Two Trinities and the Divine Feminine
Welcome to the 10th key, which is a very special one. If you've followed my blog from the 1st key thus far, congratulations. The topic for this key is the aspect of divinity in three forms. When I started this blog, I promised to discuss spirituality and religion, so this key focuses on two forms of the trinity from Christianity and Hinduism. Most readers will already be familiar with the Christian trinity, namely - the father, the son and the holy ghost. While there are a few interpretations, most Christians agree that they represent a heavenly father-figure god, Jesus Christ and an ambiguous, invisible spirit. The problem with this interpretation is the limitations is presents: a divine representation based solely on masculine and paternal references. Ironically, the concept of a trinity is nowhere to be found in Judaism - although the former religion is said to have sprang from the latter.
In Hinduism, there exists another trinity, which is called 'Trimurti'. In the ancient, Sanskrit language, this literally translates to three forms and involves a divine triad with distinct functions and qualities. These three gods are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is often depicted as having four faces - an aspect of all-knowing. He is said to be either 1) the Creator or 2) the first, created deity, depending on the denomination or branch of Hinduism. Brahma usually represents the aspect of creation itself, and is held in high regard for this, while also being the giver of the Vedas - Hindu instructions for religious life and practices.
Lord Vishnu is often depicted as a deity seated on a celestial couch in an endless ocean of milk, with multiple serpent heads forming a protective dome above him. It is said that Vishnu incarnates on the Earth in cycles during times of great turmoil, with lord Ram and lord Krishna being two of these previous incarnations. Vishnu usually represents the aspect of preservation. This can be regarded as things like growth, sustenance and progress. Biologically speaking, if Brahma is a cell, Vishnu is the division and propagation of that cell.
In life, we know that everything must eventually come to an end. Lord Shiva is the aspect of destruction in the Trimurti. He is the most important figure in yoga, since he is the one credited with gifting it to humankind. Shiva is often depicted in a meditative posture, with a crescent moon above his head with hair tied in a knot, and a cobra resting around his neck. Although destruction seems to have a negative connotation, it's actually a necessary aspect we see in nature and even within ourselves. Millions of our cells die on a daily basis, to be replaced by new ones. Shiva is also described as benevolent and innocent, despite his role in the Trimurti. I often regard lord Shiva as the great 'demolition man', because we know that for constructing any new building, the old one must first be demolished. This cycle is a common theme in many spiritual doctrines as well - death and rebirth.
Between these three deities and their aspect, we see a cosmic cycle constantly repeating itself. It is said that this cycle is what pervades our universe. By now, many readers may be questioning how this version of the trinity is much different from the gender-biased version of the Christian one, and now I'll address that. Each deity in the Trimurti also has a certain, female consort. These three are also regarded as Tridevi - "three goddesses". The consort of Brahma is Saraswati - goddess of music, the arts and sciences. The consort of Vishnu is Lakshmi - goddess of wealth, fertility and prosperity. The consort of Shiva is Parvati - the goddess of power, beauty and justice. None of these goddesses are considered to have a subordinate status, but share in the celestial duties of their 'husbands'. Of course, Hinduism is by no means limited to worship or recognition of only these three gods and goddesses.
I could write an entire blog on India and this concept alone, but my goal with this blog of keys is to offer readers a broader perspective of spiritual and theological concepts to enlighten minds and higher awareness. India - an ancient and spiritual country - is also the place where you will hear the terms 'holy mother' and 'jai ma' mentioned often. History seems to demonstrate that religions without any aspect of divine feminine are prone to violence, fanaticism and forceful conversion. Mercy, service and tolerance are traits more often found in religions which embrace an aspect of divine feminine, even when that form takes on a virgin mother, for example. As science has revealed that male and female humans are only genetically different by one chromosome, perhaps it's time to finally acknowledge that the feminine is the equal and bilateral half of the masculine, and not just a 'spare rib' of some ancient, ruddy, belly-buttonlessman from Mesopotamia / Iraq.