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Monday, February 27, 2012

VISHNU SAHASRANAMA MEANING 532 - 543


532. Kṛtajñaḥ कृतज्ञः
Repetitive nāma 82.
In view of the explanation given in nāma 82, this nāma is interpreted here differently. Kṛtajña means grateful by remembering past actions. This nāma says that He distinctly remembers the depth of one’s devotion and helps him during his miseries. The depth of devotion means the depth of devotee’s contemplation about Him. Unless Viṣṇu pervades his entire mind through his yogic practices, He will not come to the rescue of his devotees. Devotee means the one, who always thinks about Him both during happiness and testing times. When the contemplation becomes intent, it transforms into Bliss and finally gives liberation. Hence He is adored as Kṛtajña.
533. Medinīpatiḥ मेदिनीपतिः
Medinī means Mother Earth. This nāma says that Viṣṇu is the Lord of Mother Earth. It can also be explained that Mother Earth is the Consort of Lord Viṣṇu. Puruṣa and Prakṛti enumerated in sāṃkhyayoga are based on this principle. Sāṃkhyayoga says that conjugality between Puruṣa and Prakṛti leads to the creation of a being.
534. Tripadaḥ त्रिपदः
This means three divisions.  This could mean all the triads with the help of which the universe is created. For example, iccā, jñāna and kriya śakti-s, known as the Divine Energy of will, wisdom and action. This is generally known as trīśikā or analysis of three.
This could also mean three Veda-s or three letters of OM (a,u,m); dharma, artha and kāma; three guṇa-s sattvic, rajas and tamas, etc. The whole universe is created, sustained and dissolved only by the combination of various triads.
Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa (21.36 – 38) says “In you reside the three mātra-s of time (short, long and medium), O Goddess, all that exists and does not exist, the three worlds, the three Veda-s, the three sciences, the three fires, the three lights, three colours, the three qualities, the three sounds and the three āśrama-s, (house holder, anchorite and sannyās) the three times and the three states of life, the three types of pitṛ-s (Vasu, Rudra and Āditya), day-night and the rest.  This trinity of standards in your form Oh! Goddess Sarasvatī.”
535. Tridaśādhyakṣaḥ त्रिदशाध्यक्षः
Tri means three; daśā means three stages of one’s life viz. childhood, adolescent and old age or three stages of mind active, dream and deep sleep. In both physical and mental changes, Brahman merely remains as a witness to the changes unfolding. He does not Himself undergo any changes or modifications as He is beyond changes. Everything else around Him undergoes changes and modifications. Akṣa means the Soul, the unchanging witness without whom, a body cannot exist.
This nāma says that He only remains as a witness to all the changes happening both inside the body and outside the body of a being. Hence He is Tridaśādhyakṣa.
536. Mahāśṛṅgaḥ महाशृङ्गः
Śṛṅga means horn and Mahāśṛṅga means great horn.
Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (12.10) describes this. It compares OM to a bull. This bull has four horns, three legs, two heads and seven hands.  The four horns refer to the four parts of OM and they are a,u,m and bindu (a dot). Therefore, mahāśṛṅga refers only to OM. Three legs refer to the three states of consciousness – active, dream and deep sleep. The two heads refer to two types of prakṛti – parā prakṛti and aparā prakṛti.  Seven hands refer to the seven worlds referred in Gayatri mantra or the seven tongues of Agni. The mantra described here in the Upaniṣad is used to invoke god Agni in fire rituals.
This nāma says that He is praṇava, the mystical symbol , consisting of four sacred letters (-कार,-कार,-कार बिन्दु संयुक्तम्).
537. Kṛtāntakṛt कृतान्तकृत्
Kṛtānta means dissolution and kṛt means the one who dissolves or destroys. This nāma refers to the act of annihilation, the fourth act of Brahman. However, He recreates the universe from the deluge, out of compassion (fifth act of Brahman) and re-creates the universe, the first act of Brahman.
What He has created and sustained, He also chooses to dissolve and re-create again. It is all His play.
538. Mahāvarāhaḥ महावराहः
This nāma refers to His incarnation as a boar. He incarnated in the form of a tiny boar by coming out of Brahmā’s nose and He grew huge in size, killed the demons and saved the earth.  This is known as Varāha avatar.  Varāha is said to give protection while one is travelling.
539. Govindaḥ गोविन्दः
He can be attained only through knowledge that is beyond mind. He is to be attained for the purpose of liberation. Liberation ceases the process of transmigration, which is not only painful, but also time consuming. He alone can give liberation.
This nāma adores Him as Govinda because go subtly refers to the beings and vinda means attaining. Go also could mean Vedas and according to this interpretation, He can be realized through Vedas. Vedas are the essence of Self knowledge and conveyed subtly. Later Upaniṣad-s conveyed the knowledge more directly.
This nāma says that Brahman can be attained only through knowledge. Any type of spiritual practices will be of no help without knowledge of the Self.
540. Suṣeṇaḥ सुषेणः
He has an excellent army. (Literally, suṣeṇa means having good missiles). Either missiles or army, He has them in the form of various gods and goddesses, who protect the universe. God Agni, Yama, etc are certain examples. Each of them is powerful in his or her own way and they in unison sustain the universe on His behalf. For example, when there is fire, water is required to put down the fire. Instead of fire god, if wind god works in unison with fire god, then the fire spreads causing serious devastation. The combination of these energies happens according to one’s karma and karma of certain group of people.
This nāma says that He acts through His various energies to uphold the universe and all such energies are worshipped as a god or goddess.
541. Kanakāṅgadī कनकाङ्गदी
He wears golden bracelet. Subtly this means that His shoulders are very strong to create, sustain and dissolve the universe. Spiritual upliftment not only depends upon knowledge and practice, but also on adequate body strength to withhold the Divine energy.
542. Guhyaḥ गुह्यः
He is mystic and can be known only by the highest knowledge.
All Upaniṣad-s say that He remains concealed in a dark cave near the heart (heart here refers to heart chakra and not the biological heart).
Kaṭha Upaniṣad (I.ii.12) describes this thus: “(Self or Brahman) is difficult to see as He lies deep within hidden by intellect as if He is hidden in a cave. It is beyond the reach of everyone.”
Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.i.1) says, “nihitam guhāyām निहितम् गुहायाम्”. Nihita means always placed and guhāyām means a secret place. The Upaniṣad says that Brahman is placed in a secretive place in the heart chakra, as if He is placed in a cave.
The point driven home by all the Upaniṣad-s is that the Brahman is deep inside the body and cannot be seen, but can only be realized. For this realization, one needs to have strong Scriptural knowledge. Only then, an aspirant can go past the effects of māyā and realize Him ultimately.
543. Gabhīraḥ गभीरः
Gabhīra means the One which is mystic in nature and cannot be investigated or explored. Brahman cannot be investigated as He is beyond investigation because of His inherent qualities such as omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, etc. There is no physical form for the Brahman due to the above factors. Hence, it is said that He cannot be seen and can only be realized. He is in the form of Pure Consciousness and can be realized only in thoughtless state of mind.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Viṣṇu Sahasranāma विष्णु सहस्रनाम 527 - 531


527. Nandanaḥ नन्दनः
He gives happiness to those who always contemplate on Him. When the mind is in a happy state, the Divine Bliss follows depending on the intensity of devotion. Mental happiness is a prelude to Bliss and ultimate liberation. Only the Brahman can endow such happiness.
Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.7) says, “eṣaḥ eva anandayāati एषः एव अनन्दयाति (eṣaḥ refers to the Brahman)”. This means that the Self within gives happiness to all.
528. Nandaḥ नन्दः
Looking at the placement of this nāma, prefix mahā appears to be concealed. If mahā is prefixed, then this nāma becomes “Mahānandaḥ”.
The previous nāma spoke about showering happiness to His devotees. This nāma goes further and says that He offers the eternal Bliss which leads to final liberation. This devotee’s soul merges with Him and he is not reborn.
Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VII.xxiv.1) explains this state of the devotee thus: “He sees nothing else, hears nothing else and knows nothing else.” Again in (VII.xxiii.1), the Upaniṣad says, “yo vai bhūma tatsukhaṁ यो वै भूम तत्सुखं” which means, “That which is Infinite, that is happiness.”
These two nāma-s say that the Brahman first gives happiness to His devotees and depending upon the quality of spiritual pursuit of the devotee, He endows Bliss and final liberation.
529. Satyadharmā सत्यधर्मा
Satyadharma means the law of Truth or eternal Truth. When the word eternal is used, it always refers to the Brahman. He upholds truth through dharma śāstra-s, which are nothing but guidelines to make life worthy of living.
Generally, such Scriptural dictums are applicable only to spiritual aspirants and not to Self-realized persons. It is wrong to bypass Vedic and other rituals as long as one is not Self-realized. The right path to Self realization is action – worship – knowledge and finally realization.
530. Trivikramaḥ त्रिविक्रमः
Vikrama means a step and trivikrama means three steps. This nāma refers to the three steps of Lord Viṣṇu.
Rig Veda refers to His three steps in various hymns and many of these hymns together form the famous Viṣṇu sūkta. These three steps are placed in three places of the universe. The first step in the earth, comprising of matter; the second step in the mid world comprising materialistic energies and the third and the last step is on the heaven, the mental and cosmic energies. His devotees watch this final step called His Supreme Step. This is explained in Rig Veda (I.xxii.20 and 21):
तद्विष्णोः परमं पदं सदा पश्यन्ति  सूरयः। दिवीव चक्षुर् आततम्॥
तद्विप्रासो विपन्यवो जागृवाम्सः समिन्धते। विष्णोर्यत्परमं पदम्॥
 tadviṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti  sūrayaḥ| divīva cakṣur ātatam||
tadviprāso vipanyavo jāgṛvāmsaḥ samindhate| viṣṇoryatparamaṁ padam|| 
Subtle meaning: The wise and true seekers realize Him through contemplating within their own selves; they see Him vividly as the eyes range over the sky. By transcendental meditation and pious acts, the vigilant seeker of truth realizes the all-pervading Self within the innermost cavity, the Supreme Abode of Lord Viṣṇu.
This nāma also refers to His incarnation as Vāmana. During this incarnation, He placed three cosmic steps; one on the earth, another on the Satyaloka of Brahma and the third one on the head of the demon Bali.  Viṣṇu grew from His dwarfish form to Cosmic form.
Tri in general refers to all the triads such as three worlds; iccā, jñāna and kriya śakti-s; creation, sustenance and destruction, etc and Viṣṇu controls all these triads for upholding the universe (multiple galaxies such as earth’s Milky Way form the universe).
531. Maharṣiḥ kapilācāryaḥ महर्षिः कपिलाचार्यः
Kapila is a great sage and is the founder of Sāṁkhya philosophy. It is believed that Lord Viṣṇu incarnated Himself as Sage Kapila. Maharṣi means great sage and ācārya means teacher. Maharṣi-s are said to have been created Manu. Some texts say they are seven in number and others say ten. Kpila’s name does not find a place in either of these lists. But there are other references to pronounce the greatness of Kapila.
Kṛṣṇa calls Maharṣi Kapila as siddha. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (X.26), “among the siddha-s, I am Kapila.” Kṛṣṇa makes distinction between a sage and a siddha. Siddha generally means the perfected ones. Siddha-s are those who have attained supernatural powers and are fully realized ones. Kapila is said to be the chief of Siddha-s.
Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (V.2) says, “tam ṛṣim kapilam तम् ऋषिम् कपिलम्”, where kapilam refers to the Brahman.  This also goes to prove that Viṣṇu incarnated as Kapila. It is also said that Viṣṇu incarnated as Kapila to found Sāṁkhya philosophy. Hence this nāma.
Sāṁkhya philosophy is one of the three great divisions of Hindu philosophy ascribed to the sage Kapila, and so called either from discriminating in general, or enumerating twenty-five tattva-s, twenty-three of which are evolved out of Prakṛti, the primordial Essence or First-Producer viz. buddhi, ahaṃkāra, the five tanmātra-s, the five principle elements and mind. The twenty fifth is Puruṣa or Spirit (Soul) who is not a producer and wholly distinct from the twenty-four other, tattva-s and is multitudinous.  Each individual Puruṣa by its union with Prakṛti cause a individual being. The object of this philosophy being to effect the final liberation of the Puruṣa or Spirit from the fetters caused by illusionary effects of Prakṛti.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

VISHNU SAHASRANAMA 521 - 526


521. Ajaḥ अजः
Repetitive nāma-s 95 and 204.
Aja also means kāma meaning desire. Brahman is also the cause for desire that is not against Scriptural dictums.
It should also be remembered that Brahman is omnipresent and therefore He is both good and bad. Good thoughts and actions are approved by dharma and evil thoughts and actions are disapproved by dharma śāstra-s. Evil thoughts are more powerful than evil actions and increase one’s karmic account many fold.
Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (VII.11) “aham kāmaḥ अहम् कामः” which means “I am desire”. In the same verse He further adds such desires should not be conflicting with dharma śāstra-s.
To cite an example, a man can desire for two healthy meals a day. This is not in contravention with dharma śāstra-s. If the same man desires to have moon, then it is against the scriptural dictums.
This nāma says such desires originate from Lord Viṣṇu, who acts through His power of māyā.
522. Mahārhaḥ महार्हः
Mahārha means very worthy, valuable and precious. Naturally, Brahman is worthy of worship. This nāma clearly affirms that Lord Viṣṇu is the Brahman.
Worship means that one should always think about Him and contemplate Him and visualize Him. When the difference between the self and the Self is dissolved, He begins to shower His Grace on the worshipper thereby making him to advance spiritually. On the expiry of all his karmas, he becomes liberated.
523. Svābhāvyaḥ स्वाभाव्यः
Svābhāvya means existing spontaneously and existing because of His own nature. This nāma subtly conveys that He is the Brahman. Except Him, none can exist without parentage. In spite of being the Creator, He eternally continues to remain Pure and without changes, the exclusive nature of the Brahman.
524. Jitāmitraḥ जितामित्रः
Jitāmitra means the One, who has conquered His enemies. Enemies are of two kinds. One, the external enemies like evil doers and are referred as demons in epics. Second is the internal enemies presided by mind comprising of desire, attachment, ego, etc.
Scripturally speaking, Viṣṇu is known for destroying evil doers by incarnating Himself in various forms.
Spiritually speaking, in order to attain the Brahman one has to purify his mind. When the mind becomes devoid of too many thoughts, detachment begins to unfold making the aspirant fit enough to become Self-realized. However, His Grace is the primary factor in realizing Him.
There are several instances in Bhagavad Gītā, where the self-discipline is emphasised.
In III.37 Kṛṣṇa says that desire, a product of rajo guṇa appears as anger, which is grossly wicked and makes a person to commit sins. In II.60, 61 He says, “Turbulent by nature, the senses of a wise man, who is practicing self-control, forcibly carry his mind. Therefore, having controlled them all and collecting his mind one should meditate on Me…” In II.65 He says that such a man with a calm mind establishes himself firmly in God.”
525. Pramodanaḥ प्रमोदनः
Pramodana means Bliss. He is eternally in the state of Bliss. This is an extension of the previous nāma. Because He has no enemies, both external and internal, He remains in the state of Bliss. The one with multiple thoughts can never reach the state of Bliss.
This nāma says that those who have transformed into jitāmitra-s, become pramodana. When the mind is purified by eliminating bad thoughts, the aspirant reaches the next state, the Bliss, due to His Grace. When anger and desire are dissolved, the aspirant’s mind becomes more purified paving for the state of Bliss.
Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (V.24), “He who is happy within, enjoys the radiant delight of the soul within, the yogī attains the Brahman, who is all Peace.”
526. Ānandaḥ आनन्दः
Ānanda means unstinted happiness, which is also known as Bliss. This nāma originates from the previous nāma.
As per Vedānta, Brahman has three qualities and they are sat, cit and ānanda or saccidānanda. Various Upaniṣad-s explain the state of this Bliss.
Taittirīya Upaniṣad (III.6) says, “Know that Bliss is Brahman, for it is from Bliss that all these beings are born (the entire creation), supported and when perish, these beings disappear into Bliss.”
Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (II.ii.7) says, “yat ānanda-rūpam amṛtan यत् आनन्द-रूपम् अमृतन्”. The Self is full of Bliss and is immortal.”
Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.iii.32) says, “On a particle of this very Bliss, other beings exist.”
Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VII.xxiv.1) says, “That which is Infinite is the source of Bliss. Bliss is only in the Infinite.”