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Vishnu is a major male deity in Hinduism, and the foundation of its Vaishnavism tradition. He is, along with Brahma and Shiva, a part of a Hindu trinity (Trimurti); however, ancient Hindu texts mention other trinities of gods or goddesses.

In Vaishnavism, Vishnu is identical to the formless metaphysical concept called Brahman, the supreme, the Svayam Bhagavan, who takes various avatars as "the preserver, protector" whenever the world is threatened with evil, chaos and destructive forces. His avatars (incarnations) most notably include Krishna in the Mahabharata and Rama in the Ramayana. He is also known as Narayana, Jagannatha, Vasudeva, Vithoba and Hari. He is included as one of the five equivalent deities in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta Tradition of Hinduism.

In Hindu inconography, Vishnu is usually depicted as having the dark or pale blue complexion and having four arms. He holds a padma(lotus flower) in his lower left hand, Kaumodaki gada (mace) in his lower right hand, Panchajanya shankha (conch) in his upper left hand and the Sudarshana Chakra (discus) in his upper right hand.

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