As per the biographies of Sri Ramanujacharya, He used to have regular conversations with Sri Vishnu. He also accepts the four-armed Form of Sri Vishnu as the Form of the Supreme Godhead. He quoted from the Vishnu-Purana in His writings, and therefore did accept this scripture as one Authority.

According to a part of the Vishnu-Purana, the Form of Sri Vishnu including His weapons are all symbolical : http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp057.htm

How did Sri Ramanujacharya or His followers explain this symbolical interpretation of Sri Vishnu of the Vishnu-Purana?

  • 1
    I think interpreting a form symbolically does not imply suggesting that the form does not exist.
    – user16581
    Apr 21 '19 at 8:26
  • @LazyLubber But thats beyond my perception. Some form appearing, speaking, cutting heads by chkras being symbolical --beyond my understanding:)
    – user17294
    Apr 21 '19 at 8:42
  • I think of these stories as allegorical. Just like our panchatantra tales, where each tale is meant to teach something.
    – user16581
    Apr 21 '19 at 8:47
  • I dont believe in advaita. :)
    – user16581
    Apr 21 '19 at 9:08
  • 1
    @LazyLubber Advaita contains A dvaita but Dvaita does not contain Advaita:)
    – user17294
    Apr 21 '19 at 10:06

Here is the dialogue of Parāśara Muni in the website you have quoted (I have added Sanskrit transliterations wherever possible):

Parāśara Muni:— Having offered salutation to the mighty and indescribable Viṣṇu, I repeat to you what was formerly related to me by Vasiṣṭha. The glorious Hari wears the pure soul of the world, undefiled, and void of qualities, as the Kaustubha gem. The chief principle of things (Pradhāna) is seated on the eternal, as the Srivatsa mark. Intellect abides in Mādhava, in the form of his mace. The lord (Īśvara) supports egotism (Ahaṅkāra) in its twofold division, into elements and organs of sense, in the emblems of his conch-shell and his bow. In his hand Viṣṇu holds, in the form of his discus, the mind, whose thoughts (like the weapon) fly swifter than the winds. The necklace of the deity, Vaijayantī, composed of five precious gems, is the aggregate of the five elemental rudiments. Janārdana bears, in his numerous shafts, the faculties both of action and of perception. The bright sword of Acyutā is holy wisdom, concealed at some seasons in the scabbard of ignorance. In this manner soul, nature, intellect, egotism, the elements, the senses, mind, ignorance, and wisdom, are all assembled in the person of Hṛṣīkeśa. Hari, in a delusive form, embodies the shapeless elements of the world, as his weapons and his ornaments, for the salvation of mankind.

This merely suggests that everything in the universe, may it be the soul, nature, intellect, egotism, the elements, the senses, mind, ignorance, and wisdom, are encompassed in the divine form and accessories of the Lord Viṣṇu. Though they symbolise the afore-mentioned things, they do not derive their meaning from it, they just embody it. Also, as user @LazyLubber mentioned, when something is interpreted symbolically, it does not mean that the form does not exist. Hence, Parāśara Muni means to say that everything is embodied in the divine form of Viṣṇu.


Vishnu Purana is accepted as Pramanam, logical argument, by Ramanuja and his lineage of scholars.

As such, we concur that the Supreme Being is of Form outside our level of understanding. However, Out of His Boundless Compassion, He appears as Five Forms such that He can communicate and interact with us.

As Vishnu, He Pervades and Operates this Universe as its Soul. So of course, His weapons are allegories, but they are His allegories, not ours.

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