Lord Brahma: The God of Creation

Brahma: God of Hindu Trinity

Hinduism perceives the whole creation and its cosmic activity as the work of three fundamental forces symbolized by three gods, which constitutes the Hindu Trinity or ‘Trimurti’: Brahma - the creator, Vishnu - the sustainer, and Shiva - the destroyer.
Brahma, the Creator:
Brahma is the creator of the universe and of all beings, as depicted in the Hindu cosmology. The Vedas, the oldest and the holiest of Hindu scriptures, are attributed to Brahma, and thus Brahma is regarded as the father of dharma. He is not to be confused with Brahman which is a general term for the Supreme Being or Almighty God. Although Brahma is one of the Trinity, his popularity is no match to that of Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is to be found to exist more in scriptures than in homes and temples. In fact it is hard to find a temple dedicated to Brahma. One such temple is located in Pushkar in Rajasthan.
The Birth of Brahma :
According to the Puranas, Brahma is the son of God, and often referred to as Prajapati. The Shatapatha Brahman says that Brahma was born of the Supreme Being Brahman and the female energy known as Maya. Wishing to create the universe, Brahman first created the water, in which he placed his seed. This seed transformed into a golden egg, from which Brahma appeared. For this reason Brahma is also known as ‘Hiranyagarbha’. According to another legend, Brahma is self-born out of a lotus flower which grew from the navel of Vishnu.

In order to help him create the universe, Brahma gave birth to the 11 forefathers of the human race called ‘Prajapatis’ and the seven great sages or the ‘Saptarishi’. These children or mind-sons of Brahma, who were born out of his mind rather than body, are called the ‘Manasputras’.
The Symbolism of Brahma:
In the Hindu pantheon, Brahma is commonly represented as having four heads, four arms, and red skin. Unlike all the other Hindu gods, Brahma carries no weapon in his hands. He holds a water-pot, a spoon, a book of prayers or the Vedas, a rosary and sometimes a lotus. He sits on a lotus in the lotus pose and moves around on a white swan, possessing the magical ability to separate milk from a mixture of water and milk. Brahma is often depicted as having long white beard, with each of his heads reciting the four Vedas.
Brahma, Cosmos, Time & Epoch:
Brahma presides over 'Brahmaloka,' a universe that contains all the splendors of the earth and all other worlds. In Hindu cosmology the universe exists for a single day called the ‘Brahmakalpa’. This day is equivalent to four billion earth years, at the end of which the whole universe gets dissolved. This process is called ‘pralaya’, which repeats for such 100 years, a period that represents Brahma's lifespan. After Brahma's "death", it is necessary that another 100 of his years pass until he is reborn and the whole creation begins anew.
Linga Purana, which delineates the clear calculations of the different cycles, indicates that Brahma's life is divided in one thousand cycles or ‘Maha Yugas’.
Brahma in American Literature:
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) wrote a poem called "Brahma" that was published in the Atlantic in 1857, which shows many ideas from Emerson's reading of Hindu scriptures and philosophy. He interpreted Brahma as "unchanging reality" in contrast to Maya, "the changing, illusory world of appearance." Brahma is infinite, serene, invisible, imperishable, immutable, formless, one and eternal, said Arthur Christy (1899 – 1946), the American author and critic.

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Lord Rama - The Ideal Avatar

Lord Rama & Sita

Lord Rama & Sita

Rama, the perfect avatar of the Supreme Protector Vishnu, is an all-time favorite among Hindu deities. The most popular symbol of chivalry and virtue, Rama - in the words of Swami Vivekananda - is "the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband, and above all, the ideal king."
A Real Historical Figure:
The seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Rama is said to have taken birth on earth to annihilate the evil forces of the age. He is widely believed to be an actual historical figure - a "tribal hero of ancient India" - whose exploits form the great Hindu epic of Ramayana or The Romance of Rama, written by the ancient Sanskrit poet Valmiki.

Read the Summary of Ramayana

When did Rama Live?:
Hindus believe that Rama lived in the Treta Yug. But according to historians, Rama was not particularly deified until the 11th century AD. Tulsidas' outstanding retelling of the Sanskrit epic into the vernaculars as the 'Ramcharitmanas', greatly enhanced the popularity of Rama as a Hindu god, and gave rise to various devotional groups.

Read About 'Ram Navami' - Rama's Birthday

How to Identify Rama:
To many, Rama is hardly different in looks from Lord Vishnu or Krishna. He is most often represented as a standing figure, with an arrow in his right hand, a bow in his left and a quiver on his back. A Rama statue is also usually accompanied by those of his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana, and the legendary monkey attendant Hanuman. He is depicted in princely adornments with a 'tilak' or mark on the forehead, and as having a dark, almost bluish complexion, which shows his affinity with Vishnu and Krishna.

Read About the Many Characters of Ramayana

Comparison with Lord Krishna:
Although Rama and Krishna, both incarnations of Vishnu, are almost equally popular among Hindu devotees, Rama is seen as an archetype of righteousness and the most sought-after virtues in life, in contrast to Krishna's dalliances and shenanigans.

Listen to Rama Bhajans

Why "Shri" Rama?:
The prefix "Shri" to Rama indicates that Rama is always associated with "Shri" - the essence of four Vedas. Uttering his name ("Ram! Ram!") while greeting a friend, and invoking Rama at the time of death by chanting "Ram Naam Satya Hai!", show his popularity and admiration over Krishna. However, the shrines of Krishna in India slightly outnumber the temples of Rama and his monkey devotee Hanuman.

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