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Brahma Purana

Brahma Purana

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Brahma Purana is one of the major eighteen Puranas. It is a Hindu religious text. Brahma Purana is in the form of teachings by Brahma to Daksha and contains a number of verses. This is also called the Adi Purana. According to Brahma Purana it was Brahma who narrated the story of Brahma Purana to the sages on mount Meru. The Narada Purana says that Brahma Purana contains 10,000 verses. The Purana also as a class of literature represents different phases and aspects of life lived by the people in diverse ages.

Lord Brahma as the Narrator

The Padma Purana classifies Brahma Purana as Rajasa and assigns it to Lord Brahma, the god of rajas quality. The Puranas are classifiable as sattvika, rajasa and tamasa on the strength of quality which they possess predominantly. But a number of studies on the Brahma Purana have revealed that it is more sattvika than rajasa because a considerable portion of this Purana is devoted to the glorification of Purusottama Vasudeva, Sri Krishna, Sun-god and Lord Shiva. The Purana speaks of Ekamra-kshetra and Purusottama-kshetra as being sacred to Shiva and Vishnu respectively. Lord Vishnu and Shiva are the paramount lords in the Brahma Purana while Brahma occupies the third position. Brahma himself has spoken highly of Vishnu and Shiva in the Purana. The Purana takes its name after Brahma. It is because Brahma is the main speaker here.

Division in Brahma Purana

Brahma Purana contains two parts-Purva Bhaag and Uttar Bhaag. Purva Bhaag depicts the entire narrative of the creation of cosmos and at the same time the tales of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. Uttar Bhaag contains a detailed description of Purshottam Tirtha prominent among all the holy places.

A large portion of Brahma Purana deals with the topics of religious nature. The Purana glorifies Lord Vishnu predominantly. The legends of Shiva including the immolation of Sati, destruction of Daksha`s sacrifice, Shiva`s marriage with Parvati, his sports on the Himalayas and ultimately his departure for mount Meru are also important parts of Brahma Purana. The Purana also records one hundred and eight names of the solar deity, and also illustrates his glory and origin. In spite of the presence of multitude of gods, the trend of Brahma Purana is inwards monotheism. The Purana advocates that all gods stand on equal footing.

 

 

Concepts in Brahma Purana

In the ultimate review of this Purana, there is no difference among Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva or any other god. A unit of fourteen chapters in the Brahma Purana deals with some important aspects of philosophical nature. Though the ultimate end is the attainment of liberation, the means employed to that end consist in the knowledge of principles (tattva-gyanam) relating to Prakriti and Purusha. The philosophy of this Purana, as of other Puranas is generally derived from the concepts evolved and developed in the systems of Samkhya Philosophy and Yoga.

According to the Brahma Purana, if anyone realizes the truth that Divinity is eternal and exists unceasingly regardless of Creation or Dissolution, then that individual can be said that he has attained the self knowledge.

From the stories narrated in the Brahma Purana it is known that Brahma endeavoured to propagate his knowledge of divinity and the mystery of creation among the gods and the sages. Brahma initiated his task by imparting knowledge to Sage Narada by describing all the 24 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Narada in turn imparted this knowledge to Sage Vyasa. Ultimately, Ved Vyas, after compiling that divine knowledge in 18,000 shlokas, made Shukadev read it.

Brahma Purana also depicts the utterance of Brahma after his self revelation and the true knowledge of Divinity. He articulated that his speech does not incline towards non-virtuousness, his mind never follows the path of non-virtuousness, and his senses are not influenced by the non-virtuous desires because he always possess Lord Vishnu in heart with great dedication. Through his teachings he made the world to explore the essence of divinity, which lies latent in the individual`s heart. This self revelation would lead them to deviate from the path of vice.
Therefore, surrendering oneself in the feet of Lord Vishnu is the only means to achieve liberation from the burden of the painful existence of the world. This is the keynote of the Brahma Purana.


This Purana contains 4 Chapters as follows.

1.1 Lord Brahma

This chapter contains 9 sections:

1.1.1 A Profile of Brahmaji

APPEARANCE OF BRAHMAJI

According to the scriptures, Brahmaji was born on the lotus that had arisen from the navel of eternal ommipresent Lord Narayan Vishnu. During the period of deluge (Pralaya) all the creations was destroyed and the creatures that had gone into Maharloka (the fourth of the upper worlds according to the Puranas), take birth again on the earth as per their deeds. God who keeps an account of the innumerable deeds of those inumerable creatures and arrange for their incarnations is called Brahma.

1.1.2 Scriptural Appearance of Brahmaji

Scriptures describe the appearance of Brahmaji thus:

CHATURMUKHD VEDADHARAH SAKSHASUTRA KAMANDALUH |
HANSARUDHO RAKTAVASA BRAHMALOKA PITAMAH ||

Meaning: He has four heads, holds Vedas, Rosary, Yagyopavita (Sacred thread) and Kamandalu (bowl); wears red cothes and rides a swan. He is none other than Brahmaji, grandfather of all of us.

1.1.3 Four Heads of Brahmaji

Brahmaji is shown with four heads, Besides being the creator of the universe, Brahmaji is a deponent of the deeds of all the creatures as well, alloting the creatures various incarnations as per their deed is duty of Brahmaji. Hence the full knowledge of a creatures deed is an indispensable precondition before deciding an incarnation for it. Only then full justice could be assured for a creature. Hence to look around in all the directions, Brahmaji is shown with the four heads.

1.1.4 White Beard of Brahmaji

Brahmaji is the great grandfather of all of us. Hence his appearance must match his status. Since antiquity, in a single day of Brahmaji no one knows how many members of creatures take birth and die. The period since antiquity can be calculated according to astrology. Since Brahmaji has such an eternal existance, his appearance must correspondend to his eternity as well, so that feeling of respect could naturally arise among the people for him. Hence, Lord Brahma is shown with a white beard.

1.1.5 Swan as a Vehicle

Swan is a white bird. God has bestowed it with unique virtues. Virtues that are not to be found in any creature of the eighty-four lakh incarnations, their virtue is NEERA-KSHEERA VIVEKA, that is, if milk is mixed with water, a swan is capable of separating milk from water and taking it rejecting the water. It is an indication fof Brahmaji that every creature deserves a full justice regarding his deeds , no matter how much entangled it might be. There should not be any ado in the justice. People must also learn from it that they should imbibe only the valuable part of a thing and discard the worthless. Only then they could be regarded as a doer of good deeds and thus receive honour in the society.

1.1.6 Purpose of Holding Vedas

Brahmaji is also shown as holding Vedas is one of his hands why? It is natural to be curious about it. Vedas are undoubtedly the most ancient scriptures in the word. Even the great deluge (Pralaya) could not destroy Vedas for almighty Brahma himself had taken incarnation to save Vedas during deluge. Hence Vedas have no beginning and no end. Besides Vedas also remind Brahmaji of the previous Kalpa (the grand period that includes all the four Yugas). Vedas also teach us that everything is destructible, only the truth can not be destroyed. Hence in the carnation of destructible body, never forget the indestructible, eternal, almighty Paramatma because every other thing in the world is bound to be destroyed one day.

1.1.7 Rosary in Second Hand

The great grandfather of all the creatures Lord Brahma teaches by his appearance that the human incarnation is not just for the mundane jobs. Instead among the mundane jobs, human being must keep on remembering the almighty Paramatma. Because without reciting the name of almighty God welfare of any human being is simply not possible. Hence, by the rosary in second hand Brahmaji teaches that, always keep on telling the name of almighty God, for your welfare. It is therefore written also -

JAPATA SIDDHIH JAPATASIDDHIH JAPATASIDHIH NASANSHAYAH

Meaning : One gets perfection only in the name of almighty God, there is no doubt in it. Hence, comprehensing these things human being must keep on reciting and telling the name of omnipresent God whether he is moving, or sitting, eating or drinking and sleeping or awakening.

1.1.8 Kamandalu (Coconut Shell Bowl)

JALAMEV JEEVANAM

That is water is life. Water is the basic physical element that caused the whole creation to exist. The coconut shell bowl (Kamandalu) held by Brahmaji; also holds water, thus depicting the hassle free existence and continuence of the whole creation.

1.1.9 Seat of the Lotus

Lotus is the seat for Lord Brahma Lotus also adorns the hand of Lord Vishnu and is an essential item to worship Lord Shiva. Every one knows that the lotus grows from the muck. Thus, it teaches that inspite of being born of the muck be as pure as possible. Including humans, all creatures are born out of the muck called passion and illusion. They are unable to free themselves from these two. Thus the lotus seat of Brahmaji teaches that regardless of origin one must strive to be as free and pure as possible from the influences of one's origin. In another words, humans must obtain themselves from the passion and illusion of the world despite being surrounded by them.

1.2 Goddess Sarasvati

This chapter contains 3 sections:

1.2.1 Appearance of Sarasvati

Literally, Saraswati means SARAH - Knowledge, STHANAMYASYAH ASTITI. Thus, Saraswati is the goddess who rules all kinds of knowledge without worshipping her no one can be a learned person. Hence followers of other religious also worship Saraswati, though the name and appearance may differ slightly. Appearance of Saraswati is thus described in the scriptures :

SHUKLAM BRAMHAVICHARASA RA PARMADYAM JAGADVYAPINEEM
VEENAPUSTAK DHARINIMABHAYADAM JADYANDHAKARA PAHAM |
HASTE SPHATIKA MALIIKAM VIDADHI PADMASANE SAMSTHITAM |
VANDE TAM PARAME SHVAREEM
BHAGWATEEM BUDDHI PRADAY SHARDAM ||

Meaning : Wearer of the white clothes giver of the power to reflect the essence of Brahma, supreme power, holder of veena (Lyre), book, beaded rosarry, the benevolent Goddess is seated on a lotus. I respectfully pray the Goddess who gives us knowledge.

1.2.2 Significance of Book and Veena (Lyre)

Noted sage Bhartrihari writes that without literature and music, a man is not more than an animal. Hence the book and veena in the hands of Saraswati teach that if the humans wish to do away with their bruteness, knowledge of literature and music is must for them. Hence, Goddess Saraswati is shown with a book and Veena the symbols of literature and music respectively.

1.2.3 Beaded Rosary

The ultimate goal of knowledge is salvation. Salvation is possible only with unification with God. And rosary is a means for unification with God. But why a rosary of white beads only? It is so because white beads depict spotless purity. Thus it teaches us to rise above the blemishes of passion, anger, greed, ego, lust, envy, enimity etc. and make our mind as spotless as the beads. Similar teaching are given by the the lotus seat and swan vehicle of the Goddess Saraswati.

1.3 Lord Vishnu

This chapter contains 11 sections:

1.3.1 Appearance of Lord Vishnu

Worship of Lord Vishnu is extremely essential for those who wish to receive the supreme salvation. A common rule of worship is that the worshipper must essentially have the virtues of the worshipped. Hence, Lord Vishnu gives his virtues through physical appearance.

1.3.2 Reflection of Scriptural Appearance

SHANTAKARAM BHUJANGASHAYANAM PADMANABHAM SURESHAM,
VISHWADHARAM GAGAN SADRISHAM MEGHAVARNAM SHUBHANGAM|
LAKSHMIKANTAN KAMALNAYANAM YOGIMIRDHYANA GAMYAM,
VANDE VISHNUM BHAVA BHAYAHARAM SARVA LOKAIKNATHAM ||

Meaning: I worship that Lord Vishnu who has a peaceful body (postures); who rests on Sheshanaga (the mighty serpant - cobra); who has a lotus in his navel, who is the base of the world, who is like the sky; who has a colour like cloud, who is the lord of Lakshmi (wealth); who has eyes like lotus; who is seen by yogis in their meditation; who is the remover of all the differences and who is the only Lord of all the three Lokas (Worlds), I worship such Lord Vishnu.

1.3.3 Scientific Depiction of Vishnu's Appearance

It is a common principle the worshipper should be a Deva (God) first and worship the God then, Let us reflect the appearance of Lord Vishnu in light of this principle. The first virtue of Lord Vishnu is his peaceful appearance. Hence his worshipper must also acquire peaceful appearance. This is also the need of the hour in the world that is presently full of conflicts, disputes, tensions and all that could pose a potential danger to the earth itself.

Despite having all kinds of wealth and luxuries people are devoid of peace. Hence, all the worshippers who want peace, must first reflect the peaceful appearance of Lord Vishnu.

1.3.4 Why does Lord Vishnu rest on Sheshanaga?

The second virtue (resting on the Sheshanaga) must be considered as the sub-virtue of the peaceful appearance. Scriptures describe Sheshanaga as Kala also. Sheshanaga is supposed to be a highly poisonous snake. But Lord Vishnu is resting on him without fear or worries. It teaches us not to lose patience even while facing the kala itself; instead one must strive to ride on it, only then can one remain in peaceful appearance. If the fear overpowers you, it may shatter your peace. The worshippers who want salvation are being indicated to be peaceful in every circumstances.

1.3.5 Why is Lotus in the Navel?

The third virtue of Lord Vishnu is that he bears a lotus on his navel,hence he is also known as Padmanabham. From the lotus rises Lord Brahma. Brahma has only royal virtues (Rajoguna). Thus to remain in peaceful form Lord Vishnu has discarded all the royal virtues through his navel. Similarily he has made the snake, which has Tamoguna (virtue of darkness), his seat, Thus only Satoguna (Virtue of the truth) remains with him, and God became Shantakaram (acquired a peaceful form). Hence, if a worshipper wishes to be in peaceful form, he must first discard the virtues of royality and darkness.

1.3.6 Why does Vishnu stay in the Sea of Milk?

Before attempting to solve the problems, let us first give a thought to the oceans also. All the oceans, as we know are huge bodies of Saline water. How is then the sea of milk? A couplet of Chanakyaneeti explains it thus :

KA CHINTA MAM JIVANE YADI HARIIVISHVAMMBHARO GEEYATE,
NO CHEDARBHAKA JIVANAY JANANISTANYAM KATHM NIRMYET |
ITYALOCHYMUHURMUHURYADUPATE LAKSHMIPATE KEWAL
TVATPADAMSHUJASEVANEN SATATAM KALOMAYA NEEYATE ||

Meaning: If God Hari Vishnu is known as VISHVAMBHAR (feeder of the world) I need not worry for anything in the world. If he were not there, where the milk would come from in the breast of a mother before child's birth. So God filled the breast of a new mother with complete food that is milk.

It is clear from the above example that Lord Vishnu assumes different forms just to feed all the creatures in the world, of these different forms of the God, the milk is one. Acording to another principle of scriptures, God is present in every grain. Hence he is also present in the milk also. It is also the supreme duty of the humankind to maintain the original pure form of the milk, because the milk is prone to damage quickly. Similarily, all these desirious of Salvation, must follow Vaishnava religion, otherwise any deviation in it may damage all of their penance.

1.3.7 Reason for holding the Wheel

The famous Sudarshana Chakra (wheel) is whirling on the finger of Lord Vishnu. Through this wheel, God teaches the human kind that the cycle of the universe is whirling at his will. If anybody tries to go against his will (i.e. wheel) or gives up religion and begins to behave irreligiously, I will whirl him like the wheel or punish him with the wheel.

1.3.8 Reason for holding the Conch

White colour and sound are the main virtues of the conch. Through the colour of the conch, God Vishnu teaches us to follow the path of the truth. The sound is like a warning call that is if path of truth is not followed, the violater will be challenged and punished. Thus. Either by fear of by any other thing, ome must follow the path of truth.

1.3.9 Purpose of Kaustubhamani

Kaustubha is the best jewel among all the gems. One who bears it, must be gentle, knowledgable, virtuous etc. Thus, bearing Kaustubha Mani, God preaches the common people that if they wish to develop all these virtues in them, they will have to move towards this gem once advanced, they will feel the eternal light in life and desired unification with God and ultimate salvation.

1.3.10 Why does Lord Vishnu hold a Mace?

Mace is a weapon that shows and dares for the physical strength. It was used by the fighters to demonstrate their strength. Among all the ancient weapons, mace was the main. It application is profusely seen in the epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata by physically powerful and strong characters like Hanumana & Bheema. Thus with the mace, God warns anti social elements that if they try to violate the sanctity of religion and torment his devotees, He will punish them. Tulsidas too writes about the reasons for incarnation of God.

JAB-JAB HOHI DHARAMA KI HANI.
HARHINATH SAJJANA KAI PEERA |

God takes various incarnations to protect his devotees.

1.3.11 Why is Garuda (Eagle) the Vehicle of Vishnu?

Garuda (eagle) is said to be the king of the birds. It is the fearest of bird. Thus God is assuring his devotees to be fearless, because if any calamity befell them, he will reach them in no time.

1.4 Goddess Laxmi

This chapter contains 3 sections:

1.4.1 Why Goddess Laxmi presses the feet of God?

Goddess Lakshmi presents an example of an ideal spouse before the world.The supreme duty of a woman is described in the service of her husband. Second aspect of the message is for the people who want to get rich, that if they want the wealth, they must develop a devotion for the feet of Narayana, for Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) is to be found there and no where else.

1.4.2 Reason for Liquidity of Laxmi

The better half of Lord Vishnu can never be freakish, because Satoguna is the main virtue of Lord Vishnu. In the proxmity of God whose main virtue is Satoguna, no one can remain freakish. But the material wealth, that is Gold, and silver, have mobility as their main virtue. Thus the rich people who have these wealths may be freakish, but not Lakshmi the beloved of God Vishnu.

1.4.3 Why is the owl the vehicle of Laxmi?

Owl is the vehicle of goddess Lakshmi. An owl can't see in the day, Hence, Lakshmi visits the house of those devotees who only worship her, on her vehicle owl. And she visits the home of those devotees who worship Lord Vishnu first and then her, with Vishnu riding his vehicle Garuda.


It also implies that at places where black-money is main, Lakshmi rides an owl. Such a wealth can't be put in the service of nation, people religion etc, or in any worthy task, instead it is squandered in abhorant deeds. Since owl is a bird that sees in the darkness alone, and darkness sumbolizes ignorance. Because of ignorance, money is generated in wrong ways and spent in wrong deeds. Thus owl is a symbol of black money and misdeeds.



 
 


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