Vishnu Sahasranama - Thousand Ways To The Transcendental

Form your study group and study a chosen Vedanta text or shloka.

Re: Vishnu Sahasranama - Thousand Ways To The Transcendental

Postby meera » Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:12 pm

Hari Om..

1000. सर्वप्रहरणायुद्धः - Sarvapraharanaayudhdh = He who has all implements for all kinds of assault and fight.

Praharana refers to fighting/resisting/defeating obstacles. Sarva= all. aYudhah: weapons

In the last naam it was already mentioned that the Lord does not need weapons, but the intention is to say, He is armed for every kind of problem that the devotee has, or He can defeat every kind of difficulty a devotee has, even if at times, the problem has been created owing to a boon the Lord Himself has granted.

Such as in the case of Ravana. This celebrated king of Lanka was once a great scholar and vedic expert. His 10 heads held/represented the 4 vedas and the 6 shastras, they say. Such a learned man asked for the boon of immortality from Brahmaa and got it. But dharma always supercedes. And so it was with Ravana too. He was killed by the Lord Himself using a weapon that Lord Brahma himself had made for Indra and which was pointed to Lord Rama by Matali, His charioteer --sent for His service by Indra, whose charioteer Matali was and who Indra sends on special duty when he sees that the Lord is fighting from the ground while Ravana was on a well-equipped chariot. We know that Sri Rama was in exile and hence not in possession of any ammunition or chariot.

ततः संस्मारितो रामस्तेन वाक्येन मातलेः |
जग्राह स शरं दीप्तं निःश्वसन्तमिवोरगम् || ६-१०८-३
यं तस्मैन् प्रथमं प्रादादगस्त्यो भगवानृषिः |
ब्रह्मदत्तं महाबाणममोघं युधि वीर्यवान् || ६-१०८-४

Then, the valiant Rama, who was reminded thus by Matali, took hold of a blazing arrow, which was given by Brahma and which in turn was given to him by the glorious sage, Agastya earlier in the battle-field and which looked like a hissing serpent.

We see that the Lord was gifted weapons by various devas, some by ordinary folk, some made especially for Him. Thus Ravana is killed by the Lord with a weapon made by Lord Brahma. So even a blessing of the Lord can be called back if the jiva does not respect it, as we saw in the case of Ravana.

Such as in the case of Hiranyakashyap who had also obtained a boon of near immortality from Lord Brahma (again) and prowess in weaponry from Lord Shiva as a result of which he could not be destroyed at all. When his tyranny crossed limits, the Lord came as Narasimha and ended him using His claws as weapons. But the compassion of the Lord is immeasurable, for we know that Hiranyakashyap was Jaya, the doorkeeper of the Lord who had incurred the wrath of the Sanatkumaras and then been condemned to 3 human lives on earth. And the choice they made was that their praharaNa should be at the hands of the Lord Vishnu Himself!

Ditto Hiranyaksha his brother who was killed by the Lord assuming the form of a wild boar and kills him for stealing the earth, using His Sudarshan chakra.

Or Jarasandha, the father-in-law of Uncle Kamsa, who the Lord killed using tact/strategy/intelligence…. This will be difficult to grasp in one word. The Lord knew how Jarasandha was born. When after he had attacked the Yadavas 17 times, Krishna decided to relocate His clan to Dwarka. – asked him who he wanted to battle and he chose Bhima, and Bhima wrestled with him. Finally Krishna simply tore a blade of grass to indicate to Bhima that Jarasandha had to be ripped in two, for he was born as two half children (one to each of his father’s 2 wives) which a demoness Jara joined together. Hence his name Jarasandha. Thus, Bhagawan as Bhuta Bhavya Bhavat Prabhu (naam 4). There Gurudev says, He is the knower of the changes and the Illuminator of changes, the knower of our past-present and future, is the intelligence which He wields for accomplishing dharma. Dharma, says Krishna, is Supreme. If He resorted to adharma it was to establish dharma; whereas the kauravas used adharma to perpetrate adharma.

Likewise, Krishna wrestled Kamsa and killed him. But before that He kills Chanura the mountain of a man who was known to have crushed people with his weight. Krishna kills him by spotting his weak spot – his left leg that was painful. Krishna attacked him again and again on the left leg and exhausted him. The rest was easy. Once Chanura dies and Balarama kills Mushtika, Kamsa is hopeless; wrestling him was easy.

Every person killed by the Lord, has been found to be veering towards and steeped in adharma.

‘Killing’ is only an expression we know to reflect the end of a body. But for the Lord it is paritraanaay sadunam and vinaashaaya (cha) dushkritam. It is merely moving an obstacle out of the way.

And for the Lord too it is not destruction as we see it, for we are attached to the external world and define ourselves through it. So any ‘damage’ to the body or the external world depletes us, hurts us, pains us as we identify with them all. We want to keep them, hold on to them, even if it is causing pain to another. But the Lord brooks no nonsense. If someone is causing obstacles or damage to His devotee, the Lord moved that person or object out of the way. And that is the ultimate price for a vasana. The Lord thus removes all vasanas using His weapons or Intelligence and fulfils His promise of salvation.

Towards this He has all kinds of weapons, strengths, abilities, skills, powers, intelligence. He has already told us in BG X: 4,5 that –

4. Intellect, wisdom, non-delusion, forgiveness, truth, self-restraint, calmness, happiness, pain, birth or death, fear and also fearlessness, . . .
5. Non-injury, equanimity, contentment, austerity, beneficence, fame, infamy --- all these different kinds of "qualities-of-beings" arise from Me alone.

If we ponder over these, we will see that it is all these that He brings to us, and if we have these, then they are from Him. And these itself come as rewards and as punishments; these themselves become the cause of our vasana building or vasana exhaustion.

So what the Lord possesses cannot even be listed. Everything is an aayudha, a weapon depending on how He uses it for our welfare. That is the point being made in this last naama: that the Lord has more weapons than we can count, or, For every difficulty, obstacle, He has a weapon for its removal.

As mentioned earlier, these aayudhas include the subtle ones too, not necessarily a tangible shankh-chakra-gada-nandakee… it is even the subtle, like His intelligence and His tact. And we know that even the experiences we experience are His prasaad. To corroborate this, we refer to Sri Adi Sankara’s words where he says, -- even though finger-nails are not considered Ayudham or weapons, we can see that the Lord used them as weapon in the case of Hiranyakashyap. From this every means used by the Lord can be extrapolated to mean aayudham.

And as Agranee He has undertaken to deliver us, to take us across the difficult, pain-ridden samsara, through fear and confusion and anxiety to the Goal. Hence how He does it includes the various aayudhas He applies. What we may see as weapons are mere means to protect us, to save us, exactly as He promised, ….

And even if we are enmeshed in a situation that seems like a dead end, He will save for He is Narasimha-vapuh (naam 21) – half human and half lion, who assumed that form only to show us that there is nothing that escapes His valour and victory.

He is Sarvah (naam 25) – He is the origin and end of all and at all times He cognises all. If He can be the cause of the ntire pralaya, what then is our meagre problems? Then again, He is Achyutah (100), One who NEVER falls from His Real Nature as the Agranee, the Deliverer, the Guide…

Every naam in the Sahasranaam can be recalled and repeated to corroborate His all-pervasive presence. That He is Sarvadarshanah (naam 94), sahasraaksh (226) – of innumerable eyes, Sarvatachakshuh (625) – who has eyes everywhere, and sahasrapaada (227) of innumerable feet – we remind ourselves that every difficulty and obstacle is seen and known by Him and He removes each and every one of them as He is the One who is leading us Home. Once again we remain reminded that He is Vaikuntah (405)who prevents men from going astray, and since He Himself is Nivruttaatma (229) completely withdrawn from all identification with matter, untouched by samsara He alone can, will and does remove every obstacle and sin/ vasana or karmaphala and deliver us.

Lastly, the Lord keeps His promise and that is critical for us to remember. He will protect us, guide us, lead us out of our own vasanas and erroneous ways, despite ourselves : that is His love and commitment to devotees.

To that One Who has weapons to meet any missile, however powerful, our koti koti prostrations. We may wander, but Oh Agranee, you bring us on track!

Om Sree Chinmaya Satgurave Namah, Om SarvapraharaNaayudhaaya Namah


ॐ सर्वप्रहरणायुद्धाय नमः

User avatar
Posts: 1537
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:57 am

Re: Vishnu Sahasranama - Thousand Ways To The Transcendental

Postby meera » Mon May 02, 2016 12:00 pm

Hari Om..


This is the last and final post on this glorious text. We will not examine the phalashruti verses but a small para will be added here to capture for us why as seekers we need to anchor in the chanting the Vishnusahasranamam.

These 1000 names are ways to clear our own understanding of who the Lord is and how He relates to us. That reference is to Bhagawan Krishna is made clear to us via the the initial words of Bhishma ji when he tells Yudhishthir:
Sree Bhishma Uvaacha - ‘ ….. chhando ‘nustup tatha devo bhagawan devakisutah. --- that the devata who is being prayed to is Lord Krishna, son of Devaki – the deity spoken of in this stotra.

After the 1000th naam, Bhishma ji concludes the sahasranaam with OM Sarvapraharanayudha om nama iti
And this prayer:

vanamAlI gadI SAr'ngI Sa'nkhI cakrI ca nandakI |
SrImAn nArAyaNo vishNuh vAsudevo'bhirakshatu

This couplet once again invokes the Lord who we revered all through the 1000 naams, for sure, but specifically the Lord wearing the weapons whose protection we need because we live in such a world where danger and damage to the body needs His protection too.

The introduction is now complete when we hear that, that Lord as Vanamali, the wearer of the wild flowers of the forests, wielding the gada (mace), sarangi (996) the bow, the wheel of the chariot (chakree) that He plucked and ran to attack Bhishma to keep His promise, the Nandakee (sword) – that Lord is verily Lord Narayana, who is the all-pervading Vishnu, that Vaasudeva (note: Vaasudeva is the Lord and another name of Krishna/Vishnu; and Vasudev is the father of Sri Krishna. Son of Vasudev is Vaasudev, a Sanskrit derivative.) who is the One resident in all of us and in whom we all reside. And from the standpoint of the jiva-seeker who prays this shloka, it says, Oh Narayana who resides in me (Vaasudeva), may that Vaasudeva bhirakshatu, protect us all.

The reference ‘Srimannaarayano Vishnu’ means - Narayana who is ever accompanied by Goddess Lakshmi as Sri—the giver of material and spiritual wealth and the wealth of an auspicious mind, may that Narayana who is the all pervading Vishnu who resides in me (Vaasudev – 332: vasayati, vasati, THE ONE WHO DWELLS IN EVERYTHING (ALSO LORD KRISHNA – SON OF VASUDEVA);

The Vishnupurana says, "sarvANi tatra bhUtAni vasanti paramAtmani |
bhUteshu ca sa sarvAtmA vAsudevastatah smRtah ||"

explained as: He is known as Vaasudevah because He resides everywhere and in and through things. Now this actually is very sweet, if we notice that, despite He being everywhere and in all things, we do not see Him, He remains hidden to us. Yet He reveals as our experiences, as our joys, as the comforter of troubled people...and the relief comes, yet He is not visible. This is His leela, His sport. Sport, also because remaining hidden He nourishes us, provides for us, protects us, leads us and we seek Him all the time and wonder if He is in Heaven? Is He here? Is He there? But all along He is in us, because He has already entered us (Vishnu) and that is why we think, see, hear, speak etc...

Therefore He is called Vaasudeva. (quoting from notes to verse 332)

In naam 695, stanza 74, again we encounter Vaasudeva (vasureta vasupradah; vasuprado vaasudevo vasurvasumanah havih): Here Gurudev adds: One who is Vaasu and Deva.

This paired meaning, is reminiscent of the earlier naamas Vasuprada -- the Giver of material wealth and the giver of spiritual excellence, wealth. The same one being both.

In a similar style is Vaasudeva, where Vaasu is the indweller and deva is the reveller – both being in fact the same, yet for us the difference is real because we continue to objectify the Lord as external to ourselves. As a result for us Vaasu and Devaa are two.
If as Vaasudevah, Bhagawan is the indweller and the reveller, the One who enlivens, the performer of the sacrifice (the experience of samsara), the yagna of life, hence we verily see Bhagawan as the One performing the yagna --- then He is also the substratum upon which the jiva, his experiences and his actions play out and where or into which, all creation (the world of the jiva) will merge during pralaya.

As Vasumanah, He is pervading all minds and is thus both the thought and the thinker. Yet, pervading as He does the jivas’ minds, He also causes them to face Maya, face the experiences of samsara and He knows each ones experience as He is in both the experience and the act of experiencing and the experience itself. All this we have seen in stanza 74 and now these are being repeated to know clearly in our heart why we invoke Srimannaarayno Vishnu Vaasudev and tell Him, protect me.

This closing stanza that is attributed to Bhishma is crucial from the standpoint also that when we pray we need to be wholistic with regard to reference to our Self as the body, the mind, the intellect and the spirit. For via naam 332 and 695 we have seen why Vaasudeva.

Once again in Naam 709 (stanza 76) we refer to Him as Vaasudevah – as the One who covers the jagat (recall we are told He is both the cover and the content in the cover). Bhutavaaso vaasudevah -- Everything is pervaded by Him, built by Him.
Hence the essential building blocks of creation (the content) – the panchamahabhutas, that go to build humans and plants etc are all in Bhagawan – He composes them, He creates them, He holds them and applies them. And all that He creates out of these elements reside in Him, for He is the fundamental substratum of life, the final address. Bhootavaasah. So go back and let us read what Vaasudev means: the indweller and also the one in whom we all are, hence the One enveloping us.

Now we understand why we invoke the Lord as Vaasudevah and ask Him to protect us – He as being Bhutavaasa – in every element that builds the physicality of our lives and our world, to the indweller who watches the rise and fall of our thoughts and the desires they provoke and the actions they lead to…. All outside our control, hence: vaasudevo bhirakshatu.

And that is why this is a very good shloka to conclude the Vishnusahasranaamam with.

As students of Vedanta we may like to not focus on punyaphala etc. If we can try and remember the meanings we can use the naamas to glorify the Lord and thereby abide in Him.

But then Yudhishthir had asked Bhishma ji:

kimekam daivatma loke, kim vyaapekam paraayanam.
Sthuvantha kam kamarchanda prapnuyur mãnavã shubam

Who is the greatest Lord in the world, who is the One refuge for all? By glorifying whom can a jeeva/man reach or attain auspiciousness?

We cannot forget, this auspiciousness (shivah - 600) is of utmost importance to a human being, because if we want to progress on the spiritual path, we want that all thoughts remain unagitated, pure, calm, peaceful and always abundantly rich with abidance in the Guru (or God). We had discussed the value of auspiciousness around stanzas 64, 65 and a separate post was also made on the meaning of auspiciousness. In brief it is the existence of a harmonious inner environment, which raises no agitations. And that Mother Lakshmi, brings to us. When we invoke Narayana, Lakshmi comes anyway and that is one huge lesson Gurudev gave us.

But in Naam 600, we address the Lord Vishnu Himself as Shivah, the auspicious. He purifies us, nullifies all conflicts… many are the stories of devotees who placed the inner agitations at Gurudev’s feet and wept to be rid of them. Gurudev explains that when we chant the Lord’s name, the naam smaranam, the japa cleanses our mind and prepares us better and better to recognise the Lord within.

Thus by remembering the pure One, the auspicious One, we are rendered pure too.
The chanting of the Vishnusahasranaamam, says Bhishma ji, helps man reach auspiciousness. Gain auspiciousness.

And then Yudhishthir asks further:

Ko dharma sarva dharmãnam bhavatha paramo mathaha
Kim japan muchyathé janthur janma samsãra bandhanãth

What is, in your opinion, the Greatest Dharma? By doing japa of what can “creatures” go beyond ("mutchyate") the bondage of samsara?
So if we seek any phala let it be the ability to pursue dharma and do the daily parayanam as a sadhana so that we speed up our inner cleansing and become fit seekers, assimilate the teachings perfectly and in good time and be able to grow in auspiciousness so that we are soon able to see the Lord in everyone and thing. And in reply to Yudhishthir, Bhishma ji says,

Jagath prabhum deva devam antham purushothamam
Sthuvan nãma sahasréna purusha saththo thithaha
Thameva chãr chayanth nithyam bhakthya purusha mavyayam
Dhayãyan sthuvan namasyamsha yajamãnas thamevacha

The supreme ("uttamam") Purusha, the purushottama who is ever working for the welfare of all, the Lord of the world, the endless, anantam Sri Maha Vishnu – by meditating upon Him, worshipping Him, and by prostrating to Him, man can attain auspiciousness. So if we have goals such as these in order to cleanse ourselves and to serve His world, then we must stuvan-naama (meditate), archayan (worship) Maha Vishnu.

And Bhishma ji says – (this is is crucial for us all):

Anãdhinidhanam vishnum sarva lokamahesvaram
Lokãdhyaksham sthuvan nithyam sarva dhukkã thigo bhavéth

That Vishnu is our dharma and He is the Supreme Lord (maheswaram) who has His eyes on the world and its goings on – He knows the world (Lokadhyaksha) and all creatures can overcome sorrow and cross samsara by nityam stuvan, singing His glories daily; Hence chant the sahasranaama daily.

This should be enough for our sadhana.

During this glorious centenary year, prayers for everyone’s sadhana. May Gurudev’s grace lead us onward.

Srimannaaraayano Vishnu Gurudev .jpg
Srimannaaraayano Vishnu Gurudev .jpg (43.96 KiB) Viewed 9425 times
User avatar
Posts: 1537
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:57 am


Return to Mananam On Texts or Slokas

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users