Why Lord Shiva cut Brahma's Fifth Head

After the creation, Brahma looked over the world and was pleased. He saw the water and land, the mountains and hills. He saw the sun, Aditya, whose rays blessed the earth. He saw the sages, sprung from his thought. But none of these be­ings, as yet, had been born to a mother and father. So, Lord Brahma drew from his own body a form, half male and half female. The male was called Swayambhu Manu, and the female Shatarupa. We know her better by another name: Saraswati.

Saraswati's dark hair stretched to her waist, and her face was pure and open. In her hands, she held a veena by which to bless the universe with music and wisdom. Hansa, the swan, bore her on his back. When he saw the beauty of Saraswati, Lord Brahma's soul moved within him. He longed for her as his wife. But Saraswati, drawn from his own body, was like his daughter.

One day she approached Lord Brahma to pay her respects.He gazed at her with intense desire. When she circled behind him, he could see her no longer. So great was his longing that a second head sprouted from behind his first one, the bet­ter to gaze on Saraswati and her beauty.

Saraswati passed to Lord Brahma's left, and a third head appeared to gaze at her still. When she passed to his right, yet another-a fourth head sprouted from his shoulders so she could not es­cape his sight. The attention troubled Saraswati. To gain a moment's peace from Brahma's desire, she jumped over his head. A fifth head sprouted from Brahma's shoulders so that Saraswati could find no rest from his interest.

Lord Shiva witnessed the performance and was displeased.

"It is not lawful to pursue your daughter, Lord Brahma," he said. Four of Brahma's heads praised Shiva in agreement. The fifth head hissed and reviled Shiva for his interference.Lord Shiva drew his sword.

"A head that speaks in such a way shall not speak at all." And so Lord Brahma lost his fifth head that spoke evilly to Lord Shiva. Eventually, Brahma and Saraswati married, and have lived together since. Shatarupa married Swayambhu Manu and produced the first children. Thus began the cycle of fathers and mothers from the first man and woman.

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