What is the difference between the Trimurti and the Trinity?

I have frequently heard non-Christians assert that the Trinity of Christianity and the Trimurti of Hinduism are equivalent “triple god” concepts.

This, however, is a gross misunderstanding.

Yes, the number three features promenantly in both teachings, but that is where the similarity largely ends.

Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer) are temporally differentiated. Not so with the Father (God above us), the Son (God among us) and the Spirit (God within us). They are equally active in every age. In the beginning, in the end, and in between.

In essence, the Trimurti concept and the Trinity concept run perpendicular to one another, as I have tried to capture in the diagram below. Only if Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were equally active in the acts of creation, preservation and destruction could they more genuinely said to be equivalent.


Of course, this is somewhat academic as the Trimurti concept is not generally accepted by Vaishnavites or Shaivites with Hinduism. In my experience the Trimurti is more often bought up by non-Hindu, non-Christian westerners as personal justifications for different paths altogether. My plea is simply this: if you want to follow a different path, fine, but please refrain from misrepresenting the paths of others as you go about it. Do as you would be done by and all that.


One thought on “What is the difference between the Trimurti and the Trinity?

  1. I understand what you said about letting others be and do their own thing… But in academia we discuss ideas and concepts…. and I do not believe that your explanation holds up well. Creation destruction and preservation occurs continuously. They all are eternally and perpetually active.
    also they are not entirely limited to just those three tasks. Each of them functions in all three actions and more based on Hindu beliefs.
    Of course there are many differences. eg. each off the Hindu Gods can be said to be above among and within. However the major point of comparison is that “each is separately God, and God is one” not their individual roles.


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