(Part – I)
ॐ नमोः नारायणाय.ॐ नमोः भगवते वासुदेवाय ।:।||
(Aum Namoh Narayana:! Aum Namoh Bhagwate Vasudevaya)
Bhagwan Vishnu is one of three sakar forms (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) and his cosmic function is preservation and maintenance of life. The tradition of reverence of Vishnu and its avatars is called Vaishnavism or Vishnuism.
Signs & Significance
Vishnu is usually depicted as having a dark, or pale blue complexion and having four arms. A traditional depiction is Vishnu reclining on the coils of the serpent Shesha, accompanied by his consort Lakshmi. The significance is as under:
1. The upper left hand represents liberation. It holds Padma (lotus flower) which is symbol of purity and represents the unfolding of creation from which the universe emerges. It represents truth or Satya and the originator of the rules of conduct or Dharma; and knowledge or Gyana.
2. The upper right hand represents cohesiveness and holds the discus or chakra which symbolizes the mind and shines like a tiny sun. The Chakra is named Sudarshan. This name is derived from two words - Su, which means "good", and Darshan, which means "vision". The discus as a weapon thus indicates the necessity of destroying one's ego and illusory self-existence and developing the vision to identify the eternal truth. The discus has six spokes and symbolizes a lotus with six petals, thus representing the power that controls all six seasons.
3. The lower right hand is said to represent creativity and holds the conch, which is the symbol of the five elements. The Conch or Shankha is named Panchajanya, or the originator of the five basic elements - water, fire, air, earth and sky or space. It is said that the sound that evolves from blowing this conch is the primeval sound of creation. The blowing of the Conch by Vishnu is said to remind his devotees to practice kindness and compassion towards all of existence, kindness and compassion being the language the Lord uses to address his devotees.
4. The lower left hand represents individual existence and holds the mace, which symbolizes the primeval force from which all mental and physical strength is derived. The Mace, or Gada is named Kaumodaki.
5. Shesh Nag, the divine snake, with its thousand hoods, in the common representations of Vishnu depicts mind of an individual with its numerous desires, which, just like the venom of a snake, kill by virtue of their evil possessive nature.
6. The lord is shown as sitting over the coiled snake as if to depict that instead of desires controlling him, it is he who has control over desires. It is an indication of the necessity of an individual to control one's desires so as to grasp the eternal truth and become one with the Supreme Being.
7. The yellow color of his clothing associates his existence to the world. They indicate that he would incarnate himself in our world for upholding righteousness and destroying evil.
8. The flower garland around Vishnu's neck is a symbol of the devotee's love for him. The gem decorating his neck is a representation of Vishnu's function of fulfilling the genuine desires and needs of his devotees. The crown on his head symbolizes his supreme authority. The two earrings of his represent the inherent opposites in creation - knowledge and ignorance; happiness and unhappiness; pleasure and pain.
Vishnu's mount (Vahana) is Garuda, the eagle. Garuda is also considered as Vedas on which Lord Vishnu travels. His abode is called Vaikuntha.
Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity (both material and spiritual), is the wife and active energy of Vishnu. She is also called Sri or Thirumagal because she is the source of auspicious strengths for Vishnu. As per Vishnu Purana, Vishnu is the meaning, Sri is the speech. She is the conduct, he the behaviour. Vishnu is knowledge, she the insight. He is dharma, she the virtuous action. She is the earth, he earth's upholder. She is contentment, he the satisfaction. She is wish, he is the desire. Sri is the sky, Vishnu the Self of everything. He is the moon, she the beauty of moon. He is the ocean, she is the shore. When Vishnu incarnate on the Earth as the avatars (Rama and Krishna), Lakshmi incarnate as his respective consorts. Her four hands represent the four goals of human life considered proper in Hindu way of life – dharma, kama, artha, and moksha.