Kuman Tong and Ruk-Yom: the Fortune Makers
The myth about some talismans is mysterious because they are believed to possess spirits which sometimes show themselves to people in the house or the neighborhood. The said talismans are Kuman Tong and Ruk-Yom which both could bring good luck to your business and add charm to their owners, and protect them in case of danger. The Origin of Kuman Tong Kuman Tong has been a very popular talisman in Thai society. Nowadays we can see the statues of Kuman Tong placed in many stores because the storekeepers believe that he could help them increase the customers in their stores and he could also bring good luck to the owners. The myth of Kuman Tong was first appeared in the classic Thai literature, Kun Chang Kun Pan. Kun Pan, the protagonist of the story, discovered that Boa Klee, one of his wives, planed to poison him. He, therefore, murdered her, took a dead fetus from his wife's womb and decided to make his dead son Kuman Tong. Kum Pan burnt the dead fetus to make the body smaller, covered it with gold leaves, and wrapped him up with a sheet. Besides Fafeun sword and Si Mohk horse, Kuman Tong was one of the sacred things that Kun Pan tried to find all of his life. Kuman Tong was a very significant thing for Kun Pan because he was also his son. Moreover, Kuman Tong was a baby spirit; he could travel with Kun Pan everywhere unlike the other sacred things. Kuman Tong has been classified as a sacred talisman since Ayuttaya Period and he still gains the same reputation in the moment. Yet, we cannot create Kuman Tong in the same way with Kun Pan because it is illegal and immoral.
The Legend of Kuman Tong the Killer
There are two kinds of Kuman Tong, one is wild, ferocious and can destroy enemy, the other is able to add charm and bring fortune. The first kind of Kuman Tong is fierce. There are other four types of fierce Kuman Tong including Kuman Tong Pretmun, Kuman Tong Pretdub, Kuman Tong Pretkong, and Kuman Tong Pretsoon. They can be called "Pret Puti Ngan" or "Kuman Pretprab". People use them only to hurt or murder the enemy. According to the legend, in creating this kind of Kuman Tong, the clergyman had to invite ghosts who died in unnatural death or evil spirits to inhabit in the statue of Kuman Tong. These four kinds of fierce Kuman Tong have his own ways to destroy the enemy. Kuman Tong Pretsoon has a power to drive people crazy. Kuman Tong Pretkong and Kuman Tong Pretmun are very good in protecting property; they will kill the stranger who invades the house. The only thing that can subdue Kuman Tong Pretmun is Wou Tanoo, which is made of wood used in carrying the dead body. Yet, Kuman Tong Pretkong's power is much stronger than Kuman Tong Pretmun because he is able to conquest Wou Tanoo. Maybe the only thing that can stop Kuman Tong Pretkong is the copper Wou Tanoo or Kway Tanoo. Moreover, Kuman Tong Pretkong is able to chase after the enemy everywhere but Kuman Tong Pretmun can only exercise his power in his sphere. Kuman Tong Pretkong therefore is an outstanding black spirit which can hardly find anything to conquest him. Kuman Tong Pretdub is a cold-blooded killer who can cut the enemy's throat as fast as the professional killer. Kuman Tong the killers are still popular among people who believe in black magic. They are not quite famous among ordinary talisman collectors. The type of Kuman Tong that we can find in general is not fierce like Kuman Tong the killer. This kind of Kuman Tong, called valuable Kuman Tong, is good in bringing people good luck, adding charm, and increasing advantage in business, and there is no harm for the owner. Kuman Tong who could add charm Another kind of Kuman Tong that is used to watch houses, store, and invite customer, does not have any particular name. Generally, the owner of Kuman Tong will name his talisman himself such as Udomdat, Udomlap, and Udomchoke. We can find many people worshiping this kind of Kuman Tong because they are not fierce and can add charm to their owner. In the past Kuman Tong in this kind created by Laung Por Tae from Wat Sam Ngam Temple were very powerful. Nowadays they are usually created by Laung Por Yam who is the direct disciple of Laung Por Tae. Kuman Tong who could add charm cannot hurt anyone. They have their special power to protect the houses, inviting customer, and bringing good luck. They do not have any power from evil spirit and black magic to hurt or destroy like Kuman Tong the killer. The clergymen merely create these good Kuman Tong to encourage merchants who have good deed and want something to hold to. Therefore this kind of Kuman Tong is the most famous talisman in these days.
Ruk-Yom: an Outstanding Talisman in Kuman Tong's family
Besides Kuman Tong who could add charm to his owner, Ruk-Yom is another talisman which can be classified in the same category with Kuman Tong because Ruk-Yom possesses similar power. Some people worship both Kuman Tong and Ruk-Yom because they believe the power of them could compliment each other and that would bring them prosperity. The legend of Ruk-Yom is different from Kuman Tong's but both of them appear in similar statue (usually a figure of a young boy). The story about Ruk-Yom can be first found in Tum Rub Pook Hoon Pra Lob. It said that there was a model of a boy created to be a playmate of Pra Lob, the son of Sida in Ramayana. After that the story about creating this figure became an influent example for the follower who wanted to create Ruk-Yom. Nowadays we can hardly find anyone who is skillful in creating Ruk-Yom, therefore, it almost disappeares from Thai society. Yet, Master Kom Triwaj is widely accepted as the only one who could create the powerful Ruk-Yom.
The Method of Creating Kuman Tong and Ruk-Yom
Master Kom Triwaj is the one who is skillful in creating Kuman Tong and Ruk-Yom. He has strong mind so that he can recite an incantation over Kuman Tong and Ruk-Yom to make them powerful without inviting any spirit to inhibit inside. Only his power of mind is enough to make powerful Kuman Tong and Ruk-Yom. People who worship these talismans from Master Kom always experience good things; they can find comfort in every place they go, and that make Master Kom's Kuman Tong and Ruk-Yom more famous and miraculous. The most important thing in creating Kuman Tong and Ruk-Yom is, Master Kom believes, the wood that is brought to create these talismans. He used the wood from withered Ruk Son tree and star gooseberry tree because it is an unusual thing in nature; these trees can give fruit but most parts of them are dying. People in the past believe that these trees possessed special power and if they were used in making Kuman Tong and Ruk-Yom, they would help empowering their talismans. Master Kom starts the process of creating Ruk-Yom by lighting joss sticks, reciting incantation and then he will begin to craft the small figure of young boys from the wood of Ruk Son and star gooseberry trees. Before doing this, he has to recite an incantation over a dagger which will be used in crafting the talismans. After that he will write a spell on the figures' forehead, both hands, chest, and both legs. Then he will bath his talismans in scented oil which he has already recited an incantation over. Master Kom has to recite sacred spell until a pair of talismans float on the surface of the scented oil and that can be called "Ruk-Yom". Some masters will put the small figure of young boys in tiny bottles and recite their incantation over them until they turn face to face. In creating Kuman Tong, these masters only use one figure and they will recite their spell over him until they have a vision of a boy coming to smile and greet them. Yet, some masters who have very strong power will recite their incantation until they hear the voice of Kuman Tong or see the figure of Kuman Tong move. After that they will recite the spell over him again to make them more powerful.
Three Methods of Creating and Three Kinds of Spirits
There are three ways of creating Kuman Tong. 1. Some masters create Kuman Tong by using soil from seven graves and combining with "Prai Kuman Dust", which is soft dust of children's bone ash. Kuman Tong in this category will be fierce and extremely powerful. He can inspire both good and bad things. The spirits inhibiting inside this Kuman Tong usually come from the graves or it might be a child spirit in the bone ash. This kind of Kuman Tong requires good attention and worship. The spirits inside the statue of Kuman Tong can also grow up like ordinary children. 2. Kuman Tong can be created by using ordinary soil or wood and inviting the good spirit of angel to inhibit inside the statue. Kuman Tong in this kind does not always show off his power as the first one because the angel spirits do not need ordinary food to grow up. The masters usually recite an incantation over this kind of Kuman Tong with other talismans such as a famous Kuman Tong from Laung Por Pull, Wat Pai Lom Temple. 3. Kuman Tong can also be created by using wood from withered trees, especially, from withered Ruk son and star gooseberry trees, because people thinks that the withered wood is sacred in itself, so there is no need to recite any incantation over. Using the withered wood, people believe that; will make Kuman Tong more powerful and sacred. The masters put a spell on it to create a spirit inside the statue. Therefore, the spirits inside this kind of Kuman Tong do not come from the graves or heaven but they are created by the power of the masters' spell. This kind of spirits can be called "Prai". They will not grow up and always appear as children's spirits. The owners of this Kuman Tong may or may not worship him with food because "Prai" in this Kuman Tong will not know how to hurt anyone. Yet, if they ignore Kuman Tong completely, the power inside the statue will gradually disappear. On the other hand, if the owners take good care of their talismans, Kuman Tong's power will increase and he can more effectively bring the owners good luck. These three kinds of spirits inside the statues of Kuman Tong come from difference places, the first ones are the wandering spirit, the second ones are from heaven, and the last ones come from the power of the masters' spell. These three kinds of spirits make Kuman Tong in each school appear in different characteristics. Kuman Tong with the spirits of the graves have the strongest power, while the second ones are sacred but do not always show off their power, and the third ones sometimes appear to people's eyes but do not have very strong power.
About the author: Mr. Akarat Laoharattanawiboon (MagicAmulet From eBay/ Gumanthong.com)