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SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 49 - Part 1.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (
Date: Sat Mar 06 1999 - 20:32:39 PST

		SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 49.

	su-vratah su-mukhah sUkshmah su-ghoshah sukha-dah su-hr*t      |
	mano-haro jita-krodho vIra-bAhur_vidAraNah

om su-vratAya namah
om su-mukhAya namah
om sUkshmAya namah
om su-ghoshAya namah
om sukha-dAya namah
om su-hr*de namah
om mano-harAya namah
om jita-krodhAya namah
om vIra-bAhave namah
om vidAraNAya namah

456. su-vratah - a) He of good vows - to protect anyone who surrenders.
	b) He who did intense tapas in His nara-nArAyaNa incarnation.
	c) He who has good control of the offerings He accepts - e.g., from
the likes of kucela only.
	d) He who observes nitya-karma-s in His incarnations just to set an
example to us.

om su-vrtAya namah.

This nAma occurs later as nAma 824. 

Under nAma 824 SrI BhaTTar gives the vyAkhyAnam that is most familiar to all
of us - Lord rAma's vrata expressed during vibhIshNa SaraNAgati through 

		  sakr*deva prapannAya tavAsmIti ca yAcate | 
		  abhayam sarva-bhUtebhyo dadAmyetat vratam mama   || yuddha

		"To him who seeks my protection even once and begs of me
saying "I am Thine", to him I give protection from all beings.  This is my

		SrI v.v.rAmAnujan gives the equivalent reference from
nammAzhvAr's SrIsUkti - SaraNamAgum tanatAL aDaindArgatkellAm - tiruvAimozhi

		SrI Sa~nkara gives this interpretation under the current
nAma, but gives a different anubhavam for the nAma when it occurs later in
Slokam 88. There he interprets vratayati as enjoys, and su-vrata as
referring to His enjoying the offerings of bhakta-s such as kucela.   vratam
is control of the food one eats and other controls.  SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri
observes that bhagavAn had good control of His habits when He was
nara-nArAyaNa.  SrI cinmayAnanda gives another dimension of the
nara-nArAyaNa incarnation as its applies to the nAmna su-vrata - He who did
intense tapas (su-vrata) for a long number of years in the nara-nArAyaNa
mount in BadrinAth.  

For the current nAma, SrI BhaTTar gives another aspect of bhgavAn's su-vrata
- good deeds. BhagavAn has nothing to gain by observance of any karma such
as the prescribed kula dharma-s.  Even so, bhagavAn observes all the
anushTAna-s during His incarnations without any compromise.  Thus He is a
su-vrata.  He says in the gItA -

	na me pArtha asti kartavyam trishu lokeshu ki~ncana        |
	na anavAptam avAptavyam varta eva ca karmaNi             || 3.22

	"For me, arjuna! There is nothing in all the three worlds which
ought to be done, nor is anything that is not acquired that ought to be
acquired.  Yet I go on working".

BhagavAn continues to work purely for the benefit of His creation.  This is
the significance of His nAma as su-vrata.  He says in the very next Sloka in
the gItA that if He did not do this, He will set a bad example for others,
and they will not perform their prescribed duties and suffer for this lapse.

The dharma cakram writer gives some examples of the power of su-vrata.
BhIshma practised the su-vrata of brahmacarya, which gave him his enormous
greatness.  hariScandra's story is an example of the greatness of

The nAma-s from 457 to 463 that follow are interpreted by SrI BhaTTar first
based on the nara-nArAyaNa incarnation, and then he gives an alternate
interpretation based on the mohini incarnation.

457. su-mukhah - He with a charming face.

om su-mukhAya namah.

su - Sobhanam mukham asya iti su-mukhah.

This can be taken as a reference to His having a sweet countenance even when
He was chanting the mantra-s and meditating as nArAyaNa maharshi in His
nara-nArAyaNa incarnation.  SrI BhaTTar refers us to the mantra about
kr*shNa - kr*shNAya kamala-dala amala netrAya - To SrI kr*shNa Who has a
face with eyes pure and spotless like a lotus petal.  SrI v.v.rAmAnujan
gives reference to nAcciyAr tirumozhi - "engaLai maiyal ERRi mayakka un
mugam mAya-mandiram tAn kolO" 2.4; amalanAdipirAn - ap-perivAya kaNgaL
ennaip-pEdaimai SeidanavE - 8;  prasanna vadanam dhyAyet etc. 

SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri explains the significance of the nAma very nicely by
pointing out that normally with practice one overcomes the strain of severe
penance, and so the countenance will not reflect any strain.  But in
bhagavAn's case we see cheerfulness instead of just the lack of strain. When
He was told to go to the forest just at the time He was decorated for
His face didn't have the slightest indication of disappointment or sadness,
but instead displayed the peace and satisfaction typical of the greatest of
those who have renounced the worldly things (ayodhyA kANDa 19.30-33).
kamban's description of rAma's face is "meit-tiruppadam mEvu enRa pOdilum,
it-tirut-tuRandu Egu enRa pOdilum, cittirattil alarnda Sen-tAmaraiyai
ottirukkum mugattinai unnuvAL"  - Lord rAma's face resembled a
picture-perfect lotus-flower no matter whether He was asked to ascend the
throne or to forsake all and go to the forest.   

SrI Sa~nkara gives reference to vishNu purANam and to several passages from
SrImad rAmAyaNa.  In vishNu purANam we have - prasanna vadanam cAru
padma-patrAyatekshaNam (6.7.79)- His face is pleasing, handsome, possessed
of large eyes resembling the lotus-petal.   In rAmAyaNa, SrI Sa~nkara gives
references to sundara kAndam 33.24 - sa pitur-vacanam SrImAn abhishekAt
param priyam | manasA pUrvam AsAdya vAcA prati-gr*hItavAn; ayodhyA kANDam
24.17 - imAni tu mahAraNye vihr*tya nava-pa~nca ca   |  varshANi
prama-prItah sthAsyAmi vacanam tava ||; and ayodhyA kANDam 19.33 - na vanam
gantu-kAmasya tyajataSca vasundarAm  | sarva-lokAtigasyeva mano rAmasya
vivyate  ||

An alternate interpretation given by SrI Sa~nkara based on the Sruti passage
- yo brahmANam vidadhAti pUrvam - SvetA. upa. 6.18, is that He has a very
satisfied countenance because He has imparted all the knowledge to brahmA. 

458. sUkshmah - Subtle, delicate and difficult to comprehend.

om sUkhsmAya namah.

He is sUkshmah because He can be realized only by deep contemplation and
meditation which is performed without expecting any benefit.  He can't be
comprehended through the physical organs such as the eyes and ears, and
can't be realized through the mind, but can only be experienced.  

SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri nicely explains the power behind the concept of
sUkshma.  The subtler the object, the more power it has.  We all know the
ultimate power of the atom.  If we start from the macro level of our body,
and go through the different subtler levels such as the sense-organs, the
mind, the buddhi, and finally the soul, the power increases as the subtlety
increases.  MahAvishNu is subtler than the subtlest of things, sUkshmah.
SrI Sa~nkara gives reference to the Sruti - sarva-gatam susUkshmam -
muNDakopanishad 1.1.6 - He who is very subtle and has entered into

SrI cinmayAnanda points out that in vedAnta terminology, sUkshma or subtlety
implies pervasiveness, and bhagavAn's nAma of sUkshma refers to His

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives a different perspective to the anubhavam of
this nAma by tracing the nAma to the root sUc - paiSunye - to point out, to
indicate by gesture.  He gives the explanation that
bhagavAn is suKshmah because, even though He does not manifest Himself
expressly, He expresses Himself to us through everything around us all the
time.  This is the sUkshma behind vishNu the Sukshmah, viz. that He is all
around us and has never really hidden Himself from us in any way.  
Just as the sound made by the cow identifies the cow even if the cow is not
seen, or the sound (voice) created by a  person identifies the person even
though the person is not seen, so also everything around us that is created
by bhagavAn identifies Him to us (e.g., the AkASa, the sound from the AkASa,
459. su-ghoshah - a) He whose voice is itself the great veda-s.
		b) He who is praised by the delightful voice of the veda-s.
		c) He who has a very sweet, deep, and sonorous voice.

om su-ghoshAya namah.

SrI BhaTTar vyAkhyAnam is that bhagavAn is su-ghoshah because He is
proclaimed by the vedic voice of the upanishads.  bhagavAn is veda-svarUpi
Himself.  SrI v.v.rAmAnujan refers us to tiruvAimozhi - nAraNan, muzhu
Ezhulagukkum nAthan, vEda mayan (2.7.2), and to peria tirumozhi 5.5.9, where
tiruma~ngai AzhvAr called bhagavAn "SandOgan, pauzhiyan, ain-tazhal Ombu
taittiriyan, Sama-vedI".    SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is "su-Sobhano ghosho
vedAtmako asya iti su-ghoshah" - One whose auspicious sound is the veda-s.
He also gives a more direct alternate interpretation  - He who has a voice
deep and sonorous like that of the cloud - megha-gambhIra ghoshatvAt. 

The dharma cakram writer points out that when veda is chanted with the
proper intonations, the sound originates from the region of the diaphragm,
and this sound has the ability to cleanse and purify our mind.  The sweet
sound of Nature, the sound arising from the trees and the birds, is soothing
and comforting to the mind.  BhAratiyAr sings "kETkum oliyil ellAm nandalAlA
undan gItam iSaikkudaDA nandalAlA".  All the musical instruments were
discovered as a result of listening to the sweet sound of Nature.  This nAma
should remind us that all the mantra-s sung in praise of bhagavAn and that
sing His greatness are su-ghosha-s.

SrI satyadevo vAsishsTha looks at the nAma from its root - hushir viSabdane
- to proclaim, to declare. The nAma su-ghoshah is formed by prefixing the
upasarga su- which means "Sobhana".  su-ghoshah is thus the sound which
proclaims Him well repeatedly or loudly viz. the veda-s.  Since the name and
the One who is referred to by that name are same, He becomes su-ghoshah.
BhagavAn manaifests Himself through su-ghoshah in real life constantly
everywhere.  The knowledge of the rain, that of the running water as well as
water that is obstructed from its natural flow, all these can be known from
the sound emanating from these.   Just as a great artist is revealed by the
art he/she creates, bhagavAn is constantly revealed through the sweet sounds
of Nature that He has created.  

To be continued.

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan