Brahma (Sanskrit: ब्रह्मा, IAST: Brahmā) is the creator god in Hinduism.[1] He is also known as Svayambhu (self-born) or the creative aspect of Vishnu,[2] Vāgīśa (Lord of Speech), and the creator of the four Vedas, one from each of his mouths. Brahma is consort of Saraswati and he is the father of Four Kumaras, Narada, Daksha, Marichi and many more.[3][4]

Brahma is sometimes identified with the Vedic god Prajapati, he is also known as Vedanatha (god of Vedas), Gyaneshwar (god of Knowledge), Chaturmukha (having Four Faces) Svayambhu (self born), Brahmanarayana (half Brahma and half Vishnu), etc, as well as linked to Kama and Hiranyagarbha (the cosmic egg).[5][6] He is more prominently mentioned in the post-Vedic Hindu epics and the mythologies in the Puranas. In the epics, he is conflated with Purusha.[3] Although, Brahma is part of the Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva Trimurti, ancient Hindu scriptures mention multiple other trinities of gods or goddesses which do not include Brahma.[7][8][note 1]

Several Puranas describe him as emerging from a lotus, connected to the navel of Lord Vishnu. Other Puranas suggest that he is born from Shiva or his aspects,[10] or he is a supreme god in diverse versions of Hindu mythology.[5] Brahma, along with other deities, is sometimes viewed as a form (saguna) of the otherwise formless (nirguna) Brahman, the ultimate metaphysical reality in Vedantic Hinduism.[8][6] In an alternate version, some Puranas state him to be the father of Prajapatis.[11]

According to some, Brahma does not enjoy popular worship in present-age Hinduism and has lesser importance than the other members of the Trimurti, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is revered in ancient texts, yet rarely worshiped as a primary deity in India.[12] Very few temples dedicated to him exist in India; the most famous being the Brahma Temple, Pushkar in Rajasthan.[13] Brahma temples are found outside India, such as at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok.[14]

God of Creation, Creator of Vedas, Wisdom, Moksha
Member of Trimurti
Brahma sarawati
Brahma with his wife, Saraswati.
Other namesVedanatha, Gyaneshwar, Chaturmukha, Svayambhu
AffiliationParabrahman (Brahmanism), Trimurti, Deva, Tridev
AbodeBrahmaloka or Satyaloka
Mantra।। ॐ वेदात्मनाय विद्महे हिरण्यगर्भाय धीमही तन्नो ब्रह्मा प्रचोदयात् ।। (oṃ vedātmanāya vidmahe hiraṇyagarbhāya dhīmahī tanno brahmā pracodayaṭ),
WeaponBrahmastra, Brahmashirsha astra, Brahmanda astra
SymbolPadma, Vedas, Japamala and Kamandalu
MountHamsa (bird) named Hanskumara/Hansaraj
FestivalsKartik Purnima, Srivari Brahmotsavam
Personal information
ConsortsSaraswati and Gayatri
ChildrenManu, Four Kumaras, Narada, Daksha, Marichi and many more
SiblingsLakshmi (according to Skand Purana)

Origin and meaning

Left: Brahma at the 12th century Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura; Right: Brahma at a 6th/7th Aihole temple.

12th century Chennakesava temple at Somanathapura, Karnataka, India Lord Brahma
A sculpture of Brahma Hindu deity at Museum CSMVS Mumbai

The origins of Brahma are uncertain, in part because several related words such as one for Ultimate Reality (Brahman), and priest (Brahmin) are found in the Vedic literature. The existence of a distinct deity named Brahma is evidenced in late Vedic text.[15] A distinction between spiritual concept of Brahman, and deity Brahma, is that the former is a genderless abstract metaphysical concept in Hinduism,[16] while the latter is one of the many masculine gods in Hindu tradition.[17] The spiritual concept of Brahman is far older, and some scholars suggest deity Brahma may have emerged as a personal conception and visible icon of the impersonal universal principle called Brahman.[15]

In Sanskrit grammar, the noun stem brahman forms two distinct nouns; one is a neuter noun bráhman, whose nominative singular form is brahma; this noun has a generalized and abstract meaning.[18]

Contrasted to the neuter noun is the masculine noun brahmán, whose nominative singular form is Brahma.[note 2] This singular form is used as the proper name of the deity, Brahma.


Vedic literature

The Hindu Gods Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma LACMA M.86.337 (1 of 12)
The 10th-century artwork from Bihar showing the trinity of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.

One of the earliest mentions of Brahma with Vishnu and Shiva is in the fifth Prapathaka (lesson) of the Maitrayaniya Upanishad, probably composed in late 1st millennium BCE. Brahma is first discussed in verse 5,1, also called the Kutsayana Hymn, and then expounded in verse 5,2.[19][20]

In the pantheistic Kutsayana Hymn,[19] the Upanishad asserts that one's Soul is Brahman, and this Ultimate Reality, Cosmic Universal or God is within each living being. It equates the Atman (Soul, Self) within to be Brahma and various alternate manifestations of Brahman, as follows, "Thou art Brahma, thou art Vishnu, thou art Rudra (Shiva), thou art Agni, Varuna, Vayu, Indra, thou art All."[19][21]

In the verse (5,2), Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are mapped into the theory of Guṇa, that is qualities, psyche and innate tendencies the text describes can be found in all living beings.[21][22] This chapter of the Maitri Upanishad asserts that the universe emerged from darkness (Tamas), first as passion characterized by action qua action (Rajas), which then refined and differentiated into purity and goodness (Sattva).[19][21] Of these three qualities, Rajas is then mapped to Brahma, as follows:[23]

Now then, that part of him which belongs to Tamas, that, O students of sacred knowledge (Brahmacharins), is this Rudra.
That part of him which belongs to Rajas, that O students of sacred knowledge, is this Brahma.
That part of him which belongs to Sattva, that O students of sacred knowledge, is this Vishnu.
Verily, that One became threefold, became eightfold, elevenfold, twelvefold, into infinite fold.
This Being (neuter) entered all beings, he became the overlord of all beings.
That is the Atman (Soul, Self) within and without – yea, within and without!

While the Maitri Upanishad maps Brahma with one of the elements of Guṇa theory of Hinduism, the text does not depict him as one of the trifunctional elements of the Hindu Trimurti idea found in later Puranic literature.[24]

Post-Vedic, Epics and Puranas

Sheshashayi Vishnu
In Vaishnava Puranic scriptures, Brahma emerges on a lotus from Vishnu's navel as Vishnu (Mahavishnu) creates the cosmic cycle, after being emerged by Shiva, Shiva told Vishnu to create, Shiva ordered Vishnu to make Brahma.[25]

The post-Vedic texts of Hinduism offer multiple theories of cosmogony, many involving Brahma. These include Sarga (primary creation of universe) and Visarga (secondary creation), ideas related to the Indian thought that there are two levels of reality, one primary that is unchanging (metaphysical) and other secondary that is always changing (empirical), and that all observed reality of the latter is in an endlessly repeating cycle of existence, that cosmos and life we experience is continually created, evolved, dissolved and then re-created.[26] The primary creator is extensively discussed in Vedic cosmogonies with Brahman or Purusha or Devi among the terms used for the primary creator,[26][27] while the Vedic and post-Vedic texts name different gods and goddesses as secondary creators (often Brahma in post-Vedic texts), and in some cases a different god or goddess is the secondary creator at the start of each cosmic cycle (kalpa, aeon).[10][26]

Brahma is a "secondary creator" as described in the Mahabharata and Puranas, and among the most studied and described.[28][29][30] Born from a lotus emerging from the navel of Vishnu after emerging on order of Shiva, Brahma creates all the forms in the universe, but not the primordial universe itself.[25] In contrast, the Shiva-focussed Puranas describe Brahma and Vishnu to have been created by Ardhanarishvara, that is half Shiva and half Parvati; or alternatively, Brahma was born from Rudra, or Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma creating each other cyclically in different aeons (kalpa).[10] Thus in most Puranic texts, Brahma's creative activity depends on the presence and power of a higher god.[31]

Sculpture of Brahma, Tamil Nadu
Sculpture of Brahma flanked by Yama and Chitragupta, Tamil Nadu, 10th Century

In the Bhagavata Purana, Brahma is portrayed several times as the one who rises from the "Ocean of Causes".[32] Brahma, states this Purana, emerges at the moment when time and universe is born, inside a lotus rooted in the navel of Hari (deity Vishnu, whose praise is the primary focus in the Purana). The scriptures assert that Brahma is drowsy, errs and is temporarily incompetent as he puts together the universe.[32] He then becomes aware of his confusion and drowsiness, meditates as an ascetic, then realizes Hari in his heart, sees the beginning and end of the universe, and then his creative powers are revived. Brahma, states Bhagavata Purana, thereafter combines Prakriti (nature, matter) and Purusha (spirit, soul) to create a dazzling variety of living creatures, and tempest of causal nexus.[32] The Bhagavata Purana thus attributes the creation of Maya to Brahma, wherein he creates for the sake of creation, imbuing everything with both the good and the evil, the material and the spiritual, a beginning and an end.[33]

11th century Brahma at Gangaikonda Cholapuram Shiva temple
Lord Brahma Idol with two wives Saraswati and Gayatri.

The Puranas describe Brahma as the deity creating time. They correlate human time to Brahma's time, such as a mahākalpa being a large cosmic period, correlating to one day and one night in Brahma's existence.[31]

The stories about Brahma in various Puranas are diverse and inconsistent. In Skanda Purana, for example, goddess Parvati is called the "mother of the universe", and she is credited with creating Brahma, gods, and the three worlds. She is the one, states Skanda Purana, who combined the three Gunas - Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas - into matter (Prakrti) to create the empirically observed world.[34]

The Vedic discussion of Brahma as a Rajas-quality god expands in the Puranic and Tantric literature. However, these texts state that his wife Saraswati has Sattva (quality of balance, harmony, goodness, purity, holistic, constructive, creative, positive, peaceful, virtuous), thus complementing Brahma's Rajas (quality of passion, activity, neither good nor bad and sometimes either, action qua action, individualizing, driven, dynamic).[35][36][37]


Left: 19th century roundel of four-headed Brahma as a red-complexioned aged man, holding manuscript (Vedas), a ladle and a lotus; Right: 6th century Brahma in Badami cave temples holding a writing equipment, ladle, and mala.

A roundel of Brahma
6th century Brahma on Cave 3 ceiling, Badami Hindu cave temple Karnataka 3

Brahma is traditionally depicted with four faces and four arms.[38] Each face of his points to a cardinal direction. His hands hold no weapons, rather symbols of knowledge and creation. In one hand he holds the sacred texts of Vedas, in second he holds mala (rosary beads) symbolizing time, in third he holds a sruva or shruk — ladle types symbolizing means to feed sacrificial fire, and in fourth a kamandalu – utensil with water symbolizing the means where all creation emanates from.[39][40] His four mouths are credited with creating the four Vedas.[3] He is often depicted with a white beard, implying his sage-like experience. He sits on lotus, dressed in white (or red, pink), with his vehicle (vahana) – hansa, a swan or goose – nearby.[38][41]

Chapter 51 of Manasara-Silpasastra, an ancient design manual in Sanskrit for making Murti and temples, states that a Brahma statue should be golden in color.[42] The text recommends that the statue have four faces and four arms, have jata-mukuta-mandita (matted hair of an ascetic), and wear a diadem (crown).[42] Two of his hands should be in refuge granting and gift giving mudra, while he should be shown with kundika (water pot), akshamala (rosary), and a small and a large sruk-sruva (laddles used in yajna ceremonies).[42] The text details the different proportions of the murti, describes the ornaments, and suggests that the idol wear chira (bark strip) as lower garment, and either be alone or be accompanied with goddesses Sarasvati on his right and Gayatri on his left.[42]

Brahma's wife is the goddess Saraswati.[43][44] She is considered to be "the embodiment of his power, the instrument of creation and the energy that drives his actions". In some texts Gayatri is considered as the second wife of Lord Brahma.


Brahma had not taken avatar instead believed to descend directly whenever required in Satyug, Treta, and Dwapar Yuga. However, in Kalyug, the present age, he took birth in the following forms.



Brahma temples are relatively rare in India. Above: Brahma temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan.

Very few temples in India are primarily dedicated to Lord Brahma and his worship.[12] The most prominent Hindu temple for Brahma is the Brahma Temple, Pushkar.[13] Other temples include a temple in Asotra village, Balotra taluka of Rajasthan's Barmer district known as Kheteshwar Brahmadham Tirtha.

Brahma is also worshipped in temple complexes dedicated to the Trimurti: Thanumalayan Temple, Uthamar Kovil, Ponmeri Shiva Temple, in Tirunavaya, the Thripaya Trimurti Temple and Mithrananthapuram Trimurti Temple. In Tamil Nadu, Brahma temples exist in the temple town of Kumbakonam, in Kodumudi and within the Brahmapureeswarar Temple in Tiruchirappalli.

There is a temple dedicated to Brahma in the temple town of Srikalahasti near Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. There are a Chaturmukha Brahma temple in Chebrolu, Andhra Pradesh, and a seven feet height of Chatrumukha (Four Faces) Brahma temple at Bangalore, Karnataka. In the coastal state of Goa, a shrine belonging to the fifth century, in the small and remote village of Carambolim, Sattari Taluka in the northeast region of the state is found.

A famous icon of Brahma exists at Mangalwedha, 52 km from the Solapur district of Maharashtra and in Sopara near Mumbai. There is a 12th-century temple dedicated to him in Khedbrahma, Gujarat and also a Brahma Kuti Temple in Kanpur. Temples exist in Khokhan, Annamputhur and Hosur.

Southeast Asia

1: The four-faced Brahma (Phra Phrom) statue, Erawan Shrine, Thailand
2: 12th-century Brahma with missing book and water pot, Cambodia
3: 9th-century Brahma in Prambanan temple, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Thai 4 Buddies
Cambodian - The Hindu God Brahma - Walters 542734
Brahma Statue in Prambanan

A shrine to Brahma can be found in Cambodia's Angkor Wat. One of the three largest temples in the 9th-century Prambanan temples complex in Yogyakarta, central Java (Indonesia) is dedicated to Brahma, the other two to Shiva (largest of three) and Vishnu respectively.[45] The temple dedicated to Brahma is on the southern side of Śiva temple.

A statue of Brahma is present at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand and continues to be revered in modern times.[14] The golden dome of the Government House of Thailand houses a statue of Phra Phrom (Thai representation of Brahma). An early 18th-century painting at Wat Yai Suwannaram in Phetchaburi city of Thailand depicts Brahma.[46]

The name of the country Burma may be derived from Brahma. In medieval texts, it is referred to as Brahma-desa.[47][48]

East Asia

Brahma is a popular deity in Chinese folk religion and there are numerous temples devoted to the god in China and Taiwan.

Brahma is known in Chinese as Simianshen (四面神, "Four-Faced God") or Fantian (梵天), Tshangs pa in Tibetan and Bonten in Japanese.[49]

Difference between Brahma, Brahman, Brahmin and Brahmanas

Brahma (Sanskrit: ब्रह्मा, brahmā)[50] is distinct from Brahman.[51] Brahma is a male deity, in the post-Vedic Puranic literature,[52] who creates but neither preserves nor destroys anything. He is envisioned in some Hindu texts to have emerged from the metaphysical Brahman along with Vishnu (preserver), Shiva (destroyer), all other gods, goddesses, matter and other beings. In theistic schools of Hinduism where deity Brahma is described as part of its cosmology, he is a mortal like all gods and goddesses, and dissolves into the abstract immortal Brahman when the universe ends, then a new cosmic cycle (kalpa) restarts.[52][53] The deity Brahma is mentioned in the Vedas and the Upanishads but is uncommon,[54] while the abstract Brahman concept is predominant in these texts, particularly the Upanishads.[55] In the Puranic and the Epics literature, deity Brahma appears more often, but inconsistently. Some texts suggest that god Vishnu created Brahma,[56] others suggest god Shiva created Brahma,[57] yet others suggest goddess Devi created Brahma,[58] and these texts then go on to state that Brahma is a secondary creator of the world working respectively on their behalf.[58][59] Further, the medieval era texts of these major theistic traditions of Hinduism assert that the saguna (representation with face and attributes)[60] Brahma is Vishnu,[61] Shiva,[62] or Devi[63] respectively, and that the Atman (soul, self) within every living being is the same or part of this ultimate, eternal Brahman.[64]

Brahman (Sanskrit: ब्रह्मन्, brahman)[50] is a metaphysical concept of Hinduism referring to the ultimate reality.[51] According to Doniger, the Brahman in the Hindu thought is the uncreated, eternal, infinite, transcendent, the cause, the foundation, the source and the goal of all existence. Brahmin (Sanskrit: ब्राह्मण, Brahmin)[65] is a varna in Hinduism specializing in theory as priests, preservers and transmitters of sacred literature across generations.[66][67] The Brahmanas, or Brahmana Granthas, (Sanskrit: ब्राह्मणग्रंथ, brāhmaṇa)[68] are one of the four ancient layers of texts within the Vedas. They are primarily a digest incorporating stories, legends, the explanation of Vedic rituals and in some cases philosophy.[69][70] They are embedded within each of the four Vedas, and form a part of the Hindu śruti literature.[71]

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ The Trimurti idea of Hinduism, states Jan Gonda, "seems to have developed from ancient cosmological and ritualistic speculations about the triple character of an individual god, in the first place of Agni, whose births are three or threefold, and who is threefold light, has three bodies and three stations".[9] Other trinities, beyond the more common "Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva", mentioned in ancient and medieval Hindu texts include: "Indra, Vishnu, Brahmanaspati", "Agni, Indra, Surya", "Agni, Vayu, Aditya", "Mahalakshmi, Mahasarasvati, and Mahakali", and others.[7][8]
  2. ^ In Devanagari brahma is written ब्रह्म. It differs from Brahma ब्रह्मा by having a matra (diacritical) in the form of an extra vertical stroke at the end. This indicates a longer vowel sound: long "ā" rather than short "a".


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  2. ^ Alf Hiltebeitel (1999), Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226340517, page 292
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  6. ^ a b David Leeming (2009), Creation Myths of the World, 2nd Edition, ISBN 978-1598841749, page 146;
    David Leeming (2005), The Oxford Companion to World Mythology, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195156690, page 54, Quote: "Especially in the Vedanta Hindu Philosophy, Brahman is the Absolute. In the Upanishads, Brahman becomes the eternal first cause, present everywhere and nowhere, always and never. Brahman can be incarnated in Brahma, in Vishnu, in Shiva. To put it another way, everything that is, owes its existence to Brahman. In this sense, Hinduism is ultimately monotheistic or monistic, all gods being aspects of Brahman"; Also see pages 183-184, Quote: "Prajapati, himself the source of creator god Brahma – in a sense, a personification of Brahman (...) Moksha, the connection between the transcendental absolute Brahman and the inner absolute Atman."
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External links

Brahma Kumaris

The Brahma Kumaris are a Hindu spiritual movement that originated in Hyderabad, Sindh, during the 1930s. The Brahma Kumaris (Sanskrit: ब्रह्माकुमारी, "People of Brahma") movement was founded by Lekhraj Kripalani. The organisation is affiliated with the United Nations and is known for the prominent role that women play in the movement.It teaches a form of meditation that focuses on identity as souls, as opposed to bodies. They believe that all souls are intrinsically good and that God is the source of all goodness. The organisation teaches to transcend labels associated with the body, such as race, nationality, religion, and gender, and it aspires to establish a global culture based on what it calls "soul-consciousness".In 2008, the movement claimed to have more than 825,000 regular students, with over 8,500 centres in 100 countries.

Brahma Purana

The Brahma Purana (Sanskrit: ब्रह्म पुराण, Brahma Purāṇa) is one of the eighteen major Puranas genre of Hindu texts in Sanskrit language. It is listed as the first Maha-Purana in all the anthologies, and therefore also called Adi Purana. Another title for this text is Saura Purana, because it includes many chapters related to Surya or the Sun god. The name Brahma Purana is misleading and apocryphal because the extant manuscripts of this text have nothing to do with the Hindu god Brahma, and are actually just a compilation of geographical Mahatmya (travel guides) and sections on diverse topics.The extant Brahma Purana is likely different from the original one. R. C. Hazra concluded that it is not the real one, but an upapurana, which it was known as until the 16th century. Many of its verses are actually taken from the other Puranas. Moriz Winternitz concluded only a small part of it belongs to the older one. Since it mentions the existence of the Konark Sun Temple built in 1241, most of the chapter on pilgrimage sites in Orissa couldn't have been written before the 13th century. The surviving manuscripts comprise 245 chapters. It is divided into two parts: the Purvabhaga (former part) and the Uttarabhaga (latter part). The text exists in numerous versions, with significant differences, and the text was revised continually over time. Further, the Brahma Purana likely borrowed numerous passages from other Hindu texts such as the Mahabharata and Puranas such as the Vishnu, Vayu, Samba, and Markandeya.

The text is notable for dedicating over 60% of its chapters on description of geography and holy sites of Godavari river region, as well as places in and around modern Odisha, and tributaries of Chambal river in Rajasthan. This travel guide-like sections are non-sectarian, and celebrates sites and temples related to Vishnu, Shiva, Devi and Surya. The coverage of Jagannatha (Krishna, Vishnu-related) temples, however, is larger than the other three, leading scholars to the hypothesis that the authors of extant manuscripts may have been authors belonging to Vaishnavism. Its presentation of the Konark Sun Temple is notable.Out of 245 chapters, 18 chapters of the Brahma Purana cover the cosmology, mythology, genealogy, manvantara (cosmic time cycles) and topics that are required to make a text belong to the Puranic genre of literature. Other chapters cover Sanskara (rite of passage), summary of Dharmasastra, its theories on the geography of earth, summary of Samkhya and Yoga theories of Hindu philosophy, and other topics. While many chapters of the Brahma Purana praise temples and pilgrimage, chapters 38-40 of the text, a part of embedded Saura Purana, present arguments that are highly critical of the theistic theories and devotional worship proposals of 13th-century Madhvacharya and Dvaita Vedanta sub-school of Hindu philosophies.

The Padma Purana categorizes Brahma Purana as a Rajas Purana, implying the text is related to Brahma, but extant manuscripts have nothing to do with Brahma. Scholars consider the Sattva-Rajas-Tamas classification as "entirely fanciful" and there is nothing in this text that actually justifies this classification.The manuscripts of travel guide to Godavari-river region from this Purana is found as a separate text, and is called Gautami-mahatmya or Godavari-mahatmya, while the one corresponding to Rajasthan region is called Brahmottara Purana. The tradition and other Puranas assert the Brahma Purana had 10,000 verses, but the surviving manuscripts contain between 7,000 and 8,000 verses exclusive of the Brahmottara Purana supplement which adds between 2,000 and 3,000 verses depending on different versions of the same text.Sohnen and Schreiner published a summary of the Brahma Purana in 1989.

Brahma Sampradaya

The Brahma Sampradaya (Brahma-sampradāya) refers to the disciplic succession (sampradaya) of gurus starting with Brahma. The term is most often used to refer to the beliefs and teachings of Madhvacharya and his Dvaita philosophy.

The term Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya is used to refer to the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his Gaudiya theology.

Brahma Sarovar

Brahma Sarovar is an ancient water pool sacred to Hinduism in Thanesar, in the state of Haryana in North India. Hinduism lays emphasis on taking bath for internal and external purity. Most religious sites have water pools or sarovar in or near the Hindu temple and Sikh gurdwara. The Hindu genealogy registers at Kurukshetra, Haryana are kept here.

Brahma Sutras

The Brahma sūtras (Sanskrit: ब्रह्म सूत्र) is a Sanskrit text, attributed to Badarayana, estimated to have been completed in its surviving form some time between 450 BCE and 200 CE. The text systematizes and summarizes the philosophical and spiritual ideas in the Upanishads. It is one of the foundational texts of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy.The Brahma sutras consists of 555 aphoristic verses (sutras) in four chapters. These verses are primarily about the nature of human existence and universe, and ideas about the metaphysical concept of Ultimate Reality called Brahman. The first chapter discusses the metaphysics of Absolute Reality, the second chapter reviews and addresses the objections raised by the ideas of competing orthodox schools of Hindu philosophies as well as heterodox schools such as Buddhism and Jainism, the third chapter discusses epistemology and path to gaining spiritually liberating knowledge, and the last chapter states why such a knowledge is an important human need.The Brahmasutra is one of three most important texts in Vedanta along with the Principal Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. It has been influential to various schools of Indian philosophies, but interpreted differently by the non-dualistic Advaita Vedanta sub-school, the theistic Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita Vedanta sub-schools, as well as others. Several commentaries on the Brahma-sutras are lost to history or yet to be found; of the surviving ones, the most well studied commentaries on the Brahmasutra include the bhashya by Adi Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, Bhaskara and many others.It is also known as the Vedanta Sutra (Sanskrit: वेदान्त सूत्र), deriving this name from Vedanta which literally means the "final aim of the Vedas". Other names for Brahma Sutra is Sariraka Sutra, wherein Sariraka means "that which lives in the body (Sarira), or the Self, Soul", and Bhikshu-sutra, which literally means "Sutras for monks or mendicants".

Brahma Vaivarta Purana

The Brahmavaivarta Purana (Sanskrit: ब्रह्मवैवर्त पुराण, Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa) is a voluminous Sanskrit text and a major Purana (Maha-purana) of Hinduism. It centers around Krishna and Radha, is a Vaishnavism text, and is considered one of the modern era Purana.Although a version may have existed in late 1st millennium CE, its extant version was likely composed in the 15th or 16th-century in the Bengal region of Indian subcontinent. Another text, with a similar-sounding title, called Brahmakaivarta Purana also exists, is related, but was likely revised somewhere in South India. Numerous versions of this Purana exist, in up to 274 or 276 chapters, all claiming to be either part of, or manuscripts of the Brahmavaivarta Purana or the Brahmakaivarta Purana.The text is notable for identifying Krishna as the supreme Reality and asserting that all gods such as Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Ganesha are same, and all are incarnations of Krishna. All goddesses such as Radha, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Savitri are also asserted by the Brahmavaivarta Purana to be equivalent and all incarnations of Prakruti, with legends similar to those found in the Mahabharata and the Devi Mahatmya. The text is also notable for glorifying the feminine through Radha and its egalitarian views that all women are manifestations of the divine female, co-creators of the universe, and that any insult to a woman is an insult to goddess Radha.The mythology and stories of Brahmavaivarta Purana, along with Bhagavata Purana, have been influential to the Krishna-related Hindu traditions, as well as to dance and performance arts such as the Rasa Lila.


Brahma muhurta (time of Brahma) is a period (muhurta) one and a half hours before sunrise—or more precisely, 1 hour and 36 minutes before sunrise. Literally meaning "The Creator's Hour", it is traditionally the penultimate phase or muhurta of the night and is considered an auspicious time for all practices of yoga and most appropriate for

meditation, worship or any other religious practice.

Spiritual activities performed early in the morning have a greater effect than in any other part of the day. Each muhurta lasts 48 minutes, and therefore the Brahma muhurta begins 1 hour and 36 minutes before sunrise, and ends 48 minutes before sunrise. The time of sunrise varies each day, according to geographic location and time of year, thus the time of the Brahma muhurta also varies. For example, if sunrise is at 6am, the brahma muhurta begins at 4:24am. If sunrise is at 7am, brahma muhurta begins at 5:24am, and so on.


In Hinduism, Brahman connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe. In major schools of Hindu philosophy, it is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists. It is the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind diversity in all that exists in the universe.Brahman is a Vedic Sanskrit word, and it is conceptualized in Hinduism, states Paul Deussen, as the "creative principle which lies realized in the whole world". Brahman is a key concept found in the Vedas, and it is extensively discussed in the early Upanishads. The Vedas conceptualize Brahman as the Cosmic Principle. In the Upanishads, it has been variously described as Sat-cit-ānanda (truth-consciousness-bliss) and as the unchanging, permanent, highest reality.Brahman is discussed in Hindu texts with the concept of Atman (Self), personal, impersonal or Para Brahman, or in various combinations of these qualities depending on the philosophical school. In dualistic schools of Hinduism such as the theistic Dvaita Vedanta, Brahman is different from Atman (soul) in each being. In non-dual schools such as the Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is identical to the Atman, is everywhere and inside each living being, and there is connected spiritual oneness in all existence.


The brahmavihārās (sublime attitudes, lit. "abodes of brahma") are a series of four Buddhist virtues and the meditation practices made to cultivate them. They are also known as the four immeasurables (Sanskrit: apramāṇa, Pāli: appamaññā). The Brahma-viharas are:

loving-kindness or benevolence (metta)

compassion (karuna)

empathetic joy (mudita)

equanimity (upekkha)According to the Metta Sutta, cultivation of the four immeasurables has the power to cause the practitioner to be reborn into a "Brahma realm" (Pāli: Brahmaloka).The Brahma-viharas, along with meditative tradition associated with Brahma-vihara, are also found in pre-Buddha and post-Buddha Vedic and Sramanic literature.

Brahmo Samaj

Brahmo Samaj (Bengali: ব্রাহ্ম সমাজ Bramho Shômaj) is the societal component of Brahmoism, which began as a monotheistic reformist movement of the Hindu religion that appeared during the Bengal Renaissance. It is practised today mainly as the Adi Dharm after its eclipse in Bengal consequent to the exit of the Tattwabodini Sabha from its ranks in 1839. After the publication of Hemendranath Tagore's Brahmo Anusthan (code of practice) in 1860 which formally divorced Brahmoism from Hinduism, the first Brahmo Samaj was founded in 1861 at Lahore by Pandit Nobin Chandra Roy.

It was one of the most influential religious movements in India and made a significant contribution to the making of modern India. It was started at Calcutta on 20 August 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Debendranath Tagore as reformation of the prevailing Brahmanism of the time (specifically Kulin practices) and began the Bengal Renaissance of the 19th century pioneering all religious, social and educational advance of the Hindu community in the 19th century. Its Trust Deed was made in 1830 formalising its inception and it was duly and publicly inaugurated in January 1830 by the consecration of the first house of prayer, now known as the Adi Brahmo Samaj. From the Brahmo Samaj springs Brahmoism, the most recent of legally recognised religions in India and Bangladesh, reflecting its foundation on reformed spiritual Hinduism with vital elements of Judeo-Islamic faith and practice.Raja Rammohan Roy founded Brahmo Samaj in 1828 in the name of Brahmo Sabha.

Brahmā (Buddhism)

Brahmā is a leading god (deva) and heavenly king in Buddhism. He was adopted from other Indian religions such as Hinduism that considered him a protector of teachings (dharmapala), and he is never depicted in early Buddhist texts as a creator god. In Buddhist tradition, it was the deity Brahma Sahampati who appeared before the Buddha and urged him to teach, once the Buddha attained enlightenment but was unsure if he should teach his insights to anyone.Brahma is a part of the Buddhist cosmology, and lords over the heavenly realm of rebirth called the Brahmaloka – the most sought after realm for afterlife and reincarnation in Buddhist traditions. Brahma is generally represented in Buddhist culture as a god with four faces and four arms, and variants of him are found in both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist cultures.


The Brāhmasphuṭasiddhānta ("Correctly Established Doctrine of Brahma", abbreviated BSS)

is the main work of Brahmagupta, written c. 628. Τhis text of mathematical astronomy contains significant mathematical content, including a good understanding of the role of zero, rules for manipulating both negative and positive numbers, a method for computing square roots, methods of solving linear and quadratic equations, and rules for summing series, Brahmagupta's identity, and Brahmagupta’s theorem.

The book was written completely in verse and does not contain any kind of mathematical notation. Nevertheless, it contained the first clear description of the quadratic formula (the solution of the quadratic equation).


Guarana ( from the Portuguese guaraná [ɡwaɾɐˈna]), Paullinia cupana, syns. P. crysan, P. sorbilis) is a climbing plant in the family Sapindaceae, native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil. Guarana has large leaves and clusters of flowers and is best known for the seeds from its fruit, which are about the size of a coffee bean.

As a dietary supplement or herb, guarana seed is an effective stimulant: it contains about twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee seeds (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds, compared to 1–2% for coffee seeds). The additive has gained notoriety for being used in energy drinks. As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels herbivores from the berry and its seeds.The colour of the fruit ranges from brown to red and it contains black seeds that are partly covered by white arils. The colour contrast when the fruit is split open has been compared with the appearance of eyeballs and has become the basis of an origin myth among the Sateré-Mawé people.

Hindu units of time

Hindu texts describe units of Kala measurements, from microseconds to Trillions of years. According to these texts, time is cyclic, which repeats itself forever.

Kalpa (aeon)

Kalpa (Sanskrit: कल्प kalpa) is a Sanskrit word meaning a relatively long period of time (by human calculation) in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. The concept is first mentioned in the Mahabharata.

In the Pali language of early Buddhism, the word takes the form kappa, and is mentioned in the assumed oldest scripture of Buddhism, the Sutta Nipata. This speaks of "Kappâtita: one who has gone beyond time, an Arahant". This part of the Buddhist manuscripts dates back to the middle part of the last millennium BCE.

Generally speaking, a kalpa is the period of time between the creation and recreation of a world or universe. The definition of a kalpa equaling 4.32 billion years is found in the Puranas—specifically Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana.


Madhvacharya (Madhvācārya; Kannada: ಮಧ್ವಾಚಾರ್ಯ; Sanskrit pronunciation: [mɐdʱʋaːˈtɕaːɽjɐ]; CE 1238–1317 ), sometimes anglicised as Madhva Acharya, and also known as Pūrna Prajña and Ānanda Tīrtha, was a Hindu philosopher and the chief proponent of the Dvaita (dualism) school of Vedanta. Madhva called his philosophy Tatvavāda meaning "arguments from a realist viewpoint".Madhvacharya was born on the west coast of Karnataka state in 13th-century India. As a teenager, he became a Sanyasi (monk) joining Brahma-sampradaya guru Achyutapreksha, of the Ekadandi order. Madhva studied the classics of Hindu philosophy, particularly the Principal Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras (Prasthanatrayi). He commented on these, and is credited with thirty seven works in Sanskrit. His writing style was of extreme brevity and condensed expression. His greatest work is considered to be the Anuvyakhyana, a philosophical supplement to his bhasya on the Brahma Sutras composed with a poetic structure. In some of his works, he proclaimed himself to be an avatar of Vayu, the son of god Vishnu.He was a critic of Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta and Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta teachings. He toured India several times, visiting places such as Bengal, Varanasi, Dwarka, Goa and Kanyakumari, engaging in philosophical debates and visiting Hindu centres of learning. Madhva established the Krishna Mutt at Udupi with a murti secured from Dwarka Gujarat in CE 1285.Madhvācārya's teachings are built on the premise that there is a fundamental difference between Atman (individual soul, self) and the Brahman (ultimate reality, God Vishnu), these are two different unchanging realities, with individual soul dependent on Brahman, never identical. His school's theistic dualism teachings disagreed with the monist teachings of the other two most influential schools of Vedanta based on Advaita's nondualism and Vishishtadvaita's qualified nondualism. Liberation, asserted Madhva, is achievable only through the grace of God. The Dvaita school founded by Madhva influenced Vaishnavism, the Bhakti movement in medieval India, and has been one of the three influential Vedānta philosophies, along with Advaita Vedanta and Vishishtadvaita Vedanta. Madhva's historical influence in Hinduism, state Kulandran and Kraemer, has been salutary, but not extensive.


Saraswati (Sanskrit: सरस्वती, IAST: Sarasvatī) is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom, and learning. She is a part of the trinity (Tridevi) of Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva to create, maintain, and regenerate-recycle the Universe, respectively.The earliest known mention of Saraswati as a goddess is in the Rigveda. She has remained significant as a goddess from the Vedic period through modern times of Hindu traditions. Some Hindus celebrate the festival of Vasant Panchami (the fifth day of spring, and also known as Saraswati Puja and Saraswati Jayanti in so many parts of India) in her honour, and mark the day by helping young children learn how to write the letters of the alphabet on that day. The Goddess is also revered by believers of the Jain religion of west and central India, as well as some Buddhist sects.


The Trimūrti (; Sanskrit: त्रिमूर्ति trimūrti, "three forms") is the Triple deity of supreme divinity in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified as a triad of deities, typically Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer, though individual denominations may vary from that particular line-up. When all three deities of the Trimurti incarnate into a single avatar, the avatar is known as Dattatreya.


Vedanta (; Sanskrit: वेदान्त, IAST: Vedānta) or Uttara Mīmāṃsā is one of the six (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy. Vedanta literally means "end of the Vedas", reflecting ideas that emerged from the speculations and philosophies contained in the Upanishads. It does not stand for one comprehensive or unifying doctrine. Rather it is an umbrella term for many sub-traditions, ranging from dualism to non-dualism, all of which developed on the basis of a common textual connection called the Prasthanatrayi. The Prasthanatrayi is a collective term for the Principal Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.

All Vedanta schools, in their deliberations, concern themselves with the following three categories but differ in their views regarding the concept and the relations between them: Brahman – the ultimate metaphysical reality, Ātman / Jivātman – the individual soul or self, and Prakriti – the empirical world, ever-changing physical universe, body and matter.

Some of the better known sub-traditions of Vedanta include Advaita (non-dualism), Vishishtadvaita (qualified non-dualism), and Dvaita (dualism). Most other Vedantic sub-traditions are subsumed under the term Bhedabheda (difference and non-difference). Over time, Vedanta adopted ideas from other orthodox (āstika) schools like Yoga and Nyaya, and, through this syncretism, became the most prominent school of Hinduism. Many extant forms of Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism have been significantly shaped and influenced by the doctrines of different schools of Vedanta. The Vedanta school has had a historic and central influence on Hinduism.

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