Vishnu is the second god of the main triad of Hinduism commonly know as trimurti. In the trimurti he represents the energy that maintains the universe and protects it. He has Lakshmi for his wife. Throughout human history he has incarnated in ten different avatars to restore the balance between good and evil in the world.
Of the ten incarnations, nine have already occurred and one more will occur at the end of the world. Two of the most important are Rama and Krishna. As commented in other articles, there are verses related to each god, these verses are known as Puranas -> According to the Padma Puraná, Vishnu is the one who is the main god of the Trimurti, that is, he is the creator, preserver and the destroyer of the Universe: when Vishnu decided to create the Universe he divided himself into three parts. (Brahma, Vishu and Shiva)
Vishnu is commonly revered as the second person of the Trimurti or Hindu triad; however despite being the second, this in no way implies that he should be considered inferior to Brahma. In some books Brahma is said to be the first cause of all Things, in others it is strongly stated that this honour belongs to Vishnu, while in others it is bestowed on Shiva. Just as Brahma’s main work is creation, Vishnu’s is preservation and Shiva’s is destruction. Vishnu, however, creates, preserves, and destroys, albeit in three different ways.
The holy texts
For Vaisnavism, Krishna is actually the form of the main god, and Vishnu arose from him like all other “Hindu Gods.” It is said that Krishna was the seventh son of Vasudeva and Devaki, whose brother killed the first six children of the couple after receiving a prophecy according to which he would be killed by one of his nephews. When Vishnu was born, he was taken to “Vrindavan” to hide him from his evil uncle, and there he lived until he was 16, when he was finally able to defeat him.
Vishnu dwells in a paradise known as Vaikuntha where everything is made of gold & precious stones. From that place beyond the sky, the river Ganges rises from the divine feet of him and falls in an inaccessible place in the Himalayas, on the head of Shiva. His vehicle is Garuda, the god of birds.
The image of Vishnu
Vishnu is usually represented as a being of human form, blue skin and four arms holding:
- A padma (lotus flower, the aroma of which gives pleasure to Visnuite devotees).
- A sudarshana chakrá (a disk that Vishnu uses to slaughter demons).
- A shankhá (conch shell, whose sound in India represented victory after killing an enemy)
- A golden mace (to crush the skull of demons).
He is frequently seen sitting, resting on a lotus flower, with his consort Laksmi sitting on one of his knees. On his chest he has a curl of white hair (or a white mark) called a srivatsa. (The infinite knot in Buddhism).