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Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam - SLOKA 5

37. svayambhUH  
38. shambhuH
  
39. AdityaH
  
40. pushkarAkshaH
  
41. mahAsvanaH
  
42. anAdinidhanaH
  
43. dhAtA
  
44. vidhAtA
  
45. dhAturuttamaH
 

37.  svayambhUh

He who manifests Himself by His own free will.

Svayameva bhavati iti svayambhUh - One who is self-born.

Sri RAdhA KrishNa Sastri gives the example of how in the case of the birth of Lord KrshNa to Devaki and Vasudeva, the child was born unlike any other child, decorated with beautiful jewels, smiling, lotus-eyed, with divya rUpa, etc., and with no pain or discomfort to the mother. In Srimad BhAgavatam, we find the following description:

tam adbhutam bAlakam ambujekshNam caturbhujam sankha gadAryudAyudham |
srIvatsalakshmam galasobhikaustubham pItAmbaram sAndra payodasoubhagam
||

"(Sri KrshNa at birth) was of magnificent appearance, lotus-eyed, adorned with sankha, cakra, and gada, with four arms, the kaustubha around his neck, adorned with pitAmbara (yellow silk cloth) around His waist, and beautiful like the water-laden cloud".

38.  shambhuh

One who causes happiness to everyone by the beauty of His appearance.

Sam bhAvayati iti sambhuh - here sam (sa as in Shiva) means sukham or happiness. This happiness is caused by the sheer beauty of His manifestation.
In RAmAyaNa we see the following passages:

"rUpa audArya guNai: pumsAm drshti citta apahAriNam" - (Sri Rama) attracts the eyes and hearts of beholders by His beauty, generosity, and similar qualities.

"candra kAntAnanam rAmam atIva priya darsanam" - Rama who has a face lovelier than the moon, and who has an extremely pleasing appearance

39.  Adityah

a) The purusha in the Sun
b) One of the twelve Adityas
c) One who sustains and nourishes everything like the Sun

Sri Bhattar points out that this is one example of BhagavAn manifesting Himself at His will.
We are all familiar with "dhyeyah sadA savtr-manDala madhyavarti nArAyaNa...." -
Sriman nArAyaNa who is in the centre of the orb of the Sun must always be meditated upon.

We also have "sa yascAyam purushe, yascAsAvAditye, sa eka: " (taittirIya upanishad) -
He is one and the same deity who is in the hearts of men and who is in the middle of the Sun.

Sri Sankara gives the additional explanation that this nAma can refer to Lord VishNu being one of the twleve Adityas or Aditi's sons.
He refers to the Bhagavad Gita in support of this:

"AdityAnAm aham vishNur-jyotishAm raviramsumAn |
marIcirmaruTamasmi nakshtrANAm aham sasI
|| (10-21)

"Among Adityas, I am VishNu", (the twelfth Aditya) .........
Sri Chinmaya points out that BhagavAn incarnated as Aditi's son in His vAmana incarnation. .

Sri Chinmaya also points out that another way to enjoy this nAma is to realize that BhagavAn is like the Sun in that everything depends on the Sun for its survival,
and so BhagavAn is Aditya or the Sun or the supporter and nourisher of everything.

40.  pushkarAkshah

The Lotus-eyed.

Sri ChinmayAnanda refers us to the famous quote "The eye is the reflection of the mind", and points out that the reference to the beauty of the eye in this nAma is to be contemplated on in terms of the Inner Joy and Peace that BhagavAn beams out to all through His eyes and magically lifts out all the sorrows in His devotee's hearts.
This nAma re-occurs as nAma 561 later, where we will find a new interpretation.

Pushkare akshiNI yasya sa pushkarAkshah;
PoshayatI bhUtAni pushkare akshiNI yasya sa pushkarAkshah
.

41.  mahA-svanah

He of the venerable sound (of the vedas)

In BrhadAraNya upanishad, we have the following:

"asya mahato bhUtasya ni:svasitametad yad-rg-vedo yajur-vedah sAma vedo-atharvAngirasa:
itihAsa: purANam vidyA upanishada: slokA: sUtrANyaNuvyAkhyAnAni vyAkhyAnAn
i" (4.4.10) -

Thus has been breathed from this great Being what we have as Rg veda, Yajur veda, sAma veda, and atharva veda, etc.

42.  anAdi-nidhanah

One who is without beginning or end.

Yasya Adi nidhanam na asti sa anAdi-nidhanah - One for whom there is neither beginning nor end.
nidhana, which commonly refers to poverty or lack of wealth, also has a second meaning, death or destruction. .

BhagavAn is anAdi-nidhana because His form is not composed of earthly elements like fat, flesh and bone -
na tasya prakrtA mUrti:mAmsa-medosthi-sambhavA (varAha purANa 75.44),
His body is beyond the range of the sense-organs, and can be cognized only by the eye of the mind - rUpam vA atIndriyam, antahkaraNapratyaksha nirdesAt,
His body is not made up of the combination of elements like earth, water, etc.-na bhUta sangha samsthAno deho'sya paramAtmanah (MahAbhArata - sAnti parva 206-60),

43.  dhAtA

a) One Who created the Universe (dhA – to produce, or dhA – to lay upon).
b) He Who supports and sustains (dhAdhAraN poshaNayoySca).
c) He Who has no support other than Himself (a-dhAtA).
d) He Who ‘drinks’ everything during pralaya (dheT – pAne – to drink).
e) One Who is the antaryAmi of the four-faced brahmA.

This nAma occurs again in Slokam 102 (nAma 951).   The nAma can be derived from the roots
a)  dhA - to produce, to bear, to place, to lay upon; .
b) dhA – dhAraNa poshaNayoH – to support and nurture, or,
c) dhEt – pAne – to drink.  SrI Sa’nkara has also provided an alternate interpretation based on the pATham a-dhAtA.   

SrI BhaTTar interprets the current nAma as “The Creator of everything, including the four-faced brahmA”.    BrahmA has the responsibility for creation of everything inside the brahmANDa, through the powers given to him by bhagavAn.  On the other hand, bhagavAn creates the brahmANDa itself, and brahmA as the first one in the brahmANDa, before brahmA is given the responsibility for the creation of the rest of the things inside brahmANDa.  BhagavAn performs the function of creation inside the brahmANDa by being the antaryAmi of brahmA.   Thus, bhagavAn is the true Creator of everything.  BhagavAn’s role as the true Creator is repeatedly sung by nammAzhvAr in his tiruvAimozhi.   

SrI BhaTTar’s interpretation for the current instance of the nAma can be understood based on the root dhA  to to put, place, lay, put in, lay on or upon (SrI Apte’s dictionary).  The main idea being conveyed here is that bhagavAn is the Creator of all, including the four-faced brahmA, rudra, etc., all the way down to the blade of grass.  SrI BhaTTar’s interpretation is: aniruddha svarUpaH sarva yonau acit-samashTi bhUtAyAm prakRtau cit-samshTi bhUtam viri’ncAtmakam garbham dadhAti iti dhAtA –  BhagavAn, in the form of aniruddha, places the aggregate of sentient beings (selves) into the prakRti (the aggregate of non-sentient principles), and it is this ‘laying’ of one on the other, or association of one with the other by bhagavAn, that is the cause of all beings, namely, creation.  SrI BhaTTar gives the gItA Slokam 14.3 in support of his interpretation:

            mama yonir mahad brahma tasmin garbham dadhAmyaham   |
            sambhavaH sarva bhUtAnAm tato bhavati bhArata 
  ||   (gItA 14.3)

prakRti (referred to here by the term mahad brahma, meaning ‘very large’) is like My womb.  In that I lay the germ (garbham dadhAmi; the ‘germ’ or seed referring to the collection of all the jIva-s), and this is what results in the birth or creation of all life forms with a body associated with the self, O bhArata!”.

SrI BhaTTar gives additional supports from two other sources:

-          dhAtA kshetre karma-bIja- bhUtam garbham dadhAti (maula samhitA) – ‘dhAtA’ places the foetus (the jIva, which is the seed for actions) ) in the kshetra (prakRti).
-          Apa eva sasarja Adau tAsu vIryam apAsRjat (manu. SmRti 1.8) – First He created the waters (referring to the aggregate of prakRti); and in them hee put His vigor (the aggregate of sentients).

We also have references to His function of creation in the following:

-          tamasaH paramo dhAtA Sa'nkha cakra gadA dharaH (yuddha kANDa 114.18), where maNDodarI describes Lord rAma as dhAtA (The Creator).

-          sUrya candramasau dhAtA yathA pUrvam akalpayat | divam ca RthivIm cAnthariksham atho svah  ||   (Rg. 10/190/3)  

He recreates the world with the sun, moon, etc., the same way all over again after each  pralaya.

SrI bala deva vidyA bhUshaN gives an interpretation along the lines of that of SrI BhaTTar: 

utpatti vinASa virahAdanAdi nidhanaH kAraNatve viri’ncyAdibhyo viSesham Aha dhAtA iti | 
acit samashTau prakRti yonau cit samshTau viri’nci garbhasya dhAraNAt ituarthaH
| -

He Who is the cause of creation, protection and destruction, and He Who sows the seed for brahmA (creates brahmA), by the union of the cit samashTi and acit samsashTi (samashTi = conglomerate).   
All the other interpreters that we cover have used the root dhA – dhAra poshaNayoH, or the root dheTpibe – to drink. 
These interpretations are covered under nAma 951 (Slokam 102).

 44.  vidhAtA

om vidhAtre namaH.

a) He Who specially protected the seed He sowed for brahmA till the seed fully developed into the creation of catur-mukha brahmA.

b) The Ordainer of the laws of conduct for all, including the likes of yama.

c) The Dispenser of the fruits of action and the inducer of action.

d) The Supporter of all supports such as AdiSesha.

e) He Who lays down the code of conduct and the fruits to be attained from them.

f) He Who protects the beings of this world in diverse ways (vi-dhAtA; vi = vividhaiH).

g) He Who bestows the desires of His devotees.

h) He Who is borne by garuDa, His vehicle (vi-dhAtA; vi = garuDa).

This nAma occurs again in Slokam 51 (nAma 485).

The meaning for the nAma can be understood based on the following meanings given in the dictionary, and the derivation given by SrI vAsishTha, among others:

- vidhAtR – A maker, a creator. Grantor, giver, bestower.

- vidhAnam – arranging, disposing.

- vidhAnam - a rule, precept, ordinance, sacred rule or precept, sacred injunction.

- vidhAtA – vidhAnasya kartA – He Who ordains the rules etc.

For nAma 43, SrI BhaTTar uses the meaning “Creator” for the word dhAtA. For the current nAma, he continues on this interpretation, discussed below.
SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN also continues on this same line. All the other interpreters we have been covering, use one of the other meanings for their interpretations.
These other interpretations are covered under nAma 485 in Slokam 51.

a) For nAma 44, SrI BhaTTar continues on the interpretation of nAma 43 (dhAtA – The Creator), and gives the explanation that bhagavAn is vidhAtA because He not only initiated the creation of brahmA in the form of the garbha (nAma 43), but also He protected the garbham until brahmA was born. SrI v.v. rAmAnujan explains that the nAma dhAtA refers to bhagavAn creating the seed for brahmA, and vidhAtA as referring to nurturing this seed and making it come into existence. SrImad SrImushNam ANDavan explains the nAma as: viSesheNa dhAtA vidhAtA.

SrI BhaTTar gives several supporting references:

- yo brahmANam vidadhAti pUrvam yo vai vedAnSca prahiNoti tasmai |

tam ha devam Atam buddhi prakASam mumukshur-vai SaraNam aham parapdye || (SvetAS. 6.18)

“I, an aspirant after liberation, seek refuge in the effulgent God who created brahmA first, and who endowed him with the Vedas also
and on account of whom my intellect shines”.

- hiraNyagarbham paSyata jAyamAnam (tait. NArA.) – BhagavAn saw brahmA as he was being born.

- tasmAt virAT ajAyata (purusha.sUkta.) – From Him, virAt (i.e., brahmA) was born.

- tasmin jaj~ne svayam brahmA sarva-loka pitAmahaH (manu. 1.9) – Therein was born brahmA himself, who is known as the grandsire of the universe”.

SrI baladeva vidyAbhUshaN’s interpretation is the same as that of SrI BhaTTar – tam garbham pariNamayya AvirbhAvayati it vidhAtA. SrI kRshNan’s anubhavam
is that bhagavAn is called vidhAtA because He carefully protected brahmA in His beautiful nAbhI kamalam or the lotus in the navel, until he was born.

Please see the write-up under Slokam 51 (nAma 485) for other interpretations.

45.  dhAturuttamah

a) One who is far superior to Brahma (dhAtr)
b) The best of all basic constitutents

The first interpretation is self-explanatory based on the previous two nAmas. Another explanation given is based on the word dhAtu, which means "element"
or basic constituent. He is the ultimate constituent of all, and so He is dhAturuttama.