Vishnu and His Avatars

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Item Code: IDD980
Author: Ganga Somany
Publisher: Bookwise (India) Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 9788187330097
Pages: 112 (Color Illus: 104)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.2" X 8.8"
Weight 910 gm
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Book Description

From the Jacket:

Vishnu, the Lord of preservation in the Hindu trinity, incarnates himself on earth to uplift the virtuous and vanquish the wicked. Each of his ten appearances came as the need of the hour and in response to the sincere yearning of pious souls. Through each and every avatar he revealed the deepest philosophy and practical guidelines on how to live well while fulfilling the destiny of an exalted human birth. These exemplary stories are not of a religious dogma but a highly symbolic and rich thesis about life's journey.

The tales offer great insight to readers of any religious persuasion. Vishnu and His Avatars will also be appreciated by lovers of art and mythology as a unique collection. The text has been freely referenced from scriptures. The reproductions of classic paintings and sculptures have been meticulously collected by the author from many sources in India and abroad.

Editor's Note:

The transliteration of Hindi words has been rendered in common spelling to facilitate the reader with a familiarity of terms yet retaining an easy flow. Sometimes alternative spellings are used according to the source from which material had been taken.


About the Author:

Ganga Somany, the daughter of the late Brijmohan Birla and wife of the late O.M. Somany, is a graduate of Loreto College, Kolkata.

From an early age she had a keen interest in writing and painting, which led to the authorship of several books. World Religions concerns the holy creeds, culture and festivals of the ten major religions. Hinduism is a pictorial exploration of one of the world's oldest religious philosophies beginning with the question, "What is a Hindu?". The Rainbow Treasury of Enchanted Tales is an inspiring book which deals with the basic truths, generosity and valour which unite mankind. Shiva and Shakti is a unique collection of classical art reproductions, myths, legends and religious concepts.

Mrs. Somany has had several solo exhibitions of her oil paintings which have been inspired by her own religious background and by the European old masters. Her paintings will be permanently displayed in the Art Gallery at the Birla Science Museum in Jaipur.

In association with Ramakrishna Sarada Mission, she has established a charitable school, medical clinic and adult vocational training centre for women in Kolkata.


Introduction 1
Trimurti 2
Creation Myths 3
Markandeya 4
Golden Egg 4
Bala Mukunda 6
Yugas 7
Vaikuntha 8
        Sri and Bhudevi
Churning of the Ocean 14
        Legend of Guha
        Legend of Mohini
        Lord Ayyappan
Vedic and other early Myths 20
Vishnu in early History 21
Heroic origins of Vishnu 22
Attributes of Vishnu 22
        Ornaments and Weapons 26
Avatars 26
        Matsya 28
        Kurma 30
        Varaha 32
        Narsimha 36
        Vamana 38
        Parashurama 42
        Rama 43
        Krishna 55
        Buddha 70
        Kalki 77
Shaligram 78
Vishnu's footprints 78
Stories connected with Vishnu 78
Vaishnavism 87
Vaishnavites 87
        Bhakti cult 92
        Medieval mystics 94
Vishnu's Maya 94
        Narada 96
Mythology and Art 98
        The artist's vision 99
Temples 101
Glossary 102
Photo credits 105
Bibliography 105
Acknowledgements 105

Sample Pages

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