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From: Krishnamachari, N. (krish_at_ihmail1.ih.lucent.com)
Date: Mon Jul 28 1997 - 18:21:13 PDT
Sri VishNu SahasranAmam - nAma 37 to 45. 37. svayambhUh - He who manifests Himself by His own free will. Svayameva bhavati iti svayambhUh - One who is self-born. Sri RAdhA KrishNa Sastri gives the example of how in the case of the birth of Lord KrshNa to Devaki and Vasudeva, the child was born unlike any other child, decorated with beautiful jewels, smiling, lotus-eyed, with divya rUpa, etc., and with no pain or discomfort to the mother. In Srimad BhAgavatam, we find the following description: "tam adbhutam bAlakam ambujekshNam caturbhujam sankha gadAryudAyudham | srIvatsalakshmam galasobhikaustubham pItAmbaram sAndra payodasoubhagam || "(Sri KrshNa at birth) was of magnificent appearance, lotus-eyed, adorned with sankha, cakra, and gada, with four arms, the kaustubha around his neck, adorned with pitAmbara (yellow silk cloth) around His waist, and beautiful like the water-laden cloud". 38. sambhuh -(sa as in Siva) One who causes happiness to everyone by the beauty of His appearance. Sam bhAvayati iti sambhuh - here sam (sa as in Siva) means sukham or happiness. This happiness is caused by the sheer beauty of His manifestation. In RAmAyaNa we see the following passages: "rUpa audArya guNai: pumsAm drshti citta apahAriNam" - (Sri Rama) attracts the eyes and hearts of beholders by His beauty, generosity, and similar qualities "candra kAntAnanam rAmam atIva priya darsanam" - Rama who has a face lovelier than the moon, and who has an extremely pleasing appearance 39. Adityah - a) The purusha in the Sun b) One of the twelve Adityas c) One who sustains and nourishes everything like the Sun Sri Bhattar points out that this is one example of BhagavAn manifesting Himself at His will. We are all familiar with "dhyeyah sadA savtr-manDala madhyavarti nArAyaNa...." - Sriman nArAyaNa who is in the centre of the orb of the Sun must always be meditated upon. We also have "sa yascAyam purushe, yascAsAvAditye, sa eka: " (taittirIya upanishad) - He is one and the same deity who is in the hearts of men and who is in the middle of the Sun. Sri Sankara gives the additional explanation that this nAma can refer to Lord VishNu being one of the twleve Adityas or Aditi's sons. He gives the Bhagavad Gita in support of this: "AdityAnAm aham vishNur-jyotishAm raviramsumAn | marIcirmaruTamasmi nakshtrANAm aham sasI || (10-21) "Among Adityas, I am VishNu, the twelfth Aditya ........". Sri Chinmaya points out that BhagavAn incarnated as Aditi's son in His vAmana incarnation. . Sri Chinmaya also points out that another way to enjoy this nAma is to realize that BhagavAn is like the Sun in that everything depends on the Sun for its survival, and so BhagavAn is Aditya or the Sun or the supporter and nourisher of everything. 40. pushkarAkshah - The Lotus-eyed. Sri ChinmayAnanda refers us to the famous quote "The eye is the reflection of the mind", and points out that the reference to the beauty of the eye in this nAma is to be contemplated on in terms of the Inner Joy and Peace that BhagavAn beams out to all through His eyes and magically lifts out all the sorrows in His devotee's hearts. This nAma re-occurs as nAma 561 later, where we will find a new interpretation. Pushkare akshiNI yasya sa pushkarAkshah; poshayatI bhUtAni pushkare akshiNI yasya sa pushkarAkshah. 41. mahA-svanah - He of the venerable sound (of the vedas) In BrhadAraNya upanishad, we have the following: "asya mahato bhUtasya ni:svasitametad yad-rg-vedo yajur-vedah sAma vedo-atharvAngirasa: itihAsa: purANam vidyA upanishada: slokA: sUtrANyaNuvyAkhyAnAni vyAkhyAnAni" (4.4.10) - Thus has been breathed from this great Being what we have as Rg veda, Yajur veda, sAma veda, and atharva veda, etc. 42. anAdi-nidhanah - One who is without beginning or end. Yasya Adi nidhanam na asti sa anAdi-nidhanah - One for whom there is neither beginning nor end. nidhana, which commonly refers to poverty or lack of wealth, also has a second meaning, death or destruction. . BhagavAn is anAdi-nidhana because His form is not composed of earthly elements like fat, flesh and bone - na tasya prakrtA mUrti: mAmsa-medosthi-sambhavA (varAha purANa 75.44), His body is beyond the range of the sense-organs, and can be cognized only by the eye of the mind - rUpam vA atIndriyam, antahkaraNapratyaksha nirdesAt, His body is not made up of the combination of elements like earth, water, etc. - na bhUta sangha samsthAno deho'sya paramAtmanah (MahAbhArata - sAnti parva 206-60), etc. 43. dhAtA - The creator (of .Brahma and others) The interpretation for this and the next nAma are not clear to me, and I am giving my best attempt. Especially the difference between the two names, and how they differ in their root words and thus in the meaning that they convey, was unclear to me. Each of the four primary references I am using seems to give a different interpretation, which seems to suggest that the meanings of these nAmas are open to interpretation.. First I considered including all the different interpretations but then decided against it in order to focus the material presented here. I would like to request SrimAn Sadagopan and others to elaborate more on this at their convenience. The name can be derived from the root dhA - to produce, to bear, to place, to lay upon. Sri Bhattar gives the following reference to Maula Samhita - "dhAtA kshetre karma-bIja-bhUtam garbham dadhAti - dhAtA places in the kshetra (i.e., prakrti), the fetus (i.e., the jiva), which is the seed for action". As mentioned under the nAma kshetrajna earlier, the kshetra is the field for actions, and the jiva is the seed for actions. The same concept is also expressed in the gItA - "mam yonir mahad brahma tasmin garbham dadhAmyaham | sambhavah sarva-bhUtAnAm tato bhavati bhArata || (Gita 14-3) The concept here is that BhagavAn causes all beings to be created through the combination of prakrti and jivan or AtmA, which are both His creations and under His control (pradhAna-purusha Isvarrah). It is as if prakrti is the womb in which He places jivan as the seed, and thus He is the creator or dhAtA. Based on the explanation given for the next nAma, the seed referred to here could also be Brahma, the four-faced creator of all the beings, with VishNu as the antaryAmin. In other words, VishNu is the dhAtA because He .seeds His vIrya in the prakrti so that the combination of prkrti and His vIrya result in the cause of Brhma as the fetus. 44. vidhAtA - The producer (of Brahma from the fetus referred to above) Sri Bhattar states that He is vidhAtA because He develops the fetus and makes him (Brahma) appear. Sri Sankara interprets this name to mean that he is the dispenser of the fruits of actions and inducer of actions - karmaNA tat-phalAnAm ca kartA vidhAtA. Sri Chinmaya interprets the name to mean that BhagavAn is the unquestionable Law behind the entire universe (may be this can be understood starting from the word vidhi - rule). 45. dhAturuttamah - a) One who is far superior to Brahma (dhAtr) b) The best of all basic constitutents The first interpretation is self-explanatory based on the previous two nAmas. Another explanation given is based on the word dhAtu, which means "element" or basic constituent. He is the ultimate constituent of all, and so He is dhAturuttama. -dAsan krshNamAchAryan " . .