Vishnu Sahasranaama

351. Riddhuh – Who has expanded Himself to be the universe.” In short, “One who has manifested Himself as the entire world of plurality, constituted of the finite things of the Cosmos.”

352. Vriddhaatmaa – “The ancient Self.” In the
Self there is no concept of Time, It being beyond the intellect. But here, by the term Vriddhaatmaa, it only means that He was the Self before all creation. It is only after the creation of Time that we are capable of saying and indicating Him as the Self of the various living creatures. He is the first Self, meaning, He is tfie SelF whose manifestations are the world of plurality.

353. Mahaakshah – “The Great-eyed”, meaning, the eyes that can see not only the world-of-objects, but also X-ray through them and see all that are happening deep within the bosom of all creatures. He is the “Great Eye” seeing all, at all times, as He is the Consciousness that illumines everything at all times, in all bosoms.

354. Garuda-dhvajah – One who has the eagle (Garuda) as his insignia on his flag. The eagle is considered as the vehicle of the Lord; most probably because this bird ever soars high and from above sees even the minutest speck of dirt in the world. The eagle after spying the carrion, swoops down and takes it away, thus purifying the atmosphere. Similarly, the Lord never allows any negative thought to come into the heart of His devotees, and hence, the eagle is considered as His vehicle.

355. Atulah – “Incomparable.” For him whose name is the glory of the universe, there is no license.” Again, Bhagavad-Gita says, “For Thy equal exists not, where is another superior to Thee in the three worlds?” In short, there is nothing like Him, since He does not fall under the categories of the things perceived by the body or the emotions felt by the mind or the thoughts entertained by the intellect: nothing that we know of can be comparable with Him.

356. Sarabhah – ?One who dwells and shines forth through the bodies.” Bodies are called Sara because they are perishable.The life that presides over the perishable body, whose glory is the individuality, is the Self, the Lord. It can also mean, “Lord, who is of the nature of Parameshvara,” for, Lord Siva had once taken the incarnation of Sarabha, a creature with eight legs, capable of killing even the lions.

357. Bheemah – “The All-inspiring, the Terrible,” meaning. One who is a mighty and terrible phenomenon to those who are cruel and sensuous in the world. To the bad, the Lord is always a frightful power of vengeance, to follow them relentlessly as their doom.

Some commentators, due to the position of this word in the stanza, read it as a-bheemah, meaning thereby, “He who is the shelter” to those who are good.

358. Samayajnah – “Knower of all six systems of philosophy,” or it can mean “One who knows the exact time (samaya) for creation, preservation and destruction.” Or, it can also mean “One whose worship (Yajna) is nothing more than keeping an equal vision of the mind by the devotee.” The great devotee Prahalada says, “To be equal in all conditions, is the worship of Achyuta.”

359. Havir-harih – ‘The receiver of all oblation.” He is the Lord of all Yajnas and as such. He is the One to whom the devotee offers his oblations, and He is the One who receives them in all dedicated activities. Bhagavad-Gita says, “I am indeed the enjoyer and also the Lord of all sacrifices.” The Lord is called Havis as He is worshipped through oblation.

Some commentators recognise in this term two different names of the Lord: ‘Havih? and ‘Harih?. In this case, the former term, ‘Havih? means “He who is invoked by everyone who performs the Yajnas.” The term Harih means “One who loots away all Vaasanaas (desires) ” and consequently, “One who wipes away all expressions of Vaasanaas.”

360. Sarva-lakshana-lakshanyah ? “Known through all methods of proofs,” meaning “He is the One Self that is ultimately proved by all scientific investigations and philosophical enquiries.” Whether it be through dualistic (dvaita) or through non-dualistic (advaita) philosophy, the Ultimate Truth experienced by the realised seeker, is this Great Vishnu.

361. Lakshmeevan -“The consort of Lakshmi.” He is the Spirit (Purusha) that thrills the entire world of-matter (Prakriti). Matter thrilled with the spirit is the dynamic world that we see around. Thus, the manifested Lord is ever wedded to Lakshmi. Lakshmi also means Effulgent, and therefore, the Lord who is Ever-effulgent, meaning the Pure Consciousness, that illumines everything, is indeed Lakshmeevan.

362. Samitinjayah – ?Ever-Victorious,” In the Puranas, we find the Lord ultimately wins in His battle with the unrighteous forces. He is the destroyer of all pains in the individuality of the devotees. Samiti as a word, has got the meaning?”Battle”.

363. Viksharah – Ksharah means “decaying,” “that which is perishing”, and so Viksharah means “Imperishable”. Those who are meditating upon the Lord in His un-manifested State of Glory, this term is very often used. All material things are conditioned by time and all objects are, therefore, perishable. The Lord, the Self, is the Subject and is, therefore, ever Unchanging and always Imperishable.

364. Rohitah – The term ‘Rohitah? means fish, and this name has come to indicate Lord Vishnu because of His first incarnation as the Fish. When the entire world was submerged in the waters of the deluge, the only living creatures that were available at that time could only be fishes. Lord could incarnate at that time only in the form of the Fish. Therefore, here the term means “One who had manifested to serve the living creatures as the Fish among the fishes.”

365. Maargah – ?The Path.” In order to realise the Highest which is the Nameless and Formless, human mind will have to first hold on to a divine form, and that is Lord Vishnu. He is the Way and the Goal. In short, “He is the One whom seekers of the Highest meditate upon in order to reach the Supreme.”

366. Hetuh ? “The Cause”. One who is the cause for the whole universe. He is at once the material-cause (Upaadaana Kaarana), the instrumental-cause (Nimitta Kaarana) and He who alone is also the efficient-cause in the creation of this universe. Hence, He is called The Cause.

367. Daamodarah ? This term has come to indicate the Lord because. He is One who is known through a mind which is purified (Udara) by means of self-control (dama) and such other qualities. According to Mahabharata, “We call Him as Daamodara as He is known by means of Dama.

Brahmapurana re-capitulates the incident in the early childhood of the Lord when He was tied with a cord (daama) round His waste (udara). This term can also mean “One in whose bosom rests the whole universe.?

368. Sahah – “All enduring”. The Lord is One who has patience at everything, and is One who readily forgives all the defaults of His sincere devotees.

369. Maheedharah – ?The Supporter or the Bearer of the Earth”. Since He is the very essence in the universe as its material-cause. He is the One who supports all forms in the universe. The Lord supports the world, just as gold ‘supports’ the ornaments, the cotton supports~ the cloth, the ocean ‘supports’ the waves.

370. Mahaa-bhaagah – He who has extreme beauty in all His limbs, or He who is ever fortunate, or He who gets the greatest share (Bhaaga) in every Yajna.

371. Vegavaan ? “He who is swift”; One who is the fastest in reaching the devotee the moment his loving heart remembers Him. By import it means that He is All pervading, therefore. He is the fastest, inasmuch as “nothing can ever overtake Him.” In the Isavasyopanishad He is indicated as swifter than the mind.

372. Amitaasanah ? “Of endless appetite.” This should not be taken literally, but it only means that the entire world of plurality projected by the mind, merges back when the mind is transcended at the time of the experience of the Self. Just as we can say that the waker swallows the dreamer, the Higher Consciousness, with an infinite appetite, as it were, swallows the Infinite Cosmos; hence figuratively, He is considered as ‘the Great Consumer’ of the whole world of plurality during involution (Pralaya).

373. Udbhavah ? ‘The Originator”. The Lord is the material-cause from which the entire universe arises and, therefore, He is the origin for the Cosmos, or it can mean to indicate, “One who is again and again born as the endless jivas under the urge of their individual vaasanaas”.

374. Kshobhanah ? ?The Agitator”. If the Self were not in the equipments, the equipments will not get agitated ?will not pursue their functions. The Atman, the Pure Consciousness is that which thrills and agitates both the matter (Prakriti) and energy (Purusha), and causes the manifestation of the living entities (jivas), who, with their actions, constitute the dynamic aspect of the world. If the Self is not there, there can be no movement or expression of life; everything would have remained completely inert and insentient. He is the Lord who thrills the world and makes it so beautifully palpitating with life. Hence, He is called as the Agitator (Kshobhanah).

375. Devah – “One who revels is Deva.? This term “Deevyati? in Sanskrit also means ‘to conquer’, ‘to shine’ and ‘to praise’. Therefore, Lord Vishnu is rightly called as Devah because He sports through His play?the great Creation-Sustenance-Destruction-play. He functions in all Beings as He shines as the Universal Consciousness; and He is praised by all the devotees. Svetasvatara Upanishad indicates “there is only one Deva”.

376. Sree-garbhah ? “Containing all glories within; One in whom are all glories (Aishvarya)”. The glory of the Lord is the universe and this universe resides in Him, and therefore, all powers and glories that are manifested in the universe are also ever in Him.

377. Paramesvarah – The Supreme (Parama) Lord (Ishvara). The fanatics generally interpret the word to mean as “the only Lord”, in the sense that all other concepts of God are wrong. The large-hearted, tolerant Rishis of old, could have never meant such a meaning. It could only mean “that He is the Supreme Consciousness whose expressions are all the deities”. The term lsvara indicates both might and glory. Therefore, Paramesvara means “One who is Omnipotent and All-glorious.”

378. Karanam ? ?The Instrument.” That which is most useful in fulfilling any piece of work is called the tool or the instrument. For the creation of the world He is the instrumental-cause (Nimitta Kaarana).

379. Kaaranam – “The Cause.” By the earlier term it was indicated that He is the instrumental-cause (Nimitta Kaarana) for the whole universe. Here now, by this term, it is indicated that He is the very material-cause (Upaadaana Kaarana) of the universe. Since the term directly means only “the cause”, it can mean not only the material cause, but also it can suggest the instrumental-cause. In the former case it would mean “He from whom the whole universe arises”, and in the latter sense, the term is interpreted by some commentators as “He who causes the universe to emerge out”.

380. Kartaa ? “The Doer”. He is the One in whose presence alone all activities are possible, and hence by a transferred epithet, though the doings all belong to the equipments, the Self is called as the “Doer”. One who can freely perform all the functions of creation, sustenance and destruction, is the “Doer”.

381. Vi-kartaa ? “One who creates the infinite varieties that constitute the universe.” It can also mean, “One who has created out of Himself, the endless self-manifestations of incarnations.”

382. Gahanah – “The Un-knowable”. One who cannot be comprehended by any of the known instruments of knowledge; One who is not an object of perception, but is the very subject and the perceiver in all sense-organs.

383. Guhah -“One who dwells in the cave of the heart” meaning “One who is the very core of every living creature.” He is concealed within the equipments and hence, He is described in our Scriptures as “One who dwells in the cave of the heart”. The Smriti describes Him as “This Lord, the Great Purusha, the Witness who dwells in the cave most secretively.” Mundakopanishad describes the Self as ‘Nihitam Guhaayaam’. Again, the Lord Himself says, “I am not readily perceivable by all as I am veiled by my own Maayaa”.

384. Vyavasaayah – “Resolute” Being of the nature of Pure Wisdom, there is no vacillation in Him; all irresolution is at the level of the doubting mind and the unprepared intellect. The term ‘Vyavasaayah’ also means “Yoga.” In this sense, the term is used in the Geeta, “The intellect of one who is practising Yoga is single-pointed without vacillation.” Again, in the same chapter criticising those who are running after enjoyment and power, Krishna says, “Those who are revelling in sensuality and consequently disturbing the poise of their intellect, cannot have a steady mind and consistent pursuit of Yoga.”

To work persistently until the Goal is reached is resolution. “To steadily apply ourselves in continuously withdrawing ourselves from our identifications with the not-Self, until we come to apprehend and experience the Self”, is Yoga. Hence, commentators interpret ‘Vyavasaaya” as “Yoga.”

385. Vyavasthaanah -“The Basis or the Substratum.” The one who is the very Substratum for the entire pluralistic world; the One who orders the laws of the cosmos and administers those laws.

386. Samsthaanah – “The Ultimate Authority, State or Goal.” He who absorbs unto Himself all the multiplicities of names and forms during the time of deluge ยท The One Source into which all perceptions, emotions and thoughts retire and merge at the time of deep-sleep. In short, it means “the One who integrates the plurality and absorbs it all unto Himself when the projections are ended at that time of transcendence.”

387. Sthaanadah – “One who confers the right abode.” Each living organism, “according to his actions and thoughts” gathers to himself vaasanaas and according to the vaasanaas, each individual takes his birth. Thus, the One who gives (dada) the appropriate abode (sthaana) to each individual (jeeva) is celled Sthaanadah. In short, the Lord is the distributor of the fruits-of-actions.

388. Dhruvah – “The stable; the Firm.” That which remains “the Changeless in the midst of changes”, “that which is Imperishable in the midst of all perishing”, t The body, the mind and the intellect and the worlds interpreted by them are all variables and changeable. The Consciousness, which illumines all of them and makes us aware of them is, indeed, the “Changeless.”

389. Parhrddhih -“One who has Supreme Manifestations (Riddhi)” The glory (vibhooti) of the Lord is expressed in His manifestations and these manifestations are indeed divine as the Geeta thunders, “The glories of the Self arc indeed divine”.

390. Parama-spashtah – “The extremely vivid.” He who is extremely clear to those who have conquered the agitations and all disturbing thought-currents of the mind through a successful pursuit of the practice of meditation. He being the very Self, nothing in fact is so ‘clear”, meaning, so self-evident, as the Pure Consciousness is in us. No experience in the outer world or in our subjective bosom would have been possible had it not been for the Light of the Self. Even the sense of individuality in us is but an image of this Awareness, which is the very Self in every living creature. It being thus the Absolute Subjective essence. It is described as “the most Vivid.”

391. Tushtah – The ever-Contented,” meaning “the One who is happy at the minimum offering of a devotee.” “I accept even if you offer some leaf or flower, or fruit or spoon of water, happily, if it is offered in love,” confesses Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita.

The Self being beyond body, mind and intellect, it cannot have any of the sense of imperfections or incompleteness and as such, the All-full Self must be at all times, complete in Himself. Naturally therefore He is All-Blissful. Consequently, His Nature must ever be Supreme contentment.

392. Pushtah – “One who is ever-full.” The Supreme Consciousness being All-pervading, He is Infinitely Full- nothing can we take out of It, nor can we add to It. It is Ever full and, therefore, even when the manifestations emerge out from It, It is not less for it.

393. Subh-ekshanah – “All auspicious gaze.” One whose very gaze brings streams of auspiciousness to the devotee. The Self being beyond vaasanaas, one who realises the Self, goes beyond all sins. A devotee walking the very path and moving towards the spiritual contents, purifies himself from all sins, since he will be living a life not identifying with his body, mind and intellect.

394. Raamah – That which revels in every form or that in which all Yogins in their meditation revel. In Padmapurana, it is clearly defined, “In Him, who is Eternal Bliss, Pure Consciousness, and Endless, the Yogins revel.” Therefore, by the term ‘Raamah’, the Supreme Self is indicated. The term can also mean “One who has a compelling charm about Himself. He who is the most Handsome.”

395. Vi-raamah – “He in whom the creatures rest; The Abode of perfect rest”, having reached which, there is no return into the realms of experiences. That state is called Viraamah. Some commentators recognise in this term a meaning as, “He (lsvara) in whom the world of plurality merges during the deluge.”

396. Virajah – “Passionless.” “One who is not associated with the agitations (Rajas) of the mind.” The mind gets agitated when it identifies with the sense-objects of the world outside. The Atman, the Self, in its Pure Nature, has no such identifications, and, therefore. He is recognised as ‘passionless.’

397. Maargah – “The path.” There is no other way to know Him. For complete liberation, there is no way other than realising the Self, Sree Narayana.

398. Neyah – “The Guide”, the “Conductor.” He who guides and ultimately takes the seeker to the Reality is Lord Narayana, the Saguna Brahman. Through surrender to Narayana, the devotee develops the integration within and when fully integrated, he becomes the meditator and through meditation, the Highest is achieved. Therefore, Vishnu is indicated here as the “Conductor.”

The term can also mean “One who is fit to be conducted to the Highest.” The individual-ego is that which tries to realise its own real nature, the self. The very individuality (Jiva) who is fit to be led towards the gateway to the Higher Consciousness is the One that has removed its false attachments and is held in animated joy, in meditation. In essence, such a jiva is nothing other than the Supreme, and, therefore, the Supreme is thus called as the Jiva.

399. Nayah -“One who leads.” When such a true devotee slowly and steadily gains his detachments from the outer world he moves himself more and more into the Higher and Subtler states of Consciousness. The one who leads such a seeker is again the grace of the same Self–Atmabala.

400. A-nayah – If the ego is led by the Lord (as Naya) to the Highest, then when once the Supreme State is reached. It has none to lead or guide It. The Lord guides all, but there is none to guide Him. This is because He is All pervading and, therefore. He needs no guide to lead Him to Himself, as He is everywhere at all times.

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