Brahma is the Hindu god (deva) of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Visņu and Siva. According to the Brahma Puraņa, he is the father of Manu, and from Manu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayaņa and the Mahabharata, he is often referred to as the progenitor or great grandsire of all human beings. He is not to be confused with the Supreme Cosmic Spirit in Hindu Vedanta philosophy known as Brahman, which is genderless. Brahma's wife is Saraswati. Saraswati is also known by names such as Savitri and Gayatri, and has taken different forms throughout history. Saraswati is the Vedic Goddess, revered as Vedamata, meaning Mother of the Vedas. Brahma is often identified with Prajapati, a Vedic deity. Being the husband of Saraswati or Vaac Devi (the Goddess of Speech), Brahma is also known as "Vaagish," meaning "Lord of Speech and Sound."
Brahma is the creator god of the Hindu Trinity, and is accepted as the Creator of the entire universe. The other two of the Trinity are Vishnu, the protector god, and Shiva, the destroyer god. Brahma’s consort is Sarasvati, the Goddess of Learning. He is the custodian of the Vedas and his vehicle is a swan. Bearing a mystic symbolism, Brahma sits on a lotus flower, and he has four faces, each representing the four Vedas. The faces also symbolize the functioning of the inner personality, in the form of the four ways in which the thoughts go – the mind, the intellect, the ego and the conditioned consciousness.
If Brahma did create all this, who created Brahma? Wonderful is the way the great Hindu texts like the Vedas handled this question – probably one of the first questions humans had asked and have been asking till now. Have a look at what Manusmriti, one of the earliest texts of Hindu faith, has to say about the first moments of creation:
At the beginning of the process of creation, Brahma created eleven prajapatis who are believed to be the fathers of the human race. They were Marici, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Vasishta, Daksha, Bhrigu, Narada and others. Brahma also created the seven great sages or the Saptarshis to help him create the universe…
This was the belief or an idea evolved during the Braahmanic period in the history of India. Unlike in the Christian belief where god created first a human being, to be called Adam, in his own image, the Brahman ideologues postulated that Brahma created eight or eleven men to become the fathers of human race as seen above. A number of rishis were also created to assist in the creation of the universe.
When did Brahma begin his creation? How long did it last?
Before finding an answer to this interesting question, let us see what the Rigveda, the earliest text of Vedic thinking of India has to say about it.
There was not then what is nor what is not. There was no sky, and no heaven beyond the sky.
What power was there? Where? Who was that power? Was there an abyss of fathomless waters?
There was neither death nor immortality then. No signs were there of night or day. The ONE was breathing by its own power, in deep peace. Only the ONE was: there was nothing beyond.
Darkness was hidden in darkness. The all was fluid and formless. Therein, in the void, by the fire of fervor arose the ONE.
And in the ONE arose love. Love the first seed of soul. The truth of this the sages found in their hearts: seeking in their hearts with wisdom, the sages found that bond of union between being and non-being.
Who knows in truth? Who can tell us whence and how arose this universe? The gods are later than its beginning: who knows therefore whence comes this creation?
Only that god who sees in highest heaven: he only knows whence comes this universe, and whether it was made or uncreated. He only knows, or perhaps he knows not.
This is stanza x, 129 of the Rigveda, translated and quoted in the introduction written by Juan Mascaro, to his translation of the Bhagavad Gita, published by Penguin (1962). Even HE knows not whether the universe was made or uncreated is what the Rigveda wonders.
But after centuries of thinking, the Braahmanic period perfected its theory of the Time and Creation of the Universe. According to this, “universal time is a never-ending cycle of both creation and destruction, each complete cycle being represented by one hundred years in the life of Brahma. At the end of this cycle, everything, including Brahma himself, is dissolved in the Great Deluge – Mahapralaya. This is followed by another period of chaos of one hundred years. Another Brahma arises. Another process of creation begins. The cycle goes on. What we have to note is that one day of Brahma is equivalent to 4,320 million years on earth. This is a Kalpa. Each Kalpa is divided into four yugas or ages – the Kritayuga (of 1,728,000 years), the Tretayuga (of 1,296,000 years), the Dvaparayuga (of 864,000 years), and the Kaliyuga (of 432,000 years).
There are several legends about the origin of Brahma, the Creator. The Puranas, a group of texts prepared to popularize the religion of the Vedas, proclaim that Brahma is self-born, without a mother, in the lotus flower, which grew from the navel of Vishnu. This mystic symbolism brings up a question about the beginning of Vishnu and the lotus. Another legend describes Brahma as the son of the Supreme Being and the female energy form, Prakriti or Maya, which is illusion.
Though Brahma is the first member of the Hindu Trinity of Gods, he is not as popular as the other two, Vishnu and Shiva. There are thousands of temples dedicated to these two all over India, but temples dedicated to Brahma are very few. Of these the most famous is at Pushkar, near Ajmer. There are temples dedicated to Brahma in Tirunavaya in Kerala, Kumbakonam in Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu, and one near Kalahasti in Andhra Pradesh. The larges is in Angkor Wat, the famous temple complex of Cambodia.
Origin of Brahma
According to the Puranas , Brahma is the son of God, and often referred to as Prajapati. The Shatapatha Brahman says that Brahma was born of the Supreme Being Brahman and the female energy known as Maya. 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. For this reason Brahma is also known as 'Hiranyagarbha'. According to another legend, Brahma is self-born out of a lotus flower which grew from the navel of Vishnu. In order to help him create the universe, Brahma gave birth to the 11 forefathers of the human race called 'Prajapatis' and the seven great sages or the 'Saptarishi'. These children or mind-sons of Brahma, who were born out of his mind rather than body, are called the 'Manasputras'.
Accounts of creation differ in many respects. 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.
At the beginning of the process of creation, Brahma creates the four Kumaras or the Catursana . However, they refuse his order to procreate and instead devote themselves to God and celibacy.
He then proceeds to create from his mind ten sons or Prajapatis (used in another sense), who are believed to be the fathers of the human race. But since all these sons were born out of his mind rather than body, they are called Manas Putras or mind-sons or spirits. The Manusmrti and Bhagavat Purana enumerate them as
Brahma had nine sons and one daughter born from various parts of his body they are enumrate as
- Agni - Eye Brows (eldest son)
- Daksha - Right thumb
- Dharma - Chest
- Kama - Heart
- Yama [Yama was son of Surya, this contradicts with other wiki entry ]
- Angaja - Daughter
Within Vedic and Puranic scripture Brahma is described as only occasionally interfering in the affairs of the other devas (gods), and even more rarely in mortal affairs. He did force Soma to give Tara back to her husband, Brhaspati . Among the offspring from his body are Dharma and Adharma, Krodha, Lobha, and others.