Lord Vishnu, the Preserver and Protector
Of the Hindu gods and goddesses, Lord Vishnu embodies goodness and mercy. He is represented seated on the serpent Shesha. Vishnu never sleeps and is the Hindu deity of Shanti, peace. He has four weapons or attributes: the conch, disc, club and lotus.
In the cosmos, good and evil forces are balanced. When this balance is disrupted, Vishnu takes a human form to set it right. There are nine avatars or incarnations of Vishnu. These are Matsya (fish), Kurma (turtle), Varaha (boar), Narasingha (lion), Vamana (dwarf), Parasurama, Ram, Krishna, Buddha . Kalki is the future incarnation which is to come at the end of Kaliyuga.
Goddess Lakshmi is the consort of Vishnu. When the gods were exiled, Lakshmi took refuge in the ocean of milk. She was reborn when the ocean was churned. As soon as she appeared, the gods fell in love with her. Shiva, claimed her, but her hand was given to Vishnu.
Lakshmi was reborn as Vishnu's consort in every incarnation of his, as Sita, Radha and Rukmini.
Of the Hindu gods and goddesses, Lakshmi is the Goddess of light, beauty, good fortune and wealth.
Vishnu's Seventh Avatar, Ram was the Prince of Ayodhya, and the son of King Dasharatha and Queen Kausilya. He had three brothers, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. The Hindu god Ram bent the bow of Lord Shiva at the swayamvara organized by King Janak, and accordingly, won the hand of the King's daughter,Sita.
When he returned to Ayodhya, on the request of his father's third wife, Kaikeyi, he was banished for 14 years. During this period of exile, the brothers Ram and Lakshmana, and Sita, and numerous adventures. On one occasion, Ram spurned Surpanakha's marriage proposal. She was the sister of the King of Lanka, Ravana. Enraged, Surpanakha attempted to kill Sita, but Lakshmana cut her nose and one ear. She then appealed to her brother to avenge her. She tempted him by suggesting that Sita will make a fitting bride for him. Ravana kidnapped Sita. To rescue her, Ram sought the help of the monkey king, Sugreeva. Sugreeva arranged a huge army of monkeys and bears, led by Hanuman .
Hanuman flew across the ocean to Lanka. There he was captured by the rakshasas (demons), and his tail was set on fire. However, Hanuman used his powers to increase the length of his tail such that there was no end to it. He then escaped, setting Lanka on fire with his burning tail.
Meanwhile, Ram's army had built a bridge across the ocean. They entered Ravana's kingdom. In battle, Lakshmana was grievously injured. Hanuman flew to the Himalays to bring back the herb that would cure him. However, he was unable to find it, and hence, brought back the whole mountain. In the battle, Ram killed Ravana and rescued Sita. They returned to Ayodhya, where they were crowned King and Queen.
The Eight Incarnation of Vishnu, Krishna , was the son of Devaki, sister of the demon King Kamsa. Kamsa had been informed by the sage Narada, that he would be killed by his nephew. So, he put to death, six of Devaki's children. The seventh child, Balarama, managed to escape, and the eight, Krishna, was exchanged for a cowherd's daughter.
Krishna was brought up in the cowherd's family, by his foster-mother Yashoda. He looked after and protected the cows, and is, hence, also called Gopala. He loved to play the flute and seduce the village girls ( gopis ). Of these, his favorite was Radha.
Krishna is the deity of humor. Of the Hindu gods and goddesses, Lord Krishna is the prankster, and the deity who embodies love and joy. During the Mahabharatha, he spoke words of wisdom to Arjuna. These form the essence of the Bhagavad Gita.
This Hindu Goddess was born from the water pot in which Brahma washed his feet. She was very pretty and delightful. However, one day when a gust of wind blew off the cloth that was covering Rishi Durvasa, she laughed so hard that the rishi cursed her. She was reincarnated as a river in which people seek purification. This river is the holy Ganges.
Indra is the king of the Hindu gods and goddesses. He is the ruler of heaven, and the God of thunder and rain. He symbolizes fortitude and courage. The Hindu god Indra rides an elephant Airavata. He also has a golden chariot that is drawn by 10,000 horses. He carries a hook, sword, conch, noose, rainbow and the magic weapon Vaijra.
She is the Hindu goddess of food and cooking, and is an incarnation of Parvati (also known as Durga), the consort of Lord Shiva.
A Closer Look at the Amethyst
The color of this gemstone ranges from a pale lilac to a black purple. The lighter amethysts are cheaper and more popular. If the stone is excessively heated, it changes to a yellow color.
The amethyst is a member of the quartz family. It occurs naturally as crystals within rocks. Amethysts have been found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Madagascar, Zambia, Australia, Russian mountains and the United States of America. It is interesting that these precious gemstones have been discovered in ruins dating as far back as the ninth century.
Amethysts have for years been worn in pendants, rings, bracelets, earrings, brooches and pins. For the jeweler who works with amethysts, understanding subtleties of the stone is of utmost importance. He must respect its magnificent aesthetic allure as well as its healing powers, and cut and set it with discretion and skill.
Over the years, amethysts have been set in various metals and non metals. Their grace and beauty has been accentuated by placing them with various complimentary stones as well. Amethyst silver jewelry is one such specimen of the magic of gemstone jewelry.