Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Rare Brahma temple, Pushkar, Rajasthan

Brahma Temple at Pushkar,near Ajmir, Rajasthan,
 Pushkar Bibek Bhattacharya.

Above image:  Devotees, after taking bath. The crowded Bramha ghat and Gaumukh ghat by Pushkar lake, Rajasthan state. 

In Hinduism, Brahma (Brahmā) is the god (deva) of creation. Lord Vishnu is the protector and Lord Shiva is the destroyer  The large cosmic period (Mahakalpa),  is one day and one night in Brahma's existence.  Brahma is often identified with ''Prajapati'', a Vedic deity.  Brahma's  consort  is Saraswati (Goddess of education), who is  also known by names such as Savitri and Gayatri. 

According to the Brahma Purana, Brahma is the father of Manu, and  it was from Manu all human beings are descended.  He is often referred to as the progenitor or great grand-sire of all human beings  in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Because of a curse cast by Lord Shiva, there are a few temples  through out India dedicated to Brahma. Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, a Hindu temple of great antiquity (14th century) located at Pushkar in  Rajasthan State is the most significant among the Brahma temples. 

Idol of Brahma,Brahma temple at Pushkar,near Ajmir, . en.wikipedia. org

Once Lord Shiva stood as a huge column of fire and asked Vishnu and Brahma to find his  end and crown respectively. Having failed to see the end of the column, Vishnu accepted his inability, where as Brahma, using Thazampoo (screw pine - a kind of fragrant flower), who had been for a long time falling off the crown of Lord Shiva, as his witness, lied to the Lord that he had seen his crown. Infuriated Lord Shiva cursed that there won't be any Brahma temples on  earth and Thazampoo won't be used for pooja at all temples. There is a huge, popular temple dedicated to Shiva called Annamalaiyar (Arunachaleswarar) temple at Thiruvannmalai in Tamil Nadu, where Karthigai Deepam festival is annually celebrated with great fanfare and reverence.

 Here at Pushkar legend is a different version. According to  ''Padma Purana'', once Brahma killed a demon, who was a menace  to the society  by using the lotus flower as his weapon. During the battle  the lotus petals fell on the ground at three places, creating three lakes known as Jyeshta (first) Pushkar,  the Madya (middle) Pushkar Lake, and Kanishta (lowest) Pushkar  lake. When Brahma came down to the earth, he named the place where the flower ("pushpa") fell from his hand ("kar") as "Pushkar".

Brahma wanted to perform yajna (fire-sacrifice) on Kartik Purnima day, at the main Pushkar Lake at the auspicious time along with his consort Savitri (Saraswati). When Savitri failed to appear for the Yajna, having no choice, he married  Gurjar (pastoral ethnic group) girl, Gayatri and  successfully completed the yajna. When Savitri arrived late and saw Brahma with other consort, she was angry  and cursed Brahma that People would not worship him except at Pushkar. Gayatri, the new consort, made  Pushkar, a major pilgrimage center by making the curses of Savitri less effective. After Brahma, the great sage Visvamitra built some of the temples, Adi Sankara, who was born in Kalady, Kerala, a great Hindu Philosopher and spiritual leader of the 8th century, visited Pushkar and dedicated this temple. The  medieval structure dates to Jawat Raj", the ruler of Ratlam.

At Pushcar there are other temples as well. There were more than 500 temples around Pushkar, out of which 80 were bigger ones. Historians believe the temples are 2000 years old. During the Muslim rule many were pulled down. The worst was during the period of   Mogul emperor Aurangzeb (1658–1707) who was known as a religious bigot and Hindu baiter.

International Business Times has recorded Pushkar Lake and the Brahma temple as one of the ten most religious places in the world and one of the five sacred pilgrimage places for the Hindus, in India. The temple is built with stone slabs or blocks, joined together with molten lead. The shigara(tower) is about 700 feet(210M) tall, the red shikara (spire) represents the symbol of Hamsa (swan or goose). An interesting feature inside the Brahma temple is wall are inlaid with silver coins donated by devotees. The Garbagraha (Sanctum) is made of marbles contains the main idol (Murti) of Brahma sitting in a crossed position. The idol with four face (representing four cardinal directions) and hands with symbols such as rosary, Kamandalam (water pot), Kusha or Darba grass (Halfa grass, Big cordgrass, and Salt reed-grass), pusthak (book) represents various aspec‪ts of such as  time, water, knowledge, etc.

 Each year on the full moon night of Kartika (Oct-Nov), a great festival is held in Sri Brahma's honor, and thousands of pilgrims come to bathe in the Brahma Kund.
Then they  go to Brahma temple for prayer and pooja. The prayer protocol includes  three  aartis - Mangala Aarthi  - morning,  Sandhya Aarthi in the evening and   Ratri Shayan  Aarthit (night sleep Aarthi) 5 hours after sunset. Only  Brahmin priests, who belong to ''Parashar Gotra'' (lineage), are allowed to perform religious duties inside the Sanctum.  Saints are allowed inside the sanctum, not others, especially married couples.