Who Created the Creator?

Can supreme knowledge be confined to a sanctum sanctorum as an icon?

Most of us know that in Hindustan the most powerful gods are the Trinity or Trimurtis- Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the protector, and Siva, the destroyer. There are three main puranas on these gods. The Brahma Purana, the Vishnu Purana and the Siva Purana. The origin of these gods is indicated with various incidents in these Puranas.

For ages these is a belief that Brahma should not be worshipped, and so temples were not built for Brahma. We may find the icon of Brahma rarely, in one or two temples. But Siva and Vishnu are worshipped widely as Hara and Hari. People with deep knowledge and faith in Hinduism worship both Siva and Vishnu without distinction. But some staunch Saivaites worship Siva only and some staunch Vaishnavites worship Vishnu only. But the sastras and epics highlight Hari and Hara as the two-dimensional manifestation of the Supreme Lord. But Brahma is not included in this. Regarding the origin of Brahma, various events are indicated in various Puranas.

A quick study of these events will enlighten us on the concept, ‘Who created the creator, Brahma Srishti (the creation of Brahma). Let us find from the Puranas the Srishti of Brahma-how Brahma was created (!)

From the Navel of Vishnu

It is mentioned in the Devi Purana that at the end of a Yuga, Vishnu was lying on a banyan leaf as a little child. The leaf was floating in the universal water of the deluge. Vishnu was absorbed in thoughts of “Who an I? Who created me?” and “What for?”

At that time, Adi Sakti (fundamental energy), known as Mahadevi, the supreme power, appeared in the celestial sky with Sankha, chakra, Gadha and Padma (conch disc club and lotus), accompanied by a number of saktis as her attending devis. They were Rati, Bhuti, Buddhi, Mati, Krti, Driti, Sraddha, Medha, Swadha, Suda and Tantra.

Mahadevi said, “O Vishnu, every time the universe is subjected to creation, preservation and destruction, you are born out of the supreme spirit, which is beyond dimensions and qualities. You manifest at the embodiment of sattva guna. From your navel Brahma will be born with rajo guna-full of passion, motion and activity. From the vibrations between the eyebrows of Brahma will emerge Siva with tamo guna. Brahma, with his power of penance, will be the creator of many universes, living and non-living things. You (Vishnu) will be the protector and preserver of the created universe. Siva, as Rudra, will destroy at the end of a kalpa”.

Skanda 7 of the Devi Bhagavatam states that from the navel of Vishnu started a stem and grew to a great height, at the top of which a lotus blossomed and from inside that lotus Brahma appeared with five heads. Later, one of his heads was removed by Siva and Brahma was thus left with four heads and hence was named chaturanana. Brahma did penance on Vishnu and Jagadamba, the supreme goddess, and with their blessings attained supreme powers. He created with the power of his mind the sapta rishis (seven sages) and the prajapatis (the lords of emanation) at first and then he created the movables and immovables in the universe.

From the Mighty Golden Egg

There is a different version in the Manu Smriti (chapter 1) as to how Brahma was created. It says that there was a mighty egg, as brilliant and radiant as the sun, with a glittering golden colour. Brahma, the great grandfather of everything in the universe, took birth by himself in it.

The event is explained. A mighty egg fell from the supreme power into the universe water. That was the first creation. All the energy of penance and divinity was stored in the egg. When it hatched, there came out a god with five heads, called Brahma.

Brahma with Three Gunas

The Vamana Purana narrates the same story of the golden egg, adding a different dimension. Ages before the beginning of life, the universe was submerged in a single ocean of the great flood. All things that existed before were formed into a mighty golden egg and Brahma was the nucleus of the egg. He was in yoga nidra (deep sleep), which continued for thousands of yugas. At a divine moment, Brahma woke up as an embodiment of sattva guna (purity). He was lonely and felt the urge to create the universe, when the rajo guna, a passion for action, became his foremost attributes. He had the darkness around him and creating the glittering world with living and non-living things.

It was then that the reflected on he tamo guna, the power to destroy evils. At the eternal moment the Supreme Lord was reflecting the manifestation of a creator, protector and destroyer. He was Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, all in himself.

Brahma from Omkara

When that supreme being, Brahma, emerged, breaking the golden egg, a scared sound, Omkara or Pranava, filled all the celestial regions. The first sound that followed the Pranava was bhur, the next one was bhuvab and the sound that followed was suvaha. The new universe including the Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka and Suvaloka and many other worlds were created from the power of the sound in a fraction of a second.

With all these difference presentations in different Puranas, it is clear that Brahma, the creator, was svayambu (self-born), an embodiment of universal knowledge or supreme jnana.

How can supreme knowledge (jnana) be confined inside a temple sanctum sanctorum in the form of an icon? True knowledge is colousless, odourless, formless and beyond dimensions. That is Brahma Swami Sivananda once said that for these reasons Brahma is not widely worshipped temples.

Adobe of Brahma

According the adobe of Brahma is on top of Mount Meru. There are nine kingdoms around Meru. The middle one is Brahmasthan and is referred to as Manovati. Amarnath, the capital of Indra, Rajovati, the adobe of Agni, Samyamami, the adobe of Yama, and Krishnayana, the capital of Nriruti, the kingdom of Varuna, Vayu, Kubera, and Easana are all around Brahmasthan.

The Yoga Sastra refers to the navel of the human body as the Brahmasthan. The Kundalini Yoga is an effort to generate the energy vibration from the Brahmasthan, and spread it out throughout the body is a systematic way. Brahma is thus a part and parcel of the body, mind and soul.

Brahma is referred to in the Puranas with many names, each having a significant meaning. He is Hiranayagarba, one who came out of the Golden Egg. The word Atmabhu also refers to Brahma, who born of his own accord from the supreme spirit. The name Abjayom also refers to Brahma, as he was born out of a lotus. He has many other names, such as Prajapati (Lord of Progeny), Pitamaha (great grandfather of all living and non-living things), Suraj-yeshta, the seniormost of all gods and sushta, one who creates.

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