Phra Phrom : The Protector God
Phra Phrom is the Thai representation of Brahma, the creator god of Hindu mythology. He is considered the god of good fortune and protection in Thailand and is known to exist with both the Buddhist and Hindu belief systems in the country. Another goddess of luck and good fortune is Nang Kwak who is also an important deity for the Thai people.
Brahma or Phra Phrom is also known as Mahabrahma, the lord of Brahmaloka, in Buddhist cosmology. In China, this god is referred to as the Four-Faced Buddha or Simianshen. His faith has spread in the country in the past few decades.
Most statues of Phra Phrom are cross-legged and have eight arms and four faces. They are arranged in cardinal directions, each representing a different aspect of luck. The first face is responsible for work and study, while the second and third are responsible for romance and money, respectively and the fourth is for health and family.
Some people believe that the face of the god should be centred on the west, while others think it should face the centre of the most populated area in Thailand to spread the blessings to as many people as possible.
Being the supreme god in Thai mythology, there is no lineage that can be drawn to Phra Phrom. Legend has it that Brahma lost a bet with Shiva in India and Brahma moved to Thailand. He is also sometimes represented as being the husband of the Thai god Saraswadi.
Despite being a prevalent deity in many South East Asian Buddhist mythologies, he is only referred to as Phra Phrom or Brahman.
Powers and Abilities
Phra Phrom is the supreme being in Thai mythology and his powers are endless. However, he is evoked by the devotees as a protector against evil and the provider of good fortune.
Modern Day Influence
The worship of Brahma and Phra Phrom is restricted to a few temples in Thailand and a few neighbouring countries. Despite being the creator god or the Hindus in Indian mythology, he is not worshipped in India because of a curse by Lord Shiva which prevents Hindus from worshipping him.
Phra Phrom is now an inalienable part of Thai culture and many majestic statues have been built apart from the famous one at Erawan Hotel in Bangkok. Some of them are now major tourist attractions despite many acts of vandalism that have occurred over the years.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the faces of Phra Phrom represent?
Most statues of Phra Phrom are seated and cross-legged. They have eight arms and four faces, the faces representing love, compassion, joy, and charity. He is positioned to face the four cardinal directions, each responsible for luck in a different area.
Who is the 4 face buddha?
The four faces symbolize the four books of the Vedas, the Hindu scriptures and the source of all knowledge in the creation of the universe.
What religion is Phra Phrom?
In modern Thailand, Phra Phrom is often worshipped outside of Hindu contexts by regular Buddhists, and, like many other Hindu deities, has usually come to represent guardian spirits in sastana phi /thai folk beliefs, which coexist alongside Buddhist practices.
What does Phra mean?
Phra, a Thai-language word used as a prefix denoting holy or royal status, including in Thai royal ranks and titles.
How is Phra Phrom represented?
Most statues of Phra Phrom are seated and cross-legged. They have eight arms and four faces, the faces representing love, compassion, joy, and charity.