The most well known Hindu Trinity (trimurti) is Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva as Judge. The impersonal Brahman of the Upanishads represents the Godhead in this view. No Hindu has ever worshiped an undifferentiated One, just as no Greek ever worshiped Aristotle’s unmoved mover. (In fact, Shankara, the Hindu father of absolute monism, was a devout Shaivite and wrote wonderful hymns to his personal Lord Shiva.) The theological basis of Hindu personal theism is the Purusha hymn of the Rig-Veda (10.90) and trinitarian formulations of this personal Godhead developed in both the religions of Shiva (Shavism) and the religion of Vishnu (Vaishnavism).
Hindus who follow Shiva worship him as Creator, Preserver, and Judge, and timeless interpenetration of these three modes of existence is roughly equivalent to the perichoresis of the Christian Trinity. In 1992 I had the privilege to see a world masterpiece bas relief of the Shiva Trinity on Elephanta Island in Bombay harbor. (See Plate 2 at www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/trinplates.htm.) The Portuguese military used the side panels of the temple for target practice, but they spared the Shiva Trinity, presumably out of respect for any Trinitarian Godhead. And as for playful lovemaking and dancing, all the Hindu gods defer to Shiva for these activities, because he was an expert in coitus interruptus and he won all the dance contests. Hindu classical dance, now performed only by Hindu women, originated in the 108 dance steps by which Shiva brings each new cosmic age into existence.
The Hindu Goddess (Mahadevi=Great Goddess) is also worshiped as a Trinity in which shakti, the feminine power of the universe, is expressed as Sarasvati, Goddess of Wisdom (=biblical Sophia), Lakshmi, Goddess of Prosperity, and Kali/Durga, Goddess of Judgment. (See Figure 1 at www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/trinfig.htm.) The Goddess theologians are emphatic in their rejection of an impersonal Godhead. Please note how both masculine and feminine attributes are harmonized in this Hindu Godhead. Protestants ignore the divine feminine at their peril: the Goddess will not tolerate such neglect! (I look forward to the Second Coming of Sophia!) For all of Jones’ talk of egalitarian relations, it seems to apply only to the masculine members of the Trinity and, for some odd reason, and is not reflected in human families and society at large. Also recall that the Eastern Orthodoxy promoted a top male ideology even with the Trinity itself, with divinity flowing from the Father to the Son and then to the Spirit.
The most popular savior God in India is Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. The Bhagavad-gita presents Krishna as a Creator-Redeemer God who creates a real world of souls and matter. (Shankara’s monistic interpretation of the Gita is now widely discredited.) In Chapter 11 of the Gita Krishna transfigures himself in a way very similar to Christ’s transfiguration (See Plate 3 at www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/trinplates.htm.) Krishna asserts his divine priority and sovereignty by subordinating impersonal Brahman as his “womb” (14: 2, 27). (See Figure 2 for a Krishna cosmogony at www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/trinfig.htm.) The Krishna Trinity is usually expressed by Vishnu as the cosmic body (vishvarupa), the incarnate Krishna, and Krishna as paramatma, a Hindu equivalent of the Holy Spirit immanent and working in all things. (See Figure 3 at www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/ trinfig.htm.) In Plate 4 you can see a representation of the cosmic Vishnu and the baby Krishna, who conforms to my savior archetype very nicely. (See at www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/trinplates.htm and www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/307/archetype.htm.) Finally, even though Krishna has to dispatch a few demons, his childhood is filled with mirth, song, dance, and godly love making.