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18 November 2007

San Phra Phrom or Erawan Shrine

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.

People offer colourful flower garlands, lotus, incense and candles. Often, if a wish has been granted, people thank the spirits by donating teak elephants or commissioning the classical Thai dancers and live orchestra.

The Brahma History: According to the bible of the Brahma religion there are three gods each possessing differing moral principles, greatness, and miracles. The three gods are directly responsible for human welfare; they are collectively called "Tree Murati" and consists of Vishnu,Siva, and Brahma. 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 human beings.

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 four faces. 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 activity.

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 and Brahma 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.

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