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SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 52 - Part 2.

From: Narasimhan Krishnamachari (
Date: Tue May 11 1999 - 14:36:30 PDT

		SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 52 - Part 2.

491. Adi-devah -a) He who is the first cause and is endowed with
			b) The Foremost Deity.
			c) He who swallows the three worlds at the time of pralaya, and
releases at the time of creation.

om Adi-devAya namah.

This nAma occurred earlier as nAma 335 (Slokam 36).

SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is Adih dyotamAnaSca Adi-devah.  Adi - The
cause, and deva - ever-shining.  He is the cause of all the other gods,
and is possessed of great splendor that subjugates them.  SrI BhaTTar
gives one example of this - bhIshA'smAt vAtah pavate (taittirIya -
Ananda valli 8.1) - The wind blows out of fear from Him.

SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is - sarva bhUtAni AdIyante anena iti Adih;
AdiSca asu devaSca iti Adi-devah.  He is the first through whom all
beings come to exist, and He is divine as well.  

Unlike SrI BhaTTar and SrI Sa~nkara who both have treated Adi and deva
as two separate aspects of bhagavAn's guNa, SrI cinmayAnanda treats Adi
as the qualifier for deva, and gives the meaning that bhagavAn is the
First Deity.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives the interpretation that bhagavAn is Adi -
Adatte grasati jagat-pralaya kAle sa Adih - He who swallows the worlds
at the time of pralaya, and deva - datte visr*jati ca bahih sarga kAle
sa devah - He who releases the beings from Him at the time of creation,
and so He is Adi-devah. 

The dharma cakram writer remarks that this nAma indicates that bhagavAn
is not governed by nature as we know it, where everything has an origin
- e.g., the tree comes from the seed, and the seed comes from the seed,
the deva-s come from bhagavAn, but He is Adi-deva who has no origin. 
Everything that is created has an end, but He has no end.  Even the
gods can't comprehend Him fully.  We who have an origin and an end
can't fully comprehend Him who has neither origin nor end, and the more
we meditate on the significance of the nAma Adi-devah, the more we are
closer to realizing Him. 

492. mahA-devah - The great Player.

om mahA-devAya namah.

As we have seen earlier, the word devah is derived from the root div-
krIDAyAm to play.  He is superior to all the gods and for Him they are
like playthings (SrI BhaTTar).  This indicates His Lordship over all
the other gods. SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives reference to nammAzhvAr -
inbuRum iv-viLaiyATTuDaiyAn (tiruvAimozhi 3.10.7).  In his vyAkhyAnam
for this pASuram, SrI V. N. vedAnta deSikan points out that the inbam
or leelA here is that He gives us all the means to reach Him (such as
His arcA rUpa which is close to us, His bestowing on us the caitanyam,
the ability to think and understand what is good for us, etc.), and
still we decide not to use any of these means that He has given us and
go astray.   This amuses Him, and this is the krIDA or leelA that is
implied here.  Or, since He performs His great leelA of creation etc.,
using all the gods that He has created such as brahma, He is mahA-devah
(SrI P. B. aNNa~ngarAcArya).

SrI cinmAyananda explains that since all the other gods came from Him,
He is the mahA-deva or Supreme Lord or Great Deity.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha uses the meaning mah - pUjAyAm - to honor, and
interprets the nAma s meaning "He who is fit to be worshipped to the
exclusion of others".  He gives examples of the stars losing their
importance as soon as the Sun appears, or the AtmA being of supreme
importance in the context of the indirya-s which are like the deva-s. 

493. deveSah - The Ruler of Gods.

om deveSAya namah.

devAnAm Isah deveSah.  SrI cinmayAnanda explains "He is the very
Consciousness in all the other gods".  Consciousness here can be
interpreted to mean "antarAtmA".  He is the God of all the gods, and of
course everything else that exists.  "vAnOr perumAn mAmAyan vaikunThan
emperumAn" are nammAzhvArs's words (tiruvAimozhi 1.5.4) - v.v.
rAmAnujan.  SrI P. B. aNNa~ngarAcArya svAmi elaborates that since
bhagavAn is the one who assigns the other deva-s such as brahma in
their respective functions, He is the Isa or Lord for all the deva-s.  

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives several supporting quotes from the Sruti:

- yo deveshu adhi-deva eka AsIt kasmai devAya havishA vidhema - r*g.
- yo jAta eva prathamo manasvAn devo devAn r*tunA paryabhUshat - athar.
- sa devAnAm adhipatir babhUva so asmAsu draviNamAdadhAtu - athar.
- tam ISAnam jagats-tasthushaspatim dhiyam jinvamase hUmahe vayam -
yajur. 25.18. 
494. deva-bhr*t - The Supporter of gods.

om deva-bhr*te namah.

SrI BhaTTar points out that bhagavAn assigns the different deva-s to
their duties based on their abilities, and thus protects them.  SrI
v.v. rAmAnujan gives reference to nammAzhvAr 8.1.5 - maniSarkku dEvar
pOla dEvarkkum dEvan.  

SrI Sa~nkara and those who base their interpretations on him (e.g., SrI
cinmayAnanda etc.)., combine the current nAma and the next as one nAma
- deava-bhr*t-guruh - and gives the meaning that bhagavAn is the guru
(One who taught the veda-s) to deva-bhr*t (the king of all deva-s,
indra).  Their alternative interpretation is still to consider the nAma
as deva-bhr*t-guruh, but treating the nAma as referring to two
different attributes in one nAma - deva-bhr*t - He who nourishes all
the deva-s, and guruh - He who promulgates all knowledge.  SrI
BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam to the next nAma, guruh, essentially corresponds
to bhagavAn being the source of all knowledge in the form of the

495. guruh - The Preceptor.

om gurave namah.

SrI BhaTTar gives the interpretation mentioned earlier viz. bhagavAn is
guruh because He gaves the veda-s to the deva-s.  In vishNu purANam,
brahma is quoted as saying:  hari-guru-vaSago'smi (3.7.15) - I am under
the control of my Guru - bhagavAn Hari.  We have from the Sruti - yo
vai vedamSca prahiNoti tasmai - (Sve. 6.18) - He who teaches him (i.e.,
brahma) the veda-s.  SrI v.v. rAmAnujan reminds us that bhagavAn is the
prathama AcAryan in our guru-paramparA. 

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan   



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