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Why does Lord Vishnu reside in Ocean and Sleeps on Snake?

Hinduism and Lord Vishnu 

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions known to mankind. Many people across the globe follow Hinduism. When Hinduism came into existence it was called “Sanatana Dharma” by Hindus.

The foundation of Hinduism is very strong and offers a plethora of teachings to an individual. It also believes in the teachings and philosophy from the Upanishads and Vedas which comprise of the “Samsara” (rebirth), “Karma” (actions and its outcome- do good and good things will happen to you, do bad and life will bring bad things to you ), “Moksha” (the transcendent state/ release from the cycle of birth), including the “yogas” and “Vedas”.  

In Hinduism, there are many Gods and Goddesses who represent one Supreme power.  While many believe in Gods and their forms, a few just revere one God and offer prayers and worship to that particular deity only.

Numerous people of the Hindu religion have faith in the Trinity: Brahma (the maker), Vishnu (the preserver), and Shiva (the destroyer) and revere them with complete devotion. 

Lord Vishnu is one of the prime deities in Hinduism and is worshipped since ancient times. Many people worship Lord Vishnu along with His many Avatars even today.

According to the mentions found in the Vedas, Lord Vishnu represents the preserver, the defender, and the sustainer of the world created by Brahma. In comparison to the other Gods, Lord Vishnu is known to have an extremely kind-hearted, loving, observant, and sharp nature. He is known to be the guardian, defender, and preserver of the world”. 

Vishnu is depicted as a God having blue skin and four arms. He wears a lot of ornaments around His neck, wrists, and arms. He adorns a crown. He also is portrayed wearing fresh flower garlands around His neck and a dhoti. In His four hands, Vishnu holds a conch shell, a “chakra” (a disk), a lotus, and a club-like mace. Vishnu is said to be living in the sky over the seven skies known as the Vaikuntha. Vaikuntha is a heavenly abode which is known to be the most beautiful place.

He rests in the celestial ocean of milk on a huge snake called the Anantha-Sesha. Lord Vishnu’s resting avatar is known as Narayana. His consort is Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of riches, wealth, favourable luck and success, is seen seated at His feet as he rests on Anantha-Sesha. 

Why Lord Vishnu resides in an Ocean? 

Lord Vishnu residing in the Ocean is a fantastic symbolization of Supreme control one has over the wavering mind. Lord Vishnu signifies our soul and the ocean is symbolic to the wavering thoughts our mind has. To further explain this in details the Ocean in which Lord Vishnu resides is a symbolic depiction of the cosmos, the Milky Way, the universe or the cosmic system in whole. It is also popularly known as the “Ksheer Sagar“. 

As mentioned in the Holy Bhagvat Geeta, “Planets, Galaxies, and Stars are Thy body, Divinity is established in Thee alone” ~ Chapter 9 Verse 4.

Lord Vishnu is all-pervasive and is present in every minuscule molecule. Lord Vishnu is the one who is known as a preserver and the one who administers the universe and the total grandiose creation.

The expanse of milk is likewise an emblematic portrayal In Bhagawad Gita it is referenced: “Planets, Galaxies, and Stars are Thy body, Divinity is set up in Thee alone” ~ Chapter 9 Verse 4. 

Srimad Bhagavatam, Book 7, Chapter 4, Verse 17: mentions the seven vast oceans that represent the ultimate truth. These oceans are expanses of saltwater, sweet water, wine, butter, yogurt, milk and sugarcane juice.

Cosmologically as mentioned in the Brahma Vaivertta Purana, the Dvipas and Sagara’s portray the whole Cosmos. On the island known as Svetadvipa, there is a Milk Ocean and amidst that, there is a spot called Airavati-Pura where Lord Vishnu lies on Ananta.

Why Lord Vishnu Sleeps on a snake? 

The Advait texts give us a message that Lord Vishnu residing in Ocean on a snake is symbolic representations of the Soul, mind, pure thoughts and the Ego. Here the Lord Vishnu represents the soul (Atma), Ocean represents the mind with endless thoughts and the Snake represents our Ego.

Apart from the above-mentioned information, there is various other literature available that signifies that the ocean of milk is a portrayal of Super Consciousness which is working at the more profound degree of mindfulness. 

Other ancient literature symbolises it as “TIME”. The vast cosmic ocean and endless coils of the Snake Ananta Sesha represent the time that is equivalent to 311,040,000,000,000 human years. 

To sum it up Lord Vishnu residing in the Ocean signifies that one can attain control over his/her wavering mind by seeking the Supreme within. 

The snake or Anantha is a wonderful depiction of our wants/ego/mind which is ever-evolving. Lord Vishnu sleeping on the snake thus denotes that Lord Vishnu has the power to control our wants/mind/conscience. We need to awaken our higher self to take complete power over our desires, conscience and mind. 

Our religious history is full of narratives which often are put forward or presented to us in a symbolic manner. Each chapter our religion beholds is an ocean of knowledge one needs to learn and adapt in his/her routine.

Now that we know why Lord Vishnu resides in an Ocean and why Lord Vishnu sleeps on a snake we too should try and work towards seeking the God within by controlling the wants, ego and our mind.