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As I've heard before, there was a story which said that lord Brahma had five heads but the fifth one was chopped off by lord Shiva.

So why did lord Shiva chop off the fifth head of lord Brahma?

Also, did he really had five heads or he has four as it's shown here?

Lord Brahma

Source: Wikipedia

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From Spiritual living 360:

One such story says that Brahma created a woman named Shatarupa to help him with his job of creation. According to the myth, Shatarupa was so beautiful that Brahma became completely infatuated with her and stared at her wherever she went. Shatarupa was embarrassed by this attention and tried to escape his gaze, but in every direction that she moved, Brahma sprouted a new head until he had developed four. The frustrated Shatarupa became desperate and began to jump to try to escape his gaze. This prompted Brahma to sprout yet another head on top of the others in order to keep her in sight.

It is said that Shiva admonished Brahma for his "unholy" behavior towards Shatarupa and chopped off his fifth head as punishment. Brahma had given into the cravings of the flesh and abandoned the work of the soul and for this Shiva's curse was that people should not worship Brahma.

The story also goes on to say that Brahma has been continually reciting the four Vedas ever since as a form of repentance, one from each of his four heads.

I have seen the same story in other links too.

But I have also found a reference where there is no description of what I have referred from above links.

EDIT: (added after @Dineshkumar's comment below)

From Siva Purana, Jnanasamhita 49:65-80:

Brahma desired Sarasvati and went to her, asking her to stay with him. She, being his daughter, was furious at this and said, 'Your mouth speaks inauspiciously and so you will always speak in a contrary way.' From that day, Brahma's fifth head always spoke evilly and coarsely. Therefore one day when Siva was wandering about with Parvati and came to see Brahma, Brahma's four heads praised Siva but the fifth made an evil sound. Siva, displeased with the fifth head, cut it off. The skull remained stuck fast to Siva's hand, and though he was capable of burning it up, Siva wandered the earth with it for the sake of all people, until he came to Benares.

  • This question provides a different theory. – Dharmaputhiran Jun 30 '14 at 8:47
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    @Dineshkumar It is same, but with deep explanation. – Mr_Green Jun 30 '14 at 8:49
  • The way these stories contradict each other proves that they are planted. There has been an attempt to discredit and vilify the trimurthis with sexual innuendos by our colonial historians/indologists. – Naveen Jun 17 '15 at 14:12
  • @Mr_Green : First source is expired domains. – Delete Sep 29 '16 at 18:31
  • @Jase Thanks. I updated the link. But I think it got the case of circular reference. – Mr_Green Sep 30 '16 at 4:42
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From Shatarupa's Wikipedia page:-

When Brahma created Shatarupa, he was immediately infatuated and pursued her wherever she went. Shatarupā moved in various directions to avoid his gaze but wherever she went, Brahmā developed another head until he had four, one for each direction of the compass. Desperate, Shatarupa leaped over him to stay out of his gaze even for a moment. A fifth head, however, appeared above the others. Thus, Brahmā developed five heads. At this moment Shiva appeared, cut off the top head and determined that since Shatarupā was Brahma's daughter (being created by him), it was wrong and incestous of Brahma to become obsessed with her. He directed that there be no proper worship in India for the "unholy" Brahma.

Another version of the story describes Shatarupa as a deity with beauty in many forms. After Brahma had grown his fifth head Shatarupa had turned into a cow to avoid his lust. When Brahma found out he turned into a bull in order to continue to follow Shatarupa, eventually finding her. She hid in the form of another animal in order to quell his unnatural lust. But, alas, Brahma found out again and incarnated as the appropriate male animal. Again, she hid in the form of another animal. This continued until all of the animals of all kinds in today's world were born and Shiva finally ripped off one of Brahma's five heads to put an end to his lust.

Matsya Purana, presents the similar story but its self contradictory in terms of marriage of Brahma with Shatarupa and mentioning Manu as their son.

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    @down-voter: explanation will be helpful. – Ankit Sharma Jun 30 '14 at 6:32
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Another interesting story which mentions about God Shiva chopping of God Brahma's 5th head is as follows..

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.

Source: http://blog.ishtadevata.com/legend-brahmas-four-heads.html

  • You should cite some authentic sources. (preferably scriptures than blogs) – Pandya May 24 '17 at 3:51
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no lord Brahma head cut because once Lord Vishnu & Lord Brahma had quarrel that is in world Brahma is great & Vishnu is great at last Lord Shiva came dont do like this, do one thing u 2 see my one body part of me that will who ever see there great the Shiva become very height upto sky & Lord Vishnu gone to see foot of Shiva's & Lord Brahma gone to see Shiva's head 2 also not see anything & came back near Shiva & said Lord Vishnu said I did not saw u r foots & Lord Brahma said I saw u r head then Lord Shiva saw his Divyadrusthti Lord Brahma said not truth & Vishnu said truth so Shiva said to Vishnu u become Lord Satyanarayana & Brahmas one head cuted & that face will attached on Shiva it cannot come easily so at last Shiva came to Horanadu(KARNATAKA) Adishatatmaka Annapurneshwari temple then it solved Shiva's problem. & for truth Lord Brahma he brought Ketaki Raja he also said FALSE so his tounge cuted & said by Lord Shiva u r flower Ketaki had to half cut & put that flowers on Gods & Goddess other wise it will bad name for womens who ever not tear & put Ketaki flowers leaf that people this type had to face but at last Kamadhenu brought Lord Brahma holds her head & head shakened has truth but her tail said truth so 1st Kamadhenu or Nandi, cow worship 1st from Tail. OM NAMA SHIVAY. OM ADISHATI AVATARA KANNADAMBE NAMAHA.

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    Welcome To Hinduism SE! We have to provide sources for our answers on this site. Like quoting from authentic Hindu scriptures or from books like "Gita ,Ramayana ,Mahabharata" etc. – SwiftPushkar Sep 29 '16 at 18:16

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