Brahma is the god of creation in the Hindu “Trimurti,” the trinity of major gods representing the three major phases of existence (creation, preservation, and destruction). Brahma is said to have created the entire universe, including himself. He began by creating water and dropping a seed into the primal ocean. The seed became a golden egg from which Brahma emerged. The remaining shell and material of the golden egg then expanded to become the universe.
In the earliest depictions of Brahma, he is portrayed as a four-headed god sitting on a lotus, symbolizing that he is always rooted in infinite reality. Each head recites one of the four Vedas, the oldest holy texts in Hinduism.
Brahma also has four hands, in which he holds a water-pot, a manuscript (the Vedas), a scepter, and a mala or rosary. He wears a black antelope hide, which stands for austerity, and he rides on a swan. According to Hindu mysticism, a swan has the magical ability to separate milk from water, representing the need to distinguish good from evil.
Brahma is wedded to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. Saraswati, whose name literally means “one who flows,” also symbolizes fertility and prosperity. Together the pair of deities represents consciousness and the creative impulse.
Although Brahma is one of the three major gods of the Hindu pantheon, he is not widely worshipped like Vishnu, the preserver, or Shiva, the god of destruction. In fact, only two temples in India are dedicated to Brahma―one in Pushkar and the other in Kerala. However, every autumn a religious festival is held in Pushkar in honor of Brahma.
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