To call it Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva also has a deeper meaning in other respects; it is not just a question of the number three. What the electron, proton and neutron indicate is the same as what these three words indicate. According to scientists, one of the three electric particles which form the basic building block of the universe is positive, one is negative and the third is neutral. With Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva also, one is positive, one is negative and the third is neutral. Brahma is positive – Hindu thought perceives Brahma as the creator of the universe. He creates it, he is the originator, the positive pole. Shiva is the destroyer – he is the negative pole. It is this aspect that dissolves the universe, ends it, destroys it. Vishnu is between the two – he is neutral, he sustains it. He neither creates nor destroys, he is only a midway support. As long as the creation lasts, he sustains it with neutrality.
The words neutron or proton have no value because they are also given names, and the names Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva have no value because they too are given names. But when science gives a name, it is different from when religion gives a name. The difference is that when science gives names they are impersonal, and when religion gives names they are personal. The concern of religion is not so much that the name it gives says something about what has been named; it is more concerned that the person who hears the name can have a connection with what has been named. Only for this reason has the divine been given a personality.
You can’t have a relationship with a neutron. You can make use of it in the laboratory, you can move it, analyze it, but this does not create a relationship with a neutron because it is not a person. But you can have a relationship with Shiva because he is a person. This is the basic difference between the terminologies that religion and science use: the words used by science are impersonal; the words used by religion are personifications, they evoke the image of a person.
To avoid any misunderstanding that these three are separate, we have created trimurti, we have created the faces of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in one single deity. These three faces represent three functions, but the source they function for is one and the same. They function for that which has no face. The three are faces of three functions, but existence itself has no face.
If you come across a statue of the trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and you remove the three faces, what you will be left with represents existence. The three faces are three expressions of existence. And science now agrees that nothing can be created without these three energies. If the positive is missing, a thing cannot be created; if the negative, the destroyer, is missing, there can be no change once it has been created; if the sustainer is missing, then even if a thing is created, it cannot last because it will not be sustained. For anything to exist, these three are an absolute must.