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About Hindu God Vishnu – Understanding Lord Vishnu

Vishnu and His avatars are one of the most popular forms of Supreme Truth worshipped in Hinduism. Hindu God Vishnu is a living god. Understanding Lord Vishnu is easy for a bhakta or devotee but he is a puzzle for the scholar and the non-believer. He continuously makes His presence felt in the world through His avatars. Puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana are full of stories of Vishnu.
‘The world originated from Vishnu; it is in Him that the world exists as a harmonious system; He is the sole sustainer and controller of the world, and in truth, the world is He.’ (Vishnu Purana I, i, 35)
  • Vishnu, also known as Narayana, is mentioned in the Rig Veda, the earliest of the known Hindu scriptures.
  • The Supreme Truth in whom the universe appears and disappears is not easy to fathom for a common mind. Vishnu is the easily understandable and the most approachable face of the Supreme Truth in Hinduism.
  • Avatars of Vishnu are more popular than Him – like Sri Ram and Sri Krishna.
  • Bhakti or devotion is of great importance in the worship of Vishnu. Thus, we have innumerable Bhakti cults that have developed around the avatars of Vishnu.
  • The title of ‘only preserver’ is wrongly attributed to Vishnu by scholars with little or no knowledge of the true concept of Hinduism.
  • Some of the most popular Hindu temples in the world are dedicated to Vishnu or one of his avatars.
  • Bhagavad Gita is the direct teaching of Vishnu through his avatar Krishna.
  • The Hindu scripture that is exclusively dedicated to Lord Vishnu is the Srimad Bhagavad Purana.
  • Jagannath, Venkateswara, Guruvayoor Appan, Ranganatha, Vitthal, Shrinathji, Badrinath…all are His forms. Self-realization is seeing Vishnu in all animate and inanimate.
  • The world is not linear but cyclic in Hinduism. When Adharma flourishes, things become unbearable in the world. Vishnu then takes an avatar to preserve Dharma.
  • Vishnu is a highly personal God. Bhakti or devotion of a devotee can make Him appear. He takes the form in which His devotee wants to see Him. Thus he can appear as son, friend, brother, lover, husband, enemy…
  • Innumerable are the incarnations of Vishnu in the universe. Humans have only recorded a very of them. Among the very few, 10 are more famous. They are:
  1. Fish (Matsya)
  2. Kurma (Tortoise)
  3. Boar (Varaha)
  4. Narasimha (Man-lion)
  5. Vamana (dwarf)
  6. Parashurama (the forest dweller with an axe)
  7. Ramachandra (Rama with the Bow)
  8. Krishna (Human mind cannot capture Him in words)
  9. Buddha (appeared to wipe out ignorance)
  10. Kalki (Future incarnation – that will put an end to the present cycle of creation)
To approach Vishnu a devotee needs no intermediator. There is no need for complex prayers and rituals. There is no need of any offering. All it takes is devotion. For a true devotee of Vishnu, Earth is Vaikunta (abode of Vishnu) and death is an opportunity to merge in Vishnu.