Brahma (|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."
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- Brahma is the first god in the Hindu triumvirate, or trimurti. The triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world. The other two gods are Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma's job was creation of the world and all creatures. His name should not be confused with Brahman, who is the supreme God force present within all things.
- Brahma is the least worshipped god in Hinduism today. There are only two temples in the whole of India devoted to him, compared with the many thousands devoted to the other two [Vishnu and Shiva].
- BBC in:"Brahma"
- Brahma has four heads and it is believed that from these heads came the four Vedas (the most ancient religious texts for Hindus). Some also believe that the caste system, or four varnas, came from different part of Brahma's body. He has four arms and is usually depicted with a beard.
- BBC in:"Brahma"
- Lord Shiva admonished Brahma for demonstrating behaviour of an incestuous nature and chopped off his fifth head for 'unholy' behaviour. Since Brahma had distracted his mind from the soul and towards the cravings of the flesh, Shiva's curse was that people should not worship Brahma. As a form of repentance, it is said that Brahma has been continually reciting the four Vedas since this time, one from each of his four heads.
- BBC in:"Brahma"
- ...a number of stories in the Hindu mythology which point to why he is rarely worshipped. The first view is that Brahma created a woman in order to aid him with his job of creation. She was called Shatarupa. She was so beautiful that Brahma became infatuated with her, and gazed at her wherever she went. This caused her extreme embarrassment and Shatarupa tried to turn from his gaze. But in every direction she moved, Brahma sprouted a head until he had developed four. Finally, Shatarupa grew so frustrated that she jumped to try to avoid his gaze. Brahma, in his obsession, sprouted a fifth head on top of all. It is also said in some sources that Shatarupa kept changing her form. She became every creature on earth to avoid Brahma. He however, changed his form to the male version of whatever she was and thus every animal community in the world was created.
- BBC in:"Brahma"
- A second view of why Brahma is not worshipped, and a more sympathetic one, is that Brahma's role as the creator is over. It is left to Vishnu to preserve the world and Shiva to continue its path of cosmic reincarnation.
- BBC in:"Brahma"
- According to Brahma, in the moment the male and female beheld one another, desire simply happened. Overwhelmed with the beauty of Sandhya, Brahma looked up to see Kama, fully formed and well armed, with his own beauty, five flower arrows, and a seductive gaze.
- Catherine Benton in: God of Desire: Tales of Kamadeva in Sanskrit Story Literature, SUNY Press, 1 June 2006, p. 26
- Lord Brahmā's day, consisting of his 12 hours, lasts 4 billion 320 million years, and his night is of the same duration. Apparently Mārkaṇḍeya lived throughout one such day and night and in the following day of Brahmā continued living as the same Mārkaṇḍeya. It seems that when annihilation occurred during Brahmā's night, the sage wandered throughout the fearful waters of destruction and saw within those waters an extraordinary personality lying on a banyan leaf.
- Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in: Chapter 8: Mārkaṇḍeya's Prayers to Nara-Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi, Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 12.8.2-5
- Brahma, one of the major gods of Hinduism from about 500 BC to 500 AD, who was gradually eclipsed by Vishnu, Shiva, and the great Goddess (in her multiple aspects). Associated with the Vedic creator god Prajapati, whose identity he assumed, Brahma was born from a golden egg and created the earth and all things on it. Later myths describe him as having come forth from a lotus that issued from Vishnu’s navel.
- By the middle of the 1st millennium ce, an attempt to synthesize the diverging sectarian traditions is evident in the doctrine of Trimurti, which considers Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma as three forms of the supreme unmanifested deity. By the 7th century, he had largely lost his claim to being a supreme deity, although the Trimurti continued to figure importantly in both text and sculpture. Today there is no cult or sect that exclusively worships Brahma, and few temples are dedicated to him. Nevertheless, all temples dedicated to Shiva or Vishnu must contain an image of Brahma.
- The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica in: "Brahma"
- Brahma is usually depicted as having four faces, symbolic of a wide-ranging four-square capacity, as expressed in the four Vedas (collections of poems and hymns), the four yugas (“ages”), the four varnas (social classes), the four directions, the four stages of orthodox life, or life according to correct practice (ashramas), and so forth. He is usually shown with four arms, holding an alms bowl, a bow, prayer beads, and a book. He may be seated or standing on a lotus throne or on his mount, a goose. Savitri and Sarasvati, respectively exemplars of faithfulness and of music and learning, frequently accompany him.
- The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica in: "Brahma"
- In the pre-Vedic period the Hindu system of medicine is said to have originated from Lord Brahma, the fountainhead of all learning. Brahma passed on this knowledge of life to Indra through Daksha Prajapati and Ashwins. This story is constant in several texts.
- Sharadini Arun Dahanukar, Urmila Mukund Thatte in: Ayurveda Revisited, Popular Prakashan, 01 February 2000, in: P. 11
G - L
- After dissolution of the Universe, Brahma, drifting in the primordial waters that preceded creation, came across Ganesha sitting in a lone banyan tree that remained. Ganesha touched Brahma's head and initiated him into the mantra 'Om'. Brahma prayed before Ganesha who bestowed upon him the knowledge to create the universe, in return for which he gave Ganesha his two wives, representative of prudence and prosperity.
- Royina Grewal in: The Book of Ganesha, Penguin Books India, 2009, p. 64.
- I am a sinner and you are a sinner, but someday the sinner will be Brahma again, will someday attain Nirvana, will someday become a Buddha. Now this 'someday' is illusion; it is only a comparison.
- Hinduism is a religion of violence. All Hindu gods killed their enemies and became heroic images. This is the only religion in the world where the killer becomes god. Whom did they kill? From Brahma to Krishna, those who were killed were Dalitbahujans. Now these images and the stories and narratives and everything is out there in the civil society. Now, because of this, the consciousness of worshipping the killer or worshipping violence did not give any space for human rights. So my question is the human rights discourse must start with an anti-warrior position.
- Kancha Ilaiah in: "The State of Dalit Mobilization : An Interview with Kancha Ilaiah" in Ghadar Vol. 1, No. 3, proxsa.org, 26 November 1997
M - R
- God creates the world as Brahma, sustains it as Vishnu, and destroys it as Shiva. One day, Shiva started to sing. Vishnu was so moved by the melody that he began to melt. Brahma caught the molten Vishnu in a pot. This was poured on earth. it took the form of the river Ganga. The Ganga nourished the earth. to bathe in the Ganga’s waters is to bathe in God.
- The Mahapuranas contain 400,000 slokas. They are four times the size of Mahabharata. In these, six are Satvic or Vaishnava Puranas and glorify Lord Vishnu, six are Rajasic or Brahma Puranas and glorify Lord Brahma, and six are Tamasic or Shiva Puranas and glorify Lord Shiva.
- Shantha N. Nair in: Echoes of Ancient Indian Wisdom: The Universal Hindu Vision and Its Edifice,Pustak Mahal, 1 January 2008, p. 266
- The knowers of ancient things call this Purana Brahma Vaivarta because in it Brahman (I Khanda [chapter]) and the Universe (II Khanda) are unfolded by Krishna. The actual structure of the Brahma and the Prakriti khandas, is a further corroboration that in the word ‘Brahma-Vivarta’ what is meant is Brahman and not Brahma. It is the Purana of manifested Brahmin, which seems to be comprehensive of all topics of the Purana.
- Swami Parmeshwaranand in: Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Puranas, Volume 1, Sarup & Sons, 1 January 2001, p. 223
- The idea of God I an idea of the form of the infinite. As long as the mystery of the Infinite weighs heavily on human though, temples will be erected for the worship of the Infinite, whether God be called ' Brahma,' 'Allah,' 'Jehovah,' or 'Jesus'; and on the pavement of those temples men will be seen kneeling, prostrate, annihilated, in the thought of the Infinite.
- Louis Pasteur in: Pharmaceutical Journal;: A Weekly Record of Pharmacy and Allied Sciences, J. Churchill, 1908, p. 21
- God creates the world as Brahma, sustains it as Vishnu, and destroys it as Shiva. One day, Shiva started to sing. Vishnu was so moved by the melody that he began to melt. Brahma caught the molten Vishnu in a pot. This was poured on earth. It took the form of the river Ganga. The Ganga nourished the earth. To bathe in the Ganga’s waters is to bathe in God.
- ...Purusha was personified as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva while Prakriti was personified as Saraswati, Lakshmi and Shakti.
- Devdutt Pattanaik in: 'Myth = Mithya : A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, p. 39
- In every third world age (Dvapara), Vishnu, in the person of Vyasa, in order to promote the good of mankind, divides the Veda, which is properly but one, into many portions. Observing the limited perseverance, energy, and application of mortals, he makes the Veda fourfold, to adapt it to their capacities; and the bodily form which he assumes, in order to effect that classification, is known by the name of Veda-vyasa. Of the different Vyasas in the present Manvantara and the branches which they have taught, you shall have an account. Twenty-eight times have the Vedas been arranged by the great Rishis in the Vaivasvata Manvantara... and consequently eight and twenty Vyasas have passed away; by whom, in the respective periods, the Veda has been divided into four. The first... distribution was made by Svayambhu (Brahma) himself; in the second, the arranger of the Veda (Vyasa) was Prajapati... (and so on up to twenty-eight).
- Vishnu Purana (Book 3, Ch 3) in: Horace Hayman Wilson The Vishńu Puráńa: A System of Hindu Mythology and Tradition, Punthi Pustak, 1961, p. 219.
- The individual self is subject to beginningless nescience, which has brought about an accumulation of karma, of the nature of both merit and demerit. The flood of such karma causes his entry into four kinds of bodies — heavenly, human, animal and plant beginning with that of Brahma downwards. This ingression into bodies produces the delusion of identity with those respective bodies (and the consequent attachments and aversions). This delusion inevitably brings about all the fears inherent in the state of worldly existence.
S - Z
- The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still.
- Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Deva Maheshwara. Guru Sakshath Parambrahma, Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha.
Guru is the creator Brahma, Guru is the preserver Vishnu, Guru is the destroyer Shiva. Guru is directly the supreme spirit — I offer my salutations to this Guru.
- The human soul is on its journey from the law to love, from discipline to liberation, from the moral plane to the spiritual. Buddha preached the discipline of self-restraint and moral life; it is a complete acceptance of law. But this bondage of law cannot be an end by itself; by mastering it thoroughly we acquire the means of getting beyond it. It is going back to Brahma, to the infinite love, which is manifesting itself through the finite forms of law.
- It is not a mere sentiment; it is truth; it is the joy that is at the root of all creation. It is the white light of pure consciousness that emanates from Brahma. So, to be one with this sarvānubhūh [Omnipotent], this all-feeling being who is in the external sky, as well ...
- Soul means Brahma; and the Brhmajnan flows through soul to the intellect. That is termed Atmajnan. Thus Soul (Atma), Brahma, and Om have same meaning.
- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan in: "Discovery of God", p. 101
- The Puranas are post-Vedic texts which typically contain a complete narrative of the history of the Universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of the kings, heroes and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology and geography. There are 18 canonical Puranas, divided into three categories, each named after a deity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. There are also many other works termed Purana, known as 'Upapuranas.
- Om means Brahma. Meaning “whole world is in this word”.
- The Vedas were revealed by the Lord Omniscient to four primeval Rishis; Rigveda to Agni, Yajurveda to Vayu, Sama Veda to Aditya, and Atharva Veda to Angira, directly in to their spiritual consciousness. The sage Brahma received and collected the four from them passed them on to other sages.
- Without propitiating the Mother by worship and obeisance, not even Brahmâ and Vishnu have the power to elude Her grasp and attain to freedom. Therefore for the worship of these family goddesses, in order to manifest the Brahman within in order to manifest the God within them, I shall establish the women’s Math.
- Swami Vivekananda in: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda [ Volume 7 ], Kartindo.com, p. 263
- Magnifying and applying come I,
Outbidding at the start the old cautious hucksters,
Taking myself the exact dimensions of Jehovah,
Lithographing Kronos, Zeus his son, and Hercules his grandson,
Buying drafts of Osiris, Isis, Belus, Brahma, Buddha,
In my portfolio placing Manito loose,Allah on a leaf, the crucifix engraved,
With Odin and the hideous-faced Mexitli and every idol and image,
Taking them all for what they are worth and not a cent more,
Admitting they were alive and did the work of their days,
(They bore mites as for unfledg'd birds who have now to rise and fly and sing for themselves).
- Brahma Purana is the whole of which was formerly repeated by Brahma to Marichi and contains ten thousands stanzas. In all the lists of Puranas, Brahma Purana is placed at the head of the series, and is thence sometimes also entitled to Adi or ‘First’ Purana. It is also designated as Saura, as it is in great part appropriated to the worship of Surya, the ‘sun’. There is a supplementary or concluding section called the Brahmottara Khanda, which contains about three thousand more; but there is every reason to conclude that this a distinct and unconnected work...The immediate narrator of the Brahma Purana is Lomaharshana, who communicates it to the Rishis or sages assembled at Naimisharanya, as it was originally revealed by Brahma, not to Marichi as the Matsya affirms, but to Daksha, another of the patriarchs: hence the denomination of the Brahma Purana.
- H.H.Wilson in: Oriental Translation Fund, Volume 52 (Google eBook), Volume 52 (1840), Oriental literature, 1840, P. xvi
- Brahmananda Purana, has declared in twelve thousand two hundred verses, the magnificence of the egg of Brahma, and in which an account of the future Kalpa is contained, as was revealed by Brahma. It is usually considered to be in much the same predicament as Skanda, no longer procurable in a collective body, but represented by a variety of Khandas and Mahatmyas, professing to be derived from it.
- H.H.Wilson, in "Oriental Translation Fund, Volume 52 , Volume 52 (1840)", p. liv
- The Nameless is unknowable, mightier even than Brahma.
Things pass, but the essence remains.
You sit, therefore, in the midst of a dream.
- At the muezzin's call for prayer,
The kneeling faithful thronged the square,
And on Pushkara's lofty height
The dark priest chanted Brahma's might.
Amid a monastery's weeds
An old Franciscan told his beads;
While to the synagogue there came
A Jew to praise Jehovah's name.
The one great God looked down and smiled
And counted each His loving child;
For Turk and Brahmin, monk and Jew
Had reached Him through the gods they knew.