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Supremacy of Vishnu over Caturmukha Brahma

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Hare Krishna All,


Having established Supremacy of Vishnu over all devatas like indra etc, now I am set on the task to prove supremacy of Vishnu over Caturmukha Brahma. Following this one there will be post evaluating ontological position of Vishnu and Shiva. But its gonna take time.



Ouestion 1: So the question to be asked is what is the criteria to determine who is brahman ?


Answer 1: The answer comes from "janma adi asya yatah"

"He, from whom proceeds the creation, preservation and destruction of universe, is brahman." [VS 1.1.2]


This sutra of vyasdeva is based on Taitirriya Up 3.1

"That verily from which these beings are born, that by which when born, they live and that into which, when departing, they enter,that, seek to know, that is brahman."


So Vyasdeva puts down creation etc.. as defination of brahman. According to indian logic , an object is defined only in terms of its essential or ditistinguishing charactersitics[1] , hence one must take creation etc.... to be distinguishing characteristic of Brahman.


[1] Line taken from Dr. SMS Chari's Phil of Upanisads Pg. 104.


Question 2: This is fine still we want to see some more evidence. Show some more quotations is support of your position.


Answer 2: Very well. Lets go ahead.

Kaushitaki-Brahmana Upanishad IV-19

"Thereupon Balaki was silent. To him then Ajatasatru said: So much only Balaki ? `So much only' replied Balaki. To him, then, Ajatasatru said: In vain, indeed, did you make to converse saying `Let me declare Brahman to you'. He, indeed. Balaki,who is the maker of these persons, of whom verily this is the work, he alone is to be known."


Baladeva comments that the word work used here doesn't means normal work but creation. [see Govinda Bhasya Pg 185.]


Following the same line of thought after having defined material energy and then spirit soul Lord Krishna says in Gita,


Chapter 7, Verse 6.

"Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this world, know for certain that I am both its origin and dissolution."


Chapter 7, Verse 7.

"O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread."


Also in Bhagavatam 1.1.1,

"Let me offer my obesiances unto Vasudeva from whom proceeds creation etc... of this world....."



Question 3: But according to this caturmukha brahma deva who is supposed to be creator of the world will also be brahman. So how can you conclude only Vishnu is brahman and not caturmukha brahma ?


Answer 3: Caturmukha brahma himself is created by that entity who imparts vedas to it. See here as we present evidence:


You have mentioned that caturmukha brahma creates and is engineer of this world and we don't disagree with you because ***since*** this is stated in sastra it is our position as well. However, same sastra also says that he is created entity at the same time.


Mundaka Upanisad 1.1.1 at the very outset says:

"brahma devanam prathamah samabhuva visvasya karta bhuvanasya gopta"

"Brahma is the first created amongst gods. He is creator of universe and protector of world."


Here words Visvasya karta meaning creator[karta] of visva or universe and bhuvanasya gopta meaning protector of world substantiates the position of opponent. But at the same time this very upanisad itself says brahma or caturmukha is prathamah samabhuva or first created one. So even though we know brahma is creator and protector, he himself has been created. Hence according to criteria already established for determining who is brahman, we can safely rule out caturmukha brahma to be brahman himself, because brahman cannot be created. He creates all.


And for the above reason even quotes like one given below cannot be understood to mean caturmukha brahma is same as brahman.


Taitirriya Samhita 4.1.8 states -

"hiranyagarbhah samavartatagre bhutsaya jatah patireka asit sadadhara prthivim dyam utenam kasmai devaya havisa vidhema"


"Prior to creation hiranyagarbha existed and that He became ruler by creating all the beings. He sustained the physical universe below and also the heaven above..."


I repeat, these verses cannot be used to establish that caturmukha brahma is brahman himself when seen in light of Mundaka Upanisad verse which also says caturmukha brahma is creator and protector but adding to these details it states that he too is created.


If someone were to say but that taittirriya verse says caturmukha brahma existed prior to creation, so he should be supreme, to this we reply, the word creation here refers to creation carried out by caturmukha brahma which is secondary. But how can we call it secondary? because other srutis cited here say "Brahma is first created..." [Mund Up] and "at the beginning of creation brahma was projected..." [svet Up] talks a creation which includes creation of caturmukha brahma himself. And Mundaka says then this created one [Caturmukha brahma] goes on creating other things. Hence primary creation is one which includes creation of this brahma. This primary creator is brahman and he imparts vedas to brahman.


And we have more support from Sruti to substantiate that brahma is created one.


Svetasvatara Upanisad VI-18

"yo brahmanam vidadhati purvam...."

"He who at the beginning of creation projected Brahma, who delivered the Vedas unto him........"


Here we see that brahma was created and was taught vedas.


Bhagavatam 1.1.1 after identifying brahman with Vasudeva on basis of janma adi asya yatah theme developed by Vyasdeva in Vedanta Sutra on basis of upanisad it says:

"tene brahma hridâ ya âdi-kavaye ....."

"It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmâjî, the original living being....."


adi kavaye means original created being. And we know from upanisad,brahma is first created being. Svet. and Mund both confirm this idea. Krishna or Vasudeva imparts him Vedic Knowledge. Svetasvatara says brahma who is first created is imparted vedic knowledge.


Also, Gita essence of all upanisad supports the same position:


First half of Gita 11.37

"kasmac ca te na nameran mahatman"

"Why should they not offer their homage up to You, O great one ?"


Then 11.37 says

"gariyase brahmanah apy adi-kartre"

"You are greater than brahma, O original creator..."


gariyase brahmanah meaning greater than Brahma.


Furthermore Gita 8.16 also teaches distinction between

Krishna/Brahman and Caturmukha brahma.


abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino 'rjuna

mam upetya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate


"All the worlds, down from the realm of brahma, are subjected to return, O Arjuna. But on reaching Me there is no rebirth."


Please take note of this verse. In the word abrahma indicating brahma's realm is specifically used.


Furthermore Narayana Upanisad and Maha Upanisad also says the same that brahma is born from Narayana. I haven't quoted them to keep this post from becoming unnecessarily too long.


AS A SIDE NOTE: People just see how many different scriptures are condensed into just ***one*** verse of bhagavata 1.1.1. No wonder its called sarva vedam sara.


Bhagavatam clinches the issue by quoting caturmukha brahma himself as saying -


Bhagavatam 2.6.35:

"Although I am known as the great Brahmâ, perfect in the disciplic succession of Vedic wisdom, and although I have undergone all austerities and am an expert in mystic powers and self-realization, and although I am recognized as such by the great forefathers of the living entities, who offer me respectful obeisances, still I cannot understand Him, the Lord, the very source of my birth."



Question 4: But at some places Vishnu is also said to be created. So how can you say that Vishnu alone is brahman and not caturmukha brahma based on Sruti + Vedanta Sutra criteria you mentioned earlier ?


In Sruti itself it is stated -

Atharvasikha Up 2.15 states caturmukha brahma, rudra, indra and vishnu himself are all subjected to birth. And hence how can you use that criteria to rule out caturmukha brahma but not Vishnu.


Answer 4: The answer is very simple. Birth in case of Vishnu refers to avatara and not birth in the sense of being created by some distinct entity. Krishna himself says this in Gita 4.5-6 where he also states that he takes avatar out of his own will and not forced by karma or any other entity. In Gita 10.2-3 he says his origin being caused by his own will is unknown to sages and devatas etc... and IT IS HE ONLY WHO KNOWS HIM TO BE UNBORN KNOWS HIM REALLY - HE IS UNDELUDED.


Chapter 10, Verse 2.

"Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and the sages."


Chapter 10, Verse 3.

"He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless, as the Supreme Lord of all the worlds--he, undeluded among men, is freed from all sins."


Sruti also says what Krishna says in Gita 4.5:

"ajayamano bahudha vijyate"

"Though He is unborn, he takes many births." [Purusha Sukta, Yajur

Veda recension 21.]


So also in Taittirriya Arayanka 3.12.7

"Being unborn, he is born in various form."


Srutis also say [Compare this to Gita 10.3 and 4.9]-

" The wise know well the manner in which He is born."

[Taitirriya Arayanka 3.13.1]


Krishna is not subjected to Karma. Sruti verifies this:


"esa sarvabhutantaratma apahatapapma divyo deva eko narayanah"

"He who is inner soul of every being, free from karmic bondage is the divine one - Narayana." [subala Upanisad 7]


***** And a similar claim cannot be made with respect to brahma since in his case Avatar theory is not admitted.*****


Hence it is proven beyond doubt that Sri Hari is who is distinct from all devatas including Shakti/Uma is distinct from Caturmukha brahma too. He alone is Supreme. Rest are subordinate. We conclude by quoting another sruti vakya:


"agnirvai devanamavamo visnuh paramah tadantarena sarva anya devatah."

"Among deities, agni is lowest and Vishnu is Supreme and rest comes in between." [Aitareya Brahmana 1.1.1]


Note words Visnuh paramah meaning Vishnu is Supreme, tadantarena meaning in between them [them meaning Agni as lowest, Vishnu as highest] comes "sarva" meaning all, "anya" meaning other, "devatah" meaning gods or deities.


There is no reason for Srutis to create this hiearchies if there is one god appearing in forms of caturmukha, indra, agni, kali/uma/shakti etc.........


The purport of whole scriptures is just one to establish Hari Sarvotamyah - Hari is Supreme.



Your Servant Always,



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