VISHNU Remember Vishnu again and again; By remembering Vishnu you will never suffer defeat.(Gauri Bawan Akhri Kabir, p. 342) At whose door should I take refuge, Vishnu, Shiva, an adept, a Muni or Indra. One may give you kingdom, the other may take you to heaven, rare one among a million may ask for salvation.(Kalyan M. 5, p. 1322) O Lord! Vishnu and Lakshmi could not know you besides four Vedas, Smritis and Puranas.(Dhanasari Kabir, p. 691) Kishan (connoting Vishnu) is always busy in incarnating himself, then with whose help one may ferry across the world-ocean ?(Wadhans M. 3, p. 559) Vishnu is the second god of the Hindu Triad.

He represents Sattva quality of maya, and is considered as the Preserver of the world. It is said that the sage Bhrigu, in order to ascertain as to who was the greatest god of the Hindu Triad, visited all of them. Brahma neglected him, Shiva behaved offensively towards him. It was Vishnu, who, even being kicked by him, treated him with goodness and generosity. Therefore he concluded that he was the greatest of the Hindu Triad.

Even the Supreme Being is sometimes named Vishnu, as in the first reference above, but as a god of the Triad, he is considered related to maya and thus prone to death. Brahma is said to have been born out of his navel-lotus (Gujri M. l, p. 489). In this case, he may be identified with Maha-Vishnu or Supreme Being. His consort is Lakshmi, who is also called Kavala. In this case, Vishnu is called Kavalapati (or Kamlapati). In times of grave emergency, in order to help the gods and punish the tyrants, Vishnu incarnates.

Ten of his incarnations are considered most significant. (See Das Avatars). The god is said to repose on the coils of the serpent Shesha and his wife Lakshmi sits at his feet. He has four hands. In one hand he hold a Shank (conch shell), in the second a Chakra (disc), in the third a Gada (mace) and in the fourth a Padma (lotus) (Swayye Mahle Chauthe Ke, p. 1402). His vehicle is Garuda, a man-bird. His heaven is called Vaikuntha, which has a circumference of 80,000 miles.

He has one thousand names, which are recorded in Vishnu Sahansar Nama. Some of the names of Vishnu, which have been used for Supreme Being (God) in Guru Granth Sahib are Gopal, Gobind, Mukand, Murari, Narayana, Madhav, Vasudeva, Prabhu, Chatur Bhuj, Kavala Kant, Hari, etc. See : Vaikuntha and Garuda.

References :

1. Kohli,Surindar Singh ed,Dictionary of Mythological References in Guru Granth Sahib 1993