Is there any Vedic verse that explicitly says Brahma and Shiva did not exist before creation?

Many verses say only Brahman existed before creation. But what about Brahma and Shiva?

  • 1
    You are mixing Shiva and Mahadev. Formal is 'Nirakar' and later is 'Sakar.
    – Ubi.B
    Dec 31, 2019 at 2:23
  • 3
    This question was totally opinion based, many richas, suktas, verses & upanishad says different things. Dec 31, 2019 at 5:32
  • 3
    To be honest neither your question nor your answer is convincing, it appears you are just trying to mold the verses translation to justify your answer.
    – Just_Do_It
    Dec 31, 2019 at 13:11
  • @Just_Do_It The verse quite literally says that Ishana (shiva) and Brahma didn't exist before creation. Now you can interpret these 3 names in a figurative way, but why should the figurative way be taken over the literal?
    – Ikshvaku
    Dec 31, 2019 at 13:37
  • 3
    this question is a push-poll - "I have drawn a conclusion" - now find the evidence.
    – S K
    Mar 7, 2020 at 11:55

3 Answers 3


Is there any Vedic verse that explicitly says Brahma and Shiva did not exist before creation?

No. As per the Vedas and Upanishad. Shiv, Vishnu and Brahma are one. For ex:-eighth mantra of Kaivalya Upanishad.

स ब्रह्मा स शिवः सेन्द्रः सोऽक्षरः परमः स्वराट् । स एव विष्णुः स प्राणः स कालोऽग्निः स चन्द्रमाः॥८॥

  1. He is Brahma, he is Siva, he is Indra. He is the imperishable, supreme self illumined Lord. He alone is Vishnu. He is the life giving breath. He is time, he is fire, and also the moon.

So the Trinity of Hinduism are actually three forms of Superme God who created the whole world. Same thing is written in vishnav and shaiv Upanishads.

  • Narayan Upanishad Mantra 2

ॐ । अथ नित्यो नारायणः । ब्रह्मा नारायणः । शिवश्च नारायणः । शक्रश्च नारायणः । द्यावापृथिव्यौ च नारायणः । कालश्च नारायणः । दिशश्च नारायणः । ऊर्ध्वश्च नारायणः । अधश्च नारायणः । अन्तर्बहिश्च नारायणः । नारायण एवेदꣳ सर्वम् । यद्भूतं यच्च भव्यम् । निष्कलो निरञ्जनो निर्विकल्पो निराख्यातः शुद्धो देव एको नारायणः । न द्वितीयोऽस्ति कश्चित् । य एवं वेद । स विष्णुरेव भवति स विष्णुरेव भवति ॥ (एतद्यजुर्वेदशिरोऽधीते ।)॥२॥

  1. He is perennial. Narayana is Brahma. Narayana is Shiva. Narayana is Indra and Kaala (god of death). All directions are Narayana. All sides are Narayana. Inside and outside is Narayana. Narayana is what has happened, what is happening and what will happen. Narayana is the only God who is blemish less, stain less, order less, end less and who cannot be described and when Narayana is there, there is no other second. He who knows this, becomes himself Lord Vishnu. Thus is read, the Upanishads of Yajur Veda.

The same thing is written about Rudra (Shiva) in Atharvashir Upanishad Mantra 2.

  1. He who is Rudra is verily the Lord; He who is Brahma, Bhuh, Bhuvah, and Suvah. Salutation to Him over and over, who is the head (Svhaa or the fourth)! Om, O goal of humanity, Thou art mukti formed. He who is Rudra is verily the Lord; He who is Vishnu is verily the Lord. He who is Mahesvara is verily the Lord. He who is Uma is verily the Lord. He who is Vinayaka is verily the Lord. He who is Skanda is verily the Lord. He who is Indra is verily the Lord.

So Upanishads are again and again saying the same thing that:-


Is there any Vedic verse that explicitly says Brahma and Shiva did not exist before creation?

Yes. For example this verse from the Maha Upanishad:

eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsIt, na brahmA neshAnaH

Only Narayana was there. Not Brahma, nor Shiva.

The modern day Mahopanishad is interpolated but this verse was cited by many ancient Vedantins including Yamunacharya, Ramanujacharya, Vedanta Desika, Yadavaprakasha, and Narayanacharya.

Also, this verse also exists in the Paingirahasya Brahmana in a slightly modified form with sandhis:

eko ha vai nārāyaṇa āsīn na brahmā na ca śaṅkaraḥ

The Paingirahasya Brahmana is an extinct Brahmana of the Rig Veda. Only some verses have survived through citations.

Also, according to the Taittiriya Upanishad, the Devas, Indra, Brihaspati, and Brahma are not the supreme Brahman because the bliss that they experience is much less than the bliss that Brahman experiences:

One hundred times that bliss of the Devas is one measure of the bliss of Indra, and likewise of a great sage who is free from desires.

One hundred times that bliss of Indra is one measure of the bliss of Brihaspati, and likewise of a great sage who is free from desires.

One hundred times that bliss of Brihaspati is one measure of the bliss of Pragâpati, and likewise of a great sage who is free from desires.

One hundred times that bliss of Pragâpati is one measure of the bliss of Brahman, and likewise of a great sage who is free from desires.

Because Brahman is mentioned apart from Prajapati, Brihaspati, Indra, and the Devas, it stands that those Devas are not Brahman according to this Upanishad.

  • 2
    So does neshAnaH means shiva?
    – Just_Do_It
    Dec 30, 2019 at 22:00
  • 1
    @Just_Do_It NeshAnaH is "na + IshAnaH"
    – Ikshvaku
    Dec 30, 2019 at 22:02
  • 3
    IshAna literally means ruler. It is sometimes applied to Vishnu, sometimes to Shiva and sometimes to neither of these Gods. Prajapati is also applied to Vishnu sometimes. "IshAnah prANadah prANo jyeSTah SreshTah prajApatih" - says the Vishnu sahasranama.
    – user16581
    Dec 31, 2019 at 2:22
  • 4
    Rudra is an even more common name of Shiva and Shruti says Rudra is brahman, Rudra is One, there is no second (creator).
    – user16581
    Dec 31, 2019 at 3:29
  • 4
    @Ikshvaku: The usage of "Narayana" as VISHNU, does not appear in Rig Veda. So your quoting the verse from Maha Upanishad, to prove the SUPREMACY of Narayana over Shiva and Brahma, is wrong. Can you quote something else from Rig Veda, to prove your point? Mar 7, 2020 at 6:12

Is there any Vedic verse that explicitly says Brahma and Shiva did not exist before creation?

Here is a partial answer. Yes, the Brihadaranyaka upanishad 1.4.11 mentions that Rudra (Shiva) was created by brahman, implying that Rudra did not exist before creation.

brahma va idamagra āsīdekameva; tadekaṃ sanna vyabhavat | tacchreyorūpamatyasṛjata kṣatram, yānyetāni devatrā kṣatrāṇi—indro varuṇaḥ somo rudraḥ parjanyo yamo mṛityurīśāna iti | tasmātkṣatrātparaṃ nasti; tasmātbrāhmaṇaḥ kṣatriyamadhastādupāste rājasūye, kṣatra eva tadyaśo dadhāti; saiṣā kṣatrasya yoniryadbrahma | tasmādyadyapi rājā paramatām gacchati brahmaivāntata upaniśrayati svām yonim; ya u enaṃ hinasti svāṃ sa yonimṛcchati, sa pāpīyān bhavati, yathā sreyāṃsaṃ hiṃsitvā || 11 ||

  1. In the beginning this (the Kṣatriya and other castes) was indeed Brahman, one only. Being one, he did not flourish. He specially projected an excellent form, the Kṣatriya—those who are Kṣatriyas among the gods: Indra, Varuṇa, the moon, Rudra, Parjanya, Yama, Death, and Iśāna. Therefore there is none higher than the Kṣatriya. Hence the Brāhmaṇa worships the Kṣatriya from a lower position in the Rājasūya sacrifice. He imparts that glory to the Kṣatriya. The Brāhmaṇa is the source of the Kṣatriya. Therefore, although the king attains supremacy (in the sacrifice), at the end of it he resorts to the Brāhmaṇa, his source. He who slights the Brahmaṇa, strikes at his own source. He becomes more wicked, as one is by slighting one’s superior.

That the above verse is talking of creation of Rudra (and not one of the Rudras) can be inferred by the subsequent verse that mentions creation of Rudras.

sa naiva vyabhavat, sa viśamasṛjata, yānyetāni devajātāni gaṇaśa ākhyāyante—vasavo rudrā ādityā viśvedevā maruta iti || 12 ||

  1. Yet he did not flourish. He projected the Vaiśya—those species of gods who are designated in groups: The Vasus, Rudras, Adityas, Viśvadevas and Maruts.
  • 1
    It is estb. that Rudra and Shiva are not equivalent.
    – sbharti
    Sep 1, 2021 at 16:36
  • 1
    adbhutam.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/… In this article the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad mantra 1.4.11 is discussed along with Shankaracharya's bhashya. Also, the Atharva shikha Upanishad says 'The Trimurtis were born of Shambhu', the Kaivalya Upanishad portrays Shiva as the Jagatkaranam, the Shvetashvatara Upanishat too says that Brahma (the Four-faced) was created by Shiva and blessed with all Vedic knowledge. The Atharva Shira Upanishad describes the Vishva Rupa of Rudra. Sep 8, 2021 at 11:40

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