Vishnu Sahasranaama

(151) Upendrah – The younger brother of Indra. In His Incarnation as Vaamana, He was born to Aditi, who was the mother of Indra, and hence, the Lord is known as the “Younger brother of Indra”. In Sanskrit the prefix upa denotes *Above’ in the sense of ‘superior to’; therefore, Upendra may also mean “One who is superior to Indra”, the king of gods. Such an explanation we find in the Harivarnsa.

Indra, the king of the sense-organs, is the mind and the Consciousness, which is the Self, is the One factor that dynamises the mind. Since life is that which controls even the mind, certainly It is superior to the mind and this Self is the Maha Vishnu.

(152) Vaamanah ? Of the ten great incarnations, the fifth one is Vaamana; and the very name indicates ‘One who has a small body’. It was in the form of a child (vatuh = A child student in a guntkula)that Vaamana approached the divinely righteous Emperor Mahaabali to beg of him a little land, of the length of his tiny three steps?and the Lord measured in His three steps all the three worlds and thus conquered Mahaabali. He checked (Vamayati) the rising pride of possession in Bali. hence He, in that incarnation as a Vatu, is called Vaamana.

The term Vaamana also means ‘worshipful’. “Him, the Dwarf, sitting in the middle of the heart, all gods adore”, so we read in the Kathopanishad . However, here the emphasis should be upon the meaning “short statured” because of the contrast it makes with the following name.

(153) Praamsuh – One whose body is vast is called Praamsuh. Vaamana, when He got the promise from the righteous King, and when He started measuring, the Lord took His Cosmic Form, and with each step measured the earth, the interspace, and the heaven. In Harivarnsa there is a beautiful description of the little Vaamana growing into His Total Form. The rate of His expansion is described with reference to two fixed factors the Sun and the Moon. When He took the form, the Sun and the Moon were His eyes; as He measured the earth, they came to His bosom; as He was measuring the space, the Sun was at His navel and as He lifted His feet to measure the Heaven, the Sun and the Moon were just below His knees.

(154) Amoghah – One whose activities are ever a fulfillment of some great purpose. Even insignificant actions, which, ordinarily, people would think are empty and purposeless, are never really so, when they spring from Him. Even when He punishes, it is only for inaugurating a greater evolutionary blessing.

(155) Suchih – One who is spotlessly ‘clean’, and therefore, Ever-Pure. Impurities in a substance are things other than itself; when dust is on the cloth, the cloth is impure, unclean. Since the Self, the Aatman, is the Non Dual Reality, having nothing other than Itself in It, Ever-pure alone must It always be. And Suchih is One who gives this purity to those who contemplate upon Him constantly.

(156) Oorjitah – -One who has infinite strength and vitality. Wherever, in the organism, we meet with any strength and vitality they are all the strength and vitality of the Self. The Infinite Vishnu is the One All-Pervading Self, and therefore, He is the very spring-head for all strength.

(157) Ateendrah – One who is beyond Indra in knowledge, glory and strength. Since Indra represents the ‘mind-intellect’ equipment, Aatman, the Self is denoted here as that which transcends the mind.

(158) Samgrahah – One who holds the entire world of beings-and-things together in an indissoluble embrace unto Himself. Just as the hub of a wheel holds the rim unto itself by its endless spokes, so too the Aatman, the Self within, lends Its vitality to every cell in the body and to every thought in the inner-equipments.

In none can anything happen which is not a-glory borrowed from Him. And, the Self, being the same everywhere, in all existence, in both the movables and immovable, gross and subtle ? in the manifest as well as in the unmanifest ? He certainly is the One who holds the world of phenomena unto Himself in a vast embrace of Love and Oneness.

(159) Sargah ? One who has created out of Himself the whole world. It therefore must also connote One, who has the whole created world as His own form, since the creation is His own manifestation as the Subtle and the Gross.

(160) Dhritaatmaa ? One who supports Himself by Himself. In the previous epithet Samgrahah, He was shown as the Cohesion of Love in the world of matter and energy, and in Sargah, He, as the One material and efficient cause of creation, was shown as also the very supporter of the manifested world. But who supports Him? He is Dhritaatmaa ? He is established in Himself.

(161) Niyamah ? The Appointing Authority: It is He, who orders all the mighty forces of nature and prescribes for each the Laws of their conduct, the ways of their behaviour and the methods of their functions. The Sun, Moon, Air, Waters, Death etc. are all appointed and ordered by the Lord.

(162) Yamah -One who is the mighty Power that administers all the forces of Nature under His Law. Everything in nature strictly obeys ever all His Laws.

(163) Vedyah – That which is to be known; in the language of the Geeta, it is Jneyam, That final knowledge, knowing which every-thing becomes known.

All sciences are investigations into Truth. After observing the nature and behaviour of things and beings when the investigator moves ahead seeking the ONE Harmonious Chord of Reality that holds all phenomena in its inescapable love-web, the scientist of Truth?comes to reject first the gross, and soon thereafter the subtle realms, and ultimately even the causal factors, and thus?comes to apprehend this harmony, which he is seeking as the very subjective core of his own Self. This final Goal to be realized, “having known which everything else becomes known,” the One Consummate Knowledge to be gained (Vedyah), is the Self, the Great Vishnu.

(164) Vaidyah ? The One Supreme Doctor who alone can minister to the world suffering from ego and egocentric misconceptions. One who is a master of all knowledge (Vidyaa) is also termed as Vaidyah.

(165) Sadaa Yogee – To the confused and the deluded to detach themselves from the false vestures-of-matter and to seek their identity with the ETERNAL Self is called Yoga. All attempts in attaining an at-one-ment with the Self is called Yoga. The Goal, the Self, therefore, in the language of the seeker must be Sadaayoga-ever in yoga.

(166) Veerahaa – “He who destroys the mighty heroes”. The powerful men of strength and valour when they grow in their audacity to become tyrants, the Lord manifests to destroy such Raakshasas and thus protects the Dharma and the Good.

(167) Maadhavah – Earlier this term was used where we interpreted the term as the “Lord of Lakshmi.” Maa means not only “Lakshmi,” but she is also “Vidyaa?
(Knowledge). The Lord (Dhava) of all Knowledge (Maa) is Maadhava

He who helps introspection and meditation in the seeker is Moadhava. “To become conscious of the existence of a
thing” is called the knowledge of the thing. The Atman, the Self is Existence (Sat) and Consciousness (Sphurana) and, therefore. Lord Vishnu, the Self is the source of all knowledge and as such the Master of all Vidyaas: (Maa-dhava). Harivarnsa says: “0 Hari, You are the Lord (Dhava) of Knowledge (Maa), and hence You are called as Maadhava, the Master of Maa.”

(168) Madhuh – The term Madhuh familiarly stands for “honey”. It is also a term to indicate “nectar.” One who generates Nectarine Bliss in the hearts of His devotees is called Madhuh. The spring time in India is called as Madhumaasa since spring is the season of flowers; full of honey for the bees, and joy for man. The month called Madhu (March April) is the Chaitra month which is considered specially auspicious for prayers, and meditation. One who is of the nature of the Maadhavamaasa, the month of Maadhava (April-May) can also be the suggestion in this term. Vaisaakha (April-May) is considered as the most auspicious time of the year for the worship of Vishnu by all Vaishnavites.

(169) Ateendriyah ? One who is beyond the sense-organs not only in the sense, that the sense-organs cannot perceive Him as their ‘object’ but also in the sense that He is other than the sense-organs and their functions. Lending to them, all their very vitality, is His mere presence! He is the very ‘subject’ in the perceiver, and, therefore, the instruments of perceptions, emotions, and thoughts cannot experience Him: this Source of All-life is Maha Vishnu. Kathopanishad says: “He is soundless, untouched, formless, immutable, so without taste, eternal, smell-less?.

(170) Mahaamaayoh ? One who is the Supreme Master of all Maayaa. He is the very Substratum upon which all the plurality springs up and plays their infinite enchantments, constantly basking in the Light of the Supreme Consciousness* Aatman, the Self, is untouched by the play of Maayaa, and yet the MaaXatr-play S sustained only by the exuberant warmth of His Divine presence- The Sun is the Master of all clouds, inasmuch as, in its presence, borrowing its heat, water by its own nature gets evaporated, and the water, vapour again, because of its own nature of a lesser density than the atmospheric air, rises to the higher altitudes and gathers there as clouds. It is, again, the nature of the atmosphere that at higher altitudes it is cooler and the water-vapour so cooled becomes water again, and due to the higher density of water it descends as rain. In this example the Sun can be called as the ccCreGltor)) of all clouds and the “Cause for the rains,” and consequently the sun is also the ~Mastell of the Seasons.” And yet, the Sun is uncontaminated by all these phenomena that are happening in its presence.

In the same fashion the Infinite Reality, Vishnu, is indicated here as the Great Magician, who has the magic ofMaayaa at His command. Krishna Himself confesses in the Geeta: “Very difficult indeed it is to cross over My Maayaa?

(171) Mahotsaahah ? The Great Enthusiast; the Ever-Dynamic Accomplisher. The Powers of creation, of sustenance and of annihilation?in their totality is the world of birth and death that we live in. This wonderful world cannot be sustained without the endless enthusiasm of this Mighty Power. Looking at the ocean, through the waves, we come to recognise the ocean as the “Sleepless Agitator”; similarly, looking at Vishnu, through the ephimeral kaleidoscopic changes in the patterns of life available to us in our experience today, we call Him as the “Dynamic accomplisher” (Mahotsaahah). The term employed here, the Enthusiastic Accomplisher, is indeed one of the most appropriate names for Maha Vishnu.

(172) Mahaabalah – One who has Supreme Strength. He, being Omnipotent, is the Source of all Strength that we see in each individual organism in life. His Vitality reflected in each of us, is our individual strength; naturally He is the Infinitely Strong, Mahaabalah.

(173) Mahaabuddhih ? In the previous term we were told He is Omnipotent. Here He is indicated as Omniscient. The Supreme, functioning through the intellect, is the
intelligence. The quality and quantity of the intelligence will depend upon the condition of the “intellect? through which the Infinite comes to play. The intelligence in a mathematician, poet or an artist, scientist or politician?all are the different play-patterns of energies invoked from the one Supreme Intelligence, and therefore, Mahavishnu, the Self, is called here as Mahaabuddhih, the Reservoir of all Intelligence.

(174) Mahaaveeryah – One who is the Supreme Essence. “Veerya” is the Essence behind all the creative urges. Since the Divine is the very source, from which alone the dynamism for creation can manifest, the Supreme Divinity is termed here as the Mahaaveerya.

(175) Mahaasaktih – Power here means efficiency. He?whose manifestations are the power-of-action, the power-of-desire and the power-of-knowledge must necessarily be the most powerful, inasmuch as a play of these three powers is the total play of the world.

(176) Mahaadyutih ? Of Splendorous Light. Dyuti means ‘Glow’, Sobhaa. The Pure Consciousness is the illuminator of all, including all other material sources of light in the world?Sun, Moon, stars, fire etc.?but this is not all; He is also the One, who is Himself Self-Effulgent. This is Mahavishnu?the Supreme Self. In the Mundakopanishad Lord is described as the “Light of lights”. Brihadaaranyakopanishad declares: “He is Self-effulgent”.

(177) Anirdesyavapuh ? One whose form is indefinable, indescribable, inexplicable (Anirdesyam). Ordinary things can be defined, described or explained because they come with our experience. Our objective experiences can be satisfactorily expressed in words. Vishnu is that Truth which is the Subjective Essence in all of us; He is that ‘Knowledge’, in the light of which, all other knowledges are rendered possible. As such no “sources of knowledge” (Pramaanas such as Direct perception. Inference etc.) can be employed successfully in exploring the realm of the Self. Subjective experiences of ‘Be’, the Maha Vishnu, is possible; but It can never become an ‘idea’ to express, nor can It become an ’emotion’ to feel, nor can It ever become an ‘object’ to be described.

(178) Sreemaan – Sree means Glory (Aisvarya). Vishnu is permanently wedded to Mother Glory; He, who is constantly courted by all glories, is Sreemaan, Lord Vishnu.

(179) Ameyaatmaa – He whose Essence (Aatmaa) is inestimable and immeasurable (Ameya). As Aatman (Kshetrajna) He, the One, expresses Himself everywhere in every equipment (Kshetra) as the ?knower’ in each ‘field’. Since these equipments are infinite in number, as the individuality (jeeva) in each one of the created beings. His own Glory expresses in endless manifestations.

(180) Mahaadridhrik – One who supports the great Mountain. In the Puranas, we find two instances, wherein the Lord has been described as the up lifter of or as having lifted and supported the mountains. While churning the milky ocean with the Mandara mountain we are told that the “churning-stick” sunk into the bottom and the Lord had to manifest in the form of the Great Tortoise (Koorma) and support it, while the Gods and Demons continued the churning, until they gathered the nectar (Amritam).

Again, the Supreme, as Lord Krishna, in order to protect the cows had to lift the Govardhana Mountain. Because of these two stories in the Puranas, Lord, the Protector of the mind in Saadhanaa, is called as Mahaadridhrik.

Vishnu is the Divine, that supports the mind-intellect of the Saadhaka while he is churning, through study (sravana) and reflection (manana), his own Milk-like pure heart-of devotion in order to gain the experience of Immortality (Amritam).

(181) Maheshvaasah ? One who wears or wields the Great Bow called Saarnga.

(182) Maheebhartaa – The husband of Mother Earth. The Sanskrit term for husband is Bhartaa and the term denotes ?Supporter”. In the Puranic language we have the description of how the Lord, as the Great Boar uplifted the earth from the “waters of Deluge.” Viewed from the platform of philosophy, just as gold is the supporter of all things made of gold, the Infinite Consciousness is the Essence from which everything has risen. Hence He is the Lord, the Supporter, the Husband (Bhartaa) of Mother Earth and everything that exists in her.

(183) Sreenivaasah – The permanent abode of Sree. Mother Sree connotes “all Glory and power, faculties and strength, to be good and to perform creative acts of righteousness”. She is found to remain never permanently in any bosom. Even saints and sages, in recorded history, have come to compromise the perfections in them. The only place, where imperfections never enter to molest the serene essence, is the seat of Eternal Perfection, which is the bosom of Narayana. Hence Maha Vishnu is indicated as Sreenivaasa? the Permanent Abode of Lakshmi”.

(184) SataamGatih ? For the truly virtuous and for all spiritual seekers (Sot-People) He who is the final Goal. In the language of the Geeta He is the “Paraa gatih” The term gati is used to denote not only the goal, but the very movement, as well as the direction and the way. Narayana is the very Direction, Path, Progress and the Goal for his devotees.

(185) Aniruddhah ? One who cannot be obstructed or resisted by anyone. Irresistibly, the will of the Lord functions in the world of created things-and-beings. Just as in the world of matter, the laws of nature are irresistible, the Rhythm and Harmony of Truth ever march in their Eternal Logic of objectless Love and immaculate perfection. Time and tide wait for none. When the sun rises, the living creatures absorb energy and nothing can obstruct this process. In the presence of the Self, the worlds of matter must get thrilled into their own independent activities, and in all these welter of efforts and exertions, achievements and failures, joys and sorrows, the Self is not involved by the Irresistible Enchantment of His presence, the Gopis seek their own fulfillment in their own dances. In the Puranas, we find Bhagavan Vishnu taking up in His various Incarnations different manifested forms and in all of them He was victorious; ever irresistible (Aniruddhah) is His Might.

(186) Suraanandah ? The One who doles out happiness (Aananda) even for the Denizens-of-the Heavens (Suras). In the Upanishad we have the declaration, that the Infinite Perfection, the Lord is of the very nature of Absolute Bliss In the Aanandavallee of Taittireeya Upanishad we find the arithmetic of Bliss. The Rishi concludes that all joys of the world and heavens?mental and supramental?are all but flickering of the Infinite Bliss, which is the Lord Mahavishnu.

(187) Govindah ? The word Go in Sanskrit has four meanings: ‘Earth’, ‘Cows’, ‘Speech’ and ‘Vedas’. As the earth is the supporter of everything that is existing. He, who is the supporter of everything within the individual, is called Govinda; He, who is the Protector of the Cows and played the part of Gopaala in Gokula, is the very controller of the animal instincts and passions in the bosom of man; “One, without whom, no speech can ever emerge out of any throat?He being the very Life in all Creatures” says Kenopanishad; and the Highest Speech is the declaration of Truth in the Vedas. The Lord Himself is the very Theme and the Author of the Vedas. This great Self is Mahavishnu.

(188) Govidaam Patih – One, who is the Lord of all ‘seers’ and “Men of Wisdom”. We have already indicated that Go means Vedas. ?those, who have realized the Theme indicated in the Vedic declaration as the Essential Reality in their Own subjective bosom. They are called the Seers or Sages. To such Men-of-Wisdom the Self alone is the Lord and the Master.

(189) Mareechih – The term Mareechih means ‘Effulgence’. Consciousness illumines objects and therefore in terms of worldly knowledge the Upanishads declare that the Supreme is the Light-Infinite. In the Geeta we read Bhagavan Vaasudeva declaring: “I am the Light in all effulgent”.

(190) Damanah ? One who restrains and controls every Raakshasic impulse within the bosom. In the forms of the ten incarnations. He had controlled the irresistible tyrannies of the vicious against the good. In the form of pain and agitation, sorrow and death, it is He, who is the Controller, Damanah, of all negative tendencies in everyone’s Heart.

(191) Hamsah ?One of the great declarations of the Vedas is: “I am Brahman” (Aham Brahmaasmi). Here the term I, the first person singular used, denotes the Supreme Self “functioning through the conditionings.” This individual concept is called Jeeva. Thus I, the Jeeva (Aham), once detached from the conditionings, is essentially nothing other than He, the Lord (Sah). This experience that Aham is Sah is the very God-consciousness and therefore, Vishnu, the Supreme State of Realization is declared as Hamsah.

(192) Suparnah ? Para means wings; Suparna means that which has beautiful wings?bird. “A pair of white winged birds extremely friendly sit on one and the same tree; one eats the fruits, the other eats not and gazes on”.* Thus traditionally in the Upanishads, the Suparnas suggest the Jeevaatmaa and the Paramaatmaa sitting on the same tree (body): one (Jeeva) eats the fruits (of actions) and the other (the Self) merely gazes on (Saakshee). Vishnu is this All-experiencing Principle of consciousness.

(193) Bhujagottamah – The sacred serpent named in the puranas as Ananta. “Among the serpents I am Ananta,” says Krishna.

(194) Hiranyanaabhah – He, who supports at His navel, the creator, Hiranyagarbha. The meaning for this term as given by some is “the One who has the navel region beautiful in its golden hue” must fail, in the context of the thoughts in the stanza, to appeal to all seekers.

(195) Sutapaah – One who has glorious Tapas. Consistent creative thinking is called tapas. For this, mental concentration is unavoidable. Mind cannot have consistent concentration unless it can have a perfect control over the sense-organs. Even when the mind is withdrawn from the sense-organs, it must have a consistent intellectual ideal to concentrate upon. In the Upanishad, we read: “He thought and through thought. He created all this.

(196) Padmanaabhah – One who supports at His navel the very seat of all creative-power. We have described this term earlier. According to Sankara, here the term may mean one who has a navel region which in its rounded beauty, is as charming as the lotus flower.

(197) Prajaapatih ? The Lord of the creatures. Since all creatures have emerged from Him, the living creatures are His children (Prajaa) and He is their Pati. The term Pati has a direct meaning: ‘father?. Thus Vishnu, as the only source from which all creatures have emerged out, is called as Prajaapatih.

(198) Amrityuh – One who knows no growth, Birth, decay, disease and death, are the five great modifications through which every finite object must necessarily pass Everything born must perish. The one who has no birth ha.’ no death. The waves die but not the ocean. That which is Changeless in the changing whirls of matter is the Infinite Vishnu. In the Bhagavad Geeta, the Lord is emphatic: “He who sees the Changeless amidst the changing names and forms He alone sees the meaning and purpose of life.?

(199) Sarvadrik – The seer and knower of every thing. The Consciousness that illumines all motives and intentions?and the manifested activities that spring from then ?in each individual, at all times, is necessarily the Witness of all, the Seer of everything, Maha Vishnu.

(200) Simhah ? One who destroys. The Law behind all destruction and change in the Maayaa is the Mighty Lord. On transcending the Vehicles of the body, mind and intellect, at a time when all experiences of perceptions, emotions and thoughts are annihilated from us, the Experience left over is the Supreme. And in the Non-dual Supreme, there cannot be any object other than itself. Therefore, that “State” is called as the Total Destroyer. The State of Waking is the “destroyer” of the dream-world; the State of Sleep is the “destroyer” of the waking and the dream; the State of God Consciousness is the total “Annihilator” of all the known three planes of Consciousness. He is Simhah ? a word that has been formed by the mutual transposition of the letters in Himsaa.

Even taking its obvious superficial meaning Vishnu is a Lion in our bosom, in as much as. He is the king of the forest of Samsaar: at the roar of Narayana all the animal-passions flee from the jungles of the mind. In the Geeta while describing His own Glory, the Lord says, “Among the animals, I am the King of animals ? Lion?

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