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Siva. As the source of all created nature,
the "greatest of the great gods and of the
lesser ones," he is necessarily interwoven in
the honours granted to the minor persons of
the Trinity; for, without him, these were
nothing. Brahma, be it observed, is different
to Brahm. The last is the ineffable mystery,
the spirit of the universe, the mystic name
of the secret cell, the unpronounceable O'M.
Brahma, on the contrary, is an impersonation,
the creator of matter (himself the form of
matter), but existing, though unborn and
uncreated, at the morning of time, when the
lotos sprang from Vishnû's body, and bore
him, the five-faced red-hued God, in its cup.
Thus, Brahma had a beginning, while Brahm
is the spirit, without beginning and without
ending: the ONE eternal, uncreated, and all-
pervading.

We said that Brahma was five-faced. So
he was when he was first called into existence;
but he afterwards lost one of the capitals to
his corporeal column, and went about the
world in all the lamentable poverty of only
four heads. We will give the two different
legends which account for this pauperising
deficiency.

Mahadeva or Siva (Time) was the first of the
gods, though he is the last of the Triad. On
his bosom lay Vishnû, the Preserver, asleep
for many ages. (In some legends Vishnû
lies under the canopy of the thousand-headed
snake, Sysha the endless.) A lotos sprang
from the body of the slumbering divinity;
and, as its flower reached the flood which
then covered the universe, Brahma rose up
from its leaves. How, no one can tell. Gods
jumping out of lilies are not as easy to be
understood as the multiplication table or the
rule of three; but Coleridge's "Reason"
accounts for all. Looking around, and seeing
only a vast solitude, Brahma naturally
concluded that he was the first of all things:
entitled to precedence, honours, and superiority;
the supreme monarch of the whole; perpetual
eldest son of the universe. Yet, disturbed at
the silence and mystery, he glided down the
lotos stalk, like any other hero in search of
adventuresa prototype of our old friend
John, after his bean-stalk had grown up. He
found Vishnû still asleep, and in nowise
disturbed by the floral germination of his
person. He awoke the god roughly and
uncourteously, and asked him "who he was," in
tones which savoured more of cudgels than
of courts. Vishnû replied that he was the
first-born of the gods, and begged his visitor
to be seated. Brahma's indignation knew
no bounds, He passionately denied the
gentle god's title, insulted him amain, and
prepared to assert his own rights by the
strongest argument of the Ring. Vishnû,
though so mild and sweet-natured, could not
stave off the quarrel. Pedibus manibuseque,
the gods went to work. And what would have
been the result to gods, men, and mice, no one
knows, had not Mahadevi stepped in and
separated them. "The blue-throated god"
soon set the matter at rest. He called them
both to his knee, like naughty children for
chastisement; he read them a homily on their
passions; and he said that whoever would reach
to the soles of his feet or the crown of his
head, should be esteemed sovereign, and lord
of all the universe existing. He then sent
them off on their pathless journey. After
wandering endless miles and endless years,
they both returned foot-sore and weary.
When questioned as to their success, Brahma
boasted and swaggered a great deal. Oh,
yes! he had seen the crown of Mahadevi's
head; of course he had; and, if his word were
not sufficient, here was the first-born cow,
who would bear witness for him. The first-
born cow opened her mouth and bowed a
gentle assent. Thou vaccine maternity, shame
on thy lying lips! Vishnû, ever good and
true, confessed that he had not seen the soles
of Mahadevi's feet; he was very sorry; he
had been patient and diligent, but he had not
been able to find them. In great wrath,
Mahadevi then cursed Brahma, saying, he
should have neither temples nor peculiar
rites; he cut off his fifth head, and cursed
the mouth of his four-footed witnesswhich
is the true and indubitable reason why
the cow, to this day, "chews the cud," and
keeps her mouth in a perpetual state of
defilement. He then explained that, being
Immensity and Infinity, he could not be
compassed by God or man, and therefore
Brahma had told an unmistakeable fib.
"Vishnû," he said, "was the first-born of the
gods and the superior. But he would not
undo the decrees of fate. In spite of all,
Brahma, mulcted of a head, took his place as
superior of the Triad, though, to the present
time, no temple is raised to him, and no rite
performed to his honour. Mahadevi's curse
is still on the consciences of men.

This is one story; the other, is a love
episode. Originally Brahma was born with
the ordinary number of heads, and no more.
Being neither an Irish twin, nor a monster at
a fair, he had but one occiput, one pair of eyes,
one nose, one mouth, and so on. And we have
every reason to believe that he was contented
with his facial enumeration. However, he fell
in love, one day, with Satarupa, who was a
beautiful woman, born, like mother Eve, from
Brahma's own body. She, to avoid his love,
stepped on one side; but Brahma, unable to
stir after the polype-like division of himself
which had just taken place, caused another head
to start up from his neck, so that he might still
look on the thing he loved. This miracle was
repeated four times in succession, and thus
Brahma came to have four heads. The end
of the legend is, that, ashamed of loving what
he regarded as his own daughter, he made the
remainder of himself into Swayumbhuva, and,
under this form and name, loved the beautiful
Satarupa with a clear conscience. They were
the parents of the first Menù, Adima or

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