Vishnu is one of the most important gods in the Hindu deity and, along with Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu’s role is to protect humans and to restore order to the world. His presence is found in every object and force in creation, and some Hindus recognize him as the divine being from which all things come.
Vishnu appears in a number of Hindu texts, including the Rig-Veda, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana. Vishnu was married to Lakshmi (the goddess of good fortune), Sarawati (the goddess of wisdom) and Ganga (the goddess who is the personification of the River Ganges). However, unable to live with the quarrels between his three wives, Vishnu eventually sent Ganga to Shiva and Sarawati to Brahma. In some accounts, another wife of Vishnu’s is Bhumi-Devi (goddess of the Earth). He is considered to live in the city of Vaikuntha on Mt. Meru, where everything is made of shining gold and fabulous jewels and where there are lakes resplendent with lotus flowers.
Vishnu has 10 main incarnations, known as the Dashavatara: Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Vamana, Narasimha, Varaha, Kurma, Matsya, Parashurama, and Kalki. Vishnu is usually shown as dark-complexioned, a distinguishing feature also of several of his incarnations.
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