Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Brahma

Brahma carved on the south exterior wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple in Karnataka, India

Brahma carved on the south exterior wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple

In Hindu mythology, Brahma, the God responsible for the creation, is one of the Trimurti (Hindu Trinity). The depictions of Brahma with standard iconography show him with four heads, each facing a cardinal direction and four arms.

As you can see from the image, Brahma has three heads (the assumption is that the fourth head [facing east] is not visible) and four arms, two on each side. Brahma, with his two right hands, is holding a spoon (used for pouring ghee into the yagna pyre and japamāla (prayer beads), and with his two left hands, a kamandala (water jug) and a book (Vedas).

Carved on the bottom right is Brahma’s vāhana (vehicle) Hamsa (Swan), and on the bottom left are the two unidentified figures.

This sculptural relief is on a pillar standing on the south side of the exterior wall surrounding the garbhagriha of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple in Karnataka, India.

Although Brahma is the creator in Hindu mythology, he is not worshiped as widely as Vishnu or Shiva. There are very few temples dedicated to Brahma in the world. The Brahma Temple in Prambanan (in Yogyakarta, Indonesia) is one of the few temples dedicated to Brahma. The other well-known Brahma Temple is in Pushkar, Rajasthan, India.

There are several legends why Brahma is not worshiped. According to one legend, his consort Savitri, who was angered by Brahma’s extreme lust, cursed him not to be worshiped anywhere in the world except in Pushkar. In another legend, Shiva cursed Brahma because he lied to him and Vishnu about their creation.

Shilābālikes – Bracket figures mounted below the eaves
Darpana Sundari, Sukha Bhashini, Nātya Sundari, Gāna Sundari, Kesha Sundari, Tribhangi, Nagna Sundari, Kapāla Durga, Koravanji, Nātya Mohini, Betegārthi

Male Bracket Figures
Flute playing male musician
Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer
Davane playing male musician

Related Pages
Hoysala Temples:
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
Somanathapura Keshava Temple
Badami Chalukya Temples:
Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4
Durga Temple at Aihole

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