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SrI vishNu shasranAmam - Slokam 25.

From: Krishnamachari (
Date: Mon Feb 02 1998 - 10:07:22 PST

		SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 25.

	Avartano nivr*ttAtmA samvr*tah sampramardanah       |
	ahas_samvartako vahnir_anilo dharanI-darah                ||

Om AvartanAya namah
Om nivr*ttAtmane namah
Om samvr*tAya namah
Om sampramardanAya namah
Om ahah-samvartakAya namah
Om vahnaye namah
Om anilAya namah
Om dharanI-dharAya namah

230.  Avartanah - He who turns the wheel of worldly life or samsAra.

Om AvartanAya namah.

	samsAra-cakram Avartayitum Silam asya iti Avartanah.  Avartanam means repetition.  BhagavAn is Avartana since He is the Unseen Dynamism behind the ever-whirling wheel of time and the associated endless cycle of birth and death.  This is the cycle of night and day, life and death, joy and sorrow, creation and destruction, which are all His play - His mAyA.  In gItA, bhagavAn says that He reveals the way to overcome this mAyA to those who surrender to Him -

	"daivI hyeshA guNa-mayI mama mAyA duratyayA         |
	  mAmeva ye prapadyante mAyAm etAm taranti te         ||   (gItA 7.14)

231.  nivr*ttAtmA - a) He whose nature rises above other things.
	b)  He whose mind is turned away from worldly desires.
	c)  He who is the AtmA of those who practice nivr*tti dharma.
	d) He who is beyond the bonds of samsAra.

Om nivr*ttAtmane namah.

	This nAma occurs later as nAma-s 454, 604, and 780.  This is another case where when the same nAma occurs more than once, the interpreters have given different interpretations for each occurrence.  It is a characteristic of a composition of quality that there is no redundancy in expression of thoughts.

	a) For the first interpretation, SrI Bhattar gives the following references:

	tripAdUrdhva udait-purushah - The Purusha stands eminent in the parama-pada which has thrice the glory of the material world" - purusha sUkta 4.

	parAt-param yan-mahato mahAntam - He is greater than the greatest, more exalted than the most exalted.  - taitti. nArAyanIya 1.5.

	b)  parama vairAgya khyApanaAya vishayebhyah pratyAhr*ta-manAh nivr*ttAtmA - To indicate His profound non-attachment to material objects, He has His mind withdawan from them.  About His meditation it is said - antarnivishTa bhAvam ca - He who has His thoughts concentrated on Himself.   Also, Atma-dhyAna parAyaNAya - To Him who has His thoughts concentrated within Himself";  "hr*d -admArpita mAnasam - Him with His mind fixed on the lotus-heart", etc.

	c) One who is the AtmA of those who practice the nivr*tti dharma.  (There are two kinds of dharma - the pravr*tti dharma and the nivr*tti dharma.  pravr*ti dharma takes us to the world of the pitr*-s where we enjoy the fruits of our karma, and come back to this world with the balance of karma-s to our credit;  niv*tti dharma is that which leads one to moksha).     

	d) samsAra bandhAn nivr*tta AtmA svarUpam asya iti nivr*ttAtmA.  nivr*tta means that which has retreated totally, abstaining from worldly acts, etc.   	

	SrI cinmayAnanda points out that in the example of the two birds sitting on the same tree that is referred to in the munDakopanishad which has been referred to earlier in our write-up, the nivr*ttAtmA is the one who is looking on without eating the fruits of the tree.

	The writer in dharma cakram points out that the significance of this nAma is to realize that we should live a life with detachment in material objects in order to realize the Truth, and meditating on this nAma of mahA vishNu will help us live that kind of life.  Meditating on the Lord who has no attachments will lead us to live a life without attachment.  He gives the life of Lord Rama as an example of the life of nivr*ttAtmA.

	Some interpreters have identified the nAma itself as vimuktAtmA or anivr*ttAtmA in one or more of the occurrences of this nAma later.  We will look at the interpretations of these under the later occurrences.

232.  samvr*tah - He who remains hidden.

Om samvr*tAya namah.

	samvr*tatvAt samvr*tah.  The root is vr*n~j AvaraNe to cover.  He remains hidden from the unenlightened in whom the tamo-guNa dominates - tamsah parastAt.  It is devotion to Him alone that can reveal Him to us.  The dharma cakram writer quotes nammAzhvAr's pASuram "mayarvaRa madi-nilam aruLinan evan avan" - (We should worship the One) who can bless us with the j~nAna and bhakti that can remove the ignorance, doubts, and viparIta j~nAnam - counter-productive intellect?.  Just as the sun creates the cloud which keeps the sun covered from us, the a~jnAnam is covering us.  Just as the sun's lustre is untouched by the cloud, His lustre is untouched by our a~jnAna.  It is his dayA alone which can remove this a~jnAna, and it is devotion to Him alone that can help in this.

233.  sampra-mardanah - The dispeller (of the darkness).

Om sampra-mardanAya namah.

	The nirukti author summarizes SrI Bhattar's vyAkhyAna by the following words - tamaso vidyayA samyak mardanAt sampramardanah - He is sampramardana because He dispels the enveloping darkness by the light of His knowledge.  SrI aNNangarAcArya gives the meaning that He dispels the mAyA in His devotees.

	SrI Sankara interprets the nAma based on mardana - to destroy, and gives the meaning that He is sampramardana because of His act of destruction in the forms of rudra, yama, etc. - samyak pramardayati rudra-kAlAdyAbhih vibhUtibhih iti sampramardanah (see the similarity to pradardanah earlier).  Recall that SrI Bhattar's interpretation is that mardana refers to destruction of the darkness or mAyA.  SrI cinmayAnanda interprets mardana as referring to the act of destruction of the evil-minded and sensuous and extrovert - rAkshasa-s.  

	The dharma cakram author interprets mardana in the context of the act of bhagavAn in helping us to destroy the pride and aham-kAra in us and to unite with Him.  Life consists of destroying certain things and preserving certain things.  A good life is that where we understand what is to be preserved and preserve those values, and destroy those that need to be destroyed.  It is thus that Lord rAma had His kodanDam when He went to the forest - to help preserve the r*shi-s and to help destroy the rAkshasa-s.  Chanting the name of rAma was sufficient to turn vAlmIki from the ignorant person that he was to the great sage vAlmIki.  The nAma sampramardana should lead to understand the value of destroying the evil qualities in us and to develop the good qualities that will help us in realizing Him, which is naturally accomplished when we meditate on the guNa of bhagavAn expressed by this nAma.

234.  ahah-samvartakah - The regulator of the day (time); The Sun.

Om ahah-samvartakAya namah.

	samyak ahnAm pravartanAt ahah-samvartakah - He who regulates well the succession of day and night.  He is the cause for the revolution of the day and other divisions of time.  The division of time into past, present, and future provides the knowledge of objects as old or young.  It brings about the separation or union of prakr*ti and purusha (Matter and Soul). It is also the cause of the six kinds of transmutations of  prakr*ti (viz. birth, growth, change, existence,  decay, and final death).

	SrI cinmayAnanda gives reference to the following Sloka from gItA -

	"yadAditya gatam tejo jagad bhAsayate'khilam           |
	  yac-candramasi yaccAgnau tat-tejo viddhi mAmakam  || (gItA 15.12)

	"Understand that I am the Light of the Sun that illumines all earth;  and the tejas in the moon and fire are all mine only".  The one who dynamises the day and gives life to all and lends energy to them to act, etc. is vishNu in the form of the Sun. 

	The writer in dharma cakram points out that just as we can see an object close to us easily once there is light even though we can't locate it in the absence of light, bhagavAn is the generator of light that helps us realize the knowledge of the Self, and in this sense also bhagavAn is ahah-samvartakah (the generator of day).  Just as the Sun causes all beings to wake up when it rises, mahA-vishNu causes our desire to attain this knowledge of the Self to wake up in us.  Just as the fall of the rays of the Sun causes the life forms  to become rejuvenated, the thought of vishNu rejuvenates the jIvAtmA in us and makes it shine.  Just as the fall of the rays of the Sun on objects purifies them by destroying the disease-causing germs etc., the thought of bhagavAn kills the evil thoughts in us and purifies our thoughts.  So vishNu is the Sun for our inner self just as He is the Sun for the external world.

235.  vahnih - The Bearer or The Carrier; The Fire.

Om vahnaye namah.

	The root from which this nAma is derived is vah - to carry.  SrI Bhattar interprets the nAma as referring to the act of bhagavAn in supporting the Universe in the form of space.  SrI aNNangarAcArya gives the meaning that He is the bearer (supporter) of everyone.  Vahni also refers to fire, since fire is the carrier of the oblations offered in homa etc.   SrI Sankara interprets the nAma in this context - devebhyo havyam vaha nah prajAnan - One who, as fire, carries the oblations to the gods, or havir-vahanAt vahnih.

236.  anilah - a) The Giver of life-breath; The Air.
	b) One who needs no goading to Help His devotees.
	c) The Beginningless.
	d) One who has no binding, unaffected by virtue and vice.
	e) One who is beyond dissolution.
	f) One who is omniscient - All-Knowing.
	g) Easily accessible to His devotees.
	h)  One who has no fixed residence.
	i)  One who is not supported (by Earth etc).
	j)  One who does not hide anywhere i.e., who is present everywhere
	k)  One who is always awake.

Om anilAya namah.

	This nAma occurs again as nAma 818.

	tadevAgnih tad-vAyuh - He is agni Himself and He is vAyu - taittirIya AraN. 10, supports the interpretation of this and the previous nAma-s as agni and vAyu respectively.

	ananAt - ujjIvanAt anilah - Bestows the life-breath on all.  Ko hyevAnyAt kah prANyAt - Whoever can breathe and whoever can live if the AkASa (i.e., paramAtmA) were not there?  - taillirIya nArAyaNa 7);  prAnAt vAyur_ajAyata - The wind was born out of His breath (purusha sUktam 14). 

	In the occurrence of the nAma as nAma 818, SrI Bhattar derives the meaning based on ila - to urge, and so the meaning given is - One who does not need to be goaded by any one to serve His devotees.  Ilati preraNam karoti iti ilah, tadrahitatvAt anilah - One who does not need a proposer or inducer.   tadapyaprArthitam dhyAto dadAti madhusUdanah - When meditated upon, bhagavAn madhusudana bestows His blessings on His devotee without the need for anyone else urging Him -vishNu dharma 74.42.

	SrI Sankara and other interpreters give several alternate interpretations in addition to above two- 

	anAditvAt aniti yo'asu anilah (c above) - Beginningless, 
	anAdAnAt  anilah - One who has no binding,
	ilati svapiti iti ilah, tad-viparItah anilah - One who is ever awakened (f)
	nilater-gahanArthAt ka-pratyayAntAt agahanah - anilah - One who is not difficult to access for His devotees (g)   
	anilayah anilah (h) - One who has no fixed abode.  An interpretation for the occurrence of this word in amarakoSa is na vidyate nilah nilayam sthAnam yasya. 

	SrI rAdhAkr*shNa SAstri adds that ila is Earth, and since He existed before the Earth existed, He is not supported by the Earth etc., and so He is anila (i).  An alternate interpretation is na nilIyate iti anilah - He is Omnipresent, indestructible, in the form of anila - vAyu (j). 

	Yet another interpretation is anAdAnAt anilah - One who has no binding (d).

	The dharma cakram writer gives us a view of how important the meditation on this guNa of bhagavAn is for our life.  Without food we can go on for many days; without water we can survive for a few days; but without air, but a few minutes.  That is how important air is for our living;  so is the meditation on vishNu for our spiritual life.   He quotes mahAtmA gAndhi in this context - that he can survive without food for several days (and hasn't he proved it several times!), but he cannot live without prayer for even a day.   Another view presented relates to arjuna's words to Lord kr*shNa that mind wavers like wind and he can't get it under control.  BhagavAn, like vAyu, is spread everywhere, and it is difficult to get a grasp of Him just as we can't get the mind under control or keep the air static in one place without a sealed container.  But just as man has learned to control and contain air, he can learn to control his mind by constant meditation on vishNu.  The uncontrolled mind is like a storm, and it can be trained to be calm by meditation on vishNu. 

	SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives the interpretation starting from ila - to sleep.  Thus one meaning given is One who never sleeps, or One who is always awake - jAgr*vim vibhum - r*g veda.  This is reflected in His forms as the Sun, the rest of the planets, the oceans, the wind, etc.  In addition to this interpretation he also gives the interpretations a) and h).

	I was amazed to find that this seemingly simple nAma of two syllables has this many interpretations.

237.  dharanI-dharah - The bearer of the Earth.

Om dharaNI-dharAya namah.

	dharaNIm dhatta iti dharaNI-dharah - One who bears the Earth.  SrI Bhattar takes this simple interpretation one level further, and gives the significance that He bears those who bear others, e.g., He bears AdiSesha, bhUmi, etc.  SrI Bhattar gives the following supporting quotes - 

	sa dAdhAra pr*thivIm dyAm utemAm - He bore the Earth and all the Heaven - yajur 13.4

	uddhr*tA'si varAheNa - Thou (O Mother Earth) hast been lifted up by varAha - taitt. AraN. 10.8 

	"pr*thivIm ca antariksham ca dyAm caiva purushottamah |  
  	 manasiava visr*shTAtmA nayati AtmavaSam vaSI || 

	"Purushottama, by His will, created Earth, the Interspace and Heaven;  being the Supreme Ruler, He keeps them all under His control".

	SrI rAdhAkr*shNa SAstri gives references to several other nAma-s which express the above idea - mahI-bhartA (184), mahI-dharah (319, 371), triloka-dhr*t (757), dharA-dharah (762).  In addition, some vyAkhyAna-kartA-s have interpreted nAma 240 (which we will cover next week) as viSva-dhr*k - One who rules over the worlds, similar in purport to the current nAma.

	The writer in dharma cakram brings the significance of this nAma to a level of understanding that is easier to comprehend.  When we say bhagavAn is the bearer of the Earth, what we mean is that directly or indirectly He is supporting all the life forms by providing food and shelter to all, irrespective of whether we are devoted to Him or not, all the good and the bad.  Either we survive by drawing on the vegetables and other food that we directly get from the earth, or some beings survive by preying on other life forms which in turn live by drawing on the direct produce from the earth.  So this nAma signifies that He supports us physically in the form of the earth, and also sustains us all through the food from the earth. 

	SrI satyadevo vAsishTha adds that a mother bears and protects the children, the husband protects the wife, and He protects everyone, and so the dharaNi-dharatva guNa of bhagavAn is all around us.

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan 






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