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Who Is Vishnu? One of the principal gods in Hinduism

Vishnu image

Vishnu is one of the principal gods in Hinduism, along with His consort, Lakshmi, and his many avatars.

According to the Puranas, an uncountable number of Vishnu avatars have appeared on Earth.

* Purana literature is a general term for Hindu scriptures. It means "old tale".

The most famous avatars are probably Krishna from “the Mahabharata ”and Rama from ”the Ramayana”.

In this article, I tried to briefly summarize what kind of God Vishnu is.

Who is Vishnu?

Vishnu is the Supreme God of Hinduism.

He is also known as:

  • The preserver
  • The sustainer
  • Theprotector

Because he is responsible for maintaining cosmic order and balance.

Vishnu is said to appear on earth in various avatars (incarnations) when the world is threatened by evil, when it falls into chaos, or when threatened by destructive power.

Vishnu is also one of the three most influential gods of Hinduism.

*It is regarded as one of the three important gods along with Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu. One of the Hindu theories is called Trimurti.

As the protector of mankind, he preserves life and balance on Earth.

Vishnu means to “pervade” or “spread out”.

Medieval Indian scholars consider Vishnu to means

Scholar image

Who is everywhere and is present in everything.

Additionally, the Sanskrit hymn "Vishnu Sahasranama" has a list of 1,000 names of Vishnu.

Especially famous ones are said to be contained in "Mahabharata".

By the way, There are many temples devoted to him.

The most famous one is the Temple of Badrinath and it is said that there are 7,000 to 10,000 pilgrims a year.

What does Vishnu look like?

Vishnu is described as blue in blue skin and having four arms.

Vishnu

Other features include:

  • The conch on his right side
  • The discus (Sudarshana Chakra) on his left side
  • The mace (Gada) in the left hand
  • The shield (Shankha) in the upper right hand
  • The lotus (Padma) in the lower right hand

The 10 major avatars of Vishnu

Although there are said to be innumerable avatars of Vishnu, 10 avatars, namely Dashavatara, are of particular importance.

Let's take a quick look at the 10 avatars.

Matsya

The first avatar of Vishnu.

It looks half-fish, half-human.

Matsya prophesied that a great flood would destroy all life.

And he is said to have built the Vedas (knowledge) boat and saved Manu (human ancestors) and all living things.

Kurma

It is a turtle avatar.

A turtle that supports the universe.

It is said to have helped the kings of the snake gods to obtain the elixir of immortality Amrita during Samudra Manthana(The churning of the Ocean of Milk).

*Samudra Manthana(The churning of the Ocean of Milk) is a myth of creation in Hinduism.

Varaha

It is a boar avatar.

It is said that when the goddess of the earth was kidnapped by the Asura tribe (the beings who opposed the gods in India) and taken to the bottom of the sea, she was chased, found, and helped by Varaha.

Vamana

It is an avatar in the form of a dwarf.

The Asura King gained disproportionately great power, ruling over the entire universe and abusing his power.

Seeing Vamana dressed as a monk, the Asura king decided to show off his power by giving the monk alms.

King of the Asura asked Vamana

Asura image

I'll give you whatever you want.

Vamana answered

Monk image

I want 3 steps worth of land.

The Asura King agreed.

Vamana then became gigantic, stepping over the earth with the first step and stepping on the heavens with the second step.

In front of Vamana, who no longer had a place to take the third step, the King of Asura

Asura image

Please use my head for the territory of the last third step.

The King of Asura offered his head, the last remaining fiefdom, as the "three-step fief."

Monk image

Oh, you had such a sense of morality.

Vamana was impressed and gave the Asura King a fief in the underworld.

Narasimha

It is a half-lion, half-human avatar.

The Asura king was granted penance by Brahma and had one wish granted.

Its contents are as follows.

A body that cannot be killed by gods and asuras, man and beast, day or night, inside or outside a house, on the ground or in the air, or by any weapon.

The Asura king got carried away and started persecuting the people.

The Asura King is discovered by Narasimha in an ingenious way with special powers and he is defeated.

Parashurama

It is an avatar in the form of a saint (Rishi) holding an axe.

He is a great hero in Indian mythology and is considered to be the strongest hero in mythology.

He has given arrows and secrets to many heroes.

Some warriors have become extremely powerful and have begun to plunder people's property for their own pleasure.

It is said that Parasurama then appeared with an ax and destroyed the evil warriors.

Also, because Parasurama killed many people, he could not return to heaven and is still alive somewhere.

Rama

He is one of the main characters in "Ramayana", one of India's two great epics.

He is one of the greatest heroes of Indian mythology.

"Ramayana" depicts Prince Rama challenging the demon king with a large army to recapture his kidnapped wife, Sita.

Krishna

It is an avatar of Vishnu in human form.

Krishna is the most famous avatar of Vishnu.

He taught the importance of meditation, service, love, and detachment.

If you want to know more about Krishna, please read this article.

He is also a major character in "Mahabharata" and "Bhagavad Gita".

Buddha

Hinduism sees Buddha as one of Vishnu's avatars.

The reason for this is that the doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism were incorporated into Hinduism, and Buddhism came to be treated as a sect of Hinduism.

* Mahayana Buddhism is a sect of Buddhism traditionally believed in the central and eastern parts of the Eurasian continent.

In order to keep the great Vedas scriptures away from evil people, Buddha is said to have appeared to spread the false religion of Buddhism and confuse people.

*The Vedas are a general term for a series of religious documents compiled in India from around 1000 B.C. to around 500 B.C. "Vedas" means "knowledge".

Kalki

This is the final avatar that appears with the winged white horse.

Appearing at the end of the Kali Yuga to renew the universe and usher in a new era.

*The Kali Yuga is the last of the four yugas considered to be cyclical in Indian philosophy. It is said that the yuga cycle repeats like the seasons. Also, like spring, summer, autumn, and winter, each yuga has stages and gradually changes.