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From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Sun Oct 01 1995 - 15:42:51 PDT

This is in continuation of the discussion on Sivan
we had a little earlier.  One thing that had puzzled
me in the past is the name "Isvaran" given to
Sivan.  The verse "sri raama raamEthi ..." at the
end of Vishnu SaHasranaamam is attributed to
Sivan with "Isvara uvaaccha."  Does that indicate
that Sivan is Isvaran?  But, as sri vaishNavaas we
believe that our Lord Narayana is THE Isvaran.

Srimad azhagiya singar answered this in the
December 93 issue of Sri Nrusimha Priya.  The
following is only an abstract of the answer, in my
own words.  For more and complete details please
read the original article.

-- Dileepan

Isvaran, a name given for Sivan, is to be
understood as just a proper noun.  It is not
indicative of his nature or the function assigned to
him.  For example, there could be a person in a
town called Boopalan.  He may not own even a
small piece of land.  Yet, people in that town may
call him and refer to him in conversation as
Boopalan.  But the title Boopalan, when used as a
honorific, will always refer only to the King of the
town/country who literally owns the land.
Similarly, Lord Narayana is Isvaran due to His
nature and the function that He alone and no one
else performs.

There can be no difference of opinion on this
count as Sri Sankarar himself explains that Lord
Vishnu is Isvaran in his Vishnu SaHasranama
bhashyam.  Three examples of this are (i)
"nirupaathikam aisvaryam aSya aStheethi
Isvara:.," (ii) "Sarva sakthimathvaath Isvara:," and
(iii) Sarvabootha niyanthruvaath Isaana:."

Now, is it possible that both Narayana and Sivan
are both Isvarans by nature.   No!  Upanishads tell
us that there is only one Isvaran, not two. ("Eka:
saasthaa na dhvatheeyO.")   Therefore, Lord
Vishnu is the only Isvaran because of His nature
and actions.  For Sivan, Isvaran is just a proper
noun like Boopalan for a landless person.