The picture of Lord Padmanabha (God in Hinduism and the main diety at Thiruvananthapuram, India famous for its new found riches) is always a blissful sight for me for several reasons.
One of it is that it shows all three of the Hindu holy trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara) in one frame depicting ‘oneness’. It also stirs up the concept of age and time.
The picture was divine with young resplendent Vishnu in a reclining yoganidra(cosmic sleep) posture on adisesha(the snake). Brahma sitting in a lotus that sprang forth from the navel of Vishnu. Maheswara is present in his linga form.
Vishnu is shown as young while his ‘son’ Brahma is shown as an old man. Is it a contradiction?
Why would scriptures depict the father(Vishnu) as young while the son(Brahma) is shown as an old person?
Soon it became clear in my mind as i had written about it earlier as well.
Nature follows a rather simple principle – everything created must dissolve and vice versa. It always follows rhythmic cycles.
If Brahma sprang forth(hence born and has a beginning) then he must also follow the same rhythmic pattern of nature, hence must age and finally dissolve.
If one were to assume life span of Brahma as 100 years(same as human), the Brahma of this rhythmic cycle is 50+ years old.
The life of Brahma is counted to be that of more than 310 trillion earthly years, per vedic measurement of time.
As a sidenote, Vedic measurement has units from (10 power -7) of a second to more than (10 power 22) and named thruti, lipta and all the way to kalpa and so on.
While it looks like the life of Brahma is long and interminable, from the viewpoint of eternity it is as brief as a flash.
Remember animals, birds, bacteria have different life spans. So is the case here as well. For a bacteria, human life span may appear in similar fashion as what we think of as Brahma. Its all relative, you see.
There are innumerable Brahmas (not to be confused with omnipresent, Omnipotent formless Brahman) born and dissolve like bubbles in the ocean of time.
Brahma and his creation are all part of the material universe, and therefore must follow the same laws of the nature.
This explains why the scriptures depicted Brahma as an old man.
But then why is Vishnu, his father, shown as young forever. The answer is rather very simple.
He is never born and hence never dissolves. No ageing process would effect him since he is the omnipresent chidananda swarupa ( pure consciousness). Similar is the case with Maheswara (he is anyways shown in the linga form).
So one that is chidananda, the pure consciousness would forever be young.
To extend the logic further, if every being in this universe is in essence the same pure consciousness, every being in its true nature is always young. It is only the material manifestation that must follow the laws of nature like age, death and resurrection.