From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Jit Majumdar
- The name of an influential gotra in the ancient times, from which came several persons who were ascetics and/or rishis, including the Sanat Kumars (Sanak, Sanand, Sanatan, Kapil, Asuri, Vodha and Pañcasikha)
- pertaining to immensity; growth; evolution; expansion
- causer of expansion; causer of evolution
- the first of the Hindu Trinity who represents the creative principle or aspect of the Absolute; who is the consort of Sarasvatī, and the progenitor of the Saptarşi or the Seven Celestial Sages who are considered the Prajāpati or the progenitors of all life in each cycle of creation. He represents the quality of Rajoguņa, which is the drive towards creation, activity and effort, and is depicted commonly (though not always) with the appearance of an elderly priestly man with long white beard (specially in northern India), as red in complexion, wearing red or yellow garments, with four heads facing the four directions, four yugas or time-cycles, the four dimensions of reality, and the four states of matter; holding a rosary, a scripture, a kamandulu or water pot and a kośa or ritual ladle for pouring oblations in each of his four hands. His vehicle is the white swan, and his abode is the Mount Meru.
In other sampradayas
There have been several Brahmās, as they were historical persons whom Hindu sects have propitiated.
Gautama Buddha's disciple was Sahampati Brahmā, whom encouraged him to preach the dharma to people. The legends about Buddha having traveled to Brahmā's realm was a mythologisation of the even of Buddha traveling to Brahmā-loka (one of the 7 Ananda-lokas.)
- Bonpo gods
Brahma is known in Bonpo scriptures as 'Bram-ze'. ’Gyur ba blo gsal’ [bram ze’i bu ’gyur ba blo gsal] has been written as the 'Son of Brahma'. He was a disciple of Buddha Tonpa Shenrab.
Here the Brahmādeva or Brahmāyakṣa was a devotee of Ṣitalanāth, the 10th Tirthānkara.