Brahma is one of the trideva in Hindu mythology. He is the creator. Brahma creates the universe. His lifespan is really long. Brahma lives in Brahmapura, a city in Satyaloka (the highest loka of the universe). His mount is a swan. The devas approach Brahma for help many times, especially during their conflicts with the asuras.
- Wife: Saraswati
- Sons: Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vashistha, Daksha, Bhrigu, Narada, Kama, Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana, Sanatakumara, Dharma, Kardama, Manu, etc.
- Daughter: Shatrupa, Sandhya, etc.
Creation of Our Universe
Before our universe had been created, Vishnu was sleeping on Shesha Naga. Out of his stomach emerged a lotus flower with a long stem. In the lotus, Brahma was born. Brahma didn’t know the purpose of his life. While trying to around, he sprouted 5 heads. He looked around and only saw darkness. He went in the stem of the lotus, but soon came to a dead end. He started to meditate on the flower. After 10,000 Maha-yugas, Vishnu appeared in front of Brahma. He told Brahma that he had to create the universe. Vishnu gave Brahma a part of his body to start with for the creation.
Brahma started by creating the immovable objects like planets, land and mountains. Brahma then made 6 kinds of vegetation, 28 bird species and 28 animal species. Brahma then created the 4 Kumaras. They were four young boys that were incarnations of Vishnu. Brahma commanded them to help him in the creation, but the 4 Kumaras left for a spiritual life.
Brahma was frustrated. Out of his anger came out Ardhanarisvara. Ardhanarisvara was a form an androgynous form of Rudra and Rudrani. The right side of Ardhanarisvara was Rudra and the left side was Rudrani. Rudra was a storm god. Shiva was an epithet of Rudra. Ardhanarisvara then split up and Rudra and Rudrani decided to go to do penance.
Brahma became even angrier. Nobody he created was helping him generate the universe. In fact, everybody was going to do penance. He begged Rudra and Rudrani to help. Finally, Rudra and Rudrani agreed. Rudra created ten more fierce men just like him. Altogether him and the 10 men were called the Rudras. Each of the Rudras similarly created and married a woman. Rudrani then created more women. Brahma was pleased. The Rudras including Rudra and their consorts including Rudrani then left to do penance. Rudra soon became Shiva. Brahma then continued creating our universe.
Brahma realized the Rudras were really fierce warriors. He didn’t only want people like them in the universe. Thus, he created 10 Manas Putras using his mind. Their names were Marichi, Atri, Pulaha, Pulastya, Angiras, Kratu, Vashishta, Narada, Daksha, and Bhrigu. Brahma then created Kardama Rishi from his shadow and Dharma from his conception. He was satisfied with these sons of his.
After that, a beautiful woman was born from Brahma’s mind. She was so beautiful and perfect that she could captivate the minds of even the sages. On seeing her, Brahma and his ten mind-born sons all got up, various thoughts running through them. Suddenly, a handsome man sprung from Brahma’s mind. He had a golden complexion and carried the sentiment of love with him. He was armed with a bow and five flower arrows. On seeing him, everyone was curious. He bowed down to Brahma and asked, “Oh Brahma, what is the work I am to do in this world? Who will be my wife?”
After a while, Brahma replied, “You will spread love among men and women. You will be so powerful that even the devas won’t be able to compete with you. Even Vishnu, Shiva, and I will be under your control. That is your duty.” The mind-born sons then named the man Kama and the beautiful women Sandhya.
Next, Brahma created another goddess named Gayatri. He created the 4 Vedas and music. He created Sanskrit and units of measurement and time. Suddenly, a man who looked like Brahma and a women emerged from Brahma’s hand. They were the first man and women. Brahma named them Manu and Shatrupa and told them to start the human race on Earth.
Cursing and Blessing Kama
After the creation was over, Kama decided to test his powers. He shot his arrows at Brahma, his ten mind-born sons, and Sandhya. Soon, they started frequently staring at Sandhya. Brahma and his sons were completely overpowered by lust. Sandhya too started indicating her feelings from them with occasional glances. Seeing Brahma and the others engrossed in Sandhya, Kama realized that he could easily perform the work given to him by Brahma.
On seeing his father Brahma and his ten brothers, Dharma prayed to Shiva for help. Shiva arrived there and was surprised at seeing Brahma in a lustful state. He said, “Oh Brahma, how can you be attracted to your own daughter? A daughter, sister, and brother’s wife are like one’s mother. How is it that your mental sons who practice asceticism can be enamored by a women. This Kama is a fool.”
On hearing Shiva, Brahma realized his mistake and started sweating. Out of his perspiration, sixty-four thousand Pitrs (manes, the defied souls of dead ancestors) were created. Eighty-four thousand Barhisad Pitrs were also born. From the sweat of Daksha, a beautiful lady was born. More Pitrs were born of the other sons of Brahma. The Somapas were born of Kratu, the Kalins of Vashishta, the Ajyapas of Pulastya, and the Havismantas of Angiras. Sandhya came out of her trance and became devoted to Shiva. Shiva then vanished.
Brahma then turned towards Kama. In rage, Brahma cursed Kama, “After playing this same trick of love on Shiva, you will be burnt by the fire of his third eye!”
Frightened, Kama replied, “Oh Brahma, why are you so enraged. I simply carried out my duties. You said that even you could be controlled by me. I just wanted to test this statement. I am innocent”
Brahma said, “I cursed you because you aimed at me and my daughter. But I am not angry anymore. Be happy. I cannot take back this curse now. But I will make it so that after being burnt, you will be resuscitated by Shiva himself.” Brahma then vanished from the spot.
The beautiful lady produced of Daksha’s sweat was named Rati and married to Kama.
Trying to Seduce Shiva
At Satyaloka, Brahma started thinking about what had just happened. He then had an idea. He went to the abode of his ten mind-born sons, Kama, and Rati. Brahma said, “Shiva is a Yogin, so he despised us being attracted to a women. If he doesn’t allow men to be attracted to women, then the creation won’t progress. We must have Shiva take up a wife! Only Kama and Rati are capable of this feat. Kama, you and your wife shall pursue Shiva wherever he travels and seduce him.”
“We will surely do as you say, Brahma. But we need a women for Shiva to be attracted to,” Kama said.
Brahma started thinking about by whom Shiva is to be enamoured. As he was in deep thought, he heaved a sigh from which a being was created. He was covered with flowers and carried the presence of spring with him.
Brahma said, “Kama, I have created a constant companion for you. He will be known as Vasanta, which means Spring. His duty is to follow you and delight all people. Now go, and try to seduce Shiva. I will create a women who will captivate Shiva.”
Kama, Vasanta, and Rati went to the spot where Shiva was staying. Kama went around Shiva and tried to enchant with his arrows, but nothing happened. They followed him when he went to the mountains. Kama made all animals around Shiva show signs of love, but Shiva was not affected. Unsuccessful, they returned to Brahma.
Hearing what had happened, Brahma heaved a deep sigh of frustration. From this sigh, a group of violet beings playing on various loud instruments were created. They were shouting: Kill, Cut.
“Oh Brahma, who are these people that you have produced. What is their job in this universe? Why have they been created?” Kama questioned.
“They are shouting Maraya (which means kill) very often. Hence, they will be known as the Maras. This group will go around violently disrupting the activities of everybody. But they can only be controlled by you. Their sole purpose is to follow you as companions wherever you go,” Brahma answered. “Now go and try to seduce Shiva again.”
Kama, Rati, Vasanta, and the Maras went to Shiva but failed once again. Knowing that nothing could be done to seduce Shiva, Kama and his followers returned to their abode.
But Brahma was still determined. He just wanted Shiva to have a wife. He decided to ask Vishnu for help. Vishnu advised that he should tell Daksha to perform a long penance to beget a daughter who will marry Shiva. Brahma agreed and then prayed to Goddess Shakti. He requested that she be born to Daksha after he does penance. Goddess Shakti agreed to Brahma’s request and then vanished. Brahma then went to Daksha and told about what he had to do. Daksha dutifully obeyed his father and went to perform penance to Goddess Shakti.
Almost Killed by Shiva
Soon, Daksha was granted the boon and Sati was born to Daksha and Prasuti. When Sati grew older, she decided to go do penance to appease Shiva and marry him. After taking permission from Daksha, she left and started performing severe penance. Seeing Sati’s penance, Brahma, Vishnu, the devas, and the sages went to Shiva and convinced him to marry Sati. Shiva then appeared in front of Sati and gave her the boon of marriage.
Shiva then called Brahma and told him what had happened. Brahma was relieved that his goal had finally been achieved. Brahma informed Daksha of the marriage, and Daksha joyfully agreed.
Brahma went and told Shiva that Daksha had agreed to the marriage. Shiva was delighted and went to the palace of Daksha with the devas, sages, Brahma, and Vishnu. Brahma was assigned to perform the marital rites. After Shiva and Sati were married, Vishnu had Shiva promise that he would kill anyone who looked at Sati lustfully. As Brahma was finishing the rites, he couldn’t help staring at the beautiful Sati. But he couldn’t see her face as it was covered. Brahma added many twigs to the fire and smoke arose everywhere. While everyone was blinded by the smoke, Brahma went over to Sati and lifted up her veil to see her face.
Through the smoke, Shiva saw this and was deeply enraged. He said, “Oh fool, what a sinful deed you have done. You thought this could remain hidden from me!” Shiva then remembered what Vishnu had said and rose his Trishula to kill Brahma. All the devas and rishis started pleading with Shiva. Suspecting a disaster, Daksha ran up to Shiva and begged him not to do this.
“I am merely following the promise I have given to Vishnu. I will obey this promise by killing Brahma,” Shiva declared.
But Vishnu interrupted, saying that Brahma was the creator and was vital to the universe. After much persuasion by Vishnu, Shiva agreed not to slay Brahma. Afterward, the marriage rites concluded successfully and Shiva and Sati went to Kailash.
Once, Brahma performed a great yagna at Prayaga. All the great rishis and kings were called there. All the Prajapatis, devas, and devis, and others also assembled there to celebrate the occasion. Lord Shiva and Sati also came to the yagna. Daksha also arrived at the site of the yagna. Everybody stood up and bowed to him except for Brahma and Shiva. Brahma didn’t bow to him because he is his father. Shiva didn’t bow to him because he is of a higher position. But Daksha was very arrogant. He was enraged when Shiva didn’t bow to him. Daksha then started hating Shiva.
Once Brahma thought,” I am the creator of the universe. I am the first-born. How can Vishnu claim to be greater than me. With this idea in mind, Brahma went to Vishnu. He said to Vishnu, “O Vishnu, I am the most superior and the greatest. You have to follow my orders and worship me. ” This angered Vishnu. He replied, “You came out of my navel in a lotus. I am the one who told you to create the universe. I am the preserver. You have to admit I am the greatest and worship me.”
None of them were prepared to agree or compromise. They started violently fighting. When the devas found out about this they went to tell Shiva. When Shiva heard about this, he went to where Brahma and Vishnu were intensely battling. Shiva took the form of a pillar of fire and placed himself between Brahma and Vishnu. They immediately stopped fighting and wondered what the pillar of fire was. Brahma decided to fly up to see the top of the pillar. Vishnu decided to fly down to find the base. Both could not find the ends. Vishnu soon gave up. Brahma also could not reach the top. He saw a ketaki flower. He met with Vishnu and said,”Look at this ketaki flower I found at the top.”
Shiva was mad when Brahma lied. He turned back into his normal form and said,”Brahma, you are a liar. You will be punished!” He created Bhairava, a frightful man. He ordered Bhairava to attack Brahma. Bhairava cut off one of Brahma’s heads. Brahma started begging for mercy to Bhairava and Shiva. Shiva told Bhairava to spare Brahma. Vishnu then said,” None of us could reach the base or top. Not me or Brahma are superior. You are the greatest.” “You are right,” Shiva replied. Shiva then said,”Brahma, your punishment is not over. You will rarely ever be worshipped by humans on Earth. The ketaki flower will also never be used in my worship. Vishnu interrupted,”The ketaki flower did not do anything bad. Please don’t punish it.” Shiva replied, “Fine. The ketaki flower will be put on the pedestal of my worship.”
Weapons of Brahma
- Brahmastra: This is an astra of Brahma that can annihilate the entire universe. It is one of the most strongest astras ever and many warriors possessed it during Mahahbharata and Ramayana.
- Brahmashirsha Astra: The Brahmashirsha is even stronger than the Brahmastra. It is capable of destroying universes.
- Brahmadandastra: This is an astra of Brahma that can repel even the Brahmastra.