Brahma is the Hindu god of creation. According to the Puranas, ancient Hindu religious texts, Brahma was generated by himself from a lotus flower, although some legends relate that the Lord first created the waters, depositing there a seed that later transformed into a golden egg from which later he was born manifested as Brahma, and whose remains were used for the creation of the other elements of the universe.
The account of the Brahma Purana maintains that he was the father of Mānu (first human) and that all mankind descended from him. [It must be taken into account that there is a Purana for each God, and in each Purana, that God is placed on a fairly high pedal]. His wife is Saraswati, a goddess who represents wisdom, he also had Savitri and Gayatri as wives, all three revered as Vedamata or Mother of the Vedas. Together with Vishnu and Shiva, gods of the maintenance of the universe and its destruction respectively, he makes up the Trimurti or triad of main gods of Hinduism.
The ancient texts
It is true that in some verses of the Vedas some of its attributes are also given to other deities, and in some of the Puranas it is said that there are various gods equal to the Supreme Brahma. However, Brahma is considered by the Hindus as the Supreme God: the origin of all the others and of which these are the manifestations of him.
Furthermore, in the Atharva-Veda it is read: “All the gods are in Brahma like cows in a stable.” In the beginning, Brahma was this universe, he created the gods. Having created the gods, he placed them in the worlds. Agni, in this world, Vayu in the atmosphere and Surya in the sky. And in the worlds that are higher, he placed the gods that are even higher. Then Brahma departed for the highest sphere called Satyaloka, the most excellent and distant of all worlds. The gods were originally mortal, but when they were penetrated by Brahma, they became immortal.
In the Taittiriya Brahmana it is said that: Brahma created all the gods and this entire world. Within it are all these worlds. Within him is this entire universe. Brahma is the greatest of all beings. In Brahma there are the thirty-three gods.
His four heads and arms
Brahama sees in all four directions at the same time. Each head represents one of the four aspects of human consciousness. These are recognized as follows:
- The physical being: bodily relationship with food, exercise, sleep and sex. The physical being manifests through the earth, matter and mother.
- The rational being: the intellect or conditioned logic of the rationing processes of an individual.
- The emotional being: the states of mind and feelings that change continuously within the person. Loyalty and love are influenced by being emotional.
- The intuitive self: the inner voice of a person’s conscious mind.
In his four arms, Brahma wears the following:
- In his upper left hand, a lotus flower, symbol of purity:
- On the second left hand, the sacred scriptures, which contain the knowledge of all creation. Brahama can impart sacred knowledge if he properly invokes it.
- In one right hand, a vase containing nectar. It is amrita, the precious liquid of vital potency.
- The fourth hand is raised with the mudra that grants the absence of fear.
- For those who meditate and make a god conscious in their minds, it is said that Brahma appears in the twilight hours and is when rituals are practised to connect with his energy.
In my last trip to India, honestly, Brahma is almost forgotten, there were not many temples to his honour. Most of the temples are in the Rajasthan region, the most famous of which is Pushkar. In the same way, when one asks for stories or legends or mythologies about Brahma, there is not much to tell, it is as if he is the creator behind the shadows.
To finish I leave you a legend about his four heads and why he lacks popularity in festivities.
Legend about Brahma, I can’t stop looking at you
They say that when Brahma was making the world, he felt the need to create a woman to procreate the human race. From his own body he created the first lady named Shatarupā (śata-rūpā = “she of a hundred beautiful forms/one who can acquire hundred forms”). She was so beautiful that the creator himself was looking at her; he couldn’t take his eyes off her. The woman held her gaze for a while but in the end she was ashamed, and she stepped aside from him so as not to be in front of Brahma. However, he did not want to lose sight of her; immediately he stuck a new head to that side and kept looking at it. The poor woman went elsewhere, but Brahma was showing a new face in every direction.
Finally, she flew up to escape his haunted eyes. It was of no use to her either because the Brahmas fifth head was already looking up at her.
But we know that he is represented with four heads and not five. What happened to the one that is missing?
It seems this god is quite vain. He is told that he was once trying to convince Vishnu that he (Brahma) was the most important god. But Vishnu insisted on his own superiority. At that a column of light appeared in front of them, so high that it was not seen how far it reached. Brahma and Vishnu decided to try to find out its size. Vishnu turned into a wild boar and began to dig to see how far the column was in the ground, and Brahma took the form of a swan to fly to the highest point of it.
They spent a long time exploring but did not find the ends of the pillar. When they returned to the starting point, the god Shiva who had made the great column appear was there. Vishnu admitted that he had not been able to find the root of it, but Brahma, in order to gain a point, lied that he had reached the top of it, and as proof he presented a flower that he said he had found there. Shiva was so enraged at this white lie that he immediately cut off the fifth head that looked up. Being angered, he further stated that from then onwards, no one shall build a temple in honour of Brahma or worship him through religious ceremonies.
I hope you enjoyed this brief introduction to Brahma, if you have any questions – please leave me a comment below!