The word Puranas means "ancient, old", it is a vast genre of Indian literature about a wide range of topics myths and other traditional lore. Composed in Sanskrit, but in regional languages, several of these texts are named after major Hindu deities such as Vishnu and Devi; the Puranas genre of literature is found in both Jainism. The Puranic literature is encyclopedic, it includes diverse topics such as cosmogony, genealogies of gods, kings, heroes and demigods, folk tales, temples, astronomy, mineralogy, love stories, as well as theology and philosophy; the content is inconsistent across the Puranas, each Purana has survived in numerous manuscripts which are themselves inconsistent. The Hindu Puranas are anonymous texts and the work of many authors over the centuries. There are 18 Maha Puranas and 18 Upa Puranas, with over 400,000 verses; the first versions of the various Puranas were composed between the 3rd- and 10th-century CE. The Puranas are considered a Smriti, they have been influential in the Hindu culture, inspiring major national and regional annual festivals of Hinduism.
Their role and value as sectarian religious texts and historical texts has been controversial because all Puranas praise many gods and goddesses and "their sectarianism is far less clear cut" than assumed, states Ludo Rocher. The religious practices included in them are considered Vaidika, because they do not preach initiation into Tantra; the Bhagavata Purana has been among the most celebrated and popular text in the Puranic genre, is of non-dualistic tenor. The Puranic literature wove with the Bhakti movement in India, both Dvaita and Advaita scholars have commented on the underlying Vedantic themes in the Maha Puranas. Douglas Harper states that the etymological origins of Puranas are from Sanskrit Puranah "ancient, former," from pura "formerly, before," cognate with Greek paros "before," pro "before," Avestan paro "before," Old English fore, from Proto-Indo-European *pre-, from *per-." Vyasa, the narrator of the Mahabharata, is hagiographically credited as the compiler of the Puranas. The ancient tradition suggests that there was but one Purana.
Vishnu Purana mentions that Vyasa entrusted his Puranasamhita to his disciple Lomaharshana, who in turn imparted it to his disciples, three of whom compiled their own samhitas. These three, together with Lomaharshana's, comprise the Mulasamhita, from which the eighteen Puranas were derived; the term Purana appears in the Vedic texts. For example, Atharva Veda mentions Purana in XI.7.24 and XV.6.10-11:"The rk and saman verses, the chandas, the Purana along with the Yajus formulae, all sprang from the remainder of the sacrificial food, the gods that resort to heaven. He changed his place and went over to great direction, Itihasa and Purana, verses in praise of heroes followed in going over." The Shatapatha Brahmana mentions Itihasapuranam and recommends that on the 9th day of Pariplava, the hotr priest should narrate some Purana because "the Purana is the Veda, this it is". However, states P. V. Kane, it is not certain whether these texts suggested several works or single work with the term Purana.
The late Vedic text Taittiriya Aranyaka uses the term in the plural. Therefore, states Kane, that in the Vedic period at least, the Puranas referred to three or more texts, that they were studied and recited In numerous passages the Mahabharata mentions'Purana' in both singular and plural forms. Moreover, it is not unlikely that, where the singular'Puranam' was employed in the texts, a class of works was meant. Further, despite the mention of the term Purana or Puranas in the Vedic texts, there is uncertainty about the contents of them until the composition of the oldest Dharmashastra Apastamba Dharmasutra and Gautama Dharmasutra, that mention Puranas resembling with the extant Puranas. Another early mention of the term'Itihas-purana' is found in the Chandogya Upanishad, translated by Patrick Olivelle as "the corpus of histories and ancient tales as the fifth Veda"; the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad refers to purana as the "fifth Veda",According to Thomas Coburn and early extra-puranic texts attest to two traditions regarding their origin, one proclaiming a divine origin as the breath of the Great Being, the other as a human named Vyasa as the arranger of existing material into eighteen Puranas.
In the early references, states Coburn, the term Purana occurs in singular unlike the era which refers to a plural form because they had assumed their "multifarious form". While both these traditions disagree on the origins of the Puranas, they affirm that extant Puranas are not identical with the original Purana. According to the Indologists J. A. B. van Buitenen and Cornelia Dimmitt, the Puranas that have survived into the modern era are ancient but represent "an amalgam of two somewhat different but never different separate oral literatures: the Brahmin tradition stemming from the reciters of the Vedas, the bardic poetry recited by Sutas, handed down in Kshatriya circles". The original Puranas comes from the priestly roots while the genealogies have the warrior and epic roots; these texts were collected for the "second time between the fourth and sixth centuries A. D. under the rule of the Gupta kings", a period of Hindu renaissance. However, the editing and expan
Shudra or Shoodra is the fourth varna, or one of the four social categories found in the texts of Hinduism. Various sources translate it into English as a caste, or alternatively as a social class, it is the lowest rank of the four varnas. The word Shudra appears only once in the Rig veda but is found in other Hindu texts such as the Manusmriti and Dharmashastras. Theoretically, Shudras have constituted the hereditary labouring class serving others. In some cases, they participated in the coronation of kings, or were ministers and kings according to early Indian texts; the term Shudra appears only once in the Rigveda. This mention is found in a verse in the Purusha Sukta, one of its 1,028 hymns. While the Rigveda was most compiled between c. 1500 and 1200 BCE, John Muir in 1868 suggested that the verse that mentions the four varnas has "every character of modernness both in its diction and ideas". The Purusha Sukta verse is now considered to have been inserted at a date into the Vedic text as a charter myth.
According to Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, a professor of Sanskrit and Religious studies, "there is no evidence in the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system", "the varna system seems to be embryonic in the Rigveda and, both and a social ideal rather than a social reality". Historian R. S. Sharma states that "the Rig Vedic society was neither organized on the basis of social division of labour nor on that of differences in wealth... was organised on the basis of kin and lineage."According to Romila Thapar, the Vedic text's mention of Shudra and other varnas has been seen as its origin, that "in the varna ordering of society, notions of purity and pollution were central and activities were worked out in this context" and it is "formulaic and orderly, dividing society into four groups arranged in a hierarchy". The word Pusan appears in a Vedic era Upanishad, meaning "nourisher" and associates it with the creation of earth and production activities that nourishes the whole world, the text calls this Pusan as Shudra.
The term Pusan, in Hindu mythology, is the charioteer of the sun who knows the paths thereby bringing light and life to all. The same word Pusan is, associated in a Brahmana text to Vaishya. According to Sharma, nowhere in the Vedic text collections "is there any evidence of restrictions regarding food and marriage either between the Dasa and Aryan, or between the Shudra and the higher varnas". Further, adds Sharma, in late Atharva Veda, "Shudra does not come in for notice because his varna did not exist at that stage"; the ancient Hindu text Arthashastra states, according to Sharma, that Aryas were free men and could not be subject to slavery under any circumstances. The text contrasts Aryas with Shudra, but neither as a hereditary slave nor as an economically closed social stratum in a manner that the term Shudra was interpreted. According to Rangarajan, the law on labour and employment in Arthashastra has led to a variety of different interpretations by different translators and commentators, "the accepted view is that slavery, in the form it was practised in contemporary Greece, did not exist in Kautilyan India".
Kautilya argued for the rights of all classes to participate as warriors. Roger Borsche says that this is so because it is in the self-interest of the ruler to "have a people's army fiercely loyal to him because the people had been treated justly"; the Manusmriti predominantly discusses the code of conduct for the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas. The text mentions Shudras, as well as Vaishyas. Sections 9.326 – 9.335 of the Manusmriti state eight rules for Vaishyas and two for Shudras. In section 10.43 - 10.44 Manu gives a list of Kshatriya tribes who, through neglect of the priests and their rites, had fallen to the status of Shudras. These are: Pundrakas, Dravidas, Yavanas, Paradas, Chinas and Daradas. According to Laurie Patton, a professor of Religion specialising on early Indian religions, the rights and status of Shudra varies across early Indian texts. While section 9.15 of Atharvaveda states Shudras may undertake thread wearing ceremony, the Apastamba Grhysutra states they may not and excludes the Shudra students from hearing or learning the Vedas.
Yajnavalkya Smriti in contrast mentions Shudra students, the Mahabharata states that all four varnas including the Shudras may hear the Vedas. Other Hindu texts go further and state that the three varnas – Brahmin, Vaishya – may acquire knowledge from Shudra teachers, the yajna sacrifices may be performed by Shudras; these rights and social mobility for Shudras may have arisen in times of lower societal stress and greater economic prosperity, periods that saw the improvement in the social conditions of women. Medieval era texts such as Vajrasuchi Upanishad discuss varna, include the term Shudra. According to Ashwani Peetush, a professor of Philosophy at the Wilfrid Laurier University, the Vajrasuchi Upanishad is a significant text because it assumes and asserts that any human being from any social background can achieve the highest spiritual state of existence. Outside of the conflicting stances within the Hindu texts, non-Hindu texts present a different picture about the Shudras. A Buddhist text, states Patton, "refers to Shudras who know the Vedas, Mimamsa, Samkhya and lagna".
According to Johannes Bronkhorst, a professor of Indology specializing on early Buddhism and Hinduism, the ancient Buddhist canon is predominantly devoid of varna discussion, Shudra and other varnas are referred to in
Brahmin is a varna in Hinduism specialising as priests and protectors of sacred learning across generations. The traditional occupation of Brahmins was that of priesthood at the Hindu temples or at socio-religious ceremonies and rite of passage rituals such as solemnising a wedding with hymns and prayers. Theoretically, the Brahmins were the highest ranking of the four social classes. In practice, Indian texts suggest that Brahmins were agriculturalists, warriors and have held a variety of other occupations in the Indian subcontinent; the earliest inferred reference to "Brahmin" as a possible social class is in the Rigveda, occurs once, the hymn is called Purusha Sukta. According to this hymn in Mandala 10, Brahmins are described as having emerged from the mouth of Purusha, being that part of the body from which words emerge; this Purusha Sukta varna verse is now considered to have been inserted at a date into the Vedic text as a charter myth. Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, a professor of Sanskrit and Religious studies, state, "there is no evidence in the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system", "the varna system seems to be embryonic in the Rigveda and, both and a social ideal rather than a social reality".
Ancient texts describing community-oriented Vedic yajna rituals mention four to five priests: the hotar, the adhvaryu, the udgatar, the Brahmin and sometimes the ritvij. The functions associated with the priests were: The Hotri recites invocations and litanies drawn from the Rigveda; the Adhvaryu is the priest's assistant and is in charge of the physical details of the ritual like measuring the ground, building the altar explained in the Yajurveda. The adhvaryu offers oblations; the Udgatri is the chanter of hymns set to melodies and music drawn from the Samaveda. The udgatar, like the hotar, chants the introductory and benediction hymns; the Brahmin recites from the Atharvaveda. The Ritvij is the chief operating priest. According to Kulkarni, the Grhya-sutras state that Yajna, dana pratigraha are the "peculiar duties and privileges of brahmins"; the term Brahmin in Indian texts has signified someone, good and virtuous, not just someone of priestly class. Both Buddhist and Brahmanical literature, states Patrick Olivelle define "Brahmin" not in terms of family of birth, but in terms of personal qualities.
These virtues and characteristics mirror the values cherished in Hinduism during the Sannyasa stage of life, or the life of renunciation for spiritual pursuits. Brahmins, states Olivelle, were the social class; the Dharmasutras and Dharmasatras text of Hinduism describe the expectations and role of Brahmins. The rules and duties in these Dharma texts of Hinduism, are directed at Brahmins; the Gautama's Dharmasutra, the oldest of surviving Hindu Dharmasutras, for example, states in verse 9.54–9.55 that a Brahmin should not participate or perform a ritual unless he is invited to do so, but he may attend. Gautama outlines the following rules of conduct for a Brahmin, in Chapters 8 and 9: Be always truthful Teach his art only to virtuous men Follow rules of ritual purification Study Vedas with delight Never hurt any living creature Be gentle but steadfast Have self-control Be kind, liberal towards everyoneChapter 8 of the Dharmasutra, states Olivelle, asserts the functions of a Brahmin to be to learn the Vedas, the secular sciences, the Vedic supplements, the dialogues, the epics and the Puranas.
The text lists eight virtues that a Brahmin must inculcate: compassion, lack of envy, tranquility, auspicious disposition and lack of greed, asserts in verse 9.24–9.25, that it is more important to lead a virtuous life than perform rites and rituals, because virtue leads to achieving liberation. The Dharma texts of Hinduism such as Baudhayana Dharmasutra add charity, refraining from anger and never being arrogant as duties of a Brahmin; the Vasistha Dharmasutra in verse 6.23 lists discipline, self-control, truthfulness, Vedic learning, erudition and religious faith as characteristics of a Brahmin. In 13.55, the Vasistha text states that a Brahmin must not accept weapons, poison or liquor as gifts. The Dharmasastras such as Manusmriti, like Dharmsutras, are codes focussed on how a Brahmin must live his life, their relationship with a king and warrior class. Manusmriti dedicates 1,034 verses, the largest portion, on laws for and expected virtues of Brahmins, it asserts, for example, A well disciplined Brahmin, although he knows just the Savitri verse, is far better than an undisciplined one who eats all types of food and deals in all types of merchandise though he may know all three Vedas.
John Bussanich states that the ethical precepts set for Brahmins, in ancient Indian texts, are similar to Greek virtue-ethics, that "Manu's dharmic Brahmin can be compared to Aristotle's man of practical wisdom", that "the virtuous Brahmin is not unlike the Platonic-Aristotelian philosopher" with the difference that the latter was not sacerdotal. According to Abraham Eraly, "Brahmin as a varna hardly had any presence in historical records before the Gupta Empire era", when Buddhism dominated the land. "No Brahmin, no sacrifice, no ritualistic act of any kind even once, is referred to" in any Indian texts between third century BCE and
Yama or Yamarāja is a god of death, the south direction, the underworld, belonging to an early stratum of Rigvedic Hindu deities. In Sanskrit, his name can be interpreted to mean "twin". In the Zend-Avesta of Zoroastrianism, he is called "Yima". According to the Vishnu Purana, Yama is the son of sun-god Surya and Sandhya, the daughter of Vishvakarma. Yama is the brother of Sraddhadeva Manu and of his older sister Yami, which Horace Hayman Wilson indicates to mean the Yamuna. According to the Vedas, Yama is said to have been the first mortal. By virtue of precedence, he became the ruler of the departed, is called "Lord of the Pitrs". Mentioned in the Pāli Canon of Theravada Buddhism, Yama subsequently entered Buddhist mythology in East Asia, Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka as a Dharmapala under various transliterations, he is otherwise called as "Dharmaraja". In Hinduism, Yama is the son of Surya. Three hymns in the 10th book of the Rig Veda are addressed to him. In Puranas, Yama is described as having four arms, protruding fangs, complexion of storm clouds with a wrathful expression.
He wields a noose. Yama is the son of Saranyu, he is brother of Shraddhadeva Manu and the step brother of Shani. His wife was Goddess Dhumorna and his son was Katila. In Buddhism, Yama is a dharmapala, a wrathful god or the Enlightened Protector of Buddhism, considered worldly, said to judge the dead and preside over the Narakas and the cycle of rebirth; the Buddhist Yama has, developed different myths and different functions from the Hindu deity. In Pali Canon Buddhist myths, Yama takes those who have mistreated elders, holy spirits, or their parents when they die. Contrary though, in the Majjhima Nikaya commentary by Buddhagosa, Yama is a vimānapeta – a preta with occasional suffering. In other parts of Buddhism, Yama's main duty is to watch over purgatorial aspects of Hell, has no relation to rebirth, his sole purpose is to maintain the relationships between spirits that pass through the ten courts, similar to Yama's representation in several Chinese religions. He has spread and is known in every country where Buddhism is practiced, including China, Vietnam, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and United States.
In Chinese texts, Yama only holds transitional places in Hell where he oversaw the deceased before he, the Generals of Five Paths, were assigned a course of rebirth. Yama was placed as a King in the Fifth Court when texts led to the fruition of the underworld that marked the beginnings of systemizations. Yama can be found in one of the oldest Japanese religious works called Nipponkoku Genpō Zenaku Ryōiki, a literary work compiled by the Monk Keikai in 822. Yama was introduced to Japan through Buddhism, he holds the same position title as other works depict him – a judge who imposes decisions on the dead who have mistreated others. Naraka in Hinduism serves only as a temporary purgatory where the soul is purified of sin by its suffering. In Hindu mythology, Naraka holds many hells, Yama directs departed souls to the appropriate one. Elevated Mukti-yogyas and Nitya-samsarins can experience Naraka for expiation of sins. Although Yama is the lord of Naraka, he may direct the soul to a Swarga or return it to Bhoomi.
As good and bad deeds are not considered to cancel each other out, the same soul may spend time in both a hell and a heaven. The seven Swargas are: Bhuvas, Tharus, Savithaa and Maha; the idea of Naraka in Sikhism is like the idea of Hell. One's soul, however, is confined to 8.4 million life cycles before taking birth as a human, the point of human life being one where one attains salvation, the salvation being sach khand. The idea of khand comes in multiple levels of such heavens, the highest being merging with God as one; the idea of Hell comes in multiple levels, hell itself can manifest within human life itself. The Sikh idea of hell is where one is apart from the Guru's charana. Without naama one is damned. Naama is believed to be a direct deliverance by God to humanity in the form of Guru Nanak. A Sikh is hence required to take the Amrit from gurubani, panj pyare to come closer to naama. A true Sikh of the Gurus has the Guru himself takes that person into sach khand. In the Jātakas the Narakas are mentioned as Yama's abode.
It is noted that all of Samsāra is subject to Yama's rule, escape from samsāra means escape from Yama's influence. The Vetaranī River is said to form the boundary of Yama's kingdom. Elsewhere, it is referred to as consisting of Ussadaniraya, the four woeful planes, or the preta realm. Naraka is translated into English as "hell" or "purgatory". A Naraka differs from the hells of western religions in two respects. First, beings are not sent to Naraka as the result of a divine punishment. Instead, a being is born into a Naraka as a direct result of his or her previous karma, resides there for a finite length of time until his karma has exhausted its cumulate effect. Mandarin Diyu, Japanese Ji
Bhagavata Purana known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā Purāṇa, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata, is one of Hinduism's eighteen great Puranas. Composed in Sanskrit and available in all major Indian languages, it promotes bhakti to Krishna integrating themes from the Advaita philosophy and from the Dvaita philosophy; the origin of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam can be traced back to God Brahma who initiated Narada Rishi summarised in four verse called Chatur Sloki Bhagavatam. Narada Rishi submitted the same to Lord Veda Vyasa who elaborated to the presently available twelve skandhas and initiated to Sri Shukacharya. Lord Veda Vyasa has recorded the following narrations of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in seven days or in Saphaha format in the Puranas being worthy: Sri Shukacharya narrated Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for seven days to Parakshit Raja on the banks of Ganga and present Haridwar. Gokarna narrated Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for seven days on the banks of river Tungabhadra. Narada Rishi organized Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for seven days at Ananda on the banks of Ganga wherein Sanatkumara narrated.
Sri Sutacharya, present during the first narration of Sri Shukacharya to Parakshit Raja narrated Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to Sri Saunaka Rishi in Naimisaranya in an elaborate way and for a long period of time. The Bhagavata Purana discusses a wide range of topics including Cosmology, Geography, Legend, Dance and Culture; as it begins, the forces of evil have won a war between the benevolent devas and evil asuras and now rule the universe. Truth re-emerges as Krishna, – first makes peace with the demons, understands them and creatively defeats them, bringing back hope, justice and happiness – a cyclic theme that appears in many legends; the Bhagavata Purana is a revered text in a Hindu tradition that reveres Vishnu. The text presents a form of religion that competes with that of the Vedas, wherein bhakti leads to self-knowledge and bliss; however the Bhagavata Purana asserts that the inner nature and outer form of Krishna is identical to the Vedas and that this is what rescues the world from the forces of evil.
An oft-quoted verse is used by some Krishna sects to assert that the text itself is Krishna in literary form. The date of composition is between the eighth and the tenth century AD, but may be as early as the 6th century AD. Manuscripts survive in numerous inconsistent versions revised through the 18th century creating various recensions both in the same languages and across different Indian languages; the text consists of twelve books totalling 332 chapters and between 16,000 and 18,000 verses depending on the recension. The tenth book, with about 4,000 verses, has been the most popular and studied, it was the first Purana, translated into a European language, when a French translation of a Tamil version appeared in 1788 and introduced many Europeans to Hinduism and 18th-century Hindu culture during the colonial era. "Purana" means "ancient, old". Bhagavata means "devoted to, follower of Bhagavat – the "sacred, divine". An alternative interpretation of Bhagavata is "devotees of the Adorable One".
Bhagavata Purana therefore means "Ancient Tales of Followers of the Lord". The composer of this work, Lord Veda Vyasa, in his second verse has described the Subject and the Fruit of studying and named it as Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri is used for abundance or richness; such Sri hence called Srimad. Bhagavata means Sacred or Divine or Holy; the holy or divine verses brings an abundance of happiness, Knowledge, in Vedas and Vedanta, Vairagya to the reader or listener and hence is called Srimad Bhagavatam. The Bhagavata is recognized as the best-known and most influential of the Puranas and, along with the Itihasa and other puranas, is sometimes referred to as the "Fifth Veda", it is important in Indian religious literature for its emphasis on the practice of devotion as compared to the more theoretical approach of the Bhagavad Gita. It is the source of many popular stories of Krishna's childhood told for centuries on the Indian subcontinent and of legends explaining Hindu festivals such as Holi and Diwali.
The Bhagavata declares itself the essence of derivative Smritis. Here Vedas are like seeds, Brahma Sutra, Bhagavad Gita, Vishnu Sahasaranama is like trunk, leaves, flowers; the fruit and its Juice being Srimad Bhagavata. As Srimad Bhagavata has the substance of Vedas and Mahabarata, it has high significance; the Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence of all the Vedanta literature. One who has enjoyed the nectar of its rasa never has any desire for anything else; the text has played a significant role in Chaitanya's Krishna-bhakti in Bengal, in the 15th–16th century Ekasarana Dharma in Assam, a panentheistic tradition whose proponents and Madhavdeva, acknowledge that their theological positions are rooted in the Bhagavata Purana, purged of doctrines that find no place in Assamese Vaishnavism and adding a monist commentary instead. In northern and western India the Bhagavata Purana has influenced the Hari Bhakti Vilasa and Haveli-style Krishna temples found in Braj region near Mathura-Vrindavan; the text complements the Pancharatra Agama texts of Vaishnavism.
While the text focu
Narayana is known as Nirguna Bhrama and is the creator of Tridevas - Bhrama and Mahesh. He is sometimes considered same as God Vishnu but is different as he is Nirguna and God Vishnu has Divya Satva Guna, he is known as "The Purusha" and is considered Supreme in Yogic Tradition. He is "Guru of the Universe"; the Bhagavata Purana and Veda declare Narayana as a part of the Trimurti who creates unlimited universes and enters each one of them.. Narayana engages in the creation of 14 worlds within the universe as Brahma when he deliberately accepts rajas guna according to Brahmanism. Narayana himself sustains and preserves the universe as Vishnu by accepting sattva guna. In Shaivism, Narayana annihilates the universe at the end of maha-kalpa as Shiva or Rudra when he accepts tamas guna. Bhagavata Purana Canto 2 Chapter 5 Verse Bhagavata Purana Canto 11 Chapter 4 Verse 5 Vishnu Purana. According to the Bhagavata Purana, Narayana Sukta, Purusha Sukta and Sri Sukta from Vedas, the ultimate soul, he is called as Surya Narayana, one who shines like the brilliant sun.
Bhagavata Purana: "Narayanam Devam adevam isam - Lord Narayana,: Just as the river Ganges is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Achyuta the supreme among deities and Lord Shambhu the greatest of Vaishnavas, so Bhagavata Purana is the greatest of all Puranas. He is said to pervade whatever is heard in this universe from inside and outside alike. "Narayana Sukta". Sanskrit Documents. Retrieved 2018-12-05, he is mainly associated with the cosmic waters of creation. According to Madhvacharya, Narayana is one of the five vyuhas of Vishnu, which are cosmic emanations of God in contrast to his incarnate avatars. Bryant, Edwin F. Krishna: a Sourcebook. P.359 "Madhvacharya separates Vishnu’s manifestations into two groups: Vishnu’s vyuhas and His avataras. The vyuhas have their basis in the Pancharatra agamas, a sectarian text, accepted as authoritative by both the Vishishtadvaita and Madhva schools of Vedanta, they are mechanisms by which the universe is ordered, was created, evolves. According to Madhvacharya, Vishnu has either four or five vyuhas, named Narayana, Sankarshana and Aniruddha, which evolve one after the other in the development of the universe.
In the Vedas and Puranas, Lord Narayana is described as having the divine blue colour of water-filled clouds, four-armed, holding a padma, Panchajanya shankha and the Sudarshana Chakra. Lord Narayana is often identified as Sharangapani, Hari, Purushottama or Purusha and Jagannath in the Hindu sacred texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedas and the Puranas. Narayana is venerated as Mukunda. In the Mahabharata, Krishna is referred to as Narayana and Arjuna as Nara; the epic identifies them both in plural'Krishnas', or as part incarnations of the earlier incarnations of Vishnu, recalling their mystical identity as Nara-Narayana. Narayana is described in the Bhagavad Gita as having a universal form, beyond the ordinary limits of human perception or imagination. Narayana's eternal and supreme abode beyond the material universe is Vaikuntha, a realm of bliss and happiness called Paramapadha, which means final or highest place for liberated souls, where they enjoy bliss and happiness for eternity in the company of supreme lord.
Vaikuntha is situated beyond the material universe and hence, cannot be perceived or measured by material science or logic. Sometimes, Ksheera Sagara where Narayana or Vishnu rests on Ananta Shesha is perceived as Vaikuntha within the material universe. There are seven weapons and symbols of Narayana, namely: conch, club, sword, jewel and a garland of flowers. Balabhadra and Narayana are 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. Prati-naryana is killed by Narayana for his unrighteousness and immorality. Narayana are powerful and are as powerful as 2 Balabhadras. Chakravartins are as powerful as 2 Narayanas. Hence Narayanas become half-chakravartins. Tirthankaras are much more powerful than Chakravartins. In Jain Mahabharta, there is a friendly duel between cousin brothers Neminatha and Krishna in which Neminath defeats Krishna without any effort at all. There is a story of Neminath lifting Conch of Krishna and blowing it without any effort.
In Jain Mahabharat, the main fight between Krishna and Jarasandha is described, killed by Krishna. Lord Narayana is hailed in each and every part of Vedas like, Purusha Suktam, Narayana Suktam, Hiranyagarbha Suktam, Vishnu Suktam, Rudra Suktam. Lord Narayana is hailed in the Upanishads like, Narayana Upanishad, Chandogya Upanishad, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Mundaka Upanishad, Mandukya Upanishad, Katha Upanishad, Prasna Upanishad, Svetasvatara Upanishad, Maha Narayana Upanishad, Narasimha Tapani Upanishad. There are multiple variations of Lord Narayana's name; the word'Narayana' means "The one who rests on waters of creation". The Manusmriti states, The waters are called "narah", for the waters are, produced by Nara-Narayana. Narayana means, "The Supreme Being, the foundation of all men". Another interpretation sees, Nara means "human" and Ayana as "direction/goal"; some view Narayana as meaning "son of man." Hence, Narayana refers to the "d