Lately Brad and I have been hearing a lot about a God called Narayana. He is featured in bhajans (hymns) and was mentioned quite a lot during our wedding service. I had never heard this name before, though!
So, time for me to do some research and find out who is this God that I am not familiar with.
It turns out that the name Narayana is an ancient Vedic name for Vishnu.
This name refers to God in his infinite form and it means “The one who rests on water.” Images of him often depict him on an ocean, as the water was created by The First Being.
As with many Hindu deities, he is depicted as blue and I have to wonder if he is the one to begin that trend! He is said to have the “divine blue color of water-filled clouds.” Since Krishna is also a manifestation of Vishnu, Krishna’s blue form may come from Narayana’s. (Shiva has his own reason to be blue, per the story of the swallowing of poison).
The Bhagavata Purana says that Narayana IS all three aspects of the trinity.
Apparently in The Mahabharata, Krishna is often referred to as Narayana and Arjuna as Nara, which shows how they are non-separate in reality.
In practice it seems that Narayana and Vishnu are interchangeable as names for the same deity.
Note: Meet a God posts will be moving to The White Hindu Premium blog starting next week. The posts there will go back to the beginning and give much more detailed information on each God, including stories, types of worship, etc.