208. Surārihā सुरारिहा

Surāri means enemy of gods commonly known as demons. All of Viṣṇu’s incarnations are only to destroy evil doers such as demons in order to uphold dharma.

This nāma adores Him as the destroyer of demons.

209. Guruḥ गुरुः

Though guru generally means a teacher who imparts knowledge, contextually it refers to the one who imparts spiritual knowledge. This nāma particularly refers to Viṣṇu’s incarnation as Kṛṣṇa, who is often revered as loka guru or the spiritual preceptor of the universe.

The primary quality of a guru is that he should be a Self realized person. Spiritual knowledge can be imparted only out one’s own spiritual experience and not by reading or interpreting texts. Gurugītā, a scripture exclusively deals with the qualities of guru and method of paying obeisance to him says that there are five important qualities (II.87) for a guru. They are: to conceal his true nature (devoid of ego), strong minded (will power), kind to all the beings (universal brotherhood), upholding silence and unexpectedly showers his grace on his disciples at his discretion.

Practically, the final stages of spirituality can be taught only by a true guru. Till one finds a guru, confusions will continue to prevail in his mind about the Brahman. Guru is worshipped as Brahmā, the creator; as Viṣṇu, the sustainer and Maheśvara, the absorber. A true guru is held in a higher position than these three principal Gods. The next nāma further explains this.

210. Gurutamaḥ गुरुतमः

Gurutama means the best teacher. He is the one who teaches out of his own experience and not through scriptures. Knowledge obtained through scriptures is totally different from knowledge attained through direct experience.

Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.ii.12) classifies persons to whom such direct experience of the Brahman can be shared by way of teaching. The Upaniṣad says, “Vedānta teaches the great secret of how liberation can be attained. This secret was taught in ancient times, but it was not taught to people whose minds were not under control. It was not taught to anyone other than a son or disciple. But even a son or disciple was not taught, if his mind was not under control.”

211. Dhāma धाम

Dhāma refers to the class of superhuman beings. Viṣṇu is also known as Paraṁdhāma, the highest among the superhuman beings, which refers to the Brahman.

Arjuna addresses Kṛṣṇa (Bhagavad Gītā) as, “paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paraṁ bhavān परं ब्रह्म परं धाम पवित्रं परं भवान्”. This means “You are the Supreme Brahman, Supreme Abode and the Supreme Purifier.” Here dhāma is used to mean the Supreme Abode, the place of the Self. The Self alone is self illuminating or svaprākāśa.

Therefore, this nāma conveys two interpretations. It says that Viṣṇu is the Supreme Abode of all the beings. It also says that Viṣṇu exists in the form of Self-illuminating light within, witnessing all the acts of a jīva. Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.ii.15) says that in the presence of this Light, sun does not shine, nor the moon and stars, nor does the lightning.

212. Satyaḥ सत्यः

Repetitive nāma-s 106 and 869.

Satya means truth. The truth that is being discussed here is the eternal truth, the omnipresent nature of the Brahman. When this Truth is realized, Vedānta itself does not have any significance, as Vedānta and Upaniṣad-s reveal the ways and means of realizing the Brahman. That is why, Upaniṣad-s call Brahman as satyaṁ-jñānaṁ-anantaṁ brahma. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (II.i.20) also says, “from this Self emanate all worlds, gods and beings and this secret is known as Truth of Truth.” The Upaniṣad describes Brahman as, “Not this, not this (negation) because there is no appropriate description than ‘not this’. Its (Brahman) name is ‘The Truth of Truth’. The vital force (prāṇa) is the Truth.”

This nāma adores Viṣṇu as the embodiment of Truth. Here truth is not a statement. It affirms the omnipresent and infinitude of the Brahman. This is the Truth referred in this nāma.

213. Satyaparākramaḥ सत्यपराक्रमः

He is effectively valorous. Satya in this nāma is used to mean effectiveness. It is not enough if one remains valorous. He has to put that into use in order to uphold dharma. All of Viṣṇu’s incarnations are effectively used to destroy the evil doers (demons) in order to uphold dharma. Hence He is addressed as Satyaparākrama.

 214. Nimiṣaḥ निमिषः

Nimiṣa means closing of eye lids. When one enters trance, eye lids are automatically closed. In rare cases, one can enter the state of trance by keeping his eyes open. Though eyes are open, his vision gets automatically disconnected thereby connection between the materialistic world and his mind is snapped. Gabriel Pradiipaka describes this phenomenon thus: “Yogī experiences nimīlanasamādhi (closed eyes) and experiences his own self. Secondly he is able to see his own Self in everything (this is unmīlanasamādhi).”

A famous posture of Viṣṇu is His yoganidrā, His meditative sleep. Viṣṇu undertakes His yoganidrā at the end of each yuga (comprising of several thousand years). When He enters into His yoganidrā, annihilation of the universe begins and at the end of His yoganidrā, re-creation begins. There is a concept behind this yoganidrā. When one enters trance, he gradually gets himself disconnected from the materialistic world and begins his merger with the Brahman. During this time, he does not think anything else except the Brahman and His all pervasiveness. When he comes back to his normal active state, he gradually loses his consciousness on the Brahman to get himself submerged in the materialistic world.  This is similar to jīvanmukta. A yogi practices this frequently and ultimately becomes one with the Brahman or videhamukata (merging with the Brahman after death).

As far as this nāma is concerned, Viṣṇu enters into trance to annihilate and re-create the universe, the two important acts of the Brahman.