In terms of etymology Vish & Shiv are opposing forces. Shiv therefore represents the intense coalescing forces in the Universe. It is all the dark matter and its Shiv’s power that collapses the black holes to the center of each galaxy. But, closer at hand Shiva is the reservoir of the terrestrial energies. His abode metaphorically is the Mount of Kailash and he sits there with his consort Pārvati. The river Ganges entangled in Shiv’s flowing mane, at another level, stands for ‘Aakash-Ganga’ – the Sanskrit name for our galaxy ‘the Milky-way’.
Vishnu is often depicted with flames or agni emanating from Him and Shiv has snakes or nāgini around His neck. The root verb ‘ag’ means ‘a tortuous movement’ and the suffix ‘ni’ means in this context ‘to throw out’. So, agni is ‘the flickering of the flame’ that shines and spews forth energy. The opposite is na-agni or nāgini that means literally ‘a black tortuous movement’ that absorbs energy. And together their domain is called the Vishwa that is the entire visible and radiating Universe along with its ‘dark matter’. Vishnu has many layers of meanings from the Supernovas, Quasars, Galaxies, billions of stars like our Sun and so on and so forth. Thus, in our myths, He has many representations like Adityā, Varun, Sūrya etc., and in fact, Mishraji has devoted an entire chapter in this book to “Vishnu and His One Thousand Names”. Some are very powerful metaphysical concepts. Mishraji says, “Some of these names are masculine, some feminine and some neuter. Each opens a vista of ideas and inspires us to visualize a supraphysical factor which cannot easily be grasped by the tools of our understanding in their given state of development. Vishnu is the principle of consciousness which illuminates all experiences”.