36. Īśvaraḥ ईश्वरः

Īśvara means the master. This nāma says that Viṣṇu is the master of the universe.

As per Sāṃkhya philosophy, Īśvara is the stage of attainment of knowledge. There is difference between the Brahman and Īśvara. Brahman is incomprehensible. Brahman is realised only through His power of projection known as Īśvara. It is only Īśvara, who helps the souls to evolve. In other words, Īśvara is the Brahman with attributes. The Brahman with attributes is known through various names and forms for the convenience of visualization.

The following explanation by Gabriel Pradiipaka will explain the difference between Brahman and Īśvará. “Īśvará is the one who is in the middle of the hassle caused by Prakṛti. This Īśvará is a superposition on Bráhma according to Advaita, or else, He is the Lord of all, according to Dvaitá. Bráhma has no matter and therefore, no Prakṛti can be contained in Him. Bráhma is not the container of anything. In your experience, the subject experiencing the making of Prakṛti is the jīvá or individual soul, who is āatmā (who is Bráhma) finally. The main difference between Advaita and Dvaitá is that Advaita says that only Bráhma is real, while Dvaitá brings the duality of “the Lord and the individual souls”. If you perceive that you don’t exist, but only Bráhma exists, you are experiencing what Saṃkarācārya experienced. If you perceive that you are an individual soul in the middle of the creations of His Prakṛti (of the Lord), you are perceiving what Mádhvācārya perceived.” (Brahma here means the Brahman)

37. Svayaṁbhūḥ स्वयंभूः

He has manifested on His own. He was not created by anyone else. He is the cause for creation and there is no cause for His creation. He created Himself. This is yet another quality of the Brahman. He is ādhi (first) and anādhi (without parentage).

38. Śaṁbhuḥ शंभुः

The one who bestows happiness and prosperity is Śaṁbhu. Viṣṇu is the upholder of this universe and He ensures that all the beings are happy under His regime. Saguṇa Brahman has multifarious activities. He creates, sustains, absolves, dissolves and recreates. He is in control of all the functions simultaneously. This is the difference between man and the Brahman. Man can attend to one function at a time, whereas the Brahman has to attend to all the functions at all times. If He winks for second, the universe will head for dissolution. That is why, gods are described as non-winking entities.

39. Ādityaḥ आदित्यः

Though Ādityaḥ generally mean all the gods, in particular it means the Sun. Sun is always worshipped as god, as Brahman’s self-effulgence is described in terms of sun’s brightness. Brahman alone is Self-illuminating and the sun derives its light only from Him.

Kṛṣṇa said, “I am the radiant sun among the luminaries.” (Bhagavad Gita X.21). There are twelve sons of Aditi, wife of sage Kaśyapa and one among them is Viṣṇu.

40. Puṣkarāṣaḥ पुष्कराषः

His resembles the petals of lotus flower. Viṣṇu is known for the beauty of His eyes. When He looks graciously and compassionately at the universe through His beautiful eyes, the entire universe is endowed with auspiciousness. Viṣṇu is always compassionate and is full of auspiciousness. One’s compassion is expressed through the radiating auspiciousness of his body.

41. Mahāsvanaḥ महास्वनः

The One who has a thunderous voice. His voice is the origin of sound that ultimately manifested as the Vedas. This also goes to prove that He is the Śabdabrahman, the Brahman assuming the nature of sound. At the cosmic level, this is the movement of consciousness that brings forth the universe. This way also, Viṣṇu is said to be the Creator of the universe.

Pure Consciousness is the Brahman and the individual consciousness is the soul. When the individual consciousness realizes the Pure consciousness, it is Self-realisation.

42. Anādi-nidhanaḥ अनादि-निधनः

He has neither a beginning nor an end. Because of this, He is beyond modifications. The one who has a beginning and an end alone is subjected to modifications and changes. The One that is without modifications is the eternal and Brahman alone is eternal.

43. Dhātā धाता

He is the supporter of the universe, or on whose support the universe exists. Bhagavad Gita (VIII.9) says, ‘sarvasya dhātāram’ which means ‘sustainer of all’. The Brahman, projecting Himself as Īśvara, (nāma 36) sustains the universe.

44. Vidhātā विधाता

He sustains the universe by law of karma. The previous nāma said that He is the supporter and this nāma explains how He supports the universe. The ‘Law of Karma’ is the law of the Lord, by which the universe is administered. Every action of a man unfolds as resultant factors of his past thoughts and deeds. All thoughts and actions are stored as karma and manifests when the time is ripe for a particular karma to manifest. Evil thoughts are more dangerous than evil actions, as evil thoughts get embedded in the subconscious mind that also transmigrates along with the soul.

45. Dhātṛuruttamaḥ धातृरुत्तमः

The discussion of the supporting aspect of the Brahman is being continued. Dhātṛ means the One who personifies creation and uttama means the Supreme. Therefore, this nāma refers Him as the Supreme personifier of creation. How He personifies the creation? Personification happens through dhātu-s. There are seven layers or substratum in human body known as dhātu-s. They are chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, procreative fluids and skin.

He is the cause of creation of these dhātu-s.