Vishnu Sahasranaama

(51) Manuh -The term means One who has the ability to reflect upon the Higher (Mananaseelah Manuh). Manu also means mantra and so, as applied to the Lord, it can mean as the One who has manifested Himself in the form of the Vedic mantras.

(52) Tvashtaa -One who makes gross things of huge dimensions into minutest particles At the time, of the world’s dissolution, the entire gross-world folds back into its subtler elements until at last pure objectless space alone “` to remain.

(53) Sthayishthah – It is the superlative degree of gross (sthoala) and thus ‘the Supremely gross” is the subtlest Reality The contradiction that it contains is itself its vigour and beauty. The Infinite as the subtlest is All-Pervading in Its own nature. It is this Maha-Vishnu who has Himself become the entire universe of gross things and beings. Just as all waves are the ocean, the total world of gross things is itself the form of Vishnu.

In His cosmic form, Narayana had manifested to Arjuna in the Geeta. There the words of Arjuna’s chant will clearly bring home to us that the entire gross world is ever His own Divine form.

(54) Sthaviro Dhruvah -The Ancient (Sthavirah) and the Motionless or firm (Dhruvah). He is callec the ‘Ancient’ because the very first ‘unit of time’ itself had risen from Him. He was the progenitor of the very concept of Tim in us. Therefore, ‘Time’ cannot condition Him. Thus He be comes the most Ancient. He is the ‘Firm Truth’; nothing that happens in the phenomenal world can affect Him at any time.

(55) Agraahyah -That which cannot be perceived through the play of the sense-organs; in short, that which is not an ‘object’ of perception, but which is the very ‘subject’-who is the Perceiver in all that is perceived. The ‘Subject can never become the ‘object’, and hence Truth is something that the sense-organs cannot apprehend, as they do any other sense-objects. He is the one ‘Subject’ ever-perceiving all objects, through all sense-organs of all living creatures, everywhere, at all times. The Lord is the ‘Subject’, not only in the sense-organs, but He is the “feeler” in the mind and the “thinker” in the intellect.

And thus the sense-organs cannot perceive It, nor the mind feel It, nor the intellect apprehend It; says the Upanishads “That from which words retire unapproached along with the mind” is the Supreme. Hence He is Agraahya–Imperceptible and Incomprehensible. Kenopanishad is very clear and emphatic: “That which the eyes cannot perceive, but because of which eyes are perceiving, understand That to be Brahman (Maha Vishnu) and not that which you here worship.”

(56) Saasvatah -That which remains at all times the same is the Permanent, . That which is permanent, should remain Changeless in all the three periods of time. In short. He is unconditioned by time. The Supreme Consciousness Itself is the very Illuminator of Time, and the Illuminator can never be affected by what It illumines. This changeless reality is Vishnu.

(57) Krishnah-The word Krishna means in Sanskrit ‘the dark’. The Truth that is intellectually appreciated, but spiritually not apprehended, is considered as ‘veiled behind some darkness’.

The root Krishna means Existence (Sattaa) and na means Bliss (Aananda). So says Vyasa in Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva 70, 5. Therefore Krishna (Krish+na) means Existence. Bliss Thus, the very name divine, ‘Krishna’, represents the Supreme Paramaatman. Or, because of His dark-blue complexion He is called as Krishna. Mahabharata Santi Parva 343 says, “As My colour is dark-blue, I am called Krishna, 0 Arjuna.”

In Mahabharata, we find Krishna explaining Himself to Arjuna ‘when the earth becomes shelled in by its hard crux I shall turn myself into an iron plough-share and shall plough the earth.

Apart from the above meaning Krishna also means the Enchanter of all His devotees (Aakarshana). Truth is One which irresistibly attracts everybody towards Itself. Commentators have interpreted this significance in a more attractive context. They conclude that Krishna means One who sweeps away the sins in the heart of those who meditate upon Him.

Truth has got a magnetism to attract to Itself all the ego and ego-centric passions of the individual. In this sense viewed, we need not consider Krishna as a deity of the farm-yard in the agricultural estates. The Lord ploughs the hard stupidities in us and prepares the heart-field, weeding out all the poisonous growths of sin, and cultivates therein pure Bliss which is of the nature of Reality.

(58) Lohitaakshah -Red-eyed. Very often we find descriptions in the Puranas, where the Lord is explained as having eyes like the red-lotus ( Hibiscus). Generally the ruddy eyes represent anger and the incarnations are taken for the purpose of destroying the evil and so His anger is towards the evil-minded materialists who live ignoring the higher values of life.

(59) Pratardanah -The root Tarda means “destruction” and with the prefix Pra the root (Pra-tarda) means “supreme destruction”. One who does this total destruction (Pratardanah) is the Lord in the form of Rudra at the time of the great dissolution (Pralaya).

(60) Prabhootah -The term means ‘born full’ or ‘ever-full’. He is ever-full and perfect in His Essential Nature, as the Transcendental Reality, or even when He manifests in the form of His various incarnations. Especially in His chief and glorious incarnation as Lord Krishna, He proved Himself to be ever full with His Omnipotency and Omnisciency.

(61) Trikakubdhaama -One who is the very foundation or support (Dhaama) of the three quarters (Kakubh). We find this is generally commented upon and described as “all quarters, in the three realms above, below and middle.” Viewing this from the platform of Vedanta, He must be considered by us as the three Planes-of-Consciousness-the waking (Jaagrat), the dream (Svapna) and the deep-sleep (Sushupti) conditions. The fourth Plane-of-Consciousness (Tureeya) is indeed the Substratum for all the other three planes.

(62) Pavitram -One who gives purity to the heart. To the seekers who are meditating upon Him, He gives inner purity, and hence He is known as Pavitram.

Or, the term Pavi means the weapon vajra (thunderbolt). One who saves his devotees from the thunderbolt of Indra is Pavitram. The thunderbolt is described as an instrument in cross bones-made out of the bone of sage Dadheechi. Indra is the Lord of the Indriyas. In Vedanta Indra signifies the mind. Mind’s cross purposes, confusions, intellectual compromises and the consequent self cancellation of our mental powers (Sankalpa-Vikalpa) can be the great thunderbolt of the mind with which Indra (mind) can destroy in no time all the acquired tapas of the saadhaka.

Deep devotion, ardent meditation and firm faith in the Lord Vishnu save the saadhaka from all such mental storm and, therefore, the Lord acquires the significant name Pavitram.

(63) ParamMangalam -Mangalam is that which not only removes the dark pains of evil, but brings the bright joys of merit. Param Mangalam is Supreme Mangalam and It can be none other than He, by whose mere remembrance all inauspiciousness gets lifted up and all Auspiciousness comes to flood our hearts. The Upanishad declares: “Ma, That Brahman-who removes all inauspiciousness in man an( gives man all auspiciousness, by a mere remembrance of Him -give us all auspiciousness.

(64) Eesaanah -‘The Controller of all the five Great Elements”. When this term is used, Eesvara becomes the Administrator of His own Law in the phenomenal world of plurality. The executive function of His Infinite Will, when manifested through Him, the Lord, Eesvara, is said to function as Eesaanah. Or, the term can also mean One who is the Supreme Eesvara-the Paramesvara.

(65) Praanadah -One who gives (Dadaati) the Pnwnas to all. The term Praanas used in philosophy indicates “all manifestations of Life in a living body”. The Source of Life from which all dynamic activities in the living organisms of the world flow out, meaning, That from which all activities emerge out is Praanadah. Taittireeya Upanishad (2-7) exclaims: “Who could then live, who could breath” if He be not everywhere.”

(66) Praanah -That which sustains is Praana and that which has got Praana functioning in it is called a Praanee. Since the Lord is termed as this very same Praana, it means by its suggestion that He is One who ever lives. The Immortal and the Eternal is Praanah.

The term can also mean that which gives Life-impulse even to the air; the capacity to sustain life in the atmosphere flows from Him alone. In the Kenopanishad we read the Supreme ‘Defined’ as the “Praana of Praanas” (Praanasya Praanah).

(67) Jyeshthah – Older than all. The Infinite is That which was even before the very concept of space (Aakaasa) came into existence. The term is the superlative degree of the Aged. In short, the import of this term is the same as the more familiar term used in our sastras, the Ancient (Sanaatanah).

(68) Sreshthah -The most Glorious One: Here again it is the superlative degree of glorious, Sreyah.

(69) Prajaapatih -The Lord (Pati) of all living creatures(Prajaah). The term Prajas means ‘Children’. Therefore Prajaapati means the Great Father, to whom all beings in the living kingdom are His own children. In this sense, the term connotes One, who, as the Creator, creates all creatures.


-One who dwells in the womb (garbha) of the world (Hiranya). The Upanishad declares: “All these are in-dwelt by the Lord.” The “Golden Universe” is an idiom in Sanskrit where ‘gold’ means “objects of fulfilment and joy’ One who dwells in them all is Hiranya garbhah. The term can also mean as He who, having become first the Creator, has come to be considered as the womb of all objects.

(71) Bhoogarbhah -One who is the very womb of the world (Bhooh). The One from whom the world has emerged out. In the Cosmic Form of the Lord, this world occupies an insignificant though sacred portion, just as the fetus in the womb, constantly and lovingly nurtured and nourished

by the very Essence in the mother. Or, Bhooh the earth: the divine consort of Hari: Garbha – Protector.

(72) Maadhavah -The Lord of Maayaa, Spouse of Mahaalakshmee. Or, the term can signify the One who is ultimately experienced through a diligent practice of “madhu-technique”: the very famous Madhu Vidyaa of the Chandogya Upanishad. The term Maadhavah can also mean One who is the Silent (Mauni); who is ever the Non-interfering Observer, the Silent Witness of the physical, mental and intellectual activities in the realm of change. To put it in one word. He is the One whom the seeker experiences when he has stilled his mind which has been purified by Yoga practices.

(73) Madhusoodanah -One who destroyed the great demon Madhu. The story of Vishnu destroying these two demons, Madhu and Kaitabha, is a story of secret suggestions in Mahabharata. Madhu also means in Veda (Madhu = honey) as the fruits of actions (Karma-phala). Actions leave impressions and these sensuous Vaasanaas are destroyed by meditations on the Reality and so the Supreme gathers to Itself the name Madhusoodanah: “the Destroyer of Vaasanaas.”

(74) Eesvarah -One who is Omnipotent, and so has all powers in Him to the full. The manifested powers of Life express themselves in every intelligent man as the power of action in the body (Krivaa Shakti). The power of desire in the mind (lcchaa Shakti) and the power of knowledge in the intellect (Jnaana Sakti). All these three powers are manifestations of Him, and since He is the One everywhere. He is the total mighty power-the Great Vishnu.

(75) Vikramee -One full ofprowess ( Vikrama), courage, daring. Or, it can be One who has “Special foot steps”. This term commemorates how the Lord, as Vamana, measured with His tiny three steps all the three worlds.

(76) Dhanvee -Lord Vishnu’s Divine Bow is called ‘Saarnga’ and it is described as the mightiest among the weapons. One who is having this Mighty Bow at all times is Dhanvee. It can also remind us of His incarnation as Sree Ramachandraji, when, in order to protect the world from the mighty Raakshasas of Lanka, He had to dedicate a substantial part of His life almost constantly wielding his bow: hence Sri Rama came to be known as Dhanushpaani; in His attitude of protection He is known as Kodandaraama. Thus, the term Dhanvee, the Wielder of the bow, is quite appropriate for Vishnu. “I am Sri Rama among the Wielders of the bow” -Geeta Ch. 10, St. 31.

(77) Medhaavee -Supremely intelligent; One who is capable of understanding everything. One who has the capacity to comprehend intellectually all that is happening around is called Medhaavee. Since Consciousness is the One Light in all living creatures, which illumines all intellects, and since Vishnu is this Infinite Consciousness, He is the One Knower, knowing all things, at all times, at once. Hence Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning and Knowledge is described as the very tongue of Vishnu.

(78) Vikramah -While describing the term Vikramee (75) we had already explained the meaning contents of Vikrama, and thus Vikrdma is an appellation that had come to Vishnu as a result of His Supernatural Act of measuring the universe with three steps.

Also, Vi means the “king-of-birds”, the white-necked eagle; Krama means steps and, therefore, ‘movement or travel”. In this sense Vikrama can mean: “One who rides on the white eagle (mind) is Vishnu”-who is described as having Garuda for His vehicle (Vaahanam).

(79) Kramah -He who is All-Pervading is Kramah. Because of His All-Pervasiveness, the Infinite is called as Vishnu. That which goes beyond the frontiers of the known is the Supreme, and, therefore, in the description of Him, who has manifested as the Cosmos, we have in Purushasookta an indication that He not only pervades all that is known but “extends even beyond by ten digits” (Atyatishthat Dasaangulam).

(80) Anuttamah -One who is ‘incomparably Great’ in glory-Anuttamah. In the Sanskrit construction of the word, it means something more than what we have said; it means: ‘He is one, beyond whom there exists none who is greater than He. In Gita (Xl-43) we read: “For Thy equal exists not, whence another superior to Thee?” In Sri Narayana Upanishad (12) we again read, “There is nothing above or below, equal to Him”.

(81) Duraadharshah -One who cannot be attacked, stormed or beleaguered successfully. In short, He is All-Powerful. In the Puranas, we find Daityas and Asuras and others, mighty and powerful ones, become themselves helpless victims of His Power and come under His sway. To one who has realized the Infinite, the lower nature of the mind (Daityas) and the enchantments of the senses (Raakshasas), are all helpless to overwhelm Him. “Rasopyasya Param Drishtvaa Nivartate” Geeta Ch. 2, St. 59.

(82) Kritajnah -He who knows all that is done by all: the One Knower who knows all physical activities, all emotional feelings, and all intellectual thoughts and motives. He illumines them all, in all, at all times. Hence He is called Kritajna Vishnu is the One who knows clearly the exact depth of sincerity, the true ardency of devotion, the real amount of purity in the bosom of all his devotees, and, accordingly, brings ioy and bliss to their hearts.

(83) Kritih -The- One, who is the very dynamism behind all activities. He is the Inevitability behind the result of actions. He is called Kritih because it is He who visits to bless the good and to punish the evil; in short; He is the One who rewards all our actions.

(84) Aatmavaan – One who is the Self in all beings. In the Chandogya Upanishad (7.24.1) when the disciple asks, “Where does the Lord, the Infinite, stand established?” the Sruti answers, “In Its own glory established ever is the Self”-(Sve Mahimni Pratishthitah).

(85) Suresah -The denizens of the Heavens are called in the Puranas as Suras Eesa means the Lord; Suresa, therefore, indicates the God of gods, the Lord of the Suras. The gods are called as Suras because they are capable of blessing their devotees with a fulfillment of their desires. Therefore, Suresah means One who is the best among those who fulfill all the demands of their devotees (Suras). In short. He is the One who gives the Supreme State of Beatitude and the consequent total liberation from all desires of the ego.

(86) Saranam –The Refuge for all who are suffering from the thraldom of imperfection in life. According to the Sanskrit Lexicon (Amarakosa), the term Saranam means ‘Protector’ and also ‘home’. Since the Lord is the Ultimate Goal, Saranam, He is also the “Destination”, the ‘Harbour’. The One who realizes Him comes to live in Him.

He is the Home to which the Prodigal Son (Jeeva) ultimately returns. Not only for the Men of Realization is He the Home, but for all creatures, movables and immovables. He is the Home, to which they all disappear to rest and to revive during Pralaya (Sleep).

(87) Sarma -One who is Himself the Infinite Bliss. Transcending the mind lie the shores of Bliss, beyond the waters of agitations. The Infinite is described in our Upanishads as the “Sacchidaananda”, ever of the same nature—‘ Saantam Sivarn Sundaram.

(88) Visvaretaah -Retas means seed’; the term connotes that He is the seed from which the tree of life has sprung forth. He who is the very cause for the entire play of experience in .the world of pluralistic objects (Sarva” Prapancha-Kaaranabhootah) is called Visvaretaah.

(89) Prajaabhavah -He from whom all living creatures (Prajaa) spring forth (Bhava) is known as Prajaa” bhavah.

(90) Ahah -Ahan has got two meanings: the 24-hour-day or the 12-hour day-time. He is of the nature of ‘day-time’ means “He is the One, ever effulgent and bright”; as bright as the daylight that illumines all objects around. In case we accept the other meaning, “the 24-hour-day”, then, a day being a unit of time, the term Ahan can also mean, “One who is of the nature of Time itself”. Also He is one who does not (a) ever destroy (han) the devotees who have surrendered themselves to Him.

(91) Samvatsarah -One who is of the nature of year-meaning One who is the Lord of Time; He, from whom the very ‘concept of Time’ rises.

(92) Vyaalah -One who is unapproachable. “Vyaola” also means ‘Serpent’; to those who have no devotion or understanding, God or Truth is as horrible and terrible as a ‘serpent’. Moreover, it is so difficult to grasp in our understanding that It is like a serpent: ever eluding, always slippery.

(93) Pratyayah – One whose very nature is Knowledge. That the Supreme is Knowledge Absolute is very well known. It is in the light of Consciousness that all ‘knowledges’ are possible. ‘Knowledge of a thing’ is the Awareness of its nature. Awareness is Knowledge. Since the Supreme is the One Awareness everywhere, all ‘Knowledges’ spring from the Self. Hence, He is called “the Pure Knowledge”. “Consciousness is Brahman” is one of the Mahaavaakyas.

(94) Sarvadarsanah – This term, “All-seeing” is very appropriate inasmuch as the Supreme Consciousness has been defined and indicated in the Kenopanishad as, “That which the eyes cannot see, but because of which the eyes see.” It is the Seer in the eyes, the Hearer in the ears, the Speaker, the Feeler and the Thinker.” And since this Principle of Consciousness is One everywhere, as expressed through the equipments, It is indeed the One Seer in all ‘seeing’, by everyone, everywhere. The Gita indicates Him as “One who has eyes and heads every- where”

(95) Ajah -Unborn. Birth implies a modification; birth cannot be without the death of its previous condition. Since the Eternal and the Infinite, is ever Changeless there can be in It neither birth nor death. That which is born must necessarily die: (Geeta Ch. 2, St. 27) and so, that which is unborn should be deathless (Arnritah).

Rig Veda (1-81-5): “He was neither born nor is He going to be born.”

(96) Sarvesvarah -God of all gods or the Supreme Controller of all. In a sense it means the Almighty, the All-powerful. “He is the Lord of all,” says Brihad Upanishad (6-4-2).

(97) Siddhah -One who has achieved all that has to be achieved, as He Himself is the Final Goal for all. Or the term can also mean “the most famous”

(98) Siddhih – He who is available for recognition (Siddha) everywhere at all points in His nature as Pure Consciousness. Again, Siddhi also means the ‘fruit of action’, and in the context here this would mean, “He who gives the Infinite fruit of Kaivalya, Moksha.” All other karmas can acquire for us only relative joys of the heavens, but in realizing the Self the seeker gains an Infinite State from which there is no return’, so describes Geeta.

(99) Sarvaadih – One who is the very beginning (Aadi) of all; One who was in existence earlier than everything else. Even before the effects arise, the Cause. The Infinite which was before creation and from which the created beings had emerged out, as an effect, is naturally the Primary Cause (Moola-Kaarana).

(100) Achyutah -Chyutah Fallen; Achyutah: One who has never fallen: the Ever-Pure Reality which is never fallen into the mis-conceptions of Samsar: the Pure Knowledge in which ignorance has never come to pollute Its purity. Lord Himself says in Bhagavata, “I have never ever before fallen from my Real Nature; therefore, I am Achyutah”.

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