LORD BRAHMA - Brief description about the God of Creation - THE HINDU PORTAL - Spiritual heritage Rituals and Practices


Saturday, January 25, 2014

LORD BRAHMA - Brief description about the God of Creation

Lord Brahma is the member of Hindu Trinity or Trimurti and the others being are Vishnu and Shiva. Lord Brahma is also the Hindu God of Creation. Here are the many legends stated behind Lord Brahma as: according to the Vedic Puranas, Lord Brahma is self born (without mother) in the lotus flower and grow from Vishnu navel at the beginning of universe. Due to this Legend they are also called Nabhija. By the other legends, Lord Brahma formed himself by first creating water. After some time he deposited a seed that later became the golden egg. From this golden egg Lord Brahma (the creator) was born as Hiranyagarbha. The remaining part of this golden egg extended into Brahm-anda or Universe. Lord Brahma formed many gods and placed them in different worlds: Agni on earth, Vayu in the atmosphere and Surya in the sky. 

Traditionally Lord Brahma has four heads, four faces and four arms. Among these four head, each explains one of the four Vedas. One of his hands is representing holding a stick in the form of a spoon which is used in pouring holy Ghee or oil into a sacrificial pyre which is the symbolism of sacrifices. Lord Brahma carries a rosary in the upper right hand, a Veda in the upper left hand, a kamandalu (water pot) in the lower left hand, and bestows beauty with His lower right hand. 

The four faces of Lord Brahma are symbolizing sacred knowledge of four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva) that essential for creating universe. Four arms signify the four directions and thus stand for power and supremacy of Lord Brahma. The vehicle of Lord Brahma's is a swan (Hans) that known for their decision between good and bad. Goddess Saraswati is the wife of Lord Brahma, which is also the Goddess of knowledge and art.

Thus Brahma is the source, the seed, of all that is. He is, as his very name indicates, boundless immensity, from which space, time and causation originate, names and forms spring up. Philosophically, he is the first stage of manifestation of the notion of individual existence (Ahai1kara). Theologically, he is the uncreated creator (Svayambhu), the self-born first Person.

He has several designations which are as instructive as they are interesting. From the cosmological point of view he is the Golden Embryo (Hiranyagarbha), the ball of fire, from which the universe develops. Since all created beings are his progency, he is Prajapati,' the lord of progeny, as also Pitamaha, the patriarch. He is Vidhi, the ordinator, and Lokesa, the master of the worlds, as well as Dhatr, the sustainer. He is also Visvakarma, the architect of the world.

Hindu mythological literature describes Brahma as having sprung from the lotus orginating from the navel of Visnu. Hence he is called Nabhija (navel-born), Kafija (water-born) and so on.

Curiously enough, the name Narayana ('one who dwells in the causal waters' or 'the abode of man') has been applied to him first and only later to Visnu.

Brahma, the creator, and Sarasvatl, his consort, are the subject of several tales in our mythological literature. They can be summaraised briefly thus:

.(1) Brahma was born out of the golden egg produced in the boundless causal waters. His consort Vac or Sarasvati was manifested out of him. From their union were born all the creatures of the world.
(2) Brahma represents the Vedas and Sarasvati their spirit and meaning. Hence, all knowledge, sacred and secular, has proceeded from them.
(3) Once Brahma became the boar and raised the earth from beneath the waters and created the world, the sages and Prajapatis. (This story was later transferred to Visnu).
(4) The forms of tortoise and fish (later considered as Avataras of Visnu) have been attributed to Brahma also.
(5) The great sages MarlcI, Atri, Ai1giras and others are his 'mind-born' children. Manu, the Adam of the Aryan race, is his great-grandson.
(6) He is easily pleased by austerities and bestows boons on the supplicants, be they gods, demons or men.
(7) He is the inventor of the theatrical art. Music, dance and stagecraft were revealed by him.
(8) He was the chief priest who performed the mar¬riage of Siva with Parvati.
In spite of the fact that Brahma is God the Supreme in the creative aspect and is an equally important member of the Hindu Trinity, it is strange that there are no temples dedicated exclusively to him, the one at Puskar being the solitary exception. 

Notwithstanding the crude reasons given in some of the Pural).as for this loss of Brahma's prestige, some scholars opine*[* See The Cult of Brahma, by Tarapada Bhattacarya, pp.88-89.] that the Brahma cult was predominant in the pre-Vedic Hinduism and was super¬seded or suppressed by the later Siva- Visnu cults.

In fact, the evolution of the Sakti concept-each of the gods Siva and Visnu having his Sakti or Power as his consort-and the explanation that creation proceeds out of the combination of the god and his Sakti, has made Brahma superfluous.

The icon of Brahma has four heads facing the four quarters; and they represent the four Vedas, the four Yugas (epochs of time), and the four Varnas (divisions of society based on nature, nurture and vocation). Usually, the faces have beards and the eyes are closed in meditation. There are four arms holding different objects and in different poses. The arms represent the four quarters. The objects usually shown are: Aksamala (rosary), Kurca (a brush of Kusa grass), Sruk (ladle), Sruva (spoon), Kamandalu (water pot) and Pustaka (book). The combination and arrangement vary from image to image. 

The rosary represents time, and the water pot, the causal waters, from which all creation has sprung. So, Brahma controls time as well as the principle of causation. The Kusa grass, the ladle and the spoon being sacrificial implements, represent the system of sacrifices which is the means to be adopted by the various creatures to sustain one another. The book represents knowledge, sacred and secular. He is the giver of all knowledge-arts, sciences and wisdom.

The poses of the hand (Mudras) are Abhaya (assuring protection) and Varada (granting boons).

The icon may be either in standing posture (standing on a lotus) or in sitting posture (sitting on a Harhsa or swan). Harhsa, his vehicle, stands for discrimination and wisdom.
Sometimes, Brahma is shown as riding in a chariot drawn by seven swans, standing for the seven worlds.

In temples exclusively dedicated to Brahma, his aspect as Visvakarma (the architect of the universe) is adopted. In this form he is shown as having four heads, four arms holding the rosary, the book, the Kusa grass and the water pot, and riding on his swan.
Every temple, be it of Siva, or Visnu, must have a niche in the northern wall for Brahma, and his image must receive worship every day since he is an important Parivaradevata (attendant of the Chief-deity).

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