What is the significance of various forms of Lord Hanuman?

Lord Hanuman 
Lord Hanuman


1. Science behind the idol

1.1 Colour

‘One comes across varied information regarding Hanuman’s form. His complexion is mostly red and rarely black. A red Hanuman is one smeared with a saffron coloured powder called sindur. Perhaps His black complexion is due to the influence of Saturn (Shani). Hanuman is famous as an incarnation or as a son of Lord Rudra. Since Rudra’s complexion is red, Hanuman too must have derived His complexion from Him. After He acquired a red complexion stories regarding His love for sindur were told.

  • Once after bathing Sita made a red spot (tila) with sindur on Her forehead. When Hanuman asked for an explanation Sita replied, “It is because of this that Your Master’s life is prolonged”. When He heard this, Hanuman smeared sindur all over His body !
  • Once when Hanuman was proceeding to Lanka with the Dronagiri hills Bharat struck Him with an arrow and wounded His leg. The wound healed with a mixture of sindur and oil. Hence sindur and oil are Hanuman’s favourites.’

1.2 Form

Look at the two figures given below. Decide with which figure you feel more pleasant and then read further.

Figure A

Figure B

Figure A Figure B

At one of our workshops in Mumbai twenty-five out of thirty-six seekers who participated in this experiment gave their answers. The average spiritual level of the seekers was 35%. During a satsang (spiritual meeting) at times the spiritual level of a seeker can even become 40-50%. The spiritual level of an average person is 20% while that of one who has attained the Final Liberation (Moksha) is 100%. If average individuals participate in the experiment, they do not perceive anything. Hence in such experiments everyone does not get spiritual experiences. Only those who have attained a spiritual level of 35% and above and are able to perceive something of the subtle dimension are able to give answers. Sixteen out of twenty-five seekers experienced serenity (shanti) with figure ‘A’ and the rest with figure ‘B’.

Figure ‘A’ depicts the tail of Maruti as the servitor (Dasmaruti) and figure ‘B’ the tail of Maruti as the courageous one (Virmaruti). One must have realised how without even looking at the entire form of Maruti merely by looking at His tail, energy or divine consciousness (chaitanya) in His form is manifested. Energy manifests from Maruti as the courageous one and divine consciousness from Maruti as the servitor since the latter is merged into Lord Rama.

  • Maruti as the servitor (Dasmaruti) and Maruti as the courageous one (Virmaruti): Hanuman has two forms namely Maruti as the servitor and Maruti as the courageous one. The servitor form is the one in which Hanuman stands in front of Rama with His hands folded in obeisance, His tail resting on the ground. The stance of Maruti as the courageous one is that of one ready for battle. His tail is upright and His right hand is turned towards His head. Sometimes even a demon crushed under His feet is depicted. To overcome problems of possession, black magic, etc. Maruti as the courageous one is worshipped.
  • Maruti with five faces (Panchmukhi Maruti):

    Panchmukhi Hanuman

    Panchmukhi Hanuman

    One finds quite a few idols of the five-faced Maruti. The five faces are of an eagle (garud), a boar (varaha), a hayagriv, a lion and a monkey. The idol has ten arms wielding a flag, a sword, a noose, etc. One explanation for the five faces of a deity is that the deity keeps vigilance and has control over the five directions – north, south, east, west and the upward direction/zenith.

  • Maruti facing the south (Dakshinmukhi Maruti): Here the word south (dakshin) has two meanings – one is the south direction and second, the right side.

    South in context to the direction: Here since Maruti faces the south He is named so. Black magic like jaran, maran, etc. are done primarily in front of this idol of Maruti. Such idols of Maruti are found in Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, etc. in Maharashtra and in Basavgudi in the district of Karnataka in India.

    South in context to the right side: This Maruti has His face turned towards the right. What do you feel after looking at the following two figures? First decide with which you experience more energy and only then read the following section.

Figure A

Figure A

Figure B

Figure B














At a workshop in Mumbai twelve out of thirty-six seekers gave answers. Nine out of these twelve experienced energy with figure ‘B’ and only 3 experienced energy with figure ‘A’. In figure ‘B’ (facing the right) since the sun channel (surya nadi) of Maruti is active more energy was felt by most seekers looking at it. In figure ‘A’ the moon channel (chandra nadi) of Maruti is operational hence people felt less energy. Just like Ganapati with the trunk towards the right the Maruti facing the right is a powerful deity. He is worshipped to overcome problems due to distressing energy. The sushumna channel (nadi) of Ganapati and Maruti are continuously operational but with the transformation in Their forms the sun or moon channels too become operational to a small extent.

2. Shani (Saturn) and Maruti

‘Although there is close association between Shani and Hanuman prevailing in our society its explanation is equally complicated and incomprehensible.

2.1 Similarities

  • 1. In the verse with a thousand Names of Hanuman (Hanumansahasranam stotra) Shani is one of the Names of Hanuman.
  • 2. In the Surya Sanhita it is said that Hanuman was born on a Saturday (Shanivar).
  • 3. It is given in holy texts that Rudra is one of the ten names of Shani.
  • 4. Just like Shani one occasionally comes across Hanuman with a dark complexion.
  • 5. Since Shani is popular in the Gadhval region Hanuman is also seen sporting an iron whip akin to Shani. As a result unknowingly a relationship between Shani and Hanuman must have been established and Hanuman’s worship on Saturdays and His inclusion in the vowed observance of worshipping Saturday (Shanivarvrat) must have commenced.

2.2 Differences

The differences between Shani and Hanuman are more than their similarities.

  • 1. Shani is the son of the Sun deity hence is born from the tej (absolute fire) element whereas Hanuman is the son of Vayu hence is born from the vayu (absolute air) element.
  • 2. There is discord between Shani and the sun whereas Hanuman is a devotee of the Sun deity. He has learnt all the skills from the Sun deity who has imparted a hundredth portion of His radiance to Him. Due to the conflict between Shani and the Sun deity the latter helped Hanuman, the enemy of His enemy (Shani). At that time the vayu element and energy had not manifested completely in Hanuman.
  • 3. Shani is slow whereas Hanuman is swift like the eagle.
  • 4. Shani is an evil planet while Hanuman is definitely not so.
  • 5. It is said that one should not sell oil on Saturdays yet it is customary to offer oil to Hanuman on that day.

3. Demigods (yakshas) and Maruti

Brave and miraculous are adjectives used to describe the demigods. In the Valmiki Ramayan Hanuman is referred to as the miraculous one. Mahavir (the courageous one) is Hanuman’s popular Name. This indicates the relationship between Hanuman and the worship of the demigods. Hanuman is included in the fifty-two brave ones (virs) by the name of Kapilumbir. In Maharashtra, India in the month of Phalgun of the Hindu lunar calendar people dressed as warriors (virs) dance in a procession on their way to a Maruti temple.’

4. Ganapati and Maruti

Both of Them have a red complexion (like sindur) and both of Them possess the eight supernatural powers (ashtamahasiddhis).

5. Importance of Maruti as described by saints

Saint Ramdas Swami has said “Hanumant is our deity”. He is a symbol of energy, ingenuity and devotion. Hence Samarth Ramdas began worshipping Him. Eleven idols of Maruti installed by Him are famous. In North India too saint Tulsidas erected a number of temples and strengthened the worship of Maruti. Madhvacharya is considered as an incarnation of Maruti. Various other saints have also placed Maruti as the ideal through Their various compositions.

6. Worship

6.1 Objectives

Since the manifest energy in Maruti (70%) is much more in comparison to other deities (10%), Maruti is worshipped in the context of energy for the following reasons.

  • To overcome distressing energy: To overcome problems due to spirits, black magic, ancestors’ subtle bodies, suffering due to Shani, etc.
  • To control pleasant energy: If there is any obstacle in the pathway of the activated kundalini (spiritual energy) then to overcome it and channelise it appropriately.

6.2 Ritualistic worship (puja)

Popular worship: In Maharashtra on the full moon day (pournima) of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra Hanuman’s birthday (jayanti) is celebrated. In Maharashtra Saturday is considered as an auspicious day for His worship. In the rest of India Saturday and Tuesday both are considered as auspicious days for His worship. On these days people offer Him sindur and oil. In some places coconuts are offered. To make spiritual progress worship of Vamamukhi (facing the left) Maruti or Maruti as the servitor (Dasmaruti) is used. The reasons for offering oil, sindur, leaves of the coral (rui) plant are given in ‘Why are tulsi leaves offered to Vishnu?’.

Influence of Shani and worship of Maruti: The relationship between Shani and Maruti has been explained earlier in point ‘Shani and Maruti’. Hence when there is an influence of Shani, to reduce the resultant/resulting suffering Maruti is worshipped. The ritual should be performed as follows: Take some oil in a cup (vati), put fourteen bengal gram grains (udid) in it and then look at the reflection of one’s face in it. Only then offer it to Maruti. If one is unable to visit the temple due to illness one may worship Maruti in this way. (Information on why bengal gram is used is described in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 20 – Chapter 43 – Possession, Black magic and Manifestation’.)

A real oil vendor will never sell oil on Saturday because the distressing energy for which a person is offering oil to Maruti may start troubling the oil vendor itself. Hence instead of buying oil from oil vendors seated outside the temple one should carry oil for the offering, from home.

Maruti Gayatri

आंजनेयाय विद्महे । वायुपुत्राय धीमहि ।
तन्‍नो वीर: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।।

Meaning: We are quite familiar with Maruti, the son of Anjani. We meditate on that Maruti, the son of Vayu. May that courageous Maruti inspire our intellect benevolently.

7. Maruti in our lives

If Maruti is in our breath then Rama [the embodied soul doing spiritual practice (jivatma) or atmaram] is within us.

|| Shri Marutaye namaha ||



What are the implied meanings of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu?

Ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu 
Ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu


1. Personages and parts of Lord Vishnu

A. Personages: ‘Four personages of Lord Vishnu have been described in the Vishnu Puran, the first reclines on Shesh, the second nurtures creation, the third assumes an incarnation and reinstates Righteousness (Dharma) and the fourth destroys unrighteousness and demons.

B. Parts: Lord Vishnu has four main parts. With one He becomes the unmanifest Brahma, with the second Prajapati like Marich etc., with the third He is the time (kal) and with the fourth He is in the form of animate and inanimate creation. Thus in these four ways He exists in creation.’

2. The ten incarnations (dashavtar)

All information regarding incarnations with regard to why they are assumed, their mission, types, characteristics, etc. are given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 7 – Supreme God, God, Incarnations and Deities.’ Here information only on the ten main incarnations of Lord Vishnu has been given.

Date of birth
according to
the Hindu
gy (%)
of the
Ability (%)
1. Matsya
  (The fish)
Third day
(trutiya) of the
bright fortnight
of Chaitra
(Matsya Puran)
Eleventh day
(ekadashi) of
the bright
fortnight of
(Varaha Puran)
Satya 20 20 40 50 10
2. Kurma
Full moon day
(pournima) of
Satya 30 30 30 50 20
3. Varaha
Third day
(trutiya) of the
bright fortnight
of Bhadrapad
Satya 40 40 20 50 30
4. Narsinha
Fourteenth day
of the bright
fortnight of
Satya 45 45 Sarasvati 20 50 30
5. Vaman
Twelfth day
(dvadashi) of
the bright
fortnight of
Satya 50 50 Brahm-
20 50 30
6. Parshu-
Third day
(trutiya) of the
bright fortnight
of Vaishakh
Treta 65 65 Bhumi 20 50 30
7. Rama Ninth day
(navami) of the
bright fortnight
of Chaitra
Treta 75 75 Sita 20 50 30
8. Krushna
Eighth day
(ashtami) of the
bright fortnight
of Shravan
Dvapar 100 100 The
eight and
ten great
20 50 30
9. Buddha Ninth day
(navami) of the
bright fortnight
of Ashvin
Kali 50 70 25 50 25
10. Kalki        * Kali 80 100 15 50 35

* At the end of the Kaliyug on the third day of the bright fortnight of Shravan the incarnation, Kalki will be born (Kalki Puran).

2.1 Matsya (The fish)

This is totally an idea from the Vedas.

A. Mission

  • Protecting the seed of creation at the time of dissolution of the universe (pralay). This is preserved at the time of every dissolution of the universe by the fish incarnation. The universe is then recreated from that seed by the next tortoise incarnation, Kurma.
  • Slaying of the demons Hayagriv (Bhagvat Puran), Shankhasur (Skand Puran).

B. Idols

  • Complete form of a fish
  • The torso is that of a man. Its four hands hold four instruments of Lord Vishnu.

C. Implied meaning: Just as a fish swims against the stream of a river, that is towards its origin so also a seeker should go to his place of origin, that is, to The Supreme God. This is what It teaches us.

2.2 Kurma (The tortoise)

A. Mission

  • Creation: ‘Assuming the form of a tortoise Prajapati created progeny. This was His duty (karma). His name Kurma was later derived from the word karma. Further He was also referred to as Kashyap. Kashyap was Prajapati, the creator of progeny. Since the entire creation was derived from Kashyap He was believed to be Kurma. From this, one will realise that the mission in the tortoise form was basically that of Prajapati. After the post-Brahman era Vishnu came into prominence overshadowing Prajapati and all the latter’s actions were attributed to Vishnu. Thus the Kurma incarnation became the second incarnation of Vishnu.
  • Supporting all functions: At the time of churning of the ocean (samudramanthan) the tortoise who supported the Mandar mountain vibrating with the sweat of deities and demons on Its back was the unrealisable Adikachchapa (Kurma incarnation) and It considered the churning of the mountain on Its back as mere scratching of Its body.

B. Idols: Idols of Nrusinha (the man-lion) and Varaha (the boar) are found all over India in abundance; however there are very few of the Kurma incarnation found separately.’

C. Implied meaning: Just as the tortoise withdraws its four limbs, head and tail into its shell so also one should control the six foes of the soul (shadripu).

2.3 Varaha (The boar)

A. Mission

  • Destruction of demons: A demon called Hiranyaksha abducted the earth and took it to hell (patal). Vishnu then assumed the form of a boar, retrieved the earth from hell with Its tusks and installed it on the head of the serpent, Shesh. It then slew Hiranyaksha. Vishnu assumed this incarnation at the beginning of the Varaha kalpa. (Vayu Puran 23.100-109)
  • Imparting spiritual knowledge: In this incarnation Vishnu preached Spirituality to Sanatkumar and narrated the Varahopanishad to Rubhu.

B. Idols: According to the text Vaikhanas Agam the idols are of the following types.

  • Yadnyavaraha: It is seated on a throne with the deity Shridevi on one side and Bhudevi on the other.
  • Pralayvaraha: Only Bhudevi is beside It.
  • Nruvaraha: The body is that of a man and the head that of a boar. Some idols also wield Vishnu’s instruments in Their hands.

C. Implied meaning

  • Varaha is a one tusked wild boar. The boar does not accept defeat even at the cost of its life. Similarly a seeker too should not give up spiritual practice even if on the verge of death when doing so.
  • The seventh chakra of the spiritual energy flow system (kundalini) is called Ekadanta or Narayan.

2.4 Narsinha/Nrusinha (The man-lion)

A. Mission

  • Slaying the demon Hiranyakashipu
  • Lakshmi-Narsinha is the family deity of some. Narsinha is the family deity of the royal family of Vijaynagar.

B. Idols:The body is that of a man and the head that of a ferocious lion.

C. Implied meaning of some incidents

  • Manifestation of Narsinha from a pillar shows the existence of The Lord in animate as well as inanimate creation.
  • Hiranyakashipu signifies ignorance. Narsinha slew him by tearing open his abdomen thus liberating the embodied soul situated in the chakra of spiritual energy (kundalini) at the level of the navel.

D. Ritualistic worship: Since it is difficult to tolerate the radiance of Nrusinha, He is worshipped after the back of His idol is adorned with eyes, whiskers, etc. Similarly the eyes of Balaji of Tirupati are half open as one cannot tolerate His radiance. A sacrifice (balî) of a goat is offered to Nrusinha.

E. Nara-Narayan: Nara was created from the human part of Narsinha and Narayan from the face of a lion (Kalika Puran 29). Refer point ‘Nara-Narayan’.

2.5 Vaman (The dwarf)

Vaman is the son of Kashyap and Aditi. His other name is Urukram. Urukram means one having a wide stride.

A. Mission:He kept Bali a demon king, in bondage.

B. Idols

  • Idols of Vaman:Short, with a paunch, the facial expression of a child, adorning the sacred thread holding an umbrella in one hand and a baton with the other.
  • Trivikram: An expansive form

C. Implied meaning: The three footsteps that Vaman asked King Bali for, describe the all pervading nature of Vishnu. With His three footsteps Vaman encompassed the earth, space and the sky (or the earth, heaven and hell). (Refer point ‘Vishnu’s advance (Vishnukram) ’.)

2.6 Parshuram

One comes across stories about Parshuram in the Ramayan, the Mahabharat and in some Purans. There is no separate mythological text (Puran) about Him unlike the incarnations preceding Him.

A. Parents: Sage Jamadagni of the Bhrugu dynasty and Renuka were the parents of Parshuram. Renuka was the daughter of a Kshatriya (warrior). However Jamadagni being a Brahman Parshuram too became a Brahman. The ashram of Sage Jamadagni was situated on the banks of the river Narmada. Parshuram was born there in the nineteenth Tretayug (in the transitional period between the Treta and Dvaparyugs according to the Mahabharat). Renu means particles of earth. Renuka undertook spiritual practice of the water element. Hence she could fetch water in pots made of wet clay. Jamadagni had done spiritual practice of the fire element. Jamat is a type of fire. Jamat also means a resolve made with a definite purpose.

B. Mission

  • Slaying of unrighteous Kshatriyas (warriors): ‘Valmiki has referred to Him not as a slayer of Kshatriyas but of kings. From this an inference can be made that Parshuram did not kill all Kshatriyas, but only those Kshatriya kings who were evil.’

    Kartavirya abducted the divine wish-fulfilling cow (kamadhenu) and her calf from Sage Jamadagni’s ashram. This incident occurred in Parshuram’s absence. On His return, realising what had happened, He vowed to slay Kartavirya. In the ensuing battle between the two on the banks of the river Narmada, Parshuram slew Kartavirya. Thereafter complying with His father’s directives He embarked on a pilgrimage and to undertake austerities.

    After Parshuram left, to avenge Kartavirya’s death, Haihayas beheaded Sage Jamadagni. When this news reached Parshuram He returned to the ashram. There were twenty-one injuries made with arrows on the dead body of Jamadagni. Seeing them Parshuram instantly pledged that ‘He would circumambulate the earth twenty-one times to punish and rid the earth of evil Kshatriyas and Haihayas because of the slaying of a Brahman by them.’ According to this vow He would slay the unrighteous Kshatriyas and then retreat for penance to the Mahendra mountain. When there was an upsurge in evil warriors He would return and slay them. He completed twenty-one such missions. He fought the last battle on the Samantpanchak. There He washed His axe (parshu) soaked with the blood of the Kshatriyas and laid it down.

  • Erecting temples of deities of territories (kshetrapaldevata): While circumbulating the earth twenty-one times He established one hundred and eight seats of pilgrimage with divine energy (tirthakshetra), that is temples of deities of territories (kshetrapaldevata). Before that saints only knew about these places but had not erected temples or established holy seats (piths) there.

C. Characteristics

  • अग्रत: चतुरो वेदा: पृष्‍ठत: सशरं धनु: ।
    इदं ब्राह्‍मं इदं क्षात्रं शापादपि शरादपि ।।

    Meaning: Parshuram who is verbally well versed with the four Vedas and sports the bow and arrow upon His back (that is the one who has the radiance of both the Brahman and the Kshatriya) will vanquish the one who dares to obstruct Him either with a curse or an arrow.

  • Imparting energy to Rama: Once hearing about the fame of Rama (the son of Dasharath) in order to test His bravery Parshuram obstructed His way. Then He offered His bow to Rama and told Him to bend it and mount an arrow onto it. When Rama complied and asked where He should shoot an arrow, Parshuram told Him, ‘Nullify My activity on this land of Kashyap.’ Rama obliged Him. Then Parshuram gifted that bow to Rama and thus imparted His energy of destroying evildoers to Rama.
  • The best archery teacher: After laying down His arms He gave up His feeling of hatred for Kshatriyas (warriors) and began teaching archery to both Brahmans (priests) as well as Kshatriyas with equality. Great archers from the Mahabharat such as Bhishmacharya, Dronacharya, etc. were all disciples of Parshuram.
  • Generous: Due to His mission of destroying the Kshatriyas He became the master of the entire earth. As a result He also acquired the privilege to perform the Ashvamedh sacrificial fire (yadnya). So He first bathed in all the places of pilgrimage, circumambulated the earth thrice and then performed the sacrificial fire. The altar (vedi) of the sacrificial fire was made of gold and was ten vave (the distance between arms extended sideways) long and nine vave high. At the end of the sacrificial fire Parshuram offered the entire land which He had acquired to the officiating priest of the sacrificial fire, Kashyap.
  • Creation of new land: Kashyap realised that as long as Parshuram continued to live on earth the Kshatriyas would not prosper. Hence He told Parshuram ‘The land which you have offered to Me in the sacrifice now belongs to Me. You have no right to stay on My land anymore.’ So making the sea recede Parshuram created His own new territory. The area from Vaitarana to Kanyakumari is referred to as Parshuram’s territory (Parshuramkshetra).
  • Creation of Brahmans: Since there were no Brahmans in the new land created by Him the pure-minded Parshuram killed everyone there, cremated them and made them pure Brahmans.
  • He is one of the seven immortal ones (saptachiranjiva); however the Mahabharat states that during the manvantar (a period of time) He will renounce His body.

D. ‘The territory of Parshuram: The Salher mountain is situated at the northern end of the Sahyadri range. Over there, there is a fort from the middle ages with a temple of Parshuram at its peak. Two footsteps four times the size of the footstep of an average person are engraved in the earth at a distance of 100 feet to the north of the temple. They are designed in the stance adopted by a person while shooting an arrow from a bow. It is said that Parshuram shot an arrow into the ocean from here and made it recede.

An ancient temple of Parshuram is located in the Kangada district of Punjab. In the Konkan there is one on a mountain situated five miles from Chiplun. The temple has three idols standing in a row, their names being Kama, Parshuram and Kal. The idol of Parshuram is a little taller than the others. The three idols are arranged such that they represent Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively.’

E. Idols: The body of the idol is huge like that of Bhim. It has matted hair locks and sports a bow on the shoulder and an axe in the hand.

F. Ritualistic worship: Parshuram being an incarnation of Lord Vishnu is worshipped as a deity worthy of worship. His birthday (jayanti) which falls on the third day (trutiya) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Vaishakh is celebrated both as a vowed religious observance (vrat) and a religious festival (utsav).

2.7 Rama

Information on Rama is given in ‘Rama’.

2.8 Krushna

Information on Krushna is given in ‘Krushna’. Krushna being an absolute incarnation (purnavtar) is not referred to as an incarnation but as Lord Vishnu Himself who has assumed an incarnation.

2.9 Buddha

A. Since the seventh and eighth centuries to depict the connection between Hinduism and Buddhism according to the principle of ‘not opposing anyone (सर्वेषाम्‌ अविरोधेण)’ Gautam Buddha came to be known as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He was born on the ninth day (navami) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Ashvin. Buddha stopped the concept of offering sacrifices in a sacrificial fire (yadnya) and spread the message of truth and non-violence.

B. ‘His reign is said to be from the time of the incarnation of Krushna to that of Kalki scheduled to occur at the end of the Kaliyug. In other words, God is always existing but can be realised only through purified intellect (buddhi) which is acquired by remaining in the holy company (satsang) of saints and seekers. Hence He is referred to as an incarnation.’ – Saint.

2.10 Kalki

A. Birth:‘He is the tenth or twenty-first incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He will be born on the third day (trutiya) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Shravan at the end of the Kaliyug to a Brahman named Vishnuyashas in the village Shambal of Kikat. His lineage (gotra) will be Parashar.

B. Mission: He will embark on the conquest of the earth on His horse named Devdatta. He will destroy the evil and unrighteous and reinstate Righteousness (Dharma). He will destroy His enemies, the evildoers and rule the world. The priest Yadnyavalkya will assist Him in this mission and finally at the age of twenty-five He will renounce His body at the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. The Bhavishya Kalki Puran predicts that after this the Krutyug (Satyayug) will commence.

Various holy texts such as the Vishnu Puran (4.24.98), the Shrimadbhagvat (1.3.25), the Matsya Puran, the MahabharatVanaparva (190. 96-97), etc. predict the future exactly like the Kalki Puran.

C. Idols: The Hayshirsha Pancharatra and the Agni Puran describe the image of Kalki in two different ways – one with two arms and the other with four arms. The Chaturvarga Chintamani describes His idol with two arms as –

खड्‌गोद्यतकर: क्रुध्‍दो हयारूढो महाबल: ।
म्‍लेंच्‍छोच्‍छेदकर: कल्‍की व्‍दिभुज: परीकीर्तित: ।।

Meaning: Kalki wields a sword in one hand, is seated on a horse, is mighty, is the destroyer of evildoers and has two arms.’

|| Shri Vishnave Namaha ||


What does the lotus in the hand of Lord Vishnu symbolize?

Lord Vishnu with Lakshmi

Lord Vishnu with Lakshmi


1. Science behind the idol

Idols of Vishnu can be traced from the 2nd to the 8th century.

1.1 Instruments, ornaments, the family and their scientific meaning

Part of the
body / family
Instrument /
Name Complexion Mission /
1. Head Crown Kutastha Sattva
2. Ears Earrings The perishable
(kshar) and
3. Neck Garland of
Vaijayanti* Five
The Primal
Energy (Adya),
the Invincible
4. Chest
  A. Footprint of
His devotee
of a tuber
Love for
  B. Diamond Koustubh Red Radiance
5. Hand
  A. 1. Conch Payanchajanya Of the full
Brahman in the
form of a word
present in the
five cosmic
elements or the
of a war
       2. The posture
  B. Discus** Sudarshan Of a
The weapon
which can be
flung or
operated from
a distance
  C. Mace (placed
near the right
Koumodaki Of
The weapon
used when the
enemy is close,
the Primal
(Adividya), the
form of the
intellect (Mahat
principle), the
  D. Padma
Serenity (shanti).
  E. Bow Sharanhga The Primal
6. Family
  A. Wife Lakshmi*** Golden Divine Energy
       Wife Pushti Of the
Divine Energy
  B. Serpent Anant Of a
Pure particles
  C. Vehicle Garud Of a

* An energy. Vaijayanti (वैजयंती) = vai (वै) + jayanti (जयंती). Vai means numerous eras (yugs) and jayanti means chains. The one adorning the necklace of Vaijayanti is the one wearing the chains of the eras around His neck and the one beyond time, that is Lord Vishnu.

** The rotating discus is the Great Illusion. The finger about which it rotates is stationary and represents Brahman. .

*** The Divine Energy which is constantly engaged in destroying the mind and distressing energy. Lakshmi is seated at His feet. [Parvati is seated on Shiva’s lap. Shiva – Parvati seated together imply the dissolution of duality, that is the state of non-duality (advait).]

1.2 Sheshashayi Vishnu (Padmanabh)

One of the famous forms of Vishnu is that of Sheshashayi Vishnu wherein He reclines on the serpent named Shesh. Lakshmi is seated at His feet. There is a lotus emerging from His navel. Lord Brahma is seated on the lotus and the earth is supported on Shesh’s head. Such is the form of Sheshashayi Vishnu. The implied meaning of this form is as follows.

  • 1. Shesh: Shesh means the reserve or remnant. After subtraction of one number from another the result is the remainder. When a particle starts disintegrating, that particle which is the most subtle and which cannot disintegrate further means the core of the paramanu (atom), is called Shesh. The three most subtle particles in it are dhan (proton), run (electron) and udasin (neutron). [Shesh can absorb the 108 (narayan) frequencies coming from the region of the stars (nakshatralok) and can also bring about changes in them.]
  • 2. The earth: The earth is made up of minute particles. The existence of every particle is dependent on the serpent (Shesh) within its core. The earth is held on Shesh’s head implies that Shesh is supporting the earth.
  • 3. Vishnu: Vishnu is the radiance from the dhan, run and udasin frequencies from Shesh.
  • 4. Lakshmi: If Vishnu is the form of dhan frequencies then Lakshmi is that of run frequencies. In other words the feminine form of Vishnu is Lakshmi.
  • 5. The lotus: The lotus is a symbol of creation. The energy which emanates from Vishnu’s navel, that is from the Para mode of speech is depicted as a lotus. This energy of creation is not derived from Vishnu alone but from the union of Vishnu and Lakshmi. Vishnu is also named Padmanabh due to the lotus (padma) which springs from His navel (nabhi).
  • The Sahasrar chakra, the last in the Path of Activation of Spiritual Energy (Kundaliniyoga) is also called Sahasradal. The lotus in Lord Vishnu’s hand symbolises that He can endow the highest spiritual experience from the Path of Yoga.
  • 6. Lord Brahma: The spiritual experience arising from the lotus, that is from the energy of creation is called Brahmadev or Brahma.

The twenty-four Names of Vishnu given under point ‘2. Some other Names’ differ only with respect to the order of the instruments held in the hands of the idols. Otherwise the idols are the same.


What does the idol of Lord Vitthal with His hands on the waist signify?

Lord Vitthal and Rukmini

Lord Vitthal and Rukmini


1. Comparison of various forms of Vishnu and His family

Principle %
(God = 100%)
energy %
tion %
enance %
olution %
1. Vishnu,
100 10 2 96 2
2. Ardha-
100 50 10 90 0
3. Narad,
70 10 10 70 20
4. Hanuman* 60 70 10 70 20
5. Vitthal 50 50 10 80 10
6. Vyankatesh
50 50 10 60 30
7. Garud 20 10 20 60 20
8. Jai-Vijay 20 10 20 60 20
9. Messengers
    of Vishnu
10 10 10 70 20
10. Attendant
10 10 10 40 50
11. Average
1/10000 1/10000 10 30 60
12. Shaligram
     (a sacred
1/10 lakh 1/10 lakh 10 30 60
13. Average
     piece of
1/1 crore 1/1 crore 10 30 60

* Although Hanuman is an incarnation of Lord Shiva, He being a great devotee of Lord Rama, the Vishnu principle in Him is very high.

2. Narad

2.1. Birth

He was born in space before the other deities. He is the son of Lord Brahma. (For more information on Narad refer ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 7 – Supreme God, God, Incarnations and deities, point – Prajapati’.)

2.2. Characteristics


  • A tuft of hair on the head (shendi).
  • A musical instrument called the vina (a stringed musical instrument) around His neck. With the pull of one string of the vina, particles of nourishment are generated. These are collected by Lord Vishnu. Vaishnavites believe that the universe was created by the sound of the vina. Shaivites believe that the same occurred by the sound generated through Shiva’s small hourglass shaped drum (damaru).
  • Always wandering about in the three regions.
  • He can wander anywhere in the universe from the deities to the demons that is from heaven to hell along the path of Vishnu at any time within a fraction of a second. (Refer point ‘2 D’.)


  • Humourous nature
  • Instigates others but only to assist The Lord’s mission and to reduce defects like ego, etc. in others.


  • Constantly chanting the Name Narayan
  • Constantly in communion with Lord Vishnu
  • He is Lord Vishnu’s close disciple, that is one who has merged into the Omniscient Vishnu.

2.3. Mission

A. Guidance to seekers

B. He is called a devarshi (saint of a certain heavenly order). Narad is the son of Lord Brahma. He helps in the accomplishment of The Lord’s mission. Brahman means worthy of spiritual experience. Narad gets spiritual experiences and gives them to others; hence He is referred to as a great sage (mahamuni). A sage is the one who speaks only on Spirituality.

C. Getting rid of defects like ego in others

D. Composition of holy texts: The Naradbhaktisutras, Narad Puran, Naradsanhita and Naradpancharatra are written by Him.

3. Tumbaru

He is the son of Kashyap and Pracha. Some of his characteristics are as follows:

  • He is a celestial musician (gandharva).
  • He has the countenance of a horse.
  • He is the master of the two Hindu lunar months, Madhu and Madhav (Chaitra and Vaishakh). In the month of Chaitra he accompanies the Sun deity (Surya) in His chariot.
  • The main singer in the royal court of the deities Indra and Kuber
  • Player of the vina (a stringed musical instrument): The name of the vina is Kalavati.
  • The tanpura (tambora – a stringed musical instrument) has acquired its name from him.
  • On special occasions he also visits the earth.
  • His wife is Rambha and his daughters Manovati and Sukesha.

4. Viththal

4.1. Origin

‘The word Viththal has varied origins. According to one late ‘Sadhak’ it was derived from the word Vishthal. Vishthal is a place far-off in a forest. It thus implies that Lord Viththal is a deity who resides in the forest.

One ‘Sadhak’  says that the variation of Vishnu in Kannada becomes Bitti and Viththal is derived from this variation. According to the variation in the Aryan-Prakrut language it becomes Viththu. Another ‘Sadhak’ too gives the same opinion.

Late Vishnubuva Jog narrates the origin based on Saint Tukaram’s devotional song (abhang) ‘Vicha kela thoba (वीचा केला ठोबा)’ as vi-vid (वि-विद्‌) means to know or devotional knowledge and thoba means an idol. Thus Vithoba becomes an icon of spiritual knowledge.

4.2. The second Name

Vithoba is also known as Pandurang. One cannot tell how this Name was derived as actually Pandurang is a Name of the fair complexioned Shiva. In Kannada this becomes Pandarange. So one ‘Sadhak’ opines that the abode of Pandurang or Pandarang is Pandharpur.’ Several people wonder how He is named Pandurang (white in colour) despite His idol being dark complexioned. Besides the point above the answer is that to a true devotee His idol appears white through the subtle visual organs.

Viththal is worshipped on the first and Pandurang on the second ekadashi (eleventh day) of the two ekadashis celebrated in a Hindu lunar month.

4.3. The consort (Divine Energy)

Consorts of deities are their Energies. They are of two types, saviour and destroyer. Viththal being the deity of sustenance both His Energies, that is consorts, are associated with creation and sustenance. Rai and Rukmini are Viththal’s consorts.

  • Rai: Rai is a particle of earth. It represents the procreative potential of the earth. [Shirish is the flower borne by mustard (rai) plant.] Rai is also known as Padmavati or Padubai. Padmakosh means the uterus.
  • Rukmini (Rakhumai): Rukmini means the form of a snake hole or a conch. These also represent the uterus.

4.4. Science behind the idol

Viththal’s idol is dark complexioned with protruding eyes and stands on a brick with hands held on the waist. When Pundalik served his parents Lord Viththal was appeased and appeared before him. At that time to avoid any lapse in service towards his parents, Pundalik threw a brick and asked The Lord to stand on it. The Lord stood watching his service with admiration. This idol is different from idols of other deities which wield either a weapon or bestow a blessing with the hand. It depicts Viththal observing everything as a spectator (sakshibhav). The sense organs lie above and the motor organs below the waist. Hands on the waist means the one with the motor organs within His control.

5. Vyankatesh (Balaji)

Lord Vyankatesh

Lord Vyankatesh


Vyankatesh has several Names – Vyankoba, Venkatraman, Venkatadhvari, Venkatadri, Shrinivas, Balaji, etc. Another Name is Tirupati. Tiru means Shri, a title which implies opulence. So Tirupati means Shripati Vishnu. Since the radiance of Balaji of Tirupati cannot be easily tolerated, His eyes are half closed. Lakshmi is not beside Vyankatesh. Her temple is situated below the mountain in the village Tiruchanur. Here She is called Padmavati or Almelumang (Alamelumang). The shepherds call Padmavati, Padubai. She is also described as Vishnupriya.

6. Garud



‘The Garud has acquired a great deal of importance in the Vaishnavite sect. It is considered a major deity from the family of Vishnu. Just as Nandi (the bull) is present in the service of Lord Shiva, so also is Garud (the eagle) in the service of Lord Vishnu. In several temples of Lord Vishnu, a special pillar is erected. This is called Garud’s pillar (Garudkhamb). This idol of Garud in front of Lord Vishnu is usually made of black stone and is rarely of wood. The idol has a human form but a beak and wings of a bird. It stands in a posture with hands folded in obeisance (namaskar). When Garud has four arms it is called Vainateya. Another of its names is Arishtanemi.

A. The Garud science (Garudvidya): In Sanskrut literature there is a science called the science of snakes (sarpavidya). The science of poisons (vishvidya) is a synonym. Shri Shankaracharya has named it the garudvidya. The science of snakes is used to charm snakes. Garud is the deity of this science.’ The one who knows this science is called a snake charmer (garudi).

B. Garud Gayatri: The worship of Garud is present since ancient times. The Garud Gayatri has been described in the Mahanarayan Upanishad (3.15) as –

तत्‍पुरुषाय विद्महे । सुपर्णपक्षाय धीमहि । तन्‍नो गरुड: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।।

Meaning: We are quite familiar with the Absolute Being in the form of an eagle. We meditate on that golden-winged Garud. May he inspire our intellect benevolently.

7. Jai-Vijay

Once the two of them had a quarrel over sharing of the offerings (dakshina) given to them. At that time Jai cursed Vijay saying “You will become a crocodile”. Vijay retaliated and cursed that Jai would become an elephant. Thereafter both repented for what they had done and surrendered to Lord Vishnu who promised them that He would uplift them after they had undergone the curse. By the influence of the curse they came to be born on the banks of the river Gandaki, one as a crocodile and the other as an elephant. Once in the Hindu lunar month of Kartik, when the elephant entered the river for a bath the crocodile held its leg. The elephant then fervently prayed to Lord Vishnu for his deliverance. Lord Vishnu manifested there, released both of them from the bondages of the curse and took them to His divine abode (Vishnulok).

Once when Sage Sanak along with other sages had gone to pay obeisance to Lord Vishnu, Jai and Vijay stopped Them. As a result, the sages cursed them as “You two will be born as demons”. When they pleaded for mitigation of the curse the sages replied, “After three births you will be liberated and will return to Vaikunth”. To undergo this curse Jai and Vijay were later born as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu, Ravan and Kumbhakarna and Shishupal and Vakradanta respectively. Each time they were slain by one of Vishnu’s incarnations and finally after three births they returned to Vaikunth.

8. Messengers of Vishnu (Vishnudut)

‘Vishnu too has messengers like the deity of death, Yama. They protect the devotees of Vishnu and after their death take them to His divine abode (Vishnulok).These messengers always reside in Vaikunth. They too wield a conch, a discus and a mace in their hands like Lord Vishnu. The fourth hand holds a baton. A necklace of tulsi leaves adorns their neck. Even Lord Yama respects them.’

9. Shaligram

‘It is a sacred stone, a symbol of Lord Vishnu. In Nepal, situated at a distance of 300 miles from Pashupatinath is a place called Muktanath. This stone is found there in the river Gandaki. Besides there is also a mountain of this stone. Idols are sculpted from this stone. It is also customary to carve yantras on it. The genuineness of these stones is tested based on certain types of circles and openings existing on them. Sometimes the stone has a fine gold line on it. The genuine shaligram is always heavier than stone because it is non-porous like marble. As a result its erosion too is less. (The banalinga of Lord Shankar is similar to this.)

The colour of a Shaligram varies. Its name is derived from its colour – 1. White – Vasudev, 2. Blue – Hiranyagarbha, 3. Black – Vishnu, 4. Red – Pradyumna, 5. Dark green – Shri Narayan, 6. Dark blue – Nrusinha or Vaman and 7. A shaligram with twelve circles on it is called Anant.

89 such varieties of a shaligram are known. A shaligram is kept either in milk or rice. If this increases its form and weight then it is considered suitable for regular ritualistic worship (puja). In some South Indian temples of Lord Vishnu, a necklace of shaligram adorns the neck of the idol of The Lord. Vaishnavites belonging to the Madhva sect, in fact, consider the Shaligram to be superior to even the idol of Lord Vishnu. In the ritualistic worship of the fivefold family of deities (panchayatan puja) the shaligram is used as a representative of Lord Vishnu. Followers of the Madhva sect partake of the holy water (tirtha) offered to the shaligram instead of a mixture of milk, curd, clarified butter (ghee), urine and dung of cow (panchagavya) as atonement (prayashchitta).’

10. The consort

Information on the main Divine Energy (Shakti) of Lord Vishnu, that is Lakshmi and also others is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 18 – Divine Energy (Shakti)’. Some of the incarnations that Lakshmi assumed when Vishnu incarnated are given in the table below.

Incarnations of Vishnu Incarnations of Lakshmi
1. Vaman Kamalasambhav Lakshmi
2. Parshuram The earth
3. Rama Sita
4. Krushna Rukmini

Lakshmi sits at the feet of Her master, Vishnu because He holds His devotees and not Lakshmi close to His bosom! Lakshmi looks after the spiritual and worldly needs of these devotees of Vishnu (or rather Vishnu Himself does so using Her as a medium).

Why should one chant specific Name of Lord Vishnu for accomplishing a particular mission?


Lord Vishnu


1. Origin and meaning

‘Yaska has derived this word from vish (विष्‌) which means to be constantly active (Nirukta 12.19). Yaska has also opined that the word Vishnu has also been derived from vish (विश्‌) which means to pervade and based on this Sayanacharya too has given its meaning as vast or all pervading (the commentary of point 1.154.1 and 5 of the Rugveda). In accordance with this meaning a commentary on the Vishnusahasranam says -‘चराचरेषु भूतेषु वेशनाव्‍दिष्‍णुरुच्‍यते|’

Meaning: He is called Vishnu because He pervades all the animate and inanimate creation.’

2. Some other Names

The famous verse of Lord Vishnu is the Vishnusahasranam (विष्‍णुसहस्रनाम). Amidst chanting of these thousand Names Lord Vishnu is ritualistically worshipped with an offering of tulsi leaves or lotus flowers while sipping water through the palm (achaman).

During the ritual of sandhya the twenty-four Names recited are – Keshav, Narayan, Madhav, Govind, Vishnu, Madhusudan, Trivikram, Vaman, Shridhar, Hruíhikesh, Padmanabh, Damodar, Sankarshan, Vasudev, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Puruíhottam, Adhokshaj, Narsinha, Achyut, Janardan, Upendra, Hari and Shrikrushna. Although all these Names belong to Lord Vishnu, yet according to the rule that sound, touch, form, taste, fragrance and energy coexist with a word how a different energy is generated by chanting each of these Names will be understood from the following lines of a verse.

औषधे चिन्‍तयेव्‍दिष्‍णुं भोजने च जनार्दनम्‌।
शयने पद्मनाभं च विवाहे च प्रजापतिम्‌ ।।१।।
युध्‍दे चक्रधरं देवं प्रवासे च त्रिविक्रमम्‌ ।
नारायणं तनुत्‍यागे श्रीधरं प्रियसंगमे ।।२।।
दु:स्‍वप्‍ने स्‍मर गोविन्‍दं संकटे मधुसूदनम्‌ ।
कानने नारसिंहं च पावके जलशायिनम्‌ ।।३।।
जलमध्‍ये वराहं च पर्वते रघुनन्‍दनम्‌ ।
गमने वामनं चैव सर्वकार्येषु माधवम ।।४।।

Meaning: One should contemplate on Vishnu when consuming medicines, Janardan when eating, Padmanabh when sleeping, Prajapati during a marriage ceremony, Lord Chakradhar (Vishnu / Krushna) when fighting a battle, Trivikram during a journey, Narayan at the time of death, Shridhar during intercourse between spouses, Govind in case of a bad dream, Madhusudan in a calamity, Narsinha in the forest, the form of Vishnu in the celestial ocean (kshirasagar) when threatened by fire, His Varaha incarnation when there is fear of drowning, Raghunandan when there is fear of fall from a mountain and Madhav when performing day-to-day chores.

One will realise from the following examples why certain Names of Lord Vishnu are used for a particular mission.

  • Since Prajapati created the universe and is responsible for procreation during a marriage ceremony His Name is chanted.
  • During a fight the Name of Vishnu who sports a discus (chakra), Chakradhari should be chanted.
  • Since the lion is the king of the forest if one chants the Name of Narsinha (the man-lion incarnation) in the forest one is protected.
  • The Varaha (boar) incarnation of Lord Vishnu lifted the earth from the waters and placed it on the head of the serpent, Shesh. Hence when there is fear of drowning this Name should be chanted.

A. Bhagvan

The six attributes namely wealth, Righteousness (Dharma), success, opulence, spiritual knowledge and detachment are referred to as ‘bhag’. The one who possesses these attributes is called Bhagvan. In the Bhagvat sect Lord Shrikrushna and Vishnu are referred to as Bhagvan.

B. Narayan

‘This is a deity from the post Rugvedic period. The word narayan (नारायण) has been derived from nar (नार) [naraha (नारा:)] = apa (आप) meaning the absolute water element and ayan (अयन) meaning a place. Thus it means that the one who lives in the apa element is Narayan. The water mentioned above should not be considered as mere water. Before the earth came into existence everything was in the form of the apa element. Later it is from this that the universe was created. The origin of what we refer to as water occurred through a physical process much later. The all pervading energy which was present in the very beginning is the one referred to as water in this context. So, that principle from which the universe has been created is Narayan.’

Nara’ refers to mankind and ‘ayan’ to its ultimate stage is another definition of Narayan.

  • Synonymous words in the Narayaniya sect and other philosophies
    Narayaniya sect Other philosophies
A. Name Sahasrashirshapurush, (The thousand-headed
 Being) (Tripad)
B. Forms
  1. Unmanifest form He is Supreme, beyond the three components
(guns). He is called the
tripad nectar (amrut)
Supreme Brahman
Supreme God
  2. Manifest form
भूमिं विश्वतो वृत्‍वा अत्‍यतिष्‍ठत्‌
दशाङ्‍गुलम्‌ means the space equivalent to the
width of ten index fingers
remaining after
encompassing all the regions of the universe.
Brahman, God (ishvar)
  3. Vast (virat) form Conception from the vast form occurs in Prakruti Apa (absolute water),
form of the
universal intellect
(Mahat principle),
the Great Illusion
(yoni), Prakruti
C. Energy Narayani The female deity (devi),
spiritual energy (kundalini)
D. Creation of the universe
  1. From what? Tinkling of the vina (a stringed musical
instrument) strings of
Sage Narad
Akash (absolute ether)
  2. Characteristics Sound (nada) Word (shabda)


  • Sheshashayi: ‘This is one form of Narayan. He reclines on the serpent (nag) who is the king of hell (patal). In the word “patalam (पातालम्‌)” the word alam (आलम्‌ ) is derived from the Tamil language and refers to water. Water is not called alam in Sanskrut. Nag is the name of a Dravidian tribe and Shesh was probably their ancient king or family deity.
  • Shvetadipa: Just as Vishnu’s abode is Vaikunth, Shiva’s is Kailas, so also Narayan’s abode is Shvetadipa.
  • Nara-Narayan: This is considered as a pair of deities. Both of them are friends and have originated from the same principle. This idea was probably derived from the Vedic verse “Dva suparna” (Rugveda 1.164.20). This verse means : There are two birds seated on a tree. Both of them are beautifully winged, close friends living together. One of them tastes sweet fruits of that tree. The second however does not eat but merely adopts the stance of a spectator. Thus in the above quote the one feasting on the fruit is nara (man) and the spectator is Narayan.’
    Nara Narayan
1. Components (guns) Composed of guns (sagun) Beyond components (nirgun)
2. Spiritual meaning The embodied soul or the
Great Illusion (Maya)
Shiva or Brahman
3. Idol Has two arms Has four arms
4. Incarnation Arjun Krushna

  • Navanarayan and Navanath: The Navanarayans nurture the nine serpents (nag) in the universal spiritual energy system (vishva kundalini).‘The group of nine saints from the Nath sect constitutes the Navanaths. The holy text Navanathbhaktisar enumerates the couplets of the Navanaths and the Navanarayans whose respective incarnations they are:
Navanath Whose
Navanath Whose
1. Matsyendra Narayan 6. Nag Avirhotra
2. Goraksha Hari 7. Bhartruhari Drumil
3. Jalandhar Antariksha 8. Revan Chamas
4. Kanif Prabuddha 9. Gahini Karbhajan
5. Charpati Pippalayan  

  • From the various compositions about the Navanaths it appears that though some Names of saints correspond, there is no uniformity. The concept of the Navanaths probably originated from the school of thought that the Navanaths are the presiding deities of the nine openings in the body (navadvar). Later the one who felt drawn to particular Naths must have included them in the nine saints and published his list of Navanaths. The list of Navanaths is similar to that of the six Manus, the seven great sages (Saptarshi), Ashtachap, Navanarayans, the sixty-three saints (Tamil Shaivites), etc. In the Shaiva sect the Navanaths hail from the Adinath (that is Shiva) lineage.’
  • Idol of Narayan: ‘According to the Dravidians Narayan was considered as a form of Lord Shiva. This idea of unity of Narayan and Shiva will be clear after seeing the idols of Narayan at Shivasamudram, Shrirangam and Shrirangapattanam in India. In South India, Narayan Himself is called Shriranga or Ranganath. Among the three places of pilgrimage mentioned above, Shivasamudram is basically a Shaivite place of pilgrimage. The characteristic of Narayan’s idol is that it is always in a reclining posture. However it is not asleep as its eyes are half open.’
  • Narayani : In the Vaishnav sect the Mahanarayan radiance [spiritual energy (kundalini)] in the body is referred to as Narayani.

C. Vasudev

Vasaha (वास:) means life, sustenance or stability. The deity bestowing this is known as Vasudev (वासुदेव).

सर्वाणि तत्र भूतानि वसन्‍ति परमात्‍मनि ।
भूतेषु च स सर्वात्‍मा वासुदेवस्‍तत: स्‍मृत: ।।

Meaning: He is referred to as Vasudev (vas means to stay) because all objects created from the five elements reside within Him and vice versa.

D. Sankarshan

Samyak (सम्‍यक्‌) and karshan (कर्षण) constitute the Name Sankarshan (संकर्षण). Sankarshan thus means the one who attracts unhappiness or illness and guides one to the level of equanimity. He is the one who attracts or gets rid of any kind of inappropriate frequencies and transforms them into appropriate ones.

E. Kiritdhari

Kiritdhari means adorning a crown (Kirit). Among the superior deities Lord Shiva does not wear a crown. It is in this context that Vishnu is said to be wearing a crown.

F. Lakshmipati

Vishnu’s feminine form is called Lakshmi. Laksham means concentration. The one who can be acquired with concentration is called Lakshmipati (Master of Lakshmi).

G. Hari and Shrihari

1. Hari: ‘यस्‍य अनुग्रह्य इच्‍छामि तस्‍य सर्वं हराम्‍यहम्‌ ।’
Meaning: Whenever I bestow My grace on someone, I take everything (including unhappiness) from him. (Hence My Name is Hari.)

2. Shrihari: Shri refers to attributes such as energy, beauty, virtues, etc. Vishnu’s form along with Shri is Shrihari.

When did the ritualistic worship of Lord Krushna begin?

* The spelling ‘Krushna’ is used instead of ‘Krishna’ as it is more appropriate and in accordance with Sanskrit pronunciation.



Krushna belonged to the Satvat clan of the Yadav dynasty. After He renounced His body this clan began worshipping Him. This was a kind of beginning of the Path of Devotion (Bhaktimarg). The Alvar saints of Tamilnadu in South India propagated the devotion of Krushna.

2. Ritualistic worship (puja) and religious festivals

Krushna being Vishnu’s incarnation is worshipped just like Vishnu. (Refer ‘Chapter 12 : Vishnu, point – Ritualistic worship’.) The birth of Krushna is celebrated on the eighth day (ashtami) of the dark fortnight of Shravan at midnight.

3. Gopichandan

‘गोप्‍य: नाम विष्‍णुपत्‍न्‍य: तासां चन्‍दनं आल्‍हादकम्‌’ means that which imparts Bliss to the consorts of Krushna is gopichandan (गोपीचन्‍दन). It is also named Vishnuchandan.

This is a kind of white mud found in Dvarka. The holy texts say that just as sins are cleansed by bathing in the Ganga, so also by applying a paste of gopichandan all sins are overcome. It is customary to apply gopichandan to the forehead amidst chanting of the Vishnu Gayatri mantra.

4. Chanting of the mantra ‘Hare Krushna

Kalisantaran Upanishad is a part of the Krushnayajurveda and is also referred to as the Harinamopanishad. This Upanishad was narrated by Lord Brahma to Sage Narad at the end of the Dvaparyug. The gist of this text is that solely by chanting the Name of Lord Narayaß are the ill-effects due to the influence of Kali destroyed. This Name is comprised of the following sixteen words.

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krushna Hare Krushna Krushna Krushna Hare Hare
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे।
हरे कृष्‍ण हरे कृष्‍ण कृष्‍ण कृष्‍ण हरे हरे ।।

These sixteen words are associated with the sixteen stages (kalas) of the embodied soul. This mantra has the capacity to destroy the covering of the embodied soul. Some followers of the Krushna sect chant the second line of the mantra first.’

5. Krushna Gayatri

1.  देवकीनन्‍दनाय विद्महे । वासुदेवाय धीमहि ।
      तन्‍न: कृष्‍ण: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।।
Meaning: We are quite familiar with Krushna, the son of Devaki. We meditate on Vasudev. May that Krushna inspire our intellect benevolently.

2.  दामोदराय विद्महे । वासुदेवाय धीमहि ।
      तन्‍न: कृष्‍ण: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।।
Meaning: We are quite familiar with Damodar. We meditate on Vasudev. May that Krushna inspire our intellect benevolently.

6. Yantras and bijamantras

Three yantras of Lord Krushna are well-known. ‘Klim’ is Krushna’s one letter yantra or bijamantra.

7. Main sects

  • Sanak (Nimbarka): Radha is Lord Krushna’s Blissful Energy (Alhadinishakti).
  • Pushti (Vallabh): Rama, Lakshmi or Bhu are the Divine Energies endowing opulence and the gopi is the Energy bestowing gentleness (Madhuryashakti).
  • Radhavallabh: Radha is the supreme object of worship and Krushna being Her worshipper is worthy of worship.
  • Chaitanya: Devotion through intense emotion is its spiritual practice. The gopis represent Blissful Energy. The founder of this sect ‘Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’ was born in 1485 A.D. in Bangal.
  • Mahanubhav: This was founded by Swami Chakradhar.
  • The new sect ‘Hare Krushna’ was founded in Bangal in recent times.


Why did Lord Krushna narrate Gita only to Arjun?

* The spelling ‘Krushna’ is used instead of ‘Krishna’ as it is more appropriate and in accordance with Sanskrit pronunciation.

Lord Krushna and Arjun

The Mahabharat and the Gita

1. The Mahabharat is the most important part of Krushna’s life. Written by Sage Vyas it is a prominent historical text. Bhiíhmacharya was the ‘Guru’ of the Kouravs in the Mahabharat. Before Bhishma’s birth His mother Ganga had abandoned His seven elder brothers (vasus) in the river Ganga. Krushna was the Guru of the Pandavs. Kansa had slain Krushna’s seven elder siblings.

2. Eklavya had developed ego that ‘I have learnt archery by myself, without anyone’s guidance’. To destroy that ego of his, Dronacharya asked him for his right thumb, a representation of the ego.

3. At the time of the Bharatiya war Krushna was about 83 years old while Bhishma was more than 130 years old.

4. The Gita makes a mention only of the four persons given below.

Person Mode of speech (vani) Characteristics
Dhrutarashtra Vaikhari Blind
Sanjay Madhyama One bestowed with
divine vision
Arjun Pashyanti The soul
Krushna Para The Supreme God

5. Krushna narrated the Gita only to Arjun for the following reasons.

  • The confusion in Arjun’s mind was not due to emotions, it stemmed from intellect.
  • Arjun was Gudakesha (v) that is the one who could comprehend the implied meaning (gudha means secret) in Keshav’s (Krushna’s) speech. At the beginning of the Gita Arjun tells Krushna, ‘Senayorubhayormadhye ratham sthapaya me chyut (सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्‍ये रथं स्‍थापय मेऽच्‍युत|)’ (Shrimadbhagvadgita 1:21). It means ‘O Achyut, place my chariot in the midst of both the armies’. Here, of the several Names of Krushna Achyut is used because Arjun is referring to the Krushna who does not deflect from His responsibilities, the one who is unflinching. ‘In the midst of both the armies’ implies between the good and the evil. Thus He asks Krushna to take him beyond all kinds of duality.

6. The Uddhavgita: When Krushna renounced His body His great friend Uddhav was greatly bereaved. What Krushna preached to him at that time is called the Uddhavgita.

7. Point ‘4.11’ explains the teachings of the Gita in brief.

8. The Dnyaneshvari describes the Gita as

Consider the Gita as the idol of The Lord
embellished with words. – 18:1684

9. Anugita: When Krushna realised that the effect of the Gita on Arjun’s mind was wearing out, He narrated it to him once again. This repetition is called the Anugita. Anu means later. So,the Anugita is the Gita which is narrated once again.