544. Gahanaḥ गहनः

It is not possible to attain His stature. Final liberation is something different from becoming one with Him. Those who are liberated, cease to transmigrate. They do not undergo the pains of transmigrations. The liberated souls can be reborn at their will or at His command. The great saints and sages and incarnations come under this category. To become one with Him is something that is beyond the comprehension of even great saints and sages. One can be liberated through acquiring spiritual knowledge. But, to merge unto Him happens purely out of His Free Will.

Gahana literally means impenetrable. This concept is explained through this nāma.

545. Guptaḥ गुप्तः

Gupta means hidden, secretive, etc. This refers to the Soul within. Self loses His originality when afflicted by māyā. This is the process where the Self becomes the self. Basically, there is no difference between the Self and the self. To realize that both the Self and the self are the same, one has to do a lot of sādhana (furthering towards the Self through practice). Sādhana does not merely mean meditation. Mere meditation alone will not lead to realization of the Self. One has to acquire knowledge through Scriptures. Only when both body and mind work in unison, spiritual progress can be attained substantially. The culmination of spiritual practice is to realize the hidden Self within.

By ignorance, men seek Him outside their bodies. That is why, spiritual knowledge is said to be a prerequisite to realize Him. Without spiritual knowledge, which is also known as higher knowledge, one could be wasting his precious time seeking Him outside his body.

Kaṭha Upaniṣad (I.iii.12) says, “The Self hidden in all beings. It is not noticed. Only the discerning seers, through their sharp and penetrating intellects can perceive It.”

546. Cakragadādharaḥ चक्रगदाधरः

He has cakra (discuss) and gada (club) in His hands.

Both these weaponries are used by Him to destroy mind and intellect (buddhi) of His devotees. Always mind generates various thought processes and the intellect analyses the thoughts generated by the mind and decides which is to be executed. As long as the mind is active, intellect is also active.

These two weaponries are held by Him to destroy these two evils of mankind. Cakra destroys the mind and club is used to destroy the intellect. Realization is possible, only if these two, along with ego are destroyed. These are the direct effects of māyā.

Each weapon seen in the hands of gods and goddesses has some significance.

547. Vedhāḥ वेधाः

Vedha means excavation. This subtly conveys His act of Creation. This nāma says that He is the Creator.  

548. Svāṅgaḥ स्वाङ्गः

Svāṅga literally means limbs of one’s body and based on this it can be explained that He has excellent limbs.

Taittirīya Upaniṣad (I.v.1) explains this. It says, “All deities are part and parcel of the Brahman”. For example, god fire Agni, god air Vāyu, god of water Varuṇa (nāma 553), etc are part of Brahman. These deities are called His limbs in this nāma.

All energies originate from Brahman and these energies are worshipped as different gods and goddesses. 

549. Ajitaḥ अजितः

Ajita means invincible. This is the fundamental quality of the Brahman, who can never be conquered by anyone. At the most, one can merge unto Him, as discussed in nāma 544.

This nāma can also be interpreted to mean that He remained un-conquered in all His incarnations.

550. Kṛṣṇaḥ कृष्णः

This is the most significant of all His incarnations. Kṛṣṇa means dark blue colour. The most important aspect of this incarnation is His role as Guru to the entire world. He revealed the secrets of liberation to Arjuna in the form of Bhagavad Gītā, wherein He conveyed in understandable terms, the way of right activities and right kind of meditation to establish commune with Him.

Kṛṣṇa’s life demonstrates his philosophy that it is not necessary to shirk the responsibilities of material life. He says “Do your duty, thinking about Me perpetually in order to attain liberation. I am here to liberate You.”

551. Dṛḍhaḥ दृढः

Dṛḍha means strong, massive, fixed etc. These are the qualities of the Brahman. Brahman is invincible (nāma 549).  Brahman is both static and dynamic and hence, He is addressed as massive. Brahman has two aspects – one is the eternal Self and another is the dynamic self. Without the inert Self, the dynamic form of the Self cannot even exist. Without the dynamic form the Self, the inert Self always remain inert and the three acts of God, creation, sustenance and dissolution cannot happen. Kṛṣṇa call’s His dynamic form as Māyā.

In Bhagavad Gītā (VII.25) He says, “I am veiled by My Yogamāyā and cannot be seen by men.” He can be seen only by developing clairvoyant eye.

552. Saṁkarṣaṇāyācyutaḥ संकर्षणायाच्युतः

Saṁkarṣaṇa means joining or uniting. Acyuta means imperishable. At the time of annihilation, He draws all the beings and makes them unite with Him. Annihilation is the fourth act of the Brahman. His fifth act is re-creation.

Between annihilation and re-creation all the beings remain with Him. This is the only state where māyā does not exist at all.  

553. Varuṇaḥ वरुणः

Generally, the god who presides over water is known as Varuṇa. Brahman operates through various energies and each of these energies is recognised by ancient sages and saints during their intent state of meditation and were given various names. For example, fire is worshipped as Agni. These energies operate both on the gross and subtle planes. Gross Agni is the fire that we see with our eyes. The subtle Agni is the fire that helps in our digestion and is known as jatharāgni.

Similarly, Varuṇa is one of the energies of the Brahman that operates both in gross and subtle planes. Varuṇa is derived from the word vṛñ, which means to choose. Therefore, Varuṇa means the One, who selects out, chooses and thus favours those who are virtuous and deserving, to follow the path leading to freedom from bondage.

This nāma says that Viṣṇu carefully selects men depending upon the depth of their devotion and karmic account and offer them liberation. Hence He, is addressed as Varuṇa.