One who is beyond death or decay.
Om amRtyave namah.
mRtyuh yasya na asti iti amRtyuh. Birth, growth, decay, disease, and death, are the five modifications through which every finite object must pass. Everything that is born is bound to die. Since He is not born, He is beyond decay, death, or other modifications.
The author in dharma cakram points out that this nAma should remind us of the indestructibility or deathlessness of the jivAtmA, and should remind us of the need to mediate on Him without associating ourselves with this perishable body.
Om sarva-dRSe namah.
He is the Seer and Knower of everything at all times in all beings. He is the witness of all, and sees those who are well-disposed or hostile or indifferent to Him as the Ruler of all and rewards them according to their deeds. The author in dharma cakram points out the concept that is simple but worth repeating - that this nAma should remind us that it is important to be pure in thought, word, and deed, since He is ever watchful of these in all beings at all times. It is easy to swerve from His path without any human being being aware of it, but we should be aware that He is the All-seeing.
a) The Lion
Om simhAya namah.
SrI Bhattar interprets the nAma as one who has assumed the body of man and lion. SrI Sankara gives the meaning that He is the Destroyer (Lion) of sins. He gives the following etymological derivation "hinasti iti simhah" - hinasti smaraNa mAtreNa samasta pApAn iti simhah. According to this interpretation, the word himsa changes to simha by transposition of letters according to the grammatical rule "pRshodarAdIni yatopadishTam" (PANini 6.3.109).
SrI chinmayAnanda points out that even taking the literal meaning "Lion" for simha, He is the Lion at the mention of whose name all the animal passions flee from the jungle of the mind. In the gItA we have "mRgANAm ca mRgendro'ham - Among the animals, I am the king of animals - The Lion" - gItA 10.30.
In dharma cakram, the writer says that meditating on this nAma with its meaning should give us the vIrya to destroy the evil in our thoughts, words, and deeds. It is only a strong personality which can help us overcome the negative forces around us and help us realize Him. It is necessary to be good and to be strong (nallavanAgavum vallavanAgavum as stated in the tamizh language).
a) One who unites His devotees with Him
b) One who unites the beings with the fruits of their actions
Om sandhAtre namah.
sandhatta iti sandhAtA - One who unites.
The first meaning is given by Sri Bhattar, giving the example of prahlAda. The second meaning is given by SrI Sankara. The nirukti gives the description - prahlAdAdyaih sandhAtA samSlesha-karaNAcca sah - One who makes the likes of prahlAda join Him.
One who is always united with His devotees.
Om sandhimate namah.
sandhi is union. SrI Bhattar gives the explanation that this name indicates that He is always united with His devotees, and so He is sandhimAn. Again, quoting the nirukti, prahlAdAdyaih nityasandhih yasya syAt sandhimAn smRtah - One who is in permanent union with the likes of prahlAda.
One who is firm in His relation to His devotees.
Om sthirAya namah.
SrI Bhattar's interpretation is that He is sthirah since He is firmly attached to His devotees in spite of any wrongs by them - apacAre'pi acAlyatvAt sandhAne sthira ucyate. SrI Sankara gives the interpretation that He is sthira in the sense that He is Constant, being always the same, free from birth, decay, etc. - sadaika rUpatvAt sthirah.
b) Remover of obstacles
c) One who moves in the hearts of the devotees
d) One who removes the ignorance from the hearts of His devotees
e) One who is the root of all sound (akshara "a")
Om ajAya namah.
We encountered this nAma as nAma 96 earlier. It will recur also as nAma 524. Please see the explanations under nAma 96.
Om durmarshaNAya namah.
dushkaram marshaNam asya iti durmarshaNah - One who cannot be overcome by His enemies. SrI chinmayAnanda gives a very interesting perspective for this nAma. We may swerve from His path, and satisfy our sensory urges, but after being born over and over, we ultimately have no choice except to follow His path. In the lesser levels of evolution, we may deny ourselves the peace and joy of living the spiritual values, but in the end we will be seeking the feet of vishNu for real happiness and true achievement. Thus, His is the final victory.
The root from which this nAma is derived is mRsh - sahane to bear. Literally this means One who is difficult to bear (for His enemies). SrI satyadevo vAsishTha starts with this, and interprets the nAma to mean that bhagavAn is durmarshaNa because His tejas cannot be confronted in His forms such as the Sun. He also points out that this principle is demonstrated by bhagavAn in everything in this world - the moon cannot stand the tejas of the sun, the brightness of the stars is diminished by the presence of the moon, the power of agni is subdued by that of water, and water disappears in the presence of agni.
Two other explanations for which I could not corroborate the meanings from the dictionary etc. are included as well. One of these is by SrI satyadevo vAsishTha. He gives the alternate interpretation that durmarshNa also means one who cannot be easily understood, based on the alternate meaning for marshitum = ~jNAtum - duhkhena marshitum Sakyah durmarshaNah.
The other interpretation is by the dharma cakram writer who gives the meaning that He is durmarshaNah because He destroys the evil asura-s ( I assume this derivation is based on based mR to kill), and protects the deva-s. Meditating on this nAma with its meaning in mind will help in driving away the evil thoughts from the devotee's mind , and help to develop the good thoughts that will lead to realization of Him. VAlmIki who was ignorant in the beginning, meditated on rAma nAma, and this led him in course of time to the realization of Him.
Om sAstre namah.
The word is derived from SAsu - anuSishTau to teach, to govern, to correct, to advise. SAsti viSvam iti SAstA - One who teaches the veda-s to the world and governs is SAstA. (The words Sastra, SikshA etc. are derived from the same root). He is constantly teaching us through our elders, through sruti-s, smRti-s, watching us constantly by being the observer in us, etc. SrI Bhattar gives the meaning that He righteously punishes (teaches a lesson to?) those who are hindrance to His devotees, and so He is SAstA.
a) One whose exploits are praised with wonder.
b) One who is called by special names (such as Truth,Knowledge, etc).
c) One whose praise is sung in various forms.
d) One whose AtmA is of a special Nature.
The interpretations except the last one result based on the different ways in which the vyAkhyAna kartA-s have interpreted the "vi" in viSrutAtmA. SrI Bhattar gives the interpretation vismayena - with wonder, SrI Sankara has interpreted it as viSesheNa - specially, and SrI satyadevo vAsishTha has given the meaning vividhaih - through many forms.
Sru SravaNe to hear is the second part, and AtmA is the third part in the above nAma. SrI Bhattar adds that this praise in wonder is by all, at all times, and at all places. SrI Sankara points out that He is characterized through special terms like truth, wisdom, etc., and specially glorified in Sruti-s. SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points out that He is known through different forms like Sun, Moon, etc. He gives the following corraboration from Sruti -
tadevAgnis-tadAdityas-tadvAyus-tadu candramAh |
tadeva Sukram tad brahma tA Apah sa prajApatih || (yajur 32-1).
He is also viSrutAtmA since he is sung through various means such as gAnam, arcanam, etc., and through sAma veda, yajurveda, etc.
Interpretation (d) is based on viSesheNa Srutah (~jnAtah) AtmA yena sa viSrutAtmA -
One who is known to be different from the jIvAtmA, One who is sarva~jna, sarvaSakta, sarva-niyantA.
His AtmA is pure shAdguNya paripUrNa form, unassociated with an external form, unimpacted by the effects of karma, etc.
The slayer of the enemies of the gods.
Om surArighne namah.
The nAma consists of the three words sura, ari, and hA, where sura refers to gods, ari is the enemy, and hA is the destroyer. SrI Bhattar reminds us of bhagavAn's destruction of hiraNyakaSipu in this context. SrI chinmayAnanda points out that meditating on this nAma's meaning leads to the destruction of the enemies of our mind's aspiration to evolve, the enemies being "the sensuous claims of the flesh, the mild assertions of the ego, the nocturnal devils of desires and passions". One who drives away all the above inimical negative tendencies is surAruihA.
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha has included the Rg vedic mantra 1.36.15 starting with "pAhi no agne rakshasah" in his vyAkhyAna, and says that it is his own personal experience that chanting this mantra helps in warding off all evils or evil-doers. I have not included the full mantra because I am not sure about the correct pronunciation etc. If anyone has the original mantra, please share it.
All the nAma-s in this Slokam have been interpreted by SrI Bhattar as relating to the description of the guNa-s associated with the nRsimha avatAra.