ॐ Hindu Of Universe ॐ

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”



Lord Vishnu – Supreme god of Vaishnavism
One of the supreme Hindu deities of Trimurti, Lord Vishnu is the supreme God of Vaishnavism
“The causeless mercy of Lord Vishnu is unparalleled and such mercy is perceived by the devotees only by the grace of the Lord .”

One of the supreme Hindu deities of Trimurti, Lord Vishnu is the supreme God of Vaishnavism. The other two supreme deities are Lord Shiva, as the Destroyer and Lord Brahma, as the Creator. Lord Vishnu is known as “the Preserver or the Protector of the Universe” within the Hindu Trinity of divinity. Lord Vishnu is believed and supported by most of the Hindu people, especially by people who follow Vaishnavism. The peace loving deity of Hinduism, Lord Vishnu emerges to restore peace and order on earth.
In Hindu scripture, Lord Vishnu is seen with a dark complexion and the one with four hands. Lord Vishnu holds Padma (lotus flower) in the lower left hand, the kaumodaki gada in his lower right hand, Panchajanya Sankha in his upper left hand and one of the most powerful weapon, Sudarshana Chakra in the upper right hand. In Hinduism, Lord Vishnu is represented in two positions:

Standing on a Lotus flower with his consort, Goddess Lakshmi close to him
Reclining on the bed of a Serpent, with Goddess Lakshmi massaging his feet in the midst of a milky ocean
Lord Vishnu is called by various names like Narayana , Hari etc. According to an ancient text of Hinduism, Rig Veda, the greatness of Lord Vishnu is numerous times with other gods of Hinduism. The greatness of Lord Vishnu is unparalleled and always returns to earth when they are in great danger from Rakshyas (demons). The two incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Rama and Krishna played a great role in Hinduism stories like Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Restoration of the Divine
Lord Vishnu has incarnated on the earth from time to time to eradicate the evil forces and to restore the peace, order and Dharma and also to liberate the worthy devotees from the cycle of births and deaths. Krishna, full avatar of Lord Vishnu mentions in the Bhagavad Gita:

“ To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I manifest myself, millennium after millennium .”

Dashavatara (10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu)
hindu gods
According to Hinduism and Vaishnavism, Lord Vishnu had numerous incarnations (avatar) but there are specifically 10 incarnations which are called Dashavatara. These ten avatars of Lord Vishnu are as follows:

Matsya, The Fish:
In Satya Yuga, Lord Vishnu takes the form of fish (Matsya) in order to save Manu, a progenitor of humanity, and the seven sages from the great disaster of deluge.
Kurma, The Tortoise:
In Hinduism, during the time of Satya Yuga, Demons and Gods had worked together to churn the Ocean of Milk in order to release the Amrita, the nectar of immortal life. Lord Vishnu took this form in order to bear the weight of the mount Mandara which Demons and Gods used as the churning staff.
Varaha, The Boar:
In Hinduism, a demon Hiranyaksha had carried the Earth to the bottom of a cosmic ocean when Lord Vishnu fell asleep. So Lord Vishnu incarnated in the form of the boar to defeat this evil demon and lifted the earth above the cosmic ocean. It was said that the battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksha lasted one thousand years.
Narasimha, The half-man/half-lion:
In Satya Yuga, Hiranyakashyap, the elder brother of Hiranyaksha, received a powerful blessing from Lord Brahma, that he would not be killed, by a man or an animal, inside or out, day or night, on earth or the stars, with a weapon either living or inanimate. Due to this powerful blessings, Hiranyakashyap started ruling with cruelty and that was the reason why Lord Vishnu took this magnificent form of the half-man/half-lion and killed the rakshasa with his claws at dusk while the rakshasa laid on his thigh.
Vamana, The Dwarf:
In Treta Yuga, Bali, the fourth descendant of Hiranyakashyap, defeated God Indra and took over the authority over the three worlds. So in order to restore peace and order in these three worlds, Lord Vishnu took this form of a dwarf, Vamana. Vamana approached Bali and asked for three paces of the land and Bali gracefully accepted and thenVamana, the dwarf changed himself to a giant sized and stepped over the heaven in his first stride, and the netherworld in his second stride. Bali realized that the dwarf was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and offered his head for the third place forVamana to place his foot. Thus, Lord Vishnu blessed Bali with immortality and made him the ruler of the Netherworld.
Parashurama, warrior with axe:
Parashurama was the first Brahmin-Kshatriya in Hinduism and was the warrior incarnation of Lord Vishnu and he got an axe with the blessings of Lord Shiva. During the reign of King Kartavirya Arjuna in Treta Yuga, the king visited the ashram of Parashurama’s father and demanded the animal, but his father Jamadagni refused them. So the king and his army destroyed the ashram. In revenge, Parashurama killed the king in the palace and destroyed the army and swore to kill every Kshatriya on earth for revenge over his father death. He is immortal and is believed to exist even today.
Rama, The King of Ayodhya:
One of the most worshipped avatars of Lord Vishnu is Rama. Rama was an idealistic man and the king of Ayodhya. His story is mentioned in the widely read Hindu scripture, Ramayana. When Rama was the prince of Ayodhya, he was exiled with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman. And later Ravana, the demon king of Lanka abducted Sita, wife of Rama and took her to the Lanka. Rama was accompanied by his brother, Lakshman and ardent devotee of Rama, Hanuman and travelled to Lanka and defeated the demon king and saved Sita.
Krishna is widely worshiped deity in Hinduism and many Hindu followers follow Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. His story is mentioned frequently in widely read Hindu scripture, Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita. Krishna appeared on earth along with his brother Balarama. Balarama is believed to be the incarnation of Shesh Naga but, in Vaishnavism, Balarama is listed as the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Krishna played an important role providing aid to Pandava to win the battle against their brothers. Krishna is also worshiped as combined Radha Krishna.
Gautama Buddha:
Gautama Buddha, who founded Buddhism, is believed to be the 9th avatar of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism. Buddha attained “Enlightenment” and had helped the people to free them from suffering and pain, the cycle of birth, life, and death.
Kalki, Destroyer of Filth:
Kalki is believed to be the last incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Kalki will appear to end the Kali Yuga. Kalki is the harbinger of end time and will destroy all evil at the end of Kali Yuga.
The Sri Ranganathswamy Temple is one of the popular temples, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu which is located in Srirangam, India. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the wealthiest place of worship in the world, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and this temple depicted Lord Vishnu in his Universal “Padmanabha ” form.




One Thousand Names of Lord Vishnu
The one thousand names of Lord Vishnu and their meanings.

Vishvam: He who is the universe, the virat-purusha
vishnuh: He who pervades everywhere
vashatkaarah: He who is invoked for oblations
bhoota-bhavya-bhavat-prabhuh: The Lord of past, present and future
bhoota-krit: The creator of all creatures
bhoota-bhrit: He who nourishes all creatures
bhaavo: He who becomes all moving and nonmoving things
bhootaatmaa: The aatman of all beings
bhoota-bhaavanah: The cause of the growth and birth of all creatures
pootaatmaa: He with an extremely pure essence
paramaatmaa: The Supersoul
muktaanaam paramaa gatih: The final goal, reached by liberated souls
avyayah: Without destruction
purushah: He who dwells in the city of nine gates
saakshee: The witness
kshetrajnah: The knower of the field
akshara: Indestructible
yogah: He who is realized through yoga
yoga-vidaam netaa: The guide of those who know yoga
pradhaana-purusheshvarah: Lord of pradhaana and purusha
naarasimha-vapuh: He whose form is man-lion
shreemaan: He who is always with shree
keshavah: He who has beautiful locks of hair
purushottamah: The Supreme Controller
sarvah: He who is everything
sharvas: The auspicious
shivah: He who is eternally pure
stanch: The pillar, the immovable truth
bhootaadih: The cause of the five great elements
nidhir-avyayah: The imperishable treasure
sambhavah: He who descends of His own free will
bhaavanah: He who gives everything to his devotees
bhartaa: He who governs the entire living world
prabhavah: The womb of the five great elements
prabhuh: The Almighty Lord
eeshvarah: He who can do anything without any help
svayambhooh: He who manifests from Himself
shambhuh: He who brings auspiciousness
aadityah: The son of Aditi (Vaamana)
pushkaraakshah: He who has eyes like the lotus
Mahaasvanah: He who has a thundering voice
anaadi-nidhanah: He without origin or end
dhaataa: He who supports all fields of experience
vidhaataa: The dispenser of fruits of action
dhaaturuttamah: The subtlest atom
aprameyah: He who cannot be perceived
hrisheekeshah: The Lord of the senses
padmanaabhah: He from whose navel comes the lotus
amaraprabhuh: The Lord of the devas
vishvakarmaa: The creator of the universe
manuh: He who has manifested as the Vedic mantras
tvashtaa: He who makes huge things small
sthavishtah: The supremely gross
sthaviro dhruvah: The ancient, motionless one
agraahyah: He who is not perceived sensually
shaashvatah: He who always remains the same
krishno: He whose complexion is dark
lohitaakshah: Red-eyed
pratardanah: The Supreme destruction
prabhootas: Ever-full
trikakub-dhaama: The support of the three quarters
pavitram: He who gives purity to the heart
mangalam param: The Supreme auspiciousness
eeshanah: The controller of the five great elements
praanadah: He who gives life
praano: He who ever lives
jyeshthah: Older than all
shreshthah: The most glorious
prajaapatih: The Lord of all creatures
hiranyagarbhah: He who dwells in the womb of the world
bhoogarbhah: He who is the womb of the world
maadhavah: Husband of Lakshmi
madhusoodanah: Destroyer of the Madhu demon
eeshvarah: The contoller
vikramee: He who is full of prowess
dhanvee: He who always has a divine bow
medhaavee: Supremely intelligent
vikramah: He who stepped (Vaamana)
kramah: All-pervading
anuttamah: Incomparably great
duraadharshah: He who cannot be attacked successfully
kritajnah: He who knows all that is
kritih: He who rewards all our actions
aatmavaan: The self in all beings
sureshah: The Lord of the demigods
sharanam: The refuge
sharma: He who is Himself infinite bliss
visva-retaah: The seed of the universe
prajaa-bhavah: He from whom all praja comes
ahah: He who is the nature of time
samvatsarah: He from whom the concept of time comes
vyaalah: The serpent (vyaalah) to athiests
pratyayah: He whose nature is knowledge
sarvadarshanah: All-seeing
ajah: Unborn
sarveshvarah: Controller of all
siddhah: The most famous
siddhih: He who gives moksha
sarvaadih: The beginning of all
achyutah: Infallible
vrishaakapih: He who lifts the world to dharma
ameyaatmaa: He who manifests in infinite varieties
sarva-yoga-vinissritah: He who is free from all attachments
vasuh: The support of all elements
vasumanaah: He whose mind is supremely pure
satyah: The truth
samaatmaa: He who is the same in all
sammitah: He who has been accepted by authorities
samah: Equal
amoghah: Ever useful
pundareekaakshah: He who dwells in the heart
vrishakarmaa: He whose every act is righteous
vrishaakritih: The form of dharma
rudrah: He who makes all people weep
bahu-shiraah: He who has many heads
babhrur: He who rules over all the worlds
vishvayonih: The womb of the universe
shuchi-shravaah: He who has beautiful, sacred names
amritah: Immortal
shaashvatah-sthaanur: Permanent and immovable
varaaroho: The most glorious destination
mahaatapaah: He of great tapas
sarvagah: All-pervading
sarvavid-bhaanuh: All-knowing and effulgent
vishvaksenah: He against whom no army can stand
janaardanah: He who gives joy to good people
vedah: He who is the Vedas
vedavid: The knower of the Vedas
avyangah: Without imperfections
vedaangah: He whose limbs are the Vedas
vedavit: He who contemplates upon the Vedas
kavih: The seer
lokaadhyakshah: He who presides over all lokas
suraadhyaksho: He who presides over all devas
dharmaadhyakshah: He who presides over dharma
krita-akritah: All that is created and not created
chaturaatmaa: The four-fold self
chaturvyoohah: Vasudeva, Sankarshan etc
chaturdamstrah: He who has four canines (Nrsimha)
chaturbhujah: Four-handed
bhraajishnur: Self-effulgent consciousness
bhojanam: He who is the sense-objects
bhoktaa: The enjoyer
sahishnuh: He who can suffer patiently
jagadaadijah: Born at the beginning of the world
anaghah: Sinless
vijayah: Victorious
jetaa: Ever-successful
vishvayonih: He who incarnates because of the world 150) punarvasuh: He who lives repeatedly in different bodies
upendrah: The younger brother of Indra (vaamana)
vaamanah: He with a dwarf body
praamshuh: He with a huge body
amoghah: He whose acts are for a great purpose
shuchih: He who is spotlessly clean
oorjitah: He who has infinite vitality
ateendrah: He who surpasses Indra
samgrahah: He who holds everything together
sargah: He who creates the world from Himself
dhritaatmaa: Established in Himself
niyamo: The appointing authority
yamah: The administrator
vedyah: That which is to be known
vaidyah: The Supreme doctor
sadaa-yogee: Always in yoga
veerahaa: He who destroys the mighty heroes
maadhavo: The Lord of all knowledge
madhuh: Sweet
ateendriyo: Beyond the sense organs
mahaamayo: The Supreme Master of all Maayaa
mahotsaaho: The great enthusiast
mahaabalah: He who has supreme strength
mahaabuddhir: He who has supreme intelligence
mahaa-veeryah: The supreme essence
mahaa-shaktih: All-powerful
mahaa-dyutih: Greatly luminous
anirdeshya-vapuh: He whose form is indescribable
shreemaan: He who is always courted by glories
ameyaatmaa: He whose essence is immeasurable
mahaadri-dhrik: He who supports the great mountain
maheshvaasah: He who wields shaarnga
maheebhartaa: The husband of mother earth
shreenivaasah: The permanent abode of Shree
sataam gatih: The goal for all virtuous people
aniruddhah: He who cannot be obstructed
suraanando: He who gives out happiness
govindah: The protector of the cows
govidaam-patih: The Lord of all men of wisdom
mareechih: Effulgence
damanah: He who controls rakshasas
hamsah: The swan
suparnah: Beautiful-winged (Two birds analogy)
bhujagottamah: The serpent Ananta
hiranyanaabhah: He who has a golden navel
sutapaah: He who has glorious tapas
padmanaabhah: He whose navel is like a lotus
prajaapatih: He from whom all creatures emerge
amrityuh: He who knows no death
sarva-drik: The seer of everything
simhah: He who destroys
simhah: He who destroys
sandhaataa: The regulator
sandhimaan: He who seems to be conditioned
sthirah: Steady
ajah: He who takes the form of Aja, Brahma
durmarshanah: He who cannot be vanquished
shaastaa: He who rules over the universe
visrutaatmaa: He who is called atma in the Vedas
suraarihaa: Destroyer of the enemies of the devas
guruh: The teacher
gurutamah: The greatest teacher
dhaama: The goal
satyah: He who is Himself the truth
satya-paraakramah: Dynamic Truth
nimishah: He who has closed eyes in contemplation
animishah: He who remains unwinking; ever knowing
sragvee: He who always wears a garland of undecaying flowers
vaachaspatir-udaara-dheeh: He who is eloquent in championing the Supreme law of life; He with a large-hearted intelligence
agraneeh: He who guides us to the peak
graamaneeh: He who leads the flock
shreemaan: The possessor of light, effulgence, glory
nyaayah: Justice
netaa: The leader
sameeranah: He who sufficiently administers all movements of all living creatures
sahasra-moordhaa: He who has endless heads
vishvaatmaa: The soul of the universe
sahasraakshah: Thousands of eyes
sahasrapaat: Thousand-footed
aavartanah: The unseen dynamism
nivritaatmaa: The soul retreated from matter
samvritah: He who is vieled from the jiva
sam-pramardanah: He who persecutes evil men
ahassamvartakah: He who thrills the day and makes it function vigorously
vahnih: Fire
anilah: Air
dharaneedharah: He who supports the earth
suprasaadah: Fully satisfied
prasanaatmaa: Ever pure and all-blissful self
vishva-dhrik: Supporter of the world
vishvabhuk: He who enjoys all experiences
vibhuh: He who manifests in endless forms
satkartaa: He who adores good and wise people
satkritah: He who is adored by all good people
saadhur: He who lives by the righteous codes
jahnuh: Leader of men
naaraayanah: He who resides on the waters
narah: The guide
asankhyeyah: He who has numberlesss names and forms
aprameyaatmaa: A soul not known through the pramanas
vishishtah: He who transcends all in His glory
shishta-krit: The law-maker
shuchih: He who is pure
siddhaarthah: He who has all arthas
siddhasankalpah: He who gets all He wishes for
siddhidah: The giver of benedictions
siddhisaadhanah: The power behind our sadhana
vrishaahee: Controller of all actions
vrishabhah: He who showers all dharmas
vishnuh: Long-striding
vrishaparvaa: The ladder leading to dharma (As well as dharma itself)
vrishodarah: He from whose belly life showers forth
vardhanah: The nurturer and nourisher
vardhamaanah: He who can grow into any dimension
viviktah: Separate
shruti-saagarah: The ocean for all scripture
subhujah: He who has graceful arms
durdurdharah: He who cannot be known by great yogis 267) vaagmee: He who is eloquent in speech
mahendrah: The lord of Indra
vasudah: He who gives all wealth
vasuh: He who is Wealth
naika-roopo: He who has unlimited forms
brihad-roopah: Vast, of infinite dimensions
shipivishtah: The presiding deity of the sun
prakaashanah: He who illuminates
ojas-tejo-dyutidharah: The possessor of vitality, effulgence and beauty
prakaashaatmaa: The effulgent self
prataapanah: Thermal energy; one who heats
riddhah: Full of prosperity
spashtaaksharo: One who is indicated by OM
mantrah: The nature of the Vedic mantras
chandraamshuh: The rays of the moon
bhaaskara-dyutih: The effulgence of the sun
amritaamsoodbhavo: The moon who gives flavor to vegetables
bhaanuh: Self-effulgent
shashabindhuh: The moon who has a rabbit-like spot 286) sureshvarah: A person of extreme charity
aushadham: Medicine
jagatas-setuh: A bridge across the material energy
satya-dharma-paraakramah: One who champions heroically for truth and righteousness
bhoota-bhavya-bhavan-naathah: The Lord of past, present and future
pavanah: The air that fills the universe
paavanah: He who gives life-sustaining power to air
analah: Fire
kaamahaa: He who destroys all desires
kaamakrit: He who fulfills all desires
kaantah: He who is of enchanting form
kaamah: The beloved
kaamapradah: He who supplies desired objects
prabhuh: The Lord
yugaadi-krit: The creator of the yugas
yugaavartah The law behind time
naikamaayah: He whose forms are endless and varied 303) mahaashanah: He who eats up everything
adrishyah: Imperceptible
vyaktaroopah: He who is perceptible to the yogi
sahasrajit: He who vanquishes thousands
anantajit: Ever-victorious
ishtah: He who is invoked through Vedic rituals
visishtah: The noblest and most sacred
sishteshtah: The greatest beloved
shikhandee: He who wears a peacock feather
nahushah: He who binds all with maya
vrishah: He who is dharma
krodhahaa: He who destroys anger
krodhakrit-kartaa: He who generates anger against the lower tendency
visvabaahuh: He whose hand is in everything
maheedharah: The support of the earth
achyutah: He who undergoes no changes
prathitah: He who exists pervading all
praanah: The prana in all living creatures
praanadah: He who gives prana
vaasavaanujah: The brother of Indra
apaam-nidhih: Treasure of waters (the ocean)
adhishthaanam: The substratum of the entire universe
apramattah: He who never makes a wrong judgement 326) pratishthitah: He who has no cause
skandah: He whose glory is expressed through Subrahmanya
skanda-dharah: Upholder of withering righteousness
dhuryah: Who carries out creation etc without hitch
varadah: He who fulfills boons
vaayuvaahanah: Controller of winds
vaasudevah: Dwelling in all creatures although not affected by that condition
brihat-bhaanuh: He who illumines the world with the rays of the sun and moon
aadidevah: The primary source of everything
purandarah: Destroyer of cities
ashokah: He who has no sorrow
taaranah: He who enables others to cross
taarah: He who saves
shoorah: The valiant
shaurih: He who incarnated in the dynasty of Shoora
janeshvarah: The Lord of the people
anukoolah: Well-wisher of everyone
sataavarttah: He who takes infinite forms
padmee: He who holds a lotus
padmanibhekshanah: Lotus-eyed
padmanaabhah: He who has a lotus-navel
aravindaakshah: He who has eyes as beautiful as the lotus
padmagarbhah: He who is being meditated upon in the lotus of the heart
shareerabhrit: He who sustains all bodies
maharddhi: One who has great prosperity
riddhah: He who has expanded Himself as the universe
Vriddhaatmaa: The ancient self
mahaakshah: The great-eyed
garudadhvajah: One who has Garuda on His flag
atulah: Incomparable
sharabhah: One who dwells and shines forth through the bodies
bheemah: The terrible
samayajnah: One whose worship is nothing more than keeping an equal vision of the mind by the devotee
havirharih: The receiver of all oblation
sarva-lakshana-lakshanyah: Known through all proofs
lakshmeevaan: The consort of Laksmi
samitinjayah: Ever-victorious
viksharah: Imperishable
rohitah: The fish incarnation
maargah: The path
hetuh: The cause
daamodarah: Whose stomach is marked with three lines
sahah: All-enduring
maheedharah: The bearer of the earth
mahaabhaago: He who gets the greatest share in every Yajna
vegavaan: He who is swift
amitaashanah: Of endless appetite
udbhavah: The originator
kshobhanah: The agitator
devah: He who revels
shreegarbhah: He in whom are all glories
parameshvarah: The Supreme Lord
karanam: The instrument
kaaranam: The cause
kartaa: The doer
vikartaa: Creator of the endless varieties that make up the universe
gahanah: The unknowable
guhah: He who dwells in the cave of the heart
vyavasaayah: Resolute
vyavasthaanah: The substratum
samsthaanah: The ultimate authority
sthaanadah: He who confers the right abode
dhruvah: The changeless in the midst of changes
pararddhih: He who has supreme manifestations
paramaspashtah: The extremely vivid
tushtah: One who is contented with a very simple offering
pushtah: One who is ever-full
shubhekshanah: All-auspicious gaze
raamah: One who is most handsome
viraamah: The abode of perfect-rest
virajo: Passionless
maargah: The path
neyah: The guide
nayah: One who leads
anayah: One who has no leader
veerah: The valiant
shaktimataam-shresthah: The best among the powerful
dharmah: The law of being
dharmaviduttamah: The highest among men of realization
vaikunthah: One who prevents men from straying on wrong paths
purushah: One who dwells in all bodies
praanah: Life
praanadah: Giver of life
pranavah: He who is praised by the gods
prituh: The expanded
hiranyagarbhah: The creator
shatrughnah: The destroyer of enemies
vyaaptah: The pervader
vaayuh: The air
adhokshajah: One whose vitality never flows downwards
rituh: The seasons
sudarshanah: He whose meeting is auspicious
kaalah: He who judges and punishes beings
parameshthee: One who is readily available for experience within the heart
parigrahah: The receiver
ugrah: The terrible
samvatsarah: The year
dakshah: The smart
vishraamah: The resting place
vishva-dakshinah: The most skilful and efficient
vistaarah: The extension
sthaavarah-sthaanuh: The firm and motionless
pramaanam: The proof
beejamavyayam: The Immutable Seed
arthah: He who is worshiped by all
anarthah: One to whom there is nothing yet to be fulfilled
mahaakoshah: He who has got around him great sheaths
mahaabhogah: He who is of the nature of enjoyment
mahaadhanah: He who is supremely rich
anirvinnah: He who has no discontent
sthavishthah: One who is supremely huge
a-bhooh: One who has no birth
dharma-yoopah: The post to which all dharma is tied
mahaa-makhah: The great sacrificer
nakshatranemir: The nave of the stars
nakshatree: The Lord of the stars (the moon)
kshamah: He who is supremely efficient in all undertakings
kshaamah: He who ever remains without any scarcity
sameehanah: One whose desires are auspicious
yajnah: One who is of the nature of yajna
ijyah: He who is fit to be invoked through yajna
mahejyah: One who is to be most worshiped
kratuh: The animal-sacrifice
satram: Protector of the good
sataam-gatih: Refuge of the good
sarvadarshee: All-knower
vimuktaatmaa: The ever-liberated self
sarvajno: Omniscient
jnaanamuttamam: The Supreme Knowledge
suvratah: He who ever-performing the pure vow
sumukhah: One who has a charming face
sookshmah: The subtlest
sughoshah: Of auspicious sound
sukhadah: Giver of happiness
suhrit: Friend of all creatures
manoharah: The stealer of the mind
jita-krodhah: One who has conquered anger
veerabaahur: Having mighty arms
vidaaranah: One who splits asunder
svaapanah: One who puts people to sleep
svavashah: He who has everything under His control
vyaapee: All-pervading
naikaatmaa: Many souled
naikakarmakrit: One who does many actions
vatsarah: The abode
vatsalah: The supremely affectionate
vatsee: The father
ratnagarbhah: The jewel-wombed
dhaneshvarah: The Lord of wealth
dharmagub: One who protects dharma
dharmakrit: One who acts according to dharma
dharmee: The supporter of dharma
sat: existence
asat: illusion
ksharam: He who appears to perish
aksharam: Imperishable
avijnaataa: The non-knower (The knower being the conditioned soul within the body)
sahasraamshur: The thousand-rayed
vidhaataa: All supporter
kritalakshanah: One who is famous for His qualities
gabhastinemih: The hub of the universal wheel
sattvasthah: Situated in sattva
simhah: The lion
bhoota-maheshvarah: The great lord of beings
aadidevah: The first deity
mahaadevah: The great deity
deveshah: The Lord of all devas
devabhrit-guruh: Advisor of Indra
uttarah: He who lifts us from the ocean of samsara
gopatih: The shepherd
goptaa: The protector
jnaanagamyah: One who is experienced through pure knowledge
puraatanah: He who was even before time
shareera-bhootabhrit: One who nourishes the nature from which the bodies came
bhoktaa: The enjoyer
kapeendrah: Lord of the monkeys (Rama)
bhooridakshinah: He who gives away large gifts
somapah: One who takes Soma in the yajnas
amritapah: One who drinks the nectar
somah: One who as the moon nourishes plants
purujit: One who has conquered numerous enemies
purusattamah: The greatest of the great
vinayah: He who humiliates those who are unrighteous
jayah: The victorious
satyasandhah: Of truthful resolution
daashaarhah: One who was born in the Dasarha race
saatvataam-patih: The Lord of the Satvatas
jeevah: One who functions as the ksetrajna
vinayitaa-saakshee: The witness of modesty
mukundah: The giver of liberation
amitavikramah: Of immeasurable prowess
ambho-nidhir: The substratum of the four types of beings
anantaatmaa: The infinite self
mahodadhishayah: One who rests on the great ocean
antakah: The death
ajah: Unborn
mahaarhah: One who deserves the highest worship
svaabhaavyah: Ever rooted in the nature of His own self
jitaamitrah: One who has conquered all enemies
pramodanah: Ever-blissful
aanandah: A mass of pure bliss
nandanah: One who makes others blissful
nandah: Free from all worldly pleasures
satyadharmaa: One who has in Himself all true dharmas
trivikramah: One who took three steps
maharshih kapilaachaaryah: He who incarnated as Kapila, the great sage
kritajnah: The knower of the creation
medineepatih: The Lord of the earth
tripadah: One who has taken three steps
tridashaadhyaksho: The Lord of the three states of consciousness
mahaashringah: Great-horned (Matsya)
kritaantakrit: Destroyer of the creation
mahaavaraaho: The great boar
govindah: One who is known through Vedanta
sushenah: He who has a charming army
kanakaangadee: Wearer of bright-as-gold armlets
guhyo: The mysterious
gabheerah: The unfathomable
gahano: Impenetrable
guptah: The well-concealed
chakra-gadaadharah: Bearer of the disc and mace
vedhaah: Creator of the universe
svaangah: One with well-proportioned limbs
ajitah: Vanquished by none
krishnah: Dark-complexioned
dridhah: The firm
sankarshanochyutah: He who absorbs the whole creation into His nature and never falls away from that nature
varunah: One who sets on the horizon (Sun)
vaarunah: The son of Varuna (Vasistha or Agastya)
vrikshah: The tree
pushkaraakshah: Lotus eyed
mahaamanaah: Great-minded
bhagavaan: One who possesses six opulences
bhagahaa: One who destroys the six opulences during pralaya
aanandee: One who gives delight
vanamaalee: One who wears a garland of forest flowers
halaayudhah: One who has a plough as His weapon
aadityah: Son of Aditi
jyotiraadityah: The resplendence of the sun
sahishnuh: One who calmly endures duality
gatisattamah: The ultimate refuge for all devotees
sudhanvaa: One who has Shaarnga
khanda-parashur: One who holds an axe
daarunah: Merciless towards the unrighteous
dravinapradah: One who lavishly gives wealth
divah-sprik: Sky-reaching
sarvadrik-vyaaso: One who creates many men of wisdom
vaachaspatir-ayonijah: One who is the master of all vidyas and who is unborn through a womb
trisaamaa: One who is glorified by Devas, Vratas and Saamans
saamagah: The singer of the sama songs
saama: The Sama Veda
nirvaanam: All-bliss
bheshajam: Medicine
bhishak: Physician
samnyaasa-krit: Institutor of sannyasa
samah: Calm
shaantah: Peaceful within
nishthaa: Abode of all beings
shaantih: One whose very nature is peace
paraayanam: The way to liberation
shubhaangah: One who has the most beautiful form
shaantidah: Giver of peace
shrashtaa: Creator of all beings
kumudah: He who delights in the earth
kuvaleshayah: He who reclines in the waters
gohitah: One who does welfare for cows
gopatih: Husband of the earth
goptaa: Protector of the universe
vrishabhaaksho: One whose eyes rain fulfilment of desires
vrishapriyah: One who delights in dharma
anivartee: One who never retreats
nivrittaatmaa: One who is fully restrained from all sense indulgences
samksheptaa: The involver
kshemakrit: Doer of good
shivah: Auspiciousness
shreevatsa-vakshaah: One who has sreevatsa on His chest
shrevaasah: Abode of Sree
shreepatih: Lord of Laksmi
shreemataam varah: The best among glorious
shreedah: Giver of opulence
shreeshah: The Lord of Sree
shreenivaasah: One who dwells in the good people
shreenidhih: The treasure of Sree
shreevibhaavanah: Distributor of Sree
shreedharah: Holder of Sree
shreekarah: One who gives Sree
shreyah: Liberation
shreemaan: Possessor of Sree
loka-trayaashrayah: Shelter of the three worlds
svakshah: Beautiful-eyed
svangah: Beautiful-limbed
shataanandah: Of infinite varieties and joys
nandih: Infinite bliss
jyotir-ganeshvarah: Lord of the luminaries in the cosmos
vijitaatmaa: One who has conquered the sense organs
vidheyaatmaa: One who is ever available for the devotees to command in love
sat-keertih: One of pure fame
chinnasamshayah: One whose doubts are ever at rest
udeernah: The great transcendent
sarvatah-chakshuh: One who has eyes everywhere
aneeshah: One who has none to Lord over Him
shaashvata-sthirah: One who is eternal and stable
bhooshayah: One who rested on the ocean shore (Rama)
bhooshanah: One who adorns the world
bhootih: One who is pure existence
vishokah: Sorrowless
shoka-naashanah: Destroyer of sorrows
archishmaan: The effulgent
architah: One who is constantly worshipped by His devotees
kumbhah: The pot within whom everything is contained
vishuddhaatmaa: One who has the purest soul
vishodhanah: The great purifier
anniruddhah: He who is invincible by any enemy
apratirathah: One who has no enemies to threaten Him
pradyumnah: Very rich
amitavikramah: Of immeasurable prowess
kaalanemi-nihaa: Slayer of Kalanemi
veerah: The heroic victor
shauri: One who always has invincible prowess
shoora-janeshvarah: Lord of the valiant
trilokaatmaa: The self of the three worlds
trilokeshah: The Lord of the three worlds
keshavah: One whose rays illumine the cosmos
keshihaa: Killer of Kesi
harih: The destroyer
kaamadevah: The beloved Lord
kaamapaalah: The fulfiller of desires
kaamee: One who has fulfilled all His desires
kaantah: Of enchanting form
kritaagamah: The author of the agama scriptures
anirdeshya-vapuh: Of Indescribable form
vishnuh: All-pervading
veerah: The courageous
anantah: Endless
dhananjayah: One who gained wealth through conquest
brahmanyah: Protector of Brahman (anything related to Narayana)
brahmakrit: One who acts in Brahman
brahmaa: Creator
brahma: Biggest
brahma-vivardhanah: One who increases the Brahman
brahmavid: One who knows Brahman
braahmanah: One who has realised Brahman
brahmee: One who is with Brahma
brahmajno: One who knows the nature of Brahman
braahmana-priyah: Dear to the brahmanas
mahaakramo: Of great step
mahaakarmaa: One who performs great deeds
mahaatejaah: One of great resplendence
mahoragah: The great serpent
mahaakratuh: The great sacrifice
mahaayajvaa: One who performed great yajnas
mahaayajnah: The great yajna
mahaahavih: The great offering
stavyah: One who is the object of all praise
stavapriyah: One who is invoked through prayer
stotram: The hymn
stutih: The act of praise
stotaa: One who adores or praises
ranapriyah: Lover of battles
poornah: The complete
poorayitaa: The fulfiller
punyah: The truly holy
punya-keertir: Of Holy fame
anaamayah: One who has no diseases
manojavah: Swift as the mind
teerthakaro: The teacher of the tirthas
vasuretaah: He whose essence is golden
vasupradah: The free-giver of wealth
vasupradah: The giver of salvation, the greatest wealth
vaasudevo: The son of Vasudeva
vasuh: The refuge for all
vasumanaah: One who is attentive to everything
havih: The oblation
sadgatih: The goal of good people
satkritih: One who is full of Good actions
satta: One without a second
sadbhootih: One who has rich glories
satparaayanah: The Supreme goal for the good
shoorasenah: One who has heroic and valiant armies
yadu-shresthah: The best among the Yadava clan
sannivaasah: The abode of the good
suyaamunah: One who attended by the people who dwell on the banks of Yamuna
bhootaavaaso: The dwelling place of the elements
vaasudevah: One who envelops the world with Maya
sarvaasunilayah: The abode of all life energies
analah: One of unlimited wealth, power and glory
darpahaa: The destroyer of pride in evil-minded people
darpadah: One who creates pride, or an urge to be the best, among the righteous
driptah: One whio is drunk with Infinite bliss
durdharah: The object of contemplation
athaaparaajitah: The unvanquished
vishvamoortih: Of the form of the entire Universe
mahaamortir: The great form
deeptamoortir: Of resplendent form
a-moortirmaan: Having no form
anekamoortih: Multi-formed
avyaktah: Unmanifeset
shatamoortih: Of many forms
shataananah: Many-faced
ekah: The one
naikah: The many
savah: The nature of the sacrifice
kah: One who is of the nature of bliss
kim: What (the one to be inquired into)
yat: Which
tat: That
padam-anuttamam: The unequalled state of perfection
lokabandhur: Friend of the world
lokanaathah: Lord of the world
maadhavah: Born in the family of Madhu
bhaktavatsalah: One who loves His devotees
suvarna-varnah: Golden-coloured
hemaangah: One who has limbs of gold
varaangah: With beautiful limbs
chandanaangadee: One who has attractive armlets
veerahaa: Destroyer of valiant heroes
vishama: Unequalled
shoonyah: The void
ghritaaseeh: One who has no need for good wishes
acalah: Non-moving
chalah: Moving
amaanee: Without false vanity
maanadah: One who causes, by His maya, false identification with the body
maanyah: One who is to be honoured
lokasvaamee: Lord of the universe
trilokadhrik: One who is the support of all the three worlds
sumedhaa: One who has pure intelligence
medhajah: Born out of sacrifices
dhanyah: Fortunate
satyamedhah: One whose intelligence never fails
dharaadharah: The sole support of the earth
tejovrisho: One who showers radiance
dyutidharah: One who bears an effulgent form
sarva-shastra-bhritaam-varah: The best among those who wield weapons
pragrahah: Receiver of worship
nigrahah: The killer
vyagrah: One who is ever engaged in fulfilling the devotee’s desires
naikashringah: One who has many horns
gadaagrajah: One who is invoked through mantra
chaturmoortih: Four-formed
chaturbaahuh: Four-handed
chaturvyoohah: One who expresses Himself as the dynamic centre in the four vyoohas
chaturgatih: The ultimate goal of all four varnas and asramas
chaturaatmaa: Clear-minded
chaturbhaavas: The source of the four
chatur-vedavid: Knower of all four vedas
ekapaat: One-footed (BG 10.42)
samaavartah: The efficient turner
nivrittaatmaa: One whose mind is turned away from sense indulgence
durjayah: The invincible
duratikramah: One who is difficult to be disobeyed
durlabhah: One who obtained with effort
durgamah: One who is realised with great effort
durgah: Not easy to storm into
duraavaasah: Not easy to lodge
duraarihaa: Slayer of the asuras
shubhaangah: One with enchanting limbs
lokasaarangah: One who understands the universe
sutantuh: Beautifully expanded
tantu-vardhanah: One who sustains the continuity of the drive for the family
indrakarmaa: One who always performs gloriously auspicious actions
mahaakarmaa: One who accomplishes great acts
kritakarmaa: One who has fulfilled his acts
kritaagamah: Author of the Vedas
udbhavah: The ultimate source
sundarah: Of unrivalled beauty
sundah: Of great mercy
ratna-naabhah: Of beautiful navel
sulochanah: One who has the most enchanting eyes
arkah: One who is in the form of the sun
vaajasanah: The giver of food
shringee: The horned one
jayantah: The conqueror of all enemies
sarvavij-jayee: One who is at once omniscient and victorious
suvarna-binduh: With limbs radiant like gold
akshobhyah: One who is ever unruffled
sarva-vaageeshvareshvarah: Lord of the Lord of speech
mahaahradah: One who is like a great refreshing swimming pool
mahaagartah: The great chasm
mahaabhootah: The great being
mahaanidhih: The great abode
kumudah: One who gladdens the earth
kundarah: The one who lifted the earth
kundah: One who is as attractive as Kunda flowers
parjanyah: He who is similar to rain-bearing clouds
paavanah: One who ever purifies
anilah: One who never slips
amritaashah: One whose desires are never fruitless
amritavapuh: He whose form is immortal
sarvajna: Omniscient
sarvato-mukhah: One who has His face turned everywhere
sulabhah: One who is readily available
suvratah: One who has taken the most auspicious forms
siddhah: One who is perfection
shatrujit: One who is ever victorious over His hosts of enemies
shatrutaapanah: The scorcher of enemies
nyagrodhah: The one who veils Himself with Maya
udumbarah: Nourishment of all living creatures
ashvattas: Tree of life
chaanooraandhra-nishoodanah: The slayer of Canura
sahasraarchih: He who has thousands of rays
saptajihvah: He who expresses himself as the seven tongues of fire (Types of agni)
saptaidhaah: The seven effulgences in the flames
saptavaahanah: One who has a vehicle of seven horses (sun)
amoortih: Formless
anaghah: Sinless
acintyo: Inconceivable
bhayakrit: Giver of fear
bhayanaashanah: Destroyer of fear
anuh: The subtlest
brihat: The greatest
krishah: Delicate, lean
sthoolah: One who is the fattest
gunabhrit: One who supports
nirgunah: Without any properties
mahaan: The mighty
adhritah: Without support
svadhritah: Self-supported
svaasyah: One who has an effulgent face
praagvamshah: One who has the most ancient ancestry
vamshavardhanah: He who multiplies His family of descendents
bhaarabhrit: One who carries the load of the universe
kathitah: One who is glorified in all scriptures
yogee: One who can be realised through yoga
yogeeshah: The king of yogis
sarvakaamadah: One who fulfils all desires of true devotees
aashramah: Haven
shramanah: One who persecutes the worldly people
kshaamah: One who destroys everything
suparnah: The golden leaf (Vedas) BG 15.1
vaayuvaahanah: The mover of the winds
dhanurdharah: The wielder of the bow
dhanurvedah: One who declared the science of archery
dandah: One who punishes the wicked
damayitaa: The controller
damah: Beautitude in the self
aparaajitah: One who cannot be defeated
sarvasahah: One who carries the entire Universe
aniyantaa: One who has no controller
niyamah: One who is not under anyone’s laws
ayamah: One who knows no death
sattvavaan: One who is full of exploits and courage
saattvikah: One who is full of sattvic qualities
satyah: Truth
satya-dharma-paraayanah: One who is the very abode of truth and dharma
abhipraayah: One who is faced by all seekers marching to the infinite
priyaarhah: One who deserves all our love
arhah: One who deserves to be worshiped
priyakrit: One who is ever-obliging in fulfilling our wishes
preetivardhanah: One who increases joy in the devotee’s heart
vihaayasa-gatih: One who travels in space
jyotih: Self-effulgent
suruchih: Whose desire manifests as the universe
hutabhuk: One who enjoys all that is offered in yajna
vibhuh: All-pervading
ravih: One who dries up everything
virochanah: One who shines in different forms
sooryah: The one source from where everything is born
savitaa: The one who brings forth the Universe from Himself
ravilochanah: One whose eye is the sun
anantah: Endless
hutabhuk: One who accepts oblations
bhoktaaA: One who enjoys
sukhadah: Giver of bliss to those who are liberated
naikajah: One who is born many times
agrajah: The first-born
anirvinnah: One who feels no disappointment
sadaamarshee: One who forgives the trespasses of His devotees
lokaadhishthaanam: The substratum of the universe
adbhutah: Wonderful
sanaat: The beginningless and endless factor
sanaatanatamah: The most ancient
kapilah: The great sage Kapila
kapih: One who drinks water
apyayah: The one in whom the universe merges
svastidah: Giver of Svasti
svastikrit: One who robs all auspiciousness
svasti: One who is the source of all auspiciouness
svastibhuk: One who constantly enjoys auspiciousness
svastidakshinah: Distributor of auspiciousness
araudrah: One who has no negative emotions or urges
kundalee: One who wears shark earrings
chakree: Holder of the chakra
vikramee: The most daring
oorjita-shaasanah: One who commands with His hand
shabdaatigah: One who transcends all words
shabdasahah: One who allows Himself to be invoked by Vedic declarations
shishirah: The cold season, winter
sharvaree-karah: Creator of darkness
akroorah: Never cruel
peshalah: One who is supremely soft
dakshah: Prompt
dakshinah: The most liberal
kshaminaam-varah: One who has the greatest amount of patience with sinners
vidvattamah: One who has the greatest wisdom
veetabhayah: One with no fear
punya-shravana-keertanah: The hearing of whose glory causes holiness to grow
uttaaranah: One who lifts us out of the ocean of change
dushkritihaa: Destroyer of bad actions
punyah: Supremely pure
duh-svapna-naashanah: One who destroys all bad dreams
veerahaa: One who ends the passage from womb to womb
rakshanah: Protector of the universe
santah: One who is expressed through saintly men
jeevanah: The life spark in all creatures
paryavasthitah: One who dwells everywhere
anantaroopah: One of infinite forms
anantashreeh: Full of infinite glories
jitamanyuh: One who has no anger
bhayapahah: One who destroys all fears
chaturashrah: One who deals squarely
gabheeraatmaa: Too deep to be fathomed
vidishah: One who is unique in His giving
vyaadishah: One who is unique in His commanding power
dishah: One who advises and gives knowledge
anaadih: One who is the first cause
bhoor-bhuvo: The substratum of the earth
lakshmeeh: The glory of the universe
suveerah: One who moves through various ways
ruchiraangadah: One who wears resplendent shoulder caps
jananah: He who delivers all living creatures
jana-janmaadir: The cause of the birth of all creatures
bheemah: Terrible form
bheema-paraakramah: One whose prowess is fearful to His enemies
aadhaaranilayah: The fundamental sustainer
adhaataa: Above whom there is no other to command
pushpahaasah: He who shines like an opening flower
prajaagarah: Ever-awakened
oordhvagah: One who is on top of everything
satpathaachaarah: One who walks the path of truth
praanadah: Giver of life
pranavah: Omkara
panah: The supreme universal manager
pramaanam: He whose form is the Vedas
praananilayah: He in whom all prana is established
praanibhrit: He who rules over all pranas
praanajeevanah: He who maintains the life-breath in all living creatures
tattvam: The reality
tattvavit: One who has realised the reality
ekaatmaa: The one self
janma-mrityu-jaraatigah: One who knows no birth, death or old age in Himself
bhoor-bhuvah svas-taruh: The tree of bhur, bhuvah and svah
taarah: One who helps all to cross over
savitaa: The father of all
prapitaamahah: The father of the father of beings (Brahma)
yajnah: One whose very nature is yajna
yajnapatih: The Lord of all yajnas
yajvaa: The one who performs yajna
yajnaangah: One whose limbs are the things employed in yajna
yajnavaahanah: One who fulfils yajnas in complete
yajnabhrid: The ruler of the yajanas
yajnakrit: One who performs yajna
yajnee: Enjoyer of yajnas
yajnabhuk: Receiver of all that is offered
yajnasaadhanah: One who fulfils all yajnas
yajnaantakrit: One who performs the concluding act of the yajna
yajnaguhyam: The person to be realised by yajna
annam: One who is food
annaadah: One who eats the food
aatmayonih: The uncaused cause
svayamjaatah: Self-born
vaikhaanah: The one who cut through the earth
saamagaayanah: One who sings the sama songs
devakee-nandanah: Son of Devaki
srashtaa: Creator
kshiteeshah: The Lord of the earth
paapa-naashanah: Destroyer of sin
samkha-bhrit: One who has the divine Pancajanya
nandakee: One who holds the Nandaka sword
chakree: Carrier of Sudarsana
shaarnga-dhanvaa: One who aims His shaarnga bow
gadaadharah: Carrier of Kaumodakee club
rathaanga-paanih: One who has the wheel of a chariot as His weapon
akshobhyah: One who cannot be annoyed by anyone
sarva-praharanaayudhah: He who has all implements for all kinds of assault and fight
punarvasuh: He who lives repeatedly in different bod
vaagmee: He who is eloquent in speech
sureshvarah: A person of extreme charity
mahaashanah: He who eats up everything



Who is Lord Vishnu?
Vishnu is a Hindu god, the Supreme God of Vaishnavism (one of the three principal denominations of Hinduism) and one of the three supreme deities (Trimurti) of Hinduism. He is also known as Narayana and Hari. As one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition, he is conceived as “the Preserver or the Protector” within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the divinity.

Vishnu is one of the most important gods in the Hindu pantheon and, along with Brahma and Shiva, is considered a member of the holy trinity (trimurti) of Hinduism. He is the most important god of Vaishnavism, the largest Hindu sect. Indeed, to illustrate Vishnu’s superior status, Brahma is, in some accounts, considered to have been born from a lotus flower which grew from Vishnu’s naval. A complex character, Vishnu is the Preserver and guardian of men (Narayana), he protects the order of things (dharma) and, when necessary, he appears on earth in various incarnations or avatars to fight demons and fierce creatures and so maintain cosmic harmony.

Vishnu represents Sattvaguna and is the centripetal force as it were, responsible for sustenance, protection and maintenance of the created universe.

Etymologically speaking, the word ‘Vishnu’ means ‘one who pervades, one who has entered into everything.’ So he is the transcendent as well the immanent reality of the universe. He is the inner cause and power by which things exist.


Lord Vishnu Family
Lord Vishnu’s consort is Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.


Lord Vishnu Iconography
Vishnu resides in the milky waters of Vaikunth on a bed made of the coils of the thousand hooded great serpent, Adishesha of infinite dimensions. Goddess Lakshmi, his consort attends upon him. Symbolically the ocean stands for bliss and consciousness, the serpent for time, diversity, desire and illusion, and the goddess Lakshmi for the material things and powers of the creation.

The colour of Vishnu is the colour of a dark blue cloud. It is the colour of the sky, denoting his cosmic dimensions and his connection with the Vedic gods of rain and thunder and his relationship with the earth. He is usually depicted with one face, four arms, usually in a standing posture or in a resting posture. He wears a necklace made of the famous Kaustubha gem that rests on his left chest and another garland of flowers and gems by name Vaijayanti.

His four arms hold sankha (a conch), chakra (discus), gada (mace) and padma (lotus) respectively. The conch stands for the five elements, the sound of AUM, salagrama, goddess Lakshmi, the waters, purity and perfection. The discus is the terrible weapon of Vishnu which he used to destroy the evil and protect the righteous. It symbolically represents the light bearing sun, which illuminates and removes darkness. It also stands for higher consciousness which destroys all illusions. The mace represent the power of knowledge while the lotus symbolizes beauty, harmony, purity, water element, creation and self realization.

Garutman or Garuda, the mighty bird-vehicle of Lord Vishnu is a minor deity invariably found in all the Vaishnava temples.

Another deity invariably found in the Vishnu temples, especially in the South, is Hanuman the monkey-god. The Ramayana pictures him as a highly erudite, cultured and refined person. He is as strong as he is wise, and as devoted as he is strong and wise, a rare combination indeed.


Lord Vishnu Mantra
“Om Namo Narayanaya. Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya”

(ॐ नमोः नारायणाय. ॐ नमोः भगवते वासुदेवाय)

Lord Vishnu Avatars – Dashavatar
Following is an overview of the 10 principal avatars of Vishnu:

First incarnation of Vishnu : Matsya or the Fish incarnation : in this form Vishnu saved the Saint Vaivaswata, the hindu variety of the biblical Noah (or vice versa).
Second incarnation of Vishnu : Kurma or the Turtle incarnation : at the Churning of the Ocean, Vishnu as Koorma (or Kurma) offered his back as a pivot on which to rest the Mount Mandara, used as a churning stick by gods and demons. More information also on the Kurma page.
Third incarnation of Vishnu : Varaha or the Boar incarnation of Vishnu : he killed the demon Hiranyaksha, recovered the stolen Veda’s and released the Earth from the bottom of the ocean.
Fourth incarnation of Vishnu : Narasingha or the Lion incarnation : as a creature who was half-lion and half-man, Vishnu killed the demon Hiranyashasipu, brother of Niranyaksha, who had gained the boon of immunity from attacks by man, beast or god.
Fifth incarnation of Vishnu : Vamana or the Dwarf incarnation : he killed the demon Bali, who had gained dominion over the Earth and had chased the gods from the heavens. More can be read on the Vamana page.
Sixth incarnation of Vishnu : Parasurama : he killed the King Kartavirya, who had stolen the holy cow Kamadhenu, which could grant all desires.
Seventh incarnation of Vishnu : Ram : he killed the demon King Ravana, who had abducted Sita. More on Ram can be read on the Ramayana page.
Eigth incarnation of Vishnu : Krishna : he killed Kansa, son of a demon and the tyrannical King of Mathura. More on Krishna can be read in the Life of Krishna.
Ninth incarnation of Vishnu : Buddha : Vishnu incarnated to remove suffering from the world. More on Buddha can be read on the Buddha page. While some Hindus may oppose to seeing Buddha as a Vishnu incarnation, many other Hindus in fact embrace Buddha as such and worship Buddha both in Buddhist temples as in Hindu temples.
Tenth Incarnation of Vishnu : Kalki : still to come at the end of the Kaliyuga or the present age of decline, when Vishnu will appear in person on Earth, seated on a white horse, Kalki, which is his tenth incarnation.
Other Lord Vishnu Avatars
These are gods who descended into this world for a specific task and with an aspect of Lord Vishnu. Mention may be made of Dattatreya, Kapila, Dhanvantari, Mohini, Hayagriva, Naranarayana, Vedavyasa and Yajna.


Lord Vishnu Temples
Lord Vishnu is one of the widely worshiped gods in India. In Hinduism, Vishnu is one of the five primary gods. In Hinduism Vishnu is worshiped as Preserver of the universe. He is married to Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. Every time mankind faced a threat from demon, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu came to earth to save humanity. Today some of the grandest and wealthiest temples in India are dedicated to Lord Vishnu or his incarnations. Here are some must visit temples of Lord Vishnu in India.

Badrinath Temple
Badrinath Temple – Lord VishnuThe most important temple of Lord Vishnu is Badrinath temple. It is also most important of four char dham yatra destinations. It is believed that idol of Lord Vishnu inside the temple was found by Adi Shankara in the Alaknanda river. He had a dream in which Lord Vishnu directed him to dive in the river and recover the idol. Since them, Badrinath, a hill station in Uttarakhand has become an important pilgrimage spot. During the summer months, when the gates of temple are opened, millions of devotees flock to Badrinath. It is also believed that Badrinath is permanent residence of Lord Vishnu.

Jagannath Puri Temple
Jagannath Puri – Lord Vishnu – Hindu Gods and DeitiesSimilarly to Badrinath, Puri is also a char dham destination. The main temple here is dedicated to Lord Krishna who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Jagannath Puri temple is one of the holiest temples in India. It was built some 1500 years ago. Even today it does not allow non Hindus to enter the main hall of the temple. Despite that thousands of non Hindus travel Puri just to see amazing architecture of the temple from outside. The best time to visit Puri is the cooler months of October to March. However devotees should also consider the months of June and July when annual rath yatra takes place in Puri. It is one of the biggest religious events in the world.

Dwarkadhish Temple
Dwarkadheesh TempleInterestingly, Dwarka too is part of char dham yatra. Three out of four temples mentioned in the holy char dham yatra are dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Dwarka is a coastal city in Gujarat. It is believed to be built by none other than Lord Krishna. The Dwarkadhish temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and it was built by his great grandson. Although over the years the temple went through major renovation by Kings in the region. Make sure you include a visit to Dwarkadhish temple. The best time perhaps is around Janamashtmi which takes place either in August or September.

Kesava Deo Temple
Kesava Deo Temple MathuraThis temple is built on one of the most sacred sites for Hindus in India. The Kesava Deo Temple also known as Krishna Janmasthan is built exactly on the prison where Lord Krishna was born. It is believed that the first temple was built around 5000 years ago by great grandson of Lord Krishna. Over the years Muslims destroyed the temple several times. Last time around Aurangzeb destroyed the sacred Hindu temple in 1670 and a mosque was built. However in 1965, the temple was once again constructed but was forced to share the space with a mosque. The temple is located in the holy city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala – Lord VishnuAlso known as Tirupati Balaji is one of the most popular Lord Vishnu temples in India. At present it is second richest temple in the world. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara which is a form of Vishnu. The name Venkateswara means Lord who destroys the sins of people. It is believed that Lord Venkateswara will remain in this temple till the end of Kali Yuga. Around 75,000 devotees visit the temple every day. It is the most visited temple in the world. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is located near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.

Lord Vishnu Festival and Vrats
Several Festivals are celebrated in glory of the Lord Vishnu in all parts of the country, these are held to celebrate the many trimphs of the Lord.

Vishnu rests on Anant- Sesha the four rainy months every year. This period is known as Chaturmasa the time of social dormancy when journeys are not undertaken and marriages are not solemnized. People stay at home and pray because the sun is on its inauspious southern course, the dakshinayana making the nights longer and days colder.

The divine retreat begins on Shayani-ekadashi, the eleventh day of the waxing moon in the month of Ashadha and ends the four months. On the eleventh day of the waxing moon in the month of Kartika, Prabodhini- ekadashi.

The new moon night that comes after Dussera ushers in the festival of lights “Deepavali” or Diwali.

On the new moon night Lakshmi the consort Lord Visnu is worshipped by all. Lamps are lit and sacred symbols are drawn on the floors to welcome her into our homes. Diwali also commemorates the return of Shri Rama to the kingdom of Ayodhaya after 14 years in the forest. Hence devotees express their joy by lighting lamps and bursting crackers to mark the end of Chaturmasa and to herald the return of Vishnu to drive away the demons and all evil.

This festival commemorates the auspious descent of Vishnu upon this earth as Krishna. It is celebrated in the dark half of the lunar month, on the eight day of the waning moon of Shravana. This festival is celebrated late at night. Laddo gopal are placed in cradles in temples. The Lord is adorned with new poshaks, jewellery and flowers. The tale of his descent is read out from the Bhagwat Puran and the devootes in large numbers gather and listen to the parvachan and sing bhajans in his praise. Then maha prasad is distributed.

When Vishnu rises after his four month repose, he renews his pact of protecting the earth by ceremonially marrying the earth-goddess on the twelfth day of the waxing moon in the month of Kartika.

The goddess represented by the Tulsi plant is wedded to the Lord who is represented by his idol or a shalagrama stone or a cane of sugar. This Tulsi- vivaha marks the beginning of the Hindu marriage season.

Akshaya- Tritiya
On the third day of the bright half of Vaishaka, Renuka gave birth to Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On this holy day, people buy gold, safe with the knowledge that the lord will protect their wealth from thieves just as he stopped the thousand armed Kartaviryarjuna from stealing the cow Kamadhenu from the hermitage of sage Jamadagni.

Makara- Sankranti
The shortest day of the year is 22nd December after which the sun begins its northward journey known as the Uttarayana. On the 14th of Janauary each year the Sun God, Surya- Narayana rides his golden chariot into the house of Makara, the abode of Madana the lord of love. It is a very auspious day and is known as Makara-Sankranti and also marks the winter harvest celebrated as Lohri in North India and Pongal in the South of India.

Phalguna marks the end of winter and beginning of Spring . It is a festival of love, joy, colours and excitement welcoming the Lord of pleasure Madana who is the son of Lakshmi and Vishnu. It is a joyous festival and was the favourite festival of Krishna and Radha. On the eve of Holi great bonfires are lit to mark the end of the female demon Holika who got burnt herself while trying to burn and kill “PRAHALADA” the devotee of Vishnu- Narasimha.

Datta Jayanti
Dattatreya Jayanti is in the month of Margashisha on the full moon day marks the day when Datta the great yogi and tantric was born to the chaste Anasuya wife of the sage Atri. Datta embodies the spirit of Vishnu and is worshipped as a Divine Teacher.

Narali Poornima
On the full moon night in the month of Shravana fishermen throw coconuts in the sea thanking the Sea God ‘Varuna’ for holding aloft the bridge that enabled Rama to go Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of the evil king Ravan. This day also marks the retreat of monsoon which enables the fishermen to return to the sea.

In some parts of India oxen are worshipped to celebrate the birth of Balrama, Krishna’s elder brother who is the lord of farmers. On this day sisters tie a sacred thread on the wrist of their brothers and seek their

Dev Diwali
The full moon day that follow’s the day of Tulsi’s marriage is called Dev- Diwali, to commemorate this day the Lord descended upon eath as Matsya, the divine fish who saved the children of the earth, animals and plants from the cosmic deluge.

Nag Pachami
Nag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the waxing moon of the month of Shravana during which cobras are offered milk and worshipped as representatives of Ananta-Sesha the cosmic serpent, keeper of the earth’s fertility and destroyer of pests.

Ram Navami
This festival celebrates the birth of Seventh Avatar of Lord Vishnu and the hero of the Ramayana, the Sanskrit epic of 24,000 stanzas, Shri Rama who was born on the 9th day of Chaitra month. Shri Ramchandra killed the evil king Ravana. A continuous recital of the book takes place for about a week prior to the celebration and on the day itself, the highlights of the story are read in the temple.

Perumal Tirumala
Perumal Tirumala is a festival in honour of Lord Vishnu celebrated by the Vishnubhaktis. This festival lasts for eleven days or longer. In the first two days the idols of Lord Vishnu and his companions are carried about in the streets with great pomp in a palanquin. On the third day he is carried on his vehicle Garuda. On the fourth Vishnu is carried on the monkey Hanuman, on the fifth day He is carried on a lion, the sixth under a small arch or bow of metal called Tiruvasi, on the seventh under a large Tiruvasi, on the eighth on a horse and on the ninth in a large car. On the last day, the tenth day, which is the great day of the feast, Vishnu is for the last time carried about early in the morning. In the evening of the eleventh day, which is called Dhar-ba-tirumal, he and his consort Lakshmi are seated on a couch of Dharba-grass, placed on a aft in a tank and Brahmans, musicians and dancing girls, having entered on the same raft, it is floated from one end of the tank to the other, thrice, in the sight of a multitude of people standing on the banks.




Lord Vishnu
Regarded as the Supreme Being and the preserver and sustainer of the creation among the holy Trinity, Lord Vishnu is worshipped in different forms.
Lord Vishnu also referred to as Narayana or Hari is worshipped as the Supreme God and is believed to have incarnated in different forms to annihilate the evil and restore Dharma and righteousness. The Lord is all pervasive and is the sustainer of the universe and the whole cosmic creation among the Trinity- Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. He represents Sattva Guna through which everything is sustained.

According to the Indian Puranas, Vishnu is described possessing the divine blue colour of water-filled clouds and four arms resting on his Sheshnaag. The Bhagavad Gita describes him as a ‘Universal Form’ or Vishvarupa that is beyond the ordinary limits of human perception.

Vishnu’s eternal and supreme abode is Vaikuntha, the realm of eternal bliss. Within the material universe his abode is the Ksheera Sagara, where he reclines and rests on Ananta Shesha. The Lord is most commonly worshipped in his Dasavatara forms. Lord Vishnu in Rig Veda has also been accorded the highest place. Among the 1000 names of the Lord, the name Vishnu is the second name in the Vishnu Sahasranama.

Etymology of Lord Vishnu
According to the ancient texts and scholars, Vishnu is described as ‘one who is everything and inside everything’, or ‘one who enters everywhere’. The term ‘Vishnu’ is associated with the idea of being free from fetters and bondage. In the Padma Purana, Danta provides a list of 108 names for Vishnu, encompassing the ten primary avatars and various qualities, attributes, and aspects of God.

Furthermore, both the Garuda Purana and the “Anushasana Parva” of the Mahabharata go beyond, enumerating over a thousand names for Vishnu, each name signifying a unique divine quality or attribute. One of the prominent names included in this extensive list is ‘the omnipresent’, emphasizing Vishnu’s pervasive nature.

Among the many notable names given to Vishnu, some include ‘Hari’, ‘Lakshmikanta’, ‘Jagannatha’, ‘Janardana’, ‘Govinda’, ‘Hrishikesha’, ‘Padmanabha’, and ‘Mukunda’.

The concept of Vishnu has been interpreted and revered differently across ancient texts and by various scholars throughout history. These names and descriptions paint a vivid and diverse picture of the divine attributes associated with Vishnu in Hindu theology, enriching the understanding and devotion to this revered deity.

Iconography of Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu’s iconography shows him with dark blue, or blue-grey or black coloured skin, and as a well dressed jewelled man. He is typically shown with four arms, but there are also two armed representations which are discussed in Hindu texts and artworks. In his four arms, Lord Vishnu is known to hold a chakra, conch shell, mace and a lotus respectively. The items he holds in various hands varies, giving rise to 24 combinations of iconography, each combination representing a special form of Vishnu. Each of these special forms is given a special name in texts such as the Agni Purana and Padma Purana. Lord Vishnu’s iconography either portrays him in a standing pose, seated in a yoga pose or simply reclining.

Lord Vishnu and the concept of Trimurti
Within Vaishnavism, the Trimurti, also known as the Hindu Triad or Great Trinity, symbolizes the three fundamental forces (gu?as) that orchestrate the continuous cycle of creation, preservation, and destruction in the universe. Each of these forces finds representation in a Hindu deity.

Brahma: The presiding deity of Rajas, embodying passion and the power of creation. Vishnu: The presiding deity of Sattva, epitomizing goodness and the principle of preservation. Shiva: The presiding deity of Tamas, embodying darkness and the force of destruction.

The Trimurti themselves transcend the influence of the three gunas; they remain unaffected by these forces. In Hindu tradition, this divine trio is often referred to as Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh. All three aspects hold the same significance of three in One, representing different manifestations of the Supreme Being, united as a singular, divine entity.

As the cycle of existence perpetuates, the Trimurti’s interplay of creation, preservation, and destruction ensures the balance and evolution of the cosmos. This profound concept elucidates the dynamic nature of the divine forces that shape and govern the universe, inspiring reverence and devotion among millions who seek to understand the mysteries of existence and the divine essence within.

Weapons of Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu worshipped as the preserver of the creation is seen possessing four hands. With his upper right hand he holds a discus or the chakra that symbolises the mind, with his upper left hand he holds a bow representing the causal power of illusion, and with his lower right hand he holds a conch. The conch shell is spiral and symbolizes all of interconnected spiralling cyclic existence, while the discus symbolizes him as that which restores dharma with war if necessary when the cosmic equilibrium is overwhelmed by evil. One of his arms sometimes carries a gadda or a club and mace which symbolize authority and power of knowledge. In the fourth arm, he holds a lotus flower which symbolizes purity and transcendence.

Idols of Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu commonly venerated as Narayana or Hari is also worshipped by his devotes in different forms. Several idols of the lord are installed in temples and adorned by the pilgrims. Some of the idols of the Lord are Vasudeva, Samkarshana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Madhava, Govinda, Vishnu, Kesava, Upendra, Hari, Purushottama, Jagannatha, Janardana, Achyuta, Jagannatha, Hamsa, Vishwarupa, Lakshmi Narayana, Yajnavaraha, Madhusudana, Shridhara, Harshikesha, Padmanabha, Damodara, Vaikunth Anatha, Trailokya Mohana, Ananta, Adimurti, Lakshmi, Bhu and Nila, Mahavishnu and Shayanavishnu.

Attendants of Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu, the preserver and sustainer of life is attended, revered and flanked by several attendants such as Garuda, Ananta, Vishvakshena, Sudarshana and Jaya-Vijaya.

Consorts of Lord Vishnu
The legends of Vishnu suggest that the Lord had three wives Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Parvati. He however, gave away Saraswati and Parvati to Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva respectively. Besides, Bhudevi is also regarded as the consort of the Lord.

Incarnations of Vishnu
According to the Indian Puranas, Lord Vishnu possesses the divine power that helps during the various stages of human evolution by incarnating on earth in different forms. The 10 most famous incarnations of Vishnu are collectively known as the ‘Dasavatara.’ According to the Bhagavad Gita the purpose of incarnation of Vishnu is to re-establish Dharma or righteousness and destroy injustice. The list is also included in the Garuda Purana.

In the list of 10 avatars the majority of avatars are categorised as ‘lila-avatars’ and the first four are believed to have appeared in the Krita Yuga. The Treta Yuga witnessed the incarnation of the next three, the eighth incarnation in the Dwapara Yuga while the ninth incarnation in the Kali Yuga. The 10 avataras are Matsya Avatar (fish), Kurma Avatar (tortoise), Varaha Avatar (boar), Narashima Avatar (the man lion), Vamana Avatar (the dwarf), Parasurama (the angry man), Lord Rama (the perfect human), Balarama and Lord Krishna (the divine statesman). The 10th avatar, which is yet to appear, is Kalki, he is expected towards the end of this present age of decline, as a person on earth, seated on a white horse.

Minor Incarnations of Lord Vishnu
The minor incarnations includes several other incarnations of Lord Vishnu besides his Dasavatara forms. These include Kapila, Dattatreya, Hayagriva, Hayashirsha, Yajna, Lord Dhanwantri, Ved Vyas, Rishabha, Nara and Narayana, Balarama, Narada, Varadaraja, Manmatha, Prithu and Mohini.

Legends of Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu worshipped as the Supreme Being in Vaishnavism is associated with several legends and mythological fables. The legend of Lord Vishnu and Sage Bhrigu recites about the test of the Lord taken by the sage to decide upon the supremacy of the Lord among the trinity, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The next legend of Lord Vishnu and Shukrh states about the former being cursed by the later for killing his mother. According to the third legend of Lord Vishnu and Vrinda where the later cursed the lord for deceiving her and killing her husband Jalandhara. As per the Legend of Lord Vishnu and Bhasmasura the later was blessed with the boon of turning to ashes anyone on whose head he placed his hand. The legend of Lord Vishnu and Brahma narrates about the former preaching about the modesty and humility.

Lord Vishnu in Dashavatara
The Dashavatara, also known as the ’10 Primary Avatars’ of Vishnu, comprises a list of significant incarnations through which Vishnu descends to the earthly realm. This sacred compilation finds consistent mention in various ancient texts, including the Agni Purana, Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Linga Purana, Narada Purana, Garuda Purana, and Skanda Purana. Among these, the Garuda Purana Saroddhara, a profound commentary by Navanidhirama on the Garuda Purana, also presents the same list of Vibhavas or Avatars.

The ten Avatars are as follows:
1. Matsya (The Fish)
2. Kurma (The Tortoise)
3. Varaha (The Boar)
4. Narasimha (The Man-Lion)
5. Vamana (The Dwarf)
6. Parasurama (Rama with the Axe)
7. Rama (Lord Rama)
8. Krishna (Lord Krishna)
9. Buddha (The Enlightened One)
10. Kalki (The Future Avatar)
These divine manifestations are objects of meditation for the wise and are believed to bring solace and blessings to those who recite their names, especially in times of illness.

Some discrepancies exist in the order and inclusion of certain Avatars, particularly Buddha and Balarama. While some lists, such as the one in the Shiva Purana, include Balarama instead of Buddha, both versions find scriptural support in authentic Vedic literature, though not necessarily from the Garuda Purana Saroddhara.

Lord Vishnu as Perumal
Perumal, an integral figure in Tamil scriptures, emerged as a significant manifestation of Vishnu during the syncretic phase of South Indian deities blending into mainstream Hinduism. This captivating deity holds immense popularity among the Tamil community in Tamil Nadu and resonates deeply with the Tamil diaspora as well. Within the Sri Vaishnava denomination of Hinduism, Perumal garners profound reverence and devotion.

Perumal is adored and worshiped in various forms, with two prominent manifestations being Venkateshwara at the revered temple of Tirupati and Sri Ranganathaswamy at the sacred site of Srirangam. These temples stand as iconic centers of pilgrimage and devotion, drawing devotees from far and wide to bask in the divine presence of Perumal.

Lord Vishnu in Vedic Literature
In the ancient Rigvedic texts, Lord Vishnu held a position that was not as prominent as deities like Indra and Agni. Out of the 1028 hymns in the Rigveda, only five were dedicated explicitly to Vishnu, although he was mentioned in other hymns as well. As the Vedic scriptures progressed into the Brahmana layer, Vishnu’s significance grew, and over the course of Indian history, he ascended to become a divine being of the highest rank, on par with the Supreme Being, according to Jan Gonda, a renowned scholar.

Despite his relatively minor presence and occasionally overlapping attributes in the Vedas, Vishnu possessed crucial characteristics in various hymns. These hymns affirmed that Vishnu resided in the supreme abode where departed souls found their dwelling, potentially contributing to the increased emphasis and popularity of Vishnu in Hindu soteriology, the study of salvation and liberation. Additionally, the Vedic literature portrayed Vishnu as the sustainer of heaven and earth, emphasizing his role as a cosmic force of preservation.

As time progressed, the adoration and worship of Lord Vishnu expanded and flourished, finding expression in various forms and avatars. The multifaceted nature of Vishnu’s character and his profound connection to the eternal cosmic order solidified his place as a central figure in Hindu theology.

Lord Vishnu in Brahmanas
Within the Shatapatha Brahmana, the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism finds profound insights that align with a pantheistic conception of Lord Vishnu as the supreme being. He is the essence permeating every being and everything within the observable universe. Klaus Klostermaier highlights the assertion of Purusha Narayana (Vishnu) within this Brahmana, declaring that he encompasses all the worlds within himself, and simultaneously dwells within all the worlds. Vishnu is equated to the embodiment of all knowledge present in the Vedas, and the text emphasizes that the essence of everything is imperishable, as are the Vedas and the fundamental principles governing the universe.

Lord Vishnu in Upanishads
The Vaishnava Upanishads form a collection of minor Upanishads within Hinduism, primarily centered around Vishnu theology. Among the 108 Upanishads found in the Muktika anthology, 14 are dedicated to Vaishnava themes. The exact dates of composition for these texts remain uncertain.

These Upanishads place a significant emphasis on Vishnu, Narayana, Rama, or one of his divine avatars as the supreme metaphysical reality known as Brahman in Hinduism. Through their teachings, they delve into a diverse array of topics, covering ethics and the various methods of worship. By exploring the nature of the divine, the Vaishnava Upanishads offer profound insights into the ultimate truth and the ways to connect with the divine essence within the spiritual journey.

Lord Vishnu in Sangam and Post-Sangam Literature
The Sangam literature, a vast collection of Tamil texts primarily from the early centuries of the common era, holds great reverence for Lord Vishnu and his divine avatars like Krishna and Rama. Alongside Vishnu, the Tamil literary tradition also celebrates various pan-Indian deities like Shiva, Muruga, Durga, Indra, and others, reflecting the rich cultural tapestry of ancient Tamil Nadu.

In these ancient Tamil texts, Vishnu is often referred to as “mayon,” signifying a dark or black complexion, akin to the term “Krishna” used in North India. Other names for Vishnu found in this genre include “mayavan,” “mamiyon,” “netiyon,” “mal,” and “mayan.”

The avatar of Krishna as Vishnu assumes center stage in two significant post-Sangam Tamil epics, namely Silappadikaram and Manimekalai, likely composed around the 5th century CE. These epics share captivating aspects of Krishna’s stories found in other parts of India, including the delightful tales of his childhood, such as stealing butter, and his playful mischief during his teenage years, where he teased girls by hiding their clothes while they bathed in a river.

Lord Vishnu in Bhakti Movement
During the mid-1st millennium CE, the concepts surrounding Lord Vishnu played a pivotal role in shaping the theology of the Bhakti movement, which eventually swept across India in the 12th century and beyond. Central to this movement were the Alvars, revered Tamil Vaishnava poet-saints who fervently sang praises of Vishnu as they journeyed from place to place. Through their devotion and poetic expressions, they not only established sacred temple sites like Srirangam but also disseminated profound ideas about Vaishnavism.

The verses and hymns composed by the Alvars were later compiled as Alwar Arulicheyalgal or Divya Prabhandham, which emerged as a significant scripture and source of inspiration for Vaishnavas. Their poetic compositions held deep spiritual meaning and became instrumental in nurturing the devotion and religious practices of followers of Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu in Other Religions
Beyond the culture and religion of Hinduism, Lord Vishnu is referred to as Gorakh in the scriptures of Sikhism. The Chaubis Avatar text of Sikhism lists the 24 Avatars of Lord Vishnu which also includes Lord Krishna and Lord Rama of Hinduism. Similarly, the Dasam Granth includes Vishnu mythology mirror that is found in the Vaishnav tradition. In Hinduism, there are some Hindus who consider Lord Buddha as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, while in some of the Buddhist cultures Lord Vishnu is worshipped as the custodian deity of Sri Lanka and the protector of Buddhism. It is known that the Sinhala Buddhist tradition encourages the worship of Lord Vishnu as a part of the Theravada Buddhism.

Vaishnava Theology
Vaishnava theology, as expounded in the Bhagavata Purana, encompasses profound insights into the merging of the individual Self with the Absolute Brahman, denoting the return of Brahman to its true nature. This concept aligns closely with the Advaitic or non-dualistic philosophy of Shankara, emphasizing the unity of the individual with the Supreme Reality.

The pursuit of moksha, or liberation, is elaborated as Ekatva (‘Oneness’) and Sayujya (‘Absorption’ or ‘intimate union’), wherein one completely merges with Brahman, realizing their true nature as part of the Supreme Being.

Within the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu is perceived as “Isvara, the Lord of All Being,” and the universe is regarded as His breath, destined to be assimilated back into Him in a cyclical process, culminating in the dissolution of the world. This process has occurred in the past and will repeat in the future. Following this dissolution, Vishnu will breathe life into the universe once more, initiating a new cycle of creation.

The Bhagavata Purana also emphasizes the path of Bhakti, the path of loving devotion, presenting it as one of the three major paths of Hindu spirituality alongside Jnana (knowledge) and Karma (action) discussed in the Bhagavad Gita.

Temples of Lord Vishnu
Some of the earliest surviving grand Vishnu temples in India have been dated to the Gupta Empire period. Archaeological evidence suggests that Vishnu temples and iconography probably were already in existence by the 1st century BCE. The most significant Vishnu-related epigraphy and archaeological remains are the two 1st century BCE inscriptions in Rajasthan which refer to temples of Sankarshana and Vasudeva, the Besnagar Garuda column of 100 BCE which mentions a Bhagavata temple, another inscription in Naneghat cave in Maharashtra by a Queen Naganika that also mentions Sankarshana, Vasudeva along with other major Hindu deities and several discoveries in Mathura relating to Vishnu, all are dated to about the start of the common era.