Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam - SLOKA 106

Atma-yoniH svayam-jAto vaikhAnaH sAma-gAyanaH |
devakI-nandanaH srashTA kshitiSaH pApa-nASanaH ||

om Atma-yonaye namaH.
om svayam-jAtAya namaH.
om vaikhAnAya namaH.
om sAma-gAyanAya namaH.
om devakI-nandanAya namaH.
om sRashTre namaH.
om kshitISAya namaH.
om pApa-nASanAya namaH.

985. Atma-yoniH – He mixes with His devotees very easily.

The root from which the word yoni is derived is yu – miSraNe amiSraNe ca – to join, to separate. The affix ni is added by application of the uNAdi sUtra 4.51, leading to the word yoni – womb. One explanation for the nAma is AtmA = svayameva, svasya yoniH = kAraNam – He Who is the Cause for Himself.

SrI BhaTTar uses the root yu – `to unite, to mix', and interprets the  nAma as - "dughdeneva sitAvalayam AtmanA bhoktAram miSrayati iti  Atma-yoniH" - One Who mixes others with Himself easily like milk with sugar. In other words, it is bhagavAn's sauSIlyam that is emphasized  by SrI BhaTTar through this nAma.

As has been pointed out in many previous nAma-s, Sri BhaTTar's main emphasis in his sahasra nAma vyAkhyAnam is to bring out the two guNa-s of bhagavAn that are of utmost significance and importance to the  devotees – namely bhagavAn's sauSIlyam and saulabhyam. The  interpretation of the current nAma is a vivid example where SrI  BhaTTar uses his skills in interpretation to emphasize bhagavAn's  guNa of sauSIlyam – or His ability to mix with His devotees with the  greatest ease, and let them enjoy Him easily and completely, as long  as they are sincerely devoted to Him.

SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN echoes the same thoughts as Sri BhaTTar in his interpretation – AtmAnam svam yauti bhaktaH sahavAsa bhoge iti  Atma-yoniH – He Who mixes the bhakta-s with Himself indistinguishably  for the purpose of their enjoyment of Him. He quotes the ananda maya  vidyA from Ananda valli of taittirIya upanishad –
"yo veda nihitam  guhAyAm parame vyoman |
So'Snute sarvAn kAnmAn saha |
brahmaNA  vipaSciteti
| -
"He who knows Brahman hidden in the cavity of the  heart,
enjoys in the supreme abode all the auspicious qualities of  Brahman
along with the all-knowing Brahman".

SrI v.v. rAmAnujan refers us to nammAzhvAr's tiruvAimozhi pASuram  2.3.1 in support of SrI BhaTTar's interpretation:

Unil vAzh uyirE nallai pO unnaip peRRu vAnuLAr perumAn maduSUdan en ammAn
tAnum yAnum ellAm tannuLLE kalandu ozhindOm tEnum pAlum neyyum kannalum amudum ottE
. (tiruvAi. 2.3.1)

"O my mind! Even though you are present in this physical body of flesh and the like - all filthy, you have served me right in the  direction of deliverance. What I have enjoyed is what nityasUri-s  enjoy in SrI vaikunTham. BhagavAn has subdued me even when I was in  a mood to leave Him, and has made me a happy servant of His, and he  has become one with me. It is like honey mixing with honey, milk  with milk, sugar with sugar, ghee with ghee, and nectar with nectar."

It is worth noting that while SrI BhaTTar says that bhagavAn mixes with His devotee like sugar and milk (see his vyAkhyAnam above), AzhvAr says bhagavAn has mixed with Him like milk with milk itself  (honey with honey, milk with milk, ghee with ghee, etc.), a level  more intimate than the mixing of milk and sugar.

SrI Sa'nkara brings out an aspect of bhagavAn's function of creation  through this nAma – Atmaiva yoniH – upAdAna kAraNam na anyat iti Atma- yoniH – Because He alone is the material cause of the universe, and  no other, therefore He is called Atma-yoniH.

SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj also gives the interpretation that since bhagavAn has no cause other than Himself, He is called Atma-yoniH –  svambhUtvAt Atma-yoniH. He gives support from the Upanishad:

sa viSva-kRd viSva-vid Atma-yoniH (SvetASvatara. 6.16)

While SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives the meaning svayam-bhU to the  word Atma-yoniH in the upnaishadic passage above, SrI N. S. Anantara'ngAcArya translates the term as "indweller in the jIvAtman"  in his book titled "Selections from the Upanishads", and this  translation is based on the vyAkhyAna of SrI ra'nga rAmAnuja muni.

986. svayam-jAtaH � He Who is self-born.

om svayam-jAtAya namaH.

svayam jAyate ajanishTa iti vA svayam-jAtaH �
He Who is self-born, or  is not created by anyone else is svayam-jAtaH.

SrI BhaTTar's anubhavam is that bhagavAn has this nAma signifying  that He takes His incarnations as and when necessary, without waiting  for those in difficulty to come and pray to Him to take His  incarnation � prArthanA nirapekshatayA jAtaH svayam-jAtaH. In other  words, He takes the incarnation out of His concern for the protection  of the good, the destruction of the evil, and the preservation of  dharma (paritrANAya sAdhUnAm, vinASAya ca dushkRtAm, dharma  samsthApanArthAya sambhavAmi) � He Himself takes birth out of His own  will. His main concern is the protection of the jIva-s that are  His children; it is His Nature to be concerned and to protect  (kAkkum iyalvinan kaNNa perumAn � nammAzhvAr in tiruvAimozhi 2.2.9),  and so He takes incarnations for this purpose as and when necessary,  out of His own sa'nkalpam.

Repeated reference has been made to the unique approach of SrI BhaTTar in interpreting the nAmas by emphasizing that all that  BhagavAn does is for the benefit of His devotees. Even though the outward meaning for the nAma is "One Who is born by Himself", SrI  BhaTTar takes the opportunity to point out that "He is born by  Himself as and when necessary to remove the sufferings of His  devotees", rather than to just say that "Bhagavan has no other Creator". The current nAma is one other instance of SrI BhaTTar's  unique anubhavam in his interpretation of the nAma-s.

SrI v.v. rAmAnujan quotes the tiruviruttam pASuram in support:

uyir aLippAn enninRa yOniyumAip piRandAi ! imaiyOr talaivA  | � (tiruviuttam 1)

"You Who took birth voluntarily in order to liberate us from the  burden of samsAra".

SrI vELukkuDi kRshNan gives a quote from the gItA in support, and  notes that bhagavAn gets entangled in the miseries of this world just  to release us from the same miseries:

na me pArtha asti kartavyam trishu lokeshu ki'ncana |
nAnavAptam avAptavyam varta eva ca karmaNi
|| (gItA 3.22)

"For me, arjuna, there is nothing in all the three worlds which ought  to be done, nor is there anything unacquired that ought to be  acquired. Yet I go on working".

SrI veLukkuDi kRshNan points out that it is for removing the bondage  of several other women that sItA pirATTi voluntarily lived for ten  months in the prison of the ten-headed rAvaNa, and it is for removing  our bondage that Lord kRshNa voluntarily chose to be born in the  prison of kamsa. For the Divine Couple, all these voluntary  sufferings are for the purpose of relieving our sufferings.

In his vyAkhyAnam for the above gItA Sloka, bhagavad rAmAnuja  explains that bhagavAn still continues to work for the protection of  the world, even though there is nothing for Him personally to be  achieved by working �
"karmaNA avAptavyam na ki'ncid api asti,  athApi loka rakshAyai karmaNi eva varte".

SrI Sa'nkara had explained the previous nAma (Atma-yoniH) as  signifying that bhagavAn is the Material cause of the Universe. He  continues this thread in the current nAma, and explains the nAma svam- jAtaH as signifying that bhagavAn is also the Instrumental cause �  nimitta kAraNam api sa eva iti darSayitum svayam-jAta iti. The  terms `Material cause' and `Instrumental cause' can be briefly  explained by reference to the making of a pot by a potter, using the  mud, the wheel, the water etc. In this example, the mud is the  upAdAna kAraNa or the material cause. The nimitta kAraNa or the  Instrumental cause is the pot maker. The other supplementary  materials such as the wheel, the water etc. are called the sahakAri  kAraNa-s. SrI Sa'nkara's interpretation for the previous and the  current nAma-s are that bhagavAn is both the Instrumental Cause and  the Material Cause in the process of creation. He gives support  from the brahma sUtra (prakRtiSca pratij~nA dRshTAnta anuparodhAt  (1.4.23)) that declares that bhagavAn is not just the Instrumental  cause but also the Material cause. In other words, He performs the  function of creation with no other help or external means but from  Himself, by Himself. This is nicely captured by nammAzhvAr in his  tiruvAimozhi pASuram 1.5.4 (tAn Or uruvE tani vittAi tannil mUvar  mudalAya�.).

SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri explains the nAma as `One Who appeared by  Himself", and gives the reference from taittirIya upanishad in  support: tad-AtmAnam svayam akuruta � That Brahman created Itself by  Itself (Anandavalli in taittirIya upanishad). If it be said that  devaki `gave birth' to kRshNa, SrI Suka explains that bhagavAn just  appeared from her womb just as the moon appears in the sky � devakyAm  deva rUpiNyAm vishNuH sarva guhASayaH AvirAsIt yathA prAcyAm diSi  induriva pushkalaH (SrImad bhAgavatam 10.3.8). Lord kRshNa chose to  enter devaki's womb for some time, and then chose to come out when He  chose to come out; the connection between devaki and kRshNa is just  the same connection as between the east direction and the moon from  which it appears.

987. vaikhAnaH � He Who uproots (the evils of the world).

om vaikhAnAya namaH.

The root from which the nAma is derived is khana � avadhAraNe � to  dig. vi- is an upasarga, and the sense in which it is used here is  to denote intensity (viSesheNa). The sense in which He `digs' is  interpreted differently by different interpreters.

Sri BhaTTar uses the root khana with the meaning `uproot', and  explains the nAma as One Who uproots the miseries of His devotees �  janitvA, bhava duHkha vikhananAt vaikhAnaH � Having taken His birth  or incarnation out of His own will, then BhagavAn proceeds to uproot  the sorrows of the world, in particular the sorrow of repeated birth  and death.

SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN follows a similar interpretation �  
janitvAca sva-bhakta duHkha vikhananAt vaikhAnaH � 
Taking birth  voluntarily, He destroys the sorrows of His devotees.

SrImad SrImushNam ANDavaan refers us to the first pASuram of  nammAzhvAr's tiruviruttam, where AzhvAr points out that bhagavAn  takes His births for the purpose of removing our bondage to this  samsAra:

poi ninRa j~nAnamum pollA ozhukkum, azhukku uDambum in ninRa nIrmai ini yAm uRavAmai 
uyir aLippAn en-ninRa yOniyumAip piRandAi! 
imaiyOr talaivA mei-ninRu kETTu aruLAi, 
aDiyEn Seyyum viNNappamE.

"O Lord of the deva-s! You take Your births amongst us out of Your  own free will in order to protect us, who live with false and  incomplete knowledge, bad conduct, and an impure body and mind, and  are stuck deep in the ocean of samsAra. You alone can redeem us from  this deep misery. Please bless us and heed my plea and save us".

Sri Sa'nkara uses the meaning `dig' for the root khana, and uses the  instance of bhagavAn's varAha incarnation to illustrate the  significance of the nAma �

dharaNIm viSeshena khanitvA pAtAla vAsinam  
hiraNyAksham vArAha rUpam AsthAya jaghAna
iti purANe prasiddham �

It  is well-known in the purANa-s that He, in the form of a boar, dug up  the earth, and killed hiraNyAksha, an asura who lived in the  netherworld.

Sri cinmayAnanda gives an interesting interpretation for the above  purANic incident � hiranya is gold, and aksha is eye, and the  term `hiraNyAksha' symbolizes our eye towards materialistic  pleasures. BhagavAn has to dig and reach inside our ego to rid us of  this desire for materialistic pleasures, and in this sense He is  vaikhAnaH.

*One of the interpretations given by SrI satyadevo vAsishTha uses the  meaning `disturbance' for the term `khana'. Using the  meaning `devoid of' for the upasarga vi-, he interprets the term  vikhAna as a reference to the mukta-s who are completely liberated,  and then explains the term vaikhAna as the Lord of vikhAna-s or the  mukta-s � vikhAnAH khanana rahitAH muktAH, tatsambandhI vaikhAnaH.

SrI raghunAtha tIrtha takes the word `khana' as meaning `to dig � to  completely undo', and interprets the nAma as � viSesheNa Satrum  avadArayati iti vikhAnaH, vikhAna eva vaikhAnaH � He who cuts into  pieces and destroys the enemy.

Using the meaning `dig' for the root khana, SrI vAsishTha gives  another interpretation, and attributes the existence of oceans etc.,  as the work of the Lord � He has specially provided for these as  examples of His specially digging out these resources of water in  nature, which no one else can do � 
tasya ca viSishThaH khAno  samudrasya _ nahIdRk khananam kenacit tad-anyena kartum Sakyam |

988. sAma-gAyanaH –
a) He before Whom the sAma hymns are sung.
b) He Who sings the sAma gAna Himself.
c) He Who is the final resort for those who sing the sAma gAna.

om sAma-gayanAya namaH.

The word sAma is derived from the root so – antaHkarmaNi – to destroy, to bring to an end. By application of the uNAdi sUtra 4.152 (sAtibhyAm manin maniNau), the word sAma is obtained, meaning `that which is appeasing'. The word also refers to the sAma veda. The word gAyana means `singer' (derived from the root gai – Sabde – to sing, and the pANini sUtra 3.1.153 – NyuT ca). sAma-gAyana means one who sings the sAma, and sAma-gAyaNaH means One Who has the singers of sAma hymns.

a) SrI BhaTTar uses the above interpretation and explains the nAma as "One Who has the mukta-s or the Released souls singing the sAma hymns in praise of Him once they have attained Him" – sva-prApti madhu pAnena "hAvu hAvu hAvu" iti sAmAni gAyamAno muktaH asya asti iti sAma-gAyanaH. He gives the quote from taittirIya Upanishad – "etat sAma gayannAste" – (The released soul or mukta) will be singing this sAma chant….

SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj refers us to a passage in SrImad bhAgavatam where the description is given about bhagavAn being worshipped through the sAma gAna chanting:

yam brahmA rudrendra varuNa marutaH stunvanti divyaiH stavaiH vedaiH sA'nga pada kramopanishadaiH gAyanti yam sAmagAH |
dhyAnAvasthita tad-gatena manasA paSyanti yam yoginaH yasyAntam na viduH surAsura gaNA devAya tasmai namaH || (12.13.1)

"Our obeisance to Him who is worshipped by the likes of brahmA, rudra, indra, and marut-s through the best of praises, through veda-s chanted systematically with their a'nga-s and karma-s, whose praise is sung by those who sing the sAma gAna, who is seen through the concentrated meditation of the yogi-s, and whose infinite nature is beyond realization by the deva-s and asura-s, and Who is ever resplendent".

Among the four veda-s, sAma veda is given special emphasis by Lord kRshNa:

vedAnAm sAma vedo'smi devAnAmasmi vAsavaH |
indriyANAm manaScAsmi bhUtAnAm asmi cetanA || (gItA 10.22)

"Of the veda-s I am sAma veda. Of gods, I am indra. Of sense-organs I am the manas. Of living beings, I am consciousness".

b) Sri Sa'nkara attributes the singing of the sAman to kaNNan Himself, and interprets the nAma as "One Who sings the sAma gAnam" – sAmAni gAyanti iti sAma-gAyanaH.

SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri comments that the brahma j~nAni sings the sAma gAnam in the excitement of his realization,
and Lord kRshNa in His incarnation sang in the flute the peaceful and all-quieting sAma gAnam, and hence He is sAma-gAyanaH.

c) SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the interpretation for the nAma by looking at the nAma as sAma + ga+ ayanaH.

Those who sing the sAma veda are called sAma-gAH. SAmagAnAm ayanam = ASrayaH paramo lakshayaH sAmagAyanaH –
He Who is the final goal of those who sing the sAma is sAmagAyanaH.

SrI raghunAtha tIrtha explains the nAma as
"yaj~na vinASakAn rAkshasAn syati hinasti iti sAma gIyante asmin iti gAyanaH |
sAmAni stotra viSeshAH gIyante asmin iti sAma-gAyanaH | -
"Extolled by special hymns of praises for His acts of killing the demons who ruin the performance of the sacrifice".

989. devakI-nandanaH – The Source of joy to devaki.

om devakI-nandanAya namaH.

Recall that the whole vishNu sahasra nAma has been revealed to yudhishThira by bhIshma in the presence of kRshNa. SrI BhaTTar's interpretation for the nAma is that through this nAma, bhIshma is clarifying to yudhisThira that the nAma-s that have been revealed all along are not about some Deity who is beyond reach, but they describe none other than devakI-nandana who is seated just next to him, and who has taken incarnation as the kinsman of yudhishThira. SrI BhaTTar refers us to a Sloka from mahAbhArata:

sa esha pRthudhIrgAkshaH sambandhI te janArdanaH |
esha bhUtam bhavishyacca bhavacca bharatarshabha | ||

"O! Best of Bharata-s! JanArdana, the broad and long-eyed Lord is your kinsman. He is all things in the past, the present and the future".

SrI Sa'nkara's interpretation is also along the same lines. He gives another support from the mahAbhArata:

jyotIgmshi SukrANi ca yAni loke trayo lokA loka-pAlAS-trayI ca |
trayo agnayaSca AhutayaSca pa'nca sarve devA devakI-putra eva || (mahAbhArata 13, app. 1, 156-7)

"All the luminaries of the world, the three worlds themselves, the protectors of the worlds by guarding the quarters, the three veda-s, the three sacred fires, the five oblations are all but the Son of devaki (kRshNa)".

SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives the reference from SrImad bhAgavatam, describing the incarnation of ParamAtmA as the Son of devaki:

devakyAm devarUpiNyAm devakI-nandanaH SrI kRshNaH |
AvirAsIt yathA prAcyAm diSir-induriva pushkalaH || ((bhAga. 10.3.8)

"Lord kRshNa, the Joy of devaki, appeared as the child of the divine devaki just like the moon appearing from the eastern direction".

While the nAma devakI-nandana immediately reminds us of Lord kRshNa who was 'born' to devaki, a couple of interpreters have taken a different approach to interpreting the nAma that does not refer to this incident of Lord kRshNa's incarnation. A couple of these interpretations are included below as an example:

SrI raghunAtha tIrtha's interpretation is:
devAnAm kam sukham asya asti iti devakI somaH |
tena devakinA somena nandate iti devakI-nandanaH | -
"The term devaki refers to soma juice because it gives pleasure to the deva-s; The Lord is called devakI-nandanaH because He is delighted by the offering of soma juice". Or,
devena pAshANena kriyate sUyate iti devakI |
devakyA somena nandate iti devakI-nandanaH | -
"soma juice is extracted by the use of stones and so it is called devakI; One Who is delighted by the offering of soma juice extracted through the use of stones, is devakI-nandanaH". -

Sri satyadevo vAsishTha also avoids any reference to Lord kRshNa in this nAma, and explains the nAma as a reference to sUrya. We will not go into the details of how he gets this interpretation, but will only note that for some reason, he also chose to not use the obvious interpretation that suggests itself for this nAma, namely that the Supreme Deity Lord vishNu is none other than kRshNa who was seated in the midst of the bhIshma and yudhishThira.

One can only speculate on why they chose to take this approach. One reason could be that kRshNa chose to leave devaki within a few moments after He was born to devaki, and so He was not a source of delight for devaki at least for a few years after He was born. A few interpreters observe that another name of  yaSodA was devaki, and so He was a devakI-nandana (for instance, SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri and SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN both make this observation).

Bhagavad rAmAnuja mentions in his SrI Bhashya, in the explanation of the mahA vAkya `tat tvam asi', that "when a direct meaning of an expression is sufficient, it is illegitimate to seek an indirect implied meaning – (SrI AdidevAnanda's words in his Introduction to the translation of bhagavad rAmAnuja's gitA bhAshyam). The 'indirect implied meanings' have been included here for those with academic interest, and may kindly be ignored by the bhAgavata-s of this group.

990. srashTA – The Creator.

Om srashTre namaH..

We studied this nAma earlier (Slokam 63 - nAma 595). Please refer to the write-up for nAma 595 also.

sRjati iti sRashTA – vishNuH – He Who creates. As has been explained in several places before, brahmA creates the things inside the brahmANDa, after bhagavAn creates the things outside brahmANDa, and the brahmANDa itself with brahmA inside the brahmANDa, and gives the power, the knowledge and the responsibility to brahmA for the rest of the creation. It is because bhagavAn is the antaryAmi in brahmA that brahmA is able to proceed with this function at this point. Thus bhagavAn is the True Creator, as He is the Destroyer and the Protector of all beings.

SrI BhaTTar reemphasizes through the interpretation for this nAma that SrI BhIshma once more tells yudhishThira that devakI-nandana, SrI kRshNa, is none other than para-vAsudeva who is responsible for creation. One can see bhagavAn's saulabhyam and sauSIlyam reflected through these series of nAma-s. Even though the reference to His function of creation can be taken to illustrate His parattvam, the fact that the same para-vAsudeva has made Himself accessible to all the people in the audience (where bhIshma is instructing yudhisThira on the greatness of bhagavAn's nAma-s reflecting His kalyANa guNa-s) shows simultaneously His saulabhyam.

SrI Sa'nkara bhAshyam is: "srashTA sarva lokasya" – BhagavAn is called srashTA because He is the Creator of all the worlds.

SrI cinmayAnanda comments: "Even the creator (meaning catur-mukha brahmA) can perform his job only by drawing his abilities and capacities from the Infinite Self, SrI nArAyaNa". In other words, brahmA creates only because bhagavAn is the antaryAmi of brahmA.

991. kshtISaH – The Lord of the Earth.

om kshitISAya namaH.

The root from which the nAma is derived is khsi – nivAsagatyoH – to dwell. The application of the pANini sUtra 3.3.94 – striyAm ktin, leads to the word khsitiH – the Earth; tasyA ISaH kshitISaH – The Lord of the Earth.

SrI BhaTTar notes that bhagavAn is the Lord of all the worlds, not just the Earth, as revealed in the following reference:

yo anantarUpo akhila viSvarUpo garbhe'pi lokAn vapushA bibharti ||

"He is of infinite forms and is in the form of the entire universe. He bears by His body all the worlds in His womb".

However, in this nAma, bhagavAn is particularly singled out as the Lord of the Earth. Different anubhavam-s are given for this. SrI BhaTTar points out that there is generally more suffering in the Earth than in the other worlds such as the deva loka-s etc., and so bhagavAn takes incarnations more often here, to help relieve the sufferings of the beings here. So He is particularly addressed as the Lord of the Earth – kshitISaH - sarva ISatve'pi Arti- bhUyishThatvAt bhUyishTham bhUmeH ISaH iti kshitISaH.

SrI veLukkuDi kRshNan refers us to the tiruvAimozhi pASuram 3.3.4, where nammAzhvAr points out that even though bhagavAn is the Lord of the deva-s, He is more attached to AzhvAr in this world more, because AzhvAr is in a more helpless situation than the deva-s:

ESan vAnavarkku enban enRAl adu tESamO tiruvE'nkaTattAnukku nISanEn niRaivu onRum ilEn en kaN pASam vaitta param SuDar SOdikkE. (tiruvAi. 3.3.4)

"We can declare that tiruvE'nkaTattAn is the Lord of nityasUri-s etc. But this in no way adds to His glory. His true glory is in His mingling with the lowliest of the lowly people like me, being accessible to all the downtrodden etc. This, it is His saulabhyam that adds to His glory, and not the Lordship over the nityasUri-s. He has shown a doting love to me, endearing me that way".

It is this love of bhagavAn towards the suffering and downtrodden beings of the Earth that makes them dear to Him, and so He is called the Lord of the Earth in this nAma.. bhagavAn is "ISan" for all the other worlds, but His "pASam" or love is with the Earth.

SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN also interprets the nAma as "Lord of the Earth", the Lordship being reflected in His being concerned with the removal of the suffering of the beings of the world and their protection – kshiter-bhAram apanIyatAm pAlayana kshitISaH.

SrI Sa'nkara interprets the nAma as a reference to the rAma incarnation – The Lord of the earth, the son of daSaratha – kshiteH bhUmeH ISaH daSarathAtmajaH.

SrI cinmayAnanda interprets the nAma as "The Consort of Mother Earth" – kshiti referring to Mother Earth or bhUmi pirATTi.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha's interpretation is: Kshiyanti = nivasanti, gacchanti vA nASam bhUtAni yasyAm sA kshitiH = bhUH, tasyA ISaH kshitISaH – That in which all beings ultimately mingle after their life here, is kshitiH, or earth. The Lord of kshiti is kshitISaH.

992. pApa-nASanaH – The Destroyer of sins.

Om pApa-nASanAya namaH.

pApam nASayati iti pApa-nASanaH. It is very interesting to look at the derivation of the word pApa – it is derived from the root pA – rakshaNe – to protect. The addition of the affix paH leads to the word pApaH – that from which one should protect oneself is pApa, or sin. SrI vAsishTha gives the derivation for the word pApa as "pAti asmAt AtmAnam iti pApaH – That from which one should protect oneself is pApaH or sin.

SrI BhaTTar explains the nAma by reminding us of the great value of meditating on bhagavAn's leelA-s. By meditating on the nectar-like stories of His stealing the butter and curd, by reminding ourselves of His rAsa-krIDA-s with the gopi-s, etc., the sins in our minds are removed. In fact, this is one of the ways that bhagavAn annihilates the internal flaws in the minds of SrI vaishNava-s – those who meditate on Him with single-minded devotion. SrI BhaTTar's words are: atha dadhi-navanItastainya rAsa krIDAdi kathAmRtena pareshAm pApa-nASanaH | avatAre'pi vaishNavAnAm bAhyAbhyantara Satru-nASanaH | Even during His incarnations, He annihilates the enemies, both internal and external, of SrIvaishNava-s (the devotees of vishNu inseparably associated with SrI or mahA lakshmi). He annihilates the internal enemies when they meditate on His kalyANa guNa-s, and he annihilates the external enemies through the divine weapons that he carries for their protection (which is the substance of the next and last Sloka)..

SrImad SrImushNam ANDavan explains that ordinary thieves only steal material objects, but bhagavAn steals the feelings of stealth itself from the minds of the devotees – the Stealer of the thought of stealth itself- cauryasya cauryam jagati prasiddham – He is well- known as the Stealer of the very thought of stealth itself from those who meditate on His leelA-s of stealing butter, curd etc.

SrI v.v. rAmAnujan refers us to nammAzhvAr's tiruvAimozhi pASuram 3.6.2, where AzhvAr refers to bhagavAn by the nama "pApanASan":

mUvarAgiya mUrtiyai mudal mUvarkkum mudalvan tannai SAvamuLLana nIkkuvAnai taDam kDal kiDantAn tannai dEva dEvanai ten ila'nkai eri ezhac ceRRa villiyai pAva nASanai pa'ngayat taDam kaNNanaip paravuminO. (tiruvAi. 3.6.2)

"I beseech all of you people to devote yourselves to the Lotus-eyed Lord who is the Chief among the tri-mUrti-s, the antaryAmi of rudra and brahmA, and their Creator. He is the One Who removes the curses of rudra, brahmA and other gods whenever they get into trouble. He is the One Who is reclining in the Milk Ocean, and the same One Who tortured the evil-minded ravAna and his SrI la'nkA to retrieve sItA pirATTi. He is the Lotus-eyed Lord Who removes all our sins by the mere contemplation on Him".

Similar thoughts are expressed by periyAzhvAr:

emmanA! en kula daivamE! ennuDai nAyakanE! nin uLEnAip peRRa nanmai ivvulaginil yAr peRuvAr? namman pOlE vIzhttu amukkum nATTil uLLa pAvam ellAm SummenAdE kai viTTo ODit tURugaL pAindanavE. (periAzhvAr tiru. 5.4.3)

"My Lord! How can I ever describe the great benefit that I have received because of Your Grace? All the sins that normally push me down mercilessly to the ground like demons and ghosts, have left me quietly like prisoners that escape without making any noise and hide in the bushes".

SrI vELukkuDi kRshNan refers us to the gItA Slokam 4.9:

janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvataH | tyaktvA deham punar-janma naiti mAmeti so'rjuna || (gItA 4.9)

"He who thus knows in truth My divine birth and actions does not get rebirth after this body; he will come to Me, O arjuna".

SrI kRishNan svAmi adds that if we meditate on His birth, we won't be born again; if we meditate on His drinking His mother's milk in His birth, we won't have to be born to drink a mother's milk; if we enjoy His leelA of stealing butter and curd, our sins will be stolen away by Him; if we meditate on His being bound by ropes by yaSodA, we won't be bound again in samsAra; such is the greatness of the thoughts about Him and His leelA-s.

SrI Sa'nkara's vyAkhyAnam is: "kIrtitaH pUjito dhyAyataH smRtaH pAparASim nASayan pApa-nASanaH" – He Who destroys the sins of those who adore Him, meditate on Him, and remember and sing hymns of praise on Him. He gives support from a work titled vRddhaSAtAtapa:

pakshopavAsAd yat-pApam purushasya praNaSyati | prANAyAma Satenaiva tat-pApam naSyate nRNAm ||

prANAya sahasreNa yat-pApam naSyate nRNAm | kshaNa-mAtreNa tat-pApam harer-dhyAnAt praNaSyati ||

"Whatever sins are removed by fasting for a fortnight, are destroyed by performing a hundred prANAyAma-s. Whatever sins are destroyed by a thousand prANAyAma-s, are removed in a fraction of a second by meditating on Hari".

SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri gives an explanation for how the thought of bhagavAn's leelA-s is able to wash away one's sins. These thoughts of bhagavAn's leelA-s have the effect of keeping Him always on our thoughts, and this is what causes one's mind to be purified. This is what bhIshma tells yudhishThira at the beginning of the stotra:

tasya loka pradhAnasya jagannAthasya bhUpate | vishNor-nAma sahasram me SruNu pApa bhayApaham ||

"O king, hear from me the thousand names of vishNu, the Lord of the Universe, the highest in the worlds; these remove all sins and fear". The next stanza clarifies that the nAma-s are but representations of bhagavAna's guNa-s – yAni nAmi gauNAni vikhyAtAni mahAtmanaH, and thus, meditation on the names of vishNu, or the guNa- s of vishNu, leads to the removal of sins in the mind of one who meditates on vishNu.

SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives support from SrImad bhAgavatam:

nAma sa'nkIrtanam yasya sarva pApa praNASanam | praNAmo duHkha SamanaH tam namAmi harim param || (bhAga. 12.13.23)

"My prostrations to Lord SrI Hari Whose nAma sa'nkIrtanam leads to the eradication of all sins, and by worshipping Whom all sorrows are weakened". This is the last Slokam of SrImad bhAgavatam, and can be considered the summarizing Slokam of SrImad bhAgavtam by SrI sUta muNi.

SrI cinmayAnanda summarizes the purport of the nAma in the following words: "Meditating upon Whom all vAsanA-s (sins) are liquidated. When an individual, surrendering in love to Him, acts and fulfills his duties, all his existing vAsanA-s are destroyed, and no new ones are created. This is the very root in the theory of karma yoga in the veda-s. Through meditation upon the Self, all sins are dissolved and totally removed".

In one of his alternate interpretations, SrI satya sandha tIrtha looks at the nAma as pApanAH + aSnAti – pApam nayati iti pApanAH daityAH, tAn aSnAti iti pApaNASanaH. The asura-s are called pApanAH because they lead in committing sins, and bhagavAn `eats away' or destroys these asura-s, and so He is called pApanASanaH.

SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN also includes the above thought in one of his alternative interpretations – pavitraiH caritaiH SrotRRNAm nikhila karmya rUpam pApam vivartayan, asurAnAmapi nihatAn Atma vidyAm nivartya muktim tebhyo yacchat pApanASanaH – He is called pApa nASanaH because He removes the sins of those who hear the stories of His leelA-s; He is calo called pApa nASanaH because He destroys the asura-s, and in the process, even for them He removes their sins by redeeming the knowledge about the Self and gets them to moksha.

-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan