First off, I think the source text is the Brahmavaivarta Purana, but I may be wrong, as I couldn't find this excerpt in an online version.

Either way, the way Vishnu describes the impermanence of not only Indra, but of Brahma as well reminds me very much of how the Buddha stirred up Brahmas from the comfort of their long-lived lives.

Vishnu, in his boyish avatar, claims that one must stop clinging to both the good or bad, since even the highest incarnations (such as that of Shiva and Brahma) are impermanent.

My question is, how does Vishnu differ here? I'm not sure if this is a direct quote, but I found also that a Brahma's life is similarly, the blink of an eye of Vishnu. Is, thus, even Vishnu just a temporary form, be as it may that he has great wisdom?

  • 2
    Vishnu is said to be an eternal god and Brahman (the Supreme, the Absolute Truth of the Upanishads), not a mortal. He never changes his position. Sep 9, 2017 at 19:49
  • Vishnu's position does not die. But He certainly dies and is reborn again. All beings be Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma or Devi, have to merge back in ParaBrahma. Then new creation starts.
    – user12826
    Mar 17, 2018 at 19:21
  • Again at beginning of creation Vishnu becomes an infant lying in Banayan leaf on an ocean. Then Maya in form Lakshmi comes and tells that You are Vishnu, I and you are never separated and tells him to start his task again.
    – user12826
    Mar 17, 2018 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


Is Vishnu likewise a mortal position ?

No. Vishnu as preserver and sustainer of this universe is not a Mortal Post.

Narayana , Vasudeva , Hari Or Vishnu are the names used for addressing Para-Brahman (Supreme Being) Vishnu is addressed as the same supreme Lord. He is Supreme Being in Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism.

Here In [**Katha-Upanishad**][1] Vasudeva or Vishnu is being called as a **Supreme Brahman.**

विज्ञानसारथिर्यस्तु मनः प्रग्रहवान्नर ।
सोऽध्वनः पारमाप्नोति तद्विष्णोः परमं पदम् ॥

vijñānasārathiryastu manaḥ pragrahavānnara |
so'dhvanaḥ pāramāpnoti tadviṣṇoḥ paramaṃ padam ||

He who has vijnāna, buddhi or Reason, for his charioteer and a (disciplined) manas as the reins—he verily attains the end of the journey, that supreme state of Vishnu.

Shankara’s Commentary: Com.—What that goal is, is now explained; but the man who has discerning intelligence for the driver, whose mind is under control, and who is clean, i.e., the knowing man reaches the end of the road of Samsâra, i.e., realises the Supreme; i.e., is absolved from all the ties of Samsâra. The man of knowledge attains 1 the highest place of Vishnu, i.e., the nature of the all-pervading Brahman, the Paramâtman known as Vâsudêva (the Self-luminous).

Here In Narayana-upanishad we can see that Lord Vishnu is eternal.

अथ नित्यो नारायण: ब्रह्म नारायण: |
शिवस्च्य नारायण: शक्र: च नारायण ||2||

atha nityo narayanah brahma narayanah
sivas ca narayanah sakras ca narayanah

Thus Narayana is the eternal being. Brahma, Siva, Indra, time, the directions, the subdirections, up and down, inside and outside, are all pervaded by Narayana. Narayana is everything, past present and future. Narayana is the eternal pure effulgent Lord, without a second to compare. He is Visnu, the Supreme Lord says the upanisad.

Also [**Vishnu Purana**][3] - Book I -Chapter Two - We can see that Rishi Parashara calling **Lord Vishnu as unchangeable , eternal , imperishable , Undecaying.**

पराशर उवाच
अविकाराय शुद्धाय नित्याय परमात्मने |
सदैकरूपरूपाय विष्णवे सर्वजिष्णवे ||1||

Parasara said - : Glory to the unchangeable, holy ,eternal Lord Vishnu ,of one universal nature , the mighty over all.

आधारभूतं विश्वस्याप्यणियांसमणियसाम् |
प्रणम्य सर्वभूतस्थमच्चुतं पुरुषोत्तमम् ||5||

Having glorying him who is the supporter of all things ; who is smallest of small ;who is in all created things ; the unchanged ;imperishable ;Purushottama , who is one with true wisdom , as truly known ,eternal and ,incorrupt

प्रणम्य जगतामीशमजमक्षरमव्ययम ||7|| Lord of creation and preservation; the ruler of the world ; unborn ; imperishable , Undecaying.

Vishnu is the "preserver" in the Hindu trinity (Trimurti) takes yoga-nidrā at the time of Prakrutika Pralaya or devastation of the three worlds. As describes Shreemad Bhagvat Puran.

अन्तः स तस्मिन्सलिल आस्तेऽनन्तासनो हरिः ।
योगनिद्रानिमीलाक्षः स्तूयमानो जनालयैः ॥33॥

antaḥ sa tasmin salila antaḥ sa tasmin salila
yoga-nidrā-nimīlākṣaḥ stūyamāno janālayaiḥ

The Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, lies down in the water on the seat of Ananta, with His eyes closed, and the inhabitants of the Janaloka planets offer unto the Lord their glorious prayers with folded hands.

Purport: In the transcendental stage all activities are always present, and they are glorified by prayers of great sages like Bhṛgu.

Conclusion - Thus from above shlokas its clear that the Post of Lord Vishnu as a preserver and sustainer is eternal , he himself as Para Brahman is not Mortal and his position never changes.

  • Have conflicting answers here, but I understand that this may not be a point everyone agrees on. Thanks to both of you :)
    – John Doe
    Sep 26, 2017 at 20:40

Well Yes. Vishnu also dies.

Devi Bhagawatam, Book 4, Chapter 13
शर्वो ब्रह्मा हरिश्चेति इन्द्राद्या ये सुरास्तथा ॥ २७ ॥
मुनयश्च विनिर्माणैः स्वायुषो विचरन्ति हि ।

निशावसाने सञ्जाते जगत्स्थावरजङ्गमम् ॥ २८ ॥
म्रियते नात्र सन्देहो नृप किञ्चित्कदापि च ।
स्वायुषोऽन्ते पद्मजाद्या क्षयमृच्छन्ति पार्थिव ॥ २९ ॥
प्रभवन्ति पुनर्विष्णुहरशक्रादयः सुराः ।

तस्मात्कामादिकान्भावान्देहवान्प्रतिपद्यते ॥ ३० ॥
Vyasa tells Janamejaya- O King! Shiva, Brahma, Narayana, Indra and other Gods, as well as the Munis and others live up to their ordained age of life. This moving and unmoving Universe then dissolves at time of Pralaya and comes into existence again, there is no doubt here, O Lord of Men. O Ruler of Earth! when the ordained age ends, then Brahma and others die, and again, Vishnu, Shiva, Indra and other all Devas take birth again. So, every embodied being(a being having a body) therefore gets all the feelings of lust, anger, avarice et cetera.

So It is clear that Krishna dies as well when His ordained life ends.

BUT is this the superlative conclusion?

Well the above conclusion was just one of the part of answer given by Vyasa on Janamejaya's asking- "Why do embodied beings play lust, avarice, anger et cetera?", which can be seen in this chapter- Chapter 13, Book 4, Devi Puraana.

This does not mean Narayana or Shiva are nothing now. As you see-

DeviBhagwatam, Book 1, Chapter 4
जानाम्यहं जगन्नाथ त्वमादिः सर्वकारणम् ।
कर्ता पालयिता हर्ता समर्थः सर्वकार्यकृत् ॥ ३९ ॥
इच्छया ते महाराज सृजाम्यहमिदं जगत् ।
हरः संहरते काले सोऽपि ते वचने सदा ॥ ४० ॥
Brahma praises Lord Vishnu- O Lord of Universe! I know Thee verily only Thou art the Origin and the cause of all. Thou createst, protectest and destroyest all, and art capable of all actions. O Great Lord! by Thy will I create and Shiva destroy in time by Thy words.

And here all the Devas venerate Hari thus-

Devi Puraana, Book 10, Chapter 5
जय विष्णो रमेशाद्य महापुरुष पूर्वज ॥ २ ॥
दैत्यारे कामजनक सर्वकामफलप्रद ।
Devas praise Vishnu- Victory be Thine! O Vishnu! Thou art beloved of Ramaa and Thou art origin. Thou art the Eternal Purusha, and thou art first born(meaning unborn). Thou art enemy of the Daityas, and grantest us all the desires, that Thou Thyself createst.

And here the Devas revere Shiva thus-

DeviBhagwatam, Book 10, Chapter 4
अहिर्बुध्न्याय मान्याय मनवे मानदायिने ।
अजाय बहुरूपाय स्वात्मारामाय शम्भवे ॥ ५ ॥
गणनाथाय देवाय गिरिशाय नमोऽस्तु ते
महाविभूतिदात्रे ते महाविष्णुस्तुताय च ॥ ६ ॥
Devas praise Shiva- O Shiva! obeisances to Thee. Thou art ornamented with Serpents and art honoured by all. Thou art Manu and Thou grantest honour to all. O Shambhu! Thou art unborn, Thou havest many forms and Thou rejoicest only in Thy bliss. Obeisances to Thee! O Lord of Ganas, O Deva, O Lord of Mountains. Obeisances to Giver of great powers and Who art worshipped by the Great MahaVishnu.

Therefore it is to be understood that Narayana, Shiva, Brahma, Devi, Ganesha and all Gods are never born nor they die. It is their divine Leela and it is so arcane that it is hard to be comprehended even by Devas, what to speak of mere human beings. Narayana takes birth, and dies. Again He is the Unborn supreme Brahma Who cannot be perceived at all. Shiva is born of anger of Brahma, but again Shiva is the ever unborn Whose beginning can never be known. Devi is the Ultimate Soul Who is not know to be ever born, yet at times She takes birth and immolates Herself. Then She is born again. Yet She is the Creatrix of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva Themselves.

We can never know the Nature of God. Narayana can never be understood by anyone. He is Supreme Soul and His Leela is incomprehensible.

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