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From: Krishnamachari, N. (krish_at_ihmail1.ih.lucent.com)
Date: Wed Dec 03 1997 - 13:59:00 PST
SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - slokam 20. maheshvAso mahI-bhartA srI-nivAsah satAm-gatih | a-niruddhah surAnanado govindo govidAm-patih || Om maheshvAsAya namah Om mahI-bhartre namah Om srInivAsAya namah Om satAm-gataye namah Om aniruddhAya namah Om surAnanadAya namah Om govindAya namah Om govidAm pataye namah. 183. maheshvAsah - a) The discharger of great arrows b) The wielder of the mighty bow Om maheshvAsAya namah. mahAn - manohArI - enchanting; ishUNAm - arrows; Asah - discharger. SrI Bhattar gives the examples of Lord Rama discharging the arrows to establish a bridge across the sethu river and at the time of destroying the ten-headed RAvaNa. SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points out that ishvAsa can mean the bow (that which throws or discharges the arrows), and one who has the great dhanus is maheshvAsa - mahAn ishvAsah asya asti iti maheshvAsah. The dharma cakram author points out that even though modern science provides a lot of facilities like being able to build bridges to cross great rivers in times of war in a short time nowadays, the result is more war and more insecurity and more evils. Not so with the Lord's arrows, which always achieve their objective without fail (rAma bANam vIN pogAdu is a saying in Tamil - Rama's arrows never go to waste), and bring good to mankind. 184. mahI-bhartA - The bearer of the earth. Om mahI-bhartre namah. SrI Bhattar interprets this nAma as referring to bhagavAn bearing the earth constantly as the Adi kUrma. SrI SrInivAsa rAghavAchAryAr has pointed out in his nr*simha priyA articles that the following mantra in the nitya Ahnika karma - Om akhila jagadAdhArAya kUrma-rUpiNe nArAyaNAya namah - is a reference to this act of Sriman nArAyaNa. BhartA literally means husband or supporter. mahI means earth. mahI-bhartA means the Husband of Mother Earth. We have the description of how the Lord, as the Great Boar (varAha) uplifted the earth from the "waters of Deluge", and is still supporting the earth. The author in dharma cakram surmises that the gravitational force which keeps everything in this universe in its place is just a demonstration of the Sakti or power of this mahI-bhartA. 185. SrI-nivAsah - In whom Lakshmi resides. Om SrInivAsAya namah. SrI refers to Lakshmi. NivAsam is the place or abode. Sri mahA-lakshmi emerged from the ocean as one of the nectars as it was churned. All the deva-s were watching and waiting, and She chose the Lord as She emerged. BhagavAn greeted Her with sweet words and offered Her the place on His vaksha-sthalam. This is one of His leela-s. SrI chinmayAnanda points out that SrI connotes "all Glory and power, faculties and strength, to be good and to perform creative acts of righteousness". She never resides permanently in any bosom, and even great saints and sages are known to have compromised the perfections in them in recorded history. The only place where imperfections never enter to molest the serene essence, is the seat of Eternal Perfection, which is the bosom of nArAyaNa. This is a very elegant way of interpreting and understanding the significance of the statement that SrI is always in the vaksha-sthalam of the Lord. SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points out that SrI also means beauty (SobhA), fame (vibhUti), wealth (dhana). One who is the residence of all these is SrI-nivAsa. The statement that SrI resides always with mahA-vishNu in his vaksha-sthalam emphasizes the concept that lakshmi and nArAyaNa should be viewed as One, just as the fire and the heat associated with it are not two separate things. SrI is the brightness, the success, the wealth, the beauty, associated with nArAyaNa. 186. satAm-gatih - The Ultimate Goal for all spiritual seekers. Om satAm-gataye namah. sat refers to all spiritual seekers and all those who are virtuous. SrI chinmayAnanda points out that this name implies that He is not only the final goal for these, but also the very direction, path, and progress as well. BhagavAn is the goal for the devotees because they do not want anything except Him once they become His devotees. 187. a-niruddhah - One who cannot be obstructed or resisted by anyone. Om aniruddhAya namah. Examples of this guNa of bhagavAn are seen all around us all the time. Nothing can stop the rising and setting of the sun, the absorption of sun's energy by the different things, etc. The laws of Nature are irresistible. In SrI chinamayAnanda's words relating to this nAma, "Time and tide wait for none". BhagavAn has been victorious and unobstructed in all of His incarnations. SrI Bhattar gives the reference to maula smahitA to support the interpretation for this nAma - aparimita cheshTo bhagavAn aniruddhah - Unlimited are the exploits of bhagavAn aniruddha". The writer in dharma cakram gives a very obvious example of the unobstructed nature of bhagavAn's wishes. Kamsa tries many things to get rid of child Kr*shNa right from the time of His birth, and in fact He had planned to get rid of the child long before the child was to be born. We all know that nothing worked, and the child kr*shNa became the boy kr*shNa and got rid of kamsa as He had planned. This nAma not only says that no one can obstruct bhagavAn helping His devotees, but it also says that no one can save His enemies. 188. surAnandah - One who gives delight to the gods. Om surAnandAya namah. surAn Anandayati iti surAnandah. The word sura is composed of su - good, and rA - to give. So bhagavAn is One who brings happiness to those who bring good to the world (sura-s). He has assigned them the different functions on these lines. He gives delight to the gods by helping them in times of distress. One instance of this is when the Milk-Ocean was churned and the Lord gave the amr*tam to the sura-s. The instance that Sri Bhattar alludes to is the hamsa incarnation which is extensively referred to in the divya prabandham. This is covered in several places in the divya prabandham, and in addition there is a whole chapter dedicated to this incarnation in SrImad-bhAgavatam. The following are references in divya prabandham: mun iv-Ezhu ulagu uNarvinRi iruL miga umbargaL tozhudEtta annamAgi anRu aru-maRai payandavanE enakku aruL puri nIyE... (periya tirumozhi 5.3.8) "When all the seven worlds were immersed in darkness because of all kinds of conflicting and contradictory beliefs, brahma and sanaka-sanandanAdi deva-s prayed to Lord nArAyaNa, He appeared in the form of a hamsa (swan) and gave them the benefit of the knowledge of the path of righteousness." The significance of hamsa here is that it is capable of separating the milk from the water; so also, bhagavAn identified the good from the bad for the benefit of the sura-s. "tunni maNNum viNNAdum tOnRAdu iruLAi mUdiya nAL annamAgi aru maraigaL aruLicceyda amalanidam.... (periya tirumozhi 5.1.9) "mannu mA-nilamum malaigalum kadalum vAnamum tAnavar-ulagum tunnu mA-iruLAi tulangoLi Surungi tollai-nAnmaRaigaLum maRaiya pinnum vAnavarkkum munivarkkum nalgi piRangiruL niRam keDa oru nAL annamAi a~ngu arumaRai payndAn aranga-mA-nagar amrndAnE. (periya tirumozhi 5.7.3) "tunniya pEriruL Suzhndu ulagai mUDa manniya nAnmaRai muRRum maRaindiDa pin ivvulagil pEriruL nI~nga anRu annamadAnE! AccOvaccO arumaRai tandAnE! AccOvaccO!" (periyAzhvAr tirumozhi 1.9.10) In SrImad-bhAgavatam, chapter 13 of the 11th skandam is devoted to hamsa avatAram. There bhagavAn describes how brahma meditated upon Him for guidance in answering the question from sanaka-sanandanA-s on the relationship between buddhi, AtmA, guNa-s, etc., and how He appeared in the form of a swan incarnation and gave the upadeSa to them. 189. govindah - a) One who is praised by the gods (for His help). b) One who dug out the Earth from the depths of the Ocean. c) The protector of cows. d) One who confers the veda-s Om govindAya namah. go in samskr*t means "Earth", "cows", "speech", or "veda-s" - gaur-vANI, dharA, dhenurvA. From this we derive gavAm, gAm, etc. vid - lAbhe to get, to find, to feel is the root from which vinda is derived. a) gavAm vindah govindah - gavAm - praise, vindah - recipient. He is govinda because He is the recipient of praise by the gods for the help He renders as outlined in the previous nAma. b) Another interpretation is gAm avindat - One who retrieved the Earth from the depths of the Ocean. The following is from Santi parvam in mahAbhAratam - nashTAm vai dharaNIm purvam avindam vai guhAgatAm | govinda iti tenAham devair-vAgbir-abhishTutah || (Santi - 330.5) "I first rescued the earth which was carried away and hidden in depths of the Ocean (by an asura); hence I am praised by the appellation Govinda by gods and scriptures". The significance of this is pointed out by the dharma cakram writer. BhagavAn is the One who truly understands the world and all its subjects. c) gAvo vedavANyo yam vindanti labhante, yatra vA avatisThante sa govindo bhagavAn vishNuh - One who is reached by vedic chanting, or One who is the abode of the veda-s, is govinda or vishNu. In harivamSa we have the following - gaureshA tu yato vANI tAm ca vindayate bhavAn | govindastu tato deva! munibhih kathyate bhavAn! || (harivamSa 3.88.50) gau means words. You pervade all words giving them power. Sages, therefore, call you govinda. d) The protector of the cows - again supported from harivamSa - aham kilendro devAnAm tvam gavAm indratAm gatah | govinda iti lokAstvAm stoshyanti bhuvi SASvatam || (harivamSa 2.19.45) "I am indra, leader of deva-s. You have attained the leadership of the cows. So in this world men praise You always addressing you as govinda". He is the protector of the cows and played the part of gopAla in gokulam. SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points out that the leadership of cows also suggests the importance of milk, ghee, etc., in worship, yaj~na etc., and how these also play a key role in the nourishment of the world. An author by name ananta kr*shNa Sastri, who has translated SrI Sankara's vishNu sahasranAma vyAkhyAnam, gives 10 meanings for the combination go+vid - 1) go -svargam - He transcends Heaven. 2) arrows - He knows all the weapons. 3) cattle - He is the leader of cows. 4) Speech - He is to be known by the veda-s. 5) Thunderbolt - He has the vajra marks on His feet. 6) Quarters - He is known in all quarters. 7) Eyes - He is the seer in every person. 8) The Sun - He is in the orb of the sun. 9) Earth - He recovered the Earth from the Ocean. 10) Waters - His seat is in the waters. 190. govidAm patih - The protector of those who know the veda-s. Om govidAm-pataye namah. Here go means veda-s. vid is one who knows. pati is the leader or protector. The significance to be recognized here is that He is the source of all knowledge, and it is by His grace that knowledge is attained. Recall from the previous nAma that the word go in samskr*t has several meanings, including speech, earth, cows, etc. This opens up the beauty of other interpretations for the current nAma. BhagavAn is also the master of speech of all other creations such as birds, etc., the leader of those who know the principle (tatvam) of this Universe, etc. -dAsan kr*shNamAchAryan I am indebted to Sri M. Srinivasan for helping me with identifying these references.