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Re: Praying other deities. . .

From: Mohan Sagar (
Date: Sun Jan 25 1998 - 16:36:48 PST

> I have a question-- I am from Northwest India, and recently went to
> visit a South Indian
> friend.  She told me that they believe in the holy trinity: That there
> are three gods-- Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva.  She said that this is
> similar to the Christian holy trinty of the Father, the son, and the
> holy ghost.  How does this relate to Sri Vaishnavism, if at all?
> -- Anjuli

This is not at all related to the traditional beliefs of SriVaishnavism,
which like all other Vaishnava schools, is exclusive in its recognition
that Sriman Narayana alone is the Supreme.

I have read that there are some sAmpradayams who recognize the trinity to
be representative of the three gunAs of Brahman.  This view is extended to
say that since Vishnu is the manifestation of Sattva Guna, it is He who in
reality is the Brahman. 

The idea of a trinity from the above mentioned context, though, seems to
have evolved recently, perhaps during the Hindu Reform Movements of the
early twentieth century.  It is an obvious hybrid of Christian - more to
the point Catholic - theology and the popular views of present day Hindu
culture that most scholars call neo-advaita or pan-Hinduism.  Included in
this is the notion that the very name GOD is analogous to an acronym for
Generator (Brahma), Operator (Vishnu) and Destroyer (Shiva).  

These types of ideas, while certainly good in popularistic, secularized
approaches to religion, really do not seem to have much substantiation in
vEdic thought, and consequently, should be weighed with due discretion for
serious students of sAmpradayam.