Vishnu Sahasranaama

801. Akshobhyah ? “One Who is ever un-

ruffled.” Ordinarily an individual gets disturbed, subjectively,

by the presence of desires, anger, passions, etc., and objectively

an average man is constantly stormed by the enchanting dance

of beautiful sense-objects all around him. Lord, the Self, is a

state of existence wherein neither the subjective disturbances

of the mind, nor the objective persecutions of the sense-organs

can ever reach to ruffle the quietude and peaceful grace of His

perfection. In describing the state of the Sthitaprajna, Bhagavan

says in the Geeta that such a one will be Akshobhya like the

ocean: “He attains Peace into whom all desires enter as waters

enter the ocean, which filled from all sides, remains unmoved;

but not the ‘desirer-of-desires.”

802. Sarva-vaageesvaresvarah ? “The

very Lord of the Lord of Speech.” In the Kenopanishad

it has been made amply clear that it is not the instruments of

actions and perceptions that act by themselves as they are all

made up of inert matter. The immediate animation to the

equipment is given by the ‘inner instruments.’ Therefore, for

all the sense-organs, the mind-intellect-equipment is their immediate Lord. But these subtle instruments themselves get their

dynamism to act only in the presence of Sree Narayana, the

Consciousness. Therefore, it is most appropriate to invoke

Him as the Lord of Lords in all living creatures.

The term Vaageesvara (Lord of Speech) is often used in

the language to indicate poets, writers and orators. Therefore,

the term can also be interpreted as ‘the Lord from whose altar

all ordinary speakers draw their powers. Theologically, some

commentators have spun a meaning out of this term indicating that Sree Narayana, as the Absolute Reality, is the ‘Lord’ of

even the Creator.

803. Mahaa-hradah ? “One Who is like a

great refreshing swimming pool.” In the hot summer season,

plunging into the cool crystal waters of a-pool holds the swimmer in a refreshing cool embrace on all sides. Similarly, the

plane of Narayana-Coascwusness revives, refreshes and en-

thralls all meditators when they plunge into Its reviving quietude. The Yogins often plunge into It from the springboard of

their devotion, and after a time emerge out of It?cool, clean

and refreshed. Sree Narayana is metaphorically addressed as

the great (Mahaa) pond (Hradah).

804. Mahaa-gartah ? “The great chasm.”

Here the ‘chasm’ means the Lord’s maayaa which He Himself

describes, in the Bhagavad-Gita as “My Maayaa (non-appre-

hension and the consequent misapprehension) is very difficult

to cross over.” The industrious lexicographers enter here and

additionally press out of this word garta the meaning, ‘chariot,’

and, therefore, the term can also mean that He is a ‘mahaaratha’

(Great Chariot).

805. Mahaabhootah ? “The Great Being.”

He is the Source from which even the Great Elements spring

forth into existence and, therefore, in His Infinitude and

Pervasiveness, Lord Narayana is called ‘Mahaabhootah.’ The

entire play of birth and death, of integration (sanghaata) and

disintegration (vighaata) are taking place in Him Who is the

mighty substratum and, therefore, it is very appropriate that

the Lord, the God, is considered by the devotees as the “Great


806. Mahaa-nidhih ? “The Great Abode.”

“The Eternal Source from which everything springs forth and

the Infinite substratum upon which the entire play of the finite

is held in animated suspension.” The term ‘nidhi’ means

‘treasure’ and, therefore, its indication here is that Sree Nara-

yana is the richest treasure of all His devotees?to loot at will!

807. Kumudah ? “One Who gladdens the

earth,” or “one who gets gladdened by the earth.” Earth here

should be understood as the entire cosmos ever so dynamic

and scientifically precise. The world of plurality is Narayanas

joyous expression of His infinite potentialities. It is the fulfil-

ment of the Omnipotent.

808. Kundarah ? “The one who tore the earth

in His Incarnation as the Boar in order to destroy the mighty

tyrant, Hiranyaaksha. It can also mean: Darah (one who wears);

Kum (the earth). The term is further commented upon as

“One who bestows rewards as beautiful as the Kunda flowers.”

809. Kundah ? Here we read it as ‘Kunda

flower.’ In this context the term means “One who is as comely

and attractive as the kunda flowers.” In Harivamsa it is said

that the Lord, as Parasuraama, in order to atone for the battles

he had fought, gave (da) gifts of this earth (kum) to Rishi

Kasyapa. ‘Ku’ also has the meaning of the “rulers of the

earth,” and ‘da’ means “slaying.” In this way the term indicates

the “one who had taken the Incarnation of Parasuraama to

destroy the unreasonably vicious tyrants of the land.”

810. Parjanyah ? “He who is similar to the

rain-bearing clouds.” Lord Krishna has been described as

being so gloriously hued. Again, agriculturists and all living

creatures are extremely happy when they see these clouds?the

harbingers of comfort and prosperity. To the devotees, the Lord

is a total fulfilment, as the clouds are for the parched earth.

811. Paavanah ? “One Who ever purifies.”

The impurities of a personality are gathered when the mind

and intellect, in a natural impulse of animal voluptuousness,

rush towards the sense-objects with ego-centric passion. To

retrieve the mind from the sense-objects and to peacefully let

it settle in contemplation of the divine nature and the eternal

glory of Sree Narayana, the Self, is to exhaust all the existing

vaasanaas, which are the personality-impurities within.

812. Anilah ? Like the atmospheric air the

Lord is the life-giver everywhere, and also He is All-pervading.

Nilah also means ‘to slip’?into a condition of non-apprehension: thus, one who is ignorant (avidya). When the symbol

of negation, ‘a’, is added to it, ‘A-nilah’ comes to indicate

“One who slips not, but is ever of the nature of Consciousness.”

Hence it means “Omniscient.”

813. Amritaasah ? Since ‘amrita’ has both the

meanings of ‘nectar’ and ‘immortality,’ the term is interpreted

to mean “One whose desires are never fruitless,” as well

as “One whose greatest desire is for the State of Immortality.”

814. Amrita-vapuh ? “He Whose Form

is Immortal.” He, the Eternal Reality, is unconditioned by

time. This principle of Consciousness, functioning as the flame

of life in every bosom, by Its mere presence has in Itself neither

the physical, subtle nor causal bodies?which alone are the

perishable. Transcending them all?unconditioned by time,

and, therefore, never undergoing any of the natural modifications of mortality, Sree Narayana revels in His Absolute Glory.

815. Sarvajnah ? “Omniscient.” It is only

when the light of Awareness illumines the happenings that

living creatures can become conscious of their experiences.

To know the outer and the inner world of happenings, they

must be lighted up by the principle of Consciousness. This seat

of Sree Narayana is, therefore, called the Pure Knowledge?

the Principle, because of which all other knowledge is possible

in every being.

816. Sarvato-mukhah ? “One Who has

His face turned everywhere”?just as the light in the sun, or

the light of a lamp. In the Bhagavad Geeta He is described as

having eyes, heads and faces on all sides.

817. Sulabhah ~ “One Who is readily available”

and, therefore, easily attainable for those who have true devotion and the heroism to put forth the right effort in unveiling

Him from the miserable pits of matter. To the mind in con-

templation, the Reality is self-evident; all saadhanaas are only

to render the mind contemplative.

818. Suvratah ? “He Who has taken the most

auspicious Forms”?to destroy the evil and to protect the good

is the motive behind all His manifestations. The seeker himself

is one of the Lord’s own manifestations; thus, every spiritual

student will ultimately realize that to destroy the ego in himself

and finally gain back the very state from which he apparently

manifested is re-discovery of the Self.

819. Siddhah ? “0ne Who is Perfection”?not

one who has attained perfection. Sree Narayana, the Absolute

State of Perfection, can never, even when He is playing as the

Incarnation, forget His real nature of Eternal, Unbroken,

Unchanging Perfection.

820. Satrujit ? “One Who is ever victorious

over His hosts of enemies.” In the bosom of man, his enemies

are none other than consciousness of his body and the con-

sequent passions of the flesh?both objective and subjective.

The seeker feels that these urges in him constitute a very power-

ful team of belligerent forces, and against their concerted

onslaught he feels helpless. But when such an alert seeker turns

himself towards the Truth, the Lord Who is in his own heart,

all obstacles whither away. It is natural then that Sree Narayana

is invoked here as the “Supreme Conqueror of all Enemies.”

821. Satrutaapanah ? “The Scorcher of

enemies.” When the devotee offers himself at the altar of His

Feet, He burns down all the negative tendencies polluting the

devotee’s heart.

822. Nyagrodhah ? “The One Who, while

controlling all beings, veils Himself behind this Maayaa.” The

Consciousness constantly functions within us, but due to the

Vaasanaas our attention is constantly distracted to the perception of objects outside and not to the Effulgent Being which is

the core in us. At the same time Sree Narayana, the Self, is the

very Life which has made possible the entire manifestation of

the world. Still, by His own playful inscrutability we recognize

Him not. Interpreted in another sense, the term can also mean,

“He Who is above all.’ The nobler, the mightier power which

controls and regulates any organised set of activities, when

it is conceived by human intellect, it is always expressed as

something higher or above. Therefore, the significance of this

term must be clear to the students.

823. Udumbarah ? “He Who is the Nourisher of all living creatures”?supplying each with its appropriate food. The term also suggests: “one who transcends even

Aakaasa, the subtlest of the manifested elements.” Sree

Narayana, the Source out of which all creatures have emerged,

He alone must also be the Great Cause from which even the

subtlest element, Aakaasa, (space) has sprung forth. The cause

is subtler than the effect, therefore, the essential principle,

Narayana, transcends even the concept of space.

824. Asvatthah ? In the Upanishad, (Katho-

panishad) and in the Bhagavad Geeta (Chapter XV), Lord

Narayana is indicated as the great “Tree of Life,” the Asvattha.

Ficus Religiosa is a perennial tree, seemingly relatively im-

mortal, as compared with the quickly-perishing mankind that

comes in waves, generation after generation, to play under its

shade, to make love at its base,-to grow old in its breeze. Even

when they are dead, their bodies are carried in moonlit pro-

cession to the burial ground, where under the tree’s dancing

leaves, a play of light and shade splashes a wizardly pattern

upon each lifeless face. The children of each departed one, in

their turn, repeat the unending cycle of life under the shade of

the same old tree whose nodding grimace mocks the proces-

sion of fleeting joys and sorrows. This tree has been chosen to

represent the finite play of the Infinite and the Tree itself has

been named: A-svattham meaning: “That which will not

remain the same tomorrow.”

825. Chaanooraandhranishoodanah ?

“The slayer of Chaanoora, the great wrestler. Andhra means


826. Sahasra-archih ? “He Who in His

Effulgence has thousands of rays.” The Self, Sree Narayana,

the Pure Consciousness which illumines all experiences, is

considered in our scriptures as the ‘Light of all Lights,’ and,

in the Geeta’s famous description of this mighty Effulgence

of Reality we read: “If the Splendour of a thousand suns were

to rise up together and at one and the same time blaze forth-

in the sky, that would be like the Splendour of the Mighty


827. Sapta-jihvah ? “He Who expresses

Himself as the ‘seven tongues’ (flame).” ‘Jihvaa’ means tongue; here it is used as the ‘tongues-of-flame.’ These seven

flames of different properties are enumerated in the Mundakopanishad. It sets forth the idea that the Light of Consciousness beams out through seven points in the face of a living

entity?two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and the mouth. As

intelligent beings, powers of perception, metaphorically flame

out through each one of them, illumining the world for us.

The one in our heart, Sree Narayana, Who totally manifests

as the seven distinct tongues-of-flame is classified here by the

scientific-poets, the Rishis, in the language of lyrical service

as Sapta-jihvaah.

828. Sapta-edhaah ? “The Seven Effulgent

flames.” The earlier term invoked Him as the “Seven tongues-

of-flame.” Here the emphasis seems to be for the Effulgence

in those flames.

829. Sapta-vaahanah ? “One Who has

the vehicle of seven horses.” Lord Sun is described by the

poet-seers of the Vedas as riding in a chariot drawn by seven

horses, representing the seven days of the week.

830. A-moortih ? “0ne Who is formless.”

‘Form’ implies a thing that is limited by other factors. The

All-Pervading cannot have a form?just as space has no parti-

cular form. All things having a form are perishable. Narayana

Who is Infinite and Eternal is thus ever Formless.

831. Anaghah ? The Sanskrit term Aghah

(arsr:) means sin or sorrow. Therefore the term means one

who is sinless or sorrowless. Lord Paramesvara, the Self, is

Immaculate?untouched and uncontaminated by the Vaasanaas.

He is Eternal Bliss?beyond all traces of sorrow.

832. Achintyah ? “One Who cannot be

comprehended by man’s mind and intellect.” Not only the

Lord is Formless, and consequently Imperceptible, but He

is also unavailable as an object for our emotional experience,

or for our intellectual appreciation. He is the Pure Conscious-

ness in Whose Light all our perceptions, feelings and thoughts

are illuminated. In Geeta, this “Nourisher of All” is compared

with the changeless white screen upon which all the perishing

scenes of life are focused.

833. Bhaya-krit ? Lord is the “Giver of

fear.” He is a terror to the evil-minded. In all His Incarnations,

He gives fear to the evil-hearted, that they may ultimately be

swayed to the path of Dharma

834. Bhayanaasanah ? “Destroyer of all

fear,” is the Supreme Lord. The Upanishads repeatedly -declare

the State of Self-Knowledge to be the only state of absolute

fearlessness. From a sense of otherness or plurality alone can

fear spring forth. In the One Reality, where there is no other,

how can there be fear? Sree Narayana alone is the only harbour

from all fears.

835. Anuh ? “The Subtlest; the All-pervading.”

Sree Narayana is the subtle flame-of-life in our bosom, the

Essence from which all life’s activities spring forth. He is called

as Anuh because He is in the centre of even the Subtlest.

Bhagavan Himself says: “I am seated in the heart of all?as

the core or Essence in all.”

836. Brihat ? At the same time He is Creator

than the Greatest in dimension. He being the All-pervading.

These two may seem paradoxical but the apparent contradiction dissolves into an illumining experience for the contemplative mind. The Upanishad daringly combines these two terms

to give the students a Vague comprehension of the All-pervading Infinitude of the Self.

837. Krisah ? “0ne Who is lean; subtle; deli-

cate.” Again, this description will be opposed by the next

following one, for herein is a deliberate use of contradictions.

The Rishis made an art of effectively employing terms of

contradiction in order to bring the incomprehensible within

the cognition of the students of contemplation.

838. Sthoolah ? “0ne Who is the fattest; the

grossest; roughest.” These two terms are indicating oppo-

sites. Here it is to be understood that the Lord, in His state

as Pure Consciousness, is the subtlest, and He is the grossest

in the form of the Universe (Viraat).

839. Gunabhrit ? “0ne Who supports”?

maintains and expresses through the three Gunas. Through

Rajas He creates; through Sattva He preserves and through

Tamas He annihilates. He, as Consciousness, expresses Him-

self through these three textures of vaasanaas.

840. Nirgunah ? “Without-any-properties.” That

which has property is matter?perishable, changeable, finite.

The Imperishable, the Changeless, the Infinite is property-less;

it is the Consciousness that illumines all properties (Gunas).

With the matter equipments, in His Incarnations He manifests

as having ‘form’ (Guna-bhrit), and in His Absolute Nature He

is ‘form-less’?the Non-dual Self.

841. Mahaan ? “The Great; the Glorious; the

Mighty.” “One Who is not conditioned by the five Elements?

nor by Time and Space. Quite on the other hand, it is He Who

is the very Existence in everything.

842. Adhritah ? None supports Him, but He

supports all. Just as the cotton in cloth, gold in ornaments,

mud in pots. He is the supporter of the entire universe. To the

devotee who feels the Lord is far away from him, to contemplate

upon Sree Narayana as his very own support will open his

heart to the certainty and plenitude of faith.

843. Svadhritah ? “Self-supported.” When from

the previous term we hear that the Self is the ultimate support

of the Universe, the question automatically rises in a rational

intellect: ‘what supports the Self?’ The Lord is “supported”

by nothing else other than His own Glory. In the Upanishad,

in answer to a question where the Mighty One abides, the

teacher declares, “He abides in His own Glory.”

844. Svaasyah ? “One Who has an Effulgent Face.” Because He gives to the Vedas their beauty and

charm, He is conceived as brilliantly beautiful, enchantingly

fascinating, hauntingly charming.

845. Praag-vamsah ? “One Who has the

most ancient ancestry.” The Infinite, the Cause for the Universe and Time itself, is indicated as the ‘Most Ancient’. The term can also mean the accommodation reserved

during a Yaaga meeting where the invitees and guests may rest.

Generally built on the eastern courtyard of the house, this

accommodation is called ‘Praagvamsah.’ Since everything con-

nected with a Yajna or Yaaga is considered as sacred, the

‘Praag-vamsaV has been used here as a name to indicate Sree


846. Vamsa-vardhanah ? “He Who multiplies His family of descendents.” The Lord’s family is the

whole Universe of things and beings. Or it can also imply just

the opposite as the root Vardh means ‘the annihilator.’

Narayana is the sacred factor in us, to Whose Feet we turn in

all love and undivided attention, in Whom the world of perceptions, emotions and thoughts merge as a dream merges into

the mind of the waker.

847. Bhaara-bhrit ? “One Who carries the

load of the Universe.” This carrying is not as a man would

carry a load?something other than himself. The Self Itself

has become the world so here it means only that Narayana

is the very material Cause of the Universe.

848. Kathitah ? “0ne Who is glorified in the

Vedas and other .spiritual text books.” Narayana-essence is

the theme of all scriptures in the world.

849. Yogee ? “One Who can be realised through

Yoga:” “One Who is the greatest Yogee.” The term Yoga

is defined in the Sastra as ‘stopping all thoughtflow.’ One who

has no thought agitations?who has totally conquered the

mmd(Maayaa) and lives in His own Effulgent Self-nature is the

greatest Yogee.

850. Yogeesah ? “The King of Yogees.”

“One who realises the Self, becomes the Self,'”” is an Upani-

shadic declaration. Therefore, Self alone is the perfect Yogee

and Sree Narayana, the Self, is the King of all Yogees. The

sense of agency-in-action and the sense of enjoyership-in-

experience is the ego (Jeeva-bhaavanaa). To end this ego-per-

sonality is to rise to the awareness of the Universal Conscious-

ness, the Self. Sree Narayana, the Absolute Reality, alone can

be free?entirely and fully?from any involvement while

being ever in the midst of Samsar and its seething activities.

Hence He is glorified as the best among Yogees.

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