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SrI vishNu sahasra nAma stotram - Slokam 68 - Part 1.

From: Narasimhan Krishnamachari (
Date: Sun Apr 29 2001 - 07:29:45 PDT

			SrI vishNu sahasra nAmam – Slokam 68.

		arcishmAn_arcitah kumbho viSuddhAtmA viSodhanah    |
		aniruddho_‘prati-rathah pradyumno_‘mita-vikramah    ||

om arcishmate namah
om arcitAya namah
om kumbhAya namah
om viSuddhAtmane namah
om viSodanAya namah
om aniruddhAya namah
om a-prati-rathAya namah
om pradyumnAya anamah
om a-mita-vikramAya namah

639. arcishmAn – He Who has great luster.

Om arcishmate namah.

The word arcis refers to a ray of light.  This is the basis for the
interpretation of this nAma.  He Who possesses arcis or great luster is

a) SrI BhaTTar:  bhagavAn has the great luster that He reveals to His
true devotees.  Ordinarily, people are unable to realize His greatness.
 However, in the case of a few like arjuna, He gave divine vision so
that they could see His true greatness.    SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives an
alternate interpretation that this can refer to His jyoti in His arcA
form.  SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj also gives this interpretation –
arci-vigraha kAntih | tadasya asti iti arcishmAn |

SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri explains that He reveals His luster or greatness
to His devotee just at the level that the devotee can enjoy.  He also
gives the ability to His devotees such that they can experience His
greatness.  In truth, His Divine Luster is beyond nature, and so no one
can ordinarily realize its depth and magnitude.   

b) SrI Samkara bhAshyam is that He is the principal Luminary by whose
radiance the sun, the moon, and the others shine.  Archishmanto
tadIyena arcishA candra sUryAdayah, sa eva mukhyah archishmAn.  SrI
rAdhAkRshNa SAstri elaborates that just as a hot iron rod acquires
redness like fire when it is associated with fire, so also the sun and
the moon shine because they are associated with (have as their
antaryAmi) bhagavAn.  

SrI cinmayAnanda gives reference to the gItA – jyotishAmapi taj-jyotih
tamasah param ucyate   (13.17) – The light of all lights, this is said
to be beyond tamas.  He also refers us to kaThopanishad 2.5.15 –

	na tatra sUryo bhAti na candra tArakam nemA vidyuto bhAnti
kuto’yamagnih    |
	tameva bhAntum anubhAti sarvam tasya bhAsA sarvamidam vibhAti   ||

	“There, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, nor the
lightning has any effulgence;  how then can this Fire-light illumine
It?  By Its Light alone, all else in the world illumined”.

c) SrI baladeva vidyAbhUshaN, who is a follower of the gauDIya
sampradAyam, gives the interpretation that bhagavAn is called
archishmAn (jAjvalyamAnah) because He was shining with anger on hearing
that kamsa had disgraced his father (ugrasena) by putting him in prison
and dethroning him – kamsAt pitror-avaj~nayA jAjvalyamAnatvAt
archishmAn.  This is an example of how the different vyAkhyAna kartA-s
have the anubhavam of the different bhagavan nAma-s to even better
enjoy their own sampradAya-s.  

640. arcitah – He Who is worshipped.  

Om arcitAya namah.

a) SrI BhaTTar: All the guNa-s that have been described so far are
consistent with Him being arcitah – To be worshipped.  This nAma also
refers to His incarnation in the arcA form.  The other incarnations are
limited to us by the time in which they took place (rAma, kRshNa,
etc.), or the place where He is found in these incarnations (for
example, the para rUpa in SrI vaikunTham).  Unlike these, the arcA form
is not at all limited in any way in Its accessibility to us, and is
available to us in holy places, temples, and even houses at all times. 
The mysterious truth (guhyam) about the arcA form can be found in
bhagavat SAstra (the pA’ncarAtra Agama), bodhAyana smRti, vaishNava
purANa, and other scriptural texts.  

SrI BhaTTar gives the following passage from vaishNava dharmam, which
describes the benefit of the worship of the arcA mUrti:

	su-rUpAm pratimAm vishNoh prasanna vadanekshaNAm   |
	kRtvA’’tmanah prItikarIm suvarNa rajatAdibhih    ||

	tAm arcayet tAm praNamet tAm yajet tAm vicintayet    |
	viSatyapAsta-doshastu tAmeva abrahma rUpiNIm    ||

“After having shaped a beautiful image of vishNu with a lovely face and
lovely eyes, out of gold, silver, and the like in a manner that would
be pleasing, one should worship it, do sacrifice to it, and meditate on
it.  By doing so, one would enter into that form which is none other
than Brahman itself, and will have all the sins dispelled”.

SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives reference to mudal tiruvantAdi 44 – “tamar
ugandadu evv-uruvam avv-uruvam tAnE, tamar ugandadu ep-pEr, ap-pEr” –
He assumes whatever shape His devotees want Him to assume, accepts
whatever name they give Him, and becomes whatever form the devotees
give Him when they meditate on Him.  SrI rAmAnujan also refers us to
gItA Slokam 4.11, which conveys the same thought.

		ye yathA mAm prapadyante tAns-tathaiva bhajAmyaham  |

nammAzhvAr tells us the same truth in tiruvAimozhi 3.6.9 – ne’njinAl
ninaippAn yavan avanAgum nIL-kaDal vaNNanE – We do not need to worry
about our inability to access Him in His para rUpam in SrI vaikunTham; 
He will assume whatever form we give Him even in our thoughts.

b) SrI Samkara’s interpretation is that the Lord is arcitah because He
is worshipped and adored even by the likes of brahma.   SrI rAdhAkRshNa
SAstri comments that the likes of sUrya, candra, brahma etc. worship
Him just so that they can have a fraction of His divya Sakti.  SrI
cinmayAnanda points out that the name “Worshipped” is given to Him
because He is worshipped by Siva, brahma, etc.  

The dharma cakram writer points out that from this nAma, we can take
the lesson that He can be worshipped in whatever form one chooses to
worship Him, depending on one’s mental maturity in the path of sAdhanA.

Note that the orientation of SrI BhaTTar’s interpretation is always in
terms of bhagavAn always doing everything He does for the sake of His
devotees, while SrI Samkara’s interpretation in invariably in terms of
His parattvam.   Almost without exception, this aspect is noticeable in
every nAma, and the reader should keep this in mind in order to enjoy
the different vyAkhyAna-s to the fullest extent.  This point will not
be repeated for every nAma, but seems to be true without exception for
every nAma.

641. kumbhah – a ) He Who is an object of desire.
		b) He Who shines in this world.
		c) He Who fills this world with His fame.
		d) He in Whom everything is contained.
		e) He Who envelops the earth.

Om kumbhAya namah.

SrI BhaTTar gives two derivations for the nAma:    

a) The first of these meanings – “He Who is desired”, is derived from
the root kamu – kAntau, and the uNAdi sUtra kameh kum ca.   (I could
not find this specific sUtra in my copy of the siddhAnta kaumudi, but
both SrI BhaTTar and SrI satyadevo vAsishTha have referred to this
sUtra in explaining this nAma.  An example of the application of this
sUtra is in the formation of the word kumAra, which is also derived
from the same root – kamu kAntau – to desire).  Thus one interpretation
for the nAma is He Who is desired – kAmyata iti kumbhah.  He is desired
by the devotees because He is the Ultimate in beauty, He is the One by
reaching whom there is no more return to the ocean of samsAra, there is
nothing more to desire after reaching Him, etc.   SrI v.v. rAmAnujan
gives reference to tirumozhi – accO oru azhagiyavA (9.2.1); to
tiruppANAzhvAr – en amudinaik kaNDa kaNgaL maRRonRinaik kANAvE; and to
tirumAlai – mAdaraAr kayarkaN ennum valaiyuL paTTu azhunduvEnaip pOdarE
enRu Sollit tan pAl Adaram peruga vaitta azhagan ara’ngan, which all
illustrate His being the Object of desire for His devotees. 

b) SrI BhaTTar gives the alternate interpretation based on the root bhA
– to shine, in association with the word kum – this world.  So He Who
shines in this world is kumbhah – kau bhAti iti kumbhah.   SrI BhaTTar
attributes His shining in this world to His presence as the arcA mUrti
in the shrines, and gives several quotes to support the sanctity of the
areas around the sacred shrines, the power of the presence of His
shrine in the temples etc.  The reference to bhUmi here is thus to the
divya deSam-s.  Birth, living, or death in a divya deSam is the most
purifying for any one.  Yama and his servants won’t dare to approach
one who dies close to a divya deSam.  

c) SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives the interpretation which is a
variation of the above – kuh bhUmih prapa’nca pratIkah; umbhati
pUrayati iti umbhah; koh prapa’ncasya umbhah – pUrakah sva-yaSasA iti
kumbhah – BhagavAn fills this world with His fame and thus makes it
complete, a fit place to live.    

d) SrI Samkara uses the meaning “container or pot” to the word
“kumbhah”, and gives the interpretation that bhagavAn has this nAma
because everything in this Universe is contained in Him like in a pot. 
 SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri elaborates on this – BhagavAn protects everyone
in this Universe like a vessel that protects the water contained inside
it.  He gives the following supports from the Sruti-s:  ubhe asmin
dyAvA pRthivI antareva samAhite (chAndogya. 8.1.3), and tasmin sarvam
pratishThitam (bRhadA. 1.5.1).  SrI cinmayAnanda gives yet another
variation of the interpretation – He is called “The Container”, because
everything that happens only takes place within Him. 

The dharma cakram writer explains that what is meant here is the He is
the support for everything.   All our friends and relatives can at best
be supports for us only as long as we live; after that they can’t
support us.  He is the One who supports the jIva all the way until it
attains mukti.   But the jIva-s who are steeped in aj~nAna only think
of the support from their friends and relatives, and do not realize
that the real support comes from Him.  We find many means to keep our
eyes and ears in good shape, but we don’t spend the time to keep our
minds in shape.  This nAma tells us that He is the Only One who can
support us in achieving this.

e) SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning from the root kubhi
AcchAdane – to envelop, to cover, and explains that bhagavAn envelops
the earth in the form of the sun etc., and so He is called kumbhah.

623. viSuddhAtmA – He of a pure nature.

Om viSuddhAtmane namah.

SrI BhaTTar’s anubhavam is that because bhagavAn sacrifices all that He
has on His devotees, He is One of pure nature.  AzhvAr’s equivalent
nAma is amalan Adi pirAn, vimalan, etc.  

SrI Samkara gives the interpretation – viSuddha AtmA –  The pure Atman
– He who is beyond the influence of the three guNa-s – sattva, rajas
and tamas, which keep influencing our actions and thoughts, and thus
keep us attached to this body and ultimately bind us in samsAra.  Since
He is beyond the influence of prakRti whose attributes are these three
guNa-s, He is not influenced by these, and thus He is pure.   He is
beyond all passions and desire, and all disturbances arising from these
– triguNAtItah (SrI cinmayAnanda).   

SrI kRshNa datta bharadvAj gives the interpretation – viSesheNa Suddhah
AtmA svarUpam yasya iti viSuddhAtmA.  

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives the following reference from the Sruti
which describes His Suddha svarUpam:

    sa paryagAt Sukram akAyam avRaNam asnAviram Suddham apaApaviddham …
(ISAvAsya. 8)

    etonvindram stavAma Suddham Suddhena sAmnA |
SuddhairuktairvAvRdhvAmsam Suddha ASIrvAn mamamttu  ||  indra Suddho na
Agahi Suddhah SuddhAbhirUtibhih  |  Suddho rayim ni dhAraya Suddho
mamaddhi somya   ||  indra Suddho hi no rayim Suddho ratnAni dASushe  
|  Suddho vRtrANi jighnase Suddho vAjam sishAsasi   ||  (Rg. 7.95 –

644. viSodhanah – The Purifier.

Om viSodhanAya namah.

a) SrI BhaTTar:  viSodhayati iti viSodhanah.  bhagavAn has the nAma
“Purifier” since He purifies those who give up their body in a holy
shrine, by making them fit to attain Him.  This is reflected in
nammAzhvAr’s tiruvAimoshi 2.7.4 – ennaik koNDu en pAvam tannaiyum pARak
kaiitu (tanna0) mevum tan mayam AkkinAn em pirAn vittu.  viSesheNa
Sodhayati vimalI karoti samArAdhana niratAn iti viSodhanah (SrI kRshNa
datta bhAradvaAj). 

b) SrI Samkara gives the interpretation that He is the Purifier because
the very remembrance of Him purifies us by destroying our sins – smRrti
mAtreNa pApAnAm kshapaNAt viSodhanah.   This purification happens
because remembrance of Him keeps our mind from being influenced by the
three guNa-s (sattva, rajas and tamas), and thus it enables us to
realize Him (SrI rAdhAkRshNa Sastri).  By remembering Him, the human
heart becomes cleansed of its sins, immaculately swept of all
consequent feelings of restlessness (SrI cinmayAnanda).  

c) SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points out that bhagavAn purifies this
universe in various ways – by the process of creation (navo navo
bhavati jAyamAnah), by His being unconstrained and unrestrained in any
way ((indrasya bAhvor bhUyishThamojah) – amogha Sakti, in the form of
the Sun, etc. Through creation,  He renews the old into the new, and
thus makes us feel like one who wakes up from sleep and feels fresh.

To be continued.

-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan    



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