Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 2

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BY: SUN STAFF - 20.11 2017

Lord Brahma

A serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.

Lord Brahma Temple - Pushkar, Rajasthan

In Pushkar, Rajasthan, close to Ajmer, is the second of the two most famous temples in India dedicated to the worship of Lord Brahma. Pushkar is situated 11 km. to the North-West of Ajmer and 400 km. from Delhi, nestled in the Pushkar valley beyond Nagaparvat and the Anasagar Lake. The desert city is mentioned in the epic Mahabharat and Ramayana, which refer to it as Adi Tirtha. Evidence exists to establish that Pushkar existed at least as early as the 4th century. The poet Kalidas also mentions Pushkar in his classic Abhigyan Sakuntalam.

Sri Brahma Temple is highly recognizable thanks to its bright red sikhara (spire), which can be seen for a long distance. The temple iconography includes Lord Brahma's Hansa-vahana, his swan carrier, who is also associated with Saraswati Devi. The image of Hansa above the main doorway also distinguishes the temple from others nearby.

Sri Brahma Temple, Outer Shrine

The temple was originally built in the 14th century, and stands on a raised platform. The main temple structure is built from marble and is decorated with silver coin. Marble steps lead up to the temple. Inside, a beautiful silver turtle is found on the temple floor, facing the main altar.

In the sanctum sanctorum, devotees get darshan of an exceptionally beautiful Deity of Lord Brahma and his consorts. This four-headed Deity of Lord Brahma is in a sitting position, with Savitri on his right and Gayatri on the left side. The altar is clad in silver, with beautiful iconography on either side depicting Lord Brahma's attributes.

In front of the temple are two small structures, one of which is dedicated to Kuvera, the demigod in charge of wealth. It is said that Kuvera himself donated a large sum to Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala. Kuvera is one of the ashta dikpalakas, or eight devatas in charge of the eight directions, Kuvera taking residence in the North.

The second shrine outside the Brahma temple is dedicated to Lord Indra, and this small temple look East. Both Kuvera and Indra serve Lord Brahma here as dwara palakas, guarding the temple from invisible entrants or unwanted visitors.

The Brahma Kund, a holy lake adjacent to the Sri Brahma temple, is said in Padma Purana to have been created when the demon Vajra Nabha killed Brahma's children. Brahmadev in turn struck the asura with his weapon, a lotus flower. Vajra Nabha died upon impact, and the petals of the lotus fell at three places, one of which is Pushkar, where a lake immediately manifested.

Lord Brahma is said to have performed a great fire sacrifice at this lake, on Kartik Purnima, along with many of the demigods. Each year on the full moon night of Kartika (Oct-Nov), a great festival is held in Sri Brahma's honor, and throngs of pilgrims come to bathe in the Brahma Kund. Pilgrims begin taking holy bath four days prior to the full moon, and taking bath in the sarovar here is said to bring salvation.

Sri Brahma Kund

Because Lord Brahma threw the pushpa (flower) with his kar (hand), the place took the name 'Pushkar'. It is said that Lord Brahma's lotus flower fell in three separate places around Pushkar, and that water came up from the ground at each place. These three spots are located within a six mile radius. The spot where the first lotus fell is known as Senior Pushkar. Although it is now replete with hotels and modern amenities, it is considered the most holy, because the lotus fell here first. Down the road a few km. is Middle Pushkar, which has a small Hanuman temple and a 200-year-old banyan tree. And 3 km. north is the New (Junior) Pushkar, which is home to a small Krishna temple.

When Lord Brahma made arrangements to perform his great yajna here, he needed the assistance of his wife, Savitri. Because she was late in coming, Brahma requested that Indra arrange a marriage for him, so that he could fulfill his religious duties. A daughter named Gayatri was manifested by the priest, and because she was of low caste, she was purified for the marriage. It is said that when Savitri arrived and found that Brahma had married without her permission, she cursed him that he would only be worshiped at Pushkar. In her rage, Savitri then established a temple on top of Rathkagir, a hill to the south of Pushkar. Indra's participation in this pastime is no doubt the reason he is duly represented at the temple entrance shrine in his honor, next to Kuvera.

Each year, the great Pushkar Fair is celebrated with much fanfare, and foreign tourists throng to the event. The fair has no connection with Lord Brahma, but many tourists coming to the area also visit the Sri Brahma temple. The Pushkar Fair began as a trade fair for camels and cattle, but is now known to tourists for the trade of tribal textiles and crafts.

Main Temple Entrance