Bless Me, Brahma

Deluded religious zealots are not confined to Christians or Muslims. A story in today’s Bangkok Post newspaper confirms that many Buddhists are also off their rockers. Two months ago, a beloved Brahma statue at Bangkok’s famous Erawan Shrine was smashed to pieces by a man - said to be “mentally ill” – with a hammer. In retaliation, outraged observers took it upon themselves to beat the man to death. Yeah, who cares about the death of some poor crazy guy: don’t mess with our sacred shrine! The Ministry of Culture’s Fine Arts Department swiftly jumped into action to restore the statue. On Sunday a ceremony was held - at the “auspicious” time of 11:39 am – to unveil the refurbished icon.

According to newspaper reports:

Worshippers, many dressed in white to symbolize purity for the sacred rite, tried to touch the statue with banknotes and belongings such as wallets and handbags, in the hope of receiving the god's blessings. Other followers also expected the god to bring them luck, setting their hopes on the number 9331, the registration number of the leading vehicle which carried the statue to the shrine. They hope the number will bring them lottery prizes.

Lottery numbers and lucky blessings? It figures. Most of the local residents appear to be more into superstition than spirituality. Never mind that this Brahma statue is a Hindu deity, the Buddhist faithful worked themselves into an absolute frenzy trying to get a glimpse of the statue and fondle it. Such wacky behavior almost makes the Christians that immerse themselves in water and drive nails through their palms look sane. Almost.

The position of the shrine itself, located in front of the five-star Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, has a rather curious history. The original shrine was built about fifty years ago to protect the hotel after a series of unfortunate incidents during its construction. According to prevailing superstition, the building’s foundation stone was laid on an inauspicious day, thus that situation needed to be corrected. Acting upon an astrologer’s suggestion, a four-headed Braham figure was erected. It is believed to offer protection to the hotel and bestow blessings upon believers. Hey, some people will believe anything.


John in Atlanta said...

I've always considered those who follow organized religion to be somewhat lacking in their mental capicities, to one degree or another, but this pretty much nails it.

Tom said...

You're far more eloquent than I.. I call them fuckin' morons..