The Padhra was the founder and deity of the Padhran religion practiced in the Hordelands. In life, the Padhra was known as Surtava, an ancient Ulgarian prince who abandoned his privileged existence to become a beggar and seek enlightenment. He found it and dedicated the remainder of his life to teaching others his observations. He was sometimes called the Great Teacher and the Enlightened One.
As written in the religious books of the Padhran faith, around −1700 DR, Surtava, an Ulgarian prince, abandoned his crown, his power, and his wealth to become a beggar and seek enlightenment and wisdom.[note 1]
Prince Surtava was accompanied by a pet leopard named Gaumahavi, and she served as his sole companion, friend, and protector. Thanks to her close contact with Surtava and participation in his quest, Gaumahavi developed an animal soul. The leopard became a supernatural and intelligent beast, capable of speech and writing, and even of a search for enlightenment herself.
At one point, Gaumahavi gave birth, producing a litter of leopard cubs. Most were ordinary animals, but one, Sandiraksiva, was supernatural and bore an animal soul like his mother. Sandiraksiva also joined Surtava's quest.
Legend told that the Great Teacher came to Ra-Khati and the junction of the Dharbang River and the Gogrus River, a point called the Bed of Two Lovers. There he meditated for five weeks without eating or sleeping. In the process, he obtained "the fifth key to enlightenment", coming closer to achieving ultimate harmony. When he stopped meditating, he broke his fast by eating a peach, and tossed the pit in the water. Thereafter, the water was blessed with healing powers and it was a sacred site for Padhran pilgrims.
Afterward, Surtava set the leopards Gaumahavi and Sandiraksiva go free. Mother and cub returned to the jungles, and there followed their own paths toward an animalistic form of enlightenment. When they died, their souls passed on and were reincarnated as higher and higher forms of animal life.
Surtava spent the remainder of this life preaching on what he had learned. He gave two main lectures: the Four Baskets of Wisdom, which outlined his views on life and reincarnation, and the Sixfold Path, a code of behavior necessary to ultimately attain "Eaum", in which a being's soul became one with the Great Soul of the Universe. Surtava founded the Padhran religion based on his views, with the aid of other founders, such as Monkey.
In the 5th century DR, Ra-Khati was a prosperous, open kingdom at the height of its power, but it was said the Padhra became angry at the people's greed. Thus, in Ra-Khatian belief, he caused a horde of Tuigan horse-riding barbarians from the northern plains to descend on Ra-Khati. They slew the greedy and gluttonous men and sacked the rich cities. Afterward, Ra-Khati closed its borders and grew insular and xenophobic.
Some time around 1359 DR, the Padhra is said to permitted the destruction of Ra-Khati's then capital city, Kushk, during a war with Solon. Gaumahavi, now a great dragon but enslaved to Ambuchar Devayam of Solon, obliterated the city.
In 1359 DR, the Dalai Lama prayed to the Padhra for advice on how to handle Ambuchar Devayam's demands and depredations. But, disappointed by Ra-Khati's xenophobia, the Padhra declined to help, only to safeguard the peace if Princess Tsenya Bhrokiti went to Solon, until Ra-Khati rediscovered its courage and wisdom.
Through his teachings, the Enlightened One was taught how to achieve peace and attain "perfect oblivion" and filled his followers with harmony and perfect understanding. The force of the Enlightened One was believed to fill all things, whether alive or dead, organic or mineral. A simple stone might contain a fraction of this force, while people of great will shone with power to those who could read the auras. These auras indicated the state of balance and harmony of the world.
The Padhra is obviously based on the Buddha, also said to be a prince who gave up his position to become an ascetic and seek enlightenment, and preached a similar doctrine. Furthermore, "Buddha" can be translated to "Enlightened One", a title also linked to the Padhra.
Although Storm Riders presents the Padhra as being similar to the Buddha, The Horde merges the Padhran religion with the Path of Enlightenment, a Confucianism-inspired faith (with Buddhism-like elements) presented earlier in Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms. Page 39 of The Horde refers to "the Great Teacher, founder of the Path", in events strongly reminiscent of the Padhra's quest for enlightenment, but the Path was already specifically established as the creation of the Celestial Emperor in a very different way. Both Storm Riders and The Horde were published in 1990, so it is not clear which source is retconning or contradicting which. This merger or confusion of the Path and the Padhran faith may be in error, be due to a misunderstanding of the Path, or be for in-universe syncretism (a merger or correlation of religions). In any case, the Padhran religion presented in Storm Riders is very different in nature and origin from the Path of Enlightenment, so this wiki treats them as separate and distinct religions for clarity.
Thus, the Great Teacher mentioned in connection with the Dharbang River is assumed to be the Padhra, owing to the strong connection to the rivers of the Thousand Sacred Sources of the Gaya. The Gaya lies in Ulgarth, where Surtava likely originated, and the pilgrimage route along them is identical to that of the Padhran religion in Storm Riders.
The Horde also refers to "the Enlightened One" as the deity of Zanda Tholing and the (multi-faith) Horseshoe Temple Oasis, but this deity is connected to no particular religion. The novel Horselords (1990) has the Enlightened One as the supreme being of the Red Mountain Sect of Khazari, but also connected to no other religion. Horselords also places Furo below the Enlightened One in the Red Mountain faith, while the module Blood Charge (1990) establishes Furo as the Padhrasattva of Knowledge, connecting Furo to the Padhran religion, and by extension the Enlightened One. This implies that the Padhra is the Enlightened One, supported by the real-world translation of Buddha as "Enlightened One".
- ↑ This was "over three thousand years" before the setting date of 1359 DR, i.e., sometime before −1641 DR. It is assumed that "Ulgarian" is another or older demonym for the realm of Ulgarth; this is supported by the central role of the river Xon/Gaya in the Padhran faith. The idea of Prince Surtava and his kingdom seems at odds with Ulgarth's "centuries of dark barbarism" at the time (The Shining South page 74; Shining South page 179), but there is plenty of time in which a kingdom or princedom may have arisen, or else Surtava is better described as the son of a barbarian warlord.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Troy Denning (1990). Storm Riders. (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 0-88038-834-X.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Troy Denning (1990). Storm Riders. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 0-88038-834-X.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Troy Denning (1990). Storm Riders. (TSR, Inc), p. cards. ISBN 0-88038-834-X.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 39. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 109. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Troy Denning (1990). Storm Riders. (TSR, Inc), p. 41. ISBN 0-88038-834-X.
- ↑ David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ David Cook (1990). The Horde (Cards). (TSR, Inc), p. 3b. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Troy Denning (1990). Storm Riders. (TSR, Inc), p. 34. ISBN 0-88038-834-X.
- ↑ Troy Denning (1990). Storm Riders. (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 0-88038-834-X.
- ↑ Troy Denning (1990). Storm Riders. (TSR, Inc), p. 22. ISBN 0-88038-834-X.
- ↑ David Cook (May 1990). Horselords. (TSR, Inc.), chap. 2, pp. 36–37. ISBN 0-8803-8904-4.
- ↑ David Cook (May 1990). Horselords. (TSR, Inc.), chap. 4, pp. 68–69. ISBN 0-8803-8904-4.
- ↑ David Cook (May 1990). Horselords. (TSR, Inc.), chap. 15, pp. 269–270. ISBN 0-8803-8904-4.
- ↑ Troy Denning (1990). Storm Riders. (TSR, Inc), p. 18. ISBN 0-88038-834-X.