Brahma is the Hindu God of creation and one of the ‘Trimurti’, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Manu, and from Manu all human beings are descended.
Lord Brahma is said to have three wives – Saraswati, Savitri and Gayatri. All his three wives are Vedic Goddesses and are revered as ‘Vedamata’ meaning mother of the ‘Vedas’. Brahma is often identified as ‘Prajapati’, a Vedic deity.
The legend has it that the creator of the universe, who is depicted as having four heads, actually had five heads originally. One can find this mentioned in the Brahma Purana. According to this story, Brahma lost one of his five heads while creating the universe.
Read on to know the complete story behind Brahma’s heads.
Also, Shiva felt that Shatarupa was Brahma’s daughter, being created by him. Therefore, Shiva determined, it was wrong for Brahma to become obsessed with her.
Thus, only Vishnu and Shiva are worshipped today, while Brahma is almost totally ignored.
There are different explanations for why Brahma only has four heads now, as opposed to his original five. According to the Puranas, Brahma and Vishnu were once arguing over who was superior of the two. They discovered from the Vedas that Shiva was the Supreme Being.
Brahma however, spoke disparagingly about Shiva. In anger, Shiva cut off the head, which had spoken, and therefore Brahma was left with four heads.
Shiva is usually shown carrying a human skull in his hand to confront the world with its mortality. Sometimes he uses the skull as a drinking bowl. He wears a garland of skulls. The skull is said to be the fifth head of Brahma, cut off by Shiva.