64. Īśānaḥ ईशानः
Īśāna means the One, who controls everything in the universe. He is the Supreme Commander and under whose command everything acts. Fearing the Brahman, the sun shines, the wind blows, etc says Upaniṣad-s. Brahman is an able administrator.
Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.iv.22) says, “He is the controller of all, the lord of all, the ruler of all”.
65. Prāṇadaḥ प्राणदः
Prāṇa is the life force, without which life is not possible. This nāma says that Lord Viṣṇu is the life force of all beings. Brahman is the source of all. At the time of conception, air plays a very significant role in the formation of foetus. Both soul and prāṇa enter the foetus at the time of conception.
After having entered into the foetus, prāṇa multiplies into five types and sustains the body. They together form a sheath around the soul which is known as prāṇamaya kośa. When prāṇa leaves the body, death is caused, as the vital force to sustain the body has left the body. This also confirms the theory that He is the creator by getting into the body as prāṇa, sustaining in the body by modifying into five types of prāṇa and causes death be leaving the body. Along prāṇa, soul and subconscious mind also leave the body during death.
In this nāma, the addition of da after prāṇa is important. द da underlines the act of giving. He is the giver of prāṇa.
66. Prāṇaḥ प्राणः
This nāma is an extension of the previous nāma. The previous nāma said that He is the giver of prāṇa, indicating His creative aspect. This nāma refers to the soul, without which, nothing can be created. Both soul and prāṇa are life sustaining forces.
Kena Upaniṣad (I.2) explains this by saying “prāṇasya prāṇah” meaning He is the breath of breath. He is power behind breath, which subtly refers to the soul.
67. Jyeṣṭhaḥ ज्येष्ठः
Jyeṣṭha means pre-eminence, first, etc. This nāma says that Viṣṇu is the first in the universe. He created Himself on His own. Nobody created Him and every other thing originated from Him.
Chāndogya Upniṣad explains this nāma in relation to the previous two nāma-s. The Upniṣad (V.i.1) says:
यो ह वै ज्येष्ठं च श्रेष्ठं च वेद ज्येष्ठश्च ह वै श्रेष्ठश्च भवति प्राणो वाव ज्येष्ठश्च श्रेष्ठश्च॥
yo ha vai jyeṣṭhaṁ ca śreṣṭhaṁ ca veda jyeṣṭhaśca ha vai śreṣṭhaśca bhavati prāṇo vāva jyeṣṭhaśca śreṣṭhaśca ||
The meaning is – He who knows the oldest and the best, becomes the oldest and the best. When one knows the Self, he becomes That. It is prāṇa, which is the oldest and the best.
The previous two nāma-s explained the importance of prāṇa and this nāma says that prāṇa is not only ancient but also the best in terms of life sustenance. This nāma subtly conveys that prāṇa is the earliest creation of the Brahman.
68. Śreṣṭhaḥ श्रेष्ठः
Śreṣṭha refers to the highest degree of splendour. Chāndogya Upniṣad quoted above used this word to describe prāṇa and through prāṇa, the Brahman.
These nāma-s do not simply say that Brahman is the Supreme, but also say why it is Supreme.
69. Prajāpatiḥ प्रजापतिः
Prajāpati means the Lord of all beings. Prajāpati is the creative aspect of the Brahman. Vedas use Prajāpati in a number of verses. To cite examples, Yajur Veda (II.i.2.1) says, “prajāpatiḥ prajā asṛjata jā asmāth sṛṣṭāḥ....... प्रजापतिः प्रजा असृजत जा अस्माथ् सृष्टाः......”. Yajur Veda says that Prajāpati created successors. They, being created from him.....” Vedas use this word to mean the creative aspect of the Brahman. In another place (V.vii.10.1), the Veda says, that Prajāpati created fire. In yet another place (III.v.9.1), the Veda says, “all gods are Prajāpati”.
Therefore Prajāpati refers to all the creative energies of the Brahman. Brahman does not create merely through His Free Will. He created the universe through different evolutionary processes that are now being studied as science and are being endlessly researched. The creation happens from subtle to gross and annihilation happens through gross to subtle.
70. Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ हिरण्यगर्भः
Hiraṇya means gold and garbha means foetus. Literally Hiraṇyagarbha means the golden egg. Lalitā Sahasranāma also uses this nāma as Svarṇagarbhā (nāma 638).
This nāma can be best explained through sayings of Veddanta Paribhāṣā, a 17th century scripture. It says, “Hiranyagarbha is the first soul to be born and is different from Brahmā, Viṣṇu and śiva.” The subtle body consisting of the five vital forces, the mind, the intellect and the ten organs is produced from the five basic elements. This paves the way for the soul to experience the result of actions or in other words it causes karmas. The subtle body is of two kinds, superior and inferior. The superior one is the subtle body of Hiranyagarbha and the inferior is the subtle body of living beings. The subtle body of Hiranyagarbha is called as ‘mahat’ or the cosmic intellect and the subtle body of living beings is called ego.”
71. Bhūgarbhaḥ भूगर्भः
Brahman carries the Mother Earth in His womb. He nourishes Mother Earth like a mother taking care of her child in her womb. Bhūmi means Earth and Bhūmā Devi means Mother Earth. Mother Earth is said to be highly sacred in nature as She beholds several gods and goddesses, celestial beings, ancestors, etc. Bhūsūkta, a part of Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (28) prises Mother Earth. It says, “She is universal and comprising of the primary element, that is She is exceedingly blissful, transformed into the bodies of creatures, illustrious, enduring and hence immortal.”
Mother Earth is the Consort of Viṣṇu. This means that Viṣṇu carefully nourishes the earth along with everyone who exist in Her. This analogy also confirms that Brahman creates and protects in a scientific way. This also goes to prove that He is the Supreme and He controls every act of the universe through His creative power. It must be remembered that when a reference to the Brahman is made, it refers only to His power of projection or saguṇa Brahman.