Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 108
BY: ROCANA DASA
Offering worship to Lord Brahma
Rajput, c. 1800
Nov 24, CANADA (SUN) The last in a serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.
Lord Brahma - Founder/Acarya
of the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya
We here at the Sampradaya Sun -- and in particular my good wife, Jahnava devi dasi, who produced the Feature series on Lord Brahma – hope that our readers have enjoyed the presentation. If you've followed regularly, I'm sure you've been amazed, as we have, by all the temples, deities, and ways in which Lord Brahma has been glorified during this historical period. Amazingly enough, this is all still going on, even within the Kali yuga. Sometime in the days ahead, we will consolidate all the material in this series, and provide a linkable map to all the temples, for future reference.
I'm sure that like myself, you've been amazed by the architecture of these temples, created by great kings, maharajas and devotees of India's past. Lord Brahma himself, as we've discovered, is featured in many of these temples, sometimes as the presiding deity, but very often as a subsidiary deity alongside Lord Visnu or Lord Shiva, who are the main deities. Of course, this is philosophically in line with the teachings of the Vedas, which were first spoken by Lord Brahma.
Those who were involved in the creation of these astounding architectural edifices were obviously empowered by Lord Brahma, who himself has the knowledge of how to create such structures. In the Brahma Purana, there is a great deal of description about Lord Brahma's knowledge in this regard.
As members of Lord Brahma's sampradaya, we are fortunate to understand exactly what part Lord Brahma plays in Sri Krsna's arrangements to manifest the material existence. Many aspects of Lord Brahma's position within the universe are explained in detail in Srila Prabhupada's books, and many of these aspects are interestingly present within our own circumstance, here in Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Sankirtana movement.
Lord Brahma was born of the lotus flower, which manifested out of the abdomen of Garbhodakasayi Visnu. The lotus itself was part of Garbhodakasayi Visnu's body and as such, Brahma was manifested from the actual body of Visnu. At first, Lord Brahma didn't realize who he was or where he was, or what his circumstances were. First of all he tried to do research to find out, by sliding down the stem of the lotus and into the Garbhodakasaya ocean. Having failed to understand by means of research, he then heard the Lord vibrate the mantra, tapah, twice, and then Brahma understood that it was only through tapasya, meditation, that he could understand what his position was and what his duties were. So at the point of hearing the sound vibration, he was initiated by Lord Visnu, then went about the process of creation.
First of all, Lord Brahma created the four Kumaras. When he asked the Kumaras to then create progeny, the Kumaras said they didn't want to do that because they wanted to remain as brahmacaries. Lord Brahma became very angry at this, and from his anger, Lord Shiva was manifest. Although Lord Shiva came after Lord Brahma, we know philosophically, through disciplic succession, that Lord Shiva is not a living entity on the same level as Lord Brahma, but rather Lord Brahma is subordinate to Lord Shiva. So in the many temples where we have seen the Shiva-lingam, for example, as the most prominent deity, and Lord Brahma as the subsidiary deity, we know philosophically that this is correct.
We find the presence of Lord Brahma in a great many temples, both in his deity form and featured in various aspects of the temple. Of course, we're not absolutely sure whether the kings, architects or craftsmen who were involved in constructing these temples had exactly the same understanding that we do, what disciplic succession or Vaisnava sampradaya they were gaining inspiration from, or the detailed knowledge they were working from. Regardless, they were obviously empowered by Sri Krsna, and through his disciplic succession, through Lord Brahma, they created manifestations that cannot be created in the present age. Srila Prabhupada mentions the fact that regardless of how much money you might have today, you cannot create anything like what was created hundreds and thousands of years ago, when many of these temples came into being.
So we are very fortunate to understand philosophically Lord Brahma's position, and to follow in his disciplic succession. Sastra tells us that in the case of Lord Brahma, sometimes in the universe there isn't a suitable person to take on Brahma's empowered role, so Krsna Himself temporarily accepts that position. Similarly, throughout the ages in our disciplic succession, Sri Krsna Himself has appeared. In the case of Lord Caitanya, He appeared in our sampradaya in order to surcharge it and present the acintya-bheda bheda-tattva philosophy, the ultimate perfection of the Absolute Truth, and to establish the Sankirtana movement. So the importance of our sampradaya, and the very concept of sampradaya, is what we have been emphasizing here at the Sampradaya Sun.
Our ultimate philosophical goal is to inform our readers of the fact that the sampradaya is all-important. Our sampradaya is coming directly from Lord Brahma, so we have been very pleased to offer this presentation of the history of Brahmadeva's worship. We have also been emphasizing the fact that there is a level in our sampradaya, which we refer to as the Sampradaya Acaryas. They have been listed by Srila Prabhupada's Spiritual Master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, who listed 31 Sampradaya Acaryas going back to Lord Brahma. He himself is in that category, as is His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. So the philosophical enlightenment that was given to Lord Brahma has been passed down, and has not been changed or altered, other than by the Appearance of Sri Krsna and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Those who can recognize this Sampradaya, and the Acaryas who have been sent by the Lord to maintain the flow of pure knowledge, are very fortunate indeed.
Having been given this opportunity to be connected to the Sampradaya, we should place the utmost importance on the fact that we are connected to Srila Prabhupada, and we appreciate and understand him to be the pure unalloyed representative of Lord Brahma. And just as uninformed persons may foolishly, without proper knowledge, worship Lord Brahma as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or Lord Shiva or any other demigod, in the same way there is a tendency to give Sampradaya Acarya status to persons who are not actually on that level of purity. Offering such worship to one who is not on that echelon of our Sampradaya can waylay and interfere with one's spiritual advancement in Krsna Consciousness.
We are advocating that the position of these Sampradaya Acaryas is to be appreciated and recognized, and this will lead to success in our spiritual life, advancing the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to spread Krsna Consciousness throughout the world. We should know by now, after the departure of the last Sampradaya Acarya, what kind of problems or interference can be introduced by Maya devi, as has been done many times in the past. Again and again this has required the appearance of another nitya-siddha Sampradaya Acarya, or even the Lord Himself. So we are trying to point out that many problems we encounter in the execution of our personal Krsna Consciousness, or in the collective spreading of Krsna Consciousness, can be resolved if the proper philosophical understanding is given of the Sampradaya Acarya, and if that understanding is promoted.
Lord Brahma himself had problems, which are articulated in our scriptures. He felt he was independent of Krsna, and of course, Krsna enlightened him that this wasn't his position. There is the pastime wherein Lord Brahma stole all the cowherd boys, just to see what Lord Krsna would do. This proved that Lord Krsna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because Krsna immediately manifested the cowherd boys, who of course, are direct expansions of Himself. Whenever the disciples of Srila Prabhupada would mistakenly find fault with Lord Brahma due to the pastimes found in sastra, Srila Prabhupada would get very angry and point out that it's stated that Lord Brahma performed these pastimes to show you by example what not to do. Whether he was attracted to his daughter, or stole the cowherd boys, or gave a benediction to Hiranyakasipu, these are all pastimes.
So if one wants to enter into this Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, one has to have a deep and abiding appreciation for the original Founder-Acarya, Lord Brahma. We are hoping that this presentation will help our readers in some small way to achieve that goal.
Lord Brahma on Hamsa
Murshidabad, 19th c.
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