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Vyuha Concept Of Bhagavan Vishnu

The vyuha segmentation of the cosmic purusha (creator) is a concept as old as the Purusha Sukta. First appearing in the Rig Veda, it is also repeated in the two Vedas – Yajur and Sama. The Mahabharata (Shanti Parva), Narayaniya section refers to vyuha as part of the Pancharatra system of worship current among the residents of Svetadvipa. It is said that, from a distance Sage Narada saw Svetadvipa and its inhabitants, devoid of hunger and thirst and in ever-lasting ekanti bhakti (one-pointed devotion) to Narayana. There, God granted him a vision and also spoke to him the ekanti dharma and vyuha forms.

Each of the four vyuhas descends into three sub vyuhas thereby making twelve evolutes in all. Vasudeva hypostatizes into Keshava, Narayana and Madhava; Sankarshana into Govinda, Vishnu and Madhusudana; Pradyumna into Trivikrama, Vamana and Sridhara; and Anirudha into Hrishikesha, Padmanabha and Damodara. The twelve forms are mentioned in a popular hymn recited in worship called Dwadasa nama panjara stotram.

The twelve evolute forms of Vishnu are venerated as the presiding deities of the sun in the twelve months of a year.

The distinctive complexions and weapons of these forms are particularly dear to Sri Vaishnava devotees who adorn their bodies with urdhva pundra (vertical marks) using sacred earth and Srichurnam (red powder) accompanied by the recitation of these twelve names as a daily practice enjoined by Sruti-Smriti-Agama prescriptions.