God Sri Vishnu's various sleeping postures (''sayana Nithra'')

Sayana Perumal, Tanjore painting. ethnictanjorearts.com

Hinduism, Trinity Gods. nilayashokshah.wordpress.com

In Hinduism  there are three basic concepts essential for the survival of human life and the universe. The cyclic nature of this aspect has scientific connotations. They are   creation, preservation and destruction.  The universe and the earth obey this cyclic  natural process  and the earth, in particular, goes through all the three phases. This process may be slow or fast, depending on the nature's play and emerging circumstances then and there.   These three acts are related to three Hindu gods called Trinity Gods. Brahma takes care of   the creation, Vishnu  is for protection and preservation and Shiva is in charge of destruction, in particular of one's ego.. With reference to Shiva's work, it is not total annihilation, it involves transformation of one state into another. Tree is destroyed and buried underground, through  the geologic process for a long period time,  buried trees are transformed into coal. Among the trinity gods, Vishnu is credited with giving salvation to people, besides protecting them  and others  and' offering sustenance.   When lawlessness prevails on earth, Vishnu is supposed to  to incarnate  as ''Kalki'' to restore order by eliminating the evil forces and protecting the good.

Since protection and preservation is a laborious task, God Vishnu  is supposedly taking  rest between his work. Invariably, God Vishnu's idol is portrayed as being in a yogic sleep called  Sayanam.on the coiled bed of serpent called  Adishsha in the  Paarkkadal, Ksheera Sagara (Ocean of Milk; symbolically it represents the ocean of knowledge)   and the idol is referred to as Syana murthy. His sleep is called Yoga Nidra (Sleeping posture in Yoga) or Ari Thuyil  (in Tamil-sleeping while being aware of everything). The serpent represents cosmic energy and the postures by the God represent cosmic balance between finite and infinite. 

This kind of reclining posture of Sri Vishnu is quite familiar, examples: Srirangam Ranganathar (TN), Srirangapatna Ranganathar, (Karnataka), Sri Padmanabha Swamy of Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) Vadapathra sayee of Srivilliputhur (TN) etc. 

Appakudathan temple. ,Koviladi.  in.pinterest.com

Above image: Appakudathan Prumal temple ,Koviladi, nesr Thiruvaiyaru. Here the  Moolavar idol is in Kidantha Kolam and in bhujanga sayanam facing west direction.

Mythological concept of God Vishnu, drik panchang.com

The classification of  Yoga Nidra/reclining pose of Lord Vishnu  is based on  the attitude, position of legs (including sripatham), hands, etc.,  and the attributes. They are:  Ardha sayanam, Yogasayanam, Virasayanam and Bhogasayanam, etc  .

Ardhasayana Vishnu:  Vishnu is lying on the coiled serpent Adisheha with his right arm placed on the pillow and the other hand stretched down and left leg with a slight bend.

Bhogasayanam   In this posture Sri Vishnu's consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi  are on either side of his  holy feet; the latter close to the feet.  The space between the two legs is  set according to the Sastras. Ex .Srirangam Thiruvellore, Thirukkottiyur, etc.

Yogasayanam:  The deity is seen reclining on the serpent bed with right arm on the pillow and left arm a little close to the waist. The right leg  is stretched straight while the left leg a bit  is bent gracefully.  His  eyes  are half open symbolic of  meditative attitude, This posture  goes by other name it is known as Ardhartha sayanam .

Virasayanam: In this posture. the God is lying on the snake bed  with the right arm on the pillow, the left stretched. But his  two upper hands hold his  distinctive attribute - conch (Sangu)  and magical disc (Chakra). 

Uthara Sayanam: Uthara Sayanam: God Vishnu is reclining on a raised serpent bed. He is trying to wake up  from the bed.  Example. Sarangapani Temple, Kumbakonam (Thanjavur Dist)..

The other sayanams are: 

Annatha sayanam: Deity is lying on the serpent bed of Ananta. It represents cosmic balance between finite and infinite. ex. Padmanabha Swamy temple, Thiruvantha Puram, Kerala.

Vadabadra Sayanam,  Nidra murthy Vadabadra sayee (the deity has a separate shrine), Srivilliputtur, Tamil Nadu.

Veera Sayanam at Thiruindalur near Mayuram (Myiladuthurai), Tamil Nadu.

Dharpa Sayanam. With a view to crossing over to Lanka (Sri Lanka)  to bring back his consort Sita , being held hostage by demon king Ravanna.  Sri Rama, in this place meditated  by lying on the bed of Dharba (dried grass).   Thiruppullani Perumal temple, Tamil Nadu.

Manikka Sayanam. Thiruneermalai, near Chennai. Moolavar Image not available

Anantha Sayana Vishnu. hindupad.com

 Anantha sayanam,Padmanabha Swamy temple, TV.Puram. Kerala vaikhari.org

Annatha sayanam: Deity is lying on the coiled bed of serpent Ananta, symbolic of cosmic balance of infinity and finity.

Uthara sayanam, Kumbakonam Sarangapani temple. indianmandirs.blogspot.com/

 Moolavar.image (not available) Srivilliputhur Andal temple, TN. speakingtree.in blog

Srivilliputhur Andal temple,Sayana Perumal. temple.dinamalar.com

Above images:  July 31, 2022  At Andal temple, Srivilliputhur  Aadipooram utchavam was held in a grand manner this year and on the 7th day night there was Sayana Seva that was attended by lots of devotees.  On that day both Andal and Rangamannar will be taken  in a procession through the four maada streets. Upon return to the temple at night Rangamannar resting his head on Thayyar Andal's lap in Sayana kolam  will bless the devotees. Temple priests - bhattacaryas this year did puja rituals with special attention.......  
Veera sayanam. Parmala Perumal, Mayavaram. dinamalar.com

Srirangam, TN, Raganathar idol in Boga sayanam, en.wikipedia.org

Sri Naanmadhiya Perumal Temple, Nagapattinamblessingsonthenet.com
                                                                          Yoga Sayanam

Above image:  Yoga sayanam:  Govindaraja Perumal, Chidambaram, TN  and  Sri Naanmadhiya Perumal Temple, named as ‘Thiruthalaichanga Nanmadiyam’ is lat Thalaichangadu, Akkur, Nagapatnam district.  The main  deity  is  with Panchajanyam (conch) facing the east direction. Lord Naanmadhiya Perumal blesses the devotees here along with Goddess Sridevi and Goddess Bhoodevi,  with one of his arms placed on  his hip. It is said that Lord Vishnu worshipped Lord Shiva to obtain the Panchajanyam, the conch, which is considered to be more precious. The Thiru sayanakollam is similar to the one at Chidambaram.- yoga nitra sayanam- symbolic of eternity of space and time. The god is omnipresent and omnipotent.