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SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 47.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (
Date: Thu Feb 11 1999 - 15:00:57 PST

		SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 47.

	anirviNNah sthavishTho bhur_dharma-yupo mahA-makhah          |
	nakshatra-nemir_nakshatrI kshamah kshAmah samIhanah             ||

om anirviNNAya namah
om sthavishThAya namah
om bhuve namah
om dharma-yUpAya namah
om maha-makhAya namah
om nakshatra-nemaye namah
om nakshatriNe namah
om kshamAya namah
om kshAmAya namah
om samIhanAya namah

436. anirviNNah - He who is never despondent .

om a-nirviNNAya namah.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning starting from the root vid -
vicAraNe to discuss, to consider.   SrI BhaTTar explains this by indicating
that bhagavAn does not become despondent even though His expectations that
we will resort to Him for our redemption are not fulfilled.  He just goes on
with a new creation in the hope that we will meet His expectations in our
next chance.  SrI v.v.rAmAnujan refers us to nammAzhvAr - SOmbAdu
ip-palluruvai ellAm paDarvitta vittA - periya tiruvantAdi 18.  SrI Sa~nkara
gives the interpretation that He is never despondent because He has no
wishes that are not fulfilled. 

The term a-nirvedah is also used to explain this nAma - One who is not
despondent or in despair.      

The dharma cakram writer points out that just as the heart ceaselessly keeps
beating in order to keep us alive but takes rest constantly in between the
beats and so never gets tired, bhagavAn ceaselessly creates this world and
rests also continuously in between and never gets tired.  If we do our
karma-s with a sattvic attitude we also will never get despondent, but if we
do our karma-s either with the rAjasic or tAmasic disposition, we will get
easily depressed.  This is the lesson we should take from this nAma.

437. sthavishThah - He who is Immense.

Om stahvishThAya namah.

The author of nirukti explains this nAma as "sthoulyAt sthavishThah.  SthUla
means large, immense, huge.  SrI BhaTTar explains this sthoulya in terms of
the huge grouping of stars referred to SiSumAra in vishNu purANa 2.9.1 -
tArA-mayam bhagavatah SiSumArAkr*tih prabhoh -  The form of the mighty Hari
which is present in heaven, consisting of the constellations, is that of a
porpoise, with dhruva situated in the tail, etc.  SrI v.v.rAmAnujan observes
that this constellation is revolving constantly like a cakra, and is being
constantly drenched by the Ganges flowing from the satya loka to this earth,
and is a reminder that bhagavAn is constantly striving to rejuvenate and
sustain the beings of this Universe.  SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri gives
reference to taitttirIya AraNyaka 2.19, which also describes bhagavAn in
this great form of SiSumAra, the Gangetic porpoise, with all the deva-s as
part of His body - tasmai namas-tac-chiro dharmo mUrdhAnam brahmottarA
vishNur-hr* vA esha divyah SAkvarah SiSumArah.  SrI Sastri also
refers us to the description of the huge form of bhagavAn in SrImad
bhAgavatam, 2.1.24 - 2.1.38, starting with viSeshas-tasya deho'yam
sthavishThaSca sthavIyasAm.  Here He is described as sthUlasyAm sthUlah -
the most huge among those that are huge (Slokam 24), and sthavishThe vapushi
(Slokam 38) - He with the form that is huge.

SrI Sa~nkara gives reference to another vedic passage - agnir-mUrdhA
cakshushI candra-sUryau - muNDakopanishad 2.1.4 - Agni is His head, the moon
and sun are His eyes. 

438. bhUh - The All-supporter.

om bhuve namah.

bhu bhav - to be - He who exists, without any other support.  Thus one
interpretation is that this refers to One who truly exists, unlike all other
beings which have only temporary existence in a bodily form.  

bhu also refers to Earth, or in this case the support for all the stars in
SiSumAra referred to in the previous nAma.  The vishNu purANa passage quoted
in the previous paragraph says that dhruva is in the tail of the SiSumAra
group of stars, and as dhruva spins, all the other stars spin with it, and
is thus the supporter of the SiSumAra constellation.  Since dhruva is a form
of bhagavAn, bhagavAn is thus the supporter of all the stars of SiSumAra.
This is SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam.  SrI rAmAnujan refers to nammAzhvAr -
tiRambAmal maN kAkkinREn yAnE (tiruvAimozhi 5.6.5), and to tirumazhiSai
AzhvAr - nAgamEndu maNNinai...kAttu (tiruccandaviruttam 6) - He who supports
the AdiSesha who supports the Earth.

SrI Sa~nkara uses an alternate pATham as his primary text here, leading to
the nAma as a-bhuh- He who is not born, though he also refers to the
possible alternate pATham - bhuh, Existence.

439. dharma-yUpah - He who is united with dharma.

om dharma-yUpAya namah.

yu - miSraNe to join.  yUpa refers to a post,  e.g., the sacrificial post to
which sacrificial animal is tied. Here it refers to His being the peg for
all dharma-s. 

SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is - dharma-tattvam Sirah avayavatayA yauti iti
dharma-yUpah - He in whom dharma is united as part of His body viz. head.
The taittirIya AraNyakam passage referred to in nAma 437 starts with "tasmai
namas-tac-chiro dharmah" - He whose Head is dharma.  SrI BhaTTar quotes
"dharmo mUrdhanam ASritah - dharma has resorted to His head".   dharma is
His most important responsibility (v.n.vedAnta deSikan).

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives a different anubhavam of this nAma.  dharma is
that which sustains - dhArayati iti dharmah.  yUpa as was pointed out
earlier is derived from yu - miSraNe to join.  The pa~nca bhUta-s serve the
purpose of sustaining life in this world.  Since bhagavAn unites the pa~nca
bhUta-s which sustain the life in this world, He is dharma-yUpah.
The dharma cakram writer observes that dharma and bhagavAn are not distinct.
This nAma should remind us that those who follow dharma are always protected
by bhagavAn.  This was the advice given to duryodhana by bhIshma when
bhIshma had to fight on the side of duryodhana, viz. that there is no way
that the pANDava-s can be defeated because they are on the side of dharma.

440. mahA-makhah - The Great ya~jna-svarUpi.

om mahA-makhAya namah.

makhah refers to yaj~na, sacrifice, or sacrificial oblation.  SrI
v.v.rAmAnujan  points out that bhagavAn is ya~jna-svarUpan.  This can be
best understood from SrI satyadevo vAsishTha's explanation that ya~jna is
something that gives whatever is desired on successful completion.
BhagavAn is the mahA-makhah since He bestows everything desired on His
devotees.  The Universe and all the things He has created for the enjoyment
and benefit of the beings of this Universe are examples of things that
resulted from this 'mahA-mahkah'.

Another explanation is that dharma is the greatest ya~jna (ya~jno dharmaSca
vi~jneyah), and since dharma is His head, He is Himself the great sacrifice
personified (mahA-makhah).  

SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is that He is mahA-makhah (The Great sacrificial
oblation?) because sacrifices or offerings to bhagavAn lead to moksha, the
greatest of the benefits.

441. nakshatra-nemih - He who makes the stars move.

om nakshatra-nemaye namah.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives the derivation for nakshatra as "na ksharati
kshIyate vA".   The word nemih is derived from the root nI to lead or carry.
SrI BhaTTar vyAkhyAnam is "jyotiS-cakram nayati iti nakshatra-nemih".  He
refers to the continuation of the vishNu purANam passage referred to in nAma

	"evam bhraman bhrAmayati candrAdityakAn grahAn     |
	  bhramantamanu tam yAnti nakshatrANi ca cakravat     || 
*	vishNu purANam 2.9.2.

"As He (in the form of dhruva) goes round, He makes the sun, the moon and
other planets revolve.  All the stars also follow Him like a wheel as He
moves in a circle".

VishNu purANam continues with 

	"SiSumArAkr*ti proktam yad-rUpam jyotishAm divi    |
	  nArAyaNah param dhAmnAm tasyAdhArah svayam hr*di  || (2.9.4)

	"The porpoise-like figure of the celestial sphere is upheld by
nArAyaNa, who Himself, in planetary radiance, is seated in its heart".

Reference to vishNu being in the heart or center of the SiSumAra cakra and
being responsible for its movement is also made in the the svAdhyAya
brAhmaNa of taittirIya Sakha referred to under nAma 437.  SrI Sa~nkara uses
this reference to explain that bhagavAn is nakshatra-nemih because He is in
the center of the SiSumAra collection of stars, and is the one who supports
it like a nave at the center of the wheel.  

The dharma cakram writer reminds us how important this function of mahA
vishNu is.  If only one of the millions of stars goes out of its path
prescribed by Him, the consequences will be disastrous for us.  This nAma
should remind us that just as order in the macro level is important for our
survival, there is need for order at the thought level as well for the
long-term survival of all of us.  If the thoughts are not good, and if they
are not devoted to the welfare of the world as a whole but are
self-centered, the consequence is the long-term destruction of the whole.  

442. nakshatrI - He who has (supports) the stars.

om nakshatriNe namah.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha explains that just as one who has kshetra is called
a kshetri, or one who has SarIra is called a SarIri, one who has the stars
is nakshatrI.  SrI BhaTTar explains that His being the Lord and driving
force behind SiSumAra is the reference here.  SrI Sa~nkara gives the
interpretation that nakshatrI refers to His being the Moon, the Lord of all
the stars (nakshatrANAm aham SaSI - Among the stars, I am the Moon - gItA

443. kshamah - a) He who is competent.
	b) He who has great patience.
om kshamAya namah.

a) This interpretation is based on ksham - sahane to allow, to suffer.  SrI
BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is - akhila bhuvana bhAram anAyAsena kshamate - vahati
iti kshamah;  He is known as kshamah because He bears the burden of the
entire Universe with ease.  SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is "sarva kAryeshu
samarthah kshamah - He who is clever and competent in everything. 

b) SrI Sa~nkara gives an additional interpretation based on ksham - sahane
to endure.  He refers to SrImad rAmAyaNa - kshamayA pr*thivI samah - SrI
rAma is like the earth in patience - bAla kANDa 1.18.

The dharma cakram writer links the two interpretations nicely by pointing
out that in order to be competent and efficient, you have to act with
patience.  And when we act with patience and thus become efficient in our
acts, the feeling we should have is that this is the kr*pA of bhagavAn.
This nAma conveys the idea that in order to be efficient and proficient, we
need to be patient and then dedicate the results of this efficient
performance to bhagavAn and grow our devotion to Him.  This in turn will get
us closer to realization of Him.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points out that when the jIva-s leave the vedic path
and pursue other paths, He does not lose His patience, but instead gives the
fruits that are consistent with these actions and thus makes them pure and
keeps giving them more opportunities to correct themselves.  In a sense,
bhagavAn's guNa of kshamA is reflected in everything in this Universe
inherently.  The individual soul puts up with the body for the duration that
is prescribed for it irrespective of all the actions of the body, every
creation of His puts up with the heat and cold to which they are exposed,

444. kshAmah - a) He who is in a diminished form.
444	                    b)He in whom all forms diminish.

om kshAmAya namah.

The root from which this nAma is derived is kshau - kshaye to waste.  SrI
BhaTTar explains this nAma by pointing out that bhagavAn stands in the form
of dhruva in a diminished form at the time of the dissolution of the Earth
inclusive of the five elements. All the luminaries up to dhruva disappear,
and dhruva alone remains shining in his place, as stated in vishNu purANa -

	"yAvan-mAtre pradeSe tu maitreyAvasthito dhruvah       |
	  kshayamAyAti tAvat-tu bhumerAbhUtasamplave          || 2.8.92

SrI Sa~nkara's vyAkhyAnam is that He is kshAmah - The Remainder, since He
alone remains when everything else has disappeared in pralaya.  

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives the explanation that bhagavAn is kshAmah
because He is hidden in everything in this Universe.  

445. samIhanah -  a) He who establishes all others (indra etc.) in their
respective posts.
		b) Well-wisher - He who works towards the welfare of His

om samIhanAya namah.

The nAma is derived from the root Iha ceshTAyAm - to aim at, to desire, to
strive for.  There are two aspects to striving for something.  One is to
strive by oneself, and the other is to make others work.  Thus there are two
different interpretations given for this nAma.  

SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is that bhagavAn after the deluge, at the time of
creation, makes all the other deva-s do their work in their respective
posts.  samIhayati iti samIhanah. SrI v.v.rAmAnujan gives reference to
tivuvaImozhi - iRukkum iRai iRuttuNNa ev-vulagukkum tan mUrti niRuttinAn
deiva~ngaLaga ad-deiva nAyakan tAnE (5.2.8).

SrI Sa~nkara's vyAkhyAnam is that He is one who wishes well for His creation
- Sr*tyAdi artham samyagIhata iti samIhanah - Well-wisher. 

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives several references from Sruti-s to support the
interpretation of this nAma, among which is the following from r*g veda -

	"sUryA-candram-asau dhAtA yathA pUrva-akalpayat          |
	  divam ca pr*thvIm ca antariksham atho svah                      ||
- r*g 10.190.3.

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan