Who is Lord Vishnu

Who is Lord Vishnu?

Lord Vishnu is the second god in the Hindu triumvirate (orTrimurti). The triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world.

The other two gods are Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma is the creator of the universe and Lord Shiva is the destroyer. Lord Vishnu is the preserver and protector of the universe.

His role is to return to the earth in troubled times and restore the balance of good and evil. So far, he has been incarnated nine times, but Hindus believe that he will be reincarnated one last time close to the end of this world.

Lord Vishnu’s worshippers, usually called Vaishnava, consider him the greatest god. They regard the other gods as lesser or demi-gods. Vaishnava worship only Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu monotheism is called Vaishnavism.

What do the ancient texts say about Lord Vishnu?

In the Rig Veda, which is the holiest of the four Vedas, Lord Vishnu is mentioned numerous times alongside other gods, such as Indra.

He is particularly associated with light and especially with the Sun. In early texts, Lord Vishnu is not included as one of the original seven solar gods (Adityas), but in later texts he is mentioned as leading them.

From this time, Lord Vishnu appears to have gained more prominence, and by the time of the Brahmanas (commentaries of the Vedas), he is regarded as the most important of all gods.

Two of Lord Vishnu’s incarnations, Lord Rama and Lord Krishna, are also the subject of the epic stories Ramayana and Mahabharata, respectively.

What does Lord Vishnu look like?

Lord Vishnu is represented with a human body, often with blue coloured skin and with four arms. His hands always carry four objects in them, representing the things he is responsible for. The objects symbolize many more meanings than are presented here:

  • The conch: the sound this produces ‘Om’, represents the primeval sound of creation
  • The chakra, or discus: symbolises the mind
  • The lotus flower: an example of glorious existence and liberation
  • The mace: represents mental and physical strength

Lord Vishnu is usually represented in two positions.

  • Standing upright on a lotus flower with Goddess Lakshmi, his consort, close by him
  • Reclining on the coils of a serpent, with Goddess Lakshmi massaging his feet. They are surrounded by the Milky Ocean.

Lord Vishnu rides on the King of Birds, Garuda, who is an eagle.