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SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 23.

From: Krishnamachari, N. (krish_at_ihmail1.ih.lucent.com)
Date: Tue Dec 30 1997 - 12:35:23 PST

		SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - slokam 23.

	gurur_gurutamo dhAma satyah satya-parAkramah        |
	nimisho'nimishah sragvI vAcaspatir_udAra-dheeh       ||     (23)

Om gurutamAya gurave namah 
Om dhAmne namah
Om satyAya namah
Om satyaparAkramAya namah
Om nimishAya namah
Om animishAya namah
Om sragviNe namah
Om vAcaspataye namah
Om udAradhiye namah.

211.  gurur-guru-tamah - The foremost among the preceptors.

Om gurutamAya gurave namah.

	guru means 'spiritual preceptor'.  SrI Bhattar interprets the
following phrase 'guru-tamah' as an adjective for guru, i.e., the guru
who is the best of all guru-s.  SrI Sankara views this as two nama-s,
guru and guru-tama. 

 He is the foremost of preceptors since he is the one who gave the
veda-s to brahma, who then is the source of the veda-s to the rest of
the world.  yo brahmANam vidadhAti pUrvam yo vai vedAnSca prahiNoti
tasmai- He who brought brahma into existence and imparted the veda to
him (SvetASvatara 6.18).  We also have "guruh ka iti |  guruh
sAkshAd-AdinArAyaNah" - The Ultimate guru is AdinArAyaNa (tripAdvibhUti
mahAnArAyaNopanishat - 8.15).  In SrI SankarAcArya guru pramparA, the
first guru is nArAyaNa - nArAyaNam padmabhuvam vasisTham Saktim ca
tatputra parASaram ca vyAsam Sukam ........SrI SankarAcAryam.  We all
know that SrIman nArayANa is the first and foremost in the SrIvaishNava
guru paramparA.

	In dharam cakram, the writer says that He is guru-tama because
you don't have to even go and look for Him.  He pervades everything and
is everywhere, and all we need to get His teaching is to feel the need
for it.  All that is needed is the thirst for His mercy in order for us
to progress in getting true knowledge instead of living the life of a
stone or tree. 

212.  dhAma - a) The Place of Residence.
	b)  The Supreme Light.
	c)  The Abode of all desired things.
 

Om dhAmne namah.

	We encountered the word dhAma when we looked at the nAma
tri-kakud-dhAma (nAma 62).  Some of the same thoughts presented there
apply here. 

	SrI Bhattar interprets the nAma-s starting with the previous one
as referring to the matsya incarnation.  Because of my a~jnAnam, I was
not able to understand the connection with matsya avatAra for the
previous nAma.  For the current one, he points out that bhagavAn is
dhAma because He is
like the helmsman who steers the boat carrying the seeds of all the
transitory moving and non-moving objects at the time of pralaya.     

	SrI Sankara interprets the nAma as being the Supreme Leading
Light.  SrI RAmAnuja in his gItA bhAshya for slokam 10.12 (param brahma
param dhAma), chooses the meaning "Supreme Light" in that context for
the word dhAma - dhAma Sabdo jyotirvacanah - param jyotih.  

	The writer in dharma cakram elaborates further on the term
"Supreme Light".  The eye sees with the light from the Sun.  But neither
the Sun's light nor the eye can see the Ultimate.  For that you need the
light called bhagavAn's Grace, the Inner Light.  This is what mahA
vishNu is, viz. dhAma the Supreme Light, which can reveal what no other
light can.  It is the eye of intense desire to reach Him that can see
this light, and no other eye can. 
   
	Other interpretations given include "He is the Abode of all
desired objects", "He is the Abode of all desires", "He is the Abode for
all karma-s",  etc.
 
	SrI chinmayAnanda, in addition to the interpretation "Supreme
Light",  gives the alternate interpretation that He is dhAma because He
is the Ultimate Goal (dhAma = peak).  

213.  satyah - The Good.

Om satyAya namah.

	This naAma has occurred previously as nAma 107, and will
re-occur as nAma 873.  Please refer to the explanation for nAma 107.

	In the current context of matsya avatAra, SrI Bhattar points out
that He is satya because He was good to sat-purusha-s such as Manu who
sought His help at that time.

	At the time I submitted the explanation for nAma 107, I did not
have SrI satyadevo vAsishTha's vyAkhyAna.  Now I am adding some extracts
from this source.  Under nAma 107, one explanation given was - satya is
One who is 'excellent' in sat, based on the pANini sUtra 4.4.98.  SrI
satyadevo vAsishTha refers us to the Slokam in bhagavad gItA (17.26 and
17.27) for a definition of 'sat' in Lord Kr*shNa's words.
  
	sad bhAve sAdhu bhAve ca sadityetat prayujyate     |
	praSaste karmaNi tathA sac-chabdah pArtha ucyate  ||

	ya~jne tapasi dAne ca sthitih saditi cocyate             |
	karma caiva tadarthIyam sadityevAbhidIyate          ||   (gItA
17.26 and 27)

	The word 'sat' thus refers to existence, goodness, good acts,
firmness in sacrifice, austerities, and gifts, and any acts for such
purposes.  One who is excellent in all these, or One who is excellent to
(i.e., supports) those who do acts along these lines, is satya.

214.  satya-parAkramah - One of unfailing valor.

Om satyaparAkramAya namah.

	SrI Bhattar, continuing on his interpretation of this sequence
of nAma-s in terms of maysa avatAra,  gives the example of bhagavAn
performing truthfully the courageous acts towards Manu and others.  The
writer in dharma cakram points out that there can be two kinds of valor,
one which is used for the good of the people, such as that of SrI Rama,
and the other that is used for demonstrating power and for hurting
others, such as RAvaNa's.   Meditating on mahA vishNu gives us the
ability to develop the valor of the former kind.

215.  nimishah - One whose eyes are closed (towards the enemies of His
devotees).

Om nimishAya namah.

	na Ikshate iti nimishah.  His Graceful Sight does not fall on
those who are opposed to Him or His devotees.  SrI Sankara gives the
meaning that His eyes are closed while He is in yoga-nidrA.  SrI
RAdhAkr*shNa Sastri points out that He is nimisha (with closed eyes)
because He does not need His eyes to see, His ears to hear etc.  The
dharma cakram writer points out that He of closed eyes is seeing all
because He is everywhere, in every one of us, all the time, and is
watching all that happens everywhere even without eyes.  Those who can
contemplate on the yoga-nidrA of vishNu can close their eyes and
meditate, and over a period of time, will be able to divert their minds
towards Him in that state (normally, whether our eyes are open or
closed, they wander in worldly thoughts!).

216.  animishah - One with eyes closed.

Om animishAya namah.

	SrI Bhattar interprets the nAma in terms of the matsya
incarnation.  In His celestial Fish incarnation, He never closes His
eyes and is ever-watchful of His devotees (Fish do not have eyelids, and
so never close their eyes).  SrI Sankara gives two additional
explanations - He is ever awake because of His wisdom, or He is Atma
svarUpa, and AtmA never sleeps.  

The dharma cakram author gives the significance of this nAma as
indicating that one who contemplates on this nAma will be always
spiritually awake, and bad thoughts and the worldly distractions won't
enter his mind.  One is reminded of tiruppANAzhvAr's concluding pASuram
in amalanAdipirAn "en amudinaik kanDa kaNgaL maRRonRinaik kANAvE".
While the AzhvAr sang this when he was witnessing the beauty of the Lord
in the temple, the statement aptly applies to the inner eyes as well.  

217.  sragvI - Adorned with the garland (vaijayantI).

Om sragviNe namah.

	srag means garland.  According to PANinI's ashTAdhyAyI 5.2.121 -
as mAyA medhA srajo vinih - the affix vin coming after sraj indicates
'association with'.  So here the meaning is 'One who is associated with
the garland always - referring to the vaijayantI garland of vishNu.
Prof. A. srinivAsa rAghavan points out that the vaijayanti is composed
of the five precious gems - pearl, ruby, emerald, sapphire, and diamond.
SrI Sankara refers to the vaijayanti as referring to the garland made of
the tanmAtrA-s or the rudiments of the five basic elements (taste,
sight, sound, smell, and sensation) of the pa~nca bhuta-s.  SrI
rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri gives the reference to vishNu purANa - pa~nca
svarUpA yA mAlA vaijayantI gadA bhr*tah | sA bhUta hetu sangAtA bhUta
mAlA ca vai dvijah || (1.2.72).  The writer in dharma cakram suggests
that we should divert all our tan-mAtra-s to the service of vishNu (he
gives the example of ANdAL who decorated herself with the flower garland
just to make sure it was good enough for Lord RanganAtha).

	SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning starting from sr*j
to create or set forth.  Since all creations such as the stars, Sun,
etc., are Hiscreations, He is sragvI.  In a garland, there may be
different kinds of flowers, but they lose their identity as soon as they
are part of the garland.   So also, all these different creations are
together the sragvI or bhagavAn vishNu.  Or, just as it is common
practice to identify an important person in our society by putting a
garland around the neck, bhagavAn is distinguished by this unique
garland to indicate His Lordship and superiority. 

218.  vAcaspatih - The Lord of Speech.

Om vAcaspataye namah.

	SrI Bhattar's interpretation is that He is vAcaspati because it
was He who propounded the knowledge of the veda-s through SrImad matsya
purANa.  It is the power of expression in the matsya purANa that reveals
the guNa of vAcaspati in Him.  

	SrI Sankara interprets this nAma and the next one - udrAradhIh,
as one nAma, vAcaspatirudAradIh, meaning "The Lord of vidyA, being of
magnificent intellect.  All the other interpretations I am using, except
that of SrI satyadevo vAsishTha,  follow this same line.  The latter
gives the vyAkhyAna for these as separate nAma-s, but lists the nAma as
one, and points out that this combining is done only to make sure the
count of the nAma-s is exactly 1000.  SrI Bhattar does not have the
problem since there are other places where the others consider two
separate names whereas he combines them into one (e.g., gurur-guru-tama,
the first nAma in the current posting).

	According to satya bhAshyam (the name that SrI satyadevo
vAsishTha has given to his vyAkhyAnam), the term vAcaspati signifies
that bhagavAn protects, or is the Master of, vidyA or veda. 

219.  udAra-dhIh - One with vast knowledge.

Om udAra-dhiye namah.

	dhI here means buddhi or intellect.  UdAra means generous,
noble, illustrious, etc.  One who has a generous disposition towards His
devotees, or one who has an illustrious or special intellect that can
capture all things at all times, is udAradhIh.  SrI chinmayAnanda gives
the interpretation that bhagavAn has a large-hearted tolerance to
appreciate the weekness of His devotees' heart, and a great sympathy and
infinite kindness towards sinners in general.  He has enough paternal
kindness to overlook our trespasses, unlike the laws of physical nature
which are blind and uncompromising.

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan