I wanted to do a painting based on a Hindu mythological theme for a while and it took me some time to land on this particular story that I think needs to be told. The story involves the holy trinity Gods, Brahma - the creator, Vishnu - the protector and Shiva - the destroyer. As the story goes there was a dispute between Vishnu and Brahma as to who is greater. The dispute was settled by Shiva with a condition as the one who saw either end (head or feet) of Shiva is greater than the other. Brahma transformed to a swan went up to see the head and Vishnu transformed to a boar went down to see the feet. After several days Vishnu could not find the feet and returned humbled. Brahma also traveled several days and could not see the head and was about to return but at that time he saw a fragrant screw pine flower (Thamzhampoo in Tamil Language) coming down from high above. Upon enquiry the flower said that it was coming from the head of Shiva. Brahma requested the flower to give evidence in his favour that he had seen the head. They came and told Vishnu that Brahma had seen the head of Shiva. Knowing what had happened all along Shiva got very angry with Brahma and the flower for telling a lie. He plucked out the 5th head of Brahma and cursed that Brahma will not be worshipped at any temple. Also cursed the flower should not be used to worship him in any temple. This is the reason why in India, a country where there are thousands of temples for Vishnu and Shiva there are only three temples for Brahma.
In this painting, Shiva in his avatar is represented by the giant ball of fire, while Brahma assumes the form of the Swan and Vishnu, the boar. To the top left you see the flower falling from the above.