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Narayana, in Hinduism, is the purification of the creative of Vishnu associated, therefore, with the sun. It is Narayana, as solar energy moving upon the face of the waters, which produces creation. At the end of this cycle of this particular universe, Narayana/Vishnu rests on the coiled form of Sesa-naga, the endless serpent, and when, in due course, he awakes again, the creative process is renewed. This myth of cosmic origins was then widely applied to spiritual awakening which occurs to one who meditates on Vishnu in his different aspects, but especially on that of Narayana. Eventually both the Vishnavites and Saivites identified Narayana with Brahma and regarded him as the atman which is present in all manifestations. He is also closely associated with Nara, so that nara-narayana constitute the union of man-god, thus, atman is Brahma. A.G.H.
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 684