Lord Vishnu is one of the major gods from the Hindu triumvirate (or Trimurti). In the Trimurti, Lord Brahma is the creator of the universe and Lord Shiva is the destroyer, where Lord Vishnu is the preserver and protector of the universe. His role is to return to the earth in troubled times and restore the balance of good and evil. He has been incarnated multiple times, but Hindus believe that he will be reincarnated one last time close to the end of this world.
Vishnu’s worshippers, usually called Vaishnava, consider him the greatest god. Hence, here are 12 interesting facts about Lord Vishnu.
Legends have it that, Lord Vishnu is depicted reclining on a snake bed in the ocean of cosmos. As he is engaged in Yoga Nidra (meditative sleep) for ages on this thousand-headed serpent called Adisesha with Lakshmi, his consort offers her services to the Lord. When he woke up, a lotus flower rose up from his belly and later when his flower blossomed, it gave birth to Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma saw Lord Vishnu, paid his respects to the Lord and then started the creative process with Lord Vishnu’s blessings and created the world.
2. Lord Vishnu’s Footprint
A temple known as Vishnupad is famous for the 40 cm long footprint of Lord Vishnu. Also known as Dharmasila, this temple is located along the Falgu River and the footprint has nine symbols including Shankam, Chakram, and Gadham. These are said to symbolize the weapons of Lord Vishnu. Vishnupad is engraved on a solid rock and is immured by a silver basin.
3. The Vishnu Basement Rocks
Named after Lord Vishnu, Vishnu Rocks, also known as Vishnu Schist or The Vishnu Basement Rocks are volcanic sediments in Grand Canyon. The Vishnu Basement Rocks are the name recommended for all early Proterozoic crystalline rocks (metamorphic and igneous) exposed in the Grand Canyon region. They form the crystalline basement rocks that underlie the Bass Limestone of the Unkar Group of the Grand Canyon Supergroup and the Tapeats Sandstone of the Tonto Group. These basement rocks have also been called either the Vishnu Complex or Vishnu Metamorphic Complex.
4. Similarities between Vishnu and Egyptian God, Horus
James Freeman Clarke, Richard Leviton, James Cowles Prichard, and others have noted the similarities between Vishnu and Ancient Egyptian God, Horus.
There are other names of Horus which interestingly include the names ‘Har’ and ‘Heru Murti’. Interestingly Hari is Vishnu in Hindu Dharma and his mount (vehicle) is Garuda, who has an Eagle face and a strong body. Garuda (Sanskrit: गरुड) is a large bird-like creature or humanoid bird which carries Lord Vishnu. It is mentioned in Vishnu Purana, Ramayana, Garuda Purana, and Bhagavata Purana.
The only female avatar of Vishnu was first introduced in the Mahabharata was known as Mohini. Legends say that she was of the most important character during Samudra Manthan in which she acquires ‘amrita’ from Asuras and gives it to Devas to make them immortal. Portrayed as an enchantress, Mohini, enchanter of the heart, is known for her skill to madden asuras as well as devas. She was so attractive that even Shiva was insane for her beauty.
6. Cursed by Bhrigu
Probably one of the most important curses in the Vedic civilization was that given by Bhrigu to Lord Vishnu.
Once Sukracharya and Maharishi Bhrigu were away, and when the Asuras took refuge at the ashram of Maharishi Bhrigu. The Devtas and Indra used this opportunity to attack unarmed Asuras. In the absence of the sage, the Asuras fled to Bhrigu’s wife who was Kavyamata, for shelter. Kavyamata used her Yogic powers to immobilize Indra and protect the asuras. Upon which Devtas went to Lord Vishnu for help. Following a series of events, Vishnu used the Sudarshana Chakra to save Indra and the Devtaswhich served Kavyamata’s head.
Sage Bhrigu was devastated seeing his wife’s condition and also got furious because Lord Bhisnu broke his Dharma by killing a woman. Therefore, Maharishi Bhrigu cursed Lord Vishnu to be born on Earth many times and suffer the pain of birth and death all those several times.
7. An asteroid name after Lord Vishnu
4034 Vishnu is an asteroid discovered by Eleanor F. Helin. It is a rare-type asteroid classified as a near-Earth object and potentially hazardous asteroid of the Apollo group, approximately 0.4 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 2 August 1986, by the American astronomer at Palomar Observatory in California, United States. It is named after the Hindu deity Vishnu.
8. The Legends of Nepal’s Monarchy
The Budhanilkantha Temple, which is situated approximately 10 kilometers from the center of Kathmandu, Nepal is the largest and most beautiful stone carving in all of Nepal. It is a spectacular idol of Lord Vishnu sleeping resting on Shesh Naag and lies in a reclining position within a pond of water, which represents the cosmic sea.
Although, being a famous temple where many devotees visit the place daily, it was a place of taboo for the former Monarchs of Nepal. The legend goes by that King Pratap Malla is said to have had a prophetic vision, which resulted in his strong belief and fear that should the King of Nepal visit the Budhanilkantha temple, death would be imminent upon his departure. Continuing to the last day of Monarchy, the Hindu Kings of Nepal did not visit the temple.
9. Vishnu’s 10 Avatars and Darwin’s Evolution theory
It is very surprising that there is a striking similarity between the Dashavatars of Lord Vishnu and Darwin’s theory. The way Darwin told in the theory that the world the species adapted with certain variations and developed with the pace of time has a parallel picture accordingly with the way Vishnu’s manifestations have taken shape with the same order relative to time and needs.
He has four arms and is male: The four arms indicate his all-powerful and all-pervasive nature. His physical existence is represented by the two arms in the front, while the two arms at the back represent his presence in the spiritual world. The Upanishad Gopal Uttartapani describes the four arms. The title has been given since some of these facts may be shocking for someone, soothing for devotees and interesting for others. Some of these facts may be known to someone but unknown to others.
Out of all limitless Avatars of the preserver god Vishnu, twenty-four are considered to be the most important. These twenty-four Avatāras of Sri Vishnu Bhagwan are described in the Bhāgavata Purana. Altogether, Lord Vishnu has reincarnated 23 times, and every time, he’s taken a different form. It is predicted that he will appear one last time at the end of Kaliyuga, making the number 24.
11. Meaning of the word “Vishnu”
The word Vishnu has been derived from root ‘ Vish’ which stands for ‘ to enter, to pervade’. Vishnu is such an eternal element that is present in all things of this world and, hence it is all pervasive. Adi Sankara in his commentary on Vishnu Sahasranama states derivation from this root, with a meaning “presence everywhere”.
12. 108 Divya Desam
There are 108 most sacred temples of Lord Vishnu that are considered 108 Divya Desam. Out of 108 Divya Desam, 106 are on planet earth, 105 in India and One in Nepal.