Brahma’s Fifth Head
In this chapter we will discuss Brahma and his pride and how Shiva ensured that he remained grounded like a god inevitably should. We shall also discuss other perspectives about how these two creators look at the world.
Shiva was examining Brahma’s creation one day and realized that all he could see and hear were sounds of plight, frustration, anger, hate and sadness. Shiva was disheartened, he grew full of pain himself and wept.
He went to Brahma. By now Brahma already had five heads, four to look around and see the daily functioning of the world and the fifth to hold his pride.
Shiva went to Brahma and said: “Brahma, what have you done, what have you created, all I see is sadness and hate in this world.”
Brahma, who was filled with pride, ignored what Shiva had to express. He continued to do as he pleased. This filled Shiva with rage and anger. He took the form of Bhairava, and ripped of Brahma’s fifth head, the one which held his pride. (Bhairava is another name for Shiva which originated from this story, and literally means “frightful”)
Brahma now aware and fearful of Shiva hurriedly began to explain, “Dear Lord, I have not filled the world with sadness, I have merely created it. The world that I created is neither filled with sadness nor with happiness; it is neither beautiful nor ugly, the world JUST IS. What anyone may think of it is just their perception”.
Shiva argued, “But you created the mind, which creates these perceptions.”
Brahma replied to that, “The mind can be deluded by perceptions or can be enlightened by truth. But how one makes this choice is often the difference between the successful and those who fail in their endeavors?”
There are two very strong messages that Shiva shares here. First, pride must be ended in all circumstances. Pride makes us think and look beyond subjects that matter and deludes further our perception of the world, i.e. pride in itself becomes a concern for us, and we forget to think about the more important aspects of life like relationships, friendships, our dharma, happiness etc and all that takes over our minds is pride, which actually does not matter. Pride makes people careless and complacent for which they usually have to pay heavily later.
The second lesson that Shiva gives us is that everything that we see is based on a perception that we have of the world. None of which may be true. Hence, what we see is merely one possible scenario which may or may not be true. Given this knowledge we should always try and look at the world with the most positive perspective possible to manifest greater happiness in our lives, as looking at life through a perspective of pain and pessimism itself is the source of suffering.
Have you ever thought of the question that Brahma asks Shiva “The mind can be deluded by perceptions or can be enlightened by truth? But how one makes this choice is often the difference between the successful and the not so successful?” Interesting right?
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Dr. Nilima Chitgopekar
The Shiva Experience