765. Caturmūrtiḥ चतुर्मूर्तिः

Beginning with this nāma, all the nāma-s up to 771 begin with catur meaning four.

He has four forms and they are avyakṭā, Iśvarā, hiraṇyagarbha also known as sūtrātma and virāṭ. These are the four states of individual consciousness.

Brahman has four distinctive states.  They are avyakṭā, Iśvarā, hiraṇyagarbha also known as sūtrātma and virāṭ. The first state is avyakṭā, the unmanifest stage. This is also known as turya stage, beyond the three normal stages of consciousness. The next state is Iśvarā. This state is the cause of the universe and is associated with māyā. The third state is hiraṇyagarbha, which binds the universe together like a thread.  The final state is virāṭ, transfiguration of the divine happens that is visible to our eyes.  The virāṭ is also known as vaiśvānarā, meaning relating or belonging to all men, omnipresent, known or worshipped, everywhere, universal, general, common, etc

As the Soul, He is present in all the four states. Hence He is adored as Caturmūrti.

766. Caturbāhuḥ चतुर्बाहुः

He has four hands. These four hands represent the four components of antaḥkaraṇa – mind, intellect, individual consciousness and ego. Antaḥkaraṇa is also known as the inner psychic apparatus. By practicing to exercise control over antaḥkaraṇa, He can be realized as these four are the impediments to His realization.

767. Caturvyūhaḥ चतुर्व्यूहः

Repetitive nāma 138.

He has four kinds of manifestation and they are Vāsudeva, Saṃkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. There are two explanations available for this, one is gross and another is subtle. First one Vāsudeva refers to Kṛṣṇa; Saṃkarṣaṇa is the son of Kṛṣṇa; Pradyumna is Kṛṣṇa’s grandson; and Aniruddha is the son of Pradyumna. This talks about Kṛṣṇa’s lineage. Subtly, they represent Pramātama, Jīvātma, mind and ego.

Viṣṇu possesses six qualities – knowledge, strength, lordship, valour, energy and splendour. As Brahman, He possesses all these qualities as Vāsudeva. In the other three, Saṃkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha though all these qualities are present, only two of these qualities are predominant. In Saṃkarṣaṇa knowledge and strength are predominant. In Pradyumna lordship and valour and in Aniruddha energy and splendour are predominant. This is called Caturvyūha.

Śrīmad Bāhavata (I.5.37) refers to these forms.

He in the form of four types of Puruṣa-s and they are Śarīrapuruṣa, Candaḥpuruṣa, Vedapuruṣa and Mahāpuruṣa.

768. Caturgatiḥ चतुर्गतिः

He is the ultimate resort to all the four varṇāśrama-s or the orders of life as expounded in Vedas. Vedas classify people based on their knowledge and capabilities. Therefore, inclination, capacity, knowledge and experience are the parameters on which a person is classified.

Varṇāśrama can also be interpreted as the four stages of one’s life – youth, householder, retirement and renunciation. They are known as brahmacarya, grahasta, vānaprastha and saṁnyāsa.

769. Caturātmā चतुरात्मा

Repetitive nāma 137.

Caturātman means a person with four faces or four shapes. Nāma 137 explained about four states of consciousness. This nāma can be interpreted on the basis of four components of antaḥkaraṇa, mind, intellect, consciousness and ego.

Antaḥkaraṇa works internally as against other tattva-s that work externally through senses.  Antaḥkaraṇa consists of mind and its modifications.  They are cittā (the individual conscience), buddhi (intellect), manas (mind) and ahaṁkār (ego).  Chitta is the blemished reflection of pure consciousness. If one goes by the theory of karma, this internal apparatus antaḥkaraṇa is controlled by one’s karma that manifest at the appointed time. Brahman is only a witness to all the actions that unfold due to one’s karma. Law of karma is the Law of the Lord.

This nāma calls the four components antaḥkaraṇa as Caturātman.

770. Caturbhāvaḥ चतुर्भावः

Bhāva means state or condition. Caturbhāva means four states of human life or four mental conditions of human life. In other words, there are four objects in human life that happens in successions. Bhāva also means succession. These four states are known as puruṣārtha-s and they are dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa. Dharma is discharging one’s duty as prescribed precepts of dharma śāstra-s. Dharma lays a strong foundation for a meaningful life, even though they may appear redundant. Every word of original śāstra has its own inherent meaning and redundancy appears due to the wrongful interpretation or due to the verbatim interpretation.  Next is Artha, the stage of one’s life for acquiring wealth for his present and future life. He has to earn not only for himself, but also for his aged parents and his own family. Since he has already practiced dharma, he knows the right ways to earn wealth. Then comes, kāma, materialistic desires, like building up of assets for his family. Finally, he seeks mokṣa, liberation from transmigration. He should have by now understood the pains of life. Hence, he seeks Him through various ways. First, he seeks Him through His body and finally he realizes that seeking Him through his mind will yield quicker results. During the fag end of his life he understands the true path of reaching Him. He repents that he has wasted his precious life without realising this path earlier.

In all these four stages, He exists. But only in the final stage, realization dawns on him. He continues to live till the time of his death arrives and is born again. He begins his spiritual journey form where he had left in his previous life.

It is important that one should commence his or her spiritual journey early in life, so that one can attain mokṣa in this life itself.

771. Catuvedavit चतुवेदवित्

He understands the gross and subtle imparts conveyed by the four Vedas. This is based on the fact that Vedas originated from Him. In fact, His breath is said to be Vedas.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (XV.15), “I am the only object worth knowing through Vedas...I am the knower of Vedas too.”

Only from Vedas, Upaniṣad-s and Vedānta originated, which elucidate the subtle conveyances of Vedas. Grosser sides of Vedas are the yajñā-s and other ritualistic worships.

With this, seven nāma-s commencing with “catur” are concluded.

772. Ekapāt एकपात्

Ekapāta means happening at once. Eka means base and pāta also means appearance. This nāma speaks about His omnipresence or His existence in all the places at the same time. Base in this context refers to the universe and for entire universe He appears at once, the quality of omnipresence.

There are interpretations on this nāma taking ekapāta as ekapāda, which means single footed. With His single foot, He supports the universe. Single foot here means Consciousness, the fundamental principle of existence.

773. Samāvartaḥ समावर्तः

Literally Samāvarta means turning back or return back. He makes a jīvātama to go up and down or make frequent rotations. This means that a jīvātama makes several transmigrations in cycles. The wheel of life rotates on ekapāt, discussed in the previous nāma. In other words, the entire universe revolves around Him, making Him as the base. This fact has been repeatedly emphasised through various nāma-s throughout this Sahasranāma.

774. Anivṛttātmā अनिवृत्तात्मा

Nivṛtta means indifference. The one who has renounced worldly pleasures is called nivṛttātma. But the prefix “A” negates this meaning. Therefore, anivṛttātma means the one, who is not indifferent to the happenings of the world. As He is omnipresent, He is in all the actions at the same time, yet, He does not get involved in any of those actions. He cannot be indifferent to the happenings in the world, as He has to uphold and protect dharma.

Dharma has different interpretations. But in today’s context, dharma can be explained as an act of sharing of excess of something one has, with those who do not have anything. The joy of giving, later transforms into spiritual bliss.

775. Durjayaḥ दुर्जयः

Beginning from this nāma, till nāma 781 all the nāma-s begin with dur meaning difficult

Durjaya means difficult to conquer. He cannot be conquered through valour but only through devotion and love.

776. Duratikramaḥ दुरतिक्रमः

Atikrama means surpassing and duratikrama means that He cannot be surpassed or violated. Brahman is Supreme and there is no one beyond Him; hence there is no question of conquering (previous nāma) or surpassing Him.

Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.iii.2) says, “Fearing Him, fire gives heat, the sun shines, Indra, Vāyu and Yama perform their duties.”

777. Durlabhaḥ दुर्लभः

He is difficult to be attained. Attaining Him is liberation.

He can be attained only out of pure love. This does not come on its own. One has to practice aggressively. There are different stages in realizing Him. Realizing Him within, realizing His omnipresence, etc are the different stages. This path is to be carefully treaded, as any slippage will pull down the aspirant to the archaic level. If one began his spiritual journey, one should not give room for any extraneous pleasures. A small distraction is enough for his downfall, as spiritual realization happens through the most susceptible instrument of man, the mind. Mind by default, always goes with the senses and making the mind to look within is truly a difficult job. Unless one’s mind is pure like a crystal, He cannot be realized. That is why, this nāma says that He is difficult to attain.