The peace-loving deity of the Hindu Trinity, Vishnu is the Preserver or Sustainer of life with his steadfast principles of order, righteousness and truth. When these values are under threat, Vishnu emerges out of his transcendence to restore peace and order on earth.
Avatars of Vishnu appeared in the world either to correct some great evil or to effect some great good on earth. These avatars are ten in number, however, the Bhag wad Purana increases them to twenty two and adds further that are innumerable.
The preserver god of the Trinity has four hands. The first holds a conch shell (sankha) indicating spread of the divine sound "Om"; one holds a discus (chakra), a reminder of the wheel of time, and to lead a good life; one holds a lotus (Padma) which is an example of glorious existence and the fourth hands holds a mace (gada) indicating the power and the punishing capacity of the Lord if discipline in life is ignored.