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 is responsible for the creation and is one of the Trimurti (Hindu Trinity) and the other two being Vishnu and Shiva. He is typically shown with four heads, each facing a cardinal direction, and four hands.

This relief is carved on a pillar on the south side of the exterior wall surrounding the garbhagriha of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple in Karnataka, India. 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 hands, two on each side, and each carrying an object.

He is carrying a spoon (used for pouring ghee into the yagna pyre) and japamāla (prayer beads) with his right hands, a kamandala (water jug) and a book (Vedas) with his left hands. Brahma’s vāhana (vehicle) Hamsa (Swan) is carved on the bottom right.

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
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Masterpiece of Hoysala Temple Art

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