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Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam - SLOKA 36



om skandAya namahom skanda-dharAya namahom dhuryAya namahom varadAya namahom vAyu-vAhanAya namahom vAsudevAya namahom bRhad-bhAnave namahom Adi-devAya namahom purandarAya namah

329. skandha

He who dries up (destroys).om skandAya namah.skandayati Soshayati iti skandah - One who destroys the asura-s and otherevil-doers (SrI BhaTTar). skanda also can mean One who melts like butterwhen it comes to helping His devotees, or flows like nectar in the thoughtsof His bhakta-s - skandati iti skandah (This is one interpretation that SrISankara gives). SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri gives reference to gItA - senAnInAmaham skandah (gItA 10.24) - I am skanda among the chiefs of armies. Hereskanda refers to subrahmaNya, who is considered the chief among the chiefsof armies.

330. skanda-dharah

>The Supporter of skanda.om skanda-dharAya namah.(SrI BhaTTar) - BhagavAn is the supporter of skanda, the commander-in-chiefof the army of gods. The above quote from gItA thus states that skanda is apart of bhagavAn's vibhUti or glory.SrI Sankara's interpretation for the term skanda is "righteous path - dharmapatham", and so the vyAkhyAna he gives is that bhgavAn is the upholder ofthe path of dharma.

331. dhuryah

The Supporter.om dhuryAya namah.One of the meanings for the word 'dhur' is load. He bore the weight of themandara mountain in His kUrma incarnation, and so He is the Supporter. Heis also the Supporter of the Universe - bhuvana-bhRte. SrI satyadevovAsisshTha gives an alternate meaning also for the word "dhur" - the frontpart of an object, and interprets the nAma to mean that bhagavAn is themArga-darSi or one who shows the path for everyone.

332. vara-dah

The Grantor of boons.om varadAya namah.varAh abhIpsitah arthah, tam dadAti iti vara-dah. varam also means "thebest", and so One who gives the best to those devotees who pray to Him withdetachment is vara-da. The dharma cakram writer reminds us that the bestfor us is "nalam tarum Sollai nAn kaNDu konDEn nArAyaNA ennum nAmam" pertirumangai AzhvAr. Needless to say what one gets by chanting the nAma ofnArAyaNa - "kulam tarum Selvan tandiDum aDiyAr paDu tuyar Ayina ellAm nilamtaram Seyyum.... peRRa tAyinum Ayina Seyyum".

333. vAyu-vAhanah

He who has vAyu as His vehicle.om vAyu-vAhanAya namah.BhagavAn rides on and drives vAyu, the life-breath of the world. IntiruvezhukkURRirukkai, we have - mEdagum aim-perum bhUtamum nIyE - Hecontrols the pa~nca bhUta-s such as air etc.The dharma cakram writer points out that while air is very important for usto live, this nAma should remind us that mahA vishNu who makes the air moveis just as important to us, and thus we should learn to meditate on Him.SrI Sankara gives the vyAkhyAna that bhagavAn controls the atmosphere in theseven regions of space. SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri describes in detail aboutthese seven regions which are controlled by seven different sons of kaSyapaand diti, because of the powers given to them by bhagavAn. They are calledthe sapta-maruta-s. Six of these regions are listed by many of the authors.These regions are: the space between earth and the clouds, that between theclouds and the sun, that between the sun and the moon, the moon and thestars, the stars and the planets, and the planets and the sapta-RshimanDala. It is said that it is because of the pressure exerted by theseregions of air that the various stellar objects keep from colliding witheach other.The next 12 nAma-s are interpreted by SrI BhaTTar as referring to adhyAtmavAsudeva or para vAsudeva form of bhagavAn. Prof. A. SrInivAsa rAghavannotes that coincidentally, the vAsudeva mantra also has 12 akshara-s in it.

334. vAsu-devah

He who pervades and sports.om Vasu-devAya namah.This nAma occurs again as nAma 701. The name indicates that bhagavAn isvAsu and He is deva. vAsu is derived from vas - to reside and to envelope.sarvam vasati - everything lives in Him, and sarvatra vasati - He liveseverywhere. He is vAsu since He lives in the world making it live withinHimself like a mother and also protects it by covering it like a bird thatprotects its young ones with its out-spread wings. He is deva because Heplays, wishes to conquer, and shines. He also protects the beings asdescribed above (vAsu) as a leelaa, and so He is vAsu-deva. The word devais derived from div - krIDAyAm - to play. So all His acts are leelaa-s.The following quotes are given by SrI Sankara and SrI BhaTTar to support theinterpretation: "chAdayAmi jagad-viSvam bhUtyA sUrya ivAmSubhih | sarva-bhUtAdhi-vAsaSca vAsu-devah tatah smRtah || -moksh dharma 12-328-36) "Like the sun with his rays, I am covering the whole universe, andalso I am residing in all beings; hence I am called vAsudeva". "vasanAt sarva-bhUtAnAm vasutvAt deva-yonitah | vAsudevastato j~neyah yogibhis_tattva darSibhih || (udyoga69-3) "I am the abode of all beings, and with a divine form I live in allof them. Therefore I am known as vAsudeva by the yogi-s who have realizedthe truth". "sarvatrAsau samastam ca vasatyatreti vai yatah | tatah sa vAsudeveti vidvadbhih paripaThyate || (vishNupurANam 1.2.12) "Learned men declare that bhagavAn is called vAsudeva because Heabides in all things, and al things abide in Him". "sarvANi tatra bhUtAni vasanti paramAtmani | bhUteshu ca sa sarvAtmA vAsudevastatah smRtah || (vishNu purA.6.5.80) "All beings remain in the paramAtman, and He is in all beings; hencethe omnipresent is called vAsudeva".SrI v.v.rAmAnujan points out that bhagavAn got this name also by Hisincarnation as the son of vasudeva. The dharma cakram writer brings outthe subtle point that bhagavAn is in everything and everywhere, and yetsuccessfully conceals Himself from all except His devotees. Hesuccessfully conceals Himself while being present in everything as theantaryAmi, controlling the air, the sun, the planets, etc., havingsvayam-prakASa, etc.SrI BhaTTar points out that like the nAma nArAyaNa, this nAma is also arahasyam whose meaning should be learnt from an AcArya, and so is notdiscussed in further detail.

335. bRhad-bhAnuh

He of profuse luster.om bRhad-bhAnave namah.bRhat means huge, very large. bhAnu means rays. SrI Sankara gives thefollowing reference:"bRhanto bhAnavo yasya candra sUryAtigAminah | tair-viSvam bhAsayati yah sa bRhad-bhAnurucyate || (udyoga70.4) "He, whose great rays surpass the sun, moon, and others, and He whoilluminates the universe through them, is called bRhad-bhAnuh".SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri gives the support from muNDakopanishad - na tatrasUryo bhAti na candra tArakam nemA vidyuto bhAnti kuto'yamagnih | tamevabhAntam anubhAti sarvam tasya bhAsA sarvamidam vibhAti (2.2.10). The sunand moon get their luster from Him.The dharma cakram writer points out that while the sun gives light to theexternal world, BhagavAn gives light to the Sun as well as the light neededfor us to realize our internal self.

336. Adi-devah

The First Deity.om Adi-devAya namah.That He sports with the worlds as He pleases is indicated by the nAmaAdi-devah. As was seen earlier in "vAsu-devah", the term deva refers to HisleelA or sport in creation, protection, and destruction of all the beings.He plays with the act of creation etc. just like a child playing on theseashore by building and smashing sand-castles (SrI v.v.rAmAnujan). "akhilabhuvana janma sthema bhangAdi leele" - It is His sport to go through thiscycle of creation, protection and destruction.SrI Sankara's vyAkhyAnam is "Adih kAraNam" - The First Cause.SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri gives the definition from niruktam - "devo dAnAdvadIpanAdvA dyotanAdvA dyusthAno bhavati (7.25) - deva is one who gives inplenty, one who shines and makes others shine, and one who dwells in space".BhagavAn is Adi-deva in this sense.

337. purandarah


a) The Destroyer of the cities.
b) The Destroyer of the sufferings from the Adi-daivika causes
c) He who helps the devotee in transcending the attachment to sthUla, sUkshma and kAraNa SarIra-s
d) He who brings an end to the bodies of all beings
Om purandarAya namah.
Puram dArayati iti purandarah - One who destroyed the cities. 
a) bhagavAn was the antaryAmi of rudra in destroying the three citiesas referenced by nammAzhvAr in tiruvAimozhi 1.1.8 (SrI v.v. rAmAnujan). The second half of the pASuram is:  "puram oru mUnru eRittu amararkkum aRivu iyandu aran ayan ena ulagu azhittu amaittu uLanE"."EmperumAn is the One who destroyed the three cities in the form ofrudra, gave the knowledge of the veda-s to the deva-s in the form ofbrahma, and performs the functions of creation, protection anddestruction".SrI kRshNadatta bhAradvAj gives the explanation - purANi SambarAdInAmasurANAm nagarANi dRNAti iti purandarah. He gives reference to the Rgvedic mantra 7.99.5 - indrAvishNU dRgmhitA Sambarasya nava puro navatimca SnathishTham - Ye have destroyed, thou, Indra, and thou, vishNu,Sambara's nine-and-ninety fenced castles.SrI Samkara vyAkhyAnam is "sura SatrUNAm pura dAraNAt purandarah" -Because He is the Destroyer of the cities of the enemies of the gods,He is called purandarah.b) SrI BhaTTar: asurapurAni dArayati iti purandarah - The destroyer ofthe cities of asura-s. This indicates the removal of fear fromasura-s, piSAca-s, thunder and lightning, planets and other troubleswhich go by the name "Adi-daivika" - those that proceed from the gods. Puram in this sense refers to the "dwellings of asura-s".c) SrI cinmayAnanda talks of the pre"cities" referring to the fields ofexperiences - waking, dream and deep-sleep. Since bhagavAn helps intranscending the Gross, Subtle, and Causal bodies (sthUla, suKshma, andkAraNa), and then experience the self, at that moment the three"cities" are burned down or pillaged or blasted. Without overcomingthe attachment to the sthUla, sUkshma, and kAraNa SarIra-s, we cannotexperience the self. The darma cakram writer graphically explains thatif we consider the sthUla SarIra as belonging to bhagavAn and surrdnerit in His service, then He helps in overcoming our attachment to thesthUla SarIra. If we dedicate the mind to His service and tomeditation on Him, He helps us overcome our actions being controlled byour mind. If we have mahAviSvAsam in Him and surrender to Himunconditionally, He relieves us from the constraints of the kAraNaSarIram as well. This is when we are able to experience the self.Since bhagavAn is the cause of the destruction of the three sArIra-sthat are standing in the way of our experiencing the self, He iscalled purandarah. d) SrI satyadevo vAsishTha starts with the meaning "body" for the wordpura, and gives the interpretation that since bhagavAn puts an end tothe body, He is purandarah - puram dArayati iti purandarah. 

-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan