Trimurti – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva

The is a concept in in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the of  the creator, the maintainer or preserver and the destroyer or transformer. These three deities have been called “the triad” or the “Great ”. However, the and medieval texts of Hinduism feature many triads of and , some of which do not include Shiva.

Trimurti – The supreme lords

The Hindu Trimurti is the representation of the supreme lord’s to control the cosmos as illustrated in the combination of the three in these specific roles. Each of the three has different interests, but when their powers combine to focus on creation, maintenance, and destruction, that is the Trimurti. One theory is that the concept of the Trimurti came about in order to bring worshipers from different Hindu sects into a more cohesive group.

Vaishnavites who worshiped Vishnu and Saivites who concentrated on Shiva could join in worshiping a single supreme lord who had the aspects of a maintainer and destroyer, with the addition of a creator, while still concentrating on their particular sect. In reality, those who specifically Vishnu or Shiva are just as likely to either ignore the Trimurti or explain how their favorite god is the supreme lord who created the other two.

Other Hindu sects combine different gods into “Trimurti,” including Brahma, Vishnu, and , or replace Brahma, Shiva, and . At any rate, the Trimurti, while mentioned in Hindu literature, isn’t a significant part of Hinduism as practiced but more of an explanation of the workings of the cosmos.

The defined concept of the Trimurti is a relatively new addition to Hinduism, but the importance of the number 3 is not. Hinduism teaches three layers of nature, three states of being, three divisions of both and the day, and three phases of life and self-realization, to name a few. It flows naturally that the supreme lord would order the cosmos via characteristics from three of his .

Hinduism and Trimurti

Hinduism is a complicated with multiple gods who may or may not all be just avatars (representatives) of the tasks performed by a single supreme lord. Different sects within Hinduism emphasize the worship of different gods based on proclivity, leading, and needs; and different Hindu teachers interpret the same writings with different meanings. The supreme lord in Hinduism also represents the supreme truth of the cosmos.

Brahma – The Creator


Brahma creates and gives life force to his creation. One of his main aspects is and the dissemination of knowledge. He is barely worshiped as an individual today and has only a handful of in ; he was caught in a sin (being too lenient and blessing demons, trying to seduce his daughter, or lying, depending on the story) and has to work under the supervision of Vishnu or Shiva. Brahma the god is not to be confused with , meaning “absolute, supreme reality or the manifestation thereof,” or Brahmin, which is the Hindu caste of priests.

Incarnation of Brahma

In Puranas, there’re few instances where Brahma came as a human (along with Siva or Vishnu or both).

In Dasam Granth, there is mentioned seven Brahma Avatars. Which are listed below:

  1. Valmiki Avatar
  2. Kashyapa Avatar
  3. Sukra Avatar
  4. Bachesa Avatar
  5. Vyasa Avatar
  6. Rishi Avatar
  7. Kalidasa Avatar

Vishnu – The Protector

Vishnu maintains the worlds in his care. He was a minor god in the early days of Hinduism, and even now some of his incarnations, such as Lord and Lord Krishna, are worshiped more than he himself. claim that is another incarnation, but , who believe in humans instead of gods, disagree. Vishnu represents kingship and military power and enforces order with physical force.

Incarnations of Lord Vishn

Lord Vishnu, is worshiped in any of the many forms that he has taken birth in. Lord Vishnu has taken birth now and again on to cleanse the world of all evils. He is worshiped as:

  • Matsya – The Fish
  • Kurma – The Tortoise
  • Varaha – The Boar
  • Narasimha – The Lion Man
  • Vamana – The Dwarf
  • Parashurama – The Lumberjack
  • Ram –  of the world Ramayan
  • Krishna – The all-attractive one
  • Buddha – The Enlighted one
  • – The Horseman

Matsya – The Fish

Matsya is the first of Vishnu’s many avatars and was one of the first physical beings of this world. Born as a fish in the or Golden Age, it’s said that he rescued the first man in creation from a great flood that covered the world.

Kurma – The Tortoise

The second incarnation of Vishnu was that of Kurma, the giant tortoise. Also born during the Satya Yuga, he appeared on the scene when the original Angels and Demons were attempting to churn the ocean in order to reach an elixir of immortality hidden away at the bottom. The Angels and Demons were using a mountain as a churning staff, and just as the mountain began to sink into the ocean, Lord Vishnu took the form of a Kurma to carry the weight of the mountain on his back.

Varaha – The Boar

Varaha, the great boar came to Earth’s aid to save it from an incredibly powerful demon. The demon was so powerful that he stole the earth from its place in the sky and carried it to the bottom of the cosmic ocean. Vishnu incarnated as Varaha and fought the demon in a battle that lasted a thousand years. Once the enemy was vanquished, Varaha gently rested the earth between his mighty tusks and carried her back to her resting place in the sky once again restoring order and balance.

Narasimha – The Lion Man

Narasimha defies the laws of nature and seeks to overpower mortals who attempt to find immortality in unnatural ways.

He specifically came into being when a mighty evil Demon became upset with his son praying to Vishnu and tried to hurt him. The Demon had received a boon (a wish) that he could not be killed by man or animal, inside or out, day or night, on earth or the stars, with a weapon either living or inanimate. So Vishnu manifested as Narasimha.

With the of a man and the head and claws of a lion, he and killed the demon using his claws under a courtyard threshold of his home at exactly dusk, while he lays on his lap. Therefore finding a loophole in the boon allowing him to protect the young boy.

Vamana – The Dwarf

Vamana was the first of Vishnu’s incarnations to be born during the Treta Yuga. He is also the first of Vishnu’s incarnations to be fully human. The story goes that a great grew in power and extend his kingdom over all the three worlds.

To restore order, Vishnu was born as Vamana, a gentle dwarf of incredible intelligence and power. He approached the king during a great festival when he could not refuse a request, and respectfully asked him if he could have three paces of land. The king humored him and granted his request. At that moment, Vamana grew to the size of the world and took three giant steps.

He stepped over heaven on his first step, and hell on his second step. The king realized Vamana was Vishnu and out of respect and honor offered his head as the third place for Vamana to place his foot. Vamana did just that and in doing so granted the king immortality.

Parashurama – The Lumberjack

Parashurama is the original lumberjack. He got his famous ax after a penance to Lord Shiva where he also received a boon of immortality. Parashurama is the first warrior-saint with training both in and warfare and is bound by both codes of honor.

Once a great king and his army visited Parashurama’s father at his , and his father fed them all with the milk of the divine cow he had in his . The greedy king wanted the incredible animal and demanded the cow for himself, his father refused, and the evil king took it by force destroying the and Parashurama’s entire family.

In revenge, Parashurama destroyed the evil king and his entire family and took a to destroy every evil warrior on earth. After 21 generations of destruction, he halted and continued on the rest of his immortality in meditation and prayer.

Rama –  Master of the world Ramayan


Rama also is known as Ramachandra, is a major deity of Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu.

The story and life of Rama is well known for the typical defeat of a demon and an incredible saving of the day. Rama is most famous for being honorable and heroic, even giving up his right to rule his kingdom and going into exile because his father asked it of him.

Some other famous characters in Rama’s life are his brother Lakshman, his wife , and his best buddy Hanuman.

Krishna – The all-attractive one


The most famous of all of Vishnu’s incarnations is Lord Krishna. The first of the incarnations to be born in the Dwapara Yuga.

He is the origin of the famous Bhagavad Gita and essentially created the foundation of off of which ’s is based.

He is famous for destroying countless evil kings and demons, and being a key figure in the Mahabharata and the Battle of Kurukshetra.

The appearance of Krishna was to usher in and lay the foundation of principles in the Gita to help mankind through the Yuga or Stone Age.

Buddha – The Enlighted one


Buddha is typically thought to be the ninth avatar of Vishnu. Originally born an Indian prince with the name Siddhartha, he became world renowned as when he became a and attained .

Buddha is said to have incarnated in this form to bring about social change, setting a new standard for the life of a . He is also said to have changed the tradition of animal sacrifice in India and taught new forms of prayer through .

Kalki – The Horseman

Kalki – The Horseman

Kalki is the final incarnation of Vishnu, who appears at the end of each Kali Yuga. He will be atop a white horse and his sword will be drawn, blazing like a comet. He appears when only chaos, evil and persecution prevails,  has vanished, and he ends the kali yuga to restart Satya Yuga and another cycle of existence.

Shiva – The Destroyer


Shiva (or -Siva) is the destroyer or absorber god. He and Vishnu often competed for the title of “Supreme Lord.” Shiva is prone to fits of , and his destructive bent comes from his to see the world newer and purer. Like Vishnu, his incarnations are worshiped more than he is. He is the god of male fertility but also of asceticism, as self-denial supposedly increases one’s “ascetic heat” and makes one more attractive to women.

Avatars of Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva is considered as the supreme God in the Hinduism. For setting up an ideal work on the earth in front of his , he had taken a variety of the avatars and incarnations. Some of his avatars are related to protecting his devotees from the devils and proud Gods as well.

5 important Avatars of Shiva

However, five avatars of all his incarnations are hideously important as well as assumed to be the most valuable and effective for his devotees. The most important five incarnations are
  • Tatpurusha
  •  Namadeva
  • Aghoresh
  • Sadhojat
  • Ishan


Tatpurusha is the most popular third incarnation of Lord Shiva which was manifested in the 21st Kalpa of the planet known as Peetavasa. It was appeared by the prayer of the Lord Brahma.


During the 20th Kalpa known as the Rakta, Lord Brahma got his complexion changed to a red. Another entity appeared from him of the red complexion, which was the name by him as a Namadeva. It is considered as the Naamdeva was also the incarnation of Lord Shiva.


In the Shiva Kalpa (after the Peetavasa Kalp), an entity of black color complexion was appeared by the Lord Brahma when he was in a deep meditation state. Lord Brahma named that entity as Aghor Shiva and considered as another form of Lord Shiva.


During the 19th Kalpa known as Shweta Lohit, there appeared an entity by the Lord Brahma while he was meditating, which was named by him as Sadhojat. It is considered that this form of Lord Shiva was the first incarnation. Four disciples of the Sadhojat were appeared by his own body named Nandan, Vishwanandan, Sunand, and Upanandan.


In the Vishwaroop Kalpa, Ishan form of Lord Shiva and were manifested. Four divine entities like Mundi, Shikhandi, Caste, and Ardhamundi were manifested from the Ishan Shiva. Lord Brahma was by all of them for the creation facility.

11 Rudra Avatars of Shiva

Lord Shiva took birth on the earth as the eleven from the Kashyap wife’s (Surabhi) womb. These forms of the eleven Rudras are associated with the battles with demons in the past in order to save the people and Gods.
  • Kapali
  • Pingal
  • Bheem
  • Virupaksha
  • Vilohit
  • Ajapaad
  • Ahirbudhnya
  • Shambhu
  • Chand
  • Bhav

10 Yagneshwar avatars of Shiva

All these 10 avatars are called as Dasha avatar of Shiva who grants Bhoga, Sukha & to their devotees. The corresponding of Shiva are called as and are very important Goddesses in the Tantrik forms of Worship.

  1. Mahakal
  2. Bal Bhuvanesh
  3. Shodasha Srividyesh
  4. Bhairav
  5. Dhumavan
  6. Bagalamukh
  7. Matang
  8. Kamal

12 avatars – Dwadasha Jyotirlinga

Apart from these avatars, the other avatars of Shiva described in the Shatarudra of Shiva Purana include the 12 avatars popularly called as “Dwadasha Jyotirlinga” avatars. They are
  1. Somnath
  2. Mallikarjun
  3. Mahakaleshwar
  4. Omkareshwar
  5. Vaidyanath
  6. Nageswar
  7. Kedareswar
  8. Tryambakeswar
  9. Rameshwar
  10. Bhimashankar
  11. Visweswar
  12. Ghrishneswar

Piplaad Avatar

Lord Shiva took birth in the house of sage Dadhichi as Piplaad. But the sage left his house even before Piplaad was born. When Piplaad grew up he came to know that his father left the house due to the bad planetary position of . So, Piplaad cursed Shani and caused the planet to fall from its celestial . Later, he forgave Shani on a condition that the planet would never trouble anyone before 16 years of age. Hence, worshipping the Piplaad form of Lord Shiva helps to get rid of Shani dosha

Sharabha Avatar

The form of Lord Shiva is a part bird and part lion. According to Shiv Purana, Lord Shiva took the form of Sharabha to tame Narasimha, the half lion avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Nandi Avatar

Nandi or the great bull is the mount of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Nandi in many parts of India. The Nandi avatar of Lord Shiva is seen as the protector of the herds. He is depicted as bull faced with four hands. The two hands are seen holding an ax and an antelope while the other two are joined.

Grihapati Avatar

Lord Shiva took birth in the house of a Brahmin called Vishwanar as his son. Vishwanar named him Grihapati. When Grihapati attained the age of 9, Narada informed his parents that Grihapati was going to die. So, Grihapati went to Kashi to conquer death. Grihapati was blessed by Lord Shiva and he conquered death.

Bir Bhadra Avatar

After Goddess Sati immolated herself at the yagna, Lord Shiva became extremely furious. Lord Shiva plucked a hair strand from his head and threw it on the . It was from the hair strand that Veerbhadra and Rudrakali were born. It is the most fierce avatar of Shiva. He is depicted as a dark God with three fiery eyes, wearing a garland of skulls and carrying terrifying weapons. This avatar of Lord Shiva severed Daksh’s head at the yagna.


When Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison during the churning of the ocean, the poison started burning his throat. The ‘vish purush’, personification sprang out of Lord Shiva and the Lord blessed him with a boon. Lord Shiva granted him the boon that the vish purush would be born on earth as the son of Drona and would kill all the oppressive . Thus the vish purush was born as Ashwatthama.


Lord  Shiva took this form to maintain discipline in the . Durvasa was a great sage and was known for being short-tempered.


The great monkey God is also one of the avatars of Lord Shiva. It is said that Lord Shiva took birth in the form of Hanuman to serve Lord Vishnu incarnated in the form of Ram. Until this day, he is known as the biggest disciple of .

Bhairava Avatar

Lord Shiva took this avatar at the time when Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu had a fight over superiority. When Lord Brahma lied about his superiority, Shiva took the form of and cut off Lord Brahma’s fifth head. Severing a Brahma’s head made Lord Shiva guilty of the crime of killing a Brahmin (Brahma hatya) and hence Shiva had to carry the skull of Brahma for twelve years and roam as a Bhikshatana. In this form, Shiva is said to guard all the Shakti Peethas.

Rishabh Avatar

After the Manthan, once Lord Vishnu went to the Patal Lok or the underworld. There he was infatuated by the beautiful women. Lord Vishnu had many sons during his stay there. But all his sons turned out to be cruel and monstrous. They started tormenting all Gods and humans alike. It was then Lord Shiva took the form of an ox or Vrishabha and killed all the cruel sons of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu came to fight the ox but after recognizing that it was Lord Shiva’s incarnation, he left the fight and returned to his abode.

Yatinath Avatar

There was once a tribal man named Aahuk. He and his wife were ardent devotees of Lord Shiva. One day Lord Shiva visited them in the form of Yatinath. Since they had a very small hut which could accommodate only two people, Aahuk decided to sleep outside and let the guest sleep in. Unfortunately, Aahuk was killed by a wild animal at night. In the , finding Aahuk dead, his wife decided to kill herself. Then Lord Shiva appeared in his real form and blessed her with a boon that she and her husband will be reborn as Nala and Damayanti and Lord Shiva would unite them.

Krishna Darshan Avatar

Lord Shiva took this incarnation to highlight the importance of yagna and in a person’s life. As per the story, there was a king named Nabhag, who had left his home for education in a Gurukul during childhood. Meanwhile, in his absence, his brothers distributed the entire among themselves thus leaving him out of the distribution. As Nabhag returned and came to know about it, he approached the sage Angiras. The sage was trying to perform a Yajna but was not able to. Nabhag helped him accomplish the Yajna, pleased by which, he gave him the wealth left after performing the Yajna. It was at this point that Krishna Darshan Avatar of Lord Shiva appeared and prevented sage Angiras from donating the wealth. He showed Nabhag the significance of higher spiritual attainment and salvation and hence gave blessings.

Bhikshuvarya Avatar

This incarnation of Lord Shiva protects human beings from all kinds of dangers. Once a beggar was passing by a child who had just then taken birth near the banks of a pond and where his mother had died. While the newborn was crying, the beggar woman hesitated to take the baby in her lap. Lord Shiva then appeared as another beggar and advised the beggar woman to take the child and bring him up.

Sureshwar Avatar

Lord Shiva once took the form of to one of his devotees. That is why he came to be known as Sureshwar. Once a child Upamanyu, the son of sage Vyaghrapad meditated to please Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, with an intention to test his devotion, appeared there along with Goddess , both disguised as Indra and , respectively. They not only attempted to instigate him against Lord Shiva but also promised to bless him and fulfill all his blessings. However, this could not lure the boy and his devotion for Lord Shiva proved to be true. Pleased by this, both the deities revealed their original identity and blessed the child. This form of Lord Shiva was then known as Sureshwar.

Kirat Avatar

Lord Shiva descended in the form of a hunter or while Arjuna was meditating. Duryodhana had sent a demon named Mooka to kill Arjuna. Mooka had disguised himself as a boar. Arjuna was engrossed in his meditation when suddenly his got disturbed by a loud noise. He opened his eyes and saw Mooka. He and the Kirat struck the boar at the same time with arrows. A fight broke between the Kirat and Arjuna as to who struck the boar first. Arjuna challenged Lord Shiva in the form of Kirat for a duel. Lord Shiva was pleased by Arjuna’s valor and gifted him his .

Suntantarka Avatar

Lord Shiva took this incarnation to ask the hand of Parvati in marriage from her father .

Brahmachari Avatar

Lord Shiva took this avatar to test Goddess Parvati’s for him. After sacrificing herself in the of Yajna, Sati was born again as Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas. As Parvati, she wanted to marry Lord Shiva. It was as that Lord Shiva had tested her determination to marry him.

Yaksheshwar Avatar

Lord Shiva took this avatar to take away the false ego from the of the Gods. When the deities after defeating the demons during Samudra Manthan, had become arrogant, Lord Shiva disliked it as pride was not a for gods to possess.
Lord Shiva then presented some grass before them and asked them to cut it. It was Lord Shiva’s attempt to destroy their false pride through this divine grass. Hence, nobody could cut the grass and the pride vanished. This form of Lord Shiva then came to be known as Yaksheshwar.

Avadhut Avatar

This incarnation was taken by Lord Shiva to crush the arrogance of Lord Indra.

Christianity and Trinity

The of the Trimurti as three manifestations of the supreme lord is similar to the heretical Christian teaching called Sabellianism.

In Sabellianism, the Members of the Trinity are not individuals but merely three different representations or forms that God chooses to present Himself as.

The Trimurti is also referred to as the Hindu triumvirate, a governing body made of three individuals, which is the opposite idea of Sabellianism as the members’ identities are primarily that of individuals who work together.

The Hindu Trimurti is not like the Christian Trinity. The Trinity is one God in three co-equal, co-eternal Persons.

Many Hindus reject the concept of the Trimurti, and even those who accept the Trimurti see the triad as three Hindu gods appearing as avatars, manifestations, or modes of the supreme lord; they are not separate persons.


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