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Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam - SLOKA 43



396. rAmah

a) He who delights others.b) He in whom everyone delights.om rAmAya namahThere are two obvious interpretations for this nAma. One is that all theyogi-s revel in His charm - ramante yoginah asmin iti rAmah. SrI Sankaragives reference to pAdmapurANa - ramante yoginah anante nityAnande cidAtmani- The yogins revel in Him who is Eternal Bliss, Pure Consciousness andEndless.The other is that He who has a compelling charm about Himself and He who ismost Handsome - ramayati itit rAmah. SrI BhaTTar gives several references.rAmo ramayatAm SreshThah - rAma is the foremost among those who delight theminds of all people (rAmAyaNa - ayodhyA 53-1); guNAbhirAmam rAmam ca - rAmawho is filled with kalyANa guNa-s (mahAbhArata sabhA 58-42); tathAsarva-prajA kAntaih prIti sanjananaih pituh | guNaih viruruce rAmah dIptahsUrya iva amSubhih || - rAma who is liked by His citizens, who bringshappiness to His father, and who is full of klayANa guNa-s, shone like theSun with its intense and bright rays - ayodhyA 1.33. In tiruppAvai, ANDALcalls Him manatukku iniyAn. His form is such that even His enemies getattracted to it. Even though mandodari and vAli's wife are not in thecategories of enemies of rAma, they were both realized His divine Naturewhen they saw Him with their husbands dying or dead. SrI v.v.rAmAnujanrefers to SUrpanakA's description of rAma and lakshmaNa - taruNau rUpasampannau sukumArau - puNDarIka viSAlAkshau....SrI satyadevo vAsishTha and SrI v.v.rAmAnujan both refer to the root ramu -krIDAyAm - He who derives pleasure out of His leelA-s, or He who makeseveryone happy because of His krIDA as part of His krIDA, is rAma.The dharma cakram writer adds that there are two kinds of delight- delightsof this world which have sadness associated with them always as aconsequence, and the delight pertaining to the enjoyment of para brahmamwhich has pure lasting happiness associated with it. rAma is the source ofthe later kind. The writer refers us to Sabari's holding on to life only tohave the darSan of rAma, the Rshi-s who delighted themselves in the sightof rAma, and the gopi-s and gopAla-s who had bhagavad-anubhavam by beingwith kRshNa in AyarpADi.SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri reminds us that it is sage vasishTha, the kula guruof daSaratha's family, that gave the name rAma to daSaratha's first son.

397. virAmah

a) He before whom all become powerless.b) He who is the final goal of everyone.om virAmAya namah.SrI BhaTTar has explained the nAma as follows: viramyate asmin varapradaihbrahmAdibhih, varaiSca avadhyAdibhih, labdha-varaiSca rAvaNAdibhih itivirAmah - Before rAma all become powerless, including the likes of brahmawho grant the boons, the boons themselves of indestructibility even bydeath, and people like rAvaNa who acquired the boons by their austerities.He quotes rAmAyaNa in this context - brahmA svayambhUh caturAnano vA ...(Sundara kANDa 51.45), where hanumAn advises rAvaNa to understand rAma'sprowess.SrI Sankara gives the explanation that He is the final resting place or goalof all beings - virAmah avasAnam prANinAm asmin iti virAmah. SrIrAdhAkRshNa SAstri refers us to rAmAyaNa wherein we find that those whohave seen rAma or have diverted their thoughts on Him do not even try to getout of this mode.na hi tasmAt manah kaScit cakshushI vA narottamAn |narah SaknotyapAkrashTum atikrAnte abhi rAghave || (rAmA 2.18.13)SrI cinmayAnanda explains that He is the final resting place because havingreached Him there is no return into the realm of experiences. He alsopoints out that some vyAkhyAna kartA-s interpret the meaning as "He in whomthe world of plurality merges during the deluge or pralaya".The dharma cakram writer comments that until the soul reaches Him i.e.,attains moksha, there is always re-birth, and He is the final restingplace, attaining which alone one can rest finally. So this nAma shouldremind us that the final goal is mahA vishNu, and teach us to meditate onHim.SrI satyadevo vAsishTha nicely relates the two nAma-s, rAma and virAma.ramante asmin iti rAmah, viramanti asmin iti virAmah - One in whom peopledelight is rAma, and One in whom people find final SAnti is virAma. Thesource of delight is also the end of delight - yatra ramaNam tatra ramaNaavasAnam. He is the Creator and He is also the one who ends the creation.This is the same principle involved in the body being formed from the pa~ncabhUta-s and dissolving back into the pa~nca bhUta-s, the sun rising in timeand settling back in time, etc. He gives numerous references to theSruti-s to support this interpretation: tasmin idam sam ca vicaiti sarvam sa otah protaSca vibhuh prajAsu(yajur 32.8) yo mArayati prANayati yasmAt prANanti bhuvanAni viSvA (atharva13.3.3) kAlenodeti sUryah kAle niviSate punah (atharva 19.54.1) yatrAmRtam ca mRtyuSca purushe'dhi samAhite (atharva 10.5.17)

398. virajo-mArgah

One who shows the faultless path.om viratAya namah - The Unattachedom mArgAya namah - He who is sought afterom virajo-mArgAya namah - He who shows the flawless pathThere is some confusion here as to whether this is to be interpreted as onenAma (virajo-mArgah), or as two separate nAma-s. SrI SrInivAsarAghavandiscusses the terms viratah and mArgah separately but lists them under thesame number, and also indicates that virajo-mArgah is the form when the nAmais considered as one nAma. SrI aNNa~ngarAcArya and SrI v.v.rAmAnujan listviratah (virajah) and mArgah as two separate nAma-s. The difference innumbering which started with Slokam 34 (ishTo'viSishTah vs. ishTah andaviSishTah) between these two sets of interpretations continues up to thisnAma, where it synchronizes again.bhagavAn is viratah because the spirit of detachment is natural to Him.vigatam ratam asya vishayasevAyAm iti viratah - One in whom the desire forpleasure in objects has ceased. When He lost the kingdom it did not depriveHim of His splendor just as the night cannot take away the loveliness of thecool-rayed of the moon. "na cAsya mahatIm lakshmIm rAjya nASo'pakarshati | loka-kAntasya kAntatvam SItaraSmeriva kshapA ||(ayodhyA 19.32)sItA pirATTi's own words are: "When SrI rAma abandoned the kingdom under theplea of dharma, and led me to the forest where I had to move on foot, therewas neither disappointment nor grief, nor fear in rAma". "dharmApadeSAt tyajataSca rAjyam mAm cApyaraNyam nayatah padAtim || (sundara 36.29)SrI v.v.rAmAnujan points out that another instance of this detachment isthat He did not have the faintest desire to have any part of SrIlankA forHimself which he won in the battle with rAvaNa. He also gives references toprabandham: pArALum paDar Selvam bharata nambikkE aruLi arum kAnamaDaindavan (perumAl tirumozhi 8.5); iru nilattai vENDAdE virainduvenRimaivAyakaLirozhindu tEr ozhindu mAvozhindu vanamE mEviya em irAman(perumAL tirumozhi 9.2).Some versions have this nAma as virajah (rajo-rahitah). SrI cinmayAnandagives the interpretation that He is without the rajas or agitation of themind, and so He is virajah (passionless). He is the embodiment of Puresattava guNa.The dharma cakram writer points out that the difference between us andbhagavAn is this - that we are attached and He is detached. He refers us totirukkuraL: paRRuga paRRaRRAn paRRinai appaRRaip- paRRuga paRRu viDaRkku.The significance of this nAma is that we should learn to be detached bymeditating on this nAma of bhagavAn.SrI satyadevo vAsishTha has composed one Slokam for each nAma to explain thenAma's significance, and thus there are 1000 Sloka-s of his own inexplanation of the 1000 nAma-s. I am including his Slokam for the currentnAma as an example: "rajo na tasmin na tamSca tasmin, sattva-svabhAvo hi sa vishNuruktah| so'sti svabhAvAt amita-prakASo, deve'sti gItah tamasah parastAt||mArgah - He who is sought after.om mArgAya namah. mArgyate iti mArgah. The word is derived from the rootmRjU Suddhau, to cleanse. He is the path for those who lead a life as laiddown in the SAstra-s. SrI BhaTTar remarks that even sages like bharadvAjasought after Him. He is also the mArga because He is the only means (upAya)to attain Him. SrI Sankara quotes the taittirIya upanishad - nAnyah panthAvidyateyanAya (3.13). SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri gives reference tobRhadAraNya upanishad - esha panthA brahmaNA hAnuvittah - 4.4.9). Thdharma cakram writer gives examples of paraSurAma, vAli, rAvaNa, etc.,where bhagavAn was the means for their realization of Him.SrI BhaTTar also remarks that virajo-mArgah is the version when the twowords are combined as one nAma, and the meaning is that He is the One whoshows the flawless path. SrI srInivAsarAghavan uses the nAma asvirato-mArgah and gives the meaning that He is the path that is sought aftereven though He Himself is unattached.

399. neyah

He who lets Himself be governed (by His devotees)om neyAya namah.netA refers to one who leads. neyah is one who is led. SrI BhaTTar givesthe derivation - niyoga arhatvAt neyah. niyogah means order. One who is tofit to be entrusted with the responsibility to command is also neyah. SrIBhaTTar gives the following references:"Ag~nyApyo'ham tapasvinAm" - I am agreeable to be commanded by those whopractice austerities - (rAmAyaNa AraNya 6.22);:niyunkshva cApi mAm kRtye sarvam kartAsmi te vacah - KRshNa's words toyudhisThira - You may ask me to do whatever you want; I shall certainlycarry out your behests (mahAbhArata anuSAsana 33.25);"ayam asmi mahAbAho brUhi yat te vivakshitam| karishyAmIha tat sarvam yattvam vakshyati bhArata! || - O Long-armed scion of the royal dynasty ofbharata! I am here ready to do whatever you want; I shall carry out yourcommands (mahA udyoga 71.5).SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning as "One who is fit to be sought"- prApyah prAptum yogyah, or "One who is not attainable through any pramANaexcept by contemplation, meditation, and devotion" - sarva prmANaavishayatvAt sa manasA netum arhah = mantum yogyah mananIyo bhavati. Thekey phrase is netum arhah neyah.

400. nayah

He who draws everyone towards Himself.om nayAya namah.nayati iti nayah - One who draws everyone towards Himself; one who leadseveryone in their spiritual illumination. When rAma reached daNDakAraNyam,the Rshi-s there were drawn to Him, and they entrusted their protectionsolely to Him, even though they had their tapo-balam. SrI v.v.rAmAnujanrefers us to bhagavAn's words in His varAha incarnation - nayAmi paramAmgatim - I will lead everyone to the Ultimate, viz. moksham. The dharmacakram writer points out the examples of arjuna being led in the right pathby bhagavAn through the gItopadeSam. Meditation on this nAma of bhagavAnshould reveal to us that the path to moksahm is to be drawn towards Him andto follow His lead.

401. anayah

He who cannot be spirited away.om anayAya namah.SrI bhaTTar gives the example of the futile effort of rAvaNa to lift andcarry away lakshmaNa when he was lying on the battleground after beingstruck by the Sakti weapon by rAvaNa. He also gives an alternateinterpretation based on ayah - the means which brings prosperity; an-ayahthen means He without whom there is no prosperity.SrI Sankara's interpretation that He is one who is not led by anyone, unlikeHe who leads everyone in the spiritual path.SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives the examples of bhagavAn being the oppositessimultaneously. One meaning he gives for nayah is One who moves. anayah isOne who does not move. He gives reference to 'tadejati tanaijati',anejadekam manaso javIyo (ISAvAsya upanishad), aram kAmAya harayovadhanvire sthirAya hinvan harayo harI turA (Rg veda 10.96), etc.The dharma cakram writer nicely illustrates how rAma always acted in thepath of dharma without anyone having to lead Him. When he had to go theforest, others including sage vasishTha tried to persuade Him to accept thekingdom instead and rule, but rAma did not swerve from the path of dharmaand adopted that path without having to be told by anyone. When He returnedback from the forest and became the king, some citizens commented thatsItAdevi had been in another person's house and should not occupy the thronewith SrI rAma. Because rAma wanted to set an example to His citizens, Hesent her instead to vAlmIki's ASramam, and showed them the path of dharma ofthe king. Thus, He never needed to be led by anyone, anayah.

402 vIrah

Valiant (See 664).om vIrAya namah.He is vIra because He destroys at once those who are a source of sufferingto the pious by discharging His wapons which are ever ready to carry out Hiscommands. He is a source of terror to His enemies. SrI Sankara bhAshyam is"vikramaSAlitvAt vIrah - One who is valorous". SrI v.v.rAmAnujan points outthat vIra, saurYa, and parAkrama are among the mahA-guNa-s of bhagavAn, andthe reference to vIrya here by bhIshma can be taken to refer to all threeguNa-s. vIrya is the quality of inducing terror in the hearts of theenemies; Saurya is derived from the word SUra - the ability to cause havocamong the enemies' ranks by single-handedly penetrating their ranks; andparAkrama is the ability to cause enormous damage to enemies' side while notbeing even slightly hurt Himself. rAma is referred to as mahAvIra inraghu-vIra-gadyam (The starting line is jaya jaya mahA-vIra!).SrI bhaTTar giveas reference to the following:mArIca tells rAvaNa about rAma - "vRkshe vRkshe ca paSyAmi cIra kRshNAjinAmbaram | gRhIta dhanusham rAmam pASa hastamiva antakam || (rAmAAraNya 39.14)" "In every tree I see rAma dressed in tree bark and black deer-skinand His bow drawn as though He is the god of death with the rope in hand". "brahma-daNDa prakASAnAm vidyut-sadRSa varcasAm | smaran rAghava-bANAnAn vivyate rAkshaseSvarah ||(yuddha 60.3)" "rAvaNa, the king of rAkshasa-s, became uneasy whwn he even thoughtof the arrows of rAma, which hasd the luster of the club of brahma and theglitter of the lightning". "mAta~nga iva simhena garuDeneva pannagah | abhibhUto'bhavad-rAjA rAghaveNa mahAtmanA || (yuddha 60.2)" "The king (rAvaNa) was overpowered by the powerful rAma like theelephant by the lion, and the serpent by garuDa".SrI v.v.rAmAnujan gives several references to prabandham:- In tiruccanda viruttam, tirumazhiSai sings - "anRu ila~ngai nIRu SeiduSenRu konRu venRi koNDa vIraNAr";- n perumAltirumozhi we have "ve~nkadirOn kulattukkOr viLakkAit-tOnRi viNmuzhudum uyyakkoNDa vIran tannai" (10.1); mazhu vAL Endi vevvari naRcilaivA~ngi venRi koNDu vEl vEndar pagai taDinda vIran tannai (10.3);- pollA arakkanaik kiLLik kaLaindAanai" in tiruppAvai, referring to the easewith which rAma finished rAvaNa whose power was unheard of;- "vennarakam SerA-vagaiyE Silai kunittAn - tiruma~ngai in SiRiya tirumaDalreferring to rAma's act of torturing kara and dUshaNa during their fight tothe point that they did not need a spearate anubhavam of living in narakAm.SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives references to the Sruti: SRNve vIro vindamAno vasUni mahad-devAnAm asuratvam ekam (Rg3.55.10) sa ghA vIro na rishyati yamindro brahmaNaspatih somo hinoti martyam(Rg 2.28.4)SrI rAdhAkRsNa SAstri gives a beautiful description of His vIra. Thesource is not identified, but the description is worth repeating here: "yasmat sva-mahimnA sarvAn lokAn sarvAn devAn sarvAn Atmanah sarvANibhUtAni viramati virAmayati ajastram sRjati visRjati vAsayati, yato vIrahkarmaNyah sudRksho yukta-grAvA jAyate deva-kAmah tasmAt ucyate vIram iti".He cannot be opposed, cannot be conquered, and His skills will beself-evident and will subdue His enemies automatically.

403. SaktimatAm-SreshThah

The Greatest among the powerful.om SaktimatAm-SreshThAya namah.SaktimatAmapi SaktimattvAt SaktimatAm SreshThah. He is the mostpraiseworthy among the powerful gods and others. He is more powerful thanthe likes of brahma the Creator. The likes of indra could not destroyrAvaNa, and they surrendered to bhagavAn as a result seeking His protection.rAma with the axe (i.e., paraSurAma) says to SrI rAma: "aakshayyammadhu-hantAram jAnAmi tvAm syreSvaram - I know that you are indestructible;You are the slayer of madhu (the asura), and You are the Lord of all thegods" (rAmAyaNa bAla 76.17). SrI bhaTTar also gives reference to hanumAn'swords to rAvaNa - "devASca daityASca niSAcarendra! gandharva vidyAdhara-nAga-yakshAh| rAmasya lokatraya-nAyakasya sthAtum na SaktAh samareshu sarve||(sundara 51.44) "O King of the rAkshasa-s! The gods and the asura-s, gandharva-sand vidyAdhara-s, nAga-s, and yaksha-s - all these cannot stand againstrAma, the Lord of the three worlds, in the battle".

404. dharmah

Virtue Incarnate.om dharmAya namah.SrI satyadevo vAsisshTha derives the meaning from the root dhR~nj - dhAraNeto support; dhArayati iti dharmah - that which supports is dharmah, dhAryatevA yena jagat iti dharmah - He by whom this Universe is supported isdharmah.SrI bhaTTar points out that He is Virtue Incarnate because He sustains allbeings by conferring prosperity and salvation on them. In yuddha kANDabrahma says of Lord rAma - lokAnAm tvam paramo dharmah - Thou art theSupreme Dharma in all the worlds. In mahAbhArata we have "sAkshAt devahpurANO'sau sa hi dharmah sanAtanah - He is ancient God Himself and also theeternal dharma incarnate". About kRshNa incarnation - "ye ca vedavido viprAh ye ca adhyAtmavido janAh | te vadanti mahAtmAnam kRshNam dharam sanAtanam || "Those brAhmins who are well-versed in veda-s, and those whorealized the Brahman, declare in one voice that the great SrI kRshNa is theeternal dharma incarnate".SrI v.v.rAmAnujan refers to mArIca's words about rAma - rAmo vitgrahavAndharmah - rAma is dhrama incarnate. He also points that ANDAL calls Him"dharumam aRiyAk kurumban" in nAcciAr tirumozhi, obviously out of the sheerintense liberty she has towards her Lord, and out of her intense fondness toHim.SrI cinmayAnanda discusses in some detail the significance of this term"dharma". By example, he points out that the dharma of sugar is sweetness,the dhaarma of fire is heat, etc., and thus the dharma of an the individualin this sense is the soul, without which the individual does not exist.Since bhyagavAn is the one Self that supports all the individuals, He is theUltimate Dharma.SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri reminds us of "dharmo rakshati rakshitah, dharma evahato hanti" - dharma protects those who protect it, and destroys those whodestroy it. dharma is like the guides on both sides of the road; if wefollow them, we reach our destination safely; if we go outside the limit, orif we collide with the guides, we encounter suffering. bhagavAn is thisguide for those who want to follow it. Those who don't follow it paydearly.The dharma cakram writer gives several examples of where dharma hasprotected those who followed it, and destroyed those who tried to ignore it.In the former category are hariScandra, the pANDava-s, etc. In the lattercategory are rAvaNa, duryodhana, etc. BhIshma tried his very best to adviseduryodhana that no one who follows dharma can be defeated in the end, nomatter how many bhIshma-s try to help duryodhana. But he won't listen, andultimately paid the price for adharma. Same was the case with rAvaNa, whowould not listen to vibhIshaNa-s advice. Meditation on this nAma ofmahAvishNu should teach us the basic lesson that dharma protects those whofollow it, and adharma will have no end other than self-destruction.

405. dharmavid-uttamah

The foremost among those who are conscious ofdharma.om dharma-vid-uttamAya namah.No further evidence is needed for this than that sages such as vasishTha,vAmadeva, and mArkaNDeya who were the guru-s for rAma resorted to Him for aknowledge of dharma (SrI BhaTTar). The dharma cakram writer remarks that itis not easy to recognize what is dharma and what is not dharma. bhagavAnhas created the Sruti-s as His commandments to explain to us what is dharma.To realize what is dharma, meditation on mahaAvishNu is the path. For this,a clean mind is necessary. This is what is taught in tirukkuraL -manattuk-kaN mASilan Adal anaittu aRan. SrI Sankara points out that allSruti-s and smRti-s are His commandments, and hence He is called thegreatest of the knowers of dharma. SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri gives referenceto vishNu dharmottara - Srutis-smRtI mamaivA~gnye (76.31).
-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan