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Title: Brahma  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Glossary of Hinduism terms, Hindu cosmology, Hindu mythology, Upakarma, Haridasa Thakur
Collection: Creator Gods, Guardians of the Directions, Hindu Gods, Names of God in Hinduism, Triple Deities
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Brahma, the creator
Devanagari ब्रह्मा
Sanskrit Transliteration Brahmā
Affiliation Trimurti
Abode Sathyaloka
Mantra Om Brang Brahmaneya Namaha
Consort Saraswati
Mount Hansa (Swan)

Brahmā (; Sanskrit: ब्रह्मा; IAST: Brahmā) is the Hindu god (deva) of creation and one of the Trimūrti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahmā Purāṇa, he is the father of Manu, and from Manu all human beings are descended. In the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata, 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 Vedānta philosophy known as Brahman, which is genderless. Brahmā's wife is Saraswati. Saraswati is also known by names such as Sāvitri and Gāyatri, and has taken different forms throughout history. Brahmā is often identified with Prajāpati, 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."


  • Etymology 1
  • Origin 2
  • Creations 3
  • Attributes 4
    • Appearance 4.1
    • Symbols 4.2
    • Vehicle 4.3
  • Temples 5
    • India 5.1
    • Asia 5.2
  • Temples devoted to Brahmā 6
    • Ancient Temples 6.1
    • Recently Built temples 6.2
  • Satyaloka – abode of Brahmā 7
  • Duration of Brahmā's day 8
  • Brahmā sampradāya 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes and references 11
  • External links 12


In Sanskrit grammar, the noun stem brahman forms two distinct nouns; one is a neuter noun bráhman, whose nominative singular form is brahma ब्रह्म; this noun has a generalized and abstract meaning.

Contrasted to the neuter noun is the masculine noun brahmán, whose nominative singular form is brahmā ब्रह्मा. This noun is used to refer to a person, and as the proper name of a deity Brahmā it is the subject matter of the present article.


According to Shri Madha Bhagawata Mahapurana, Brahmā was born through Vishnu's navel, Vishnu is the main source of whatsoever exists in the world; what is created is part of his own body.

According to the Purāṇas, Brahmā is self-born in the lotus flower. Another legend says that Brahmā was born in water, or from a seed that later became the golden egg, Hiranyagarbha. From this golden egg, Brahmā, the creator was born. The remaining materials of this golden egg expanded into the Brahmānḍa or Universe. Being born in water, Brahmā is also called as Kanja (born in water). There is a story for Sharsa brahma hence the concept of multiple universe as every Brahmā creates his Bhramand (universe) for one Brahmā year.

Vishnu with Lakshmi, on the serpent Ananta Shesha, as Brahmā emerges from a lotus risen from Viṣṇu's navel


Head of Brahma in sandstone from the Phnom Bok in Bakheng style now in Guimet Museum in Paris.

At the beginning of the process of creation, Brahmā creates the four Kumāras or the Caturṣaṇa. However, they refused his order to procreate and instead devote themselves, to Vishnu and celibacy.

He then proceeds to create from his mind ten sons or Prajāpatis (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 Mānas Putras or mind-sons or spirits. The Manusmṛti and Bhāgavat Purāṇa enumerate them as:

Brahmā had ten sons and one daughter (Named Shatrupa- one who can take hundred forms) born from various parts of his body:

  1. Marichi
  2. Atri
  3. Angirasa
  4. Pulaha
  5. Pulasthya
  6. Krathu
  7. Vashista
  8. Prachethasa
  9. Bhrigu
  10. Narada

Within Vedic and Purāṇic scripture Brahmā 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, Bṛhaspati. Among the offspring from his body are Dharma and Adharma, Krodha, Lobha, and others.



A handcoloured engraving of Brahma.

He is clad in red clothes. Brahmā is traditionally depicted with four heads, four faces, and four arms. With each head, He continually recites one of the four Vedas. He is often depicted with a white beard (especially in North India), indicating the nearly eternal nature of his existence. Unlike most other Hindu gods, Brahmā holds no weapons. One of his hands holds a scepter. Another of his hands holds a book. Brahmā also holds a string of prayer beads called the 'akṣamālā' (literally "garland of eyes"), which He uses to keep track of the Universe's time. He is also shown holding the Vedas.

There are many other stories in the Purāṇas about the gradual decrease in Brahmā's importance. Followers of Hinduism believe that Humans cannot afford to lose the blessings of Brahmā and Sarasvati, without whom the populace would lack creativity, knowledge to solve mankind's woes. There is a story of a fifth head. This head came when Shatrupa started flying away from him upwards and the head came on top of the four heads - symbolizing lust and ego. the head was decapitated by Shiva returning Brahmā to his four head avatar which gave birth to the Vedas. The fifth head stayed with Shiva hence Shiva got the name Kapali.


The Four Faces – The four Vedas (Rig, Sāma, Yajur and Atharva).

The Four Hands – Brahmā's four arms represent the four cardinal directions: east, south, west, and north. The back right hand represents mind, the back left hand represents intellect, the front right hand is ego, and the front left hand is self-confidence.

The Prayer beads – Symbolize the substances used in the process of creation.

The Book – The book symbolizes knowledge.

The Gold – Gold symbolizes activity; the golden face of Brahmā indicates that He is actively involved in the process of creating the Universe.

The Swan – The swan is the symbol of grace and discernment. Brahmā uses the swan as his vāhana, or his carrier or vehicle.

The Crown – Brahmā's crown indicates His supreme authority.

The Lotus – The lotus symbolizes nature and the living essence of all things and beings in the Universe.

The Beard – Brahmā's black or white beard denotes wisdom and the eternal process of creation.


Brahmā's vehicle or vāhana is the hansa, a swan or a goose.


The 9th century Javan statue of Brahmā inside the Brahmā shrine in Trimurti Prambanan temple, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
The four-faced Brahma (Phra Phrom) statue, Thailand.


Though almost all Hindu religious rites involve prayer to Brahmā, very few temples are dedicated to His worship. Among the most prominent is the Brahmā temple at Pushkar. Once a year, on Kartik Poornima, the full moon night of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik (October – November), a religious festival is held in Brahmā's honour. Thousands of pilgrims come to bathe in the holy Pushkar Lake adjacent to the temple.There is a temple in Asotra village in Balotra taluka of Rajasthan's Barmer district, which is known as Kheteshwar Brahmadham Tirtha.

Temples to Brahmā also exist in Thirunavaya in Kerala. The Trimurti temple and the temple dedicated to Brahma accompanied by Ganesh, located outside Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, is also famous. Regular pujas are held for Brahmā at the temple in Thirunavaya, and during Navrathris, this temple comes to life with multi-varied festivities.

In the temple town of Kumbakonam in the Thanjavur District of Tamil Nadu; in Kodumudi in Tamil Nadu. There is also a shrine for Brahmā within the Brahmapureeswarar Temple in Tiruchirappalli.

There is a temple dedicated to Brahmā in the temple town of Sri Kalahasti near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.

7 feet height of Chatrumukha (Four Faces) BRAHMA temple at Bangalore (Karnataka, India).

In the coastal state of Goa, a shrine belonging to the 5th century AD, in the small and remote village of Carambolim in the Sattari Taluka in the northeast region of the state is found.

Famous murti of Brahmā exists at Mangalwedha, 52 km from the Solapur district of Maharashtra and in Sopara near Mumbai.

Statues of Brahmā may be found in Khedbrahma, Gujarat.


The largest and most famous shrine to Brahmā may be found in Cambodia's Angkor Wat.

In Java, Indonesia, the 9th century Prambanan Trimurti temple mainly is dedicated to Śiva, however Brahmā and Viṣṇu also venerated in separate large shrines inside the temple compound, a single large shrine dedicated to Brahmā on southern side of Śiva temple. There is a statue of Brahmā at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok. The golden dome of the Government House of Thailand also contains a statue of Phra Phrom (Thai representation of Brahmā).

Temples devoted to Brahmā

Today, India has very few temples dedicated to Brahmā.

Ancient Temples

Recently Built temples

  • Chaturmukha Brahma temple in Chebrolu, Andhra Pradesh
  • Chaturmukha (Four Faces) Brahma temple at Bangalore, Karnataka,

Satyaloka – abode of Brahmā

Satyaloka is by 120,000,000 yojanas above Tapoloka. Thus the distance from the Sun to Satyaloka is 233,800,000 yojanas, or 1,870,400,000 miles. The Vaikuṇṭha planets begin 26,200,000 yojanas (209,600,000 miles) above Satyaloka. "In the Padma Purāṇam it has been definitely stated that on the four sides of the spiritual sky there are four different transcendental abodes occupied by Vāsudeva, Sankarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha respectively. So also in the material sky also they are similarly placed on all the four sides. The Vaikuṇṭha sphere which is covered with spiritual water is inhabited by Vāsudeva and this Vaikuṇṭha is known as Devavatipur. Above the Satyaloka there is Viṣṇuloka where Sankarṣaṇa resides. In the middle of the Ocean of Milk there is an island called Śvetadvipa which is resided in by Aniruddha lying on the bed of Ananta."(Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter 5 [Handwritten])[1]

Duration of Brahmā's day

With regard to Brahmā's day and night, each consists of 14 of his hours or 4.32 billion human years. "Brahma has four heads" (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 12.8.2–5).[2]

Brahmā sampradāya

Brahmā has his own sampradāya. Brahmā appeared on a lotus flower which sprouted from the navel of Garbhodakṣāyi Viṣṇu. After meditation Brahmā created 14 planetary systems and many living beings came there in 8400000 kinds of material bodies according to their past desires. Brahmā received Vedas from Vishnu, and this Brahmā-sampradāya is transmitting knowledge from Vishnu Himself to Earth. As our Brahmā is devotee of Krishna just like other Brahmās in other material universes, we have this Brahmā sampradāya.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Srila Prabhupada's Original pre-1978 Books Online". Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  2. ^ "Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 12 Chapter 8 Verses 2-5". Retrieved 2012-08-02. 

External links

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