Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam - SLOKA 53

496. uttarah

a) The Rescuer (of brahma and others from the asura-s)
b) The Savior (of devotees from samsAra)
c) He who transcends the bounds of birth and transmigration.

om uttarAya namah

uttAraNat uttarah - He who rescues. 

SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is that bhagavAnis the Rescuer of brahma and others from the asura-s.  SrISa~nkara givesthe interpretation "janma samsAra bandhanAt uttarati itiuttarah" - TheSavior from the ocean of samsAra. SrI T. S.Kr*shNamUrti has translated this as"He who transcends the bounds ofbirth". SrI satyadevo vAsishThasupports the last two of these interpretations by deriving the meaning from thewords ap -waters, and tara to cross, to swim across.Alternatively, ut can refer to utkarshaor atiSaya - extraordinary, exalted,etc., and tara referring to crossing, and uttara can thus refer to bhagavAnbeing the best means (the only means!) for crossing the ocean of samsAra.

The dharma cakram writer gives thesignificance of this nAma in our day-to-day life. Our mind is normally torn byall kinds of desires, bondage, etc., and these are trying to puncture holes inour mind which is the boat we need to safely cross this ocean of birth. Rocks inthe form of aha~nkAra, mamakAra, etc. are trying to wreck this boat. Till wecross this life span, we need to have this boat intact without being wrecked orpunctured. Meditation on bhagavAn is essential in order for us to accomplishthis. The following from tiruvaLLUvar is relevant in this context – 
"piRavip-perum kaDal nInduvar, nIndAr iRaivan aDiSerAdAr".

497. go-patih

a) The Master of all words (veda-s as well asall languages).
b) The Protector of His own word.
c) The Protector of His bhakta's words.
d) Protector of the cows in His kr*shNAvatAra.
e) Protector of all that moves around.
f) The Lord of Mother Earth.
g) The Lord of the (celestial) world.

This nAma re-occurs as nAma 599.

om go-pataye namah.

The word go means cow, words, veda-s, earth,etc. Thus there are several interpretations for this nAma. SrI satyadevovAsishTha nicely summarizes many of these meanings through the followingwords: 
"gAvovAco, gAvah paSavo, gaur-bhUmiSca viSvanirmANe kAraNam iti bhAvArthah|eva~nca - gopatih catushpadAm gavAm vAcAm bhUmeSca rakshaka ityarthah|". 
The concept that bhagavAn is the Master of all words is interpreted by SrIBhaTTar as referring to His being the One who gave the veda-s as well as all thelanguages to us. The dharma cakram writer interprets this as meaning thatbhagavAn keeps His word to His devotees, as well as meaning that He ensures thatHis bhakta's words come true. We know of bhagavAn's promise to protect those whosurrender to Him unconditionally, and we know that He ensured that bhIshma'spromise tomake Him take to weapons in the war against His own promise come true.He also made the words of prahlAda come true that BhagavAn will be in the pillarwhen hiraNyakaSipu challenged the young prahlAda.

The roots of interest in understanding themeanings for this nAma are:gam - gatau to go, and pA- rakshaNe to protect. Inthis sense, go can also refer to indriya-s since they wander towards materialobjects, to mind since mind wanders on all kinds of thoughts, to AtmA since AtmAmoves from one body to another, to body since the body moves from one place toanother, and on and on. BhagavAn is the patih for all these. Among His creationsfor which He is the patih, veda is the one that isheard, and the Universe is theone that is seen. Veda-s expound the way of life of the world, and the world isan expression of the veda-s, and He is the pati for all of these.

498. goptA

a) The Savior.
b) He who hides Himself from non-devotees.

om goptre namah.

This nAma re-occurs as nAma 600.

The nAma is derived from the root gup -rakshaNeto protect. SrIBhaTTar interprets the nAma as referring to bhagavAn being theprotector of all knowledge, thus extending the interpretation offered in theprevious nAma (a). SrI Sa~nkara gives the interpretation thatbhagavAn is theprotector of all beings and all the worlds. SrIrAdhAkr*shNa Sastri gives thereference from atharvaSiras 5 - samsr*jyaviSvA bhuvanAni goptA. Among thesupporting quotes given by SrIsatyadevo vAsishTha is the Sruti - trINi padAvicakrame vishNur-gopAadAbhyah - yajur. 34.43. He points out that bhagavAn'sguNa of protection of all that is on this land, in the sea or in the air, isHisdharma. SrI BhaTTar's anubhavam for nAma 600, the second occurrence of this nAmalater, is that He is the Protector and Administrator of the wheel of karma -bestowing the fruits of karma to the beings for their acts, good and bad, thecycle of birth and rebirth etc.

Another meaning for the word gup is to hide,to conceal. Based onthis, SrI Sa~nkara interprets the second occurrence of thisnAma as meaning that He hides Himself (from non-devotees) through His mAyA.SrIrAdhAkr*shNa Sastri uses both the meanings of gup (hide and protect), and givesthe interpretation that bhagavAn is goptA because He protects His devotees byhiding them from their enemies, and from all obstacles.

The dharma cakram writer observes that thisnAma should remind us that bhagavAn is the one who is constantly protectingeverything He has created. Those who think they are protecting themselves or arebeing protected by some other human being have this thought because oftheirsheer ignorance. This nAma should remind us of this simple fact.

499. j~nAna-gamyah

He who is to be realized by knowledge.

om j~nAna-gamyAya namah.

SrI cinmayAnanda points out that the knowledgereferred to here is not the mere knowledge of things. SrI M. V. rAmAnujAcAryaremarks that the knowledge referred to here is para vidyA - The knowledge of theSupreme Self, which is attained only by absolute meditational unison -samAdhinishThA. The dharma cakram writer elaborates on this further.

Knowledge can be considered to be of two kinds- that which is obtained by external indriya-s like the eyes, ears, etc., or bymind - aparavidyA, and that which is beyond the reach of the indriya-s -paravidyA. Among the means that aid in attaining this para knowledge arej~nAna,bhakti, karma, and yoga. Practices on a continuing basis suchas nAma samkIrtanam(chanting bhagavAn's nAma), SravaNam (listening to bhagavAn's nAma, purAna,itihAsa, ...), kaimkaryam (performing duties in support of temple services,making garlands, cleaning the temple-premises, ...), etc., facilitate inpurifying our mind and developing bhakti. Bearing with patience any difficultiesthat arise in our life,not rejoicing at any good things that happen in our lifebut dedicatingthem to bhagavAn, etc., will also help in directing our mindtowards Him.  j~nAnam in our context is the realization of the relationshipandassociation between us and our Creator. This j~nAnam will materialize for usonly by His Grace. This nAma conveys to us that BhagavAn is realizable onlythrough the j~nAnam, and He is the only One who can bless us with this j~nAnam,but what we can do is prepare ourselves toreceive this j~nAnam when He decidesto bless us with it.

500. purAtanah - The Ancient.

om purAtanAya namah.

SrI BhaTTar explains the significance of thenAma in terms of the previous nAma-s, indicating that He is Ancient in that Hehas been giving us knowledge and protecting it not only in this kalpa, but inall previous kalpa-s as well. SrI v.v. rAmAnujan refers us tonammAzhvAr -UzhitORUzhi vaiyam kAkkum Azhi nIr vaNNan (tiruvAimozhi7.3.11). SrI Sa~nkara'sbhAshyam is "He who is not limited by Time and who existed before anythingelse". The dharma cakram writer observes that this nAma also conveysseveral other thoughts - viz. that bhagavAn is beginning-less, not born, notgoverned by Time, not comprehended by the mind, the Origin of everything thatexists, etc. SrI cinmayAnanda points out that "Ancient" here refers tothat from which the concept oftime itself originated, and thus He is the Truththat cannot bemeasured in terms of Time.


a) He who supports all the tattva-s whichconstitute the SarIra.
b) He who supports all beings which are part of His body.
c) He who protects the devatA-s who are associated with different parts of thebody.

om SarIra-bhUta-bhr*te namah.

The term bhUta can refer to the pa~nca mahAbhUta-s, the 24 tattva-sor Reals of which the pa~nca mahA bhUta-s are a subset,or to the entire universe of all beings. Thus there are differentinterpretations for the nAma. SrI BhaTTar uses the meaning of bhUtaas referringto the 24 tattva-s or Reals that are the elements involved in creation - prakr*ti,mahat, ahankAra, sound, ether, touch, air, sight, light, taste, water, smell,earth, mind, eye, ear, nose, mouth, skin, tounge, hand, leg, anus, and the organof reproduction. Theseare the SarIra-bhuta-s are the elements of creation.BhagavAn supportsthese tattva-s through His body, i.e., they are part of Him.SrIBhaTTar gives reference to mahAbhArata - tasya mUrdhA samabhavatdyauhsa-nakshatra devatA - His head was the sky along with the stars and thedeities - SAnti parva 348.49. SrI v.v. rAmAnujan refers totiruvAimozhi 10.7.10where nammAzhvAr refers to these 24 tattva-s:"po~ngaimpulanum poRi aindumkarumEndiriyam aim-bUtam I~ngiv-vuyirEipirakiruti mAnA~ngAra mana~ngaLE" -the five senses such as sound, the five sense-organs, the five action-orientedlimbs, the five elements ike earth, prakr*ti, mahat, ahamkAra, and manas ormind.

A more general meaning for the word bhUta isanything that exists (from bhU - satyAyAm - all that is true or exists - SrIv.v.rAmAnujan). Since all these beings are His body, and since He supports(bhr*t)these bhUta-s which are part of His SarIra, He is SarIra-bhUta-bhr*t. SrI v.v.rAmAnujan and SrI P. B. aNNa~ngarAcAryasvAmi have given this interpretation. SrIv.v. rAmAnujan gives the support again from tiruvAimozhi 10.7.2 - "tAnEyAginirAindu ellA ulagumuyirum tAnEyAi… ninRozhindAn".

SrI Sa~nkara gives the interpretation thatsince bhagavAn nourishesthe elements of the body, and since He Himself is theprANa (the vital air), He is SarIra-bhUta-bhr*t.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives an alternateinterpretation. Different devatA-s are associated with different parts of ourbody - the Sun with the eyes, the moon with the mind, the skin with vAyu, thecolor orvArNa with ISA etc. BhagavAn is the Protector of these SarIra-bhUta-sordevatA-s, and so He is called SarIra-bhUta-bhr*t.

502. bhoktA

The Enjoyer.

om bhoktre namah.

This nAma occurred earlier as nAma 145. Therethe nAma was explained as referring to bhagavAn's guNa ofenjoying even thesimplest offerings from His devotee. "patram,pushpam, phalam, toyam..."from the gItA (9.26) was referenced.  He isalso the Ultimate Enjoyer of theofferings to all the gods (bhoktAramyaj~na tapasAm sarvaloka maheSvaram… gItA5.29).  Under the currentnAma SrI BhaTTar extends this guNa of bhokta toinclude not only theofferings to the gods (havya), but also to the kavya, theoffering toour pitr*-s or the deceased ancestors - 
havya kavya bhujo vishNohudak-pUrve mahodadhau (mahAbhArata Santi parva 348.3) -bhagavAn is stationed in the north-east ocean and consumes the havya and kavyathat are offered with sincerity. SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives several references tosupport the interpretation:

- tiruvAimozhi 5.6.4 - Seigaip-payan uNbEnumyAnE ennum (5.6.4);

- ahamannamahamannamahamannamahamannAdo'hamannAdo'hamannAdah -
                                                                                                                           taittirIya upanishad -
I am the food or the object of enjoyment for My devotees, and I am the Enjoyeror consumer of the offerings of My devotees as well;

- nammAzhvAr's tiruvAimozhi 9.6.10 - 
vArik-koNDu ennai vizhun~guvankANil enRu….
ennil munnam pArittu tAn ennai muRRap paruginAn –
AzhvAr and bhagavAn are competing with each other to enjoy each other, andbhagavAn succeeds in the competition!

- tiruvAimozhi pASuram 10.10.11 - avAaRac-cUzh ariyai -
He who mingles with His devotees intimately and to His heart's content.

The obvious examples of kaNNan accepting withgreat delight the handful of puffed rice from kucela, and His accepting the foodoffered by vidura over that offered by duryodhana are well-known.

SrI cinmayAnanda gives two derivations for themeaning for bhoktA-bhunakti iti bhoktA - The Protector, and bhunkte iti bhoktA -TheEnjoyer. SrI satyadevo vAsishTha nicely expresses this - rakshakobhakshaNaSca.He creates, protects, and then swallows at the time ofpralaya.

The dharma cakram writer explains the functionof bhagavAn as bhoktA ina way that applies to our day-to-day life. BhagavAn isin all of us -in some cases He is the observer, in others He is the guide, inyetothers He is the Enjoyer, etc. (gItA 13.22). For those who spend theirtime inworldly pursuits, He is just the observer. For those whoobserve the path ofdharma, He is the bhartA in times of need - as inthe case of pANDava-s. Forthose who offer to bhagavAn the worldlygains that they get, such as the fameetc. that come to them, He is thebhoktA, i.e, He accepts these as offerings, andHe bestows on them Hisanubhavam instead. The more we dedicate our actions andthe benefitsof these actions to Him, and thus make Him the bhoktA, the moreHereveals to us what true happiness is, and the more we are relievedofundesirable attributes such as ahamkAram, mamakAram, etc. Thesignificance ofthis nAma thus is for us to realize that we shoulddedicate all our actions andtheir effects to bhagavAn as the bhoktA,and we should instead enjoy Him andattain eternal bliss.

SrI BhaTTar interprets the next few nAma-s interms of the guNAnubhavamof the incarnation of bhagavAn as SrI rAma. Earlier,nAma-s 390 to421had been interpreted also in terms of SrI rAmAvatAra.

503. kapIndrah 

a) The Lord of the monkeys.
b) The Great Boar - varAha.
c) He who controls all movement in everything.

om kapIndrAya namah.

kapInAm indrah kapIndrah. 

SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is: BhagavAnassumedthe human form which was very different from His Nature inorder to propagate theperformance of sacrificial acts laid down in theveda-s which He had Himselfpromulgated earlier in the form ofhayagrIva, and the deva-s assumed the form ofmonkeys which are evenmore different from their nature. He was the indra or theLord for thegods who were his servitors, and hence He is called kapIndra. Thisissupported by the following Sloka from vAlmIki rAmAyaNa -sarva-lokeSvarahsAkshAt lokAnAm hita-kAmyayA |sarvaih parivr*to devaih vAnaratvam upAgataih ||(yuddha114.16)

loka here means the world, the people of theword, and also the veda-s.So His incarnation is for the protection of the worldand its people, but also for the protection of the veda-s.

SrI rAdhAkr*shNa SAstri observes that for Onewho could controlthousands and thousands monkeys, it is a trivial task tocontrol theindriya-s of mortals like us. The dharma cakram writer pointssoulthat our mind which is like a monkey can be controlled if we seek thehelp ofbhagavAn and meditate on Him, and then we can win over theaj~nAna just as thecontrolled monkeys won over rAvaNa in the battle.Our soul is caged andimprisoned by the aj~nAna, just as sItA pirATTiwas imprisoned by rAvaNa, and itis only by controlling the mind whichis like a monkey that we can get rid ofthis aj~nAna and release thesoul from its bondage. This nAma should teach usthat it is possibleto achieve this with the help of bhagavAn, kapIndrah.

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha interprets the wordkapi based on kapisa~ncalane - anything that moves about, and applies this tothe sun,the moon, and all other objects that move. He thus interprets the nAmatomean "He who gives the power of movement to everything thatmoves".This can then be extended to even the movement of the pure bloodandimpure blood simultaneously inside the body without getting mixed up,the AtmAmoving from one body to another, etc., and thus He iskapIndrah, the Controllerof movement in everything and everywhere.SrI Sa~nkara points out that kapi canalso refer to a boar (varAha),and so kapIndrah can also refer to His varAhaincarnation. The termkapih was interpreted earlier in nAma 102 - vr*shAkapih -in thissense.

504. bhUri-dakshiNah

a) The giver of liberal gifts.
b) He who makes things grow fast and move fast.
c) He who is extremely dextrous.

om bhUri-dakshiNAya namah.

bhUri means "much, abundant, numerous,copius". dakshiNah has beeninterpreted as one who gives dakshiNA. vyAkhyAnakartA-s haveinterpreted the nAma as a reference to the incarnations inwhichbhagavAn has performed numerous sacrifices to uphold dharma and to setanexample to the rest of the world, and in these He has made largegifts to theparticipants to set an example to others. SrI v.v.

rAmAnujan points out that this example shouldextend to the vaidikakarmA-s such as SrAddha, in which the dakshiNA should beliberal to theparticipants. He gives the example of Lord kr*shNa's guru dakshiNA-that of bringing back sAndIpani's dead son to life again - maRi kaDalvAimANDAnai Oduvitta takkaNaiyA uruvuruvE koDuttAn (periAzhvArtirumozhi 4.8.1).

SrI satyadevo vAsishTha derives hisinterpretation based on dakshvr*ddhau SighrArthe - to grow, to go in speed, andgives the meaningthat bhagavAn makes things that He creates grow very fast, asalso moveabout with speed as soon as they are born. A bird starts eatingthingsas soon as it is born without worrying about whether something is raworripe, and starts growing. A human child starts drinking milk themoment it isborn, and a young animal starts walking as soon as it isborn as well. Thisaspect of bhagavAn where He makes everything growfast and move around fast issuggested by the nAma bhUri-dakshiNahaccording to this interpretation.

The word dakshiNa is also given the meaning dextrous,able, clever(pANini 1.1.34). Thus the nAma could mean that bhagavAn isextremelydextrous. This interpretation is mentioned in passing by SrIrAdhAkr*shNaSastri.

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan