Vishnu Sahasranaama

(101) Vrishaakapih: There is a lot of controversy among pundits upon the exact meaning of this term. But all controversies become meaningless when we read Bhagavan?s own words, ?Since Kapi has a meaning the ?boar? and since ?vrisha? has the meaning of ?Dharma? the great Kasyapa Prajapati says I am Vrishaakapih?.

In Sanskrit the term Kapi has a meaning: ‘that which saves one from drowning’. Lord in the form of the Great Boar, (Varaaha) in that incarnation, had lifted the world from the waters at the end of the deluge; the term vrisha means ‘Dharma’. One who thus lifts the world drowned in Adharma to the sunny fields of Dharma is vrishaakapih.

(102) Ameyaatmaa ? One who has His manifestations (Aatmaa) in Infinite varieties, almost unaccountable (Ameya). The Viraat Purusha of the Form of All-Lord of the Cosmic Form is suggested here. As all forms have risen from Him, exist in Him, and dissolve into Him alone, all forms are His own different forms.

(103) Sarva-yoga-vinissritah ?Yoga is from Yuj ‘to join’; ‘to attach’. One who is totally free (vinissritah) from all contacts or attachments. Attachment to a thing is possible only when the object-of-attachment is other than the subject. In the One Infinite Reality there cannot be any attachment with anything, mainly because there is nothing here that is not the Infinite Itself. The Infinite is a Mass of Love; there is no attachment in It; for, attachment is Love with possessiveness and desire for gratification. ‘This Purusha is, indeed, unattached?, roars Brihad Upanishad. Lastly, the term, Sarva-Yoga-Vinissritah can also mean that He is beyond the reach of the various systems of Yogas taught in the Sastras. These systems are to quieten the mind, to end the misapprehensions-of-Truth, to annihilate the Maayaa. What is there left over in the seeker’s bosom is the Self?the Great Vishnu.

(104) Vasuh – The One who is the very support of all elements, and the One who Himself is the very Essence of the elements. This is something like the dream made up of our

own mind; and the very same dream-world plays itself out, all the time sustained in the very same mind. Similarly, the Self indwells all and all dwell in the Self. In the Geeta we are told by the Lord, “I am among the Vasus the Paavakah. Therefore, the Self exists like air?allowing everything to remain in it and sustaining everything by it.

(105) Vasumanuah ? One who has a mind which is Supremely Pure; meaning a mind that has none of the sins of passions and pains; none of the storms of desires and jealousies; none of the quakes of likes and dislikes.

(106) Satyah – He is the Real. The term Satyam used in philosophy has a special connotation. That which remains the same in all the three periods of time is called Satyam. That which seemingly exists, but which never was nor shall ever be, is considered as a false delusion, A-satya.He ho remains the same, before the creation, during the existence and even after the dissolution, is the Infinite Truth, Satyah. The Taittireeya Upanishad thunders that the Eternal Truth is “Truth, Knowledge, Bliss”: “Satyam, Jnaanam, Anantam Brahma” Taittireeya Upanishad.

We may here mention a couple of other meanings that are generally given to this term “The best among good people is Satyam. Again, the word Satyam is made up of three sounds ? Sat-ti-yam ? and, herein, according to the Upanishad itself, “Sat means praana, ti means food. Yam means sun therefore, Satyam is the Law which orders the food to sustain the praana when both are blessed by the sources of all gross energies in the cosmos, the Sun.

(107) Samaatmaa ? He who is equally in all. In Kathopanishad we read the declaration of Lord Death to Nachiketas how the same Truth has come to express itself differently from form to form. To visualize the Paramesvara who levels equally in all, among the perishables and imperishables, is the Vision Divine. Kauseshika Upanishad (3-9) says, “One should understand that the Self is the same-in-all”. In the Geeta also is the declaration “I am the Seer in all the fields-of-experiences everywhere”.

(108) Sammitah – The term Sammatam means ‘acceptable”. The One Truth, which has been proved and accepted by the Rishis in the Upanishads through subtle logic and philosophical reasoning, is called Sammatah. This is the most direct and very appealing meaning. But there are some who would interpret this portion of the Thousand Names of Lord Vishnu by combining Samaatmaa (107) and Sammitah (108) to form together a single ?Name? wherein the compound word would read Samaatma-asammitah. Here the term Asammitah then would come to mean “One who is incomparable. Inimitable (Atulya) who has none to equal Him”.

(109) Samah – Equal; the same. Truth remains the same. One Infinite Reality plays the game of plurality. As has been said in the Kathopanishad, “The One Principle of Fire having entered this world burns itself out differently according to the equipments upon which it is manifested”, so the One Truth manifests as the many Jeevas. Hence He is called the Samah. Also it can mean as One who is ever united, with (Sa) Lakshmi (Maa).

(110) Amoghah – Moghah means “useless fellow” (Nishphalah), “a disappointing power”. Amogha is the opposite of it: “Ever Useful”, “Ever the Ful-filler” of all the wishes and demands of His devotees. Chandogya Upanishad declares: “Truthful is His wish, and Truth is His resolve”.

(Ill) Pundareekaakshah – One who can be contacted and fully experienced in the Heart Space (Pundareekam). In the Narayana Upanishad (10) we find the same term employed: “In the core of the body, in the Heart Space, dwells the Supreme.” In the ‘Heart’, the meditator can experience the Reality more readily and very clearly, and so the All Pervading Reality is described as “dwelling in the Heart-cave”.

(112) Vrishakarmaa ? Vrisha means Dharma. One whose every activity is righteous and who acts only to establish righteousness. “For the sake of establishing Dharma, I am born in every age”, says Lord.

(113) Vrishaakritih – One who is of the form (Aakriti) of Dharma (Vrisha). It is not only that His actions are righteous but He is Himself Righteousness. It can also mean as One who takes different forms during His Divine Incarnations?all for maintaining the Rule of Dharma in the world.

(114) Rudrah ? One who makes all people weep. At the time of death or during the total dissolution, the One who makes all weep is Rudrah. From a devotee’s standpoint the same term is interpreted as the One who liquidated all sorrows is Rudrah. Bhagavan declares Himself to be “Among the Rudras, I am Sankara”. According to the Vedic terminology there are II Rudras; this eleventh “Rudra” is called as Sankara: Sam-karoti-iti = Sankarah ? “One who blesses all with Auspiciousness (Sam).”

(115) Bahusiraah – One who has many heads. The Purushasooktam of the Rig Veda describes the Cosmic Form of the Lord with a narration, “The Purusha of thousand heads, thousand eyes and thousand feet……”” In Geeta a similar description of the Universal Form of the Lord is found in Chapter XI. Again in the Geeta Chapter XIII when the Lord was describing the Infinite Goal to be known (Jneyam), He describes It as “Everywhere legs, everywhere hands, everywhere eyes, everywhere His face”.

Thus, He whose personal manifestations constitute the universe is known as “One who has many heads.”

(116) Babhruh ? One who rules over the worlds. “Like a King”? Atmabodham gives this analogy. He in whose presence all the instruments of perception, feeling and knowing continue their co-ordinated activity is the Self, the Atman, who is Great Lord Vishnu.

(117) Visvayonih ? One who is the Total Cause from which alone the entire world of experiences (visvam) has emerged out. The womb (yoni) from which thoughts and actions had risen is called Visvayonih.

(118) Suchisravaah ? One who has beautiful and efficient ears (Sravas): “Everywhere are His ears” meaning thereby He is the Hearer in all ears. The term Sravas not only means ears, but it also means “names” ? so Suchisravas can mean ‘One who has Divine and Sacred names’. Thus, the devotee can invoke Him with thousands of His names when He can readily listen in and rightly understand the exact purity and the real depth of devotion in the devotee. Also the term can be used to indicate the One whose “names” are worthy of being heard by seekers.

(119) Arnritah ? One who is Immortal and Immutable. Mritam == dead. The Infinite is Ajarah, Amarah and Avyayah. It can also mean as One who is of the nature of Nectar (Arnritam) ?a sure cure for those who are suffering from malady of ignorance. Arnritah also means Moksha’, and thus it is indicated. He is the ever-liberated?the Pure State of Being.

(120) Saasvata-sthaanuh ? One who is both permanent (Saasvatah) and irremovable (Sthaanuh). He is the One who remains Changeless, because Immortal; who remains the same in all periods of time, because permanent (Saasvatah); and who remains changeless in His nature of Consciousness (Sthaanuh). This is a single term (Saasvata-sthaanuh) and, therefore, we must add the meanings together ? Permanent and Changeless; Permanently Changeless Factor in life is Vishnu.

(121) Vararohah ? He who is the most Glorious (Vara) Destination (Aaroha). The Seat of the Self is the most Glorious because the imperfections of the world of atter (Prakriti) are not there in the Spirit (Purusha). Liberation from the thraldom of matter is the arrival of the Infinitude of the Self. “He never returns”, thunders the Chandogya Upanishad (8-15-1) three times in one and the same breath, assuring us that one who has reached the Seat of Vishnu, beyond the frontiers of the intellect, there is for him no more any return ever into the ego-centric life of tensions of sorrows.

(122) Mahaatapaah ?One of great Tapas. Th term tapas in Sanskrit has three meanings: ‘Knowledge? (Jnana), ‘Prosperity’ (Aisvarya) and also ‘Might’ (Prataapa). It is in the presence of Consciousness that we come to know all our experiences. ‘Conscious of’ a thing or an idea is the ‘Knowledge of’ the thing ot the idea. That about which I am not conscious of, I have really no knowledge of it. All knowledges, of a bosoms, in all living creatures, everywhere, at all times, cannc be without the play of Consciousness upon the respective objects of knowledge, and hence this Consciousness is indicated in the Upanishads as Pure Knowledge, in the light c which alone all knowledge are possible. All achievements an prosperity (Aisvarya), all might and power of the living creatures can express themselves through them only when they ai alive. This great truth is Maha Vishnu. “Whose Tapas is of the nature of Knowledge”.

(123) Sarvagah ? “He who has gone everywhere”, meaning “One who pervades everything”. The cause pervades its effect: gold in all ornaments; ocean in all waves; cotton in all cloth. The Infinite Consciousness Itself expresses as both world-of-matter (Kshetra) and the Knower-of-the-field (Kshet-rajna). Vishnu, the Infinite is beyond these two (Uttamah Purushah) in whom there is no expression of matter and, therefore, no ‘Knower’-hood. He is the All-Pervading Self, Maha Vishnu.

(124) Sarvavid-bhaanuh ? One who is All Knowing (Sarvavit) and Effulgent. The Light of Consciousness is the “Light that illumines all lights” audit is again Consciousness that “illumines even darkness”. In the Mundaka Upanishad (4.10) also we read: ?By its Light alone it illumines all other experiences.” Sarvavit-Bhaanuh is one term: meaning that all Knowing Effulgent Consciousness.

(125) Viskvaksenah – He, while facing whom, even the mighty army of the gods retreat and scatter away, is called as Vishvaksenah. He is the Almighty and All-Powerful, and no army can stand against Him.

(126) Janaardanah ? The term Ardayati is a verb meaning both ‘giving sorrow’ or ‘giving joy? Thus, One who gives sorrow and disaster to the vicious, and who blesses with joy and peace to the good people is called Janaardanah.

(127) Vedah ? The term Veda comes from the root vid: ‘to know?. Since Veda gives knowledge, the Lord is termed as Vedas in the sense, that He is the One who gives the Knowledge of the Reality, because He is the very Reality. In Mahabharata, Vyasa says: “Krishna alone is All-vedas, All-sciences, All-techniques and All-dedicated Actions” In the Bhagavad Geeta (Ch. 10, St. 2) Lord says: “Out of mere compassion for them, I, abiding in their Self, destroy the darkness born of ignorance, by the luminous lamp of wisdom”.

(128) Vedavit ? ‘One who knows the veda? The Lord alone is the One Experience without which the Vedas cannot be fully realized. The surest and the most exhaustive commentary of the Vedas is to be found only in a stilled mind, which is in communion with Vishnu, the Supreme Reality. Geeta (Ch. 15, St. 15) says, “I am the author of the Vedanta, as well as the Knower of the Vedas”.

(129) Avyangah ? He who has no imperfections (Vyanga) anywhere in him?The All-Perfect. The term Vyanga also means person, and so Avyanga means One who cannot be known by anyone in any ‘personal-form’. Geeta plainly says “This great Reality is Imperceptible, Unthinkable, without any modifications”.

(130) Vedaangah ? One whose very limbs are the Vedas. In Kenopanishad in the closing stanzas, the teacher insists that all knowledges are Its limbs.

(131) Vedavit ? ‘One who contemplates upon the Veda is Vedavit’: Mere word

meaning cannot give us the true concept of the subtle them discussed in the Vedas. Continuous reflection upon their declarations alone can reach us to the peaks of their imports, In the Geeta, Bhagavan Himself declares that He is not only the very Revealer of Vedas but He is at once the Knower of the Veda? -Geeta Ch. 15, St. 15.

It is absolutely necessary that the student of the Veda should try to understand the meaning of their declaration. To repeat the mantras parrot-like is not of any consequence ‘He who has studied the Vedas but has not understood the meaning, but carries a load, as the ‘road-rest’ on the roadside.’ Thus He who constantly reflects upon the Veda, and naturally lives upto it, is the Great Lord.

(132) Kavih ?The term Kavi in the Vedas mean the ‘Seer’. One who experiences something more than the ordinary is called a Kavi. In the Isavasy Upanishad we read: ‘The Seer, the Intelligent.’ In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad we read: “There is no Seer except Him.”

In the Glory of the Lord, He confesses, in the Geeta “among the Poets, I am Usanas, Sukra-Aachaarya”

(133) Lokaadhyakshah – One who presides over all fields of experiences ? all lokas. President is one who is responsible for the conduct of the assembly; he guides the discussion in a disciplined manner, and ultimately at the end of it all, he dissolves the meeting. All through the discussions he never interferes with the freedom of speech and action of the members, if they act within the agenda of the day. Similarly, the Lord presides over all the fields of activities, never

interfering with the freedom of the individuals to act. ‘The Supreme Purusha in this body is also called the spectator, the permitter, the supporter, the enjoyer, the great Lord, and the Supreme Self.” From the Puranic standpoint the Lord in His Vaamana manifestation was installed as the king of the three worlds and, therefore, this name, say the Pauraanikas.

(134) Suraadhyakshah -The President of the Heavens to whom the Devas run for protection when they are threatened by their constant enemies ? the Daityas and the Asuras. When in the Heaven of our bosom, the thought-angels are threatened by the negative tendencies and criminal purposes, He to whom the good in us surrender totally for sure protection and safety is Vishnu, the President within the bosom.

(135) Dharmaadhyakshah -Presiding over the activities of the living organisms. Consciousness revels, illumining both the good and the evil therein. The One Sacred factor that constantly thus illumines all the nature and functions (Dharma) of the body, mind and intellect is the Dharmaa dhyakshah. Lord Vishnu.

(136) Kritaakritah -Kritam = that which is done == that which is manifested or created. Akritam, therefore, is that which has not manifested or become. The former (Kritam) indicates all the “effects” manifested out of the Creator’s activities, and the latter (Akritam) is the “cause” from which no manifestation has yet emerged ? it is still unmanifest. The Self, the Atman, is the ‘Post’ ? in the ghost-in-the-post example ? upon which the cause and the effect, the unmanifest and the manifest, like the “ghost” apparently come to play (Kritam == Vyaktam, A-Kritam = A-Vyaktam).

(137) Chaturaatmaa ? The Self is described as four-fold when we consider the Atman as the Glory (Vibhooti) of the Self. Thus, the Essential factors, with which alone the endless play of creation, sustenance and destruction can continue, are the glories of the Self (Aatma-Vibhooti). In Vishnu Purana, four distinct vibhooties of the Lord ? when He functions as the creator, sustainer and destroyer ? are found enumerated. From the standpoint of a Vedantic student, since in

the Non-dual Reality there cannot be anything other than Itself, all the plays of the gross, the subtle and causal bodies, in the microcosm and in the macrocosm, are the glories (vibhooties) of the One Self. In the Absolute, in the Eternal, all these are transcended; these?the waker, dreamer, deep-sleeper, the Tureeya ?are all Its Glories. The Possessor of these Glories is the One that transcends even “Tureeya”; He is called as the Twreeyaateetah.

(138) Chaturvyoohah ? One who manifests into the four mighty powers (Vyooha). The Truth, that plays thus Himself in these four levels having apparently created the world of experiences, is Vishnu, the AII-Pervadmg. According to the Vaishnava literature, for the purpose of creation, Maha Vishnu Himself became four mighty powers (Vyooha) and they were called Vaasudeva, Samkarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. One who has Himself these four mighty powers, necessary for the conduct of plurality, is the Great Self, Maha Vishnu.

(139) Chatur-Damshtrah – The canine teeth fully developed in the upper and the lower rows, as in the case of carnivorous animals, are called in Sanskrit as Damstraa. This is reminiscent of the Powerful Damshtroa of the Loni when He took the form of Nara-Simha to protect Prahlaada.

Also in the Puranas we find that the Great white Elephant of Indra, ‘Airaavata,? has four tusks ? He whose glory is the four-tusked Airoavata is Maha-Vishnu. To the student of the Upanishad, it is indeed very clear that these four ?tusks” or ‘teeth? are nothing other than the four paadas which Mandukya thunders “hatushpaada?. The manifestation of the Might and Glory of the Supreme are the play of the waking, dream and deep-sleep conditions. With reference to these three, transcending them all, is the fourth plane-of-consciousness the Spring board for all these three. He, whose Glory are all these four grinding, crushing, fearful experiences of duality, is the One Non-dual Self, the Great Maha Vishnu.

(140) Chaturbhujah ? “One who has four hands”ยท It is famous that Maha Vishnu has four hands and they carry the Conch, the Discus, the Mace, and the Lotus. According to the Puranas, these four are used by the Lord in maintaining Dharma among mankind. The ‘Conch calls man to the righteous path that directly leads to Peace and Perfection, the Divine Vishnupada. Very many of us in the enchantment of the immediate sense-joys refuse to listen to the small inner voice of conscience, the sound of the PaanchaJanya’conch, and so He wields the ?Mace’ and we come to suffer small calamities and tragic jerks in our smooth existence ? communal, social or national. If still the individual is not listening to the call of the ‘Conch?, the wheel-of-time, Chakra annihilates the entire. The call and the punishment are all only to take man towards his Ultimate Goal, represented by the “Lotus” in His hand.

Subjectively Vishnu is the Self within, who manifests as the four-armed ‘subtle-body’ to serve as the Eesa of the gross physical structure, in all its actions and protect it with existence. The “Subtle-body” as the inner-equipment (Antah’Karana) functions as four mighty powers?mind, intellect, chit and ego. Chit is the ‘Lotus’, intellect is the Conch, ego is the ‘Mace? and mind is the ‘Discus’. All these four are wielded by the One Infinite Blue-bodied Narayana, clothed in His ‘yellow garb’, manifesting to maintain and sustain the world of good and evil. Since the Self functions thus in a four-fold pattern, Vishnu has the appellation, “the four-armed Lord.”

(141) Bhraajishnuh ? Self-Effulgent Consciousness illumines everything; and it is not borrowing Its Light from any other source. “It is the Light of lights that illumines even darkness”?(Geeta Ch. 13, St. 18). And the Upanishad is equally vehement and declares: “There the sun has no light nor the stars nor these lightning; how little then can this fire! By its Light alone all these are illumined.

(142) Bhojanam -The immediate meaning of the term is food, viz. eatables. In philosophy it has a wider implication and the term “food” cannotes the entire field-of-objects experienced or enjoyed by the sense-organs. The world-of-objects projected by the sense-organs, the inner psychological play and this world-of-matter constituting the field-of-plurality, all together is comprehended by the term Maayaa. Thus orthodox commentators reduce this term ‘Bhojanam’ to the contents and functions of Maayaa. Taittirdeya Upanishad (2-7) says: “He is indeed the Essence (Rasa)?.

(143) Bhoktaa – The “Experiencer”. Not only the world-of-objects is essentially nothing but the Spirit, Lord Vishnu, but even the very instruments-of-experiences and their ultimate joys and sorrows, are all illumined for us by the Lord of-Lakshmi. The Pure Self, expressing through the gross, the subtle and the causal bodies, becomes the waker, dreamer and deep-sleeper, experiencing all happenings, good and bad, as the individuality in that living person. Consciousness, Purusha, identifying with and functioning through matter (Prakriti) comes to experience the endless modifications that are born out of Prakriti. The Self in Its Infinite nature is action less and yet in Maayaa seems to function and becomes the Enjoyer or Sufferer of the actions of matter.

(144) Sahishnuh – One who is capable of patiently suffering, in his perfect detachment, all that is happening around, is a sahishnuh. Whatever happens to the reflections of the Sun, the Sun in the cosmos is unaffected by them, and with reference to his reflections we can call him a Sahishnuh; the Sun is a mere “witness” of his own endless reflections.

The term has also got two more meanings in Sanskrit as Forgiver’ or ‘Conqueror’. Vishnu is one who forgives us readily all our trespasses, and conquers for us all the inimical forces in our inner personality.

(145) Jagadaadijah ? One who had born (Jah) in the very beginning (aadi) of the world (jagat) is called Jagadaadijah. At the time of dissolution (Pralaya) when the entire gross and subtle bodies go to lie absorbed in the Total Causal-body, the world, in Pralaya, lies merged in Eesvara. Before the gross world-of-plurality emerges out there should be a condition of subtle manifestation of it in the form of thoughts. Thoughts constitute the mind-intellect; when the Infinite functions through this Total Mind-intellect, It is called as Hiranva garbha ? the womb of all objects, it is from the Hiranyagarbha’sta-te, the manifestation of the gross world emerges out, when the Lord comes to play as the Viraat Aatmaa. Maha Vishnu is the One who was born before the world of gross bodies, therefore, it is indicated here that He is the “Womb-of-all-objects” in the world, the Hiranyagarbha?the very Creator.

(146) Anaghah ? Agham means sin (Poapa), impurities (mala); and therefore, ‘Anaghah means One who has no imperfections and who is not affected by the good and bad Vaasanaas left over in the personality as a result of the wilful actions. He is the Un-contaminated (Aliptah). The Light of Consciousness is the Illuminator of the mind, and so the peace of virtueor the agitations of the sin cannot affect the Illuminator ? the Illuminator being always different from the illuminated. Chandogya Upanishad (8-1-5) says: “He is free from Sin”.

(147) Vijayah – “The Victorious”. One who realizes the Self can thereafter stand apart from the thralldom of matter. Victorious over the tyrannies of the flesh, feelings or facts. Thus, the Seat of Self is the Seat of Victory over matter. The Peace and harmony of the Self can never be assailed by the noisy hordes of the world of plurality. Vijay is the name also of Arjuna and the Lord Himself says, “Among the Pandavas, I am Arjuna” – Geeta Ch. 10, St. 37.

(148) Jetaa – “Ever Successful”. In all undertakings He alone wins; One who never knows any defeat or failure. Upanishad says: “Truth alone wins, never falsehood”

(149) Visvayonih – It can be interpreted in two ways as (a) He who is the Cause of the universe or (b) He who has the world as His Cause. The former is clear to those who have so far followed the commentary, and to them the latter may be a very confusing statement. From the standpoint of the Puranas, it is logical. The Self has manifested as the various incarnations from time to time because of the condition of the world, and therefore, Visvarn is the cause for His manifestations.

(150) Punarvasuh ? One who comes to live again and again in various equipments of living organisms is Punarvasuh

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