sahasrArcih sapta-jihvah saptaidhAh sapta-vAhanah |
a-mUrtir_anagho'cintyo bhaya-kRt bhaya-nASanah ||
om sahasrArcishe namah
om sapta-jihvAya namah
om saptaidhase namah
om sapta-vAhanAya namah
om a-mUrtaye namah
om an-aghAya namah
om acintyAya namah
om bhaya-kRte namah
om bhaya-nASanAya namah
a) The Thousand-rayed, Who illumines everything in this Universe.
Om sahasrArcishe namah.
a) SrI BhaTTar's interpretation is that He has countless rays emanating fromHim, in the form of the sun, the moon, etc. It is because He has endowed the sunwith countless rays that the sun is able to perform the four functions of pAcana(cooking and ripening), SoshaNa (drying), pratApana (giving heat), and prakASana(illuminating). SrI BhaTTar quotes from the paushkara samhitA and the gItA insupport:agnIshomAtma sam~jnasya devasya paramAtmanah |sUryA-candramasau viddhi sa AkArau locaneSvarau || (SrI paushkara)"Know that the sun and the moon are the two eye-gods in an embodied form of the Supreme Deity ParamAtmA whose name is agnIshomAtman". yad Aditya-gatam tejo jagat bhAsayate'khilam |yac-candramasi yac-cAganau tad-tejo viddhi mAmakam || (gItA 15.12)"That light which is in the sun and illuminates the entire universe, that in the moon and that in the fire understand all that light is only Mine".
SrI cinmayAnanda notes that it is not only the sun and the moon that gettheir light from Him, but He is the One who illumines all experiences.
b) SrI Sa'nkara's vyAkhyAnam is: sahsrANi anantAni arcIshi yasya sahsahasrArcih He who radiates innumerable rays is sahasrArcih. He quotessa'njaya's words in the gItA in support:divi sUrya sahasrasya bhaved yugapad-utthitA |yadi bhAh sadRSI sA syAd bhAsas-tasya mahAtmanah || (gItA 11.12)"If a thousand suns were to rise at once in the sky, the resulting splendor may be like the splendor of that mighty One".
SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives reference to nammAzhvAr's tiruvAimozhi, where AzhvArrefers to emperumAn as "oLi maNi vaNNan" The One with the dazzlingradiance of a gem sahasrArcih: "oLi maNi vaNNanaiyE." (tiruvAi.3.4.7).
SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives the interpretation as
SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri notes the similar nAma-s dIpta-mUrtih (Slokam 77, nAma724 ),
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha comments that the significance of the nAma lies inpointing to the immeasurable glory of bhagavAn it is like counting thenumber of grains of sand in a seashore. Just as the number of rays of lightemanating from the sun cannot be quantified, so also bhagavAn's glory cannot bequantified. The only thing we can do is to remember that the jyoti of the sun isbut a tiny fraction of His jyoti. SrI vAsishTha has given innumerable referencesfrom the Sruti to the description of bhagavAn's guNa-s as "sahasra" beyond quantification:
Om sapta-jihvAya namah.
sapta refers to the number seven. jihvA means tongue in general, also to the"tongue of fire". It is in this late sense that the interpreters haveexplained the nAma in general. agni or fire is considered to have seven tongues,and bhagavAn in the form of the sacrificial fire accepts the sacrificialofferings and takes it to the different gods.
SrI BhaTTar quotes the paushkara samhitA in support:tad-vaktra-devatAnAm ca huta-bhuk parameSvarah |mantra-pUtam yad-AdAya hutam Ajya puras-saram |brahmANDa bhuvanam sarvam santarpayati sarvadA || "The Supreme Lord in the form of huta-bhuk (fire) carries to the gods the offerings that are sanctified by the mantra-s and made in a sacrifice along with clarified butter, and thereby always pleases the entire Universes".
a) SrI BhaTTar notes that fire is considered to have seven tongues named kAli,karAli, manojavA, sulohitA, sudhUmravarNA, sphuli'ngini, and viSvaruci, and theyhave been allotted the duties of nourishing the gods, receiving the oblations,and carrying them to the respective gods.
SrI Sa'nkara gives the muNDakopanishad passage in support:kAlee karAleeca manojavA ca sulohitA yA ca sudhUmravarNA |sphuli'nginee viSva-rucee ca devI lelAyamAnA iti sapta-jihvAh || (muNDa. 1.2.4)"kAli, karAli, manojavA, sulohitA, sudhUmravarNA, sphuli'ngini, and the brilliant viSva-ruci are the seven flaming tongues". One translator translates this as: "The seven quivering tongues of fire are: The black one, the terrific one, swift as the mind, the very red one, of purple color, emitting sparks, and all-shaped goddess".
Other references to the seven tongues of agni found in the Sruti are:- divas-cd-agne mahinA pRthivyA vacyantAm te vahanayah sapta-jihvAh | (Rg. 3.6.2)- sapta te agne saamidhah sapta-jihvAh | (tait. sam. 1.5.3)
SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri notes that the tongues of fire that accept theofferings are known differently depending on whether the karma is a sAttvic,rAjasic, or tAmasic: The seven flames are known as hiraNyA, kanaka, raktA,kRshNA, suprabhA, atirkatA, and bahu-rUpA in a sAttvic karma, padma-rAgA,suvarNA, bhadra-lohitA, SvetA, dhUminI, and kAlikA in a rAjasic karma, and kali,karali, etc., in a tAmasic karma. He also notes that the devatA-s associatedwith the seven tongues are the deva-s, pitR-s, gandharva-s, yaksha-s, nAga-s,piSAca-s, and rAkshasa-s.
b) In addition to the interpretation in terms of the seven tongues of agni,SrI vAsishTha gives an alternate interpretation, in which he takes the referenceto "seven" as a reference to "many" sapta iti anekaupalakshaNam aneka-prakAra jihvam vidhatta iti. In this interpretation, hisanubhavam is that just as He has several tongues, He has also equipped Hiscreation with several types of tongues for the different species. He observesthat as the offerings in the homa feed the agni with its seven tongues, the foodconsumed by the different species through the tongue, along with the prANa vAyu,is transmitted to feed the jATharAgni; thus, what the veda talks of (feeding thefire through the different tongues), is nothing different from what happens inreal life, and so veda is not talking anything but real life happenings bhavati lokena samo vedo vedena ca samo lokah.
SrI cinmayAnanda suggests that the "seven tongues of flame" conveysthe idea that the Light of Consciousness in us beams out through seven points inthe face two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and the mouth. As intelligentbeings, powers of perception, metaphorically, flame out through each one ofthem, illumining the world for us. The one in our heart, SrI nArAyaNa, Whototally manifests as the seven distinct tongues-of-flame is classified here inthe language of lyrics as sapta-jihvah.
One Who is kindled in the form of fire by the seven kinds of offerings.
Om saptaidhase namah.
The previous nAma, sapta-jihvah, was interpreted in terms of the differenttypes of flames, with their individual traits such as differing colors and otherattributes, and also the different devatA- s to whom they carried the offerings.The current nAma refers to the different types of fuels that are used to raisethese fires, both in the form of the fuels themselves and in the form of thedifferent types of yAj~na-s.
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives the root for the current nAma as edh vRddhau to grow, to prosper. The term edhas is used to referto fuel that kindles the fire. The nirukti author gives the description sapta edhAh yasya santi sah saptaidAh. Apte's dictionary gives the meaning"fuel" to the word edhas (he gives a reference from the gItA insupport yathaidhAmsi samiddhognir- bhasmasAt kurute'rjuna Bg. 4.37).edhA also means `prosperity, happiness'.
a) SrI BhaTTar's interpretation uses the meaning "fuel" (based onthe translation of SrI A. Srinivsa Raghavan) for the word edhas, and hisvyAkhyAnam is "One Who shines like fire through the seven kinds offuels". SrI BhaTTar proceeds to describe the kinds of `fuels' that kindlethis `Fire' it is the offerings of different kinds in the form ofpAka-yaj~na, havir-yaj~na, soma-samstha, etc., each of which is of seven kinds.SrI Srinivasa Raghavan describes these further:
- pAka-yaj~na (based on cooked food): aupAsana, vaiSva-deva, sthAlI-pAka, ashTakA SrAddha, monthly ceremonies, ISAna bali, and sarpa bali.- havir-yaj~na (oblations in fire): agni-hotra, darSa-pUrNa-mAsa, piNDa-pitR-yaj~na, paSu-bandha, AgrAyaNa, cAtur-mAsya, and sautrA-maNi.- soma-samstha (yAga-s): agni-shToma, atyagni-shToma, uktya, shodaSa, vAjapeya, atirAtra, and aptor-yAma. - The sticks of seven forest trees that bear fruit apparently without any blossoms and that are used in sacrifices are: the palASa tree, the banyan tree, the fig tree, the jack tree, the SamI, aSani-hata, and pushkara-parNa.
Thus, in SrI BhaTTar's interpretation, the nAma refers to "One Who iskindled in the form of fire by the seven kinds of offerings".
SrI Sa'nkara's vyAkhyAnam is "sapta edhAmsi dIptayo'sya iti saptaidhAh agnih" - He that has seven flames. He gives the support from the Sruti `sapta te agne samidhah, sapta jivhAh' (tait. sam. 1.5.3) "O Fire,you have seven flames, seven tongues".
SrI satya sandha yatirAja gives the interpretation in terms of thesapta-Rshi-s the seven stars of the Ursa Major constellation (marIci, atri,a'ngiras, pulastya, pulaha, kratu, and vasishTha). His interpretation is thatthe nAma signifies that bhagavAn is the Supporter of the seven Rshi-s in theform of the stars sapta-RshIn edhayati vardhayati iti saptaidhAh. Thus, theterm edhas is here used in the sense of prosperity and happiness.
a) He Who has seven vehicles in the form of the seven vedic mantra-srepresented by the seven horses of the Sun.
Om sapta-vAhanAya namah.
The word vAhana is derived from the root vah prApane to bearalong, to carry, to flow. vAhanam also has a meaning "an animal used inriding, such as a horse". He who propagates or is carried along throughthings that are in units of seven, or who is supported by things that are inunits of seven, is sapta-vAhanah.
a) SrI BhaTTar interprets the nAma as "One Who has as His vehicle thesun whose chariot has seven horses (of the sun)". These are considered thepresiding deities of the seven veda mantra-s in the context of this nAma: bhU,bhuvah, suvah, mahah, janah, tapah, and satyam. The chandas associated withthese mantra-s are respectively: gAyatrI, ushnik, anushTup, bRhatI, pa'ngti,trishTup, jagati. The devatA-s associated with these mantra-s are: agni, vAyu,arka(sun), vAgISa (bRhaspati), vruNa, indra, viSvedeva). These seven devatA-slead the sun in his course. Since BhagavAn supports the sun through these sevendevatA-s and the seven mantra-s associated with these seven meters, He is calledsapta-vAhanah. These seven mantra-s are vehicles that reveal Him, and they arecouched in the seven meters referred to above. We worship Him who is in thecenter of the sUrya maNDalam through these veda mantra-s. SrI v.v. rAmAnujangives reference to SiRiya tirumaDal of tiruma'ngai AzhvAr: kArAr puravi EzhpUNDa tani Azhi terAr nirai kadirOn manDalattAn.
SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri gives reference to SrI vishNu purANam 2.8, where thesun and its characteristics are described. The reference to the seven horsesthat support the sun is given in V.P. 2.8.5:hayASca saptac-chandAmsi teshAm nAnAni me SruNu |gAyatrI sa bRhat-ushNig jagatI trishTubeva ca |anushTup pa'nctir-ityuktAS-chandAmsi harayo raveh || (VP 2.8.5)"The seven horses of the sun's car are the meters of the veda-s: gAyatrI, bRhatI, ushNig, jagatI, trishTubh, anushTubh, and pa'nkti".
SrI satya sandha yatirAja also refers to the seven horses of the sun, andbhagavAn's nAma of sapta-vAhanah signifying that He leads the sun with the sevenhorses sapta-vAhanah sapta vAhA aSvA yasya sah sapta-vAhah sUryas tam nayati iti sapta-vAhanah.
SrI Sa'nkara's interpretation is that bhagavAn in the form of the sun has avAhana or vehicle with seven horses
b) SrI SAstri also points to seven suns Arogah, bhrAjah, paTarah,pata'ngah, svarNarah, jyotishImAn, vibhAsah (see aruNa praSnam 20 (ArogobhrAjah paaTarah pata'ngah | svarnaro jyotishImAn vibhAsah |). Of these, Arogais the sun that we see. We do not see the other six suns, since three of thesesustain the lower part of the meru mountain, and three shine on the upper partof the meru. BhagavAn is called sapta-vAhanah, since He supports all parts ofthe Universe through these seven vehicles or the seven suns.
c) SrI BhaTTar gives an alternate interpretation in terms of His protectingthe Universe through seven regions of prANA Sakti vital airs in theforms of seven vAyu maNDala-s or regions of air. Prof. A. Srinivasa Raghavandescribes these seven regions of air in the three worlds as Avaha, pravaha,samvaha, udvaha, vivaha, parivaha, and parAvaha. Sinve vAyu or air gets itsstrength from the life- breath of the Lord of the World, He is the Supporter ofall the worlds in the form of the seven maNDala-s or regions of air.
d) SrI Sa'nkara also gives an alternate interpretation for which he quotessupport from the Sruti He Who has a vehicle called sapta eko'Svo vahatisapta-nAmA (tait. AraN. 3.11.9; Rg. Sam. 1.164.2) The horse named sapta iscarrying Him.
e) SrI rAdhA kRshNa SAstri points out that there are several aspects of ourbody that are in units of seven. There are seven dhAtu-s essentialingredients - associated with the body rasA sR'ng mAmsa medah asti majjASuklAni dhAtavah according to the ancient medical science - Chyle, blood, flesh,fat, bone, marrow, semen. Since bhagavAn supports the body with these sevenessential ingredients, He has the nAma sapta-vAhanah.
Or, there are seven dvAra-s (openings or holes) in our face the two eyes,the two nostrils, the two ears, and the mouth. The life energy is exchanged inour body through these openings, and since He supports the life through theseseven vehicles, He is called sapta- vAhanah.
Or, these seven openings are like the seven tongues through which our life issustained , through the senses of feelings, sight, taste, smell, etc. These arethe sapta-jivhAh, sapta, edhAh (firewood), sapta-vAhana, etc. SrI SAstri givesthe muNDakopanishad passage in support:sapta prANAh prabhavanti tasmAt sapArcishah samidhah sapta homAh (jihvAh) |sapteme lokA yeshu caranti prANA guhASayA nihitAh sapta sapta || (muNDa. 2.1.8)
Slightly different translations of the above are given below, in theinterests of additional clarity."From the akshara purusha emerge the seven sense organs, the seven fires, the sacrificial fuel, and the seven flames, and the seven worlds in which we move the sense organs that are deposited by the Creator in groups of seven and seven"."From Him emerge the seven sense-organs, the seven flames, the seven kinds of fuel, the seven oblations, and these seats where move the sense-organs that sleep in the cavity, having been deposited by God in groups of seven"."From Him, too, the seven senses in the head, their powers of cognition, their objects and their knowledge, as also the seven seats of sense traversed by the life forces centered in the hearts of all creatures. The seven seats are the nerve centers of the inner principles of the senses, without which the external senses cannot by themselves function).
The seven sense-organs are the ones located in our head the two eyes, thetwo nostrils, the two ears, and the mouth; the seven flames the means ofillumination of the objects of these sense- organs; the sapta-samidah theseven objects of these sense-organs, since the sense-organs are kindled by theseobjects.
f) SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshan gives his interpretation in terms of bhagavAnconducting the seven worlds prosperously: sapta-bhuvanAni vAhayati prApayatiabhyudayam iti sapta-vAhanah.
SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives support from SrImad bhAgavatam giving theinterpretation that Lord kRshNa had as His vehicles the following seven,consisting of four horses, the chariot itself, garuDa, and A'njaneya:- tatra AsvAh Saibya sugrIva megha pushpa balAhakAh (SrImad bhAgavatam 10.89.49)- syandanam pa'ncamam the chariot itself - chandomayena garuDena samuhyamAnah cakrAyudho'yagamadASu yato gajendrah | (bhAga. 8.3.31)- bikshu rUpam parityajya vAnara rUpam Asthitah |pRshThamAropya tau vIrau jagAma kapiku'njarah || ( rAmAyaNam 4.4.34)
g) SrI cinmayAnanda's anubhavam is that this nAma of bhagavAn signifies thatthe sun is drawn by the seven horses, representing the seven days of the week.He has not given the basis for this interpretation.
The nAma has similarities to vAyu-vAhanah (nAma 333, 860 Slokam 36, 90 ),which we will deal with in Slokam 90.
a) He Who does not have a body that is the effect of karma similar to ours.
SrI BhaTTar interprets the next few nAma-s as illustrating that bhagavAn isvery different from the jIva-s over whom He presides, in His Nature.
mUrti refers to form. a-mUrti literally means "One Who hasno form".
a) SrI BhaTTar interprets the nAma as meaning that He does not have a formthat is like any of our bodies, and it is quite different from the gross bodiesof ours that is composed of the five elements - sthUla-bhautika mUrtivyAvRttah a-mUrtih.
SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives support from the ISAvAsya Upanishad (8):
SrI Sa'nkara defines the term `mUrti" as an object, moving or unmoving,that has weight and tangibility mUrtih ghana-rUpam dhAraNa samarthamcarAcara lakshaNam. Since He is not constrained by any of these limitations, Heis amUrtih tad-rahita iti a-mUrtih. SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri elaborates onthis, and notes that the term `ghana rUpam' here refers to consumable food whichis of two kinds the moving kind, such as the rat for the cat, and the non-moving kind such as the rice for the humans. The `mUrti" or form that isreferred to here is the form that requires sustenance in the form of theghana-rUpam that is of the moving or the non-moving kind. Since He is notconstrained by such a form that needs to be supported as noted here, He iscalled a-mUrtih.
SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri remarks that mUrti or form is that which is given tous for the enjoyment of the benefits of our karma. Since bhagavAn does not havea form that is the result of karma-s, He is a- mUrtih.
Brahman is like fire that has no fixed shape or form. It can grow as large asit chooses to, and take whatever form It wants. SrI vAsishTha gives thefollowing Rg vedic mantra, which describes agni as formless (amUram = amUrtam):agnim hotAram pravRNe miyedhe gRtsam kavim viSam-idam amUram | (Rg. 3.19.1)
b) SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj also gives the interpretation that the nAmasignifies that bhagavAn is represented by the letter `a' akAro mUrtihyasya iti a-mUrtih. In this interpreation, a-mUrtih is:
svAmi deSikan quotes from ashTaSlokI in his rahasya traya sAram:akArArtho vishNuh jagad-udaya-rakshA-pralaya-kRt |
"a-kAram refers to Lord vishNu, in His role as the Creator, Protector,and Destroyer of the Universe".
SrI vAsishTha nicely brings out the point that bhagavAn is a-mUrtih, bypointing out the relation between the soul and the body with which it isassociated. Just as the soul is formless, but supports the body that it isassociated with, bhagavAn is the formless Supreme Soul that supports all theformed entities in this Universe. Here is his composition expressing thisinterpretation:AtmA hi amUrtir-vahate ca mUrtam gAtram yathA nAma tathAbhupaiti | vishnUr-hi amUrtih sakalam ca viSvam vahan tathA nAmabhir- ucyate sah ||
Om anaghAya namah.
This nAma occurred earlier as nAma 148, Slokam 16.
The root word involved in the nAma is agh pApa karaNe to go wrong, tosin.
a) BhagavAn takes birth in the midst of us, in the midst of samsAra. Even so,He is sinless. This is the aspect that SrI BhaTTar stresses in hisinterpretation for this nAma in Slokam 16 - samsAra madhye janitvA'pi an-aghah.SrI v.v. rAmAnujan notes that even though Lord rAma had to go through enormoushardships as part of this samsAra "nATTil piRandu paDAdana paTTu",still He was completely sinless. His birth and His actions are purely because ofHis leelA. He is apahatapApmA completely opposed to faults of any kind. Heis "kuRaivu onRum illAda govindan" (ANDAL tiruppAvai). In additionto Himself being sinless, He is the One who removes the sins of others.
For the current instance of the nAma, SrI BhaTTar's interpretation deals withthe reason why He is sinless as noted above it is because He is not subjectto karma, and so He is entirely different from the jIva-s that are under Hiscontrol akarma vaSatvena tan- magna jIva vilakshaNah an-aghah.
There are several other anubhava-s as to why bhagavAn is an-aghah. SrI v.v.rAmAnujan notes that His body is made of Suddha sattva material, which is beyondthe processes of aging, decay, death, disease, etc. This is one reason why He isan-aghah from the aspect of His body.
c) nammAzhvAr refers to emperumAn as "tIdil SIr tiruvE'nakaTattAn"(tiruvAi. 3.3.5) - One with blemishless character. Here, His guNa of simplicityin blessing His devotees with the utmost Mercy, irrespective of their infinitefaults, is the aspect that is enjoyed. SrI v. n. vedAnta deSikan comments thatHe is without tIdu anaghan, because He is standing there in tiruvE'nkaTampatiently, waiting for protection-seekers, un-mindful of any demerits of thesepersons, not satisfied till the last one is redeemed; this simplicity andmagnanimous grace are His greatest virtues that really mark Him out.
SrI Sa'nkara distinguishes between the two instances of the nAma by using thetwo different meanings for the words agham duhkham and pApam. This is thesame approach that SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj uses as well. The meaning"sorrow" for the word "agham", in addition to the meaning"sin", is supported by the amara koSam
SrI Sankara's interpretation for this nAma in Slokam 16 was: agham na vidyateasya iti an-aghah,
d) SrI Sa'nkara's interpretation for the current instance of the nAma is:
SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri comments that bhagavAn is devoid of bad deeds, thesins that result from such deeds, and the sorrow that result from them. It isthe thought of committing sins that is the start of the act of sinning. He isdevoid of such thought to start with. So there is no evil deed. Since there isno evil deed, there is no consequence of the evil deed also the duhkham. Hegives several quotes from the Sruti in support:- Suddham apApa viddham ISAvAs. 8 - Ever pure, untouched by puNya and pApa.- apahatapApma abhayam rUpam . tad-Apta kAmam Atma kAmam akAmam rUpam SokAntaram Brhad. upa. 4.3.21)- AtmA apahatapApamA vijaraj - chAndogya. 8.7.1 That AtmA which is sinless, ageless, .- na jarA na mRtyur na Soko n sukRtam na dushkRtam sarve pApmAno'to nivartante apahatapApmA .. (chAn. 8.4.1)
SrI cinmayAnanda gives reference to a similar message in chAndogya Upanishad8.1.5 esha AtmA apahatapApmA vijaro vimRtyur viSoko vijighatso'pipAsahsatyakAma satya sa'nkalpah . This is the AtmA that is opposed to all thatis defiling, free from old age, death, sorrow, hunger, and thirst, and has truedesire and true will. SrI cinmayAnanda comments that the peace of virtue or theagitations of the sin in us cannot affect the Illuminator of all consciousness,and He is free from sin and uncontaminated (aliptah).
SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN refers us to bhIshma's words "pavitrANAmpavitram yah"
a) He Who is incomparable to anything known.
Om a-cintyAya namah.
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives the root involved in the nAma as cit samj~nAne to notice, to understand. He Who cannot be described as such andsuch, is a-cintyah; Or, He Who cannot be comprehended completely in our mind isa-cintyah.
a) SrI BhaTTar's interpretation is that the nAma indicates that He is beyondcomparison with anyone or anything.
The Sruti attempts to describe Him -
"O Supreme Effulgence! You are to be merely enjoyed. Any attempt atverbal description of You is futile, especially if one compares You withfamiliar objects that are not even remotely comparable to You in any respect.With beautiful eyes, feet and arms, to all of which lotus is but a poor simile,with a dazzling stature to which pure unalloyed gold is a poor comparison, Youare often being pictured by the world with words that do You no justice. Anycomparison of You to the worldly things is just a failed attempt to describeYou".
It is like some commoner who has never seen a precious stone, describing thatprecious stone as "something resembling a pebble." nammAzhvAr proceedsin the very next pASuram to declare that even after describing His greatness bythe words "param jyoti The Supreme Effulgence", if one proceeds todescribe His auspicious qualities His simplicity, His sauSIlyam and Hissaulabhyam, there is no word that we have that can describe these aspects ofbhagavAn. AzhvAr exclaims: "param jyoti! govindA! PaNbu uraikka mATTEnE" "I won't even attempt to describe Your auspicious qualities". So,bhagavAn is a-cintyah in every sense of the word., especially when it comes toHis auspicious qualities. He is "govindA" Who can mingle with evencows. nammAzhvAr laments at the unimaginable behavior of this emperumAn who issarva lokeSvaran, who subjects Himself to the insult of being called the"butter thief"
The following explanation of the above pASuram is partly drawn from SrImadtirukkuDanthai ANDavan's bhagavad vishaya sAram, and is my poor attempt atcapturing my great AcArya's thoughts:
"He is our body, and He is also the soul of our body; He is the soul ofthe pa'nca mahA bhUta-s (air, water, etc.)., He is aNiyan very easilyaccessible to His devotees; He is also SEyan inaccessible to those who donot surrender to Him; yAvarkkum Sindaikkum gocaran allan a-cintyan He isbeyond the reach of the mental capabilities of even the greatest of j~nAni-s; tUyan Even so, He decided to bless me by residing in my heart; tUyan - HeWho considered that being with me is the only thing that He longed for in allHis life; tuyakkan By revealing His guNa-s, He draws us towards Him;mayakkan He draws us to Him through the sheer joy of thinking about Him;ennuDait tOL iNaiyAn Such a Great One has now decided to take possession ofme by sitting on my shoulders (treating me like garuDa)". He is mAyan Ascarya bhUtan personification of wonders".
Sri Sa'nkara's vyAkhyAnam is: pramAtrAdi sAkshitvena sarva pramANaagocaratvAt a-cintyah -
SrI Sa'nkara gives the alternate interpretation:
nanto'sti mama divyAnAm vibUtinAm parantapa |
yad-yad-vibhUtimat-sattvam SrImad-Urjitameva vA |
"There is no limit to My divine manifestations. Here the extent of suchmanifestations has been explained in brief by Me.
"Whatever being is possessed of power, or of splendor, or of energy,know that as coming from a fragment of My power".
b) In his gItA bhAshyam, for the next Slokam, bhagavad rAmAnuja explains thatthis Universe consisting of sentient and non-sentient entities, whether ineffect or causal condition, whether gross or subtle, is supported by bhagavAnwith an infinitesimal fraction of His power, in such a manner that it does notviolate His will in preserving its proper form, existence or various activities.He quotes bhagavAn parASara from vishNu purANam: yasyAyutAyutAmSAmSe viSvaSaktir-iyam stithA (V.P. 1.9.53) - On an infinitesimal fraction of His energy,this universe rests. In other words, His full power is beyond our comprehension He is acintyah.
c) SrI cinmayAnanda gives the reference from the gItA, where bhagavAn isdescribed as a-cintya-rUpan sarvasya dhAtAram acintya rUpam gItA 8.9 The Creator of all, and One Who cannot be comprehended mentally.
SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN points out that He is called acintyah because Hecannot be understood through tarka or discussion and analysis, but is revealedonly through the Sruti vAkya-s tarka agocarah Srutyeka gamyah.
Om bhaya-kRte namah.
The word bhaya is derived from the root bhI bhaye to fear, to beanxious about. The nAma bhaya-kRt can be viewed as "bhayam karoti itibhaya-kRt", or "bhayam kRntati iti bhaya-kRt" "One Whocauses fear", or "One Who removes fear".
SrI BhaTTar gives his interpretation for these two nAma-s together. Hisexplanation is that bhagavAn creates fear in those who violate His commands, anddispels fear in those who follow them. SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives the followingsupports for the two interpretations:
- bhaya abhayam karah kRshNah sarva-lokeSvarah prabhuh (mahA bhArata)
The simultaneous role of bhayakRt and bhaya-nASanah is reflected both in thefirst and second lines of this pASuram: surarkku van SaraNAi For Hisdevotees, including the deva-s, He is the surest Protection; asurarukku vemkURRamumAi Just as surely, for those with a demonic disposition, He is thesure Death; tan SaraN nizaR-kIzh ulagam vaittum Keeping those who havesurrendered to Him under His Feet for protection; vaiyAdum Those that havenot surrendered to Him are not allowed anywhere close to His Feet. Such is theNature of our great kaNNan in tiru viN nagar Oppiliappan koil.
- His guNa as bhaya nASanah is reflected in nammAzhvAr's tiruvAimozhi pASuram3.10.8 also
SrI Sa'nkara gives the primary interpretation for `bhaya kRt" as One Whocauses fear to those who follow the wrong path asan-mArga vartinAm bhayamkaroti iti bhaya-kRt (kR karaNe to do). He gives an alternateinterpretation that brings out His guNa of protecting the bhakta-s bhaktAnAmbhayam kRtanti vA bahaya-kRt He Who dispels fear from the minds of Hisdevotees (kRt chedane to cut).
SrI vAsishTha also gives both the interpretations for the nAma "bhaya-kRt". In support of the first interpretation, he gives the support from Rgveda:
dyAvA cidasmai pRthivI namante, sushmAcidasya parvatA bhayante |
"Even the Heaven and Earth bow down before Him, before His very breaththe mountains tremble. Known as the soma drinker, armed with thunder, who wieldsthe bolt, he, o ye men, is indra". We know that indra trembles beforebhagavAn, and so bhagavAn is the bhaya-kRt of them all, to ensure that all thegods function properly and perform their assigned duties. The taittirIyaUpanishad declares:
SrI Sa'nkara's interpretation for the nAma "bhaya nASanah" stressesthe importance of following the varNASrama dharma-s: varNa ASrama AcAravatAmbhayam nASayati iti bhaya-nASanah. This can be understood in different ways:
- as a reference to varNASrama dharma to the practices prescribed for thefour divisions or varNa-s - the brAhamNa-s, kshatriya-s, vaiSya-s and Sudra-s; -as a reference to the practices prescribed for the four varNa- s as well as forthe four ASrama-s (brahmacarya, gArhasthya, vAna prastha, and sanyAsa), - or asa reference to the varNa-s, ASrama-s as well as the AcAra-s or the codes ofconduct for all these groups.
SrI sa'nkara gives support from SrI vishNu purANam of ParASara:
varNa ASrama AcAravatA purhseNa parah pumAn |
"The supreme vishNu is propitiated by a man who observes theinstitutions of varNa, ASrama, and the AcAra-s (purificatory practices). Noother path is the way to please Him".