Siri, who is Brahma?
With “snap out of it” by The Arctic Monkeys playing in the background, I reach from Bhavishya Puran, to Brahma, and then to Andromeda real quick.
I am sitting on my balcony with the warm and humid Bombay air blowing through in this sweltering weather, overlooking skyscrapers and mesmerized with the eagles flying around in the sky looking for another mouse to chomp on, while a pair of pigeons flow in making home on the poking air-conditioner on my right for their next mating (can someone for the love of sweet baby Jesus ban pigeons, eh?).
And as I ask Siri, our very own akashwani, to lead me to the Bhavishya Purana audiobook, she comes up blank (almost), except 2 audiobooks on YouTube, one with the voice of an old man reciting the purana as a bhajan foreshadows the actual book, and the second being of a stoic robotic voice which made me rethink my life choices.
The soul purpose of me waking up Siri from her slumber and making her do some mundane tasks for me was because I reallllly wanted to listen to the book whilst working, which is usually what I do all the time (don’t tell this to my boss) and since reading some snippets form it which I borrowed *ahem stole ahem* from my father’s library made me want to read the whole scripture which by the way if you didn’t get it till now is a book on the future which is practically being lived out today and quite frankly has some predictions that are (for lack of better a word) absolutely bang-on, and get this right that this “book” called Bhavishya Puran was written thousands (maybe even lakhs) of years of ago at a time where (according to westerners) there was no modern tech, or telescopes or scientific labs and such evolved equipment. Which makes me believe that probably if it’s not too much to say they were practically more evolved than our “solar warming, micro-plastic ridden, bad and boujee, 2021 living selves”.
So, which leads me to our current topic of Hindu mythology where apparently there isn’t much information for us. Now of course, don’t get me wrong, it’s a complete ocean of knowledge out there. Yet, not the right kind for the younger audience. Like we need everything to be spoon-fed, (oops apologies), tik-tok fed and unless it isn’t coming from Games of Thrones or Thor, we don’t really indulge in any mythology except of course celebrating Diwali and knowing Ram killed Ravan as we light diyas.
And since we barely get our daily dose of hindu mythology from the likes of Chris Hemsworth or Henry Cavill, we end up not reading or seeing anything at all; whereas this is not the same case with Greek or Christan mythology, cause we get a huge variety of content on them online which grasps our attention and even with the widespread of fictional book characters and interesting TV series on them we are more likely to know about what Zeus and Jesus were upto than we are about Indra and Brahma Dev. Where, quite frankly all these mythological characters are the same people who the general public was playing Chinese whisper with (remember that game where you tell someone one thing and they say it to other 10 people who then change it up and say their own version, yes that’s the one!)
Anyway, did you know that one day on earth is 24 hours? Obviously you did, but did you know one day of Brahma is 4.32 billion human years. Each such day of Brahma is called a “Kalpa”. His night also constitutes 4.32 billion human years. Sounds bizarre, I mean, imagine sleeping while listening to Mohammad Rafi and waking up to Cardi B. We haven’t even properly gotten hold on 2000 years yet and this man is living a day of 4 plus billion years, if he had a dollar for each day the man would be ricccch!
But first, (let me take a selfie, just kidding) we need to know who Brahma is, correct?
So, according to the scriptures, he is known as:
“Chaturmukhd Vedadharah Sakshasutra Kamandaluh, Hansarudho Raktavasa Brahmaloka Pitamah”
Which for obvious reasons is something we won’t understand, so let me just say it in a language that we actually do, yeah? He is basically the grandfather of us all, (no, like literally he is), he was the one who created the first man and woman who we better know as Adam and Eve or as Shatarupa and Manu (whichever you fancy) BTW, Shatarupa is also better known as Saraswati, who later married Brahma! But, that’s something we’ll talk about later (stay put), so yeah, he is the grandfather who has four heads, his place of residency is an actual Lotus, does not own a Rolly, so uses the Swan instead, sports red clothing most of the time, and wears a sacred thread in short. And, I almost forgot he also carries all the four Vedas with him, at all times. Never know when we might find a need for it, right?
Brahmaji, also holds a rosary and says everyone should call out to the omnipresent creator (technically lord Vishnu) whenever he can, (*Cue Weeknd’s “Call Out my Name”) and also holds a bowl made of a coconut shell in another of his hands to signify that water is life and an element that is the genesis of the whole cycle of creation. I think his famous quote “Jalamev Jeevanam” is something we can all agree on. (Can I get a hell yeah!) (*cringes in Sanskrit)
It is said he had 5 heads initially, facing five directions, east, west, north, south, and upwards. Each heads direction represents one of the five elements (Mahatattva) of life, Water, Earth, Fire, Air and Ether (also known as space) but now only has four which is another interesting story that has been mulled over by millions of people over centuries, with over hundreds of different versions of the story. Two of them that I personally find enthralling go like this:
(story time again)
Now, we all probably are aware of the genesis story where we’ve been taught that Lord Vishnu was asleep and a lotus stem grew from his navel and reached high up, once the lotus bloomed lord Brahma was inside it, or rather that is how we hear the story of brahma’s birth. But, what happened next? Some scriptures say that both of them got into an argument about who came first (just like the egg and hen story) where Brahma argued that since he is high up he was first and Vishnu being the wise one just let him be. And apparently it is further believed that in the midst of them roaming around they found a bright light written as the “Agni Stambh”in the Shiva Mahapurana. And, since there was no Netflix and Chill back then, they decided that whoever finds the end or the beginning of this “agni stambh” would be crowned as the superior being. So, out they go, Vishnu goes downward to look for the end and Brahma goes up, up, and, awayyy to look for the beginning of it. After a long time Vishnu being satisfied enough comes back to the spot and accepts defeat by saying there is no beginning to this agni stambh, whereas Brahma being egoistic when he reaches a distance seems to understand he can’t win this but needs to think fast about some scheme, in that moment he sees Ketki, and asks him to lie for him and bare witness that he discovered the beginning. Just like our very own Mr. Columbus “discovered India” Matlab usske pehle toh Indians the he nahi. (ab Ketki ko bribe mein kya diya vo Ketki he jane)
After Brahmas feat, Vishnu accepted him as the superior being and as he was about to bend down to touch his feet and offer his respects the agni stambh gave out a blinding light through which came out a fierce looking man named Bhairava who for Brahmas ego and conniving lies cursed him to an eternal life of being forgotten during prayers and cut off his upwards looking fifth head that signified ego and ether (akash) the fifth element. Ego over knowledge, his other four heads representing the four Vedas.
For his sins he was condemned to never be worshiped, and hence there is only one temple of Brahma on our planet. But, I think that just makes him special, no? Others get hundreds of temples and he gets just one, doesn’t that make it even more significant? I think it does.
Here, the “Agni Stambh’’ is believed to be Lord Shiva in his true eternal form as a fiery power source that has no beginning, and no end, it goes on forever, it was there when there was nothing and will remain even after everything is destroyed. Shiva is known as someone who exists and does not exist; all at the same time, or in Hindi as “Jo hai bhi aur nahi bhi”.
It is said, or rather written in the Puranas, that Ketki was the flower most adored by Lord Shiva up until he helped Brahma in his lies, who was then cursed to be only used to be offered to Brahma.
But, this story actually seems to have some loopholes, don’t you think so too?
Anyway, remember I wrote about how Brahmas married his daughter? Circling back to that story now, it is said Brahma originally only had one head and while creating the universe, he found himself pondering over the loneliness that earth was bestowed upon so he created Manu and Shatarupa the first man and woman, albeit through his mind they still were created by him and hence were his children, the moment he laid eyes on Shatarupa he was besotted and wanted her as his consort.
It is said Brahma followed Shatarupa around earth as she tried to escape him by shapeshifting into 100 creatures and as she did so, he pursued her by taking complementary male forms of all of them which further was how creatures on earth were created in both male and female form.
Shatarupa being uncomfortable by his advances and intention tried to hide from his gaze, and turned left, and a head sprouted from Brahma’s head to have a better view of her, and in every direction that she moved, Brahma sprouted a new head until he developed four, and after being queasy she jumped heavenwards to escape his eyes, Brahma spouted another head that saw upwards to not miss the sight of her even for a second. (Sounds a little drastic to me. I mean, Joe Goldberg should take lessons)
So, to be relieved from this misery, Shatarupa called out to Shiva for his assistance with the matter, him being infuriated with Brahmas incestous behavior asked him to repent, four of his heads immediately complied whereas his upward facing head refused to do so, and Shiva cut his head off. It is said that the fifth head on top of Brahma’s other heads represented ego, evil and folly and hence it was cut off to culminate any hindrance in his work of creation.
And as he lost his fifth head, not only did he lose his ego but also his “Ishatva”, and before you run to google to search what is this Ishatva, Ishatva means “superiority” so, he lost his title of being a lord. (and no, before you think HRH the Queen can confer the title back to him by swish-swishing her talvar over his head. Just stop, she can’t, okay? okay.) And let’s say he did not lose it completely, since obviously we still are talking about him and I am writing about him so duh! He hasn’t been lost in transcription. But Lord Shiva did take away his ishatva where he no longer was prayed to by earthlings. (Ab asgard ka toh pata nahi, par midgard mein toh ek he temple hai Brahmaji ka)
Circling back to Ishatva, since he lost his ishatva, he was trapped in Satyaloka which is his abode Brahmalok and was unable to move beyond it, and lacked sattva guna (ab aap soch rahe honge ye humko alag alag shadb batakar confuse kar rahe hai, uske pehle main bata du, Sattva guna is one of the three guna (qualities) that any and all creations hold) but because of his treachery he lost satwa guna and has only Rajas and Tamas hence, all his creations will eventually have to be destroyed. That being the reason why a body dies and soul lives on forever (if you remember, our German rockstar Mr. Einstein once said, “Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another.”) which technically was said (and proved, mind you) by Lord Krishna waaaay before Albert did. And since the soul is made by Vishnu it carries on forever, but the body which is made by Brahma eventually gets destroyed.
Here, according to the scriptures, the soul is a form of energy that can neither be destroyed nor created. It simply just exists and keeps on existing just keeps on changing its form. Just like what we learned in 8th grade; potential energy turns into kinetic energy and so on (yaaa zyada mat pucho itna he yaad hai mujhe) like a ball has potential energy when it’s on the ground and when you kick it the potential energy turns to kinetic energy and is thrusted into motion (Bas vohe exactly) Now this theory doesn’t only stick to bodies of us humans but also to every being on our planet including the said planet since it was made by Brahma. But there is a catch, Brahma can’t actually destroy his own creation, which Vishnu gives soul to and feeds by giving birth to nature. Shiva holds the title for the destroyer and does the deed.
Perhaps, brahm or imagination makes Brahma think of fear, loneliness, and scarcity. He finds himself too small and lonesome before nature, his expectations of Prakriti, Shatarupa or nature are imaginary or rather his own brahms/ illusions. He seeks to control, domesticate and dominate nature which in it’s true form can never be a possibility. One can’t possibly control nature, one can only either have a hand in enriching it or in it’s destruction, but never can an entity control it.
Which gives me a sense of a reality check where maybe I personify Brahmaji as a genius mastermind who lost control whilst learning about the true self of nature and the prakriti. We have heard one too many times about how one has to learn how to possess the true knowledge of existence and how one needs to stabilize the mind in order to know, I mean, we already know as a fact that humans only use about 10% of their latent mental energy. How much strength would one need to have to sustain 100% of their minds? Now, don’t be confused with this 10%, mind and brain are different terms. Our brain is utilized 100% for our bodily functions, whereas our minds not as much. Our brain can actually be made as strong as to give energy to power a lightbulb if we will it to. (It would most definitely make Reliance a little less…Ambani-esque)
Now, coming back to the Agni stambh,
So, growing up I was always taught to only follow anything be it traditions like shivratri’s vatak puza, lighting diyas during diwali, reciting the gayatri mantra thrice yet not four times, believing numbers 3, 6, and 9 are sacred, don’t water plants at night, touch someone’s feet, wear a bindi on your head, and even don’t cut your nails on Tuesday shenanigans, only if it actually had explanation that is scientific.
So, if there is no explanation to something and you get an answer something revolving around “bade buzurg kehte arahe hai, toh ye follow karna hai” then stop, wait a minute (Fill my cup, put some amrit in it, Take a sip, sign a check Julio, get the stretch, Ride to Harlem, Hollywood, Jackson, Mississippi) okay, for reals, don’t do it. Get to know why you need to follow something, and why would you believe something that you don’t really know about? correct?
And as natural response to me learning about the agni stambh story, I wanted an actual reason to believe it and got on the trusty internet to do my research about the stambh, the lotus coming out of Vishnu’s navel and the stars and the galaxies and allll the other things that I could relate it with.
So, currently the milky way (not the chocolate, dum dum) our galaxy (again get your head out of your chocolate haze) where the solar system and earth are located. (or should I call it midgard? I like the sound of it better than earth, tbh) is considered as Vishnu’s abode. Which in reality looks like his Sudarshan Chakra. Like, literally.
And the Andromeda galaxy (the nearest galaxy to the milky way) in between Earth (Bhu Lok) and Brahma Lok ie Milky Way and Triangulum galaxies) is the abode of Lord Shiva. The Brahma Lok (Triangulum galaxy is the abode of God Brahma.
And according to NASAs research, thousands of years ago the Triangulum galaxy was in the middle of of Milky Way and Andromeda during a spurt of a moment during its orbit around Andromeda
And since the Triangulum galaxy (Brahma) was so close to the Milky Way (Vishnu), it was considered that it came out of it’s center (Vishus Nabi, perhaps?)
But in reality, it is theorized that the Milky Way must have pulled out the dark cosmic clouds of Triangulum Galaxy with the help of our trusty gravity to enrich itself. (How cool is that! Not in reality though, then it would be hot)
With no surprise, the three largest galaxies around us for lightyears are these above said galaxies. Why only three? Perhaps, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh were given English names as Andromeda, Triangulum, and Milky Way? And are actually personified energies that were understood by Yogis even before the invention of space-crafts, telescopes, and satellites. They seem to be far more intelligent and did not even need any external equipment, just their well fueled minds and they were good to.
Now, some scientists say that the Andromeda galaxy is moving in the direction of the Miky way and Triangulum galaxy (Brahma Lok) is in its orbit still and may go through it again. I mean, did we not just get around the fact that Shiva is the destroyer?
The interesting scientific evidence is given by the same shatarupa story.
So, while she was trying to hide from Brahma’s gaze. These Milkyway and Andromeda galaxies are spiral in nature meaning the stars come out from the center and move out in a spiral manner (cause tedha hai par mera hai, right?). The beauty of Satarupa was that they were circling the center instead of going away through star streams called their arms or like the trunk of an elephant in Triangulum. This was projected as if Brahma was attracted by his daughters and Lord Shiva got angry and cut his fifth head when it was growing into Andromeda galaxy in pursuit of satarupa when she tried to escape to Shiva’s Galaxy.
And quite obviously the first female-being on earth was called Shatarupa, “Shata” meaning 100, and “Rupa” as in ‘forms’ in Sanskrit (naamkaran kaafi late hua inka, birth certificate pe kya likha hoga? Someone get government records, please)
Shatarupa is famously known as Saraswati to us, who later fell in love with Brahma and did get married to him (though I am sure there were no saat phere or I do’s involved) Maybe it went more like, Wife? Wife.
Also, something very notable is that Brahmalok, Brahma’s residency is known to have the highest source of knowledge, bliss and is full of eternity. (There is a high possibility that the Eternals along with Angie came from there) Dissecting that would make it “Brahm” and “Lok”, where Brahm means “illusion” and Lok translates to “realm” or “existence” in Sanskrit. And, drum rolls please that sums it up to an “Realm of illusions”
(I mean, they made us learn definitions of bio-logy, geo-metry, eco-nomy in school by dissecting them with their Greek translations sooooo)
It is said that Brahma creates the world during the day and sleeps during the night and when he wakes up the next day to realize his mistakes and the faults of his creation he destroys it all and then creates it all over again.
Which reminds me of my grams favorite quote, “Bekaar aadmi kuch kiya kar… kapde udher fir siya kar”.
The part where he is no longer worshiped could also be due to his job as the creator has been finished and now he has no more work left to be done for the earth and that could be the reason why he is not worshiped. Like we only worship gods when we need some sooooo….
Brahma: Created // Vishnu: Sustains // Mahesh: Destroys
PS. This is not meant to offend anyone or demean any entity.
My sole purpose of writing it in a 2021 slang along with soft notes is that people my age and around it actually read it and know something about Hindu mythology even if they don’t believe in it.
Knowledge is the highest power one can hold along with concentration. It is never always good to reject something or some theory or myth after knowing it. Not knowing something and saying you don’t believe in it is just baseless.
This is my opinion and my knowledge about the subject, your opinions and knowledge can differ. If you have an opinion or can add up to any of these things I have talked about feel free to comment about it :)