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SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 52 - Part 1.

From: Krishnamachari (
Date: Wed May 05 1999 - 20:50:20 PDT

                          SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 52 - Part 1.

 SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 52.

gabhastinemih sattvasthah simho bhUta-maheSvarah   |
Adi-devo mahA-devo deveSo deva-bhr*t guruh           ||

om gabhastinemaye namah
om sattvasthAya namah
om simhAya namah
om bhUta-maheSvarAya namah
om Adi-devAya namah
om mahA-devAya namah
om deveSaya namah
om deva-bhr*te namah
om gurave namah

487. gabhasti-nemih - a) He who has the effulgent cakra as His weapon.
 b) He who enlightens everything by His effulgence.
 c) He who is the Center of the planetary system (viz. the Sun)

om gabhasti-nemaye namah.

a) SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is "gabhastih dIpyate jyotir-mayam, nemi-lakshitam
cakram yasya iti gabhasti-nemih - He who possesses the effulgent cakra. His
cakra is bhAsvara-sahasrAra-cakrah - the effulgent cakra with a thousand
spokes.  yama and yama-dhUta-s don't even come anywhere close to those who
the mark of cakra on their bodies (see SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam for the
previous nAma), since their savior is gabhasti-nemih who has as His weapon the
thousand-spoked effulgent cakra. Note the words from tiruppallANDu - tIyil
poliginRa Se~n-cuDarAzhi tigazh tiruc-cakkarattan (SrI v.v.rAmAnujan).  The
dharma cakram writer comments that this cakram in bhagavAn's Hand denotes the
dharma cakram which controls, guides and directs everyone towards the path of
dharma, and is the kAla cakram which shows the never-ending nature of time
which is His manifestation.
b) SrI satyadevo vAsisTha derives the meaning of the nAma from the roots bhas
dIptyoh to shine, and nI prApaNe to lead.  The word gabhasti is derived from
the root bhas bhartsana dIptyoh - to censure or to shine.  The latter meaning
is relevant for this nAma.  The word nemi is derived from the root nI
prApaNe -
to lead.  nemi is given the meaning "the circumference or rim of a wheel". 
Thus gabhasti-nemih means He who by His Effulgence enlightens everything.  We
all know that the Sun gives light to everything.  But it is bhagavAn the
gabhasti-nemih, who gives light to the Sun. He is br*had-bhAnu or "many suns
all in one".

c) SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is that bhagavAn is the Center of the planetary
systems - gabhasti-cakrasya madhye sUryAtmanA sthita iti gabhastinemih.  SrI
rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri refers us to the Sruti - Adityo vA esha etan-maNDalam, ya
esha etasmin maNDale'rcidIpyate  | ya esha etan-maNDale'rcishi purushah ||
(tait. AraN. 10.14), and also to "dhyeyas-sadA savitr*-maNDala madhyavartI
nArAyaNah" - He who is meditated upon as Lord sUryanArAyaNa at the centre of
and controlling the sUryamaNDala".   

488. sattva-sthah - a) He who is in the hearts of the devotees.
 b) He who abides in sattva-guNa.
 c) He who resides in all beings.

om sattva-sthAya namah.

The dictionary gives the meanings entity, mind, goodness, etc. for the word
sattvam. The three interpretations below are based on these different

a) SrI BhaTTar points out that when bhagavAn is in the heart of the devotees,
there is no karma in them since darkness does not exist where there is sun. 
The nirukti description for this nAma is "sattve hr*di sthitatvAt sa
sattvasthah samudIritah - As He stays in the heart of beings, He is known as
sattvasthah.  "When Lord Hari, who is imperishable and eternal, and who wields
the discus and the mace, abides in the heart of a person, how can sin exist
there?" - sphatika maNi SilAmalah kva vishNuh | manasi nr*Nam kva matsarAdi
doshah? - vishNu purANam 3.7.22.  He stays in the hearts of the devotee with
His cakra and thus makes sure that yama and yama-paTa-s donít come near this
devotee - "ki~nkarA daNDa pASau vA na yamo na ca yAtanAh  |  samarthAh tasya
yasyAtmA keSavAlambanah sadA || " (vishNu purA. 2.2.28).   

b) SrI Sa~nkara interprets sattva here as referring to the sattva-guNa, and
gives the meaning that bhagavAn abides in the sattva guNa - sattvam guNam
prakASakam prAdhAnyena adhitishThati iti - He who chiefly presides over the
quality of sattva guNa which is radiant.  

dharma cakram: Of the three guNa-s that are reflected in everyone, sattva guNa
is the one that results in the clarity of mind that is necessary for realizing
the Absolute Truth. The food we eat, the thoughts we think, etc., should
all be
directed towards development of this sattva guNa in us. Habits like getting up
in the brahma muhUrta (~ 4 a.m.), observing japa, dhyAna, etc. at this time,
performing one's prescribed duties with the welfare of the fellow-beings in
mind, never harming anything else, etc, are habits that will foster the
development of sattava guNa in us.  This nAma teaches us that leading our life
with sattava guNa is the path to the realization of bhagavAn.

c) SrI Sa~nkara's alternate interpretation is that sattva-s refers to all
beings, stha means residing, and sattva-sthah can mean that He resides in all

489. simhah - a) He who punishes (those who harm His devotees).
 b) He who took the nr*simha form.
 c) He who is most powerful.

om simhAya namah.

This nAma has occurred earlier (nAma 202).  There SrI BhaTTar had interpreted
the nAma as referring to bhagavAn's nr*simha incarnation.  For the current
nAma, he continues his interpretation in terms of bhagavAn protecting His
devotees by punishing if necessary anyone who even tries to harm His devotee. 
Thus He punishes yama and his servants if they approach a vaishNava with the
intent of harming him without realizing that he is vishNu's devotee.  SrI
BhaTTar gives examples from vishNu tattva, vhshNu dharma, and lai~nga
purANa to
illustrate this.

SrI Sa~nkara's earlier interpretation was that bhagavAn is the Destroyer of
sins.  His vyAkhyAnam for the current nAma is that bhagavAn is like the lion
when it comes to His Power, and so He is referred to as simha.  SrI
rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri suggests that bhagavAn is the lion that gets rid of the
deer in the form of asura-s.  Alternatively, SrI Sa~nkara points out that
simhah may considered a short form for His full nAma - nr*simha. 

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning from the root sic - ksharaNe to
sprinkle, to impregnate, and interprets simhah as He who bestows the
karma-phala to everyone impartially.  His alternate interpretation is that
bhagavAn is of infinite Power, which is indicated by His nAma of simhah.  He
takes away the life of everything in their due time, including the
manvantara-s, the kalpa-s, and the mahA-kalpa-s, and merges them all into
Himself.  Just as we refer to a great medical doctor as vaidya kesari,
is the kesari of all kesari-s or lions.

490. bhUta-maheSvarah - The Supreme Lord of all beings.

om bhUta-maheSvarAya namah.

SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is that BhagavAn is the Supreme Lord of all
beings, as
evidenced by His being the Lord of the likes of brahma, yama etc. who are
themselves the lords of beings. SrI v.v.rAmAnujan refers us to divya
in support - 

- niruttinAn deiva~ngaLAga ad-deiva nAyakan tAnE - He, the Lord of all the
gods, established these other gods (tiruvAimozhi 5.2.8); 

- mUvar mudalvan Or mUvulagALi - The foremost among the trinity, and the
ruler of all the three worlds - tiruvAimozhi 8.9.8; 

- peria appanai, piraman appanai, uruttiran appanai, munivarkku uriya appanai,
amarar appanai, ulagukkOr tani appan tannai - He is the Father and Lord of all
including brahma, rudra, the sages, all the gods, ane everything in all the
worlds - tiruvaimozhi 8.1.11. 

SrI Sa~nkara interprets the nAma as bhUtAnAm mahAn-Isvarah - He who is the
Great Lord of all beings.  His alternate interpretation is bhUta - truly,
maheSvarah - nArAyaNa is the Supreme Lord.  bhUtena - satyena, sa eva
mahAn Isvara iti bhUta-maheSvarah. SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri refers us to the
gItA where bhagavAn points out that sadly the foolish people do not recognize
His glory as the bhUta-maheSvara because they think He is just a human even
though He has assumed the human form out of sheer Mercy towards to them so
He is easily accessible to them (gItA 9.11).

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives several references to the Sruti-s:

- bhavASavau mr*Datam mAbhi yAtam bhUtapatI paSupatI namo vAm (atharva
- ya Ise asya dvipadaS-catuspadah kasmai devAya havishA videma (yaju. 23.3)
- yo bhUtAnAm adhipatir yasmin loke adhiSritAh |   ya Ise mahato mahAns-tena
gr*hNAmi tvAm aham (yaju. 20.32).
- hiraNyagarbhah samavartatAgre bhUtasya jAtah patireka AsIt - r*g. 1.121.1. 

- To be continued.

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan