The Ramayana

Vishnu Character Analysis

Vishnu is one of the gods that make up the Hindu Trinity (alongside Shiva and Brahma). Vishnu is referred to as the protector. In his divine form, he carries a conch and a wheel and rests on the coils of a serpent. Lakshmi is his wife. Vishnu agrees to incarnate as Rama in order to destroy Ravana and the other rakshasas.

Vishnu Quotes in The Ramayana

The The Ramayana quotes below are all either spoken by Vishnu or refer to Vishnu. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Heroism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Ramayana published in 2006.
Prologue Quotes

Ravana can be destroyed only by a human being since he never asked for protection from a human being.

Related Characters: Vishnu (speaker), Rama, Ravana, Dasaratha, Brahma, Shiva
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
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4. Encounters in Exile Quotes

Rama's whole purpose of incarnation was ultimately to destroy Ravana, the chief of the asuras, abolish fear from the hearts of men and gods, and establish peace, gentleness, and justice in the world.

Related Characters: Rama, Ravana, Vishnu
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
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Vishnu Character Timeline in The Ramayana

The timeline below shows where the character Vishnu appears in The Ramayana. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
The mentor remembers a vision he had in which all the gods appealed to Vishnu for help in defeating Ravana. The gods explained to Vishnu that they'd promised Ravana extraordinary... (full context)
1. Rama's Initiation
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...the story of Mahabali. He explains that the ground where they're walking was once where Vishnu meditated. While Vishnu was thus engaged, Mahabali seized earth and heaven and crowned himself the... (full context)
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
Mahabali agreed, but one of his advisors tried to steer him away from granting Vishnu's wish. Mahabali told the advisor that it would be improper to not grant this request,... (full context)
2. The Wedding
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...beauty. She meets his eyes. The narrator explains that the two had been together as Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi not long ago, but as humans, they don't know this. The... (full context)
3. Two Promises Revived
Heroism Theme Icon
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...should be king. The gods watch the debate, fearing that if Rama agrees to return, Vishnu's incarnation will be for naught. Finally, Bharatha agrees to rule as a regent and asks... (full context)
6. Vali
Heroism Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...Sugreeva speak privately, and Hanuman says that he believes that Rama is an incarnation of Vishnu and should therefore be able to defeat Vali. Further, Hanuman was told by his father... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...them. Sugreeva tells Dundubi's story. Dundubi was a monstrous buffalo-shaped demon. Dundubi had sought out Vishnu and asked for the privilege of fighting forever. Dundubi was eventually directed to Vali, and... (full context)
9. Ravana in Council
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...the gods can't curse him. Ravana insists that he's not afraid of an incarnation of Vishnu since Vishnu has been defeated many times, and Ravana calls for his armies. When Vibishana... (full context)
12. Rama and Ravana in Battle
Heroism Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...chase Rama. Ravana blows a conch shell as a challenge, and out of the universe Vishnu's conch answers with its own call. Matali follows this by blowing Indra's conch, and the... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...Rama is actually divine and not just human. He thinks that Rama can't possibly be Vishnu, but resolves again to kill Rama regardless. Ravana sends more flaming weapons at Rama, but... (full context)
14. The Coronation
Heroism Theme Icon
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...that he's divine. Brahma addresses Rama and reminds him of the Trinity (Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu), and tells Rama that he's an incarnation of Vishnu. Brahma adds that Sita is also... (full context)
Epilogue
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...reader that when he was young, Hanuman had been told to dedicate his life to Vishnu, which he did. The narrator says that the story goes that wherever you hear Rama's... (full context)