Brahma, believed to be self born from water, created 10 Prajaptis (Lords of creatures) who are believed to be the fathers of the human race. Husband to three Vedic Godesses Saraswati, Savitri and Gayatri, He is traditionally depicted with four heads, four faces and four arms. Watch the video to find out more about the 'God of Creation.'
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The first of the Trimurti trinity of Top Gods, Brahma (not to be confused with Brahman) is the do-it-yourself deity of meditation, from which all knowledge comes.
In the very beginning he pondered, and his first thought was that he should exist. So he thought himself a nice golden egg to be born out of and there he was.
Next he decided to create the Universe. But he didn’t just knock it out on a wild whim like other creator gods we could mention. Oh no. He planned it all properly after much meditation — and even created a team of assistants called the Prajâpatis to manage operations.
After it was all done, Brahma took a well-earned rest and left all the exciting adventures to Shiva and Vishnu. Now he remains aloof and aloft, his four heads looking to the four corners of the world.
So, after much meditation, we ask ourselves: if the world is round, how can it have four corners?
The Origin and Birth of Brahma:
As per Hindu mythology, Brahma was born from a (kamala) lotus springing from Vishnu’s navel and created the world through his daughter Saraswati. According to Manu Smriti, the self- existent Lord manifested to dispel the darkness enveloping universe. He created the waters and deposited a seed that became a golden egg from which he was born as Brahma. He divided the egg into two parts to construct the heaven and earth, and created the ten Prajapatis, mind-born sons, who completed the work of creation. By a third account, the Lord separated himself into two parts, the male and the female after dividing the golden egg. From him sprang Viraja and from him Manu. Ramayana states that Brahma sprang from the ether and that sages Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Narada, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, Sanasujata and others are his manasa putras (mentally conceived sons). From Marichi sprang Kashyapa from whom sprang Vishwavata who created Manu, the procreator of all human beings. Thus, Manu is Brahma’s great grandson.
The Vahana of Ganesha
All living creatures, including animals, have divine consciousness known as Brahman. Deities, including Brahma are typically associated with a particular animal or bird that acts as a vehicle—or vahana—to transport the gods and goddesses wherever they need to go.
Brahma also has four hands, in which he holds a water-pot, a manuscript (the Vedas), a scepter, and a mala or rosary. He wears a black antelope hide, which stands for austerity, and he rides on a swan. The swan is Brahma’s vahana. The swan is an extension of Brahma’s powers.
The Hindu sacred texts about human origins
Third in the list of major religions, with more than 870 million followers, is Hinduism. Hinduism goes back to 5000 BCE and is a compilation of many diverse traditions (in contrast to Christianity and Muslim traditions, both of which emerged from a single founder) making it the oldest practised religion, closely related to that of Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism.
The religions main body of texts are referred to as the Veda, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita.
There are many different Hindu creation stories. References to a first world, or universe, won’t be found. Also, though the belief in one supreme god is common, Hindu texts consider all deities to be extensions of this god.
Lord Brahma is the Creator of the universes, and the first in the triumvirate. The other two gods comprising the triumvirate are Vishnu, who sustains the creation, and Shiva, the destroyer of the evil. These 3 gods form the Supreme One who is behind all of creation and destruction—and these Gods create and destroy universes continuously. The length of time such a process takes is uncountable however, one day for Brahma is considered 4 billion years for us. Also according to the Hindu texts, whenever Brahma sleeps the world is destroyed, and every morning when he wakes up it is created again.
Brahma creates human beings and all life. All different species come out from different parts of Brahma’s body. He created man as the first of the animals and the strongest. He created him from his own soul. One of the stories mentions that Brahma splits himself into two to create male and female.
In other texts the Prajapati (a group of deities), the sons of Brahma, are said to be creating all living beings, both gods and mortal creatures.
The concept of god in Hinduism is exceptionally complex and varies according to different philosophies and traditions. Generally, gods in Hinduism appear more like supreme personal beings. Devas (a word for deity) can easily be conveyed as supernatural beings and, according to Hindu texts, there are 33 in the celestial world.
However, an interesting concept mentioned in one of the Creation Hymns (Nasadiya Sukta) is that the creation of the universe came first, and gods came afterwards. Still, since Hindu texts do not state one clear origin of everything, the creation tradition in Hinduism is a little bit obscure.
Lord Brahma – The God of Creation in Hinduism
Hinduism, originally known as Sanatana Dharma is a pantheistic religion as it equates God with the universe. Brahma (the creator) is the first member of Hindu trinity (three Gods) consisting of Lord Vishnu (the preserver) being the second and Lord Shiva (the destroyer/transformer) being the third.
The meanings of Brahma in Sanskrit are growth, expansion, and creation. In this way, Brahma is recognized as the God of creation. He is attributed to the creation of Brahmanda (entire universe) and all forms of life within it. So he is also known as the Creator and the Director of the entire universe. It is said that Goddess Saraswati is the wife of Brahma. She is the God of knowledge and wisdom.
Emergence of Brahma
Brahma is believed to be born from the Kamal, (lotus) springing from Vishnu’s Navi (navel) as he was laying on the great serpent in the milky ocean. Hence, he is also known as Nabhija (navel born) and Kanja (water born), according to Hindu doctrine. Growing from the lotus of Narayana, Brahma is the name which creates the realm of the universe. He is a symbol of celestials and divine beings of all kinds of nature.
Purusha Suktam of the Rigveda(Hymn 10.90) states that three main bodies of the Universe (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) are indestructible and they are the subjects to creation, preservation, and dissolution of the whole universe. Narayana is the Sanskrit name given in the Upanishad which means supreme lord. Narayana is the Para Brahma, one who creates unlimited universes and enters each one of them as Lord of the Universe.
Brahma creates and operates in various forms of the universe for years and years, then dissolves back into Narayana. Narayana is he who cannot be created or destroyed. Theologically, he is Savayambhu (self-creator). Cosmologically, he is Vishwakarma (master of the universe) and Vidhi (originator). Source
Surroundings of Brahma
The picture of Brahma like the other Hindu Gods bears mystic imagery. When one comes across statues of the Brahma, the God of Creation is drenched in symbolism. Brahma is unique as he has four faces (Chatur Mukha) and four hands. Brahma is seen sitting on the lotus that designates the infinite truth. Reality is the basis on which his traits rest. The four faces of Brahma embody the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharva). The animal hide worn by Brahma stands for severity. Out of his four hands, Brahma holds the Kamandalu in his first hand, which is the symbol of sannyasa or renunciation. Vedas are held on the second hand. Likewise, he also carries rosary (mala) in the third hand which is meant to be used for chanting and meditation. And on his fourth hand, he holds lotus which represents nature and the energy of creation. Brahma is often seen riding a swan, his sacred vehicle for which he travels upon. The swan is supposed to symbolize grace, beauty, and peace. Lastly, the crown that Brahma wears stands for his supreme authority over the world as the King of Creation.
Three Principals of Brahma
Life in this world is the demonstration of the three principles of Brahma that is creation, sustenance, and destruction. All these three principles are interconnected. Destruction, creation, and sustenance are all united. They are like wheels of the same cart. Hence the three Gods of the Trinity viz. Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva representing creation, maintenance, and destruction, are basically one and the same.
The above idea is pretty well depicted in Lord Dattatreya, in whose form the three Gods are united. Dattatreya has the three faces of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to point out that the three principles for which they stand for are indivisible. Everything in this universe except Brahman is created and maintained for a certain amount of time, and then it is destroyed in order to be renewed in other ideal forms again. Thus, the Hindu religion is based on the principle of rebirth. (What does Hindu dharma say about Reincarnation?)
According to Hindu philosophy, all creation is the outcome of Vikshepa Shakti which the Lord Brahma contains. Although Lord Brahma is the God of creation, he is not popularly worshipped as Vishnu and Shiva. There are very few shrines of Brahma in comparison to Vishnu and Shiva, even though Lord Brahma has his own significance in the Hindu dharma.
How Brahma was Born?
Tales suggest that in the beginning, Brahma sprang from the cosmic golden egg and he then created good & evil and light & dark from his own person. He also created the four types: gods, demons, ancestors, and men (the first being Manu). Brahma then made all living creatures upon the earth (although in some myths Brahma’s son Daksa is responsible for this). In the process of creating, perhaps in a moment of distraction, the demons were born from Brahma’s thigh and so he abandoned his own body which then became Night. After Brahma created good gods he abandoned his body once again, which then became Day, hence demons gain the ascendancy at night and gods, the forces of goodness, rule the day. Brahma then created ancestors and men, each time again abandoning his body so that they became Dusk and Dawn respectively. This process of creation repeats itself in every aeon. Brahma then appointed Shiva to rule over humanity although in later myths Brahma becomes a servant of Shiva.
Brahma – The God of Creation
In the Hindu tradition, the whole creation is the dynamic game of three fundamental forces symbolized by the three gods: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
This triad is made up of the creator (Brahma), the sustainer (Vishnu) and the destroyer or transcendent (Shiva). The correspondence of these three principles (creation, sustenance and destruction) in our daily existence is to be found in birth, life, and death.
These correspondences occur not only at a physical level, but at psychic level as well. They represent the very basis of the universe, in its continuous becoming.
In the Tantric cosmology, these three forces are regarded as three aspects on one and the same divine Unity. Each of these forces is inseparable from its feminine part, or of its Shakti.
According to Tantric teachings, any superior principle can exist only as a combination of feminine and masculine.
In the previous articles we presented to you the sustenance aspect of God as He appears in the Hindu tradition (Lord Vishnu).
Now we will introduce to you the first of the divine aspects – the creator as it is depicted in the Hindu cosmology, as the god Brahma.
BRAHMA GRANTS THE FORCE OF SPIRITUAL BECOMING
The path of the human being to spiritual perfection has to be trod with a creative, positive inner attitude. This attitude, named “cosmic optimism”, expresses the dynamism of life and derives from a sublime ideal.
It means the recognition and identification of each of us with the fundamental divine energy that created everything.
The creative inner attitude offers us the possibility of discovering our true, profound nature, accelerating our spiritual progress.
This creative inner attitude is a part of the evolutionary process itself. It may be awakened and amplified through the process of resonance with Brahma’s specific energy.
HIS WORLD CONTAINS ALL SPLENDORS
The Hindu tradition perceives the cosmic activity of the Supreme Being (God) as threefold: the creation, the sustenance and the destruction and associate these three activities with the main deities: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
As we already mentioned, Brahma represents the creator aspect of the divine. Vishnu sustains the creation and represents the eternal principle of preservation, and Shiva represents the principle of dissolution, of the destruction of evil, of transcendence.
We have to understand that basically, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are not three distinct deities, independent from each other, but they represent in fact the same Supreme Force, in its three different aspects.
Brahma is the creator of the universe and of all beings. His world is Brahmaloka, containing all the splendors of the earth and all other worlds.
In the Hindu tradition, Brahma’s most common representation is four-headed, four arms, and red skin. He holds a cup, a bow (or in other representations a book of prayers), a spoon and the Veda-s, created and spread by him.
He sits in the lotus pose. When he moves around, he has as vehicle a white swan, endowed with magic powers: she may separate soma (divine nectar) and milk from water, as well as good from evil.
Unlike all the other gods, Brahma carries no weapon. Although Brahma is the equal of Vishnu and Shiva, his popularity is no longer at its peak.
According to “Shatapatha Brahman” writing, the creator was born from Brahman, God. Wishing to create the universe Brahman first created the water, in which he placed his seed.
This seed transformed into a golden egg, from which Brahma appeared. According to the Purana, Brahma is the Son of God and the feminine energy Maya. Nonetheless, there are other sources sustaining that Maya is Brahma’s daughter or wife.
Maya is the symbol of the cosmic illusion, whose veil does not allow mortals to perceive God. Maya has two aspects: Avidya Maya, the ignorance that estranges mortals from God, and enslaves him more and more into the universe of the senses, and Vidya Maya, the liberating knowledge that gradually leads mortals to the ineffable and intoxicating communion with God.
The Tantrism promotes the idea that as the Supreme God governs all the destines and all the things in the universe, it is highly important that He is auspicious to us.
In order to accomplish this, they yogis have developed a technique of identification with Brahma, which will help us gain the inner attitude that accelerates our spiritual progress.
This technique implies that we envisage ourselves wrapped in an aura shaped as an egg, bright yellow in color, emanating positive energy.
We have to visualize as clearly as possible the warm rays of bright light and force emanating from our aura, nurturing and sustaining our life and our relationships with other people.
It is advisable that we assign this exercise 10-15 minutes daily. We will note the gradual improvement in various domains of our lives.
HIS BELOVED IS A MASTER IN THE 64 ARTS
“Saraswati, Brahma’s feminine counterpart radiates more than the light of ten billions moons. Her ornaments are purified in the heavenly fire.
She is the mother of the Veda-s, the embodiment of nature and the patron of the arts and sciences. Saraswati is always smiling and her beauty surpasses all imagination.
Her body is covered in jewels and pearls. When the identification with Saraswati is perfect, all the 64 arts become known.” (Saraswati Stotra)
Brahma’s feminine counterpart, Saraswati is the goddess governing wisdom and sciences. The Sanskrit term “sara” means “essence” and “swa” means “self”, consequently the translation for Saraswati is the essence of the self.
Saraswati symbolizes Brahma’s creative force. All those seeking knowledge, mainly teachers, professors, scientists, students, worship the goddess Saraswati.
She is very beautiful, gracious and young. Saraswati is also the master of the 64 arts, of which the art of love is the first and most important.
Her representation is that of a woman with four arms, dressed in a white sari, sitting on a white lotus flower. The swan that accompanies her is also white, the color of peace.
As the patron of arts, she sings at the instrument called vina. In her right hands she holds a book made of palm leaves, and a lotus, symbol of using the knowledge with love and kindness in order to ensure the prosperity of mankind.
In her left hands she wears a necklace of pearls, symbolizing meditation and contemplation, as well as the path leading to samadhi, the total experience of God.
Her four arms stand for her omnipresence and omnipotence. The front arms reflect her presence and action in the physical world, and her back arms her active presence in the spiritual world.
BRAHMA MEASURES HIS DAY IN COSMIC CYCLES
The Hindu tradition sustains that the universe exists for one day of Brahma (kalpa). At the end of this day (lasting, by human measurements for four billions years) the whole universe is dissolved.
At his point, Brahma rests for one night, just as long as the day. This process, named pralaya, repeats for such 100 years, 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.
As Linga Purana (the text in which we find clear calculations of the different cycles) indicates, “Brahma’s life is divided in one thousand cycles (Maha Yuga, or the Great Year). Maha Yuga, during which the human race appears and then disappears, has 71 divisions, each made of 14 Manvantara (1000) years.”
Manvantara is Manu’s cycle, the one who gives birth and govern human race. Each Manvantara has four divisions, four eras or Yuga-s, each presenting a gradual decline of the spiritual values, in favor of a material progress.
A time of “sunrise” precedes each of these Yuga-s, and they end in a period of twilight.
These four cosmic eras, or Yuga-s, whose duration is in “divine” years are: Satya Yuga (1.728.000 human years), Treta Yuga (1.296.000 human years), Dvapara Yuga (864.000 human years), and Kali Yuga (432.000 human years).
The duration of the four Yuga-s is consequently 4.320.000 human years or 12.000 divine years.
Satya Yuga is the ideal period, in which hatred, envy, suffering, fear, and threat do not exist.
This is the time of maximum bloom of human spirituality, in which the noble feelings of love, aspiration, happiness are present everywhere.
Treta Yuga presents the appearance of sacrifices, a whole set of rites and ceremony is necessary. The spirit of justice diminishes, and people act to their own interest, expecting rewards for their good deeds and for the manifestations of their cult.
Dvapara Yuga witnesses the decrease of the spirit of justice to even a greater degree, so that only few people will seek the observance of truth.
The rites that exist now will lead people both to the good and to the bad. Also, diseases and inferior desires come up at this time.
In Sanskrit, Kali Yuga is the era of maximum spiritual decadence, of ignorance, darkness, materialism, conflicts, misunderstandings and violence.
The spirit of justice is reduced to minimum during this age. Spiritual aspirations, and spiritual and scientific ancient knowledge are forgotten, and the evil is almost all-pervading.
The human beings are subject to all kinds of diseases, hatred, starvation and fear. This is the age we live in at the moment.
BEHIND THE TRIAD IS THE ONE
In India there is a legend about Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Each of them was boasting about their miraculous powers.
All of a sudden, a young boy came forth, asking Brahma: “What do you create?” Brahma’s answer was quick and proud:“Everything”.
Asking the other two gods, the boy got the answers: “We sustain and then dissolve everything”. The young visitor was holding a small straw in his hand.
Showing it to Brahma, the boy asked: “Can you create a straw just like this?” after an extraordinary effort, Brahma admitted that he cannot create such a straw.
The child turned to Vishnu and asked him to preserve the form of the straw. To his amazement, Vishnu was looking helpless to the dissolving form of the straw.
Finally, the child asked Shiva to destroy the straw. Despite all his efforts, the straw was still there. Then the boy turned again towards Brahma and asked him: “Are you my creator?” Brahma thought thoroughly, but he could not remember creating the amazing boy.
The child suddenly disappeared from their bewildered eyes, and the three gods remembered that behind their amazing powers there is always God.
In Hindu mythology, Brahma was the first god in the sacred Hindu trinity, or Trimurti. The other gods were Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer. Brahma was the creator god, but his role was not as great as that of creator gods in other mythologies.
In the early literature of Hinduism, Brahma was one of the major gods. However, he plays little part in the modern Hindu religion. Over time, Vishnu and Shiva became more important than Brahma and are more widely worshiped today.
There are many different accounts of the origin of Brahma. According to one story, the creator made the cosmic waters and put a seed in them. The seed turned into a golden egg. After 1,000 years, the creator himself emerged from the egg as a younger Brahma. He then made the universe and all things in it. Another legend says that Brahma was born in a lotus flower that sprouted from Vishnu's navel. When he grew up, he had a relationship with his daughter, which led to the birth of mankind.
cosmic large or universal in scale having to do with the universe
In works of art, Brahma is usually portrayed with four faces and four arms. The four faces symbolize the four Vedas, the ancient
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