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SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 51 - Part 2.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (
Date: Fri Apr 23 1999 - 15:04:03 PDT

			 SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 51 - Part 2.

			SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 51 - Part 2.

483. avij~nAtA - The Non-cognizant.

om avij~nAtre namah.

SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is that He is non-cognizant of the faults of His
devotees.  He observes that it is a great commendable quality of bhagavAn
that He is willing to forget and forgive the sins of those who have
surrendered to Him unconditionally.  It is said of Lord rAma that He never
even responds back to those who speak harsh words towards Him - ucyamAno'pi
parusham nottaram pratipadyate (ayodhyA 1.10).  SrI BhaTTar quotes his
revered father, SrI kUrattAzhvAn - "Oh Lord! We refute the statement that
you are a sarvaj~nA!  It is obvious You are totally ignorant of the faults
of your devotees!" - sarvaj~natAm evam upAlabhAmahe, tvam hi aj~na eva

SrI v.v.rAmAnujan refers us to periAzhvAr's outpouring - en aDiyAr adu
SeyyAr seidArEl nanRu seidAr enbar (4.9.2) - My devotee would not have
committed this sin, and if he did, then as far as I am concerned, it is a
good deed.  He also gives reference to the gItA (9.30)- api cet sudurAcAro
bhajate mAm ananya-bhAk  |  sAdhureva sa mantavyah ...  ||  (Even if someone
does not follow the AcAra for his jAti etc., as long as he worships me with
singular devotion and without expecting any other benefit, he is a parama
viahsNava to Me).

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning by looking at the word as avi +
j~nAtA instead of the traditional a+vij~nAtA.  Then he derives the meaning
from av rakshaNAdau - to protect, to do good, and j~nAtA - One who knows.
Thus his meaning for avij~nAtA is One who knows how to protect, or He who
protects everyone.  Thus it refers to His being antaryAmi in everything, His
being the Protector of those who surrender to Him, etc.  SrI satyadevo
vAsishTha gives reference to the atharva-vedic mantra "avirve nAma
devatartenAste parIvr*tA" (10.8.31) to support this interpretation. 

SrI Sa~nkara interrpets vij~nAtA as referring to jIva with the distorted
knowledge of being responsible for its own actions etc. (Atmani kartr*tvAdi
kalpa vij~nAnam kalpitam iti jIvo vij~nAtA).  He who is above this distorted
knowledge is a-vij~nAtA (tad-vilakshaNo vishNuh a-vij~nAtA).

484. sahasrAmSuh - He who has a thousand rays (of knowledge).

om sahasrAmSave namah.

amSu means ray.  sahasra here refers to infinite or countless.  SrI BhaTTar
interprets amSu as referring to radiating knowledge, and thus sahasrAmSuh
refers to One who is possessed of infinite knowledge.  nammAzhvAr says -
mikka j~nAna mUrtiyAya veda viLakkinai (4.7.10) - BhagavAn is pure and
unalloyed radiating knowledge, who revealed the veda-s to us, and who is
revealed to us by the veda-s.

SrI Sa~nkara interprets the nAma as referring to His being the Sun with
countless rays.  yena sUryas-tapati tejaseddhah - (tai.brA. 3.12.9) -
Lighted by His effulgence, the sun shines.  SrI Sa~nkara also gives
reference to the gItA to support his interpretation - yad-Aditya gatam tejah
... yac-candramasi yac-cAgnau tat-tejo viddhi mAmakam - 15.12 -  O arjuna!
know that the tejas of the sun, the moon, agni, etc. is mine viz. I am the
One who bestowed this tejas on them. 

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha's interpretation is that BhagavAn radiates His
knowledge and His tejas everywhere, and so He is sahasrAmSuh (anata j~nAna
ananta prabhaSca vushNuh ata sahasrAmSuh). 

485.	vidhAtA - a) The (Supreme) Controller.
		b) The Supporter of the Universe.
		c) The Creator of brahma.

om vidhAtre namah.

This nAma occurred earlier as nAma 44.  

vidhA in the dictionary is given the meaning "division, part, portion", and
vidhAtA means one who apportions, controls, distributes, creates, etc.
li~ngayasUri defines the meaning as "vidhatta iti vidhAtA" in his
amarapadavivr*ti.  SrI BhaTTar interprets the nAma with the meaning "The
Supreme Controller".  He explains the nAma in the context of the meaning of
avij~nAtA that he gave earlier - bhagavAn ignores the faults of His
devotees.  Then one can ask the question "what happens if someone else, like
yama for instance, who is impartial in his treatment of everyone for their
sins as well as good deeds, punishes the devotees of vishNu for their
sins?".  This nAma says that bhagavAn controls yama and all other gods, and
so they won't punish a vishNu-bhakta, and they will inform their servants
not to punish a vishNu-bhakta in any way.  

SrI v.v.rAmAnujan gives several references to divya-prabandham to support
this interpretation.  tirumazhiSai AzhvAr in nAnmugan tiruvantAdi (68) says:
SaduvarAip-pOdimingaL enRAn namanum tan tUduvariak-kUvic-cevikku - yama
tells his servants  in their ears so that no one else notices:  "If you
approach a bhakta who worships SrIman nArAyaNa single-mindedly without
worshipping any other gods, not only you should leave them alone, but you
should also treat them with devotion".   The support for this comes from SrI
vishNu purANam 3.7.14 - parihara madhusUdana-prapannAn prabhuraham
anaya-nr*Nam na vaishNavAnAm - where yama declares that he is the prabhu for
all others but not for vaishNava-s.   The same idea is expressed by poigai
AzhvAr in mudal tiruvantAdi (55)  - em kOn avan tamar, naman-tamarAl
ArAyappaTTu aRiyAr kaNDIr - yama's servants don't go and interrogate the
devotees of SrIman nArAyaNa.

Another way to understand the meaning of this nAma is:   The word vidhAtA is
derived from the root dhA - dhAraNaposhaNayordAne ca - to put, to grant, to
produce, to bear.  vi is added to indicate "in a number of different ways -
vividha".  vidhAtA thus refers to One who protects the beings in a  variety
of ways (SrI satyadevo vAsishTha).  A simple illustration of this is the
protection of the mother and the child in the womb of the mother by bhagavAn
simultaneously in different ways.  Several references to the Sruti are
given, e.g., sa no bandhur-janitA sa vidhAtA dhAmAni veda bhuvanAni viSvA
(yajur. 32.10). 

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha also gives an alternate interpretation - vede
manushyasya kr*te kartavyANam vidhAnakartr*tvena vidhAtA, i.e., vidhAnasya
kartA vidhAtA - He who lays down the rules for the vedic rites to be
observed by people.  Or, He who bestows the benefits for the karma-s that
are observed is also vidhAtA - kartavya karmaNAm vidhAtr*tve visdhAtA;
vyadhadAt iti.

SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is that bhagavAn is vidhAtA - The All-Supporter since
He supports AdiSesha, the eight elephants, etc., which in turn support the

BhagavAn is also called vidhAtA because He is the creator of brahma - yo
brahmANam vidhatAti pUrvam (SveTASva. 6.18) - SrI BhaTTar under nAma 44.

See also under nAma 44.

486.	kr*ta-lakshaNah - a) He who has prescribed the distinguishing
characteristics for the pious.
			b) He who has created distinguishing marks for
			c) He who has created the veda-s.
			d) He who distinguished the different species by
external and internal attributes.

om kr*ta-lakshanAya namah.

This nAma means "He who has laid down the lakshaNa-s or distinctions".  SrI
Sa~nkara and SrI BhaTTar give different anubhavam-s of this aspect of
bhagavAn's guNa.   Meaning (a) is from SrI BhaTTar and (b) to (d) are from
SrI Sa~nkara.

a) SrI BhaTTar had interpreted nAma 483 - avij~nAtA, as indicative of
bhagavAn overlooking the defects of His devotees.  Here it is indicated that
bhagavAn does not ignore everyone's faults, but only the faults of those who
have certain distinguishing characteristics, which He Himself has laid out -
kr*talakshaNah.  SrI BhaTTar gives the following references where bhagavAn
has identified these attributes: 

    - mitrabhAvena samprAptam - yuddha kANDa 18.3 - "He who has come to Me
as a friend"; 

    - samyag vyavasito hi sah - gItA 9.30 - "He who has rightly resolved in
his mind that bhagavAn is everything", and does not look for any other
benefit - ananya bhAk (same Slokam in gItA);  

  - cakrA~nkitAh praveshTavyAh  (harivamSa 21.24) - "They who bear the mark
of the discus on their bodies".  This mark is to be cherished by a vishNu
bhakta just as a chaste woman cherishes her mangala sUtra and other
ornaments when her husband is alive (vishNu tattva).  SrI v.v.rAmAnujan adds
further support from divya prabandham - tIyil poliginRa Se~ncuDarAzhi tigazh
tirucc-cakkarattin kOyil poRiyAlE oRRuNDu ninRu kuDi kuDi AtceyginROm -
In addition to the above lakshaNa-s that SrI BhaTTar has identified, SrI
v.v.rAmAnujan adds the following as the most important lakshNa:  maRandum
puRam tozhA mAndar (nAn~gAm tiruvantAdi 68) - "He who does not worship anya
devatA-s even absent-mindedly".  The dharma cakram writer points us to gItA
chapter 12, Sloka-s 13 to 20, where Lord Kr*shNa has laid down the
lakshaNa-s of His bhakta, starting with adveshTA sarvabhUtAnAm..., and
ending with SraddadhAnA mat-paramA bhaktAste atIva mama priyAh.

SrI Sa~nkara gives different alternative interpretations: b) He created
(kr*t) the veda-s (lakshaNah).   c) He has also distinguished Himself with
the SrIvatsa mark on His vaksha-sthalam.  d) He has created the different
species with distinguishing marks that identify the species uniquely through
external as well as internal distinguishing marks.  He is kr*ta-lakshNah
from all these aspects.

SrI cinmayAnanda points out that bhagavAn is kr*ta-lakshaNah since He
distinguishes Himself through the six attributes -  aiSvarya dharmah yaSaSca
SrIh j~nAnam vairAgyam (glory, righteousness, fame, wealth, knowledge, and
detachment).  SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri observes that bhagavAn has
distinguished Himself through His unique attributes of being sat, cit, and
Ananda svarUpa, and other aspects such as His AdiSesha Sayanam, garuDa
vAhanam, megha SyAmam, San~kha and cakra Ayudha-s, pItAmbara vastra, etc.  

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan