Lesser Known Facts About Lord Vishnu
lord Brahma Vishnu Mahesh
Hinduism believes in one God. However, for the purpose of administering the creation, the Supreme Energy manifests into trinity namely Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. In India, Nepal and many other countries, there are temples dedicated to these three forms. Among the trinity, Lord Brahma creates and Lord Shiva destroys while Lord Vishnu is called the protector of the created universe. Here are some lesser known facts about Lord Vishnu.
Birth of Lord Brahma and creation of the Universe
Lord Vishnu is depicted reclining on a snake bed in the ocean of cosmos. He is engaged in eternal sleep or Yoga Nidra (meditative sleep) for ages on this thousand headed serpent called Adisesha with Lakshmi, his consort offering her services to the Lord. When he woke up, he stirred due to which a lotus flower rose up from his belly. This flower blossomed, giving birth to Lord Brahma, the creator. Lord Brahma saw his divine father Lord Vishnu, paid his respects to the Lord and then started the creative process with Lord Vishnu’s blessings.
10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu
Hindu scriptures say Lord Vishnu incarnated ten times on this earth to annihilate evil and promote righteousness. His incarnations in line are Matsya (fish), Kurma (turtle), Varaha (boar), Narasimha (man-lion), Vamana (the dwarf), Parashurama (the man with axe) Rama, Krishna, Balarama and Kalki. Among these ten, Kalki is called the Bavishya Avatar who will manifest at the end of this Kali age to destroy the worlds and start new creations. From the first to the last incarnation, we find a gradual evolution from an animal with two senses to the complete incarnation namely Krishna, thus showing the eternal journey of man.
Lord Vishnu's abode is known as Param Padam or Vaikunt, the supreme celestial abode. It is said the souls which are conferred liberation live in this divine abode. Scriptures say Vaikunta is located at about 209,600,000 miles above the Satyaloka, the abode of Brahma. Bhagavata Purana describes that the souls residing here possess a skin glowing with sky blue complexion. Their eyes are beautiful like lotus and they are dressed in shining yellow garments. These radiant beings are free from all illusions and are superior to the other souls.
Lord Vishnu is depicted with a blue complexion. This signifies his all-pervasive nature. In fact the term Vishnu means all pervasive. In his four hands Lord Vishnu carries Shankh (Conch), Chakra (discuss), Gadha (mace) and Padma (Lotus). Endowed with the mission of annihilating the demons, Lord Vishnu carries a bow called Sarnga. In temples, Lord Vishnu is shown standing or seated and reclining poses. The most famous posture of Lord Vishnu is the one reclining on the snake Adisesha in the ocean of milk.
Goddess Lakshmi is the energy of Lord Vishnu. She is always shown with the Lord as she is said to follow him on the move. While Vishnu protects the created universe, Lakshmi nurtures the universe with energy, food, wealth, beauty and radiance. The permanent seat of Goddess Lakshmi is the chest of Lord Vishnu. Therefore in temples it is very common to see the image of Lord Vishnu with the image of Lakshmi in his chest. Lakshmi is also depicted as a mole ‘Srivatsa’ in the Lord’s chest.
Why Lord Vishnu is shown on Adisesha
There is a deep philosophy behind why Lord Vishnu sleeps on the snake Adisesha. Serpent represents the horror and dangers of the world. The world around us is unbelievable, threatening, deceitful and challenging. However, like the serene and smiling face of the Lord resting on the dreadful snake, humans must maintain their balance and self-confidence amidst the chaos and confusions of the world.
Lord Vishnu tactfully reclaims the worlds from the demon
In his fifth incarnation as the dwarf, Lord Vishnu approached the demon Mahabali who was performing a huge sacrifice. During the sacrifice, it was customary to give away anything the visitors might ask the performer. Vamana, the dwarf asked the demon to give him as much land as measured by three steps of his feet and the demon agreed. At once, the dwarf took a gigantic form and measured the earth and skies in just two feet. Mahabali then surrendered to the Lord and Lord Vishnu blessed the demon by placing his third feet on the demon’s head.
Is Lord Buddha an incarnation of Lord Vishnu?
The fact that Lord Buddha is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu is debatable. Many Hindu sects believe and accept Lord Buddha as one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu while others beg to differ and claim that Buddha was just an incarnation of a highly evolved soul. Some claim that Lord Vishnu manifested as Buddha to challenge the evils that had developed in Hinduism and thereby purge the religion of its superstitions and maladies.
The idea Vishwarup of Lord Vishnu occurs in many places in Hindu scriptures. The most popular one is found in the Bhagavad Gita, the teaching given by Lord Krishna to Arjun in the battlefield. The verses of Bhagavad Gita describe the cosmic form of Lord Vishnu with thousands of heads and thousands of hands. This form contains the entire universe as a miniature inside the Lord. It is said only blessed souls can withstand the sight of this majestic form.