vishnuVishnu

Vishnu (IAST viṣṇu, Devanagari विष्णु), (honorific: Bhagavan Vishnu), is the Supreme God in Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God, and his supreme status is declared in the Hindu sacred texts like Yajurveda, the Rigveda and the Bhagavad Gita.

The Vishnu Sahasranama declares Vishnu as Paramatma (supreme soul) and Parameshwara (supreme God). It describes Vishnu as the All-Pervading essence of all beings, the master of—and beyond—the past, present and future, the creator and destroyer of all existences, one who supports, sustains and governs the Universe and originates and develops all elements within.

In the Puranas, Vishnu is described as having the divine color of clouds (dark-blue), four-armed, holding a lotus, mace, conch and chakra (wheel). Vishnu is also described in the Bhagavad Gita as having a ‘Universal Form’ (Vishvarupa) which is beyond the ordinary limits of human sense perception.

The Puranas also describe each of the Dasavatara of Vishnu. Among these ten principal avatars described, nine of them have occurred in the past and one will take place in the future, at the end of Kali Yuga. In the commentary of creator Brahma in Vishnu Sahasranamam, he refers to Vishnu as “Sahasrakoti Yuga Dharine”, which means that these incarnations take place in all Yugas in cosmic scales. The Bhagavad Gita mentions their purpose as being to rejuvenate Dharma and vanquish negative forces as also to display His divine pastimes in front of the conditioned/fallen souls. In almost all Hindu denominations, Vishnu is either worshiped directly or in the form of his ten avatars, such as Rama and Krishna.

The Trimurti (English: ‘three forms’; Sanskrit: trimūrti) is a concept in Hinduism “in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva the destroyer or transformer. These three deities have been called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity“. Of the three members of the Trimurti, the Bhagavata Purana explains that the greatest benefit can be had from Vishnu.

The Ten Avatars of Vishnu 

There are ten avatars of Vishnu (dashavatara) commonly considered as the most prominent.

1. Matsya :- matsya_748

Matsya (Sanskrit: मत्स्य) (Fish in Sanskrit) was the first Avatar of Vishnu in Hindu mythology.

             According to the Matsya Purana, the king of pre-ancient Dravida and a devotee of Lord Vishnu, Satyavrata who later becomes known as Manu was washing his hands in a river when a little fish swam into his hands and pleaded with him to save its life. He put it in a jar, which it soon outgrew. He then moved it to a tank, a river and then finally the ocean but to no avail. The fish then revealed himself to be Lord Vishnu and told him that a deluge would occur within seven days that would destroy all life. Therefore, Satyavrata was instructed to take “all medicinal herbs, all the varieties of seeds, and accompanied by the seven saints” along with the serpent Vasuki and other animals.

The deluge occurred and the lord reappeared as promised and advised Sathyavrata to board the boat and fasten the serpent Vasuki to his horn as a rope to the boat.

Matsya is generally represented as a four-armed figure with the upper torso of a man and the lower of a fish.

2. Kurma :-kurma

In Hinduism, Kurma (Sanskrit: कुर्म) was the second avatar of Vishnu. Like the Matsya Avatara also belongs to the Satya yuga.

         The Devas lost their strength and prowess due to a curse by the sage Durvasa because Indra, the king of the Devas, had insulted the sage’s gift (a garland) by giving it to his elephant which trampled upon it. Thus, after losing their immortality and kingdom, they approached Lord Vishnu for help.

Vishnu suggested that they needed to drink the nectar of immortality to regain their lost glory. However, they needed to strive hard to acquire the nectar since it was hidden in the ocean of milk. After declaring a truce with their foes (Asuras), Indra and his Devas together with the Asuras, use the serpent Vasuki as a churning rope and the mount Mandara as the churning staff.

When they began churning, the mount began sinking into the ocean. Taking the form of a tortoise (Kurma), Vishnu bears the entire weight of the mountain and the churning continues and various objects are thrown out including the deadly poison Halahala, whose fumes threaten to destroy the Devas and the Asuras. Lord Shiva then comes to their rescue and gathers the entire poison in his palm and drinks it. His consort, Parvathi, clasps his throat and the poison remains there. Hence he became known as “Neelakanta” (literally: “the blue-throated one).

“Fourteen precious things” come out of the ocean, culminating with Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods, appearing with the nectar of immortality. The Asuras immediately rush and grab the nectar while quarreling among themselves.

Vishnu again comes to the rescue in the form of a beautiful damsel, Mohini and tricks the Asuras and retrieves the potion which is distributed to the Devas. Though the Asuras realize Vishnu’s tricks, it is too late, as the Devas regain their renowned prowess and defeat them.

3. Varaha:-avataar_varaha2

Varaha (Sanskrit: वाराह) is the third Avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, in the form of a Boar. He appeared in order to defeat Hiranyaksha, a demon who had taken the Earth (Prithvi) and carried it to the bottom of what is described as the cosmic ocean in the story. The battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksha is believed to have lasted for a thousand years, which the former finally won. Varaha carried the Earth out of the ocean between his tusks and restored it to its place in the universe. Vishnu married Prithvi (Bhudevi) in this avatar.

Varaha is depicted in art as either purely animal or as being anthropomorphic, having a boar’s head on a man’s body. In the latter form he has four arms, two of which hold the wheel and conch-shell while the other two hold a mace, sword or lotus or make a gesture (or “mudra“) of blessing. The Earth is held between the boar’s tusks.

The avatar symbolizes the resurrection of the Earth from a pralaya (deluge) and the establishment of a new kalpa (cosmic cycle).

The Varaha Purana is a Purana in which the form of narration is a recitation by Varaha.

Temples dedicated to Varaha

  • Sri Varaham – in Trivandrum, near South Fort.
  • Srimushnam – This temple in Tamil Nadu named is considered a Swayambhu Murthi, as are Tirupati and Badrinath.
  • Varah shyam temple – This temple is located in BHINMAL city in Jalore District. Here is present a large idol of God VARAHA. It is an ancient temple and is situated in the middle of the city.
  • Varaha temple – This temple is in Varaha Village in Jind District, Haryana. Here is a Swayambhu Murthi of God VARAHA.
  • Thiruvidandai- In this temple near Chennai Varaha is also called Nityakalyana Perumal. It is famous for marriages and is one of the Divya desam.
  • Simhachalam – The famous Varaha LakshmiNarasimha swamy temple, one of the most prominent in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Tirupati – Sri VarahaMurthy Temple at Tirumala – Tirupati|Tirupati is considered to be a very ancient temple. Pilgrims should first worship Lord Varaha and then Lord Venkateswara. It is also known as Aadhi Varaha Kshetra.
  • ThirukKalvanoor – Aadi Varaha Perumal in Kamakshi Amman Temple, Kanchipuram.
  • [Thiruvalavendhai / Valavendhai Piraan / Gnaanapiraan]  – Thirukkadalmallai (Mammallapuram) – Aadi Varaha Perumal holding Akhilavalli Thaayaar (Bhudevi) on His right. The only Varaha temple where Perumal holds Thaayaar on His right.
  • Sukarkshetra Temple – This temple is situated on the bank of Sarayu river in Paska village of Paraspur circle in Gonda district of eastern Uttar Pradesh (India).
  • YagnaVaraha- This temple is located in Karimnagar District, AndhraPradesh. The rituals are done according to Vaikhanasa Agama.

Narasimha, the Man-Lion (Nara = man, simha = lion).

 

  • Vamana, the Dwarf Brahmin (priest).
  • Parashurama, Rama with the axe, who appeared in the Treta Yuga.
  • Rama, Sri Ramachandra, the prince and king of Ayodhya.
  • Krishna (meaning ‘dark coloured’ or ‘all attractive’ or the Existence of Bliss, [30]), appeared in the Dwapara Yuga along with his brother Balarama. Balarama is included as the eighth Dasavatara which list Krishna as the source of all avatars, svayam bhagavan (this viewpoint is specific to Bhagavata, Gaudiya, Vallabhacarya and Nimbarka sampradayas) .[31]
  • Buddha, the thinker. (See Gautama Buddha in Hinduism)
  • Kalki (“Eternity”, or “time”, or “The Destroyer of foulness”), who is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the time period in which we currently exist.
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God of Creation

Posted: April 10, 2009 in Description of God's

brahma-jiLORD BRAHMA – THE CREATOR
Brahma is the Hindu god (deva) of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. He is not to be confused with the Supreme Cosmic Spirit in Hindu Vedanta philosophy known as Brahman. Brahmā’s consort is Saraswati, the goddess of learning. Brahmā is often identified with Prajapati, a Vedic deity.
Name
In Sanskrit grammar, brahmā ब्रह्मा is the nominative singular of the generic neuter brahman.
The god is known as Berahma in Malay and as Phra Phrom in Thai

Creation
                 According to the Puranas, Brahma is self-born (without mother) in the lotus flower which grew from the navel of Vishnu at the beginning of the universe. This explains his name Nabhija (born from the navel). Another legend says that Brahmā was born in water. In this he deposited a seed that later became the golden egg. From this golden egg, Brahma the creator was born, as Hiranyagarbha. The remaining materials of this golden egg expanded into the Brahm-anda or Universe. Being born in water, Brahmā is also called Kanja (born in water). Brahmā is said also to be the son of the Supreme Being, Brahman and the female energy known as Prakrti or Maya.

Appearance

Brahma is traditionally depicted with four heads and four faces and four arms. With each head he continually recites one of the four Vedas. He is often depicted with a white beard (especially in North India), indicating the near eternal nature of his existence. He is shown as having four arms, with none holding a weapon, unlike most other Hindu Gods. One of his hands is shown holding a scepter in the form of a spoon, which is associated with the pouring of holy ghee or oil into a sacrificial pyre, indicating that Brahma is the lord of sacrifices. Another of his hands holds a water-pot (sometimes depicted as a coconut shell containing water). The significance of the water is that it is the initial, all-encompassing ether in which the first element of creation evolved. Brahma also holds a string of prayer beads that he uses to keep track of the Universe’s time. He also is shown holding the Vedas, and sometimes, a lotus flower.

Another story in connection with Brahma’s four heads is that when Brahmā was creating the universe, He made a female deity known as Shatarupā (one with a hundred beautiful forms). Brahmā became immediately infatuated with Her. Shatarupā moved in various directions to avoid the gaze of Brahmā. But wherever She went, Brahmā developed a head. Thus, Brahmā developed five heads, one on each side and one above the others. In order to control Brahmā, Shiva cut off one of the heads. Also, Shiva felt that Shatarupā was Brahmā’s daughter, having been created by Him. Therefore, Shiva determined, it was wrong for Brahmā to become obsessed with Her. He directed that there be no proper worship on earth for the “unholy” Brahmā. Thus, only Vishnu and Shiva continued to be worshipped, while Brahmā is almost totally ignored. Ever since the incident, Brahmā has been believed to be reciting the four Vedas in His attempt at repentance.

 

Symbols

The Four Hands – The four arms represent the four directions north, east, west and south. They describe the mind (back right hand), intellect (back left hand), ego (front right hand), and the self confidence (front left hand).

The Rosary – Symbolizes the substances used in the progress of creation.

The Book – Symbolizing knowledge

The Gold – Symbolizes activity in the universe and the golden face of Brahma indicates that the Lord is active when involved in the process of creation.

The Swan – The Swan symbolizes the power of discrimination. Brahma uses the swan as a vehicle.

The Crown – The crown on the head implies that the Brahma has supreme authority.

The Lotus – Lotus symbolizes the nature and living essence of all things and beings in the universe.

The Beard – The black or white beard denotes wisdom and a longer beard denotes eternal process.

The Four Faces – The four Vedas (Rig, Yajor, Athara, and Sama).

 

Vehicle

Brahma’s vehicle is a divine Swan. This divine bird is bestowed with a virtue called Neera-Ksheera Viveka or the ability to separate milk and water from a mixture of the two. The significance of this is that justice should be dispensed to all creatures, however entwined it might be in a situation. Also, this virtue indicates that one should learn to separate the good from the evil and then accept that which is valuable and discard that which is worthless or evil.

 

Temples

Although Brahmā is prayed to in almost all Hindu religious rites, there are very few temples dedicated to him in India, the more prominent of which is at Pushkar, close to Ajmer. Once a year, on the full moon night of the Hindu lunar month of Kartika (October – November), a religious festival is held in Brahmā’s honour. Thousands of pilgrims come to bathe in the holy lake adjacent to the temple.

There are also temples in Thirunavaya in Kerala, in the temple town of Kumbakonam in (Thanjavur District in) Tamil Nadu; in Asotra village in Balotra Taluka of Barmer district in Rajasthan known as Kheteshwar Brahmadham Tirtha, in Goa (in the small, remote village of Carambolim in the Sattari taluka in the northeast region of the state). Regular pujas are held for Lord Brahma at the temple in Thirunavaya, and during Navrathris this temple comes to life with colourful festivities. There is also a shrine for Brahma within the Bramhapureeshwarar temple in Thirupattur, near Trichy and a famous murti of Brahmā at Mangalwedha, 52 km from Solapur district in Maharashtra, the largest of which is in Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In Khedbrahma, Gujarat, there is a statue of Brahma. A six feet tall statue was also discovered at Sopara near Mumbai. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the temple town of Sri Kalahasti near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.