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From Thelemapedia

Vishnu (Hindi: (विष्‍णु) is a form of God, whom Hindus pray to. For Vaishnavites, He is the only Ultimate Reality or God. In Trimurti belief, He is the second aspect of God in the Trimurti (also called the Hindu Trinity), along with Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu means, "The All-Pervading One," another name for the one Supreme Being. Known as the Preserver, He is most famously identified with his avatars, or incarnations of God, most especially Krishna and Rama.

Table of contents

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 or Bhagavan where bhâga is Divine Glory,

Vishnu possesses six such divine glories, namely,

However, the actual number of auspicious qualities of Vishnu are countless, with the above-mentioned six qualities being the most important. Other important qualities attributed to God are Gambhirya (inestimatable grandeur), Audarya (generosity), and Karunya (compassion.)

Relations with other Deities

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 God's ahamata (personality and activity) or God's Power personified. 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 cannot part with His own personality or creativity i.e., ahamta, which in its feminine form is called Sri or Lakshmi. He therefore needs his consort Goddess Lakshmi to be with Him always, untouched by any. Thus 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.



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. However, Shukavak N. Dasa, a Vaishnavite scholar, in reference, [1] (, has commentated that Srivaishnavites would note that the praise of Indra and other devas in the Vedas, are not intended for the particular deity, but for the Supreme Being, Vishnu, who is the inner soul for such deity. They further note that the various deities addressed in the hymns are simply different forms of this one Supreme Being. Additionally, he mentions Vaishnavites' citation of Rig Veda 1.22.20, for the supremacy of Vishnu, which states, "As the blazing sun pervades the entire sky like an eye fixed in the heavens, so the divine seers eternally perceive that supreme abode of Vishnu." Also, the foreword of P. Sankaranarayan's translation of Vishnu sahasranama, Bhavan's Book University, cites Rig Veda V.I.15b.3, for the importance of chanting Vishnu's name by stating, "O ye who wish to gain realization of the supreme truth, utter the name of Vishnu at least once in the steadfast faith that it will lead you to such realization." Nevertheless, it was only later in Hindu history that Vishnu became a member of the Trimurti and hence is one of the most important forms of God in contemporary Hinduism.


Vishnu has a number of names, collected in the Vishnu sahasranama ("Vishnu's thousand names"), which occurs in the Mahabharata. In Vishnu Sahasranama, however, Vishnu is praised as the Supreme God.

The names are generally derived from the anantakalyanagunas (infinite auspicious attributes) of the Lord. Fourteen of Vishnu's names have a special status:

Other important names:

Dhanvantari is an avatar of Vishnu. One of the most famous Hindu saints, Shri Raghavendra Swami was a Vaishnavist monotheist.

Theological beliefs and philosophy

Major branches of Vaishnavism include Srivaishnavism, (espoused by Ramanuja) who advocated Vishishtadvaita, Dvaita (espoused by Madhvacharya or Madhva and Gaudiya Vaishnavism (espoused by Shri Chaityana).

The Hare Krishna movement or ISKCON adheres to Gaudiya Vaishnavism school.

External links


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