According to Shiva purana,

"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." -- Siva Purana, Jnanasamhita 49:65-80.

What does it mean? Did lord Brahma want to commit incest with his own daughter? Please tell me the actual fact.

  • 4
    This is similar to the story of Yama & Yami who were siblings. Yami want to fornicate with Yama but Yama refused saying siblings should not be doing it. Thus Yama became "Dharma Raja" or the king of justice as per a folklore. Scientifically speaking, there must have been incest at some point of time in human evolution. Even now we practice incest since every human is considered to be at least the 50th cousin from each other.
    – Bharat
    Jun 30, 2014 at 14:25
  • Please visit the following link for detailed understanding dharmayuddham.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/brahmaa-and-saraswati Sep 5, 2014 at 4:24
  • 9
    Curiously enough, when Christians ask me this thing, I say Eve was made out of Adam's rib, does that make us all incest babies, since every human alive today is supposed to be their descendant (as per Christian theology)? Sep 5, 2014 at 5:32
  • 4
    Lord Brahma was not a Human with some craving phallus, like what brainless Wendy Doniger would say. Everything is created from Lord Brahma. Even every sperm that a human ejaculates. That doesn't mean its Lord Brahma have sex, every time when a man makes loves to a women. What ever it is just an exaggerated allegories.
    – Hindu
    Oct 21, 2014 at 19:57
  • 3
    Usually all these Purana stories should be taken with grain of salt. They are mostly over the top. Such stories contributes to myths and confusions.
    – iammilind
    Aug 20, 2015 at 7:05

11 Answers 11


I am re-posting the improved answer.

Nobody has given any parameter to explain why Saraswati was a daughter of Brahma. Daughter is produced only by X-chromosome of father and X-chromosome of mother. That means X-X combination of father and mother respectively.

In the case of Brahma and Saraswati this rule is not applied at all. So she is not bilogical daugter of Brahma. Hence there is no question of incest at all. That she was produced from the sperm of Brahma is a trash story without any evidence.

Muslims and Christians are citing this on the name of Saraswati puran, which no Hindu has ever heard about. It is not enlisted among the sub-purans also. Ignorant Hindus having no connection with their scriptures are becoming prey to this conspiracy.

The authentic sources talk about her manifestation from the air coming out from the mouth of Brahma. So she has no bodily connection with Brahma. Hence daughtership of Saraswati is invalid. No body is talking about the Sanskrit word used in scripture in this case for 'daughter' in English. It has different meanings too.

Another fact is that he(Brahma) and she(Saraswati) are not human with bones and flesh like us, so there is no incest. Lamb and Lion are not herded with same stick. Four heads of Brahma and four arms of Saraswati signifies that they are not human. Unless you accept the very first proposition you should not jump to your conclusion.

She is eternal consort which manifested from half of his body via air. So she has been explicitly called Patni/wife as per Brihadaranyaka upanishad :

यथा स्त्रीपुमान्सौ सम्परिष्वक्तौ स इममेवात्मानं द्वेधाऽपातयत् ततः पतिश्च प‌त्नी चाभवताम्।

Patni is called better half of man in veidc principle. Though it has secondary meaning for human beings, it has primary meaning for Vishnu, Brahma, and Mahesh. It has been stated in above sentence of Upnishad. We will see the vedic incidences in vedic perspective not in Islamic perspective.

And now the story of Urvashi? One who projected/injected this story is just the best ignorant. He does not know the chronology in vedic genesis. Urvashi never existed when Sarawati manifested. Have pity on them. Suggest to read our scriptures in vedic perspective.

For more detailed knowledge for this episode please visit this link.

  • Thank you for improvment, for more improvement on answering please refer Guidelines for new users for answering questions
    – Kedarnath
    Sep 5, 2014 at 8:56
  • 2
    @HaripriyaDas Devi Bhagwatam has condemned​ Brahma's lust for His own daughter Saraswati at many places. So do not say-Muslim and Christians are using Saraswati puran.
    – user9392
    May 23, 2017 at 16:52
  • Even though "Saraswati Puran" may be untrue, but Devi Bhagwatam says Saraswati is Brahmas daughter. And also condemns what has been asked in the question.
    – user9392
    May 23, 2017 at 16:53
  • Do you have any explanation.
    – user9392
    May 23, 2017 at 16:53
  • And I have answered in detail. Even Srimad Bhagavatam has same mood of condemnation. I have not denied that. Please read the full article with patience. And Devibhagavata, though has got some significance now, but not accepted by real scholars as penned by Sri Vyaasa. The name itself speaks a lot about it as imitation. Do not want to delve in that topic. Jul 22, 2017 at 7:33

Lord Matsya, fish incarnation of Lord Vishnu, clarifies this in Matsya Purana.

Chapter 4 The Story of Saraswati in Matysa Purana says,

Manu asked, "O Omniscient lord, it is surprising to stare at the daughter again and again which is a painful situation, but by indulging in such a manner, how could the lotus born Brahmä not earn any blemish? Moreover. how could the sons of Brahmä marry in the same gotra? You kindly remove my doubt in this connection".

Lord Matsya said, "The rajoguna creation emerging in the form of Satarüpä and others is divine. As the Mulaprakruti is beyond the reach of the organs of senses, similarly the damsel Satarüpä's body was beyond the reach of the sense organs. It possesses the divine lustre besides the divine knowledge, therefore, the humans having the bodies of flesh cannot be described with their mortal eyes.

As the paths of the serpents are known to the serpents and those of the birds are known to the birds alone, similarly the ways of the divine souls like Satarüpä and others could be known to the divine jivas alone and not to humans. O Great king, since the activities of the gods (irrespective of their being) proper or improper, do not yield good or bad fruits, therefore it would not be proper for the humans to think about them.

The other reason is that as Brahmä happens to be the creator of the Vedas, similarly, Gäyatri in the form of Satarüpä is said to have been born of the limbs of Brahmä, therefore, this union is conceived as visible as well as invisible. Alas wherever there is Brahmä, Sarasvati is bound to be there and wherever there is Sarasvati, Brahmä must be there. As the sunshine cannot be separated from the sun, similarly Gäyatrl cannot leave the company of Brahmä. Though Brahmä represents all the Vedas and Sävitri or Gäyatri is the supreme goddess for him, therefore Brahmä does not earn any blemish casting an evil eye over Sarasvati.

Still Brahmä, felt shameful for his evil action at that time and he cursed the god of love his own son. He said, "Since you have badly wounded my mind with your arrows, therefore, lord Rudra will soon burn you to ashes."

  • 1
    I think Gayatri-Hridaya revealed toYajnavalka which is a part of the Sandhya-vandana seems much more reliable than these Puranic tales. There Vishnu as Para-Brahman created Sarasvati and Sarasvati created Brahma.
    – user17294
    Apr 24, 2019 at 7:27

First of all we are not enough capable of translating each and everything correctly, but if you go through all the Puranas you will find one thing in common, the Param Brahma in creation divided itself into two parts, Purusha and Prakriti, the Purusha itself is the Tridev, the Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

The Prakriti is the universe, everything as the part of universe i.e. galaxy, planets, plants, animals, and atoms. As universe is finite but Prakrati is not, a lot of energy was left out after creation, this left out infinite energy was the cause of the creation of Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Parvati(Sati). All three came into creation by same physical word if you go deeper into Brahma's Creation.

This might not fulfill the answer because we are of meager brains, we need to learn a lot to translate and get the actual meaning of Puranas correctly.

Last thing most of English translation are invalid, so don't give a lot of emphasis on them, I have read an altogether different story which says,

There was a fight between Rakshasas and Devas, where Devas were overpowered, and they went for help to Tridev, amongst which Shiva fought with the Devas, but Brahma just watched it. When Rakshasas were overpowered they started fleeing on which the fifth head of Brahma suggested the Rakshasas return to the battlefield and fight Shiva, this made Shiva angry and he tore off his fifth head.

In relation to incest, I already explained that Brahma is a Purusha part of Param Brahma, and Saraswati is a Prakriti part of Param Brahma, therefore they will naturally attract as two opposite type of energies. But the word incest is actually limited towards biological beings, and it cannot be used to define the relations of Atman. To Describe it more, there are two types of Reproduction, Sexual(found in mammals) and Asexual(as in ameba) and the asexual, the initial creation of Brahma all reproduce Asexually. And foremost we even cannot call Saraswati as daughter of Brahma, she is Prakriti(matter) and Brahma is Purusha(anti-matter), both with opposite nature.

Even we are attracted towards the Tridev, because they are Purusha and we are Prakriti.

  • 1
    Yes, it's more logical than calling the relation between brahman as incest.
    – ABcDexter
    Aug 23, 2015 at 4:49
  • 1
    Please do not call them Matter and AntiMatter.
    – user9392
    May 23, 2017 at 16:56
  • 1
    Brahma is not a bunch of attoms and Saraswati is not some anti atoms. They are inconceivable. And They are not even energies or mass, or force. They do not even have existence or inexistence. Please do not compare God with atoms.
    – user9392
    May 23, 2017 at 16:58
  • 1
    @user9392, What Mr.K said above is correct. This universe aka prakriti is composed of atoms (such is said even in sage Kapila's Samkhya philosophy). These atoms then manifest as matter or physical universe. Whereas purusha (the saguna trinity) even though it pervades the entire creation, is beyond the physical universe and so it can be said as anti matter. Some say it is the cosmic spirit, but that applies to nirguna brahman and not saguna trinity. Oct 7, 2018 at 19:12
  • 1
    If Brahma were Not guilty of possessing incestuous desire in the eyes of Lord Shiva, the latter would Not cut off his fifth head and ban the worship of Brahma on the earth.
    – Prakash RP
    Jul 11, 2021 at 4:09

Saraswati was not born from Bramha's relationship with any other woman. She was created by Bramha just the way he created everything else. I mean if he created Himalaya and if he created Shiva then isn't Shiva, Parvati's uncle?

Incest is a very modern concept probably derived from practical experience than inbreeding leads to defects. I dont think it can be applied in a mythological structure like this.


Brahma desired to have a wife. Since it was Brahma himself who is responsible for creation, he created a lady named Saraswati. When Brahma expressed his desire to marry her, Saraswati opposed Brahma arguing that he was like a father to her since it was he who created her.

But Brahma persuaded Saraswati by saying that the very reason for her creation is to be his wife. Saraswati tried arguing that she could not copulate with her own father. However, it was useless and finally Saraswati succumbed to Brahma's wish and became his wife.

  • This is my question dude....
    – Kiran RS
    Jun 30, 2014 at 9:41
  • 4
    Your answer says that it was incest indeed.......
    – nobalG
    Sep 5, 2014 at 4:57

the oldest version is from shatapatha brahmana


"1. Pragâpati conceived a passion for his own

p. 209

daughter,--either the Sky or the Dawn 1. 'May I pair with her!' thus (thinking) he united with her.

1:7:4:22. This, assuredly, was a sin in the eyes of the gods. 'He who acts thus towards his own daughter, our sister, [commits a sin],' they thought.

1:7:4:33. The gods then said to this god who rules over the beasts (Rudra) 2, 'This one, surely, commits a sin who acts thus towards his own daughter, our sister. Pierce him!' Rudra, taking aim, pierced him. Half of his seed fell to the ground. "

Also, siva only pierced him for the incest - siva cutting off one of brahma's heads appears to be a puranic story.

Westerners regard this story as an allegory for some atmospheric phenomenon.


Incest of Prajapati from Shatapatha Brahmana was mentioned in this answer.

This mention has a forerunner in Rig Veda. (X.61.5-7). The following is the translation of Stephanie W. Jamison and Joel P. Brereton.

Many modern day translators misunderstood the DIVINE concept here.

  1. He whose (penis,) which performs the virile work, stretched out, discharging (the semen)—(that one,) the manly one, then pulled away (his penis, which had been) “attending on” (her). Again he tears out from the maiden, his daughter, what had been “brought to bear” on her—he the unassailable.

  2. When what was to be done was at its middle, at the encounter when the father was making love to the young girl— as they were going apart, the two left behind a little semen sprinkled down on the back and in the womb of the well-performed (sacrifice).

  3. When the father “sprang on” his own daughter, he, uniting (with her), poured down his semen upon the earth. The gods, very concerned, begat the sacred formulation, and they fashioned out (of it?) the Lord of the Dwelling Place, protector of commandments.

We have to remember that there is no incest here, as misunderstood many modern day scholars. This issue is to be understood esoterically.

Rig veda V.79.8 states about Usha as daughter of heaven - duhitar divaḥ.

And, Rig veda I.65 says about fostering of a child, well-begotten in the lap of truth.

Esoterically, it is a Knowledge that ONE gets after getting SELF REALISATION, with the help of the God.

So, we can conclude that there is no HEAVENLY INCEST as thought of modern translators, but it is only DIVINE knowledge ONE gets (child - kumara) through SELF REALISATION (Ushas - dawn) with the help of the God (prajapati)


I believe, nowhere in the puranas is mentioned that Saraswati is a daughter of Brahma. Most of the people confuse it for Prakriti as Saraswati. Brahma created Prakriti, out of his thoughts and I've no answer if you ask me how.

Brahmanda Purana mentions:

Brahma splits himself and the left-half forms a woman.

That's how we relate husband-wife relation, likewise Parvati is the left-half with Shiva. So, there is nothing incest in it.

Some scriptures say Saraswati is born from Brahma's thoughts, that doesn't mean incest.

For example, you envision a person in your dream and suddenly you get to see that person. That doesn't mean the person is your son/daughter. And moreover, it is not incest.

  • 1
    Answers on this site should be backed up with sources, so you shouldn't just say the Brahmanda Purana, you should give a specific citation to it. Aug 23, 2015 at 21:26
  • 1
    Also, you say it's not incest, but in the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajur Veda the gods condemn Brahma's actions as sinful; see my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/6793/36 Aug 23, 2015 at 21:26

I have three answers to your question.The first two is no but the last one is yes.

  1. If you consider Saraswati to have appeared before the creation of the manas-putras of Brahma, then Saraswati had not been actually created from half of Brahma's body.Instead, in the beginning of time, Brahma had been instructed by Vishnu to create the world.However, Brahma did not know what to create as he lacked wisdom, knowledge and creativity.Hence, he prayed to Devi to show him the way.Devi thus manifested from the left half of Brahma's body as Saraswati, the Goddess of wisdom, knowledge and creativity.Gaining wisdom, knowledge and creativity from her, he realised that creating the universe was no easy feat annd thus created his manas-putras to help him.It was during that time that he started to lust Devi and Shiva came into the picture.Devi had also done such a miracle when Shiva had worshipped her.She had manifested from Shiva's left half as Sidhatri/Durga and Shiva became known as Ardhinaeshwara.

  2. If you consider Saraswati to have appeared before the creation of the manas-putras of Brahma, then Saraswati is the shakti of Brahma.Also, in this story, Saraswati had not been actually created from half of Brahma's body.Together with Saraswati, Brahma had created the manas-putras.Then, in this story, the manas-putras are not just the sons of Brahama.They are also the sons of Saraswati.After their creation, Saraswati manifested from Brahma's body's left side in a phisycal body.Upon seeing his shakti (he couldn't see her before as she had no phisycal form), Brahma lusted her and so on.

  3. Beliefs that Saraswati is Brahma's daughter is mainly from temple lore.Hence, after avoiding Brahma, Saraswati became a consort of Vishnu (according to Vaishnavas), a daughter of Durga (according to Shaktas) or a follower of Ganesha (according to Shaivas).

  • 2
    You should cite sources. Feb 20, 2016 at 12:30
  • My sources are Wikipedia and Devdutt Pattanaik's 7 secrets of Devi.
    – user4627
    Feb 21, 2016 at 4:05
  • OK, neither of those are very good sources, but in any case, you should add those specific citations to those sources in your answer. Feb 21, 2016 at 4:06


Since you cite a Purāṇa, I'm giving verses from another Purāṇa to attest the claim of Śiva Purāṇa

In the Skanda Mahā-Purāṇa, as per the words of god Siva himself, Brahmā tried committing incest with his daughter.

Quoting from the Skanda Purāṇa.

Chapter 2, Section 3 - Badarikāśrama-māhātmya, Skandamahāpurāṇam

Śiva said:

  1. This (sacred place) is beginningless like the Vedas which constitute Hari’s body. The presiding deity is Hari himself. It is resorted to by Nārada and others.
  1. Formerly, in the beginning of Kṛtayuga, Brahmā attempted to have sexual intercourse with his own daughter who was richly endowed with beauty and youth.
  1. to 5. On seeing him like that I cut off his head with a sword into five parts in a great fury. Taking the skull (sticking to) the hand that attempted the murder of Brahmā, I immediately left the place in order to resort to various Tīrthas in heaven, earth and nether worlds and performed penances as well.

English Translation by G.V. Tagare

So yes, it is attested from two different Purāṇas (Śiva Purāṇa & Skand Purāṇa), that god Brahmā did try to commit an incest with his daughter.

If someone asks why did he try to commit incest, then it maybe answered that it was part of the Divine Pastimes i.e., his "līlā".

Brahma Sutra 2.1.33 explains the term līlā as:

लोकवत्तु लीलाकैवल्यम् । २.१.३३ ।

  1. But (Brahman's (i.e., gods') creative activity) is mere sport, such as is seen in the world (or ordinary life).
  • Is Lord Brahma of the trimurti described anywhere in our texts as 'parabrahman' like lord Shiva and lord Vishnu ?
    – LSSJ Broly
    May 17, 2022 at 18:36
  • Yes. In the Vedas, and Brahma Purāṇa. He is @LSSJBroly
    – Vivikta
    May 18, 2022 at 10:33

What does it mean?

A literal interpretation ,of exact wordings would only reveal a narrow vision of what the purana is trying to convey. This is interpreted in view of Prastana traya , esp. Bhagavad Gita , by Sri SN Shastri. Godess Saraswati is the representative all knowledge/art in the creation of the world.Sanakaadhi rishis are sthitha prajnas who are ever free from any attachment.Thus they instruct Brahma not to develop attachment/ delight over Saraswati, while engaging in the process of creation as He is sure to be bound by its effects which inturn is bound by its cause. In consequence rsis circumvented adversities of Brahma being in bondage, by preaching detachment.

A deeper philosophical meaning can also be attributed.Brahma is the universal mind (Hiranyagarbha).Such a mind is attracted by karma Kanda of Vedas here represented by Saraswati.But the enlightened minds represented by Sanaka and others points out one should be trapped by karma Kanda alone ,but should rise higher- Bhagavad Gita 2.42 to 2.45
Sri SN Shaastri

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