46. Aprameyaḥ अप्रमेयः

Lalitā Sahasranāma 413 is also aprameya.

Brahman cannot be measured, as He is out of bounds of human comprehension He cannot be known through senses as he is devoid of qualities such as sound etc. He cannot be visualized because we have not seen Him. He cannot be known through examples because there is nothing to make a comparison (this is based on the simple logic that a rat cannot be compared to a lion though both have four legs, a tail etc.). He cannot be known either by affirmations or by negations as we do not have any basis for such affirmations and negations. But Vedas and Upaniṣad-s try to explore (though by affirmations and negations, as the perceptive knowledge can be inferred only by such affirmations and negations only) Him as “That” and says that He exists as self-illuminating light witnessing the activities of His creation. Kena Upaniṣad (I.6) explains this point a little more elaborately. “Know that alone to be Brahman which the mind cannot comprehend and which yogi-s say makes the mind function. Brahman is not this sense world, which people worship”. The Upaniṣad continues to say “If you think (guru addressing his disciple) ‘I know the Brahman well’ then it is for certain that you know little about the nature of the Brahman. You know only its manifestation in the individual self, the gods, and the phenomenal world. Therefore, Brahman should still be thoroughly investigated”. But we need some basic inputs to know Him.

47. Hṛṣīkeśaḥ हृषीकेशः

He is the Lord of senses. The subtler meaning is that one who surrenders unto Him can conquer his senses. Conquering senses is one of the important aspects of realising the Brahman. Controlling the mind leads to subjugation of senses. Though senses cannot remain unused, subjugation of senses means that one should not leave impressions of sensory inputs in the mind. Impressions of the mind are capable of entering into the subconscious mind and could manifest at the most inappropriate time. Subconscious mind and karma work in tandem to cause sufferings and pains.

48. Padmanābhaḥ पद्मनाभः

A divine lotus springs up from His navel, from which arose the lord of creation Brahmā. Brahma refers to the Brahman and Brahmā refers to the lord of creation. This also overrides the myth that Lord Viṣṇu is not merely the sustainer of the universe. This nāma clearly says that He is also the Creator. The true nature of the Brahman is being described. Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad says (I.1), “viśvaya kartā bhuvanasya goptā” which means He is the creator of the universe and the supporter of the universe.

Yajur Veda (IV.vi.2.7) says, “ajasya nābhāvadhyekamarpitaṁ” which means ‘the One (ekam) is established (arpitam) in the centre (nābhi) of the Unborn (ajasya) waters.” This mantra of Yajur Veda talks about the manifestation of the universe.

49. Amaraprabhuḥ अमरप्रभुः

Amara refers to immortals and prabhu means the chief. Amara here refers to gods and goddesses. There are certain sages who remain immortals. Viṣṇu is the only Lord for these immortals. This means that immortals worship only the Brahman and they do not resort to worshipping anyone less than the Supreme Reality. This nāma says that Viṣṇu is the Brahman. Though the Brahman is beyond shapes and forms and cannot be known through names and forms, for the sake of understanding the Brahman, such names and forms are used for easy perceptiveness.

50. Viśvakarmā विश्वकर्मा

Viśva means all pervading and karma means actions. This nāma subtly conveys His omnipresent nature. Brahman alone is omnipresent. When He is omnipresent, He has to be present in all types of actions.

This nāma can also be interpreted to mean that because of His act of creation (referred to as karma here), the universe (viśva) is created. He is the architect of the universe. Viśvakarma also means accomplishing everything, which refers to the Brahman.

Viśvakarmā, son of Brahmā is a celestial architect who builds homes for gods and goddesses.

51. Manuḥ मनुः

Manu means thinking and Manuḥ means the one who thinks. He thinks about all the aspects of the universe. In reality, such attributes do not belong to the Brahman, about whom we have no knowledge at all, as He is beyond comprehension. There is no attributes to the Supreme Brahman, who always remains pure. When a nāma depicts Him with attributes, it refers only His power of projection or Brahman with attributes, who is also known as saguṇa Brahman. Saguṇa means qualities or guṇa-s.

Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (III.vii.23) says, “there is no other thinker but Him”. Kena Upaniṣad (I.2) also substantiates the thinking of the Brahman. It says, “manaso manaḥ”, the real power of the mind. This forms the answer for a question “Who controls this world”. All this goes to prove that He creates this universe out of His Free Will.

52. Tvaṣṭāḥ त्वष्टाः

At the time of annihilation of the universe, gross matters are absorbed into subtle elements for ultimate absorption into the Brahman. At the time of creation, gross matters originated from subtle elements. Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.i.1) says that at the time of creation Self created ether, ether created air, air created fire, fire created water, water created earth, earth created food. At the time of dissolution, the reverse process takes place and at the end of cosmic annihilation, the eternal Brahman alone remains, not even His projecting power known as māyā.

This nāma says that Viṣṇu initiates this annihilation of the universe. All the three aspects of the Brahman have been dealt with, creation, sustenance and annihilation.

Death is different from annihilation. Death is a process by which an individual soul leaves a gross body; whereas annihilation means all the souls pulled out of all the beings to merge with the Brahman. At the end of annihilation, the universe itself disappears.

53. Sthaviṣṭhaḥ स्थविष्ठः

Sthaviṣṭha literally means strong or bulky. Sthaviṣṭha is the superlative degree to indicate gross form. Brahman is stronger than the strongest, bulkier than the bulkiest, grosser than grossest. Superlative degrees are used to define His attributes and even then, no one is able to describe Him properly. This is because He is bigger than the biggest and smaller than the smallest.

Kaṭha Upaniṣad (I.ii.20) says, “aṇoraṇīyān mahato mahīyān” which means He is smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. The Brahman has to be this way, as He is omnipresent. Everything is His creation and all that exist are His reflective images.

54. Sthaviro-dhruvaḥ स्थविरो-ध्रुवः

Sthavira means ancient and dhruva means eternal. This nāma says that the Brahman is ancient and eternal. He is ancient because He is ādi and anādi.

Bhagavad Gita (VIII.20) says, “Far beyond this unmanifest, there is yet another Unmanifest, which is Eternal and does not get destroyed even when the entire beings are annihilated.”

This nāma reaffirms Him as the Brahman. Brahman does not need affirmations and confirmations. Ancient sages thought that incomprehensible Brahman should at least be elucidated with the highest degree of everything. This is the reason for such reference to the Brahman. The repetitive expressions make one understand the concept of the Brahman and His Supremacy.

This nāma says that Brahman is the most ancient in this universe. The superlative degree is used here because, nobody knows the origin of the Brahman. He always exists. He exists even during the great deluge because the whole universe is absorbed into Him.