170. Mahāmāyaḥ महामायः

Brahman is full of inexplicable and inexhaustible energy.  Significant part of His energy is known as His illusionary aspect, which is referred as māyā. What is not seen is His reality and what is seen through His illusionary aspect is the worldly existence.  His power of māyā is His very own undifferentiated power. For easier understanding, Brahman is divided into two aspects - nirguṇa Brahman and saguṇa Brahman. Nirguṇa Brahman is also known as kāraṇa Brahman or Brahman without attributes.  Saguṇa Brahman is also known as kārya Brahman or Brahman with attributes. Saguṇa Brahman is the active part of nirguṇa Brahman, who is beyond human comprehension. Māyā is the mysterious power of saguṇa Brahman. Māyā is full of ignorance and it conceals and projects the Reality, known as the Brahman. Māyā is not something that is considered as evil. It is inherent in creation. Macro cosmic reflection of the Brahman is māyā. It is Brahman’s own power and can be removed only by spiritual knowledge and practice.  This is confirmed by Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad Gītā (VII.14), where He says “mama māyā duratyayā” which means ‘It is difficult to transcend my māyā’. By saying ‘my māyā’ Kṛṣṇa confirms that māyā is Brahman’s own power. 

171. Mahotsāhaḥ महोत्साहः

He has great power and energy.  Brahman is highly concentrated form of energy. This nāma is specifically chosen to affirm that Brahman is devoid of forms.  Gods are depicted with forms in order to visualize a form with ease.  It would be difficult for a nascent devotee to visualise the formless Brahman and hence, several forms of gods have been described to make easy the process of visualisation.  When a devotee matures as a spiritualist, he comes to understand the true nature of the Brahman by acquiring knowledge. Knowledge and practice will help a spiritualist to comfortably visualise the Brahman within over a period of time. 

With the unsurpassable energy, Brahman creates, sustains and dissolves the universe. If He does not carry out all the three acts, the universe will perish forever. Kṛṣṇa says, “If I cease to act, all the worlds will perish” (Bhagavad Gītā. IV23). Brahman acts with extreme care.  Suppose, He does not act for a second, the gravitational force between the planets will undergo changes leading to their collision and ultimate destruction of the universe. That is why various scriptures say that Brahman supports the universe.

This nāma refers to His infinite power.  He is omnipotent.

172. Mahābalaḥ महाबलः

This nāma is an extension of the previous nāma and both these nāma-s are interdependent. Mahābala means exceptionally powerful. Because of being Mahābala, He is Mahotsāha.  Because of His infinite energy, He is exceptionally powerful.  His infinite power makes Him exceptionally powerful.  Infinite, exceptional, supreme and other such adjectives are nothing but to express the attributes of the Brahman.  Brahman can be known only by such affirmations and negations.

173. Mahābuddhiḥ महाबुद्धिः

He is extremely intelligent.  Because of His supreme intellect, He is able to administer the universe so meticulously. 

Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (I.i.9) says, “yaḥ sarvajñaḥ sarvavidyasya jñānamayaṁ tapaḥ यः सर्वज्ञः सर्वविद्यस्य ज्ञानमयं तपः”. ‘Brahman is all knowing, who knows everything, whose austerity is knowledge.’ He is all knowing because, He exists everywhere (omnipresent).  Everything originates from Him, hence He is omniscient.

174. Mahāvīryaḥ महावीर्यः

He is highly valorous.  There are several meanings to vīrya such as courage, power, lustre, dignity, energy, etc.  Brahman is the reservoir of all these qualities and He provides these qualities to His devotees depending upon the depth of their devotion.

175. Mahāśaktiḥ महाशक्तिः

Śakti means energy and this nāma says that Brahman is the source of all energies.  Universe is His playground, where He plays around with these energies.  As a result of His play, creation, sustenance and dissolution happen Kṛṣṇa explains in this in Bhagavad Gītā (X.42). “I stand holding this entire universe by a fraction of my yogic power.” This nāma is reaffirmation of nāma 171.