The second folly of Brahma

Continued from: creator-god-brahma-the-incestuous-fifth-head-needs-to-be-lost

In the first story Shiva reprimanded Brahma for harassing the Goddess he had split from his own body. Brahma lost his fifth head of lust. Once the head was removed he realized his misdeed and apologized. The Goddess forgave him and granted him a consort, Saraswati. She is also known as Savitri or Sharada. She was the Goddess of wisdom, learning, arts and sciences. Scholars and sages revered Saraswati and Brahma. Together they created a treasure of wisdom and skills then taught them to the world.

Brahma and saraswati at Halebid, Karnataka

Among Brahma’s ten Manasputras (Men created with the power of his thoughts), was Rishi Vashishtha. Vashishtha’s grandson Rishi Parashar was also a great sage. It has been mentioned in Padma puran that a demon Vajranabh tormented Parashar’s disciples and he prayed to Brahma for help. Brahma threw his lotus flower at Vajranabh and the demon was slain.

The place at which the lotus’s petals fell a lake was created. This place was named Pushkar. It was created by the flower held in Brahma’s palm (pushp- flower kar- palm). Parashar and his descendants were then told by Brahma to make this place their home. Brahma then decided to perform a yajna, a fire sacrifice to mark the city’s birth.

Saraswati asked his permission to invite her friends, Luxmi, Parvati and Indra’s wife Shachi. She got delayed going to each one’s home. Brahma was infuriated. It was mandatory for a wife to accompany her husband to perform the rites. He decided to go ahead without her and summoned Indra to find another suitable wife for him at the soonest.

Indra identified a local Gujjar (cowherd community) girl to marry him. Vishnu remained quiet and did not object. They named her Gayatri and married her to Brahma.
Shiva was invited too. When he learnt about Brahma’s impatience and disregard for Saraswati, he was displeased. He presented himself dressed as a fearsome aghori holding a skull.
Brahma objected to his inappropriate attire and gesture. Shiva filled the whole place with skulls. Brahma was perplexed and meditated to know the reason of Shiva’s odd behaviour. Soon he understood that Shiva was showing him the skulls as a warning. Reminding him of his earlier folly of disrespecting the Goddess. And the consequences he and his alliances would bear as a result. But it was too late by then.
When Saraswati arrived at the venue, she found the new wife Gayatri sitting next to Brahma in her rightful place. Agitated with the humiliation, she cursed Brahma that he would no longer be worshiped.
Savitri also cursed Indra to be easily defeated in battles, Vishnu to suffer the separation from his wife as a human, the fire-god Agni who had accepted the yajna offerings was cursed to to ever hungry and burn without discretion, all that came his way. The priests presiding over the yajna were cursed to remain poor all their lives. Saraswati then left the venue. Everyone panicked.
Endowed by the powers granted to her by Gods in her wedding, Gayatri diluted Savitri’s curse. She blessed that at Pushkar Brahma would always be worshiped. Indra would defeated but would always regain his heaven, Vishnu would be born as the human Rama and finally unite with his consort. The priests would become scholars and be venerated. Rishi Vishwamitra then honoured her benevolence by writing the Gayatri mantra and dedicating it to her.

Pushkar A sadhu with the shiva trident-Photograph by-Martin Hurlimann, 1928

The most important temple in Pushkar is the Brahma temple. Though the current structure dates to the 14th century, the original temple is believed to be 2000 years old. sage Vishwamitra built the temple after Brahma‘s yajna. The Brahma mandir of Pushkar is the only temple of Brahma in India but holds a lot of importance.
The householders are not allowed in the sanctum sanctorum. Only ascetics (sanyasis) can perform the puja to the deity. Hence, all offerings by pilgrims are made through a sanyasi. The priests of the temple, belong to the Parashar gotra (lineage).
Brahma’s two consorts Savitri and Gayatri mentioned in the legend, have separate temples erected for them in Pushkar, but on hills at opposite ends of the lake. The first consort Savitri, is said to be still seating annoyed and enraged in her shrine on the highest hill in Pushkar. Gayatri afraid of Savatri’s wrath sits at a lower hill at the other end, the eastern side of the lake.
International Business Times identified Pushkar Lake and the Brahma temple as one of the ten most religious places in the world and one of the five main sacred pilgrimage places for the Hindus, in India.
Once a year, on Kartik Poornima, the full moon night of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik (October – November), a religious festival is held in Brahma’s honour. Thousands of pilgrims come to bathe in the holy Pushkar Lake, adjacent to the temple. Various rites are also held at the temple during the fair. The day also marks the famous Pushkar Camel Fair, held nearby.

Annual Pushkar camel fair on Kartik Poornima.

Significance of the story
The story is a reminder that however great people might be, they need to keep their ego in control and behave respectfully towards their family. The associates who become silent party to a wrongdoing, have to suffer too. How society’s honour makes powerful men vain.

Little errors that are ignored or forgiven by normal people become intolerable for the high and mighty. To punish a delay in reporting for the fire sacrifice, Brahma replaced his wife with another. He suffered the consequence of publicly humiliating his wife by losing his esteem.

The practice of forbidding family men from entering the main temple is a gentle reminder to respect the rights of a wife.

For the story of third sin that banished Brahma from the main land of India go to: the-third-sin-of-brahma


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