Meaning of the word Vishnu is the provider or the giver. In the Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu is regarded as the dharma upholder and preserver of life. Also called as Hari or Narayana, he is part of the Hindu trinity, a peace-loving deity. Whenever there is loss of peace or it’s under threat, reincarnation of Lord Vishnu occurs in some form on the earth to restore peace.
Lord Vishnu is known to be present on top of the hooded serpent called as Shesha in the Vaikunth’s milky waters. This pose signifies the patient and calmness in the face of worries and fear presented by the ferocious snakes. Few qualities of Lord Vishnu include inability to tolerate ego. Lord Vishnu doesn’t sleep and his mood remains peaceful.
Pictures have shown Lord Vishnu with four weapons. In one of his hand he holds Vajra or the disc. In another hand he holds Sankha or the conch. In his third hand, Lord Vishnu holds Padma or the Lotus. In his fourth hand, Lord Vishnu holds club. Lord Vishnu also has Sarnga a kind of bow and Nandaka, a kind of sword. The king of birds, Garuda is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
There are about 10 reincarnations of Vishnu that are recognized to be important figures with respect to the Indian heritage:
Lord Vishnu in his first reincarnation took for of Matsya or a fish. Saint Vaivaswata was saved by Lord Vishnu in this form. Turtle or Kurma was regarded as the second reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. Kurma the form of Lord Vishnu gave his back as a point on which the Mandara Mountain could rest. In third reincarnation of Lord Vishnu as Boar or Varaha, Lord Vishnu killed Hiranyaksha the demon. In this form he freed the earth from the ocean.
In the fourth reincarnation, he took the form of Narasingha or as Lion. The creature was half-man and half-lion. Lord Vishnu killed Hiranyashasipu the demon who was immune to attacks by man, god or beasts. Vamana was the fifth reincarnation of Lord Vishnu and demon Bali was killed by him.
Vishnu’s sixth reincarnation was of Parasurama who killed king Kartavirya. He stole the Kamdhenu cow which had the power to fulfil all the desires. Ram was the most popular and well known reincarnation of Lord Vishnu as seventh one. Ram killed Ravana who had kidnapped his wife. In his eighth reincarnation Lord Vishnu killed Kansa in the form of Lord Krishna. Mathura King Kansa was demon’s son. Lord Krishna again played an important role in Mahabharat.
Buddha is regarded as the ninth reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. He took birth to make world free of suffering. Buddha is worshipped in Hindu as well as Buddhist temples and many oppose it to be incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Tenth famous reincarnation of Lord Vishnu is called as Kalki which is going to take birth in Kalyug. Lord Vishnu is going to come as person on Earth on the back of white horse.