SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 2 (Names 11 to 20)

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11) paramAthmA (परमात्मा)

Just as it is being said that all creatures have bhagavAn as their soul, it cannot be
said that bhagavAn also has another soul indwelling in Him. Thus, He is called
‘paramAthmA’ – the Supreme Soul. The origin of the word ‘parama’ (Supreme) is “the
one who has none superior to Him” (परॊ मा अस्य इति परमः). This name is justified
due to His being the soul of every single atom in this creation. He is the Supreme
Entity, and also the soul of every creature. Thus, He has no other controller superior
to Him.

The scriptures say thus:

  • “He is the master of Himself”
  • “There is no other entity at all, which superior to Him!”
  • “One cannot see any entity equalling or excelling Him”
  • “Other than whom there is no entity which is Supreme (meaning, none equalling or
    excelling Him)”
  • “Oh scion of bharatha, there is none who is seen to be superior to the Lotus Eyed One”
  • “The one who is superior to even the Lotus Eyed one has never been till now, and
    will never be either”
  • “There is no Godhead superior to kESava”
  • “There is none superior to bhagavAn, who has no beginning, middle or end”
  • “There is nothing or none superior to me…”
  • “Other than this cosmic form of bhagavAn, there is nothing else which is permanent”
  • “He is superior to even the supreme lords ruling the lower worlds, and He has none
    superior over Him. He is the Supreme Soul paramAthmA”, et al.

Etymology: By whom all the creatures are indwelled, and who is not Himself
indwelled by anyone else, and thus who is the master of Himself, He is called
यॆन भूतानि आत्मवन्ति नायमन्यॆन च आत्मवान् ।
अतॊ हि आत्मॆश्वरत्वात् च परमात्मा प्रकीर्तितः ॥

The another meaning of paramAthmA refers to the One who is the consort of SrI
mahAlakshmi. This is as per the origin “to whom the Supreme Goddess and the
protector belongs” (परा मा अस्य इति). This is supported by the Vedic verse in the
purusha suktham, which says “SrI mahAlakshmi or SrIdhEvi, bhudhEvi and neelAdhEvi
are your divine consorts” (ह्रीश्च तॆ लक्ष्मीश्च पत्न्यौ)

12) mukthAnAM paramAgathi: (मुक्तानां परमागतिः)

Verily the master of all expounded till now is being described now as the ultimate
destination that everyone should attain, with the divine name ‘mukthAnAM
paramAgathi:’. The word ‘muktha’ refers to such liberated souls who are no longer
associated with the bondages of ignorance, actions (karma), purity, tastes and
distress which arise out of the nature (prakRuti), and are freed from all such
premises. The vEdhams say thus:

  • “All of their good and bad deeds are removed”
  • “Having ridden off their sins just like a horse shaking off the hair from its body”
  • “Having shaken off their merits and sins…” or “having renounced their names and
    forms pertaining to this nature”
  • “Then the learned soul is freed of all his physical names and forms” or “Then the
    learned soul is freed from all his merits and sins”
  • “Knowing the Supreme Godhead, they get rid of all the troubling bondages”
  • “All the shackles in the heart are warded off”
  • “Such souls cross this worldly existence”
  • “Such of those who are freed of the seventeen qualities and actions are indeed freed
    from verily this samsAra, and they are called mukthas or the freed souls”,

Even the brahma sUthras say thus: “Even after an individual soul has been freed from
this samsAra and its knowledge has blossomed to the fullest, its possession of eight
qualities such as being free of sins, aging, etc is never contradicted, because those
eight qualities are accepted to be natural to every individual soul by sage vEdha
vyAsa himself”.

Since a liberated soul has the quality of sathva protracted beyond limits, and also
since such a soul gains a form similar to that of the Supreme Soul, he gains a sort of
equality with the Supreme soul Himself. This is shown by the numerous scriptural

  • “He becomes one with Him. He remains second to Him.”
  • “He eats, plays and enjoys”
  • “He follows the Supreme Entity in all forms that he so desires, and serves Him in all
  • “Into him the divine scent and essence of brahman enter. He is decorated with the
    supreme beautifications, called ‘brahmAlankAra’ by them”
  • “This soul can manifest itself in multiple forms at the same time with its steadfast
    desires, similar as in the ritual called ‘dhvAdhashAha’; this is verily the opinion of vEdha

With the names ‘sAkShI’ and ‘mukthAnAM gathi:’, the dualism between the individual
souls and the supreme soul is expounded. This is shown in the following scriptural

  • “When the freed soul sees and realizes the greatness and ownership of the Supreme
    Soul, who is different from himself, he is freed of all agony”
  • “Knowing about the nature of self and also about the other entity which engages the
    self into such actions…”
  • “He attains the divine Supreme Self”
  • “He enjoys all the bliss with the Supreme Self”
  • “Having attained the supreme effulgence…”
  • “Since the Supreme Lord is said to be the attainable goal for every liberated soul…”,

This is made very clear in the mOksha dharma of SrI mahAbhAratha :
“That nArayana is only to be known by everyone. He is the indweller of all, and He is
the Supreme Soul. He is not tainted with any blemishes of other entities which are
His body, just like a lotus leaf which is unaffected by water. The individual soul, who
is much different than the Supreme Soul, is only bounded in this world and can be
freed from it. He is affected by the seventeen qualities and deeds associated with

Further, the word ‘gathi’ in this divine name ends as ‘ktin’. This is in the ‘karmaNi’
speech, or direct speech. It represents attainment of the most desirable fruits. Thus,
the name ‘mukthAnAm paramAgathi:’ represents the relationship of a servant and
master between the liberated soul and the Supreme Soul. The vEdhams say thus, in
this regard:

  • “Having attained this blissful Supreme Soul…”
  • “Following Him in every form that he so desires…”
  • “Wherever bhagavAn goes, there the liberated soul follows; just like a cow going
    after its calves, or a calf following its mother”

The four qualities namely knowledge, renunciation, wealth of servitude and
righteousness reside in the individual soul permanently. They are all quite natural to
the soul.

The brahma sUthras declare that the individual soul gains its own natural form when it
attains the Supreme soul after being released from this samsAra. bhagavAn is the Supreme destination whom every individual soul ought to attain.

Etymology: Those who attain the same attributes of bhagavan are called the
liberated souls. The ultimate abode and the main goal of such liberated souls, and
hence the master of all such liberated souls is called ‘mukthAnAm paramAgathi:’.
ब्रह्म-साधर्म्यम् आपन्नाः मुक्ताः तॆषां परा गतिः |
मुख्यप्राप्यः ततः शॆषी मुक्तानां परमा गतिः ||

13) avyaya: (अव्ययः)

The same meaning expounded in the previous name is explained further with the
next five names. He is called ‘avyaya’ since the liberated souls do not return to this
world after attaining Him.

bhagavAn never allows a liberated soul – who has crossed the ocean of samsAra
and attained His lotus feet – to come back to this cycle of births and deaths.

The yama smrithi says thus: “Such a soul gets a subtle body and is filled with pure
sathva. He attains verily the Supreme Soul SrIman nArayaNa, who is his master.
Having attained Him, who is the master of all, and who is flawless – such a soul
becomes eligible for immortality and does not return to this cycle of births and

Etymology: The one who does not send back a liberated soul from SrI vaikuNtam
after having attained Him is called ‘avyaya’.
न वीयतॆ च वैकुण्ठात् मुक्तॊsधस्तात् अतॊ अव्यय्ः |

14) purusha: (पुरुषः)

He is called ‘purusha’ because He gives in abundance (पुरु-बहु सनॊति इति पुरुषः).

bhagavAn grants the divine experience of His auspicious qualities, grandeur, even to the liberated souls.

“bhagavAn is the source of all bliss experienced by the liberated souls, for the
scriptures clearly says thus”, et al.

Etymology: Since He gives everything including Himself unto the liberated souls, He
is called ‘purusha’.
मुक्तॆभ्यः स्वात्मपर्यन्तदानात् पुरुष ईरितः |

15) sAkShI (साक्षी)

He is the one who grants bliss unto the liberated souls, as well as being fully
content with it, and thus sees the liberated souls being blissful, he is called ‘sAkshI’
(the witness).

Etymology: He is called sAkShI, since He only grants all the bliss to the liberated
souls and witnesses them enjoying all such bliss before Him.
स्वयम् आनन्दयन् तृप्यन् साक्षी साक्षात् करॊति सः |

16) kShEtragya: (क्षॆत्रज्ञः)
He is called kShEtragya, who knows of a secluded place to confer His experience to such liberated souls.

The mahAbhAratha also glorifies bhagavAn as the ultimate destination of all individual
souls, as well as the knower of the place (SrI vaikuNtam).

Inside that SrI vaikuNtam, there exists a town named ‘ayOdhyA’ or ‘aparAjithA’. In
that town lies a palatial structure – also named ‘aparAjitham’, which is supported by
thousand pillars, and is the divine palace of bhagavAn. In the center of that thousand
pillared structure, bhagavAn is seated on a serpent throne with His divine consorts
SrI mahAlakshmi, SrI bhUmA dhEvi and SrI neeLA dhEvi, and is served to eternity the
infinite liberated souls. These details are explained in the most popular of
upanishadhs such as the chandhOgya, thaiththirIya,

Etymology: The Supreme abode SrI vaikuNtam is called ‘kShEtram’. That is ever
swarmed by the liberated souls, where such souls serve the Supreme brahman.

The one who grants the supreme bliss of His experience to such liberated souls is only
called the ‘kShEtragya’.
क्षॆत्रं तु परमव्यॊम मुक्तॆभ्यॊ वॆत्ति नित्यशः |
दातुं स्वानुभवं यश्च क्षॆत्रज्ञः स तु कथ्यतॆ ||

17) akshara: (अक्षरः)

Even though being ceaselessly experienced by countless liberated souls in the SrI vaikuNtam, the experiences of His divine auspicious qualities never end. It is like an endless flow of honey, with no barriers. The experience of such divine qualities is ever increasingly desirable, and nourishing. It ceases to perish whatsoever. Thus, He is called ‘akshara’, the one who grants ceaseless experience to His dear devotees.

The vishNu purANa describes bhagavAn as flawless, although He is being
ceaselessly experienced by the liberated souls. That is because His greatness is not
attributed by an external agency. Rather, it is inherent in Him. Due to this inherent
greatness, His supreme nature is ceaseless. Hence, the vishNu purANa terms
bhagavAn as ‘akshara’.

These five names (avyaya:, purusha:, sAkShI, kShEtrahya:, akshara:)
explain in greater detail about the ultimate destination of all individual souls, which
was earlier connoted by the divine name ‘mukthAnAm paramA gathi:’.

Etymology: Even though incessantly experienced by countless liberated souls, He is
replete with boundless divine auspicious qualities, and does not perish even a little
bit. Thus, He is called ‘akshara’.
सदा अनुभूयमानॊsपि निस्सीम-गुण-गौरवात् |
मुक्तैः क्वचित् न क्षरति इति अक्षरः परिकीर्तितः ||

यॊगॊ यॊगविदांनॆता प्रधानपुरुषॆश्वरः ।
नारसिम्हवपुः श्रीमान् कॆशवः पुरुषॊत्तमः ॥ ३ ॥

18) yOga: (यॊगः)

Further, the individual ability of the same bhagavAn (who is also the ultimate
destination of all liberated souls – mukthAnAm paramA gathi:) to grant mOkSham
without the need for any external support is shown in this name ‘yOga:’ – the means
of attainment.

This name ‘yOga:’ intends to show that bhagavAn does not need an external agent
to support Him in providing mOkSham to the seekers. He is the sole refuge for
seekers in order to attain Him.

Etymology: The goal of liberated souls was explained till now. Here onwards, the
path to attain that goal is being explained. Since bhagavAn Himself is the sole giver
of mOksham, He is called by the name ‘yOga:’.

उक्तं हि मुक्तप्राप्यत्वम् अथ उपायत्वम् उच्यतॆ |
साक्षात् मॊक्षैकहॆतुत्वात् यॊग इत्यभिदीयतॆ ||

19) yOgavidhAm nEthA (यॊगविदां नॆता)

Since bhagavAn is the one who leads even the practitioners of other means of
salvation such as bhakthi (and hence karma and gyAana) yoga to mOksham, He is
called ‘yOgavidhAm nEthA’ – the one who leads the practitioners of yOga.

Etymology: The practitioners of bhakthi as the means to salvation are called
“yOgavidha”s. The One who leads such practitioners to their destination is called
‘yOgavidhAm nEthA’.
उपाय-भक्तिनिष्ठा यॆ तॆ यॊगविदः स्मृताः |
तॆषां च फलपर्यन्तॆ नॆता निर्वाहकश्च यः ||

20) pradhAna-purushESvara: (प्रधानपुरुषॆश्वरः)

The meanings expounded till now are further elaborated with this name ‘pradhAna-

‘pradhAna’ refers to the cause of bondages, which is this nature (प्रकृति). ‘purusha’
refers to the individual souls bounded in this prakruthi. Since bhagavAn is the
controller of both of these entities in all ways, He is called ‘pradhAna-purusha-
ISvara’ (the controller of nature and individual souls).

“He is the sole controller who bears this entire creation, which is composed of the
primordial nature and individual souls, and which is both manifest as well as hidden.
The individual soul different from ‘ISvara’ is bound in this nature and enjoys the
fruits of its actions. Eventually, by knowing and serving the Supreme Lord, it gets
liberated from all these bondages and attains Him.”

The vishnu thathva says thus:
“There is no tool to enable an individual soul to overcome the mAyA of bhagavAn,
other than the grace of bhagavAn Himself. This is the absolute truth, to put it in

Etymology: Since bhagavAn is the sole controller of the cause of bondages –
pradhAna – and the bounded individual souls – purusha – at all times, He is called
बन्धहॆतॊः प्रधानस्य बध्यमाननृणां च यः |
नियामकः सर्वदा सः प्रधानपुरुषॆश्वरः ||

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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