Meet a God: Brahma

I find that most people who are unfamiliar with Hinduism are very surprised to find out that there is a trinity within Hinduism. It is quite different from the Father/Son/Holy Ghost trinity of Christianity, but there are the three who are also one. There is within Hinduism a bit of a hierarchy with the Gods, some being in higher power than others. Different branches will order that list slightly differently, but the top three are almost always the top three.

They are the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer. Makes sense, no? Three stages of creation and three main Gods to regulate them. The three are: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

Many Hindus believe that there is only one ultimate divinity but the different Gods are aspects of that one divine. The human mind cannot comprehend all of God at once, and so we separate it out into different aspects and personalities to help us understand. Different branches of Hinduism may disagree about which God is the supreme one that all other Gods are just aspects of. For my branch, Advaita Vedanta (or Smarthism), it doesn’t really matter what you call it, there is nothing except unity. However, we are more likely to lean towards calling the supreme God: Brahma.

There is a lot to say about each one of the three in the trinity, so I’ll try not to get ahead of myself and just stick today to introducing the creator, Brahma.

You are likely to see Brahma depicted sitting on a lotus or a swan and having four heads. Each of the three main Gods has a consort associated with him, a female aspect and Brahma’s is Saraswati, goddess of music, art, and creativity. He is said to be the father of Manu, the first man.

He is so associated with study that he is not depicted with any weapons. He is often holding a book. He is said to have created the Vedas.

Strangely, Brahma’s popularity seems to be waning. I would probably have to have a PhD in religious studies to explore why that is, but I have observed that there is much more emphasis in modern times on Shiva and also on Vishnu (who is also Rama and Krishna, I’ll get into that later!). I wonder if this has to do with how far we are from the beginning of creation. We are currently in the last of the four ages of the world, the Kali Yuga, and so we may have more need of or more interest in the Gods associated with the end times rather than the beginning time.

About.com author Dr. Morales makes the claim that Brahma is not a God at all:

Brahman, as understood by the scriptures of Hinduism, as well as by the ‘acharyas’ of the Vedanta school, is a very specific conception of the Absolute. This unique conception has not been replicated by any other religion on earth, and is exclusive to Hinduism. Thus to even call this conception of Brahman “God” is, in a sense, somewhat imprecise

Learn more…

Wikipedia

Pantheon

About.com

SanatanSociety.org

 

My subscription-based blog has more detailed information about Brahma

 

About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • http://coreysviews.wordpress.com Corey Mondello

    I have always been drawn to Shiva, Nataraja or “Dancing Shiva”, through music, art, reading and my own “spiritual” journey. I was glad to come across something Albert Einstein supposedly stated about the image of Nataraja explains the universe fairly well. “He declared Lord Siva Nataraja best metaphor for the workings of the universe.” As many others who used Nataraja to explain science, like Carl Sagan, and Fritjof Capra an Austrian-born famous theoretical high-energy physicist and ecologist: [Source: Einstein’s Mass Energy Equivalence and The Creation of Universe (The Big Bang Theory) all in one, 2800 Years Before Einstein and Modern Science. http://mysteriesexplored.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/einsteins-mass-energy-equivalence-and-the-creation-of-universe-the-big-bang-theory-all-in-one-2800-years-before-einstein-and-modern-science/ and is well explained by others also scientifically: “The Cosmic Dance of Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the dance in six you tube video presentation. It is symbolism of the dancing proton, neutron and electron.” [Source: http://www.ttonline.org/threads/9442-The-Cosmic-Dance-of-Lord-Shiva-Nataraja

  • http://www.nature.com Agnikan

    Dr. Morales is speaking about “Brahman”, the Absolute. “Brahma”, though, is a deity, a divine person, who (according to some Hindu Traditions) is born and will die.

    • Ambaa

      Interesting! See, now I didn’t realize there was a difference. I have heard that Brahma is an incarnation like any other and has a lifespan, but I always thought that he is both mortal and immortal in the same sense that we all are. I’ve never heard someone draw distinction between Brahman and Brahma. I’ll ask my mom more about it since she studies the actual Sanskrit! Thank you for teaching me something :)

  • indian

    Brahma is a god & husband of goddess saraswati. Most people don’t consider him the ultimate form of brahman like vishnu(vaishnavites consider vishnu to be brahman) or shiva(& shivaites consider him to be ultimate brahman) but a part of or manifestation of brahman.

  • indian

    also brahma was cursed that no1 will worship him

  • indian

    also brahma was cursed that no one will worship him

    • Ambaa

      Interesting. Doing this one made me realize that I, like many people, am much less familiar with Brahma than the other two.


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