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Why ‘Maharlika’? What is wrong with ‘Philippines’?




Eddie Ilarde

Eddie Ilarde

President Rody Duterte’s declaration that he agrees with the proposal to rename the Philippines “Maharlika” was met with jubilation by many Filipinos whose spirit and judgment have been awakened to appreciate the need to redeem our treasured ethos of time past. After centuries of carrying a name branded into our being illegally by a foreign invader, it is time for change and redemption — and tread the road torenascence.

Understandably, there is opposition to such a change by the uninformed, by the misinformed. We have long been indoctrinated to accept blindly foreign dictates and hegemony — the reason many Filipinos today are averse to resisting a deeply-rooted conservative status quo.

There are inaccurate and disparaging translations of the real meaning of “Maharlika” by well-meaning historians (pseudo and real) and by some critics out to muddle and discredit the merit of “such a radical proposal.”

P.R. Sarkar, world-renowned and revered spiritual guru and philologist wrote: “The meaning of the word ‘Maharlika’ (with the root word Maha) from the ancient Hindu Vedas or revealed knowledge is Sanskrit which means ‘a small container (country) containing great things (people).’” Through time, many Sanskrit words have been assimilated into the various languages of Southeast Asia, including our country, brought by Arab and Indian merchants who reached the shores of the Sulu Sultanate. Here is where the first Maharlikans were born and raised — patriotic warriors of sterling character who were acclaimed for their courage and spirituality; they were ordained as counselors of the rajahs and datus of the empire, spanning through Mindanao, Sulu, North Borneo (Sabah), Java, Sumatra, and the vast Indonesian archipelago. That is perhaps the reason why Maharlikans are said to be of “royal blood” rank.

Merdeka an Indonesian word which means freedom came from the Sanskrit word Mahardika or Mahardikha which became the mother word of Maharlika which later mutated through phonologic deficiency but carried the same meaning. Deka or dikhawas corrupted and altered with our own Iikha which means “to make” or “to create,” or “to conceive” which became lika — easier on the tongue of the Spaniards. Note that all the words carry the word Maha or Mahar which means “noble and great” —as in Mahatma (great soul), Taj Mahal, Mahayana, Mahalokha (the highest Heaven), Mahal Kita which are words of endearment in Tagalog, Mahal na nilikha,appellative for a respected person. The Taitteriya Upanishad states that Maha is the “manifested Reality which is the Self.”Maha is God Himself which makes Maharlika a Divine Name.

Here is part of the biographical description of what kind of a person King Philip II was, lifted from books by eminent historians: He was the son of first cousins, only 1/4 Spanish blood. His grandmother Juana died of insanity. He had several wives, 3 were his first cousins, 1 was his niece. He had many children out of wedlock. His first official act as king was auto-de-fe, or burning in the stake alive for thousands of Muslims whom he called “heretics” and later beheading thousands of Protestants across Spanish Europe, calling them “agents of the devil.” With his father Charles V, he “looted Rome,” carting away treasures from the Vatican and burning a huge bonfire inside the Sistine Chapel. For his many transgressions against the Church, Pope Paul lV excommunicated him and his father in 1552. He died of a shameful sexually transmitted disease (syphilis) and before he died his body was covered with ulcerous skin eruptions infested by hundreds of insects.

From the remote past, many countries have changed their names for historical, religious, cultural, or political reasons. Mesopotamia and Babylon to Iraq, Judah to Palestine, Chosen to Korea, ancient Cathay to China, Nippon to Japan, Teotihuacan to Mexico, to name a few. More recent and significant: Persia to Iran in 1935, Burma to Myanmar in 1988, East Pakistan to Bangladesh in 1971, Kampuchea back to Cambodia, Ceylon to Sri Lanka in 1948; Vietnam’s Saigon to Ho Chi Minh City in 1975, Siam to Thailand in 1939, etc.

So many countries had the courage to change their names while our country has remained timid and afraid to hit the road to her final and ultimate renascence.

Eddie lLarde, a former senator, was co-author with Assemblyman Benjamin Bautista of Davao of Parliamentary Bill 195 in 1978 which sought to change Philippines to Maharlika. He is the founding Chairman of Maharlika Movement for National Transformation. His snail-mail address: PO Box 107 Makati City.

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