778. Durgamaḥ दुर्गमः

Previous nāma and this nāma convey the same meaning.

Durgama means inaccessible, which means that He cannot be attained easily. If one wishes to attain Him, his mind has to undergo a total transmutation, as He can be attained only through human mind. Mind by nature is always agitated, as it is associated with innumerous thoughts. Thoughts are generated by the mind on two counts. One is by its association with the sensory organs. Sensory organs leave impressions in the mind and some of these impressions are too strong and come back to the mind repeatedly. Another set of impressions are pushed into the conscious mind from the subconscious mind, which manifest as thoughts. These thoughts induce the mind to indulge in certain actions, which is due to the manifestation of one’s karma. Impressions are formed in the mind only if one is addicted to certain actions. Normal actions required for sustenance do not form karmic impressions. But at the same time, normal actions beyond the level of sustenance leave karmic impressions as such actions arise out of desires and attachments. Purifying the mind means carrying out normal actions that are required for living without resorting to desires and attachments.

Kaṭha Upaniṣad (I.iii.14) explains this. “Go to wise men and learn from them about Brahman. Path to Brahman is hard to tread.” Wise men referred here are spiritual masters, who have realized Him already. They know the path. One has to trust them. If one reposes faith on true spiritual masters, they will reveal the path to Him. Generally, without their guidance, He cannot be attained. There is a lot of difference between gaining knowledge and pursuing the path of knowledge. The latter always succeeds the former. Without spiritual knowledge, one cannot begin his journey towards Him. Undoubtedly, without guidance from a Guru, spiritual attainment is not possible. Hence He is difficult to attain.

779. Durgaḥ दुर्गः

Durga means difficult and narrow passage like razor’s edge. He can be attained, provided one has the ability to walk on the razor’s edge.

Path towards Him is called razor’s edge because the path is to be treaded carefully. It is like a cat on the wall situation. There are only two options; either be materialistic or be a spiritualistic. One cannot be both, as this does not give the desired results. When one moves away from the material world, the sensory organs pull him back and the temptations like wealth, attachments, allurements, etc become too difficult to resist. A small trigger in the mind could manifest rapidly and powerfully and pull down the aspirant to the point of no return. Ascension to the spiritual path takes place very slowly, but fall happens rapidly. Hence the path to Self realization is difficult and is like cat on the wall situation.  On one side, the aspirant has material world and its associated enticements and on the other side, He alone is present subtly and invisibly. Association with the material world gives physical pleasures and association with Him give Bliss, which alone is capable of offering liberation.  Material world is created by His power of māyā, which always remain insidious. If one’s mind is not controlled properly as discussed in the previous nāma, it is not possible to traverse this narrow path.

780. Durāvāsaḥ दुरावासः

This nāma also continues to dwell on the deliberations of the previous two nāma-s. This nāma says that it is difficult to hold Him in one’s mind. One’s mind should be made as His Abode. A lot of importance is attached to purifying mind. He is the embodiment of purity and when the mind is afflicted, He cannot manifest there. In other words, He cannot be visualized in an afflicted mind, as the continuous contemplation is not possible with other thought processes being present in the mind.

Kṛṣṇa speaks about mind in Bhagavad Gītā (VI.35 & 36). “The mind is undoubtedly restless and difficult to curb. But it can be brought under control by repeated practice and by the exercise of dispassion. Yoga is difficult to practice for the one, whose mind is not subdued.”

781. Durārihāḥ दुरारिहाः

Durārihan means killing enemies. On the grosser side, it can be explained that He kills demons to protect the virtuous ones. Virtuous ones do not have physical strength to fight against the demons. To uphold the unique coalescence of virtues and evils, He incarnates when this coalescence is tilted towards evil and destroys all those who are responsible for this imbalance.

On the subtler side, He helps all those who sincerely seek Him, by destroying impediments during their occasional divergence from the path. Kṛṣṇa Himself says this Bhagavad Gītā (VI.40), “There is no fall for him either here or hereafter (future births) as none, who strives for Self-realization ever meets with evil destiny.” This means that liberation gets postponed to future births. Liberation in this birth is assured, only if one becomes a jīvanmukta.

With this, seven nāma-s beginning with dur (meaning difficult) end.

782. Subhāṅgaḥ सुभाङ्गः

Repetitive nāma 586.

Bhīṣma, after explaining the difficulties of traversing the path of realizing Him, now describes His auspicious forms for the aspirant to meditate on Him.

Subhāṅga means that He has a body made up of auspicious limbs. In other words, His very vision is auspicious. Meditating on auspicious forms purify the mind, as described in the previous nāma-s.

783. Lokasāraṅgaḥ लोकसारङ्गः

He is the essence of the universe. The essence of the universe is OM and there is no difference between OM and Brahman. From OM, the whole universe sprouts and the universe get dissolved into OM. Hence OM is called as the essence of the universe. The three letters of OM A + U + M and the bindu (a dot meaning infinity) mean the three stages of consciousness, three acts of God (creation, sustenance and dissolution), three śakti-s iccāśakti jñanaśakti and kiryāśakti and the infinity.

784. Sutantuḥ सुतन्तुः

The entire creation is called Sutantu. Sutantu means having quality offspring. His offspring is the universe, which has been created by Him by His power known as māyā. There are two aspects. One is His creation which is full of allurements, projecting the material world as irresistible. All that is associated with this are subject to modifications and ultimate death. The other is Him, full of auspiciousness and eternity (bindu of OM). He is the cause for the objective word, which is His playground, wherein He tests the abilities of His devotees to sustain Him in their minds. These quality devotees are His offspring and hence He is addressed as Sutantu. Non-sutantu-s are known as paśu-s.

785. Tantuvardhanaḥ तन्तुवर्धनः

Tantu means propagating one’s family continuously and vardhana means increasing prosperously. In other words, this nāma says that as the Lord of the universe, He ensures that He creates and nurtures His true devotees continuously. Such men are intertwined in the system so that spiritual knowledge is imparted to the humanity to uphold dharma.

Many times, those who have realized Him do not reveal to the world their true identities. They remain one among the society.

786. Indrakarmā इन्द्रकर्मा

Indrakarman means performing Indra’s actions. In Vedas, more importance is given to Indra and he is always revered as the chief of all gods and goddesses. Based on this principle, this nāma says that He performs the actions of Indra.

Difference between Brahman and Indra is very obvious. Brahman is Supreme and Indra is the chief of different forces functioning under Him. This nāma also conveys that the one who is Supreme should be capable of knowing and discharging the duties of all under him.

787. Mahākarmā महाकर्मा

Repetitive nāma 672.

Karma means the actions of individual human beings. Mahākarman means great work. Though He is not the cause for any actions, He rules the universe by the Law of Karma which is also known as the Law of the Lord. Law of Karma is self-operating system based on the theory “what one sows, so he reaps”. This is referred here as mahākarmā or great work. It is called great work because Law of Karma needs no one to administer and operates on its own. When there is no karma, he is liberated.

788. Kṛtakarmā कृतकर्मा

Kṛtakarman means the one, who has done his duty. Apart from many other duties, creation is one of the important duties of Brahman. His duty is only to create and the quality of the life is not determined by Him. Quality of one’s life is determined by individuals’ thoughts and actions. This nāma says that He is doing His his duty as the Creator.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (III.22), “There is nothing in all the three worlds for Me to do, nor is there anything worth attaining unattained by Me, yet I continue to do work.”

789. Kṛtāgamaḥ कृतागमः

Kṛt means creating and āgama means sacred works. Kṛtāgama as a single word means the one who has made progress.

Āgama means verbal testimony or written testimony containing several sentences. Āgama should be only from trust worthy persons and hence it also known as āptavākya (correct sentence). In other words, āgama is the combination of various āptavākya-s. This could refer to Vedas, as Vedas alone are without any defects. Any sayings with defects or lack of clarity are not āgama. Further, one of the conditions of āgama is that it should have been declared by a worthy person or persons. Vedas perfectly comply with this description as Vedas are revealed by Viṣṇu. In fact they are said to be the breath of Viṣṇu. Ancient sages by connecting themselves to the cosmos could decipher His revelations and declare them to the world. These revelations are known as Vedas. In Rig Veda, in every group of verses the names of the ṛṣi-s are mentioned.

Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (II.iv.8) explains this. “Four Vedas, history, mythology, arts, Upaniṣad-s are the breath of the Supreme Self.”

This nāma says that it is Nārāyaṇa, who has declared the Vedas to the world through various ṛṣi-s.

790. Udbhavaḥ उद्भवः

Repetitive nāma 373.

Udbhava means origin, becoming visible, etc. This refers to His manifestation. Brahman is subtle and by using His power of māyā, He Himself manifests as the material world. Because of the power of māyā, the objective world appears as different from Him. When one is able to transcend māyā, he will be able to realize Him.

Brahman Himself does not become visible, as He does not have a shape or form. He becomes visible only through His power of māyā, which has the power to project Him in various shapes and forms through deception and delusion. This nāma speaks about His manifestation or creation.

Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.iii.9) says, “The Self is not an object of our vision. No one can see Him by his eyes. He reveals Himself in the heart (heart can also be taken as mind), only when the mind is pure and constantly thinks about Him. Having realized Him, one attains liberation.”

791. Sundaraḥ सुन्दरः

This can be interpreted in two ways. If this nāma is taken to mean Him, then it can be said that He is handsome and beautiful (combination of both masculine and feminine genders), charming, etc.

If this nāma is taken as an extension of the previous nāma, then it means that His creation is beautiful, making the mind to fall for this deceptive and impermanent beauty. As a result of this attractive nature of the material world, one does not get inclination to move towards the spiritual path. This is the power of His māyā.

Māyā is His testing ground where the minds of the devotees are put to test. Those who pass the test are gifted with liberation.

792. Sundaḥ सुन्दः

Undana means moistening. This has been interpreted as the One with a tender heart. All that has moisture content is always soft and all that is dry is hard. This nāma says that He is compassionate. Because of His tender nature (tender heart), He shows mercy on His devotees.

793. Ratnanābhaḥ रत्ननाभः

He has a navel appearing like a gem. This is the point from which Brahmā (god of creation) was created by Him. But this nāma subtly refers to maṇipūraka chakra. There are some texts which say that this is the abode of His spouse Mahālakṣmī.

794. Sulocanaḥ सुलोचनः

He has beautiful eyes. Compassion is reflected through one’s eyes. Because of the beautiful eyes, He attracts His devotees towards Him for liberation.

795. Arkaḥ अर्कः

Arka means flash of light. If this nāma is taken as the continuation of the previous nāma, then it means that through His beautiful eyes, He illuminates the universe. This means that His eyes are so powerful and illuminating.

If this nāma is taken independent of the previous nāma, then it means He is in the form of Light, that illuminates the whole universe.

Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.ii.15) says, “When He shines, everything else shine and by His Light, all lights are illuminated.”

796. Vājasanaḥ वाजसनः

There are two interpretations possible for this nāma

Vājasana as a single word means the school of Yājñavalkya, the well known sage. It is said that Sun revealed to him Śukla Yajurveda (There are two Yajurvedas. The most commonly used Yajurveda is Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda and the other one is Śukla Yajurveda). The school of Śukla Yajurveda is known as Vājasaneya.  Both Śiva and Viṣṇu are called as Vājasaneya.

Vāja means strength, energy, etc. One gets energy due to the consumption of food. Sana means offering. He, as the sustainer of the universe offers food to His creations in order to sustain them. Hence He is Vājasana.

Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.i.1) beautifully explains this. “From Him originated ākāśā; from ākāśā, air; from air, fire; from fire, water; from water, earth; from earth, food originated in that order. In fact human being is a product of food.”

In His creation, nothing happens instantaneously. Everything evolves in an orderly manner. His creation is like the sprouting of a seed, which grows into a tree, yields fruits and finally decays. In the same way, all His creations are perishable and He alone stands imperishably all the time. He is eternal and infinite.