|Trimurti / Trideva|
Creation, Preservation and Destruction; Universe
The Trimurti at Ellora
|Affiliation||Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver), and Shiva (destroyer); Deva, Bhagavanta& Dattatreya|
|Abode||Satyaloka abode of Brahma
Vaikuntha abode of VishnuKailash abode of Shiva
|Mantra||Om Tridevaya Namah|
|Weapon||Bramhastra and Kamandala (Brahma); Sudarshana and Kaumodaki (Vishnu); Trishula (Shiva)|
|Mount||Swan (mount of Brahma), Garuda (mount of Vishnu) and Nandi (mount of Shiva)|
|Consort||Tridevi which consists of Saraswati (Brahma's wife), Lakshmi (Vishnu's wife) and Parvati (Shiva's wife)|
|Glossary of Hinduism|
The Trim?rti (;Sanskrit trim?rti, "three forms") is the Triple deity of supreme divinity in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified as a triad of deities, typically Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer, though individual denominations may vary from that particular line-up. When all three deities of the Trimurti incarnate into a single avatar, the avatar is known as Dattatreya.
Trimurti with Tridevi
This period had no homogeneity, and included orthodox Brahmanism in the form of remnants of older Vedic faith traditions, along with different sectarian religions, notably Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Shaktism that were within the orthodox fold yet still formed distinct entities. One of the important traits of this period is a spirit of harmony between orthodox and sectarian forms. Regarding this spirit of reconciliation, R. C. Majumdar says that:
However, this argument overlooks the obvious correlation of Brahm? with Brahman. The identification of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva as one being is strongly emphasized in the K?rma Pura, wherein 1.6 Brahman is worshipped as Trimurti; 1.9 especially inculcates the unity of the three gods, and 1.26 relates to the same theme. Historian A. L. Basham explains the background of the Trimurti as follows, noting Western interest in the idea of trinity:
Temples dedicated to various permutations of the Trimurti can be seen as early as the 8th century C.E., and there are even temples today in which the Trimurti are actively worshiped.
The Saura sect that worships Surya as the supreme personality of the godhead and saguna brahman doesn't accept the Trimurti as they believe Surya is God. Earlier forms of the Trimurti sometimes included Surya instead of Brahma, or as a fourth above the Trimurti, of whom the other three are manifestations; Surya is Brahma in the morning, Vishnu in the afternoon and Shiva in the evening. Surya was also a member of the original Vedic Trimurti, which included Varuna and Vayu. Some Sauras worship either Vishnu or Brahma or Shiva as manifestations of Surya, others worship the Trimurti as a manifestation of Surya, and others exclusively worship Surya alone.
Shaivites hold that, according to Shaiva Agama, Shiva performs five actions - creation, preservation, dissolution, concealing grace, and revealing grace. Respectively, these first three actions are associated with Shiva as Sadyojata (akin to Brahma), Vamadeva (akin to Vishnu) and Aghora (akin to Rudra). Thus, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra are not deities different from Shiva, but rather are forms of Shiva. As Brahma/Sadyojata, Shiva creates. As Vishnu/Vamadeva, Shiva preserves. As Rudra/Aghora, he dissolves. This stands in contrast to the idea that Shiva is the "God of destruction." To Shaivites, Shiva is God and performs all actions, of which destruction is only but one. Ergo, the Trimurti is a form of Shiva Himself for Shaivas. Shaivites believe that Lord Shiva is the Supreme, who assumes various critical roles and assumes appropriate names and forms, and also stands transcending all these. A prominent visual example of a Shaivite version of the Trimurti is the Trimurti Sadashiva sculpture in the Elephanta Caves on Gharapuri Island.
Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma adoring Kali.
The Female-Centric Shaktidharma denomination assigns the eminent roles of the three forms (Trimurti) of Supreme Divinity not to masculine gods but instead to feminine goddesses: Mahasarasvati (Creatrix), Mahalaxmi (Preservatrix), and Mahakali (Destructrix). This feminine version of the Trimurti is called Tridevi ("three goddesses"). The masculine gods (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) are then relegated as auxiliary agents of the supreme feminine Tridevi.
Smartism is a denomination of Hinduism that places emphasis on a group of five deities rather than just a single deity. The "worship of the five forms" (pañc?yatana p?j?) system, which was popularized by the ninth-century philosopher ?ankar?c?rya among orthodox Brahmins of the Sm?rta tradition, invokes the five deities Ganesha, Vishnu, Brahma, Devi and Shiva.?ankar?c?rya later added Kartikeya to these five, making six total. This reformed system was promoted by ?ankar?c?rya primarily to unite the principal deities of the six major sects on an equal status. The monistic philosophy preached by ?ankar?c?rya made it possible to choose one of these as a preferred principal deity and at the same time worship the other four deities as different forms of the same all-pervading Brahman.
Despite the fact that the Vishnu Purana describes that Vishnu manifests as Brahma in order to create and as Rudra (Shiva) in order to destroy,Vaishnavism generally does not acknowledge the Trimurti concept, but they believe in avataras of Vishnu like Buddha, Rama, Krishna, etc. They also believe that Shiva and Brahma both are forms of Vishnu. For example, the Dvaita school holds Vishnu alone to be the supreme God, with Shiva subordinate, and interprets the Puranas differently. For example, Vijayindra Tîrtha, a Dvaita scholar interprets the 18 puranas differently. He interprets the Vaishnavite puranas as satvic and Shaivite puranas as tamasic and that only satvic puranas are considered to be authoritative.
Unlike most other Vaishnavite schools such as those of Ramanuja, Madhva and Chaitanya, Swaminarayan, guru of the Hindu Swaminarayan sects (including BAPS), did not differentiate between Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva; Swaminarayan notably differs from practically all Vaishnavite schools in holding that Vishnu and Shiva are different aspects of the same God. (see also verses 47 and 84 of Shikshapatri, a key scripture to all followers of the Swaminarayan faith.) Moreover, Swaminarayan followed a Smarta approach (see more detail on the Smarta view below) by instructing his followers to venerate all five deities of the Panchayatana puja with equal reverence.