Maitrī Upanisad

Brahmā (Der Schöpfer)
Visnu (Der Bewahrer)
Śiva (Der Zerstörer)

Bailey, G.M. (1979). Trifunctional Elements in the Mythology of the Hindu Trimūrti. In: NUMEN 152. S.152-163.

The trimurti of Brahmā, Visnu and Śiva first appear in Indian literature in the Maitrī Upanisad where they are correlated with the three gunas. They are not yet depicted as creator, preserver and destroyer of the triple world ( triloka) as they are so frequently in the Purānas. Significantly, they are only mentioned in this capacity once in the Mbh., and there, in a passage regarded by the editors of the critical edition to be an interpolation. In the Mbh. Brahmā and Visnu are frequently depicted as creator and preserver respectively, sometimes as both. Śiva, too, is implicitly present as destroyer in several myths, but he is not so strikingly presented in this role as the other two are in their specific roles. Thus, their frequent appearance as a collective in the cosmogonic sections of the Puranas would seem to be a logical development from their roles in the Mbh. The Puranic portrayal of the trimūrti is not just in terms of their cosmogonic roles. They are included as expressions of Aum, along with other triads such as the three fires, and three Vedas and the three worlds, or, the three gods are correlated with the Vedas; Brahmā is the Rg., Visnu the Yajus and Śiva the Sāma. Like other triads in Indian literature, the trimūrti could be used as an expression of any other triad or important concept.