The ‘Trimurti’ is a concept in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of ‘Brahma’ the creator, ‘Vishnu’ the maintainer or preserver and ‘Shiva’ the destroyer or transformer.

Brahma is visualized as a priest, Vishnu as a king and Shiva as an ascetic. Brahma is not worshiped, because he represents ‘jiva-atma’, the soul seeking answers, hence unworthy to worship. Vishnu and Shiva represents ‘param-atma’, the soul that found the answer.

Having found the answer, Vishnu continues to participate in the world while Shiva withdraws  from all things worldly. Vishnu’s eyes are therefore always open while Shiva’s eyes are always shut. Shiva represents the hermit’s way of life. Vishnu represents the householder’s way of life.

A male form is essentially incomplete and presupposes the existence of female form – Tridevi.

Photo:  Zuzana Zwiebel – Elephanta Caves – Trimurti



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