Vishnu: Significance of Narayana

Significance of Narayana:

Lord Vishnu, one of the Trinity Supreme, is the Lord of Preserver. He is of blue in color and having four arms with Conch, Discuss, Lotus and Mace on it. The name Vishnu comes from the root VISH, which means, “to spread in all directions, to pervade”.

He is the inner center, the core, the nucleus, and the cohesive point through which everything exists. He swells in everything, owns everything and overcomes any thing. The two most common representations of Vishnu show him either sleeping over the waves of the ocean on the coils of the serpent-deity, named Adi Sesha, or standing on waves with four hands each hand holding one of his four chief attributes.

The worshippers of Lord Vishnu are called as “Vaishnavas”. To protect, restore and preserve the universe from the evil forces the Lord has incarnated Himself in the form of “Avatar”.

He is blue-skinned and in all pictures and images and he is seen in rich ornaments and regal garments. His wife is Lakshmi or Sri, the goddess of wealth and fortune. His place of abode is VAIKUNTHA (heaven) and his vehicle is Garuda, a giant sized eagle, which often is shown as a winged human-shaped figure having a beak-like nose.

Vishnu is the infinite ocean from which the world emerges. Hence his symbol is water (Nara) and he himself is called ‘NARAYANA ‘ – the one who dwells upon the waters. He is pictured with the many-headed snake, as mentioned above, and this denotes Adi Sesha (the timeless or ageless snake). From his navel grows the lotus out of which appears Brahma, the god who created the universe.

Vishnu is regarded as a major god in Hinduism and Indian mythology. He is thought as the preserver of the universe while two other major Hindu gods Brahma and Shiva, are regarded respectively, as the creator and destroyer of the universe.

In vedic literature Vishnu is said to be eternal, an all-pervading spirit, and associated with the primeval waters that are believed to have been omnipresent before the creation of the universe.

The concept of Vishnu being the preserver of the world sprang from two other beliefs: that men attain salvation by faithfully following predetermined paths of duty, and that powers of good and evil (gods and demons) are in contention for domination over the world. When these powers are upset Vishnu, it is further believed, descends to earth, or his avatar, to equalize the powers.

Further it is thought that ten such incarnations or reincarnations of Vishnu will occur. Nine descents are said to have already occurred, the tenth is yet to come.

The sacred writ states that Vishnu is ‘the infinite ocean of the universe’, from which the entire world springs forth. Therefore his symbol is water, either standing or seated upon with the seven-headed snake Ananta or Shesha, the symbol of watery elements.

Hindu gods and goddesses are phenomenal, but in due course of time Vishnu, as God of all gods, acquired supremacy, which continues till date. He is the central and the major deity of the trinity, viz., Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Though technically amongst these three chiefs gods known as creator, preserver, and destroyer, Vishnu is the Preserver, for all practical purpose he is deemed to be all-powerful, all knowing and all present.

Vishnu’s mount is Garuda an enormous eagle, sometimes in the form of a winged man with a curved beak. Vishnu is seen usually richly dressed and having four arms with Namam on his forehead in the shape of a U.