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Thway Khru: Invocation to the Masters

This is the note for the ceremony that was written for ceremony in preparation of my concert@Angkor in February 2011.

 

RITUALS OF PRAYER TO KRONG PEALY AND THWAY KHRU

Invocations to the Masters

Led by achar Sok Mom "Khum"

Singers: Voum Sreyroth - Chhorn Sam Ath

 On the day before the two Bosbapanh@Angkor concerts on February 24, 2011, the artists and their backstage team held the solemn ceremony of Krong Pealy to offer prayers to the creators of the Universe and other celestial beings. This is followed by the Thvay Khru or Sampeah Khru ceremony which offers prayers to the souls of all past master artists. These two ceremonies open the concert.  

 

 INVOCATION TO KRONG PEALY

The  Krong Pealy ritual requests blessings from the Giant Krong Pealy, the creator of the universe, and is accompanied by 11 songs which are played on traditional Cambodian instruments.

Cambodians perform this ritual before laying the first foundation stone for a building or beginning a wedding ceremony.

Those staging and performing in the Bosbapanh@Angkor concerts will pray and make offerings to Krong Pealy and the other celestial guests to invite them to visit the concert area at Angkor Wat to ensure that stage construction goes well and to bring great success to the performances and all other aspects of the concerts.

Myth states that Krong Pealy and his sister Preah Phoum created the Universe, and were King and Queen of the giants. When Buddha Bottumuratak came into the world, the Buddha wanted all people to join his religion, and he asked Krong Pealy to provide him with territory where he could preach the Dharma so that people could become enlightened. Since this territory overlapped Krong Pealy’s territory, Krong Pealy and his sister agreed to leave the earth if the Buddha would continue to let people honor them before beginning any ceremony, and especially before beginning ceremonies held to start construction of a building or celebrate a wedding.

 

Invocation to Sen Krong Pealy (in verse): 

Botumrochak Bopeakyeang Akeakniye revakto Teakhene kaspo Putho.  

                 Oh! Lord, we all bow to you with respect, joining our hands in prayer to invite you, powerful King Pealy, creator of the earth and all its continents. We also kneel to invite Neang Andeng Sophortrea, and King Kochalak who have powerful virtue and goodness. We invite as well the powerful King Tosarot and the powerful, perfect Lady Neang Vongsa Pinoun.

                 Today, we are performing the Preah Kun Krou prayers for Bosbapanh’s concert. We have done our best to prepare a feast of food, and cakes according traditional requirements, and also offer 4 Bat[1] of  gold  hung up left and right, and 5 hath of cloth[2]. With our offerings and rituals, we invite you to be the leaders of our ceremony. Since you are the creators of the Universe, no one can be compared with you -- even the many Buddhas that have achieved enlightenment. We still depend on your blessings when building a road, bridge, house, pagoda, school, stupa, or digging a pond for community benefit. This is why all kings, officials, soldiers and citizens bow respectfully to you as the creator of all.

We invite King Pealy, and Neag Kunghing Thorny, to please come to enjoy our rituals and offerings of baysei[3], nuts, cigars, candles, incense, flowers, chicken, pork, rice, corn, potatoes, coconuts, perfume, fruit, and other dessert. After fully enjoying them, please bless all involved in the Bosbapanh concerts. Grant us success and protection from enemies from all directions – the enemies in front of us as well as the enemies behind our backs, and make them our friends and supporters of our concerts.  Please bless us all with peace, comfort and harmony forever.

This invocation is followed by 11 songs of prayer, performed while the priest scatters grain, flowers, and sprays perfume.

 

 The 11 special invocations played and sung to Krong Pealy

1)Phat Porpork

Invocation to the pure, celestial winds to ask them to blow all evil spirits out of the concert place.

2)Sombon

Invocation requesting blessings and best wishes from the ten celestial Tevedas, the Giant Krong Pealy, Pisnokar (the architect of the Gods), Bangbat, Neak Ta, and all ancestors of the performers.

3)Hom Rong

Invocation to the souls of all master artists, junior and senior; Pisnoka; the celestial Tevadas from all 10 geographic directions, asking them to contribute their skills and talents to the performance.

4)Sdaech Yean

Invocation to the Giant Krong Pealy to take his seat of honor (the seat with the umbrella), where all kinds of offerings have been prepared for him.

5)Nokor Reach

Invocation performed especially for the Giant Krong Pealy to please him and ask for his blessings.

6)Chorng Nimol

Performers, from the oldest to the youngest, place their offerings of food and flowers for the celestial guests.

7)Karng Saung

Invocation to the Giant Krong Pealy, his wife, sons and daughters; the Tevedas from all 10 directions, Pisnokar, and the souls of all junior and senior masters, inviting them to eat the food prepared for them.

8)Kapoat Snoeung

Invocation to the Giant Krong Pealy, his wife, sons and daughters; Pisnoka; the Tevedas from all 10 directions; and the souls of all junior and senior masters, to protect the venue, the artists, and all in the audience.

9) Sampeao Thay

Invocation to clear all the remaining food and other offerings from the Giant Krong Pealy’s seat of honor, and to request blessings for all who work back stage and provide security for the concert. 

10) Om Touk

A song to entertain the celestial guests on their trip back to the heavens.

11) Chey

After the souls of the artists’ ancestors return to the heavens, the priest ties a white thread around the right wrist of all the performers to bless them.

 

 THE THVAY KHRU RITUAL 

Invocation to all the souls of the Master Artists 

The Sampeah Khru, which means ceremony to honor master artists, is a Hindu ritual performed originally at the Royal Palace. The Sampeah or Thvay Khru Thom (Grand Invocation to the Masters) is a series of 33 classical songs, whilst the Thvay or Sampeah Khru Touch (Brief Invocation to the Masters) is a series of 13 songs which are selected from the 33 songs of the Thvay Khru Thom. The words of the Sampeah Khru are based on verses from the Ream Ker Khmer, a classic of Khmer culture,  derived from the Indian Ramayana.

Scenes on the walls of Angkor Wat show that many different kinds of musical instruments were used for the Sampeah Khru ritual, which means that the music varies as well. These variations demonstrate the great variety in Khmer classical music.

 The ritual of Sampeah Khru invites the souls of past master artists to visit the concert venue in order to bless the concert team with peace and contentment, and bring great success to the performances and all other aspects of the concerts.

 

 Invocation to Preah Phoum (in verse): 

            We all kneel down, joining our hands and bowing in prayer to invite Preah Phoum, who is the creator of the earth. Oh! Lord, please come to our concert stage now. We will perform prayers and have prepared delicious food for you so that you will bless Bosbapanh’s concert  and our Preah Kun Kru ceremony which we hold to honor the ancestors,  our master performers.

             Please Lord Preah Phoum, ensure our success, and accept our offerings of food. If we have not achieved perfection in our offerings, please forgive us. After you have eaten, and before you leave us, please bless all of us to ensure our success, and relieve us from all sadness and worry. From today forward, grant us the peace and contentment we wish.

            

After this prayer is finished, the priest puts chicken, pork, fish, and dessert on Preah Phoum’s banana leaf plate, and then prays to Krong Pealy. 13 special invocations played and sung to the souls of master artists:

 

 1. Bot Sathukar (meaning fairness and achievement)

This prayer calls on the souls of all master artists to come and support the concert performers in successfully conducting the Sampeah Krou ritual.

2. Bot Tras Toch (a form of Music “Chrah” music - chapters 75-80).

This prayer, which comes from the Ream Ker Khmer, requires bowing with respect to the ancestors of all master performers.

3. Bot Kamman (or Kamarn)

The music in this song resembles the light tapping of the feet of a crow, and honors Kakanaso, the giant crow in Ream Ker Khmer.

4. Bot Ba Thom:  This prayer is made to Ba Hanuman, the very powerful monkey commander in the Ream Ker Khmer who is devoted to Preah Ream, the principle character in the Ream Ker Khmer. Preah Ream is also known Preah Neareay, and is one of the three most important Brahman Gods.

 5. Bot Lea: the spirits or deities can transform themselves into other appearances.

 6. Bot Smoe (Smoeu or Khan, is a weapon with a long handle, ending in 3 sharp metal edges)

The music for this prayer recalls the power and virtue of the navy that set sail for Lanka to rescue Sita, the wife of Preah Ream, who had been kidnapped by Krong Reab, the evil king of Lanka.

7. Bot Choeut Chhoeng: Based on the Ream Ker Khmer, this prayer calls for tranquility, and peace of mind.

 8. Bot Choeut: Throughout the Ream Ker Khmer, the drum is beaten quickly and repeatedly to mimic the sound of fighting, and is accompanied by loud shouts of Chhoeut! Chhoeut! Chhoeut!

 9. Bot Thlom (or Clom, means perfect round). This prayer pays respect to all important and powerful gods.

10. Bot Chamnarn  (or Chumneanh, means very skilful)

This prayer is performed to invite all the souls of all master artists to join the concert and bless the concert performers with success.

11. Bot Krev Nay (or Krao Nay)

This prayer sounds like the cheerful shouts of a victorious army as the soldiers leave the battlefield.

12. Choeut Sonk

 13. Bot Phleng Chhob (music of ending)

This prayer ends the Sampeah Krun ritual honoring the souls of all the  souls of the ancestors and master performers.

 

Compiled by Ung Vanna, Soy Saret and Yun Theara for Bosbapanh and Friends @Angkor Concert – 25/26 February 2011

 


[1] A traditional measure equivalent to 15 g

[2] a hath is the distance from a person’s elbow to the tip of their longest finger – a traditional unit of measurement

[3] Flower arrangements