Other Names: Narayana, Rama, Krishna, Vishweshwar, Balaji, Lakshmipati, Shesh-Shayee, Satyanarayana, Lakshmi-narayana and hundreds more.
Other forms of Vishnu: Vishnu is depicted in many forms. Since he s the one who has taken avtar as Rama, Krishna, etc. These are many popular forms of these Avatars. He is also shown as reclining on a great Serpent (Shesh Naag), with Lakshni nearby, in “Ksheer Sagar”.
Significance: Vishnu is one of the three main aspects of the supreme Lord; the other two are Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu represents the principle of preservation of the universe in its dynamic form. All things in the universe come to existence, stay for a while and then get destroyed of dissolved. This is true without any exception. It is true not only for things, but also for being, ideas, events, concepts etc. it is due to the power of Vishnu theat things remain in existence. His Shakti Lakshmi of prakriti (nature).
Incarnations: Since Vishnu is the preserver of the universe he takes incarnations and comes to Earth when necessary to preserve the good and to remove the evil. Thus, he restores the balance. Men who live by followings Dharma (eternal Values), are also doing similar things as Vishnu. Rama and Krishna are the most adored and worshipped incarnation of Vishnu among Hindus. Rama establishes an example of an ideal human being (events described in Ramayana). Similarly Krishna’s incarnation shows the various paths leading to divine-love and God-surrender while living in the world (the Bhagavat Geeta, the Mahabharat and Srimad Bhaagavat Purana). By carefully studying and understanding the events in the lives of these incarnations and following their messages, we also can become God-like while still alive.
Vishnu is reclining on a serpent (shesha naag) and is floating on an ocean. The ocean represents the infinite, inactive/dormant consciousness (Chid Shakti), while the serpent is the active, awakened consciousness. This means that there is a hidden capability in us and only a small portion comes on the surface as thoughts, which make us act in the world. Weapons in the hand of Vishnu are for preservation; lotus represents perfection and manifestation of qualities already within us; the crown, gadaa (mace) and rich decoration represent His royalty, meaning we ourselves are like kings and already possess power and wealth. The conch shell is a symbol of the sound of OM, (eternal joy).
Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, near the feet of Vishnu symbolizes that all wealth really belongs to the divine and should be used protection and preservation of the universe. She is always with Vishnu, meaning wealth follows people who are engaged in noble work. All other’s wealth is transitory.
Vishnu-Sahasra naam is a collection of the thousand names of Vishnu, each pointing to his divine quality. Devotees of Vishnu recite these names daily to remind themselves to cultivate such qualities.
Images of Vishnu and Lakshmi have great symbolism and provide a message to all who want to live a life full of prosperity of material wealth, joy and harmony, and progress in spiritual path as well.