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Vishnu is a Hindu God. He is the second god of the Trimurti (also called the Hindu Trinity), along with Brahma and Shiva. In later belief, he was attended to by the vasu. In later times, he has been identified with Bhumiya.

Table of contents
1 Theological attributes and more
2 Relations with other gods
3 Depiction
4 Avatars
5 Worship

Theological attributes and more

Vishnu is the all-inclusive deity, known as purusha or mahä purusha, paramätma [Supreme Soul] antaryämi [In-dweller] and He is the shèshin [Totality] in whom all souls are contained. He is Bhagavat where bhâga is Divine Glory.

Vishnu possesses six such divine glories, namely,

  1. jñäna [Omniscient]
  2. aishvarya [Sovereign]
  3. shakti [Potent]
  4. bala [Energetic]
  5. vërya [Immutable]
  6. tèjas [Resplendent.]

Relations with other gods

Vishnu's consort is Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Shakti is the samvit [the primary intelligence] of god, while the other five attributes emerge from this samvid and hence Shakti is the god's ahamata [personality and activity. ] Thus this Shakti of god is personified in mythological lore and is called Shri or Lakshmi, and She is said to manifest herself in, 1] kriyäshakti, [Creative Activity] and 2] bhütishakti [Creation] of god. Hence Vishnu can not part with His own personality or creativity i.e., ahamta, which in its feminine form is called Sri or Lakshmi. He therefore needs consort Goddess Lakshmi to be with Him always, untouched by any. Thus goddess Lakshmi has to accompany Vishnu in all His incarnations.

His mount is Garuda, the eagle. He, along with the rishis, helped broker the truce between Vritra and Indra.


Vishnu is usually depicted as a four-armed humanoid with blue skin, often sitting or resting on a lotus flower. He also has a shapeless, omnipresent form called Hari.


It is believed that he manifested himself as a human being in ten Avatars. His avatars are said to be

  1. Matsya, the fish
  2. Kurma, the tortoise
  3. Varaha, the boar
  4. Narasimha, the Man-Lion (Nara = man, simha = lion)
  5. Vamana, the Dwarf
  6. Parashurama, Rama with the axe
  7. Rama, Sri Ramachandra, the prince and king of Ayodhya
  8. Krishna (meaning "dark" or "black")
  9. varies by sect: Siddhartha Gautama, Chaitanya, Balarama and others
  10. Kalki ("time"), who is yet to be manifested: an apocalyptic figure

Many claim that the ten avatars represent the development of life and of mankind. Matsya, the fish, represents life in water. Kurma, the tortoise, represents the next stage, amphibianism. The third animal, the boar Varaha, symbolizes life on land. Narasimha, the Man-Lion, symbolizes the commencement development of man. Vamana, the dwarf, symbolizes this incomplete development. Then, Parashurama, the forest-dweller, connotes completion of the basic development of humankind. The King Rama signals man's ability to govern nations. Krishna, an expert in the sixty-four fields of science and art according to Hinduism, indicates man's advancement to cultural concerns. Buddha, the Enlightened one, symbolizes the enlightenment and spiritual advancement of man. Note that the time of the avatars does not necessarily indicate much; kings ruled long before Rama and science was pursued long before Krishna. The avatars represent the order, and not the time, of these occurrences, according to certain Hindus. The animal development connotations bear striking resemblances to the theory of Evolution.


Vishnu is the chief god of Vaishnavism.

It is not clearly known when or how the worship of Vishnu began. In the Vedas, and the information on Aryan beliefs, Vishnu is listed as a lesser god, strongly associated with Indra. It was only later in Hindu history that he became a member of the Trimurti and one of the most important deities of the religion.