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)
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.