Hindu Trinity

Raghavendra Hebbalalu hs_raghavendra at YAHOO.COM
Wed Apr 26 17:10:42 CDT 2000

> 1) Does this not contradict Advaita?

I don't think so. Just as the presence of multiple
jIvas does not contradict Advaita, the trimUrtis also
do not, as they all occur in the vyAvahArika state.

> 2) Does this concept have any affirmation within the
>    SmArtha/Advaita tradition?

Most purANas do show brahma, vishNu and rudra(shiva)
as separate (for example, brahma talking to shiva and
viShNu, not a pAramArthika separation). shiva and
vishNu, are each described as the Supreme in different
purANas. The worship of different deities has been
affirmed in the smArta tradition (panchAyatana pUja).
By similar reasoning, the trimUrtis are also affirmed
within our tradition.

shrii raamakR^ishNa gave the well known example of the
same person, being seen variously as the son, husband,
father, grandson,uncle, manager and so on of the
people who saw him, to explain the existence of
various gods. I guess this is similar to that. Though
there is one Ishwara, He/She is seen differently by
different people.

shrii shankara has composed stOtras on many deities,
extolling each one of them as parabrahman. So, even in
the case of Ishwara, 'ekam sadviprA bahudhA vadanti'

> 3) Why is Brahma not worshipped as widely as Shiva
> and
>    VishNu?

Though I do not know the exact reasons apart from
those mentioned in the purANas, we can speculate.
One reason could be that the purANas contain less
information and stutis about brahma, than about shiva
and viShNu. Also, the number of shaiva and vaiShNava
purANAs are almost equal. I don't think there is any
purANa, which describes brahma in the same way as
shiva or viShNu have been described. The purANas exert
a lot of influence about building temples for the Gods
within them. Since devotees were less influenced by
brahma, we see fewer temples for Him.
Now the basic question is, has been brahma so
neglected in the purANas ? If so, why ?

>    And, I have not heard of any other temple.  So, I
> am
>    really curious as to why Brahma has been
> marginalized?

> 4) Last but not the least, Is this a "neo-hindu"
> concept
>    ( the notion and emphasis on "trinity"
> specifically )?
>    Did it emerge during the last 200 years so as to
> find
>    some common ground with Christina "trinity" (
> atleast
>    they could claim to have one word in common )?

The number three holds a lot of significance in our
tradition. The knowledge of the three guNas has been
from times immemorial. From the three guNas came the
trimUrtis. So, I really doubt if this is a 'neo-Hindu'
concept. In fact, Christianity, being younger, could
have borrowed this concept, although their trinity of
the Spirit, Son and the Ghost seems to be very
different from ours.

> Thanks,
> -Vivek.


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