pramANam prANa-nilayaH prANa-dhRt prANa-jIvanaH |
om pramANAya namaH
om pramANAya namaH.
We discussed this nAma earlier in Slokam 46 (nAma 429).
SrI vAsishTha indicates the root for the nAma as mA'ng mAne tomeasure, to limit, to compare with, to form, to show, etc. pra- isan uapsarga. The term `pramANam' is used to refer to `proof, validknowledge, authority', etc. prakRshTam mAnam pramANam Superiorknowledge,Valid authority.
SrI BhaTTar explains nAma 429 as "atha kArta yugAnAm hita a-hitayoHpramANam" BhagavAn is the authority for determining what is goodand what is bad for the people who live in the kRta yuga. PramANamis used here in the sense of `vyavasthApanam setting the standard,establishing'. The context in which SrI BhaTTar interprets thesequence of nAma-s 422 to 436, is in terms the kalki incarnation,which will be taken by bhagavAn when a-dharma will become so widethat He decides to eliminate everything and start again with creationin the kRta yuga. When the cycle of yuga-s starts with the kRta yugaafter this current yuga (the kali yuga), bhagavAn sets the standardfor action the right and the wrong. SrI BhaTTar notes thatperception and other means of knowledge are considered authoritativeby being activated by this power of His, and people in this world aresupposed to follow only this mode of His action.
For the current instance of the nAma, SrI BhaTTar explains thatbhagavAn has this nAma since He reveals the secrets and mystic truthsof the veda-s without doubt or error
SrImad SrImushNam ANDavan explains that since bhagavAn reveals the paramArtha the Supreme Truth, to us without any samSayam or viparyayam (beyond anydoubt and without any distortion in truth etc.)., bhagavAn is thetrue pramANam the true proof. He is not only the goal to beachieved prameyam, but He is also the means to achieve the goal.
SrI satya sandha tIrtha interprets the nAma as prakRshTam mAnamvedAdi pramANam yasmin iti pramANam He Who has given the veda-setc. as the highest authority, is pramANam.
SrI vAsishTha uses the generic meaning `measure' for the root `mAn',and gives the interpretation that bhagavAn has this nAma signifyingthat prior to creation itself, He has decided and established thenature of the Universe, including the extent, the nature of the guNa-s that dominate our conduct, the different kinds of beings, etc.
SrI vAsishTha gives several instances from the Sruti to support hisinterpretation:
- anaDvAn indraH sa paSubhyo vicashTe trA'nchako vimimIteadhvanaH (atharva. 4.11.2) -
SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives another etymological derivation
Alternatively, SrI bhAradvAj explains the nAma as
One of the alternate interpretations given by SrI satya sandhatIrtha is:
SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN explains the nAma as "One Who alwaysspeaks the truth". satya bhAshitvAt pramANam. He gives thefollowing in support: "pramANam nitya-maryAdA satya vAdipramAtRshu".
In the amara koSa vyAkhyAnam by Prof. A. A.Ramanathan, he gives the following: "iyattA hetu SAstreshu pramANamsatyavAdinI |", showing the equivalence of the words pramANamand "satya vAdinI".
He Who is the Abode for all beings.
om prANa-nilayAya namaH.
SrI BhaTTar defines prAnA as "prANanti iti prANAH, anye'pi jIvAH Those that live, namely the jIva-s. nilayam means abode. SrIvAsishTha uses the word `nilaya' as `AdhAra' or support. SrI BhaTTargives the analogy of the birds going to their nest at the end of theday for rest. Similarly the jIva-s have Him as their abode. SrImadSrImushNam ANDavan reminds us: "vaikunTham puguvadu maNNavarvidiyE" (tiruvAi. 10.9.9) vaikuNTham is our ultimate final Abode.
SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN uses the same analogy, and explains thenAma in terms of bhagavAn's incarnation as kRshNa "He in Whom thegopi-s sought support as a result of the intense love of devotion toHim, just as the birds seek shelter in their nest"
SrI Sa'nkara uses the term prANa to collectively represent the fivetypes of vAyu-s that help the body function: prANa that sustainslife in the form of the inhaled breath, apAna that denotes theexhaled breath that expels impurities outside of the system, vyAnathat sustains the movements of the systems in the body, udAna thatsupports the movements of the karmendriya-s etc., and samAna thataids the expelling of the waste in the form of stools. SincebhagavAn is the Support of all these functions, and since they allmerge into Him ultimately, He is called prANa-nilayaH.
The term `nilIna' merging with, merging into, has been used by bothSrI Sa'nkara and by SrI vAsishTha in one of their interpretations forthis nAma: prANIti iti prANo jIvaH pare pumsi nilIyata iti prANa-nilayaH The Supreme Person in whom the prANa or jIva merges (SrISa'nkara), and prANA nilIyante yasmin sa prANa-nilayaH He in Whomthe jIva-s merge (SrI vAsishTha)..
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha comments that bhagavAn has this nAma alsobecause He makes provision for the living of all living beings inwhichever form it is appropriate for them. For example, He providesthe means for the sustenance and survival of the trees, the beings inthe water and in the land, the humans, etc. in other words, Hemakes the provisions for the different jIva-s to live or have anabode
SrI cinmayAnanda explains the nAma as: "He in Whom all prANa-s standestablished. He Who is the very substratum vital foundation forall `activities' manifested in a living organism". This seems tosummarize Sri Sa'nkara's vyAkhyAnam in terms of prAnA, apAna, etc.,described above.
om prANa-dhRte namaH.
prANa means life. The word dhRt is derived from the root dhR dhAraNe to hold, to support, to bear.
SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is "tAn mAtR-vat dhArayati ca iti prANa-dhRt" He Who nourishes theliving beings like a mother.
SrI v.v. rAmAnujan refers us to nammAzhvAr, who praises bhagavAn as "Our mother, Our father, Our soul" the three that always work for our welfare and benefit, in the present, in the past and in the future:
pOginRa kAla'ngaL, pOya kAla'ngaL, pOgu kAla'ngaL,
The pATham `prANa-bhRt' is used by Sri Sa'nkara, SrI vAsishTha etc.The root in this case is bhR dhAraNa poshaNayoH to hold, tosupport. Sri Sa'nkara's interpretation is
Sri vAsishTha gives the interpretation
SrI cinmayAnanda explains the nAma as: "He Who rules over all prANa-s SrI Hari is the One Who causes everyone to eat, digest, feelenergized, act, achieve the fruits thereof, grow old and die. In allthese activities, the great One, Commanding, Factor, Divine, SrInArAyana, the Self, presides in silent detachment, and by Hispresence He initiates and maintains all these activities in allliving creatures upon the earth's surface".
SrI satya sandha tIrtha gives the following interpretation
om prANa-jIvanAya namaH.
The root involved in the nAma is jIv prANa dhAraNe to live, tosupport life. jIvayati iti jIvanaH; prANAnAm jIvanaH prANa jIvanaH He Who supports life.
SrI BhaTTar explains the nAma as:
SrI v.v. rAmAnujan refers us to a pASuram fromnammAzhvAr, where AzhvAr declares that for devotees like him,bhagavAn is verily the food that is eaten, the drink that isconsumed, etc. In other words, they will not live without Him:
uNNum SORu parugu nIr tinnum veRRilaiyum ellAmkaNNan, emperumAn (tiruvAi. 6.7.1)
"emperumAn kaNNan is the food that we consume, the water that wedrink, and the betel leaves that we chew after food". He is thetArakam (sustenance), poshakam (nurturing), and bhogyam (enjoyment)for His devotee.
SrI kRshNan comments that bhagavAn offers Himself as the food for thetrue devotees, and they cannot live without Him, and so He is theirlife or jIvanam. So He is prANa-jIvanaH. SrI kRshnan notes thatthis same idea is conveyed by the phrase "vAsudevaH sarvam" in thegItA.
SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives an interpretation that has the samespirit:
SrI Sa'nkara's vyAkhyAnam is:
na prANena na apAnena martyo jIvati kaScana |
"A man, whosoever he may be, does not live by prANa or apana, but bysomething else on which both of these depend". In other words,bhagavAn is the Supporter of prANa by which the life is supported.
SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri notes that life is not the vital air, or thebody, or the mind, by itself. It is a mysterious togetherness of allof these that causes life, and this is made possible by bhagavAnalone, and nothing else. So He is the true Support of life, or theGiver of life to every living being.
SrI satya sandha tIrtha's interpretation is:
SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN explains the nAma as: "prANAH te jIvanamasya iti prANa-jIvanaH" - He Who has His devotees as His prANa orlife. This idea of how bhagavAn treats those who are dear to Him asHis own AtmA, has been described before, most recently under nAma950, Slokam 102 (gItA 7.18).
SrI vAsishTha gives several supporting mantra-s from the Sruti:
- yo asya sarva janmana ISe sarvasya ceshTataH |
"I pray to prANa, alert and resolute, Who is the Lord of all and whois responsible for the activities of all in this universe of variousbeings that move and work".
- prANAya namo yasya sarva idam vaSe | (atharva. 11.4.1)
"Homage to prANa under whose control everything in this universeexists".
- prANam Ahur mAtariSvAnam vAto ha prANa ucyate |
"The name prANa is bestowed on mAtariSvan, also known as the wind(air). On this prANa depend the past, the future and everything inthe present".
There are different dimensions to supporting the life forms, startingfrom giving a body to the jIva-s, giving them the vital airs forsurvival, the food to eat, the water to drink, the mind to think, theindriya-s to act with, etc., all functioning in a coordinated andhighly regulated way, till death parts the body and the soul.Between the nAma-s prANa-daH, prANa-dhRt or prANa-bhRt, and prANa-jIvanaH, one can see that all these supports happen because of Him,and thus He is the sole Creator, Protector, and Destroyer in the end.
om tattvAya namaH.
SrI vAsishTha derives the wordtat from the root tanu - vistAre - to extend, to spread, to go. The application of the uNAdi sUtra 1.132 leads to the addition the affix adi to the root tan: tan + adi = tad. The application of the pANini sUtra 5.1.119 - tasya bhAvaH tvatalau - (The affixes tva and tal come after a word in the sixth sense in construction, in the sense of "the nature thereof"),leads to the word tat-tvam. (e.g., aSvasya bhAvaH aSvat-tvam, go-tvam etc.). tanyata iti tat, sthAvara ja'ngamAtmakam jagat,tasya sAra bhUtam vastu tat-tvam ityarthaH - This universe is denoted by theterm `tat', which consists of movable and immovable things spread all over; theessence of basis of all this is tat-tvam.
SrI vAsishTha gives thefollowing from the atharva veda in support:
yo vidyAt sUtram yasminnotAHprajA imAH |
"One who knows thedrawn-out string whereon all these creatures are strung,
That without the support orexistence of which a given thing cannot function, can be considered to be itstattvam, its essence or support. Thus, for a machinery, the oil orlubricant is something without which it cannot function for a prolonged time,and so it can be considered one of its tattva-s. Everything in thisuniverse that functions will not exist without Him, and so He is the tattvabehind all that exist.
SrI BhaTTar interprets the term`tattvam' as `sArAmSa' - and this is translated as `essence', or `the principleof the universe' by the translators. SrI BhaTTar clarifies theinterpretation through an example:
SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives theanalogous reference from nammAzhvAr:
iRandadum nIyE.. kaRanda pAl neyyE! Neyyin in SuvaiyE! KaDalinuL amudE! amudil piRanda in SuvaiyE! Suvaiyadu payanE! pinnai tOL maNanda pErALA! (tiruvAi. 8.1.7)
"Oh my Lord! You are theghee present latent in fresh milk. You are the covetable taste of theghee. You are the nectar from the ocean; no, the taste of the nectar; no,no, You are the pleasure that one derives from enjoying the nectar...".
SrI BhaTTar gives the followingsupport for his interpretation:
paramArtham aSeshasya jagataHprabhavApyayam |
ekato vA jagat kRtsnam ekato vAjanArdanaH |
"Govinda is the trueentity and He is the cause of creation, destruction, as well as protection.
"Place the entire Universein one pan of a balance, and bhagavAn janArdana in another, and you will findthat janArdana is superior to the whole Universe because of His intrinsicgreatness".
ANDAL refers to Him as "tattuvan"in naAcciyAr tirumozhi 5.6:
iLam kuyilE! en tattuvanaivarak kUviRRiyAgil talaiyallAl kaimmARu ilEnE. (nAcci. tiru.5.6)
ANDAL is asking the bird to goand tell the Lord - the tattuvan,, of her condition, and ask Him to come to herright away without delay. She tells the bird she will forever be indebtedto it if it can do this help for her. tattuvan here refers to His beingthe sole reason for herexistence - the essence of her life.
Another pASuram in whichnammAzhvAr describes bhagavAn being the essence of everything that exists, is intiruvAimozhi pASuram 6.9.7:
ulagil tiriyum karuma gatiyAiulagamAi ulagukkE Or uyirum AnAi .. (tiruvAi. 6.9.7)
"You are the karma-s; the worlds in which they are performed, the Soul of all the beings".
SrImad SrImushNam ANDavanrefers us to the following from the gItA in support of His being the tattvambehind everything:
yad-yad vibhUtimat sattvamSrImad-Urjitameva vA |
"Whatever being ispossessed of power, or splendor, or energy,
SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri givesanother view of the term `tattvam' - that which leads to existence, and thatwhich does not cease to exist whenthe being that came into existence disappears, is the true origin or source - the tattva. The other sources that disappearover time, are not the true cause. He comments that `tat' is the word-formof Brahman that is the true cause of everything. tat-tvam is the nature ofthis `tat', as has been explained in the first paragraph.
SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAjrefers us to the nArAyaNa Upanishad -
SrI Sa'nkara interprets theterm `tattva' as synonymous with `brahman' -
om tattva-vide namaH.
The term `tattvam' has beenexplained above. The root vid - to know, is the second part of the nAma. tattvam tat-svarUpamvetti iti tattva-vit - "He Whoknows the true nature of Himself".
SrI BhaTTar explains the nAmaas "AtmanaH tattvam vetti iti tattva- vit" - "One Who knows thetruth about Himself", or One Who knows the truth about the tattva. The truth that bhagavAn is theSupreme Deity and the Lord of all,is something that is not easily understood even by the likes of brahmA, rudra and indra, as repeatedly pointedout by nammAzhvAr:
- Surar aRivu aru nilai (tiruvAi.1.1.8) - He is of such nature that even the deva-s cannot understand His tattvam. - uNarnduuNarndu uNarilum uyar nilai uNarvadu aridu uyigAL! (tiruvAi. 1.3.6) - It is just not easy, even with intense contemplation,to understand the true nature of the Supreme Deity.
SrI BhaTTar refers to Slokam10.15 in the gItA, in which arjuna declaresthat bhagavAn knows Himself by His own Self:
svayameva AtmanAtmAnam vetthatvam purushottama |
"O Supreme Person, OCreator of beings, O Lord of all beings, O God of all gods, O Ruler of the Universe, You Yourself knowYourself by Yourself".
SrI BhaTTar also refers to theSruti vAkyam - "tvameva tvAm vettha" - You alone are aware of Yourself".
SrI veLukkuDi kRshNan refers usto tArA's description of bhagavAn as`a-prameyan' (SrImad rAmAyaNam) - He Who is beyond the reach of ourintellect (pramA means `buddhi'). It is not just the ordinary mortalslike us who can't fully comprehend Him through our intellect, buteven the SAstra-s return back declaring that He is beyond description. The taittirIya upanishad declares: yato vAco nivatante, aprApaya manasA saha (Anandavalli) - Words, alongwith the mind, turn back withoutbeing to fully comprehend the Bliss of Brahman,which is infinite. The deva-s are unable to fully know Him, aswe have seen through nammAzhvAr's words above. Even He is unable tofully realize His own greatness. SrImad SrImushNam ANDavan refers toAzhvAr's words: "tanakkum tan tanmai aRiya aRiyAnai" - He whose greatnessis such that even He cannot know it fully. AlavandAr declaresin his stotra ratnam: "yasyAste mahimAnam Atmana iva tat- vallbho'piprabhuH" - Neither bhagavAn's greatness nor pirATTi's greatnesscan be known either by Him or by Her, because there is no limitto it, and so even they cannot measure something that has no limit. The idea is that of all those who can know Him, He knows Himself the most.
SrI Sa'nkara explains the nAmaas "tattvam svarUpam yathAvat vetti iti tattva-vit" - "He Who knows the Truth as itis".
BhagavAn alone knows thefunctions of creation, preservation, destruction,giving the benefits to the jIva-s according to their karma-s, taking the jIva to Him ultimately at the appropriatetime, etc., and no one else does.
om ekAtmane namaH.
eka means `one, and `AtmA'refers to `soul'. SrI BhaTTar explains thatbhagavAn is the One and only Supreme Soul who controls all the othersouls, and so He is ekAtmA - sarvasya cit acit vargasya ayam ekaeva SeshI bhoktA abhimAnau ca iti ekAtmA - He is ekAtmA because Heis the Sole Master, Enjoyer, and Well-wisher of all sentient and non-sentient objects. SrI v.v. rAmAnujan refers us tonammAzhvAr's pASuram, wherebhagavAn is called `Or uyirEyO!" - which is`translated' by SrI V. N. Vedanta deSikan as `ekAtmA' in his tamizhtranslation. He obviously chose this word for the tamizh translationbecause `ekAtmA' summarizes AzhvAr's thoughts the best, eventhough it is not a tamizh word. The pASuram of interest is:
AruyirEyO! AgaliDa muzhudumpaDaittu iDandu uNDu umizhndu aLandaPEruyirEyO!
"The vast universe wascreated, once dug out from deep waters (varAha incarnation), swallowed (pralaya), spat out (creation afterpralaya), scaled with feet (trivikramaincarnation), all by You, out of grace. You made the seas, churned them, bridged the ocean, and brokea part of it later. You aremy dear life. You are the Lord of all the deva- s, and You are far abovethe deva-s just as the deva-s are far above the humans. Your are the Supreme Soul above all theother souls, the Creator, Protectorand Destroyer of the universe. How am I to reach You? Pray tell me."
SrI veLukkuDi kRshNan quotesthe following Sruti vAkya in support of SrIBhaTTar's interpretation of the nAma -
SrI Sa'nkara `s vyAkhyAnam isekaSca asau AtmA ca iti ekAtmA - The oneSelf. He gives the following in support:
AtmA vA idameka agra AsIt |nAnyat ki'ncana mishat | sa IkshatalokAnnu sRjA iti | (Aita. 1.1.)
"In the beginning all thiswas this Atman alone. There was nothing else that winked. He willed "Let me create theworlds".
He also gives the li'nga purANain support:
yaccApnoti yad-Adatte yaccAttivishayAniha |
"That which pervades, thatwhich receives, that which enjoys the objects,and that which exists always, is called the Atman".
SrI satya devo vAsishThaexplains the nAma as:
SrI satya sandha tIrthaexplains the nAma as "eka AtmA = mukhya svAmI = The Supreme Deity.
966. janma-mRtu-jarAtigaH - HeWho is beyond birth, death and old age.
om janma-mRtyu-jarAtigAya namaH.
janma = birth; mRtyu = death,jara =old age; atigaH = He Who is beyond. The meaning for the nAma is thus derived easily. Just for thesake of completeness, the respective roots are: jani - pradurbhAve- ; mR'ng - prANa-tyAge - ; jRsh - vayohAnau - ; gam - gacchati- to go with ati- as prefix meaning overstep, go beyond (atigacchcatiiti atigaH). janma mRtyu jarA atigacchati it janam- mRtyu-jarAtigaH.
SrI BhaTTar explains the nAmaas One Who is beyond birth, death, agingetc.. His vyAkhyAnam is - tathApi tad-ubhaya vidharmAtmA - He Who,while being the Inner Soul or antaryAmi of all the sentient and non-sentientobjects, is not affected by their attributes (such as rajas,tamas, puNya, pApa etc.). The ordinary souls accumulate the effectsof the puNya-s and pApa-s that they accrue while they are embodied. Unlike these souls, bhagavAn is not touched by any of theseeffects of puNya-s and pApa-s even though He is the antaryAmi ofall these objects. In addition, when He assumes a body out of His ownfree will, He is not born like the rest of us, and is not subject toaging, death etc. like the rest of us.
It is important to understandthe difference between the body and the soul in order to understand the meaning of this nAma. Ordinary souls (jIva-s) also arebeyond birth, death and decay. But they get a body based on their previous karma-s, to enable them to enjoy theeffects of these karma-s. This body is subject to birth, death and decay. The jIva-s go through repeated births and deaths, with theassociated new bodies, until theyexhaust all their karma-s, and ultimately realize the paramAtman and are relieved of this cycle of birthand death. BhagavAn is notsubject to this cycle, since He is not touchedby the effects of karma ever. Lord kRshNa declares in the gItA:
na mAm karmaNi limpanti na mekarma phale spRhA |
"Works do not contaminateMe. In Me there is no desire for fruits of actions. He who understands Me thus is not bound byactions".
Even though He has all thesentient and non-sentient beings as His body according to the viSishTAdvaita philosophy, SrI BhaTTarexplains that BhagavAn is still nottouched by the dharma-s (namely, sins, gooddeeds, the resulting birth, death etc,), of these sentient and non-sentientbeings, but instead, it is the souls of these beings thatget the effects of these karma-s. The bodies of all the sentientand non-sentient beings are part of His body in the sense thatthey are all subservient to Him and are fully under His control. So are the souls of all these beings - they areHis body, and are subservient toHim. He is the antaryAmi of these souls, and is a witness and the Energizer of these souls; however He is not touched by theirkarma-s, and so He is never born, and so there is no question of aging, death etc. There is no such thing askarma for Him, since all Hisactions are all selfless, and are devoted to the benefitof all the beings that exist. None of His actions is for His benefit.
SrI veLukkuDi kRshnan delves insome length on some of the above pointsin his sahasra nAma upanyAsam for this nAma.
SrI Sa'nkara's vyAkhyAnam is:
SrI vAsishTha refers us to aRg-vedic mantra that conveys the sense ofthis nAma:
akAmo dhIro amRtaH svayambhUrasena tRpto na kutaScanonaH |
"Desirelss, firm,immortal, self-existent, contented with the essence,lacking nothing, free from fear of death is he who knows thatSoul courageous, youthful and undecaying".
SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri givesthe following upanishadic mantra in support:
- sa vA esha mahAn aja AtmAajaraH amaraH amRtaH abhayaH brahma abhayamvai brahma abhayam hi vai brahma bhavati ya evam veda (bRhadAraNya.4.4.25).
"That infinite birthlessundecaying , indestructible immortal, and fearless self (ParamAtman) is the Supreme Brahman. TheSupreme Brahman is devoid of fear. He who knows that Supreme Brahman thus becomesindeed the fearless parabrahman".