The Universe is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars and all other forms of matter and energy. While the spatial size of the entire Universe is unknown, it is possible to measure the size of the observable universe, estimated to be 93 billion light years in diameter. In various multiverse hypotheses, a universe is one of many causally disconnected constituent parts of a larger multiverse, which itself comprises all of space and time and its contents; the earliest scientific models of the Universe were developed by ancient Greek and Indian philosophers and were geocentric, placing Earth at the center of the Universe. Over the centuries, more precise astronomical observations led Nicolaus Copernicus to develop the heliocentric model with the Sun at the center of the Solar System. In developing the law of universal gravitation, Isaac Newton built upon Copernicus' work as well as observations by Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler's laws of planetary motion. Further observational improvements led to the realization that the Sun is one of hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way, one of at least hundreds of billions of galaxies in the Universe.
Many of the stars in our galaxy have planets. At the largest scale galaxies are distributed uniformly and the same in all directions, meaning that the Universe has neither an edge nor a center. At smaller scales, galaxies are distributed in clusters and superclusters which form immense filaments and voids in space, creating a vast foam-like structure. Discoveries in the early 20th century have suggested that the Universe had a beginning and that space has been expanding since and is still expanding at an increasing rate; the Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological description of the development of the Universe. Under this theory and time emerged together 13.799±0.021 billion years ago and the energy and matter present have become less dense as the Universe expanded. After an initial accelerated expansion called the inflationary epoch at around 10−32 seconds, the separation of the four known fundamental forces, the Universe cooled and continued to expand, allowing the first subatomic particles and simple atoms to form.
Dark matter gathered forming a foam-like structure of filaments and voids under the influence of gravity. Giant clouds of hydrogen and helium were drawn to the places where dark matter was most dense, forming the first galaxies and everything else seen today, it is possible to see objects that are now further away than 13.799 billion light-years because space itself has expanded, it is still expanding today. This means that objects which are now up to 46.5 billion light-years away can still be seen in their distant past, because in the past when their light was emitted, they were much closer to the Earth. From studying the movement of galaxies, it has been discovered that the universe contains much more matter than is accounted for by visible objects; this unseen matter is known as dark matter. The ΛCDM model is the most accepted model of our universe, it suggests that about 69.2%±1.2% of the mass and energy in the universe is a cosmological constant, responsible for the current expansion of space, about 25.8%±1.1% is dark matter.
Ordinary matter is therefore only 4.9% of the physical universe. Stars and visible gas clouds only form about 6% of ordinary matter, or about 0.3% of the entire universe. There are many competing hypotheses about the ultimate fate of the universe and about what, if anything, preceded the Big Bang, while other physicists and philosophers refuse to speculate, doubting that information about prior states will be accessible; some physicists have suggested various multiverse hypotheses, in which our universe might be one among many universes that exist. The physical Universe is defined as all of their contents; such contents comprise all of energy in its various forms, including electromagnetic radiation and matter, therefore planets, stars and the contents of intergalactic space. The Universe includes the physical laws that influence energy and matter, such as conservation laws, classical mechanics, relativity; the Universe is defined as "the totality of existence", or everything that exists, everything that has existed, everything that will exist.
In fact, some philosophers and scientists support the inclusion of ideas and abstract concepts – such as mathematics and logic – in the definition of the Universe. The word universe may refer to concepts such as the cosmos, the world, nature; the word universe derives from the Old French word univers, which in turn derives from the Latin word universum. The Latin word was used by Cicero and Latin authors in many of the same senses as the modern English word is used. A term for "universe" among the ancient Greek philosophers from Pythagoras onwards was τὸ πᾶν, tò pân, defined as all matter and all space, τὸ ὅλον, tò hólon, which did not include the void. Another synonym was ho kósmos. Synonyms are found in Latin authors and survive in modern languages, e.g. the German words Das All and Natur for Universe. The same synonyms are found in English, such as everything, the cosmos, the world (as in the many-worlds interpr
Shaivism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism that reveres Shiva as the Supreme Being. The followers of Shaivism are called "Shaivites" or "Saivites", it is one of the largest sects that believe Shiva — worshipped as a creator and destroyer of worlds — is the supreme god over all. The Shaiva have many sub-traditions, ranging from devotional dualistic theism such as Shaiva Siddhanta to yoga-oriented monistic non-theism such as Kashmiri Shaivism, it considers the Agama texts as important sources of theology. The origin of Shaivism may be traced to the conception of Rudra in the Rig Veda. Shaivism has ancient roots, traceable in the Vedic literature of 2nd millennium BCE, but this is in the form of the Vedic deity Rudra; the ancient text Shvetashvatara Upanishad dated to late 1st millennium BCE mentions terms such as Rudra and Maheshwaram, but its interpretation as a theistic or monistic text of Shaivism is disputed. In the early centuries of the common era is the first clear evidence of Pāśupata Shaivism.
Both devotional and monistic Shaivism became popular in the 1st millennium CE becoming the dominant religious tradition of many Hindu kingdoms. It arrived in Southeast Asia shortly thereafter, leading to thousands of Shaiva temples on the islands of Indonesia as well as Cambodia and Vietnam, co-evolving with Buddhism in these regions. In the contemporary era, Shaivism is one of the major aspects of Hinduism. Shaivism theology ranges from Shiva being the creator, destroyer to being the same as the Atman within oneself and every living being, it is related to Shaktism, some Shaiva worship in Shiva and Shakti temples. It is the Hindu tradition that most accepts ascetic life and emphasizes yoga, like other Hindu traditions encourages an individual to discover and be one with Shiva within. Shaivism is one of the largest traditions within Hinduism. Shiva means kind, gracious, or auspicious; as a proper name, it means "The Auspicious One". The word Shiva is used as an adjective in the Rig Veda, as an epithet for several Rigvedic deities, including Rudra.
The term Shiva connotes "liberation, final emancipation" and "the auspicious one", this adjective sense of usage is addressed to many deities in Vedic layers of literature. The term evolved from the Vedic Rudra-Shiva to the noun Shiva in the Epics and the Puranas, as an auspicious deity, the "creator and dissolver"; the Sanskrit word śaiva or Shaiva means "relating to the god Shiva", while the related beliefs, history and sub-traditions constitute Shaivism. The reverence for Shiva is one of the pan-Hindu traditions, found across India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. While Shiva is revered broadly, Hinduism itself is a complex religion and a way of life, with a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, it has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book. Shaivism is a major tradition within Hinduism, with a theology, predominantly related to the Hindu god Shiva. Shaivism has many different sub-traditions with regional differences in philosophy.
Shaivism has a vast literature with different philosophical schools, ranging from nondualism and mixed schools. The origins of Shaivism a matter of debate among scholars; some trace the origins to the Indus Valley civilization, which reached its peak around 2500–2000 BCE. Archeological discoveries show seals. Of these is the Pashupati seal, which early scholars interpreted as someone seated in a meditating yoga pose surrounded by animals, with horns; this "Pashupati" seal has been interpreted by these scholars as a prototype of Shiva. Gavin Flood characterizes these views as "speculative", saying that it is not clear from the seal if the figure has three faces, or is seated in a yoga posture, or that the shape is intended to represent a human figure. Other scholars state that the Indus Valley script remains undeciphered, the interpretation of the Pashupati seal is uncertain. According to Srinivasan, the proposal that it is proto-Shiva may be a case of projecting "later practices into archeological findings".
Asko Parpola states that other archaeological finds such as the early Elamite seals dated to 3000–2750 BCE show similar figures and these have been interpreted as "seated bull" and not a yogi, the bull interpretation is more accurate. The Rigveda has the earliest clear mention of Rudra in its hymns such as 2.33, 1.43 and 1.114. The text includes a Satarudriya, an influential hymn with embedded hundred epithets for Rudra, cited in many medieval era Shaiva texts as well as recited in major Shiva temples of Hindus in contemporary times. Yet, the Vedic literature only present scriptural theology, but does not attest to the existence of Shaivism; the Shvetashvatara Upanishad composed before the Bhagavad Gita about 4th century BCE contains the theistic foundations of Shaivism wrapped in a monistic structure. It contains the key terms and ideas of Shaivism, such as Shiva, Maheswara, Bhakti, Atman and self-knowledge. According to Gavin Flood, "the formation of Śaiva traditions as we understand them begins to occur during the period from 200 BC to 100 AD."
According to Chakravarti, Shiva rose to prominence as he was identified to be the
Indus Valley Civilisation
The Indus Valley Civilisation was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of the Indian subcontinent, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, in mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. Along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilisations of the region comprising North Africa, West Asia and South Asia, of the three, the most widespread, its sites spanning an area stretching from northeast Afghanistan, through much of Pakistan, into western- and northwestern India, it flourished in the basins of the Indus River, which flows through the length of Pakistan, along a system of perennial monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal Ghaggar-Hakra river in northwest India and eastern Pakistan. The civilisation's cities were noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, clusters of large non-residential buildings, new techniques in handicraft and metallurgy; the large cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa likely grew to containing between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals, the civilisation itself during its florescence may have contained between one and five million individuals.
Gradual drying of the region's soil during the 3rd millennium BCE may have been the initial spur for the urbanisation associated with the civilisation, but also reduced the water supply enough to cause the civilisation's demise, to scatter its population eastward. The Indus civilisation is known as the Harappan Civilisation, after its type site, the first of its sites to be excavated early in the 20th century in what was the Punjab province of British India and now is Pakistan; the discovery of Harappa and soon afterwards Mohenjo-Daro was the culmination of work beginning in 1861 with the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India during the British Raj. There were however earlier and cultures called Early Harappan and Late Harappan in the same area. By 2002, over 1,000 Mature Harappan cities and settlements had been reported, of which just under a hundred had been excavated, there are only five major urban sites: Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Ganeriwala in Cholistan and Rakhigarhi; the early Harappan cultures were preceded by local Neolithic agricultural villages, from which the river plains were populated.
The Harappan language is not directly attested, its affiliation is uncertain since the Indus script is still undeciphered. A relationship with the Dravidian or Elamo-Dravidian language family is favoured by a section of scholars; the Indus Valley Civilisation is named after the Indus river system in whose alluvial plains the early sites of the civilisation were identified and excavated. Following a tradition in archaeology, the civilisation is sometimes referred to as the Harappan, after its type site, the first site to be excavated in the 1920s. A section of scholars use the terms "Sarasvati culture", the "Sarasvati Civilisation", the "Indus-Sarasvati Civilisation" or the "Sindhu-Saraswati Civilisation", because they consider the Ghaggar-Hakra river to be the same as the Sarasvati, a river mentioned several times in the Rig Veda, a collection of ancient Sanskrit hymns composed in the second millennium BCE. However, recent geophysical research suggests that unlike the Sarasvati, whose descriptions in the Rig Veda are those of a snow-fed river, the Ghaggar-Hakra was a system of perennial monsoon-fed rivers, which became seasonal around the time that the civilisation diminished 4,000 years ago.
In addition, proponents of the Sarasvati nomenclature see a connection between the decline of the Indus civilisation and the rise of the Vedic civilisation on the Gangetic plain. The Indus civilization was contemporary with the other riverine civilisations of the ancient world: Egypt along the Nile, Mesopotamia in the lands watered by the Euphrates and the Tigris, China in the drainage basin of the Yellow River. By the time of its mature phase, the civilisation had spread over an area larger than the others, which included a core of 1,500 km up the alluvial plane of the Indus and its tributaries. In addition, there was a region with disparate flora and habitats, up to ten times as large, shaped culturally and economically by the Indus. Around 6500 BCE, agriculture emerged on the margins of the Indus alluvium. In the following millennia, settled life made inroads into the Indus plains, setting the stage for the growth of rural and urban human settlements; the more organized sedentary life in turn led to a net increase in the birth rate.
The large urban centres of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa likely grew to containing between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals, during the civilization's florescence, the population of the subcontinent grew to between 4–6 million people. During this period the death rate increased as well, for close living conditions of humans and domesticated animals led to an increase in contagious diseases. According to one estimate, the population of the Indus civilization at its peak may have been between one and five million; the Indus Valley Civilisation extended from Pakistan's Balochistan in the west to India's western Uttar Pradesh in the east, from northeastern Afghanistan in the north to India's Gujarat state in the south. The largest number
An apsara spelled as apsaras by the Oxford Dictionary, is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist culture. They figure prominently in the sculpture, dance and painting of many South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures. There are two types of apsaras. Urvasi, Rambha and Ghritachi are the most famous among them. Apsarās are known as vidhya dhari or tep apsar in Khmer, accharā or a bố sa la tư, biraddali, hapsari/apsari or widadari/widyadari and aapson. English translations of the word "apsara" include "nymph", "fairy", "celestial nymph", "celestial maiden". In Indian mythology, apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings, they are youthful and elegant, superb in the art of dancing. They are wives of the Gandharvas, the court musicians of Indra, they dance to the music made by the Gandharvas in the palaces of the gods and sometimes seduce gods and men. As ethereal beings who inhabit the skies, are depicted taking flight, or at service of a god, they may be compared to angels.
Apsaras are said to be able to change their shape at will, rule over the fortunes of gaming and gambling. Apsaras are sometimes compared to the muses of ancient Greece, with each of the 26 Apsaras at Indra's court representing a distinct aspect of the performing arts, they are associated with fertility rites. The Bhagavata Purana states that the apsaras were born from Kashyapa and Muni; the origin of'apsara' is the Sanskrit अप्सरस् apsaras. NB The stem form ends in's' as distinct from, e.g. the nominative singular Ramas/Ramaḥ, whose stem form is Rama. The nominative singular form is अप्सरास् apsarās, or अप्सरा: apsarāḥ when standing alone, which becomes अप्सरा apsarā in Hindi, from which in turn the English'apsara' is derived, the'apsaras' form being the Sanskrit dictionary form. Monier-Williams Dictionary gives the etymology as: अप् + √सृ, "going in the waters or between the waters of the clouds"; the Rigveda tells of an apsara, the wife of Gandharva. The only apsara named is Urvashi. An entire hymn deals with the colloquy between her mortal lover Pururavas.
Hindu scriptures allow for the existence of numerous apsaras, who act as the handmaidens of Indra or as dancers at his celestial court. In many of the stories related in the Mahabharata, apsaras appear in important supporting roles; the epic contains several lists of the principal Apsaras. Here is one such list, together with a description of how the celestial dancers appeared to the residents and guests at the court of the gods: Ghritachi and Menaka and Rambha and Purvachitti and Swayamprabha and Urvashi and Misrakeshi and Dandagauri and Varuthini and Gopali and Sahajanya and Kumbhayoni and Prajagara and Chitrasena and Chitralekha and Saha and Madhuraswana and others by thousands, possessed of eyes like lotus leaves, who were employed in enticing the hearts of persons practising rigid austerities, danced there, and possessing slim waists and fair large hips, they began to perform various evolutions, shaking their deep bosoms, casting their glances around, exhibiting other attractive attitudes capable of stealing the hearts and resolutions and minds of the spectators.
The Mahabharata documents the exploits of individual apsaras, such as Tilottama, who rescued the world from the rampaging asura brothers Sunda and Upasunda, Urvashi, who attempted to seduce the hero Arjuna. A story type or theme appearing over and over again in the Mahabharata is that of an Apsara sent to distract a sage or spiritual master from his ascetic practices. One story embodying this theme is that recounted by the epic heroine Shakuntala to explain her own parentage. Once upon a time, the sage Viswamitra generated such intense energy by means of his asceticism that Indra himself became fearful. Deciding that the sage would have to be distracted from his penances, he sent the apsara Menaka to work her charms. Menaka trembled at the thought of angering such a powerful ascetic; as she approached Viswamitra, the wind god Vayu tore away her garments. Seeing her thus disrobed, the sage abandoned himself to lust. Nymph and sage engaged in sex for some time; as a consequence, Menaka gave birth to a daughter.
That daughter was the narrator of the story. Natya Shastra, the principal work of dramatic theory for Sanskrit drama, lists the following apsaras: Manjukesi, Misrakesi, Saudamini, Devasena, Sudati, Vigagdha, Budha, Santati, Sumukhi, Arjuni, Kerala, Nanda, Supuskala and Kalabha. Apsaras represent an important motif in the stone bas-reliefs of the Angkorian temples in Cambodia, however all female images are not considered to be apsaras. In harmony with the Indian association of dance with apsaras, Khmer female figures that are dancing or are poised to dance are considered apsaras; the bas-reliefs of Angkorian temples has become an inspiration of Khmer classical dance. An indigenous ballet-like performance art of Cambodia, is frequent
Hindu deities are the gods and goddesses in Hinduism. The terms and epithets for deity within the diverse traditions of Hinduism vary, include Deva, Ishvara, Bhagavān and Bhagavati; the deities of Hinduism have evolved from the Vedic era through the medieval era, regionally within Nepal, India and in southeast Asia, across Hinduism's diverse traditions. The Hindu deity concept varies from a personal god as in Yoga school of Hindu philosophy, to 33 Vedic deities, to hundreds of Puranics of Hinduism. Illustrations of major deities include Parvati, Sri, Sati and Saraswati; these deities have distinct and complex personalities, yet are viewed as aspects of the same Ultimate Reality called Brahman. From ancient times, the idea of equivalence has been cherished for all Hindus, in its texts and in early 1st millennium sculpture with concepts such as Harihara, Ardhanārīshvara, with myths and temples that feature them together, declaring they are the same. Major deities have inspired their own Hindu traditions, such as Vaishnavism and Shaktism, but with shared mythology, ritual grammar, theosophy and polycentrism.
Some Hindu traditions such as Smartism from mid 1st millennium AD, have included multiple major deities as henotheistic manifestations of Saguna Brahman, as a means to realizing Nirguna Brahman. Hindu deities are represented with various icons and anicons, in paintings and sculptures, called Murtis and Pratimas; some Hindu traditions, such as ancient Charvakas rejected all deities and concept of god or goddess, while 19th-century British colonial era movements such as the Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj rejected deities and adopted monotheistic concepts similar to Abrahamic religions. Hindu deities have been adopted in other religions such as Jainism, in regions outside India such as predominantly Buddhist Thailand and Japan where they continue to be revered in regional temples or arts. In ancient and medieval era texts of Hinduism, the human body is described as a temple, deities are described to be parts residing within it, while the Brahman is described to be the same, or of similar nature, as the Atman, which Hindus believe is eternal and within every living being.
Deities in Hinduism are as diverse as its traditions, a Hindu can choose to be polytheistic, monotheistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist. Deities in Hinduism are referred to as Devi; the root of these terms mean "heavenly, anything of excellence". According to Douglas Harper, the etymological roots of Deva mean "a shining one," from *div- "to shine," and it is a cognate with Greek dios "divine" and Zeus, Latin deus. In the earliest Vedic literature, all supernatural beings are called Asuras. By the late Vedic period, benevolent supernatural beings are referred to as Deva-Asuras. In post-Vedic texts, such as the Puranas and the Itihasas of Hinduism, the Devas represent the good, the Asuras the bad. In some medieval Indian literature, Devas are referred to as Suras and contrasted with their powerful, but malevolent half-brothers referred to as the Asuras. Hindu deities are part of Indian mythology, both Devas and Devis feature in one of many cosmological theories in Hinduism. In Vedic literature and Devis represent the forces of nature and some represent moral values, each symbolizing the epitome of a specialized knowledge, creative energy and magical powers.
The most referred to Devas in the Rig Veda are Indra and Soma, with "fire deity" called the friend of all humanity, it and Soma being the two celebrated in a yajna fire ritual that marks major Hindu ceremonies. Savitr, Vishnu and Prajapati are gods and hence Devas; the Vedas describes a number of significant Devis such as Ushas, Aditi, Saraswati, Vāc, Nirṛti, Ratri and bounty goddesses such as Dinsana, Puramdhi, Bharati, Mahi among others are mentioned in the Rigveda. Sri called Lakshmi, appears in late Vedic texts dated to be pre-Buddhist, but verses dedicated to her do not suggest that her characteristics were developed in the Vedic era. All gods and goddesses are distinguished in the Vedic times, but in the post-Vedic texts, in the early medieval era literature, they are seen as aspects or manifestations of one Brahman, the Supreme power. Ananda Coomaraswamy states that Devas and Asuras in the Vedic lore are similar to Angels-Theoi-Gods and Titans of Greek mythology, both are powerful but have different orientations and inclinations, the Devas representing the powers of Light and the Asuras representing the powers of Darkness in Hindu mythology.
According to Coomaraswamy's interpretation of Devas and Asuras, both these natures exist in each human being, the tyrant and the angel is within each being, the best and the worst within each person struggles before choices and one's own nature, the Hindu formulation of Devas and Asuras is an eternal dance between these within each person. The Devas and Asuras and Titans, powers of Light and powers of Darkness in Rigveda, although distinct and opposite in operation, are in essence consubstantial, their distinction being a matter not of essence but of orientation, revolution or transformation. In this case, the Titan is an Angel, the Angel still by nature a Titan.
The Sudarshana Chakra is a spinning, disk-like weapon meaning "disk of auspicious vision," having 108 serrated edges used by the Hindu god Vishnu. The Sudarshana Chakra is portrayed on the right rear hand of the four hands of Vishnu, who holds a shankha, a Gada and a padma. While in the Rigveda the Chakra was Vishnu's symbol as the wheel of time, by the late period Sudarshana Chakra emerged as an ayudhapurusha, as a fierce form of Vishnu, used for the destruction of an enemy. In Tamil, the Sudarshana Chakra is known as Chakkrath Azhwar; the word Sudarshana is derived from two Sanskrit words – Su meaning "good/auspicious" and Darshana meaning "vision". In the Monier-Williams dictionary the word Chakra is derived from the root क्रम् or ऋत् or क्रि and refers among many meaning, to the wheel of a carriage, wheel of the sun's chariot or metaphorically to the wheel of time; the anthropomorphic form of Sudarshana can be traced from discoid weapons of ancient India to his esoteric multi-armed cult images in the medieval period in which the Chakra served the supreme deity as his faithful attendants.
While the two-armed Chakra-Purusha was humanistic, the medieval multi-armed Sudarshana was speculatively regarded as an impersonal manifestation of destructive forces in the universe. The Chakra finds mention in the Rigveda as a symbol of Vishnu, as the wheel of time, in the Itihasas and Puranas. In the Mahabharatha, identified with Vishnu, uses it as a weapon. For example, he beheads Shishupala with the Sudarshana Chakra at the Rajasuya yagna of Emperor Yudhishthira; as per Valmiki Ramayana, Purushottama killed a Danava named Hayagriva on top of mountain named Chakravana constructed by Vishvakarma and took away Chakra i.e. Sudarshana Chakra from him; as per the Shiva Purana, the Sudarshana Chakra was gifted by Shiva to Vishnu, when the latter worshipped him by offering 999 lotus flowers, the thousandth one being one of his eyes. In a way it accounts for the name too, Sudarshana meaning Good Vision. In the puranas, the Sudarshana Chakra was made by the architect of Vishvakarma. Vishvakarma's daughter Sanjana was married to Surya.
Due to the Sun's blazing light and heat, she could not go near the Sun. She complained to her father about this. Vishvakarma made; the left over stardust was collected by Vishvakarma and made into three divine objects, the aerial vehicle Pushpaka Vimana, Trishula of Shiva, Sudarshana Chakra of Vishnu. The Chakra is described to have 10 million spikes in two rows moving in opposite directions to give it a serrated edge. Sudarshana Chakra was used to cut the corpse of Sati, the consort of Shiva into 51 pieces after she gave up her life by throwing herself in a yagna of her father Daksha. Shiva, in grief, was inconsolable; the 51 parts of the goddess' body were tossed about in different parts of the Indian subcontinent and became "Shakti Peethas". In Mahabharata, Jayadratha was responsible for the death of Arjuna's son. Arjuna vows to kill Jayadratha the next day before sunset; however Drona creates a combination of 3 layers of troops, which act as a protective shield around Jayadratha. So Krishna creates an artificial sunset using his Sudarshana Chakra.
Seeing this Jayadratha comes out of the protection to celebrate Arjuna's defeat. At that moment, Krishna withdraws his Chakra to reveal the sun. Krishna commands Arjuna to kill him. Arjuna beheads Jayadratha. There are several puranic stories associated with the Sudarshana Chakra, such as that of Lord Vishnu granting King Ambarisha the boon of Sudarshana Chakra in form of prosperity and security to his kingdom. Sudarshana Chakra was used to behead Rahu and cut the celestial Mandra Parvat during the Samudra Manthan The chakra is found in the coins of many tribes with the word gana and the name of the tribe inscribed on them. Early historical evidence of the sudarshana-chakra is found in a rare tribal Vrishni silver coin with the legend Vṛishṇi-rājaṅṅya-gaṇasya-trātasya which P. L. Gupta thought was jointly issued by the gana after the Vrishnis formed a confederation with the Rajanya tribe. However, there is no conclusive proof so far. Discovered by Cunningham, placed in the British Museum, the silver coin is witness to the political existence of the Vrishnis.
It is dated to around 1st century BC. Vrishni copper coins dated to time were found in Punjab. Another example of coins inscribed with the chakra are the Taxila coins of the 2nd century BC with a sixteen-spoked wheel. A coin dated to 180 BCE, with an image of Vasudeva-Krishna, was found in the Greco-Bactrian city of Ai-Khanoum in the Kunduz area of Afghanistan, minted by Agathocles of Bactria. In Nepal, Jaya Cakravartindra Malla of Kathmandu issued a coin with the chakra. Among the only two types of Chakra-vikrama coins known so far, there is one gold coin in which Vishnu is depicted as the Chakra-purusha. Though Chandragupta II issued coins with the epithet vikrama, due to the presence of the kalpavriksha on the reverse it has not been possible to ascribe it to him; the rise of Tantrism aided the development of the anthropomorphic personification of the chakra as the active aspect of Vishnu with few sculptures of the Pala era bearing witness to the development, with the chakra in this manner associated with the Vrishnis.
However, the worship of Sudarshana as a quasi-indepe
Vishnu is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, the Supreme Being or absolute truth in its Vaishnavism tradition. Vishnu is the "preserver" in the Hindu triad that includes Shiva. In Vaishnavism, Vishnu is identical to the formless metaphysical concept called Brahman, the supreme, the Svayam Bhagavan, who takes various avatars as "the preserver, protector" whenever the world is threatened with evil and destructive forces, his avatars most notably include Rama in the Krishna in the Mahabharata. He is known as Narayana, Vasudeva and Hari, he is one of the five equivalent deities worshipped in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta Tradition of Hinduism. In Hindu iconography, Vishnu is depicted as having a pale or dark blue complexion and having four arms, he holds a padma in his lower left hand, Kaumodaki gada in his lower right hand, Panchajanya shankha in his upper left hand and the Sudarshana Chakra in his upper right hand. A traditional depiction is Vishnu reclining on the coils of the serpent Shesha, accompanied by his consort Lakshmi, as he "dreams the universe into reality".
Yaska, the mid 1st-millennium BCE Vedanga scholar, in his Nirukta, defines Vishnu as viṣṇur viṣvater vā vyaśnoter vā, "one who enters everywhere". He writes, atha yad viṣito bhavati tad viṣnurbhavati, "that, free from fetters and bondages is Vishnu"; the medieval Indian scholar Medhātithi suggested that the word Vishnu has etymological roots in viś, meaning to pervade, thereby connoting that Vishnu is "one, everything and inside everything". Vishnu means "all pervasive". Vishnu is a Vedic deity, but not a prominent one when compared to Indra and others. Just 5 out of 1028 hymns of the Rigveda, a 2nd millennium BCE Hindu text, are dedicated to Vishnu, he finds minor mention in the other hymns. Vishnu is mentioned in the Brahmana layer of text in the Vedas, thereafter his profile rises and over the history of Indian mythology, states Jan Gonda, Vishnu becomes a divinity of the highest rank, one equivalent to the Supreme Being. Though a minor mention and with overlapping attributes in the Vedas, he has important characteristics in various hymns of Rig Veda, such as 1.154.5, 1.56.3 and 10.15.3.
In these hymns, the Vedic mythology asserts that Vishnu resides in that highest home where departed Atman reside, an assertion that may have been the reason for his increasing emphasis and popularity in Hindu soteriology. He is described in the Vedic literature as the one who supports heaven and earth. In the Vedic hymns, Vishnu is invoked alongside other deities Indra, whom he helps in killing the symbol of evil named Vritra, his distinguishing characteristic in Vedas is his association with light. Two Rigvedic hymns in Mandala 7 refer to Vishnu. In section 7.99 of the Rgveda, Vishnu is addressed as the god who separates heaven and earth, a characteristic he shares with Indra. In the Vedic texts, the deity or god referred to as Vishnu is Surya or Savitr, who bears the name Suryanarayana. Again, this link to Surya is a characteristic Vishnu shares with fellow Vedic deities named Mitra and Agni, where in different hymns, they too "bring men together" and cause all living beings to rise up and impel them to go about their daily activities.
In hymn 7.99 of Rigveda, Indra-Vishnu are equivalent and produce the sun, with the verses asserting that this sun is the source of all energy and light for all. In other hymns of the Rigveda, Vishnu is a close friend of Indra. Elsewhere in Rigveda and Upanishadic texts, Vishnu is equivalent to Prajapati, both are described as the protector and preparer of the womb, according to Klaus Klostermaier, this may be the root behind post-Vedic fusion of all the attributes of the Vedic Prajapati unto the avatars of Vishnu. In the Yajurveda, Taittiriya Aranyaka, Narayana sukta, Narayana is mentioned as the supreme being; the first verse of Narayana Suktam mentions the words paramam padam, which mean highest post and may be understood as the supreme abode for all souls. This is known as Param Dhama, Paramapadam or Vaikuntha. Rig Veda 1.22.20 mentions the same paramam padam. In the Atharvaveda, the mythology of a boar who raises goddess earth from the depths of cosmic ocean appears, but without the word Vishnu or his alternate avatar names.
In post-Vedic mythology, this legend becomes one of the basis of many cosmogonic myth called the Varaha legend, with Varaha as an avatar of Vishnu. Several hymns of the Rigveda repeat the mighty deed of Vishnu called the Trivikrama, one of the lasting mythologies in Hinduism since the Vedic times, it is an inspiration for ancient artwork in numerous Hindu temples such as at the Ellora Caves, which depict the Trivikrama legend through the Vamana avatar of Vishnu. Trivikrama refers to "three strides" of Vishnu. Starting as a small insignificant looking being, Vishnu undertakes a herculean task of establishing his reach and form with his first step covers the earth, with second the ether, the third entire heaven; the Vishnu Sukta 1.154 of Rigveda says that the first and second of Vishnu's strides are visible to the mortals and the third is the realm of the immortals. The Trivikrama describing hymns integrate salvific themes, stating Vishnu to symbolize that, freedom and life; the Shatapatha Brahmana elaborates this theme of Vishnu, as his herculean effort and sacrifice to create and gain powers that help others, one who realizes and defeats the evil symbolized by the Asuras after they had usurped the three worlds, thus Vishnu is the savior of the mortals and