The main Yagna (fire-ritual) described in the Vedas is the Soma Yagna, where a drink taken from a plant (whose identity was lost) is offered. But the Vedas also describe some less important Yagnas, and in the Taittiriya Samhita of the Yajur Veda, the Fourth Prathaka of the Third Khanda describes some Yagnas that are optional. Here is one of the verses chanted during such a Yagna:

iii. 4. 5. a Agni overlord of creatures, may he help me; Indra of powers, Yama of earth, Vayu of the atmosphere, Surya of the sky, Candramas of Naksatras, Brhaspati of holy power, Mitra of truths, Varuna of waters, the ocean of streams, food of lordships overlord, may it help me; Soma of plants, Savitr of instigations, Rudra of cattle, Tvastr of forms, Visnu of mountains, the Maruts of troops overlords, may they help me.

Some of these are understandable, like Surya the Sun god being overlord of the sky, Chandra the Moon god being overlord of stars (as described in the Bhagavad Gita), and Shiva being overlord of cattle (which is why he's called Pashupati). But my question is, why is Vishnu described as overlord of mountains? What connection does Vishnu have to mountains in particular?

Could this be related to the Rig Veda describing Vishnu as a mountain-roaming bull, which I discuss in this question? Or could this be related to Venkateshwara (the Vishnu deity in Tirupati, AKA Balaji or Srinivasa), who is called the lord of seven hills?

  • @@Keshav - Not only the rigvedic statement, if, you see, many of the Vishnu shrines (Vaikhanasa or Pancharatra), are on top of a mountain or a hill. Most of the Narasimha kshetras are on mountains. This could be one of the reasons why it says, Vishnu of mountains... – user808 Mar 4 '15 at 12:10
  • @Krishna But this is thousands of years older than the existence of temples; Archa Avataram is unique to the Kali Yuga. In any case, for the other gods the connection to what they're the overlord of seems to be a much closer one (like Chandra being overlord of the Nakshatras). So I expect that there is some closer relation to mountains than the one you're suggesting. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 4 '15 at 12:44
  • @Krishna Let us continue this discussion in chat. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 5 '15 at 19:42
  • @@Keshav- Please check the following link of TTD. BTW, Here is the link :tirumala.org/STTempleLegends.aspx – They clearly mention that brahma purana also refers to Venkatachala legend. Now, i don't know, in which section of the English translated Brahma purana vol 1 to 4(links of which were provided by you in the chat). I was unable to download the English Brahma purana copies from the Dpace links provided by you. Even, padma purana copy, i couldn't download from the Dspace link provided, except a few sections. Maybe there is some problem at my end in downloading. Sorry about that. – user808 Mar 27 '15 at 17:08
  • @Krishna Hmm, DSpace is working fine for me. What happens when you try to download from it? Anyway, if DSpace isn't working for you, you can use the Digital Library of India instead, via the program DLI downloader. (DLI also has all four volumes of the Brahma Purana.) Here is the latest version of DLI downloader: github.com/cancerian0684/dli-downloader/releases Or, if you have Windows XP, use this version instead: code.google.com/p/dli-downloader – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 27 '15 at 18:05

Here is the meaning provided in Shamkara bhasya for the NarasimhaPoorvatapaniyaupanishad.

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Shankarabhasya is as follows: Hope this helps:

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As discussed with a well versed srivaishnava friend of mine, the following is the general english translation

  1. Lord Vishnu is the Antaryami of all.

  2. Also, Giri: means, Vedas, so the it also means that "Lord Vishnu is the one who praised by Vedas".

  3. Another, meaning would be girisanta, the Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Lord prounpounded by Vedanta i.e. Upanishads.

  4. Another meaning which is not in the bhasya is girisanta”, ie, the source, end, limit or origin of Girisha (pArvati pati rudradeva). So, Lord Vishnu/Narasimha is the source, origin and limit for Lord Rudra or Parvatipati (Girisha)

The sayana bhasya for the Tatittiriya samhita 3.4.5 verse, regarding Vishnu goes as follows.

Vishnuhu parvatanaam govardanadhi namadhi patihi !! (meaning is self evident)

I checked with a well versed srivaishnava and the following is the meaning provided for the

Vishnuhu parvatanaam govardanadhi namadhi patihi !!

Lord is antaryAmI of gOvardhanam and all the mountains. In Badri Kshetram also, Lord Vishnu/Narayana is in mountain form. Lord is also antaryAmI of thirumalai as per Azhwars.

Adding the actual verses from taittiriya samhita 3.4.5 (Krishna Yajurveda) and its meaning by sayanaacharya, in sanskrit as per sayanacharya bhasya...

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Meaning in sanskrit as per sayanacharya bhasya:

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  • Can you provide an English translation? – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 5 '15 at 18:32
  • I'd really appreciate it if you could provide English translations, especially a translation of Sayana's commentary on this verse, which I'm really eager to read. Even if you only have a rough idea of what it means, that's better than nothing. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 5 '15 at 19:58

The Sanskrit verse used in YajurVeda Taittariya Samhita 3.4.5 is:

 विष्णु पर्वतानां ।
Vishnu Parvatãnãm

Vishnu of the Parvatas.

The word 'Parvata' is used there which can be used to mean both mountains and Hills.

Regarding that verse Sayana just uses a single sentence and tells:

विष्णुः पर्वतानां गोवर्धनादीनामधिपति ।

Vishnu the Lord of Paravatas like Gorvardhana.

Sayana is primarily using the meaning 'Hill' of the word 'Paravat'. So, this verse can be intrepreted also to mean:

Vishnu the lord of Paravatas like 7 Hills of Venkateshwara.


in Vishnu Sahasranamam "Akroorah peshalo daksho dakshinah kshaminam varah literally means that Lord Vishnu or Sriman Narayana is also Daksha father of Dakshayani and also the "Dakshinah kshaminam" the one who forgave the mistake of Daksha which is Lord Siva (kshama - is the quality of tolerant and forgiving).

Hence Vishnu is both Daksha who didn't respect Siva and Siva who actually forgiven the act of Daksha.

Daksha is also called Giriraja or Lord of the Hills.

  • 3
    No. Girija is Parvati. Girirajaja is Himavan(Himalayan mountain). Daksha and Himavan are different. Daughter of Daksha is different incarnation of Parvati. – Sarvabhouma Mar 15 '17 at 3:16
  • can cite the reference from? – Sriram Gopalakrishnan Mar 15 '17 at 7:56
  • if you thignk you are right Himavan's Puthri is Hema Latha and Daksha's daughter is Dakshayini. you may read Simad Bhaghavatham and clarify this. – Sriram Gopalakrishnan Mar 15 '17 at 7:58
  • Which commentary of Vishnu Sahasranamam are you using? Is it own translation? – Sarvabhouma Mar 15 '17 at 8:13

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