Sunday, 14 June 2009

Phra Mae Thorani-Goddess of Earth. Straining water from long hair.

Mae Thorani (Pali: Dharaṇī) is a Thai goddess. She is recognized as the Goddess of the Earth. She is often shown wringing the cool waters of detachment out of her hair.
The water drowns the forces of temptation sent by Mara (demon) to distract the Buddha as he meditated under the Bodhi tree. When the evil Mara sent his three daughters Trsna, Rati, and Raga (thirst, desire, and delight), to seduce the Buddha & then his army to stop Buddha from attaining enlightenment, the latter touched the ground (depicted as the 'calling the earth to witness' pose in statues) & Mae Thorani appeared.
The water (representing the good merit accumulated by Buddha) she wrung from her hair caused a flood that drowned Mara's daughters & army. A statue of Mae Thorani protecting Buddha will be found in every Thai & Lao temple, sometimes beside or in front of the main Buddha image on the altar, or outside the viharn. She is also called upon as a witness during กรวดน้ำ gruat nam (pour water), when people pour water into a container while chanting & then empty it onto the ground, to share the merit they have made with the deceased (during ceremonies for weddings, dead ancestors, ordinations, house blessings, etc).

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