Phra Phrom

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Simianshen Temple in Changhua City, Taiwan.

Phra Phrom (Thai: พระพรหม; from Sanskrit: Para Brahma) is the Thai representation of the deva Brahma,[1] honoured in Thai Hindu traditions. Phra Phrom is also worshipped in Chinese folk religion as the Four-Faced God (Chinese: 四面神; pinyin: Sìmiànshén) or Four-Faced Awakened One (Chinese: 四面佛; pinyin: Sìmiànfó).

Worship[edit]

Worshipers of the god usually offer incense, candles, jasmine flowers or jasmine garlands and young coconut milk (with water in them) in their worship, usually placing these offerings before all four heads of Phra Phrom, each head representing a different aspect of the deity; it is believed each side of Phra Phrom offers different blessings. Another common way of worship is to place wooden elephant statues on the altar to honor him. Phra Phrom is also known to admire Thai classical music, which is played near larger scale outdoor altars, accompanied by dancers. For a small fee, the dancers include worshiper's name into the songs they sing while dancing. Worshipers of Phra Phrom are also usually advised to abstain from consuming meat. It is also believed that worshipers have to make good on any promises made to the deity else misfortune will befall them instead of the fortune that was asked for. Items needed for prayers are available in the premises of the shrine.

The main example of this representation of Brahma is the statue at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, where the faith of the god has its origins in modern times.[2] The golden dome of the Government House of Thailand also contains a statue of Phra Phrom.

Spread of the cult among Chinese[edit]

As early as the 1980s, the popularity of the Erawan cult of Brahma from its inceptions in Thailand spread, accompanied by faithful reproduction of the structure of the shrine and the image, among overseas Chinese in other countries of Southeast Asia (Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia), in Taiwan, and in China, with shrines established in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Chinese call Brahma colloquially the "Four-Faced Buddha" (四面佛 Simianfo).

Gallery[edit]

A Chinese altar dedicated to Brahma in the Erawan style, Kaohsiung
The four-faced Brahma (Phra Phrom) statue at the Erawan Shrine, Bangkok 
Phra Phrom statues of Koon Ngam Ching Yuen, Sha Tin, Hong Kong 
Phra Phrom Statues of Chuk Lam Sim, Fu Yung Shan, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong 
Gold covered giant She Mien Fo statue with Stupa at Sanggar Agung, Surabaya, Indonesia 

See also[edit]

General articles

References[edit]

External links[edit]