Hindu gods are complex, multifaceted deities that can be good or evil according to their whim. Brahma and Shiva are the Hindu gods of creation and destruction respectively. Hinduism has no single scripture or accepted set of teachings, and accounts of Shiva and Brahma differ. However, a few key aspects unite the depictions of these deities.
Brahma and the Creation of the Earth
Brahma is the senior god in Hindu religion. He preexists all the other deities and the existence of the universe itself. When he became lonely and wanted company, he created the goddess Shatarupa. Whenever Brahma pursued Shatarupa, she would change her form into a different creature such as a bee or a cow, thus creating all the animals in existence. Other accounts of the creation story differ and instead claim that all aspects of existence come from the body of Brahma himself.
Other Aspects of Brahma
Of the principle Hindu gods, Hindus worship Brahma the least. This may be because his work is already done and there is no further reason to prat to him. However, according to a popular view the Hindu creation story demonstrates that Brahma is lustful and therefore unfit for worship. While there are thousands of temples dedicated to Shiva, there are only two in all of India dedicated to Brahma. Brahma also represents chaos and many stories depict the other Hindu gods fighting humans who received his blessings. However, some Hindus believe that Brahma convinced the Buddha to teach the Dharma to humanity.
Shiva and Destruction
Hindus worship Shiva as a god of contrasts and while he destroys he also creates. In fact, some Hindus believe that the creation of the Cosmos was his plan and only acted out by Brahma. Hindus believe the current universe must be destroyed in order to be rebuilt. Because of this, Shiva's role as a destroyer is also constructive. This extends to all things in the world, meaning that Hindus regard Shiva as the source of all good and evil.
Other Aspects of Shiva
Shiva is full of contradictory elements, and some Hindus even depict him as half-man, half-woman. Shiva is full of passion which leads to extremes in his behaviors. Sometimes he removes himself from the material world and abstains from pleasure, at other times he gives in to all desire. Shiva's wife Pavarti tempers his passion and gives him balance. Shiva is also the lord of dance, and some Hindus often use his movements as a metaphor for the rhythm of the universe.
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images