The most visible aspect of Hinduism is a temple. The temple is a meeting place of man and God both literally and figuratively. How one defines meeting with God depends on the concept of God. Hinduism is invariably associated with image worship and the temples have enshrined in them different images of God. This leads to a general misunderstanding that i
Hinduism has the most abstract concept of God. He is not a person, He is the absolute Ultimate Reality and as such there is no duality. He is without form and without qualities that can be described. He is the Universal Consciousness. Every religion conceives of God as omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. These attributes can be reconciled only with the above concept that is also consistent with the modern scientific views of the origin of the universe.
Hinduism does have many gods and goddesses but only one God. One of the important points in Vedanta philosophy, on which Hinduism is founded, is that what we see is not the reality. This is also true for the images of gods and image worship in the temples. A religion is for the masses, not merely for philosophers. It is very difficult for a common man to visualize something that has no form. Every thought in the mind is associated with a corresponding image; this is inherent to human (or perhaps any) mind. In order to bring God within the range of comprehension of the common man the sages had to find a way.
As far as the universe is concerned God has three functions of creation, maintenance, and dissolution. So the sages gave different names to these three aspects of God Brahma for the creator, Vishnu for the maintainer, and Shiva for the dissolver. Thus we got the three major gods. It is important to remember, though, that these are not three different Gods with capital G, but only three different aspects of the same one God. Once the creation is done the creator has no further role. So Brahma was relegated back to his formless self; there are hardly any temples or images for Brahma. The other two became the main gods to be worshipped and the common man could choose which aspect of God to worship. The philosophers and intellectuals could still worship God without form.