Symbolism : The Hindu Trinity

Posted: August 7, 2011 in philosophy


No living thing is immortal. There is a limit for its existence, it originates (creation aspect), lives for certain period of time (operative aspect) and it eventually comes to an end (destructive aspect). This entire idea of creation, operation and destruction is embodied into the form of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively in the Hindu Philosophy. Sanatana Dharma to its core is monotheism, i.e, there is only one God, and all other 33 crore Gods that Hinduism talks about need to be understood in a different way. The whole life in this Universe is classified into three – one third of it has divine nature, one third with humanly nature and the other one third with devilish nature. This one third of the whole is attributed as 33 crore (here crore is not to be taken literally, but to mean a vast number). To make it more clear, 1/3 = 0.3333.. and the vastness of this is denoted as 33 crore. There are not only 33 crore divine, but 33 crore humanly nature and 33 crore devilish nature. The sum of all those comes close to the whole. We look upon with high esteem to only those with divine nature. Each birth we take is to progress towards this equivalence class of divine nature.

Every concept told in Hindu Philosophy should not be understood in its literal sense, but in a rational way. All the anthropomorphic deities that Hindu sages conceptualized have specific meaning attributed to it. The rational behind the anthropomorphic forms of Hindu Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva could be more or less better understood with the help of scientific knowledge that we possess.

The four heads of Brahma along with the consort Saraswathy is attributed to the creation aspect. The minimal number of dimensions required to describe the existence of matter is four (three space dimension and one time dimension). For example, to describe the state of a rock, (x,y,z,t) will be enough. However this by itself does not attribute to creation, but to turn this rock into a beautiful sculpture is creation. To turn this rock into sculpture requires knowledge. The combination of these four dimensions with knowledge leads to creation. Saraswathy is attributed to knowledge, and this is the reason why Saraswathy is viewed as the consort of Brahma.

Blue colored Vishnu sleeps on the five headed snake (Anantha)  which in turn sleeps on the Ksheera Sagara (Milkyway Galaxy) with the Brahma sitting on a lotus flower that comes out of the umbilical cord of Vishnu, with the consort Lakshmi is attributed to the operative aspect of this Universe. The blue color represents Infinity. The five heads of the snake represents the pancha mahabhuta, the five fundamental elements of nature – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space. Vishnu lying on the five headed snake means God is present in all these five fundamental elements of nature, and the snake lying on the Ksheera Sagara means the entire Universe is made up of these five fundamental elements. Brahma connected to Vishnu through umbilical cord means creation is connected and is part of this Universe. Brahma takes the energy (through the umbilical cord) from the Universe. Lakshmi means “all positive things” and the prosperity. The entire Universe is maintained by the positive things.

Shiva is personified as sitting on tiger skin, holding a trident, having snake around the neck, with a third eye on the forehead, having matted hair, water flowing out of it and a crescent moon, with the consort Parvathi is attributed to the destruction aspect of the Universe. The trident, snake, third eye, matted hair, water are causes of destructions. Trident represents weapon, snake represents illness, third eye represents fire, matted hair represent cyclones or storm, water represents flood. These causes of destructions by themselves are not powerful, but when combined with Parvathi (which means powerful as mountain) magnifies all those causes of destruction to be powerful enough which eventually leads to destruction. This is the idea of Ardhanarishwara (the combination of Shiva and Parvathi which manifests the powerful destruction). Irrespective of whether we like destruction or not, the cycle of creation and destruction is inevitable. This is the idea captured by the crescent moon. Anyone sitting on meditative posture is picturised to have been sitting on tiger skin, which means to have controlled the lust.

  1. A.Kirthika says:

    Very Nice 🙂

  2. wow!!!! Good work Ram 🙂

  3. Chithra says:

    Nice:) Also, Since the description abt trinity is short and sweet, anyone can understand this easily even if they don know before.. 🙂

    Awesome explanation abt “The Hindhu Trinity” 🙂

    Great Ram 🙂

  4. Parvathi says:

    Nice.. 🙂

  5. gowthami says:

    simply superb Ram 🙂

  6. Awsom Angelo says:

    Great thoughts and very true as well

  7. Brindha says:

    very nice.. 🙂

  8. Ajith Gopinath says:

    Its very good Sir.

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