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Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam - SLOKA 103



pramANam prANa-nilayaH prANa-dhRt prANa-jIvanaH |
tattvam tattva-vit_ekAtmA janma-mRtyu-jarAtigaH ||


om pramANAya namaH
om prANa-nilayAya namaH
om prANa-dhRte namaH
om prANa-jIvanAya namaH
om tattva-vide namaH
om ekAtmane namaH
om janam-mRtyu-jarAtigAya namaH

959. pramANam – The valid authority.

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 –
evam nis-samSaya viparyaya
veda rahasya paramArtha pratyAyakatvAt paramANam.

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. –
yAvat-pramANakam, yAdRg-guNam, yAdRg-AkRtimacca jagan-nirmitsati, tat-pramANam tAn guNAn tA'nca AkRtim jagad-ArambhAt pUrvameva tan-nirmAtiparimitayata eva tat-pramANam abhidIyate |

SrI vAsishTha gives several instances from the Sruti to support hisinterpretation:

- anaDvAn indraH sa paSubhyo vicashTe trA'nchako vimimIteadhvanaH (atharva. 4.11.2) -
nava prANAn navabhiH sam mimIte dIrghAyutvAya SataSaradAya |
(atharva. 5.28.1) -
dhAmAni veda bhuvanAni viSvA | (yajur. 32.10)
-
sa bhUmim sarvato vRtvA atyatishThad-daSA'ngulam | (Rg.
10.90.1) -
etAvan asya mahimA ato jyAyAg'mSca pUrushaH | (yajur. 31.3)

SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives another etymological derivation –
prakrsheNa mimIte Sabdayati, Avishkaroti j~nAnam brahmAdibhya itipramANam –
He Who clearly reveals or makes known, the true nature of
Brahman etc. (mA'ng = mAne, Sabde ca).

Alternatively, SrI bhAradvAj explains the nAma as –
prakrsheNa
mAnyate brahmAdibhiH iti praMANam –
He Who is worshipped by the likes
of brahmA (mAna – pUjAyAm).

One of the alternate interpretations given by SrI satya sandhatIrtha is:
prakRshTam mAnam SarIrAdi parimANam tri-vikramAdi rUpeNa
yasya iti vA pramANam – He Who had unusual dimensions for His form inHis tri-vikrama incarnation ( mAne – to measure).

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".

960. prANa-nilayaH –

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" –
prANanti tat-
snehAmRtena sambandhavateti prANAH tat-preyasIjanAH te nileeyante asmin SakuntA iva nIDe iti prANa-nilayaH.

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 –
sa sarveshAm shtAvara ja'ngamAnAm ca yatha yogay sAdhana
pradAnena vAsayita'taH sa prANa-nilayaH ucyate.

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.

961. prANa-dhRt – He Who sustains the beings.

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,
tAi tandai
uyirAginRAi! unnai nAn aDaindEn viDuvEnO…. (tiruvAi.2.6.10)

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 –
poshayan anna rUpeNa
prANAn prANa-bhRt – He Who nourishes the beings by means of food, or in the form of food.

Sri vAsishTha gives the interpretation –
sarvatra vyAptaH sarveshAm
prANinAm prANAn bibharti = poshayati, dhArayati vA saH prANa-bhRt – He Who pervades everything, and nourishes and supports everything isprANa-bhRt.

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 –
prANAn
indriyANi bibharti iti prANa-bhRt – He Who nourishes and supports theindriya-s and life.

962. prANa-jIvanaH – He Who nourishes the beings.

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:
"tAn anna pAnIyAdivat jIvayati iti
prANa-jIvanaH" – He Who supports life even as food and drink do.SrImad SrImushNam ANDavan comments that even the food and the wateretc., have their power to sustain life only because He has given themthis power.

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:
"prANAn jIvAn bhajana parAyaNAn jIvyati sva-darSana dAnena
iti prANa-jIvanaH – He Who rejuvenates His devotees who sing Hispraise, by revealing Himself to them".

SrI Sa'nkara's vyAkhyAnam is:
"prANino jIvayan prANAkhyaiH pavanaiH
prANa-jIvanaH" – He Who makes the beings live by means of prANa orvital air. He gives the following Sruti in support:

na prANena na apAnena martyo jIvati kaScana |
itarena tu jIvanti yasmin etAvupASritau || (kaTho. 5.5)

"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:
prANena mukhya prANena
jIvayati janAn iti prANa jIvanaH –
He Who sustains life through the
vital airs.

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 |
atandro brahmaNA dhIraH prANo mA nu tishTatu || (atharva.11.4.24)

"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 |
prANe ha bhUtam bhavyam ca prANe sarvam pratishTitam ||(atharva. 11.4.15)

"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.

963.tattvam - He Who is the Essence.

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    | 
sUtram sUtrasya yo vidyAt sa vidyAt brAhmaNam mahat    ||   (atharva. 10.8.37)

"One who knows thedrawn-out string whereon all these creatures are strung,
one who knows the thread's thread, knows the Great Brahman". 

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: 
"dadhi dugdhayoriva dadhisAraH cit acitoH vyApti prayojanAbhyAm sArAmSaHtat-tvam" -
Like butter which is the essence of milk and curd, bhagavAn, by His pervasionand usefulness in the sentient and non-sentient things, is the essence of allthings.  Butter gives texture,taste, the energy content, etc., to milk and curd.  So also, bhagavAn isthe essence of all things, by being the cause of their existence, the source oftheir sustenance etc.. 

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   | 
SaraNyam SaraNam gacchan govindam nAvasIdati   ||

ekato vA jagat kRtsnam ekato vAjanArdanaH    | 
sArato jagataH kRtsnAt atirikto janArdanaH    ||  

"Govinda is the trueentity and He is the cause of creation, destruction, as well as protection. 
If a person seeks refuge in Him, he will never be in grief".

"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 | 
tat-tad-evAvagaccha tvam mama tejo'mSa sambhavaH   ||     (gItA 10.41)

"Whatever being ispossessed of power, or splendor, or energy,
know that as coming from a fragment of My power".

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 -  
tattvam nArAyaNaH paraH - nArAyaNa is the Supreme Reality. 

SrI Sa'nkara interprets theterm `tattva' as synonymous with `brahman' -
"tattvam, amRtam, paramArthaH, satattvam iti ete   ekArtha vAcinaH  |
paramArtha sato brahmaNo vAcakaH SabdaH tattvam   |  -
”The words tattva, amRta, satya, pramArtha, and satattva are synonyms, andmean the Supreme Brahman. 

964. tattva-vit - The Knower ofTruth.

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       | 
bhUta bhAvana bhUteSa devadeva jagatpate    ||   (gItA10.15)

"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.   

965. ekAtmA - The one uniqueand Superior Soul.

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! 
Periya nIr paDaittu a'ngu uRaindu adu kaDaindu  aDaittu uDaitta  SIruyirEyO! 
maniSarkku dEvar pOla devarkkum devAvO!  Or uyirEyO! 
Ulaga'ngaTkellAm unnai nAn e'ngu vandu uRugO!   (tiruvAi.8.1.5)

"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 - 
nityo nityAnAm cetanaS- cetanAnAm eko bahUnAm yo vidadAti kAmAn - 
He Who is the Most Eternal  aboveall the nitya-s, the Supreme above al the cetana-s, 
the One Who  constitutes the many,and the One Who bestows all the wishes of all  theother beings.

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    | 
yaccAsya santato bhAvas-tasmAd Atmeti gIyate   ||  (li'nga.  70.96)

"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:  
"eva'nca sa  vishNureva sarvasya sthAvara ja'ngama rUpasya viSvasya ekaAtmA  sarvatra vyAptatvAt ekAtmA -
Lord vishNu, who pervades everything in  thisUniverse of sentient and non-sentient objects, is called ekAtmA.

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   | 
iti mAm yo'bhijAnAti karmabhir na sa badhyate   ||  (gItA  4.14)

"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:  
"jAyate, asti, vardhate, vipariNamate,  apakshIyate,naSyati, iti shaD-bhAva vikArAn atItya gacchati iti  janma-mRtyu-jarAtigaH- 
He Who transcends the six kinds of changes,   namely conception, birth, growth, maturity, decay and death.  

SrI vAsishTha refers us to aRg-vedic mantra that conveys the sense  ofthis nAma:

akAmo dhIro amRtaH svayambhUrasena tRpto na kutaScanonaH   | 
tameva vidvAn na vibhAya mRtyor-AtmAnam dhIrm ajaram  yuvAnam  || (Rg. 10.8.44)

"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".

-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan


-(will continue)