According to the Hindu religious scholars and pundits, the name “Nara-Narayana” is derive from the Sanskrit terms and it can be broken into Nara and Narayana. As per the meaning of the language, Nara largely means human and on the other hand Narayana refers to the deity of the same name.
According to the Monier-Williams dictionary, the term “Nara-Narayana is explained as “Nara is the primeval Man or eternal Spirit pervading the universe (always associated with Narayana, “son of the primeval man”; both are considered either as gods or sages and accordingly called.”
As per the local legends, in the epic poetry, “Nara-Narayana are mentioned as the sons of Dharma by Ahimsa or Murti. There are also emanations of Vishnu, Arjuna being strongly identified with Lord Nara, and Krishna with Lord Narayana. It is to be remembered that Narayana is Lord Vishnu while Nara is Lord Shesha. These facts can be related to Mahabharata, Purana and Harivamsa.
In images in the shrines that are dedicated to Nara-Narayana, they are jointly or separately depicted. It is to be highly noted that when depicted separately, Narayana is portrayed on the right in the usual form of Lord Vishnu and Nara is shown wearing deer skin and with two hands.
On the other hand, in some shrines, Nara-Narayana is depicted identical to each other. It is to be remembered that they are depicted resembling Vishnu with four-armed holding a discus, a mace, a conch and a lotus. There are this type of image in most of the shrines that are spread across the northern India and few shrines in central and southern India.