Vishnu

Vishnu

The Preserver; The All-Pervading One

ORIGIN:

India

Vishnu is the principal deity of Hinduism, worshipped by millions around the world. He is the lord of law and order, master of ethical and moral standards. He preserves world order and protects it from being overwhelmed by evil. Vishnu has over one thousand names. In times of crisis, Vishnu descends to Earth to save us. The various forms he takes when he descends are known as his avatars. His descents are innumerable but ten are most famous and sometimes, as when he manifested as Krishna, take on a life of their own. His final avatar will be Kalki, who will appear at the end of this present age (the Kali Yuga) to usher in the New Age.

According to myth, Vishnu was once simultaneously married to Lakshmi, Ganga, and Sarasvati. It was not a happy situation. The goddesses were jealous of each other and fought bitterly. To make peace, Vishnu gave Ganga to Shiva and Sarasvati to Brahma. He did not, however, give away Lakshmi, Goddess of Good Fortune.

ICONOGRAPHY:

Vishnu is usually portrayed as a regal, dignified but youthful four-armed man. He wears a sacred thread around his chest, emblematic of his membership in the uppermost caste, the Brahmins.

ATTRIBUTES:

Conch, discus, lotus, mace

Consorts: Bhudevi, Ganga, Lakshmi, Sarasvati

Mount:

Garuda

COLOUR:

Blue

OFFERINGS:

Sweet foods cooked in ghee (clarified butter)

SEE ALSO:

Bhudevi; Ganga; Garuda; Kali; Krishna; Lakshmi; Sarasvati; Sati; Shiva and the Glossary entry for Avatar

SOURCE:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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