Lord Vishnu is venerated as the protector in Hinduism, and along with Lord Shiva
and Brahma Ji, forms the trinity
of gods. Shri Vishnu is the embodiment of sattvaguna and His worship is said to bestow on us this same very quality. He is the supreme unborn God, from whose navel, at the beginning of every creation, there emerges a golden lotus on which is seated Lord Brahma
. At the end of every creation, the world, with all its multiplicity, merges back into Him.
The way Lord Vishnu makes sure that the cycle of life is maintained is very simple. He ensures that Dharma, as laid down in the revealed scriptures, is never destroyed. In fact, whenever there is an erosion of Dharma, Vishnu incarnates Himself (takes avatar) to protect it. The scriptures speak of His numerous avatars, the most popular being His 24 incarnations which include Veda Vyasa
to explain the meaning of the Vedas
to the common man; Matsya (the fish) to retrieve the Vedas which had been hidden at the bottom of the ocean by a demon; Parashurama
to teach a lesson to the arrogant kings trampling the earth; Lord Rama to establish virtue as an integral part of daily life and of course Lord Krishna
, the most beloved of all avatars.
It is to Lord Vishnu that the earth turns to when its stability is threatened by powerful villains. He always obliges and redeems the earth. In all His lilas, Lord Vishnu has by His side His wife Lakshmi
– mother of the world. As the goddess reigning over the world’s resources, she is an indispensible and inseparable part of the functions of protection and sustenance of the world.
Shri Vishnu has always been one of the most favorite deities for worship and numerous temples devoted to Him, both ancient and modern, are spread out across the length and breadth of India. Devotees worship Him methodically and with the help of various hymns and songs, the most prominent of which is the Vishnu Sahasranama
, a part of Mahabharata
containing 1000 different names of Lord Vishnu, each having a symbolic significance. For example, one of Lord Vishnu’s names is ‘Narayana’, which means ‘One who has water (nara) as his support (ayana)’, thus signifying that Lord Vishnu reclines on the waves of the cosmic waters. The most important text however, shedding a complete light on this supreme God is the Vishnu Purana
, a highly readable scripture, a veritable encyclopaedia of Hinduism which must be read by all.
Vishnu - A Symbolic Appreciation
Vishnu finds his earliest mention in the Rig Veda, the most ancient book in the world. Here he appears as a solar deity. The Vishnu of the Rig Veda is a manifestation of light, whose head was, by a trick of the gods, severed from his body. This severed head is believed to have become the sun. Further in the Veda, Vishnu is a friend and associate of Indra, god of rain, thunder, and storm. Together, Vishnu the sun and Indra the rain, take on the demon Vritra, who personifies drought. Indra and Vishnu both are described as Vritrahan or the killer of Vritra. This potent combination forms an awesome ensemble of fertilizing powers.
The Vedic connotations of Vishnu are discernable also in the etymology of his name which is derived form the root 'vish', which means to spread, or in other words all-pervading. Indeed in the Vedas he is the all-pervading sun, whose rays envelop the earth, as does Vishnu himself, in his role as protector of the world. Read more...
Vishnu: Cosmic Magnification Of The Divine Being
As the scriptural tradition has it, after every 60 crore, 18 lac, 34 thousand and 752 years of human calendar Vishnu disappears and then there is desolation and deep eternal silence for 30 crore, 9 lacs, 17 thousand and 376 years before he re-emerges and grows, and along with emerges the entire creation - the manifest as also the unmanifest. In Vedic perception Vishnu is a continuum, and in Puranic, a plurality. The term 'vishnu' is not an incidental catch for his name. 'Vish', the Sanskrit root out of which the term 'vishnu' developed, means 'vyapana', that is, to expand and pervade. Thus, Vishnu is one whose ultimate nature is 'vyapana'. Hence, Vishnu is not a mere sanctum deity or worshippers' idol but also a deep cosmo-metaphysical principle that defines on one hand the principle of evolution, and on the other, manifests the Rig-Vedic theory of God's oneness and unity of the cosmos. Some scholars contemplate 'vish' as suggestive of one who is 'incessantly in act'. Read more...
Concept Of Incarnation And Vishnu's Ten Avataras
The concept of incarnation has its origin in the Rig-Vedic mysticism itself where unlike other gods Vishnu has been conceived as a cosmic presence without a manifest form. This unmanifest presence which the Rig-Veda sought to personalise might have led seers to discover Vishnu in other beings as well as conceive him with various forms, and finally the idea of avatars might have evolved. Vishnu's incarnations, at least three of them - Matsya, Varaha and Vamana, in real perspective and unambiguous terms, surface in Brahmans, Shatpatha and Etareya in special. In the Mahabharata the theory has been further consolidated. It is, however, in Puranas that the cult of incarnation emerges as the ultimate Hindu vision of Godhood. Read more...
Lord Vishnu for your Home