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Chao Pu (Phaya) Yommarat – Phra Yom Mantra

At Wat Pra That Phon Thong there is a small pavilion with a statue of an unusual figure not ordinarily seen at a Thai temple. It is a statue of Chao Pu Yommarat (เจ้าปู่ยมราช). This is not actually a specific historical figure but refers to the distinguished 14 Thai men who were awarded the Royal title of “Yommarat” (ยมราช) and whose responsibilities included keeping the peace in Siam’s capital city of Bangkok.

The last person to receive the title of Yommarat was Pan Sukhum (ปั้นสุขุม). He became Chaophraya Yommarat in 1908 and oversaw the modernization of many public works projects in Thailand, the establishment of the first modern police force, and the founding of Siam Cement, the oldest and largest cement manufacturing company on Southeast Asia.

Considering that Wat Prathat Phon Thong was built during the 1800s, the old wooden statue of Chao Pu Yommarat (standing above the 3 headed elephant Erawan) likely was created while the “Yommarat” were still important public figures in Siam. The statue thus could be another piece of treasured Isaan folk art to be found at this Sakon Nakhon temple where Luang Pu Fan Acharo was ordained as a novice monk.

 

Wat Phrathat Phon Thong
Chao Pu Yommarat (เจ้าปู่ยมราช) Statue at Wat Phrathat Phon Thong in Phanna Nikhom

Phaya Yommarat Mantra

Nearby the statue is the special mantra of “Phaya Yommarat” (พญายมราช), the king of the underworld whose name is likely what inspired the noble title — for some legends say that in his past life, Phaya Yommarat was a wise village leader who would judge legal cases fairly.

Phaya Yommarat also goes by the name Phra Yom (พระยม) in Thailand. It’s believed that chanting his mantra increases longevity, and freedom from sickness and danger. Some Thai Buddhists will chant this mantra when seriously ill to ward off death.

ปะโตเมตัง ปะระชีวินัง สุขะโตจุติ
bpà-dtoh-may-dtang bpà-rá-chee-wí-nang sù-kà-dtoh-jù-dtì

จิตตะเมตะ นิพพานัง สุขะโตจุติ
jìt-dtà-may-dtà níp-paa-nang sù-kà-dtoh-jù-dtì

David Alan
Sakon Nakhon Isaan