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SrI vishNu sahasra nAmam - Slokam 69 - Part 1.

From: Narasimhan Krishnamachari (
Date: Sun Dec 16 2001 - 21:49:22 PST

                                SrI vishNu sahasra nAmam – Slokam 69 – Part 1.

                              kAla-nemi-nihA Saurih SUrah SUra-janeSvarah    |

                               tri-lokAtmA tri-lokeSah keSavah keSi-hA harih   ||

om kAla-nemi-nighne namah

om Sauraye namah

om SUrAya namah

om SUra-janeSvarAya namah

om tri-lokAtmane namah

om tri-lokeSAya namah

om keSavAya namah

om keSighne namah

om haraye namah

 At the outset, we will note that there are different versions of this Sloka in use, where the nAma-s 649 and 650 occur as follows. vIrah SUrah, Saurih SUrah,  Saurir-vIrah, vIrah Saurih, etc.  Thus the two names are chosen from vIrah, Saurih, and Surah, depending on the pATham that is being used.  

 648. kAla-nemi-nihA – a) The destroyer of the wheel of ignorance of Time..

                                b) The Destroyer of the asura by name kAlanemi.

                                c) He Who sets the direction for the sun who is the controller of Time.

                                d) He Who is beyond the wheel of Time.

 om kAla-nemi-nighne namah.

 a) nemi refers to the outer ring of a wheel; nihanam means killing, slaughter.  SrI v.v. rAmAnujan comments that the wheel of Time represents avidyA;  since bhagavAn destroys this avidyA, He is called kAlanemi-nihA.  SrI M. V. rAmAnujAcArya explains that kAlanemi – the wheel of Time- refers to the bane of kali, and since He destroys the effect of kali, namely avidyA, by firmly residing in the holy places and shrines, He is called kAlanemi-nihA..  SrI BhaTTar quotes the following words of bhagavAn in support, but the reference is not available:

                                 avidyAkhyA ca yA nemih kAlacakrasya durdharA   |

                                sA mayIyam samASritya vigraham vidhunoti ca   ||

 “avidyA (Ignorance) is an irresistible folly of the wheel of Time;  when it comes to Me, it loses its form”.  

 The nine-syllabled mantra containing this nAma “om kAla-nemi-nighne namah” removes the root-cause of avidyA or ignorance, as summarized by the author of nirukti:

                 kAla-cakrasya yA nemih avidyAklhyA ca durdharA   

                 tAm nASayati yaScAsau kAla-nemi-nihA smRtah   ||

                navAksharo manurayam avidyA-mUla mocakah   ||

 SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri explains that for those who are caught up in the wheel of time (being born again and again?) because of avidyA, He stops this wheel for them when they seek His help.  He destroys their  karmA-s accumulated over time;  He ensures that kAla (yama) does not get them in his cycle, to be born again.  

 b) SrI Samkara interprets the nAma as a reference to His destroying the asura by name kAlanemi – kAalanemim asuram nijaghAna iti kAlanemi-nihA. 

 kAlanemi was born later as kamsa, and bhagavAn destroyed kamsa also; so the nAma can be interpreted as as a reference to His destroying kamsa.  SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives reference to SrImad bhAgavatam (10.51.42 – kAlanemi-hatah kamsah …), and gives the interpretation – kAlanemih kamsah tasya nihanteti kAlanemi-nihA.  SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri also makes a reference to kamsa’s killing as an interpretation for this nAma.   

 c) SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives a different explanation.   He uses the root hA – to go, and interprets nihA as One who gives directions or makes things happen.  He interprets kAla as time, and nemi as the wheel, or that which keeps going.  So kAla nemi is interpreted as referring to the sun, and kAla-nemi-nihA as He who makes the sun go, or who sets the direction for the sun, which sets the direction for time.

 d) SrI cinmayAnanda gives the interpretation that the Supreme Self is called kAlanemi nihA because Self is beyond the reach of intellect, and time is but a concept of intellect only, and since He is beyond this wheel of Time, He is called kAlanei-nihA.  

 e) The dharma cakram writer points out that we should learn to use “time” without wasting it for our personal pleasures, but to overcome the karma-s of the past and to avoid accumulating karma-s for the future.  The clock was invented to measure time, and we use that to beautify ourselves instead of learning to use it for making the best use of it.  The nature of time is that you don’t get it back after it is past.  He who does not waste even a single moment of it and devotes all the time in the service of God and His creatures is the one who has utilized time properly, and thus won over time.  Of all the indriya-s that we have for utilizing time, at least one of these indriya-s should always be in the service of Him.  The most precious possession that God has given to mankind is Time.  Those who use it properly overcome Time itself and reach Him who is beyond Time.

 649. Saurih – a) The son of SUra (another name for vasudeva), or He Who is born in the race of SUra-s, a yAdava clan. 

                                b) A reference of Sauri rAjap perumAL of tirukkaNNapuram

                                c) He Who is ever valiant and victorious.

 This nAma has been presented earlier as nAma 342 (Slokam 37).  Please see the previous write-up as well.

 Om Sauraye namah.

 a) He is the son of vasudeva, who is also called SUra -  SUrasya – vasudevasya apatyam iti Saurih (SrI BhaTTar).  Or, because He is born in the kulam of SUra, He is called Saurih  – SUra vamSa prAdurbhUtatvAt Saurih – SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj.  

 (Note:  Under nAma 342, it has been indicated that kRshNa is the grandson of SUra.  This was based on SrI anantakRshNa SAstri’s explanation.  Under the explanation given for this nAma in Slokam 37, SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri indicates that  since Lord kRshNa was born in the race of yAdava-s by name SUra-s, He is called Saurih, and both vasudeva and his father were known by the name SUra).   

 b) Or, He is in the form of Sauri rAjap perumAL in tirukkaNNapuram (utpalAvartaka), as Lord kRshNa (SrI BhaTTar).

 c) SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning from the root SUra – vikrAntau – to be heroic.  Thus Saurih means One who is heroic and victorious – SUrayata iti Saurih.  The alternate meaning he gives is:  SUrasya apatyam Saurih  - atyanta SUrah.  apatyam normally means progeny, as SrI BhaTTar has used above, but SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points out that it can also mean atyanta “the Ultimate”, based on a reference from niruktam (6.32).  

  SrI Samkara uses the pATham “vIrah” in place of “Saurih” in this place, and his next nAma is Saurih.  The meaning of “vIra” is “He Who is valiant”.  The dharma cakram writer observes that unlike for all other creatures, for man there are two types of potential enemies – those from outside and those from inside.  The enemies from inside are the more difficult to overcome – desire, anger, fear, jealousy, pride, lust, etc.  One who does not win over these enemies will not make progress in life.  A vIra is one who does not run away from these enemies, but fights valiantly and overcomes them.  For these enemies who are fighting us from within, it is not enough for us to fight alone – we need His help to overcome them.  It is only when we realize this that He helps us, as evidenced in purANa-s over and over again.  It is only when the deva-s realize that they can’t by themselves be victorious over the asura-s, and go to Him and seek His help, that He takes His incarnations and comes and helps them overcome the asura-s.   We should learn to seek His help in fighting and overcoming the internal enemies inside us.  

 Under the earlier occurrence of this nAma, SrI Sankara's interpretation is that bhagavAn in His incarnation as kRshNa was born as the son of vasudeva, whose father's name was SUra.   SUrasya gotrApatyam pumAn Saurih or SUra kulodbhavAt Saurih.  This is the same as explanation a) for this nAma by SrI BhaTTar for the current occurrence for this nAma. 

 650. SUrah – The Valiant.

 Om SUrAya namah.

 The sequence in Samkara pATham is “kAlanemi-nihA vIrah Saurih Sura-janeSvarah”, and BhaTTar pATham is “kAlanemi-nihA Saurih SUrah SUra-janeSvarah”.  The nAma “SUrah” occurs once in Samkara pATham, in Slokam 37 (nAma 341);  in BhaTTar’s pATham, it occurs twice, the second one being the current occurrence.   He explains the first occurrence in terms of the generic guNa of His valor (Sauryam), and the second occurrence as specifically referring to His incarnation as Lord rAma, whose valor is well-known.   

 The derivation of the meaning from its root is explained under nAma 341.  SrI satyadevo vAsishTha’s anubhavam is that He is unrestrained not only in the sense that His valor is unconstrained, but He is also unconstrained by deSa, kAla, etc. (kAla dig deSa vibhAga muktah), unconstrained in fulfilling the desires of His devotees (dadAti varyam),  pervades this Universe unconstrained in His functions of creation, protection,  and destruction, sustains all creatures by being unconstrained and appearing in the form of the Sun as mitra, varuNa, and agni in the morning, afternoon and evening (mitrasya varuNasyAgneh…), etc. 

 651. SUra-janeSvarah – The Chief of the SUra-s or the valiant people.  

 Om SUra-janeSvarAya namah.

 SUra janAnAm ISvarah Sura-janeSvarah – The Chief of the valiant people. SrI aNNa’ngarAcArya and others give the example of His being the Chief of valiant warriors of the likes of  hanuman, sugrIva, etc.  SrI Samkara gives the example of His being the Lord of indra and others.  SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri observes that bhagavAn is the Lord of gods like indra, men like arjuna, and monkeys such as sugrIva and hanuman.

 SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives another dimension of this guNa of bhagavAn – He is the one from whom all that moves in any form has originated, and thus He is the Lord of all.

 SrI baladeva vidyAbhUshaN gives the interpretation that He has this nAma because He is the Lord or Chief of the SUra klan, through acts such as the destruction of kamsa. 


-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan











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