Lord 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 Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
Lord Vishnu is the preserver of the universe, while Lord Shiva’s role is to destroy it in order to re-create.
Lord 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.
Lord 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.
What does Lord Brahma look like?
Lord 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 Lord Brahma’s body.
He has four arms and is usually depicted with a beard.
Lord Brahma’s consort is Saraswati, goddess of knowledge.
Why is Lord Brahma not worshipped so much?
There are a number of stories in the Hindu mythology which point to why he is rarely worshipped. These are two of them.
The first view is that Lord Brahma created a woman in order to aid him with his job of creation. She was called Shatarupa.
She was so beautiful that Lord 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, Lord Brahma sprouted a head until he had developed four. Finally, Shatarupa grew so frustrated that she jumped to try to avoid his gaze. Lord 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.
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.
A second view of why Lord 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.