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Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam - SLOKA 48



446. yaj~nah

The Sacrifice.om yaj~nAya namah.This nAma occurs again as nAma 971.The spirit of the nAma is that He is yaj~na-svarUpi Himself, i.e., Hepractices yaj~na of the Highest Order. The term yaj~na is nicely explainedby the dharma cakram writer. karma binds us to the phala-s deriving fromthese karma-s; yaj~na releases us from the bondage of karma. In otherwords, any act that is done without a selfish goal, for the benefit ofothers and for the benefit of the world, with a spirit of sacrifice,performed without the feeling of "I" associated with it, and acts done asbhagavad-ArAdhana, these qualify as yaj~na. There is divinity associatedwith acts which are performed with this spirit.This writer goes on to describe the different types of yaj~na. dravyayaj~na (expending one's earnings for the public good), tapo yaj~na(contemplating and meditating on bhagavAn and diverting all thoughts towardsHim), yoga yagj~na (practicing utmost self-control and controlling all fivesenses and leading a life consistant with conduct guided by this principle),and lastly the greatest of all yaj~na-s - dedicating oneself and one'sbelongings towards the service of bhagavAn.When we have transformed all our acts so that they are not karma-s devotedto our selfish goals, we have transformed the karma-s to yaj~na. Theultimate yaj~na is when we have offered ourselves as the Ahuti in thisyaj~na, i.e., we do everything for His benefit, not for our benefit.Since every one of bhagavAn's acts is for the benefit of His devotees andnothing is for His own benefit, He is the incarnation of yaj~na.Several references are provided in support of this nAma. SrI BhaTTar refersus to the Sruti - yaj~no vai vishNuh. SrI v.v.rAmAnujan gives severalreferences to prabandham - SeiginRa kidi ellAm yAne ennum (tiruvAimozhi5.6.4), vEdamum vELviyum Adiyum AnAn (tirumozhi 9.4.9), paNDai nAnmaRaiyumvELviyum tAnAi ninRa emperumAn (tirumozhi 5.7.1), viLa~ngum SuDarc-cOdiyaivELviyai (tirumozhi 7.10.9), etc.SrI Sa~nkara extends this interpretation to include bhagavAn's nurturing allthe other gods. As yaj~na-svarUpi or sacrifice-bodied, He provides offeringsto all gods, thus causing their satisfaction and happiness - sarveshAmdevAnAm tushTi-kArako yaj~na AkAreNa pravartata iti.

447. ijyAyah

He who is the (only) object of worship.om ijyAya namah.ijyAm arhati iti ijyah. Those who worship anya-devatAs seeking temporarybenefits of a lower order, in reality worship only vishNu who is theantaryAmi or Inner Soul of all beings. This is revealed in gItA - ye tu anya-devatA bhaktA yajante SraddhayA anvitAh | te'pi mAmeva kaunteya yajanti a-vidhi-pUrvakam || (gItA9.23)SrI BhaTTar also refers us to mahAbhArata - ye yajanti pitR*n devAn brAhamNan sahutASanAn | sarva bhUtAntarAtmAnam vishNumeva yajanti te || (SAnti355.24) "Those who worship the spirits of their forefathers, the gods, thebrahmins as well as agni - they in reality worship only vishNu who is theInner Soul of all beings".SrI Sa~nkara quote the harivamSa to support the same interpretation - ye yajanti makhaih puNyair_devaTAdIn pitR*napi | AtMAnam AtmanA nityam vishNumeva yajanti te || (3.40.27) "Holy sacrifices to divinities and pitR-s are verily adoration ofvishNu Himself, who is the Self of all".

448. mahejyah

He who is the best among the objects of worship.om mahejyAya namah.He is the best object of worship because He alone can give the finalliberation from the cycle of samsAra, whereas the other objects of worshipcan only give the lesser fruits. SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is "sarvAsu devatAsumoksha-phala-dAtRtvAt iti mahejyah". SrI v.v.rAmAnujan emphasizes thesignificance of this nAma - mahA vishNu is the parama purusha, and we shouldworship the mahejyah directly instead of offering worship to Him through theother deities for whom He is the antarAtmA. SrI rAdhAkRshNa Sastriobserves in this context that agni is the nearest of the devatA-s to us, andvishNu is the farthest (agniravamo devatAnAm vishNuh paramah (taittirIyasamhitA 5.5.1).

449.  kratuh

a) Object of worship through the sacrifices called kratu-s.b) He who is behind the actions of everybody or He by whom everything is done.om kratave namah.SrI rAdhAkRshNa Sastri points out that among the different types of yAga-s,the type where one uses one's resources to perform a yAga with a definiteobjective and within a prescribed duration, is called a kratu. Thisrequires firm dedication, sincere effort, and the firm belief that thedesired result will be obtained. Since He is the one worshipped by allthese, He is kratuh. Or since He is the personification of all these, He iskratuh.The term yaj~na we came across as nAma 446 is different from the term kratuhwe have here, based on the Sloka from gItA - aham kratuh aham yaj~nah svadhA aham aham aushdham | mantrah aham ahameva Ajyam aham agnih aham hutam || 9.16SrImad rAmAnuja in his gItA bhAshyam interprets kratuh as referring to thevedic sacrifices such as the jyotishToma, and the term yaj~na ( nAma 446) asreferring to the mahA yaj~na, which is interpreted by SrI BhaTTar asreferring to the pa~nca mahA yaj~na-s, the seven pAka yaj~na-s, etc.Prof. A. SrInivAsarAghavan explains the pa~nca mahA yaj~na-s further: brahma yaj~na involving teaching and reciting veda-s, pitRyaj~na - offering of libations of water to the deceased ancestors daily(tarpaNa), deva yaj~na - a sacrifice made to the gods through oblations tothe fire, bhUta yaj~na involving offering a portion of the daily meal to allcreatures, and manushya yaj~na - sacrifice offered to other people(hospitable reception of guests).The seven pAka yaj~na-s are:aupAsana homa, vaiSva-deva, pArvaNa - sthAlI-pAka, ashtakA-SrAddha,mAsa-SrAddha, sarpa-bali - oblation to the serpents, and ESAna-bali(oblation to the gods).SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives a different explanation. He gives theinterpretation that He by whom everything is done is kratuh - kriyata itikratuh. Or, that intellect through which everything is done, is kratuh,i.e., jnAna.

450. satram

a) He who is worshipped by the sacrifice called satram.b) He who protects the good peoplec) He who makes everything go.om satrAya namah.satram is another type of sacrifice, this one done on an unlimited timescale, devoted to world-welfare, with participation from multitude ofpeople. SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is "dIrgha-kAla bahu-yajamAnakamAsacodanA-lakshaNam satram".SrI rAdhAkRshNa Sastri points out that the activity that is commonlyundertaken to feed the pilgrims in large numbers in choultries (calledSattiram in tamizh) is an example of this kind of selfless activity wheremany good people participate for the welfare of a larger community ofpeople. Again bhagavAn is the object of worship of these activities, and soHe is satra-svarUpi.SrI Sa~nkara gives an additional interpretation - He who protects the good -satah trAyati iti sat-tram.SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives the meaning from the root sad - sIdatisignifying movement. sIdati gacchati sarvatra - One who goes everywhere -sattram. Alternatively, satrayate vistArayati viSvam iti sattram - He whomakes the world go. Everything in His creation also has His guNa ofmovement, including the human heart which goes constantly and yet whichstays in one place.

451. satAm gatih

The Goal of the pious.om satAm-gataye namah.This nAma occurred earlier as nAma 186 - Slokam 20.SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is "satAm - mumukshUNAm na-anyA gatih iti satAm-gatih"- The sole support for those who seek liberation.SrI BhTTar comments that whereas in previous nAma-s, bhagavAn is describedas the goal of those who follow the pravRtti-dharma, i.e., dealing with thepleasures and business of the world, this nAma signifies that He is also thegoal of those who follow the nivRtti-dharma, i.e., discontinuance ofworldly acts or emotions.SrI BhaTTar gives reference to vishNu purANam - nirdhUta dosha-pa~nkAnAm yatInAm samyatAtmanAm | sthAnam tat paramam vipra! puNya-pApa parikshaye || 2.8.94 "O brAhmin! That is the sublime place for yati-s (i.e., yogins) whohave washed off the mire of sins and who control their minds when all theirmerits and sins have been annihilated".SrI cinmayAnanda comments that the term gatih in samskRt means both thepath and the goal. SrIman nArAyaNa is both the means and the end for thesAdhu-s, and it is only by surrendering to Him that they reach Him.

452. sarva-darSI

The All-Seer.om sarva-darsine namah.One who, by His innate insight, is able to see all the good and evil actionsof living beings. Since He is the antaryAmi in everything, He seeseverything even without the awareness of the beings. SrI cinmayAnandaobserves that as the Sun is known as the "eye of the Universe", bhagavAn isthe Illuminator of everything. SrI rAdhAkRshNa Sastri points out that Heobserves everything irrespective of whether we perform what are supposed toperform, we perform what we are not supposed to perform, or we don't performwhat we are supposed to perform. The dharma cakram writer summarizes thepurport of this nAma by pointing out that when we act with the fullrealization that He is our Inner Consciousness, and when we act consistentwith that, we have understood the meaning of this nAma. This is behind theconcept that we should do every act of ours by dedicating it to Him, and notperform any act that is not towards His Will. (AnukUlaya sa~nkalpam,prAtikUlya varjanam).SrI satyadevo vAsishTha summarizes the nAma as "j~nAna cakshur bhagavAnvishNuh". He gives references to the well-known sruti: sahasra-SirshApurushah sahasrAkshah sahasrapAt; viSvataS-cakshuruta viSvato mukho viSvatobAhuruta viSvataspAt; hiraNyayena saviTa rathenA devo yAti bhuvanAni paSyan;etc.The gItA Slokam 13.13, with a reference that is easy to remember, alsoconveys this idea: sarvatah pANi pAdam tat sarvato'kshi Siro mukham | sarvatah SrutimAn loke sarvam AvRtya tishThati ||SrI rAdhAkRshNa Sastri refers us to the related nAma-s sarva-darSanah(Slokam 10), sarva-dRk (Slokam 22).

453. nivRttAtmA

a) He whose mind is turned away from worldly desires.b) He who is the AtmA of those who follow the nivRtti dharma.om nivRttAtmane namah.The nAma nivRttAtmA occurred earlier in Slokam 25 (nAma 231), and willre-occur as nAma-s 604, and 780.Sa~nkara pATham in this instance is vimuktAtmA. In another place (Slokam83) he uses the pATham a-nivRttAtmA. We will deal with his alternateinterpretations under nAma 780.SrI BhaTTar vyAkhyAnam: a) This nAma illustrates that bhagavAn appeared asnara and nArAyaNa to teach the nivRtti dharma to the world (as nArAyaNa),and to show how to practice it with extreme detachment (in the form ofnara). To indicate His profound detachment (parama vairAgya) to materialobjects of pleasure, He has His mind withdrawn from them. Thenara-nArAyaNa avatAra as well as the nivRtti dharma are embedded in thisnAma. The avatAara emphasized nivRtti-dharma and propagated the sacredashtAkshara. The essence of nivRtti dharma is the realization that nothingis done for our benefit or by us, and everything is for the benefit ofnArAyaNa and happens because of Him. We are not for us or for someone else,but only for nArAyaNa. b) Under nAma 604, SrI BhaTTar gives the vyAkhyAnam that He isnivRttAtmA also because He is the AtmA of those who practice the nivRttidharma. SrI v.v.rAmAnujan observes that another name for these practitionersof nivRtti dharmA is j~nAnI, whom bhagavAn considers as His own soul.Under nAma 780 SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is yet another variant of thenivRtti concept. BhagavAn is also nivRttAtmA because, even though Hecreated this whole Universe, He remains totally detached from the worldlyaffairs. He is associated with the Universe in that He created out of Hissheer Mercy, but His mind itself is not in any way affected by the worldlythings - svatastu tat a-sammata manAh.SrI Sa~nkara pATham, vimuktAtmA, is interpreted as He who has the Soul whichis ever-free. BhagavAn is untouched by the effects of karma, since all Hisactions are for the benefit of others, His creations. SrI satyadevovAsishTha observes that bhagavAn is inside everything in the Universe astheir antaryAmi, and yet is not bound by them, and thus He is nivRttAtmA.

454. sarvaj~nah

The Omniscient.om sarvaj~nAya namah.This nAma occurs again as nAma 821. Sri BhaTTar explains that He knows thatHe is the antaryAmi in everything, and thus He is sarvaj~nah. He knows Heis the best dharma, the best means, and the best goal. SrI v.v.rAmAnujanquotes peria tirumozhi in support - ulagattu ellAm aRivIr - 4.9.6.SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam is "sarvaSca asau j~naSca iti - He who is all and whoknows all. SrI rAdhAkRshNa Sastri has given several references to theSruti - yah sarvaj~nah sarvavit (muNDakopanishad 1.1.9); sa sarvaj~nah sarvobhavati (praSna 4.10); esha sarveSvara esha sarvaj~nah (mANDUkya 6); saviSvakRt siSvavid Atmayonih j~nah kAlakAlo guNI sarvavidyah (SvetASva2.6.2,16).

455. j~nAnam-uttamam

The Greatest Knowledge.om uttamAya j~nAnAya namah or j~nAnAya uttamAya namah.SrI BhaTTar points out that BhagavAn is the one who revealed the vaishNavadharma which is the most superior of all the dharma-s - sarvah paroviashNavo dharmah j~nAyate asmin iti j~nAnam-uttamam. He also refers to therevelation of the pA~ncarAtra by bhagavAn as another instance that He is theuttama j~nAnam - paThantam aniSam Sastram pA~ncarAtra puras-saram. SrIv.v.rAmAnujan gives reference to nammAzhvAr - mikka j~nAnamUrtiyAgia vEdaviLakku - tiruvAimozhi 4.7.10.SrI Sa~nkara bhAshyam for this nAma is - prakRshTam ajanyam anavacchinnamsarvasya-sAdhakam iti j~nAnam-uttamam - Superior to all, birthless,continuous and permanent (unlimited by Time and Space), and the best meansof achieving everything. He gives reference to "satyam j~nAnam, anantambrahma" - Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, and Infinitude - taittirIyaupanishad.SrI rAdhAkRshNa Sastri contrasts the "limited" knowledge with the"Superior" knowledge. An example of the former is the sight an observersees, with the limitation of the observer's eyes, the light that shines onthe object, the limitation of the observer (e.g., the state of mind of theobserver), as well as the limitations of the observed object (e.g., therelative size of the object etc.). Not limited by constraints like these isthe knowledge that is revealed by the Self about the Self, which isunlimited by the sense organs. This is the knowledge of bhagavAn.SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives reference to the atharva vedic passage "sUtramsUtrasya yo veda, sa veda brahmANam mahat" - He who has knowledge of theSupreme Knowledge, knows the greatest there is to know.

-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan