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SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 38.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (
Date: Fri Jul 31 1998 - 16:22:43 PDT

		SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 38.

	padmanAbho'ravindAkshah padma-garbhah SarIra-bhr*t      |
	maharddhih r*ddho vr*ddhAtmA mahAksho garuDa-dhvajah  ||

om padma-nAbhAya namah
om aravindAkshAya namah
om padma-garbhAya namah
om SarIra-bhr*te namah
om maharddhaye namah
om r*ddhAya namah
om vr*ddhAtmane namah
om mahAkshAya namah
om garuDa-dhvajAya namah

348. (48, 198) padma-nAbhah - One with a lotus-like navel. 

om padmanAbhAya namah

This nAma has occurred twice earlier.  In the current context where the
beauty of the celestial form of para-vAsudeva is described, the nAma means
One with a lotus-like  navel.  SrI v.v.rAmAnujan gives references to
prabandham to support this interpretation - "ayanaip paDaitta ezhil undi
azhagu" - amalanAdippirAn;  tAmarai undit tanip peru nAyagan -tiruvASiriyam.

The other interpretations - One who resides in the center of the heart-lotus
of every one, and One from whose navel, the Universe sprung forth in the
form of an eight-petalled lotus with the meru mountain as the pericap, have
been explained previously.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha's vyAkhyAna is again unique in not following the
other interpretations.  He interprets padma as "flower" or something that
displays colorfully, and nabh as something that does not express itself as
brilliantly.  Thus, he interprets padma-nAbha as one who at the same time is
the two extremes.  He is the knowledge in the learned and the lack of
knowledge in the not-learned; the one who reveals Himself to His devotees
and hides Himself from the non-devotees, like the lotus that blossoms in the
presence of the sun and the same lotus that folds its petals when the sun

349. aravindAkshah - The Lotus-eyed.

om aravindAkshAya namah.

aravinda sadr*Se akshiNi asya iti aravindAkshah.  izahai koL
SOdic-cendAmaraik kaN pirAn - tiruvAi mozhi 6-5-5; SevvariyODi nINDa
apperiavAya kaNgaL - amalanAdi pirAn - 8; and rAmah kamala patrAkshah
(sundara kANDa) are given as references by SrI v.v.rAmAnujan. The meaning is
similar to that of puNDarIkAkshah - nAma 40. 

SrI cinmayAnanda brings the similarity to the lotus in that His eyes open to
His devotees (like the sun opening up in the presence of the bright sun),
and closes to the non-devotees (when it gets dark).

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning from the word "ar" which means
gati, and vindati - prApnoti or One who has, and thus gives the meaning
"candra and sUrya" to aravinda.  Thus he derives the meaning "One who has
candra and sUrya as His two eyes" for the nAma aravindAksha. 

350. padma-garbhah - He who is installed in a lotus.

om padma-garbhAya namah.

He is meditated upon as being seated on a lotus replete with fragrance and
delicacy suited to Him.  The words "sarasijAsana sannivishTah" is all too
familiar to us.  An alternate interpretation is that He is seated in the
heart-lotus of those that meditate on Him - daharam vipApmam para-veSma
bhUtam yat-puNDarIkam - The lotus (i.e., heart) which is subtle, flawless,
and which is the seat of the Supreme Being.  SrI rAmAnujan gives reference
to tiruvAi mozhi - taNDAmarai Sumakkum pAdap-perumAn - 4.5.8.

SrI Sankara gives the interpretation that He is fit to be worshipped in the
middle of the heart-lotus, and so He is called padma-garbhah - padmasya
madhye upAsyatvAt padma-garbhah.

351. SarIra-bhr*t -  The Protector of the bodies of everyone through food
and life-energy.

om SarIra-bhr*te namah.

He is the Sustainer of the bodies of those who meditate on Him, since it is
His guNa-s on which they meditate that sustains them. sva-SArIra-bhUtam
upAsakam pushNAti iti SarIra-bhr*t - He considers their bodies as His, and
protects them (SrI BhaTTar).

Or, He protects all the beings in this Universe through food and life-energy
- poshayan anna rUpeNa prANa rUpeNa vA SarIriNAm SarIrANi dhArayati iti
SarIra-bhr*t (SrI Sankara).

SrI rAdhAkr*shNa SAstri gives yet another interpretation - He supports
(bears) different bodies in different incarnations for the protection of
dharma and elimination of adharma. 

Next the magnificence of bhagavAn is described.

352. maharddhih - He of immense riches.

om maharddhaye namah.

mahatI r*ddhih vibhUtih asya iti maharddhih - One who has enormous
prosperity ( SrI Sankara).  SrI cinmayAnanda points out that r*ddhi refers
tot he combination of prosperity and power.  He has boundless riches which
can bring about the well-being and protection of His devotees - tad-yoga
kshema nissIma vibhUtih (SrI BhaTTar).  SrI v.v.rAmAnujan gives the
reference to tiruvAi mozhi - vIRRirundu Ezh ulagum tanik-kOl Sella ALum
ammAn (4.5.1).

The dharma cakram writer points out that wealth is of two kinds - the
material wealth (poruL Selvam) and the wealth of benevolence and Mercy (aruL
Selvam).   Material wealth can be found both in the good and bad; but the
wealth of kindness and benevolence is found only in the good.  bhagavAn is
full of both kinds of wealth, and so He is maharddhih.  Those who meditate
on mahA vishNu's nAma of maharddhih will be blessed with these kinds of

353.  r*ddhah - One who keeps growing; Prosperous.

om r*ddhAya namah.

  He grows when His devotees grow.  He crowned vibhIshaNa and as a result He
became happy and void of any worry; so He grows happy when His devotees
grow.  SrI Sankara points out that He is r*ddhah because He is the expanse
in the form of the Universe - prapa~nca rUpeNa vardhamAnatvAt r*ddhah. 

The dharma cakram writer points out that He grows beyond the reach of the
knowledge of beings.  It is only by meditating on His guNa-s that one can
reach Him.  Thus He is r*ddhah.

354. vr*ddhAtmA -  One who is full-grown.

om vr*ddhAtmane namah.

vr*ddha means old.  Since He is the oldest or the most ancient Self or AtmA,
He is called vr*ddhAtmA.   A natural growth cycle for human beings is
described by the dharma cakram writer.  A cycle of this in samsAra starts
from the womb, being born, growing up to be a child, a boy/girl, an older
person, and IF the person meditates on bhagavAn and leads the life that
leads to moksha, and reaching SrI vaikunTham at the time of the death of the
body.  This last stage is the cultimnation of the full growth in this cycle.
bhagavAn was in the full-grown state before anything existed, without going
through this cycle, and so He is vr*ddhAtmA.  He was the Self before all

355. mahAkshah - a) He with a (vehicle of) powerful axle.
		b) One with Great Eyes.

om mahAkshAya namah.

aksha means axle.  SrI BhaTTar points out that in this case this refers to a
chariot, by means of a figure of speech where a part is used to refer to the
whole.  So mahAkshah means One who has a vehicle worthy of reverence.  This
vehicle is garuDa, the embodiment of veda-s. 

aksha also means eyes.  SrI Sankara uses this meaning in his interpretation
- mahatI akshiNI asya iti mahAkshah - One who has great eyes.   They are
great in the sense that they can see not only the external object, but can
see through everything everywhere inside and outside without exception, and
nothing is hidden from them.  These eyes see through all that is happening
deep within the bosom of all creatures (SrI cinmayAnanda).  SrI Sankara
also gives an alternate interpretation - mahAntyakshAni asya iti mahAkshah -
The possessor of divine senses unattached to objects (SrI anantakr*shNa
SAstri's translation), or One who has many glorious eyes (SrI T. S.
kr*shNamUrti's translation). 

The dharma cakram writer points out that the Greatness of His Eyes refers to
their power to remove the darkness of aj~nAna when they fall on His devotee.
Meditating on this nAma of mahA vishNu will give the ability to see things
with the eye of detachment and affection rather than with the eye of desire
and greed, and in opening the eye of j~nAna in the devotee.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha uses the meaning "one who leads" to the word aksha
(this is also related to the meaning axle or vehicle), or one that helps in
moving.  So mahAkshah is one who shows the path to everyone.  

356. garuDa-dvajah - One who has garuDa in His banner.

om garuDa-dvajAya namah.

bhagavAn has the unique symbol of garuDa as His banner, just as He has the
unique association with tulasi, with Goddess Lakshmi, etc.  In addition to
being His vAhanam, garuDa is His banner as well.   SrI cinmayAnanda points
out that the eagle soars high in the sky and can see even the minutest
object on the ground and purifies the land by removing the impurities such
as the carrion etc.  Similarly, the Lord never allows any negative thoughts
in the heart of His devotees, and hence the eagle is considered as His
symbol.  SrI rAdhAkr*shNa SAstri refers to mahA bhAratam where garuDa
requested SrIman nArAyaNa for permission to stand on top of Him when garuDa
had to fetch amr*ta for securing the release of his mother.   bhagavAn made
him His banner to grant this request, and He also asked garuDa to be His
vehicle.    This is how garuDa is both the flag and the vehicle.  I do not
have a copy of mahA bhAratam with me to further elaborate on this reference.

The dharma cakram writer points out that garuDa being the vAhana for
bhagavAn symbolizes that the jivAtmA exists for the service of the
paramAtmA, and the case of jaTAyu illustrates that when the jIvAtmA devotes
its life in the service of the paramAtmA, moksham is the natural
culmination.  SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points to the powerful eagle moving
fast while removing the poisonous serpents at sight, similar to bhagaVan
removing the sins of His devotees.  

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan