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Lord Mahavishnu is depicted with four hands holding A Conch-shell (Shankha), A Disc (Chakra), Mace (Gada) and A Lotus (Padma). He is usually shown as reclining on the Serpent ADHISESHA (Ananthashayana) or riding on His Vahana (Vehicle) Garuda — The White Eagle. In South India, He usually appears alone. He is also seen in the company of His Divine Consort Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.
Gada is an Earth Symbol signifying VISHNU’s Sovereignty on the physical plane.
The Lotus is both a Symbol of the Sky as well as Water. As a Sky symbol, the Lotus stands for the Wisdom of a GURU. As the flower of a Water plant, Lotus represents the best blossom of BHAKTHI (Devotion). The roots of the Lotus are buried deep in the MUD. So are our roots buried in the roots of SOClETY. The stem of the Lotus flower is shaken and tossed by the Waves. So are we subjected to the Emotional fluctuations of SAMSARA (Family Connections). But the flower of the Lotus stands far above the reach of MUD and WATER. The bosom of Lotus is only opened to the glory of the benign SUN.
This teaches us to keep the Lotus of our Heart unaffected by the Dualities of Life and offer our Heart to the ABSOLUTE in TOTO.
The Disc is a FIRE symbol and that deals with the REALM of ACTION.
In Bhagawad Gita, Sri KRISHNA spoke to Arjuna thus - “The Lord dwelleth in the Hearts of all Beings. O Arjuna, by His power of Illusion, causing all Beings to revolve, as though mounted on a Wheel of “MAYA”. This wheel is identical with MAHAVISHNU’S CHAKRA. The Chakra rotates on the AXIS of HIS WILL.
THE SHANKHA (CONCH SHELL)
The Conch Shell is an AIR symbol representing the Declaration of the SUPREME WORD of the LORD.
Sri Krishna declared the great message of BHAGAWAD GITA by first blowing the divine CONCH — ‘PANCHA-JANYA’.
The descent of MAHAVISHNU to this World in Human form to accomplish certain set objectives mainly for the re-establishment of DHARMA whenever there was a decline in the values of DHARMA, for the protection of the GOOD and for the Destruction of the WICKED.
The various INCARNATIONS are:
1. Matsya, the fish, appeared in the Satya Yuga.
2. Kurma, the tortoise, appeared in the Satya Yuga.
3. Varaha, the boar, appeared in the Satya Yuga.
4. Narasimha, the half-man/half-lion appeared in the Satya Yuga.
5. Vamana, the dwarf, appeared in the Treta Yuga.
6. Parashurama, Rama with the axe, appeared in the Treta Yuga.
7. Rama, Ramachandra, the prince and king of Ayodhya, appeared in the Treta Yuga.
8. Krishna (meaning "dark colored" or "all attractive") appeared in the Dwapara Yuga along with his brother Balarama. According to the Bhagavata Purana Balarama is said to have appeared in the Dwapara Yuga (along with Krishna) as a descent of Ananta Shesha. He is also counted as an avatar of Vishnu by the majority of Vaishnava movements and is included as the ninth Dasavatara in some versions of the list..
9. Gautama Buddha (meaning "the enlightened one") appeared in the Kali Yuga (specifically as Siddhartha Gautama).
10. Kalki ("Eternity", or "time", or "The Destroyer of foulness"), who is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the time period in which we currently exist, which will end in the year 428899 CE (approximately 2013 A.D.,).
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