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Lord Brahma is referred to as the creator in the Trinity along with Lord Vishnu, the preserver and Lord Shiva, the destroyer. However, unlike them, Brahma does not have many temples dedicated to him. Shiva has the largest number of temples in his honour with Shaivites practising Shaivism considering him as the supreme power. Likewise, there are many temples dedicated to Vishnu with Vaishnavites practising Vaishnavism and representing him as their main god.
Why is it then that Lord Brahma, the Creator, has very few temples and lesser number of followers? There are four interesting stories associated with this.
Read these stories and find out the answer for yourself.
Story of the Jyotirlinga
According to a story in the Shiva Purana, it that once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu were engaged in a duel as to who was the greatest among them. They decided to approach Lord Shiva to help them resolve the problem. Shiva took the form of a beam of fire known as the jyotirlinga and asked them to find either end. Brahma took the form of a swan and proceeded upward. Vishnu transformed himself into a boar and proceeded downward.
The search went on for several years but neither god could find either end. Lord Vishnu gave up and came back to where he started and admitted defeat to Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma would not give up and continued his journey. Enroute, he saw a ketaki flower that Lord Shiva loved dearly and asked it from where it had come. The flower said that it had fallen off the jyotirlinga.
Brahma was pleased and his ego took the better of him. He asked the flower to lie that the god had found it atop the linga. The flower agreed and the lord appeared before Shiva and said that he had finally succeeded. The ketaki in his hand bore testimony to his statement.
Lord Shiva knew that Lord Brahma was lying and cursed him saying he would not have a single devotee in any of the three worlds. He also cursed the flower saying that from then on, it would never be used in worship.
Lord Brahma was once engaged in creating the universe when he created a female deity named Shatarupa to help him with the creation. The word Shatarupa translates to one with a hundred beautiful forms. However, Brahma became instantly infatuated with her. He grew an extra head over his other four heads to follow her movement in all directions.
Shatarupa even assumed the form of several animals to avoid his gaze. However, Brahma would not give up and took the male form of the same animal and followed her. Finally, she realised that she had no way out and decided to give in to him.
Lord Shiva who was a witness to all this was enraged by Lord Brahma’s actions. Shiva told Brahma that he should have seen Shatarupa, his creation, as his daughter. He declared Brahma’s actions unholy and that no one would ever worship Brahma. Shiva also cut off the extra fifth head.
It is believed that Brahma recites the Vedas every day as a repentance for his unholy act. On the other hand, Lord Shiva had committed brahma hatya and had to undergo penance.
Once, several sages decided to organise a yagna on the banks of river Saraswati. The yagna was headed by Maharishi Bhrigu who decided that the greatest among the Trimurti would be the presiding deity.
He first went to Brahmaloka and called on Lord Brahma. However, the god was immersed in the music played by his consort, Goddess Saraswati. As a result, he did not realise or pay heed to Bhrigu’s presence. This angered the saint and he cursed Brahma that no one on earth would ever worship him in kaliyuga.
This story is from the Padma purana. The story has it that once Lord Brahma saw the asura Vajranabha trying to kill the former’s children. This angered the god and he killed the demon using the lotus as his weapon. However, the lotus petals fell apart and fell on to the ground in three places forming three lakes, namely the Pushkar lake, the Madya Pushkar lake and the Kanishta Pushkar lake.
Brahma came down to earth where the lakes were formed and named the place Pushkar. He then decided to conduct a yagna on the banks of the main Pushkar late. However, his consort Saraswati could not be present as she was waiting for Goddess Parvati and Goddess Lakshmi to join the yagna.
Brahma then created a girl called Gayatri to sit with him and perform the rituals. He seated her in Saraswati’s place and performed the most important part of the yagna. When Saraswati finally returned to the yagna, she saw Gayatri sitting in her place. Needless to say, this upset her and she cursed Lord Brahma that he would never be worshipped. However, later she lessened the intensity of her curse and declared that he would be worshipped in Pushkar alone.
There are totally six temples dedicated to Lord Brahma in the country. The Brahma temple in Pushkar is the most famous shrine. Several peacocks are usually spotted on the temple gopurams. Asotra Brahma temple in Barmer is another shrine where more than 200kg grain is fed to birds daily. Some other temples are the Brahma Temple, Kumbakonam; Brahma Karmali Mandir, Panaji; Brahmapureeswar Temple, Thirupattur and the Brahma Temple, Thirunavaya.