b) He Who is reached through yoga (meditation).
The word yoga has several different meanings given in the amara koSa: means, meditation, union, fitness, remedy, etc.
yogah sannahana upAya dhyAna sa’ngati yuktishu (amara koSa 3.3.22)
Given this diversity of meanings for the word ‘yoga’, now let us see the different interpretations for the nAma ‘yogah’.
a) SrI BhaTTar uses the meaning ‘upAya’ or ‘means’ for the term ‘yoga’. His interpretation for the nAma is that bhagavAn is the sole means or upAya for mukti (salvation) – asyaiva nirupAdhika mukti upAyatvamapi vakti – yogah – He alone is the natural and independent means for salvation. He further comments – sa sAyujyasya ananyApekshah sAkshAt hetuh ityarthah – The meaning is that He is the immediate cause of salvation, and does not stand in need of the help of anything else.
He gives support the brahma sUtra and from the gItA:
- t ad-hetu-vyapadeSAc-ca (brahma sUtra 1.1.15) – He is the cause of the Bliss that all souls enjoy. – esha hveya AnandayAti ( (taitt. Ananda. 2.7.1)
- aham tvA sarva pApebhyo mokshayishyAmi (gItA 18.66) – “I will release you from all sins”.
SrI satya sandha tIrtha gives multiple interpretations, one of which uses the meaning “upAyam” for the word ‘yoga’. The explanation is along the lines given by SrI BhaTTar – bhatAnAm bhava taraNa upAya iti yogah – He Who is the means of salvation for His devotees.
Another vyAkhyAna kartA who uses the meaning ‘upAyam’ for the word ‘yoga’ is SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj – yogah bhakta abhilAsha adhigamAya amogha upAyah – The unfailing upAya or means for attaining the desires or wishes of the devotees.
b) SrI Sa’nkara uses the meaning ‘union’ or ‘oneness’ for the term ‘yoga’, and gives an interpretation that supports the advaita concept that the individual soul and the Supreme Soul are not different from each other. He notes that yoga is the process of controlling the senses and the mind, and realizing this “oneness”, and He is called yogah because He is to be reached by means of yoga as described here (in other words, by attaining this knowledge of oneness).
(It should be noted that one of the main reasons for the great AcArya-s undertaking to write commentaries on important works such as the vishNu sahasra nAmam, the gItA, the brahma sUtra-s, the upanishad-s, etc., is to show that their particular philosophy is what is supported and advocated by the different smRti-s, Sruti-s, purANa-s, etc. To quote svAmi AdidevAnanda from his Introduction to bhagavad rAmAnuja’s gItA bhAshyam, “Such a method involves some text-torturing to get the meaning that one wants…. To impart a sense of consistency of a text to their followers, they are compelled to give interpretations that may sometimes look far-fetched to others”. SrI AdidevAnanda is careful to point out that on the whole, the AcArya-s give a reasonable and satisfying interpretation of their philosophy in the process. This is not just limited to SrI Sa’nkara’s interpretation, and can be seen in all interpretations. The current interpretation by Sri Sa’nkara is one example of assigning interpretations that bring ‘support’ for their philosophy from the ancient scriptures).
c) SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN seems to use both the meanings ‘union’ and ‘meditation’ for the word ‘yoga’, and gives the interpretation that bhagavAn is called yogah, because the devotee’s mind becomes one with Him when the devotee meditates on Him - yujyate manah asmin iti yogah samAdheh SubhASrayah.
d) SrI cinmayAnanda uses the meaning ‘meditation’ for the term yoga, and gives the interpretation for the nAma ‘yogah’ as “One Who is realized through yoga”. His interpretation is “By withdrawing the sense-organs from their objects of preoccupation, when the mind of the seeker becomes quiet, he is lifted to a higher plan of consciousness, wherein he attains ‘yoga’, meaning he realizes the Reality”. He notes: “At such moments of equanimity and mental quiet ‘yoga’ is gained – samatvam yoga ucyate (gItA 12.48)”. Note that while SrI Sa’nkara also interpreted the nAma as “One Who is attained through yoga’, his interpretation of yoga was ‘attaining knowledge of oneness of self and the Self’, whereas SrI cinmayAnanda’s meaning for the word yoga is meditation by quieting the mind and controlling the senses.
SrI satya sandha tIrtha also uses the meaning ‘meditation’ for the word yoga in one of his interpretations – yujyate hRdi yogibhih dhyAyata iti yogah – He Who is meditated upon by the yogi-s is yogah .This nAma is probably a very good example where different vyAkhyAna kartA-s use the diversity of meanings for a word, and give interpretations that support their own schools of philosophy, and we get the benefit of diverse enjoyment of His guNa-s in the process.
One who leads those who practise yogA until they reach their Goal.
From Sankara BhAshya, a yoga-vit is one who inquires into,
realizes, or acquires yoga - yogam vidanti, vicArayanti, jAnanti,
labhanta iti vA yoga vidah.
In GItA, Sri Krishna says:
"ananyAs-cintayanto mAm ye janAh paryupAsate|
" On those who meditate on me with single-minded devotion, those that want to be with Me unceasingly, I confer on them .the Bliss of .union (yoga) with Me constantly and never returning back to samsAra again (the safety or kshema)"
One who is the Lord of Primordial Matter as well as the Jivas.
PradhAna here refers to the cause of bondage, and purusha refers to the jivAtmA. Perhaps the easiest way to understand the concept of prakrti or pradhAna is through the following explanation for the Brahma Sutra - deha yogAdvA so'pi - This conealment of the true nature of jiva is caused by the contact with the body (at the time of creation) or by the contact with the Primordial Matter (prakrti or pradhAna) at the time of deluge. Thus prakrti or pradhAna can be conceived of as the undifferentiated or 'asat' form of the bondage of the jiva, and the sarIra or body can be conceived of as the sat form that keeps the jiva in bondage.
Chapter 13 in the Bhagavad Gita deals elaborately with the concepts of prakrti and jIvAtmA and their interrelationship to each other. In sloka 19 of chapter 13, BhagavAn points out that both prakrti and purusha have always existed, and this nAma indicates that He is the Lord and Master of both. "prakrtim purusham caiva vidyanAdau ubhAvapi". prakrti can be considered to be composed of rajas, tamas and sattva, and from these all the rest such as the panca bhUtas, the eleven indriyas, the five indriya-gocaras, etc. arise. These are explained in detail in the gItA bhAshya by TirukkaLLam Sri NrsimhAchArya.
He Who is possessed of a body of man and lion combined.
om nArasimha-vapushe namah.
One with a lovely form.
In the context of the uncommon and frightful form of nara-simha that we encountered in the previous nAma, one would not normally expect this to be a form of beauty. Not so in the case of BhagavAn, since His form is celestial, charming and beautiful. It is difficult to translate the description that Sri Bhattar has given in Sanskrit - soundarya lAvaNyAdibhih ati-manohara divya rupa.
Sri Sankara interprets this name as One who has Lakshmi always with Him in His vaksha-sthala - yasya vakshasi nityam vasati srI: sa srImAn. And for this reason, even though He has the form of a man-lion, there is no diminution in His beauty.
One with lovely locks of hair.
The name can be derived from the word kesa - hair. He is beautiful not only because he has Lkashmi with Him, but because He is naturally beautiful. "prasastah kesAh santu asya iti kesavah.
An additional interpretation for this name, which is supported by VishNu purANa, is given by Sri Sankara. This interpretation says that kesava derives from the fact that KrishNa is the destroyer of the demon Kesi who was sent to kill the child KrishNa by Kamsa.
"yasmAt tvayaiva drshTAtmA hatah kesI janArdana: |
However, the name kesi-hA appears later on in the stotra, and this literally means the destroyer of kesi. So a different interpretation here will be appropriate since otherwise there is the punarukti dosha, or the fault of repetition. In fact, the name kesava itself repeats later on in the stotra, and we will wait to see what interpretation the great vyAkhyAna kartAs are going to give us at that time (kesavah kesi-hA hari: ).
The Supreme amongst the purushas (i.e., individualsouls).
Purushebhya: uttama:, purushANAm uttama:, purusheshu uttama: are all possible derivations for this nAma.
We find the uttama purusha (purushottama) described in more detail in the Gita in sloka 15.16 and 15.17. Here the purushas are described as of two kinds - the kshara or those who have the association with prakrti and are under the bondage of samasara, and the akshara or the muktas who are released from bondage. The uttama purursha is different from either of these kinds of purushas, and is the paramAtmA who supports the acetana and the chetans who are either the baddhas (purushas under bondage) or muktas (purushas released from bondage)..
In Gita 15-18, Lord Krishna summarizes the above as follows:
"yasmAt ksharam atIto'ham aksharAdapi cottama: |
"Because I am superior to both kinds of purushas - the kshara and the akshara, all the srutis and smrtis praise Me as purushottama."