The Trimurti is the basis of the Hindu spiritual teaching which makes it possible to clarify the manifested world in which we evolve: Brahma represents the creative principle, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer who allows renewal. These three forces are inseparable, complementary and opposed.
Pudma Purana relates that to preserve the world he had created, Brahma drew Vishnu from his right flank and to be able to destroy it, he drew Shiva from his left flank.
Vishnu is the one who preserves, protects, maintains life. He is the guarantor of the order that allows everyone to flourish. Attentive, benevolent, he renders justice, ensures peace and can also prove to be a formidable warrior if need be.
Vishnu embodies the Guna Sattva, the form of energy that tends towards cohesion, towards the center, towards concentration.
Vishnu thus symbolizes the principle of continuation, of duration in time as well as the qualities of harmony and tranquility.
Under this name, Vishnu represents the latent state before the manifestation: he sleeps, Nârâyana means "resting on the waters", in the lapse of time that takes place between two worlds. The serpent "Vestige" on which he rests floats on the primordial waters. Vestige symbolizes unmanifested nature, the first stage of Consciousness.
It is thus the passive aspect of Vishnu which is then materialized. An aspect that emphasizes fullness, contemplation, passivity, immobility: the non-action.
This state contains all the possible, in germ: it is the ferment that exists before the manifestation of all forms.
Vishnu thus also maintains life, in a latent state, between the two cycles of creation and destruction.
Hence the meaning of Vishnu, coming from Vish, which spreads, extends, insinuates: "He who penetrates". Vishnu is the one who is always there bellow all things, of all forms, the immutable, the omniscient, the absolute.
Vishnu, the protector of the universe
Once the world is created, it is necessary for it to be able to maintain itself, to unfold, to bear fruit... One of Vishnu's primordial roles in this active aspect is therefore to create the conditions for life to develop and to guarantee them.
He is called Dharmadhikarin, the defender of the Dharma (the right order).
He is therefore often clothed with the qualities of a good king looking after the well-being of his subjects, like a good father to his children: he is then revered for his goodness, his sense of justice, his fairness, his ability to maintain order and security.
He can then take on a much more formidable aspect as a warrior enforcing the law (hence some of his attributes such as the club, the disc, the bow).
He is then named Vâsudeva, god of goodness, wealth, Bhagavant, the blessed, Chakrapâni, the one who carries the disc, Jagannâtha, the protector of the universe.
This is how Vishnu intervenes in the world of men to restore harmony, the dharma in different forms known as the avatar. Under a living envelope, he incarnates himself and plays his role of savior while knowing, like humans, the vicissitudes of existence, suffering, joys, adventures...
His ten most famous avatars are: the Matsya fish, the Kûrma turtle, the Varâha wild boar. The fourth incarnation is a fantastic being half man, half lion Narasimha. The following are human: Vâmana, the dwarf, Rama, the divine lover, Krishna, then Buddha and finally Kalki who will appear at the end of the Kali Yuga era.
It is interesting to note that at the time of each incarnation, Vishnu uses various and varied means, either physical force, or trickery, or his powers (of illusion).
The five fundamental attributes of Vishnu
: Panchajanya (Born of the Five Elements), the low-pitched sound keeps the demons away but above all symbolizes infinity and expansion (the rings start from a point and expand endlessly). It comes from water, at the origin of creation. The sound it produces is considered as the primordial sound. The conch is connected to the element water.
: named Sudarshana (Beautiful to see), this Chakra has many meanings and symbols: round, circle, sun: it can be represented as a disc, a wheel with six spokes ... whose center represents cohesion, immobility. Out of the center, the spokes of the wheel symbolize the mind which is agitated in all directions according to the events.
The wheel also represents the cycle of birth and death which is an integral part of life and marks the continuous change.
The Chakra also symbolizes the sun, the light, the fire that allows us to destroy ignorance, to see pure reality: thus the gods use it as a weapon to destroy the demons that are an archetype of our false beliefs. Element: fire.
: Sharnga. The arrows represent our senses, our ability to perceive. They are thrown by our mind (the bow) and require a great concentration, an ability to master our thoughts: the sharper they are, the more they reach their target, the better our perception of reality beyond illusion and ignorance. The quiver embodies the reserve of energy necessary for action. Element, air.
: Kaumodaki "The club is the power to know" (Vishnu Purdna). Primitive weapon, certainly, incarnation of the brute force but also of the mastery of instinctive, physical forces and nature. It is the weapon of mastery of the mind par excellence. It is also the weapon of predilection of Kali. Element, the earth.
: Nandaka, source of joy. Symbol of wisdom: it cuts through ignorance, dissolves the darkness that obscure the mind. It frees us from the bonds of attachment (from everything that separates us from our ultimate nature, the absolute: beliefs, inner demons, material goods...).
These are the five main attributes that Vishnu masters, allowing him to make harmony reign in the universe.
It can also be accompanied by a parasol, a chariot, fly whisk.... (see articles of the Blog on the attributes of the Hindu deities) which each have their meanings.
Forms of Vishnou
Either standing or sitting on a lotus, he is portrayed in a peaceful form when his qualities as a protector are emphasized: his skin can be black or dark blue, the color of the ether representing the absolute. It is coated in yellow which symbolically corresponds to the center, the light and of course the sun. Yellow also embodies knowledge.
It wears on the throat, the necklace of victory (Vaijaynati), a garland of fragrant flowers and five rows of gems (which represent the five senses and the manifestation), many bracelets and jewels all having precise meanings, such as the earrings in the shape of fish or makara (sea monsters) which show the two methods leading to knowledge: by the intellect or by intuitive perception; or the tiara indicating both its royal seat and the unknowable reality.
His chest is adorned with a tuft of hair (Shri-vasta, Dear to Fortune) recalling his love for Lakshmi, his shakti and also the Fundamental Nature of Being.
He wears the sacred thread made from three threads representing the three letters A.U.M the primordial sacred sound.
: Padma symbolizes purity, beauty, perfection. It is the mother's breast, the matrix from which all things come. It is the seat of the feminine principle, the Shakti.
The lotus gives a flower of all beauty, whereas it comes from a swampy, obscure, repulsive environment: it therefore represents the possibility of transformation, of elevation.
So it is the throne of the gods from which they emerged. It is also the center, the Guna Sattva. Its petals express the unfolding of the universe.
His mount is Garuda
: "Winged Word" half man, half eagle. The eagle is a solar bird, it is familiar with the heights, the firmament, it is the king of the sky, invincible, the master of space. He combines the speed of light with the ability to move from one world to another. He also represents, more fundamentally, the words of the Vedas.
The cult of Vishnu
"Let us meditate on the supreme lord, the Unlimited, the Immutable, the Omniscient, on him who gives joy to the world, who dwells in the ocean of the heart of each being, who is the goal of all" from the Nârayana-Sukta, sung by the faithful.
In Vedic times, Vishnu was only a minor god in the service of Indra, the ruler of the gods. He was already honored for his goodness and contribution to the maintenance of cosmic order. However, with the advent of Hinduism, he took Indra's place and became the guarantor of the Dharma.
Today Vishnu, in India, is one of the most popular deities, the most honored in a devotional form. Thus many local deities, heroes ... venerated before Vishnu have been replaced by his cult or that of one of his avatars or one of his local forms (such as Balaji).
Vishnu is honored in front of his image (Murti) but also through abstract forms such as the Shâlagrama, a fossil ammonite or the Vishnu pada, the footprint of his feet. The rituals consist of offerings, mantra recitations, songs, readings of sacred texts, dances, music... in a great fervor either in a group or at home.
Sunday is her favorite day, the offerings are rather sweet and sweet.
The festivals dedicated to Vishnu are numerous, such as Vaikuntha Ekadashi (to receive the Darshan of Vishnu), or The awakening of Vishnu and his marriage with Tulsi... without counting the local festivals marking the anniversary of the construction of the temple...
There is also an ascetic Sadhana (spiritual path) linked to Vishnu and the Sannyasins (renunciators) recognize with the yellow or white color of their clothes, their mala (rosary) made of Tulsi wood, ...
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