The Legend of Brahma’s Four Heads


Brahma is one of the Trimurti (Three primary Gods of Hinduism), the others being God Vishnu and Shiva. He is considered to be the creator of the universe and all beings, as depicted in Hindu cosmology. The Vedas, the oldest and the holiest of Hindu Scriptures, are attributed to Brahma, and thus he is also regarded as the father of Dharma.

According to Puranas, Brahma was not created by anyone, but was self-born out of a Lotus flower thus he is referred to as Prajapati. In the Hindu legends, Brahma is commonly represented as having four heads, four arms, and red skin. Unlike all the other Hindu Gods, he carries no weapon in his hands, rather he carries a water-pot, a spoon, a book of vedas, a rosary and a Lotus. Hindu mythology has it that God Brahma originally had five heads, one of them was cut down by God Shiva in his rage. There are various legends associated with this incident of God Shiva cutting God Brahma’s head –

The Infinite Shiva Linga:

The story goes such that, once there was a conflict between God Brahma and God Vishnu as to who was the most powerful among the Trimurti’s, while the argument was happening, a long pillar of fire appeared in between God Vishnu and God Brahma. It was decided that among them that whoever  finds the end of the pillar was the most powerful. God Vishnu took the form of a boar and dug underground. God Brahma took the form of a Swan and went towards the skies, both could not find the end of the pillar and returned, God Vishnu accepted that the pillar was endless, but God Brahma lied about the pillar’s limit claiming that he was the true God. Immediately the pillar broke open and God Shiva in rage appeared in front of both the God’s and cut God Brahma’s fifth head, when he was about the kill God Brahma, Vishnu intervened and requested God Shiva to pardon God Brahma, but told that God Brahma would never be worshiped again in the world.

Another legend has it that, once when creating the universe, God Brahma created 10 sons and one daughter (Shatarupa) to help him create the universe. Shatarupa was so beautiful that God Brahma became completely infatuated with her and stared at her wherever she went. Shatarupa was embarrassed by this attention of her father and tried to escape his gaze and descended to heaven. God Shiva who was seeing this build up got angry with God Brahma for his unholy behavior towards his daughter Shatarupa and as a punishment, God Shiva chopped off his fifth head and cursed him that no person would worship God Brahma.

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