly ordered balls of hardwood to be fired causing much havoc as they rained down on Burmese foot-soldiers and cavalry.

This was the first war between Burmese and Siam during the reign of King Rama I and known as The War of Nine Armies

Uparaja Chaophraya Surasee, as Deputy King and Supreme Commander, died in 1803 aged 60 years. It is fitting to recall that his last battle, at the age of 59, was ousting the Burmese from the northern city of Chiangmai.A statue of the Tiger General, who gave loyal service to two great Siamese kings, was unveiled by His Majesty King Bhumibol in 1979. It is situated at Wat Mahathat (Bangkok) and depicts a soldier, standing tall, with a sword in each hand. This is The Tiger General!

Wat Chanasongkram – Sacred Kru

The Kru (cell of sacred amulets) discovered at Wat Chanasongkram was originally created by HRH Prince Maha Surasee, (The Tiger General), royal brother of King Rama I the Great during the first period of the Chakri dynasty.

These amulets were created around 200 years ago and retained in a Kru located inside a chedi. They were re-discovered in B.E.2495, when the Abbot, Jaokun Pradharmpitok relocated the chedi to make room for a new school. The Abbot decided to give these amulets away to all the donors who had supported the construction of the new school and other renovation projects within the temple.Originally these amulets were quite fragile and were easily broken, as they were made from unbaked soil and Bailarn leaves. Jaokun Pradharmpitok decided to preserve the amulets by baking them.

Pims

There were many different Pims (styles) found in the Kru including Pim Prokbhoti, Pim Soomtaowanlui, Pim Kang Yun, Pim Pidta, etc. It was said that a policeman who was shot was wearing one of these amulets miraculously escaped un-injured. As a result, the fame of these amulets increased substantially


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