Brahma


Brahma
/brah"meuh/, n. Hinduism.
1. Brahman (def. 2).
2. (in later Hinduism) "the Creator," the first member of the Trimurti, with Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer.
[1775-85; < Skt brahma, nom. sing. of brahman]
/bray"meuh, brah"-/, n.
one of a breed of large Asian chickens, having feathered legs and small wings and tail.
[1850-55; short for Brahmaputra fowl, so called because brought to England from a town on that river]
/bray"meuh, brah"-/, n.
a Brahman bull, steer, or cow.
[1935-40; alter. of BRAHMAN]

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One of three major gods in late Vedic Hinduism, с 500 BC–с AD 500.

He was gradually eclipsed by the other two, Vishnu and Shiva. In classical times the doctrine of Trimurti identified the three as aspects of a supreme deity. Brahma was associated with the creator god Prajapati, whose identity he came to assume. All temples of Shiva or Vishnu contain an image of Brahma, but today there is no sect or cult devoted exclusively to him.

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▪ Hindu god
 one of the major gods of Hinduism from about 500 BCE to 500 CE, who was gradually eclipsed by Vishnu, Shiva, and the great Goddess (in her multiple aspects). Associated with the Vedic creator god Prajapati (Prajāpati), whose identity he assumed, Brahma was born from a golden egg and created the earth and all things on it. Later myths describe him as having come forth from a lotus that issued from Vishnu's navel.

      By the middle of the 1st millennium CE, an attempt to synthesize the diverging sectarian traditions is evident in the doctrine of trimurti, which considers Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma as three forms of the supreme unmanifested deity. By the 7th century, he had largely lost his claim to being a supreme deity, although the Trimurti continued to figure importantly in both text and sculpture. Today there is no cult or sect that exclusively worships Brahma, and few temples are dedicated to him. Nevertheless, all temples dedicated to Shiva or Vishnu must contain an image of Brahma.

      Brahma is usually depicted as having four faces, symbolic of a wide-ranging four-square capacity, as expressed in the four Vedas (collections of poems and hymns), the four yugas (“ages”), the four varnas (social classes), the four directions, the four stages of orthoprax life, or life according to correct practice ( ashramas), and so forth. He is usually shown with four arms, holding an alms bowl, a bow, , prayer beads, and a book. He may be seated or standing on a lotus throne or on his mount, a goose. Savitri and Sarasvati, respectively exemplars of faithfulness and of music and learning, frequently accompany him.

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Universalium. 2010.

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