The Hindu TrinityAs you Westerners have your Trinity, we Indians also have a Trinity. We speak of three major aspects of God: Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Transformer. What does Brahma create? He creates inner consciousness at every second. What does Vishnu preserve? He preserves the consciousness that is created by Brahma. And what does Shiva transform? Shiva transforms the consciousness that has been created by Brahma and preserved by Vishnu. Transformation means our conscious and constant awakening to high, higher and highest Truth. Transformation means a radical change of our inner and outer nature. It is comparatively easy to transform our inner nature, but unless and until the outer consciousness is transformed we do not get the full result.
The word 'destroyer' has been used by many Hindu philosophers and spiritual Masters in regard to Shiva. But I am of the opinion that we should not speak of God as a destroyer at all. He is our most compassionate Father; He cannot destroy us. What he does is transform our ignorance, imperfection and limitation into light and perfection. If I am in ignorance, He gives me Wisdom. If I am in darkness, He brings me Light so that I can be illumined. Every individual is guided and protected by God the Supreme, but some seekers get joy in approaching God through His different aspects. Sometimes an individual gets joy in approaching God in the aspect of the Creator, Brahma. If someone worships Vishnu or Shiva, He will be equally pleased, for it is the Supreme who is manifesting Himself in these three forms.
In India there are some seekers who feel that God is most compassionate because He has created the world. They say, "We must pray to Him because He has created us. If He had not created us, we would not have existed." Other seekers will say, "Who knows how many millions or billions of years ago He created us? That is not important. What is important is that He has given us the body, the mind and all the parts of our being and that He is now preserving us. We know that He is guiding us and protecting us so let us be most grateful to Him." So these seekers will pray to God as Vishnu, the Preserver.
Still other seekers may say, "God created us, God is preserving us, but we are still imperfect. We are still in ignorance and suffering. God is not satisfied with our imperfections, limitations, bondage and death; nor are we satisfied. So let us appreciate, adore and devote our lives to the aspect of God that wants to transform us. Let us worship the One who is helping us come out of ignorance and suffering and who is trying to transform our ugly nature into the most beautiful and most perfect perfection." Seekers who feel this way will worship Shiva.
Everybody has a right to choose the aspect that suits him most. But a spiritual person who wants to realise God must eventually adore and approach all the aspects of God. For us the Supreme represents all the three aspects. We adore and worship Him in all the aspects of manifestation.