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(Trimūrti) A Sanskrit compound formed of tri, “three,” and murti, “body” or “embodiment.” In Hinduism, it refers to the trinity: Brahma the creator, Visnu the preserver, and Siva the destroyer (or, more properly, the regenerator). On the island of Elephanta, off the coast from Bombay, there is a cave temple, carved into the rock, which houses a large trimurti image, the three faces depicted in repose, carved from stone and integrated into a single head, one of the most powerful pieces of sculpture one could ever experience. In later Hinduism, Siva and Visnu received separate, often rival, sects and the idea of a Hindu Trinity seems to have died out except in the mind of theosophists and some educated Hindus.

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