Lord Vishnu- The Protector of Universe
8 Nov 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Lord Vishnu- Brief Introduction
Lord Vishnu is one of the supreme deities of Hinduism who creates, protects and transforms the universe. Major deities include Vishnu, Shiva, Laxmi, Brahma, Parvati, Krishna and Sarawati. The gods of the Hindu faith represent different forms of Brahman. Hinduism has the greatest number of gods and goddesses in any religion in the world known today. The Hindu trinity, also known as tridev, consists of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, Shiva the Destroyer. The three have a unique sacred duty to the universe and due to this duty, the universe functions. Vaishanism is the sect within Hinduism that worships Vishnu. Viashnavites regard him to be eternal and the strongest and supreme god. Vishnu is associated with most of the good in the world and acts as balance to Shiva acting as a Destroyer. He is also viewed as a guardian of humans, often being depicted as a hero.
The appearance of Lord Vishnu
Vishnu is represented with a human body, often with blue colored skin and with four arms. He is depicted as a four-armed-male form: The four arms indicate his all-powerful and all-pervasive nature. Four arms represent the fulfillments of manifestations in all spheres of life. They symbolizes domains over four directions of space and thus the absolute power overall universe. Each of the hands holds something that is a dear or integral part of the lord that reflects something about him. First, he holds a conch shell that symbolizes the sound “OM” the sacred word that supposedly was spoken to create the world. Secondly, he also carries a chakra or a type of disc that emphasizes mindfulness and lotus flower to symbolize freedom and beauty of life. Finally, and quite different than other symbols, Vishnu carries a mace which acts to symbolize strength. His eyes are shaped like the lotus petals filled with love and compassion. On his forehead is the Tilak, which is shaped like a alphabet U shaped, the color of his clothes are yellow/golden ( Pitambara), wears tasteful Gold Jewellery, a Gold crown on his head, which sometimes has a peacock feather attached to it, as mark of Lord Vishnu Avatar. He is always residing in his bed that lies in the eternal cosmic sea and is made with the body of Seshnaag. Seshnaag the hundreds and thousands headed snakes which is the greatest devotee of Lord makes the bed with their body so that the lord could sleep and rest on it. He is always seen with the Goddess Laxmi (the wife of Lord Vishnu) at the side in most of his depiction. The lord also takes many reincarnations as humans or animals further altering his appearance and form. However, the Chatur Vuja form is also the form, which is used in idols, pictures, paintings, recognizing and imagining Lord Vishnu.
Garud Vehicle of Lord Vishnu
In Hindu Mythology , all the Gods and Goddesses has one or multiple animal companion who represents them or reside on their back .Gurad , is a bird –like being that carries Lord Vishnu in his back. Garuda is usually portrayed as being a strong man ;having a golden , glowing body ; with a white face , red wings , and an eagle`s beak. He is adorned with the crown in his head . Garud`s strength and power are unparallel . He is the sworn enemy of the snakes . He has powerful beak , with two sets of powerful wings . It is said that lord Vishnu resides at his back of mighty Garud when travelling from one place to another.
Goddess Laxmi is the wife of Lord Vishnu . She is known as the goddess of wealth, power prosperity abundance , beauty and purity. She is beautifully portrayed as the beautiful woman with the four arms, standing on the lotus; lotus symboizes knowledge , self –realization and liberation . She , is often represented with her husband Vishnu, the god who maintains human life filled with peace and justice. This symbolism implies wealth and prosperity are coupled with the maintenance of life, justice and peace.
Creation of the Universe
Lord Vishnu is often portrayed as a charming man who can enchant everyone with its magic and charm. Lord Vishnu existed before time and everything as per the mythology, he will be here when everything in existence succumbs to time and new life and universe will rise in its place.
When lord Vishnu awakens from Yoga nindra, the Universe begins. Before the creation, Lord Vishnu is in eternal sleep. But, when the time of the birth of creation comes , the Lord Vishnu orders Devi yoga maya who is residing in his eyes and making him sleep to let him open his eyes. When the Lord Awakens , then the birth of creation starts. A lotus, emerges out from the navel of the Lord from which Lord Brahma comes out and begins to create the universe as we know it.
In the beginning , there was just the vast space. Then the supreme Lord Brahma started the wheel of creation. First, he created the elements , then it started combining to form the non-living aspects of the universe. Slowly, one after another , planets , celestial bodies , and other things started to come in existence . Then , it was the turn to create life. Then Lord Brahma one after another everything in the existence was created.
Character of Lord Vishnu
He is one among the Hindu trinities Gods. He is known as the preserver and Guardian of the mankind. There are various stories in Hindu Mythology that describes Lord`s Vishnu characters. The stories from the beginning of time , before the beginning of time and at the end of the time all point towards the Lord being of a very flexible nature. It is the nature and character of Lord Vishnu that separates him from other two trinities.
Mythology talks about his two faces; on the one hand, he is known as the quiet , pleasant and gentle. But his second face is dangerous where he is shown in a comfortable posture on kalswarup seshnag( king of snakes).
He is the one to preserve Dharma at any cost. He knowa when to use brute force, when to use the cunning trick and when to use its unparallel charm.
His main goal is to protect and run the universe while preserving Dharma and the righteous people . He does everything to accomplish his duty. He appears on the earth in various incarnations to fight demons and to maintain the cosmic harmony. He had used a trick and his charm to destroy many evildoers who avoid the path of dharma and protected by the boons granted by the Gods. When Lord made his move for restoring Dharma, be it is demon, rakhsyas or even God , no one can stop him from completing his duty.
He is the inner cause and power by which things exist.
Dharma and Adharma
As described in Hindu Scriptures, the concept of Dharma and Adharma is as old as the creation of itself. When a living being , deity , consciousness and elements choose the right way ;spiritual path and lives , fulfill its duty to the universe it follows its Dharma. Even the non-living has its own Dharma.
Dharma of the sun is to give us life and light to the earth , the Dharma of water is to satisfy out thirst, Dharma of rock is to be strong likewise Dharma of Humans is to follow the righteous paths and truth as shown by God. If, one does not follow the right path , frigt towards hatred, greed ,hate and giving pain to others then, it is called Adharma. When Adharma comes to peak then, Lord Vishnu restores Dharma at its rightful place.
Dashavtar of Vishnu
As per as Hindu Mythology , there are Four Yug`s. After the fourth one , the cycle repeats. In all these four Yug`s when Adharma reaches its peak and righteous people will marginalized then Lord Vishnu will incarnate in the earth to protect the good ones , destroy the evil ones to maintain the Dharma in the universe. In this period the lord will take the 10 incarnations which is collectively known as Dashavtars. These avatars are taken from the beginning of yug to end of the fourth one.
The ten avatars in a chronological order in which lord Vishnu incarnated are : Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narshima, Vamana ,Parashuram, Ram ,Krishna, Buddha, and Kalki . All of them are incarnated on this earth with a special duty to fulfill; to protect or destroy . They appeared for the special purpose , completed the duty , and returned leaving the earth . Matsya was the first incarnations of the Lord while kalki at the end of the kaliyuga will be the last.
Among the ten avatars , six are in human form and other four are in animal form . Matsya is a fish , kurma is a turtle , Varaha is a wid boar, Narshima is the half lion and half human beats , while parashuram , ram, Krishna, Buddha and kalki are the human avatars.
Ram and Krishna are the most worshipped and prominent forms of Lord Vishnu. Ram was born to Kaushalya and Dasharatha in Ayodhya , the ruler of the kingdom in Kosala. He is considered as the most virtuous hero from Hindu Mythology . The adventures of ram illustrates all the importance and rewards of fulfilling ones pious duty or dharma. When mother sita , wife of Lord ram was kidnapped byb ravana . He waged a huge war defeating ravana and many other demons along the way.
Lord Krishna was the eigth avatar of Lord Vishnu who was born at the Dwapar Yug. It is believed that when the Lord Krishna died then the kaliyug begin. From childhood , Lord Krishna killed many asuras and demons who disturbed the balance of Dharma. Mahabharata was taken place in the period of Lord Krishna . He did not officially take part in a war but was the one to guide Pandavas to victory..
Among the incarnations of Lord Vishnu , Parashuram is only the one who is alove today. Parashuram was born in the treat yug and is believed to be still alive. He was the greatest warrior who have been taught art of fighting by Lord Shiva himself . He is known for his anger, rage , which he received form Lord Shiva.
According to the hindu Mythology , we are in the fourth Yug called Kaliyug which is the last yug in the time cycle. At the end of the Kaliyug when the evil persons , vile behavoiur comes to the peak , then Lord Vishnu will incarnate in the form of Kalki to save the world.
Forms of Lord Vishnu
To kill a demon Jalandhar, Lord Vishnu changed himself as him, and tricked his wife Brinda. Later, the demon was killed by Lord Shiva .Angered by the death of her husband , brinda cursed Lord Vishnu to be stone , grass and tree. So ,Lord Vishnu is also worshipped as Saligram ( a fossil stone), papal tree and (dubo) grass.
Temples of Lord Vishnu
There are many temples of the Lord Vishnu all around the world. Some of them are of Lord Vishnu while others are of his incarnations like Krishna, Ram, Narshimha , etc. Srirangam temple is the biggest temple of Lord Vishnu in the world. Padmanabha temple which is the richest temple in the world is located in the india.
Nepal has also many temples of Lord Vishnu. The giant stautes in Budhanilkantha , Krishna mandir of patan, Muktinath , Ram mandir of janakpur, Changu narayan, Sesh narayan , Inchangu narayan , are the most popular temples of Lord Vishnu and his incarnations.