San Phra Phrom or
Erawan Shrine was created as a spirit
house connected to the Erawan Hotel, which has now made way for the Grand
Hyatt Erawan Hotel.
The forces of the typical Thai spirit house didn't seem
effective enough during the building of the hotel, so spiritual persons
advised that it should be replaced with the four-headed image of Brahma or Phra Phrom in Thai. There have been no further hitches since then, and the
shrine has became famous for bringing good fortune. The name Erawan comes
from Brahma's thirty-three headed elephant.
The Brahma History
According to the bible of the Brahma religion there are
three gods each possessing differing moral principles, greatness, and
The three gods are directly responsible for human welfare; they
are collectively called "Tree Murati" and consists of Vishnu, Siva, and
Brahma is believed to be the Creator of all things of the world. He
is the "Sayampoo" meaning one who originates himself. He is cool-tempered
and possess the highest moral principles.
He is full of kindness, mercy,
sympathy, and impartiality. These four precepts comprise the "Conscientious
Behaviour" corresponding to Buddhist teaching which instructs Buddhist of
the four Dharma. Besides creating the world, Brahma also creates heaven and
The origin of Brahma is a rather complicated story because each legend has
its own version. Some say that Brahma originated inside a golden egg; some
say that He originated inside a lotus sprouting up from Vishnu's navel while
the latter was sleeping on the back of the Naga King at Kasean Ocean; some
say that Brahma is the split-up person of Vishnu at the time he was to
create the world.
Brahma has a red torso; is four-headed or four-faced.
However, according to one Hindu book initially Brahma has five faces but He
once enraged Siva by making an insulting speech. Siva, using miracle, opened
his third eye (Siva has three eyes;
Whenever his third eye opens, an event
of great magnitude is bound to happen) and started at the first head of
Brahma and thus flamed it to tiny particles. That is why Brahma has only
Brahma has four hands (some say eight); one hand carries a
walking stick, one carries two spoons, another carries a pot, and the last
one carries a bible. A bead string hangs from His neck. He is armed with a
bow called Paraweeta and has a hansa (a while horse in the version of the
Lama sect story) as the beast of burden.
The abode of Brahma is called Brohmbharuenatha situated that the Brahma abode is higher than heaven and
Brahma is divided into many types viz Material Brahma and Non-material
Brahma. The Material Brahma has 16 levels. The 16 levels Brahma has only men
and no women. The Brahma himself sits forever still.
The Non-material Brahma is even higher. It has no matter but has only mind.
There are all together 4 levels. Those who are to be born to be Brahma must
have practised basic meditation from Primary Chaan till Panjama Chaan. Who
is to live in which Brahma level depends on his/her Chaan practised in each
The Brahma wife is Sarasawadee who has created by Brahma himself. Brahma has
good disposition: cool-tempered and gives blessing to whoever asks for it.
He is full of the four Dharma viz kindness, mercy, sympathy, and
impartiality and extends his benevolence to all animals.
At the time the
Lord Buddha rose to heaven to preach his mother who lived in the second
level heaven, it was Indra's and Brahma's wife is held by brahmins as the
goddess of the intellect and technical matters. She is the mother of Phravet
and invented the Thevanakree alphabets.
Sarasawadeeis a beautiful woman with
soft-white torso. She has four hands: on her right she carries a bouquet for
worshipping Brahma in one hand and a palm-leaved bible in another, on her
left is a pearl necklace called Sivamala in one hand and a harp in another.
She is usually enthroned on a lotus dais or a peacock back and sometimes
uses the hansa as her beast of burden.
Brahma together with Sarasawadee helped create everything on this earth and
Sarasawadee was the creator of the Thevanakree alphabets and Sanskrit
language. She also loves and supports the Arts and Sciences.
You can see when you are near the shrine because you will see them selling
lots of stuff for the shrine.
She is praying and showing respect to the shrine, wishing herself good luck
in the future.
The close-up of Phra Prom = Brhama
who has four-faces and four hands.
puts garlands on the fence and this man has got to clear it up. It's a
boring full day job.
Copyright information: All pictures by Nattawud Daoruang. Information from
'Than Tao Mahaprom Foundation' published by Erawan Hotel. Additional
information by Richard Barrow and Nattawud Daoruang.
RELATED LINKS: Learn about the Thailand that most tourists don't get to
visit at ThailandLife.com. Coming to Thailand on holiday or to work? Learn
some Thai today for free at LearningThai.com and ThaiPhrasebook.com.
of quality web sites about Thailand can be found at SrinaiWeb.com.