Beach 1: The First Prostration
Wave 2: Names ad infinitum for the nameless
Drop 7: Each name a capsule of Divinity: DROPLET 1 DROPLET 2 DROPLET 3 DROPLET 4
1201: subrahmaNya 1202: Idol worship 1203: One truth - Many Expressions 1204: Glory of the Lord's name1205: sahasranAmas 1206: Power of words 1207: Capsules of Divinity 1208: Scriptural epitomes1209: AUM or OM 1210: rAma 1211: kRSNa 1212: nArAyaNa
Every name that occurs in these sahasr-nAmas reverberate the concept of Divinity, or a glory of His, or an Action of His in the mythological yore, or a facet of His greatness. All the names below are from the VISHNU SAHASRANAMA. He is
- anAdiH, beginningless, because he is the Cause of everything. And He owes Himself no Cause. Compare His own statement in the gItA: Whoever knows me as unborn and beginningless and as the Lord of the Universe, he is the one among men without delusion and he is absolved of all sins: ( 10 - 13):
yo mAm ajam anAdim ca vetti loka-maheSvaram / asammUDhas-sa martyeshu sarva-pApaiH pramucyate //
Compare also 'brahmaNyo brahmakRt brahmA brahma brahma-vivardhanaH' in the vishNu sahsra-nAma itself. The two names brahmA and brahma denote that He is the creator-cause of everything but He himself has no cause, because He is brahman itself.
- hariH, because the word har means to destroiy. He destroys samsAra as well as sins of man. He carries awy the sins of even evil-minded people.
- mArgaH, the path, because there is no other path towards Him. Compare, purusha sUkta:
na anyaH panthA ayanAya vidyate
- sadgatiH, the one obtained by those who understand the truth that brahman exists as the only reality: (- taittirIyopanishad, II - 6 - 1):
asti brahmeti ced veda; santam enam tato viduh //
- kathithaH, that is, the One who is spoken of. 'He is the One who has been declared as the One by all the vedas'; 'He is the One to be known by all the Vedas':
Katha-upanishad, I - 2 - 15: sarve vedA yat padam Amananti //
bhagavad-gItA, 15 - 15: vedaiSca sarvair-ahm-eva vedyaH //
- sambhavaH, the One who, according to his promise in the gItA, manifests Himself by His own free will and for the good of the world and in the manner He chooses:
dharma-samsthApanArthAya sambhavAmi yuge yuge
- svayambhUH, the One who appears, manifests, 'is born', totally independent of anything else -- all by Himself. Even when He was 'born' as an infant in the avatAras of Rama and Krishna, he was 'born' independent of any genetics or biology!. He just appeared, that was all.
- kRtajnaH. He knows what was done. Whatever man does, He knows. But even a little devotion, a little good deed, is remembered by Him and man is rewarded accordingly. In the mahAbhArata, in Udyoga parva, he laments with regret the delay He made in going to the help of Draupadi when she was most in distress. It is to be noted here that He did not go to her help until she cried 'O Govinda, help me'. 'Even the vilest sinner, if He remembers me with sincerity, I will consider Him to be noble because He has taken the forward step' says He in Ch.9 of the gItA 9 - 30:
api cet sudurAcAro bhajate mAM ananya-bhAk / sAdhureva sa mantavyaH samyag- vyavasito hi saH //
Even the offering of leaves, fruits or flowers is acceptable to Him provided it is done with an intensity of feeling of devotion: gItA 9 - 26:
patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktyA prayacchati / tad-aham bhakty-upahRtam aSnAmi prayatAtmanaH //
In the avatAra of Rama there is a classical example of this in the description of Rama's characterisitics: (Valmiki Ramayana 2 - 1 - 11): He (Rama) felt gratified (even) with a single good turn casually rendered and did not take to heart (even) a hunbred wrongs because of his mastery over his self:
kada cid-upakareNa kRtenaikena tushyati/ na smaraty-apakArANAm Satam-apy-AtmavattayA //
- kRtAkRtaH. kRtam means that which is articificially made to happen. akRtam means that which happens without any action, that is, that which is natural. He is both the (kArya) Effect (which has an antecedent cause) and the (kAraNa) Cause (which has no antecedent cause). Again, He is both the effect in the form of works done and the cause in the form of works which are only latent. He has a kRta form, which comes and goes and He has an akRta form which is subtle, which has no perceptible qualities. In other words He is both the concrete and the subtle. Also He has two facets of dharma both inherent inHim, namely, that which gives a temporal spatial benefit (this is kRta) and that which has a permanent immutable benefit (this is akRta).
- Each name of God is interpreted as indicative of a certain quality of His, perhaps the name itself has arisen because of that quality or attribute in Him. He is eternal, SASvataH. He is auspicious, SivaH; never-changing, acyuta. All beings are drawn to Him as the originator, hence He is Adi-devaH. He revels in the great knowledge of the Atman, ignoring all trifles - hence He is mahA-devaH. Great are His activities of creation, etc.; therefore He is mahA-karmA. By His brilliance, the Sun derives its brilliance, so He is mahA-tejaH. He deserves praise by all, but none has to be praised by Him; so He is stavyaH. He is one who delights in praise, so He is stava-priyaH. Praise is uttering the divine qualities, that is God Himself, so He is also that by which He is praised - stotram. And He who praises is also Himself, so He is stotA.
- Not only is the Lord living in each one of us as its innermost resident, but, He is, at once, the all-pervading essence in which the entire universe exists and, as such, He alone is the abode in which we live, breathe and act. He is the abode, therefore, vatsaraH. He is also vatsalaH, the supremely affectionate, who loves His devotees deeply. His love for all of us is greater by far than all the maternal and paternal love we have ever enjoyed -- He is Supreme Love, vatsala. All living things are His children and He is the father of them all, therefore He is vatsI.
- He is kAlaH, one who measures the merits and demerits of each individual and apportions the appropriate results. I am the time of recokoning - says the Lord in the gItA: kAlo'smi. He is kAlaH also because He is the death or annihilator of all His enemies, the misdirected sense organs.
- He is ugraH, the terrible, that is, the one who instils fear in those who are diabolically evil. The Upanishad declares 'For fear of Him the Wind blows, the Sun shines, the fire burns and Indra rules':
bhIshAsmAd-vAtah pavate / bhIsho'deti sUryaH / bhIsmAd-agniScendraSca //
- He is also manoharaH, the one who plunders the mind; the charming one; He is beauty incarnate; He compels the attention of the devotee, drawing it away from all other sense objects to dwell upon His enchanting form. Recall the story of Dhanurdasa being charmed away from his ladylove, on seeing the infinitely winning personality of the reclining VishNu of Srirangam.
More names in Droplet 2
Previous page For notes on mythological names referred, go to MYTHOLOGY Homepage of SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY
CONTENTS page of GEMS FROM THE OCEAN OF HINDU THOUGHT VISION AND PRACTICE
May 1, '99 Copyright Ó V. Krishnamurthy