118. Śuciśravāḥ शुचिश्रवाः

Śuci means pure; śrava means hearing. There are two interpretations possible for this nāma. First, He listens to prayers of His devotees, whose thoughts are pure. Second, His nāma-s are pure and by recitation of these nāma-s, one attains internal purity. His nāma-s are pure because, each nāma of this Sahasranāma talks about pure qualities of the Brahman. When devotee recites these nāma-s, his consciousness becomes pure. When a devotee with pure consciousness prays to Him, his prayers are answered.

Prayers will be answered only if one has pure thoughts. Kaṭha Upaniṣad (I.ii.23) says, that one who misbehaves, one who is inclined to sense pleasure, and whose mind is restless cannot realise the Brahman.

119. Amṛtaḥ अमृतः

Amṛta means immortal. Another exclusive quality of the Brahman is being cited here.

Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.iv.25) explains Brahman thus: “That great birth less Self is un-decaying, immortal, undying….”

Brahman is “nityaṁ pūrṇamanādyanantaṁ brahma param नित्यं पूर्णमनाद्यनन्तं ब्रह्म परम्”. This means that Brahman is beyond any modifications, compete and without beginning or end. Brahman can be realised only by negations and affirmations. By surrendering unto Him, one is freed from the pains of transmigrations.

120. Śāśvata-sthāṇuḥ शाश्वत-स्थाणुः

He is permanent and firm. During annihilation, Brahman alone remains. The entire universe goes into the Brahman during annihilation. Immediately after annihilation, Brahman alone remains firm, as there will not be a single matter at that time. In spite of the fact that the entire universe is consumed by Him, He remains unchanged. This explains the saying of Kaṭha Upaniṣad (I.ii.20) that Self is smaller than the smallest and bigger than biggest. Even after deluge, He remains without modifications.

Annihilation means that the universe ceases to exist. Annihilation is the fourth act of the Brahman, the other three being creation, sustenance and destruction. Destruction refers to the transmigration of an individual soul. Annihilation is also known as pralaya that happens at the end of each kalpa (320 million human years).

121. Varārohaḥ वरारोहः

It is an epithet of Viṣṇu. This nāma speaks about the gradual spiritual ascend of an aspirant. For such an aspirant, the ultimate destination is His Supreme feet, the last step to liberation (parama padam; parama means last and padam means step).

When one progresses in spirituality, it means that his consciousness is becoming purer. Brahman is the purest form of consciousness. Liberation is a process where an aspirant’s consciousness is becoming purer and purer with practice. When it has been totally purified, he realises the Self within, the end point of his spiritual pursuit.

Chāndogya Upniṣad concludes by saying: “A young man goes to live at his guru’s house and serves him. When his teacher is free, he learns Vedas from him. After he completes all his studies, he goes back home and marries. He continues to study the Scriptures in a sacred place. He also teaches his children and disciples in such a way that they will also be spiritual. He keeps all his senses under control and avoids violence. This is how he lives his whole life. After death he goes to Brahmaloka (the place of Brahman, which means the final liberation. This is not to be confused with Brahmā, the god of creation) and he is not born again.”

“The wise aspirant should seek the Supreme State of the Lord, with a resolve to seek refuge in the Primeval Puruṣa, the eternal source of energy of everything. Those who are free from pride and delusion, having won over the miseries of attachment, perpetually connected with the Lord, whose desires have ceased to exist, totally freed from dyads reach the supreme state of immortality. The Supreme Abode of mind is not illuminated by sun, moon or fire and those who reach here never go back to the material world.” (Bhagavad Gītā XV.4 – 6)

122. Mahātapāḥ महातपाः

Brahman is the embodiment of penance. Because of His penance the universe has blossomed out. This is generally known as the Divine Will. The Brahman is always on severe penance. He remains undisturbed all the time. His independent and autonomous power is projected as māyā, the divine potency, which takes care of the administration of the universe. Kṛṣṇa says, “Though I am eternal, indestructible and Lord of all beings, abiding in My Prakṛti, I manifest due to my yoga māyā. (Bhagavad Gītā IV.6)

Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (I.i.9) says, “yasya jñānamayaṁ tapaḥ यस्य ज्ञानमयं तपः”. This means that Brahman is the ocean of knowledge. Brahman is the highest of everything. For example, when we say that Brahman is knowledge, this means that Brahman is the Supreme knowledge and there is nothing available to make a comparison of His knowledge. From His knowledge arises mundane knowledge. The mundane knowledge that is inherent in human can be refined and processed to make it as pure. When his knowledge becomes pure, he begins his spiritual life and with time and practice, his knowledge becomes the purest and at this point he realises the Brahman. If one has to realise the Brahman, he has to develop the attributes of the Brahman. Liberation can happen only to a realised soul. Merger of a soul can happen only if it attains all the qualities of the Soul. Union can take place only between two equals. Only water and water can merge; water and fire cannot merge. In the same way, a soul with karmic afflictions can never get liberated, till all its ignorance is removed.

This nāma is the description of the incomprehensible Brahman or the nirguṇa Brahman.