Sleeping Floating Vishnu, Shiva Underneath Budhanikantha

Lord Vishnu is depicted as in Yoga Nidra, a Sate when one appears to be asleep but is fully conscious, in the Ksheera Saagara,Ocean of Milk .


Images of Vishnu in this state are found in many a temple in India.


But a Vishnu floating in water, lying down on Adisesha, the Snake, is  in Budhanikantha, Nepal.


Here Vishnu is lying face upwards on the Adisesha, floating  in a pond.


There is a belief that the if the King sees His eyes , it will be harmful to the eyes.




Sleeping floating Vishnu, Budhanikhanta, Nepal.Image.jpg.
Sleeping floating Vishnu, Budhanikhanta, Nepal.
Sleeping Vishnu in Water.jpg
Sleeping Vishnu in Water


The Temple is 9 Km from Kathmandu,Nepal.

Carved from a single block of black basalt stone of unknown origin, the Budhanilkantha statue is 5 meters in length and it lies in a reclining position inside a recessed tank of water (representing the cosmic sea) that is 13 meters in length.

Called the Sleeping Vishnu, or Jalakshayan Narayan, the statue depicts the deity reclining on the twisting coils of the cosmic serpent Shesha (Shesha is the eternal, multi-headed king of the serpent deities known as Nagas, and also is the servant of Vishnu).

Vishnu’s legs are crossed and the eleven heads of Shesha cradle his head.

Vishnu’s four hands hold objects that are symbols of his divine qualities: a chakra or disc (representing the mind), a conch-shell (the four elements), a lotus flower (the moving universe) and the club (primeval knowledge).

“Budhanilkatha’s name has been a source of endless confusion.

It has nothing to do with the Buddha (budha means “old”, though that doesn’t stop Buddhist Newars – a particular sect of Nepalese Buddhists – from worshipping the image). The real puzzler is why Budhanilkantha (literally “Old Blue Throat”), a title which unquestionably refers to Shiva, has been attached here to Vishnu.

The myth of Shiva’s blue throat, a favorite in Nepal, relates how the gods churned the ocean of existence and inadvertently unleashed a poison that threatened to destroy the world.

They begged Shiva to save them from their blunder and he obliged by drinking the poison. His throat burning, the great god flew up to the range north of Kathmandu, struck the mountainside with his trident to create a lake, Gosainkund, and quenched his thirst – suffering no lasting ill effect except for a blue patch on his throat.

The water in the Sleeping Vishnu’s tank is popularly believed to originate in Gosainkund, and Shaivas claim a reclining image of Shiva can be seen under the waters of the lake during the annual Shiva festival there in August, which perhaps explains the association.

Local legend maintains that a mirror-like statue of Shiva lies on the statue’s underside.”




One response to “Sleeping Floating Vishnu, Shiva Underneath Budhanikantha”

  1. There are multiple propositions on whether the deity that we see in temples are actual deities that were worshiped initially. A similar proposition surrounds the air of Srirangam. Many say that the actual deity that was being worshiped earlier has been buried under the temple and that, the current deity being worshiped is not the original Sri Ranganathar deity.

    To protect from invasion from Shaivaite rulers, the then managers of the temple installed a Ganapati idol in the entrance of the main sanctum sanctorum, giving the temple a Shaivite touch and ensuring that the temple is not converted into a Shaivite shrine. It is also said, which may be true and may be not. To save the temple from Mughal invasion, the actual idol was buried under the temple and they installed a duplicate idol. To save the temple from these foreign plunderers they even installed the idol of Tuluka Nachiyar and even today, respects are being paid to her. There is a humorous dialogue which is conducted between Ranganayaki thayar and Sri Ranganathar when he returns from Tuluka Nachiyar’s abode. There are also stories that say that a Mughal princess was deeply in love with Arangan and so, he took her as his wife.

    Many disputes even surround the shrine of Tirumala. Whether the deity is of Sri Venkateswara or of Murugan or like many people believe, an idol of Ambal in the form of a kanya. Whatever be the disputes, the most important aspect is worship and nama smaranam. As long as we continue doing this, the divine can have as many names! 🙂


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