I have a long debate with a guy and he try to proving that Narayan and Vishnu are different. He gave this reference from Mahabharat haran parv

"supreme Purusha, the all prevarding Lord of the universe, who is the consort of Adi saktī, mulprakriti Mahalaxmi, He is called Sri Narayana vasudeva, while His preservative aspect is Vishnu, destructive is Shiva "

I know that Narayan and Vishnu are same but don't have references.

5 Answers 5


In Smritis the name Narayana is mostly use for Lord Vishnu.

But, in Shrutis mostly it's kinda not.:

eko ha vai nārāyaṇa āsīn na brahmā na ca śaṅkaraḥ | sa munirbhūtvā samacintayat | tata ete vyajāyanta | vishve hirańyagarbho agniryamo varuńaviśhńūrudrendrāh ||

Narayana alone was there initially. Neither Brahma, nor Shankara. With the thought to create, he resolved. From then, everyone including Brahma, Agni, Yama, Varuna, Vishnu, Rudra, and Indra were born (~Paingini Rahasya Brahmana, Rig veda).

Even in Maha-Upanishad which also starts with the above similar verse sats this.:

दिशोऽपि न हि दृश्यन्ते देशोऽप्यन्योपदेशकृत् । शैला अपि विशीर्यन्ते शीर्यन्ते तारका अपि ॥४९॥ शुष्यन्त्यपि समुद्राश्च ध्रुवोऽप्यध्रुवजीवनः । सिद्धा अपि विनश्यन्ति जीर्यन्ते दानवादयः ॥५०॥ परमेष्ठ्यपि निष्ठावान्हीयते हरिरप्यजः । भावोऽप्यभावमायाति जीर्यन्ते वै दिगीश्वराः ॥५१॥ ब्रह्मा विष्णुश्च रुद्रश्च सर्वा वा भूतजातयः । नाशमेवानुधावन्ति सलिलानीव वाडवम् ॥५२॥

3.49–52. This world is perishable, when it goes into unmanifest state, then the directions also become invisible, the countries also become preachers for others, that is, they merge in the cheek of time, the mountains also break into pieces. The stars also fall in pieces, the life of the pole-constellations also becomes unstable and the oceans dries up. Siddha yogis and Danavas also get destroyed due to old age and become powerless. Grandfather Brahma and the birthless Lord Vishnu, who resided permanently for a long time, also disappear along with their loyal ones, all the senses turn into lack, the rulers of the directions also become dilapidated. Big gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Kaal-Agni-Rudra and all the living beings keep running towards destruction, just as the water of the oceans keeps running towards Badwanal (Marine fire).

Even, Narayana Suktam verse(s) 12.:

"tasyaaH shikhaayaa madhye paramaatmaa vyavasthitaH | sa brahmaa sa shivaH sa hariH sendraH so.aksharaH paramaH svaraaT.h |" (Taittiriya Aranyaka

"Paramatman dwells in the middle of that flame. (Although He is thus limited) still He (Narayana) is the four-faced creator Brahmā, Siva, Hari (Vishnu), Indra, the material and efficient cause of the Universe and the Supreme Self-luminous Pure Consciousness".

Even, in Smritis, sometime the name is given to other deities also.

Vishnu Purana 1.3.3-4.:

“Hear then how the deity, the beholder of the name Náráyána ,the great parent of the world, Brahmá created all existent things.”

Kurma Purana 1.4.60.:

"Shiva is called Narayana because he is the final destination of all beings."

So, Basically, any name can belong to anyone. In Sagastra Names of any deity you can find names belonging to different different deities.

Rig Veda 1.164.46.:

एकं॒ सद्विप्रा॑ बहु॒धा व॑दन्त्य॒ग्निं य॒मं मा॑त॒रिश्वा॑नमाहुः ॥

For learned priests call the One Truth by many names.

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..


Narayana and Vishnu are same.

  1. Brahma calls Lord Rama as both Narayana and Vishnu -

"You are the Lord Narayana himself the glorious god, who wields the discus. You are the Divine Boar with a single tusk, the conqueror of your past and future enemies."

"Seetha is no other than Goddess Lakshmi (the divine consort of Lord Vishnu), while you are Lord Vishnu. You are having a shining dark-blue hue. You are the Lord of created beings. For the destruction of Ravana, you entered a human body here, on this earth."

Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda, chapter 117

  1. Krishna is called avatar of Vishnu and Narayana interchangeably -

"Vishnu himself, worshipped by all the worlds, appeared in Devaki through Vasudeva, for the welfare of the world"

Adi - vamshavatarana Parva, Mahabharata

"And Narada knew that the exalted and holy Narayana, also called Sambhu the lord of the universe, having commanded all the celestials thus, had taken his birth in the race of Yadus and that foremost of all perpetuator of races, having sprung from the line of the Andhaka-Vrishnis on earth was graced with great good fortune and was shining like the moon herself among stars."

Rajasuyika Parva, Mahabharata


In the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism, Narayan is considered to be the supreme being, the source of all creation, preservation, and destruction. He is also known as Vishnu, but Narayan is often used to refer to his transcendent form, beyond the material world.

There are many spiritual references to support the idea that Narayan and Vishnu are the same. For example, in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna (who is an incarnation of Vishnu) says:

I am the supreme soul, dwelling in the heart of all creatures. I am the beginning, middle, and end of all beings. (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10, Verse 20)

This verse shows that Krishna, and therefore Vishnu, is the ultimate reality, the source and sustainer of all life.

Another reference is found in the Vishnu Purana, which says:

Narayana is the supreme being, the infinite and eternal Brahman. He is the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe. He is also the source of all avatars, including Vishnu. (Vishnu Purana, Book 1, Chapter 2)

This verse makes it clear that Narayana is the supreme being, and that Vishnu is one of his many manifestations.

Finally, in the Bhagavata Purana, it says:

Narayana is the one and only God. He is the source of all existence, the embodiment of all truth, and the ultimate goal of all spiritual seekers. (Bhagavata Purana, Book 1, Chapter 3)

This verse leaves no doubt that Narayana is the supreme being, and that all other deities are subordinate to him.

In addition to these specific references, there are many other spiritual teachings in Hinduism that support the idea that Narayan and Vishnu are the same. For example, the concept of Brahman, the ultimate reality beyond all names and forms, is often associated with Narayana. Similarly, the concept of avatars, or divine incarnations, is often seen as a way for Narayana to manifest himself in the material world.

Overall, there is a strong spiritual foundation for the belief that Narayan and Vishnu are the same. Both deities are seen as the supreme being, the source and sustainer of all life.

  • 1
    That's what the OP says; what they're asking for is an actual scriptural reference to support this assertion.
    – CDR
    Nov 4, 2023 at 13:27

Smirtis and Shurtis see Narayana differently, but I don't think you fully understand the meaning. Narayana is the pervasive aspect of all beings including Vishnu and is the transcendental form. Vishnu means all-pervasive, but his goal is to protect the universe from harm hence he is also the preserver. The best way to see it is Narayana refers to the simple transcendental aspect of the lord. While Vishnu refers to him while still being all-pervading as a protector and guardian of this world. So similar, but different as well.

  • kind of agree with you. It's better to understand if you have a example.
    – Nitesh
    Jan 15 at 11:39

Vishnu is God. Krishna is Narayan.

In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 11.50 Shree Krishna transformed into his 4-Handed form Vishnu by the power of God. Here's the thing. Vishnu is mentioned as "God of Gods" in Bhagavad Gita 11.45 and as "Lord Vishnu" in Bhagavad Gita 11.24 and the word Narayan is not mentioned anywhere in any of the 700 slokas of the Holy Bhagavad Gita.

In Bhagavad Gita 11.45, here's what Arjun (the disciple of the Shree Krishna) states: "Having seen Your universal form that I had never seen before, I feel great joy. And yet, my mind trembles with fear. Please have mercy on me and again show me Your pleasing form, O God of gods, O Abode of the universe."

In a past life, it is well known that Arjun was "Nar" and "Krishna" was Narayan (aka Nar-Narayan). Wherever there is Arjun there is Krishna or Narayan.

Further in Bhagavad Gita 18.62, Shree Krishna points to another entity as God. This verse reads: "Surrender exclusively unto Him with your whole being, O Bharat. By His grace, you will attain perfect peace and the eternal abode."

B.G. 18.62 is much like what Jesus spoke in the Gospel of John 5.24: "Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment. Indeed, he has crossed over from death to life."

Hopefully this helps answer the question.

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