Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lessons on romance and responsibility


The most profound lessons I learned during my recent trip abroad were about romance and responsibility. It was a sweet discovery at the Hall of Inspiration, Doi Tung, north of Thailand. Absolutely beautiful place! Absolutely beautiful love story!

It was all about one ordinary woman with an extraordinary heart who later won the heart of Prince Mahidol of Songkhla. Subsequently, she became known as Princess Srinagarindra and later Princess Mother. She was also lovingly known as Mae Fah Luang or Royal Mother from the Sky, especially by the northern Thai hill tribes whom she would visit on a helicopter and drop medical supplies, food and toys.

She was born a commoner named Sangwan. Orphaned at the age of 9, she received her education in the US where she studied nursing and met her prince. She loved reading so much that her neighborhood bookstore let her borrow books for free; and most importantly she was an  inspiration to many around her. She was instrumental in changing the lives of people in the northern region of Thailand who had been dependent on opium production. She said: "No one wants to be a bad person, but not everyone has the opportunity to be good."

When her husband discovered his true love, he had to write to his mother justifying his heart's contents. It was worthwhile not just for him as a man but for the kingdom of Thailand. After the early demise of Prince Mahidol, their two sons became kings - King Ananda Mahidol and the present King Rama IX.  

Sangwan/Princess Srinagarindra/Princess Mother/Mae Fah Luang
1900 - 1995
Prince Mahidol wrote a letter to his mother saying: "Sangwan is all alone in the world. When we marry she will use my surname. I did not choose a wife according to her surname or whether she was born into this or that family. We can't choose our births, but I looked for a good wife. For better or worse, I am responsible for my own decision."

Visit Doi Tung and you will be inspired by this great love story told at the Hall of Inspiration. You will also get to visit the Princess' Royal Villa where Mae Fah Luang once lived amidst her gorgeous flower garden.

Love makes one does wondrous things for all the good reasons, leaving beautiful traces for all to see and cherish, as in the story of Princess Srinagarindra.

Didn't Ibn Arabi say: "I follow the religion of Love; wherever Love's camels turn, there Love is my religion and faith."

# Read more about the late Princess Mother/Princess Srinagarindra/Mae Fah Luang at Mae Fah Luang.org

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