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Vishnu


Vishnu

Vishnu (Visnu) the second god in the Hindu Trinity, is a Vedic god who, according to the scripture, sustains creation. He is highly eulogised in the Rgveda and the purana. It is said that Vishnu descended on earth ten times in different forms, known as dashavatar, or ten incarnations. He descended on earth as a dwarf to destroy Vali, as a pig to save the earth from drowning, as a man-lion, a creature with the upper-half of a man and the lower portion of a lion, to kill Hiranyakashipu, as ramachandra to kill Ravana, etc.

He is immortalised in his ninth incarnation as Buddha. His tenth incarnation is supposed to be Kalki, and is expected to take place in the Kaliyuga, but this has not yet happened. The bhagabadgita (4:7-8) has it that he will descend on earth to destroy unrighteousness, establish piety, coerce the ill-natured, and help the pious from time to time.

Laksmi is Vishnu’s wife; his mount is garuda; weapon, sudarshanachakra; bow, sharbga, dwelling, vaikuntha, sword, nandaka, club, kaumodaki, conch-shell, pavchajanya and bed, anantanaga. Prajapati Brahma was born from the navel of Vishnu while he was lying on the anantanaga.

The four-handed Vishnu holds the conch-shell, chakra, club and padmadhari in his hands. He is also known as Upendra, Keshava, Trivikrama, Pundarikaksa, Murari etc. The followers of Vishnu are known as Vaisnavas. The religious philosophy centred around him is called vaisnavism. Sri chaitanya worked to spread the creed of Gauriya Vaisnavism in Bengal. Vishnu is well-represented in literature, painting, sculpture etc. There are many images of Vishnu in temples and museums at many places in Bangladesh and India, including west bengal. It is considered an act of great piety for Hindus to hold the sacrament of the food-offering to the manes at the altar of Vishnu's image in the holy place of Gaya in the state of Bihar in India. [Suresh Chandra Banerjee]