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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 20 (Names 191 to 200)

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191) marIchi: (मरीचिः)

The one who shows his faultless divine forms even to those who are born blind is called ‘marIchi:’ – the resplendent one. The root ‘mrug’ (मृङ्) gets the ‘Ichi:’ (ईचिः) adjunct as per the aphorism ‘मृकणिभ्यामीचिः’, resulting in this divine name. The word ‘mrug’ (मृङ्) means the one who enlightens, in this context. The knowledgeable scriptures show him as the one who is resplendent as the blemish-free moon, while contemplating upon him.

Etymology: Since bhagavAn reveals his divine nature when he incarnates as hamsa (the great swan) even to the blind creatures, he is called ‘marIchi:’.

अन्धॆभ्यॊsपि च जन्तुभ्यॊ हंसग्रीवावतारतः |
प्रकाशितस्वरूपत्वात् मरीचिरिति कल्प्यतॆ ||

192) dhamana: (दमनः)

He is further called ‘dhamana:’ – the oppressor, since he subdues the heat of samsAra by his constant stream of charming light.

Etymology: bhagavAn is called ‘dhamana:’ since he subdues the heat of samsAra by his divine charming light.

भवतापस्य दमनात् कान्त्या दमन ईरितः |

193) hamsa: (हंसः)

Who is such a one (dhamana:)? He is ‘hamsa:’ – the great swan.

The one whose walk is extremely charming is called ‘hamsa:’. Also, the one whose smile is very charming is called ‘hamsa:’. (मनॊहरं हन्ति – गच्छति, स्मयतॆ वा इति हंसः).

The maula samhithA interprets this divine name as ‘the one who shears bondages of his devotees’ (हन्ता संगानाम्).

The kAtaka bhashya says: “Since bhagavAn is ever free from all blemishes, and since he is ever qualified with the most auspicious qualities, he is called ‘hamsa:’”. The scriptures hail bhagavAn thus, in this regard: “…to that bhagavAn – who is sentient, embodiment of pure sathva, the auspicious refuge of all (SubhAshrayam), and the supreme soul”

Etymology: The one who shears the bondages of his devotees, and the one who walks and smiles most charmingly is called ‘hamsa:’.

हन्ता संगस्य हसति गच्छतीति मनॊहरं हंसः |

194) suparNa: (सुपर्णः) (also repeated in 859)

The etymologists say that bhagavAn is called suparNa:, since he possesses beautiful wings. Also, he is called so, since he makes the individual souls cross the ocean of samsAra.

Etymology: bhagavAn is called suparNa: since he possesses beautiful wings. Alternately, he is called suparNa: since he takes the individual souls to the other shore of samsAra (makes them cross the samsAra).

शॊभनपर्णत्वात् सुपर्णमिति कथ्यतॆ |
संसारपारनयनात् सुपर्ण इति वा मतः ||

(Note: The SlOkas in the etymologies of ‘suparNa:’ and ‘hamsa:’ are read together in order to satisfy the criteria of the meter (chandhas छन्दस्). They are broken down just to explain the two different names.)

हन्ता संगस्य हसति गच्छतीति मनॊहरं |
हंसः शॊभनपर्णत्वात् सुपर्णमिति कथ्यतॆ |
संसारपारनयनात् सुपर्ण इति वा मतः ||

195) bhujagOththama: (भुजगॊत्तमः)

Thence the divine incarnation as ‘padhmanAbha’ is explained. In the 48th divine name ‘padhmanAbha:’ (padhmanAbhO~maraprabhu:), the vyUha form of anirudhdha was projected as padhmanAbha, showing his creatorship of the four faced brahmA after the vyUha formation. Here, starting from the 195th divine name, bhagavAn’s divine incarnation as padhmanAbha even before such vyUha formation is shown (the primordial incarnation is being said; hence, no fault in ‘repetition’ of name).

The first divine name for the padhmanAbha incarnation is ‘bhujagOththama:’ – the master of the divine serpent. This word ‘bhujagasya’ (भुजगस्य) means ‘of the divine serpent’, and ‘uththama:’ (उत्तमः) means ‘the master’. This, therefore, indicates bhagavAn’s reclining on the holy snake bed of AdhiSEsha.

bhagavAn’s dhyAna manthra says: “…in my mind, he sleeps on the snake bed, with divine knowledge and form. He verily pervades everything”

The AraNya parva of mahAbharatha says thus: “bhagavAn vishNu sleeps on the snake bed all alone in the great milky ocean, will all splendor”

The vaishNava sanmhithA says “bhagavAn sleeps on the divine serpent bed nourishing all the worlds that he swallows at the end of creation”

Etymology: The primordial incarnation of bhagavAn as padhmanAbha is being said now. The master of the divine serpent AdhiSEsha (the one who reclines on the serpent bed) is called ‘bhujagOththama:’.

प्रादुर्भावॆषु प्रथमः पद्मनाभॊsथतूच्यतॆ |
भुजगस्यॊत्तमः शॆषी भुजगॊत्तम उच्यतॆ ||

196) hiraNyanAbha: (हिरण्यनाभः)

That bhagavAn himself is hiraNyanAbha:, since he possesses a beautiful navel that attracts the minds of everyone.

Etymology: The one with a beautiful navel like the gold is called ‘hiraNyanAbha:’.

हिरण्यनाभः सौन्दर्यनाभिर्यस्यॆति स स्मृतः |

197) suthapA: (सुतपाः)

That bhagavAn himself is called as ‘suthapA:’ as well. The word ‘thapas’ refers to knowledge. The one who is witness to all knowledge, and the seat of all knowledge is called ‘suthapA:’. The dhyAna manthra of bhagavAn says thus: “…bhagavAn, who is a personification of supreme knowledge”

Etymology: The word ‘thapas’ refers to knowledge. The one who possesses that itself as his own divine body (and hence hailed as the one full of knowledge) is called ‘suthapA:’.

तपॊ बुद्धिः सैव तनुः सुतपाः यस्य स स्मृतः |

198) padhmanAbha: (पद्मनाभः) (also repeated in 48, 348)

The name padhmanAbha: – the one with a lotus in the navel – comes as explained before (as said in the divine name bhujagOththama:; i.e., this name shows bhagavAn’s primordial incarnation even before the formation of vyUha).

The brahma purAna speaks thus about the divine names ‘hiraNyanAbha’ and ‘padhmanAbha’:

“Long ago, there was a divine sumptuous lotus with eight petals that originated from the navel of that bhagavAn reclining on the serpent bed. The carpel of that great lotus was golden, and that portion itself is said to be the great mEru mountain.”

Etymology: The one from whose navel was born a royal, divine, sumptuous lotus with eight petals, whose golden carpel was itself said to be the ‘mEru’ mountain is called ‘padhmanAbha:’.

पार्थिवं भूरि पद्मं तु नाभावष्टदलं महत् |
यस्य हॆममयी दिव्या कर्णिका मॆरुरुच्यतॆ |
यस्य नाभौ तदुत्पत्तिः पद्मनाभः स उच्यतॆ ||

199) prajApathi: (प्रजापतिः) (also repeated in 70)

The one who is the master of all creatures – right from the four faced brahmA who was born in that lotus in his navel, upto the lowest mortals in this creation – is called ‘prajApathi:’ (the master of all creatures). This is applicable – not only during the creation of four faced brahmA during the prAkrutha Srushti, but also during the destruction and re-creation of the first three worlds (bhU:, bhuva:, suva:) by the four faced brahmA during the naimiththika praLayam  and Srushti.

(NOTE: naimiththika praLayam refers to the destruction of up to the three worlds bhU:, bhuva: and suva: at the end of brahmA’s day. The same will be re-created during his next day. No other world would be affected by this. Whereas prAkrutha praLayam refers to the end of the whole creation at the end of brahmA’s age of 100 years, after which a new four faced brahmA is created by bhagavAn and the whole process of creation is repeated again.)

Etymology: The master of all creatures right from the four faced brahmA (created during the prAkrutha Srushti) upto the lowest mortals created during the naimiththika Srushti is called ‘prajApathi:’.

नैमित्तिकॆ तु यॆ सृष्टाः प्रजाः ब्रह्ममुखास्तथा |
तॆषां चैव पतिः स्वामी प्रजापतिरिहॊच्यतॆ ||

अमृत्युः सर्वदृग्सिंहः सन्धाता सन्धिमान् स्थिरः ।
अजॊ दुर्मर्षणः शास्ता विश्रुतात्मा सुरारिहा ॥ २२ ॥

200) amruthyu: (अमृत्युः)

Thereafter, the nArasimha incarnation is hailed. The word ‘amruthyu:’ means ‘the one oppressor of death’. This is as hailed in the manthras as ‘mruthyOrmruythyu:’ मृत्यॊर्मृत्युः (the one who is the death of verily the death itself).

Etymology: Thence the divine form of nArasimha is hailed, which wards off all deaths.

नारसिंहमथ स्तौति सर्वमृत्युनिवारणम् |

Thus ends the second centum (dvithIya Sathakam) in SrI bhagavath-guNa-dharpaNa, which is an explanation of SrI vishNu sahasranAma, by the scion of SrI haritha clan, the son of SrIvathsAnga miSra (kUraththAzhvAn) – SrIranganAtha by name, also called SrI parASara bhatta, who wrote this glorious commentary at the behest of SrI rangarAja.

The second centum is completed.

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 19 (Names 181 to 190)

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181) amEyAthmA (अमॆयात्मा) (also repeated in 103)

bhagavAn is called amEyAthmA, since he possesses the profoundness befitting his divine nature and forms, just like the vast and deep ocean.

Etymology: The one who possesses profoundness like the deep ocean is called ‘amEyAthmA’.

सिन्धुगम्भीरभावॊ यॊ ह्यमॆयात्मा स कीर्तितः |

182) mahAdhridhruth (महाद्रिधृत्)

Here onwards, the divine sports of bhagavAn in his various incarnations according to his own free will, befitting his divine forms and auspicious qualities, are elaborated.

bhagavAn is hailed by this divine name ‘mahAdhridhruth’, since he bore the great manthara mountain on his back when he incarnated as kUrma (the great tortoise) while churning the milky ocean.

Etymology: The one who bore the great manthara mountain on his back (in the form of great tortoise – kUrma) is called ‘mahAdhridhruth’.

महान्तं मन्दरं यॊ हि धृतवान् स महाद्रिधृत् |

महॆष्वासॊ महीभर्ता श्रीनिवासः सतां गतिः ।
अनिरुद्धः सुरानन्दॊ गॊविन्दॊ गॊविदां पतिः ॥ २० ॥

183) mahEshvAsa: (महॆष्वासः)

Also, bhagavAn wields the magnificent bow and arrows (महान् + इषूणाम् + आसः). he displayed his proficiency with the wielding of arrows while constructing the bridge (rAmasEthu) across the mighty ocean, as well as while exterminating rAvaNa and his army.

Etymology: The one who is adorned with the fierce bow (named ‘SArnga’ शार्ङ्गः) is called ‘mahEshvAsa:’.

महॆष्वासः स विज्ञॆयश्चण्डकॊदण्डमण्डितः |

184) mahIbharthA (महीभर्ता)

The one who bears the elegant earth (bhUmA dhEvi) is called ‘mahIbharthA’.

Etymology: The one who sportily bears the earth (bhUmA) is called ‘mahIbharthA’.

धरणीधरलीलस्सः महीभर्तॆति शब्द्यतॆ |

185) SrInivAsa: (श्रीनिवासः) (also repeated in 614)

The divine name ‘SrInivAsa:’ (the abode of SrI mahAlakshmi) shows bhagavAn’s divine sport of attracting SrI mahAlakshmi – who was born from the milky ocean during the churning – by speaking the most pleasing words and ascending her on his own chest.

Etymology: The one who attracted SrI mahAlakshmi and made his own chest as her divine abode is called ‘SrInivAsa:’.

मथनानीतलक्ष्मीवान् श्रीनिवासः स ईरितः |

186) sathAmgathi: (सतांगतिः) (also repeated in 451)

Although his deeds are driven by his own free will, bhagavAn does only those things that are both pleasing and favoring to his dear devotees. Hence, he is called ‘sathAmgathi:’.

Etymology: The one who becomes the refuge of all devotees by performing deeds that are pleasing and favoring to them is called ‘sathAmgathi:’.

प्रणतानां प्रियकरः सतांगतिरिहॊच्यतॆ |

187) anirudhdha: (अनिरुद्धः) (also repeated in 644)

The one who thus becomes the very life force of the entire creation with his innumerable and unfathomable divine deeds (as explained in the previous divine name ‘sathAmgathi:’), and subdues his opponents in the process, is called by the divine name ‘anirudhdha:’ – the non oppressed. As the maula samhithA puts it, “bhagavAn anirudhdha is characterized by boundless divine deeds favorable to his devotees”.

Etymology: The one who is characterized by boundless divine deeds (favorable to his devotees) (and slays his opponents in the pursuing endeavor), he is called ‘anirudhdha:’.

अनन्तचॆष्टायुक्तत्वादनिरुद्ध उदाहृतः |

188) surAnandha: (सुरानन्दः)

Thence, the incarnation of anirudhdha as ‘hamsa:’ (हंसः) is being elaborated. Since all dhEvas are delighted by bhagavAn when he arrives as their sole savior in all their difficulties, he is called ‘surAnandha:’ – the delighter of dhEvas.

Etymology: He is called ‘surAnandha:’, who delights all dhEvas at all times (by warding off their difficulties).

सुरानन्दः सुरान् सर्वान् आनन्दयति यः सदा |

189) gOvindha: (गॊविन्दः) (also repeated in 543)

The one who is praised by all such dhEvas (who are delighted by bhagavAn, as seen in the previous divine name) is called ‘gOvindha:’ – the praised one.

The root ‘gO’ गॊ (praise) is conjoined with ‘vindha’ विन्द (to get), and is suffixed with the adjunct ‘Sa:’ (शः), resulting in this divine name.

All dhEvas hail bhagavAn as the one who favors them at times of crisis.

Etymology: The one who is gotten with words of praise from dhEvas is called ‘gOvindha:’.

गवां स्तुतिगिरां विन्दॊ गॊविन्दः स उदाहृतः |

190) gOvidhAm pathi: (गॊविदां पतिः)

The word ‘gO’ (गॊ) refers to the words of vEdhas. The ones who know such vEdhas in their true purport are called ‘gOvidhA:’ (गॊविदाः). The one who is worshipped by such knowledgeable men, and hence protects them from all evils is called ‘gOvidhAm pathi:’ – the protector of the knowledgeable men.

The scriptures say: “Know that hamsa mUrthi as the soul of all gyAnayagya (ज्ञानयज्ञः), and worship him”.

Etymology: The word ‘gO’ refers to the vEdhic verses. ‘gOvindha:’ is the one who is praised by such vEdhic verses. The one who protects the knower of such vEdhas is called ‘gOvidhAmpathi:’.

गावॊ वॆदगिराः प्रॊक्ताः गॊविन्दस्तत्सुपालनात् |
गॊविदांपतिरुद्दिष्टॊ वॆदविद्वत्पदॊ मनुः ||

मरीचिर्दमनॊ हंसः सुपर्णॊ भुजगॊत्तमः ।
हिरण्यनाभः सुतपाः पद्मनाभः प्रजापतिः ॥ २१ ॥

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 18 (Names 171 to 180)

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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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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 17 (Names 161 to 170)

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161) sarga: (सर्गः)

The one who voluntarily extended his divine lotus feet to all his devotees – for them to bear on their heads – when he grew as thrivikrama is called ‘sarga: – the one who creates for his devotees.

SrImath rAmAyana says thus about bhagavAn: “rAma is one who offers himself to his dear ones”.

Etymology: The one who creates (extends his divine lotus feet) for the sake of lower mortals like brahmA et al is known to be ‘sarga:’.

ब्रह्मादिभ्यः सृज्यतॆ यः सर्गं तं परिचक्षतॆ |

162) dhruthAthmA (धृतात्मा)

The one who bears all souls by giving away himself unto them is called ‘dhruthAthmA’ – the bearer of all souls.

Etymology: He, by whom all individual souls are always borne, is called ‘dhruthAthmA’.

यॆनात्मानॊ धृता नित्यं स धृतात्मॆति कीर्त्यतॆ |

163) niyama: (नियमः) (also repeated in 869)

The one who is capable of controlling the opponents of his devotees – such as mahAbali and others – is called ‘niyama:’ – the controller.

The word ‘yam’ (यम्) (to control) is prefixed with ‘ni’ (नि) and suffixed with ‘ap’ (अप्) adjuncts, resulting in this divine name.

Etymology: The one by whom this world is controlled is called ‘niyama:’.

नियम्यतॆ जगद्यॆन नियमः स उदीरितः |

164) yama: (यमः) (also repeated in 870)

 The one who thus converts all situations into harmless and rather conducive situations for his devotees is called ‘yama:’.

This is as per the scriptures. Especially, the ‘antharyAmi brAhmaNa’ part extols bhagavAn’s presence within each and every entity thus:

  • “The one who indwells in this earth and protects it”
  • “The one who indwells in the individual souls and protects them”, etc
  • The manu smrithi says thus: “That controller of all entities – bhagavAn – resides in the hearts of all creatures. He controls them in the form of ‘yama’ – the son of vivasvAn. All such creatures who have no contention with that bhagavAn do not need to go to ganga for a holy dip or on pilgrimage to holy places like the kurukshEthra (rather, they shall be graced by bhagavAn himself unfathomably)”.

Etymology: The one who renders all situations totally harmless and conducive to his devotees (by being their indweller) is called ‘yama:’.

अकण्टकं चानुकूलं च यच्छतीत्यखिलं यमः |

वॆद्यॊ वैद्यः सदायॊगी वीरहा माधवॊ मधुः ।
अतीन्द्रियॊ महामायॊ महॊत्साहॊ महाबलः ॥ १८ ॥

165) vEdhya: (वॆद्यः)

Having incarnated thus, the one who manifests his extraordinary greatness and thus comprehended by one and all – is called ‘vEdyha:’ – the known one.

Etymology: The one who is easily comprehended by one and all due to his easy accessibility is called ‘vEdhya:’.

सर्वैश्च वॆदितुं शक्यः सौलभ्यात् वॆद्य ईरितः |

166) vaidhya: (वैद्यः)

bhagavAn is called ‘vaidhya:’ – the learned, since he is learned in the science of destroying the cycles of birth and death among his devotees. The root ‘vEdha’ (to know) gets the ‘yaN’ (यण्) suffix, resulting in this divine name.

The vishNu dharma says: “Just as the greatest of diseases are cured by medication under a trained physician, so also our sins – accumulated like the mEru and mandhara mountains – are easily washed away by surrendering unto kESava”.

Etymology: He who knows and has completely mastered the skill of removing the disease of ‘samsAra’ among his devotees is called ‘vaidhya:’.

वॆदितॄणां भवाख्यस्य गदस्य विनिवर्तिनीम् |
वियामधीतॆ वॆदॆति यॊ वैद्यः समुदाहृतः ||

167) sadhAyOgI (सदायॊगी)

The one who is thus ever wakeful in protecting his devotees is called ‘sadhAyOgI’. The scriptures say: “He who is awake even while everyone is fast asleep…”

Etymology: The one who is ever awake and watchful in treating his devotees is called ‘sadhAyOgI’.

चिकित्सायां जागरूकः सदायॊगीति कथ्यतॆ |

168) vIrahA (वीरहा) (also repeated in 747, 927)

bhagavAn is called ‘vIrahA’ – the destroyer of ‘heroes’, since he destroys such ‘heroes’ who obstruct the efforts of pious men in attaining bhagavAn (called ‘haithuka vIra’s).

The root ‘han’ हन्  (to slay) gets the ‘kvip’ (क्विप्) adjunct, resulting in this divine name.

The same rule of grammar is also applicable in many other divine names such as ‘kAmahA’ कामहा (295), krOdhahA क्रॊधहा (315), bhagahA भगहा (564), et al.

bhagavAn himself declares thus in the bhagavath gIthA: “Oh arjuna, many atheists try to establish that all of this creation is illusionary, and that no godhead is ruling over us…. I push such lowly cruel men – filled with hatred – in this samsAra over and over again, to be born in the ‘Asuri’ yoni (lower births with cruel minds).”

Etymology: He is called ‘vIrahA’, who destroys those who obstruct his devotees from meditating upon him.

स्वध्यानभञ्जकान् वीरान् हन्ति यः स तु वीरहा |

169) mAdhava: (माधवः) (also repeated in 73, 741)

Further, since he is the propagator of the supreme knowledge that talks about him, he is called ‘mAdhava:’ – the lord of supreme knowledge.

The scriptures say thus:

  • “The source of supreme knowledge about bhagavAn is called ‘mA’. The lord (svAmi) of such supreme knowledge is called ‘mAdhava:’”.
  • “Oh scion of bharatha clan, know that bhagavAn mAdhava by silence, meditation and yOga (union)”, etc.

Etymology: The source of supreme knowledge about bhagavAn is called ‘mA’. The lord of such supreme knowledge is called ‘dhava:’. Thus, bhagavAn is called ‘mAdhava:’ – the grantor of brahmA vidhyA (knowledge about the supreme brahman).

मा विद्या तु हरॆः प्रॊक्ता तस्य स्वामी धवः स्मृतः |
तस्मान्माधवनामासौ ब्रह्मविद्याप्रदॊ मनुः ||

170) madhu: (मधुः)

He is also called ‘madhu:’ – the nectarine, since he is as sweet as the nectar to such devotees who have gained the supreme knowledge from him. Per grammar rules, the root ‘man’ (मन्) – meaning, knowledge – is suffixed with the ‘u’ (उ) adjunct, and the letter ‘dha’ (ध) is substituted in place of ‘na’, resulting in this divine name.

The scriptures say thus:

  • “In those divine feet of bhagavAn, the divine nectar flows”
  • “Oh arjuna, I am extremely dear to my devotees…”, etc.

Etymology: bhagavAn is called ‘madhu:’ since he is very sweet to such devotees who have attained the supreme knowledge about him.

भक्तॆभ्यॊ लब्धविद्यॆभ्यॊ स्वदमानतया मधुः |

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 16 (Names 151 to 160)

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151) viSvayOni: (विश्वयॊनिः) (also repeated in 118)

Through brahmA and rudhra, since bhagavAn becomes the cause of creation (and hence sustenance and destruction), he is called ‘viSvayOni:’ – the originator of worlds.

Etymology: This world/universe (the effect) is bhagavAn’s creation. bhagavAn is the origin of this creation since he is the cause of this effect. BhagavAn becomes the cause of this cycle of creation and destruction through the four faced brahmA and rudhra. Thus, he is called ‘viSvayOni:’.

विश्वं तत्कार्यवर्गः स्यात् यॊनिस्तस्य तु कारणवत् |
तस्य ब्रह्मादिमुखतॊ विश्वयॊनिरितीरितः ||

152) punarvasu: (पुनर्वसुः)

Having created the entities/worlds thus, since bhagavAn indwells all the creatures, he is called ‘punarvasu:’ – the one who indwells the creatures.

The scriptures say thus:

  • “bhagavAn is verily the closest relative of all dhEvas. He resides right in the caves of their hearts”
  • “bhagavAn is verily the indweller in you and in me, as well as in all these different creatures bearing various bodies.”

Etymology: The one who resides again within the various dhEvas including the four faced brahmA as their indweller is called ‘punarvasu:’. (BhagavAn is already the indweller of all entities – sentient and insentient. However, at the time of creation, he resides in them again as explained in the upanishath statement “anEna jIvEna AthmanA anupravishya nAmarUpE vyAkaravANi”)

ब्रह्मादिष्वपि दॆवॆषु ह्यन्तरात्मतया च यः |
पुनर्निवासनान्नित्यं पुनर्वसुरुदाहृतः ||

उपॆन्द्रॊ वामनः प्रांशुरमॊघः शुचिरूर्जितः ।
अतीन्द्रः सङ्ग्रहः सर्गॊ धृतात्मा नियमॊ यमः ॥ १७ ॥

153) upEndhra: (उपॆन्द्रः)

Thereafter, the divine incarnation of bhagavAn as ‘vAmana’ is elucidated.

bhagavAn was born among the ‘Adhithyas’ (born as one of the sons of adhithi and kaSyapa). Since he was born as the youngest son among the twelve Adhithyas, and thus was born as the younger brother of indhra, he is called ‘upEndhra:’ – the brother of indhra.

The scriptures hail bhagavAn’s advent thus:

  • “That eternal supreme soul who is devoid of births (due to karma) is born as the most qualified of all Adhithyas (out of his own free will). Oh king, the sons of adhithi are twelve in number, the eldest being indhra. Among them, bhagavAn vishNu is born as the youngest son – in whom the worlds reside.”
  • “vishNu was born as the younger brother of indhra”, etc.

Etymology: The one who is born as the younger brother of even lower mortals like indhra is called ‘upEndhra:’.

इन्द्रस्याप्यनुजत्वॆन जातश्चॊपॆन्द्र उच्यतॆ |

154) vAmana: (वामनः)

Since bhagavAn – as upEndhra – walked up to the sacrificial pyre of bali chakravarthi in order to help indhra, he is called ‘vAmana:’ – the dwarf, or the one who confers happiness. The scriptures say that he is called ‘vAmana:’ since he confers happiness among those who see his divine body, with his own effulgence. They say, “…that vAmana is the bearer of the divine body”, etc.

Etymology: Since he is the one who is capable of conferring happiness – with his own effulgence – to those who see his divine body, he is called vAmana:.

दृष्ट्या स्वकान्त्या वामानि सुखानि नयतीति स वामनः |

155) prAmSu: (प्रांशुः)

bhagavAn manifested as ‘prAmSu:’ right there, in that sacrificial ground. The root ‘aS’ (अश्) (to pervade) gets the ‘u’ (उ) suffix as per the grammar rules, and it results in this divine name. This divine name refers to the one who pervaded the whole universe by growing as ‘thrivikrama’ in an instant. This is as per the scriptural statements:

  • “The moment the water fell on the hands of vAmana, he was no more a dwarf! He instantly grew in size as thrivikrama, with the sun and the moon at his chest falling down to his navel as he grew!”
  • “May that vAmana – who grew as thrivikrama in an instant, pervading all three worlds and glorious with his divine weapons – protect you all”, etc.

In support of such statements from purAnas, even the vEdhas audaciously declare thus:

  • “bhagavAn vishNu measured all these worlds with his three steps”
  • “vishNu pervaded the whole world with his three steps”
  • “bhagavAn measured all these worlds in order to earn back the lost lands of indhra”

Etymology: bhagavAn is called ‘prAmSu:’ due to his pervasiveness (as thrivikrama).

व्याप्तिमत्वात् प्रांशुश्च परिकीर्तितः |

156) amOgha: (अमॊघः) (also repeated in 111)

bhagavAn is called ‘amOgha:’, since none of his deeds are wasteful. The manthras describe him as the one with limitless influence. In this context, he is called ‘amOgha:’, since he graced both bali chakravarthi and indhra alike simultaneously, without any differentiation.

The scriptures hail bhagavAn’s divine deeds as vAmana/thrivikrama thus:

  • “In the same instant, bhagavAn graced both bali as well as indhra alike. he bestowed upon bali a higher position comparable with that of indhra, and at the same time he got the status of dhEvas restored from bali in accepting the sacrifices in oblations”
  • “When the water touched vAmana’s hands, bali attained immeasurable fruits in this world at that very instant! Also, bali was conferred with the title of ‘indhra’ for a full period of a ‘manvanthara’ without any competition!”, etc.

Etymology: bhagavAn is called ‘amOgha:’ since he satisfied both bali and indhra alike at the same instant, and hence possesses immeasurable influence among entities. The one who has no wasteful deeds to his credit is called ‘amOgha:’.

बलॆश्च वासवस्यापि कृतार्थीकरणात् समम् |
मानातीत प्रभावत्वात् अमॊघः परिकीर्तितः ||

न मॊघं चॆष्टितं यस्य स अमॊघः परिकीर्तितः ||

157) Suchi: (शुचिः) (also repeated in 252)

Although bhagavAn helped the two – bali and indhra – thus, since he didn’t expect any favor in return, he is called ‘Suchi:’ – the pure one! This is as said in scriptures:

“bhagavAn is the purest since he is untouched by any blemishes of expecting return favors”, etc.

Etymology: The greatest one doesn’t expect even the smallest favor in return even among those whom he personally helped greatly is called ‘Suchi:’.

स्वयं कृतॊपकारॆषु यत्किञ्चित् प्रत्युपक्रियम् |
अनपॆक्षस्थितॊ यॊsसौ शुचिः स्यात् धर्मदॊ मनुः ||

158) Urjitha: (ऊर्जितः)

The one who possessed extraordinary strength that was required to slay/arrest even the great warriors like namuchi (नमुचि) (the son of mahAbali) and the like (when they tried to attack him for his deed as thrivikrama) is called ‘Urjitha:’ – the powerful. The word ‘UrjA’ (ऊर्जा) (strength) is suffixed with ‘ithach’ (इतच्) adjunct, resulting in this divine name.

Etymology: The one who always possesses extraordinary strength (required to control enemies) is called ‘Urjitha:’.

ऊर्जा बलं यस्य नित्यं संजाता इत्यूर्जितः स्मृतः |

159) athIndhra: (अतीन्द्रः)

Although born as the youngest brother of indhra, since bhagavAn transcends indhra himself by his divine wealth and his purely selfless deeds, he is called ‘athIndhra:’ – the one who transcends indhra.

bhagavAn is hailed by the scriptures as “the one who possesses unfathomable wealth” and “the one whose deeds are way beyond those of vAyu and indhra”.

Etymology: Although born as the younger brother of indhra, bhagavAn is called ‘athIndhra:’ due to his divine wealth that transcends the lower wealth of indhra.

इन्द्रानुजत्वॆsपि ऐश्वर्यात् अतीतॊsतीन्द्र उच्यतॆ |

160) samgraha: (संग्रहः)

The one who is very easily / effortlessly comprehended by his true devotees is called ‘samgraha:’ – the comprehended one. The word ‘graha’ (ग्रह) (to hold) gets the ‘ap’ (अप्) adjunct as per the grammatical rule, resulting in this divine name.

Etymology: The one who is effortlessly accessed by his devotees is called ‘samgraha:’.

भक्तैरप्यप्रयत्नॆन संग्राह्यः संग्रहः स्मृतः |

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 15 (Names 141 to 150)

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141) chathurdhamshtra: (चतुर्दंष्ट्रः)

Since bhagavAn shows his supremacy even in his vyUha forms, he is called ‘chathurdhamshtra:’ – the four teethed one. The possession of four fangs is said to be the characteristic of great men, as shown in this statement of SrI rAmAyaNam “rAma is a great man possessing fourteen equally proportioned organs, four fangs and four kinds of walking styles”.

Etymology: Since bhagavAn possesses four fangs, he is called ‘chathurdhamshtra:’.

दंष्ट्राचतुष्कयुक्तत्वात् चतुर्दंष्ट्र इति स्मृतः |

142) chathurbhuja: (चतुर्भुजः)

Similarly, he is also ‘chathurbhuja:’ – the one with four shoulders. Even this characteristic of possessing four shoulders is said to be of great men, as shown in the scriptures thus:

  • “…him, who possesses four divine and mighty shoulders sporting various weapons such as the conch, discus, etc”
  • “He transcends thamas – the darkness; and he is the wielder of the divine conch, discus, and the mace”
  • “…with all four shoulders…” etc

Etymology: As a characteristic connoting of his greatness, he possesses four shoulders, and hence called ‘chathurbhuja:’.

महापुरुषरूपत्वात् उच्यतॆ हि चतुर्भुजः |

भ्राजिष्णुर्भॊजनं भॊक्ता सहिष्णुर्जगदादिजः ।
अनघॊ विजयॊ जॆता विश्वयॊनिः पुनर्वसुः ॥ १६ ॥

143) bhrAjishNu: (भ्राजिष्णुः)

bhagavAn is called ‘bhrAjishNu:’ since he is effulgent to his devotees who worship him with all the aforesaid qualities. The root ‘bhrAj’ (भ्राज्) is suffixed with ‘ishNu:’ (इष्णुः) as per the grammatical rules, resulting in this divine name. This name indicates that bhagavAn is the one who shows himself through his effulgence among his worshippers.

Etymology: BhagavAn is called ‘bhrAjishNu:’ due to his nature of showing himself through his effulgence to his worshippers.

उपासितृभ्यॊ भ्राजिष्णुः स्वप्रकाशनशीलतः |

144) bhOjanam (भॊजनम्)

He is enjoyed by his devotees who see him with all his effulgence. He is called ‘bhOjanam’ since he is enjoyed as verily the food with all happiness by his devotees.

Etymology: He who is enjoyed by his devotees with all happiness is called ‘bhOjanam’.

सुखॆन भॊजनं प्राहुः यॊ भुक्तैरनुभूयतॆ |

145) bhOkthA (भॊक्ता) (also repeated in 502)

The one who himself enjoys the various offerings of his devotees that are offered with love, as much as nectar itself, is called ‘bhOkthA’ – the enjoyer. This is as per bhagavAn’s words in the bhagavath gIthA:

  • “I wholeheartedly consume such offerings of my devotees given with pure love…”
  • “My devotee attains utmost peace by knowing me to be the enjoyer of all his offerings in yajnas and thapas…”

Etymology: bhagavAn is called ‘bhOkthA’ since he is the consumer of all offerings of his devotees offered with pure love. He is called so, since he is the consumer of nectar (food offered by his devotees with pure love).

भॊक्तार्पितस्य भॊक्तृत्वात् भॊक्ता स्यादमृतस्य वा |

146) sahishNu: (सहिष्णुः) (also repeated in 570)

In order to attract his devotees closer to him, bhagavAn endures the various misdeeds of his devotees that they may have committed in the past or that they may commit in future – whether knowingly or unknowingly – with all their faculties (organs, mind et al), such as: disrespecting scriptural injunctions as in ‘refraining from scriptural prescriptions’, ‘doing something that the scriptures have avoided’, etc, which may be categorized either as ordinary faults or extraordinary faults such as criticizing bhagavAn himself, and also the endless list of faults that the devotees themselves cannot bear. Due to this infinite endurance, he is called ‘sahishNu:’ – the patient one.

Again, as seen previously, the root ‘sah’ (सह्) (to endure) is suffixed with ‘ishNu:’ (इष्णुः) due to such patience being the inherent nature of bhagavAn.

How does bhagavAn possess such extreme endurance towards his devotees’ misdeeds? It is purely due to his inherent patience. Just as the nature of moon, water, et al is to be cool always, so also such supreme endurance of bhagavAn is purely out of his own nature and not assumed anytime.

Thus ends the elaboration of names connoting the ‘vyUha’ forms of bhagavAn.

Etymology: bhagavAn endures all kinds of misdeeds of his devotees done in the past or future with their minds and other faculties, such as violations of scriptural injunctions, and some other types of misdeeds which are even unbearable to the devotees themselves! Since he shows such supreme endurance towards the misdeeds of all his devotees, as a natural trait, he is called ‘sahishNu:’.

Till now, the vyUha form of bhagavAn was elucidated. Henceforth, the ‘vibhava’ form (incarnations) is being said.

प्रागूर्ध्वं सञ्चितानां च बुद्ध्या च करणैः सदा |
कृतानां सर्वथा तॆषां निषॆधविधिसाधनम् ||

अतीत्य क्रियमाणानामसत्सॆवानुबन्धिनाम् |
सर्वं सहॆन स्वॆनापि दुस्सहानां विशॆषतः ||

स्वभक्तविषयाणां च निर्मर्यादकृतैनसाम् |
सहनैकस्वशीलत्वात् सहिष्णुरिति विश्रुतः ||

वर्णितॊsभूत् व्यूहभॆदॊ विभवस्तु प्रतन्यतॆ ||

147) jagadhAdhija: (जगदादिजः)

Henceforth, the glories of bhagavAn’s incarnations in his ‘vibhava’ forms are elucidated. This divine name ‘jagadhAdhija:’ – the primordial creator – refers to bhagavAn’s incarnation as ‘vishNu’, the second of the trinity (brahma, vishNu and Siva).

This divine name indicates that bhagavAn manifested amongst the very first entities in this creation – the trinity namely brahmA, vishNu and Siva. The root ‘jan’ (जन्) (to be born) is suffixed with ‘da:’ (डः) as per the grammatical aphorism ‘सप्तम्यां जनॆर्डः’. The same rule is applied in other divine names as well, such as ‘mEdhaja:’ (मॆधजः) (759), ‘gadhAgraja:’ (गदाग्रजः) (770), et al.

This can be seen in the prayers of brahmA and other dhEvas as well, as shown below:

  • “That bhagavAn achyutha, by whose divine grace I am the creator of entities and by whose anger rudhra is the destroyer, is born between us as vishNu – in order to protect and sustain the entire creation.”
  • “You are the sole refuge to all of us – the dhEvas. You are the primordial entity (entity present even before anything else was created), and you are the lord of all worlds. You have taken the form of ‘vishNu’ (among the trinity) in order to protect all the creatures in this creation.”, etc.

Etymology: Since bhagavAn is born among the primordial entities of creation – the trinity namely brahma, vishNu and Siva – in the form of ‘vishNu’, he is called ‘jagadhAdhija:’.

जगतामादिभूतासु मूर्तिष्वन्यतमत्वतः |
जातत्वात् विष्णुरूपॆण प्रॊच्यतॆ जगदादिजः ||

148) anagha: (अनघः) (also repeated in 835)

Although born in this samsAra as one among the individual souls, since he is untouched by the effects of karma, he is called ‘anagha:’ – the one who is untouched by sins.

Etymology: The one who rivals sins is called ‘anagha:’.

पापप्रतिस्पर्धी अनघः |

149) vijaya: (विजयः)

Even for the other two entities in the trinity – brahmA and Siva, since bhagavAn is the one who assigns the tasks of creation and destruction and also makes them successful in their respective tasks, he is called ‘vijaya:’ – the victorious one. This is as said in the scriptures: “The creator and destroyer (four faced brahmA and rudhra) walk in the path laid down by bhagavAn”.

Etymology: ‘vijaya:’ (bhagavAn) is the victor of all worlds.

विजयॊ जगतां जयी |

150) jEthA (जॆता)

Also, bhagavAn ordains the other two entities (brahmA and rudhra) to act as per his wishes. Hence he is called ‘jEthA’ – the ordainer.

Etymology: The one who ordains brahma and Sankara to act as per his wishes is called ‘jEthA’.

स्वाभिप्रायॆ स्थापयिता जॆता स्यात् विधिशङ्करौ |

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 14 (Names 131 to 140)

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131) avyanga: (अव्यङ्गः)

The one who is ever abound with the six limbs of vEdhas – namely SikshA (शिक्षा), vyAkaraNa (व्याकरण), chandhas (छंदः), jyOthisha (ज्यॊतिष), niruktha (निरुक्त) and kalpa (कल्प), is called ‘avyanga:’.

Etymology: The one who has no shortcomings due to the praises by the six limbs of vEdhas such as SikshA, vyAkaraNa et al. is called ‘avyanga:’.

शिक्षाव्याकरणाद्यङ्गैः न हीनॊsव्यङ्ग उच्यतॆ |

132) vEdhAnga: (वॆदाङ्गः)

vEdhas consist of innumerable branches. They are verily the divine body/limbs of bhagavAn. Since bhagavAn’s intimate divine nature and qualities are exposed by the vEdhas, bhagavAn is called ‘vEdhAnga:’ – the one who is possesses vEdhas as his limbs.

The scriptures support thus:

  • “He who doesn’t comprehend the vEdhas doesn’t know bhagavAn either”
  • “…when he shook his divine body made of vEdhas…”
  • “The vEdhas and smruthis are verily my commandments”
  • “The godhead and ancestors must be served. This is the commandment of bhagavAn”, etc.

Since vEdhas are verily his commandments, he is called ‘vEdhAnga:’.

Etymology: He, unto whom the vEdhas – with its innumerable branches – are verily the divine body, is called ‘vEdhAnga:’.

यस्य वॆदॊsनन्तशाखोsप्यङ्गं वॆदाङ्ग ऎव सः |

133) vEdhavith (वॆदवित्)

bhagavAn is verily the subject of vEdhas. The purport of vEdhas is called ‘dharma’. Since the individual souls attain bhagavAn in the form of pradhyumna by following the dharmas laid down by the vEdhas, he is called ‘vEdhavith’. Thus, the duties of pradhyumna are highlighted as ‘the enlightener’, and ‘the preacher’ of vEdhas.

Etymology: The subject of vEdhas is called ‘vEdha:’. The purport of such vEdha is called ‘dharma’. Since he always makes the individual souls observe such ‘dharma’, pradhyumna is called ‘vEdhavith’.

वॆदैः वॆद्यतया वॆदः तदर्थॊ धर्म उच्यतॆ |
तदनुष्ठापनात् नित्यं प्रद्युम्नॊ वॆदवित् स्मृतः ||

134) kavi: (कविः)

Since bhagavAn possesses expansive foresight, he is called ‘kavi:’ – the one with an expansive vision. The root ku (कु) is used to mean ‘sight’ in this context. It is suffixed with ‘in’ (इन्), resulting in this divine name.

Etymology: bhagavAn is only called ‘kavi:’ by the knowledgeable men for his vast foresight.

स ऎव क्रान्तदर्शित्वात् कवि इत्युच्यतॆ बुधैः |

लॊकाध्यक्षः सुराध्यक्षॊ धर्माध्यक्षः कृताकृतः ।
चतुरात्मा चतुर्व्यूहश्चतुर्दंष्ट्रश्चतुर्भुजः ॥ १५ ॥

135, 136, 137) lOkAdhyaksha:, surAdhyaksha:, dharmAdhyaksha:

This expansive foresight of bhagavAn is further elaborated with the next three divine names namely ‘lOkAdhyaksha:’, ‘surAdhyaksha:’ and ‘dharmAdhyaksha:’.

The word ‘lOkA:’ (लॊकाः) refers to the practitioners of righteousness / dharma. ‘surA:’ (सुराः) refers to the various demigods worshipped by such virtuous men. The word ‘dharma’ (धर्मः) refers to the various means by which such demigods are worshipped by those virtuous men. The lord of all these three entities is bhagavAn. This is shown by these three divine names.

bhagavAn, in his ‘anirudhdha’ vyUha, is bound to remove the malignity of “conferring of undeserving fruits (fruits for no action)” and “lack of conferring of fruits of action”, thereby conferring the righteous fruits of action to every individual soul – according to its deeds.

Therefore, bhagavAn anirudhdha is known to be the knower of the destination, paths of attaining the destination, the lord of souls treading such paths, righteous (honest) and the grantor of knowledge.

Etymology: ‘lOkA:’ are those souls who practice certain virtues. The demigods worshipped by such souls are called ‘surA:’. The means of such attainment are collectively termed as ‘dharma:’. The lord of all these entities is that bhagavAn who is connoted by the three divine names ‘lOkAdhyaksha:’, ‘surAdhyaksha:’, and ‘dharmAdhyaksha:’ in that order. BhagavAn ‘anirudhdha’ is said to be one who manifests with all these names.

धर्माधिकारिणॊ लोकाः तदाराध्याः सुरास्तथा |
धर्मस्तत्साधनं तॆषामध्यक्षः स्यात् त्रिनामवान् ||

लॊकाध्यक्षः सुराध्यक्षः धर्माध्यक्ष इति क्रमात् |
अनिरुद्धः स विज्ञॆयॊ लॊकाध्यक्षादि नामवान् ||

138) kruthAkrutha: (कृताकृतः)

bhagavAn is said to be the embodiment of two types of ‘dharmas’ – of promoting samsAra and removing samsAra. As a promoter of samsAra, he is the one who bestows temporary and lowly fruits in this samsAra to such souls who are not interested in mOksha. Thus, he is customarily called ‘krutha:’ (कृतः) – the promoter of samsAra. Further, he is the one who also releases us from the shackles of samsAra and bestows the permanent and supreme abode of SrIvaikuNtam / mOksham. Thus he is also called ‘akrutha:’ (अकृतः) – the remover of samsAra.

Etymology: The one whose nature is to bestow the fruits of action to those who practice both kind of deeds that result in either promotion of samsAra or release from samsAra is called ‘kruthAkrutha:’.

अनित्यनित्यफलदौ प्रवर्तकनिवर्तकौ |
ददौ यस्य स्वरूपं यः कृताकृत इतीरितः ||

139) chathurAthmA (चतुरात्मा) (also repeated in 775)

Since bhagavAn manifests thus (as explained from the divine name 123 till now) as four forms namely vAsudhEva, sankarshaNa, pradhyumna and anirudhdha, he is called ‘chathurAthmA’ – the one with four forms.

Etymology: bhagavAn is called ‘chathurAthmA’ due to his manifestation in four forms namely vAsudhEva, sankarshaNa, pradhyumna and anirudhdha.

वासुदॆवादि रूपत्वात् चतुरात्मॆति कथ्यतॆ |

140) chathurvyUha: (चतुर्व्यूहः) (also repeated in 773)

How can the same entity manifest in four forms at a time? This is explained in this divine name ‘chathurvyUha:’. In order to show the entity to be contemplated upon and worshipped for attaining the fruits as detailed till now, bhagavAn assumes four different forms characterized by the four states of mind namely ‘awakened’ (jAgruth जागृत्) (as anirudhdha), ‘dreaming’ (svapna स्वप्न) (as pradhyumna), ‘deep slumber’ (sushupthi सुषुप्ति) (as sankarshaNa) and ‘completely enlightened’ (thurIya तुरीय) (as vAsudhEva). In each of these forms, he sports different forms befitting his role, with various body-hues, ornaments, weapons, vehicles, flags and other equipments. Thus, he manifests in four forms at a time.

Etymology: Since bhagavAn is verily the embodied with four forms indicative of the various states of mind such as awakened, dreaming, deep slumber and completely enlightened, he is called ‘chathurvyUha:’.

जागृत्स्वप्नसुषुप्त्यादौ व्यूहावस्था चतुष्टयॆ |
एतैर्विशिष्टमूर्तित्वात् चतुर्व्यूह इतीरितः ||

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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 13 (Names 121 to 130)

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121) SASvathasthANu: (शाश्वतस्थाणुः)

Just a small portion of such divine power is hailed even to this day as ‘nectar’ born out of the milky ocean. Rather, bhagavAn is more specially hailed as ‘SASvathasthANu:’– the permanent one, in comparison with the lower ‘nectar’.

He is hailed thus because bhagavAn himself is eternal, and he cannot be robbed off from the enjoyer. Also, he is enjoyed eternally by the liberated souls, never to re-enter the cycles of samsAra again. On the other hand, the lower ‘nectar’ is momentary, and can be partaken just once.

Etymology: He who is eternally enjoyable to his devotees, and who is also eternal himself, is called ‘SASvathasthANu:’.

भॊग्यॊ हयपुनरावृत्त्या भॊक्तृभ्यॊ रॊचतॆ यतः |
स्वयं नित्यः सदा यॊsसौ शाश्वतस्थाणुरुच्यतॆ ||

122) varArOha: (वरारॊहः)

Thereafter, he is also called ‘varArOha:’ – the supreme goal that can be attained. ‘varam’ (वरं) means ‘supreme’ and ‘ArOhaNam’ (आरॊहणम्) represents the ‘achievable goal’. Since bhagavAn himself is the supreme achievable goal, he is addressed by this divine name.

It means that all other achievable goals are lower in nature. This is as said in the scriptures thus: “All of these worlds (such as brahmalOkam, swargam, etc) are much lower in comparison to bhagavAn’s divine abode SrIvaikuNtam”.

The bhAgavatham says that bhagavAn manifests himself in three forms namely ‘para’ (पर), vyUha (व्यूह) and vibhava (विभव).

Of these, the ‘para’ form of bhagavAn is characterized by his nature of not having a cause for himself, yet being eternally inseparable from the entities called ‘chith’ (sentient) and ‘achith’ (insentient) for whose creation he is the only cause; it is characterized by bhagavAn’s completeness with the six qualities namely knowledge, support, wealth, gallantry, power and charm, which show themselves up like the huge waves in a vast ocean; it is characterized by bhagavAn’s eternal enjoyable wealth of having the sole lordship over all the worlds with no boundaries ever; it is characterized by the liberated souls who approach bhagavAn for offering their eternal servitude; it is characterized by its naturalism, without the need for any external adjunct; the ‘para’ form of bhagavAn represents such of his disposition.

The ‘vyUha’ form of bhagavAn is represented by his four forms (namely vAsudhEva, sankarshaNa, pradhyumna and anirudhdha); with slightly different forms, qualities and deeds from the ‘para’ form; in order to create, sustain and destroy worlds for the benefit of mumukshus (the souls who are desiring mOksham) and providing them with the various scriptures such as vEdhas, their purport (in the form of supplements such as ithihAsas and purAnas), their fruits, and the ways of contemplation and worship for their benefit of attaining mOksham – all as a mere playful act in this leelA-vibhUthi (the material creation, which is a mere sport for bhagavAn).

The ‘vibhava’ form of bhagavAn represents a class of his divine incarnations as various species such as dhEva (demigod), manushya (human), thiryak (other animals/creatures), etc out of his own free will, very much like the shadow of the vyUha form.

The sAthvatha samhitha says thus: “That supreme form of bhagavAn – replete with six qualities – who shines like the fire is called the ‘para’ form. He is verily the sole refuge of all souls, and is all pervading. That form itself further gave rise to three other forms (namely sankarshaNa, pradhyumna and anirudhdha; note that ‘vAsudhEva’ is not mentioned here, but still that is the original source of all these three vyUha forms) with a division in the six qualities. These forms are collectively called the ‘vyUha’ form of bhagavAn, which bestows the supreme fruit of liberation to the souls. Further to that, the set of various forms that bhagavAn takes up thence, with different deeds in each form, and which are replete with the six qualities, is called the ‘vibhava’ form of bhagavAn. This vibhava form of bhagavAn bestows both material enjoyments as well as liberation to the seeking souls.

Of these various vibhava forms, bhagavAn has himself incarnated in several forms such as mathsya (मत्स्यः), kUrma (कूर्मः, et al. In some cases, he has born as the son of various great seers and sages; for example, in incarnations such as paraSurAma (परशुरामः / भार्गवरामः), vyAsa (व्यासः / कृष्णद्वैपायनः), et al. At times, bhagavAn has incarnated – not in his complete form, but only by placing his powers with another mortal such as ‘puranjaya’ (पुरञ्जयः) (read as ‘puranjaya’). In other cases, he has lent himself in the hands of many of his devotees in the form of ‘archA’ (अर्चावतारः) (which is the deity form of worship seen in various temples, mutts and households). Thus, his ‘vibhava’ form is of four types.

Further, there is an argument that says the various demigods such as brahma, Siva, et al are the incarnations of bhagavAn, since the scriptures say all are one. But this is just a rambling talk of the ignorant, because – then, even we the humans and all creatures such as the animals and insentient objects such as grass et al can also be considered as verily the incarnations of bhagavAn! No doubt, the scriptures do speak of the oneness of all these entities in statements like “after all, all of these is verily bhagavAn”, etc. But the demigods are not considered as the incarnations of bhagavAn since they are also created just like any human or any other creature at the time of creation. Also, the difference of their manifestations from bhagavAn’s incarnations is conveyed by the word ‘prAdhurbhAvAnthara’ (प्रादुर्भावान्तर) (as against the word ‘prAdhurbhAva’ प्रादुर्भाव used in the scriptures for bhagavAn’s incarnations). It shows that the demigods (and all other creatures) are all born out of just a fraction of bhagavAn’s divine weath, and they are all subservient to the various incarnations of bhagavAn by word and deed. This is shown in many scriptures that speak the glory of bhagavAn.

For example, the paushkara samhitha says: “The advisor of knowledge – kapilAksha (कपिलाक्षः) – is verily the form of bhagavAn. The lord of knowledge – the four faced brahma, who is revered by the whole world, and who is characterized by the further creation in this world – is just a part of his.”

In here, the statement clearly says ‘the four faced brahma is just a part of kapila – an incarnation of bhagavAn’. This shows that the four faced brahma is subservient to bhagavAn (even in his incarnations), and is merely a part of him. This is also shown by mentioning that brahma is characterized by further creation in this world. With this statement, the nature of bhagavAn to enhance the requisite knowledge for lower mortals like brahma in order to carry on his creation further is clearly shown. When the scriptures say that the individual souls are merely a part (‘amSa’ अंशः) of bhagavAn, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual soul and bhagavAn are one and the same. Rather, it only shows that both the Supreme soul – bhagavAn, and the individual soul – who is just a part of him (amSa) – are located in the same place inseparably (in other words, bhagavAn is the soul of all such individual souls). This is clarified further in SrI vEdha vyAsa’s  brahmasUthras thus: “bhagavAn and his ‘amSa’s – the individual souls – are indeed different, since the scriptures have clearly said thus”.

Similarly, the manifestation of Siva is shown thus: “The one who carries out the job of destruction at the end of every creation cycle – that mahArudhra, who is also called ‘Sankara’ – is indeed the manifestation with bhagavAn as his indweller”. The original text reads “शंकराख्यॊ महारुद्रः प्रादुर्भावान्तरं हि तत्”. The word ‘anthara’ suffixed to ‘prAdhurbhAva’ clearly shows the differentiation of the lower mortal called Siva from bhagavAn. This differentiation is akin to that of ‘sweetness’ from ‘sugarcane’, ‘milk’, and ‘jaggery’.

Thus, the difference between divine incarnations of bhagavAn and the ordinary manifestations of demigods and other lower mortals is clearly shown. When bhagavAn himself descends to the various worlds in order to carry out his task, it is called ‘incarnation’. When lower mortals are born in these worlds as an amSam of bhagavAn in order to carry out his commands, it is merely called ‘manifestation’. Here, when it says ‘in order to carry out his own task’, it shows the uniqueness of such incarnations of bhagavAn. When it says ‘amSam of bhagavAn’, it shows that such souls are completely dependent on bhagavAn for carrying out such tasks.

In other words, when bhagavAn descends to these worlds in various forms without giving up his divine nature (as declared in bhagavath gIthA 4:5 to 4:8), it is called an ‘incarnation’ (prAdhurbhAva). On the other hand, if such a birth is taken by an individual soul who is just an ‘amSam’ of bhagavAn, it is merely a ‘manifestation’ (prAdhurbhAvAnthara).

Similarly, there is also a differentiation in bhagavAn’s main (मुख्य) and complimentary (औपचारिक) incarnations. The seekers of salvation – mumukshus – should always take refuge of incarnations only, and not the lower manifestations. The scriptures have said thus: “Those who are formally initiated into salvation (दीक्षा) and thus granted the right to worship achyutha should always be engaged in worshipping achyutha alone. They should never worship the lower demigods. They can take refuge in any of bhagavAn’s forms – be it vyUha or vibhava or any form. However, they are strictly prohibited from worshipping the lower demigods like skandha, rudhra, indhra et al. Such devotees should not pollute their pure devotion thus, even after knowing the truth.”

The sAthvatha samhitha clearly indicates that the divine consorts of bhagavAn – namely SrIdhEvi, bhUdhEvi and neeLAdhEvi, his divine ornaments, his eternal servants such as the nithyasUris and liberated souls, et al are all his objects of enjoyment; thus, they are all ever present along with bhagavAn within his divine idol forms. Also, the use of yama, four faced brahma, Siva, et al as mere tools in his divine sport of creation-sustenance-destruction is made very clear. Thus, all such demigods – along with their supplements, manthras, and their respective groups – are well merged within the divine form of bhagavAn.

The sAthvatha samhitha further says: “I shall now list the various demigods who become the tools in the hands of bhagavAn in carrying out his divine sport of creation, sustenance and destruction of these worlds. Such demigods and other tools are ever servile to the various ‘vibhava’ forms of bhagavAn. Firstly, ‘kAla’ or the deity of time is ever in control of bhagavAn. Then, the SAsthras or scriptures along with their various supplements (angas अङ्ग) are in his control. Further, the lords of knowledge, and the vast ocean are servile to him. The lord of all demigods – indhra, along with his group – is also in his control. The seven great sages, the lords of different planets, the stars, the lord of clouds, all the nAgas (the snake gods), the apsaras or damsels, all the medicinal herbs, animals, and all the yajnas – along with their limbs, all the sources of knowledge showing bhagavAn as well as the other lower goals, the fire, wind, moon, sun, water and earth are all at his command. All of these twentyfour entities are the main tools that bhagavAn uses in his creations. This material world is nothing but the vastly pervaded ‘pradhAna’ (प्रधानः) or the primordial nature. It is highly insentient in nature. However, with the association of manthras and the lord of manthras – bhagavAn, even such insentient entities gain divinity!”

This is exactly the context in which the demigods are mentioned at the time of creation, sustenance and destruction of all worlds.  Similar disposition can be observed in the paushkara samhitha about the manifestation of demigods and other creatures as a mere property of bhagavAn – to act at his behest.

Thus, the similarity in the trinity of brahmA, vishNu and mahESwara – as declared by some of the so-called knowledgeable souls – is nothing more than a confusing statement. It is never true. This will be proved at the appropriate places, further, while explaining the other divine names.

Etymology: The one whose attainment is hailed as the supreme goal for the seekers is called ‘varArOha:’. This manthra is capable of conferring the highest position (of SrIvaikuNtam) to the seekers.

वर-उत्कृष्ट-आरॊहः यस्य स्वप्राप्तिलक्षणः |
वर्ततॆ स वरारॊहः प्रकृष्टस्थानदॊ मनुः ||

Till this divine name ‘varArOha:’, bhIshma mostly established the absolute supremacy of bhagavAn. The 122 divine names till now have mostly answered the two questions of yudhishtra relating to the achievable goal that said – “Which is the supreme godhead shown by the scriptures? And who is the one whom we should attain?”

The response to these questions mostly ends here. Further, the questions related to the means of attainment of such a goal (“Praising whom, and worshipping whom, will a soul be released from the bondage of birth and material creation?”) shall be answered. The response to those questions begins by indicating the ‘vyUha’ form of bhagavAn. Of the four vyUha forms of bhagavAn (namely vAsudhEva, sankarshana, pradhyumna and anirudhdha), vAsudhEva-vyUha was explained in a very concise manner till now, with the absolute supremacy (परत्त्वम्). Thence, it continues with the detailing of ‘sankarshaNa-vyUha’ (संकर्षणव्यूहः).

123) mahAthapA: (महातपाः)

bhagavAn is called ‘mahAthapA:’ since he possesses abundant divine knowledge. The word ‘mahath’ (महत्) means ‘divine’ or ‘befitting of worship’, and ‘thapas’ (तपस्) refers to knowledge. Starting with this divine name, the six main qualities of bhagavAn are being elucidated.

Of the six qualities, the ‘sankarshaNa’ form of bhagavAn houses the couplet namely ‘knowledge’ and ‘strength’ (ज्ञान-बल).

In this divine name, the quality of ‘knowledge’ is explained as the attribute with which bhagavAn can decide upon destroying all the material worlds – in order to pacify the sorrows of individual souls stuck in the cycle of births and deaths since time immemorial.

Etymology: The word ‘mahath’ refers to the venerable nature, and ‘thapas’ refers to the knowledge. The one who possesses such venerable knowledge is called ‘mahAthapA:’.

महत् पूज्यं तपॊ ज्ञानं यस्यॆति स महातपाः |

सर्वगः सर्वविद्भानुर्विष्वक्सॆनॊ जनार्दनः ।
वॆदॊ वॆदविदव्यङ्गॊ वॆदाङ्गॊ वॆदवित्कविः ॥ १४ ॥

124) sarvaga: (सर्वगः)

bhagavAn bears all the destroyed (separated from material bodies) individual souls just like a soul bearing a body. All such destroyed souls go and attain him. He is called ‘sarvaga:’ for this reason of possessing the capacity to bear all the souls with his divine strength.

For the same reason, he is also called ‘sankarshaNa:’ संकर्षणः (556) – since he pulls all the destroyed souls towards himself.

Etymology: Since he bears all entities like a soul bearing the body, and since he draws all such entities unto himself at the time of destruction, he is called ‘sarvaga:’.

धारयन् संहृतान् सर्वान् गच्छतीति स सर्वगः |

125) sarvavith (सर्ववित्)

Thereafter, since he then wishes to create the various worlds again for the benefit of individual souls, and achieves the same in the form of pradhyumna (प्रद्युम्नः), he is called ‘sarvavith’ – the one who possesses all wealth. In here, the quality of wealth is being depicted, with which he is happy by creating all the worlds again.

Etymology: The one who creates all the worlds again and displays his divine wealth thus in the form of ‘pradhyumna’ is called ‘sarvavith’.

प्रद्युम्नत्वॆ तु कार्याणि लभतॆ यः स सर्ववित् |

126) bhAnu: (भानुः) (also repeated in 285)

Although bhagavAn only creates all worlds and entities, since he glows with utmost effulgence without displaying any kind of transformations, he is called ‘bhAnu:’ – the glowing one.

The root ‘bhA’ (भा) meaning ‘to glow’ is suffixed with ‘nu:’ as per the grammatical rules, resulting in this divine name. This name indicates that he is the effulgent one who has no transformations. The scriptures reinforce this quality by declaring thus: “He glowed with his own effulgence…”

This divine name shows the divine splendor of bhagavAn, with no transformations at all.

Etymology: bhAnu: is the one who shines within everyone – having created them all – without the least bit of transformation in his own nature.

भानुः सर्वस्य भातीति निर्माणॆsप्यविकारतः |

127) vishvaksEna: (विष्वक्सॆनः)

Further, he is called by the divine name ‘vishvaksEna:’ – the protector of worlds – in the form of anirudhdha (अनिरुद्धः) (anirudhdha-vyUha). The word ‘sEna’ refers to the battalion that follows a master. As yAska maharishi puts it, sEna refers to the army of men accompanying a master. Since all creatures in all worlds are protected solely by bhagavAn through this army of souls, he is called ‘vishvaksEna:’ – the one who protects everyone. This divine name represents bhagavAn’s divine quality of power to protect every soul.

Etymology: The word sEna refers to the souls who accompany their master. All souls in all worlds are totally protected by him (resulting in this divine name), and thus he is also called anirudhdha.

इनॆन स्वामिना साकं वर्ततॆ सॆन इत्ययम् |
विष्वग्रक्ष्यॊ जनॊsस्यासौ अनिरुद्धॊ तथॆरितः ||

128) janArdhana: (जनार्दनः)

Since bhagavAn destroys (ardhana) those souls (jana) who raise obstacles in his divine deed of protecting his devotees – and that too, without the least bit of expectation of an external aid, he is called ‘janArdhana:’ – the destroyer of repressing souls. In other words, he is called ‘janArdhana:’ since he protects his devotees from impious men. His gallantry that does not look forward to the aid of anyone else is shown in this divine name.

Each of these four vyUhas namely vAsudhEva, sankarshaNa, pradhyumna and anirudhdha highlight two divine qualities each. This is due to bhagavAn’s manifestations thus. However, bhagavAn is replete with all six qualities to the fullest.

The mUla samhithA says thus: “The divine attributes namely knowledge, wealth, power et al. of bhagavAn are all complete, and devoid of any shortcomings. He is verily the one who manifests in four vyUhas namely vAsudhEva, sankarshaNa, pradhyumna and anirudhdha. In all these forms, he remains omniscient, omnispective, omnipotent, master of all, opulent, free from any type of bondages, free from deficiencies, very friendly, all-controlling even while not being controlled by anyone else, eternal, free from slumber, fear, anger and laziness, free from desires and ignorance, free from diseases and other blemishes, free from undesirable attributes, and completely irreproachable. This is how the pure devotees of bhagavAn know that vAsudhEva. Those who do not comprehend these divine attributes of bhagavAn vAsudhEva do not know the ultimate truth.”

Thus, bhagavAn vAsudhEva is of a boundless infinite form.

Etymology: Since he quickly destroys the oppressors of his devotees, he is called ‘janArdhana:’.

भक्तविद्वॆषिणां तूर्णं मर्दनात् स जनार्दनः |

129) vEdha: (वॆदः)

Furthermore, since sankarshaNa himself is the giver of knowledge in the form of scriptures, he is called ‘vEdha:’ (वॆदः). The individual souls who gain physical bodies at the time of creation approach sankarshaNa for the source of knowledge. This is as per the scriptural statement that says “to him, who confers the sacred knowledge unto the four faced brahmA…”, etc.

Thus, sankarshaNa bhagavAn is characterized as ‘means of attainment’, ‘source of knowledge’, ‘the leader’, ‘the knowledgeable one’, and ‘the preceptor’.

Etymology: Since bhagavAn confers the sacred knowledge in form of scriptures as sankarshaNa, he is called ‘vEdha:’.

संकर्षणत्वॆ शास्त्रार्थप्रदत्वात् वॆद ईरितः |

130) vEdhavith (वॆदवित्) (also repeated in 133)

bhagavAn knows the purport of vEdhas without any confusions or doubts, and hence the divine name ‘vEdhavith’ – the knower of vEdhas.  As bhagavAn himself has declared, “I am only the knower of purport of vEdhas”.

Etymology: The one who knows the purport of vEdhas without doubts or delusions is called ‘vEdhavith’.

असंशयविपर्यासं वॆदार्थं वॆद वॆदवित् |

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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 12 (Names 111 to 120)

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111) amOgha: (अमॊघः) (also repeated in 156)

The one whose relation is never futile is called ‘amOgha:’ – the unfailing one. SrImadh rAmAyana says thus: “Oh rAma! The very sight of yours is unfailing. Praising you would never go in vain. Those who are devoted unto you would never fail to attain their fruits”.

Etymology: The one whose connection is far from being futile is called ‘amOgha:’.

वितथस्पर्शरहितः स ह्यमॊघः प्रकीर्तितः |

112) puNdarIkAksha: (पुण्डरीकाक्षः)

bhagavAn’s eternal abode SrIvaikuNtam is called ‘puNdarIkam’ (पुण्डरीकम्). Since bhagavAn is like the eye of all those who enter SrIvaikuNtam, he is called ‘puNdarIkAksha:’ – the eye of SrIvaikuNtam.

This means he is like the eye of all those who eternally reside in SrIvaikuNtam. This is as per the scriptural statement that says “He is like the wide eye of SrIvaikuNtam”, et al.

Etymology: The eternal imperishable abode SrIvaikuNtam is called ‘puNdarIkam’. He who is like the eye of the souls who reside in SrIvaikuNtam is called ‘puNdarIkAksha:’.

पुण्डरीकं परं धाम नित्यमक्षरमव्ययम् |
तद्गतानाम् अक्षिभूतः पुण्डरीकाक्ष ईरितः ||

113) vrushakarmA (वृषकर्मा)

Although being aloof as detailed thus, since bhagavAn sports all righteous actions that would benefit even the lowly souls like us, he is called ‘vrushakarmA’ – the one with righteous actions.

Etymology: The one whose actions are known to be beneficial to everyone, and righteous at the same time, such a one with the most auspicious actions is popularly called ‘vrushakarmA’.

श्रॆयस्करं धर्मरूपं कर्म यस्य प्रचक्षतॆ |
वृषकर्मॆति विख्यातॊ शुभकर्मप्रदॊ मनुः ||

114) vrushAkruthi: (वृषाकृतिः)

Since bhagavAn is verily the embodiment of such righteousness, he is called ‘vrushAkruthi:’  – the form of righteousness. Alternately, since his divine form wards off the three heats of samsAra, thereby sprinkling nectar on the fallen souls, and since his actions are most desirable and his form is the most beautiful, he is called ‘vrushakarmA vrushAkruthi:’ (वृषकर्मा वृषाकृतिः). The root for this alternate meaning is in the word ‘vrush’ वृष् (sprinkling).

The scriptures hail bhagavAn thus:

  • “He gladdens the whole world by his cool and divine beauty – akin to ten thousand moons lightening up together”.
  • “With his divine and beautiful form which is free from blemishes, and with his divine look, constantly emitting knowledge from his body, and also with his moon-like lustrous face, he keeps gladdening the fallen souls – who are burnt in the fire of previous karma – in order to ward off their miseries.”
  • “There, he beheld krishNa seated in a high pedestal, bedecked with gems and gold, who looked like the wonderful dark cloud bordering the mEru mountain.”, et al.

Etymology: The one who is verily the embodiment of righteousness is called ‘vrushAkruthi:’. Alternately, the one who sports the divine form and actions that are extremely cool like the nectar to the fallen souls being burnt in the three heats of samsAra is called ‘vrushakarmA vrushAkruthi:’.

धर्मरूपाकृतिर्यस्य स वृषाकृतिरुच्यतॆ |
तापत्रयाग्निदग्धानां सुधॆवात्यन्तशीतलम् |
रूपं कर्म च यस्यास्ति वृषकर्मा वृषाकृतिः ||

रुद्रॊ बहुशिरा बभ्रुः विश्वयॊनिः शुचिश्रवाः ।
अमृतः शाश्वतस्थाणुः वरारॊहॊ महातपाः ॥ १३ ॥

115) rudhra: (रुद्रः)

bhagavAn – with such various divine forms and deeds – makes the devotees lose their heart to him and shed tears of joy. Thus, he is called ‘rudhra:’ – the one who makes the devotees cry.

The scriptures have said thus:

“All creatures must see that devotee who sheds the cool tears of joy with goose bumps all over his body at the very thought of bhagavAn, and who is constantly engrossed in the pastime of hailing the auspicious qualities of bhagavAn”

Etymology: Since bhagavAn makes his devotees shed tears of joy by showing them such beautiful and divine forms and deeds, he is called ‘rudhra:’. This manthra bestows joy to all such intimate devotees.

ईदृक् रूपैः चॆष्टितैश्च भक्तान् सानन्दबाष्पयन् |
रॊदयन् रुद्र उद्दिष्टः सर्वसन्तॊषदॊ मनुः ||

116) bahuSirA: (बहुशिराः)

bhagavAn possesses innumerable heads, (thousands of hoods) like the AdhisEsha. Hence he is called ‘bahuSirA:’ – the one with many heads.

Etymology: The one who has many hoods is called ‘bahuSirA:’.

फणाश्च बहवॊ यस्य स वै बहुशिरा मतः |

117) babhru: (बभ्रुः)

Since bhagavAn bears the whole world on his hoods in such a form, he is called ‘babhru:’ – the one who bears the world on his hoods.

The root ‘brU:’ भृ (to bear) gets the ‘ku’ (कु) adjunct, resulting in the form of ‘bhru’ (भ्रु). This results in this divine name ‘babhru:’ (बभ्रुः).

The scriptures say:

  • “He, unto whom all of these worlds form the invaluable gems on the hoods, bears the whole string of creation…”
  • “He who bears the world in the form of ‘anantha’ (अनन्तः) on his hoods….”, etc

Etymology: The one who bears the whole world on his hood in the form of ‘anantha’ is called ‘babhru:’.

अनन्तरूपॊ यॊ धत्तॆ पृथ्वी बभ्रुः स ईरितः |

118) viSvayOni: (विश्वयॊनिः) (also repeated in 151)

The one who sports various divine forms in order to mingle with his devotees very normally, and the one who organizes a special setup for the same, is called ‘viSvayOni:’ – the one who mingles with the world (all creatures).

This means he unites with all the souls himself.

The root ‘yu’ यु (to mix up) gets the ‘nith’ (नित्) adjunct resulting in the word ‘yOni:’ (यॊनिः).

Etymology: BhagavAn is called ‘viSvayOni:’ since he unites with the creatures himself.

विश्वॆषां भॆजुषां स्वॆन विश्वयॊनिस्तु मिश्रणात् |

119) SuchiSravA: (शुचिश्रवाः)

The one who necessarily listens to the words of such devotees is called ‘SuchiSravA:’ – the intent listener.

As bhagavAn has declared himself in the mahAbhAratha, “Oh arjuna, I listen to every word of my devotee who talks pure and pleasant words. I do not listen to the sinful talks ever. That is why I am called ‘SuchiSravA:’  by the learned men”.

The definition of ‘Suchi:’ शुचिः (pure) is laden with devotion.

This is as seen in the mahAbhAratha verse that says: “vidhura offered pure and quality food”, where purity referred to vidhura’s pure love towards bhagavAn.

The same context is further recorded thus: “vidhura’s words were full of righteousness, pleasantness, and full of meaning. Listening to such pure words of vidhura, bhagavAn krishNa wished that the night should never finish. Alas, that night passed and the dawn broke…”

Etymology: The one who intently listens to the words spoken by his devotees is called ‘SuchiSravA:’.

भक्तैरुक्तान्यवश्यं यः शृणॊति स शुचिश्रवाः |

120) amrutha: (अमृतः)

Although serving bhagavAn eternally, since the liberated souls are never satisfied due to bhagavAn’s unquantifiable sweetness and due to his nature of warding off samsAra, he is called ‘amrutha:’ – the sweetest.

The scriptures have hailed bhagavAn thus: “Just as a lower mortal is never satisfied by drinking nectar, so also a true devotee is never fully satisfied by looking at the divine forms of janArdhana”.

Etymology: bhagavAn is called ‘amrutha:’ because he is the one who wards off the shackles of aging and death. Alternately, he is called so, since his devotees are never fully satisfied even by serving him eternally. He is called ‘amrutha:’, also due to his unquantifiable sweetness always.

जरामृत्यॊर्वारणॆन ह्यतृप्तॆर्वाsपि सॆवनात् |
अमृतः स्यात् निरतिशय माधुर्यॆण च सर्वदा ||

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – 11 (Names 101 to 110)

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

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101) achyutha: (अच्युतः) (also repeated in 320, 557)

The one who does not get separated from such surrendered souls is called ‘achyutha:’ – the infallible.

The scriptures say thus in this regard:

  • “Since I never gave up anything in the past, I am called ‘achyutha’”
  • “I never get separated from such a devotee”
  • “I shall never forsake him; that will never happen”, et al

Etymology: Since bhagavAn never gets separated from his devotees, he is called ‘achyutha:’. Alternately, he is also called ‘achyutha:’, by whose grace the surrendered souls never face any shortcomings.

भक्तॆभ्यॊsच्युतपूर्वत्वात् अच्युतः परिकीर्तितः |
आश्रितानां च्युतिर्यस्मान्नास्ति स अच्युत ईरितः ||

102) vrushAkapi: (वृषाकपिः)

The divine name that justifies that verily the same ‘achyutha’ is the one who incarnated as the boar (varAha) is ‘vrushAkapi:’ – the boar that embodies virtue.

The sages have recorded thus:

“The word ‘kapi:’ (कपिः) means the great divine boar. The word ‘vrusha:’ (वृषः) represents virtue. Thus, kashyapa prajApathi addressed me as ‘vrushAkapi:’ (वृषाकपिः).”

Etymology: The great divine boar is called ‘kapi:’, and righteousness is called ‘vrusha:’. Thus, he is vrushAkapi (the boar that embodies virtue). This eight-syllable manthra grants the wishes of the chanter.

कपिर्वराहः श्रॆष्ठश्च धर्मश्च वृष उच्यतॆ |
तस्मात् वृषाकपिः प्रॊक्तः वस्वरण्यॊsभीष्टदॊ मनुः ||

103) amEyAthmA (अमॆयात्मा) (also repeated in 181)

Since bhagavAn showers his grace towards the souls, who have taken refuge under him, in a constant flow, he is called ‘amEyAthmA’ – the one whose abundant nature cannot be quantified. The vEdhas declare: “Thus he is the supreme of all entities”, “Therefore, that janArdhana is only the greatest”, etc.

Etymology: The one who is the greatest of all due to his unquantifiable abundant nature (of showering his unbounded grace towards his refugees in an abundant flow) is called ‘amEyAthmA’. This manthra is said to grant superior fruits upon the chanter.

इयानित्यपरिच्छॆद्य स्वभावात् सर्वतॊsधिकः |
अमॆयात्मा समुद्दिष्टॊ ह्यौन्नत्यफलदॊ मनुः ||

104) sarvayOgavinissrutha: (सर्वयॊगविनिस्सृतः)

How does bhagavAn qualify as the one with such abundant nature? he qualifies thus due to his being the ‘sarvayOgavinissrutha:’ – the one who is attained by all means. He is called thus, because he is attained by all the scriptural injunctions as well as the lower means that anyone cooks up with his own imagination and intelligence. He is especially fit of being attained by everyone much akin to the esoteric meanings of the vEdhas. This also means that he is very easily attained by all souls.

The scriptures have said thus about bhagavAn’s attainability:

  • “bhagavAn bestows the superior experience of his divine wealth even to those who know not of any higher means of attaining him but just worship him by any means that they can comprehend”
  • “Although not abiding by injunctions, when a surrendered soul worships bhagavAn with pure love, the lord of such manthras – bhagavAn – gets pleased and graces him abundantly. What, then, is to be said about the enlightened souls who are full of knowledge and love towards bhagavAn, and worship him with all faith and devotion?”
  • “When it is well known that mAdhava wholeheartedly accepts just the mental worship of his devotees, isn’t it very clear that those who are caught up in the miseries of samsAra have failed to think about bhagavAn?”, etc.

Etymology: He is attainable by all means, and hence he is called ‘sarvayOgavinissrutha:’.

सर्वैरुपायैः प्राप्यश्च सर्वयॊगविनिस्सृतः |

वसुर्वसुमनाः सत्यः समात्मा संमितः समः ।
अमॊघः पुण्डरीकाक्षॊ वृषकर्मा वृषाकृतिः ॥ १२ ॥

105) vasu: (वसुः) (also repeated in 271, 701)

Since he resides with utmost love within the minds of even such souls who show little devotion unto him, he is called ‘vasu:’. The root ‘vas’ वस् (to reside) is suffixed with the adjunct ‘u:’ (उः), resulting in this divine name.

Etymology: The one who voluntarily resides with utmost love in such souls who display the slightest devotion unto himim is called ‘vasu:’.

वसतीति वसुः तॆषु प्रीत्या परमया स्वयम् |

106) vasumanA: (वसुमनाः) (also repeated in 702)

He places his mind with his devotees considering them as his greatest wealth, and hence called ‘vasumanA:’ – the one who considers his devotees as his greatest wealth. bhagavAn himself says thus in the bhagavath gIthA: “Such a great soul who considers me as everything to him is the most difficult to find”.

Etymology: He whose mind always rests with his devotees – considering them as his greatest invaluable wealth – is called as ‘vasumanA:’ by everyone. This manthra nurtures the chanters as a mother nurtures her child.

वसुनीव निधौ तॆषु मनॊ यस्यास्ति सर्वदा |
सर्वैः वसुमनाः प्रॊक्तॊ मातृवत् पॊषकॊ मनुः ||

107) sathya: (सत्यः) (also repeated in 213, 873)

The one who is benevolent to such realized souls is called ‘sathya:’ – the benevolent.

The root ‘sath’ (सत्) is suffixed with ‘yath’ (यत्) adjunct resulting in the divine name ‘sathya:’.

Etymology: The one who is benevolent to the realized souls is called ‘sathya:’.

सत्सु साधुः सत्य इति |

108) samAthmA (समात्मा)

The one who ignores the differences among his devotees in their natures and considers them all as equal and graces them all equally is called ‘samAthmA’ – the impartial.

bhagavAn himself declares thus in bhagavath gIthA – “I treat all souls equally”.

Etymology: bhagavAn is called ‘samAthmA’ due to his impartiality.

समात्मा समचित्ततः |

109) sammitha: (संमितः)

He is called ‘sammitha:’ since he is bound by the love of his devotees. The root ‘mA’ मा (restriction) is suffixed with ‘ikAra:’ (इकारः) resulting in the word ‘mitha:’ (मितः).

He is very easily confined by his devotees by their love – to the extent of enabling them to say “He is ours. He is in our control”.

This is shown in SrImath rAmAyanam  and SrI vishNu purAnam, where dhaSaratha declares “My rAma – the lotus eyed one – is not even sixteen years of age”, and vasudhEva declares “He (krishNa) is truly my son”.

Etymology: Since he is confined by his devotees out of their love, he is called ‘sammitha:’.

मितत्वात् च तथा भक्तैः संमितः परिकीर्तितः |

110) sama: (समः)

Even among such devotees, since bhagavAn never differentiates on the basis of the new devotees and old devotees, the knowledgeable souls and the ignorant souls, and other such factors, and since he respects all of their love towards him equally, he is called ‘sama:’ – the equal one.

As per the grammatical rules, the word ‘sam’ (सम्) is suffixed with ‘akAra’ (अः), resulting in the divine name ‘sama:’.

Etymology: The one who is equal to all of his old devotees as well as the new ones is called ‘sama:’.

ज्ञातॆsपरिचितॆ चापि समत्वात् सम उच्यतॆ |

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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