Brahma- the creator of the universe in Hindu mythology

Hinduism is a vast religion and probably the oldest one on earth and since every religion has its own theory of birth or creation of the universe, it is apparent that the oldest religion with oldest mythology would probably have one as well. Though in Hinduism this theory is very vast and interesting and has many perspectives in accordance with many sects of Hinduism; there is one entity which is common among all the sects of Hinduism who is the creator of the universe whom we know as Lord Brahma or the creator.


It was the time when time itself was unborn and nothing-literally nothing-existed moving or static. The whole space was asleep and Lord Narayan was at the centre of it-resting on Anant Sheshnaag when from his naval(naabhi kamal), Lord Brahma was born. When Lord Brahma asked Lord Narayan about the cause of his birth then he was told that it is his duty to create a universe. Lord Brahma obeyed the Lord and obliged and hence the universe came into existence.

There is also a theory of Hiranyagarbha i.e. the golden egg or the golden womb. It is believed that when none existed, the supreme soul or brahman existed and then he created cosmic waters and established a seed in it which turned out to be a golden egg or Hiranyagarbha. The Super Soul entered it and then it broke into two giving birth to the creation of the universe and from the same cosmic golden egg was born Lord Brahma.

Now lets talk about the life of Lord Brahma and what we know about him.

Lord Brahma is actually believed to reside in Brahma lok where he lives with his consort goddess Brahmani or goddess Saraswati. He with his four heads has created four Vedas and his first creation was the four kumaras- Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatan and Sanat who refused to lead the creation as they were completely engrossed in Lord Vishnu/Lord Narayan and were celibates. His life span is that of 100 ‘Brahma-years’ which is much more when compared with our 100 years. His few seconds involves many years for humans on earth.

The life span of Lord Brahma is 100 ‘Brahma-Years’. One day in the life of Brahma is called a Kalpa or 4.32 billion years. Every Kalpa creates 14 Manus(Manu is first male human created by Brahma for birth of humans on earth whose wife Satrupa is first female to give birth to humans on earth. They are like Adam & Eve of Hindu Mythology) one after the other, who in turn manifest and regulate this world’s 4 yugas(yugas=ages)-Satyug(golden age), Tretayug(silver age), Dwaparyug(bronze age), and Kaliyug(iron age in which we are living). At the end of it i.e., at the end of Brahma’s life span, the destruction by Lord Shiva takes place after which Lord Narayan again rests and Brahma gets dissolved in him.

So this is how this cycle takes place again and again and Brahma gets birth for the creation and gets dissolved in Lord Narayan at the end and this is how our universe comes into existence and then gets dissolved all over again with the dissolution of our creator-Lord Brahma.

Surkanda Devi Temple-Shiva, Sati, Daksh and the place where the head of goddess Sati fell

Who among us doesn’t know about lord Shiva and his consort goddess Sati who is the manifestation of Adi Parashakti- the supreme source of energy, the supreme power who has given birth to universe and all the planetary positions and all the demigods along with the three prime gods of Hindu pantheon who form a holy trinity- Brahma Vishnu and Shiva. Goddess sati was the first form of goddess Adi Shakti who took human form to marry lord Shiva. Sati loved Shiva since childhood but his father Daksh Prajapati was a staunch devotee of lord Vishnu but at the same time he barred people from worshipping lord Shiva. Not only this but he abhorred lord Shiva to such an extent that he disliked people who had any inclination towards Shiva. So much was this hatred that he abandoned his daughter sati whom he had loved the most in his life just because she had married Shiva against his wishes.


Daksh Prajapati is considered as one of the sons of Brahma who after creating ten manas putra (born of his mind), created sons Daksh, Dharma, Kamadev, and Agni from his right thumb, chest, heart, and eyebrows respectively. It is believed that Daksh with his wife Prasuti practiced penance for thousands of years to get adi Parashakti as their daughter and happy with their devotion, devi gave them boon that she will be born to them and sati was born as daughter who was devi herself.


With passage of time, Daksh turned arrogant with power and sense of feeling that even demigods and saptarishis come to meet him at his will and many of them are his sons-in-law. But he could not stop Sati from loving and worshipping Shiva despite of the fact that she loved her father a lot and was in extreme agony as to what to do with her life as she couldn’t let her father down and at the same time could not stop herself from loving Shiva as they were inseparable since the beginning of time.


However, there came a time when sati married Shiva and left Daksh’s palace to live with Shiva on Kailash Mountains. Major turning point, however, in the development of sects of Shaivism and Shaktism was Daksh Yagna in which he invited all the gods, demigods, rishis and nobles from heavens and all over the universe but intentionally avoided inviting Shiva and Sati. Sati out of filial affection wanted to attend the grand yagna but Shiva stopped her from doing so because he could see the catastrophe that lay in the womb of time. After much discussion, sati got infuriated. It is believed that it was the first time when ten Mahavidyas of Devi durga emerged from the body of sati. Mahavidyas-the ten fiercest forms of Devi durga-are said to be emerged only because she got angry being stopped by Shiva. Hence Shiva allowed her to go to yagna.


When sati reached her father’s palace which she had left some time ago, she was extremely glad to see all her sisters, her mother her relatives and others. But what she realized there stunned her to the core. Her sisters, relatives and her own mother neglected her and did not show any affection to her. No one spoke to her there and among all the demigods, saints and sages, and in front of whole society she felt extremely humiliated. But she could take it all had it not been the question of the respect and dignity of her husband, lord Shiva because what Daksh Prajapati did next was unacceptable to her. Daksh started insulting lord Shiva by calling him immoral, dirty roaming ascetic who accompanies ghosts and goblins. Sati unable to bear it took the form of adi Parashakti and made Daksh realize his mistake. All the guests present there got extremely petrified and that form of her struck terror into their hearts.

 She reminded Daksh who she was. She also reminded him that she was his daughter because she was happy with his penance but in arrogance of power he had forgotten that her relation with Shiva was divine and they were eternal consorts. She however did not kill Daksh-because in human form, he was her father and she couldn’t kill her father-or anyone present there but she couldn’t face her husband again either because he insisted her not to attend the yagna but she didn’t listen to him. She felt extremely remorseful that she disobeyed her husband who was stopping her for her happiness and allowed also for her happiness. Such was her anger and aggravation mixed with guilt that she immolated herself with the fire of her own body’s yoga Shakti.
Everyone got petrified. They had no idea what would happen now when the mother goddess immolated herself and what would be the reaction of lord Shiva who is known for the accomplishment of the task of destruction among the holy trinity.

Atmosphere of yagna turned into that of rampage when Shiva got to know it. He invoked Veerbhadra and Bhadrakali to destroy Daksh yagna. Veerbhadra beheaded Daksh and Bhadrakali destroyed Daksh yagna which is the reason that one of maa Durga’s 108 names is Dakhshyagnavinashini (one who destroyed the yagna of Daksh).


When Shiva reached the locale and heard all the cries and witnessed the bloodshed, he resurrected all those who were slaughtered and blessed them as he is known to forgive all. He also forgave Daksh and replaced his head with that of a goat. But it didn’t help grief stricken Shiva and he couldn’t get peace in his heart and mind.

After that, Shiva carried the burnt body of sati and rendered Taandav dance which is the dance of destruction which brings demolition of the whole creation. Demigods got agitated and prayed to lord Vishnu for help. Thus lord Vishnu had cut Sati’s body into 52 body parts using his Sudarshan Chakra which fell on Earth to become holy spots to pray to the Goddess named Shakti Peeths.

All these Shakti Peeths also have lord Shiva in his Bhairav form. And this is how Shakti Peeths came into existence.

Now there are places on this earth where parts of sati’s body fell and devotees throng from all around the world to these holy Shakti Peeths to seek blessings of maa shakti. I visited one such temple recently in Dhanaulti near Mussoorie. Maa Surkanda Devi’s temple is believed to be the place where the head of sati fell. Though there are other temples which are believed to be the location where sati’s head fell, Surkanda Devi temple is a very known and revered temple.



As the head of sati fell here it was originally called as Sirkhanda which with the passage of time became Surkanda. Temple has a black idol of maa durga which is beautiful and makes the devotees extremely ecstatic and delighted. It was a great experience for me to behold that look of maa durga with motherly affection and tranquility. The temple premise has a temple of Bhairav and maa Kaali as well like other Shakti Peeths.


Besides, it also has lord Shiva and lord hanuman temples.



It is situated on top of a hill in Dhanaulti from where the picturesque hills and valleys can be seen along with the Himalayan peaks. It’s so serene to be at the top of the hill, to have a look on the beautiful foggy hills that one really loves to get lost in the peaceful ambience of the temple. Open area outside temple gives beautiful scenic view to the devotees. The tiring trek to the temple vanishes with such experience and that is a great feeling one gets on top of the hill in temple.


So this is the story of Devi Surkanda where the head of maa sati fell, and Shiva, Shakti (Sati) and Daksh and how Shakteepeeths came into existence. This is the story of love and pain of separation. This is the story of ignorance of Daksh who later felt remorseful and became a devotee of lord Shiva and spent all his life worshipping lord Shiva; passed his life visiting temples dedicated to lord Shiva.

But this could not end the love of Shiva and Shakti which is beyond time and reach of mortals. Sati once again took birth as Parvati as daughter of Himavan-king of mountains and Devi Maina. This time she married Shiva and they got their love to cherish it forever.

And this was my journey to the Surkanda Devi temple which I had been wishing to visit since last few years being a devotee of maa Shakti. The peace of mind that one gets at the temple of maa Shakti is beyond words. I simply can’t describe the motherly affection I feel I get from maa durga. So all that I can say or describe is that if you really wish to feel that divine affection of maa Surkanda or innocent Maa Sati and that serene atmosphere, you must visit the hill station of Mussoorie-Dhanaulti and must visit this divinely great temple amidst the colossal hills and beautiful valleys.

Pictures courtesy- Except wallpapers, all the pictures were clicked by me and some are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s

Who Was Khatu Shyam Ji In Mahabharat?

We all have heard the name of lord Khatushyamji. Many of us worship him as the form of lord Krishna but do really know who lord Khatushyamji really is? Most of the people do not know it. To know it we would go back to the Mahabharata era for he (Khatushyamji) first appears in the Mahabharata. We all know about the five Pandava brothers of Mahabharata and many of us know about the son of the second Pandava, Bhima; known to us as Ghatotkach. But do we know who Ghatotkach was married to and who was his son? Ghatotkach was married to Maurvi or Ahilawati who was the daughter of Bashak snake who stays around the neck of lord Shiva. Ghatotkach and Maurvi had a son named Barbareek. 

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Now when the Mahabharata war was on the verge and about to happen then one day lord Krishna asked the greatest warriors of both the sides one by one that how many days would they take to finish the whole war. Bhishma said he would take 20 days to finish the war. Dronacharya replied that it would take him 26 days. When Karna was asked, he said he would take 27 days. Arjun said he would take 28 day to complete the battle by himself.

 In this manner, Lord Krishna asked each warrior and received an answer. Krishna is lord and he knows everything that stays in the womb of future and he very well knew about Barbareek also. He knew it that Barbareek was very powerful and could affect the war and could cause hindrance in the installation of righteousness and justice in the society.

 Actually when Maurvi, Barbareek’s mother asked him who would he support in the Mahabharata war, he had promised her mother that he would help and support the party or side which would be losing and hence he would be just and honest by being on the weaker side. But he didn’t realize that by doing so he would be oscillating between both the sides as his power would make the weaker side more powerful and he will then go to the other side and again when the other side will become powerful he will again go back to the other side and in this way both the sides would be killed and Barbareek alone would survive the great war of Mahabharata. Krishna in this way to stop Barbareek from participating in the war went to him with a very tactful solution to this problem. He disguised as Brahman went to Barbareek and after some conversation asked him who he was and how prepared he was to participate in the war. Here comes the secret of the power of Barbareek. Barbareek had three very powerful arrows which he had received after diligent penance. Krishna, in order to test his power, laughed at him and asked how he would be able to fight with just three arrows when other warriors such as Bhishma, Dronacharya, Karna and Arjun have so many Divyastra (celestial weapons given by gods).
 Barbareek now told the Brahman that the first of these three arrows mark the aim (as many as he wants to) which is to be destroyed and the second arrow marks the people or objects which are to be saved and lastly the third arrow kills and totally vandalize the aim marked by the first arrow and after the task gets completed, all these three arrows come back to Barbareek. Krishna then asked him to show his prowess and asked to penetrate the leaves of the nearby peepal tree. Barbareek, to fulfill the wish of a Brahman agreed and meditated before launching the first arrow and Krishna at the same time plucked out one leaf from the tree and put it under his foot. Barbareek now opened his eyes and launched the first arrow and it marked all the arrows of the peepal tree and then started revolving around shree Krishna’s foot. Barbareek told him that he might have put his foot over a leaf and that’s the reason it is revolving around it. Krishna now realized the power of Barbareek’s arrows and contemplated that in the war, even if he will try to save the Pandavas and hide them from the fatal arrows of Barbareek, his arrows would find the Pandavas even if Barbareek doesn’t point the direction of arrows towards them. Lord Krishna thus removed his foot from the leaf and said that he was impressed to know the prowess of his arrows and he was indeed very powerful with only three arrows. Now the real reason behind the guise of a Brahman comes. Barbareek asked the Brahman what he wished for and the Brahman sought the kind of charity from Barbareek which stunned him. Krishna had asked him to give his head in charity. By now Barbareek had realized that the Brahman was not an ordinary one and joined his hands saying that his arrow despite of having such power could not penetrate the foot of him and it means he is not an ordinary being. Apart from that why a Brahman would ask him to cut off his head. He asked the Brahman to reveal his real identity and the reason behind disguised identity. Krishna gave him divine vision and revealed himself to Barbareek.
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Barbareek was overwhelmed by the vision. He felt more blessed than ever. Krishna now explained him the reason behind his disguised identity and the consequence of his promise to his mother. He said that Kauravas had 11 Akshauhini army (an Akshauhini contains 21,870 elephants, 21,870 chariots, 65,610 Horses, and 109,350 foot soldiers) and Pandavas had only 7. In that case Barbareek would start the war against the Kauravas but after only few moments he will take the side of the Kauravas against the Pandavas due to the phenomenal power of his arrows. In this way he will be the only survivor at the end of the war. Also, the dharma or righteousness for which this war was being fought by the Pandavas would not be achieved and for the establishment of a society with righteousness, it is important for Pandavas to win this war and this is the reason Barbareek should not be participating in the war as his promise would not let anyone else live on the battlefield. Also, lord Krishna told him that to commence the war, the head of the bravest Kshatriya needs to be sacrificed and Barbareek, according to shree Krishna was bravest among whole Kshatriya clan. Barbareek, already extremely happy and blessed by shree Krishna’s divine form, agreed to give his head to shree Krishna. Barbareek eventually gave his head to shree Krishna.

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Before decapitating himself, Barbareek had expressed to shree Krishna his great desire to view the forthcoming battle and requested him to facilitate the same. Krishna had agreed and thus placed the head on top of a hill overlooking the battlefield. From the hill, the head of Barbareek watched the entire battle.

At the end of the battle, the victorious Pandava brothers argued amongst themselves as to who was responsible for the victory. When they asked shree Krishna, he told them the story of Barbareek and suggested that Barbareek’s head, which had watched the whole battle, should be allowed to judge. When they ascended the hilltop and asked, Barbareek’s head said that it was shree Krishna alone who was responsible for the victory: his advice, his presence, his strategies had been the reason behind the victory. He also said that I never saw any Arjun or any Bhima or Bhishma or Dronacharya fighting; what I saw was shree Krishna in his warrior form beheading the evil armies with his sudarshan chakra and maa Kaali drinking all the blood of the wrongdoers who were being beheaded and killed by the lord himself. Shree Krishna, extremely happy with the devotion and the great sacrifice by Barbareek granted him a boon that he would be known by Krishna’s own name (Shyam) in the kaliyug (present era) and worshiped in his own form. Krishna had declared that Barbareek’s devotees would be blessed just by pronouncing his name from the bottom of their hearts. Their wishes would be granted and troubles removed if they worship Shyamji (Barbareek) with a true piety. 

After the Mahabharata battle, Barbareek’s head was drowned in the river named Rupawati by Lord Krishna giving him lots of blessings. After many years when kaliyug started, the head was found buried in the village of Khatu (Rajasthan). The location was unseen until the kaliyug started. Then, on one occasion, milk started flowing spontaneously out of a cow’s udder when she reached neared the burial spot. Amazed at this incident, the local villagers dug the place up and the buried head was revealed.

The head was handed over to a Brahman who worshipped it for many days, awaiting divine revelations as to what was to be done next. Roopsingh Chauhan, king of Khatu, then had a dream where he was asked to build a temple and install the head inside it. Subsequently, a temple was built and the idol was installed on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha (bright half) of the month of phagun( the same day on which Barbareek gave his head to shree krishna though some say it was the 12th day of Shukla paksha when Barbareek gave his head to shree krishna).

There is another, slightly different version of this story. Roopsingh Chauhan’s wife Narmada Kanwar, once had a dream in which the deity instructed her to take his image out of the earth. The indicated place (now known as Shyam Kund) was then inspected and the idol was dug out. Subsequently, it was duly installed in the temple.

 Khatushyamji is the family deity of a large number of families especially in Rajasthan as the main temple of Khatushyamji is in Rajasthan. His another temple is located at Vasna, Ahmedabad, Gujarat where people come with their newly born child to have blessings of Khatushyamji. Here he is known as Baliya Dev.Khatushyamji is also known by names such as sheesh ka daani or haare ka sahara.



So this was the story of Khatushyamji, a great warrior who could change the fate of the Mahabharata war, who had the power of changing the consequence of the war if participated in it. Had he not been told of the result of his participation in the war by lord shree Krishna, he could have changed the system of the society. But due to his faith in lord and realization that his participation in the war is not as necessary as the victory of the Pandavas is; he made a sacrifice which gave him the form of god literally.

His sacrifice and devotion is lesser known than other warriors of the great Mahabharata war but it is true that for his selfless devotion, he will always be worshiped as a god by god’s own name.

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By-Shekhar Srivastava