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Trimurti (Sanskrit, "of three forms") is the Hindu recognition
oh the threefold required for creation and dissolution, hence especially
the three interrelated divine manifestations; Brahma,
Vishnu, and Shiva. Brahma embodies
the rajas, the passion that creates; Vishnu embodies the sattva,
the goodness which maintains balance; Shiva, the tamas, the fire
which destroys. Another analysis is Vishnu creates while Brahma maintains
equilibrium or order. As the importance of Brahma diminished, the "social"
necessity of being (for this Trinity) required that Vishnu or especially
Shiva being represented in the threefold activity. A.G.H.
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 990