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VISHNU

Real Name: Vishnu Narayana

Occupation: Ruler of the Hindu Gods, god of heaven and creation

Legal Status: Citizen of Nirvana

Identity: The general populace of earth is unaware of Vishnu except as a mythological deity. He is well known in India.

Other Aliases: Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha (mortal avatars), Wisnu (Balinese name)

Place of Birth: Unrevealed

Marital Status: Married

Known Relatives: Prajapati (possible father, possibly deceased), Gaea (mother, alias Ammavaru), Brahma, Shiva (brothers), Lakshmi (wife), Parvati, Sarasvati, Ganga, Yamuna (sisters-in-law), Padma (daughter), Kama (son), Ratri (daughter-in-law), Jambavati (son by Ganga), Himavat (father-in-law), Mena (mother-in-law), Ganehsa, Skanda, Dharma (nephews), Kali (niece), 

Group Affiliation: The Hindu gods, The Trimurti (Ruling Council of the Hindu gods), The Council Elite

Base of Operations: Vaikuntha in the dimension of Nirvana

First Appearance: (historical) Marvel Classic Comics #23: The Moonstone; (modern) Thor I #300

History: Vishnu is a member of an extra-dimensional race of beings known as the Daevas, a race of beings who worshipped as gods by the people of Ancient India. His exact origins are unknown, but according to ancient Dravidian myth, he is the son of the ancient earth-goddess, Ammavaru, who may be the primeval earth-goddess Gaea. (According to myth, she laid a great egg from which sprang Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu and his brothers used the top of the egg to create the sky and the bottom half the earth itself.) In the Vedic pantheon, Gaea was known as Aditi, the earth mother, and progenitor of the Adityas, the Vedic Gods. Vishnu was worshipped as a very minor sun god in the Vedic Pantheon.

In his youth, Vishnu was a close friend of the Vedic thunder-god, Indra, but their friendship became estranged after Indra slew Vritra, a Naga, who was preventing rain to fall on Earth.  Since Vritra and his family were allies of the gods against their demonic enemies known as the Rakshasas. Indra was punished when the gods agreed among themselves to sacrifice Airavata, his elephant-mount, that it's immortal life force could be used to return Shiva's son, Ganehsa, to life after the young god had accidentally been slain. (According to later myth, Airavata's head was given to replace that of Ganehsa's.)

The Rakshasas apparently used this incident to force their ruler, Ravanna, into godhood and place all the Vedic gods into subservient and menial roles with Vishnu becoming a mere steward. Ravanna, however, was given the choice by Brahma to either live through seven lives as a friend of Vishnu or through three lives as an enemy of Vishnu. Ravanna chose the first option in order to return to heaven faster. Vishnu meanwhile separated his life force from his physical body and sent his soul through several animal and mortal forms named avatars, mortal beings containing aspects of his godly essence and soul. While in each form, he chipped away at Ravanna's power and extent of influence until it was at its lowest point and the gods could retake their proper places in the universe. In his first avatar, he took the form of Matsya the fish and warned the mortal sage, Manu Satyavrata, to save himself and his family in a boat against an upcoming flood unleashed by Ravanna. In this incarnation, Ravanna had been born as Hiranya-kasipu, Ruler of the Rakshasas, who had caused the flood. In his second avatar, Vishnu became Kurma the tortoise and dove to the bottom of the ocean to rescue amrita, the foodstuff that bestowed the gods their immortality. In his third form as Varaha the boar-god, he carried a clod of earth above the waters to mystically restore the earth after the flood.

Hiranya-kasipu eventually sought a boon from Brahma for immortality to protect his life. The extent of this spell was that neither man nor beast could kill Hiranya-kasipu during the day or night either indoors or outdoors. Vishnu was reborn as Narasimha, the lion-god. Hiranya-kasipu persecuted his son, Prahlada, for being a follower of Vishnu, and as he attempted to slay him, Narasimha appeared and slew him by dragging into a doorway at twilight. Narasimha was successful in killing Hiranya-kasipu because he was neither man nor animal and had killed him in a doorway neither inside or out and at a time that was day or night.

Vishnu was later born as Vamana the dwarf god during the reign of Rakshasas King Bali, Prahlada’s grandson. Vamana was the son of Kasyapa and Aditi, the mother-goddess. In order to reclaim earth for the Devas, Vamana approached Bali during a sacrifice realizing he was oath bound to honor any wishes made during the sacrificial ritual. Bali reacted in opposition to the advice of his guru, who had discovered that Vamana was Vishnu in disguise. He foolishly consented to Vamana’s seemingly humble desire to claim all land he could claim within three strides. After being granted this wish, Vamana lifted his foot and suddenly grew in size to gigantic proportions and with his giant size increased the size of his strides. With one step he claimed the earth and with his second step he regained the heavens. His third step was upon Bali’s head, thus giving the Devas ownership of earth and heaven.

In his sixth avatar, Vishnu was reborn sometime in the 11th Century BC as Parashurama, the son of the mortal Jamadagni, a Brahmin. Parashurama became a great warrior who warred for twenty-one years to destroy the Kshatriya warrior-clan who had stolen the sacred cow, Kamadhenu, given to Jamadagni by the thunder-god Indra. He had one attribute that he never killed any married Kshatriya who was married, refusing to leave any woman a widow. Thus, two of the most important Kshatriya dynasties were spared, that of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya and King Janaka of Mithilda.

In his seventh and most important avatar, Vishnu was born as the hero Rama (Ramachandra), son of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya in the Tenth Century BC. The ideal character of the Hindu people, Rama was to be the heir to the throne of Ayodhya and his father decided to abdicate in his favor, but his step-mother, Kaikeya, exiles him instead in favor of her son, Bharat. Rama accepted the exile willingly, taking his brother, Lakshman, and his wife, Sita (the goddess Lakshmi in a mortal avatar) with him. Saddened by this turn of results, Dasaratha dies and Bharat asks Rama to return, but he has grown content with his meager existence. By now, Ravanna had been reborn once more as the king of the island of Ceylon. He kidnaps Sita and carries her back to Ceylon. Rama and his brothers obtain the help of King Sugriva and General Hanuman of the monkey-gods to invade Ceylon. Ravanna’s brother, Bibhashan, defects to fight on behalf of Rama who slays Ravanna and returns home to Ayodhya to rule as king. Unfortunately, the people cannot honor Sita for having lived among the Rakshasas even against her will and Rama reluctantly sends her away, his sons, Kusa and Lava, born in exile. Eventually, his sons return to Ayodhya and tell the passionate story of their parent’s life to Rama. He is so moved by their story that he and his followers allow Sita to return.  

In his eighth avatar, Vishnu is born as the hero Krishna, son of King Vasudeva and Queen Devaki of Ayodhya in the 7th Century BC. In this form, he is the most beloved and most worshipped of the gods of India. Devaki was either the half-brother or cousin of Kamsa, the son of one of the Rakshasas. Kansa had heard a prophecy that he would be killed by a son of Devaki and had killed all her sons, but she saved Krishna by giving him to Nanda and Yasoda, a poor childless couple. Krishna was raised as a cow-herder, but he used his divine nature to slay many demons and monsters. He fell in love with Radha, his foster-sister, but he had several wives and lovers. He slew Kamsa as predicted and gained his place of nobility on the throne of Ayodhya by helping the Pandavas tribes to defeat their enemies, the Kauravas, with the help of Arjuna, the mortal son of Indra. After death, the body of Krishna was used to restore the god, Kama, to life after being slain by Shiva.

In his eight avatar, Vishnu was born as a Kshatriya prince named Siddharthra Gautama in the kingdom of Lumbini (now part of modern Nepal) in the Late Sixth Century BC. Deeply disillusioned by the cycles of birth, death and rebirth, he renounced his royal life heritage to live an ascetic existence. He recognized that all the world’s problems began with ignorance that resulted in failing to recognize what truly leads to happiness. Determined to transcend all suffering, he remained in meditation until he attained fulfillment and enlightenment. Eventually, he realized that the trappings of fortune caused misery to others and that being contented in one’s self would create contentment in others. As he sat in blissful contentment, the god Brahma approached and bowed to him. He begged Gautama to spread his teachings and indulge others in his preachings. Becoming the Buddha, Gautama became the founder of the Buddhist faith.

Vishnu held on to one last avatar after he departed earth; his tenth avatar, Kalki, is meant to appear on a white horse and waving a spear to herald the destruction of the world. He made his home on Vaikuntha, one of the cities in the heaven of Nirvana, considered the highest plane of existence that mortals could attain. Nirvana was connected to earth by a dimensional access point near Mount Meru, now named Mount Everest on Earth. He was identified with Asha, one of the Persian gods under Zorostasterism. A compassionate and beneficent deity, he had respect and reverence for his peers in the other pantheons of gods on earth. Around 1000 AD, Odin of the Asgardian Gods and Zeus of the gods of Olympus asked him to meet with the heads of the other races of gods who were at were once worshipped by mortals to discuss the threat of the Third Host of the Celestials. Odin, Zeus and Vishnu went to confront the Third Host of the Celestials on behalf of all the Earth’s gods. However, they had to pledge not to interfere with the plans the Celestials had with humanity after the Celestials threatened to seal off the gods’ interdimensional passageways connecting the gods’ dimensions with earth. As a result of this pledge, the Hindu gods had to lessen their trafficking with earth, although certain gods like Indra and Surya have spent times cavorting with mortals. The Fourth Host of the Celestials would decide to spare earth from destruction. The life forces of the Asgardians were used to animate the Destroyer to confront the Celestials, but were lost after the destruction of the Destroyer. Vishnu had made a vow to Odin to volunteer the required life energies to revive the Asgardians and Thor who was not present on Asgard when the Asgardians volunteered their life-energies visited Nirvana to obtain the required energies.

Vishnu continued to meet with the other godheads as part of the Council Elite several more times when more cosmic threats threatened the earth. On one occasion, he sent Indra to help Thor engage Demogorge along with several other warrior gods. They also gathered to debate the threat Thanos posed with the Infinity Gauntlet and the return of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaton as a cosmic being. After Odin’s seeming death, Vishnu and the godheads called Thor before the Council Elite to be tested for his worthiness to join their ranks as a replacement for Odin, but he failed the tests which Shiva had called.

In recent years, Cronus, one of the extra-dimensional race of beings known as the Titans, escaped Tartarus and claimed Olympus, the home of the Olympian Gods, by putting out the Promethean flame and turning the gods of Olympus into stone. He then set his sights by claiming Nirvana by ascending Mount Mandara in the Himalayas on earth and following its interdimensional access point into Nirvana. In order to defeat Vishnu and the Hindu gods, he gained favor from Ravanna and helped the Rakshasas lay siege to Nirvana, casting Vishnu and several Hindu gods to earth. However, Wonder Woman, one of the mortal champions of the Olympian gods, challenged Cronus by appealing to Gaea, the ancestor of all of earth’s gods. Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma vanquished Cronus and reclaimed Nirvana to drive out the Rakshasas.

Height: 7' 2"
Weight: 475 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

Unusual physical features: In his true godly appearance, Vishnu has four arms and blue skin.

Strength Level: Vishnu possesses superhuman strength in the Class 100 range enabling him to lift (press) well over 100 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Vishnu possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Devas or Hindu gods. Like all Devas, he is virtually immortal: he has aged at an exceptionally slow rate since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. He is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If he were somehow wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Varuna, Mitra, Brahma or Shiva or for a number of Hindu gods of equal power working together to revive him. Vishnu also possesses superhuman strength and his Deva metabolism provides him with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Deva flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the Hindu gods.)

Vishnu also has exceptional power to tap into and manipulate the cosmic and mystical energies of the universe on an infinite scale. His exact level of power is unknown, but his prowess has been challenged by both Brahma and Shiva; since neither of them can agree on who is more powerful, they share equal control over the Hindu gods, ensuring that no one is truly ascendant over the other. Vishnu can control the weather, create fields of energy, imbue mystical attributes in physical objects and living things and attain a level of transcendental existence that his spirit can attain higher consciousness and live through other lifetimes, capable of returning to his own body later without any dire results. He can change his appearance and form, becoming Matsya the fish, Kurma the turtle-god and even a goddess named Mohini. As Vamana the dwarf-god, he could grown into a gigantic stature, attaining a cosmic scale that he could virtually tread the earth without causing earthquakes or resulting in atmospheric disasters to the biosphere of the planet. His physical stamina and endurance is impervious to harm, enabling him to hold entire mountains on his shoulders and support the pressure and weight of entire realms. The full range of his mystical powers have yet to be revealed.  

Abilities: Vishnu is a beneficent and eloquent deity tempered by centuries of existing in both mortal and immortal forms experiencing the heights of royalty and the underside of suffering. He is a sympathetic and intellectual deity tempered by philosophy and wisdom. As Parashurama and Rama, he was a warrior of incredible prowess, and as Krishna, he was a caring and loving monarch. As Buddha, he learned transcendental meditation to acquire a higher level of existence to attain enlightenment and self-discovery.

Weapons: Vishnu carries a discus and a mace as well as a sword called Nadaka and a bow named Sarnga.

Pets/Transportation: Vishnu tends to travel by means of two mounts, Garuda the bird god, or by Vasuki, the cobra-god, who was son of the serpent-god, Vritra. During his mortal avatar as Rama, Vasuki was reborn as Ananta from the body of Bala-Rama, brother of Krishna. He was also known as Shesha.

Base of Operations: Vishnu presides within the dimension of Nirvana, considered the highest plane of existence that mortals can attain. Nirvana is connected to earth by a dimensional access point near Mount Meru, now named Mount Everest on Earth adjacent to nearby Mount Mandara. It is connected to a number of other worlds such as Patala, the Hindu underworld reserved as a land of the dead. The main land mass in Nirvana resembles Ancient India at its height without mortal or European influence and is separated into several domains and provinces such as Vaikunthia, Kailasa, Amaravati, Swarga and Ceylon, the home of the monkey-gods ruled by King Sugriva. Other races of beings exist here in addition to the Devas and Monkey-gods including the Nagas (Danavas), the ancient serpent-gods and allies of the Devas, the Rakshasas (Daitayas) who are eternal enemies of the gods and the Yakshas (Kravyads), Rakshasa that have degenerated into a demonic status and who consume other beings. Other gods known to exist in Nirvana are the Yazatas (Persian gods) and the Asuras, former Adityas who have no power or influence in the current Hindu pantheon.  

Comments: This bio includes Vishnu in the Marvel and DC Universes as well as the Marvel Classic Comics adaptation of the Wilkie Collins detective novel, The Moonstone. Marvel Classic Comics usually do not necessarily tie-in with the mainstream Marvel Universe.

The use of the Hindu Gods and Shiva, one of the major gods of Hindu belief, and his defeat and/or reconciliation with Thor, did not sit well with numerous Hindu-Americans. Afterward, the Hindu gods in the Marvel Universe were reduced to cameo roles to prevent further embarrassment or possibly offending more Hindu-Americans. 

Hindu religion also does not provide very much in the sense of relatives and family ties as say Western European myth does for its deities. Hence, Vishnu's relatives come from the Vedic description of the character. Ammavaru is a very ancient deity from north of Madras in India who was credited with being the mother of Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva.

In Balinese Hinduism, Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu were three aspects of one god named Sang Hyang Wasa, a being so great that he could not grasp a human form.

Clarifications: Vishnu is not to be confused with:  

Last updated: 02/10/12

 

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