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Lord Brahma - The Creator: How Brahma was born?

Brahma   has four face though only three can be seen. He has matted hair, wears a pointed beard and the eyes are usually closed in medita...

Lord Brahma - The Creator: How Brahma was born?
Brahma has four face though only three can be seen. He has matted hair, wears a pointed beard and the eyes are usually closed in meditation. He has four hands which may hold a variety of objects such as a rosary, a water-pot, a book (the Vedas), a sceptre, a spoon, a bow or a lotus. Sometimes two of his hands may be in a boon-giving and protective attitudes. His four faces represent the four Vedas and the four hands the four directions. The rosary which he is counting represents time. The whole universe evolves out of water, therefore Brahma carries water in the water-pot.

He may wear a tigerskin or the skin of a black antelope as a garment and the sacred cord over his left shoulder. If coloured, he is pink or red. He is sometimes shown riding the goose, or sitting in the lotus position in a chariot being pulled by seven swans. The swan which is the symbol of knowledge, is his vehicle.

In the Rig-Veda the word Brahman (or Brahma) was used to indicate the mysterious power contained in sacred utterances. Later, this was associated with the skill of the priest who spoke the ‘words’ and he was described as a Brahmin. In the Upanishads, by a further development, this power was regarded as being universal and forming the elemental matter from which everything (including the gods themselves) originally emerged. Eventually this supreme creative spirit became fully personalized under the name of Brahma.

Since this idea is linked with the origin of the universe, it was inevitable that Brahma should become associated with Hindu cosmogony. Many legends grew, particularly in the later texts, surrounding the connection with the origin and control of the universe. In one of them the supreme soul and self-existent lord created the waters of the earth and deposited in them a seed which became the golden egg, out of which He was born as Brahma. According to other texts, he became a boar who raised the earth from the primeval waters and thus created the world. He is described as assuming the appearance of a fish or a tortoise at the beginning of the ages. In much later developments of Hindu mythology these aspects are attributed to Vishnu and Brahma assumes a secondary role. His worship slowly declined and has not been widespread since the 6th century

Images of Brahma are still made. Many temples include one somewhere in their scheme of sculptural decoration, although it is only in extremely rare cases that he occupies the position of the main icon. In the whole of India there are very few temples of Brahma. There is one at Pushkar, near Ajmer (Rajasthan) and another in Orissa.

In Hindu cosmology the basic cycle which through the cosmos, passes through all eternity, is the Kalpa or the Day of Brahma, equivalent to 4320 million years. A night is of equal length, and 360 days and nights of this duration form one year of Brahma’s life. This is expected to last 100 years.

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).

Birth of Lord Brahma: 
 Lord Brahma
Brahma is referred to in many texts as Swayambhu (self-born) or (unborn). Nobody created him, he is self existent, the first cause of all and existing by his own intrinsic powers.

In one version, it is said that Brahma created the primeval waters and deposited his seed, the cosmic seed, the golden egg in the waters. The glistening golden egg was inanimate and so Brahma Himself entered it to animate it. It broke and form it came Brahma, once again. So he is called Hiranyagarbha or born of a golden egg. Being born in water, Brahmā is also called (born in water).

In another version, in a Puranic text called the Vamanapurana, it is said that in the very beginning all was water. The germ of living beings gathered into an egg. Brahma who was within the egg, went off to sleep therein. The sleep continued for a thousand yugas or ages.

According to the Puranas, He is pitamaha (patriarch), vidhi (originator), Iokesha (master of the universe), dhatru (sustainer) and Viswakarma (architect of the world). Mythology describes Brahma as springing from Kamala (lotus), from the nabhi (navel) of Vishnu. Hence, his names Nabhija (navel born), Kanja (water born).   Brahmā is said also to be the son of the Supreme Being, Brahman, and the female energy known as Prakrit or Maya. Brahma also known as Prajapati is the creator par excellence.

Brahma the creator:
At the beginning of the process of creation, Brahmā created eleven Prajapatis , who are believed to be the fathers of the human race. The Manusmriti enumerates them as Marici, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratuj, Vashishta, Pracetas or Daksha, Bhrigu, and Nārada. He is also said to have created the seven great sages or the Saptarishi to help him create the universe. However since all these sons of his were born out of his mind rather than body, they are called Manas Putras or mind-sons or spirits. 

              Brahma and Saraswati
There are many contradictory information about Brahma and Saraswati could be found in all Puranas and veda and mythological informations. Few consider Saraswati as Lord Brahma's consort while same time few says Saraswati is Brahma's daughter. There are some perception contradiction in this matter because Saraswati is created by Lord Brahma like his other manasputra so in that sense Saraswati considered as lord Brahma's daughter.

In order to create the world and produce the human race, Brahma made a goddess out of himself. One half was woman and the other half was man. Brahma called the woman Gayatri, but she also became known by many other names such as Saraswati.

Brahma sprouted five heads, so that he could watch Gayatri at all times. To restrain Brahma's lust, Shiva wrenched off one of Brahma's five heads. This helped Brahma come to his senses, and he took Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, as his consort. With her help, he regained control of his mind. 

Brahma and his consort Saraswati, represent the vedas, their spirit and meaning. They form the subject of many tales in Hindu literature. All knowledge, religious and secular emanate from them. The name Narayana (one dwelling in the causal water, the abode of man) was applied to him first and later to Vishnu. The Avatars (incarnations) of fish (matsya) and tortoise (koorma) (later called the avatars of Vishnu), the boar (varaha) to raise the earth from under the waters and created the world, the sages, and Prajapatis were all attributed to Brahma originally and shifted to Vishnu later. Brahma, created all knowledge, sciences, arts, music, dance and drama. He also officiated over the wedding of Shiva and Parvati. 

The symbolism of Brahma :
One of the earliest iconographic descriptions of Brahma is that of the four-faced god seated on a lotus. The Lord has in his four hands a water-pot (kamandalu), a manuscript (Vedas), a sacrificial implement (sruva) and a rosary (mala). He wears the hide of a black antelope and his vehicle is a swan {hamsa).

The description of Brahma like those of other deities of Hinduism bears a mystic symbolism.

The Lotus:
The Lotus
The lotus represents the Reality. Brahma sitting on the lotus indicates that he is ever-rooted in the infinite Reality. Reality is the foundation on which his personality rests.

The Four Faces Of Brahma:
The four faces of Brahma represent the four Vedas. They also symbolise the functioning of the inner personality (antahkarana) which consists of thoughts. They are the mind (manas), the intellect (buddhi), ego (ahamkara) and conditioned-consciousness (chitta). They represent the four ways in which thoughts function. They are the manifestations of the unmanifest Consciousness.

The Animal Hide:
The animal hide worn by Brahma stands for austerity. 

                 Objects in Hands:
  • A seeker who desires to realize his godhead must first go through spiritual disciplines. Observing such austerities the seeker must carefully study and reflect upon the scriptural truths which are suggested by the manuscript (Vedas) held in one hand.
  • Having acquired the knowledge of scriptures he must work in the world without ego and egocentric desires, that is engage in dedicated and sacrificial service for the welfare of the world. This idea is suggested by the sacrificial implement held in the second hand.
  • When a man works in the world selflessly he drops his desires. He is no longer extroverted, materialistic, sensual. His mind is withdrawn from its preoccupations with the world of objects and beings. Such a mind is said to be in uparati. A man who has reached the state of uparati is in a spirit of renunciation.
  • That is indicated by Brahma holding the kamandalu in his hand. Kamandalu is a water-pot used by a sanyasi-a man of renunciation. It is a symbol of sanyasa or renunciation. The mind of such a man which is withdrawn from the heat of passion of the world is available for deeper concentration and meditation.
  • The rosary (mala) in the fourth hand is meant to be used for chanting and meditation. Meditation is the final gateway to Realization. Through deep and consistent meditation the mind gets annihilated and the seeker attains godhood. A god-man maintains his identity with his supreme Self while he is engaged in the world of perceptions, emotions and thoughts. He retains the concept of unity in diversity. He separates the pure unconditioned consciousness underlying this conditioned world of names and forms.
                       The Swan :
Brahma's association with a swan is most appropriate in this context. 
A swan is described in Hindu mysticism as possessing the unique faculty of separating pure milk from a mixture of milk and water. It is reputed to have the ability to draw the milk alone and leave the water behind. Similarly does a man of Realization move about in the world recognizing the one divinity in the pluralistic phenomena of the world.

Why Brahma being not worshiped like other Gods:
Despite the fact that Brahma is one of the trimurthis, there are no temples dedicated to his worship, except the place of pilgrimage, Pushkar in Ajmer. Puranas give crude reasons for this.

Mythology states that when Brahmā created the world ,he also created Saraswati and Kaamadev, the god of lust.Kaamdev decides to test his powers on Brahmā and Saraswati was only female around him a that moment. Brahmā was deeply attracted by her beauty and even considered to make her his consort. But Saraswati denied him and made him realize the relationship between them. Brahmā then full of guilt scorched his own body and resumed another body which is free from any kind of lust. As an act of remorse towards Vishnu who has given Brahmā the previous body, Brahmā decides to give Saraswati to Vishnu who is the only one to truly deserve his daughter. Many followers of Lakshmi (the first wife of Vishnu), don't appreciate it even though Saraswati remains mostly in Brahmalok(Place of Brahma)to gain knowledge and to maintain a healthy relationship with Lakshmi. It is however said that Brahmā did not go unpunished for his attempt and was cursed by lord Shiva that no one in the entire world will pray to him as he could not overpower his thoughts despite being one of the Tridev.

Various stories in Hindu mythology talk about curses that have supposedly prevented Brahmā from being worshiped on Earth. Interestingly, the Bhavishya Purana states that, certain 'daityas' or demons had begun to worship Brahma and therefore the 'devas' of heaven could not defeat them. In order to mislead the daityas from the worship of Brahma, Vishnu appeared on Earth, as Buddha and Mahavira. With various arguments he convinced the daityas to leave the worship of Brahma. Having left the worship of Brahma, the daityas lost power and were hence defeated. The Bhavishya Purana lays out that altogether, giving up the worship of Brahma, was unacceptable in Hindu religion. This is because Brahma signifies a personification of Brahman (God) or is a manifestation of Brahman (God).

According to a story in the Shiva Purana (dedicated to Lord Shiva), at the beginning of time in Cosmos, Vishnu and Brahmā approached a huge Shiva linga and set out to find its beginning and end. Vishnu was appointed to seek the end and Brahma the beginning. Taking the form of a boar, Vishnu began digging downwards into the earth, while Brahma took the form of a swan and began flying upwards. However, neither could find His appointed destination. Vishnu, satisfied, came up to Shiva and bowed down to him as a swarupa of Brahman. Brahmā did not give up so easily. As He was going up, he saw a ketaki flower, dear to Shiva. His ego forced him to ask the flower to bear false witness about Brahmā's discovery of Shiva's beginning. When Brahmā told his tale, Shiva, the all-knowing, was angered by the former's ego. Shiva thus cursed him that no being in the three worlds will worship him.
A depiction of Khambhavati Ragini, A lady worshiping Brahma According to another legend, Brahmā is not worshiped because of a curse by the great sage Brahmarishi Bhrigu. The high priest Bhrigu was organizing a great fire-sacrifice (yajna) on Earth. It was decided that the greatest among all Gods would be made the presiding deity. Bhrigu then set off to find the greatest among the Trimurti. When he went to Brahmā, the god was so immersed in the music played by Saraswati that he could hardly hear Bhrigu's calls. The enraged Bhrigu then cursed Brahmā that no person on Earth would ever invoke him or worship him again

Not worshipped much, except at the Pushkar Lake Temple (Ajmer, Rajasthan) and Temple in Dera (Kullu, HP) specifically during Baisakh and Sawan. In many places in HP, devotees place a black stone under banyan trees and worship it as Brahmaji's image.

Brahma, Cosmos, Time & Epoch:
Brahma presides over 'Brahmaloka,' a universe that contains all the splendors of the earth and all other worlds. In Hindu cosmology the universe exists for a single day called the 'Brahmakalpa'. This day is equivalent to four billion earth years, at the end of which the whole universe gets dissolved. This process is called 'pralaya', which repeats for such 100 years, a period that represents Brahma's lifespan. After Brahma's "death", it is necessary that another 100 of his years pass until he is reborn and the whole creation begins anew. 

Linga Purana, which delineates the clear calculations of the different cycles, indicates that Brahma's life is divided in one thousand cycles or 'Maha Yugas'.