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Sri VishNu SahasranAmam - nAmas 10 to 17.

From: Krishnamachari, N. (krish_at_ihmail1.ih.lucent.com)
Date: Tue Jul 08 1997 - 08:44:21 PDT

			Sri VishNu SahasranAmam - nAma 10 to 17.  .

10.  pUtAtmA - The Pure Self - One who is untainted by the effects of
karma - good or bad.

	PUta AtmA yasya sa pUtAtmA - One who has the pure Atma is pUtAtmA.

.Our Atmas.reap  the fruits of the actions that we are involved in
because of their association with our body.  BhagavAn is also associated
with the same bodies since we are all extensions of His body.  However,
He is Pure Atman because He is not affected by the fruits of the
association with the bodies.  

Sri Bhattar gives a very simple example to make this point.  A teacher
uses a stick to strike a student.  Both the teacher and the student
.come in contact with the same stick, but the pain of association with
the stick is felt by the student, but not by the teacher.  So also, even
though both the Lord and the jIvAtmans are associated with the bodies of
the jIvAtmans, the Lord is not affected by the fruits of the actions of
the jIvAtmans.

In the Gita, Sri KrshNa says:  "na mAm karmANi lipanti" - actions do not
taint me.

Also, the sruti says:  subhAsubah karmabhiryo na lipyati kadAcana -
never tainted by actions, good or bad.

11.  paramAtmA - The Supreme Soul - for whom there is no other guiding
or superior soul

	paro mA asya .sa AtmA paramAtmA - That Soul for whom there is none
superior is paramAtmA.

	All of us have Him as our inner souls, but BhagavAn has no one as His
Inner Soul that guides Him.   There is no one superior to Him.  The
author of Nirukti says:  "Atma IsvaratvAt paramAtmA - One who is the
Lord of Himself is paramAtmA. 

	Sri Eknath Easwaran indicates that Lord Krishna says in the Gita "I am
in every one, but no one is in Me".  He does not give the reference to
the Sanskrit sloka, and I am unable to reference it.  I would like help
from the Bhakti members in identifying the relevant sloka.

	There are several pramAnas from the srutis for this:

	"na param puNdarIkAkshAt drsyate bharatarshabha" - There is nothing
superior to the Lotus-eyed.
	"param hi puNdarIkAkshAt na bhUtam na bhavishyati" - There was nothing
in the past, and there will be nothing in the future, that is superior
to the Lotus-eyed Lord.
	"na daivam kesavAt param: - There is no God superior to Kesava.
	"matta: para-taram nAnyat kincidasti" - Greater than Myself, there is
nothing else (GitA 7-7)
	"param hi amrtam etasmAt visva-rUpAt na vidyate" - There is no greater
nectar than the Lord of Universal form.
	"parah parANAm paramah paramAtmA" - He is greater than the great; He is
superior, and he is the Supreme Soul  (visHNu purANa - 1.2.10)

	"paramAtmA ca sarveshAm AdhAra: paramesvara:    |
	  vishNurnAma sarva-vedeshu vedAnteshu ca gIyate ||  (VishNu purANa
6.4.10)
	  The Isvara above all Isvaras, the paramAtmA who is the supporter of
every being, is sung by all vedas and vedantas as Lord VishNu.

12.  muktAnAm paramA gatih - One who is the ultimate goal for all muktas
or Released or Liberated Souls.

Muktas are those who are already released from all bondage, and enjoy
every bliss that the BhagavAn has.  They have equality with God in the
enjoyment of this Bliss.   The goal that such a  mukta longs for at this
stage is to constantly serve the Lord., and thus the Parama purusha is
muktAnAm-paramA-gatih.  

The muktas are .compared to those who reside in the celestial world, the
sveta dvIpa.   They have no needs such as food, no wants, no desires,
etc.  For these people who have accomplished  everything and who are
equal to God in their enjoyment of bliss, the one goal that is of
interest is the unceasing servitude to God, and thus God is the Supreme
and Ultimate Goal for the muktas.

ParamA gati is the goal after attaining which you won't desire anything
else.  In other words, this is the limit of the goal .  Normally, the
nature of any goal is such that if you attain .that goal, then you will
want to attain the next higher goal.  This is not the case with paramA
gati.

Some pramANas from the srutis are the following:

".....mAmeva anuttamAm gatim" - (The attain) Me, the unsurpassed goal -
Bhagavad GItA 7.18
"sA kAshthA sA parA gatih" - He is the highest means; He is the Supreme
Goal - kaThopanishad -3.11. 

Sri Bhattar interprets the next 5 names in terms of why the muktAs
choose BhagavAn as their Supreme goal.  It should be noted that Sri
Bhattar's vyAkhyAna  weave a thread of continuity in the sequence of the
names occurring in the stotram, and for this reason Sri Bhattar extends
the interpretation to levels beyond what is etymologically derived from
the word..  relatively speaking, Sri Sankara seems to more strictly
adhere to the literal meaning of the word in  his
vyAkhyAna.   Of course, there are also inevitable differences in
interpretation because of the visishtAdvaita vs. advaita philosophies.

The reasons for the muktAs choosing Sri MahA VishNu as their Supreme
gaol are:  He does not send them back to the cycle of  samsAra once they
reach Him (13),  He gives the enjoyment of His Bliss to the muktas in
abundance (14), He witnesses the muktas' enjoyment of Him and is in turn
pleased, which pleases the muktas (15), He knows the right place for the
muktas to get their eternal Bliss (16), and He is one whose Greatness
never diminishes over time in spite of the constant Bliss that He
provides to the muktas (17).

13.  avyayah -  a) One who does not send back anyone who has reached Him
(to the cycle of birth and rebirth .(Sri Bhattar)
	           b)  Indestructible (Sri Sankara)

Sri Bhattar's vyAkhyAna -

 na vIyate - na vyapagamyate iti avyayah - He is avyaya because He does
not send them back (to samsAra)

.In the Yama Smrti, we find the following:

	"sattvam vahati sUkshmatvAt param nArAyaNam prabhum       |
	  paramAtmAnam AsAdya param vaikunTam Isvaram                ||
	  amrtatvAya kalpeta na nivarteta vai puna:
        |  "

The Mukta bears a body of pure and subtle sattva and attains the Supreme
Lord nArAyaNa.  Once he reaches the Supreme Lord in the supreme
VaikuNTha, he becomes fit for immortality and is not returned back to
this world any more.

Sri Sankara's vyAkhyAna - 

Sri Sankara gives a different interpretation to this name -
Indestructible - based on na asya vyayah iti avyayah, where vyaya means
something that can be destroyed.   He gives the following pramANa from
the BrhadAraNya Upanishad:  "ajarah amarah avyayah - He is undecaying,
immortal, and indestructible" (6.4.25).   

 See also the nArAyaNa sUktam  - anatamavyayam kavim .....   The
Immortal and Indestructible Seer

14.  purusah - a) One who bestows on the Muktas the enjoyment of the
Bliss of Himself in plenty.- puru sanoti iti purushah
	         b)  One who is reclining in this body - puri sete iti purushah
	         c)  One who existed before anything else existed  - purA AsIt
iti purushah
	         d)  One who completes and fulfills existence everywhere -
pUrayati iti purushah

	Puru sanoti iti purushah - One who gives in plenty;  puru means plenty,
and sanoti means giver.
Or, purUNi phalAni sanoti - dadAti iti pururshah - One who gives
plentiful benefits.

We find in the taittirIya upanisahd - "rasi vai sah , rasam hveyAm
labdhvA AnandI bhavati - He is Pure Bliss Itself.  Having attained Him,
the Mukta becomes endowed with joy".

Several other explanations for this name are possible.  One of these
that is also given by Sri Sankara in addition to the above that Sri
Bhattar has also chosen, is supported by the following in MahAbhArata 

	"navadvAram puram puNyam etairbhAvaih samanvitam     |
	   vyApya sete mahAtmA yastasmAt purusha ucyate           ||  -
(12-203-35).

	"Since the great Soul pervades and resides in this holy city (the body)
with nine dvAras or gates, possessed of these organs (senses, etc.)., He
is called purusha". 

	Another alternative interpretation that Sri Sankara gives is "puri sete
iti purushah - One who dwells in this Fort city - our body".  He refers
to the following from the taittirIya AraNyaka -  "pUrvameva aham iha
Asam iti purushasya purusahtvam" - I indeed existed here before;  as I
existed before, I am called purusha.  We recall that the purusha is
sometimes pronounced as pUrusha in vedic chantings (ato jyAyAgsca
pUrushah - in purusha sUktam as an example).  

	Pura is used to refer to this body as in Gita 5-13:  nava dvAre pure
dehe..the fortress with nine gateways.

	Sri Chinmayananda suggests that these different ways of interpreting
the meanings of the names is a way to understand more and more about the
Nature of the Lord.

15.  sAkshI - One who directly witnesses everything .as it is. , The
All-Knower, The Omniscient

	BhagavAn sees everything directly by His own awareness without any
instrument for seeing (such as the sense organs) in between.  sAkshAt
Ikshate - The Direct Cognizer.  

Just as the sun illumines everything but is not affexted in anyway by
the state of the objects it illumines, so also the Lord witnesses
everything but is not affected by all that He witnesses.  The jIvAtmAs
see everything through some sense organ or othe other, and so the
deficiencies of these organs limits what is seen.  Not so in the case of
the Lord.  

	Sri Bhattar interprets this name as indicating that the Lord witnesses
the muktas enjoying the Bliss that He confers on them, and is thus happy
Himself.  Obviously, this give great pleasure to Mukhtas, since they are
interested in His happiness, and this is one of the reasons for His
being their paramA gati. 

16.  kshetrajnah - One who knows, and can lead,  the muktas to the exact
place where the muktas will get their sought-after Supreme Bliss.

Sri nArAyaNa is the vaikunTha vAsi.   VaikunTha is the place after
reaching which there is no return to this world.  

That this is a place which even the greatest of sages can  realize only
after intense meditation and devotion to the Lord is evident from the
following passage attributed to Sage Agastya in varAha purANa - 

	"adyApi tam lokavaram dhyAyan tishThAmi suvrata!     |
	   kada prApyet tu asau loka: sarva loka varottamah         ||

"I am even now steeped in the meditation of that supreme world.  When am
I going to reach that best and noblest of all worlds?  This is the
thought that is haunting me".

In varAha purANa, BhagavAn tells Sage Agastya:

	"pasya lokamimam mahyam yo na vedestu drsyate       |
	  tvat-priyArtham ayam lokah darsitaste dvijottama       ||

" See this world which exists for my sake and which is not seen even by
the vedas.  O best of Brahmins!  This world has been shown to you in
order to please you".  Note that even a sage of the standing of Agastya
has not seen this place except when God chose to show it to him.  

	Sri Sankara has interpreted this name based on Bhagavad GItA Chapter 13
slokas 1 and 2 in particular.  Here, the word kshetra refers to the
body, and kshetrajna refers to One who knows (understands the principle
or tatva behind) all the bodies and is the direct witness of the actions
of all the bodies (by being directly inside the bodies and not needing
any secondary means to witness these).   I would like to request our
Bhakti group members to elaborate on the interpretation of the word
kshetrajna as it occurs in Bhagavad GItA, and in particular if the
interpretation of this term in GItA is different from the meaning that
God is the soul in all the bodies.  May be kshetrajna is a guNa of the
Supreme Soul, and is an elaboration of the name "bhUtAtmA".

17.  akshara - One whose greatness never diminishes over time in spite
of being enjoyed by the miktas constantly.  na ksharati iti aksharah .

	His greatness is innate, and does nto derive from something external.
So it never diminishes.  In Nirukti, this is explained as follows:

	"sadA anubhUyamAno'pi nissIma guNa gauravAt     |
	   muktai: kvacit na ksharati iti akshara: parikIrtita:       ||"

	Sri Sankara's interpretation is: "sa eva na ksharati iti aksharah - He
alone exists without dying.

	Sri Bhattar has thus explained nAmas 13 to 17 as the reason why muktas
consider the Lord the paramA gati.  We will continue with nAma 18 in the
next part.

-Dasan Krishnamacharyan


  

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