When a mantra is given in the Puranas, it's usually preceded by a Dhyanam, which describes the appearance of the god whom you're supposed to meditate upon before reciting the mantra. For instance, in my profile page I quote the Sri Vishnu Stuti, which is part of the Dhyana shlokas of the Vishnu Sahasranamam. But now I'm interested in the Dhyana of another mantra.

This excerpt from the Narada Purana describes a mantra called the Keshava Nyasa, a hymn to Vishnu which was heard from the gods by the sage Narayana, an incarnation of Vishnu whom I discuss here. Here's the appearance of Vishnu you're supposed to meditate upon before reciting it:

On should worship Hari who is equipped with discus and other weapons, who is holding a vessel and a mirror. He is accompanied by Lakshmi who has the brilliance of lightning and who is adorned with a lot of ornaments.

My question is, why is Vishnu described as "holding a vessel and a mirror"?

First of all, what does "vessel" mean here? Does it mean a ship or a container of some kind? I'm not sure what Sanskrit word is being translated as vessel, but if someone can look in the Sanskrit version of the Narada Purana, available here and here, I'd appreciate it.

Are there any other scriptures which mention Vishnu holding a vessel and a mirror, and/or explain their significance? I suppose the mirror could signify that the individual soul is reflected in Vishnu, or something along those lines.

  • 3
    This is "kumbhādarśadharaṃ harim" from verse 99, page 493 in the link you gave. (Found it as the header in your excerpt says III.66.84–104 for that page, and I scrolled around in that link until I found "अथषट्षष्टितमोऽध्यायः", i.e. "now the 66th chapter", then matched the excerpt (which is a close translation) and the verses.) That's presumably kumbha (jar, pitcher, water-pot, ...) and ādarśa (looking-glass, mirror, ...). As for the iconography of Hari bearing a kumbha, I don't know any details. Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 21:13
  • @ShreevatsaR Thank you so much! That should help me find an answer. Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 21:40
  • @KeshavSrinivasan It may be the dhanvantari avatar who appears in samudramathan. He appears with a vessel of nectar. I don't know about mirror thing. Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 10:41
  • The mirror could be Mohini. Visnu dharmottara doesn't mention Mohini's svarupa but it does mention Uma's holding a lotus and a mirror. Mirror signifies pure knowledge. As Brahmanda Purana mentions Vishnu becoming Mohini due to Uma's grace it could be that Mohini retained that image of holding a mirror. Although this is just pure speculation and I don't have any proof of Mohini's iconography.
    – Arya
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 19:53
  • Mind is the mirror that reflects the athma to itself provided it is calm and pure and unperturbed(like the reflection on the surface of a water body). The vessel could mean -the worldly gifts that the Lord is ready to offer. The significance of the image is that the Lord is ready to offer both Athma Jnyana and worldly gifts. It is upto us what to ask for. Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 3:12

1 Answer 1


Hari Om Tat Sat

Mirror is exemplifying the clarity of ever unique perception that is ever discerningly being able to reflect upon the essence of nature's evolutionary tract where the past, present and the future converge and re emanate from the form that we are projecting well insight/-/towards itself.

In the cascading process of how things tend to unfold, we either tend to defy or define-where the absolute free will of choice is being ours, but then when we step ought of that moment/its momentum also accompanies us in its purest entirety.

Which also seeks to introspectively contemplate on the tributaries of the energetic impulses that are permeating and suffusing us with the scope of being able to realize far more eminently.

But well, at times-its seems like nothing else matters except that our insistence of that/those moments represents everything else that could ever matter?

So what the reflection of the mirror does is curating the process quite swiftly to ensure that we are not just absolving ourselves from some other commitments or trying to transcend one sphere to another without legitimate observance of our soulful consciousness's authentication.

Its more like when we just - we meaning some of us - that when we just want to catapult and take a leap of faith, but then is that being accompanied and embodying observance of the respective disciplines tenets? or was it just conveniently over shadowing certain pretexts whimsically?

So the lens of the mirror is being able to ever sharply scrutinize and amplifying and magnifying the actuality of certain aspects that we might think have not been perceived by anyone and have that chalta hain...attitude - meaning that oh yeah, its alright.....hmmm....well there is no hmmm. its hymn, the sacredness of all that is ever been, is being and will ever be is aligning with the other characteristics of nature's evolution to ensure that the unfolding and unfurling process is precisely adhering to a well defined code of conduct that we each were well acquainted with-when ever more cognizant with our primordial visions core objectives; but since then as we might have prioritized so many other aspects as our goal and sole contention, so thus certain overlooking of the essential criteria occurs, but is not being overlooked by that which is foreseeing much more than us for the greater good sustainability of creative evolutionary renaissance that is consistently unveiling and providing a glimpse to those who are qualifying/becoming ever more eligible in divine grace, virtue, wisdom and likewise characteristics/disciplines orientatedness.

Regarding the reflection, its also meaning that when we are dealing with a certain aspect of our lives, we are either more into another phase altogether while expecting yet another precisionality to unfold in an entirely disconnected segment to mystically integrate-how come? Where's the essence of our DNA being focused, for our Divine Nature's Awareness consciousness has well equipped/endowed and keeps bestowing us with the tools-the essentialities, but the svadhyay=self study that begins from well insight and then engineers a phenomenal growth orientation has to earnestly begin from very well insight the echelons of our higher consciousness's absolute reverentiality realms.....

And the vessel denotes the symposium of abundance where goodwill that is God's will prevails and sustains each and every aspect in its ever note worthier exaltedness.....its time and again not about the fanciness of any words, since without any words being spoken, in the absolute pure stillness that God's pure divine consciousness elucidates far much more meaningfulness/purposefulness and the core reality than even several thousands sets of scriptures never could rendition.....

Its also inspiring us to realize that now in the present day world, we have to come to terms with the absolute reality of our lives in ensuring that we are not resenting anyone and neither are we baring ourselves in any manner through any nefarious practices or otherwise that we tend to become routed in all that's more intricately entangling us into some vortex or another, for the time we re emerge from that/those whirlpools the depletion of our energies and constancy of purposefulness might have significantly diminished and with that abatement, we are only quenching for some insatiable thirst of not just the water, but the amrita? How come, we have not made ourselves worthy enough and indiscriminately ventured in indulging with contravention of certain boundaries/thresholds that we knew very well were restricted and against our core interest-but for that illusive momentary pleasure, we might've acquired a plethora of incessant pressure....... for our deep rooted nature seeks establishment of a harmonious equilibrium,, whereby each and every tattva-element is attuning with the essence of its absolute divine graciousness in all that is ever being envisioned...........

The vessel is also representing the sanctification-where as we immerse ourselves insightfully with observance of an ab'soul'utely meritorious code of conduct in all that's ever being envisioned, focused, sought....we are thereby likewise replenishing those unique sets of creative competencies to keep on amazingly becoming showered and fulfilled with an ever remarkable sets of impulses, frequencies, resonances, tendencies......and where this bears relevance to this Kaliyuga, its about ensuring that we are pragmatically and ever more realistically evolving in precise accordance/conformance and tandem-akin to the celestial tandava dance in a well rhythmic process that is not just harping and musing or idly just reminiscing, but ever more commendably sharpening our wits, our intellectual prowess to be championing the self development/self improvement matrix of our entire/our absolute selves in all that-what=worth we are being to life and not just in what life's being to us - this is practicing our absolute pure divine self acceptance in all that's ever being - where we are learning to/true/turiya avastha be................beacon.............beckoning........ that which expands our insightful awareness true worth's an ever better and fulfilling version of ourselves as we wear/were always meant true.thorough/ought be............


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