Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam - SLOKA 4

25 sarvaH  
26 sharvaH
27 shivaH
28 sthAnuH
29 bhUtAdiH
30 nidhiravyayaH
31 sambhavaH
32 bhAvanaH
33 bhartA
34 prabhavaH
35 prabhuH
36 IshvaraH


25.  sarvah 
(sa as in sanAtana)

One who is all - the cause of creation and destruction of all things.

We have the following from MahAbhArata -

"asatasca satascaiva sarvasya prabhavApyayAt
sarvasya sarvadA jnAnAt savamenam pracakshate (MB 5.68.11)

"He is the origin and end of all things, chetana and achetana, and He has full knowledge of all beings at all times, and so He is called sarva".

Sri ChinmayAnanda gives a very simple illustration to help understand the concept behind this nAma. - "All waves arise from the same ocean, and so the ocean is the essence in all waves".

26.  sharvah  
(sa as in Shiva)

The Remover of all sins

I am unable to get a good understanding of the interpretation of this nAma. The word is derived from the root sr - to tear to pieces, to kill, to hurt. Neither Sri Bhattar nor Sri Sankara have given references to other srutis for this nAma. If any of you know of a context in the Gita or elsewhere that this name occurs or is referred to, please advise me since I would like to understand the significance of this nAma better.

Sri Bhattar's vyAkhyAna says that the Lord is called sarva because He removes the evils of objects that are His body (sva sarIra bhUtAnAm asubhamapi srNAti iti sarvah). Perhaps this means that BhagavAn destroys the sins of His devotees, but the significance of the word . "asubhamapi" in the above is unclear. The author of Nirukti interprets Sri Bhattar's above vyAkhyAna as follows: "sva sarIra jagad-duhkham sarva: sa sthAt srNAti yah"- Sri Sankara interprets this word in terms of the action of BhagavAn at the time of pralaya in withdrawing all beings unto Himself - srNAti samhAra samaye samharati samhArayati vA sakalAh prajA: iti sarvah. In this context, SrI RadhAkrshNa Sastri points out that this destruction at the time of prlaya is not really to be considered cruel, since this is like "destroying" the shape of raw rice when it is cooked in order to make it edible - the beings are destroyed in order to give them new life.  (Another example: The caterpillar dies, and a butterfly is borne. - MKK)

27.  shivah

One who confers auspiciouness

subha Avahasca sivah - One who bestows auspiciouness on all.

In Mahabharata Drona Parva (202), we have the following for supporting the above interpretation:

"sameghayati yan-nityam sarvArthAn sarvakarmasu |
sivamicchan manushyAnAm tasmAdesha sivah smrtah ||

"One who bestows all that is desired always by all His devotees is called Siva because of this guNa of His".

Two instances of Sri VishNu being referred to as Siva are in nArAyaNa upanishad -

"sAsvatam sivam acyutam" - The Eternal, The Auspicious, and the One Who never lets His devotees fall"

"sa brahma sa sivah sendrah so'ksharah paramah svarAt" - He is Brahma, He is Siva, He is Indra, He is Eternal, He is Supreme, He is the Lord of all.

28.  sthANuh

One who is .firm in His benefits and anugraha to the devotees.

The name derives from the word stha - tisThati, indicating firmness or steadiness. Sri Bhattar interprets this name as indicating that the result of BhagavAn's anugraha is firm in its effect of blessing the devotee far beyond what other lesser acts can bestow.

Sri Radhakrishnam Sastri indicates that sthANu is also the name for a tree which has matured to such an extent that no changes affect it any more, including sun, rain etc. He interprets this name as indicating BhagavAn's guNa of not being affected by changes such as growth, decay, etc., nor impacted by the changes of time, place, etc.

We will revisit the name sthANu again in the sloka "vistArah sthAvarah sthANuh.....", where we should expect a different interpretation for this guNa in the context that is applicable at that part of the stotram.

29. bhUtAdih

a) One who is eagerly sought after by all beings
b)  The source or cause of all beings
c)  The very source of the panca bhUtas

Sri Bhattar gives the interpretation bhUtaih sprhaNIyatanatayA AdIyate - One who is eagerly sought after by all beings. Sri Sankara gives the interpretation bhUtAnAm Adi-kAraNatvAt bhUtAdih - BhagavAn is called bhUtAdih because He is the first cause of all beings. It is possible that Sri Bhattar chose to interpret it differently because the second interpretation is similar to the meaning for bhUtakrt (nAma 5). I would like to request any of our bhaktas to comment further.

Sri ChinmayAnanda gives another plausible interpretation . - The very cause for the first five great elements - the panca bhUtas - Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. BhUtAnAm Adih

30.  nidhiravyayah

The inexhaustible treasure.

Avayayah nidhih - He is like the wealth that is kept under safe keeping and always available at the time of distress to His bhaktas. Sri ChinmayAnanda points out that the term nidhi means that in which precious things are stored away or preserved secretly - nidhIyate asmin iti nidhih. Surely BhagavAn is a treasure that is not understood or obtained easily by everyone.

Sri Sankara interprets this nAma as meaning that VishNu is the One in whom all things go and lie merged therein temporarily till the next creation, and so He is the Immutable Treasure Chest.

31.  sambhavah

(Though like a Hidden Treasure), One who manifests Himself at will to .those who sincerely seek Him.

He manifests Himself at any place and at any time and in any form (e.g., nrsimha, matsya, kUrma, etc.).

Note the following: "dharma samsthApanArthAya sambhavAmi yuge yuge" (GItA 4-8)" svecchayA sambhavAmyevam garbha duhkha vivarjitah"

32.  bhAvanah

(Having manifested thus), One who regenerates all by dispelling all their evils.

The author of Nirukti summarizes Sri Bhattar's interpretation by the following words: yo janitvA janAn ujjIvayati sah bhAvanah - One who, after having manifested Himself (sambhavah - see above), brings back all to life.

Sri ChinmayAnanda points out that to do bhAvana is to give, and BhagavAn gives the fruits of action as they deserve to all, and so He is bhAvana. This is consistent with Sri Sankara's interpretation that BhagavAn is bhAvana because He gives the fruits of actions to all jivas.

33.  bhartA


Sri Sankara gives the following vyAkhyAna - prapancasya adhishTAnatvena bharaNAt bhartA - BhagavAn is bhartA (Sustainer) because He sustains the universe as its Lord. Sri Bhattar points out that He does this nourishing of His devotees by giving Himself up to His devotees because this is His Nature - yasmAt pushNAti Atma-dAnAt.

34.  prabhavah

One whose birth is of a sublime nature.

Asya bhavah prakrshTa iti prabhavah - His birth (bhava) is unsullied by any blemish, and is capable of uprooting the fetter of birth of all those who realize Him. Or, prakarsheNa bhavati .

35.  prabhuh

He who is all powerful.

Sri Sankara's vyAkhyAna is - sarvAsu kriyAsu sAmarthya atisayavAn prabhuh - One who is the most powerful, showing it forth in all His actions. The author of Nirukti summarizes Sri Bhattar's vyAkhyAna thus:

"brahmAdInAm ca sarveshAm bhoga-moksha-samarpaNe |
samarthah prabhu: ityuktah sarveshTa phalado manuh
|| "

He is prabhu - most powerful - because he can bestow fruits such as the enjoyment of the pleasures associated with those of Brahma and even moksha.

36.  Isvarah

a) One who has the supreme power of control over all beings
b) One who has the ability to do anything without the help of any other beings or things

This nAma is interpreted based on its relation to the word aisvarya or to the word ishta.

The first meaning derives from the word aisvarya - nirupAdhikam aisvaryam asya iti Isvarah - He is Isvara because he has unlimited might or power. The second meaning derives from IshTe iti Isvarah - One who can do whatever He wills without the help of anything else.