In Hinduism, there is a long standing tradition of honoring 3 major gods: Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.
Each of them have their loyal group of followers, or devotees.
Many temples and places of worship in India are dedicated to one of these three.
But Vishnu and Shiva have their own huge number of devotees, and in particular Vishnu is highly revered.
So what is it about this deity that makes him so popular?
SEE ALSO: The 10 Most Popular Hindu Deities
Before there was creation, there was Vishnu asleep and floating in a vast sea of nothingness. Upon waking and stirring, a lotus sprang from his belly and blossomed, giving birth to Brahma. Brahma then set out to create the entire universe.
Vishnu lives in Param Padam, the supreme abode. In this place, liberated souls spend eternity living in supreme bliss.
Vishnu would constantly come down to earth in the form of Lord Narayana in order to deliver messages or to make sure that things are going according to the Divine plan.
Vishnu’s consort, Lakshmi, is known as the goddess of wealth. Her energy manifests as creativity, and as such, Vishnu needs her with him at all times.
In many representations, Vishnu is depicted with four arms, each representing a certain quality: Duty and virtue, material wealth and success, pleasure, and liberation.
Many Hindus believe that Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu, and some Buddhist sects agree, but many contest that Buddha was just a special incarnation of a highly evolved soul.
Vishnu has over 1,000 names in India. Talk about a long role call!
The typical blue color of Vishnu is symbolic of his purity and his eternal nature, similar to the seemingly limitless blue ocean.
Vishnu is the preservation aspect of the universe; existence is supposedly actively maintained and manifested through his will.