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Story of Brahma's four heads - Tripura Rahasya

BrahmaBrahma is originally said to have five heads. The story goes that Brahma and Vishnu were competing for superiority when a column of light appeared in front of them. They decided that whoever reached either end of the column of light is to be accepted as superior. Vishnu assumed the form of a boar and dived down to the bottom whereas Brahma sought to reach the top of the ray of light. Neither could find the end of the ray.

Brahma, desperate at not finding the end of the ray, found a flower and asked the flower from where it was coming. The flower answered that it was just falling in the space. Brahma presented the flower as a false witness to claim that he had reached the top of the column of light. Shiva, upon learning this destroyed Brahma's one head that spoke this lie, and hence Brahma is left with four heads. Legend has that it was indeed Shiva who appeared before them as the ray of light.