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Efficacy of the Divine name

From: Shree (
Date: Tue Oct 28 1997 - 06:13:57 PST

Efficacy of the Divine name 

                    Date: 28-10-1997 :: Pg: 24 :: Col: c 

                    Cl: Religion 

                    CHENNAI, Oct. 28. 

The Vedas which declare that the Supreme Reality is birthless also relate in
the same vein that He assumes countless forms. How is one to understand
this apparent contradiction? This is not a scriptural inconsistency, but the
paradox arising due to expression in language the nature of the Almighty,
who is beyond the ken of the senses and the mind. Further, the
God-realised saints attest that it is due to His compassion that He incarnates
 from time to time for the redemption of humanity. 

He was accessible only to those who lived during the eras when He
incarnated and the knowledge we have now is on the basis of the Puranas
and the Itihasas. So what is the way open for humanity during other
periods? His names (Nama) have the same potency and glory and can be
chanted by all at any time. Though the Lord has innumerable names, the
Vishnu Sahasranama which contains a 1000 select names of the Supreme
Being, is in the nature of a hymn which can be chanted by all. 

In his Harikatha, Kalyanapuram Sri R.Aravamudan said that the glory of the
Vishnu Sahasranama could be appreciated from the fact that it was recited
by Bhishma who was awaiting his end lying on the bed of arrows, before
Lord Krishna Himself, to Yudishtra who wanted clarification on dharma and
was written down by Sage Vyasa. Bhishma attests before commencing the
hymn, ``I am giving for the benefit of all , those names of His which are far-
famed, which are indicative of His attributes and which find a place in the
exalted hymns of the Rishis.'' 

Bhishma lay reflecting that all who had died in the battle beholding Lord
Krishna as he held the reins of the chariot of Arjuna had attained the
beautific state, whereas he was waiting for an auspicious moment to shed
his mortal coil. Intuiting what transpired in the mind of the grandsire, the
Lord rushed to his side and urged the Pandavas to join Him stating that this
was the most appropriate time to clarify whatever they wanted to on the
subject of dharma. 

In the dialogue that ensued, the Vishnu Sahasranama was chanted in reply
to Yudishtra's query by Bhishma, ``In this universe who is the one Divinity
(at whose command all beings function)? What is the supreme status which
one should seek to attain? Who is that Divinity by praising whom and by
worshipping whom a man attains the good? Which according to you is that
highest form of Dharma capable of bestowing salvation and prosperity on
man? What is that by uttering or reciting which any living being can attain
freedom from the cycle of births and deaths?'' Thus was the efficacy and
glory of the Divine name made known to mankind.