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daya and its synonyms

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Sat Oct 26 1996 - 05:39:50 PDT

srimathe sri lakshminrsumha parabrahmanE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Sriman Vijay Srinivasan made a singular observation that according to him
there was no mention in the Vishnu Sahasranamam of daya or its synonyms used
in the daya satakam.

I was struck dumb by this observation. I had always been under the
impression that what is not contained in the sahasranamam is not worth
knowing about in all our scriptures.

To Sriman Vijay srinivasan goes now half the "punya" in my having to
meticulously scan the sahasranamam yesterday for the synonyms !

I have to agree with him. I failed to come up with either daya,karuna,krupa
or anukampa in the sahasranamam.

I sat for alone for a moment in a mood of reflective disappointment.

Then I scanned again for synonyms of daya and Lo ! I found a few gems that I
share below for the benefit of bhagavatOttamas who may please comment
further on the same. How clear it is that none but the intellect of great
"achaaryaas" can show us the way! 

1) Nama No: 127 in verse 14 : "vedaha" -- is to be taken to mean that He who
is of the form and nature of the veda or one who bestows "gnana" on "jivas". 

At this point, I learn, Adi Sankara in his commentary on the sahasranamam
alludes to the compassion of the Lord by referring to the verse in the Gita
(10.11) that begins with : "tesham ev-anukampArtham aham agnyAnajam
                            nAsha-yAmy Atma bhAvastho gnyAna-dIpEna bhAsvatA."

meaning :"Out of acutely felt compassion for them, I as the imnnermost
Spirit, destroy the darkness of ignorance by the light of knowledge." 

2) Nama No.236 in verse 26 : "suprasAdaha"

This nama means, I learn, He Whose 'prasada' or mercy is unique or
unparalleled because He bestowed salvation even to Sisupalan who has the
most infamous distinction of having showered Him with 100 choicest
invectives (a 'satakam' of another sort indeed!).

3) Nama No.455 in verse 49 : "suvrataha"

This wonderful appellation, one learns from Sankara's commentary, denotes
one who has taken a vow ('sankalpam') to be the resort of all
refuge-seekers. Sankara, I understand, refers at this point in his
commentary, to the shloka of Valmiki (6.18.33) beginning with:

sakrd-eva prapannAya tavAsmitti ca yAcate
abhayan sarva-bhUtebhyo dadamy etat vratam mama

I offer protection from all beings to one who seeks refuge in Me by even
once saying,"I am Thine".

One wonders if this "nama" denotes the Lord's Magnanimity or his Mercy. But
I, personally, would tend to give the benefit of doubt to His quality of 'daya'.

4) Nama 791 verse 85 : "sundaha"

This is a wonderful and rare synonym of 'daya', I think. According to
Sankara it means one who is renowned for his melting tenderness
("undanam").From what I can gather from the translation, it would be no
exaggeration to say this 'nama' is a fitting substitute for 'karuna' that
Swami Desikan employs.

5) Nama 913 verse 97 : "shishirah"

The meaning of this "nama", I learn, is One who is the Great Refuge of those
who helplessly "burn" in the three temporal fires stoked by material,
psychological and spiritual causes. This "nama" brings to mind a whole host
of worldly afflictions that can and do beset man and how they are the cause
of the Lord's concern and "daya". 

6) Nama 919 verse 98 : "kshamiNAm varaha"

This "nama" brings to mind Sriman Tatachari's stern protestations in his
posting y/day to my suggestion for excluding "kshama" from the list of
worthy synonyms for "daya". I confess I have to re-think my original opinion
on this (Sriman Rangaswamy, too, are you listening?) after noting what this
"nama" connotes as per the sahasranamam.

This appellation of the Lord, it seems, hails Him as the "Patient One
non-pareil".He is moved to such monumental patience by His forbearance and
mercy for jivatmas. Undoubtedly, one easily associates patience with such
emotions of compassion.One must also note that the compassionate are
invariably patient although the contra may not always obtain. Hence the
appropriateness of this "nama" to denote the Lord's quality of 'daya'.

7)Nama 905 verse 96 : "svastidakshinaha"

I go back to this "nama" because I am still in a little bit of doubt if I am
stretching the connotation too much to make it synonymous with 'daya'.

According to Sri Sankara the phonetic element or "sound-bite" (to use the
modern expression of media-experts) of "dakshiNa" connotes "accomplishing"
anything with remarkable alacrity. Thus this epithet may be used to mean He
who bestows His abundant blessings forthwith or as the French say,

This nama too, thus, I should say, is redolent of the "daya" quality of the

I was able to cull out the above 7 namas with my limited and scant knowledge
of Sanskrit. Those "bhAgavatOttamas" with richer "gnana" and "anubhavam" may
please direct me to others in the sahasranamam.

I enjoy thoroughly exercises and brain teasers like these. It adds that
extra "zing" (pardon the rather crude expression) to the enjoyment of His
kalyana gunas. 

If there are any errors of ommission or commission, please forgive me.

Srimathe srivan satagopa sri narayana yathIndra mahadesikAya namaha