976. Yajñabhṛt यज्ञभृत्
He is the protector of yajña-s. Yajña not only means ritualistic oblations and sacrifices, but also means devotion and worship.
977. Yajñakṛt यज्ञकृत्
Kṛt means performer and this nāma says that He is the performer of yajña-s. In other words, He becomes one with the performer of yajña-s. This can happen only due to the contemplation of the performer. To attain complete perfection while performing yajña-s, all the differences that exist between the performer, performance and in whose sake the yajña is performed should become one. Without attaining this oneness, yajña-s will not yield the desired results.
978. Yajñī यज्ञी
He is worthy of worship through yajña-s.
Further reading on yajña-s: There are two types of yajna-s, the one referred in Veda-s that has been heard or communicated from the beginning. It is the sacred knowledge orally transmitted from generation to generation. Rig Veda contains numerous references to rituals. Yajur Veda Samhita on the other hand contains mantra-s that are to be recited at the rituals and prose passages explaining them, known as brāhmaṇā-s. Brāhmaṇā passages guide to execute and preserve the intricacies of Vedic rituals. The other type of yajña is referred in smṛti, the whole body of sacred tradition or what is remembered by human teachers in contradistinction to śruti. Smṛti includes the six Vedāṅga-s, the sūtra-s (both śrauta and gṛhya), the law-books of Manu, etc.
The five yajña-s referred in Veda-s are agntihotra, darśapūrṇamāsa, cāturmāsya, paśubandha and soma. Soma ritual includes all the other four rituals and considered as the supreme among the five.
The five yajña-s referred in smṛti-s are known as pañca mahā yajña-s. They are Deva yajña (appeasing gods and goddesses), brahma yajña (the knower of Vedas), pitṛ yajña (for ancestors), bhūta yajna (animals, etc) and nara or atithi yajña (nara means man and atithi means guest). Atithi is explained as a person who is entitled for hospitality). Deva yajña is the worship to one’s kula devatā (the deity worshipped through lineage). The study of Veda-s is the next. Remembering our ancestors is the third. This is performed on the anuual death days of ancestors. The idea behind this yajña is not only to remember them, but also to remember and follow the family’s culture and values. Bhūta yajña means sharing with other living beings. Feeding the hungry animals develops universal love. The last one also known as manuṣya yajña (manuṣya means friendly to man), traditional hospitality extended to fellow beings.
Pāñcarātra āgama-s prescribe five rituals for worshipping Viṣṇu. Abhigamana (approaching Viṣṇu), upādāna (collecting pūja materials), ijya (the pūja worship) and svadhaya (repetition of Veda-s, verses-s, etc). Viṣṇu is often praised with gadya (prose, composition not metrical yet framed in accordance with harmony, elaborate prose composition).
Chāndogya Upaniṣad (V.4 to 9) talks about five types of oblations that cause the birth of man. They are offered by gods as oblations. First gods offered water as oblation from which appeared Soma (moon). They offered Soma as the second oblation from which appeared rain. They offered water as third oblation and there appeared food. They offered food as the fourth oblation and there appeared fluids of procreation. They offered fluids of procreation as the fifth oblation and there appeared foetus.
979. Yajñabhuk यज्ञभुक्
He is the enjoyer of yajña sacrifices or He gets satisfied when one, who performs all the five types of yajña-s described above. God gets satisfied only if everyone lives in harmony, happiness and prosperity. It is therefore the duty of everyone to ensure that everyone lives happily. This not only increases good individual karmic account as well as group karmic account but also enormously increases positive vibrations around.
980. Yajñasādhanaḥ यज्ञसाधनः
He is the one who causes sacrifices. He makes a person to do sacrifices in order to give him liberation. Unless one’s karmic account is ripe enough, he will not perform any of the five yajña-s described above.
It is ultimately one’s karma alone that transforms a person towards liberation. By performing yajña-s, one does not attain liberation. By performing yajña-s, his transformation to spirituality begins. Spirituality is nothing but mental contemplation of formless Brahman and at the end of spiritual path, one gets liberation. End of the spiritual path could be in this life or could be in future lives and this depends upon one’s karmic account.
981. Yajñāntakṛt यज्ञान्तकृत्
He is attained at the end of yajña-s. As said earlier, that path of yajña is only the beginning of spiritual path. By performing yajña-s, He makes one to enter spiritual life and at the end of spiritual life, he becomes a realized person and after experiencing all his karmic impressions, he is liberated.
Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (IV.33), “Sacrifice through knowledge is superior to sacrifice performed with material things. For all actions without exception culminates in Knowledge.”
982. Yajñaguhyam यज्ञगुह्यम्
Yajñaguhya is one of the proper names of Kṛṣṇa. Guhya means secretive and this nāma talks about performing secretive yajña-s. Two factors make a yajña secretive. First, a yajña performed with complete knowledge about Him, which is known as Supreme Knowledge or knowledge about Brahman. Another condition is that, such yajña-s should be formed without any personal desires (recitation at the end of each oblation na mama – not for me) and should be performed purely for His sake and for the sake of the world as a whole.
There is another interpretation possible. It is about mental oblations; oblations happening in the subtle body (mind). The oblation materials are ego. When ego is offered as oblation, one becomes free of individual identity and his oneness with Brahman is realized.
983. Annam अन्नम्
He is in the form of food, which augurs well with His omnipresence. He manifests as food says Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.1). “From this Self comes space; from space, air; from air, fire, from fire, water; from water, earth; from earth plants and herbs; from plants and herbs, food; and from food comes a human being.” This again goes to prove His omnipresence. He prevails in every part of evolution.
984. Annādah अन्नादह्
Annāda means eating the most and this nāma talks about annihilation. The entire beings both sentient and insentient are just food for Him at the time of annihilation.
At the time of creation all souls originate from Him and at the time of annihilation all souls become one with Him. Hence He is adored as Annāda.
985. Ātmayoniḥ आत्मयोनिः
From Him alone the universe is created. This nāma talks about Divine procreative energy from which all individual souls originate.
Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (IV.10), “I am the eternal seed of all beings…” Again in IV.6, He says, “Know that all beings have evolved from this two fold prakṛti and that I am the source of the entire creation and in to Me again, it disappears.”
986. Svayaṁjātaḥ स्वयंजातः
He came into existence independently. He has no creator. He is both puruṣa and prakṛti. The cause always remains the same and He always remains the cause. But He manifests through different energies to complete formation of the universe. But for Him, the universe cannot and will not exist.
Brahma Sūtra (I.iv.23) says, “Brahman must be the material cause as well, so as not to contradict the proposition and the illustration.”
Again Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (VII.4, 5), “…..this is indeed my lower nature (material). Other than this, the whole universe is sustained by my higher nature in the form jīva.”
987. Vaikhānaḥ वैखानः
This nāma refers to His Varāha avatar and it is one of the names of Viṣṇu.
Subtly this nāma conveys that He digs into miseries of His devotees, by entering into their subconscious mind and remove all the impressions that cause delusion or māyā. Once a devotee is set free from the clutches of māyā, he transforms into a sthitaprajña, where his mind becomes devoid of all dualities. When all dualities are annihilated, the devotee realizes that all that exists is nothing but His manifestations. At this moment, he gets liberated.
988. Sāmagāyanaḥ सामगायनः
He sings hymns from Sāma Veda, which is sung with melody. He sings these verses that originated only from Him, due to ecstasy arising out of liberating His devotees. He attains the state of ecstasy (this is refuted in nāma 999) when the liberated souls merge unto Him to be with Him always. He is so fond of them.
989. Devakīnandanaḥ देवकीनन्दनः
During His incarnation as Kṛṣṇa, He was born to Devakī and Vasudeva. Nandana means son.
990. Sraṣṭā स्रष्टा
Repetitive nāma 588.
Sraṣṭā means the Creator. He is the creator of the entire universe. He not only creates, but pervades the entire universe. He has to be present even in the tiniest articles, otherwise, creation cannot happen. He pervades the universe as “God Particle”, His exclusive quality of omnipresence.
991. Kṣitīśaḥ क्षितीशः
Kṣitīśa means ruler of earth, referring to His incarnation as Lord Rāma. It can also be said that He is the Consort of Mother Earth, Bhūmādevi. Whatever created by Him is sustained by Bhūmādevi.
992. Pāpanāśanaḥ पापनाशनः
If one worships and contemplates Him, as explained in this Sahasranāma, He absolves their sins. This Sahasranāma advises that He should be contemplated through a purified mind. He cannot be attained by perpetually persisting with ritual worships. When a person attains spiritual knowledge through study of Scriptures or listening to spiritual discourses about Brahman, his mind begins to think differently about Him. He understands that Brahman cannot be confined and bound in idols. He also understands that worshipping idols all the time will not give him liberation. Such a devotee gradually gets detached from all types of ritualistic worships and begins to think about Him. The more he thinks about Him, he begins to understand His true nature, His omnipresence. While thinking about Him, he begins to feel inexplicable happiness which makes him to shed tears. This bliss works on his emotions and purifies his mind. Now he decides that contemplating Him is the best to way to be with Him and he spends more time in contemplating Him. Instead of allocating separate time for contemplation (meditation), he over a period of time stays connected with Him perpetually. Now he becomes a sthitaprajña, as his mind does not have any doubt about His presence not only within, but also everywhere. He truly realizes His omnipresence and begins to look upon everyone as His form. From this point onwards, he does not accrue further karmas. Till his karmas are exhausted, he continues to live, as karmas have to be experienced. Once all his karmas are exhausted, he becomes jīvanmukta and at the time of his death, he merges unto Him.
This is what is explained in this nāma. It must always be remembered that He never absolves sins directly. If a sin is committed whether knowingly or unknowingly, the consequence of committing a sin has to be experienced through karmas. When realisation happens, from that moment onwards, He ensures that such a devotee does not commit sins, by working through his mind, as his mind is fully pervaded by Him. Such a devotee’s mind is no longer a human mind but gets transformed into a divine mind. Only in this mind, emancipation can happen.
993. Śaṅghabhṛt शङ्घभृत्
He holds a conch called Pāñcajanya, which means created out of five, where five represents five elements, which extends into five sensory organs, five organs of actions and five tanmātra-s. Single factor that is originated from the five elements and their modifications is ego, known as ahaṃkāra, which is the main cause for not realizing Him within. When He blows His Pāñcajanya, it means that one should destroy his ego in order to realize Him. His blowing this conch is by way of caution to His devotees about the inevitable destruction that ego can cause. When He is present in everyone as Self, where is the question of ego? Ego arises purely out of ignorance.
994. Nandakī नन्दकी
Nandaka means rejoicing. When ego is destroyed, He makes His devotees to rejoice His presence in the form of Bliss. This nāma says that He is the cause for the Bliss and He alone can cause this Bliss.
995. Cakrī चक्री
Repetitive nāma 908.
Nāma 908 discussed about His Sudarśana cakra. This nāma speaks about creation, annihilation and recreation. Creation and annihilation are two opposite ends of a wheel. After creation, annihilation follows by default like the rotation of a wheel. Both in creation as well as in annihilation, He alone is present.
This nāma subtly conveys the normal state of mind. Pleasure and pain alternates in a normal human mind. When one’s ego is destroyed, as explained in the previous nāma, his mind is purified and in case, it is not purified due to some deeply embedded impressions, He removes those impressions using His Sudarśana cakra.
996. Śāraṅgadhanvā शारङ्गधन्वा
Śāraṅga is the name of His bow. This bow is also the destroyer of ego. Even after blowing His Pāñcajanya, ego is not destroyed, He does not hesitate to annihilate ego from the minds of His devotees. Ego along with mind and intellect is called antaḥkaraṇa, also known as inner psychic organs. Antaḥkaraṇa ia activated only through sensory organs as explained in nāma 993. At this state, He has removed the impressions in subconscious mind and ego of His devotees in order to offer them liberation. Only intellect is left to be tuned up for final liberation and this is explained in the next nāma.
997. Gadādharaḥ गदाधरः
He holds a club known as Kaumodakī (given by Varuṇa). This annihilates intellect of His devotees. When the mind is fixed on Him, and after having dissolved ego, where is the necessity for intellect? Intellect has to work only if mind is in doubt. Now mind clearly realizes that He prevails everywhere. When there is nothing to evaluate, there is no need for intellect. With Kaumodakī, He destroys the intellect of His devotees.
Now the devotee becomes a transformed person. As his antaḥkaraṇa is subdued, he moves away from duality to non-duality. He not only realizes Him within, but also considers the entire universe as His manifestation. This devotee does not differentiate between his self, Brahman and the universe. He truly realizes the omnipresence of Brahman. He is almost liberated. Still there could be some traces of what is annihilated. He does not want to take chances with His devotees. This is explained in the next nāma.
998. Rathāṅgapāṇiḥ रथाङ्गपाणिः
Rathāṅga means wheel or cakra and pāṇi means hand. This nāma says that His hand itself is a wheel.
With His weaponries, He has already destroyed mind, intellect and ego of His devotee. Human mind is so powerful, as it could go back to its inherent nature of getting attracted to sensory inputs. This devotee is about to be liberated. Unless the devotee is absolutely pure, he cannot merge unto Him, as He is the embodiment of Purity. All remnants of impurity are to be destroyed now, as the merger with Him is about to happen anytime. By using His hands, He clears all the impurities of His devotee and cleanses Him of all impurities both gross and subtle. Now the body of His devotee falls down and the soul leaves his body to merge with Him. Now Viṣṇu has one more soul merged into Him. Viṣṇu does not change even if trillions of souls merge unto Him as He is eternal and unchangeable. He only causes changes but does not change Himself. That devotee is no more there but Viṣṇu continues to exist as eternal and unchangeable Brahman forever.
When a devotee is sincere in contemplating Him, after sometime, He Himself becomes His Guru and guides him towards liberation. These nāma-s explicitly explain this nature of the Brahman.
999. Akṣobhyaḥ अक्षोभ्यः
Repetitive nāma 801.
After having liberated one of His dearest devotees, He is not exited. He knows very well that His dearest devotee is going to be liberated and as per His will, he got liberated. He is like the sun, which never differentiates between good and bad. In the same way, liberation does not excite Him, as this is a regular affair for Him. There are many devotees, who contemplate on Him in order to attain liberation. Only those who deserve liberation alone contemplate or meditate on Him. Others are engulfed by duality consider Him as someone different from their selves worship Him not through contemplation, but through rituals. They also get liberated, but their liberation is postponed to future births.
Though He wanted to offer liberation to all His devotees, only a select few alone ultimately get liberation. He is neither upset for not having granted liberation to all His devotees, nor is exited for having offered liberation only to a select few. He is always with a firm and unwavering mind like a sthitaprajña.
This nāma conveys that Brahman is beyond changes and modifications.
1000. Sarvapraharaṇāyudhaḥ सर्वप्रहरणायुधः
Typically speaking, this nāma says that everything is His weaponry. All His manifestations are His weaponries. This applies only to Him, as He alone is Supreme hence, He is adored as Lord, Brahman, God, etc.
Īśa Upaniṣad (6) says, “eṣaḥ sarveśvaraḥ एषः सर्वेश्वरः meaning ‘He is the Lord of all’; eṣaḥ sarvajñaḥ एषः सर्वज्ञः meaning ‘He is all knowing (omniscient); eṣaḥ antaryāmī एषः अन्तर्यामी meaning ‘He is the inner soul of all’. The Upaniṣad goes to say that all things originate from Him and all things merge unto Him. He is the cause of all.
All of us originated from Him. All of us are born as human beings due to His compassion. Human birth signifies that liberation is in the offing. Only the initial impetus is needed from us. If this is done, He takes over as Guru at the end of one’s spiritual journey. Liberation totally depends upon one’s karmic account. If karma permits, His devotee moves up towards realisation and undergoes various attitudinal changes. When his liberation is about to happen, He clears all the remnants of impurities and purifies him both externally and internally. Once this devotee is purified, he is liberated and continues to live till the last traces of his karmic account is experienced. Once his karmic account is exhausted, he dies and his jīvātmā leaves his body and enters into the higher planes of cosmos to ultimately merge with Him. The history of this devotee that was prevailing over countless births and deaths is now destroyed.
This Sahasranāma is concluded with the following prayer found in Īśa Upaniṣad (18). “O! Lord Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa, Nārāyaṇa! Please lead us along the right path, so that many good things may come to us. You know everything, what we think and what we do. Please remove all the evils and sins from us. We salute you again and again.”
“O! Lord! We do not want material wealth, as this could drag us down from the path of spirituality. Please do not give us wealth more than what is required. More wealth could make us commit mistakes. We want to be pure. Please cleanse our thoughts from imperishable impressions of evil thought processes. Having born as a human being, please give us wealth to take care of the needy. Please give us wealth to feed the hungry animals and birds. Please give us intellect so that we can think only about You. Please give us more knowledge about You, so that we can share it with everyone. We want everyone to be liberated. Please give us equipoised mind, so that we can consider everyone as Your manifestation. Whatever we get, everyone in the world should also get. Please make us sthitaprajña-s, so that we can perpetually think about You. If You are not going to liberate us now, at least liberate others. We know for sure that You will also liberate us one day and we have unshakable faith that You will do this.”
With uttarabhāg, Viṣṇu Sahasranāma will be concluded in the next posting.