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Vishnu (; ; , ), also known as Narayana and Hari, is one of the
principal deities Principal may refer to: Title or rank * Principal (academia), the chief executive of a university ** Principal (education), the head teacher of a primary or secondary school * Principal (civil service) or principal officer, the senior management ...
of
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word ''Hindu'' is ...

Hinduism
. He is the supreme being within
Vaishnavism Vaishnavism is one of the major Hindu denominations along with Shaivism Shaivism () is one of the major Hindu traditions that worships Shiva, also called Rudra, as the Supreme Being. It is considered to be the oldest living religion in ...

Vaishnavism
, one of the major traditions within contemporary
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word ''Hindu'' is ...

Hinduism
. Vishnu is known as "The Preserver" within the
Trimurti Trimūrti (; Sanskrit: त्रिमूर्ति ', "three forms" or "trinity") is the triple deity of Para Brahman, supreme divinity in Hinduism, in which the cosmic functions of creation ex nihilo, creation, Conservation (ethic), mainte ...
, the
triple deity A triple deity (sometimes referred to as threefold, tripled, triplicate, tripartite, triune or triadic, or as a trinity) is three deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject ...
of supreme divinity that includes
Brahma Brahma ( sa, ब्रह्मा, Brahmā) is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism, though his importance has declined in recent centuries. He is also referred to as Svayambhu () and is associated with creation, knowledge a ...
and
Shiva Shiva (; sa, शिव , , ISO: , , ), also known as Mahadeva (), is one of the principal deities of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-larges ...

Shiva
.
Gavin Flood__NOTOC__ Gavin Dennis Flood (born 1954) is a British scholar of comparative religion specialising in Shaivism and Phenomenology (religion), phenomenology, but with research interests that span South Asian traditions. From October 2005 through D ...
,
An Introduction to Hinduism
' (1996), p. 17.
In Vaishnavism tradition, Vishnu is the
supreme being God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Compani ...
who creates, protects and transforms the
universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological description of the development ...
. In the
Shaktism Shaktism ( sa, शाक्त, , ) is one of several major Hindu denominations Hindu denominations are traditions within Hinduism centered on one or more gods or goddesses, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti and Brahma. Sometimes the term is ...
tradition, the Goddess, or
Devi Devī (Sanskrit: देवी) is the Sanskrit word for 'goddess'; the masculine form is Deva (Hinduism), ''deva''. ''Devi'' and ''deva'' mean 'heavenly, divine, anything of excellence', and are also gender-specific terms for a deity in Hind ...
, is described as one of the supreme, yet Vishnu is revered along with Shiva and Brahma. A goddess is stated to be the energy and creative power (Shakti) of each, with
Lakshmi Lakshmi (; ''IAST, Lakṣmī'', ), also known as Sri (, IAST: ''Śrī'', ), is one of the principal goddesses in Hinduism. She is the goddess of wealth, fortune, love, beauty, joy and prosperity, and associated with ''Maya (religion), Maya'' ...

Lakshmi
the equal complementary partner of Vishnu. He is one of the five equivalent deities in
Panchayatana puja Panchayatana puja (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It ...
of the Smarta tradition of Hinduism. According to the Vaishnavism sect, the highest form of Ishvar is with qualities ( Saguna), and have certain form but is limitless, transcendent and unchanging absolute
Brahman In Hinduism, ''Brahman'' ( sa, ब्रह्म) connotes the highest universal principle, the ultimate reality ''Ultimate reality'' is "something that is the supreme, final, and fundamental power in all reality". Buddhism In Theravada ...
, and the primal
Atman Atman may refer to: Religion * Ātman (Jainism), a philosophical term used within Jainism to identify the soul * Ātman (Hinduism) ''Ātman'' (; sa, आत्मन्) is a Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominaliz ...
(Self) of the universe. There are many both benevolent and fearsome depictions of Vishnu. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient sleeping on the coils of the serpent Adishesha (who represents time) floating in the primeval ocean of milk called
Kshira Sagara In Hindu cosmology, the Ocean of Milk (Sanskrit, Skt.: ''Kṣīra Sāgara'') is the fifth from the center of the seven oceans. It surrounds the continent known as Krauncha. According to Hindu scriptures, the Deva (Hinduism), devas and asuras worked ...
with consort Lakshmi. Whenever the world is threatened with evil, chaos, and destructive forces, Vishnu descends in the form of an
avatar An avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: ; ), a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", is the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearance" is sometimes used to refer to an ...
''(incarnation)'' to restore the cosmic order and protect ''
Dharma Dharma (; sa, धर्म, dharma, (Pali : ''dhamma'')) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions, such as Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, ...
''.
Dashavatara The Dashavatara (; sa, दशावतार, ) are the ten primary avatars of Vishnu, a principal Hindus, Hindu god. Vishnu is said to descend in the form of an avatar to restore cosmic order. The word ''Dashavatara'' derives from , meaning " ...

Dashavatara
are the ten primary
avatars An avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: ; ), a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", is the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearance" is sometimes used to refer to an ...
''(incarnations)'' of Vishnu. Out of the ten,
Rama Rama (; , ; ) or Ram, also known as Ramachandra (; , ), is a major deity in Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna, Parshurama, and Gautama Buddha in Hinduism, Gautama Buddha. Ja ...

Rama
and
Krishna Krishna (, ; sa, कृष्ण, ) is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of Vishnu and also as the Svayam Bhagavan, supreme God in his own right. He is the god of protection, compassion, tenderness, and love ...

Krishna
avatars are most important.


Nomenclature

Vishnu (or Viṣṇu, ) means 'all pervasive' and, according to Medhātith ( CE), 'one who is everything and inside everything'.
Vedanga The Vedanga ( sa, वेदाङ्ग ', "limbs of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, wi ...
scholar Yaska (4th century BCE) in the
Nirukta ''Nirukta'' ( sa, निरुक्त, , "explained, interpreted") is one of the six ancient Vedanga __NOTOC__ The Vedanga ( sa, वेदाङ्ग ', "limbs of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines of Hinduism Hinduism () is an In ...
defines Vishnu as ''viṣṇur viṣvater vā vyaśnoter vā'' ('one who enters everywhere'); also adding ''atha yad viṣito bhavati tad viṣnurbhavati'' ('that which is free from fetters and bondage is Vishnu'). In the tenth part of the ''
Padma Purana The ''Padma Purana'' ( sa, पद्मपुराण or पाद्मपुराण, or ) is one of the eighteen major Puranas, a genre of texts in Hinduism. It is an encyclopedic text, named after the lotus in which creator god Brahma ...
'' (4-15th century CE), Danta (Son of Bhīma and King of
Vidarbha Vidarbha is the north-eastern region of the Indian state of Maharashtra, comprising Nagpur Division and Amravati Division. Amravati division's former name is Berar Province, Berar (Varhad in Marathi language, Marathi). It occupies 31.6% of the tot ...
) lists 108 names of Vishnu (17.98–102). These include the ten primary avatars (see ''Dashavarara'', below'')'' and descriptions of the qualities, attributes, or aspects of God. The ''
Garuda Purana The ''Garuda Purana'' is one of 18 ''Mahāpurāṇ'' of texts in Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.25 billion foll ...
'' (chapter XV) and the "
Anushasana Parva Anushasana Parva ( sa, अनुशासन पर्व, IAST: Anuśāsanaparva) or the "Book of Instructions", is the thirteenth of eighteen books of the Indian Epic Mahabharata. It traditionally has 2 sub-books and 168 chapters.Ganguli, K.M. ...
" of the ''
Mahabharata The ''Mahābhārata'' (; sa, महाभारतम्, ', ) is one of the two major Sanskrit literature, Sanskrit Indian epic poetry, epics of ancient India, the other being the ''Ramayana, Rāmāyaṇa''. It narrates the struggle betwee ...

Mahabharata
'' both list over 1000 names for Vishnu, each name describing a quality, attribute, or aspect of God. Known as the ''
Vishnu Sahasranama Vishnu (; ; , ''IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It ...
'', ''Vishnu'' here is defined as 'the omnipresent'. Other notable names in this list include : *
Hari ''Hari'' or ''Har(i)'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Europe ...

Hari
('remover of sins') * ('time') * Vāsudeva (the son of
Vasudeva According to Hindu scripture, Vasudeva (Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (''Nāgarī'', ),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left- ...

Vasudeva
) *
Atman Atman may refer to: Religion * Ātman (Jainism), a philosophical term used within Jainism to identify the soul * Ātman (Hinduism) ''Ātman'' (; sa, आत्मन्) is a Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominaliz ...
('the Self') *
Purusa ''Purusha'' (' or ) is a complex concept whose meaning evolved in Vedic FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png, upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; ...
('the divine being') * Prakrti ('the divine nature') * Lakshmikanta (the husband of
Lakshmi Lakshmi (; ''IAST, Lakṣmī'', ), also known as Sri (, IAST: ''Śrī'', ), is one of the principal goddesses in Hinduism. She is the goddess of wealth, fortune, love, beauty, joy and prosperity, and associated with ''Maya (religion), Maya'' ...

Lakshmi
) *
Jagannatha Jagannath ( Odia language, Odia: ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ, ISO 15919, ISO: ; ) is a deity worshipped in regional traditions of Hinduism in India and Bangladesh. Jagannath is an avatar of Vishnu. He is part of a triad along with his brother Balara ...

Jagannatha
(Lord of the universe) * Janardana *
Govinda and (also known as ) are the names of Vishnu Vishnu (; ; , ''IAST: Viṣṇu, ISO 15919, ISO: '', ) is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme being within Vaishnavism, one of the major traditions within ...

Govinda
(omnipresent ruler of the
Indriya''Indriya'' (literally "belonging to or agreeable to Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan lan ...
, supreme being who can be known through the vedas, protector of cows) * Hrishikesha * Padmanabha * Mukunda


Iconography

Vishnu iconography shows him with dark blue, blue-gray or black coloured skin, and as a well dressed jewelled man. He is typically shown with four arms, but two armed representations are also found in Hindu texts on artworks. The historic identifiers of his icon include his image holding a conch shell (
shankha A Shankha (conch shell) with Vishnu emblem carved. A Shankha (conch Conch () is a common name of a number of different medium- to large-sized sea snail or shells, generally those of large snails whose shell has a high spire and a notice ...

shankha
named
Panchajanya frame, Vishnu holding Panchajanya in his upper left hand Panchajanya (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as e ...
) between the first two fingers of one hand (left back), a
chakra Chakras (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European langua ...
– war discus named
Sudarshana The Sudarshana Chakra (सुदर्शन चक्र) is a spinning, disk-like weapon literally meaning "disk of auspicious vision," having 108 serrated edges used by the Hindu god Vishnu or Krishna. The Sudarshana Chakra is generally portraye ...
– in another (right back). The conch shell is spiral and symbolizes all of interconnected spiraling cyclic existence, while the discus symbolizes him as that which restores dharma with war if necessary when cosmic equilibrium is overwhelmed by evil. One of his arms sometimes carries a ''gada'' (club, mace named
Kaumodaki Kaumodaki (IAST: Kaumodakī) is the Gada (mace), gadā (mace) of the Hindu god Vishnu. Vishnu is often depicted holding the Kaumodaki in one of his four hands; the other attributes are the Sudarshana chakra, chakra, the shankha, conch and the pad ...
) which symbolizes authority and power of knowledge. In the fourth arm, he holds a lotus flower (''
padma 275px, A map showing the major rivers that flow into the Bay of Bengal, including Padma. The Padma or Podda ( bn, পদ্মা ''Pôdda'') is a major river in Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, :bn:বাংলাদেশ, বাংলা ...
'') which symbolizes purity and transcendence. The items he holds in various hands varies, giving rise to twenty four 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''. These texts, however, are inconsistent.P.B.B. Bidyabinod, Varieties of the Vishnu Image, Memoirs of Archaeological Survey of India, No. 2, Calcutta, pages 23-33 Rarely, Vishnu is depicted bearing the bow
Sharanga Sharanga is the celestial bow of the Hindu God Vishnu Vishnu (; ; , ''IAST: Viṣṇu, ISO 15919, ISO: '', ) is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme being within Vaishnavism, one of the major traditi ...
or the sword
Nandaka Nandaka (literally "source of joy") or Nandaki is the sword of the Hindu god Hindu deities are the gods and goddesses in Hinduism. The terms and epithets for deity within the diverse traditions of Hinduism vary, and include Deva (Hinduism), ...

Nandaka
. He is depicted with the
Kaustubha Kaustubha (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. ...
gem in a necklace and wearing Vaijayanti, a garland of forest flowers. The
shrivatsa over a chakra on the Torana gate at Sanchi. 1st century BCE. The Shrivatsa (Sanskrit ''śrīvatsa'') is an ancient symbol considered auspicious in Indian religious traditions. In Hinduism Srivatsa means "beloved of Sri", the goddess Lakshmi. ...

shrivatsa
mark is depicted on his chest in the form of a curl of hair. He generally wears yellow garments. Vishnu iconography show him either in standing pose, seated in a
yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of Asana, physical, mind, mental, and Spirituality#Asian traditions, spiritual practices or disciplines that originated in History of India, ancient India, aimed at controlling ('yo ...

yoga
pose, or reclining. A traditional depiction of Vishnu is that of Him reclining on the coils of the serpent
Shesha Shesha (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. ...
, accompanied by his consort
Lakshmi Lakshmi (; ''IAST, Lakṣmī'', ), also known as Sri (, IAST: ''Śrī'', ), is one of the principal goddesses in Hinduism. She is the goddess of wealth, fortune, love, beauty, joy and prosperity, and associated with ''Maya (religion), Maya'' ...

Lakshmi
, as he "dreams the universe into reality."


The Trimurti

Particularly in
Vaishnavism Vaishnavism is one of the major Hindu denominations along with Shaivism Shaivism () is one of the major Hindu traditions that worships Shiva, also called Rudra, as the Supreme Being. It is considered to be the oldest living religion in ...

Vaishnavism
, the so-called Trimurti (also known as the Hindu Triad or Great Trinity) represents the three fundamental forces ( ''guṇas'') through which the universe is created, maintained, and destroyed in cyclic succession. Each of these forces is represented by a Hindu deity: *
Brahma Brahma ( sa, ब्रह्मा, Brahmā) is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism, though his importance has declined in recent centuries. He is also referred to as Svayambhu () and is associated with creation, knowledge a ...
: represents
Rajas Rajas (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It aro ...
(passion, creation) * Vishnu: represents
Sattva Sattva (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It aro ...

Sattva
(goodness, preservation) *
Shiva Shiva (; sa, शिव , , ISO: , , ), also known as Mahadeva (), is one of the principal deities of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-larges ...

Shiva
: represents Tamas (darkness, destruction) In Hindu tradition, the trio is often referred to as Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh. All have the same meaning of three in One; different forms or manifestations of
One 1 (one, also called unit, and unity) is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can ...

One
person the
Supreme Being God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Compani ...
.


Avatars

The concept of the avatar (or incarnation) within Hinduism is most often associated with Vishnu, the preserver or sustainer aspect of God within the Hindu
Trimurti Trimūrti (; Sanskrit: त्रिमूर्ति ', "three forms" or "trinity") is the triple deity of Para Brahman, supreme divinity in Hinduism, in which the cosmic functions of creation ex nihilo, creation, Conservation (ethic), mainte ...
. The avatars of Vishnu descend to empower the good and to destroy evil, thereby restoring
Dharma Dharma (; sa, धर्म, dharma, (Pali : ''dhamma'')) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions, such as Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, ...
and relieving the burden of the Earth. An oft-quoted passage from the ''
Bhagavad Gita The ''Bhagavad Gita'' (; sa, भगवद्गीता।, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employe ...
'' describes the typical role of an avatar of Vishnu:
Vedic FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png, upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit: ', "knowledge") are a large body of religious texts originatin ...

Vedic
literature, in particular the ''
Puranas The word Purana (; sa, , ') literally means "ancient, old",Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on Puranas, , page 915 and it is a vast genre of Indian literature about a wide range of topics, particularly about ...
'' ('ancient'; similar to ''encyclopedias'') and ''
Itihasa Itihasa (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language ...
'' ('chronicle, history, legend'), narrate numerous
avatar An avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: ; ), a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", is the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearance" is sometimes used to refer to an ...
s of Vishnu. The most well-known of these
avatar An avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: ; ), a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", is the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearance" is sometimes used to refer to an ...
s are
Krishna Krishna (, ; sa, कृष्ण, ) is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of Vishnu and also as the Svayam Bhagavan, supreme God in his own right. He is the god of protection, compassion, tenderness, and love ...

Krishna
(most notably in the ''
Vishnu Purana The Vishnu Purana (IAST: Viṣṇu Purāṇa) is one of the eighteen Puranas#Mahapuranas, Mahapuranas, a genre of ancient and medieval texts of Hinduism. It is an important Pancharatra text in the Vaishnavism literature corpus. The manuscrip ...

Vishnu Purana
'', ''
Bhagavata Purana Bhagavata Purana ( Devanagari: भागवतपुराण; ) also known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā-purāṇa, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata, is one of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life ...
'', and ''
Mahabharata The ''Mahābhārata'' (; sa, महाभारतम्, ', ) is one of the two major Sanskrit literature, Sanskrit Indian epic poetry, epics of ancient India, the other being the ''Ramayana, Rāmāyaṇa''. It narrates the struggle betwee ...

Mahabharata
''; the latter encompassing the
Bhagavad Gita The ''Bhagavad Gita'' (; sa, भगवद्गीता।, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employe ...
), and
Rama Rama (; , ; ) or Ram, also known as Ramachandra (; , ), is a major deity in Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna, Parshurama, and Gautama Buddha in Hinduism, Gautama Buddha. Ja ...

Rama
(most notably in the ''
Ramayana ''Rāmāyana'' (; sa, रामायणम्, ) is one of the two major Sanskrit literature, Sanskrit Indian epic poetry, epics of ancient India, ancient Indian history, the other being the ''Mahabharata, Mahābhārata''. Along with the ''M ...

Ramayana
''). Krishna in particular is venerated in
Vaishnavism Vaishnavism is one of the major Hindu denominations along with Shaivism Shaivism () is one of the major Hindu traditions that worships Shiva, also called Rudra, as the Supreme Being. It is considered to be the oldest living religion in ...

Vaishnavism
as the ultimate, primeval, source of all existence, including all the other
demigod 250px, " Cuchulain Slays the Hound of Culain", illustration by Stephen Reid (artist), Stephen Reid from Eleanor Hull's ''The Boys' Cuchulain'', 1904 A demigod or demi-god is a minor deity, or a mortal or immortal who is the offspring of a Deity, ...
s and gods such as Vishnu.


The ''Mahabharata''

In the ''
Mahabharata The ''Mahābhārata'' (; sa, महाभारतम्, ', ) is one of the two major Sanskrit literature, Sanskrit Indian epic poetry, epics of ancient India, the other being the ''Ramayana, Rāmāyaṇa''. It narrates the struggle betwee ...

Mahabharata
'', Vishnu (as
Narayana Narayana (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages ...

Narayana
) states to
Narada Narada ( sa, नारद, ), or Narada Muni, is a god-sage, famous in Hindu Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religi ...

Narada
that He will appear in the following ten incarnations:


The Puranas

Specified avatars of Vishnu are listed against some of the
Puranas The word Purana (; sa, , ') literally means "ancient, old",Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on Puranas, , page 915 and it is a vast genre of Indian literature about a wide range of topics, particularly about ...
in the table below. However, this is a complicated process and the lists are unlikely to be exhaustive because: * Not all Puranas provide lists ''per se'' (e.g. the Agni Purana dedicates entire chapters to avatars, and some of these chapters mention other avatars within them) * A list may be given in one place but additional avatars may be mentioned elsewhere (e.g. the Bhagavata Purana lists 22 avatars in Canto 1, but mentions others elsewhere) *Manava Purana, the only Upa Purana listed 42 avatars of Vishnu. * A personality in one Purana may be considered an avatar in another (e.g. Narada is not specified as an avatar in the Matsya Purana but is in the Bhagavata Purana) * Some avatars consist of two or more people considered as different aspects of a single incarnation (e.g. Nara-Narayana, Rama and his three brothers)


Dashavatara

The ''Dashavatara'' is a list of the so-called ''Vibhavas'', or '10 rimary
Avatar An avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: ; ), a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", is the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearance" is sometimes used to refer to an ...

Avatar
s' of Vishnu. The
Agni Purana The ''Agni Purana'', ( sa, अग्नि पुराण, ) is a Sanskrit text and one of the eighteen major Puranas of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
,
Varaha Purana The ''Varaha Purana'' ( sa, वराह पुराण, ) is a Sanskrit text from the Purana The word Purana (; sa, , ') literally means "ancient, old",Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on Puranas, , page ...
,
Padma Purana The ''Padma Purana'' ( sa, पद्मपुराण or पाद्मपुराण, or ) is one of the eighteen major Puranas, a genre of texts in Hinduism. It is an encyclopedic text, named after the lotus in which creator god Brahma ...
,
Linga Purana The ''Linga Purana'' (लिङ्ग पुराण, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskr ...
,
Narada Purana The ''Naradiya Purana'' ( sa, नारदीय पुराण, ) or ''Narada Purana'' ( sa, नारद पुराण), are two Sanskrit texts, one of which is a major Purana of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''d ...
,
Garuda Purana The ''Garuda Purana'' is one of 18 ''Mahāpurāṇ'' of texts in Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.25 billion foll ...
, and
Skanda Purana The ''Skanda Purana'' (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic language ...
all provide matching lists. The same ''Vibhavas'' are also found in the ''Garuda Purana'' ''Saroddhara'', a commentary or ‘extracted essence’ written by Navanidhirama about the Garuda Purana (i.e. not the
Purana The word Purana (; sa, , ') literally means "ancient, old",Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on Puranas, , page 915 and it is a vast genre of Indian literature about a wide range of topics, particularly about ...
itself, with which it seems to be confused): Apparent disagreements concerning the placement of either the
Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an Śramaṇa, ascetic, a religious leader and teacher who lived in History of India#Iron Age (1500 – 200 BCE ...

Buddha
or
Balarama Balarama (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. I ...

Balarama
in the ''Dashavarara'' seems to occur from the ''Dashavarara'' list in the
Shiva Purana ''Shiva Purāna'' is one of the eighteen major '' Purānas, a'' genre of Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan ...
(the only other list with ten avatars including Balarama in the Garuda Purana substitutes Vamana, not Buddha). Regardless, both versions of the ''Dashavarara'' have a scriptural basis in the canon of authentic
Vedic FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png, upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit: ', "knowledge") are a large body of religious texts originatin ...

Vedic
literature (but not from the ''Garuda Purana'' ''Saroddhara'')''.''


Thirumal

Thirumal ()—also known as Perumal or Perumaal (), or Maayon (as described in the Tamil scriptures)—was appropriated as manifestation of Vishnu in later Hinduism is a popular
Hindu Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-l ...

Hindu
deity among Tamilans in
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Tamil Nadu
as well among the
Tamil diaspora The Tamil diaspora refers to descendants of the Tamil immigrants who emigrated from their native lands (Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu () is a States and union territories of India, state in southern India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tam ...
.


Literature


Vedas

Vishnu is a Rigvedic deity, but not a prominent one when compared to
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit: इन्द्र) is an Historical Vedic religion, ancient Vedic deity in Hinduism. He is the king of Svarga (Heaven) and the Deva (Hinduism), Devas (gods). He is associated with lightning, thunder, storms, rains, river flo ...

Indra
, Agni and others. Just 5 out of 1028 hymns of the
Rigveda ) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century. After a scribal benediction ('), the first line has the first pada, RV 1.1.1a ('). The Vedic accent, pitch-accent is marked by underscores and vertical overscores in red. The ''Rigveda'' or ''Ri ...
are dedicated to Vishnu, although He is mentioned in other hymns. Vishnu is mentioned in the
Brahmana The Brahmanas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European lang ...
layer of text in the Vedas, thereafter his profile rises and over the history of Indian mythology, states
Jan Gonda Jan Gonda, (14 April 1905 – 28 July 1991) was a Dutch Indologist Indology or Indian studies is the academic study of the history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the ...
, Vishnu becomes a divinity of the highest rank, one equivalent to the Supreme Being. Though a minor mention and with overlapping attributes in the Vedas, he has important characteristics in various hymns of Rig Veda, such as 1.154.5, 1.56.3 and 10.15.3. In these hymns, the Vedic mythology asserts that Vishnu resides in that highest home where departed
Atman Atman may refer to: Religion * Ātman (Jainism), a philosophical term used within Jainism to identify the soul * Ātman (Hinduism) ''Ātman'' (; sa, आत्मन्) is a Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominaliz ...
(Self) reside, an assertion that may have been the reason for his increasing emphasis and popularity in Hindu
soteriology Soteriology (; el, σωτηρία ' " salvation" from σωτήρ ' "savior, preserver" and λόγος ' "study" or "word") is the study of religious doctrines of salvation. Salvation theory occupies a place of special significance in many rel ...
. He is also described in the Vedic literature as the one who supports heaven and earth. In the Vedic hymns, Vishnu is invoked alongside other deities, especially Indra, whom he helps in killing the symbol of evil named
Vritra Vritra (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It ...
. His distinguishing characteristic in Vedas is his association with light. Two Rigvedic hymns in
Mandala 7 The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda ) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century. After a scribal benediction ('), the first line has the first pada, RV 1.1.1a ('). The Vedic accent, pitch-accent is marked by underscores and vertical overscor ...
refer to Vishnu. In section 7.99 of the Rigveda, Vishnu is addressed as the god who separates heaven and earth, a characteristic he shares with Indra. In the Vedic texts, the deity or god referred to as Vishnu is
Surya Surya (; sa, सूर्य, ) the sun and the solar deity A solar deity (also sun goddess or sun god) is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and Sun worship ...

Surya
or
Savitr Savitṛ (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It ...
(Sun god), who also bears the name ''Suryanarayana''. Again, this link to Surya is a characteristic Vishnu shares with fellow Vedic deities named Mitra and Agni, wherein different hymns, they too "bring men together" and cause all living beings to rise up and impel them to go about their daily activities. In hymn 7.99 of Rigveda, Indra-Vishnu is equivalent and produce the sun, with the verses asserting that this sun is the source of all energy and light for all. In other hymns of the Rigveda, Vishnu is a close friend of Indra.Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1980). ''Advanced History of India'', Allied Publishers, New Delhi. Elsewhere in Rigveda, Atharvaveda and Upanishadic texts, Vishnu is equivalent to Prajapati, both are described as the protector and preparer of the womb, and according to Klaus Klostermaier, this may be the root behind the post-Vedic fusion of all the attributes of the Vedic
Prajapati Prajapati ( sa, प्रजापति, Prajāpati, lord of creation and protector) is a Vedic FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png, upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''A ...

Prajapati
unto the avatars of Vishnu. In the ''
Yajurveda The ''Yajurveda'' ( sa, यजुर्वेदः, ', from ' meaning "worship", and ''veda'' meaning "knowledge") is the Veda primarily of prose mantras for worship rituals.Michael Witzel (2003), "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in The Blackwell Co ...
'', Taittiriya Aranyaka (10.13.1), "
Narayana sukta The Narayana Sukta or Narayana Suktam is a hymn in Yajurveda. Some commentators see it as a mystical appendix to the Purusha sukta. Narayana, in Hinduism, is considered as thousand-headed one, thousand-eyed, and thousand-limbed and this hymn is a ...
", Narayana is mentioned as the supreme being. The first verse of "Narayana Suktam" mentions the words ''paramam padam'', which literally mean 'highest post' and may be understood as the 'supreme abode for all Selfs'. This is also known as Param Dhama, Paramapadam, or Vaikuntha. Rigveda 1.22.20 also mentions the same ''paramam padam''. In the
Atharvaveda The Atharva Veda (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European l ...
, the mythology of a boar who raises goddess earth from the depths of cosmic ocean appears, but without the word Vishnu or his alternate avatar names. In post-Vedic mythology, this legend becomes one of the basis of many cosmogonic myth called the
Varaha Varaha ( sa, वराह, , "boar") is the avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, in the form of a wild boar, boar. Varaha is generally listed as third in the Dashavatara, the ten principal avatars of Vishnu. Varaha is most commonly associated wit ...

Varaha
legend, with Varaha as an avatar of Vishnu.


Trivikrama: The Three Steps of Vishnu

Several hymns of the Rigveda repeat the mighty deed of Vishnu called the ''Trivikrama'', which is one of the lasting mythologies in Hinduism since the Vedic times. It is an inspiration for ancient artwork in numerous
Hindu temple A Mandir or Hindu temple is a symbolic house, seat and body of divinity for Hindus Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian ...

Hindu temple
s such as at the
Ellora Caves Ellora (\e-ˈlȯr-ə\, IAST: ) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Aurangabad District, Maharashtra, Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India. It is one of the largest rock-cut Hindu temple cave complexes in the world, featuring B ...

Ellora Caves
, which depict the Trivikrama legend through the Vamana avatar of Vishnu. ''Trivikrama'' refers to the celebrated ''three steps'' or "three strides" of Vishnu. Starting as a small insignificant looking being, Vishnu undertakes a herculean task of establishing his reach and form, then with his first step covers the earth, with second the ether, and the third entire heaven. The Vishnu Sukta 1.154 of Rigveda says that the first and second of Vishnu's strides (those encompassing the earth and air) are visible to the mortals and the third is the realm of the immortals. The Trivikrama describing hymns integrate salvific themes, stating Vishnu to symbolize that which is freedom and life. The
Shatapatha Brahmana The Shatapatha Brahmana (Sanskrit: शतपथब्राह्मण ''Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa'', meaning 'Brāhmaṇa of one hundred paths', abbreviated to 'SB') is a commentary on the Yajurveda, Śukla (white) Yajurveda. It is written by the F ...
elaborates this theme of Vishnu, as his herculean effort and sacrifice to create and gain powers that help others, one who realizes and defeats the evil symbolized by the Asuras after they had usurped the three worlds, and thus Vishnu is the saviour of the mortals and the immortals ( Devas).


Brahmanas

The ''
Shatapatha Brahmana The Shatapatha Brahmana (Sanskrit: शतपथब्राह्मण ''Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa'', meaning 'Brāhmaṇa of one hundred paths', abbreviated to 'SB') is a commentary on the Yajurveda, Śukla (white) Yajurveda. It is written by the F ...
'' contains ideas which Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism has long mapped to a pantheistic vision of Vishnu as supreme, he as the essence in every being and everything in the empirically perceived universe. In this Brahmana, states Klaus Klostermaier, Purusha Narayana (Vishnu) asserts, "all the worlds have I placed within mine own self, and my own self has I placed within all the worlds." The text equates Vishnu to all knowledge there is (Vedas), calling the essence of everything as imperishable, all Vedas and principles of universe as imperishable, and that this imperishable which is Vishnu is the all. Vishnu is described to be permeating all object and life forms, states S. Giora Shoham, where he is "ever-present within all things as the intrinsic principle of all", and the eternal, transcendental self in every being. The Vedic literature, including its Brahmanas layer, while praising Vishnu do not subjugate others gods and goddesses. They present an inclusive pluralistic
henotheism Henotheism () is the worship of a single, overarching god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confide ...
. According to
Max Muller Max or MAX may refer to: Animals * Max (dog) (1983–2013), at one time purported to be the world's oldest living dog * Max (English Springer Spaniel), the first pet dog to win the PDSA Order of Merit (animal equivalent of OBE) * Max (gorilla) (19 ...

Max Muller
, "Although the gods are sometimes distinctly invoked as the great and the small, the young and the old (Rig Veda 1:27:13), this is only an attempt to find the most comprehensive expression for the divine powers and nowhere is any of the gods represented as the subordinate to others. It would be easy to find, in the numerous hymns of the Veda, passages in which almost every single god is represented as supreme and absolute."


Upanishads

The Vaishnava Upanishads are minor
Upanishad The Upanishads (; sa, उपनिषद् ) are late Vedic Sanskrit texts of religious teachings which form the foundations of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious g ...
s of
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word ''Hindu'' is ...

Hinduism
, related to Vishnu theology. There are 14 Vaishnava Upanishads in the Muktika anthology of 108
Upanishads The Upanishads (; sa, उपनिषद् ) are Vedic period, late Vedic Sanskrit texts of Hindu philosophy which supplied the basis of later Hindu philosophy.Wendy Doniger (1990), ''Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism'', 1st Edition ...
. It is unclear when these texts were composed, and estimates vary from the 1st-century BCE to 17th-century CE for the texts. These Upanishads highlight Vishnu,
Narayana Narayana (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages ...

Narayana
,
Rama Rama (; , ; ) or Ram, also known as Ramachandra (; , ), is a major deity in Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna, Parshurama, and Gautama Buddha in Hinduism, Gautama Buddha. Ja ...

Rama
or one of his
avatar An avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: ; ), a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", is the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearance" is sometimes used to refer to an ...
s as the supreme metaphysical reality called
Brahman In Hinduism, ''Brahman'' ( sa, ब्रह्म) connotes the highest universal principle, the ultimate reality ''Ultimate reality'' is "something that is the supreme, final, and fundamental power in all reality". Buddhism In Theravada ...
in Hinduism. They discuss a diverse range of topics, from ethics to the methods of worship.


Puranas

Vishnu is the primary focus of the Vaishnavism-focused
Puranas The word Purana (; sa, , ') literally means "ancient, old",Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on Puranas, , page 915 and it is a vast genre of Indian literature about a wide range of topics, particularly about ...
genre of
Hindu texts Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-l ...
. Of these, according to
Ludo RocherLudo Rocher (1926-2016) was an eminent Sanskrit scholar, and the W. Norman Brown Professor Emeritus of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) is a Private university, private Ivy Le ...
, the most important texts are the
Bhagavata Purana Bhagavata Purana ( Devanagari: भागवतपुराण; ) also known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā-purāṇa, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata, is one of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life ...
,
Vishnu Purana The Vishnu Purana (IAST: Viṣṇu Purāṇa) is one of the eighteen Puranas#Mahapuranas, Mahapuranas, a genre of ancient and medieval texts of Hinduism. It is an important Pancharatra text in the Vaishnavism literature corpus. The manuscrip ...

Vishnu Purana
, Nāradeya Purana,
Garuda Purana The ''Garuda Purana'' is one of 18 ''Mahāpurāṇ'' of texts in Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.25 billion foll ...
and
Vayu Purana The ''Vayu Purana'' ( sa, वायु पुराण, ) is a Sanskrit text and one of the eighteen major Puranas of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thi ...
. The Purana texts include many versions of cosmologies, mythologies, encyclopedic entries about various aspects of life, and chapters that were medieval era regional Vishnu temples-related tourist guides called . One version of the cosmology, for example, states that Vishnu's eye is at the Southern Celestial Pole from where he watches the cosmos. In another version found in section 4.80 of the Vayu Purana, he is the
Hiranyagarbha Hiraṇyagarbha (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European langua ...
, or the golden egg from which were simultaneously born all feminine and masculine beings of the universe.


Vishnu Purana

The Vishnu Purana presents Vishnu as the central element of its cosmology, unlike some other Puranas where Shiva or Brahma or goddess Shakti are. The reverence and the worship of Vishnu is described in 22 chapters of the first part of Vishnu Purana, along with the profuse use of the synonymous names of Vishnu such as Hari, Janardana, Madhava, Achyuta, Hrishikesha and others. The
Vishnu Purana The Vishnu Purana (IAST: Viṣṇu Purāṇa) is one of the eighteen Puranas#Mahapuranas, Mahapuranas, a genre of ancient and medieval texts of Hinduism. It is an important Pancharatra text in the Vaishnavism literature corpus. The manuscrip ...

Vishnu Purana
also discusses the Hindu concept of supreme reality called
Brahman In Hinduism, ''Brahman'' ( sa, ब्रह्म) connotes the highest universal principle, the ultimate reality ''Ultimate reality'' is "something that is the supreme, final, and fundamental power in all reality". Buddhism In Theravada ...
in the context of the
Upanishad The Upanishads (; sa, उपनिषद् ) are late Vedic Sanskrit texts of religious teachings which form the foundations of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious g ...
s; a discussion that the theistic Vedanta scholar
Ramanuja Ramanuja or Ramanujacharya (c. 1017–1137 CE; ; ) was an Indian philosopher, Hindu theologian, social reformer, and one of the most important exponents of the Sri Vaishnavism tradition within Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian relig ...

Ramanuja
interprets to be about the equivalence of the Brahman with Vishnu, a foundational theology in the
Sri Vaishnavism Sri Vaishnavism, or the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya, is a denomination within the Vaishnavism Vaishnavism is one of the major Hindu denominations along with Shaivism Shaivism () is one of the major Hindu traditions that worships Shiva, ...
tradition.


Bhagavata Purana

Vishnu is equated with
Brahman In Hinduism, ''Brahman'' ( sa, ब्रह्म) connotes the highest universal principle, the ultimate reality ''Ultimate reality'' is "something that is the supreme, final, and fundamental power in all reality". Buddhism In Theravada ...
in the
Bhagavata Purana Bhagavata Purana ( Devanagari: भागवतपुराण; ) also known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā-purāṇa, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata, is one of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life ...
, such as in verse 1.2.11, as "learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this non-dual substance as
Brahman In Hinduism, ''Brahman'' ( sa, ब्रह्म) connotes the highest universal principle, the ultimate reality ''Ultimate reality'' is "something that is the supreme, final, and fundamental power in all reality". Buddhism In Theravada ...
,
Paramatma ''Paramatman'' (Sanskrit: परमात्मन्, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by San ...
and Bhagavan." The
Bhagavata Purana Bhagavata Purana ( Devanagari: भागवतपुराण; ) also known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā-purāṇa, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata, is one of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life ...
has been the most popular and widely read Purana texts relating to Vishnu avatar Krishna, it has been translated and available in almost all Indian languages. Like other Puranas, it discusses a wide range of topics including cosmology, genealogy, geography, mythology, legend, music, dance, yoga and culture. As it begins, the forces of evil have won a war between the benevolent ''
deva Deva may refer to: Entertainment * ''Deva'' (1989 film), a 1989 Kannada film * ''Deva'' (1995 film), a 1995 Tamil film * ''Deva'' (2002 film), a 2002 Bengali film * Deva (2007 Telugu film) * ''Deva'' (2017 film), a 2017 Marathi film * Deva ( ...
s'' (deities) and evil ''
asura The bas-relief of Samudra manthan from Angkor Wat, Cambodia, shows Vishnu in the center, in his Kurma avatar, with the asuras and the Deva (Hinduism), devas on either side. See an Media:Awatoceanofmilk01 - color corrected.JPG, annotated version in ...

asura
s'' (demons) and now rule the universe. Truth re-emerges as the Vishnu avatar first makes peace with the demons, understands them and then creatively defeats them, bringing back hope, justice, freedom and good – a cyclic theme that appears in many legends. The ''Bhagavata Purana'' is a revered text in
Vaishnavism Vaishnavism is one of the major Hindu denominations along with Shaivism Shaivism () is one of the major Hindu traditions that worships Shiva, also called Rudra, as the Supreme Being. It is considered to be the oldest living religion in ...

Vaishnavism
. The Puranic legends of Vishnu have inspired plays and dramatic arts that are acted out over festivals, particularly through performance arts such as the
Sattriya ''Sattriya'' ( as, সত্ৰীয়া), or ''Sattriya Nritya'', is a major Indian classical dance Indian classical dance is an umbrella term for various performance arts rooted in musical theatre styles,, Quote: All of the dances consid ...
,
Manipuri dance Manipuri dance, also known as Jagoi, is one of the major Indian classical dance forms, named after the region of its origin – Manipur, a state in northeastern India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a cou ...

Manipuri dance
,
Odissi Odissi ( Odia: ), also referred to as Orissi in older literature, is a major ancient Indian classical dance that originated in the Hindu temples of Odisha Odisha (English: , The 'sha' spelling comes about from the historical or Sanskritic lett ...

Odissi
, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Bhagavata Mela and Mohiniyattam.


Other Puranas

Some versions of the Purana texts, unlike the Vedic and Upanishadic texts, emphasize Vishnu as supreme and on whom other gods depend. Vishnu, for example, is the source of creator deity
Brahma Brahma ( sa, ब्रह्मा, Brahmā) is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism, though his importance has declined in recent centuries. He is also referred to as Svayambhu () and is associated with creation, knowledge a ...
in the Vaishnavism-focussed Purana texts. Vishnu's iconography typically shows Brahma being born in a lotus emerging from his navel, who then is described as creating all the forms in the universe, but not the primordial universe itself. In contrast, the
Shiva Shiva (; sa, शिव , , ISO: , , ), also known as Mahadeva (), is one of the principal deities of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-larges ...

Shiva
-focussed Puranas describe Brahma and Vishnu to have been created by Ardhanarishvara, that is half Shiva and half Parvati; or alternatively, Brahma was born from Rudra, or Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma creating each other cyclically in different aeons (Kalpa (aeon), kalpa).Stella Kramrisch (1994), The Presence of Siva, Princeton University Press, , pages 205-206 In some Vaishnava Puranas, Vishnu takes the form of Rudra or commands Rudra to destroy the world, thereafter the entire universe dissolves and along with time, everything is reabsorbed back into Vishnu. The universe is then recreated from Vishnu all over again, starting a new ''Kalpa''. For this the ''Bhagavata Purana'' employs the metaphor of Vishnu as a spider and the universe as his web. Other texts offer alternate cosmogenic theories, such as one where the universe and time are absorbed into Shiva.


Agama

The Agama (Hinduism), Agama scripture called the Pancharatra describes a mode of worship of Vishnu.


Sangam and Post-Sangam literature

The Sangam literature refers to an extensive regional collection in the Tamil language, mostly from the early centuries of the common era. These Tamil texts revere Vishnu and his avatars such as Krishna and Rama, as well as other pan-Indian deities such as Shiva, Kartikeya, Muruga, Durga, Indra and others. Vishnu is described in these texts as ''mayon'', or "one who is dark or black in color" (in north India, the equivalent word is Krishna). Other terms found for Vishnu in these ancient Tamil genre of literature include ''mayavan, mamiyon, netiyon, mal'' and ''mayan''. Krishna as Vishnu avatar is the primary subject of two post-Sangam Tamil epics ''Silappadikaram'' and ''Manimekalai'', each of which was probably composed about the 5th century CE. These Tamil epics share many aspects of the story found in other parts of India, such as those related to baby Krishna such as stealing butter, and teenage Krishna such as teasing girls who went to bathe in a river by hiding their clothes.


Bhakti Movement

Ideas about Vishnu in the mid 1st millennium CE were important to the Bhakti movement theology that ultimately swept India after the 12th century. The Alvars, which literally means "those immersed in God", were Tamil Vaishnava poet-saints who sang praises of Vishnu as they traveled from one place to another. They established temple sites such as Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam, Srirangam, and spread ideas about
Vaishnavism Vaishnavism is one of the major Hindu denominations along with Shaivism Shaivism () is one of the major Hindu traditions that worships Shiva, also called Rudra, as the Supreme Being. It is considered to be the oldest living religion in ...

Vaishnavism
. Their poems, compiled as Alwar Arulicheyalgal or Divya Prabhandham, developed into an influential scripture for the Vaishnavas. The
Bhagavata Purana Bhagavata Purana ( Devanagari: भागवतपुराण; ) also known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā-purāṇa, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata, is one of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life ...
's references to the South Indian Alvar saints, along with its emphasis on ''bhakti'', have led many scholars to give it South Indian origins, though some scholars question whether this evidence excludes the possibility that ''bhakti'' movement had parallel developments in other parts of India.


Vaishnava theology

The Bhagavata Purana summarizes the Vaishnava theology, wherein it frequently discusses the merging of the individual Self with the Absolute
Brahman In Hinduism, ''Brahman'' ( sa, ब्रह्म) connotes the highest universal principle, the ultimate reality ''Ultimate reality'' is "something that is the supreme, final, and fundamental power in all reality". Buddhism In Theravada ...
(Ultimate Reality, Supreme Truth), or "the return of Brahman into His own true nature", a distinctly Advaitic or non-dualistic philosophy of Adi Shankara, Shankara. The concept of ''moksha'' is explained as ''Ekatva'' ('Oneness') and ''Sayujya'' ('Absorption, intimate union'), wherein one is completely lost in Brahman (Self, Supreme Being, one's true nature). This, states Rukmini (1993), is proclamation of "return of the individual Self to the Absolute and its merging into the Absolute", which is unmistakably Advaitic in its trend. In the same passages, the Bhagavata includes a mention of Bhagavan as the object of concentration, thereby presenting the Bhakti path from the three major paths of Hindu spirituality discussed in the ''
Bhagavad Gita The ''Bhagavad Gita'' (; sa, भगवद्गीता।, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employe ...
''. The theology in the ''Bhagavad Gita'' discusses both the sentient and the non-sentient, the Self and the matter of existence. It envisions the universe as the body of Vishnu (Krishna), state Harold Coward and Daniel Maguire. Vishnu in Gita's theology pervades all Selfs, all matter and time. In Sri Vaishnavism sub-tradition, Vishnu and Sri (goddess
Lakshmi Lakshmi (; ''IAST, Lakṣmī'', ), also known as Sri (, IAST: ''Śrī'', ), is one of the principal goddesses in Hinduism. She is the goddess of wealth, fortune, love, beauty, joy and prosperity, and associated with ''Maya (religion), Maya'' ...

Lakshmi
) are described as inseparable, that they pervade everything together. Both together are the creators, who also pervade and transcend their creation. The Bhagavata Purana, in many passages, parallels the ideas of Nirguna Brahman and non-duality of Adi Shankara. For example: Scholars describe the Vaishnava theology as built on the foundation of non-dualism speculations in Upanishads, and term it as "Advaitic Theism." The Bhagavata Purana suggests that Vishnu and the Self (Atman) in all beings is one. Bryant states that the monism discussed in Bhagavata Purana is certainly built on the Vedanta foundations, but not exactly the same as the monism of Adi Shankara. The Bhagavata asserts, according to Bryant, that the empirical and the spiritual universe are both metaphysical realities, and manifestations of the same Oneness, just like heat and light are "real but different" manifestations of sunlight.Edwin Bryant (2004), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X, Penguin, , pages 43-48 In the Bhakti tradition of Vaishnavism, Vishnu is attributed with numerous qualities such as omniscience, energy, strength, lordship, vigour, and splendour. The Vaishnava tradition started by Madhvacharya considers Vishnu in the form of Krishna to be the supreme creator, personal God, all-pervading, all devouring, one whose knowledge and grace leads to "moksha". In Madhvacharya Vaishnava theology, the supreme Vishnu and the Selfs of living beings are two different realities and nature (dualism), while in Ramanuja's
Sri Vaishnavism Sri Vaishnavism, or the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya, is a denomination within the Vaishnavism Vaishnavism is one of the major Hindu denominations along with Shaivism Shaivism () is one of the major Hindu traditions that worships Shiva, ...
, they are different but share the same essential nature (qualified non-dualism).


Relations with deities


Lakshmi

Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity (both material and spiritual), is the wife and shakti, active energy of Vishnu. She is also called Sri.John Muir, , Volume 5, pp. 348-362 with footnotes When Vishnu incarnated on the Earth as the
avatar An avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: ; ), a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", is the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearance" is sometimes used to refer to an ...
s
Rama Rama (; , ; ) or Ram, also known as Ramachandra (; , ), is a major deity in Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna, Parshurama, and Gautama Buddha in Hinduism, Gautama Buddha. Ja ...

Rama
and
Krishna Krishna (, ; sa, कृष्ण, ) is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of Vishnu and also as the Svayam Bhagavan, supreme God in his own right. He is the god of protection, compassion, tenderness, and love ...

Krishna
, Lakshmi incarnated as his respective consorts: Sita (Rama's wife) and Rukmini (Krishna's wife). Variouss regional beliefs consider Lakshmi manifested as various goddesses, who are considered Vishnu's wives. In many Southern Indian culture, Lakshmi is seen in two forms — Shridevi and Bhudevi. At Tirupati, Venkateshwara (identified as an avatar of Vishnu) os depicted with consorts Lakshmi and Padmavathi.


Garuda

Vishnu's mount (Vahana) is Garuda, the eagle. Vishnu is commonly depicted as riding on his shoulders. Garuda is also considered as Vedas on which Vishnu travels. Garuda is a sacred bird in Vaishnavism. In
Garuda Purana The ''Garuda Purana'' is one of 18 ''Mahāpurāṇ'' of texts in Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.25 billion foll ...
, Garuda carries Vishnu to save the Elephant Gajendra Moksha, Gajendra.


Vishvaksena

Vishvaksena, also known as Senadhipathi (both meaning 'army-chief'), is the commander-in-chief of the army of Vishnu.


Harihara and Harirudra

Shiva and Vishnu are both viewed as the ultimate form of god in different Hindu denominations. Harihara is a composite of half Vishnu and half Shiva, mentioned in literature such as the Vamana Purana (chapter 36), and in artwork found from mid 1st millennium CE, such as in the cave 1 and cave 3 of the 6th-century Badami cave temples. Another half Vishnu half Shiva form, which is also called Harirudra, is mentioned in
Mahabharata The ''Mahābhārata'' (; sa, महाभारतम्, ', ) is one of the two major Sanskrit literature, Sanskrit Indian epic poetry, epics of ancient India, the other being the ''Ramayana, Rāmāyaṇa''. It narrates the struggle betwee ...

Mahabharata
.


Beyond Hinduism


Sikhism

Vishnu is referred to as Gorakh in the scriptures of Sikhism. For example, in verse 5 of Japji Sahib, the Guru ('teacher') is praised as who gives the word and shows the wisdom, and through whom the awareness of immanence is gained. Guru Nanak, according to Christopher Shackle, Shackle and Mandair (2013), teaches that the Guru are "Shiva (isar), Vishnu (gorakh), Brahma (barma) and mother Parvati (parbati)," yet the one who is all and true cannot be described. The ''Chaubis Avtar'' lists the 24 avatars of Vishnu, including
Krishna Krishna (, ; sa, कृष्ण, ) is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of Vishnu and also as the Svayam Bhagavan, supreme God in his own right. He is the god of protection, compassion, tenderness, and love ...

Krishna
,
Rama Rama (; , ; ) or Ram, also known as Ramachandra (; , ), is a major deity in Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna, Parshurama, and Gautama Buddha in Hinduism, Gautama Buddha. Ja ...

Rama
, and Buddha. Similarly, the ''Dasam Granth'' includes Vishnu mythology that mirrors that found in the Vaishnavism, Vaishnav tradition. The latter is of particular importance to Sanatan Sikhs, including Udasis, Nirmala (sect), Nirmalas, Nanakpanthis, Sahajdhari, and Keshdhari/Khalsa sects of Sikhism; however, the Khalsa Sikhs disagree with the Sanatan Sikhs. According to Sanatan Sikh writers, the Gurus of Sikhism were avatars of Vishnu, because the Gurus brought light in the age of darkness and saved people in a time of evil Mughal Empire, Mughal-era persecution.


Buddhism

While some Hindus consider Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu, Buddhists in Sri Lanka venerate Vishnu as the custodian deity of Sri Lanka and protector of Buddhism. Vishnu is also known as Upulvan or Upalavarṇā, meaning 'Blue Lotus coloured'. Some postulate that Uthpala varna was a local deity who later merged with Vishnu while another belief is that Utpalavarṇā was an early form of Vishnu before he became a supreme deity in Puranic Hinduism. According to the chronicles of ''Mahāvaṃsa'', ''Cūḷavaṃsa'', and folklore in Sri Lanka, Buddha himself handed over the custodianship to Vishnu. Others believe that Buddha entrusted this task to Sakra (
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit: इन्द्र) is an Historical Vedic religion, ancient Vedic deity in Hinduism. He is the king of Svarga (Heaven) and the Deva (Hinduism), Devas (gods). He is associated with lightning, thunder, storms, rains, river flo ...

Indra
), who delegated this task of custodianship to Vishnu. Many Buddhist and Hindu shrines are dedicated to Vishnu in Sri Lanka. In addition to specific Vishnu ''Kovils'' or ''Devalayas'', all Buddhist temples necessarily house shrine rooms (Devalayas) closer to the main Buddhist shrine dedicated to Vishnu. John Holt states that Vishnu was one of the several Hindu gods and goddesses who were integrated into the Sinhala Buddhist religious culture, such as the 14th and 15th-century Lankatilaka Vihara, Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya Vihara, Gadaladeniya Buddhist temples. He states that the medieval Sinhala tradition encouraged Visnu worship (puja) as a part of Theravada Buddhism just like Hindu tradition incorporated the Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu, but contemporary Theravada monks are attempting to purge the Vishnu worship practice from Buddhist temples. According to Holt, the veneration of Vishnu in Sri Lanka is evidence of a remarkable ability over many centuries, to reiterate and reinvent culture as other ethnicities have been absorbed into their own. Though the Vishnu cult in Ceylon was formally endorsed by Kandyan kings in the early 1700s, Holt states that Vishnu images and shrines are among conspicuous ruins in the medieval capital Polonnaruwa. Vishnu iconography such as statues and etchings have been found in archaeological sites of Southeast Asia, now predominantly of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. In Thailand, for example, statues of four-armed Vishnu have been found in provinces near Malaysia and dated to be from the 4th to 9th-century, and this mirror those found in ancient India. Similarly, Vishnu statues have been discovered from the 6th to 8th century eastern Prachinburi Province and central Phetchabun Province of Thailand and southern Đồng Tháp Province and An Giang Province of Vietnam. Krishna statues dated to the early 7th century to 9th century have been discovered in Takéo Province and other provinces of Cambodia. Archeological studies have uncovered Vishnu statues on the islands of Indonesia, and these have been dated to the 5th century and thereafter. In addition to statues, inscriptions and carvings of Vishnu, such as those related to the "three steps of Vishnu" (Trivikrama) have been found in many parts of Buddhist southeast Asia. In some iconography, the symbolism of
Surya Surya (; sa, सूर्य, ) the sun and the solar deity A solar deity (also sun goddess or sun god) is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and Sun worship ...

Surya
, Vishnu and Buddha are fused. In Japanese Buddhist pantheon, Vishnu is known as Bichū-ten (毘紐天), and he appears in Japanese texts such as the 13th century compositions of Nichiren.


In science

4034 Vishnu is an asteroid discovered by Eleanor F. Helin. Vishnu rocks are a type of volcanic Sedimentary rock, sediment found in the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA. Consequently, mass formations are known as Vishnu's temples.


Outside Indian subcontinent


Indonesia

In Indonesia, Vishnu or ''Wisnu'' (Indonesian language, Indonesian spelling) is a well-known figure in the world of wayang (Culture of Indonesia, Indonesian Puppetry), Wisnu is often referred to as the title ''Sanghyang Batara Wisnu''. Wisnu is the god of justice or welfare, wisnu was the fifth son of Batara Guru and Batari Uma. He is the most powerful son of all the sons of Batara Guru. Wisnu is described as a god who has bluish black or dark blue skin, has four arms, each of which holds a weapon, namely a Mace (bludgeon), mace, a lotus flower, lotus, a trumpet and a chakra, Cakra. He can also do tiwikrama, become an infinitely large giant. According to Javanese mythology, Wisnu first came down to the world and became a king with the title Srimaharaja Suman. The country is called Medang Kingdom, Medangpura, located in the present-day Central Java region. Then changed its name to Sri Maharaja Matsyapati. In addition, according to the Javanese wayang puppet version, Batara Wisnu also incarnates Srimaharaja Kanwa, Resi Wisnungkara, Prabu Arjunasasrabahu, Sri Ramawijaya, Sri Batara Kresna, Prabu Airlangga, Prabu Jayabaya, Prabu Anglingdarma. In Javanese mythology, Wisnu also incarnated as a matswa (fish) to kill the giant Hargragiwa who stole the Veda. Become Narasingha (human with a tiger head) to destroy King Hiranyakashipu. He once intended to become a Wimana (dwarf (folklore), dwarf) to defeat Ditya Bali. Batara Wisnu also incarnated in Ramaparasu to destroy gandarwa. Menitis in Arjunasasra / Arjunawijaya to defeat King Rahwana. The last one was for King Krishna to become the great Pandavas parampara or advisor to get rid of greed and evil committed by the Kauravas. Sang Hyang Wisnu has a mount in the form of a giant garuda named ''Bhirawan''. Because of his affection for the garuda he rode, Bhirawan was then adopted as son-in-law, married to one of his daughters named Dewi Kastapi.


Temples

File:Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple Thiruvananthapuram,.jpg, The front-view of Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Some of the earliest surviving grand Vishnu temples in India have been dated to the Gupta Empire period. The Sarvatobhadra temple in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, for example, is dated to the early 6th century and features the ten avatars of Vishnu. Its design based on a square layout and Vishnu iconography broadly follows the 1st millennium Hindu texts on architecture and construction such as the ''Brihat Samhita'' and ''Visnudharmottarapurana''. Archaeological evidence suggest 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 dated to about the start of the common era. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, is dedicated to Vishnu. The temple has attracted huge donations in gold and precious stones over its long history.


Gallery

File:011 Vishnu (32881394093).jpg, 5th-century Vishnu at Udayagiri Caves. File:Vishnu and his Avatars.jpg, 11th-century Vishnu sculpture. The edges show reliefs of Vishnu avatars Varaha, Narasimha, Balarama, Rama, and others. Also shown is Brahma. (Brooklyn Museum) File:Krishna, Kottangal padayani.JPG, The mythologies of Vishnu avatar Krishna are extensive, such as baby Krishna stealing butter, or playing the flute. These themes appear in ancient and medieval coins of South Asia, and the motifs described by 3rd-century poet Hala. File:077 Visnu, 14c, Sukhothai (35086946062).jpg, 14th-century Vishnu, Thailand. File:Garudabkkholidayinn0609.jpg, A statue in Bangkok depicting Vishnu on his vahana Garuda, the eagle. One of the oldest discovered Hindu-style statues of Vishnu in Thailand is from Wat Sala Tung in Surat Thani Province and has been dated to ~400 CE. File:Arca Dewa Wisnu (Candi Prambanan).jpg, 9th century Vishnu statue in Prambanan Temple, Indonesia. File:Arca Wisnu Triwikrama.jpg, the statue of Vishnu, found in Bandung, Indonesia, 1989. File:Harihara Majapahit 1.JPG, Harihara statue from the Majapahit kingdom in Java, Indonesia. the first king of Majapahit (Raden Wijaya) who is believed to be the incarnation of Vishnu. File:Guruvayur Maraprabhu.jpg, The ''maraprabhu'' (Tree Lord) statue near the Guruvayur Temple, Kerala. File:God Vishnu with Goddesses Lakshmi and Sarasvati, Bangladeshi sculpture at the Chicago Art Institute.jpg, Vishnu with the Goddesses
Lakshmi Lakshmi (; ''IAST, Lakṣmī'', ), also known as Sri (, IAST: ''Śrī'', ), is one of the principal goddesses in Hinduism. She is the goddess of wealth, fortune, love, beauty, joy and prosperity, and associated with ''Maya (religion), Maya'' ...

Lakshmi
and Sarasvati (playing Ālāpiṇī vīṇā), 9th-12th century C.E., found at Bangladesh, now at the Chicago Art Institute.


References


Works cited

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External links

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