Why Lord Brahma is not worshiped ?

Surin Usgaonkar
Surin Usgaonkar / Blog / 7 yrs ago /
  18

 

Recently as media circus focused its attention on the anticipated celebrity marriage between Mr. Abhishek and Ms. Aishwarya, a part of limelight also fell on the Brahma temple – the only one of its kind – situated in the Rajasthan district. The temple was visited by Ms. Aishwarya to seek the blessings of the Lord Brahma.   

 

Brahma temples are rare. Why is Lord Brahma not ritualistically worshiped like the Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu across the peninsular India? Sanskrit literature is full of metaphoric stories including the one where Shiva is supposed to have cursed Brahma that he shall not be worshiped on Earth (ref: Skanda Puraan).

 

Metaphorical stories are a peculiarity of the Sanskrit literature. The job of these stories is to motivate members of the society to do a certain thing or to deter them from doing certain other thing.

 

The true philosophical reason why Brahma is not worshiped like the other deities is as under: Worship involves faith and faith to certain degree means accepting supremacy of someone without questioning. Brahma, on the other hand, represents true knowledge. The knowledge and faith are philosophically antithetical concepts. Knowledge blooms in self-doubt, constant questioning, criticism and discussions and it lapses in faith. Ichnographically,  Brahma  is shown sitting on a blue lotus flower (Pushkara in Sanskrit). Anyone who is familiar with lotus will know that they bloom through a complicated network of root system submerged in the soft mud. This muddy foundation of the Lotus  flower is an artists pictogram of  intellectual ferment.

 

Ritualistic  worship of Brahma who is an embodiment of the true knowledge, would have been a philosophical contradiction and to present reasoned out principles to society has been the endeavour of most scholars of the bygone era. This also is the principle reason the philosophical doctrines of Indian philosophy has withstood the vagaries of history and time for more than five millenniums.

 

As sage Aniruddha in his digest vrutti (1. 26) says :

 

na hy aaptavacanaan nabhasonipatanti mahaasuraaH |

yuktimad vacanam graahyam mayaanyaishca bhavadvidhaiH ||

(Huge giants do not drop from the skies simply because a competent person/s says so . Only sayings which are supported by reason should be accepted by me and others like yourselves . – translation by Dr. S Radhakrishnan © 1930 )

 

This has been the foundation of the great philosophy.

 

What unsettled my intellectual sensibilities is that the media coverage claimed that offering Pooja at the Pushkara temple of Brahma washes all the sins and leads to wish fulfilment. A gross trivialisation of a thought. Acquisition of true knowledge neither washes the sins nor does it fulfil wishes because acquisition of such a true knowledge makes both these aspects irrelevant.

 

Note: There are a few ritualistic traditions like shanties performed at funeral rites where Brahma in a form of a creator is revered and offered oblations to.  

 

© Surin Usgaonkar, Mumbai


yaswanth sai / / 11 months ago
yaswanth sai

thankz a lot....
precious views.


riverine / / 7 yrs ago
riverine

 
shri usgaonkar,
 
please read my latest blog anala stambha...i have given this subject a thought and added in...please leave your comments too.
 
thank you.


Indu3 / / 7 yrs ago
Indu3

very enlightening article. and the discussion followed makes this article much more interesting.
 
thank you for sharing your knowledge.
 
indu


riverine / / 7 yrs ago
riverine

 
sir
 
please take a look at this blog i wrote:
 


Surin Usgaonkar / / 7 yrs ago
Surin Usgaonkar

thanks karigar:
 
 your type of criticism is welcome and necessary for progress. i can only thank you for it.
 
regards
 
surin


karigar / / 7 yrs ago
karigar

 
however, at all instances of using these words i mean “mechanical sacerdotalism” .....
 
==end quote==
 
mr usgaonkar,
 
i have a high regard for your understanding of indic thought directly via sanskrit. i'm just trying to point out that we (myself included) are yet to get out of conveying our understanding in english without "round tripping" via western/biblical analogies.
 
i understand your comment and your use of that word "...sacredot..." via the context. perhaps this type of word is required in a scholarly presentation...
 
i'm always disheartened by how a typical reader is open to misunderstanding indic concepts, unless made explicitly clear, that's all.
 
i'm glad you are writing about these tough subjects, notwithstanding my kind of criticism..
 
  


riverine / / 7 yrs ago
riverine

 
shri usgaonkar
 

"lastly and most importantly, most of the scriptures of antiquity surprisingly address a society that was far more advanced in thought, culture and conduct and far more receptive vis-à-vis the society of today, which is in ferment."

 

 well said! very true!


Surin Usgaonkar / / 7 yrs ago
Surin Usgaonkar

 

karigar :

 

thanks a lot for bringing out these points: i would like to clarify the following

 

in the above blog post i have used both words worship and faith interchangeably. however, at all instances of using these words i mean “mechanical sacerdotalism” then there should be no ambiguity that such a mechanical concept is antithetical to reasoning and questioning. i must agree that ‘shraddhaa’ in sanskrit does not have an equivalent english translation.  

 

i have not said that purans contain only metaphorical stories or all that they contain are mere metaphorical stories. i have said a portion of them does and a large section of sanskrit literature does carry these stories.

 

your contention about western thoughts and western scholars is correct. however, in my experience of research in indology i have found that even we, the modern indians, are poorly equipped to handle the concepts expressed in vedas, upanisheds and puranas. reason for this is embodied in our way of education today, which is strictly western. we are more comfortable reading a book with a systematic array of thought expressed by a particular author and must confess to intellectual  bankruptcy when  faced with a collection of thoughts written by varied scholars who have only hinted at several suggestions, which  at times appears completely contrary to each other.

 

lastly and most importantly, most of the scriptures of antiquity surprisingly address a society that was far more advanced in thought, culture and conduct and far more receptive vis-à-vis the society of today, which is in ferment.

 

more later

 

regards

 

surin  



karigar / / 7 yrs ago
karigar

 

metaphorical stories are a peculiarity of the sanskrit literature. the job of these stories is to motivate members of the society to do a certain thing or to deter them from doing certain other thing.

 

the true philosophical reason why brahma is not worshiped like the other deities is as under: worship involves faith and faith to certain degree means accepting supremacy of someone without questioning. brahma, on the other hand, represents true knowledge.
 
=====end quote====
 
mr usgaonkar,
 
well written as usual. yes the media does oversimplify what we di when we "worship" in temples. saying stotras & shlokas is more than "worship" , they contrain compressed knowledge.
 
some dissenting points from your article -
 
saraswati (sometimes considered brahma's consort) is popularly considered the embodiment of knowledge.
 
i believe the sentences quoted above also oversimplify the ideas of puranic stories. your charactetisations seems to impute an overly "ideological" motive to the stories.
 
my sense is that when we try to analyse things from indic culture, we tend to force fit the ideas into available & currently fashionable western categories.
 
taking simplistic dual opposites like you have of faith vs rationality (questioning) etc is also a key feature of western philosophy, and imo a major reason why western categorizations are ill equipped to handle eastern thought (you'll note i'm also using dual categories here! one just can't escape....:-)   )
 
also, i'd assert strongly that (as mentioned by vijaya (?), brahman is the ultimate (beyond categorization in names & forms, time or place, i.e. the indivisible absolute). as it is such a philosophical category dealt with extensively in the upanishads, vedanta, etc. this is the idea most well explored in philosophy. the famous "tat twam asi" of theupanishads is talking of this brahman (& the relation with atman..) 
 
brahma , the entity under discussion here is a "puranic construct", meant to make sense to us who give puranas more respect that being "just metaphysical stories". to subject "brahma", vishnu" & siva" to just intellectual analyses, imo is apply an inadequate tool to understand the ideas.