The four faced Buddha at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok
On a recent October fengshui assignment to Thailand, I make it a point to stop over in Bangkok to revisit the iconic four faced Buddha located at the Erawan Shrine besides the Erawan Grand Hyatt Hotel. It has been three decades since I was drifting carefree throughout the land of Smile in between the studies of traditional Thai healing art and sitting at the feet of revered spiritual mentors. Although I traveled to Thailand for assignments but hardly find the connecting time to freely roam the streets of Bangkok city during the past few years. I always feel happy visiting Thailand..its stress free even though its renowned for the massive traffic jam…perhaps the cuisines and the smiling faces of the Thai people warm my heart. Personally I tend to make important connection with people much easily while in Thailand.
During those years of living in Thailand, I have often over heard countless amazing stories and testimonies of faith from devotees of the four face Buddha. Prayers were quickly answered, winning lotteries, passing exams, romantic partners, relationship healed, whatever human encountered problems you can think of…Four faced Buddha or Lord Brahma is always there. ..devotees returned from all corners of the earth to give thanks with gratitude by hiring the classical Thai dancers to dance before the Lord.
How did the four faced Buddha come about?
The four faced Buddha is actually Lord Brahma, one of the trinity Indian Vedic God head. Brahma function as the Creator of our Universe, Lord Vishnu as the maintainer/sustainer and Lord Shiva as the destroyer. Lord Brahma lives for a 100 brahma years. One Brahma day or One Brahma night is 4,3 billion human years respectively. The Universe function during the day time of Brahma…but goes into temporary annihilation during the night time of Brahma…it continues during Brahma’s day time again. The four faces stand for the 4 books or Divisions of Vedas which literally means All Knowledge of the Universe. Hence the creative principle of the universe comes about.
Erawan Hotel was a government owned set-up built in 1953. The site was plagued with never ending problems, a series of mishaps, workers accidents, missing consignments of imported building materials, over-run costs factors. A Thai astrologer revealed that the date of laying the foundation stone was inauspicious. Furthermore the land at the North next to Erawan was inauspicious as that vicinity was part of the Ratchaprasong Intersection which was used to put criminals on public display in the past.
Unknown to many is that the name Erawan is the celestial carrier or vehicle of Lord Indra (demi god of rain and thunder). Erawan is depicted by an elephant with three heads. Without Lord Indra ,this one body with three heads elephant is just like a metaphor of big enterprise whose leaders have divided sense of direction that goes no where.
Lord Brahma taming Erawan. The creator of the universe taming the carrier of thunder and rain. Like it or not, mythology with its metaphors and rituals do influence our collective subconscious mind.
Finally on 9th November 1956, the statue of Lord Brahma was successfully enshrined at the North sector of Erawan by the department of fine art. All the negative effects seemed to be nullified after this. The construction went on to complete smoothly without incidents. News of Erawan Shrine’s glories became a sensation that reaches far and wide. Besides the locals, tourists including celebrities came flocking in chartered flights to receive their blessings.
In 1987, Erawan Hotel was demolished to be rebuilt and taken over by Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel.
BTS sky train and its effect on Erawan Shrine?
The first BTS sky train operated on 5 december 1999. Incoming from the North sector of Erawan Shrine the sky trains suddenly split into two tracks with one track cutting into the Northwest sector of Erawan Shrine. This is a negative cutting- in force according to fengshui form theory that bring mishap. Some fengshui masters argued that it will not affect the shrine as the sky train is way much higher. Actually time of happening can be calculated to determine if any negative effect will take place. Its much reliable then assuming whether the negative form has any effect or not. If negative… When will it happen?
The Unexpected happened
At about 1 am on 21st March 2006, a mentally disturbed man shattered the statue of Lord Brahma into pieces. He was instantly killed by the bystanders. Two cleaners were charged relating to his death. The incident sadden many Thais and devotees with worries that this may be the sign of an omen that calamity will befall upon the country.
Ex PM Thaksin Shinawatra visited the damaged at Erawan shrine on 22nd March 2006. By then what was left of the four face Buddha was only the sitting right leg…the rest of the statue was shattered to debris and nowhere to be found.
On 23rd March 2006, the shrine was reopen to public … but covered in White cloth. The new statue of Lord Brahma was commissioned by the Fine Art Department will takes 2 months to complete as it was shaped in 9 metal alloys including gold and silver.
A special date and time was chosen by the Astrologer on 21st May 2006 when the auspicious movement of the ascending Sun towards the Northern Hemisphere synchronize with the latitude of Erawan Shrine. Four faced Lord Brahma was installed at 11.39am sharp and the ritual completed at 11.59am. The charm of Erawan Shrine and Lord Brahma remains potent with devotees, hope seekers and even the curiosity seekers…they still arrive in flocks till this day.
National icons like Lord Brahma and Erawan can symbolize leaders too. Thailand see one of her most violent political crisis months after this incident. Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted by a military coup in Sep 2006….the last few years saw the changing of few Prime Ministers and increase frequencies of political unrest.
May peace and harmony be upon the Thai people…the land of smile.
Author of Baguaeyes fengshui