The Many Heads of Brahma



In the many tales of mythology, Brahma never makes the journey out of Brahmanda into Vaikuntha (Vishnu’s abode). He convinces himself that his subjective reality is objective reality. He ends up trying to control the world. Rather than looking beyond pleasure and pain, he works towards enhancing pleasure and reducing pain. He gets trapped in his own delusion. The material world stops being a medium, it becomes the destination. Brahma spends all his life securing his own version of reality. He does everything in his power to defend his measuring scale.


Brahma forgets Brahmanda is his creation. He forgets Maya also is his creation. He forgets Prakriti is his mother. Instead he seeks to control reality, dominate her, and make her dance to his whims. But Prakriti cannot be controlled by Brahma. The story goes that Brahma tries to get Shatrupa (she of a hundred beautiful forms) to dance to his whims. But the goddess runs away.


Brahma pursues her, desperate to possess and control her. It is a futile attempt that he refuses to abandon. This Brahma, who chases Prakriti, under the spell of Maya, is the unenlightened man, who seeks control over material reality, who seeks to dominate the world around him, seeks to make it function according to his whims. This is Brahma, the creator of all measuring scales and subjective realities, who is never worshiped (while Vishnu is, so is Shiva).


In his obsession, Brahma sprouts many heads. The many heads of Brahma represent the gradual crumpling of human consciousness as it becomes increasingly contaminated by prejudices and conditioning. Finally, Brahma sprouts the fifth head, his own imaginary understanding of who he is. This is Brahma’s self-image. It makes him demand significance in the world that he has created. Sometimes called the ego, the fifth head of Brahma is destroyed by Shiva.



– Devdutt Pattanaik. Seven Secrets of Vishnu.









One thought on “The Many Heads of Brahma

  1. Pingback: The Super-Negation - The Negative Psychologist

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