Vishnu is the lord of preservation and is known as the All-Provider.
He performs the cosmic function of cohesion. The constructive nature of his cosmic function stands out in contrast to the destructive dispersive power of Shiva. Vishnu’s function is to ensure the sustenance of the universe that Brahma has created. He represents the cosmic cause of existence and the symbolization of eternal life which keeps the universe as one.
Though he is one of the three Gods comprising the Trinity, his status in the minds of a big number of followers of Hinduism (this sect is often known as Vaishnavas) rose with time and eventually he came to be viewed as the supreme God. He is deemed to be omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. The Padma Purana identifies Vishnu with Brahman, the Supreme Being. Its version of the beginning of creation is thus: When the Supreme Being (identified as Vishnu himself), wanted to create the universe he transformed himself into three powers – the right side of his became Brahma, the Creator, the left became Vishnu, the Preserver and the middle portion became Shiva, the Destroyer.
The divine arbitrator of all disputes
Vishnu is seen as being the divine arbitrator of all disputes – whether involving humans or gods. He ensures the establishment of peace by interceding on behalf of others. Vishnu personified tolerance and patience and gentleness is the hallmark of his personality.
The name Vishnu owes its root to the word “Vish”, which indicates “spreading in or pervading all directions”. It is indicated that he is the core in all that exists as well as the force which keeps everything tied. He is said to pervade everything just as an infinite ocean. It is this ocean from which the universe is said to have emerged. Since water is also known by the word “Nara”, his name Narayana has a natural linkage with water. Narayana literally means he who moves on the waters.
He, who possesses a tranquil form, lies on the bed of snake, from whose navel has sprung the lotus… He, who is the Lord of all Gods, the support of the universe, who is similar to the sky and has the color of the cloud and possesses handsome limbs… He, who is the lord of Laxmi (goddess of wealth), having lotus-like eyes and realized by yogis (sages) in meditation… Obeisance to that Vishnu who is the dispeller of the fear of rebirth and is the lord of all the worlds.