THE ancient Indian legends about Creation-the Man who enveloped the whole earth and Prajapati-were often cast in the same mould. Later on, Prajapati came to be known as Brahma. This is a story about Brahma, but it could also easily be construed as a story about the Man, or about Prajapati.
The story goes that at the dawn of Creation, Brahma began to feel alone and afraid as he was all alone in the universe. Though he consoled himself that there was nothing to fear, he being the only living creature, the feeling persisted for a while. But gradually it faded, and was replaced with a great sadness at his continued loneliness. Brahma pined for a companion with whom he could talk and share the things in his heart. Being the sole occupant on the planet, Brahma carried both the male and the female forms inside him. As his longing took on a sharper hue, the two forms became separate. Now Brahma had a companion who shared the emptiness of the world with him, and he no longer felt alone.
But she became filled with doubts. ‘How can he lust for me after giving birth to me himself? It is not right. He is after all, my father. This is sinful. I will disguise myself to hide from him.’
She transformed herself into a cow; not to be outdone, Brahma turned himself into a bull and mated with her. This gave birth to all the cattle on earth. Then she turned herself into a mare, but Brahma was ready. He took on the shape of a stallion and mounted her. And all the horses on earth were created. Desperate now, she transformed herself into a she-goat, but Brahma took on the form of a billy-goat and mated with her. All the goats on earth took shape in this way. And so it went. Reptiles, fish, insects and other sundry creatures were created by Brahma continuously mating with his daughter, who kept disguising herself in one form after another.
The search for food, and its consumption, gives the eater energy and strength. It is akin to fire. For this express purpose, Brahma made Agni, the fire-god. Brahma made the world’s food through his torrential seed; for the gods, there was soma, which conferred them immortality, while mortal creatures partook of the endless varieties of food which we now have.