He is the central figure of legends in the Aitareyabrahmana, Mahabharata and the Markandeyapurana.
Though Siva, too, assumes various forms, the incarnation theory is peculiarly characteristic of Vaishnavism; and the fact that the principal hero of the Ramayana (Rama), and one of the prominent warriors of the Mahabharata (Krishna) become in this way identified with the supreme god, and remain to this day the chief objects of the adoration of Vaishnava sectaries, naturally imparts to these creeds a human interest and sympathetic aspect which is wholly wanting in the worship of Siva.
According to the Mahabharata he is at last promoted to Paradise as the reward for his munificent charity.
The literary documents, both in Sanskrit and Pali, dating from about the time of Buddha onwards - particularly the two epic poems, the Mahabharata and Ramayana - still show us in the main the personnel of the old pantheon; but the character of the gods has changed; they have become anthropomorphized and almost purely mythological figures.
The Ramayana and Mahabharata afford evidence of the employment of incense by the Hindus, in the worship of the gods and the burning of the dead, from the remotest antiquity.