About Hindu Gods and Goddesses: As we continue our exploration of Hindu dieties, we turn to Lord Brahma, the Creator God. Please note that there is a wonderful mythology of Hindu Gods and Goddesses who symbolize every facet of human life and are often invoked in ceremony to share a great variety of blessings.
LORD BRAHMA: Brahma is the first god in the Hindu triumvirate. The triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world. Within the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, Lord Brahma is the Creator, Lord Vishnu the Preserver, and Lord Shiva the Destroyer. Lord Brahma, the Creator God of the Trinity appears seated on a lotus (a symbol of glorious existence). He has four heads and hands. In each hand he holds a sacrificial tool, the Vedas (knowledge), a water pot and a rosary or mala respectively. Unlike most other Hindu Gods, none of his arms holds a weapon. The four faces of Brahma are said to represent the four Vedas (sacred texts). The lotus symbolizes reality, and his heads also represent four ways we perceive that reality, namely: the mind, the intellect, the ego and conditioned-consciousness.
I have often wondered why I see so many statues of Vishnu and Shiva and none of Bramha. A story in connection with Brahma’s four heads is that when Brahma was creating the universe, he made a female deity known as Shatarupa with a hundred beautiful forms. Brahma became immediately infatuated. Shatarupa moved in various directions to avoid the gaze of Brahma, but wherever she went, Brahma developed a head. Thus, Brahma developed five heads, one on each side and one above the others.
In order to control Brahma, Shiva cut off the top head. Also, Shiva felt that Shatarupa was Brahma’s daughter, having been created by him. Therefore, Shiva determined, it was wrong for Brahma to become obsessed with her. He directed that there be no proper worship in India for the “unholy” Brahma. Thus, only Vishnu and Shiva continue to be worshipped, while Brahma is almost totally ignored. India today has only three temples dedicated to Brahma alone as opposed to the thousands of temples dedicated to the other deities in the Trinity.
Ever since the incident, Brahma has been reciting the four Vedas in his attempt at repentance. Lord Brahma’s vehicle is a swan (hans) which is known for its judgment between good and bad. His consort is Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning. The daily alteration of light and dark is attributed to Brahma. Life in this world is a manifestation of the three principles of creation, sustenance and destruction. The apparent destruction is only an essential forerunner to creation.
Lord Brahma is invoked for to help us surrender the ego and better serve humanity. He can be invoked for creative inspiration and flashes of new thoughts to discover the secrets of nature. You can invoke Lord Brahma to bring good energy to whatever you choose to create.
Why Worship Brahma
Brahma may be busy, but his consort Saraswati is available. She can guide you in creative pursuits. She is also said to refine your character and help further your education when worshiped. Very few people worship Brahma directly. He creates new life and he writes people’s destinies.
One reason why he isn’t worshiped as much may be that his “role as the creator is over. It is left to Vishnu to preserve the world and Shiva to continue its path of cosmic reincarnation.”
Stories of Brahma
Brahma was self-born within the water and the seed from which he was born was a golden egg, which burst open and expanded into all of creation. (Other sources say that he was self-born from a lotus or that he was born from a lotus that sprouted from Vishnu’s naval).
- Why Brahma Isn’t Worshiped
There are several stories on this theme. Here are a few of them:
Brahma and Vishnu were touring the Universe one day and found a pillar of light which extended farther than they could perceive in two directions. They were curious and decided to split up to see if one of them could find an end. Vishnu went in one direction and Brahma the other, After some time, they returned to their staring place. Vishnu said that he was unable to find the beginning, no matter how far he traveled. Brahma said that he found a beginning. He let his ego get the best of him and lied. Thereupon, the Pillar of light immediately changed into a form of Shiva who called Brahma a liar and sentenced him to be little observed in the divine ceremonies. This is why you will not find many pujas to him.
Brahma created a woman in order to aid him with his job of creation. She was called Shatarupa.
She was so beautiful that Brahma became infatuated with her, and gazed at her wherever she went. This caused her extreme embarrassment and Shatarupa tried to turn from his gaze.
But in every direction she moved, Brahma sprouted a head until he had developed four. Finally, Shatarupa grew so frustrated that she jumped to try to avoid his gaze. Brahma, in his obsession, sprouted a fifth head on top of all.
It is also said in some sources that Shatarupa kept changing her form. She became every creature on earth to avoid Brahma. He however, changed his form to the male version of whatever she was and thus every animal community in the world was created.
Lord Shiva admonished Brahma for demonstrating behaviour of an incestuous nature (since Brahma had created Shatarupa) and chopped off his fifth head for ‘unholy’ behavior. Since Brahma had distracted his mind from the soul and towards the cravings of the flesh, Shiva’s curse was that people should not worship Brahma.
As a form of repentance, it is said that Brahma has been continually reciting the four Vedas since this time, one from each of his four heads.
According to another legend, Brahma is not worshiped because of a curse by the great sage Brahmarishi Bhrigu. Once a great fire-sacrifice (yajna) was being organised on Earth with Bhrigu being the high priest. 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 Brahma, he was so immersed in the music played by Saraswati that he could hardly hear Bhrigu’s calls. The enraged Bhrigu then cursed Brahma that no person on Earth would ever invoke him or worship him again.