Vishnu

Vishnu

Vishnu is my favorite god, I think he is the best representation of the type of god that sustains the universe out of all the mythologies and religions. Vishnu has light blue skin like clouds, and is eternal powerful; he works in unison with Shiva to maintain the universe. Vishnu lives in Vaikuntha, the realm of eternal bliss and happiness and the resting place for the souls who have attained Moksha, or liberation from Samsara. His abode lies beyond space, time, and the material universe, immeasurable and infinite. He sits on Ananta Shesha, his snake with a thousand heads in an ocean of milk, the Ksheera Sagara. He has ten avatars, or incarnations including Krishna and Rama. His purpose is to rejuvinate Dharma and give the universe sustenance. But he is popularly known as the one to grant Moksha, or release from the material world.

Vishnu is a self-born deity. This again promotes the universe as an infinite expansion-regression system, with neither end nor beginning, which I find fascinating. This coincides with the Jain believe that the universe is infinite and has always been. It also has interesting similarities with Satya, the idea of truth, in that it is immeasurable, immutable, all-pervading, and absolute.

The Rig Vedic texts, one of the oldest existing documents, refer to Vishnu as the sun. Religion is essentially the same in that it is different forms of sun worship. Because if you really stop to think about it, the sun is the source of life for this planet. I think without it, it wouldn’t take long for everything on earth to die. Maybe it would take less than a week.

Vishnu’s ideological figure evolved over time into the consort of HariharaLakshmi, Lord Narayana, Purusha Sooktham, Vishnu Purana, and was made more distinct from Shiva, Brahman, and Surya (the sun god, who sun salutations are devoted to). Hanuman is often seen with Vishnu, in temples dedicated to Rama, Krishna, and Narasimha. Shiva and Vishnu have joined forms in one story, kind of like fusion in Dragonball Z, to form Harihara. Many of the more advanced philosophical Hindu teachers consider the both gods to be different aspects of the supreme being.

Vishnu is a popular god of Buddhism, especially in Sri Lanka, where many shrines are dedicated to him as the protector of Buddhism. He has 10 incarnations, a few notable ones that have associations with yoga poses are: Matsya (Matsyandrasana), Kurma (Kurmasana). He is also Krishna, Rama, and the Buddha. He returns to the universe to kick-ass and destroy demons as Rama, or to eradicate suffering as the Buddha, or to restore balance by saving the world from King Bali. Vishnu has too many names to count.

Vishnu, like many other Hindu gods, has many arms to represent his ability to work simultaneously, his supreme power and existence not bound by space or time. he holds a conch, a chakra, a mace, and a lotus flower in four of his hands when he is depicted, representing the universe, enlightenment, strength and eradication of demons, and divine perfection as an individual unfolds. His flying mount, the eagle garuda, represents the soul and the divine truth of the Vedas.

His godly powers are omniscience, sovereignty, manipulation of energy, strength, vigor, splendor, generosity, and compassion. A lot of these qualities are shown through Krishna, which is probably the most popular form of Vishnu. In AUM, he is the “u” and the vowel sound that rings deeply like ooooo. He sustains and creates.

 

Vishnu’s Bliss

Vishnu's mount

There has to be some significance to the fact that yoga is 2,500 years old. The word yoga in essence means a combination of unison, communion, and connection. I think that yoga is trying to teach that breathing is a pathway to presence, and the body combined with prana-yama is a gateway to bliss. This bliss is described in the mythology.

In the mythology, they say that Vishnu would sit on the body of Ananda, the snake would be like pillows for his head. He would also ride Garuda, his warrior eagle. They said he would sit on the cosmic waves of time and he dreamed the universe into existence. His many hands complete any task that may need doing from his abode in Vaikuntha because he is outside of the realm of human existence.

Vishnu is the most venerated of the three trimurti, which includes Shiva and Brahman. His abode is for those who obtain Moksha, or liberation and are freed from Samsara, or rebirth. He is completely detached, floating through the eternal bliss of his home.

He is also known as the sun god, which is appropriate because the Sun sustains the earth through the trees and plants that we and our livestock eat. It’s a good metaphor for what sustains life on planet Earth. He has 10 avatars, Krishna, Rama, and possibly Buddha being amongst them.

There are some pretty good spiritual lessons to learn from just sitting still, but I definitely think yoga is special, one of the best ways to exercise consistently as well. You can really pay attention so you don’t get injured! And it should be fun, not just totally boring to some hip-hop playlist. Get concentrated, focused, and find those sweet spots deep inside. Keep finding adjustments for yourself until it feels just right.

And have fun. It’s not every day you give yourself this kind of attention is it?