The Trimurti is the Hindu-concept
of a trinity formed by the gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, which in turn represent the concepts of Creation, Preservation and Destruction (or Transformation). Initially brought about by way of trying to form a Christianity-like Trinity within the Hindu religion, it didn't quite catch on, and there is no true parallel which is very accepted in Hindusim today.
However, that doesn't mean the concept hasn't fascinated writers and media creators alike. The resulting symbolism and mythology that has come to be associated with each piece of the concept has been combined and expanded by Westerners, in some ways away from the original Hindu gods which used to represent them. While not as common as some forms of the Power Trio
, the Trimurti Trio
nonetheless crops up on occasion and can draw powerful parallels between characters.
Brahma The Creator
The active creative force of the Trio, represented by the god Brahma. Brahma is self-born from a lotus which grows out of Vishnu's navel as he begins to think upon creation. With his eyes open he creates the world, when he closes them to sleep the world is consumed by fire, and when he reopens them again the world is recreated. The Creator aspect is associated with the element Earth (or sometimes wind), the emotions of Passion or Desire, the Spiritual plane and the Soul, and it's heavenly body is the Sky. A character who represents The Creator may manifest in the following ways:
- The Character may be directly linked through literary allusion to the Hindu god Brahma.
- The Character is associated with some other God or figure associated with creation, such as various Trickster-Creater gods in native American mythology, or the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God.
- The Character may have a miraculous or unusual birth, either through the way they were born, who they where born to, or events that took place at the time of their birth. Often resulting in them being The Messiah Archetype.
- The Character is associated with birth and children in some other way, possibly by having a child themselves, being very young, or having child-like qualities.
- The Character is known for having created something notable or important, or trying to do so.
Vishnu The Preserver
The active caring aspect of the Trio is represented by the god Vishnu. He is considered in many sects of Hinduism to be the Supreme god who supports, sustains and governs the Universe and originates and develops all elements within. Vishnu incarnates periodically for the protection of righteousness and the destruction of evil, and he is most famously identified with his avatars, especially Krishna and Rama which are notably blue-skinned. The Preserver aspect is associated with the element Water, the quality of mercy, the Mental plane and the Intellect, and it's heavenly body is the Sun. A character who represents The Preserver may manifest in the following ways:
- The Character may be directly linked through literary allusion to the Hindu god Vishnu or his Avatars.
- The Character is associated with some other God or figure associated with preservation, sovereignty, mercy or healing.
- The Character may be a healer, doctor or confidant of some kind, or otherwise perform those deeds.
- The Character is associated with justice, mercy, protection, sovereignty, intelligence, mental faculties, and diplomacy.
- The Character known for renewing or rebuilding something or otherwise providing reparations or diplomacy.
Shiva The Destroyer
The active destructive force of the Trio, like Vishnu he is considered in many sects of Hinduism to be the Supreme god, though he is typically viewed in a more abstract light, merging the ideas of Destruction and Creation into a transformation. His most relevant aspect to this trope is as Shiva Nataraja, "Lord Of The Dance", the dance being that which brings about the destruction of the world. The Destroyer aspect is associated with the element Fire, the quality of darkness and wrath, the Emotional plane and the Heart, and it's heavenly body is the Moon. A character who represents The Destroyer may manifest in the following ways:
- The Character may be directly linked through literary allusion to the Hindu god Shiva.
- The Character is associated with some other God or figure associated with Destruction or Death or Revenge.
- The Character may be a dancer, or warrior, or judge of some kind.
- The Character may be a associated with judgement, revenge and anger which leads him or her to kill or destroy, or seek transformation and change (for the worse).
- The Character is known for Killing or Destroying something or someone or otherwise trying to do so.
Some aspects of this trope which are somewhat unique compared to other ensemble tropes, the characters can be more loosely associated than in most other ensembles, meaning they don't have to be in the same group, and are often on different sides of a conflict, representing the opposing forces. But there does
have to be a common link between them, one can't simply choose three random character from a series who happen to fit the types. Usually what the characters are the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of is the same thing.
Also, these aspects are cyclical, and in practice both the Creator and Destroyer will be associated with destroying something, since to create something new, something else must be destroyed and visa-versa, once you destroy something, something new will take it's place. The best way to know the difference is that the Destroyer will almost always be associated with negativity or evil (though in real life it isn't necessarily) while The Creator is represented positively.
Compare a similar Greek Ensemble, The Hecate Sisters
, and similar Christianity Ensembles: The Three Faces of Eve
and The Three Faces of Adam
. This trope is a subtrope of the Power Trio
Anime & Manga
- From Naruto, Naruto represents The Creator (miraculous events of his birth, being a messiah figure, childish qualities), Sakura represents The Preserver (A Healer, intelligence and a taskmaster) and Sasuke represents The Destroyer (wants to destroy his whole village, fire and lightning are his chakra elements).
- One could also see three Senin as this trope, Jiraiya (Creator) prophesying Naruto's coming to save the Village, Tsunade (Preserver) being the Hokage and leading the village as well as being a healer, and Orochimaru (Destroyer) actively trying to destroy the village.
- If we apply this to Madoka Magica, we have several (note that this includes a lot of Fridge Brilliance):
- Hitomi, Sayaka, Madoka (this is based around the starting character arc)
- Homura, Madoka, Sayaka (this is due to Sayaka's Start of Darkness).
- Madoka, Homura, Kyubey (this is based around Episode 10)
- The Sailor Starlights from Sailor Moon, whose Senshi titles reflect which is which: Sailor Star Maker is the Creator, Sailor Star Healer is the Preserver, and Sailor Star Fighter is the Destroyer.
Table Top Games
- From The Chronicles of the Kencyrath, The three surviving Knorths are very obviously alluded to following this trope in-universe, Torisen is The Creator (Restored The High Kingship), Kindrie (A Healer) Jamethiel "Jame" is the Destroyer (She does a Dance Of Death).
- From Wheel of Time Three incarnations of The Dragon Reborn may be alluding to this trope in-universe. Rand explicitly calls a vision of a future incarnation of him The Destroyer, and fans has suspected that Lews Theron and Rand represent the other aspects, though which one is debated. Considering Rand healed the Taint in the One Power, it argues for him being the preserver and Lews Theron by default being the Creator, especially since his actions brought about Rands version of the world.
- Another Theory in the Wheel of Time is that the three Tar'aven have this sort of symbolism surrounding them. Perrin is the creator, being the blacksmith. Mat is the Preserver, and Rand is the destroyer. The Thirteenth Depository essays explain it better than I ever could, so I'll just link you to them. Perrin, Mat, Rand.
- Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy has a deity of preservation and a deity of destruction but the two have to work together in order to create anything. It's either a subversion, aversion, or playing with. Not sure which.
- From Avatar: The Last Airbender , Aang is The Creator (The Messiah figure who saves the world), Zuko is The Preserver (Becomes Fire Lord and helps rebuild the world after his Fathers wars) and Ozai is the Destroyer (The guy who was going to destroy the entire Earth Kingdom with fire).It shows the cyclical nature of the trope by being The Destroyer-The Creator-The Preserver, chronologically.
- In the first season it could also be interpreted the as: Aang, the creator (for the same reasons) also, wind related, Katara the preserver, she is the healer, shows mercy and wants justice, also water related, And Zuko Destruction, a prince warrior, wants kill the avatar, propense to rage atacks, and fire related, it also fits the Protagonist, Love Interest, Villian ensemble
- La-Mulana: The Mother is the Creator, the Sages are the Preservers and Lemeza is the Destroyer.