Religion Past and Present

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(372 words)

[German Version]

(“Pervader”) is a Hindu god (God, Representations and symbols of: IV); he later became the primary deity of Vaiṣṇavism, though he does not play a major role in the Vedas. In the Upaniṣads we find the notion of a triad of Brahmā (creator; Brahman), Rudra (destroyer; Śiva), and Viṣṇu (maintainer). The epics and Purāṇas then emphasize the superiority of either Śiva or Viṣṇu. There, too, the gentle and preservative aspects of Viṣṇu are central. Viṣṇu has been worshiped in various forms and personalities at least since the 5th century ce; several local deities have…

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Hüsken, Ute, “Viṣṇu”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 04 June 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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