(Last Updated on : 02/11/2017)
Lord Brahma is one of three major gods
in late Vedic Hinduism
n. He is four-faced as depicted in pictures and sculptures
with a crown on each of them. The four Vedas
are said to have proceeded from his four heads. He is seated on a lotus
and rides on a swan. With the rise of sectarian worship, he was gradually eclipsed by Lord Vishnu
and Lord Shiva
. Brahma is regarded as the father of dharma
. Brahma is to be found to live more in scriptures
than in homes and temples
Origin of Lord Brahma
According to Mythology
, Brahma is the son of God, and often referred to as Prajapati
. The Shatapatha Brahman
says that Brahma was born from the Ultimate Being Brahman and the female energy known as Maya. According to legends, Brahman first created the water, in which he placed his seed. This seed converted into a golden egg, from which Brahma appeared. For this reason, Brahma is also known as Hiranyagarbha. According to another myth, Brahma is self-born out of a lotus flower which grew from the navel of Lord Vishnu.
Representations of Brahma
In Mythology, Brahma at first had 5 heads. One of them was cut down by Lord Shiva in his anger. Now, Brahmas icon has 4 heads (chatur mukha brahma). They stand for the four Vedas (Rig
), the four yugas
, Age Of Truth">krita, treta
), the four varnas
). The faces have beards with eyes closed in meditation. There are four arms holding up diverse objects;
Kurcha (kusha grass),
Kamandala (water pot) and
Akshamala represents time; Kamandala represents waters of all formation. The Pustaka (books) represents the religious and secular knowledge. Hand postures (mudras
) are abhaya
(protector) and varada
(giver of boons). The icon may be in standing posture on a lotus or in sitting posture on a hamsa (swan). Hamsa stands for wisdom and prejudice. Brahma is also shown riding a chariot
drawn by seven swans, representing the seven worlds. Temples dedicated to Brahma show his Viswakarma
phase with four heads and four arms.
Brahma and his Creation
According to Mythology, Brahma created the four types: gods, demons
, ancestors and men. Brahma then made all living creatures upon the earth
. The demons were born from Brahma's thigh and so he deserted his own body which became the Night then. After Brahma created good gods, he abandoned his body again, which then became Day. Therefore, demons gain the power at night and gods rule in day. Brahma then created ancestors and men, each time again abandoning his body. This development of formation repeats itself in every era. Brahma then appointed Shiva to rule over humanity.
In the legend told in the Mahabharata
, Brahma created women
. Gods feared that men could become so controlling that they might challenge their control, so they asked Brahma to stop this. Brahmas response was to create women. In another myth, Brahmas first female was also Death
, the evil
force which brings the stability to the universe. The figure of Death is appealingly described in the Mahabharata as a dark woman.
Myths for not Worshipping Brahma
According to legends, Brahma created a woman in order to help him in his creation named Shatarupa. She was so beautiful that Brahma became obsessed with her, and watched her wherever she went. This caused her extreme humiliation. Wherever she moved, Brahma developed a head until he had created four. Finally, Shatarupa grew so frustrated that she jumped to avoid his gaze. Brahma, in his fascination, developed the fifth head on top of all. Shatarupa kept changing her form as she had the power to attain 100 forms. She became every creature on the earth to avoid Brahma. Lord Shiva reproved Brahma for signifying behaviour of an incestuous nature and chopped off his fifth head for 'unholy' deeds. Since Brahma had diverted his mind from the soul, Shiva's curse was that people should not worship Brahma. As a form of shame, it is believed that Brahma has been repeatedly reciting the four Vedas since this instance.
Another myth says that there was a war between Brahma and Vishnu to prove who is greater between them, and who should be worshipped former. In order to win that competition, Lord Brahma spoke a lie and tried to trap Lord Vishnu. On seeing this, Lord Shiva appeared and chopped his fifth head of Brahma and cursed him not be worshipped.
Temples of Brahma
Very few temples in India are principally dedicated to Lord Brahma and his devotion. The most famous temple for Brahma is the Brahma Temple
. Other temples of Brahma include a temple in Asotra village, Balotra taluka of Rajasthan
's Barmer district
known as Kheteshwar Brahmadham Tirtha. Other temples of Brahma in India are Ponmeri Shiva Temple, Thripaya Trimurti Temple, Mithrananthapuram Trimurti Temple, Brahmapureeswarar Temple
, Brahma temple at Bengaluru
, Brahma Kuti Temple in Kanpur
As per the legends, Brahma had some wives, the most significant being his wife Saraswati
, Brahma had other famous sons including the famous Prajapatis (deities) namely Kardama
, Pancasikha, Vodhu and Narada
, the latter being the messenger between gods and men.