24.220 - agraNIh
One who leads forward.
Om agraNye namah.
agre nayati iti agraNIh - One who leads forward is agraNIh. SrI Sankara and SrI Bhattar interpret the 'leading forward' as referring to bhagavAn's guNa of leading His devotees to moksha.
The writer in dharma cakram gives an elaborate account of the kind of people whom He will lead to moksha. The example compares people to four stages of fish in a river in which a fisherman casts his net. The nitya sUri-s are like the fish which do not get caught in the net - i.e., they do not fall for the bait, and remain safely outside. The mukta jiva-s are those who get caught in the net, but with their best effort, succeed in getting out. The mumukshu-s are like the fish which keep trying to get out, even though they have not succeeded in escaping. The baddha jiva-s are like the fish who enjoy the bait the fisherman has provided, and remain happily in the net and become the food for the fisherman. SrI vishNu's guNa of agraNI applies to those who are the mumukshu-s, who constantly want to get out of this ocean of samsAra by devoting themselves to the worship of Him. They are like the fish that has been taken out of water and that is desperately trying to get into the water, or like the man who has been thrown into water and drowning and who is desperately interested in getting a breath of air. It is this kind of intensity in seeking Him that will qualify a person for the agraNI's dayA.
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points out that this attribute of SrI vishNu in 'moving everything forward' is constantly demonstrated in everyone's life - i.e., we only keep moving forward, and can never go backwards in time, and time lost is lost forever. Not only we are moving forward, but we are moving forward according to His will. This is true of the Sun, the moon, etc.
Leader of the hosts of angels.
Om grAmaNye namah.
grAmam samAjam nayati iti grAmanIh - One who leads the group (of devotees). SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points out that grAma refers to any collection, e.g., of several houses ( a village), of several indirya-s (the body), of several musical instruments (sapta svarAs-trayo grAmA - in nAradIya SikshA), or the collection of all created beings. The writer in dharma cakram interprets this nAma in the context of the devotees who have unconditionally entrusted themselves in His care that are led by Him to moksha. He gives the example of one who is lost in a forest (of samsAra). If this person goes and seeks help for getting out of this forest from others (such as his relatives, his friends, etc.), who are also lost in this forest, this request for help is going to be futile. But if they seek the help of vishNu who alone can lead us from the bondage of samsAra, then and only then will they be able to get out of this forest. It is this category of people who are led by this guNa of bhagavAn denoted by the nAma grAmaNI.
a) One who is endowed with wealth.
Om SrImate namah.
This nAma occurred previously as nAma-s 22 and 180. Under these names, the translator of SrI Sankara's bhAshyam had added his own personal comments, which I had incorrectly attributed to SrI Sankara. So I am revising the write-up for SrImAn to correct this error as below.
Under nAma 22, I had incorrectly indicated that both SrI Sankara and SrI Bhattar interpret the nAma as referring to the beauty of nRsimha avatAra. SrI Bhattar does interpret nAma 22 as referring to the beauty of nRsimha incarnation. SrI Sankara interprets nAma 22 as 'One who has lakshmi on His vaksha-sthalam'. A translator of Sankara bhAshyam, SrI ananta-kRshNa SAstri, has added his own note that vishNu is SrImAn because there is no diminution in His beauty even though He has the form of a man-lion. Probably this note was added based on SrI Bhattar's vyAkhyAna. I had incorrectly attributed the translator's note to SrI Sankara.
For nAma 180, SrI Bhattar interprets SrImAn as referring to the beauty of the Lord decorated with celestial ornaments, and SrI Sankara interprets SrImAn as referring to the Lord's prosperity (SrI), and the translator's note adds that this refers to the six kinds of prosperity (shADgunya paripUrNatva).
For the current nAma (222), SrI Bhattar's interpretation is that bhagavAn is endowed with SrI or wealth. He makes reference to the "Lotus-eyed matsya mUrti - matsyah kamala locanah", and indicates that based on this, the matsya mUrti form is none other than SrImAn who is the paramAtmA. SrI Sankara interprets SrI as kAnti or radiance in this instance, and gives the interpretation that here SrImAn refers to the Lord who is more radiant or resplendent than anything else that exists. Here again, the translator has added a note that though He incarnated as a fish, His splendor was supreme in that form. Here again, the translator's note is probably based on Sri Bhattar's vyAkhyAna.
SrI cinmayAnanda interprets SrI as Mother lakshmi, who is the total manifested power potential and stands for all powers or all glories. VishNu is SrImAn because He has all these powers in Him or is courted by all glories.
SrImAn also refers to Sriyah pati, or the Lord of Sri or mahA-lakshmi. BhagavAn's beauty is natural to Him because He has SrI in his vaksha-sthala. The dharma-cakram author inteprets this nAma to mean that the prakRti and purusha are inseparable, just as SrI and the Lord are inseparable, and are part of the same para-brahmam.
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives the root as "Sri -sevAyAm" - One who is fit to be served. SrI also means SobhA or beauty or "kAnti". He points out that the beauty that is seen all around us in the trees, the birds, the rivers, the flowers, the Sun, the Moon, the stars, etc., should remind us constantly of bhagavAn, the SrImAn whose SrI is shining in everything. SrI also means wealth. The wealth that humans have is transient, and can disappear any time. BhagavAn is SrImAn whose wealth is nitya or permanent.
a) The Just.
Om nyAyAya namah
SrI Bhattar interprets this nAma as referring to the Lord's guNa of ensuring that He does whatever is appropriate for His devotees, and ensures that nothing faulty or unwelcome happens to them. SrI Sankara gives the interpretation that He is nyAya because He is both the tarka (logical contemplation) and yukti (the lines of contemplation) running through all sources of knowledge (pramANAnugrAhakah). The sense here as expressed by SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri is that He is nyAya because He is the only one who can give what is good for His devotees in a rational and consistent form that cannot be refuted through counter-arguments (probably through the veda-s?).
The writer in dharma cakram elaborates on this further, and points out that there are three types of tarka (lines of argument) - vAda, vitanDA, and jalpa. Of these, vAda is done with the purpose of understanding and arriving at the truth, and is undertaken with humility and sincerity. VitanDA is the argument which is meant to just confuse the opponent, and is undertaken with a haughty disposition and with ahankAra. Jalpa is the line of argument where the power or position is used to subdue, frighten, insult and threaten the opponent. Of these, vAda is the most appropriate way of argument, and will lead to enhancing understanding. Devotees who worship mahA-vishNu are blessed by Him with the ability to analyze and understand the truth through the just means, and they are saved from destructive thoughts and are led towards self-realization. The example of Lord KRshNa's instructions to arjuna is given to illustrate the instance that bhagavAn leads His devotees to the thought process involving nyAya yukti, whereby arjuna's thoughts become clear, his attachments are removed, and he acts on the right and just course of action.
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha, in addition to the above explanation, derives his interpretation based on nIyate prApyate iti nyAyah - One who ensures that everything in this world is on its right track and reaches its destination is nyAyah. The yantra that is this Universe, with its Sun, moon, stars, etc., is functioning under the guidance of the nyAya that is vishNu. So also the indriya-s in our bodies are directed by the SarIra-nyAya that is vishNu. The word 'niyati', which means 'rule', is related to the word nyAya (nIyate).
a) One who fulfills the requests of His devotees.
Om netre namah.
a) niyuktam karoti iti netA (SrI Bhattar), or b) jagad-yantra nirvAhakah netA (SrI Sankara).
The dharma cakram writer gives the analogy of objects attached to a rotating wheel. The objects rotate because of the movement of the wheel. We are all moving around because of His Will which is analogous to the rotating wheel. However, we keep believing that it is we who are responsible for our motion, and forget that it is He who is moving us as He wishes. Those who understand this get out of the false belief that we are the ones who are achieving everything around us. arjuna the jivAtmA was sitting in the chariot or the body, and Lord kRshNa was driving both the chariot and arjuna. The chariot did not have any feeling of responsibility for its motion, but arjuna believed that his actions were caused by his will. The Lord did not take up weapons, but was witness to what was happening. Similarly, in our case bhagavAn is in each of us watching and witnessing our actions. This nAma indicates that He is the Controlling Force behind everything in this Universe.
a) One who performs acts which are delectable.
Om samIraNaya namah.
This nAma is derived from the root Ir- to move (IraNa). SrI Bhattar associates this movement with that part of the matsya incarnation where bhagavAn dove deep into the Ocean to retrieve the veda-s from the nether-world from the asura named hayagrIva. SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri associates the motion implied by IraNa with the act of bhagavAn leading the boat with the seeds of creation during the pralaya in His matsya incarnation. The following is from SrImad bhAgavatam skandam 8, chapter 24, Slokam 33 -
trilokyAm lIyamAnAyAm samvartAmbasi vai tadA |
"When all the three worlds disappear under the Ocean, a large boat will be steered by Me towards you" - note the use of the word IritA here.
SrI Sankara associates the motion or movement with the breath in living beings. He is samIraNa because He controls the functioning of the body through the breath. SrI satyadevo vAsishTha takes this concept of control further, and points out that this control by bhagavAn is seen even in the fact that man has had 32 teeth ever since creation, and will continue to have this till the end of the kalpa, man gets the teeth twice in his life, and this is as it has been since creation, and will continue till the end of kalpa, etc., and so will the rising and setting of the Sun and the moon and the movement of the planets etc.
SrI Bhattar interprets these three names together, and points out that the reference to head, eyes, and feet really includes all organs of knowledge and action, and the reference to a thousand signifies 'innumerable'. What is referred to here is that bhagavAn is endowed with infinite capacity to know and act, which are the functions of these organs. Reference is made to the following sruti-s:
sahasra SIrshA purushah sahasrAkshah sahasra-pAt -(purusha sUktam)
SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri points out that reference is made to the head first in the above sequence of nAma-s because head is the first one that forms when a child is formed in the mother's womb, and head is the part of the child that appears first when the child is born. Also, reference is made to head, eyes, and feet because of their importance in exercising the j~nAna and kriyA Sakti-s.
These three nAma-s also remind us that He is everywhere, in everything, all-powerful, always observing everything in every one of us, etc. Many heads can also refer to His unlimited intellect (SrI satyadevo vAsishTha). We are all part of His body, and thus all our heads are His heads, and so also He is sahasramurdhA. By the fact that He is the antaryAmi in all of us, and is always observing all that we do and think from within each of us, He is sahasrAkshah. SrI satyadevo vAsishTha adds that "One who is of many legs" also suggests that He has made his creations such that they can get around by many means e.g., as two legged humans, as four-legged animals, as the hundred-legged centipedes, as multi-legged millipedes, as no-legged serpents, as birds getting around by flying, as fish by swimming, etc. In this sense, sahasrapAt really reveals that He is ananta j~nAnavAn, or of Infinite Intellect, in having created and supported this kind of immeasurable diversity. Note the similarity in the vedic chanting "sahasra SIrshA purushah sahasrAkshah sahasrapAt", including the sequence which is the same as in SrI vishNu sahasra nAma.
Sri cinmayAnanda points out that the "many heads", "many eyes", and "many legs" together indicate that the One Infinite Consciousness expresses everywhere in all forms and at all times through all these equipments of thinking (head), perception (eyes), and action (legs).
24.227 - viSvAtmA
The very soul of the Universe; the very inner Essence in all living creatures.
Om viSvAtmane namah.
viSvasya AtmA viSvAtmA.
He is viSvAtmA because He pervades the entire Universe by His knowledge and strength.
The writer in dharma cakram points out that the true significance in this nAma lies in our realizing the unity among all the living beings, rather than seeing the difference in our outer appearance or the difference in our thoughts etc. By seeing the difference in our external appearance or in our thoughts, only kAma, krodha, lobha, moha, matha, and mAtsarya grow and develop in us. Only when we learn to see the unity behind our inner selves, we will qualify to receive His dayA. This is what sage yAg~nyavalkya taught to maitreyi viz. that when one loves one's wife, it is not her shape that should be loved, but it is the AtmA in her that should be loved, etc. (na vA are jAyAyai kAmAya jAyA priyA bhavati, Atmanastu kAmAya jAyA priyA bhavati etc.). That is the true meaning of love.