A Simple Guide to Help Understand Hindu Gods
Lord Vishnu

The Hindu Trinity of Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva

Hindus have a multitude of gods and goddesses that symbolize the one abstract Supreme Being or Brahman. The most fundamental of Hindu deities are the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. But many other gods and goddesses such as Ganesha, Krishna, Rama, Hanuman, and .

Lord Vishnu

The second god of the trinity, Vishnu, a peace-loving deity, who is the Preserver or Sustainer of life with his steadfast principles of order, righteousness and truth. When these values are under threat, Vishnu emerges out of his transcendence to restore peace and order on earth. The two other major Hindu gods Brahma, and Shiva, are regarded respectively, as the creator and destroyer of the universe.

Vishnu is portrayed as blue or black shinned and has four hands. The first hand holds a conch shell indicating spread of the divine sound "Om"; one hand holds a discus, a reminder of the wheel of time, and to lead a good life; the third hand holds a lotus which is an example of glorious existence and the fourth hand holds a mace indicating the power and the punishing capacity of the Lord if discipline in life is ignored. Vishnu is described as having the divine color of clouds (dark-blue). The dark color represents the passive and formless ether, a great quality for a god. He rests on the bed of a powerful coiled serpent which represents the sleeping universe.

Unlike Shiva, who often seeks the solitude of the forest to meditate, Vishnu constantly participates in worldly affairs, ensuring that all is well. When order prevails in the universe, Vishnu sleeps on the coils of Sesha (serpent), ruler of the Nagas. As Sesha floats along the cosmic ocean supporting Vishnu, the universe unfolds from Vishnu's dream. But when there is disorder in the universe, Vishnu either mounts Garuda (an eagle), and battles with the forces of chaos, or he sends one of his Avatars (incarnations) to save the world.

Lord Vishnu, the Sustainer
His form of transportation is the swift-flying bird Garuda which can spread the Vedic knowledge with great courage.

The concept of Vishnu being the preserver of the world presumedly sprang from two beliefs: that men attain salvation by faithfully following predetermined paths of duty, and that powers of good and evil (gods and demons) are in contention for domination over the world. When these powers are upset Vishnu, or his avatar, descends to earth to equalized the powers. Further it is thought that ten such incarnations or reincarnations of Vishnu will occur. Nine descents are said to have already occurred. Rama and Krishna were the seventh and eighth. The tenth is yet to come.

In the epic, The Ramayana, he is glorified through the Avatars Rama and Krishna. The story of Rama is very important and the Kings of Thailand have adopted his name. The current King of Thailand is Rama IX.

Lord Vishnu has been reincarnated nine times. The eight time was as Rama. The ninth was as the Buddha, and they are awaiting the tenth reincarntion.

The Hindu Temple of Minnesota in Maple Grove is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. For a summary of the Temple's purpose go to A Basic Guide to Help Understand Hinduism and its Gods

Wikipedia - Vishnu
Siamese Dream
Hindu Gods - Vishnu
Hindu Temple of Minnesota

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