SrI vishNu sahasra nAmam - Phalashruti Slokas -

Phala Shruti



SrI vishNu sahasra nAmam   phala Sruti - 1.

iti idam kIrtanIyasya keSavasya mahAtmanah |
nAmnAm sahasram divyAnAm asesheNa prakIrtitam || (1)

The above is addressed by bhIshma to yudhisThira at the end of the 107 Sloka-s containing the 1000 nAma-s of bhagavAn. The meaning is: "Thus, the thousand divine names of bhagavAn keSava, the Supreme Being, Who is worthy of being praised, have been sung in their entirety". SrI BhaTTar comments that the word `kIrtanIyasya' has been chosen to indicate that bhagavAn richly deserves the praise, and that by using this word, bhIshma is telling yudhishThira that he should begin the recitation of the names right away. The reason for the same is given by the choice of the name keSava (the Creator of brahmA and Siva see the interpretation for the nAma keSava nAma-s 23 and 654), and mahAtmanah (He is the Supreme Being). The word `divyAnAm' (divine) applied to the nAma-s signifies that the nAma-s are worthy of being sung in this world as well as in SrI vaikunTham. The word `aSesheNa' is used to denote that nothing that is significant or important has been left out by bhIshma in his communication to yudhisThira, and everything that needs to be known has been taught.

SrI Sa'nkara explains the word `aSesheNa' to mean `a-nyUna, an- atirikta' neither less, nor more, but exactly thousand nAma-s. The implication is that the choice of the thousand names by bhIshma are significant, and are not randomly chosen. SrI Sa'nkara also refers us back to one of the initial six questions kim japan mucyate jantuh (see Introduction for detailed meanings), and points out that these 1000 divine nAma-s are the ones that are the object of `japa' referred to therein. He points out that `japa' consists of three kinds - ucca, upAmSu, and mAnasa loud, whisper, or in the mind (trividha japo lakshyate uccaA, upAmSu, mAnasa lakshaNah trividho japah). The words prakIrtitam in the current Sloka answers that all three means chanting loudly, through a low tone, or by contemplating in the mind, can be used in singing His praise (kIrtana).

This Slokam emphasizes that these nAma-s are divine, and are sung in SrI vaikunTham by the nitya sUri-s themselves. They are specifically selected as sung by the Rshi-s (Rshibhih parigItAni see the Introductory section). This stotram is unlike any other stotram that we know of. It was first revealed in Lord kRshNa's presence.

ya idam SRNuyAt nityam yaScApi parikIrtayet |
nA'Subham prApnuyAt ki'ncit so'mutreha ca mAnavaH || (2)

In this Sloka, the qualifications for reciting the stotra, and the result from recitation are declared in general terms. "Nothing inauspicious or unwelcome will accrue to that man in this world or in the world beyond, when one hears this daily or recites it".

SrI BhaTTar comments that he, who according to his qualification and ability, hears it or meditates on it in his mind, will encounter nothing inauspicious in this world, or hereafter. Note that the benefit is attained by chanting, as well as by listening.

By the term `hereafter (amutre ca)', lesser worlds than SrI vaikunTham, such as svargam, brahma lokam etc. are meant. SrI Sa'nkara points the case of yayAti and his father nahusha, both of whom ended up suffering after reaching brahma lokam and indra lokam respectively, because they committed sins against brAhmaNa-s after reaching these higher worlds. Such inauspicious instances won't happen to those who chant or hear this divine stotram yayAti nahushAdivat aSubha prApti abhAvam.

vedAnta-go brAhmaNah syAt kshatriyo vijayI bhavet |
vaiSyo dhana samRddhah syAt SudraH sukham avApnuyAt || (3)

The next few Sloka-s declare the benefits attained by chanting the hymn, hearing it chanted etc. SrI BhaTTar has categorized the benefits as follows:

- The current Slokam declares the benefits attained by people of the four varNa-s, when they chant the stotram without necessarily directing their chanting for any specific benefit, and do so without necessarily following any special discipline etc. - The next Slokam (Slokam 4 in this sequence) declares the benefits attained by those who chant the stotram with specific benefits in mind. - Sloka-s 5 to 8 declare the benefits attained by those who chant the hymns following discipline such as getting up early in the morning, taking a bath etc., before chanting.

The organization along the above lines will be clearer as we see the meanings of the Sloka-s, in particular, Slokam 5 etc.

Thus, there is benefit that is bestowed by the recitation of the hymn, whether it is done by those with intense devotion or is chanted without necessarily following any specific discipline, whether specific benefits are sought by the person chanting the hymn or not, etc. (Note: Based on Slokam 2 of this sequence, whatever benefit is described for chanting the hymn, equally applies for listening to the hymn being chanted).

The current Sloka declares that by reciting this hymn or hearing it being chanted, (without necessarily following any specific rules etc., and without specifically seeking any benefit), still certain benefits are attained by people belonging to the four varNa-s. Thus, a brAhmaNa reaches the knowledge of the vedAnta-s, in other words, the knowledge of the self and its relation to the Supreme Self. If he is a kshatriya, he will be victorious in war. A vaiSya (businennman) will attain immense wealth, and a SUdra will be bestowed with great happiness.

SrI Sa'nkara gives an elaborate explanation for the words `vedAnta-go brAhmaNah syAt', and using the meaning "The brAhmaNa will get KNOWLEDGE of the vedAnta-s, he proceeds to argue that sage vyAsa is declaring through this Slokam that simply reciting the hymn is not the means to salvation (japa karmaNA sAkshAt mukti Sa'nkAyAm, karmaNAm sAkshAt mukti hetutvam nAsti, api tu j~nAnenaiva moksha iti darSayitum `vedAntago brAhmaNah syAt' ityuktam) , but the knowledge obtained by the recitation is the path to salvation. We won't go into elaborate details of SrI Sa'nkara's argument on this point in the vyAkyAnam for this Slokam; however, this is one instance of how the vyAkhyAna-kartA-s orient their vyAkhyAna-s so that they can establish their philosophy, and argue that important works such as this one by veda vyAsa can be `shown' to support their system of philosophy. SrI v.v. rAmAnujan explains that the knowledge that is attained by chanting the hymn is the realization of the eternal relationship between the soul and the Supreme Soul as servant and Master (not the realization that everything is imaginary and non- existent, except Brahman, as SrI Sa'nkara defines true knowledge).

One commentator adds that this Slokam by referring to the benefits attained by all the four varNa-s, implies that there is no constraint in anyone chanting the hymns. Some AcArya-s have asked the women among their followers to refrain from chanting the hymn either in part or in full. The instructions vary from being allowed to chant only the 107 Sloka-s starting from "viSvam vishNuh" up to "Sa'nkhabRn- nandakI", not chanting anything, chanting the stotra in its entirety, etc. To my knowledge, there is no restriction listening to the hymn, which is as powerful in conferring benefits as chanting the hymn. In all cases, one's own AcAryan's instructions should be rigorously followed.

dharmArthI prApnuyAt dharmam arthArthI cArthamApnuyAt |
kAmAn avApnuyAt kAmI prajarthI cApnuyAt prajAm ||

In this Slokam, it is declared that those who desire righteousness (dharma), will be blessed with that; those who desire wealth will be blessed with wealth; those who are after the pleasures of life, will be bestowed with all pleasures of life; those who desire progeny will be blessed with children.

-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan