From: Hindu Mythology and Literature as Recorded by Portuguese Missionaries of the Early 17th Century
by L. C. Casartelli
Bd. 1, H. 4. (1906), pp. 864-876
Public Domain, from Open JSTOR Collection, Early Journal Content
Chapter I: History of the Creation of the World and opinion they held concerning it.
They hold that the structure of the world is composed of five elements, to wit earth, water, air, wind, and fire, and that it is eternal ; that the Supreme God called Parabramd has the properties of creating, preserving and destroying, and these they express by three colours, white, red and black.
They hold that the Supreme God being incorporeal cannot create corporeal beings, and for this reason produced three per- sons, giving to each the property of creating, preserving and destroying (respectively) all contained in the structure of the world.
Of these three persons called Brama [Brahma], Visnd [Vishnu], and Mayess [Shiva Rudra] is composed a trinity; creation being attributed to Brahma, preservation to Visná, destruction to Mayessá ; and all this according to natural philosophy, since as they saw that the elements persist, whilst species are corrupted, and so as this could not be without the action of persons, they have imagined the above-mentioned pseudo-trinity of human persons who, as being corporeal, could create, preserve and destroy that which is corporeal.
Chapter II. History of Brama, the first person of the pseudo-trinity.
Brama, the legislator of these Indian gentiles, was for a long time upon the surface of the waters which covered the face of the earth, seated on a flower which generally grows in the water [the lotus], meditating and considering about his own beginning or birth, which he could never attain. In this state of doubt Brama heard a voice from heaven saying “pray”. At this command he came forth from the flower, and after praying for a long time and imploring God, he obtained from him the grace of being able to create corruptible species.
Chapter III. Of the Creation of the First man by Brama.
Brama, wishing to create the first man, went on working to perfect him in the form in which he now is ; for at first he made him with one foot and one eye; then, seeing that he could not walk with one foot, he unmade him and made another with three feet, and since the impediment to walking was still greater, he unmade him again, and lastly, with great labour he hit upon the perfect form of man, calling him Cassepá, whom the gentiles venerate as a great prophet ; and this man had thirteen wives, and each one brought forth all other creatures, both animate and inanimate, to wit, mountains, trees, birds, fishes, quadrupeds, serpents, fountains, rivers, planets, celestial bodies, and stars; and in this manner do they complete the creation of the world.