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SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 48.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (
Date: Mon Feb 22 1999 - 08:33:54 PST

		SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 48.

	yaj~na ijyo mahejyaSca kratuh satram satAm-gatih      |
	sarva-darSI nivr*ttAtmA sarvaj~no jAnam-uttamam    ||

om yaj~nAya namah
om ijyAya namah
om mahejyAya namah
om kratave namah
om satrAya namah
om satAm-gataye namah
om sarva-darSine namah
om nivr*ttAtmane namah
om sarvaj~nAya namah
om uttamAya j~nAnAya namah

446.	yaj~nah - The Sacrifice.

om yaj~nAya namah.

This nAma occurs again as nAma 971.

The spirit of the nAma is that He is yaj~na-svarUpi Himself, i.e., He
practices yaj~na of the Highest Order.  The term yaj~na is nicely explained
by the dharma cakram writer.  karma binds us to the phala-s deriving from
these karma-s;  yaj~na releases us from the bondage of karma.  In other
words, any act that is done without a selfish goal, for the benefit of
others and for the benefit of the world, with a spirit of sacrifice,
performed without the feeling of "I" associated with it, and acts done as
bhagavad-ArAdhana, these qualify as yaj~na.  There is divinity associated
with acts which are performed with this spirit.

This writer goes on to describe the different types of yaj~na.   dravya
yaj~na (expending one's earnings for the public good), tapo yaj~na
(contemplating and meditating on bhagavAn and diverting all thoughts towards
Him), yoga yagj~na (practicing utmost self-control and controlling all five
senses and leading a life consistant with conduct guided by this principle),
and lastly the greatest of all yaj~na-s - dedicating oneself and one's
belongings towards the service of bhagavAn.

When we have transformed all our acts so that they are not karma-s devoted
to our selfish goals, we have transformed the karma-s to yaj~na.  The
ultimate yaj~na is when we have offered ourselves as the Ahuti in this
yaj~na, i.e., we do everything for His benefit, not for our benefit.   

Since every one of bhagavAn's acts is for the benefit of His devotees and
nothing is for His own benefit, He is the incarnation of yaj~na.

Several references are provided in support of this nAma.  SrI BhaTTar refers
us to the Sruti - yaj~no vai vishNuh.  SrI v.v.rAmAnujan gives several
references to prabandham - SeiginRa kidi ellAm yAne ennum (tiruvAimozhi
5.6.4), vEdamum vELviyum Adiyum AnAn (tirumozhi 9.4.9), paNDai nAnmaRaiyum
vELviyum tAnAi ninRa emperumAn (tirumozhi 5.7.1), viLa~ngum SuDarc-cOdiyai
vELviyai (tirumozhi 7.10.9), etc.  

SrI Sa~nkara extends this interpretation to include bhagavAn's nurturing all
the other gods. As yaj~na-svarUpi or sacrifice-bodied, He provides offerings
to all gods, thus causing their satisfaction and happiness - sarveshAm
devAnAm tushTi-kArako yaj~na AkAreNa pravartata iti.  

447.	ijyah - He who is the (only) object of worship.

om ijyAya namah.

ijyAm arhati iti ijyah.  Those who worship anya-devatAs seeking temporary
benefits of a lower order, in reality worship only vishNu who is the
antaryAmi or Inner Soul of all beings.  This is revealed in gItA -

	ye tu anya-devatA bhaktA yajante SraddhayA anvitAh        |
	te'pi mAmeva kaunteya yajanti a-vidhi-pUrvakam              || (gItA

SrI BhaTTar also refers us to mahAbhArata -

	ye yajanti pitr**n devAn brAhamNan sahutASanAn       |
	sarva bhUtAntarAtmAnam vishNumeva yajanti te        || (SAnti

	"Those who worship the spirits of their forefathers, the gods, the
brahmins as well as agni - they in reality worship only vishNu who is the
Inner Soul of all beings".

SrI Sa~nkara quote the harivamSa to support the same interpretation -

	ye yajanti makhaih puNyair_devaTAdIn pitr**napi   |
	AtMAnam AtmanA nityam vishNumeva yajanti te  || (3.40.27)

	"Holy sacrifices to divinities and pitr*-s are verily adoration of
vishNu Himself, who is the Self of all".

448.	mahejyah - He who is the best among the objects of worship.

om mahejyAya namah.

He is the best object of worship because He alone can give the final
liberation from the cycle of samsAra, whereas the other objects of worship
can only give the lesser fruits.  SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is "sarvAsu devatAsu
moksha-phala-dAtr*tvAt iti mahejyah".  SrI v.v.rAmAnujan emphasizes the
significance of this nAma - mahA vishNu is the parama purusha, and we should
worship the mahejyah directly instead of offering worship to Him through the
other deities for whom He is the antarAtmA.  SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri
observes in this context that agni is the nearest of the devatA-s to us, and
vishNu is the farthest (agniravamo devatAnAm vishNuh paramah (taittirIya
samhitA 5.5.1).

449.	kratuh - a) Object of worship through the sacrifices called kratu-s.
				b) He who is behind the actions of everybody
or He by whom everything is done.
om kratave namah. 

SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri points out that among the different types of yAga-s,
the type where one uses one's resources to perform a yAga with a definite
objective and within a prescribed duration, is called a kratu.  This
requires firm dedication, sincere effort, and the firm belief that the
desired result will be obtained.  Since He is the one worshipped by all
these, He is kratuh.  Or since He is the personification of all these, He is

The term yaj~na we came across as nAma 446 is different from the term kratuh
we have here, based on the Sloka from gItA -

	aham kratuh aham yaj~nah svadhA aham aham aushdham    |
	mantrah aham ahameva Ajyam aham agnih aham hutam      || 9.16

SrImad rAmAnuja in his gItA bhAshyam interprets kratuh as referring to the
vedic sacrifices such as the jyotishToma, and the term yaj~na ( nAma 446) as
referring to the mahA yaj~na, which is interpreted by SrI BhaTTar as
referring to the pa~nca mahA yaj~na-s, the seven pAka yaj~na-s, etc.  

Prof. A. SrInivAsarAghavan explains the pa~nca mahA yaj~na-s further:  

		brahma yaj~na involving teaching and reciting veda-s, pitr*
yaj~na - offering of libations of water to the deceased ancestors daily
(tarpaNa), deva yaj~na - a sacrifice made to the gods through oblations to
the fire, bhUta yaj~na involving offering a portion of the daily meal to all
creatures, and manushya yaj~na - sacrifice offered to other people
(hospitable reception of guests).

The seven pAka yaj~na-s are:

aupAsana homa, vaiSva-deva, pArvaNa - sthAlI-pAka, ashtakA-SrAddha,
mAsa-SrAddha, sarpa-bali - oblation to the serpents, and ESAna-bali
(oblation to the gods).

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives a different explanation.  He gives the
interpretation that He by whom everything is done is kratuh - kriyata iti
kratuh.  Or, that intellect through which everything is done, is kratuh,
i.e., jnAna.  

450.	satram - a)He who is worshipped by the sacrifice called satram.
				b) He who protects the good people
				c) He who makes everything go.

om satrAya namah.

satram is another type of sacrifice, this one done on an unlimited time
scale, devoted to world-welfare, with participation from multitude of
people.  SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is "dIrgha-kAla bahu-yajamAnaka
mAsacodanA-lakshaNam satram".  

SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri points out that the activity that is commonly
undertaken to feed the pilgrims in large numbers in choultries (called
Sattiram in tamizh) is an example of this kind of selfless activity where
many good people participate for the welfare of a larger community of
people.  Again bhagavAn is the object of worship of these activities, and so
He is satra-svarUpi.

SrI Sa~nkara gives an additional interpretation - He who protects the good -
satah trAyati iti sat-tram. 

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning from the root sad - sIdati
signifying movement.  sIdati gacchati sarvatra - One who goes everywhere -
sattram.  Alternatively, satrayate vistArayati viSvam iti sattram - He who
makes the world go.  Everything in His creation also has His guNa of
movement, including the human heart which goes constantly and yet which
stays in one place. 

451.	satAm gatih - The Goal of the pious.

om satAm-gataye namah.

This nAma occurred earlier as nAma 186 - Slokam 20.

SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is "satAm - mumukshUNAm na-anyA gatih iti satAm-gatih"
- The sole support for those who seek liberation.

SrI BhTTar comments that whereas in previous nAma-s, bhagavAn is described
as the goal of those who follow the pravr*tti-dharma, i.e., dealing with the
pleasures and business of the world, this nAma signifies that He is also the
goal of those who follow the nivr*tti-dharma, i.e., discontinuance of
worldly acts or emotions.

SrI BhaTTar gives reference to vishNu purANam - 

	nirdhUta dosha-pa~nkAnAm yatInAm samyatAtmanAm    |
	sthAnam tat paramam vipra! puNya-pApa parikshaye        ||  2.8.94

	"O brAhmin! That is the sublime place for yati-s (i.e., yogins) who
have washed off the mire of sins and who control their minds when all their
merits and sins have been annihilated".

SrI cinmayAnanda comments that the term gatih in samskr*t means both the
path and the goal.  SrIman nArAyaNa  is both the means and the end for the
sAdhu-s, and it is only by surrendering to Him that they reach Him.

452.	sarva-darSI - The All-Seer.

om sarva-darsine namah.

One who, by His innate insight, is able to see all the good and evil actions
of living beings.  Since He is the antaryAmi in everything, He sees
everything even without the awareness of the beings.  SrI cinmayAnanda
observes that as the Sun is known as the "eye of the Universe", bhagavAn is
the Illuminator of everything.  SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri points out that He
observes everything irrespective of whether we perform what are supposed to
perform, we perform what we are not supposed to perform, or we don't perform
what we are supposed to perform.  The dharma cakram writer summarizes the
purport of this nAma by pointing out that when we act with the full
realization that He is our Inner Consciousness, and when we act consistent
with that, we have understood the meaning of this nAma.  This is behind the
concept that we should do every act of ours by dedicating it to Him, and not
perform any act that is not towards His Will.  (AnukUlaya sa~nkalpam,
prAtikUlya varjanam).

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha summarizes the nAma as "j~nAna cakshur bhagavAn
vishNuh".  He gives references to the well-known sruti:  sahasra-SirshA
purushah sahasrAkshah sahasrapAt; viSvataS-cakshuruta viSvato mukho viSvato
bAhuruta viSvataspAt; hiraNyayena saviTa rathenA devo yAti bhuvanAni paSyan;

The gItA Slokam 13.13, with a reference that is easy to remember, also
conveys this idea:

	sarvatah pANi pAdam tat sarvato'kshi Siro mukham     |
	sarvatah SrutimAn loke sarvam Avr*tya tishThati        ||

SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri refers us to the related nAma-s sarva-darSanah
(Slokam 10),  sarva-dr*k (Slokam 22). 

453.	nivr*ttAtmA - a) He whose mind is turned away from worldly desires.
				b) He who is the AtmA of those who follow
the nivr*tti dharma.

om nivr*ttAtmane namah.

The nAma nivr*ttAtmA occurred earlier in Slokam 25 (nAma 231), and will
re-occur as nAma-s 604, and 780.

Sa~nkara pATham in this instance is vimuktAtmA.  In another place (Slokam
83) he uses the pATham a-nivr*ttAtmA.  We will deal with his alternate
interpretations under nAma 780.

SrI BhaTTar vyAkhyAnam:  a) This nAma illustrates that bhagavAn appeared as
nara and nArAyaNa to teach the nivr*tti dharma to the world (as nArAyaNa),
and to show how to practice it with extreme detachment (in the form of
nara). To indicate His profound detachment (parama vairAgya) to material
objects of pleasure, He has His mind withdrawn from them.   The
nara-nArAyaNa avatAra as well as the nivr*tti dharma are embedded in this
nAma.  The avatAara emphasized nivr*tti-dharma and propagated the sacred
ashtAkshara.  The essence of nivr*tti dharma is the realization that nothing
is done for our benefit or by us, and everything is for the benefit of
nArAyaNa and happens because of Him.  We are not for us or for someone else,
but only for nArAyaNa. 

	b) Under nAma 604, SrI BhaTTar gives the vyAkhyAnam that He is
nivr*ttAtmA also because He is the AtmA of those who practice the nivr*tti
dharma. SrI v.v.rAmAnujan observes that another name for these practitioners
of nivr*tti dharmA is j~nAnI, whom bhagavAn considers as His own soul. 

Under nAma 780 SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is yet another variant of the
nivr*tti concept.  BhagavAn is also nivr*ttAtmA because, even though He
created this whole Universe, He remains totally detached from the worldly
affairs.  He is associated with the Universe in that He created out of His
sheer Mercy, but His mind itself is not in any way affected by the worldly
things - svatastu tat a-sammata manAh.

SrI Sa~nkara pATham, vimuktAtmA, is interpreted as He who has the Soul which
is ever-free.  BhagavAn is untouched by the effects of karma, since all His
actions are for the benefit of others, His creations.  SrI satyadevo
vAsishTha observes that bhagavAn is inside everything in the Universe as
their antaryAmi, and yet is not bound by them, and thus He is nivr*ttAtmA.  

454.	sarvaj~nah - The Omniscient.

om sarvaj~nAya namah.

This nAma occurs again as nAma 821.  Sri BhaTTar explains that He knows that
He is the antaryAmi in everything, and thus He is sarvaj~nah.  He knows He
is the best dharma, the best means, and the best goal.  SrI v.v.rAmAnujan
quotes peria tirumozhi in support - ulagattu ellAm aRivIr - 4.9.6.	

SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is "sarvaSca asau j~naSca iti - He who is all and who
knows all.  SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri has given several references to the
Sruti - yah sarvaj~nah sarvavit (muNDakopanishad 1.1.9); sa sarvaj~nah sarvo
bhavati (praSna 4.10); esha sarveSvara esha sarvaj~nah (mANDUkya 6); sa
viSvakr*t siSvavid Atmayonih j~nah kAlakAlo guNI sarvavidyah (SvetASva

455.	j~nAnam-uttamam - The Greatest Knowledge.

om uttamAya j~nAnAya namah or j~nAnAya uttamAya namah.

SrI BhaTTar points out that BhagavAn is the one who revealed the vaishNava
dharma which is the most superior of all the dharma-s - sarvah paro
viashNavo dharmah j~nAyate asmin iti j~nAnam-uttamam.  He also refers to the
revelation of the pA~ncarAtra by bhagavAn as another instance that He is the
uttama j~nAnam - paThantam aniSam Sastram pA~ncarAtra puras-saram.  SrI
v.v.rAmAnujan gives reference to nammAzhvAr - mikka j~nAnamUrtiyAgia vEda
viLakku  - tiruvAimozhi 4.7.10.

SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam for this nAma is - prakr*shTam ajanyam anavacchinnam
sarvasya-sAdhakam iti j~nAnam-uttamam - Superior to all, birthless,
continuous and permanent (unlimited by Time and Space), and the best means
of achieving everything.  He gives reference to "satyam j~nAnam, anantam
brahma" - Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, and Infinitude - taittirIya

SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri contrasts the "limited" knowledge with the
"Superior" knowledge.  An example of the former is the sight an observer
sees, with the limitation of the observer's eyes, the light that shines on
the object, the limitation of the observer (e.g., the state of mind of the
observer), as well as the limitations of the observed object (e.g., the
relative size of the object etc.).  Not limited by constraints like these is
the knowledge that is revealed by the Self about the Self, which is
unlimited by the sense organs.  This is the knowledge of bhagavAn.  

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives reference to the atharva vedic passage "sUtram
sUtrasya yo veda, sa veda brahmANam mahat" - He who has knowledge of the
Supreme Knowledge, knows the greatest there is to know.  

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan