Reasons why we worship Shiva (the destroyer) but not Brahma (the creator)

As we are aware, there are few temples of Brahma; one at Pushkar in Rajasthan and another is in Tamil Nadu called Kumbakonam. The stranger fact is that there still is no tradition of worshipping Brahma in the Indian culture. Even in the Trimurti Holy Trinity concept- G.O. D- defined as Generator, Organizer, and Destroyer. Creator, Brahma is identified as the Generator or the Creator. However, this exists only in principle. For one, there are not many Trimurti temples in India and two, even if there are, it is always Devi’s idol in place of Brahma.

Why there are no Brahma Temples?

In his appearance, Brahma carries four heads, which are considered as originated from the four Vedas. Brahma’s companion is Saraswati, goddess of knowledge. Thus, from his very origin, Brahma is associated with the philosophy of life.

Brahma’s role as a philosopher has an extended logic in Hinduism too. During the Vedic time, 4000 years ago, there was no culture of idol worship. It was only about praying to nature Gods. Even when the yagnas were performed, it was conducted to please the nature Gods.

Over to the Puranic period, the temples existed which were conducted by the Brahmanas to organize yagnas. The then temples (like a theatre hall) layout was very different from the layout of temples we see today and there were only idols of Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi. Brahma was still not worshipped because he was still associated with the Puranic period when there was no concept of worshipping idols. In the Vedic period, Puranic practices were abandoned.

Why there is no tradition of worshipping Brahma?

As per a story in the Vaishnava tradition, when there was chaos in the Universe and when he woke, the universe was born. From Vishnu’s naval emerged Brahma, who got scared on seeing the world at the first sight. So, nobody worships a scared God.

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Lord Krishna says in Bg 14.27

brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham

I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman

However, a more prominent explanation can be found in the way the Vaishnava tradition is. It identifies with Brahma as the impersonal aspect or representing the extreme end of the enlighten of God.

On the contrary, the followers of the Vaishnava tradition worship Bhagavan or Supreme Person. Vaishnavas revere Krishna/Rama/Vishnu as the physical manifestations of the Supreme Lord and believe, that they (the three Gods) are followed by all other (small) deities as well. Vaishnavas also follow a Vaishnava Guru, who possesses the spiritual and knowledge of Vaishnava practices. Ramayana and Mahabharata, are essential to Vaishnava philosophy and culture and so is Vaishnava Upanishads

Vishnu is within their heart as-Paramatma and Vishnu is revered as a personality too as-Bhagavan.

Another story is attached to the Shaiva tradition. According to it, there was a fight between Brahma and Vishnu as to who was more supreme. Shiva finally intervened and appeared in form of Jyotirstambha. He then asked Brahma and Vishnu to place the start and end of the big flame, he was. Brahma went in the upward direction to find the beginning point. Both were not able to find the beginning or the end. But, during this process, Brahma lied that he had reached the beginning. As a testimony to this fact, he told a Ketaki Pushp, who was descending at that time and who Brahma happened to meet while ascending to find the top corner. After the Ketaki Pushp told him that he had fallen from the fire top, Brahma realized that it would take him a long time to reach the top. He convinced Ketaki to lie and say to Shiva that he (Brahma) reached the top. Shiva came to know of his lie and cursed him that he (Brahma) would never be worshipped.

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Shiva linga
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Why do we worship the destroyer and not the creator?

Even though the word destroyer has a negative connotation, we worship Shiva, because we revere him as a GOD who destroyed the evil. According to the Rig Veda, Buddhism derecognized creation by attaching it to the word ‘desire’ and in that sense, creation came to be dissociated with something positive and became attached to a negative connotation ‘desire’ the root cause of all sufferings.

Another story as a part of Hindu story is that when Brahma created Shatarupa (a woman), to help him with his job of creation, he eventually became obsessed with her because she was so beautiful. This is how Brahma came to be associated with the word ‘desire’. It was Lord Shiva who finally reprimanded Brahma for his behavior. He cursed Brahma that he will not be worshipped for his unholy act.

There is another point of view which tells that Brahma’s role as a creator is over and now it is Vishnu, the preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer, who will continue functioning of the Cosmic Universe.

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