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Somanathapura Keshava Temple: Brahma


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 sculpture is mounted on a pillar on the exterior wall surrounding the south garbhagriha of the Somanthapura 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.

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.

Related Images
Brahma carved on the exterior wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple
Brahma in Prambanan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Brahma in a cocoon – A section of the bas-relief carved in the lower-level gallery of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Related Pages
Hoysala Temples:
Somanathapura Keshava Temple
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
Badami Chalukya Temples:
Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4
Durga Temple at Aihole
Vijayanagara Temples:
Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals
Angkor Wat Temples:
Angkor Wat Temple, Angkor Wat Bas-Reliefs, Banteay Srei Temple in Cambodia

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