Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva- Who is First?

Business Sphere - - FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF - "OM" GOD as Shiv Ji/Brahma Ji

The gods and the sages told Vishnu, "We are get­ting a bit con­fused. You have told us that Brahma emerged from Vishnu's body. And yet you have also told us how Brahma was born inside a golden egg. Which of th­ese is the cor­rect ac­count? Then again, you have told us that Shiva was born from one of Brahma's tears. But we have some­times heard other­wise. Which is right? Please re­move this con­fu­sion." "There is no con­fu­sion," replied Vishnu. "Let me ex­plain it for you." Brahma was born from the golden egg right at the be­gin­ning, at the time of the orig­i­nal cre­ation. But at the end of every kalpa there is a mi­nor de­struc­tion when all liv­ing be­ings other than Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva die. When the de­struc­tion is over, cre­ation has to start afresh. At the end of the last kalpa, there was wa­ter ev­ery­where in the uni­verse. The heaven, the earth and the un­der­world, were all flooded with wa­ter. There were no gods and no sages. Only the great Vishnu slept on the wa­ter. He had a thou­sand hoods, a thou­sand eyes, a thou­sand arms and a thou­sand feet. This was his form of Ananta, the snake (naga). (The Kurma Pu­rana com­pletely iden­ti­fies Vishnu with Ananta. More com­monly, the Pu­ranas state that the snake Ananta was the son of Kadru and the sage Kashyapa. He pleased Brahma through his prayers and ob­tained from Brahma the boon that he would be per­mit­ted to hold up the earth on his hoods. The Ka­lika Pu­rana specif­i­cally states that, at the time of de­struc­tion, Vishnu and Lak­shmi rest on Ananta's cen­tral hood. The Vishnu Pu­rana adds the in­for­ma­tion that Ananta was one of Balarama's avataras. The names She­sha Va­suki and Gonasa are of­ten used syn­ony­mously with Ananta.) While Vishnu thus slept on the wa­ter, a won­der­ful lo­tus sprouted from his navel. The lo­tus was gi­gan­tic and shone like the sun. Its fra­grance spread in all di­rec­tions. Brahma ap­peared inside the lo­tus. Since padma means lo­tus and yoni means place of birth, Brahma is also known as Pad­may­oni. Brahma saw Vishnu sleep­ing on the wa­ter and woke him up. "Who are you?" asked Brahma. "I am Vishnu." replied Vishnu. "I am the ori­gin of every­thing. That will be there in the uni­verse is inside my body." "Is that re­ally so?" asked Vishnu. "Let me see." Vishnu there­upon en­tered Brahma's body. He re­ally found the three worlds, the gods, the de­mons and the hu­mans inside Brahma's

stom­ach and was greatly sur­prise. He emerged from Brahma's mouth and told Brahma, "What I have seen inside your body is truly won­der­ful. But I too can show you many worlds inside my body. Please en­ter and see for your­self." It was now Brahma's turn to en­ter Vishnu's body. But when Brahma did this, he could find no end to Vishnu's stom­ach. It was true that there were many worlds inside Vishnu's body. How­ever, Brahma could find no way of com­ing out from Vishnu's stom­ach. He fi­nally started to emerge through Vishnu's navel, through the stalk of the lo­tus that was there. "How dare you try to con­fine me inside your body?" de­manded Brahma, as soon as he man­aged to get out. "Please do not get an­gry." replied Vishnu. "I merely thought that I would play with you for a while. Other­wise, it is in­con­ceiv­able that any­one should dare to con­fine the great Brahma. Please par­don me. And as a to­ken of your par­don, please grant me the boon that hence­forth, you will be known as my son. Af­ter all, you did emerge from a lo­tus that grew out of my navel." "Agreed." said Brahma. "Let us make peace. Af­ter all; there is no one else. We are the lords of every­thing, we are parts of the Brah­man." "Please do not for­get Shiva," re­sponded Vishnu. "Your words will anger him and bring about your un­do­ing." While the two were thus con­vers­ing, Shiva ap­peared on the scene. He had a third eye in the mid­dle of his fore­head and his hair was mat­ted. A tri­dent could be seen in his hand. "Who is this fel­low?" asked Brahma. "He looks like an up­start." Vishnu calmed Brahma down. He also gave Brahma divine eyes so that Brahma could com­pre­hend the true na­ture of Shiva. Brahma then started to pray to Shiva. Pleased with Brahma's prayers, Shiva agreed to grant Brahma a boon. "Please grant me the boon that you will be born as my son," said Brahma. Shiva agreed to do so and went away. Ru­dra Brahma re­turned to his seat on the lo­tus flower. Sud­denly, two de­mons named Madhu and Kaitabha ap­peared. They were ex­ceed­ingly strong and threat­ened to de­stroy every­thing that Brahma would cre­ate. Brahma there­fore re­quested Vishnu to kill th­ese two de­mons. Vishnu cre­ated two be­ings from his own body and th­ese two be­ings killed the de­mons. (The Madhu and Kaitabha story is given in greater de­tail in other Pu­ranas, such as the Ka­lika Pu­rana. While Vishnu was sleep­ing, the two de­mons were born from his ears. One of them de­sired to have some honey as soon as he was born. Since the word for honey is madhu, he came to be known as Madhu. The other one looked like an in­sect. Since the word for in­sect is kita, he came to be known as Kaitabha. Th­ese broth­ers at­tacked Brahma and Vishnu had to fight with them so as to res­cue Brahma. The fight went on for five thou­sand years be­fore Vishnu could kill them. Af­ter the de­mons were killed, the fat (meda) from their bod­ies formed the earth. That is the rea­son why the earth is known as me­dini. Af­ter Madhu and Kaitabha had been killed, Brahma could start to cre­ate. He first cre­ated, through his men­tal pow­ers, the sons whose names have ear­lier been men­tioned. Since Shiva had promised that he would be born as Brahma's son, Brahma de­cided to per­form tapasya so as to ac­com­plish this. He prayed for many years, but noth­ing hap­pened. In ut­ter frus­tra­tion, Brahma be­gan to cry. The ghosts (bhuta and preta) were born from th­ese tears. Brahma was so dis­gusted at hav­ing cre­ated th­ese aw­ful crea­tures, that he com­mit­ted sui­cide. It was then that Shiva was born from Brahma's mouth and Brahma re­vived. (You will have no­ticed the con­tra­dic­tion. Ear­lier, it had been stated that Shiva was born from a teardrop and there had been no men­tion of Brahma's sui­cide. The sui­cide is not men­tioned in other Pu­ranas ei­ther, nor is there any men­tion of Shiva or Ru­dra be­ing born from a teardrop. In the Vishnu Pu­rana, he sud­denly ap­peared in Brahma's lap. In the Padma Pu­rana, he was born from Brahma's fur­rowed brows). The baby started to cry as soon as he was born. "Don't cry," said Brahma. "Since you cried when you were born, you will be known as Ru­dra." (The Kurma Pu­rana is not spe­cific on why the baby cried. The other Pu­ranas state that the baby cried for the want of a name. Brahma there­fore gave the boy the name of Ru­dra, as the word rub means to cry. The boy con­tin­ued to cry and Brahma gave him sev­eral other names as well. The Pu­ranas how­ever dis­agree about what th­ese var­i­ous names were). In ad­di­tion to Ru­dra, Brahma gave the boy the names Bhuva, Sarva, Ishana, Pashu­pati, Bhima, Ugra and Ma­hadeva. In th­ese eight dif­fer­ent forms, Shiva was to live in the sun, the wa­ter, the sky, the fire, the wind, the trees, the bod­ies of brah­manas and the moon.

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