SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 5 (Names 41 to 50)

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

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41. mahAsvana: (महास्वनः)

Another characteristic of the same supreme  soul is shown with this name mahAsvana: – the one with a great sound. The name means ‘the one who possesses divine sound’.

The  chandhOgya upanishath  says “his name is ‘uth’”. The names and forms of such a one are elaborated in the vEdhas  thus: “He is verily the vEdhas. He is the one who shines within the sun. He is the golden hued  supreme lord ”.

Thus, he  is only said to be the form of all the vEdhas . He is also the most eligible entity for worship, since he  is only propounded by the sAvithri .

Therefore, the mOksha dharma  says thus: “…Me, who is the support for all knowledge, the eternal soul, and the one who resides in the sun…”

Etymology: The one who possesses a great/divine sound and the one who is greatly praised by all vEdhas  is called ‘mahAsvana:’. .

महान् पूज्यः त्रयीरूपः स्वनॊ यस्य महास्वनः |

42. anAdhinidhana: (अनादिनिधनः)

Verily the same supreme soul  who is characterized by these divine names and forms expounded till now is referred to by the name  ‘anAdhinidhana: – the one who has no beginning or end.

He is ever youthful (as the scriptures praise him  as ‘nithya yuvA’ नित्ययुवा). So he is free from births, aging, and other shortcomings. Thus he  is eternal. This ‘eternity’ doesn’t just stop at the soul – meaning, the eternity is not just for the nature of supreme soul . In fact, all souls – supreme  or otherwise (such as right from four faced brahmA downwards) – are eternal only. Rather, this eternity is extended to his divine forms.

The scriptures say thus:

  • “He is of the form of divine light. He has all his  desires fulfilled”
  • “He is the  supreme soul who is of a golden hue”
  • “He is like the lightening; even superior to the individual souls”
  • “…him , who is effulgent as the sun, and who is beyond the darkness of ignorance”
  • “He is verily all the actions. He is verily all the fragrance. He is verily the essence of all.”
  • “One should know that  supreme soul who is golden hued, who is attained by the subtle mind, and who is the object of knowledge”
  • “He is the supreme soul, who is lotus-eyed.” etc.

All of these and more scriptural statements which are thousands in numbers only suggest that he  takes on various divine forms which are flawless, dark hued (like the clouds) and effulgent – like the charming streak of lightening in the middle of dark clouds, with extraordinary charm and beauty (both – individual organs as well as collective), youthfulness, and other complimenting characteristics – all out of his  own free will.

Many more illustrations can be seen to this regard:

  • “To him,  who is always of the same unchanging form…”
  • “He bears a mole called ‘ SrIvathsa’  on his chest. He is ever auspicious and ever bountiful…”
  • “That bhagavAn is verily the time, who leads all individual souls unto him”
  • “There is no entity superior to vishNu.  His divine forms are beyond the effects of time”, and other such statements.

From all these statements, since we learn that he  is only the cause of all creations at all times, he  is verily the embodiment of uniquely identifying characteristics such as knowledge etc, he  is beyond ignorance, he is beyond the clutches of birth and other transformations of this lower nature, he  is eternal and beyond the effects of time, and due to many more such supreme characteristics of his , the eternal nature of his  divine forms are well established.

These divine forms and beauty of bhagavAn expounded by such powerful statements in the Agamas  and other scriptures are so authentic that they are simply not affected by the doubts whether such forms are imaginary or earned. That is also one of the reasons why the arguers of ‘formless’ nature of bhagavAn can be easily refuted by saying “bhagavAn does not possess forms which are flawed by many blemishes in this lower nature” (instead, he possesses flawless bodies and forms).

This is further reinforced by scriptural statements that opine thus:

  • “This divine form of bhagavAn  is not made out of the five elements namely earth, water, fire, air and space”.
  • “His forms are never made out of materials in this lower nature, such as flesh, blood and bones. His forms are extraordinary.”

All these statements are seen in the scriptures themselves.

Even SrI vEdha vyAsa  as well as the commentators of his brahma sUthras  have clearly established the eternal forms of bhagavAn with various aphorisms such as “his forms are beyond the grasp of our external senses, since the scriptures say they are perceptible only to our inner sense (or intellect)”, “such  is the form of the one who created these worlds”, etc.

Even in his  divine incarnations, his  birth and death are not similar to that of other individual souls. Rather, it is just like an actor entering the stage from the side wings, and disappearing later (He just comes into this nature from his  superior nature paramapatham , and disappears from here in his form).

Even in the mOksha dharma , bhagavAn himself  declares thus: “Oh dhEvas! this form of mine with four arms is very special and this is how I am present in my supreme abode. This is the form in which I henceforth reside in this world. This form is beyond comprehension. Worship this form of mine”.

In the rAmAyaNa,  the demigods pray thus to the  supreme lord: “…having killed that mighty rAvaNa,  return to your supreme abode, which is free from all blemishes”.

The same rAmAyana  also says thus: “That SrI rAma  entered the supreme vaishNava effulgence (or paramapadham) along with his  divine body and his followers”.

Etymology: He who has no beginning and no end, such a one is called  ‘anAdhinidhana:’. . Also, only since he is called ‘anAdhinidhana:’ , he  is said to possess an ever youthful divine form.

यस्य आदि-निधनं नास्ति अनादिनिधनश्च सः |
अनादिनिधनॊपास्यः नित्ययौवन-विग्रहः ||

43. dhAthA  (धाता) (also repeated in 951)

Since bhagavAn  is the original cause of all these creations, he  is also different from the ordinary creators – the four faced brahmA and the like. This is shown with the divine name ‘dhAthA’ ’ – the one who creates.

The ‘thrun’  (तृन्) adjunct is used here, akin to the divine name ‘bharthA’  (as already seen in the 33rd divine name).

This divine name means to indicate that  bhagavAn – with his form as ‘anirudhdha’   (one of the four vyUha vAsudhEvas ) – impregnates the cause of all insentient entities namely ‘prakruthi’   with all sentient entities namely individual souls, in order to carry out the further processes of creation with the four faced brahmA.  This is shown in one of the scriptural statements (bhagavath gIthA) where bhagavAn declares “Oh arjuna, , the primordial nature is the origin of all material objects. Within that primordial nature, I impregnate the individual souls to continue creation. This union of insentient and sentient entities will further lead to all this creation”.

This is also reiterated in other scriptures. For instance, the maula samhitha  says thus: “the originator of all – ‘dhAthA’ by name – impregnates the seed of karma into the primordial nature”. The manu smrithi   says “He created only water in the beginning. He placed his energy in it”, etc.

Etymology: The one who placed the collection of individual souls within the origin of insentient entities namely prakruthi  for further creation by the four faced brahmA is called ‘dhAthA’. .

अचित् समष्टिभूतायां प्रकृतौ चित् समष्टिकम् |
गर्भं विध्यात्मकं धत्तॆ यस्तु धातॆति चक्षतॆ ||

44. vidhAthA  (विधाता) (also repeated in 485)

The one who transforms the foetus (of individual soul within primordial nature) and creates various manifestations of creatures is called ‘vidhAthA’  – the one who makes entities born and bears them. He accomplishes this by creating the four faced brahmA at first.

This is as shown in one of the vEdhic  statements that says thus: ‘The one who created the four faced brahmA  earlier…”

Various other scriptural statements reiterate the same thing, as illustrated below. The vEdhic  statement that begins saying “Thereafter, again, nArAyana himself …(continued the process of creation)” proceeds to say “the four faced brahmA  was born at first”.

  • “Behold that hiraNyagarbha (four faced brahmA ) being born…”
  • “From him  that virAta purusha (or the creator brahmA) was born”
  • “In him  was born the four faced brahmA , who is the eldest in all worlds”, etc.

Etymology: The one who transforms that foetus and makes it manifest (in the form of four faced brahmA), and the one who bears that foetus like a sport, he  is called ‘vidhAthA’..

तद्गर्भ-परिणामॆ स्यात् आविर्भावयिता स्वयम् |
धारणात् लीलया यस्मात् विधातायं प्रकीर्तितः ||

45. dhAthuruththama:  (धातुरुत्तमः)

Therefore, he  is also called dhathuruththama:  – the one who is superior even to the creator – the four faced brahmA. . He is also – therefore – superior to other mortals such as prajApathis, Siva, indhra  et al, who are all created by the four faced brahmA. This is as per the dhandApUpika nyAyam n (दन्डापूपिक न्यायः) (a logic that proves that if bhagavAn  is superior to brahmA himself, who is naturally superior to other lower mortals, then it implicitly means bhagavAn  is also superior to all lower mortals).

This is shown in scriptures thus: “nArAyana  is verily the supreme entity”

When a question arises about who is the supreme godhead, the scriptures such as varAha purANa come to rescue. They say “That SrIman nArAyaNa, who created even the four faced brahmA, is only the supreme godhead. He is verily the supreme entity”.

This is also very evident from the conversations of brahmA and rudhra, and in other chapters such as ‘yagyagraharana’ (यज्ञाग्रहरण) et al.

Etymology: He who is superior to the ordinary cause of creation namely four faced brahmA  is called ‘dhAthuruththama: .

यॊ वै स्यात् धातुरुत्कृष्टः स च स्यात् धातुरुत्तमः |

अप्रमॆयॊ हृषीकॆशः पद्मनाभॊsमरप्रभुः ।
विश्वकर्मा मनुस्त्वष्टा स्थविष्टः स्थविरॊ ध्रुवः ॥ ६ ॥

46. apramEya:  (अप्रमॆयः)

The one who is not comprehensible even to the senses of brahmA  et al is called ‘apramEya: – the incomprehensible.

This is as shown in the scriptural statements thus:

“… Whom even brahmA  does not know, him – the most superior of all entities…”

brahmA  himself says thus:

“We do not comprehend the beginning, middle or the end of that eternal supreme ssoul,  who is the origin of all this creation. We neither comprehend his nature, nor his prowess. We do not know the essence of that supreme master  either.”

The conversation of brahmA  and rudhra goes thus in one of the contexts:

“He cannot be seen by you, nor can he  be seen by me or anyone else. He is full of auspicious qualities, and totally devoid of ominous qualities. He is the one who pervades the entire world. He is known to be visible only to the eyes of knowledge.”

“He is the indweller in you as well as me, and even in all these creatures which we see as sporting a body. In all these creatures, he  resides as the witness for all their deeds, yet incomprehensible by anyone any time.”

In all these statements and more, the nature of bhagavAn  being incomprehensible is lucidly shown by upholding the facts that he  is beyond the comprehension of senses, and that he cannot be known fully by anyone.

Etymology: The one who cannot be envisioned either by the senses of brahmA  and other individual souls or by SrI mahAlakshmi herself, is called ‘apramEya:. . He is the one who is not accessible even by words!

ब्रह्मादीनां-च-करणैः-नॊ-मातुमपि-शक्यतॆ |
द्रष्टुं-हि-असौ-अप्रमॆयः-वचसामपि-अगॊचरः ||

47. hrushIkESa:  (हृषीकॆशः)

The one who controls the senses of all such individual souls is called ‘hrushIkESa:’  – the master of senses. This is shown in the SrI harivamsam thus: “the senses are called ‘hrushIka’s ‘ (हृषीक). Oh kESava!  You are the master of all senses. Thus only you are known by the name ‘’hrushikESa’, , as also ‘vishNu’  – of all Gods!”

Alternately, another source explains this name as follows: “Due to his innate happiness, pleasure, and his delighting wealth, he attains the state of being ‘hrushIkESa’ “.

Etymology: Since he  is the controller of senses, he  is called ‘hrushIkESa:’

इन्द्रियाणां नियन्तृत्वात् हृषीकॆषः प्रकीर्तितः |

48. padhmanAbha:  (पद्मनाभः) (also repeated in 198 and 348)

The one who makes all the said entities manifest is called ‘padmanAbha:’  – the one who sports a lotus in his navel. He gets this name since he sports a divine lotus in his  navel in which the four faced brahmA was born.

The ‘ach’ adjunct is applicable as per the grammatical rule ‘अच्-प्रत्यन्ववपूर्वात्’.

The scriptures say thus in this regard:

  • “The creator of all – dhAthA  – lies in a half sleeping state for five hundred years”
  • “In the navel of the primordial creator arises a divine lotus. ‘pushkara’, ‘puNdarIka’, ‘padhma, ‘chakra’ and  ‘kAla’ are all synonyms to this lotus.”
  • “There’s a special lotus in the navel of the supreme godhead” . ”
  • “In the navel of that supreme brahman  is a special lotus, where the entire world is riveted”, et al

Etymology: He is called ‘padhmanAbha:’  – in whose navel a divine lotus bearing the four faced brahmA  belongs.

कालात्मकं तु यत्पद्मं नाभौ यस्य स उच्यतॆ |
पद्मनाभश्च-अष्टवर्णॊ महासन्तानदॊ मनुः ||

49. amaraprabhu:  (अमरप्रभुः)

Since bhagavAn  is the controller of all demigods by granting the necessary powers for further creation and other actions, he  is called ‘amaraprabhu:’ – the ruler of demigods.

brahmA  declares thus in SrI rAmAyaNa “Sleeping in the great ocean, you created me. Thence, you vested with me the responsibility of taking your creation further.”

The mahAbhAratha  says thus: “These two best of knowledgeable souls – brahmA and rudhra  – are known to be born out of happiness and anger of bhagavAn respectively. They are engaged in the actions of creation and destruction respectively by bhagavAn himself”.

Etymology: bhagavAn is called ‘amaraprabhu:  since he is the one who grants the powers of creation and other activities to the demigods.

सृष्ट्यादिष्वपि दॆवानां अधिकारप्रदानतः |
अमरप्रभुः इत्युक्तॊ नवार्णः सर्वदॊ मनुः ||

50. viSvakarmA (विश्वकर्मा)

Thereafter, he  is called by the divine name ‘viSvakarmA’ – the one who manages all activities in this creation – both before and after the creation of the four faced brahmA.  This is as per the scriptures:

  • “He conducts all activities in this world”
  • “… that supreme soul,  who is the facilitator of all activities in this creation, the one who existed before creation, the one who is never born out of karma, and the one who pervades all entities”, etc.
  • All of these meanings can be clearly seen in the viSvakarma-sUktha, which begins as follows: “The one who offered all of this creation itself as an oblation…”
  • The nature of being ‘viSvakarma’ can be defined as below – from various scriptures:
  • “He decided that he  would become many”
  • “He decided that he  would create all the worlds”
  • “He desired that he  become many and be born in many ways”
  • “Thereafter, again, nArAyaNa contemplated upon another desire from his  mind”
  • “He made up his  mind that his body of subtle entities itself be transformed into manifest forms”
  • “He desired and created the various creatures in this creation from his  own body”
  • “He created two beings from one thousandth of his  effulgence”
  • “He creates all this just by his  thought, and he does not need any external agencies to assist him in the process”, etc.

Etymology: He whose characteristic is to conduct the activities of this world, both – before and after the creation of the lower creator namely brahmA,  is called ‘viSvakarmA’.

विश्वस्य जगतः कर्म व्यापारॊ यस्य लक्षणम् |
प्राक् ब्रह्मसृष्टॆः ऊर्ध्वं च विश्वकर्मॆति कथ्यतॆ ||

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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About Sarathy Thothathri

Disciple of SrImath paramahamsa ithyAdhi pattarpirAn vAnamAmalai jIyar (29th pattam of thOthAdhri mutt). Descendant of komANdUr iLaiyavilli AchchAn (bAladhanvi swamy, a cousin of SrI ramAnuja). Born in AzhwArthirungari, grew up in thiruvallikkENi (chennai), presently living under the shade of the lotus feet of jagathAchArya SrI rAmAnuja, SrIperumbUthUr. Learned sampradhAyam principles from (varthamAna) vAdhi kEsari azhagiyamaNavALa sampathkumAra jIyar swamy, vELukkudi krishNan swamy, gOmatam sampathkumArAchArya swamy and many others. Full time sEvaka/servitor of SrIvaishNava sampradhAyam. Engaged in translating our AzhwArs/AchAryas works in Simple thamizh and English, and coordinating the translation effort in many other languages. Also engaged in teaching dhivyaprabandham, sthOthrams, bhagavath gIthA etc and giving lectures on various SrIvaishNava sampradhAyam related topics in thamizh and English regularly. Taking care of portal, which is a humble offering to our pUrvAchAryas. is part of SrI varavaramuni sambandhi Trust ( initiatives.

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