Posted on July 13, 2020
Lord Vishnu is famously known as the preserver of the Universe.
Vishnu essentially means one who pervades and is everything. He is also the power behind which everything exists. Being one of the triumvirates along with Lord Brahma, the Creator, Lord Shiva, the destroyer, Lord Vishnu represents Sattvaguna that is the centripetal force. He is responsible for sustenance, protection, and maintenance of the cosmos. Therefore, the existence of the Universe is actively maintained and manifested through his will.
Since the beginning of time, Lord Vishnu has taken many shapes and forms to empower the good and to destroy evil, thereby restoring Dharma and relieving the burdens of the earth. In the Mahabharata, he is depicted as Narayan, tells Narada that he will appear in ten different incarnations. He appeared in the form of a swan (Hamsa), a tortoise (Kurma), a fish (Matsya), as a boar, (Varaha), then as a Man-lion (Nrisingha), then as a dwarf [Vamana], then as Rama, the son of Dasharatha, then as Krishna the scion of the Sattwata race, and lastly as Kalki.
His human form is depicted with four arms, each representing a quality that is, duty and virtue, wealth and success, pleasure, and liberation. Lord Vishnu is usually portrayed in hues of blue, ones that resemble the colors of the sky, denoting his cosmic powers and connection with the gods of rain and his deeply rooted relationship with the earth. He is shown in a standing or a resting position wearing a necklace made of the Kausubha gem that rests on the left side of his chest and a garland of flowers called Vaijayanti. He is accompanied by his consort Goddess Lakshmi who is the goddess of wealth and creativity. Lord Vishnu resides in the milky waters of Vaikuntha on a bed made of the coils of the famous one thousand-headed serpent, Adishesha. Symbolically speaking, the ocean stands for bliss and consciousness, Adishesha, in Sanskrit means 'that which remains' therefore symbolizing energy in Hinduism. Goddess Lakshmi, symbolizes wealth, fertility power and beauty. Lord Vishnu rides on Garuda, who is the King of Birds.
Lord Vishnu has around one thousand names in the Indian religious texts. He is known as Lord Ranganatha Swamy in the southern parts of India. Etymologically speaking, the name 'Rangantha' means, 'the world' or the “cosmos”. It could also translate to the body and the senses. In Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, the Sri Rangaswamy temple, (also known as Thiruvarangam in Tamil) is the foremost amongst the 108 sacred shrines. Herein, Lord Ranganatha lies facing south, the head resting in the western direction and the legs extended towards the east. The lying posture as well as the different parts of the divine frame and the ornaments, which adorn them. This particular posture is deemed as one wherein Lord Vishnu pays all his attention to his devotees and they could approach the divine being and speak of their woes.
Devotees from all around the world come to seek his blessings and take in the divinity that comes with the temple.