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SarvA (26th naamam of Sri VishNu Sahasra nAmam

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Wed Jul 23 1997 - 15:29:05 PDT

Dear Sri KrishNamAchAri and Sri RamakrishNan
BalasubramaNyan& friends  : I will add some more notes .

The naamam "sarvan " is common to  BOTH  VishNu 
and Sivan ( as kshithimoorthy , one of the 11 RudrAs/
ekAdasa RudrAs) celebrated in BaisAk temple in the 
island of Baali , IndonEsia . In the 11th chapter of 
Bhagavdh GItA ( Visva roopa darsana adhyAyam ) , 
The Lord says : " Behold the dvAdasa AdhithyAs ,
ekAdasa RudrAs , the twin Aswins and the Maruths ;
behold , O descendant of Bharata , many wonders 
never seen before " ( Chapter 11. 6 ) . ArjunA describes
the "Sarvan " aspect of ViswarUpi  in terror this way 
in the 27 th verse of the 11 th chapter this way :

" Verily , as the many torrents of rivers flow towards
the ocean , so do these heroes in the world of men 
enter Thy fiercely flaming mouths " . ArjunA sees that
these creatures enter the mouths of Sarvan as moths 
rushing in great haste into the flames just to perish .
He says : " O Lord ! swallowing all the worlds on every
side withb Thy flaming mouths , Thou art licking Thy lips .
Arjuna is terrified and salutes the "Sarvan " and pleads 
for mercy and confesses " Na hi prajAnAmi tava pravrutthim "
( O primeval One ! I know not indeed Thy purpose ) .  

In addditon to the Occurence of the nAmam , "sarvan (as in
Siva )  in Rudraprasnam /Sri Rudram/Satha Rudreeyam   ,
 we come across this name in the Kaavyams 
( Raghuvamsam and KumAra Sambhavam ),
purANam ( Vaamana PurANam ) and in Atharva Vedam in 
the 11 th canto twice . I will focus on the usage in AtharvaNa 
vedam after commenting briefly on the use of "sarvan " from the 
Saiva SiddhAntham perspective .

As indicated earlier ,The noun  "sarvan " is used both 
for Lord Siva and VishNu Bhagavan . When Lord SivA is referred to , 
the attribution is to His destructive aspects as saluted 
in Sri Rudram  based on the route "sr". 

The name " Bhavan" coming before "sarvan "  is  associated with
the aspects of creation .

The fifth anuvAkam' s first and second manthrams
in Sri Rudram are :

namO bhavAya cha rudrAya cha I
namssarvAya cha pasupathayE cha 

BTW ,these two manthrams have a profound significance to 
Saiva SiddhAntham . They describe Sri Rudran as the 
magnificient God , who engages in pancha krithyam:
Srishti (creation ) , shtithi ( protection and maintenance ) ,
samharam ( destruction ) , TirOdhanam ( hiding the truth 
thru MaayA ) and anugraham ( siva loka prApthi ) . 

Lord NatarAjA , the cosmic dancer symbolizes the 
pancha krithyam in his body . If one intreprets " Siva "
as auspiciousnes , then the pancha krithyam applies 
to VishNu as well in His avathAram as  Vata pathra sAyee .. 

The little drum (damarukam/udukkai  ) on the upper right 
hand of Lord NatarAjA symbolizes the act of creation .
The birth of limitless creatures and their cry is associated 
by the sounds emanating from the play of the udukkai .
This is the Bhava aspect .

The hand gesture on the lower right hand (abhaya mudrA )
refers to the sthithi aspect of pancha krithyA.

on the upper left hand is agni , which is nothing but 
praLaya kAlAgni denoting samhAram and the sarvA 
aspect . 

The  bent right leg posted on the back of the demon 
muyalagan represents the veil of maayA .

The lifted left leg ( kunchitha paadham ) stands for 
anugraham . In chidambaram , a vettivEr maalai 
fititng exactly the size of the ankle of the kunchitha paatham 
decorates the lifted feet at ardha jAma kaalam .
Next morning , that maalai is given as prasAdam to 
a devotee by the muraikkArar .

In saiva siddhantham , Siva does not create the jeevans .
He creates the bodies that house the jeevans . This is 
His creation . He protects the bodies during their life on 
earth ( shtithi ) . At the conclusion of the earthly cycle , 
He destroys the bodies (samhAram ) . All of these three 
acts take place on this earth dealing with the bodies of 
living beings .

The fourth and the fifth acts ( tirOdhanam and
anugraham ) deal with jeevans as opposed to 
physical bodies  By perfecting the jeevan inside ,
He prepares them  to become fit to reach His holy
feet (tirOdhanam ) . He then blesses the jeevan
in its purified state to join Siva Saayujyam 
(anugraham ) . The relation between SivA and 
VishNu is spelled out at the end of Sri VishNu 
Sahasra Naamam during the occasion of celebrating 
Sri Raama nAmam in pala sruthi .

The passages in the atharva Vedam are beautiful 
echos of Sri Rudram housed in the middle of Yajur
Vedam . 

Atharva Vedam Khandam 11. hymn 2 is a sonorous 
appeal to Sarvan not to harm the beings :

bhavAsarvou mrudatham mAapi yAtham 
bhoothapathi pasupathi namO vaam I 
prathihithAmAyathAm maa vi srAshtam 
maa nO himsishtam dvipadhOma chathushpadha : II
                       --- AV XI .2 .1
(meaning ) : O Bhava and SarvA , make us happy and 
do n't attack us !Salutaions to You , TWIN LORDS of
all living beings , beasts and emancipated souls ! 
Shoot not the arrow aimed and drawn against us .
pledge to Save our bipeds and quadrupeds ! 

nama : sAyam nama ; prAtharnamO rAthryA namO divA I
BHAVAAYA CHA SARVAAYA chObhAbhyAmakaram nama: II
                   ---- AV XI . 2.16

(meaning ) : Salutations to the Lord at evening and at morning's
early light ! Salutations at night and day ! To the Lord's powers 
of creation (Bhavan ) and dissolution/destruction (Sarvan ) ,
both , have I paid my humble salutaions ! 

bhavAsarvAvidam bhrumO Rudram Pasupathisccha ya : I
yeeshUryA yeshAm samvidhma taa na: santhu sadhA SivA : II
                       ------ AV XI . 6 . 9

(meaning ) : May we eulogize the different aspects 
of the Lord , as BhavA , SarvA , RudrA  and Pasupathi . 
May we understand the doctrines behind these aspects.
May they be ever compassionate towards us ! 

I wonder whether Parasara Bhattar did not elaborate
on this VishNusahasra nAmam ( Sarvan ) because 
of its destructive connotations as referred to in the rks
of Sri Rudram and Atharva vedam . I am equally surprised 
that  Sankara Bhagavdh PaadAL did not elaborate either
on this nAmam inview of or inspite of its hyperlinks 
to Sri Rudran !


P.S : Regarding SaaKagrama mAlais found as aabharaNams
on the Moolavars of Divya dEsams , the saaLagramams 
are never drilled to make  a hole . They will shatter . 
It appears that the sALagrAmamams are housed in 
gold -plated casings and the hooks are attached to
the outside of the casings to connect them . 
Sri ThiruviNNagarappan ( Moolavar ) has a huge 
saaLagrAma mAlai , which seems to be constructed 
this way .