Vishnu, Viṣṇu, Visnu: 46 definitions
Vishnu means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi, Hindi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
The Sanskrit term Viṣṇu can be transliterated into English as Visnu or Vishnu, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).
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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)Source: humindian: 108 names of Lord Krishna
One of the 108 names of Krishna; Meaning: "All Prevailing Lord"Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (vaishnavism)
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) has many manifestations namely Varadarāja Perumāl, Govindarāja Perumāl, Vaṭabhadra Śayana Perumāl, Kallalakar (Kallaḷakar), Śrīnivāsa, and many others; and the ten incarnations, namely Matsya, Kūrma, Varāha, Narasiṃha, Vāmana, Paraśurāma, Raghurāma, Balarāma, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and Kalki. The form of Viṣṇu is found in different ways. While viewing the sthānakmūrti of Viṣṇu, the perceiver experiences the karuṇā or mercy of the Lord. The face is so pleasant that one feels to sit at the feet of the Lord and just look into his eyes. The reclining posture of Viṣṇu also attracts the perceiver.
When a devotee prays to Viṣṇu, he/she experiences the mercy or grace of the Lord. The devotee recollects the stories where the lord has blessed his devotees. One such striking example is the gajendra-mokṣa (the rescue of the elephant). The devotee thinks that when the lord was so benevolent to an animal, then how much loving and caring will the lord be to his devotees who trust in Him. This great quality of God’s love for the devotees is a re-assuring factor for the devotee.Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhagavad-gita (4th edition)
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) refers to “literally, viś–‘pervading’, nu–‘person’. One who is all-pervasive, the Supreme Lord of the cosmos who presides over the mode of goodness”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).Source: Pure Bhakti: Brhad Bhagavatamrtam
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) refers to:—The Supreme Personality of Godhead; one who is all-pervading; the Supreme Lord of the cosmos who presides over the material mode of goodness. (cf. Glossary page from Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta).
Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).
Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
1) Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is a Sanskrit word referring to a deity. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.88-93, when Brahmā, Indra and all other gods went to inspect the playhouse (nāṭyamaṇḍapa) designed by Viśvakarmā, he assigned different deities for the protection of the playhouse itself, as well as for the objects relating to dramatic performance (prayoga).
As such, Brahmā assigned Viṣṇu to the third section (joint/knot, parva) of the Jarjara (Indra’s banner staf). The protection of the playhouse was enacted because of the jealous Vighnas (malevolent spirits), who began to create terror for the actors.
2) Viṣṇu is also to be worshipped during raṅgapūjā, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra 3.1-8. Accordingly, the master of the dramatic art who has been initiated for the purpose shall consecrate the playhouse after he has made obeisance (e.g., to Viṣṇu).Source: archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
One of the hands that indicate the forms which accord with the character and actions of Brahmā and other Devas.—Viṣṇu: Tripatāka with both hands.
Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).
Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism
Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—One of the male offspring from Mahāsarasvatī (sattva-form of Mahādevī). Also known as Kṛṣṇa, Hṛṣīkeśa, Vāsudeva and Janārdana. Mahāsarasvatī is one of the three primary forms of Devī, the other two being Mahālakṣmī and Mahākālī. Not to be confused with Sarasvatī, she is a more powerful cosmic aspect (vyaṣṭi) of Devi and represents the guṇa (universal energy) named sattva. Also see the Devī Māhātmya, a Sanskrit work from the 5th century, incorporated into the Mārkaṇḍeya-Purāṇa.Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) refers to “the pervasive one”, according to the second recension of the Yogakhaṇḍa of the Manthānabhairavatantra, a vast sprawling work that belongs to a corpus of Tantric texts concerned with the worship of the goddess Kubjikā.—Accordingly, as Kumārī said: “[...] I am the Vaiṣṇavī and the power that is the cause of the universe’s persistence. (I am) Vaiṣṇavī, the five-fold energy; (I am) Viṣṇu’s essential nature (ātman) and the deity. [...] Everything is the universe made of Viṣṇu. The seed is said to be Brahmā. Viṣṇu is persistence. Viṣṇu is the ocean. Viṣṇu is the Pervasive One (viṣṇu) who is the supreme divine form. He holds a conch, discus and mace. Know that Rudra is made of Viṣṇu and Viṣṇu is subtle, supreme (transcendent) and inferior (immanent). Viṣṇu is universal pervasion. He is the intellect, mind and ego. [...]”.
Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.
Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)Source: Wisdom Library: Pāñcarātra
1) Viṣṇu (विष्णु, “all-pervading”):—One of the twenty-four forms of Viṣṇu through which Nārāyaṇa manifests himself. He is accompanied by a counterpart emanation of Lakṣmī (an aspect of Devī) who goes by the name Dhṛti.
2) Viṣṇu (विष्णु) refers to an aspect of nṛsiṃha (‘man-lion’), according to the Vihagendra-saṃhitā 4.17, which mentions seventy-four forms (inlcuding twenty forms of vyūha). He is also known as Viṣṇunṛsiṃha or Viṣṇunarasiṃha. Nṛsiṃha is a Tantric deity and refers to the furious (ugra) incarnation of Viṣṇu.
The 15th-century Vihagendra-saṃhīta is a canonical text of the Pāñcarātra corpus and, in twenty-four chapters, deals primarely with meditation on mantras and sacrificial oblations.Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva (pancaratra)
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) or Viṣṇusaṃhitā is the name of a Vaiṣṇava Āgama scripture, classified as a sāttvika type of the Muniprokta group of Pāñcarātra Āgamas. The vaiṣṇavāgamas represent one of the three classes of āgamas (traditionally communicated wisdom).—Texts of the Pāñcara Āgamas are divided in to two sects. It is believed that Lord Vāsudeva revealed the first group of texts which are called Divya and the next group is called Muniprokta which are further divided in to three viz. a. Sāttvika (e.g., Viṣṇu-saṃhitā). b. Rājasa. c. Tāmasa.
Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.
Shilpashastra (iconography)Source: Wisdom Library: Śilpa-śāstra
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is a Sanskrit name referring to one of the eight manifestations of Caṇḍa, who is a form of Bhairava. According to the Rudrayāmala, there are eight main forms of Bhairava who control the eight directions of this universe. Each form (e.g., Caṇḍa) has a further eight sub-manifestations (e.g., Viṣṇu), thus resulting in a total of 64 Bhairavas.
When depicting Viṣṇu according to traditional iconographic rules (śilpaśāstra), one should depcit him (and other forms of Caṇḍa) having a blue color and good looks; he should carry agni, śakti, gadā and kuṇḍa. The word Śilpaśāstra refers to an ancient Hindu science of arts and crafts, dealing with subjects such as painting, sculpture and iconography.Source: archive.org: Pratima Kosa Encyclopedia of Indian Iconography - Vol 6
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) refers to one of the many varieties of the Śālagrāma (ammonite fossil stones).—The Viṣṇu stone has the size and shape of a bilva fruit, black in colour, a hole at the back (pṛṣṭha-chidra). . Śālagrāma stones are very ancient geological specimens, rendered rounded and smooth by water-currents in a great length of time. They (e.g., Viṣṇu stones) are distinguished by the ammonite (śālā, described as “vajra-kīṭa”, “adamantine worms”) which having entered into them for residence, are fossilized in course of time, leaving discus-like marks inside the stone.Source: archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study (silpa)
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is the name of a deity once commonly worshipped in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—As regards the appearance and the weapons of Viṣṇu, the Nīlamata describes him as four-armed, four-faced, lotus-eyed, having a complexion like that of a blue lotus or white snow, wearing white or yellow clothes, a crown of jewels and also ear-rings. His weapons are conch, discus, club, lotus, sword and bow—the last one made of horn. He is waited upon by his weapons in human form also. He lies on the jewelled hood of Śeṣa with his lotus like feet placed in the lap of Lakṣmī. His mount is Garuḍa, the enemy of the Nāgas.Source: Red Zambala: Hindu Icons and Symbols | Trinity
Viṣṇu is the name given to the cohesive or centripetal tendency of the universe — the Sattva Guṇa. It pervades all existence and is therefore known as "Viṣṇu". The name can be derived from the roots viṣ — viṣṇāti — to spread. viṣ — viṣati — to enter into or from viṣti — viveṣṭi — to surround = all these are expressions of pervasion.
In terms of consciousness Viṣṇu is identified with the dream-state (svapna) where things are conceived of as archetypes or prototypes prior to their manifestation. He is the abstract concept of all things whereas Brahmā is their realization in perishable materials.
Viṣṇu is the inner cause, the unseen power by which all things exist. Brahma is concerned with the outer material manifestation of all things, but Viṣṇu is their inner essence. Viṣṇu is the principle of duration and the power that holds the cosmos together. He is therefore the goal of all spiritual and religious paths.Source: Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (śilpa)
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is a sculpture found at the temple of Vijayeśvara, at the northern side.—On the north side there are two niches and in both there are images of Viṣṇu with four arms. The first one displays a standing Viṣṇu with four arms holding in his upper hands: right cakra, left conch, lower right resting on the thigh and the lower left holding a round object which is identified as the earth by locals. He is decked with all usual ornaments. This image is beautiful because the carving is completed. The next image depicts also Viṣṇu but it is incomplete. Only three of his hands are seen with discus in the upper right and mace in the lower right, the lower left resting on the thigh. The upper left is incomplete. He wears a tiara but the image is yet to be completed and polished.
A sculpture of Viṣṇu is also found on the sixth pillar of the southern half of the maṇḍapa.—In the top medallion is seated Viṣṇu on Garuḍa. He is shown with four hands, having usual conch and discus in his upper left and right hands respectively. Of the lower two, the right is some gesture of holding something and the left is resting on his thigh. Garuḍa is seated in vīrāsana. By the side of Viṣṇu is a running river.Source: What is India: Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras (shilpashastra)
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) as depicted according to an image found in the Jondhalī Baug on the Ṭhāṇā-Āgrā.—From the weapons held in its hands, the image appears to be of the Śrīdhara type. It measures 125 cm. in height and is standing in the samabhaṅga pose. Viṣṇu holds the lotus, the discus, the mace and the conch in his hands and wears several necklaces and a torque. His yajñopavita and campakamālā are prominently seen. He has a high karaṇḍa-mukuṭa with a lotus prabhāvalī appearing behind it. He wears beautiful ear-ornaments, bracelets and anklets, and the folds of his lower garment are shown falling gracefully in front. He has a fine smile playing on his face. On the right is shown the donor of the image in the añjalimudrā, and on the left his wife with a pot full of sweets. By their side are seen two gaṇas holding musical instruments.Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Viṣṇu is the name of a deity depicted in the Thillai Nataraja Temple in Cidambaram (Chidambaram) which is one of the Pañcasabhā or “five halls where Śiva is said to have danced”.— Usually Viṣṇu is found in standing posture. It is rare to find Viṣṇu in sitting posture. But here he is found seated in sukhāsana/vīrāsana posture. He is found with four hands. The upper hands hold discus and conch in the right and the left in kartarīmukha-hasta. The lower right and the lower left hand are in abhaya and kaṭaka-hasta. The lower left hand holds a flower.
Viṣṇu is also depicted at Ramaswamy Temple in Kumbakonam (Kumbhakonam), representing a sacred place for the worship of Viṣṇu.—Viṣṇu is found seated on an elephant in sukhāsana posture. He is found with two hands. The right hand holds śakti and the left hand holds aṅkuśa. There is another sannidhi of Viṣṇu where he is found in standing posture. Viṣṇu is found with four hands. The upper right hand and the upper left hand hold cakra and sankhu respectively in kartarīmukha-hasta. The lower right and left hands are held in kaṭaka-hasta. In another sannidhi, Viṣṇu is found in standing posture with two hands. The right hand is held in abhaya-hasta and the left hand is in urū-hasta.
Viṣṇu is also depicted in the Subramanya Swamy Temple (or Subramaṇya Svāmi Temple) in Thiruparankundram or Parankundram (Paraṅkuṉṟam), representing a sacred place for the worship of Murugan.—Viṣṇu is represented with conch and discus in the upper right and left hands in kartarīmukha-hasta. The lower left hand is in kuvi-patāka (resting on the mace) and the lower right hand is in patāka hasta inverted. He is represented as the sthānaka mūrti here. In iconographic terms, Viṣṇu is represented with kartarīmukha in the upper hands. The lower left hand is in nidrā-hasta and the lower right hand is in abhaya-hasta. To the left of the Andarabharanar sannidhi, there are steps that go to the right of the main sanctum. There are steps that lead to the Ṣ anmukhan sannidhi.
Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.
Purana and Itihasa (epic history)Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia
Viṣṇu (विष्णु).—General information. Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara are the Lords of creation, sustenance and extermination of this perishable universe. These trimūrtis (three figures) also are perishable. It is said, that one day of Brahmā will constitute thousand four-fold (catur) yugas and that during the life of Brahmā, fourteen Indras will fall down from heaven and die. This is a Brahmā age. The ages of two Brahmās constitute the age of one Viṣṇu. At the end of the age Viṣṇu also will perish. The age of Śiva is double the age of Viṣṇu. Śiva also will perish at the end of his age. (Devī Bhāgavata, Skandha 5). (See full article at Story of Viṣṇu from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)Source: archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is the name of a deity once commonly worshipped in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—The Nīlamata, like other Vaiṣṇava Purāṇas, describes Viṣṇu as the highest god, praised and honoured even by Brahmā and Śiva. The ultimate cause of the universe, he pervades the whole universe and is always busy in rescuing the devotees from distress, showing them the right path, giving them boons and destroying the Dānavas.Source: archive.org: Shiva Purana - English Translation
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is the name of deity as explained in the Śivapurāṇa 2.1.6, while explaining how Śiva desired to create another being like himself. Accordingly, as Śiva said:—“You will be famous as Viṣṇu by name as you are all-pervasive. You will have many other names conferring happiness on devotees. Perform penance highly conducive to the achievement of the matter in hand, Be firm in it”. Saying so, the lord bestowed on him the Vedas through his nostrils”.
The description of Viṣṇu as he came into being is given as follows: “[...] a person came into being who was the most charming one in the three worlds (trailokya), who was calm with sattva-guṇa being prominent, and who appeared to be the ocean of immeasurable majesty. O sage, he was endowed with patience. There was no one comparable to him. He had the lustre of sapphire. He was glorious with his excellent eyes shining like a lotus. He was having a golden form and features. He wore two excellent silk garments of golden colour. His were browny and brilliant. He was indefatigable”Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
- 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 11. 44; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 23. 20; Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 61, 66.
- 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 24. 34; III. 3. 68; Matsya-purāṇa 6. 4; 171. 56. Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 15. 130.
- 3) Ib. I. 22. 3; II. 10. 18.
1b) A god of Ābhūtaraya group.*
- * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 56.
1c) (Uttamaśloka) worshipped for dharma. His abode above the position of seven sages, where is found the great Dhruva with others;1 different forms of; as Trivikrama broke aṇḍakaṭāha and let the Ganges in; as Saṅkarṣaṇa, worshipped by Śiva in Ilāvṛta; as Hayagrīva in Bhadrāśva country; as Nṛsimha in Harivarṣa; as Kāmadeva in Ketumālā; as Matsya in Ramyaka; as Kūrma in Hiraṇmaya; also Sānkhyanidarśana; as Varāha in Uttara Kuru country; also in the form of both Yajña and Kratu; as Sītārāma in Kimpuruṣa; as Naranārāyaṇa in Bhāratavarṣa; as Sūrya in Plakṣadvīpa; as Soma in Śālmali; as Agni in Kuśadvīpa; as a form of water in Krauñcadvīpa; as Vāyu in Śākadvīpa; as Brahmā in Puṣkaradvīpa.2 Propitiated by Dakṣa after his reconciliation with Śiva, Viṣṇu came to receive offerings in person in the form of yajña and was praised by all present including Brahmā and Śiva. He told Dakṣa that he was not different from Śiva or Brahmā.3 presented Pṛthu with Sudarśana and addressed him to befriend Indra, to be devoted to Him and to conduct himself righteously.4 His residence near Kṣīroda where he sleeps in yoga: vanquisher of Bali; saw a liṅga of effulgence and with Brahmā went down and up to know its origin and end, but could not get at that. Śiva's remark that his right and left arms were Brahmā and Viṣṇu. This is Mahāyāgam and Māheśvaram balam;5 cursed by Bhṛgu to take 10 (7 Matsya-purāṇa) incarnations on the earth; called Puruṣa and Yajña.6 In Svāyambhuva epoch was born of Ākūtī, in Svārociṣa, born of Tuṣitā as Ajita, in Uttama epoch, born of Satyā as Satya, in Tāmasa born of Hariṇī as Hari, in Vaivasvata, born of Kaśyapa and Aditī with the name Vaikuṇṭha.7 Overlord of Ādityas; gave peacock and fowl to Kumāra.8
- 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 3. 22; III. ch. 13 (whole); V. 22. 17; 23. 1.
- 2) Ib. V. 17. 1 and 16; chh. 18-20 (whole);
- 3) Ib. IV. 7. 18-54; 14. 26.
- 4) Ib. IV. 15. 16; 20. 2-16, 31 [1-2].
- 5) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 26. 2; 27. 22.
- 6) Ib. III. 3. 85-106; 72. 3-17; Matsya-purāṇa 47. 99-103.
- 7) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 107-122.
- 8) Ib. III. 10. 46; 24. 6; 33. 15; 42. 48; 71. 176 and 262. Matsya-purāṇa 6. 4; 171. 56.
1d) A Bhārgava gotrakāra.*
- * Matsya-purāṇa 195. 20.
1e) One of the nine sons of Sāvarṇi.*
- * Vāyu-purāṇa 100. 22.
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.33, I.29.3, I.59.16, I.65, VI.9.21, VIII.30.78, IX.44.4, IX.44.33) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Viṣṇu) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study
1) Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is created by Śiva for the protection of the Universe, according to the 10th century Saurapurāṇa: one of the various Upapurāṇas depicting Śaivism.—In the Saurapurāṇa he is a form of Śiva and constitutes Śiva’s left side. He is created by Śiva for the protection of the Universe and he protects only by the order of Śiva. Viṣṇu’s various incarnations are referred to. His worship is enjoined. A vrata known as Śrāvaṇadvādaśī in honour of Viṣṇu is described in the Saurapurāṇa (15.2ff).
2) Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is the name of one of the twelve Ādityas: the offspring of Aditi, according to one account of Vaṃśa (‘genealogical description’) of the Saurapurāṇa.—Accordingly, Dakṣa gave thirteen daughters to Kaśyapa. [...] Kaśyapa’s thirteen wives are [viz., Aditi]. Aditi gives birth to twelve Ādityas, [viz. Viṣṇu].
The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.
Kavya (poetry)Source: Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha
Viṣṇu (विष्णु).—Viṣṇu, a deity of Ṛgveda is reborn in Puranic Pantheon and has acquired a new glory and boundless power. New epithets are given to him as for example, Hari, Trivikrama, Muraripu, Murāri, Caturbhuja, Upendra, Cakrapāṇi, Nanārdana, Kaṃsāri, Murajit, Acyuta, Śārṅgin, Kaiṭabhāri, Madhuripu and Asuradviṣ.
Viṣṇu in Ṛgveda is a sun deity, who like the sun takes three strides (vikrama) across the three kinds of space. There his weapon as a precursor of the later Cakra is a revolving wheel represented like the sun. The inferior position of Viṣṇu as a sun-deity in Ṛgveda is changed to one of supreme importance in the Brāhmaṇas, where he already assumes the form of a dwarf and rescues the earth from the Asuras in three strides.
Viṣṇu reclines on the couch formed hy Śeṣa, the thousand-hooded serpent. He is referred to as resting on the lap of Lakṣmī and waring on his chest a gem named Kaustubh and he is waited upon by the humble Garuḍa.
Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.
General definition (in Hinduism)Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology
Vishnu is the protective aspect of the supreme trinity. He is the entity that is most often involved in mortal affairs. Some say he was created by Shiva, others say that he arose out of the cosmic void. Laxmi is his consort. His abode is Vaikunta. He is usually depicted as resting on a giant snake, Adisesha, which is itself floating in an ocean of milk.
He has undertaken ten avatars(incarnations), each to achieve a specific purpose, to avert a specific calamity facing either mankind or the Devas. There are more than ten incarnations attributed to him, but only ten of them are considered major. The list of such avatars varies a bit in different sources. For more about his incarnations, see 'Incarnations of Vishnu'.
He is called the 'brother of Indra', since he was born as a son of Aditi in his Vamana avatar. He is described as being ever desirous of helping the Devas, and an enemy of their half-brothers, the Asuras. He is dark-colored, with mega-varnam (cloud-hued), being one of his epithets. He is generally depicted as having four arms, holding a Sudharshana Chakra (discus), conch, lotus and a mace respectively.
His consort is Laxmi, who is said to have arisen from the ocean of milk in Vaikunta, when it was churned by the Devas and Asuras to obtain Amrit. His followers are known as Vaishnavaite, and many of them wear the 'namam' on their forehead.Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study (h)
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) in the Ṛgveda occupies a subordinate position and his only anthropomorphic traits are the three strides, which, as a solar god, he takes across the heavens. He traverses the three worlds in three strides referring probably to the Sun in the heavens through the three stages of arising, culminating and setting or the three steps with which he encompasses the Universe. This trait of Vedic Viṣṇu was later on symbolized in his incarnation as Vāmana who asked land from Bali to be covered in three strides.
In the Brāhmaṇas, the position of Viṣṇu remains much the same; he is regarded as equal to other gods and not their superior. In the older portion of the Mahābhārata, Viṣṇu is little more than a hero, in others he is represented as paying homage to Śiva. In the latest portion of the great epic, he is regarded as the most exalted deity. In the Rāmāyaṇa and the Vaiṣṇava Purāṇas he is exalted to be the supreme Deity.
Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
1) Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is the name of a deity mentioned in the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter IV). Other individuals also know all the dharmas, e.g., Wei nieou (Viṣṇu) [in the language of Ts’in, Pien wen, ‘Univeral Eye’]: he has four arms (caturbhuja), holds a conch (śaṅka) and a wheel (cakra), and rides a golden-winged bird (garuda). All these gods are great guides (mahānāyaka). They cannot be omniscient. Why? Because their mind remains attached (abhiniviṣṭa) to hatred (dveṣa) and pride (abhhimāna).
2) Viṣṇu (विष्णु) refers to the deity that appears on the great waters (maha-apas) after the kalpa-fire according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XIV).—After the kalpa-fire, everything is empty (śūnya); then by the causal power of the merits of beings, the winds (vāyu) come from all the directions and, interacting and mixing with one another, they are able to support the great waters (mahāpas). On these waters there is a man with a thousand heads, two thousand arms and two thousand legs called Wei mieou (Viṣṇu).
From Viṣṇu’s navel (nābhi) comes a precious lotus, golden in color, with a thousand petals, the light and rays of which are like the combined light of a thousand suns. On this lotus there is seated cross-legged a man who, in turn, possesses an infinite light. He is called Fan t’ien wang (Brahmādevarāja) who mentally gives birth to eight sons who, in their turn, give rise to the heavens, the earth and people.
Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.
Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)Source: archive.org: The Indian Buddhist Iconography
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is the name of a deity commonly depicted in Buddhist Iconography, and mentioned in the 11th-century Niṣpannayogāvalī of Mahāpaṇḍita Abhayākara.—His Vehicle is the Garuḍa; he has four arms.
Viṣṇu is described in the Niṣpannayogāvalī (dharmadhātuvāgīśvara-maṇḍala) as follows:—
“On a Garuḍa there is Viṣṇu with four arms. With the two principal hands carrying the cakra and the śaṅkha he displays the añjali on his head. With the two others he holds the gadā (mace) and the bow”.
Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.
General definition (in Jainism)Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is the father of Śreyāṃsa, the eleventh of twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras in Janism according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri). A Tīrthaṅkara is an enlightened being who has conquered saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death), leaving behind him a path for others to follow.
The wife of Viṣṇu is Viṣṇu according to Śvetāmbara or Veṇudevī according to Digambara. It is an ancient Jain practice to worship the Tīrthaṅkara’s parents in various rites, such as the pratiṣṭhāvidhi.Source: archive.org: The Jaina Iconography
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) or Viṣṇudeva is the father of Śreyāṃśanātha: the eleventh of twenty-four Tīrthaṃkaras or Jinas, commonly depicted in Jaina iconography.—The Jaina Purāṇas record his lineage. His father was a Kṣatriya prince of Ikṣvāku clan named Viṣṇu (Viṣṇudeva) and his mother was called Viṣṇudri. His home was at Siṃhapurī, the present Sārnāth.Source: archive.org: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra
1) Viṣṇu (विष्णु) refers to a sub-division of the Kulārya class of Āryas (one of the two types of human beings), taking birth in the “middle world” (madhyaloka), according to chapter 2.3 [ajitanātha-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra (“lives of the 63 illustrious persons”): a Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three important persons in Jainism.—(cf. Commentary to Tattvārthādhigamasūtra 3.15)
Accordingly:—“In these 35 zones on this side of Mānuṣottara and in the Antaradvīpas, men arise by birth; [...]. From the division into Āryas and Mlecchas they are two-fold. The Āryas have sub-divisions: kṣetra (country), jāti (caste), kula (family), karma (work), śilpa (craft), and bhāṣā (language). [...] Kulāryas are the Kulakaras, Cakrins, Viṣṇus, and Balas, or those who are born in a pure family from the third, fifth, or seventh generation”.
2) Viṣṇu (विष्णु) is the wife of king Viṣṇurāja and mother of Śreyāṃsa, according to chapter 4.1 [śreyāṃsanātha-caritra].—Accordingly, “Viṣṇurāja, rich in glory, powerful from strength of arm, mighty as Viṣṇu, was king there (i.e., in Siṃhapura). [...] Viṣṇu was the wife of the king, like Śacī of Jiṣṇu (Indra), radiant with beauty, like another earth in stability. She observed fidelity sharp as a sword-blade, which was the ornament of her own body delicate as a śirīṣa. Just as no one was equal to the king in power, there was no one her equal in wealth of beauty and grace. [...]”.Source: WikiPedia: Jainism
Viṣṇu (विष्णु) (or Vāsudeva, Nārāyaṇa) refers to the set of nine “heroes” and counterpart of the antagonistic Prativāsudevas (or Prativiṣṇus, Pratinārāyaṇas), mentioned in both Śvetāmbara and Digambara literature.—In every half time cycle, there are 9 sets of Balabhadras (gentle heroes), Vasudevas (violent heroes) and Prativāsudevas (anti-heroes). Unlike in the Hindu Puranas, the names Balabhadra and Narayana are not restricted to Balarama and Krishna in Jain Puranas. Instead they serve as names of two distinct classes of mighty half brothers, who appear nine times in each half of the time cycles of the Jain cosmology and jointly rule half the earth as half-chakravarti. Ultimately Pratinaryana is killed by Narayana for his unrighteousness and immorality.
Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.
India history and geographySource: archive.org: Social Life In Medieval Rajasthan
Viṣṇu-worship in Rājasthān.—The Ghosundi Inscription of the 2nd century B.C., records the construction of a stone wall round the hall of worship of Saṅkarṣaṇa-Balarāma and Vāsudeva by Sarvatāta of Gaja family. The fact that Viṣṇu was worshipped as early as the 2nd century B. C., is known from this inscription. From this time onwards the sculptured art and images at various places in Rājasthān reveal that Viṣṇu in his several manifestations was a prominent deity of the Hindus.Source: What is India: Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras
Temples of Viṣṇu constructed by the Śilāhāra dynasty (r. 765-1215 A.D.).—The Śilāhāras of Koṅkaṇ were devotees of Śiva. Though they themselves built no temples of Viṣṇu, inscriptions of the age mention several shrines of the god erected by their officers and subjects. They are not, however, existing at present. But some images of Viṣṇu, either previously installed in them or meant for them, have been found. One of them was discovered in the Jondhalī Baug on the Ṭhāṇā-Āgrā road.
The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.
Languages of India and abroad
Marathi-English dictionarySource: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
viṣṇu (विष्णु).—m (S) One of the Hindu triad, Vishn̤u. He is considered as the Preserver. The several Avatars are emanations from his essence, except that of kṛṣṇa, in whom he is held to have been wholly incarnate. He is represented as a mild and benevolent deity.Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
viṣṇu (विष्णु).—m One of the Hindu triad.
Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.
Sanskrit dictionarySource: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
Viṣṇu (विष्णु).—[viṣ vyāpane nuk Uṇ.3.39]
1) The second deity of the sacred Triad, entrusted with the preservation of the world, which duty he is represented to have duly discharged by his various incarnations; (for their descriptions see the several avatāras s. v. and also under avatāra); the word is thus popularly derived :यस्माद्विश्व- मिदं सर्वं तस्य शक्त्या महात्मनः । तस्मादेवोच्यते विष्णुर्विशधातोः प्रवेशनात् (yasmādviśva- midaṃ sarvaṃ tasya śaktyā mahātmanaḥ | tasmādevocyate viṣṇurviśadhātoḥ praveśanāt) ||.
2) Name of Agni; विष्णुर्नामेह योऽग्निः (viṣṇurnāmeha yo'gniḥ) Mb.3.221.12.
3) A pious man.
4) Name of a law-giver, author of a Smṛti called विष्णुस्मृति (viṣṇusmṛti).
5) Name of one of the Vasus.
6) The lunar mansion called Śravaṇa (presided over by Viṣṇu).
7) Name of the month चैत्र (caitra).
Derivable forms: viṣṇuḥ (विष्णुः).Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary
Viṣṇu (विष्णु).—(1) n. (i.e. probably an element in the compound name) of a large group of kings: prabhanāmā sahasrāṇi viṣṇunāmā tathaiva ca (Ārya-)Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa 625.24 (verse), thousands with names containing prabha, and also containing Viṣṇu; in 26 a single one of them, perhaps referred to as named Viṣṇu, simply: teṣām apaścimo rājā viṣṇunāmā bhavi- ṣyati; (2) name of a yakṣa leader: Mahā-Māyūrī 235.31.Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
(-ṣṇuḥ) Vishnu, one of the three principal Hindu deities, and the preserver of the world: during the periods of temporary annihilation, he is supposed to sleep on the waters floating on the serpent Sesha: Brahma is fabled to have sprung from a lotus, which originally grew from the navel of Vishnu, and the holy river Ganges is said to spring from his foot: the different Avatars are considered as emanations of this deity, and in Krishna, he is supposed to have been really and wholly incarnate: Lakshmi is his wife, and he is usually represented as a mild and benevolent deity. 2. Agni or fire. 3. One of the demigods called Vasus. 4. A pure or pious man. 5. The name of an ancient law-giver. E. viś to enter or pervade, (the universe,) nuk Unadi aff.Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary
Viṣṇu (विष्णु).—i. e. 2. viṣ + nu, m. 1. Viṣṇu, one of the three principal Indian deities,
Viṣṇu (विष्णु).—[masculine] [Name] of a god; [abstract] tva† [neuter]Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum
1) Viṣṇu (विष्णु) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—pupil of the astronomer Gopīrāja. Mentioned in Mārtaṇḍavallabhā.
2) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—father of Dhanaṃjaya (Daśarūpaka). Oxf. 203^a.
3) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—father of Dhanika (Daśarūpakaṭīkā). Oxf. 203^a.
4) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—father of Rāmeśvara (Rasarājalakṣmī). Oxf. 321^a.
5) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—son of Hīrabhaṭṭa, grandson of Kṛṣṇa, father of Koṇeribhaṭṭa, grandfather of Rudra Bhaṭṭa (Vaidyajīvanaṭīkā). Oxf. 318^a.
6) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—of the Daśaputra family, father of Gadādhara, grandfather of Sadāśiva (Liṅgārcanacandrikā). L. 1944.
7) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—Mentioned in Āśvalāyanagṛhyakārikā 1, 31.
8) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—Āśvalāyanaprayogavṛtti. He follows Devasvāmin, Nārāyaṇa, and others.
9) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—Kālyaṣṭaka.
10) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—Kuṇḍamarīcimālā.
11) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—Vidhyaparādhaprāyaścitta.
12) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—Śivamahimnaḥstotra.
13) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—Gaṇapāṭha.
14) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—son of Muktinātha (Mūrtinātha): Anargharāghavaṭīkā.Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary
1) Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—m. ([probably] [from] √viṣ, ‘All-pervader’ or ‘Worker’) Name of one of the principal Hindū deities (in the later mythology regarded as ‘the preserver’, and with Brahmā ‘the creator’ and Śiva ‘the destroyer’, constituting the well-known Tri-mūrti or triad; although Viṣṇu comes second in the triad he is identified with the supreme deity by his worshippers; in the Vedic period, however, he is not placed in the foremost rank, although he is frequently invoked with other gods [especially] with Indra whom he assists in killing Vṛtra and with whom he drinks the Soma juice; cf. his later names Indrānuja and Upendra; as distinguished from the other Vedic deities, he is a personification of the light and of the sun, [especially] in his striding over the heavens, which he is said to do in three paces [See tri-vikrama and cf. bali, vāmana], explained as denoting the threefold manifestations of light in the form of fire, lightning, and the sun, or as designating the three daily stations of the sun in his rising, culminating, and setting ; Viṣṇu does not appear to have been included at first among the Ādityas q.v., although in later times he is accorded the foremost place among them; in the Brāhmaṇas he is identified with sacrifice, and in one described as a dwarf; in the Mahā-bhārata and Rāmāyaṇa he rises to the supremacy which in some places he now enjoys as the most popular deity of modern Hindū worship; the great rivalry between him and Śiva cf. vaiṣṇava and śaiva is not fully developed till the period of the Purāṇas: the distinguishing feature in the character of the Post-vedic Viṣṇu is his condescending to become incarnate in a portion of his essence on ten principal occasions, to deliver mankind from certain great dangers cf. avatāra and, [Indian Wisdom, by Sir M. Monier-Williams 327]; some of the Purāṇas make 22 incarnations, or even 24, instead of 10; the Vaiṣṇavas regard Viṣṇu as the supreme being, and often identify him with Nārāyaṇa, the personified Puruṣa or primeval living spirit [described as moving on the waters, reclining on Śeṣa, the serpent of infinity, while the god Brahmā emerges from a lotus growing from his navel; cf. [Manu i, 10]]; the wives of Viṣṇu are Aditi and Sinīvālī, later Lakṣmī or Śrī and even Sarasvatī; his son is Kāma-deva, god of love, and his paradise is called Vaikuṇṭha; he is usually represented with a peculiar mark on his breast called Śrī-vatsa, and as holding a śaṅkha, or conch-shell called Pāñcajanya, a cakra or quoit-like missile-weapon called Su-darśana, a gadā or club called Kaumodakī and a padma or lotus; he has also a bow called Śārṅga, and a sword called Nandaka; his vāhana or vehicle is Garuḍa q.v.; he has a jewel on his wrist called Syamantaka, another on his breast called Kaustubha, and the river Ganges is said to issue from his foot; the demons slain by him in his character of ‘preserver from evil’, or by Kṛṣṇa as identified with him, are Madhu, Dhenuka, Cāṇūra, Yamala, and Arjuna [see yamalārjuna], Kāla-nemi, Haya-grīva, Śakaṭa, Ariṣṭa, Kaiṭabha, Kaṃsa, Keśin, Mura, Śālva, Mainda, Dvi-vida, Rāhu, Hiraṇya-kaśipu, Bāṇa, Kāliya, Naraka, Bali; he is worshipped under a thousand names, which are all enumerated in [Mahābhārata xiii, 6950-7056]; he is sometimes regarded as the divinity of the lunar mansion called Śravaṇa), [Ṛg-veda] etc. etc. (cf. [Religious Thought and Life in India 44; Indian Wisdom, by Sir M. Monier-Williams 324])
2) Name of the month Caitra, [Varāha-mihira’s Bṛhat-saṃhitā]
3) (with prājāpatya) of the author of [Ṛg-veda x, 84]
4) of a son of Manu Sāvarṇa and Bhautya, [Mārkaṇḍeya-purāṇa]
5) of the writer of a law-book, [Yājñavalkya]
6) of the father of the 11th Arhat of the present Avasarpiṇī, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]
7) (also with gaṇaka, kavi, daivajña, paṇḍita, bhaṭṭa, miśra, yatīndra, vājapeyin, śāstrin etc.) of various authors and others, [Inscriptions; Catalogue(s)]
8) = agni, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]
9) = vasu-devatā, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]
10) = śuddha, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]
11) f. Name of the mother of the 11th Arhat of the present Avasarpiṇī, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]
12) n. [plural] (in a formula), [Āpastamba-śrauta-sūtra]
13) (viṣṇor with apamarṇam, ājya-doham, vratam; [oḥ] sāma, svarīyaḥ Name of Sāmans; with ṣoḍaśa-nāma-stotram, anusmṛtiḥ, aṣṭāviṃśati-nāma-stotram, and mahā-stutiḥ Name of works.)Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary
Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—(ṣṇuḥ) 2. m. Vishnu the preserver; fire; good man.
[Sanskrit to German] (Deutsch Wörterbuch)Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Böhtlingk and Roth Grosses Petersburger Wörterbuch
Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.
Hindi dictionarySource: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary
Viṣṇu (विष्णु):—(nm) one of the Hindu mythological divine trinity- [brahmā,viṣṇu] and [maheśa] the preserver of the world, God Almighty; ~[patnī] goddess [lakṣmī]—the spouse of [viṣṇu].
See also (Relevant definitions)
Starts with (+319): Vishnu agnihotrin, Vishnu bhatta, Vishnu daivajna, Vishnu ganaka, Vishnu kavi, Vishnu mishra, Vishnu Mudra, Vishnu pandita, Vishnu sarvajna, Vishnu shastrin, Vishnu vajapeyin, Vishnu yatindra, Vishnu-bahu, Vishnu-griha, Vishnu-muhurta, Vishnu-shradha, Vishnubali, Vishnubha, Vishnubhadra, Vishnubhadri.
Ends with (+38): Adhyambhavishnu, Agnavishnu, Alambhavishnu, Amavishnu, Anadhyambhavishnu, Andhambhavishnu, Anuvishnu, Apamambhavishnu, Apavishnu, Aprabhavishnu, Asubhagambhavishnu, Ativishnu, Bhavishnu, Bhutavishnu, Brihadvishnu, Devavishnu, Dhanyavishnu, Dhritivishnu, Dirgha-vishnu, Durambhavishnu.
Full-text (+8440): Vaishnava, Kesava, Vamana, Varaha, Vaikuntha, Lakshmi, Kalki, Narayana, Narasimha, Janardana, Prativishnu, Shrivatsa, Vishnupada, Garuda, Jagadisha, Brahma, Vishnu Purana, Ritadhaman, Vasudeva, Shrigarbha.
Search found 186 books and stories containing Vishnu, Viṣṇu, Visnu; (plurals include: Vishnus, Viṣṇus, Visnus). You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary) (by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja)
Verse 2.4.168 < [Chapter 4 - Vaikuṇṭha (the spiritual world)]
Verse 2.1.156 < [Chapter 1 - Vairāgya (renunciation)]
Verse 2.1.162 < [Chapter 1 - Vairāgya (renunciation)]
The Padma Purana (by N.A. Deshpande)
Chapter 16 - How to Win Favour of Viṣṇu < [Section 4 - Brahma-khaṇḍa (Section on Brahman)]
Chapter 23 - The Importance of Tulasī < [Section 6 - Uttara-Khaṇḍa (Concluding Section)]
Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī)
Verse 2.1.180 < [Part 1 - Ecstatic Excitants (vibhāva)]
Verse 1.2.165 < [Part 2 - Devotional Service in Practice (sādhana-bhakti)]
Verse 2.1.250 < [Part 1 - Ecstatic Excitants (vibhāva)]
The Ganesha Purana (abridged) (by Gregory Baily)
Yoga Vasistha [English], Volume 1-4 (by Vihari-Lala Mitra)
Chapter XXX - Description of the mundane egg (brahmanda) < [Book III - Utpatti khanda (utpatti khanda)]
Chapter IX - Reflections of janaka < [Book V - Upasama khanda (upashama khanda)]
Chapter XXXI - Prahlada’s faith in vishnu < [Book V - Upasama khanda (upashama khanda)]
Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra (by Helen M. Johnson)