According to Hinduism, the cosmos was created by Brahma, the creator among the Hindu Trinity. Brahma created the universe and all beings. The hoary vedas are also attributed to Brahma, making him the father of dharma. But, Brahma’s popularity is much less when compared to his peers Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma exists in scriptures more than in temples and homes. It is very hard to find temples dedicated to Brahma, though there is one such temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan.
The Birth of Brahma
The puranas say that Brahma is the offspring of god. Hence, he is also known as Prajapati. Brahma is also called ‘Hiranyagarbha’, as he emerged from a golden egg created by the supreme being in combination with Maya, the female energy. Another legend says that Brahma was born from a lotus flower that emerged out of Vishnu’s navel.
Brahma has four arms, four heads and red skin. He does not carry a weapon. His hands hold a lotus, the vedas, a spoon and a water-pot. He sits in the lotus pose on a lotus flower. His chosen vehicle is a white swan. Brahma sports a long white beard. Each of his four heads recite the vedas.
Brahma lives in ‘Brahmaloka’, a celestial universe that contains many splendors. Hindu cosmology reveals that the universe exists for a period known as ‘Brahmakalpa’ or four billion earth years. At the end of this period, creation is dissolved by a process called ‘pralaya’. After this, Brahma is reborn again and creates the cosmos anew.
Brahma in American Literature
The great American writer Ralph Emerson wrote a poem named “Brahma” that was published in 1857. This poem reveals Emerson’s knowledge of Hindu philosophy and scriptures. Emerson contrasts Brahma’s “unchanging reality” with the illusory appearance of Maya.