Monday, November 2, 2015

Guide. Pattanaik's Calendar Art: Part F (Brahma)

As of July 2018, these videos were no longer at YouTube, but hopefully they will return.
These two videos come from Devdutt Pattanaik's Seven Secrets from Hindu Calendar Art.

7-1. Brahma's Secret Part 1 (13 min.)

7-2. Brahma's Secret Part 2 (8 min.)

Brahma the Creator

"No festival, no ritual, no prayer for Brahma. Why so? To understand this we have to ask ourselves two questions: Why do we want the creator to be so acknowledged? Why is the creator in Hindu mythology not given the same status as the preserver or the destroyer?"

"When the word 'creator' is uttered, we take the Bible as the reference point and assume that since God is the creator there, it must be so in the Hindu world as well. But in the Hindu world, creation happens for a reason, and Brahma forgets that reason, which is why he is declared unworthy of worship."

The Purpose of the World

"In the Vedas, the poets wonder why the world exists. After much deliberation, they conclude that it exists to help us know ourselves."

"Brahma created the world to understand who he was. The world was a woman, his creation, hence his daughter." [DP then tells the story of how Brahma grew four heads to watch her wherever she went, and how as she changed forms he did too: she became a cow, he a bull; she a goose, he a gander.]

"He became so obsessed with controlling her, conquering her, that he kept turning into the male counterpart of her female form. Little did he realize that she was material reality, forever restless; she was Shatarupa, she of myriad forms. She was matter, Prakriti. She was energy, Shakti. She was the great delusion of life — Maya."

Shiva and Vishnu

"Shiva cuts the fifth head of Brahma and uses his skull as a drinking bowl. Shiva is Bhairava, who opposes Brahma's lustful intent."

"Shiva is Bhairava, the fearsome guardian of the Goddess. In his hand is Brahma's fifth head. The fifth head indicates the ego — that part of the mind that seeks control over material reality. Shiva is everything Brahma is not. Shiva destroys what Brahma creates."

"The purpose of life is to realize the ego and overpower it — either destroy it as Shiva does or be detached from it as Vishnu is."


[DP then discusses Saraswati, Brahma's consort, the goddess of knowledge.]

"As a human being one is blessed with the ability to reflect on existence and think about its meaning. This reflection leads to self-discovery."


[DP discusses the reincarnation cycle of life and death.]

"Karma determines all things over which we have no control: our bodies, our parents, the circumstances of our life."

"The ego has no memory of actions performed in past lives. It refuses to take responsibility as creator of the world around him." [So we are like Brahma, looking without instead of within.]

Astrology and Geomancy

"Karma is manifested through nine celestial bodies, the Nava-Grahas, who rule time." [DP then discusses the Vedic art of Jyotish-shastra, the science of light, or astrology.]

"Using gems and certain chants and rituals, one can increase or decrease the influence of a particular Graha in our life. Thus we can influence the future. It is not just fate; there is free will."

[DP also discusses Vastu-shastra, the science of space, geomancy.]

"Vastu Purusha was a demon who tried to rise from the earth and block the sky. The various gods pinned him down. Each god is ruler of the point where he still holds down the demon. [North is Kubera, South is Yama, East is Indra, West is Varuna, North-East is Soma, South-West is Surya, North-West is Vayu, South-East is Agni.]


[DP discusses the wealth that lies underground and the important of Nagas.]

"Nagas are said to have a gem on their hoods. This gem, or the Naga-mani, has the power to fulfill any dream or give shape to any wish."

Yakshas and Vrats

[DP now discusses Yakshas, who hoard wealth.]

[DP then discusses the rituals known as Vrats. He starts with the Satya-Narayan-Vrat and the Santoshi-maa-Vrat, which are both household rituals, and they each have their own associated story.]

"Seeking a boon and a blessing from a god, a God, a goddess, or a Goddess is considered a good thing, and the best way to overturn the vagaries of fate."

Vishnu and the Elephant

[DP tells the story of Gajendra Moksha: Vishnu rescuing an elephant from the jaws of a crocodile, symbolizing liberation from being trapped in life's misery.]

Hanuman the Monkey-God

"Hanuman is called Sankat-mocham, the remover of problems. He is worshipped by people in the hope that he will destroy the problems in their lives the way he solved all of Ram's problems."

"Monkeys represent the restless and curious mind. Hanuman is a mind that has focused on God. Ram, as God, rests in Hanuman's heart. And this faith in God has made Hanuman powerful. It helps him triumph over the vagaries of fate."

"If a monkey can become God, so can man. Thus, there is still hope for Brahma, the unworshipped God."

(Brahma and his vahana, the goose; Brooklyn Museum)

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