SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 18 (Names 171 to 180)

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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171) athIndhriya: (अतीन्द्रियः) (also repeated in 662)

Having elaborated thus about the core divine qualities of the various forms (para, vyUha and vibhava) of the sweet nectarine ocean – bhagavAn (till the 170th divine name), his divine nature is elucidated further – starting from this divine name.

He is called ‘athIndhriya:’, since he is inaccessible to the sense organs.

Etymology: He is called ‘athIndhriya:’, who transcends the reach of sense organs.

ज्ञानॊपकरणव्रातम् अतिक्रान्तॊ ह्यतीन्द्रियः |

172) mahAmAya: (महामायः)

How does bhagavAn transcend the reach of sense organs? He achieves this, since he is ‘mahAmAya:’ – the one who possesses the fascinating ‘mAyA’. bhagavAn possesses the supreme ‘mAyA’ (a mesmerizing blanket) like a magical veil, using which he hides himself from all entities which are distant to him.

The pAncharAthra Agama hails bhagavAn as the one who is flanked by the divine auspicious qualities on the one side, as well as the divine ‘mAyA’ on the other.

Etymology: He, who possesses a magical blanket/veil that deludes every non-devoted entity and hides him from their senses, is called ‘mahAmAya:’. This eight syllable manthra makes the chanter shine.

माया यस्याप्रपन्नानां सर्वॆषामस्ति मॊहिनी |
महामायः स विज्ञॆयॊ वस्वर्णॊ मनुरुज्वलः ||

173) mahOthsAha: (महॊत्साहः)

Although possessing the form of knowledge itself (ज्ञानमयः), bhagavAn is differentiated from the non-acting, dormant and complacent ‘ISvara’ that is projected by the sAnkhyas. Rather, bhagavAn is attributed with a ‘wealth’ of action, which shows his divine auspicious qualities. This is shown by this divine name ‘mahOthsAha:’ – the greatly enthused one.

This means he is greatly enthused to act. The word ‘uthsAhana’ (उत्साहन) – in this context – refers to the nature of doer. This ‘action’ itself is attributed as one of the greatest wealth of bhagavAn.

After all, is he not the one who creates all these worlds again and again for the well being of the individual souls? He is absolutely independent and is not controlled by anyone else. There is none who can appoint him to any task whatsoever. Yet, he – out of a fraction of his own free will – creates all these worlds for all the individual souls to use as a stepping stone to reach him. He creates all the variations in the worlds to accommodate the differences between the individual souls in terms of their prior karma. He creates all the entities complimentary to his divine creation of worlds (like the senses, five elements, et al), so as to enable the individual souls to use them as tools to reach him. Although possessed with complete free will and power to create the worlds differently in every cycle of creation, yet he follows his own creation patterns and creates the worlds just like how they were previously – and that too, exercising his total independence. A very small fraction of his powers are celebrated today as the great powers such as ‘aNimA’ (अणिमा), ‘mahimA’ (महिमा), etc. that the practitioners of yoga attain in their pursuits. 

Etymology: He is called ‘mahOthsAha:’, who possesses extreme enthusiasm in action (creation, sustenance and destruction of the worlds) itself as his wealth. This manthra grants wealth (of kainkaryam) upon the chanters.

महदुत्सहनं यस्य ह्यैश्वर्यं कर्तृलक्षणम् |
महॊत्साहः सविज्ञॆयॊ मनुरैश्वर्यदायकः ||

174) mahAbala: (महाबलः)

Since bhagavAn does not expect any external aid in all his endeavors, and since he is self sufficient in his prowess, he is called ‘mahAbala:’ – the one with herculean strength.

It is with this extraordinary strength that bhagavAn does all his actions of creation, sustenance and destruction. Although he carries out all these mighty actions, he is least fatigued, and is well established in his own greatness. He is the one who has shunned all other external aides in his work. Although performing the impossible tasks of creation, sustenance and destruction all alone, he exhibits immense enthusiasm and power in carrying out the tasks with ease and dexterity.

The maula samhithA hails bhagavAn as the one who further multiplies the creation, which is already multiple in number.

Furthermore, he bears all of his creation as his own body (He resides as the indweller of the entire creation, and bears the whole creation as his body). Just a very small fraction of his power is manifested in this creation in various forms today.

Etymology: The one who doesn’t expect any external aide in his tasks of creation (and hence, sustenance and destruction, and solely depends on his own power) is called ‘mahAbala:’.

कर्तृन्तरानपॆक्षॊ यः सृष्टॆ स स्यात् महाबलः |

महाबुद्धिर्महावीर्यॊ महाशक्तिर्महाद्युतिः ।
अनिर्दॆश्यवपुः श्रीमानमॆयात्मा महाद्रिधृत्॥ १९ ॥

175) mahAbudhdhi: (महाबुद्धिः)

Contradicting the school of philosophy that says that an insentient entity is the cause of creation, it is being shown here that a highly knowledgeable entity is the original cause – with this divine name ‘mahAbudhdhi:’ – the omniscient one.

bhagavAn’s divine knowledge is highly pervasive, and is not restricted by space, time or nature. Neither is his divine and expansive knowledge limited by distance (of the ‘known’ object), nor by delusions. Rather, bhagavAn possesses very accurate knowledge about each and every entity at all times. It is inherent in bhagavAn, and not newly attributed. It is also eternal, and doesn’t need the aid of external senses (such as eyes, nose, ears, etc) to identify objects. On the contrary, bhagavAn actually uses his senses like eyes, ears et al. all by his own free will, as shown in the previous divine names ‘puNdarIkAksha:’, ‘SuchiSravA:’ et al.

bhagavAn doesn’t require the use of any senses for knowing any object, since he is capable of knowing anything from any of his senses (ex: he doesn’t necessarily require eyes to see; rather, he can see through any other sense organ just as much as he can see with his eyes, and so on). When it is well known that even an ordinary snake doesn’t necessarily require ears to hear, what – then – can be spoken of that omnipotent supreme brahman?

The jaya samhithA says thus: “bhagavAn is capable of listening with all of his senses, just like a snake listens with its eyes itself”.

Each and every entity is known by bhagavAn lucidly, just as much as one can know a gooseberry placed on his own palm. This is as shown in the scriptures:

  • “…the one who has eyes everywhere, and who has his face all around the world…”
  • “He sees even without eyes, he hears even without ears”
  • “He has his eyes, head and face all around this world…” etc

Sriman nAthamuni hails bhagavAn thus in his nyAya thathva: “The one who knows everything very clearly all by himself, and knows  all entities at the same time”

Some miscreants mock at bhagavAn’s omniscience, considering such omniscience as merely an ‘exaggeration’. They say, “if someone can know all objects with just one faculty (knowledge, in this case), then he can surely taste, smell and hear with his eyes as well” (which is next to impossible in this visible world). This mockery is just a baseless argument in line with the budhdhist philosophy about omniscience (contextually).

If it is true that statements about the eternity of an entity are just ‘exaggeration’s, doesn’t it imply that such entities are not eternal in reality? Similarly, bhagavAn’s omniscience is not an exaggeration either. The mockery at ‘omniscience’ itself is actually in a different context altogether, and cannot be applied to bhagavAn (the statement that ‘omniscience’ is an exaggeration applies to lower mortals like us, and not bhagavAn).

When a mere crow, owl and an eagle can use their senses of sight, hearing, et al to different degrees and in different ways, and when the same sense organs namely eyes, ears, etc. can be used very differently by men advanced in their pursuit of manthrasidhdhi, thapas, et al (in comparison with the use of senses by ordinary men), wouldn’t it prove that it is wrong to speak lowly about bhagavAn’s capability of using his senses differently than what we can perceive? Rather, bhagavAn is omnipotent and he can use any of his senses for any purpose equally.

Just a very small fraction of this whole ‘knowledge’ of bhagavAn is seen as the seat of knowledge in all sentient entities – namely badhdha, muktha and nithya (bound, liberated and ever liberated souls).

Etymology: The one unto whom great knowledge (or omniscience) is an inherent trait is called ‘mahAbudhdhi:’.

महाबुद्धिर्महज्ज्ञानं स्वरूपं यस्य सॊच्यतॆ |

176) mahAvIrya: (महावीर्यः)

We see in our daily life that the causes such as milk undergo transformations while curdling. Similarly, is bhagavAn also undergoing transformations while creating these worlds? NO! bhagavAn is called ‘mahAvIrya:’ – the cause who has no transformation, since he is not affected the least bit while creating all these worlds.

Just as agar, musk, flower etc radiate fragrance by their mere presence, so also bhagavAn accomplishes all these creations just by his mere presence. This is as per the scriptural statement: “The fragrant items radiate their fragrance just by their presence. There is nothing more needed (no transformations) in order to feel the fragrance. Similarly, bhagavAn also creates all these worlds just by his mere presence, and needs no other transformation”. Just a very small fraction of such energy is seen in the yOgis in this world, which keeps them from agitations.

(NOTE: In this divine name, it is to be understood that bhagavAn’s role of material cause for this creation (‘upAdhAna kAraNathvam’) is being said; because, only the material cause undergoes transformations while resulting in a certain effect. Whereas, bhagavAn doesn’t undergo any kind of transformations whatsoever, although being the material cause for the whole creation.)

Etymology: Although it is common to see transformations in the cause while resulting in a certain effect, the one who shows such immense energy that he undergoes no such transformations while creating these worlds is called ‘mahAvIrya:’.

हॆतौ सति विकारित्वॆsप्यविकारिश्च लक्षणम् |
महद्धि वीर्यं यस्यॆति महावीर्यः स च स्मृतः ||

177) mahASakthi: (महाशक्तिः)

In refutation of the pASupathya school of thought that denies bhagavAn’s disposition of being the material cause for this creation, this divine name shows the glorious powers of bhagavAn. He is called ‘mahASakthi:’ – the most powerful one, since he transforms the primordial nature to create these worlds.

That power of bhagavAn only acts as the material and instrumental causes. It is not attained by any effort. Rather, it is inherently present in bhagavAn. bhagavAn, with this immense power, transforms the primordial nature (prakruthi प्रकृति:), which is just a part of his divine body, into the various effects namely the twenty four taththvas constituting the entire creation.

Do we not see a spider being both the material cause as well as the instrumental cause? (It creates its web out of its own saliva. So it is both the instrumental cause (it only creates) as well as the material cause (using its own saliva)).

If this is true and non-debatable in case of an ordinary spider, then what is to be debated about the omniscient and omnipotent bhagavAn?

A very small scale illustration of such transformations of bhagavAn’s divine body can be seen in our daily life in phenomena such as curdling of milk and the like.

(Note: bhagavAn is indeed all three causes of creation – instrumental, material and ancillary. Since he only decides to create all worlds, he is the instrumental cause. Since he uses his own divine body for creation, he is the material cause. Since he creates all these with a mere thought, he is the ancillary cause as well. Even while his own divine body (prakruthi प्रकृति:) transforms during all these creations, he is unaffected in his own nature (parama-Athma-svarUpam परमात्मस्वरूपं). This is how we saw that he has no transformations in the previous divine name, and yet understand that his divine body only undergoes all changes in this divine name).

Etymology: He who possesses great power is called ‘mahASakthi:’.

शक्तिश्च महती यस्य महाशक्तिः स कीर्तितः |

178) mahAdhyuthi: (महाद्युतिः)

Differentiating bhagavAn from other entities that expect an ancillary aid, this divine name shows that bhagavAn is the one who doesn’t expect any ancillary aid in any of his endeavors. This name shows that his divine effulgence is immense, and does not need any external agency to induce this.

bhagavAn’s effulgence repels all darkness – both internal and external, and appears to be pleasing to his devotees while being fierce to his opponents at the same time. Just a very small fraction of his effulgence is seen in the lustrous bodies such as precious gems and the sun.

In all the preceding six names (including this one) – starting from 173 to 178 (mahOthsAha:, mahAbala:, mahAbudhdhi:, mahAvIrya:, mahASakthi: and mahAdhyuthi:), the greatness of each of bhagavAn’s divine qualities is shown, a very small fraction of which can perform all worldly actions that we comprehend. Thus, there is no good opportunity for bhagavAn to show all these qualities to the fullest anytime. This is just like the small tides on a vast ocean, which can never show all the water in the ocean while rising, but just fall off into the same ocean knowing this failure.

This is elaborated further in the scriptures thus:

  • “bhagavAn’s powers are supreme, and are varied. All the knowledge, support and actions of bhagavAn are inherent and natural to him”
  • “bhagavAn is a concentrated cluster of effulgence, support, mastership, wealth, knowledge, valor, strength, and many other divine qualities”
  • “Unlimited reserve of knowledge, strength, power, wealth, valor, and effulgence is represented by the word ‘bhaga:’ (भगः). The one who possess all these auspicious qualities and is free from all inauspicious ones is called ‘bhagavAn’ (भगवान्)”, etc

All the scriptures hailing bhagavAn’s supremacy echo the same thoughts.

In these six names (173 to 178) only do bhagavAn’s other innumerable auspicious qualities such as impartiality, affection etc merge for some or the other purpose.

Etymology: The one who naturally possesses supreme effulgence without any external aid is called ‘mahAdhyuthi:’.

तॆजॊsनपॆक्षरूपं स्वं महद्यस्य महाद्युतिः |

179) anirdhESyavapu: (अनिर्दॆश्यवपुः) (also repeated in 662)

bhagavAn is called ‘anirdhESyavapu:’ – the one whose divine body cannot be described, since he is a complete embodiment of all the six auspicious qualities. As the scriptures hail bhagavAn, they say: “…that bhagavAn, who shines like blazing fire, is an embodiment of all six qualities together”, et al.

The same thought is echoed in the maula samhithA: “Those who possess intellect, mind, and the external limbs is said to have a body made of seven elements (the five principal elements earth, air, water, fire and space, and additionally the mahath and ahankAra). Such bodies are said to be made of primordial nature.”

Having said this, it continues to analyze bhagavAn’s divine body thus: “How is bhagavAn’s divine body? What is it made of? bhagavAn’s body is like that of bhagavAn only (no other simile to it). his divine body is completely made of the same element which bhagavAn himself is (eternal sense, knowledge and bliss सत्यम् ज्ञानम् अनन्तम्)! bhagavAn is full of knowledge, wealth and strength – to the extent that he can be said to have been made of these elements only! Just as coal, metals etc. turns into fire itself from all sides when burnt (just as they seem to be verily the fire itself while burning), just as honey is an embodiment of sweet in all ways when drunk, just as a broken piece of gold is fully golden from all sides, just as a beautiful palace is a ‘form’ of beauty itself from all sides when seen, so also bhagavAn is completely of the form of knowledge from all sides; he is completely of the form of wealth from all sides; he is completely of the form of strength itself from all sides. He becomes what he desires”, et al

The scriptures have described the pancha-upanishath (पञ्चॊपनिषत्) form of bhagavAn thus.

This means that bhagavAn’s divine body made of the six qualities is like the gems and precious stones (the six qualities) impregnated on a wonderful golden leaf (Sudhdha sathva SarIram (शुद्धसत्त्वशरीरम्)). It is NOT like the hidden gems in a body made of the three guNas (body made of primordial nature, such as ours). Even the vishNu purAna accepts that bhagavAn’s divine forms, colors, etc cannot be confined by mere words; rather, they are all beyond description. They all lack similes. Thus, bhagavAn’s divine body is very unique and is beyond the sense of description.

(Many people say that bhagavAn has no body at all, and that he is just pure consciousness. This divine name clearly refutes this, and shows that bhagavAn does possess a divine body, but just beyond our comprehension)

Etymology: bhagavAn possesses a divine body made of the six qualities – gyAna, bala, aiSvarya, vIrya, Sakthi and thEjas, and is completely unique in the sense that it has no simile whatsoever. It is full of effulgence. Thus, bhagavAn is only called as ‘anirdhESyavapu:’.

ज्ञानादि षाड्गुण्यमयम् उपमानविवर्जितम् |
वपुरस्यास्ति तॆजिष्ठम् अनिर्दॆश्यवपुर्हि सः ||

180) SrImAn (श्रीमान्) (also repeated in 22, 222)

The one who is always bedecked with divine ornaments befitting his divine form is called ‘SrImAn’ – the wealthy one.

Etymology: The one who always possesses the wealth of divine ornaments – befitting his divine forms – is called ‘SrImAn’.

दिव्यभूषणसम्पद्भिर्युक्तः श्रीमान् सदा स्मृतः |

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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