Sakka, Indra and Brahma images

sweet-tongued"-Rg Veda(Brahmanaspati)

“both Gods and mortals listen.”-Rg Veda(Brahmanaspati)

“Thinking it would be troublesome, O Brahmā,
I did not speak the Dhamma subtle and sublime.’
Then the Brahmā Sahampati thought: ‘The Blessed One has consented to my request that he teach the Dhamma.”- Buddha


The name of the god Brahmaṇaspati would not be cognate with Brahmā Sahampati. The Sanskrit form is Sahāmpati, but the references for this name in Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit dictionary are all to Buddhist texts.

According to Berriedale Keith:

On the other hand the god Brahman is not found even in the Atharvaveda and still less in the other Saṁhitās. He may be traced merely in such later texts as the Taittirīya and the Kauṣītaki Brāhmaṇas. The earlier conception in this case is unquestionably the neuter, Brahman, which denotes the prayer, the spell, and also more widely the holy power, whether embodied in the prayer or spell or manifested in the universe. The transition to the personal god is to be seen in the phrase, the world of Brahman: in its earliest occurrences that phrase may mean no more than the place of the Brahman, but it was inevitable, even if this is the case, that the idea of a personal god, whose world was meant, should have superseded the older idea. But it must be recognized that in the Vedic period there is no trace whatever of Brahman becoming a god of such importance as to supersede Prajāpati.

The importance of the god Brahman can be shown only for a period during the development of Buddhism, since in the Buddhist texts we find many references to Brahman as apparently a very great and popular god among the Brahmans. He bears there an epithet Sahampati, which cannot be explained by anything known in the Brāhmaṇa literature, and this suggests that he may have been specially in honour among the eastern tribes of the Indians, and have received among them an epithet which is not recorded in our texts, which are essentially of the middle country lying further to the west than the home of the earliest Buddhism. It is of importance to note that in the Upaniṣads, where, if anywhere, the mention of Brahman as the creator god would be expected to be frequently found, it is comparatively rare, and Prajāpati is the normal name of the creator, and so in the Sūtra texts also.
(Artur Berriedale Keith, The Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads, I. 209-10)

Of course this was written way back in 1925, but as far as I know subsequent scholarship hasn’t led to any revision of what he states (or at least not of the second paragraph).


Brahma Sahampati was ‘chosen’ because of living in, and as chief of the Brahma realm (destination of the brahma viharas) and therefore unenlightened, but able to perceive through compassion and then drawing the Buddha’s equanimous attention to that view (AN 4.125).

The mind of the enlightened one is not oriented towards compassion as it is a relation within the conditioned world, which has been transcended:

“(The brahma viharas are ) inferior to any of the noble attainments (stream entry etc.). The Brahma world can be attained simply through the power of concentration applied to unlimited good will, etc., or to any of the jhanas. Only if discernment is developed to overcome passion and delight for these mundane attainments can the noble attainments be realized.”—note to MN 97, Thanissaro

There is two phases in Pali Buddhist text. Both of them probably came as a later Buddhist tradition. The phase is probably using this god which is not important in Veda time , which was just a god.

The second phase is mentioned in Pali sutta as Brahmā as a creator.

But this has origin also in Sramana traditions still. I searched the two supposed oldest Upanishad. And that is exactly when Sramanas started focus on Brahmā. But not in the type of creator style but more like a way using it as part of their famous gods as part of being interconnected. Other gods are also mentioned. So it was not thy god.

In Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.

Buddha is said that has “listened” to the Brahma.

Are you suggesting that they added that god in the Vedas?

For me I see as just a evolution.

From This Brahmā to become Baka Brahmā as creator and Great Brahmā etc which Rys David himself said it could not be from time of Buddha. As there was no creator as Brahmā during Buddha time.

The reason Brahmā became part of Buddhism its because the sort of Brahmins that focus on that made the whole sasana focus how to preach to them. Later when Brahmā became a sort of creator. In Majjhima Nikaya actually say the attitude of a Buddhist. But they make into story which is to show that Buddha knows everything. These stories intention was always to show Buddha as highest being. But in the stories you sense how Buddhist thought in that time. So we have things like this.

“Before your time, bhikkhu, there were recluses and brahmins in the world who condemned earth and were disgusted with earth,who condemned water and were disgusted with water, who condemned fire and were “disgusted with fire, who condemned air and were disgusted with air, who condemned beings and were disgusted with beings, who condemned gods and were disgusted with gods, who condemned Pajāpati and were disgusted with Pajāpati, who condemned Brahmā and were disgusted with Brahmā;”

From Brahmanimantanika Sutta

So nondelight in the whole world.

Notice Pajāpat is always mentioned. Some other places he is mentioned but not Brahmā. The thing is Veda cosmology is complicated because the Boss has always people under him that does his work for him.

I searched the supposed two oldest Upanishad not much was found to be like Buddhist teachings.

Here is only things I added in my notes and I searched fully. Gave a headache because it’s filled with nonsense.

The akasa which is inside a person is the akasa within the heart. The akasa which is within the heart is omnipresent and unchanging. He who knows this obtains full and unchanging prosperity.

This following is verse that was said in it. It saved someone from disease. It sound same to what Buddha recommended to the diseased layperson. But Said in another way.

O you disease! Why do you afflict me? I shall not die of this pain"

So exactly what Buddha was trying to say the body is suffering but don’t let the mind be infected. This probably of the Upanishad is a way to make the mind strong.

And nothing is mentioned as Brahmā making creation. It’s used in other sense.

I found this also

This (universe) was then undifferentiated. It differentiated only into name and form-it was called such and such, and was of such and such form. So to this day it is differentiated only into name and form-it is called such and such, and
is of such and such form.

Which is very close to the Buddhist genesis.

Because there was no male and female in Buddhist version.

I will post what is said about Brahmā in the two Upanishads and their names, which I can’t remember now. But you find in Wikipedia the two it says is oldest

But the above it to show that Brahmanic and Sramana/Brahmanic had two different thoughts. Each had their favorite gods. So actually what we read of the Brahmins coming to Buddha in forest in sutta Nipata is more like Sramana/Brahmin movement . But the ones that does the sacrifices and priests is probably not in the picture. I doubt they cared to visit Buddha. As they had their cheeks high.

I don’t think I was suggesting that, but as I can’t make any sense of your question it’s hard to say for sure. In any case, the principal points of my earlier post are that:

  1. There’s no good reason to think that Brahmaṇaspati is Brahmā Sahampati or that he has any connection with Brahmā Sahampati.

  2. “[the] epithet Sahampati … cannot be explained by anything known in the Brāhmaṇa literature”.


I see. I think translations has probably become better now. I don’t see the name. The connection of Rig veda saying this also of him. That gods listen to him. Maybe the name was Changed as Buddhist name it . But it’s must be connected to this god. Remember he is not said as creator. Meaning it’s early rig Veda god. And later Buddhism probably together with the Hindu Upanishad movement had to make suttas referring to creator god. Like Baka Brahmā and Maha Brahmā etc. which Mahavastu as earlier work already mention. The Great Brahmā appears to tell Buddha he will surely go forth. Supposed dated to 2 CE.

So my point for you to understand why certain god slowly evolved to Baka Brahmā and Maha Brahmā. Which is true to not be a early Veda gods. Original Buddhist inventions. But with a message. But still since Chinese Agamas . Which probably also a Indian tradition of 2 CE but translated after by Chinese. I think it shows that Brahmā as we have it in the South was not introduced in the Northern traditions. In a different way still they might be mentioned. So reason Ghandhara has a nice stone art of what appears to be Brahmā flouting in Air. It’s a southern tradition. They had it also

From Mahavastu a supposed 2 CE work mention Great Brahmā already

Great Brahmā said, “If, O Great Man, thou wilt not leave home to-day, seven days hence the seven treasures of kingship[98] will be produced and thou wilt become a universal king over the four continents, triumphant, just, a king of justice, possessing the seven treasures. These seven treasures will appear from the sky, to wit, the treasure of the wheel, of the elephant, of the horse, of the jewel, of the woman, of the householder, and of the counsellor. And thou wilt have a full thousand sons who will be valiant, brave, comely, overpowering the armies of their enemies, and noble. Thou wilt hold and occupy in justice, without opposition, without trouble, without recourse to violence and without oppression, these four great continents, to wit, Jambudvīpa, Pūrvavideha, Aparagodānika (159) and Uttarakuru, all bounded by sea and mountain.

So to what year the idea started to be in Buddhism?

I looked in the two supposed pre-Buddhist Upanishads. These words I found in them.

The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣhad



lokā ātmānaḥ






























bhikṣācaryaṁ (life of mendicants)












buddhāntāyaiva (??)




Bh ūtāni









nāma rῡpaṁ karma

But these words itself appeared only sometimes. But that Upanishad content still seems after the next Upanishad.

The Chhandogya Upanishad

brahmacaryam (Here, brahmacharya means the role of a student in a gurukula)

















I know it doesn’t make sense from many. But many things in suttas needs a little bit of Vedas understanding to get the stories.

For example Yama. In Vedas it’s considered a teacher that why Buddha says.

“Then King Yama says: ‘Good man, did it never occur to you — an intelligent and mature man — “I too am subject to death, I am not exempt from death: surely I had better do good by body, speech, and mind”?”-Buddha

There he is showing Yama as a teacher. Teaching the person that died that he has be aware of those things

“Reverence be to Yama, reverence to death”-Veda

“Death is the teacher”-Veda

So the story of Brahmā asking him to teach. Is just representing Veda tradition. Of that Brahmā being able to convince let’s say.

He is not a lot in Veda. But it’s there. Not a important god also. But Piti=Lord . That’s why the Buddhist version he is also leader.It just got changed probably. Since it’s a new a movement let’s say. They made a new name.

Brahmaṇaspati in Rg Veda is another name of Bṛhaspati ‘Lord of Prayer’. It is not an individual name of a Brahmā.

Also, the name, Brahmā, is not found in Rg Veda. It originates in the late Vedic tradition; e.g. Bṛihadāraṇyaka Upanishad.

So, individual Brahmās given with their individual names are found only in early Buddhist texts (See pp. 182-184, 190-191 in Choong Mun-keat “A Comparison of the Pāli and Chinese Versions of the Brahma Saṃyutta, a Collection of Early Buddhist Discourses on Brahmās, the Exalted Gods”, Buddhist Studies Review, v. 31.2, pp. 179-194 (2014)).


then What I quoted is Bṛhaspati ‘Lord of Prayer’. Thank you.

Point is still there is already a god with ending Pati. And like the quotes. Buddha story understandable is just made to show that he listens. But don’t worry don’t think we have the Indian Nikayas version. So forget about it.


We need to search more if it was used by the early sasana. I found this. I’m still searching for more. But this inscription is before Christ. And Brahma is not mentiond.


I don’t believe everything on Wikipedia but it makes more sense now.

In ancient Hindu literature Brihaspati is a Vedic era sage who counsels the gods,while in some medieval texts the word refers to the largest planet [Jupiter]

It seems the same right? Brahmā counsels Buddha. We might say all god is like that in Veda. It’s not. Each god was supposed just a symbolic for something outside in the world. Each has their own character.

Bṛhaspati appears in the Rigveda (pre-1000 BCE), such as in the dedications to him in the hymn 50 of Book 4;he is described as a sage born from the first great light, the one who drove away darkness, is bright and pure, and carries a special bow whose string is Rta or “cosmic order”

The icon of Brihaspati makes his body golden, with his legs striped blue and his head covered with a halo of moon and stars.

The two colors mentioned in Agamas that Buddha skin have. Probably this is from tradition of Brihaspati in the time of Agamas tradition was being transmitted. Before it got written down?

Brihaspati was married to Tara. In medieval mythologies, Tara was abducted by Chandra, Tara bore a son, Budha (planet Mercury)

Sounds like Hinduism trying to add Buddha to his mythology

Brihaspati has a second meaning and refers to [Jupiter]

In the Vedic literature and other ancient texts, sage Brihaspati is also called by other names such as Bramanaspati

And found this,

Brihaspati , (Sanskrit: “ Lord of Sacred Speech ”) in Vedic mythology, the preceptor of the gods , the master of sacred wisdom, charms, hymns, and rites, and the sage counselor of Indra in his war against the titans, or asuras.

Don’t why name like that but he is connected with speech for sure. Gods and Mortals listen to him.

The problem is I think oldest manuscripts of Vedas is from copies of copies and copies. So whatever way written down at last might have changes. The manuscript that survived are even from later.

But the rig veda by stephanie explanation of start of this god is a sort of unity of Indra. Like doing duty that Indra is supposed to do.

Since just about every Vedic god has “X-patī” (“Lord of X”) as one of his epithets this doesn’t really serve to advance your case.

What you would need to find is a deity whose attributes overlap sufficiently with those of Sahampati so as to constitute a family resemblance, like that which obtains between Vedic Indra and Buddhist Śakra/Sakka.

But I’m pretty sure that you won’t find one, for scholars have already been over the Vedas with a toothcomb in quest of these sort of parallels. Not only have sober and conscientious scholars like Berriedale Keith drawn a blank, but even tendentious Hindutva fanatics who wish to maximally highlight Buddhism’s indebtedness to Vedic religion have also come up empty-handed. If Sahampati were truly prefigured in the Vedas, or if there were even a hint of a prefiguration, then we can be quite sure that some unscrupulous corner-cutting Hindutva-ist would have found it by now.


Please believe me. This is nice finding

I just found what you told me. And it makes sense more with what Stephanie says.

Then Indra=Sakka and Brahma=Bṛhaspati

Sakka and Brahmā is the same gods!!

That’s why they appear together. Please more into this. It seems there is not many suttas to back this up.

image image image

Trailoka, as, m. (fr. tri-loka), 'the ruler of the three worlds," epithet of Indra.

The Sahā world is divided into three distinct realms or worlds. ( traidhātuka or *[trailokya]

Its ruler is [Mahābrahmā Sahāmpati]

What are the three worlds? It seems Indra and Brahma are not the same gods.

You have to understand. From a different angle. In Buddhism it started with calling the other half of Indra. mahabrahma. And Sakka for Indra. But this still later tradition or local names for those god. Because Indra is Lord of Devas. That means heaven. Earth and underworld I think. But it don’t have to be the same. That’s why some sutta has Buddha saying to Mahabrahma that there is other worlds that Buddha can see but he can’t. Thats again just a story making Buddha higher. Indra was probably the main god in Buddha time. Like the early inscription that I shared mention Indra. Very early stories was probably about Indra only. What Vedic Sramanas did was to make the early word Bṛhaspati into Br-a-h-m-a-s-Pati.

So these are just influenced by the time of Sanskrit.

But even king Asoka inscription is spelled differently. Every script is different. But even he calls the Brahmins in some edicts close to Sanskrit spelled Bramhana. And in Brahmi script far from this babhana I think. But if you see Bramhana is almost Brha

As Indra Hymns is important in Rg Veda. What ever god that works together with Indra was considered important after. And replaced Indra. Lord of devas. The the only thing Buddhism had to do is change Pati to Maha. And since Brha becomes Brahma. Maha Brahma. Just means the same. Knowing Indra is Lord of devas.