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Vishnu
Vishnu
( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
pronunciation: [vɪʂɳu]; Sanskrit: विष्णु, IAST: Viṣṇu) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, and the Supreme Being
Supreme Being
in its Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
tradition.[5][6] Vishnu
Vishnu
is the "preserver" in the Hindu
Hindu
trinity (Trimurti) that includes Brahma
Brahma
and Shiva.[7] In Vaishnavism, Vishnu
Vishnu
is identical to the formless metaphysical concept called Brahman, the supreme, the Svayam Bhagavan, who takes various avatars as "the preserver, protector" whenever the world is threatened with evil, chaos, and destructive forces.[8] His avatars most notably include Rama
Rama
in the Ramayana
Ramayana
and Krishna
Krishna
in the Mahabharata. He is also known as Narayana, Jagannath, Vasudeva, Vithoba, and Hari. He is one of the five equivalent deities worshipped in Panchayatana puja
Panchayatana puja
of the Smarta Tradition
Smarta Tradition
of Hinduism.[6] In Hindu
Hindu
iconography, Vishnu
Vishnu
is usually depicted as having a dark, or pale blue complexion and having four arms. He holds a padma (lotus flower) in his lower left hand, Kaumodaki
Kaumodaki
gada (mace) in his lower right hand, Panchajanya shankha (conch) in his upper left hand and the Sudarshana Chakra
Sudarshana Chakra
(discus) in his upper right hand. A traditional depiction is Vishnu
Vishnu
reclining on the coils of the serpent Shesha, accompanied by his consort Lakshmi, as he "dreams the universe into reality".[9]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Texts

2.1 Vedas 2.2 Trivikrama: the three steps of Vishnu 2.3 Brahmanas 2.4 Upanishads 2.5 Puranas 2.6 Sangam and post-Sangam literature 2.7 Bhakti
Bhakti
movement

3 Vaishnava theology 4 Relations With Deities

4.1 Lakshmi 4.2 Trimurti: Shiva
Shiva
and Brahma 4.3 Garuda

5 Avatars of Vishnu

5.1 Dashavatara

6 Beyond Hinduism

6.1 Buddhism 6.2 Other cultures

7 Iconography and temples 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References

10.1 Bibliography

11 External links

Etymology Yaska, the mid 1st-millennium BCE Vedanga
Vedanga
scholar, in his Nirukta (etymological interpretation), defines Vishnu
Vishnu
as viṣṇur viṣvater vā vyaśnoter vā, "one who enters everywhere". He also writes, atha yad viṣito bhavati tad viṣnurbhavati, "that which is free from fetters and bondages is Vishnu".[10] The medieval Indian scholar Medhātithi suggested that the word Vishnu has etymological roots in viś, meaning to pervade, thereby connoting that Vishnu
Vishnu
is "one who is everything and inside everything".[11] Vishnu
Vishnu
means "all pervasive".[12][13] Texts

Vishnu
Vishnu
icons across cultures

180 BCE Indo-Greek
Indo-Greek
coin of Agathocles.

Vishnu
Vishnu
nicolo seal, 4th–6th century CE, Gandhara.

13th century Cambodian Vishnu.

India

Myanmar

Indonesia

The iconography of Hindu
Hindu
god Vishnu
Vishnu
has been widespread in history.

Vedas Vishnu
Vishnu
is a Vedic deity, but not a prominent one when compared to Indra, Agni
Agni
and others.[14] Just 5 out of 1028 hymns of the Rigveda, a 2nd millennium BCE Hindu
Hindu
text, are dedicated to Vishnu, and he finds minor mention in the other hymns.[11] Vishnu
Vishnu
is mentioned in the Brahmana
Brahmana
layer of text in the Vedas, thereafter his profile rises and over the history of Indian mythology, states Jan Gonda, Vishnu
Vishnu
becomes a divinity of the highest rank, one equivalent to the Supreme Being.[14][15] 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.[14] In these hymns, the Vedic mythology asserts that Vishnu
Vishnu
resides in that highest home where departed Atman (souls) reside, an assertion that may have been the reason for his increasing emphasis and popularity in Hindu
Hindu
soteriology.[14][16] He is also described in the Vedic literature as the one who supports heaven and earth.[11] In the Vedic hymns, Vishnu
Vishnu
is invoked alongside other deities, especially Indra, whom he helps in killing the symbol of evil named Vritra.[11][17] His distinguishing characteristic in Vedas
Vedas
is his association with light. Two Rigvedic hymns in Mandala 7 refer to Vishnu. In section 7.99 of the Rgveda, Vishnu
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
Vishnu
is Surya
Surya
or Savitr (Sun god), who also bears the name Suryanarayana. Again, this link to Surya
Surya
is a characteristic Vishnu
Vishnu
shares with fellow Vedic deities named Mitra and Agni, where in different hymns, they too "bring men together" and cause all living beings to rise up and impel them to go about their daily activities.[18] In hymn 7.99 of Rigveda, Indra- Vishnu
Vishnu
are equivalent and produce the sun, with the verses asserting that this sun is the source of all energy and light for all.[18] In other hymns of the Rigveda, Vishnu
Vishnu
is a close friend of Indra.[19] Elsewhere in Rigveda, Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda
and Upanishadic texts, Vishnu
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 post-Vedic fusion of all the attributes of the Vedic Prajapati
Prajapati
unto the avatars of Vishnu.[11] In the Yajurveda, Taittiriya Aranyaka
Aranyaka
(10.13.1), Narayana
Narayana
sukta, Narayana
Narayana
is mentioned as the supreme being. The first verse of Narayana
Narayana
Suktam mentions the words paramam padam, which literally mean highest post and may be understood as the supreme abode for all souls. This is also known as Param Dhama, Paramapadam or Vaikuntha. Rig Veda 1.22.20 also mentions the same paramam padam.[20] In the Atharvaveda, 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 legend, with Varaha
Varaha
as an avatar of Vishnu.[17] Trivikrama: the three steps of Vishnu

The "three strides of Vishnu" artwork is common in Hindu
Hindu
temples, wherein his leg is shown raised like a gymnast, symbolizing a huge step. Left: Trivikrama art at a temple in Bhaktapur, Nepal; Right: at 6th-century Badami cave temples, India.

Several hymns of the Rigveda
Rigveda
repeat the mighty deed of Vishnu
Vishnu
called the Trivikrama, which is one of the lasting mythologies in Hinduism since the Vedic times.[21] It is an inspiration for ancient artwork in numerous Hindu
Hindu
temples such as at the Ellora Caves, which depict the Trivikrama legend through the Vamana
Vamana
avatar of Vishnu.[22][23] 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.[21][24]

विष्णोर्नु कं वीर्याणि प्र वोचं यः पार्थिवानि विममे रजांसि । यो अस्कभायदुत्तरं सधस्थं विचक्रमाणस्त्रेधोरुगायः ॥१॥ (...)

I will now proclaim the heroic deeds of Visnu, who has measured out the terrestrial regions, who established the upper abode having, wide-paced, strode out triply (...)

—  Rigveda
Rigveda
1.154.1, Translated by Jan Gonda[25]

The Vishnu
Vishnu
Sukta 1.154 of Rigveda
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.[21] The Shatapatha Brahmana
Brahmana
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
Vishnu
is the savior of the mortals and the immortals (Devas).[21] Brahmanas

To what is One

Seven germs unripened yet are heaven's prolific seed: their functions they maintain by Vishnu's ordinance. Endued with wisdom through intelligence and thought, they compass us about present on every side.

What thing I truly am I know not clearly: mysterious, fettered in my mind I wander. When the first-born of holy Law approached me, then of this speech I first obtain a portion. (...)

They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, and he is heavenly-winged Garutman. To what is One, sages give many a title.

Rigveda
Rigveda
1.164.36-37, 46[26][27]

The Shatapatha Brahmana
Brahmana
contains ideas which Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
tradition of Hinduism
Hinduism
has long mapped to a pantheistic vision of Vishnu
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
Narayana
(Vishnu) asserts, "all the worlds have I placed within mine own self, and mine own self have I placed within all the worlds".[28] The text equates Vishnu
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
Vishnu
is the all.[28] Vishnu
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.[29] The Vedic literature, including its Brahmanas layer, while praising Vishnu
Vishnu
do not subjugate others gods and goddesses. They present an inclusive pluralistic henotheism. Max Muller states, "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".[30] Upanishads The Vaishnava Upanishads
Vaishnava Upanishads
are minor Upanishads
Upanishads
of Hinduism, related to Vishnu
Vishnu
theology. There are 14 Vaishnava Upanishads
Vaishnava Upanishads
in the Muktika anthology of 108 Upanishads.[31] It is unclear when these texts were composed, and estimates vary from the 1st-century BCE to 17th-century CE for the texts.[32][33] These Upanishads
Upanishads
highlight Vishnu, Narayana, Rama
Rama
or one of his avatars as the supreme metaphysical reality called Brahman
Brahman
in Hinduism.[34][35] They discuss a diverse range of topics, from ethics to the methods of worship.[36] Puranas

The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
is centered around Krishna, a Vishnu
Vishnu
avatar.

5th-century Vishnu
Vishnu
at Udayagiri Caves.

Vishnu
Vishnu
is the primary focus of Vaishnavism-focused Puranas
Puranas
genre of Hindu
Hindu
texts. Of these, according to Ludo Rocher, the most important texts are the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu
Vishnu
Purana, Nāradeya Purana, Garuda
Garuda
Purana and Vayu
Vayu
Purana.[37] 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 mahatmyas.[38] One
One
version of the cosmology, for example, states that Vishnu's eye is at the Southern Celestial Pole from where he watches the cosmos.[39] In another version found in section 4.80 of the Vayu
Vayu
Purana, he is the Hiranyagarbha, or the golden egg from which were simultaneously born all feminine and masculine beings of the universe.[40] The Vishnu Purana presents Vishnu
Vishnu
as the central element of its cosmology, unlike some other Puranas
Puranas
where Shiva
Shiva
or Brahma
Brahma
or goddess Shakti
Shakti
are. The reverence and the worship of Vishnu
Vishnu
is described in 22 chapters of the first part of Vishnu
Vishnu
Purana, along with the profuse use of the synonymous names of Vishnu
Vishnu
such as Hari, Janardana, Madhava, Achyuta, Hrishikesha and others.[41]

11th-century Vishnu
Vishnu
sculpture at Brooklyn Museum. The edges show reliefs of Vishnu
Vishnu
avatars Varaha, Narasimha, Balarama, Rama
Rama
and others. Also shown is Brahma.[42]

The Vishnu Purana
Vishnu Purana
discusses the Hindu
Hindu
concept of supreme reality called Brahman
Brahman
in the context of the Upanishads, a discussion that the theistic Vedanta
Vedanta
scholar Ramanuja
Ramanuja
interprets to be about the equivalence of the Brahman
Brahman
with Vishnu, a foundational theology in the Sri
Sri
Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
tradition.[43] Vishnu
Vishnu
is equated with Brahman
Brahman
in Bhagavata Purana, such as in verse 1.2.11, as "learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this non-dual substance as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan."[44] The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
has been the most popular and widely read Purana texts relating to Vishnu
Vishnu
avatar Krishna, it has been translated and available in almost all Indian languages.[45] Like other Puranas, it discusses a wide range of topics including cosmology, genealogy, geography, mythology, legend, music, dance, yoga and culture.[46][47] As it begins, the forces of evil have won a war between the benevolent devas (deities) and evil asuras (demons) and now rule the universe. Truth re-emerges as the Vishnu
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.[48] The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
is a revered text in Vaishnavism.[49] The Puranic legends of Vishnu
Vishnu
have inspired plays and dramatic arts that are acted out over festivals, particularly through performance arts such as the Sattriya, Manipuri dance, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Bhagavata Mela
Bhagavata Mela
and Mohiniyattam.[50][51][52] Some versions of the Purana texts, unlike the Vedic and Upanishadic texts, emphasize Vishnu
Vishnu
as supreme and on whom other gods depend. Vishnu, for example, is the source of creator deity Brahma
Brahma
in the Vaishnavism-focussed Purana texts. Vishnu's iconography typically shows Brahma
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.[53] In contrast, the Shiva-focussed Puranas
Puranas
describe Brahma
Brahma
and Vishnu
Vishnu
to have been created by Ardhanarishvara, that is half Shiva
Shiva
and half Parvati; or alternatively, Brahma
Brahma
was born from Rudra, or Vishnu, Shiva
Shiva
and Brahma creating each other cyclically in different aeons (kalpa).[54] In some Vaishnava Puranas, Vishnu
Vishnu
takes the form of Rudra
Rudra
or commands Rudra
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
Vishnu
all over again, starting a new Kalpa.[55] Other texts offer alternate cosmogenic theories, such as one where the universe and time are absorbed into Shiva.[55][56] Sangam and post-Sangam literature Main article: Thirumal

The mythologies of Vishnu
Vishnu
avatar Krishna
Krishna
are extensive, such as baby Krishna
Krishna
stealing butter, or playing the flute. These themes appear in ancient and medieval coins of South Asia,[57] and the motifs described by 3rd-century poet Hala.[58]

The Sangam literature refers to an extensive regional collection in Tamil language, mostly from the early centuries of the common era. These Tamil texts revere Vishnu
Vishnu
and his avatars such as Krishna
Krishna
and Rama, as well as other pan-Indian deities such as Shiva, Muruga, Durga, Indra
Indra
and others.[59] Vishnu
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).[59] Other terms found for Vishnu
Vishnu
in these ancient Tamil genre of literature include mayavan, mamiyon, netiyon, mal and mayan.[60] Krishna
Krishna
as Vishnu
Vishnu
avatar is the primary subject of two post-Sangam Tamil epics Silappadikaram
Silappadikaram
and Manimekalai, each of which was probably composed about the 5th century CE.[61][62] These Tamil epics share many aspects of the story found in other parts of India, such as those related to baby Krishna
Krishna
such as stealing butter, and teenage Krishna such as teasing girls who went to bathe in a river by hiding their clothes.[61][63] Bhakti
Bhakti
movement Ideas about Vishnu
Vishnu
in the mid 1st millennium CE were important to the Bhakti movement
Bhakti movement
theology that ultimately swept India
India
after the 12th century. The Alvars, which literally means "those immersed in God", were Tamil Vaishnava poet-saints who sang praises of Vishnu
Vishnu
as they travelled from one place to another.[64] They established temple sites such as Srirangam, and spread ideas about Vaishnavism. Their poems, compiled as Alwar Arulicheyalgal or Divya Prabhandham, developed into an influential scripture for the Vaishnavas. The Bhagavata Purana'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.[65][66] Vaishnava theology

Part of a series on

Vaishnavism

Supreme deity

Vishnu

Important deities

Dashavatara

Matsya Kurma Varaha Narasimha Vamana Parasurama Rama Balarama Krishna Buddha Kalki

Other Avatars

Mohini Nara-Narayana Hayagriva

Related

Lakshmi Sita Hanuman Shesha

Texts

Vedas Upanishads Bhagavad Gita Divya Prabandha Ramcharitmanas

Puranas

Vishnu Bhagavata Naradiya Garuda Padma Agni

Sampradayas

Sri
Sri
(Vishishtadvaita) Brahma
Brahma
(Dvaita, Acintyabhedabheda) Rudra
Rudra
(Shuddhadvaita) Nimbarka
Nimbarka
(Dvaitadvaita)

Philosophers–acharyas

Nammalvar Yamunacharya Ramanuja Madhva Chaitanya Vallabha Sankardev Madhavdev Nimbarka Pillai Lokacharya Prabhupada Vedanta
Vedanta
Desika

Related traditions

Bhagavatism Pancharatra Tattvavada Pushtimarg Radha
Radha
Krishna ISKCON Swaminarayan Ekasarana Pranami Ramanandi Vaikhanasas

Hinduism
Hinduism
portal

v t e

The Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Temple was built as a dedication to Vishnu.[67]

Main articles: Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
and Pañcaratra The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
summarizes the Vaishnava theology, wherein it frequently discusses the merging of the individual soul with the Absolute Brahman
Brahman
(Ultimate Reality, Supreme Truth), or "the return of Brahman
Brahman
into His own true nature", a distinctly Advaitic
Advaitic
or non-dualistic philosophy of Shankara.[46][68][69] The concept of moksha is explained as Ekatva (Oneness) and Sayujya (Absorption, intimate union), wherein one is completely lost in Brahman
Brahman
(Self, Supreme Being, one's true nature).[70] This, states Rukmini, is proclamation of "return of the individual soul to the Absolute and its merging into the Absolute", which is unmistakably Advaitic
Advaitic
in its trend.[70] In the same passages, the Bhagavata includes a mention of Bhagavan
Bhagavan
as the object of concentration, thereby presenting the Bhakti path from the three major paths of Hindu
Hindu
spirituality discussed in the Bhagavad Gita.[70][71] The theology in the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
discusses both the sentient and the non-sentient, the soul and the matter of existence. It envisions the universe as the body of Vishnu
Vishnu
(Krishna), state Harold Coward and Daniel Maguire. Vishnu
Vishnu
in Gita's theology pervades all souls, all matter and time.[13] In Sri
Sri
Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
sub-tradition, Vishnu
Vishnu
and Sri (goddess Lakshmi) are described as inseparable, that they pervade everything together. Both together are the creators, who also pervade and transcend their creation.[13] The Bhagavata Purana, in many passages, parallels the ideas of Nirguna Brahman
Brahman
and non-duality of Adi Shankara.[69] For example,

The aim of life is inquiry into the Truth, and not the desire for enjoyment in heaven by performing religious rites, Those who possess the knowledge of the Truth, call the knowledge of non-duality as the Truth, It is called Brahman, the Highest Self, and Bhagavan.

— Sūta, Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
1.2.10-11, Translated by Daniel Sheridan[72]

Scholars describe the Vaishnava theology as built on the foundation of non-dualism speculations in Upanishads, and term it as "Advaitic Theism".[69][73] The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
suggests that God Vishnu
Vishnu
and the soul (Atman) in all beings is one.[68] Bryant states that the monism discussed in Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
is certainly built on the Vedanta foundations, but not exactly the same as the monism of Adi Shankara.[74] 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.[74] In the Bhakti
Bhakti
tradition of Vaishnavism, Vishnu
Vishnu
is attributed with numerous qualities such as omniscience, energy, strength, lordship, vigour, and splendour.[75] The Vaishnava tradition started by Madhvacharya
Madhvacharya
considers Vishnu
Vishnu
in the form of Krishna
Krishna
to be the supreme creator, personal God, all-prevading, all devouring, one whose knowledge and grace leads to "moksha".[76] In Madhvacharya
Madhvacharya
Vaishnava theology, the supreme Vishnu
Vishnu
and the souls of living beings are two different realities and nature (dualism), while in Ramanuja's Sri Vaishnavism, they are different but share the same essential nature (qualified non-dualism).[77][78][79] Relations With Deities Lakshmi

Vishnu
Vishnu
with Lakshmi(Laxminarayan) at Halebidu.

Main article: Lakshmi Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess
Hindu goddess
of wealth, fortune and prosperity (both material and spiritual), is the wife and active energy of Vishnu.[80][81] She is also called Sri[82][83] or Thirumagal in Tamil because she is the source of eight auspicious strengths for Vishnu. When Vishnu
Vishnu
incarnated on the Earth as the avatars Rama
Rama
and Krishna, Lakshmi
Lakshmi
incarnated as his respective consorts: Sita
Sita
(Rama's wife) and Rukmini
Rukmini
(Krishna's wife).[84] Lakshmi
Lakshmi
and Padmavati are wives of Lord Vishnu
Vishnu
at Tirupati. In Hinduism, Lord Vishnu
Vishnu
had incarnated as Lord Venkatachalapathi at Tirupati, although this grand form of him is not counted as one of the dasavatars.[85] Trimurti: Shiva
Shiva
and Brahma Trimurti
Trimurti
(three forms) is a concept in Hinduism
Hinduism
"in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma
Brahma
the creator, Vishnu
Vishnu
the maintainer, preserver or protector and Shiva
Shiva
the destroyer or transformer."[86][87] These three deities have also been called the Hindu
Hindu
triad[88] or the "Great Trinity",[89] all having the same meaning of three in One. They are the different forms or manifestations of One
One
person the Supreme Being.[90] Shiva
Shiva
and Vishnu
Vishnu
are both viewed as the ultimate form of god in different Hindu
Hindu
denominations. Harihara
Harihara
is a composite of half Vishnu and half Shiva, and artwork related to Harihara
Harihara
is found from mid 1st millennium CE, such as in the cave 1 and cave 3 of the 6th-century Badami cave temples.[91][92] Another half Vishnu
Vishnu
half Shiva
Shiva
form, which is also called Harirudra, is mentioned in Mahabharata.[93] Garuda Vishnu's mount (Vahana) is Garuda, the eagle. Vishnu
Vishnu
is commonly depicted as riding on his shoulders. Garuda
Garuda
is also considered as Vedas
Vedas
on which Lord Vishnu
Vishnu
travels. Garuda
Garuda
is a sacred bird in Vaishnavism. In Garuda
Garuda
Purana, Garuda
Garuda
carries Lord Vishnu
Vishnu
to save the Elephant Gajendra.[94][95] Avatars of Vishnu Main articles: Avatar
Avatar
and Dashavatara

Ten avatars of Vishnu
Vishnu
(Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Vamana, Krishna, Kalki, Buddha, Parshurama, Rama
Rama
and Narasimha). Painting from Jaipur, now at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The concept of avatar within Hinduism
Hinduism
is most often associated with Vishnu, the preserver or sustainer aspect of God within the Hindu Trinity or Trimurti
Trimurti
of Brahma, Vishnu
Vishnu
and Shiva. Vishnu's avatars descend to empower the good and fight evil, thereby restoring Dharma. An oft-quoted passage from the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
describes the typical role of an avatar of Vishnu:[96][97]

Whenever righteousness wanes and unrighteousness increases I send myself forth. For the protection of the good and for the destruction of evil, and for the establishment of righteousness, I come into being age after age.

—  Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
4.7–8

The Vishnu
Vishnu
avatars appear in Hindu
Hindu
mythology whenever the cosmos is in crisis, typically because the evil has grown stronger and has thrown the cosmos out of its balance.[98] The avatar then appears in a material form, to destroy evil and its sources, and restore the cosmic balance between the ever-present forces of good and evil.[98] The most known and celebrated avatars of Vishnu, within the Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
traditions of Hinduism, are Krishna
Krishna
and Rama. These names have extensive literature associated with them, each has its own characteristics, legends and associated arts.[97] The Mahabharata, the Krishna
Krishna
Charit Manas for example, includes Krishna, while the Ramayana, Ram Charit Manas includes Rama.[99] Dashavatara Main article: Dashavatara The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
describes Vishnu's avatars as innumerable, though ten of his incarnations (Dashavatara), are celebrated therein as his major appearances.[97][100] The ten major Vishnu
Vishnu
avatars are mentioned in the Agni
Agni
Purana, the Garuda
Garuda
Purana and the Bhagavata Purana.[101][102][note 1] Thirty-nine avatars are mentioned in the Pancharatra.[104] The commonly accepted number of ten avatars for Vishnu
Vishnu
was fixed well before the 10th century CE.[101] The ten best-known avatars of Vishnu
Vishnu
are collectively known as the Dashavatara
Dashavatara
(a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
compound meaning "ten avatars"). Five different lists are included in the Bhagavata Purana, where the difference is in the sequence of the names. Freda Matchett states that this re-sequencing by the composers may be intentional, so as to avoid implying priority or placing something definitive and limitation to the abstract.[105]

The Avatars of Vishnu

Name Description Image Reference

Matsya Half fish-half man avatar. He saves the world from a cosmic flood, with the help of a boat made of the Vedas
Vedas
(knowledge), on which he also rescues Manu (progenitor of man) and all living beings. A demon steals and tries to destroy the Vedas, but Matsya
Matsya
finds the demon, kills him, and returns the Vedas.

[106]

Kurma[note 2] Tortoise avatar. He supports the cosmos, while the gods and demons churn the cosmic ocean with the help of serpent Vasuki to produce the nectar of immortality (just like churning milk to produce butter). The churning produces both the good and the bad, including poison and immortality nectar. Nobody wants the poison, everyone wants the immortality nectar. The demons attempt to steal the nectar, wherein Vishnu
Vishnu
appears as enchantress Mohini
Mohini
avatar, for whom they all fall, and give her the nectar.

[107]

Varaha Boar avatar. He rescues goddess earth when the demon Hiranyaksha kidnaps her and hides her into the depths of the cosmic ocean. The boar finds her and kills the demon, and the goddess holds onto the tusk of the boar as he lifts her back to the surface.

[108]

Narasimha Half lion-half man avatar. Demon king Hiranyakashipu becomes enormously powerful, gains special powers by which no man or animal could kill him, then bullies and persecutes people who disagree with him, including his own son. The Man-Lion avatar creatively defeats those special powers, kills Hiranyakashipu, and rescues demon's son Prahlada
Prahlada
who opposes his own father. The legend is a part of the Hindu festival Holi
Holi
folklore.

[109]

Vamana Dwarf avatar. Demon king Bali gains disproportionately enormous powers, ruling the entire universe and abusing it. The dwarf avatar approaches Bali in the form of a monk when Bali is trying to show off by giving alms at a sacrifice. Bali offers the dwarf any riches he wants, the monk refuses and asks for three steps of land. Bali grants it to him. The dwarf grows, in his first step takes the earth, the second all of the heavens, and for the third the netherworld where Bali returns to.

[110]

Parashurama Sage with an axe avatar. The warrior class gets too powerful and seizes other people's property for their own pleasure. The avatar appears as a sage with an axe, kills the king and all his warrior companions.

[111]

Rama Subject of Ramayana, Ram Charit Manas

[112]

Krishna Subject of the Mahabharata, the Krishna
Krishna
Charit Manas and the Bhagavad Gita

[113]

Buddha Subject of Buddhism.[114] Some Hindu texts
Hindu texts
replace Buddha
Buddha
with Balarama
Balarama
or with Rishabhanatha, the first Tīrthankara of Jainism.[115]

[116][note 3]

Kalki[note 4] The last avatar appears as man with a white horse with wings, projected to end the Kali
Kali
yuga, in order that the cosmos may renew and restart.

[110]

Beyond Hinduism Buddhism

Uthpalawarna Vishnu
Vishnu
Devalaya in Devinuwara, Matara, Sri
Sri
Lanka

While some Hindus consider Buddha
Buddha
as an incarnation of Vishnu, Buddhists in Sri
Sri
Lanka venerate Vishnu
Vishnu
as the custodian deity of Sri Lanka and protector of Buddhism.[118] Vishnu
Vishnu
is also known as Upulvan or uthpala varna, meaning Blue Lotus coloured. Some postulate that Uthpala varna was a local deity who later merged with Vishnu
Vishnu
while another belief is that Uthpala Varna was an early form of Vishnu before he became a supreme deity in Puranic Hinduism. According to Chronicles Mahawamsa, Chulawamsa and folklore in Sri
Sri
Lanka, Buddha himself handed over the custodianship to Vishnu. Others believe that Buddha
Buddha
entrusted this task to Sakra (Indra) and Sakra delegated this task of custodianship to god Vishnu.[119] Many Buddhist
Buddhist
and Hindu shrines are dedicated to Vishnu
Vishnu
in Sri
Sri
Lanka. In addition to specific Vishnu
Vishnu
Kovils or devalayas, all Buddhist
Buddhist
temples necessarily house shrine rooms (Devalayas) closer to the main Buddhist
Buddhist
shrine dedicated to Vishnu.[120]

A statue in Bangkok
Bangkok
depicting Vishnu
Vishnu
on his vahana Garuda, the eagle. One
One
of the oldest discovered Hindu-style statues of Vishnu
Vishnu
in Thailand is from Wat Sala Tung in Surat Thani Province
Surat Thani Province
and has been dated to ~400 CE.[121]

John Holt states that Vishnu
Vishnu
was one of the several Hindu
Hindu
gods and goddesses who were integrated into the Sinhala Buddhist
Buddhist
religious culture, such as the 14th and 15th-century Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya Buddhist
Buddhist
temples.[122] He states that the medieval Sinhala tradition encouraged Visnu worship (puja) as a part of Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism just like Hindu
Hindu
tradition incorporated the Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu, but contemporary Theravada
Theravada
monks are attempting to purge the Vishnu
Vishnu
worship practice from Buddhist temples.[123] According to Holt, the veneration of Vishnu
Vishnu
in Sri
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
Vishnu
cult in Ceylon
Ceylon
was formally endorsed by Kandyan kings in the early 1700s, Holt states that Vishnu
Vishnu
images and shrines are among conspicuous ruins in the medieval capital Polonnaruwa.

14th-century Vishnu, Thailand.

Vishnu
Vishnu
iconography such as statues and etchings have been found in archeological sites of Southeast Asia, now predominantly of the Theravada
Theravada
Buddhist
Buddhist
tradition. In Thailand, for example, statues of four armed Vishnu
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.[121] Similarly, Vishnu
Vishnu
statues have been discovered from the 6th to 8th century eastern Prachinburi Province
Prachinburi Province
and central Phetchabun Province
Phetchabun Province
of Thailand, and southern Đồng Tháp Province and An Giang Province of Vietnam.[124] Krishna
Krishna
statues dated to the early 7th century to 9th century have been discovered in Takéo Province and other provinces of Cambodia.[125] Archeological studies have uncovered Vishnu
Vishnu
statues on the islands of Indonesia, and these have been dated to the 5th century and thereafter.[126] 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
Buddhist
southeast Asia.[127] In some iconography, the symbolism of Surya, Vishnu
Vishnu
and Buddha
Buddha
are fused.[128] In Japanese Buddhist
Buddhist
pantheon, Vishnu
Vishnu
is known as Bichū-ten (毘紐天), and he appears in Japanese texts such as the 13th century compositions of Nichiren.[129] Other cultures Ancient Egyptian God Horus
Horus
too is a part of a trinity, just like Vishnu
Vishnu
is, states James Freeman Clarke.[130] According to Richard Leviton, the younger Horus
Horus
riding on elder Horus
Horus
is similar to Vishnu riding on Garuda.[131] According to James Cowles Prichard, while the trinity concept is present in both Egyptian and Indian mythologies, Horus
Horus
cannot be clearly identified with Vishnu
Vishnu
and the link doubtful.[132] 4034 Vishnu
Vishnu
is an asteroid discovered by Eleanor F. Helin.[133] Vishnu
Vishnu
rocks are a type of volcanic sediment found in the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA. Consequently, mass formations are known as Vishnu's temples.[134] During an excavation in an abandoned village of Russia
Russia
in the Volga region, archaeologist Alexander Kozhevin excavated an ancient idol of Vishnu. The idol dates from between the 7th and 10th centuries. In the interview, Kozhevin stated that "We may consider it incredible, but we have ground to assert that Middle- Volga
Volga
region was the original land of Ancient Rus. This is a hypothesis, but a hypothesis, which requires thorough research."[135] Iconography and temples

The front-view of Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Padmanabhaswamy Temple
in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Vishnu
Vishnu
iconography show him with a dark blue, blue-gray or black colored skin, and as a well dressed jeweled man. He is typically shown with four arms, but two armed representations are also found and discussed in Hindu texts
Hindu texts
on artworks.[136][137] The historic identifiers of his icon include his image holding a conch shell between first two fingers of one hand (left back), a chakra – war discus – 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.[136] One
One
of his arms sometimes carries a gadda (club, mace) which symbolizes authority and power of knowledge.[136] In the fourth arm, he holds a lotus flower which symbolizes purity and transcendence.[136][137][138] 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
Agni Purana
and Padma Purana. These texts, however, are inconsistent.[139] Vishnu
Vishnu
iconography show him either in standing pose, seated in a yoga pose, or reclining. Hindu texts
Hindu texts
on iconography describe design rules of these.[137]

Iconography of the twenty four special Vishnu
Vishnu
forms

Name of Vishnu's special form (according to Agni
Agni
Purana)[139] Lower right arm Upper right arm Upper left arm Lower left arm

Keshava Padma Shankha Chakra Gada

Trivikrama Padma Gada Chakra Shankha

Sridhara Padma Chakra Gada Shankha

Damodara Padma Shankha Gada Chakra

Adhokshaja Padma Gada Shankha Chakra

Janardana Padma Chakra Shankha Gada

Narayana Shankha Padma Gada Chakra

Vishnu Gada Padma Shankha Chakra

Padmanabha Shankha Padma Chakra Gada

Purushottama Chakra Padma Shankha Gada

Narasimha Chakra Padma Gada Shankha

Achyuta Gada Padma Chakra Shankha

Hari Shankha Padma Chakra Gada

Govinda Chakra Gada Padma Shankha

Madhusudana Shankha Chakra Padma Gada

Hrishekesha Gada Chakra Padma Shankha

Samkarshana Gada Shankha Padma Chakra

Krishna Shankha Gada Padma Chakra

Madhava Gada Chakra Shankha Padma

Vamana Shankha Chakra Gada Padma

Vasudeva Gada Shankha Chakra Padma

Pradyumna Gada Chakra Shankha Padma

Aniruddha Chakra Gada Shankha Padma

Upendra Shankha Gada Chakra Padma

Notes: The iconography above is from one of many manuscripts of Agni Purana. It is inconsistent with Padma Purana
Padma Purana
iconography. The above list shows some scribal errors, such as the Hari
Hari
and Padmanabha forms of Vishnu
Vishnu
both have the same SPCG iconography.[139]

Some of the earliest surviving grand Vishnu
Vishnu
temples in India
India
have been dated to the Gupta Empire
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.[140][58] Its design based on a square layout and Vishnu
Vishnu
iconography broadly follows the 1st millennium Hindu texts
Hindu texts
on architecture and construction such as the Brihat Samhita and Visnudharmottarapurana.[141] Archaeological evidence suggest that Vishnu
Vishnu
temples and iconography probably were already in existence by the 1st century BCE.[142] The most significant Vishnu-related epigraphy and archaeological remains are the two 1st century BCE inscriptions in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
which refer to temples of Sankarshana and Vasudeva, the Besnagar Garuda
Garuda
column of ~100 BCE which mentions a Bhagavata temple, another inscription in Naneghat
Naneghat
cave in Maharashtra
Maharashtra
by a Queen Naganika that also mentions Sankarshana, Vasudeva along with other major Hindu
Hindu
deities, and several discoveries in Mathura
Mathura
relating to Vishnu, all dated to about the start of the common era.[142][143][144] The Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Padmanabhaswamy Temple
in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, is dedicated to Vishnu. The temple has attracted huge donations in gold and precious stones over its long history.[145][146][147][148]

Sri
Sri
Ranganathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple
Hindu temple
dedicated to Vishnu located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India. The temple occupies an area of 156 acres (630,000 m2) with a perimeter of 4,116 m (13,504 ft) making it the largest temple in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world.[149]

See also

Amaterasu Dashavatara Jagannath Narayana Keshava Krishna Keshava
Keshava
Namas List of names of Vishnu Mahavishnu Murali gana lola is a bhajan celebrating the God Vishnu's two incarnations Rama
Rama
and Krishna Barbelo Mohini

Notes

^ Alternate lists of Vishnu
Vishnu
avatars are found in medieval Hindu
Hindu
texts. For example, twenty-two avatars of Vishnu
Vishnu
are listed numerically in chapter 1.3 of the Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
[BP]:[103] Four Kumaras (Catursana) [BP 1.3.6] – the four Sons of god Brahma
Brahma
and exemplified the path of devotion, Varaha
Varaha
[BP 1.3.7], Narada
Narada
[BP 1.3.8] the divine-sage who travels the worlds as a devotee of Vishnu, Nara- Narayana
Narayana
[BP 1.3.9] – the twin-sages, Kapila
Kapila
[BP 1.3.10] – a renowned sage spoken of in the Mahabharata, son of Kardama Muni and Devahuti and sometimes identified with the founder of the Samkhya
Samkhya
school of philosophy, Dattatreya
Dattatreya
[BP 1.3.11] – the combined avatar of the Hindu
Hindu
trinity Brahma, Vishnu
Vishnu
and Shiva. He was born to the sage Atri
Atri
became a great seer himself; Yajna
Yajna
[BP 1.3.12] – the lord of fire-sacrifice, who took was the Indra – the lord of heaven, Rishabha [BP 1.3.13] – the father of King Bharata and Bahubali, Prithu
Prithu
[BP 1.3.14] – the sovereign-king who milked the earth as a cow to get the world's grain and vegetation and also invented agriculture, Matsya
Matsya
[BP 1.3.15], Kurma
Kurma
[BP 1.3.16], Dhanvantari
Dhanvantari
[BP 1.3.17] – the father of Ayurveda
Ayurveda
medicine and a physician to the Devas, Mohini
Mohini
[BP 1.3.17] – the enchantress, Narasimha
Narasimha
[BP 1.3.18], Vamana
Vamana
[BP 1.3.19], Parashurama
Parashurama
[BP 1.3.20], Vyasa
Vyasa
[BP] 1.3.21] – the compiler of the scriptures – Vedas
Vedas
and writer of the scriptures Puranas
Puranas
and the epic Mahabharata, Rama
Rama
[BP 1.3.22], Krishna
Krishna
[BP 1.3.23], Balarama [BP 1.3.23], Buddha
Buddha
[BP 1.3.24], Kalki
Kalki
[BP 1.3.25] ^ Mohini, the female avatar of Vishnu, appears in stories about the Kurma
Kurma
avatar.[107] ^ Some versions include Balarama
Balarama
(the elder brother of Krishna) as the eighth avatar, with Krishna
Krishna
listed as the ninth instead of Buddha, while others replace Buddha
Buddha
with Balarama
Balarama
as the ninth avatar.Jayadeva in his Git Govinda instead adds both Balarama
Balarama
and Buddha,but omits Krishna
Krishna
as he is taken as the equivalent of Vishnu,the origin of all avatars.[117] ^ Some medieval Indian texts spell it as Kalkin.

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Temple's Huge Stones Solved ^ a b Brown 1983, pp. 553–557 ^ a b c Sheridan 1986, pp. 1–2, 17–25. ^ a b c Rukmani 1993, pp. 217–218 ^ Murray Milner Jr. (1994). Status and Sacredness: A General Theory of Status Relations and an Analysis of Indian Culture. Oxford University Press. pp. 191–203. ISBN 978-0-19-535912-1.  ^ Sheridan 1986, p. 23 with footnote 17; Sanskrit: कामस्य नेन्द्रियप्रीतिर्लाभो जीवेत यावता जीवस्य तत्त्वजिज्ञासा नार्थो यश्चेह कर्मभिः वदन्ति तत्तत्त्वविदस्तत्त्वं यज्ज्ञानमद्वयम् ब्रह्मेति परमात्मेति भगवानिति शब्द्यते Source: Bhagavata Purana Archive ^ Brown 1998, p. 17. ^ a b Edwin Bryant (2004), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
Book X, Penguin, ISBN 978-0140447996, pages 43-48 ^ Tapasyananda (1991). Bhakti
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Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India
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Trimurti
system having Brahma
Brahma
as the creator, Vishnu
Vishnu
as the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva
Shiva
as the transformer or destroyer see: Zimmer (1972) p. 124. ^ For definition of trimurti as the unified form of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva and use of the phrase the Hindu
Hindu
triad see: Apte, p. 485. ^ For the term "Great Trinity" in relation to the Trimurti
Trimurti
see: Jansen, p. 83. ^ "Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1 Chapter 2 Verse 23". Vedabase.net. Archived from the original on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2011.  ^ Alice Boner (1990), Principles of Composition in Hindu
Hindu
Sculpture: Cave Temple Period, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120807051, pages 89-95, 115-124, 174-184 ^ TA Gopinatha Rao (1993), Elements of Hindu
Hindu
iconography, Vol 2, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120808775, pages 334-335 ^ For Harirudra citation to Mahabharata
Mahabharata
3:39:76f see: Hopkins (1969), p. 221. ^ "Gajendra Moksha". archive.org. Retrieved 30 July 2015.  ^ Wendy Doniger (1993). Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu
Hindu
and Jaina Texts. SUNY Press. p. 127.  ^ Kinsley, David (2005). Lindsay Jones, ed. Gale's Encyclopedia of Religion. 2 (Second ed.). Thomson Gale. pp. 707–708. ISBN 0-02-865735-7.  ^ a b c Matchett, Freda (2001). Krishna, Lord or Avatara?: the relationship between Krishna
Krishna
and Vishnu. 9780700712816. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-7007-1281-6.  ^ a b James Lochtefeld 2002, p. 228. ^ King, Anna S. (2005). The intimate other: love divine in Indic religions. Orient Blackswan. pp. 32–33. ISBN 978-81-250-2801-7.  ^ Bryant, Edwin Francis (2007). Krishna: A Sourcebook. Oxford University Press US. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-19-514891-6.  ^ a b Mishra, Vibhuti Bhushan (1973). Religious beliefs and practices of North India
India
during the early mediaeval period, Volume 1. BRILL. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-90-04-03610-9.  ^ Rukmani, T. S. (1970). A critical study of the Bhagavata Purana, with special reference to bhakti. Chowkhamba Sanskrit
Sanskrit
studies. 77. Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Series. p. 4.  ^ Bhag-P 1.3 Archived 21 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Canto 1, Chapter 3 ^ Schrader, Friedrich Otto (1916). Introduction to the Pāñcarātra and the Ahirbudhnya saṃhitā. Adyar Library. p. 42.  ^ Matchett 2001, p. 160. ^ James Lochtefeld 2002, pp. 228-229. ^ a b James Lochtefeld 2002, pp. 705-705. ^ James Lochtefeld 2002, p. 119. ^ James Lochtefeld 2002, pp. 421-422. ^ a b James Lochtefeld 2002, p. 737. ^ James Lochtefeld 2002, pp. 500-501. ^ James Lochtefeld 2002, pp. 550-552. ^ James Lochtefeld 2002, pp. 370-372. ^ Daniel E Bassuk (1987). Incarnation in Hinduism
Hinduism
and Christianity: The Myth of the God-Man. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-349-08642-9.  ^ Sheth 2002, p. 117 with notes 12 and 13. ^ James Lochtefeld 2002, p. 128. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India
India
through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 74.  ^ Swarna Wickremeratne (2012). Buddha
Buddha
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Sri
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Buddha
in Sri
Sri
Lanka: Remembered Yesterdays. State University of New York Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0791468814.  ^ a b Michel Jacq-Hergoualc'h; Victoria Hobson (Translator) (2002). The Malay Peninsula: Crossroads of the Maritime Silk-Road (100 BC-1300 AD). BRILL Academic. p. xxiii, 116–128. ISBN 90-04-11973-6.  ^ John C Holt (2004). The Buddhist
Buddhist
Vishnu: Religious transformation, politics and culture. Columbia University Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0231133234.  ^ John C Holt (2004). The Buddhist
Buddhist
Vishnu: Religious transformation, politics and culture. Columbia University Press. pp. 5–7, 13–27. ISBN 978-0231133234.  ^ John Guy (2014). Lost Kingdoms: Hindu- Buddhist
Buddhist
Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia. Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 131–135, 145. ISBN 978-1-58839-524-5.  ^ John Guy (2014). Lost Kingdoms: Hindu- Buddhist
Buddhist
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Buddhist
Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia. Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 7–9. ISBN 978-1-58839-524-5.  ^ John Guy (2014). Lost Kingdoms: Hindu- Buddhist
Buddhist
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Buddhist
Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia. Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 221–225. ISBN 978-1-58839-524-5.  ^ Nichiren
Nichiren
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Nichiren
Daishonin. Nichiren Shoshu International Center. p. 1107. ISBN 978-4-88872-012-0. , Alternate site: Archive ^ Richard Leviton (1871). Ten Great Religions: an Essay in Comparative Theology. Trübner & Company. p. 247.  ^ Richard Leviton (2002). What's Beyond That Star: A Chronicle of Geomythic Adventure. Clairview Books. p. 160.  ^ James Cowles Prichard
James Cowles Prichard
(1819). An Analysis of the Egyptian Mythology: To which is Subjoined a Critical Examination of the Remains of Egyptian Chronology. J. and A. Arch. p. 285.  ^ Vishnu
Vishnu
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Vishnu
Asteroid – Pasadena, CA – Extraterrestrial Locations on Waymarking.com ^ Vishnu
Vishnu
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Grand Canyon
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Vishnu
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4 Jan 2007 ^ a b c d Steven Kossak; Edith Whitney Watts (2001). The Art of South and Southeast Asia: A Resource for Educators. Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 30–31, 16, 25, 40–41, 74–78, 106–108. ISBN 978-0-87099-992-5.  ^ a b c T. A. Gopinatha Rao (1993). Elements of Hindu
Hindu
iconography. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. pp. 73–115. ISBN 978-81-208-0878-2.  ^ James G. Lochtefeld (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A-M. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 137, 231, 624 (Vol. 2). ISBN 978-0-8239-3179-8.  ^ a b c P.B.B. Bidyabinod, Varieties of the Vishnu
Vishnu
Image, Memoirs of Archaeological Survey of India, No. 2, Calcutta, pages 23-33 ^ Alexander Lubotsky (1996), The Iconography of the Viṣṇu Temple at Deogarh and the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, Ars Orientalis, Vol. 26 (1996), page 65 ^ Alexander Lubotsky (1996), The Iconography of the Viṣṇu Temple at Deogarh and the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, Ars Orientalis, Vol. 26 (1996), pages 66-80 ^ a b Bryant 2007, p. 18 with footnote 19. ^ Doris Srinivasan (1997). Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes: Origin, Meaning, and Form of Multiplicity in Indian Art. BRILL Academic. pp. 211–220, 240–259. ISBN 90-04-10758-4.  ^ [a] Doris Srinivasan (1989). Mathurā: The Cultural Heritage. Manohar. pp. 389–392. ISBN 978-81-85054-37-7. ; [b] Doris Srinivasan (1981). "Early Krishan Icons: the case at Mathura". In Joanna Gottfried Williams. Kalādarśana: American Studies in the Art of India. BRILL Academic. pp. 127–136. ISBN 90-04-06498-2.  ^ "Keralas Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple may reveal more riches". India Today. 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2016-10-08.  ^ Pomfret, James (2011-08-19). " Kerala
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Bibliography

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Upanishads
of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-1467-7.  Ariel Glucklich (2008). The Strides of Vishnu : Hindu
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Culture in Historical Perspective: Hindu
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Culture in Historical Perspective. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-971825-2.  Kumar Das, Sisir (2006). A history of Indian literature, 500–1399. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-2171-0.  Lamb, Ramdas (2002). Rapt in the Name: The Ramnamis, Ramnam, and Untouchable Religion in Central India. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-5386-5.  Mahony, William K. (1998). The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-3579-3.  Translation by Richard W. Lariviere (1989). The Nāradasmr̥ti. University of Philadelphia.  Olivelle, Patrick (2007). "The Date and Provenance of the Viṣṇu Smṛti" (PDF). 33. Indologica Taurinensia: 49–163. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2015.  Rocher, Ludo (1986). The Puranas. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3447025225.  Devdutt Pattanaik
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