In another in a series on the ancient life of Babaji, the Mahavatar known to students of the Self-Realization Fellowship, I would like to clarify the meaning of an often-told myth about the creator god Brahma. At first he had five heads, four of which faced outward at the points of the compass; the fifth was in the center and probably functioned as a symbol of transcendence. When Brahma looked at his daughter with lust Shiva punished him by cutting off the fifth head.
The myth of Brahma was elaborated by the religious philosophers who compiled the Vedas. As such it was an Indo-European creation. When Brahma ceased to attract the support of the philosophers his cult declined rapidly, for it did not grow from purely Indian soil as the cults of Vishnu and Shiva did.
It was when sexual tantra entered the religion of Brahma that Shiva---in this case, Babaji---disqualified it as a path to transcendence. This judgment upon the cult is remembered in myth as the decapitation of the fifth, “transcendent” head. Babaji was an enemy of cults of sexual magic from the earliest times, and has preserved the purity of many kinds of yoga in India.
Below: Shiva, the "Adi Acharya" or First Teacher of yoga.