Law of Attraction, Part 11: Vishnu the Preserver

7vishnu

Shaktism, which we had looked at in our previous chapter, is one of the four main branches of modern Hinduism. And so we shall take a look at the other three denominations of Hinduism to see how the secret history of the Law of Attraction has played out within them.

One of the interesting features about Hinduism is that there is little animosity between the differing denominations, as you have between Catholic and Protestant or Sunni and Shia. The Hindus believe that there are many paths that lead to God, so to each their own. This path also extends to the rural and countryside which is home to a rich and ancient tradition of worshipping local deities, as well. It is generally accepted in Hinduism that the Trimurti, the trinity of the important gods: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer, are actually one god, with different faces.

The Vaiṣṇavas

We begin with the largest Hindu denomination., or worship of Vishnu, evolved from one of the earliest theistic devotional monotheistic movements within Hinduism with the worship of the Supreme Being, Vāsudeva, or Krishna, which appeared when the Vāsudevians merged with other groups, namely the Bhāgavata, sometime around the fourth century BCE. In one tradition Vasudeva was the father of Krishna. Over time, Vasudeva Krishna became affiliated with the figure of Vishnu.

For the Vaishnava, Vishnu is the Supreme God, “he that pervades” existence, either in the form of Krishna or Rama. Krishna is one of the most popular gods in Hinduism, the subject of the many stories in the Vedas and the Puranas. He is the eighth avatar of Vishnu, and his romantic, erotic, and religious exploits are well known.

Rama is the seventh avatar of Vishnu. He is the ideal man and legendary warrior-prince of the kingdom of Kosala. His heroic feats are the subject of the Ramayana, an epic poem of obscure origin.

The Ramayana begins with Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi looking down from Heaven and seeing the Earth overrun by demons. After deciding to descend to Earth to rid it of demons, they are born as human beings, Rama and Sita. Some Hindus claim that Buddha was the ninth of Vishnu’s avatars, but this idea is rather controversial in some quarters. Vishnu’s next incarnation will be Kalki, who is prophesied to arrive on Earth on a white horse to administrate the destruction and renewal of the universe.

Previously, we briefly mentioned Vishnu’s appearance in the Vedas. The Vedas relate the famous feat of Vishnu crossing the universe in three strides, thus establishing Heaven and Earth. For the Aryans he was a minor solar deity associated with light, standing alongside Indra to destroy demons.

Although Vishnu is often depicted as a four-armed, blue-skinned human – he is the god who “pervades all things,” and can display or present any shape or form. Among his avatar forms, Vishnu appears as a great fish who assists Manu, the first human, from the great flood. He also shape sift to that of a tortoise, a dwarf or a man-lion.

There are many iconic images of Vishnu sleeping on the back of a 1000-headed serpent called Shesha, as indicated in the image in the background. Here Sheesha supports a sleeping Vishnu while floating in the primordial “milk-ocean” of eternity. Shesha is king of the serpents, and represents the primordial state of existence. Vishnu is here accompanied by his consort Lakshimi. The Punanas (Sacred Hindu legends and folklore from the 4th century CE onwards) calls Sheesha “Ananta” which means the “Remainder,” because after Vishnu awakes from the dream of existence at the end of this age of Kaliyuga, the universe of forms is devoured and only the massive coiled form of Antanta remains until Vishnu regenerates the next age by returning to sleep.

Vishnu’s consort is the lovely Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty, fortune, wealth and prosperity. She is depicted with the divine attribute of possessing four arms symbolic of desire, wealth, dharma and liberation from reincarnation. Lakshmi is the domestic goddess of every household, and worshipping her is believed to bring wealth and fortune. Thus, these figurines are washed, dressed and fed food, the aroma of which is believed to nourish the gods.

Her aspect as Maya is the Divine Intelligence and Creative Power of Vishnu, She is also the illusion of form and in some schools, a separate entity. Thus Maya is the power of deception, concealing the true nature of existence. One cannot know the true nature of self without transcending Maya.

As we have said before, Vaishnava centers around the devotion of Vishnu. Vaishnavism is not so much a doctrine to understand intellectually, as it is understood to be one’s moral responsibility to live a life devoted to the religious expression of the divine self as Vishnu within.

There are a number of sects within Vaishnava with differing beliefs and practices, diverging on doctrinal points such as whether the soul is part of God or separate, or whether caste is to be recognized or overturned. However, after death, the believers say they will live in Heaven with Vishnu or Krishna.

The Law of Attraction is insinuated within Vaishnava, through the use of devotion and Mantras, which in Sanskrit literally means, “instrument of thought.” With successful dharma and devotion to Vishnu, Krishna, Lakshmi or Rama, it is believed that the Gods will bring forth one’s desires in this life and within the next one, where the righteous will spend eternity in the Celestial Realms with Vishnu.

Next: Shiva, the Master Yogi

 

Sources

Rāmāyaṇa: Boyhood, By Vālmīki, Robert P. Goldman, NYU Press. 2005

The Myths and Gods of India: the Classic Work on Hindu Polytheism, by Alain Daniélou, Inner Traditions & Bear & Co. 1991

Vāsudeva.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 14 Jan. 2010 .

The Loves of Krishna in Indian Painting and Poetry, W. G. Archer, BiblioBizaar, 1911

*”Vishnu” Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.
<http://www.pantheon.org/articles/v/vishnu.html&gt; [Accessed January 11, 2010].

The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, Volume 1, by Robert Vane Russell, BiblioBizaar. 2009

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