Vishnu is one of the most important deities in the Hindu divine hierarchy, along with Brahma, the Creator, and Shiva, the Destroyer. Vishnu keeps creation in existence; he maintains the balance between good and evil. In times of trouble he descends to earth in an incarnation suitable to restoring order. For example, Vishnu once manifested himself as a boar when a water demon had sunk the earth in the ocean. The giant beast rescued the earth by tossing it up with its snout. Another avatar of Vishnu is Krishna, the child of the wicked King Kamsa. Vishnu himself can be recognized by the crown on his head and the lozenge-shaped jewel on his chest. He is usually mounted on Garuda, a mythical creature, part human and part eagle. Vishnu has four arms, with which he holds his attributes.



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