Shattered Shrine


On the corner of one of the most busy intersections of Bangkok, next to the Erawan Hyatt hotel and several uber-glitzy shopping malls, you find Erawan shrine. It's one of the most visited in the city, and is constantly encircled by people making offerings. Along the street next to the shrine are dozens of hawkers; you can buy garlands made of  roses and jasmine, caged birds to set free, incense and fruit to offer to Brahma.

The shrine was originally created because of the bad luck surrounding the construction of the Erawan hotel. Mishap followed mishap as it was built; even the ship delivering the marble for the floors sank en route for Thailand. Workers refused to carry on the project unless a shrine was built. Erawan was Brahma's elephant, and so they claimed that a shrine to Brahma was essential - Erawan would never be without Brahma after all.

But last week, the golden statue of Brahma was smashed to pieces, apparently by a mentally ill man. The statue is so important, that he was beaten to death by garbage collectors just 40 metres further down the street. <a href="">Full story here</a>.

Or at least that's the official story. There are unconfirmed rumours in the press are that Thaksin arranged the destruction of the statue, so that he could rebuild it with his own mystical objects hidden inside. Thaksin is deeply superstitious, and so some suspect he could be capable of this in desperate attempt to regain control of the political situation. Meanwhile some say that this was an act of self-sacrifice by the statue, to stabilise the country.

I visited the shrine yesterday, to meditate on each of the four faces of Brahma. Along with hundreds of others, I laid garlands, rubbed gold foil on the shrine and left burning candles and incense sticks. Although the statue is now replaced with photos, the shrine is just as popular.


More from the Lotus herself can be read here.