dhanur-dharo dhanur-vedo daNDo damayitA'damah |
om dhanur-dharAya namah
Om dhanur-dharAya namah.
dhanusho dharah dhanur-dharah - One Who has the bow.
Both SrI Sa'nkara and SrI BhaTTar interpret this nAma as "One Who carries the bow in His hand".
a) SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is that bhagavAn has this nAma indicating that He carries His bow by name SAr'nga in order to remove the obstacles in the path of the devotees performing yoga to attain Him. The reason for Lord rAma carrying the bow with Him during His vana- vAsam was precisely to remove the obstacles to the penance performed by the Rshi-s in the forest. This is kshatriya dharma -
- "etad-artham hi loke'smin kshatriyair-dhAryate dhanuh" -
- "dhAryate kshatriyaih cApo na Arta Sabdo bhaved-iti" -
SrI v.v. rAmAnujan nicely translates the nAma into tamizh as "Sar'ngapANi" - "One Who has SA'rnga in His hand".
nammAzhvAr personifies all His weapons themselves as being filled with anger at the very sight of the enemy, and ready to remove the sorrow of the devotees - kAi Sina Azhi Sa'ngu vAL taNDu Endi em iDar kaDivAnE (tiruvAi. 9.2.6). nammAzhvAr also refers to emperumAn as "kuni Sar'ngan" (tiruvAi. 8.8.1) - One Who has in His hand the Sar'nga bow that is bent as if with respect.
b) SrI Sa'nkara's interpretation is - "SrImAn rAma nAmA mahad-dhanur- dhArayAmAsa iti dhanur-dharah -
...... rAmah Sastra bhRtAm aham | (gItA 10.31)
SrI rAdhA kRshNa SAstri refers to rAma's skill in wielding the bow and arrow -
c) SrI cinmayAnanda gives an interesting reference to muNDakpanishad, where the "bow" refers to the praNava:
dhanur-gRhItvaupanishadam mahAstram Saram hyupAsAniSitam samdhayIta |
"Having taken the bow (called praNava) well known in the upanishads,
The next mantra explicitly declares: "praNavo dhanuh, Saro hyAtmA, brahma tal-lakshyamucyate".
c) SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshaN, an exponent of the gauDIya vaishNava sampradAyam, gives his interpretation in terms of bhagavAn's kRshNa incarnation, and refers to His bearing the bow to shoot the fish at His svayamvaram with lakshaNA -
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha gives reference to the Rg vedic mantra in support:
aham rudrAya dhanur-Atanomi brahmadvishe hanta vA u |
"I bend the bow for rudra that his arrow may strike and slay the hater of devotion.
a) The Propounder of the science of archery.
Om dhanur-vedAya namah.
a) SrI BhaTTar interprets the nAma as an example of His being the Propounder of all that is known and to be learnt. In this instance, He is the Propounder of the Science of archery - dhanur-veda. Even the rulers of men (kings) and gods (indra) get their knowledge of the science from His blessings alone.
b) SrI Sa'nkara's interpreation is: "sa eva dASarathih dhanur-vedam vetti iti dhanur-vedah" - "The Son of daSaratha, who alone is the Knower of the Science of archery (to perfection). Thus as the term "mahat" was emphasized in SrI Sa'nkara's interpretation of the previous nAma, the term "eva" should be stressed here. There are others who knew and know the science of archery, but none who compares to rAma.
SrI rAdhA kRshNa SAstri gives examples of Lord rAma's knowledge of the science of archery. He could direct the arrows as He wished, retrieve them as He wished, and even change Nature through discharge of the arrows (as His use of the arrow to warn samudra rAjan for His initial lack of response to His request).
c) SrI vAsishTha gives the following interpretations:
i)dhanur vindati - labhata iti - He Who has the dhanus.
ii) dhanur-vedayati sva-rakshaNArtham sarvebhya iti dhanur-vedah - He Who bestows the dhanus to all His creation for their self-protection is dhanur-vedah. Here SrI vAsishTha gives a generic meaning the term dhanus, and uses the term as a reference to any means for self- protection from the natural enemies etc. Thus, he refers to the horn of the cows etc. as their `dhanush' (gavAdhikAnAm dhanurasti SR'ngam), the nails of the tigers, lions etc. as their `dhanush' (simhAdi himsrasya nakhAdirUpam), and the intellect as the dhanush for human beings (dhanuSca martyasya su-buddhih).
SrI vAsishTha gives support from yajur-veda;
avatatya dhanushTvagm sahasrAksha Sateshudhe |
d) SrI cinmayAnanda continues his anubhavam of the nAma based on the interpretation of the term dhanush to refer to the "omkAra" (see previous nAma). He gives the interpretation for the nAma as "One Who propounded the unfailing technique of meditation on "OM" for realization of the Self".
SrI raghunAtha tIrtha explains the nAma as -
a) The source of punishment for the wicked. b) He Who is verily the weapon (power) of yama - the daNDa. c) He Whom no one else controls (a-daNDah). d) He Who is the source of restraint for all beings so that they follow dharma.
Om daNDAya namah.
The root from which this nAma is derived is dam - upaSame - to be tamed. (dushTAn) daNDayati iti daNDah - The means of punishment for the wicked is daNDah. daNDam is a term used for a staff. It refers to the staff that is carried by a sanyAsin, and also is a symbol of the power that one has (like the daNDam or staff of a king). The sense in which it is used in this nAma is the latter. Thus, daNDah here refers to the means to administer punishment or taming.
a) SrI BhaTTar comments that bhagavAn is daNDah because He administers the rules of dharma through the kings who have the responsibility to punish the wicked and bring protection and happiness to the world by following the dharma as laid down in the vedas.
SrI Sa'nkara gives reference to the gItA, where Lord kRshNa declares that among those that administer chastisement, He is daNDa:
daNDo damayatAm asmi nItirasmi jigIshatAm | (gItA 10.38)
"I am the Power of Punishment among those who administer punishment when the law is transgressed".
nammAzhvAr describes the intensity with which bhagavAn punishes the wicked, in his tiruvAimozhi pASuram 6.10.4) - reference by SrI v.v. rAmAnujan:
AvAennAdu ulagattai alaikkum aSurar vANAL mEl tI vAi vALi mazahi pozhinda SilaiyA tiru mA magaL kELvA.
"He showers His deadly piercing fiery rain-shower of arrows on the life-source of the wicked asusra-s who by their very nature will torture the people of this world without the least mercy". Such is the intensity with which bhagavAn dealt with kara, dhUshaNa etc.
b) SrI rAdhA kRshNa SAstri interprets the nAma as a reference to the weapon of yama in his role of samhAram. BhagavAn is verily that power of yama in the form of his weapon, the daNDa - the ultimate of weapons in the ultimate of punishments.
SrI satya sandha tIrtha gives the explanation - daityAn daNDayati it danDah - He Who punishes the asura-s.
c) He gives an alternate interpretation using the pATham "a-daNDah" - anya kartRka SikshaNa rahitah a-daNDah - He Whom no one else controls. d) SrI satya devo vAsishTha gives the explanation that bhagavAn is called daNDah because He is the source of restraint (daNDa = damana = niyamana =restraint) for all beings so that they act according to His rules.
a) The Subduer (of the enemies of His devotees).
Om damayitre namah.
The root from which this nAma is derived is the same as the one for the previous nAma - dam - upaSame - to be tamed. The difference is that the last nAma referred to bhagavAn being the Source or the tool of punishment of the wicked, and the current nAma refers to Him as the One who administers the punishment. The affix tRn that appears at the end of this nAma refers to "One who has the habit of" - tAcchIlya, according to pANini sUtra 3.2.125, and thus the nAma signifies that bhagavAn is in the habit of punishing the wicked. SrI vAsishTha gives the definition - damayati = upaSamayati tacchIlo damayitA.
a) SrI BhaTTar gives the interpretation along the above lines - svayam ca rAvaNAdIn tAcchIlyena damayitA - He Who destroys the likes of rAvaNa as a matter of habit. The nirukti author gives the description for the nAma as "tAccHilyAt rAvaNAdInAm hartA - damayitA svayaam". It is because of this habit of His that He takes direct incarnations such as the rAma and kRshNa incarnations to rid the wicked from this world. nammAzhvAr describes this attribute of bhagavAn in his tiruvAimozhi pASuram 7.5.2 (reference from SrI v.v. rAmAnujan):
nATTil piRandu paDAdana paTTu maniSarkkA
BhagavAn takes birth among us, goes through innumerable sufferings for our sake in His incarnation (as evidenced by the incarnation of rAma with pirATTi sItA), and then goes after and seeks the wicked (nADi), and destroys them - all for the sake of the human beings who have no interest in worshipping Him and seeking His Feet. It is this "habit" of His seeking the wicked and punishing them that is emphasized in the nAma damayitA.
SrI Sa'nkara gives the interpretation that He is the "Subduer" of the wicked in the form of yama, the rulers etc. He gives support from the gItA:
........ yamah samyamatAm aham (gItA 10.29) (I am yama among the subduers).
SrI satya sandha tIrtha explains the nAma along similar lines - daityAn damayati iti damayitA - He Who subdues the wicked asura-s.
SrI vAsishTha also echoes a similar thought: BhagavAn has this nAma signifying that He subdues those who violate the rules of dharma as established by Him –
jagati jagadISa kRtAyA jagad-vyavasthAyA
b) SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives the interpretation that He "dispels" the sorrowful or miserable state of His devotees (by retrieving them from the bondage of samsAra): damayati upaSamayati dainyam sva-janAnAm iti damayitA. This is along the lines that SrI BhaTTar has interpreted nAma 192 - damanah (Slokam 21). Both the nAma-s have the same root, and in fact SrI BhaTTar stresses the guNa of bhagavAn as a Subduer in nAma 192 also, but a different aspect of this guNa of bhagavAn - that of subduing the tApa or suffering of His devotees. EmperumAn is always acting in the interests of His devotees - either as a Subduer of the tApa of His devotees (kAnti - mandAkinIbhih bhava tApam damayati iti damanah (He dispels the sufferings of samsAra in His devotees through the Ganges-like streams of His luster or kAnti- interpretation for nAma 192), or as a Subduer of the enemies of His devotees (the current nAma).
SrI cinmayAnanda explains the nAma as: "One Who punishes the wicked, destroys the sinners and thus regulates and cultivates life in the universe, making it a garden for the blossoms of spiritual beauties".
SrI baladeva vidyA bhUshAn, an exponent of the gauDIya vaishNava sampradAyam, gives his interpretations for all the nAma-s as far as possible based on the specific instances of bhagavAn's kRshNa incarnation. For the current nAma, he gives the anubhavam that the nAma reflects His "subduing" the seven bulls in His svyamavaram - nAgnajitI svayamvare saptAnAmukshNAm damanAt damayitA.
a) He Who is not subdued by anyone.
Om a-damAya namah.
The root from which the nAma is derived is dam - upaSame - to be tamed, the same root as for the previous two nAma-s. SrI BhaTTar looks at the nAma as a-damah - He Who cannot be tamed or subdued, and SrI Sa'nkara and others treat the nAma as damah.
The nirukti author summarizes SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam thus:
SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj explains the nAma as:
SrI BhaTTar quotes the mahA bhArata in support:
bhasma kuryAt jagat-sarvam manasaiva janArdanah |
"JanArdana by His mere Will can turn into ashes the entire Universe. But all the Universe combined together can do no harm to Him".
b) SrI Sa'nkara, who treats the nAma as damah, gives the interpretation -
SrI cinmayAnanda captures this sense in his explanation: "That which is ultimately gained by the worldly punishments - the final experience of Beatitude in the Self". One should be able to realize through this interpretation that what happens to us - good or bad -is all for our benefit, bestowed by bhagavAn.
c) SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri notes that the term dama also refers to the means that are used to control the unruly; the net result of this control is the control of the senses etc., which is also referred as to dama.
d) SrI vAsishTha derives the meaning for the nAma as "dAmayati iti damah" - He Who controls. For the previous nAma - damayitA, he interpreted the function of control as it applies to those who violate dharma. For the current nAma, he gives the interpretation in terms of bhagavAn being the Controller of everything such that they follow the prescribed path as their natural behavior - in other words, He is the Controller of all the planets such that they follow their prescribed courses; He is the Controller of our indriya-s such that the eye only sees and does not hear, the ear only hears but not smell, etc. BhagavAn is present everywhere and pervades everything, and has full control of everything - He is damah, the Controller. Here is SrI vAsishTha's composition capturing his interpretation:
damo hi sarvatra virAjamAnah, kriyAsu sarvam sa niyamya yu'ngte |
e) SrI satya sandha tIrtha takes the pATham Ada-mah, and gives the interpretation that He has the nAma signifying that He is the Bestower of wealth on all - samyak dadAati iti Adah, teshAm mA - sampat yasmAt iti Ada-mah.
SrI raghunAtha tIrtha gives a similar interpretation in his tattva sAra, but looking at the nAma as da+mah -
a) He Who is invincible.
Om a-parAjitAya namah.
This nAma occurs twice in the stotram (Slokam 76 - nAma 721, and the current instance).
The root for the nAma is ji -jaye abhibhave ca - to conquer. SrI vAsishTha gives the explanation -
a) Among the different aspects of bhagavAn's invincibility, there are two that are noteworthy:
1) He cannot be defeated by anyone or anything at any time, anywhere, under any circumstance.
SrI BhaTTar describes the current instance of the nAma in terms of 1) above, and for nAma 721 his anubhavam is based on 2 above. This is how SrI BhaTTar has avoided the punarukti dosham or the fault of redundancy in his vyAkhyAnam for the two instances of this nAma.
SrI BhaTTar explains the first interpretation as follows: kvacit, kadAcit, kutaScit a-pratihatah a-parAjitah - He cannot be obstructed by anyone, at any time, anywhere or by any means. SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj echoes the same idea - na parAjitah kadApi kenApi iti a- parajitah - He Who cannot be conquered by anyone and through any means is a-parAjitah.
SrI BhaTTar gives several supports for his interpretations:
- From the gItA:
yatra yogeSvarah kRshNo yatra pArtho dhanur-dharah | tatra SrIr-vijayo bhUtir-dhruvA nItir-matir-mama || (gItA 18.78)
"Where kRshNa, the Lord of the yoga-s is, and where pArtha, the bow- armed arjuna is, there is prosperity, there is victory, there is wealth, and there is firm justice - this is my conclusion".
- From the Ayurveda caraka samhitA, where again the invincibility of bhagavAn is declared:
yathA'ham nAbhijAnAmi vAsudeve parAjayam |
"On the veracity of the following statements, may this medicine be pounded and be effective: - "There is no defeat for vAsudeva"; "I have not witnessed the marriage of my mother"; "the ocean will never become completely dry". (These are all absolute true statements)".
- In vaitaraNa, the following is used to invoke the efficacy of the poison-removing mantra:
ratnAkara iva akshobhyo himavAniva ca acalah | jAtavedA iva adhRshyo nArAyaNa iva ajayah ||
"Let this poison-removing mantra be effective just as the ocean is imperturbable, himAvan is unshakable, fire is unapproachable, and nArAyaNa is unconquerable".
- From SrImad rAmAyaNa:
a-jayyah SASvato dhruvah (yuddha. 114.15) - "He is Inivincible, eternal and steady"; a-jitah khaDga-dhRk (yuddha. 120.14) - "He is unconquered, and is the Wielder of the Sword".
- From the mahAbhArata:
dASArham aparAjitam - "KrishNa Who is invincible"; yatah kRshNah tato jayah (bhA. udyoga. 6.79) - "Where kRshNa is, there victory is certain".
SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives reference from divya prabandham in support:
- "paRpanAbhan uyarvuRa uyarum perum tiRalOn" (tiruVai. 2.7.11). Sri rAmAnujan explains the term "tiral" as "parAbhibhavana sAmarthyam" - the skill to subdue and overcome His enemies.
SrI satya sandha tIrtha enjoys the nAma as (a-parah + a-jitah) - He Who has none superior to Him, and He Who can never be conquered - na vidyate para = uttamo yasmAt iti a-parah; a-paraSca asau a-jitaSca iti aparAjitah.
SrI cinmayAnanda gives another dimension to the invincibility of bhagavAn, with support from the ISAvAsya upanishad - "nainad-devA Apnuvan" - The deva-s could not overtake It - the overwhelming powers of desires and passions can never vanquish the Self - the Divine nArAyaNa.
SrI BhaTTar quotes several examples from the mahAbhArata in support of his second interpretation above as well, where the deva-s themselves have described over and over again that those who are supported by bhagavAn cannot be vanquished by anyone.
ekam hanishyasi ripum garjantam tam mahAmRdhe | na tu tam prArthayasyekam rakshyate sa mahAtmanA ||
yam Ahur-veda-vidusho vArAham a-jitam harim | nArAyaNam a-cintyam ca tena kRshNena rakshyate || (bhA. udyo.129.40)
indra tells karNa: "In the great fight, I give you the power to kill one thundering warrior, but this cannot be the one you wish to kill (arjuna), since he is protected by the Great Lord (kRshNa). KRshNa is none other than the Invincible Hari, Who had assumed the form of the Wild Boar, and Who is the Incomparable nArAyaNa, as declared by the vedic scholars".
The same message is given to jayadratha by rudra:
a-jayyAnScApi a-vadhyAnSca vArayishyasi tAn yudhi | Rte arjunam mahA-bAhum devairapi durAsadam |
yam Ahuh amitam devam Sa'nkha-cakra-gadA-dharam | pradhAnah so'stra-vidushAm tena kRshNena rakshyate || (bhA. vana.260.75)
"In the fight you can ward off the attacks of all invincible and indestructible warriors except the long-armed arjuna who is unassailable even to the gods, since he is protected by kRshNa who is the Unknowable Deity Who bears the conch, discus and mace as arms".
BhIshma, droNa, etc., declare that they could have annihilated the pANDava-s without a trace if only vishNu had not been their Protector, and that just as certainly as truth rests with a brAhmin, humility is certain in the pious, and wealth is sure in the skillful, so also victory is certain for nArAyaNa:
dhruvam vai brAhmaNe satyam dhruvA sAdhushu sannatih |
- yasya mantrI ca goptA ca suhRc-caiva janArdanah |
What is there in this world that cannot be conquered by that person who has bhagavAn Hari as His mentor, protector, and friend?
SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives references to divya prabandham in support:
- anRu aivarai velvitta mAyap pOr tErp pAganAr (tiruvAi. 4.6.1) -
SrI Sa'nkara avoids redundancy in interpretation by giving the following two anubhava-s:
BhagavAn is unconquered by desire and the rest -
BhagavAn is invincible by His foes -
SrI satya sandha tIrtha enjoys the nAma as (a-parah + a-jitah) -
b) One of the interpretations of SrI satya sandha tIrtha is based on looking at the nAma as a-pah + rAjitah:
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha also derives the interpretation for the nAma starting from the word para meaning Supreme. One of his interpretations is same as the first interpretation of SrI BhaTTar. The other interpretation is:
For one to be defeated, there needs to be someone or something other than that entity. But since there is nothing else that exists other than the Supreme Self, there is no possibility of defeat for this One Truth - "para eva kaScin-nAsti; na dvitIyo na tRtIyah" iti atharva vacanAt, tasmAt parAjitvasya a-sambhavAt bhagavatah aparAjita iti nAmnA samkIrtanam upapadyate. This probably follows the advaita philosophy (Non-existence of anything except of Brahman in truth).
SrI cinmayAnanda gives yet another dimension to the enjoyment of this nAma. The Supreme Self is aparAjitah since the Self alone remains when everything else is destroyed.
c) SrI raghunAtha tIrtha looks at the invincible nature of bhagavAn's Power over time as compared to all others, whose powers are perishable over time –
parAjIyate kAlatah iti parAjitah - naSvarAh vibhUtayah;
His vibhUti-s are powers are not transitory, but are eternal, and therefore He is called a-parAjitah.
a) The Supporter of all the other deities.
The word sah has multiple meanings - `to bear or support', `to bear or put up with', `to be capable of', `to be powerful'. sahas also means strength - sahate anena Satrum iti sahah (amara kOSam). The difference in the different interpretations results from the use of the different alternate meanings.
SrI BhaTTar and SrI vAsishTha use the meaning "One Who Supports - bears", SrI Sa'nkara uses the meaning `to be capable of', `to be powerful, to conquer', and `to support', and SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj uses the meaning "One Who puts up with". In addition, SrI Sa'nkara uses the meaning `strength' for `sahas' in one of his interpretations.
a) SrI BhaTTar interprets the nAma specifically in the context of bhagavAn's support to the other gods. Because of His support to the other gods, they continue to be worshipped by people who have not achieved the full realization that nArAyaNa is the Supreme Deity to be worshipped. As the Provider of this support, He is called sarva- sahah - sva-SAsanena sarvam devatAntaramapi mandAdhikAriNAm ArAdhyatayA sahate - bibharti iti sarva-sahah.
The same concept is given by nammAzhvAr in tiruvAimozhi 5.2.8 (referenced by SrI v.v. rAmAnujan):
iRukkum iRai iRuttu uNNa ev-vulagukkum tan mUrti niRuttinAn deiva'ngaLAga ad-deiva nAyagan tAnE ..
"The other deities have been established like tax-collectors by my daiva nAyakan - the Chief of all gods; they are all His body".
In one of his interpretations, SrI vAsishTha uses the meaning "support", and gives a more general interpretation - bhagavAn has this nAma because He supports and protects everything including the sky, the earth, the movables and the immovables.
b) c) SrI Sa'nkara gives multiple interpretations:
- sarvAn SatrUn sahata iti sarva-sahah - He Who conquers all His enemies. -
d) SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives the interpretation - sarveshAm sva-jana aparAdhAnAm sahah iti sarva-sahah - He is sarva-sahah because He puts up with all the aparAdha-s of all His devotees. SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri also gives this as his interpretation - The Lord forgives the aprAdha-s of His enemies by considering that it is because of their inherent nature that they perform the aparAdham, and a person of good conduct and character should forgive and forget, rather than punish and seek revenge. He refers to SrImad rAmAyaNam (yuddha. 116.49), where sItA pirATTi instructs hanuman that the servant-maids of rAvaNa should not be punished for mistreating her while in aSoka vanam: na kaScit na aparAdhyati - There is no one who does not commit aparAdham (it is in the nature of all beings).
Using the meaning `to bear, to put up with' SrI vAsishTha gives an alternate interpretation along similar lines. Just as the sea does not lose its nature even though all kinds of other waters mingle with it over time, so also bhagavAn is untouched by all the things that He has to endure. It is the reflection of this guNa of bhagavAn' guNa of sarva-sahatvam that is reflected in the ability of the jIva to endure all that is happening when it is occupying one body, and then move to another body at the end of this body's life.
SrI baladeva vidyAbhUshaN gives the example of Lord kRshNa putting up with all the insults from the likes of rukmi (brother of rukmiNi), duryodhana, SiSupAla etc. - sarvANi rukmyava~jnA vadAmsi sahata iti sarva-sahah.
a) He Who directs.
SrI satya devo vAsishTha derives the word from the root yama - uparame - to lift up, to show, to offer. ni is an uapasarga (prefix) that denotes, among other things, command, order, etc. tRc is an affix added to denote agency. niynatA is One Who controls, directs, governs, restrains, etc.
a) SrI BhaTTar extends the idea from the previous nAma (sarva-sahah) relating to the worship of the anya devatA-s. Thos who worship the other devatA-s or gods, still are worshiping these gods with the support of bhagavAn. The initial freedom of choice is given to the individual, but once the choice is made, no matter what the choice is, then bhagavAn supports this individual in the pursuit of this choice. It is this guNa of bhagavAn that SrI BhaTTar brings out through the nAma niyantA - tatra tat tat rucIn prarocayan niyacchati iti niyantA - He directs and guides these individuals after letting them make the choice according to their tastes. SrI BhaTTar gives the following quote from the gIta in support:
yo yo yAm yAm tanum bhaktah SraddhayA arcitum icchati |
"Whichever devotee seeks to worship with faith whatever form, I make that faith steadfast".
This same idea is given by nammAzhvAr in his tiruvAimozhi pASuram 1.1.5 (reference from SrI v,.v. rAmAnujan):
avar avar tama tamadu aRivaRi vagai vagai
"Each and every individual chooses, in accordance with his nature and attainments, limited by his intellect, to worship a particular deity of his/her choice in the hope of securing desired results. These deities are, without doubt, capable of granting the lesser boons (other than moksha) to their devotees according to their merits, because the Lord is the inner soul, controller, and source of their power". The idea that bhagavAn is the niyantA of all the other gods is to be appreciated here.
SrI Sa'nkara gives the interpretation that bhagavAn is the "Regulator of all in all their functions" -
SrI vAsishTha points out that everything functions according to the course laid out by Him as the niyantA of all - including the sun and all the planets, and even the heart inside all of us -
b) SrI cinmayAnanda uses the pATham a-niyantA for this nAma, and gives the interpretation - One Who has none above Him to control Him" - He is the One Who has appointed all controllers of the phenomenal forces as the Sun, the Moon, Air and Waters.
a) He Who controls.
Om niyamAya namah.
This nAma occurred earlier in Slokam 17 - nAma 163.
The root from which the word is derived is yam - uparame - to check. SrI vAsishTha also gives another root - yama - pariveshaNe - to surround. The word niyama means restraint or check, and niyamah is One Who restrains.
a) For nAma 163, SrI BhaTTar brings out the role of bhagavAn in controlling even the likes of the mighty mahA bali - bali prabhRtayah api niyamyante anena iti niyamah. The nirukti author captures the significance of the interpretation as - niymayate jagat yena niyamah sa udIritah - He is called niyamah because the whole universe is controlled by Him.
SrI v.v. rAmAnujan emphasizes the role of bhagavAn as the ASrita- rakshaka - One Who protects those Who seek refuge in Him, as the guNa that is portrayed in this nAma. The Lord controlled hiraNyAksha in His incarnation as vAmana; He killed keSi and protected the cowherds of AyarpADi; He destroyed the elephant that was deployed by kamsa to kill Him; and there are many other similar instances in His other incarnations such as the rAma incarnation etc.
b) For the current instance of the nAma niyamah, SrI BhaTTar enjoys another aspect of His control - He ordains (prescribes, specifies) the fruits of worship to each individual according to the nature of their worship of the anya devatA-s of their choice: tat-phalam ca - jAti, Ayuh, bhogAdikam niyamyate asmin iti niyamah. Following on the reference to the gItA Slokam 7.21 for the previous nAma, SrI BhaTTar takes the idea conveyed by bhagavAn in the very next Slokam - 7.22 of the gItA to support the interpretation of the current nAma:
sa tayA SraddhayA yuktah tasya ArAdhanam Ihate | labhate ca tatah kAmAn mayaiva vihitAn hi tAn || (gItA 7.22)
"Endowed with that faith, he worships that form (of other devatA-s) and thence gets the objects of his desire, granted in reality by Me alone".
It is to be noted that a) bhagavAn lets the individual choose the deity to be worshiped by him based on his limitations and knowledge; b) bhagavAn then supports the individual in this endeavor; c) bhagavAn bestows the benefits of this worship by empowering the devatA that the individual worships to bestow the desired powers, depending on the eligibility of the individual. Ideas a and b are reflected in the nAma niyantA in SrI BhaTTar's interpretation, and idea c is reflected in the current nAma; and these two interpretations nicely follow the two concurrent Sloka-s, 7.21 and 7.22, in the gItA. The concept of individual freedom of choice for the jIva as outlined in the above steps is reflected in SrI bhAshyam by SrI rAmAnuja (vyAkhyAna for sUtra 2.3.41 - kRta prayatnApekshatu vihita-pratishiddhA avaiyarthAdibhyah).
The idea that bhagavAn is the One Who ordains the benefits that are attained by resort to the lesser devatA-s, is reinforced by SrI v.v. rAmAnujan through a reference to tiruvASiriyam 4 by nammAzhvAr, where AzhvAr notes that bhagavAn is the One Who created the likes of brahma, Siva etc., along with their limited powers:
daiva nAn-mugak kaDavuLai EnRu, mukkaN ISanODu dEvu pala nudaliya mAyak kaDavUL (tiruvASiri. 4).
Note the way SrI BhaTTar has avoided redundancy in interpretation (punar-ukti dosham) by giving two different aspects of bhagavAn's control for the two instances of the nAma.
c) SrI Sa'nkara gives two different versions of the nAma-s in Slokam 92: a-niyamah and a-yamah, or niyamah and yamah. In the version "niyamo yamah", his interpretation is that bhagavAn has these nAma-s because He can be attained through the two means of yoga called niyama and yama. SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri refers us to pata'njali's yoga sUtra for the definition of the term niyama -
Soca santosha tapah svAdhyAya Isvara praNidhAnAni niyamAh (sUtra 2.32)
"Purity of the body, mental contentedness, austerity, reciting the veda-s, and persevering devotion to the Lord are called `religious observances - niyama".
SrI Sa'nkara's interpretation for the nAma niyamah in Slokam 17 is that He is the Director of all beings in their respective functions - sveshu sveshu adhikAreshu prajA niyamati iti niyamah. (see d below for Sri Sa'nkara's interpretation with the pATham a-niyamah).
d) SrI Sa'nkara's explanation for the pATham a-niyamah in the current Sloka is that bhagavAn is One Who does not have anyone else who controls or directs Him - niyamah niyatih tasya na vidyata iti a- niyamah | sarva-niyantuh niyantantara abhAvAt | - Since He is the Controller and Director of everything else, there is no Controller or Director above Him. Note that He is the niyantA of all (previous nAma), and so by definition, He is a-niyamah.
e) SrI raghunAtha tIrtha in his tattva sAra gives the explanation - sva-vishaya j~nAnAni bhaktebhyo niyamayati - prayacchati iti noyamah - He is called niyamah because He bestows sacred knowledge about Himself to devotees in full measure.
f) Using the root yama - pariveshTane - to surround, SrI satya devo vAsishTha gives the explanation for the nAma as "niyaman SaktyA sakalam viSvam vyApnoti tasmAt sa niyamayh" - One Who pervades and surrounds everything.
Using the alternate root yam - uparame - to check, SrI vAsishTha gives the alternate interpretation in terms of all things beings constrained by being bound to Him, by residing in Him, and by moving only because of Him.
a) The Controller (of all the deva-s).
Om yamAya namah.
The root from which the word is derived is the same as for the previous nAma, namely, yam - uparame - to check, or yama - pariveshaNe - to surround.
We had anubhavam of this nAma earlier in Slokam 17 - nAma 164. In fact, the sequence "niyamo yamah" occurs in Slokam 17, just as it does in the current Slokam. All the four nAma-s are derived from the same root. The functions of bhagavAn that SrI BhaTTar chooses to describe for the four nAma-s are, respectively: One Who control even the likes of mahA bali, One Who corrects all as their antaryAmi, One Who ordains and bestows the fruits of the worship of different gods, and One Who controls and directs all the deva-s. Given that SrI BhaTTar interprets the whole set of nAma-s as but a reflection of bhagavAn's guNa-s which are infinite, he is able to provide different anubhavam-s for the different instances of the same or related nAma-s and provide ever greater enjoyment of His guNa-s in the process.
SrI satydevo vAsishTha has composed a Slokam in which He conveys nicely that the nAma-s niyantA, niyamah, yamah, a-niyamah, and a- yamah, all refer to Lord vishNu:
vishNur niyantA niyamo yamo'sau vishNur niyantA a-niyamo a- yamo sah |
a) For the specific instance of the nAma in the current Sloka, SrI BhaTTar's vyAkhyAnam is: tat-tat phala niyAmakAn yamAdIn api yacchati iti yamah - He is called yamah because He is the One Who controls the likes of yama who are the bestowers of the respective fruits". He quotes yama's own words from vishNu purANa in support:
prabhavati samyamane mamApi vishNuh (vishNu. 3.7.13) - VishNu controls me also.
SrI T. S. Raghavendran refers us to ISAvAsya Upanishad mantra 16, where there is reference to bhagavan as yamah - the Controller as antaryAmi of all:
pUshan! ekarshe! yama! sUrya! PrAjApatya! ... (mantra 16)
"O pUshaN! The One Seer! O Controller! Prompter! The Indwelling Ruler of all creatures born of prajApati!."
He also gives reference to the gItA, where arjuna praises bhagavAn as being the antaryAmi of all including yama etc.:
vAyur-yamo'gnir-varuNah SasA'nkah prajApatis-trvam prapitAmahaSca |. (gItA 11.39)
"You are the Controller and antaryAmi of yama, agni, varuNa, the Moon, and brahmA; You are the Grandfather and Great Grandfather of all".
Lord kRshNa Himself declares that He is yama among subduers: "yamah samyatAmyaham" - Among those who administer punishments, I am yama.
SrI v.v. rAmAnujan refers us to nammAzhvAr's tiruvAimozhi pASuram 4.10.8, where AzhvAr gives an example to show that bhagavAn controls all the others, including Siva:
pukk-aDimaiyinAl tannaik-kaNDa mArkanDEyan avanai nakka-pirAnum anRu uyyak-koNDadu nArAyaNan aruLE (tiruvAi. 4.10.8)
"It is true that Siva granted eternal life to mArkanDeya when the later surrendered to him. But note that Siva could bestow this eternal life on mArkhanDeya only because of the Grace of Lord nArAyaNa".
b) SrI Sa'nkara interprets the first instance of niyamah and yamah respectively as: One Who establishes all the beings in their respective functions, and, One Who controls all the beings as their antaryAmi. SrI Sa'nkara gives two versions for the second set of nAma-s: a-niyamah and a-yamah, or niyamah and yamah. In the later choice, he gives the interpretation that since bhagavAn is attained through two yogic paths - niyama and yama, He is called niyamah and yamah - athavA yama niyamau yogA'nge, tad gamyatvAt sa eva niyamo yamah. SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri recalls the yoga sUtra of pata'njalai for the definition of `yama' -
ahimsA satya a-steya brahmacaryA parigrahA yamAh (sUtra 2.30)
"Not hurting others, veracity, not stealing, continence, and not coveting, are part of "Forbearance" - yama.".
c) Using the pATham a-yamah (the first choice by SrI Sa'nkara), his interpretation is that bhagavAn is a-yamah because He has no yama (death) - na asya vidyate yamah mRtyuh iti a-yamah. BhagavAn is beginningless and endless, and He is the One Who has created yama and Who controls and directs him.
d) Using the root yam - uparame - to check, a-yamah can also be interpreted as "One Who has no one to command Him at any time under any circumstance, or One Who has no one similar to Him in any respect - na vidyate yamah = niyAmakah, sadRSo vA yasya sah yamah. This is one of the interpretations given by SrI satya sandha tIrtha.
e) SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri gives the additional interpretation that bhagavAn is called yamah because He controls the life of all the beings, and He is yama in this role - Controller of the lifetime of all beings. SrI vAsishTha gives a similar interpretation, and refers to bhagavAn being the `yama' or One Who terminates all life at the time of pralaya by keeping them in Himself - yacchati = upasamharati sarvam sargAnte iti yamah.
f) SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj uses the meaning "to eat" for the root yama (yamayati brAhmaNan - He feeds the brAhmaNa-s; yama - pariveshane; pariveshaNam - bhojanam), and gives the interpretation - yamayati bhojayati svAdubhih annaih bhaktAn iti yamah - He Who feeds His devotees with delectable food (e.g., with delightful thoughts of anubhavam about Himself).
g) An alternate interpretation given by SrI satya sandha tIrtha is: ayam = SubhAvaha vidhim, mAti = jAnAti iti a-yamah - He is aya-mah because He knows and prescribes the mandates that bestow virtues (mA - mAne - to measure).
SrI BhaTTar concludes this section by reminding us that the previous few nAma-s (851 onwards) have dealt with bhagavAn's presiding over the rajas and tamo guNa-s predominant in the worshippers. He will interpret the nAma-s 870 to 880 in terms of bhagavAn's role in presiding over the sattva guNa.