GODS OF INDIA - VISHNU

GODS OF INDIA - VISHNU
(authored by Laura Kim)

VISHNU - THE GUARDIAN
NAME - VISHNU.
PARENTS ARE SELF-BORN.
SHAKTI - LAKSMI.
ICONOGRAPHY - A BLUE BODY SITTING ON A LOTUS, MORE
TOGETHER WITH LAKSHMI, FOUR-HANDED, IN HANDS THE SACRED SHELL - SHANKHA, LOTUS, SUDARSHANA CHAKRA AND THE MACE OF KAUMODAKI.
VAHANA - GARUDA (HALF-MAN - HALF-EAUREL).
WEAPON - DISK OR SUDARSHANA CHAKRA AND MACE.
QUALITIES - ALL-KNOWLEDGE, STRENGTH, LIFE ENERGY, COMPATIBILITY AND LOVE

Vishnu is one of the most diverse gods of the Indian pantheon. He is called the “All-pervading“, he appears in various forms and under various names, already in Vedic times Vishnu is described in legends as the god of the Sun or Light, In the Rig Veda he is mentioned as the Lord of rituals. But there he played an insignificant role and only later developed into one of the main gods of Hinduism. Together with the Creator Brahma and the Destroyer Shiva, Vishnu forms the Trimurti or Trinity. The aspect of Vishnu is the Preserver or Hara, he guards and protects the Universe. To save the Creation and the Cosmic Order, new reincarnations of Vishnu are needed.
Therefore, Vishnu has thousands of names and diverse forms of both animals and man, and descends to earth as Avatars. Ten reincarnations or manifestations of Vishnu are known, which also reflect evolution, they illustrate the stages of development from fish to warm-blooded, up to man, while Kalki is the enlightened essence of the future.

Ten Avatars of Vishnu:
1. Matsya - fish
2. Kurma - turtle
3. Varaha - Mystical Boar
4. Narasimha - half man, half lion
5. Vamana - a dwarf who can become a giant
6. Parashurama - man with an ax or Rama with an ax
7. Rama is the hero of the Ramayana
8. Krishna is the hero of the Bhagavad Gita
9. Buddha
10. Kalki - the savior, the future incarnation of Vishnu

Vishnu is known by many names: Hari, Bhagavan (Blessed One), Vishvarupa or appearing in many forms, Jagannath or the Lord of the World. Shakti Vishnu - Lakshmi. Vishnu is portrayed as eternally young in royal robes. Its blue body color symbolizes water and air. Next to Vishnu is his Shakti - Lakshmi, but often she can sit at his feet. Vishnu is also depicted resting on the waters of the Milky Ocean, on the body of the immortal naga Ananta.

Vishnu has four hands, the two front ones symbolize the earthly state of Vishnu, the upper ones - the divine. In the upper hands of Vishnu, the Sudarshina Chakra is a weapon against enemies, the Shankha shell, which is a wind instrument, and has been used in sacred ceremonies in Tibet and India since ancient times. It symbolizes the divine Primal Sound. In his lower hands, Vishnu holds a Lotus as a symbol of purity and a mace. Decorated with Vishnu's garland and earrings, he also wears the Kaushtuba ornament, in which, according to legend, Lakshmi lives. The Vaishnavas revere Vishnu as the supreme god, as the Paramatma or the Absolute. In legends, he appears as “green Vishnu”, and this is the color of the heart chakra, with which Vishnu and Lakshmi have a connection.

How can this be related to our lives? In life we meet many people who need our protection of complicity and love - children, the elderly, the sick, even nature needs our protection. The following meditation will help us connect the energy of Vishnu with the power of the Anahata chakra. Visualize Vishnu and concentrate on the feeling of participation that comes from Vishnu, put your hands on your heart and feel the light that comes from it and the warmth. Slowly remove your hands from your chest and feel the power of your love and compassion for all.

TEMPLE AND PILGRIMAGE PLACES
In order to gain liberation, or moksha, Vaishnavites are encouraged to make pilgrimages to "sapta-moksha-puri"), the seven holy cities. These include:
Ayodhya, birthplace of Rama's avatar;
Mathura, where Krishna was born;
Ujjain, where Krishna taught the scriptures with the sage Sandipani;
Dvaraka, where Krishna ruled with his wife Rukmini;
Haridwar, Varanasi and Gaya, where the footprints of the sacred feet of Vishnu (Vishnupada) are found.
Some Vaishnavism traditions in South India also recommend visiting Kanchipuram, since in this temple city Vishnu appears as a giver of blessings. Vishnuites during their lifetime must visit 108 divyadeshams - holy places and temples sung by Alvar poets. 108 divyadesams are a must for followers of Sri Vaishnavism. There are 105 sites located in India, one in Nepal (Muktinath) and two more in the spiritual world. The latter include "Parama-padam" (God's holy feet) and "Thiruparkadal" (Ocean of Milk where Vishnu resides).

Temple of Tirumala Venkateshwara Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Ranganatha temple in Srirangam, Srirangam, Tamil Nadu
Muktinath Temple, Muktinath, Nepal
Badrinath Temple, Badrinath, Uttarakhand
Rama Birthplace Temple, Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh
Keshava Dev Temple, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
Dvarakadishi Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat
Sri Vallabha Temple, Thiruvalla, Kerala.
Goddess Lakshmi, wife of Lord Vishnu

Lakshmi is the goddess of beauty, happiness and wealth. She embodies the fullness and abundance of being, but when we remember Lakshmi, we are not talking about material well-being, but more about inner harmony between spiritual and material. At the same time, Lakshmi is revered as the goddess of health and fertility. She embodies the principle of the merciful Mother who protects all living beings. Lakshmi is that divine feminine pole, without which the masculine does not appear at all. In the Rig Veda, she is described as the basis through which Vishnu, her husband, only receives his strength and power. She is his Shakti or life energy. In ancient texts, Lakshmi appears at the beginning as the wife of Indra, but later only exclusively as the wife of the god Vishnu. According to Indian mythology, Lakshmi emerged from the Milky Ocean. which is a symbol of the Pure Spirit of people who are in search of the spiritual. The whole earth celebrated her appearance, and the ocean gave her a garland and a crown of flowers that never wither.

Lakshmi is often referred to as Sri or Happiness, or Sri Lakshmi. Other names or forms of her manifestation are Buddhi or Cognition, Siddhi or Perfection, Loka Mata or Earth Mother, Jaladhija - she who is born from the Ocean. Her other names emphasize her extraordinary beauty and are associated with the lotus flower. For example Padma or the Lotus Dweller, Padmamukhi or the One whose face is beautiful like a lotus, Padmahasta, the one held by the Lotus. Lakshmi is also worshiped as the eight-armed Mahalakshmi.

In India, Lakshmi is still revered. One of the most important holidays of Hinduism is Diwali, which lasts several days. The third day of this festival of light is dedicated to Lakshmi. In ancient times, only oil lamps were lit, but now thousands of candles and electric lamps are additionally lit. There are three versions of the image of Lakshmi. If she is depicted with Vishnu, then she has only two arms. On most icons, she is depicted alone and with four arms. Rarely, but still there are paintings in which she is depicted as the eight-armed Mahalakshmi. Lakshmi's skin color is pink or golden. She wears red, but often orange robes, and the garland of flowers and crown she brought with her from the Milky Ocean. She is always portrayed as a young and beautiful goddess. In most images, Lakshmi has four arms. In her upper two hands she holds lotuses as a symbol of purity, beauty and joy of life. Both lower hands are folded in mudras, Varada Mudra - blessing, Abhaya Mudra - protective.

If Lakshmi is depicted with Vishnu, then she sits at his feet on the snake Anantha. If Lakshmi is depicted alone, then she sits on a lotus flower or two elephants pour sacred water on her. Often in the paintings next to Lakshmi there is an owl as a symbol of wisdom. It is not uncommon for Lakshmi to hold a conch shell, a pearl necklace, the Vedas, or a bilva fruit. Bilva is the sacred tree of Shiva, its fruit has healing and rejuvenating properties, and symbolizes the forces of nature, which also correlates with Lakshmi.

Lakshmi in our life

Lakshmi connects earth and sky. Two of her four arms are pointing up and two are pointing down. The abundance it symbolizes is the abundance of wholeness. Through the power of the goddess, we can receive earthly treasures - prosperity, wealth, health, as well as spiritual perfection - wisdom, knowledge. The possibility of drawing both is open to us. Through the Anahata chakra, we can accept and transform the energies that flow to us both “from above” and “from below”. Our heart binds us with the fullness of creation.

Diwali - the festival of light

Diwali is the most special holiday in India. It is celebrated for five days. This is a celebration of fun and joy, light and a new beginning. This is a celebration of the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance. Diwali is a good time to be aware of your positive qualities. The festival begins on the new moon, on the fifteenth day of the month of Kartik. This is approximately the end of October or the beginning of November. It is especially characteristic of Diwali that it is a festival of light. Residents of India turn on lights everywhere, put candles or lamps on the windows of houses, hang garlands of light bulbs on trees. The day of the darkest moon at the new moon is completely devoted only to Lakshmi, therefore it is also called Lakshmi Puja. On this day, they get up at sunrise and take a bath, decorate their homes with flowers, light candles, put an image of Lakshmi in the house and meditate on it, visit friends with whom they want to make peace, light the house with oil lamps, candles. Light is an invitation to Lakshmi into the house, because she brings happiness and success.
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