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SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 63 - Part 1.

From: Narasimhan Krishnamachari (
Date: Sun Nov 05 2000 - 19:19:31 PST

			SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - Slokam 63 - Part 1. .

	SubhA'ngah Santi-dah srashTA kumudah kuvaleSayah       |
              gohito gopatir_goptA vRshabhAksho vRsha-priyah          

om subhA'ngAya namah
om SAnti-dAya namah
om srashTre namah
om kumudAya namah
om kuvaleSayAya namah
om go-hitAya namah
om go-pataye namah
om goptre namah
om vRshabhAkshAya namah
om vRsha-priyAya namah

593. SubhA'ngah - a) He Who possesses and gives the eight auspicious
accessories of yoga.
b) He Who has a handsome form.
c) He Who has a form that bestows ma'ngaLam to those who meditate on
d) He Who makes everything auspicious by His presence, movement, etc.

The same nAma occurs again as nAma 788.

Om SubhA'ngAya namah.

a) SrI BhaTTar interprets the term a'nga here to refer to the eight
accessories of yoga - ashTA'nga yoga (yama, niyama, Asana, prANAyAma,
pratyAhAra, dhAraNa, dhyAna, and samAdhi).    All of these are
auspicious (Subha) on account of the devotion to Him and are obtained
by His favor.  It is He who helps the devotee to begin and complete the
meditation on Him.  

The dharma cakram writer nicely explains how the practice of asTA'nga
yoga results in the realization of Oneness with bhagavAn.  One gets
control of the mind by practicing yama and niyama, the first two of the
8 a'nga-s of the ashTA'nga yoga, with their aspects (ahimsA, satya,
brahmacarya, asteya, and aparigraha as part of yama, and  Sauca,
santosha, svAdhyAya, tapas, and Atma samarpaNam as aspects of niyama). 
Asana and prANAyAma help in developing the body so that it is fit for
the meditation on Him.  The next four a'nga-s of the ashTA'nga yoga -
pratyAhAra, dhAraNa, and dhyAna, and samAdhi  - develop and nurture the
thought and concentration on Divinity continuously with each step,  the
ultimate end being the realization of Him - samAdhi.  

b) SrI Samkara interprets the term a'nga here to refer to His form, and
so the meaning given is - sundarAn tanum dhArayan SubhA'ngah.  

SrI BhaTTar gives this interpretation for nAma 788 - He Who has a
bewitching form.   It is so beautiful that with this form He beguiled
and deluded the asura-s when He appeared as mohini.   SrI v.v.
rAmAnujan gives reference to peria tirumozhi 4.9.8 - ponnin vaNNam
maNiayin vaNNam puraiyum tirumEni.   SrI anantakRshNa SAstri refers us
to the beauty of Lord kRshNa that showered happiness on the gopi-s. 
References to Lord rAma's beauty are numerous.  HanumAn describes in
many verses the beauty of Lord rAma to sIta pirATTi when he first
meetss her in aSoka vanam.  SrI cinmayAnanda gives the upanishadic
support - Santam, Sivam, sundaram (Peace, Auspicouness, Beauty)  is how
the Infinite Lord is described in the upanishads.   In chAndogya
upanishad (1.6.7), we have the description - ya esho'ntarAditye
hiraNmayah purusho ucyate | tasya yathA kapyAsam puNDarIkaevamakshiNI
.|| - He shines like gold in the middle of the Sun, and His eyes shine
like the blossoming lotus.  

SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives an additional interpretation - BhagavAn is
SubhA'ngah since He has 788 beautiful a'nga-s in His tirumeni.  A
reference tot he original source of this information is not available.

c) SrI kRshNadatta bhAradvAj interpets the nAma as "One Who has the
form that bestows Subham or ma'ngaLam on those who meditate on His
caraNam (Feet), vadanam (tirumeni), nayanam (lotus eyes), etc.  -
SubhAni - darSakAnAm mangalotpAdakAni; a'ngAni - caraNa vadana
nayanAdIni; yasya iti SubhA'ngah.  

d) SrI satyadevo vAsishTha interprets the word a'nga based on the root
a'ng - to go, and his anubhavam of this nAma is that bhagavAn is
SubhA'ngah since He makes everything auspicious by His very movement in
every form, of His very presence in everything that is moving, for
example the Sun. 

To summarize, the vyAkhyAna kartA-s have given two different
interpretations for the term a'nga that occurs as part of this nAma. 
The first refers to the eight a'nga-s of the ashTA'nga yoga, and the
second refers to the auspicious parts of bhagavAn's body.  The meanings
given are thus:  a) He is One who blesses the devotee with the means of
the a'nga-s of the ashTA'nga yoga and the success in it, and  b) He is
One who has the captivating auspicious form that the devotee meditates

594. SAnti-dah - The bestower of eternal peace.

Om SAnti-dAya namah 

SrI BhaTTar continues the interpretation of this nAma in the context of
the previous one - to those who have thus perfected their devotion to
Him through observances such as the yoga referred to above, He bestows
ever-lasting peace in the form of His own realization.  For them there
is no longer any fear of rebirth in this world.  In other words, SAnti
here refers to moksha, and He is the moksha-pradan.  SrI BhaTTar gives
the support from 

SvetASvatara upanishad 2.7 - viSvasyaikam pariveshTitAram j~nAtvA Sivam
SAntim atyantam eti - If a person realizes the auspicious God who
pervades the Universe, He attains perfect peace;  

SvetAS. 3.11 - tam ISAnam varadam devamIDyam nicAyya AtmAnam SAntim
atyantam eti - When a person realizes that God who is the Ruler, the
grantor of boons, worthy of praise and is the Inner Soul, he obtains
the highest peace; 

and the gItA  18.59 - mat prasAdAt param SAntim sthAnam prApsyasi
SASvatam - By My Grace, you will attain supreme tranquillity and the
eternal world as well.  

SrI v.v. rAmAnujan refers us to tiruvAimozhi 3.7.7 - aDiyArgaLaik koNDu
pOi tanmai peRuttit tan tALiNaikkIZh koLLum appan.

SrI Samkara's vyAkhyAnam is that bhagavAn bestows peace of mind
characterized by complete absence of likes and dislikes, and so He is
called SAnti-dah.  True peace of mind results only when there are no
likes and dislikes.   One cannot get contentment as long as one has
likes and dislikes.  

The dharma cakram writer refers us to tiruvaLLuvar who defines God as
one who is "vENDudal vENDAmai ilAdAn".  By our dedicating our thoughts
to Him, we can get to the stage where we will be able to get away from
likes and dislikes, and thus attain true inner peace. 

The lesson to take from this nAma is that He is the Bestower of the
Ultimate Peace - moksha, which one gets by constant meditation on Him. 

595. srashTA - The Creator.

Om srashTre namah.

This nAma also occurs later as nAma 990.

SrI BhaTTar:  The root from which this nAma is derived is srj - to
create.  Just as He bestows moksha to those who long for it, He also
bestows samsAra who ask for it through their karma.  Thus He is the
Creator as well.  

SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives the anubhavam of nammAzhvAr:  kaDal j~nAlam
SeidEnum yAnE (tiruvAimozhi 5.6.1), mun-nIr j~nAlam paDaitta em mugil
vaNNanE (3.2.1), and Lord kRshNa's own words from the gItA 7.6 - aham
kRtsnasya jagatah prabhavah - I am the Source of the entire creation.  

SrI Samkara:  BhagavAn is srashTA - Creator - in that He brought forth
everything at the start of the creative cycle - sargAdau sarva bhUtAni
sasarja iti srashTA.   SrI kRshNadatta bhAradvAj explains - sRjati
lokAnAm iti srashTA.  He quotes from the Rg veda 10.81.3 - dvAvA bhUmI
janayan deva ekah.   SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri refers us to  SvetASvatara
upanishad 4.14 - viSvasya srashTAram aneka rUpam, and to aitareya
upanishad 1.2 - sa imAn lokAn asRjata.  

The root srj also means to let loose, to send forth - visarge.  SrI
satyadevo vAsishTha uses this meaning, and his anubhavam of this nAma
is that bhagavAn keeps all the beings inside Himself at the time of
pralaya, and then puts them out at the time of sRshTi, and so He is

The dharma cakram writer looks at the positive aspect of creation - by
giving the body to the jIva, bhagavAn gives the jIva one more
opportunity for it to seek and attain Him.  The beauty of this
anubhavam is that whatever He does, He does it for our welfare,
including all the punishments that He gives us. 

SrI cinmayAnanda observes that He is the Creator of brahma, whose
function is to create, and it is only because of the abilities and
capacities derived from vishNu that brahma can perform his functions of
creation.  Thus one can see that He is the antaryAmi behind all the
other gods, and their powers derive from Him.   

All interpretations converge on His function as the Creator.  The
different vyAkhyAna-s emphasize the different aspects of His function
of creation.  He created everything to start with, the cycle of
creation keeps happening from Him after each pralaya, this creation is
an inevitable consequence of the karma of the beings who insist on
being on born again and again, this act of creation by bhagavAn is an
expression of His extreme kindness to us in that this gives the jIva
one more opportunity to realize Him, and all this is happening because
He is the Power behind everything.    Thus, all vyAkhyAna kartA-s are
using the meaning "Creator" for the nAma, and yet we get the benefit of
the richness of the diversity of the anubhavam-s here.  

596. ku-mudah - He who is happy in His relation to this world in
various forms.

Om kumudAya namah.

This nAma also occurs as nAma 813.  

SrI BhaTTar interprets the nAma as ku-mudah.  ku refers to the prakRti
maNDalam - the world that consists of objects that are a source of
pleasure for all created objects from brahma to a tiny blade of grass. 
He gives these objects rUpam, rasam, Sabdam etc., and gives the beings
the ability to have the anubhavam of these objects.  BhagavAn makes all
those beings enjoy these objects, and He Himself feels delighted by
that (modate).  So He is ku-mudah.  SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives reference
to tiruvAimozhi 3.10.7 - pala pala mAya mayakkugaLAl inbuRum

Based on the same derivation, SrI BhaTTar gives yet another anubhavam -
kau modate iti kumudah - bhagavAn delights Himself even in the prakRti
maNDalam because of His company with His devotees.  SrI v.v. rAmAnujan
elaborates:  In this world which can make rAma cry and suffer - nATTil
piRandu paDAdana paTTu, losing sItA, being kicked out His kingdom,
being forced to live in a forest, losing jaTAyu, etc., He still finds
it His pleasure to be in the company of bharadvaja, atri, agastya, etc.
nammAzhvAr describes how bhagavAn mingles with His devotee - oru iDam
onRu inRi ennuL kalandAn (tiruvAimozhi 2.5.2).  

SrI Samkara interprets the nAma as suggesting that He gives joy to this
earth by freeing it of its burdens (at the time of pralaya?) - kum -
dharaNim bhArAvataraNam kurvan modayati iti kumudah.  

SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri's anubhavam, starting with the same meanings for
the words ku and muda,  is that He delights in His company with bhUmi
pirATTi, and so He is called ku-mudah.  Or, He takes incarnations in
this earth to get rid of the evil and to protect the good, and thus He
delights Himself with this earth.  

SrI cinmayAnanda interprets the nAma as indicating that bhagavAn
delights Himself by creating this world of plurality which is the
joyous expression of the infinite potentialities of bhagavAn.   

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha's anubhavam is based on a line of thought
entirely different from all the above.  He derives the meaning based on
the root kai - Sabde - to sound, and thus interprets the nAma as
indicating bhagavAn's guNa of deriving pleasure through Sabda, in the
form of giving this experience to His creations in the form of their
power of speech, hearing, music etc.   One could also think of His
deriving pleasure in hearing the chanting of the veda-s and the sAma

The dharma cakram writer illustrates the dimension of the pleasure that
is derived by bhagavAn in this world through an example.  He refers us
to the pleasure that a small ant derives out of a huge mound of sugar. 
Even though there is this huge source of pleasure for the ant, all the
ant sees of this is the few particles of sugar that it needs to fill
itself, and then a few more particles to save for the future in its
nest.  The pleasure that we see in this world through our five
indirya-s etc. is similar to what the ant enjoys, and most of us miss
out on the great store of pleasure called bhagavad anubhavam.  What
bhagavAn offers and derives out of this world is the huge mound that we
don't take advantage of.  This nAma illustrates to us that the true
pleasure to be derived out of this world is the greater pleasure, which
is accessible to us by meditating on His nAma and by seeing beyond the
sense-pleasure, by dedicating ourselves to His  kaimkaryam.

Thus, to summarize the different vyAkhyAna-s, the nAma indicates that
bhagavAn delights Himself with this earth in various ways:  by creating
the diverse beings, by giving them the anubhavam of rUpam, rasam,
Sabdam etc., by destroying the evil and protecting the good through His
different incarnations, by having bhUmi pirATTi as His consort, by
being in the company of His devotees, by relieving the earth of its
burden at the time of pralaya, by giving the veda-s to us, by hearing
us sing His praise through songs and through the veda-s, etc. 

597. kuvaleSayah - a) The Controller of the jIva-s who wander in this
world with the thought that they are the masters of their bodies.
b) He Who is reclining in the waters surrounding this earth.

a) SrI BhaTTar derives the meaning by looking at the nAma as
ku_vala-ISa-ya.  ku refers to the world as pointed out in the previous
nAma. vala means valanti -wandering.  ISa means Ruler.  Thus,
ku-vala-ISa refers to the jIva-s who wander around in this world with
the thought that they are the masters of their bodies and that they
control everything about themselves.  Yah is the part that refers to
bhagavAn who goes after (yAti - goes) these jIva-s, i.e., keeps them
under control.  SrI v.v. rAmAnujan refers us to nammAzhvAr - "ulagam
mUnRu uDaiyAi! ennai AlvAnE! (tiruvAimozhi 6.10.10). 

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha also looks at the nAma as ku + vala  + ISah  +
yah.  However, he interprets the nAma as referring to bhagavAn who has
control (ISah) over all those that make sound (kai - Sabde - to sound,
see previous nAma), all those that walk or move (vala), etc.   In other
words, He is the antaryAmi in everything.   

b) SrI Samkara derives different interpretations, all based on looking
at the nAma as kuvale Sayah, where Sayah refers to reclining.  His
different interpretations are based on different meanings for the term
kuvala.  One of the interpretations is:  koh kshiteh, valanAt -
samsaraNAt, kuvalam - jalam;  tasmin Seta iti kuvale-Sayah.   In other
words, He is kuvale Sayah because He is reclining in the waters that
surround the earth.  SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri notes that since the earth
originated from water - adhbhyah pRthivI - water surrounds the earth.  

Another interpretation that SrI Samkara gives is that kuvala can refer
to the underside of the serpent, since it crawls on the earth with its
stomach - kau - bhUmyAm, valate - samSrayata iti sarpANAm udaram
kuvalam, tasmin Seta iti kuvale-Sayah - He reclines on the serpent, and
so He is called kuvaleSayah.

The dharma cakram writer explains that the pa'nca bhUta-s evolved in
the sequence AkASa, vAyu, agni, waters, and earth.  Since earth arose
from waters, the waters surround the earth.  The pa'nca bhUta-s all
arose from Him, and so a simple way to understand the statement "He is
reclining in the waters" is to remember that bhagavAn is in the Nature
that originated from Him.  

To summarize, there are essentially two different ways that this nAma
has been interpreted.  One is kuvala + ISa + yah - He is the controller
or Master of everything that moves around,  and the other is kuvale +
Sayah - He Who reclines in the waters, or He Who is reclining on the

-To be continued.

-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan  

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