|The Holy Trinity|
|A 4th–6th century CE Sardonyx seal representing Vishnu with a worshiper. The inscription in cursive Bactrian reads: "Mihira, Vishnu (left) and Shiva"|
- A crown adorns his head: The crown symbolizes his supreme authority. This crown sometimes includes a peacock feather, borrowing from his Krishna avatar.
- He wears two earrings: The earrings represent inherent opposites in creation — knowledge and ignorance; happiness and unhappiness; pleasure and pain.
- The srivatsa mark on his chest (lock of golden hair) represents the source of the natural world and the auspicious "Kaustubha" jewel, representing consciousness, is around his neck.Lakshmi dwells in this jewel, on Vishnu's chest. The garland of victory (Vaijayanti or Vanamala ) worn around his neck is made of either five rows of fragrant flowers or five rows of jewels representing the five spheres of the senses.
- Lord Vishnu wears ear-rings shaped like sea monsters, the makara, and they represent the two methods of knowledge, the intellectual knowledge and the intuitive perception.
- His armlets represent the three aims of worldly life, viz., pleasure, success, righteousness.
He has four arms and each holds an item: The four arms indicate his all-powerful and all-pervasive nature. His physical existence is represented by the two arms in the front, while the two arms at the back represent his presence in the spiritual world.
- The conch or Shankha of Lord Vishnu has a number of spirals evolving from one point and is the symbol of the origin of existence. The sound it creates on blowing (Om) is associated with the primeval sound from which creation developed. From this are evolved the principles of the five elements – water, fire, air, earth and sky or space. It also represents the five airs or Pranas that are within the body and mind.
- The Lotus is the symbol of eternity, plenty and good fortune. It arises from the mud and yet remains pure and clean. Even water drops stay on its leaves with difficulty and when they do so, they take the lustre of pearls which is again a quality of purity.
- The mace of Lord Vishnu is called Kaumodaki or the power of knowledge and is held by the lower right hand . Knowledge is the essence of life from which all physical and mental powers are derived. Except time, nothing else can conquer knowledge. As such, the mace is identified with Kali, the goddess who has the power over time and destroys all those who oppose it.
- The chakra, a sharp-spinning discus-like weapon, named "Sudarshana", is held by the upper right hand. It symbolizes the purified spiritualized mind. The name Sudarshana is derived from two words – Su, which means good, superior, and Darshan, which means vision or Sight; together, it is "Superior Vision". The chakra represents destruction of ego in the awakening and realization of the soul's original nature and god, burning away spiritual ignorance and illusion, and developing higher spiritual vision and insight to realize God.
- The Bow, The Arrow & The Quiver:The bow of Lord Vishnu called Sharnga represents the destructive aspect associated with the disintegrating tendency and is the origin of senses. It is called the divine power of illusion. The arrows are the senses which represent the field of activity of the intellect, and the quiver is the storehouse of actions.
|Vishnu Vaikuntha, 9th century AD.|
Place of Origin: Kashmir
National Museum, Delhi