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
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 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. Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 12:44
  • @Krishna Let us continue this discussion in chat. Commented Mar 5, 2015 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
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 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 Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 18:05

3 Answers 3


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.


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? Commented Mar 5, 2015 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. Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 19:58

The link to the mountains may come from this description of the previous Vaman Avatar of Lord Vishnu mentioned in the Padma Puran. I am unable to copy the text so sharing the screenshot:

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As mentioned in the text again and again the sacrificial site where this incident happened was on a mountain. The rest of the story is similar to that of Asura Bali so am not sharing the entire thing but here the demon is Bhaskali and the boon of three steps is asked by Indra on behalf of Vaman. Also in the end Vaman tells him that he shall kill the demon in his Varah form but till then he was to rule the netherworld.

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I am not sure if this is the only reason but since Vedas mention mostly the Vamana incarnation of Lord Vishnu, it might make sense that Lord Vishnu's relation to mountains also comes from the same avatar.

  • There is a feature called OCR using which we can copy text from image. Please use that feature and write answer in the form of text. We discourage image only and link only answers. They might get deleted. Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 18:55

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