Sri Vishnu Puranam – Commentary-Part 8


lakshmi narayana

Chapter 8

The triple functions

The Lord who began to create thus, continue with his work as Brahma  who is full of raja-s. He guards  the created  world as Vishnu who is full of sattva. Devolving on others the work of creation and destruction that are frowned upon by everyone, He takes charge of sustenance  which  is hailed by all. The compassionate Krishna becomes tamas­ filled Rudra in the end and devours all that He  has created.  At that  time  there  is only water everywhere, and in the midst of it, He rests  in yogic sleep,  guarding the  world  within Himself.

Apt similes

Imagine someone, who possesses a highly valued gem, sojourning in a forest notorious for high-way robbers.  It gets dark. He puts the gem into his mouth for safety. Once he comes out of the forest, he spits it out and carries it in his usual manner. In the same way, the compassionate Lord minimizes the entire world without any harm coming to it, and devours it to guard it. Once the danger of the deluge is over, He re-creates it as a recognizable unit and is happy. A farmer tills his land and grows crops. Once it grows well and the yield is taken, he mows down the field and raises another crop again. Our ancients have spoken of the Lord and His work of creation, sustenance and dissolution in the same manner and likened Him appropriately to a farmer, hari krisheevala. The Primal Lord is this Vishnu who creates,  devours and brings out a well-constructed world. As the creator He is known to be the four-faced Brahmas, the sustainer He is hailed as Vishnu and as the destroyer He is referred to as Siva or Rudra.

Lord Vishnu is both Brahma and Siva

The Supreme Lord is the creator. That which is created is also the Lord. It is Krishna who guards the world. It is Krishna who is guarded too. Ananta destroys and what is destroyed is Ananta! We speak in these terms because the world and Brahman are like body and soul. Such is the definition arrived at by our ancients. This is the significance of our referring to Brahma and Rudra also as Vishnu. We is their soul directing their works. This is explained by Parasara  to Maitreya through the followingcouplet:

Sa eva srijayah sa cha sargakartaa
Sa eva paatyatti cha paalyate cha
Brahmaadyavasthaabhir  asesha-moortih
Vishnur varishthah varado varenyah

“He himself is created; He is the creator himself. He alone protects and swallows; He Himself is protected. The One assuming all the forms is Vishnu, the supreme, the granter of booms and the covetable One. All this He does, through different states of  Brahmaa and others.”  Thus are  answered questions  regarding  the state of the world raised earlier, its reappearance,  its primal  cause and’ the soul of the world.

(The  above episode  is from chapter  2 of the original)

To be continued….

This English Commentary is written by Smt Prema Nandakumar based on the Tamil commentary written by HH 45th Azhagiyasingar of the Ahobila MuttHis Holiness has ‘commented’ only on select chapters of the Vishnu Purana. The English translation faithfully follows the original in this aspect. Words that appear in square brackets [ ] have been placed there to serve as a link and do not form part of the original. Reproduced from Nrusimhapriya.

For Tamil commentary and Upanyasam of Vishnu Puranam, please visit:

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