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From: Krishnamachari, N. (krish_at_ihmail1.ih.lucent.com)
Date: Mon Jul 14 1997 - 08:53:56 PDT
Sri VishNu SahasranAmam - Names 18 to 24.. 18. yogah - One Who alone is the definite and unobstructed means to salvation. The word yoga is derived from the word yujyate which means "with whose help the goal is attained". The author of Nirukti summarizes Sri Bhattar's interpretation thus: "sAkshAt moksha eka hetutvAt yoga iti abhidhIyate" - He is called Yoga because He is the one sure means for true salvation. Sri Chinmayananda refers us to Chapter 2 stanza 48 of the Gita, wherein yoga is defined as the state of detachment in the consequences or benefits of one's actions - sidhyasidhyoh samo bhUtvA samatvam yoga ucyate. One could say that BhagavAn is one for .whom this samatva is natural without any external means or effort, and so He is yogah Himself. Sr Sankara gives the meaning "Union" for the word yoga. .In his bhAshya we find the following: " jnAnendriyANi sarvANi nigrhya manasA saha | ekAtma bhAvanA yoga: kshetrajn-paramAtmanoh || tadavApyatayA yoga iti yogavitAm vidu: ||" "Yoga is the process of realization of union with God through control of the senses of cognition along with the control of the mind. Since BhagavAn can be reached by yoga, He is himself called yoga".. It is unclear from the text of Sankara BhAshya that I have whether the above are Sri Sankara's own words, or whether he is quoting some sruti. If any of our Bhaka-kotis can clarify this, I would be very grateful. Sri Ramanuja, in his GItA BhAshya (stanza 9-22 referred to under the next nAma) seems to use this meaning (i.e., union with God) for the word yoga as well. 19. yogavitAm netA - One who leads those who practise yogA until they reach their Goal. From Sankara BhAshya, a yoga-vit is one who inquires into, realizes, or acquires yoga - yogam vidanti, vicArayanti, jAnanti, labhanta iti vA yoga vidah. Nayati iti netA - one who leads . In GItA, Sri Krishna says: "ananyAs-cintayanto mAm ye janAh paryupAsate | teshAm nityAbhiyuktAnAm yoga-keshemam vahAmyaham || (GItA - 9-22) " On those who meditate on me with single-minded devotion, those that want to be with Me unceasingly, I confer on them .the Bliss of .union (yoga) with Me constantly and never returning back to samsAra again (the safety or kshema)" 20. pradhAna purusha Isvarah - One who is the Lord of Primordial Matter as well as the Jivas. PradhAna here refers to the cause of bondage, and purusha refers to the jivAtmA. Perhaps the easiest way to understand the concept of prakrti or pradhAna is through the following explanation for the Brahma Sutra - deha yogAdvA so'pi - This conealment of the true nature of jiva is caused by the contact with the body (at the time of creation) or by the contact with the Primordial Matter (prakrti or pradhAna) at the time of deluge. Thus prakrti or pradhAna can be conceived of as the undifferentiated or 'asat' form of the bondage of the jiva, and the sarIra or body can be conceived of as the sat form that keeps the jiva in bondage. Chapter 13 in the Bhagavad Gita deals elaborately with the concepts of prakrti and jIvAtmA and their interrelationship to each other. In sloka 19 of chapter 13, BhagavAn points out that both prakrti and purusha have always existed, and this nAma indicates that He is the Lord and Master of both. "prakrtim purusham caiva vidyanAdau ubhAvapi". prakrti can be considered to be composed of rajas, tamas and sattva, and from these all the rest such as the panca bhUtas, the eleven indriyas, the five indriya-gocaras, etc. arise. These are explained in detail in the gItA bhAshya by TirukkaLLam Sri NrsimhAchArya. 21. nArasimha vapuh - One who possesses a body of man and lion combined. The .guNa to be enjoyed here is that BhagavAn instantaneously assumes any form - no matter how unusual it may have to be - to help His devotees the moment the request is made, and he takes the form that removes the fear of His devotee (PrahlAda), and at the same time terrorizes His enemy (HiraNyakasipu). Ths nAma also signifies that BhagaVan is ever ready to remove all impediments to devotion to Him. Sri Radhakrishna Sastri in his commentary on Sahasranama .goes into this guNAnubhava further. The nara and simha sarIra combined in one is uncommon, unusual, and out of the ordinary. The lion is the strongest and .bravest among the four-legged animals in existence. Man is the most evolved intellectual being in His creation. Thus it would make sense if God had assumed a form with human head and lion's body. for the objective of destroying His powerful enemy. Not so; it was exactly the opposite - the head of a lion which is not the most intellectually evolved, and the body of a human which is not the strongest body for the feat. The author points out that this form indicates to us that the Lord's uniqueness and omnipotence are Universal, and not dependent on any part of the body such as the brain in the head or the form of the etc. This is also illustrated by the HayagrIva form. In normal course of life, something that originates from a jada form such as the pillar should be expected to be a jada form, and one that is born to a living mother should be a life-form. Here, the narasimha avatAram illustrates the opposite, which can happen only because BhagavAn is the divya purusha. 22. srImAn - One with a lovely form. In the context of the uncommon and frightful form of nara-simha that we encountered in the previous nAma, one would not normally expect this to be a form of beauty. Not so in the case of BhagavAn, since His form is celestial, charming and beautiful. It is difficult to translate the description that Sri Bhattar has given in Sanskrit - soundarya lAvaNyAdibhih ati-manohara divya rupa. Sri Sankara interprets this name as One who has Lakshmi always with Him in His vaksha-sthala - yasya vakshasi nityam vasati srI: sa srImAn. And for this reason, even though He has the form of a man-lion, there is no diminution in His beauty. 23. kesavah - One with lovely locks of hair. The name can be derived from the word kesa - hair. He is beautiful not only because he has Lkashmi with Him, but because He is naturally beautiful. "prasastah kesAh santu asya iti kesavah. An additional interpretation for this name, which is supported by VishNu purANa, is given by Sri Sankara. This interpretation says that kesava derives from the fact that KrishNa is the destroyer of the demon Kesi who was sent to kill the child KrishNa by Kamsa. "yasmAt tvayaiva drshTAtmA hatah kesI janArdana: | tasmAt kesava nAmnA tvam loke jneyo bhavishyati || " However, the name kesi-hA appears later on in the stotra, and this literally means the destroyer of kesi. So a different interpretation here will be appropriate since otherwise there is the punarukti dosha, or the fault of repetition. In fact, the name kesava itself repeats later on in the stotra, and we will wait to see what interpretation the great vyAkhyAna kartAs are going to give us at that time (kesavah kesi-hA hari: ). 24. purushottamah - The Supreme amongst the purushas (i.e., individual souls). Purushebhya: uttama:, purushANAm uttama:, purusheshu uttama: are all possible derivations for this nAma. We find the uttama purusha (purushottama) described in more detail in the Gita in sloka 15.16 and 15.17. Here the purushas are described as of two kinds - the kshara or those who have the association with prakrti and are under the bondage of samasara, and the akshara or the muktas who are released from bondage. The uttama purursha is different from either of these kinds of purushas, and is the paramAtmA who supports the acetana and the chetans who are either the baddhas (purushas under bondage) or muktas (purushas released from bondage).. In Gita 15-18, Lord Krishna summarizes the above as follows: "yasmAt ksharam atIto'ham aksharAdapi cottama: | ato'smi loke vede ca pratithah purushottama: || "Because I am superior to both kinds of purushas - the kshara and the akshara, all the srutis and smrtis praise Me as purushottama." .As I am going through some of the above concepts on prakrti, pradhAna, purusha, etc., I may be misrepresenting the concepts since I have not done kAla-kshepa with AcAryas or learned these from gurus. So I would like to invite our Bhaktakotis to correct me wherever I am wrong or am misrepresenting the concepts. I am continuing with this effort simply because I have no other way of learning in my current circumstances. So I request forgiveness for my inadvertent mistakes. -DAsan KrshNamAchAryan . .