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SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - slokam 19.

From: Krishnamachari, N. (
Date: Tue Nov 18 1997 - 15:25:23 PST

			SrI vishNu sahasranAmam - sloka 19.

	mahA-buddhir mahA-vIryo mahA-Saktir mahA-dyutih       |
	 anirdeSya-vapuh SrImAn_ameyAtmA mahAdri-dhr*t    ||

Om mahA-buddhaye namah
Om mahA-vIryAya namah
Om mahA-Saktaye namah
Om mahA-dyutaye namah
Om anirdeSya-vapushe namah
Om Srimate namah
Om ameyAtmane namah
Om mahAdri-dhr*te namah

175.  mahA-buddhih - He of infinite knowledge.

Om mahA-buddhaye namah.

	SrI Bhattar points out that He is mahA-buddhi because His
knowledge does not depend on His sense organs or any external help.  He
sees and hears and senses all at the same time with any of His organs or
with no need for any of the organs.  This is supported by several
passages from the sruti-s - viSvataScakshuruta viSvatomukhah - He has
eyes on all sides and faces on all sides (taittirIya nArAyaNa upanishad
1.12); paSyat_yacakshuh sa Sr*Noti akarNah - He sees without eyes and
hears without ears (SvetASva 3.19); sarvato'kshi Siromukham - He has
everywhere eyes, heads, and mouths (gItA 13.13).  We also have the
venerable AcArya nAthamuni's words - yo vetti yagapat sarvam
pratyaksheNa sadA svatah - Who sees directly by perception and of His
own accord all things simultaneously (nyAyatatva).

The dhAtu word from which the name is derived is budh ~jnAne to know, to
understand.  BhagavAn is the buddhi behind the functioning of all His
creations, and so He is the mahA-buddhi.  SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points
out that the behavior of many objects such as even the shedding of the
leaves by the trees during the winter months and the regeneration during
the summer months etc., is indicative of knowledge that He has invested
in them.  The establishment of the stars and planets in their respective
positions and orbits is a totally different dimension of the same
mahA-buddhi of the Lord.  The magic of creation of the multitude of
beings and their being held together as a functional entity is beyond
the knowledge of anyone else but Him.  The author also points out to
cases such as a "lajjAvanti" plant which survives and grows only if a
woman waters the plant, and dies if a man pours the water to the plant,
which are all examples of the wonders of the ~jnAna that is the

	In a publication titled dharma cakram published by SrI
rAmakr*shNa tapovanam in India, a writer has given the additional
example of a crow's behavior when threatened by an enemy as an
illustration of the knowledge that He has invested in His creations.
When a crow is chased by a small child, it just dispalys minimal effort
to get away.  If a grown-up person chases it with a stick, it takes just
a little bit more effort to run.  If a person with a gun appears, the
crow will be nowhere to be seen.  Who bu the mahA-buddhi could have
given the crow this level of buddhi, which in addition gets transmitted
from parent to offspring in an unending chain? 

	SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri points out that buddhi is the most
important of the four antah:karaNa-s.  buddhi chooses between the
options provided by the manas, taking into account the pictures of
previous experiences provided by the cittam, before the ahamkAram takes
over and executes the action.  If the buddhi makes a poor choice, then
it becomes alpa-buddhi;  if the buddhi always chooses noble choices,
then it is the mahA-buddhi.

176.  mahA-vIryah - He of great virility.

Om mahA-vIryAya namah.

	He is mahA-vIrya because He remains unchanged unlike everything
else which changes with time (e.g., milk changing to curd).  It is but a
tiny fraction of this quality of His that is reflected in the fact that
that the Yogins are of steady mind and do not get distracted.  Just as
flowers give out their fragrance to all their surroundings with no
effort on their part, bhagavAn performs all His acts with no effort on
His part, and this is an indication of His vIrya.

	SrI chinmayAnanda points out that vIrya is the essence of all
dynamism or creative urges, and He is mahA-vIrya because He is the
driving force from whom alone all the dynamism for creation can

	SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri explains that vIryam is the quality of
achieving one's objective no matter how difficult it is.   bhagavAn's
first accomplishment, the creation of this Universe from the prakr*ti or
primordial matter, is a result of His vIrya. 

	In the vyAkhyAna in dharma cakram it is pointed out that one
with the vIrya or creative energy should also be one who has complete
control of the indriya-s in order for this creative energy to be
beneficial to evreryone else.  From this point, the Lord is the only one
who can be called the mahA-vIrya. 

177.  mahA-Saktih - Of immense power.

Om mahA-Saktaye namah.

	SrI Bhattar points out that this nAma emphasizes that bhagavAn
is not just the sentient cause of this world, but is also the material
cause of this world; i.e., He is not only the brain behind the creation,
but He is also the one whose immense power caused the physical creation
of this world from the prakr*ti.  SrI Bhattar indicates that this is
unlike the view held by the pasupata school that holds that Isvara is
only the sentient cause and not the material cause.  He points out that
the constant change going on in pradhAna or primordial matter, milk,
curd, etc., every moment, is but the result of a small fraction of this
Sakti of bhagavAn. Unfortunately I am unfamiliar with the details of the
point made here about the pasupata school of thought , and would like to
invite additional comments/elaborations from the readers.

	The word can be derived from  Sak - marshane to endure, to be
able, or Sak Saktau to be able, to endure, to be powerful.  Thus SrI
satyadevo vAsishTha interprets the meaning to be similar to be
mahA-bala, mahotsAhah etc.  SrI Sankara interprets Sakti as sAmarthyam
or skill, and Sri chinamayAnanda follows up on this and indicates that
He is mahA-Sakti because He is the cause of the interplay of the three
Sakti-s, the kriyA Sakti or the power-of-action, the kAma-Sakti or the
power-of-desire, and the ~jnAna Sakti or the power-of-knowledge, which
in turn is the cause of this Universe.

	As pointed out under the previous nAma, He uses the mighty power
for the good of the world, and every instance of this Might should
remind us of Him.

178.  mahA-dyutih - He of great splendor.

Om mahA-dyutaye namah.

	The derivation of this nAma is from the dhAtu dyuta dIptau to
shine.  dyotate iti dyutih - One who is shining is dyutih, dyotayitA vA
dyutih - One who makes things shine is dyutih.  SrI satyadevo vAsishTha
gives the following yajurvedic mantras to support the point that all
that shines in this world is because of His effulgence - 

	"yaste divi sUrye mahimA sambabhUva|  tasmai te mahimne
prajApataye devebhyah svAhA ||
	   yaste nakshatreshu candramasi mahimA sambabhUva | tasmai te
mahimne prjApataye devebhyah svAhA ||   (yajur 23-2, 23-4)

	SrI Bhattar explains that this nAma indicates that bhagavAn
neither depends on nor needs any external help for any of His actions,
and the great splendor (tejas) in His appearance reveals this.  This
tejas is capable of removing both the outer and the inner darkness in
us.  The tejas of the Sun and the shining of the precious jewels are but
a tiny part of the tejas of the Lord.  This tejas of the Lord is so
pleasing to His devotees, and so frightening to His enemies (we may
recall the description of the nAma nArasimha-vapu earlier, where we
emphasized the same point about the nr*simha avatAram).

	The sruti references that support this are:  svayam jyotih - He
is pure Effulgence Himself without the need for external means to
illuminate Him (br*hadAraNya upanishad 4.3.9), jyotishAm jyotih - The
Light among lights (muNdakopanishad 2.2.9), etc.

	The dharma cakram writer points out that those who worship the
Lord are automatically blessed by the Lord with a part of this dyuti
(The face is the index of the mind - agattin azhagu mugattil teriyum is
the Tamil saying).

	SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri points out that there are 43 nAmas in
sahasranAmam that start with mahA.  Of these, the above six nAmas refer
to bhagavAn's qualities of overlordship, strength, knowledge, virility,
power, and effulgence.  The combination of these six guNas is what makes
bhagavAn the mahA-mAya or the One who performs the wonderful acts which
are His sport.

	The six great qualities of bhagavAn that have been referred to
in the previous nAma-s 173-178 are also referenced in many sruti-s:

	"parA asya Saktih vividhaiva SrUyate svabhAvikI ~jnAna bala
kriyA ca (SvetAsvatara U. 6-8) - He has varities of Sakti-s in par
excellence as part of His Nature.  His superior knowledge, superior
might, and His power of creation etc., are some examples".

	"~jnAna Sakti bala aiSvarya vIrya tejAmsi aSeshatah    |
	   bhagavacchabda-vAcyAni vinA heyaih guNadibhih   ||  (vishNu
purANam 6-5-79)

	"The word bhagaVan is associated with the six superior qualities
of knowledge, strength, lordship or non-dependence on anything else,
virility,  power, and effulgence, with no association whatever with any
negative connotations".

	"tejo bala aiSvarya mahA avabodha suvIrya SaktyAdi guNaika rASih
|  (vishNu purANam 6-5-85)

	"The Lord is the abode for good qualities such as tejas, balam,
aiSvaryam, great knowledge, abudant vIrya, Sakti etc".

179.  anirdeSya-vapuh - He who possesses an indescribable body.

Om anirdeSya-vapushe namah.

	Something that can be described as this or that, or can be
pointed to as this or that, is nirdeSa - idam tat ityAdi rUpeNa
vi~jnApanam, ~jnApyasya prakASanam vA nirdeSah.  AnirdeSa is something
that cannot be described as above.  vapu means SarIra or body.  vapu
also can be derived from the dhAtu vap - bIjasantAne chedane ca - to
sow, to scatter, etc.  SrI satyadevo vAsishTha uses this later approach
and gives a meaning for anirdeSyavapu as One who cannot be easily
described and who is the sower of the seed for this Universe.  He
indicates that the word bAp, bApu etc., - father in Hindi is derived
from a colloquial derivative of vapu.

	All beings who have a body as we know it have the body which is
formed from the panca-bhuta-s, mahat and ahamkAram.  BhagavAn's body is
different - it is formed from the six maha-guNa-s that we just learned
about.  He becomes whatever He wants to become.  He is pure effulgence,
pure knowledge, pure power, pure lordship incarnate, etc.  In vishNu
purANa, we have "rUpa varNAdi nirdeSa viSeshaNa vivarjitah - Regarding
His form, color, etc., there is nothing that can be compared to them" -
(1.2.10).  SrI rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri remarks in his commentary that the
mahA-guNas cannot be visualized by the meager knowledge that we possess,
and it is only by the inner experience that He can be realized.

	SrI chinmayAnanda points out that He is the knowledge through
which we can describe everything else, but He himself cannot be
described.   (Just as the eye can see others, but the eye cannot be used
to see itself).

180.  SrImAn - Possessed of beauty.

Om SrImate namah.

	This nAma occurred earlier as nAma 22, and will re-occur as nAma
222 later.  NAma 22 occurred succeeding the nAma nArasimha-vapuh, which
was nAma 21, and was interpreted in that context (viz., the nr*simha
incarnation was of exceptional beauty).  The nAmas immediately preceding
nAma 222 are interpreted by SrI Sankara and SrI Bhattar in the context
of the matsya -avatAra, and so they interpret nAma 222 as referring to
the beauty of the matsya-avatAra.  For the current nAma, since this
immediately succeeds the description of the body of the Lord (anideSya
vapu), they interpret this in this context, and give the meaning that
here it refers to the enormously beautiful ornaments that decorate the
body of bhagavAn (SrI Bhattar), or they refer to the beauty associated
with the six great qualities (SrI Sankara).  Note that even though the
same nAma, SrImAn, occurs three times, both SrI Sankara and SrI Bhattar
interpret them differently each time depending on the context.

	SrImAn also refers to Sriyah pati, or the Lord of Sri or
mahA-lakshmi.  BhagavAn's beauty is natural to Him because He has SrI in
his vaksha-sthala.  The dharma-cakram author inteprets this nAma to mean
that the prakr*ti and purusha are inseparable, just as SrI and the Lord
are inseparable, and are part of the same para-brahmam.

	SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives the root as "Sri -sevAyAm" - One
who is fit to be served.  SrI also means SobhA or beauty or "kAnti".  He
points out that the beauty that is seen all around us in the trees, the
birds, the rivers, the flowers, the Sun, the Moon, the stars, etc.,
should remind us constantly of bhagavAn, the SrImAn whose SrI is shining
in everything.  SrI also means wealth.  The wealth that humans have is
transient, and can disappear any time.  BhagavAn is SrImaAn whose wealth
is nitya or permanent. 

181.  ameyAtmA - He of an incomprehensible nature.

Om ameyAtmane namah.

	SrI Bhattar explains that based on the diverse qualities which
are in abudance as described in the previous nAma-s, He is ameyAtmA.

SrI Sankara interprets the meaning of AtmA here as buddhi or
intelligence, and He is ameyAtmA because He has remarkable intelligence
which is beyond measure.

	SrI satyadevo vAsishTha starts from the root or dhAtu from which
this nAma is derived - mA mAne to measure, to compare with.  MAtum arhah
meyah; na mAtum arhah ameyah.  Here AtmA refers to the svarUpam.   Since
He in the inner soul of everything, it is not possible to describe Him
from outside, just as an ocean cannot be precisely defined when you are
in the middle of the ocean.

182.  mahAdri-dhr*t - The bearer of the great mountain.

Om mahAdri-dhr*te namah.

	There are two instances of bhagavAn bearing the mountain.  One
was the instance of bearing the mandara mountain during the time of
churning of the Milk Ocean, when bhagavAn appeared in the form of the
Great Tortoise to bear the churning stick (which was the mandara
mountain) on His back.  The other is the instance when Lord Kr*shNa bore
the govardhana mountain in gokulam to protect the cows.  

SrI chinamayAnanda points out that bhagavAn also supports the
mind-intellect of the sAdhaka while he is churning, through SravaNa
(study) and manana (reflection), his own milk-like pure heart of
devotion in order to gain the amr*tam of immortality.

Some versions of sahasranAmam have this nAmam as mahAdridhr*k instead of
mahAdri-dhr*t.  Sri rAdhAkr*shNa Sastri points out the difference
between the two as follows:  mahAdri-dhr*k - One who is capable of
bearing a huge mountain (mahAdraye didhr*shNoti); mahAdri-dhr*t - One
who bears a huge mountain (mahAdrim dharati).  My knowledge of samskr*t
grammar is not good enough to explain this distinction clearly.  I would
request anyone who can explain the difference between the two versions
based on etymological considerations to contribute to clarifying this
difference in meaning.

-dAsan kr*shNamAchAryan