A Chronicle of The Mons
This is a translation of a work translated from Mon language to Myanmar which its translator refers to in the concluding part of his translation as the “Mon Chronicle”. The translation of a translation appears to be odd, but it is attempted here for the Mon original does not seem to have survived and because there is so few Mon chronicle available that any addition to their number could be of some help in arriving at a better idea of Mon historiography.
The best known of the Mon chronicles is the Akruin Kamraulwi Rajadhiraj and its Myanmar translation, the Yazadarit Ayedawbon, “The Struggle of Rajadhiraj”. The Mon work is anonymous, but the Myanmar translation in general circulation has been attributed to Banya Dala by Maingkaing Myosa Mingyimahathirizeyathu U Yan (1815-1892), Royal Librarian of the late Konbaung period and author of Pitakat Thamaing, one of the earliest of Myanmar bibliographies, and the attribution has been affirmed by such modern scholars as Yi Yi and Nai Pan Hla. It is not very clear on what evidence the attribution is made because Banya Dala does not otherwise stand out as a literary figure. He is undoubtedly the most prominent Mon in Myanmar history and perhaps that accounts for the attribution.
The Yazadarit Ayedawbon exists in several palm leaf manuscripts while one of its earliest printings was in 1883. This was followed by further printings in 1922 and 1923. Later, it became part of a collection of ayedawbon chronicles published in 1967. It appeared again in another collection of ayedawbon chronicles in 1970.
The printing of the Mon text progressed more tardily than that of the Myanmar translation. The first printing was in 1910 and was done at Pak Lat, southwest of Bangkok, where the Mon monk Phra Candakanta, Superior of Krungcin Monastery, had set up a press to print a number of significant Mon texts. After printing a number of Mon works, mostly in verses, Phra Candakanta published the Kamraulwi Rajadiraj as part of the first of the two volumes devoted to chronicles, Pathama Sudhammavati Gavampati Rajadhiraj which consisted of three works,
- a short chronicle of Sudhammavati Thaton,
- the foretellings of the Buddha regarding Thaton and Hanthawaddy given through his disciple Gavampati, and
- the chronicle of Rajadhiraj which took up four-fifth of the whole volume.