Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva

Brahma is the god of creation, generally depicted with at least 3 faces and 4 arms, and sitting on a lotus. Supposedly, he created everything in existence by saying its name. You can probably picture Thomas Edison using carbonized paper for a trial of his most famous invention... and high up above, Brahma speaking the word "lightbulb"! Then everything clicks and the apparatus works and stays lit.

Vishnu is the god that keeps the earth working right. He has descended to earth nine times (the tenth would come at the end of the world); his eighth descent as Krishna is the most famous. He is depicted as a man with four arms and dressed in godly clothing.

Shiva, it is said, will destroy the world when the time comes. In the aspect shown above, he is Nataraja, the dancer. His foot is raised, and it will only come down at the end of the world (the origin of the expression, "to put your foot down"?).

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Images from http://shivsangels.blogspot.com/2011/06/story-of-brahma-and-pillar-of-light.html, http://www.hindudevotionalblog.com/2011/11/lord-vishnu-hindu-god-mahavishnu.html, and http://www.chopra.com/shiva