226. Sahasrākṣaḥ सहस्राक्षः

He has thousand eyes. This is an extension of nāma-s 224 and 225. Because of having infinite heads, He has infinite eyes. This infinity also means that He is present as ātman or soul (nāma 225) in all the beings. Omnipresence of the Brahman is once again affirmed.

Nārāyaṇa Sūktam opens by saying, “the Self-illuminating Brahman has many heads and many eyes….”

227. Sahasrapāt सहस्रपात्

He has infinite feet, again an extension of nāma 224. Nāma-s 224, 226 and 227 also appear in the opening verse of Puruṣasūktam.

sahasraśīrṣā puruṣaḥ| sahasrākṣa sahasrapāt| सहस्रशीर्षा पुरुषः। सहस्राक्ष सहस्रपात्।

This means that He has thousands (infinite) of heads, thousands of eyes and thousands of feet.

Though these sayings may appear to preach dualism, in reality, they advocate only non-dualism. By saying that Puruṣa has multitudes of heads, eyes and feet, the scriptures subtly convey that the Brahman is present as individual soul in all the beings. Multitude of heads, eyes and feet convey the multitude of organisms, including humanity, for which He alone is the cause. The Brahman does not create. He only manifests. The destruction is only for the gross body and not for the soul within. The soul is eternal.  

228. Āvartanaḥ आवर्तनः

Āvartana means circular motion. Viṣṇu, as the Brahman rotates the cycle of transmigration, also known as saṃsāra. It is called as a wheel because birth and death happen like a wheel going up and down. When there is birth, there is bound to be death. The process of transmigration ceases only if one becomes a jīvanmukta. After the death of a jīvanmukta, his soul merges with the Brahman, not to be born again. A jīvanmukta does not attain this status easily. His process of becoming a jīvanmukta starts from acquiring knowledge and ends with realising the Brahman and stays connected with Him all the time, until his physical body dies. After his death, he becomes one with the Brahman.

This nāma says that Viṣṇu is the cause for the cycle of birth and death, until one realizes Him. Kṛṣṇa explains this in Bhagavad Gītā (XVIII. 61-63). “Arjuna, the Lord abides in the hearts of all beings, causing them to revolve according to their karma-s as if attached to a machine (refer nāma 222. Netā), by His cosmic delusion known as māyā. Take shelter in Him completely, and by His mere grace, you shall obtain Supreme Peace and the Eternal Abode.”

229. Nivṛttātmā निवृत्तात्मा

It is nivṛtta + ātma. Nivṛtta means uninfluenced by worldly desires. Brahman though is the cause for the manifestation of the universe and its individual beings, He is not responsible for individual acts of a person. Individual acts unfold in a man when the impressions of his sub-conscious mind percolates into his mind inducing him to act according to his karmas. The mind has to be freed from such afflictions so that the Brahman can be realised within. Ātma refers to the Brahman.

The nāma conveys the saying of Upaniṣad-s that Brahman does not partake in any of the activities of a man and remains only as a witness.

230. Saṁvṛtaḥ संवृतः

Saṁvṛta means concealed or covered. Brahman is covered by avidya or spiritual ignorance in an individual soul, thereby causing ego in a person. This avidya is also known as māyā. In order to realise the Self-illuminating Brahman, one has to transcend māyā, as the Brahman remains concealed by māyā.

Kṛṣṇa explains this in Bhagavad Gītā (VII.13 & 14). “The beings are deluded by the effects of three guṇa-s. Hence, they fail to know Me as immutable and distinct from them. This is because, the divine illusion māyā comprising of these three guṇa-s is difficult to transcend. However, those who perpetually take refuge in Me alone are able to transcend my māyā. Māyā is also the creation of the Brahman.”

Kṛṣṇa also says in Bhagavad Gītā (VII. 25), “Veiled by yogamāyā, I do not manifest to all. Hence ignorant men fail to recognise Me....”

231. Sampramardanaḥ सम्प्रमर्दनः

He is the destroyer, the third act of the Brahman. Anyone who is born is bound to shed his physical body when the time comes. This is the natural process of destruction or death. Apart from the natural process of death, when evil doers predominate, He destroys them to uphold dharma. The good and the bad are balanced only by the Brahman to keep the universe afloat. If this balance is affected beyond a point, Brahman chooses to annihilate the universe, only to re-create again. This nāma refers to His third act of causing individual deaths. It is like demolishing a dilapidated house and re-constructing it.

232. Ahaḥ saṁvartakaḥ अहः संवर्तकः

This nāma is an extension of the previous nāma. The previous nāma talked about death of individuals and this nāma speaks about the annihilation of the universe as a whole. The fifth act of the Brahman is the re-creation. He is the annihilator of the universe. Aha is a word of affirmation to the next part of this nāma saṁvartaka, which means annihilation. This nāma affirms that He carries out the fourth act of the Brahman, the annihilation.