One of debate with friends lead me to write this question, please guide me.

Update Thanks for all the answers, again for common men like me it's very difficult to digest complex scenarios/answers. It helps if someone describes in simple terms so that then I can continue my study step by step.

Or else kindly provide me book or online link where I can read from scratch.

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    Possible duplicate of How were the Trimurthi born?
    – The Destroyer
    Nov 22, 2015 at 13:24
  • There are 2 types of destruction - Pralaya and Maha Pralaya. At the end of Brahma's day(Kalpa), Pralaya commences which is of the same period as 1 Kalpa. This is the night for Brahma, he rests in this period. Brahma's lifetime is 100 years(these years are much longer than human years). At the end of his lifetime, he dies. He is re-born when the new creation starts. So, if we are talking about Pralaya then Brahma sleeps and if we talk about Maha Pralaya then he dies.
    – Pinakin
    Nov 22, 2015 at 13:46
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    In your dreams, you find yourself - the world of dream is created by you (a Brahma), but where were you before dream was created.
    – Srikanth
    Nov 22, 2015 at 14:01
  • @ChinmaySarupria Actually, the same Brahma isn't reborn. Brahma attains Moksha at the end of the Mahakalpa, and then a new Brahma is born to take his place. See my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/9100/36 Nov 22, 2015 at 14:41

2 Answers 2


This is described in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad I. iv. 1. and Sankara's commentary on this verse. The verse reads (Swami Madhavananda translator):

In the beginning, this (universe) was but the self (Viraj) of a human form. He reflected and found nothing but himself. He first uttered, 'I am he.' Therefore he was called Aham (I). Hence, to this day, when a person is addressed, he first says, 'It is I,' and then says the other name that he may have. Because he was first and before this whole (band of aspirants) burnt all evils, therefore he is called Purusa. He who knows thus indeeds burns one who wants to be (Viraj) before him.

A brief summary of this verse and Sankara's commentary is done by Swami Nikhikananda (The Upanishads, V1, p 74):

Too give a brief outline of this interpretation of the creation: In the beginning--that is to say, before the evolution of names and forms, time and space--Atman, or Brahman, alone exists. Then it becomes conditoned by maya, Its own inscrutable power. At that time Brahman is called Saguna Brahman--Mahesvara, or the Great Lord. The idea of creation arises in his mind. Sa aikshata-- "He thought." Then Brahman, on account of maya, forgets, as it were, Its infinite nature and regards Itself as an individual entity. It says: "I am one; I shall be many."

Three "moments" are to be distinguished in creation: First, the Supreme Brahman accepts the limitation of maya and becomes Mahesvara. Second, the desire for creation arises in his mind. Third, He feels his loneliness and decides to multiply Himself. Then, with the help of maya, He creates akasa, air [or space] and the other elements.

Mahesvara, who is the Ruler of all the Brahmandas, is thus the First Person in the creation. Hiranyagarbha, or Brahma, who as a result of spiritual disciplines practiced in a previous cycle, becomes the Ruler of a Brahmanda, is the Second Person. Though possessed of an individuality, He identifies Himself with the whole universe; He is described in the Vedas as endowed with innumerable heads, innumerable eyes, and innumerable feet. And the Godhead dwelling in every heart is the Third Person, He is Antaryamin, or the Inner Guide.

  • You said in my other question that Brahman has no desire and there is no creation but here you are saying he has desire and he did create. I did read that the desire is of Saguna Brahman but Saguna Brahman is the Nirguna Brahman seen through the lens of Maya. We are under the influence of Maya, Saguna Brahman is not. So how can Mahesvara i.e Shiva forget his own identity? He is above Maya after all.
    – Pinakin
    Nov 24, 2015 at 6:47
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    @ChinmaySarupria The creation is only apparent, it is only seen from within maya. Sankara calls this vivarta vada - apparent manifestation. There is an excellent discussion by Swami Vireswarananda in his introduction to his translation of the Brahma Sutras. Available here - wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/index.html Nov 25, 2015 at 10:39
  • @Swamiji : This answer is from the Advaitic perspective. My guess is the OP asked it more from a mythological, event-sequence, a more gross context. A great answer still. "He reflected and found nothing but himself." : Doesn't this indicate incompleteness or a vacuum, a lack of love, of dissatisfaction of the Undivided One with its own current state ? Yet the Highest is said to be beyond all seeking, is the highest seeking of creating a second so that It can love a new another part of itself , exempt from the definition of the Transcendental One ?
    – Whirl Mind
    Nov 25, 2015 at 16:41

From a mythological perspective, Brahma was created from a lotus emerging from Lord Vishnu's navel.

In addition to other puranas, the Bhagavata Purana, 3.28.25 mentions this :

The yogi should then meditate on His moonlike navel in the center of His abdomen. From His navel, which is the foundation of the entire universe, sprang the lotus stem containing all the different planetary systems. The lotus is the residence of Brahma, the first created being.

More from this :



The deity of Garbhodakasayi Visnu giving birth to Lord Brahma at Thiruvelliyankudi is a configuration typical of murtis and images depicting this pastime: The Lord is found in a reclining pose, often called Perumal or Srinivasa. Markandeya Rishi often appears near the Lord’s head, Bhumi Devi (Laksmi) at his feet, and Brahmadeva on his lotus flower, attached to Visnu's naval by the lotus stem. Garuda is often present as well.

A similar example is found in Padmanabhapuram, near Trivandrum, at the Anantapadmanabha- swamy temple. The presiding deity, Ananta-padma-nabha-swamy, refers to Garbhodakasayi Visnu (swamy) who lies on Sesa (ananta), and from whose navel (nabha) the lotus (padma) emerges upon which Lord Brahma appears. Another notable example is the Ranganatha Temple in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. The presiding deity there is a 10 foot long Garbhodakasayi Vishnu (Ranganathaswami) reclining on Ananta Sesa. Laksmi Devi is sitting on a lotus flower on his chest. Lord Brahma is sitting on the lotus of creation, rising from the Lord's navel. Sitting at the Lord's feet are Sridevi and Bhudevi. There is also a seated four-handed Laksmi Devi, who is called Ranga-nayaki-devi, the consort of Ranganatha-swami.

Now, don't ask where does that put Vishnu's birth, LoL. If your friend is looking to answer a religious/mythological question from a scientific/rational standpoint, like these questions usually get into, then, he would get nowhere.

  • 3
    Welcome to Hinduism SE. Answers on this site should be elaborate enough to solve the questioner's doubts and should contain relevant texts from Hindu scriptures, eg, Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, etc to support your answer. Please either edit your answer to provide more details or delete/comment instead.
    – Aby
    Nov 23, 2015 at 20:06
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    i don't think Brahma will always born from lotus emerging from Lord Vishnu. Brahma of this vikalpa was born from Vishnu in Padma kalpa.
    – The Destroyer
    Nov 24, 2015 at 6:03

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