131. Veadavit वेदवित्

Repetitive nāma 128.

Vedavid means the one who is conversant with Vedas. The difference between nāma-s 128 and 131 is the last alphabet Vadavit and Vedavid. Both can said to be noun forms of Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu is so closely associated with Vedas hence, there cannot be any difference between Vedas and Viṣṇu. There is no difference between knowledge and the known and the same concept is applicable to Vedas and Viṣṇu.

132. Kaviḥ कविः

Kavi has many meanings. The appropriate meaning here is an intelligent leader with understanding and insight.

Īśa Upaniṣad, (verse 8) describes Brahman as ‘kavirmanīṣī कविर्मनीषी’ which means ‘enlightened and all knowing’. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (III.vii.23) says, “no other thinker but Him; no other knower but Him”.

Only Brahman is all knowing and hence He is addressed as Kavi. Kavi also means a poet.

133. Lokādhyakṣaḥ लोकाध्यक्षः

Loka means world and adhyakṣa means the one who supervises or witnesses. Two qualities are conveyed through this nāma. One, His omnipotent aspect and second His witnessing aspect. Brahman, though omnipotent, does not cause an action as a soul in a living being. He merely witnesses all the actions that unfold due to one’s karmas.

Contextually, loka could also mean Prakṛti. If this is so, loka is restricted to the Mother Earth. This seems to be an appropriate interpretation in view of the next nāma. Bhagavad Gītā (IX.10) endorses this interpretation. Kṛṣṇa said, “Having Me as Her supervisor, Prakṛti produces both sentient and insentient beings ….”

134. Surādhyakṣaḥ सुराध्यक्षः

Sura means god. He being omnipresent, He also supervises gods and goddesses. Gods are different from the Brahman. Brahman is totally incomprehensible, whereas gods and goddesses are those in charge of various energies that sustain the universe. For example, god for waters is known as Varuṇa, air is controlled by Vāyu, etc.

135. Dharmādhyakṣaḥ धर्माध्यक्षः

He also supervises dharma. Viṣṇu is the embodiment of dharma.

Brahmā (god in charge of creation) explains dharma in Garuḍa Purāṇa (I.221.1, 6, & 9). “It is subtle. It eradicates all sins. It yields worldly enjoyment and salvation. Dharma is acquired by means of austerities, practicing morality, sacrifices and holy ablutions. He who dedicates his life for the sake of virtues crosses all difficulties.”

Bhīṣma, who is about to leave this world renders Viṣṇu Sahasranāma in the presence of Kṛṣṇa. In his death bed, Bhīṣma says that Viṣṇu is adhyakṣa for earth and gods. He did not stop with these two. Everything remains covered, if earth and gods are covered. In spite of this, he chooses dharma as the third one, which Viṣṇu supervises directly. Dharma is an important aspect of liberation. If one leads his life as per the dictums of dharma śāstra-s, he does not accrue karmas. Lack of karmic impressions leads to liberation.

136. Kṛtākṛtāḥ कृताकृताः

Kṛtākṛta (kṛta + akṛta) literally means done and not done. But, Kaṭha Upaniṣad explains this as ‘cause and effect’. While describing Brahman the Upaniṣad (II.ii.14) says, “beyond dharma and adharma, beyond visible causes and effects…” The Upaniṣad says, “kṛtākṛtāt”.

Cause is the Brahman and effect is Prakṛti. The foundational aspect of the entire creation is the Brahman, without whom the universe that we see is not possible. Prakṛti is the projection of the cause. Brahman projects Himself as Prakṛti. The fact is that apart from the Brahman nothing exists. Therefore, when the cause is Brahman, the effect has also to be Brahman. Otherwise, the omnipresent nature of the Brahman will not hold good. Due to the projecting power of Brahman, universe appears as different from the Brahman. This deceptive appearance is due to māyā. The deceptive appearance occurs because of his ignorance.

137. Caturātmā चतुरात्मा

Nāma-s 137 to 140 begin with Catur. Repetitive nāma 769.

Catur means four. When Ātmā is interpreted as the Brahman, then this nāma refers to His four principal acts – creation, sustenance, destruction and annihilation. However, the fifth act, re-creation of the Brahman is not mentioned here.

If ātma is interpreted as an individual soul, then it refers to the four states of consciousness, awake, dream, deep sleep and turya, the level of consciousness beyond body, where Self is realised.

If one looks deeply into these two possible interpretations, he can conclude that there is no difference between the two. Creation happens in the awakened state; dream state is where the body is rested and nourished; deep sleep state is where the mind is also totally rested; turya is the state where all desires and attachments are annihilated. This automatically happens in turya state, as the consciousness of the aspirant stays connected with Brahman.

138. Caturvyūhaḥ चतुर्व्यूहः

This nāma refers to His four fold manifestation. Vāsudeva, Saṃkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha are the four manifestations of Viṣṇu. Each of these manifestations represent four different states of consciousness in the reverse order. Vāsudeva is His supreme form at Turya.

But Viṣṇu Himself says in Garuḍa Purāṇa (I.32) that His fivefold form is Vāsudeva (referring to Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva), Saṃkarṣaṇa (another son of Vasudeva, commonly known as Balarāma), Pradyumna (Son of Kṛṣṇa and Rukmiṇī) and Aniruddha (son of Pradyumna and grandson of Kṛṣṇa). These five forms along with His Nārāyaṇa form represent five tattva-s.

Caturvyūha could also mean His manifestations as Para (His highest form), Vyuha (emanatory form), Vibhava (omnipresent form), Antaryamin (inner soul) and Arcā (image or idol) forms. He thus permeates the universe.

139. Caturdaṁṣṭraḥ चतुर्दंष्ट्रः

Daṁṣṭra means teeth. Probably this could mean His fourth incarnation, Narasiṁha or Nārasiṁha, the man-lion avatar. Rig Veda explains (IV.58.3) Brahman thus: “Four are His horns, three are His feet, His heads are two, His hands are seven; this triple bound showerer of benefits roars aloud. That mighty divine is enshrined in the hearts of all mortals.” Those who are familiar with fire oblations (homa) know this mantra which begins “catvāri śrṁgā trayo asya pādā.... चत्वारि श्र्ंगा त्रयो अस्य पादा.....”

The four horns are explained as the four Vedas in Rig Veda.